About Cassidy Dawn Graves

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

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Nightlife Advocates and Politicians Want to Dance on the Grave of NYC’s Cabaret Law

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Yesterday, hundreds flocked to City Hall to discuss the future of nightlife in New York City at a consumer affairs oversight hearing. It was the first of its kind in over a decade to address the city’s oft-decried cabaret law, which has been in effect since 1926.

“The City licenses bars, clubs, taverns, and discos that allow dancing,” states the City of New York’s official website. “A place that is open to the public and sells food or drinks must have a Cabaret License to allow customers to dance.”

And yet, there currently are only 97 of these licenses in effect. Considering there are thousands of bar and nightclub establishments in New York City where one might feel compelled to shake their hips, there is little wonder that City Council members Rafael Espinal and Antonio Reynoso called themselves both “young Dominicans representing north Brooklyn” and “dance outlaws.” Keep Reading »

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Hookup App Etiquette, QueerCom, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(photo: Maria Baranova, via Abrons Arts Center)

Raw Bacon From Poland
Now through June 17 at Abrons Arts Center, 8 pm: $25 

I would say that most of us agree that war is bad. I would also say that most of us are able to state that opinion without having directly experienced the horrors of war ourselves. Guggenheim Fellow Christina Masciotti’s new play, currently running at Lower East Side’s Abrons Arts Center, revolves around a veteran who has been forever altered by a tour in Iraq. Through attempts to sedate his PTSD with pills, he finds himself sentenced to Brooklyn Treatment Court due to a domestic violence incident.

Theater is rarely free to attend, and often costs a pretty penny. So when the genre tells the stories of people typically cast aside by society, it can be difficult for these very people being portrayed to actually witness the work being staged. In an effort to make this play more accessible, the theater has set aside two free tickets per night specifically for veterans. Keep Reading »

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Radical Hospitality, Political Stitching, and More Art Affairs

(image via Idio Gallery / Facebook)

Radical Hospitality
Opening Thursday, June 15 at IDIO Gallery, 6pm. On view through July 15.

“Art is my life,” you’ve probably heard so many people proclaim. But rarely does it ring true in quite so literal a sense as this exhibition at Idio Gallery, in which “radical hospitality” means the East Williamsburg art space will be open from sun-up till sundown for 30 days in a row, welcome to all for any stretch of time. It’s the culmination of an ongoing exploration of the same name by the gallery’s curator Montana Simone, built partially by research and partially by actual times she experienced the hospitality of others, particularly in locations seen by Westerners as “hostile.”

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Messy Comedy, Final Macaulay, Royal Karaoke, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ground Floor Comedy)

Ground Floor Live
Wednesday, June 7 at Brooklyn Bazaar, 9 pm: FREE

Ground Floor Comedy, an online space for comedic videos and newsletter listing IRL comedy shows in Brooklyn and beyond, will be putting on their first live show tonight at Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Bazaar. There’ll be sketch, improv, and other absurdities from a silly group of comics and performers, many of which will be familiar faces if you’ve ever been to the Annoyance or new weekly series RUDE at South 4th Bar.

The whole affair is guest hosted by Mo Fry Pasic and Tim Platt, who always bring a special something to shows. If you come early at 8pm, there will be a “meat themed variety show” to spotlight new voices in the comedy scene, and I love a good themed show.

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One Structure To Sustain You, Selena Lives On, And More Art Openings

(image courtesy of Cooler Gallery)

A Structure For Hope And Survival
Opening Tuesday, June 6 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through June 30.

Artist Huy Bui has a penchant for constructing environments, and his latest creation to be brought to life at Navy Yard-adjacent art space Cooler Gallery is timely in its name: A Structure For Hope and Survival. Deemed a “framework of organizing artifacts, objects, art, tools, books, games, supplies, seeds, plants and provisions,” this “modular ecological unit” serves as a structure and container for anything you might need, from plants and seating areas to how-to books and emergency snacks. An artist statement indicates that a manual is in the works for anyone who might want to build one themselves. The opening reception on Tuesday will begin with a panel discussion entitled “Art and Architecture in the Anthropocene” with Bui, fellow artists, and people who have worked on projects like Playlab and the Lowline.

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A Streepshow, a Neutral Milk Hotelier, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

Paul Alexander by Valentin Xtravaganza (via Howl Happening / Facebook)

Inside Out Upside Down
Thursday, June 1 at C’mon Everybody, 8 pm: FREE

Movement Research shows typically happen in places formally designated for performance, where people gather in chairs and observe dance pieces and exit when they are done. Tonight, they’re switching it up. As part of their annual Spring Festival, curated by Laurie Berg, Monstah Black, and Amy Khoshbin, dancers and movers and beyond will be congregating at Bed-Stuy bar C’mon Everybody. There, the night will shift in between performance and party, as a variety of movement artists, DJs, MCs and more explore the question: “What is the role of the club in activating a community and creating a cross-cultural blend?”

