About Cassidy Dawn Graves

Contact: cassidydawngraves@gmail.com / Twitter: @malegazegraves

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Performance Picks: Drag Karaoke, Bread and Puppet Theater, and More

THURSDAY

(image via BEEF Show / Facebook)

Yell Club
Thursday, December 14 at Rockbar NYC, 9 pm: FREE

People seem to like karaoke, and people seem to like drag shows. These two groups don’t necessarily seem to always overlap, but come Thursday night they will unite at Yell Club, where one person sings karaoke while a drag performer lip-synchs that very same song. So, those of you who feel uninterested or afraid of doing drag but like singing songs when weird MIDI tracks and projected lyrics are involved (shoutout to Sun Fly, the weird karaoke backing track brand bug mascot I have taken a liking to), this will be your night to shine while also giving other performers some material.

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Art This Week: Psychedelic Collage and Meditations On The Unpleasant

(image via Nat Girsberger / Facebook)

Close Your Eyes
Opening Thursday, December 13 at The Storefront Project, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 6.

Looking at Nat Girsberger’s collages, on view at the Lower East Side’s Storefront Project starting Thursday, is a good way to get lost in a kind of psychedelic fantasy land. Outer space, nature, animals, and human figures intermingle in landscapes with colors that seem brighter than what one would typically encounter in reality. In a time where the news feels more and more anxiety-inducing every day, it’s important to have little moments of escape, where we’re not filled with dread and instead perhaps wondering about the inner life of a deer standing among very large mushrooms standing on a vivid path that seems to be leading into the sun.

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Performance Picks: Talk Hole’s GAPE, A Senior Center Collaboration, and More

WEDNESDAY

(image via Talk Hole / Facebook)

GAPE: Gift Activating Public Experience
Wednesday, December 5 at The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center, 7:30 pm: FREE

While government organizations like USPS are taking the day off today to mourn George H.W. Bush and making my packages arrive in the mail a day later than they’re supposed to, which I will continue to be excessively salty about, others are taking to the streets for a little public engagement. Or shall I say, engape-ment? Anyhow, weirdo comedy queers Talk Hole (Stephen Phillips-Horst and Eric Schwartau) are taking over the World Trade Center Oculus for a seasonal evening of jokes, surprises, gifts, and gapes. Maybe not the last two, this is a public space after all, but you never know with these guys. Joining the duo will be Cole Escola, Ayo Edebiri, Lily Marotta, Ruby McCollister, Alex Schmidt, and DJ Physical Therapy. Keep Reading »

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‘Belgian Diner’ Benelux Hopes to Appeal to Post-Rave Bushwick

(image courtesy of Benelux)

After five years near the Morgan stop, bar and restaurant Tutu’s closed up shop in November 2017. While some vacant storefronts lie empty for what seems like eternities—nearby sports bar Tiltz had a two-year gap between announcing it would open and actually opening—the Bogart Street space is already home to a new tenant: Benelux, a bar and restaurant serving European-inspired food and cocktails that officially opened for lunch, brunch, and dinner yesterday. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Friend-Filled Comedy, Dance at PS1, and More

THURSDAY

(image via Soooo Many Friends / Facebook)

SoOoO Many Friends
Thursday, November 29 at Lucky Jack’s NYC, 8 pm: FREE 

I think we can all agree that having friends is a good thing. Having friends at a comedy show also seems good, especially if it’s your birthday and you’re hosting the comedy show. If it sounds like I’m talking about something specific, I am: a comedy show aptly entitled Soooo Many Friends, hosted by Magda Cychowski and Michelle Davis. It’s Magda’s birthday, and she “will need to laugh to fill the void in her soul,” something I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. These laughs will (hopefully) be served up by Bobby Hankinson, Dylan Adler, Maggie Crane, and Andrés Govea. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Immigrant Benefits, Goth Exhibits, and Sex-Positive Birthdays

 “Night of” Performance by Laur Duvall, Model: Leah Shea (Photo: Frankie Weiner)

Stigma Unbound: The Birthday Party
Opening Thursday, November 29 at Wild Embeddings, 6 pm to 11 pm. On view through December 4.

Stigma Unbound, a performance series dedicated to giving a platform to sex workers and allies, is celebrating their first birthday with an art exhibit and a week of special programming. They’re kicking it off with an opening reception that will presumably not look like any typical gallery opening filled with fancy people furrowing their brows at paintings while daintily sipping small plastic cups of free wine. Rather, this will be more of a party, with drag, burlesque, and performance art to accompany the visual art on display from 20+ artists working in multiple mediums. It costs $10 to get in, but remember you’re supporting local marginalized creators here, not a big fancy gallery catering to the rich. If you can’t make the opening, later in the week they’re doing body art presentations, artist talks, and a pole dance night. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Comedy, New Theater, and Reverend Billy on Sunday

WEDNESDAY

(image via NYTW / Facebook)

Slave Play
Now through December 30 at New York Theater Workshop, 7 pm (some shows at 8 pm or 2 pm): $29

In a recent interview with Out magazine, playwright Jeremy O. Harris says he explains Slave Play, his new play at New York Theater Workshop, to prospective audiences as such: “It’s a slave play; there’s a history of them; go see mine.” If that sounds vague, it’s meant to be; he notes that audiences will experience the play best when they go in knowing as little as possible. What you can know is that Harris has been gaining traction and acclaim over the past few years for his work, which presents a refreshingly and unapologetically queer, black addition to the theatrical canon, which has a long history of being (and remaining) quite the opposite of that.  Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Ron Athey, Radical Burlesque, Cannabis Comedy

THURSDAY

Compost Bin (A RadicalASS Cabaret To Deal With the World)

Thursday, November 15 at Starr Bar: $15

Brave the snow and go to Bushwick for Brass (Brown Radicalass Burlesque)’s latest Compost Bin, a monthly showcase of queer, trans, and POC burlesque, drag, and performance art that earned the inclusive, boundary-pushing group a feature in the New York Times(That’s not something all shows happening in back rooms of bars can say). It’ll be their last show of the year (though they’re returning in 2019, fret not), so come warm your frozen self with steamy and stimulating shows by Miss Aurora BoobRealis, Regal Mortis, Juniper Juicy, Exhotic Other, sister selva, Munroe Lilly, and more. Plus, Starr Bar has a new selection of food that looks pretty good, so you don’t just have to warm up with booze. Keep Reading »

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The L Shutdown Is ‘Not Going to Be Really Pleasant,’ Business Owners Are Told

(Photos: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

When I got off the L train at Bedford Avenue a little after 9 am this morning, the platform was surprisingly empty. This may foreshadow what’s in store for North Brooklyn when the 15-month shutdown of the L train between Bedford and 8th Avenue begins on April 27, just five months from now. Less people means less money-spending; a 2017 survey estimated 40% of small businesses expected to lose up to half their business. To prepare, the L Train Coalition held the first of what will be monthly informational meetings aimed at business owners along the L line.

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Art This Week: A Stonewall Veteran, Violent Clothing, and More

Thomas Lanigan Schmidt. Lollipop Knick Knack (Let’s Talk About You), c. 1968-69. Foil, printed material, linoleum, glitter, staples, Magic marker, found objects and other media

Tenemental (With Sighs Too Deep For Words)
Opening Friday, November 16 at HOWL! Happening, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through December 19.

The year 2019 (which isn’t too far away) will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a pivotal and much-debated moment in LGBTQ history. While 50 years is a fairly long time ago, some people who were present on that fateful day are still alive and kicking today, including the artist Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, who will be exhibiting a collection of art and ephemera at HOWL! Happening right before Stonewall’s 50th. Lanigan-Schmidt’s work is kitschy and eye-catching, using common-yet-ostentatious materials like foil, glitter, and colorful plastic wrap. Broken down into individual parts, his materials may appear to some as trash, but assembled into these creations they take on a new, queer life full of promise. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Perspectives On Slave Galleries, Vengeful Burlesque, and More

THURSDAY

(image via SUP Comedy / Facebook)

The ‘SUP Show
Thursday, November 8 at Caveat, 9 pm: $8 advance, $10 doors

Once again, this recurring comedic showcase of women, queer, and gender non-conforming performers comes to Caveat to give you the best bits n’ jokes found at their open mic of the same name, which recently moved to The Footlight Bar in Ridgewood. The whole affair is hosted by Juliet Prather, Maddie Fischer, Fareeha Khan, Jesse Roth, and Stephanie Pace, which I always find to be an impressive amount of hosts. The lineup for this particular shindig is TBD, but the fact that you’re going in not knowing the lineup, but still knowing it’s going to be free of racist white dudes complaining about how everyone is offended makes me feel a lot more confident recommending it. Keep Reading »

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Weekend Art Openings: African Masks, Tiny Sculptures, and The Apocalypse

(image courtesy of Salon 94 Bowery)

Flash of the Spirit
Opening Friday, November 9 at Salon Bowery 94, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.

Lyle Ashton Harris’s photos, on view at Salon 94 Bowery starting this Friday, contain much colorful, vivid imagery, but few human faces. Instead, the faces in the bodies he captures are covered by elaborate, striking masks sourced from a variety of places, including several African masks from his uncle’s collection. These images are actually self-portraits, but you might not know it. And that’s kind of the point: throughout history, people putting on masks has been equated with them transforming into someone (or something) else, whether that be an improved version of oneself or a way to avoid accountability. Harris has been making work dealing with queerness, Blackness, and the self in the context of diaspora for decades, and this is a chance to see what he’s up to now. Keep Reading »