The night’s performers include Richard Kennedy, Tendayi Kuumba, and Larissa Velez-Jackson of the group Yackez. In addition to dancers and DJ sets, there will also be a special MC workshop led by producers from “nightclub hybrid” Jackie 60.

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A Sign of The Times, Russian Prison Tattoos, and More Art Shows

Rirkrit Tiravanija
untitled 2017 (tomorrow is the question, january 21, 2017), 2017
Acrylic and newspaper on linen
89 1/4 x 73 1/4 inches
Courtesy Rirkrit Tiravanija and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome
(c) Rirkrit Tiravanija

The Times
Opening Thursday, June 1 at The Flag Art Foundation. On view through August 11.

Hate it or love it, one newspaper that has rocketed even more to the forefront of the public eye in the past year is the Times. From the president’s dismissal of it as failing to its recent scoop battle with The Washington Post and even today’s announcement that it has eliminated its public editor position in favor of opening more of their articles’ comment sections, there is much to talk about.

This art exhibition goes even further than the paper’s recent goings-on, asking over 80 artists to use current and archival issues of the physical newspaper as a jumping-off point to create works of their own. Some imagine what the headlines would be in 2020, some insert themselves into the news, and others take a second look at press coverage of major historical and sociopolitical events. If the news wasn’t already on your mind constantly, this show could do the trick. Keep Reading »

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Indoor Comedy Shows, A Multitude of Taylors, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via LAWL / Eventbrite)

LAWL
Thursday, May 25 at New Women Space, 7 pm: $5

It is good to laugh, and there are allegedly real scientific statistics to back up such a claim. In fact, I just found something literally called the Laugher Online University, and you know what, I have a lot of questions about it.  But why spend your time on weird websites when you can venture into the real world and get some actual laughter?

You’re in luck— Thursday night is LAWL (Ladies and Womyn Laughing), Arti Gollapudi’s comedy night showcasing women, trans, and gender non-conforming funny folk. Gollapudi is no stranger to curating spaces prioritizing these groups, as she is also a co-founder of the Comedy Cunt Collective. Tonight at LAWL, you can see jokes n’ silly stories by Sue Smith, Shannon Odell, and Wanjiko Eke. And if I’ve made you too curious about this University of Laughter, you can always just look it up on your phone in between acts or something. Keep Reading »

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Rikers As Seen By A Former C.O., Superstar Creators, and More Art Openings

(image via The Living Gallery / Facebook)

Behind These Prison Walls
Opening Monday, May 22 at The Living Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. One night only.

This one-night-only exhibition will be showcasing the work of Lorenzo Steele Jr., a visual artist who formerly served as a corrections officer at Rikers Island. As we’ve outlined in the past, conditions at Rikers could be described as “dismal,” if you’re into understatements. This holds particularly true for its younger residents, as New York state still charges 16 and 17-year-olds as adults, one of only two states to do so. This will soon change due to the recent passing of the Raise the Age initiative; individuals under 17 will no longer be held in county jails as of October 2018 (18-year-olds, too, starting a year later) and the “majority” of defendants aged 16 and 17 will be dealt with in Family Court rather than tried as adults.

Lorenzo Steele Jr. knows this particular plight all-too well, as the majority of his photographic documentation (taken from 1987-1999) chronicles the grim conditions to which inmates at Rikers have been subjected. Specifically, his work zeroes in on the adolescent jail and its solitary confinement unit. These images will be displayed alongside found weapons and other prison-sourced artifacts. Even as we spend our days lamenting the state of politics and Russia and the world, it is important to remind ourselves that there are also local travesties still happening around us, and it wasn’t the new administration that put them there. Keep Reading »

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Eurodance Gorillas, Bad Tattoo Roasts, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Heaven Is Here! A Eurodance Party and Spiritual Rebirth Seminar
Wednesday, May 17 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $16

Do you love Eurovision? Did you miss it this year? Do you have no idea what I’m talking about? Do gorillas bring a smile to your face and a rhythm to your hips? Whichever of these categories you might fit into, perhaps you might be intrigued by the latest offering from Ars Nova Makers Lab member Emily Oliveira, working in collaboration with Max Branigan and James Gentle. We last saw her organize a night of performances involving songs each performer’s mother selected, and this time she’s taking more of a performer role herself. However, instead of mothers, there will be someone a little more primal. I’m talking about everyone’s favorite sign-language speaking gorilla, Koko.

Yes, in this strange Wednesday night journey you’ll learn that Koko is “a divine liaison to the spiritual world,” and she has facilitated the birth of a Eurodance group called All Ball through her educational sign-language YouTube videos. Perhaps electronic beats and kindly primates really can save the soul. Keep Reading »

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Great Comet‘s Dave Malloy On Epic Choral Songs, Hamilton, and Showing Tunes to a New Generation

(photo: Chad Batka)

Nowdays, the commercial and insular shell that is Broadway is feeling a little less untouchable. Of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is a major catalyst behind this shake-up, but the latest to breathe new life into the Great White Way has been Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, an “electro-pop opera” based on a drama-laden portion of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

The immersive show began at Ars Nova in 2012 and has gone through many iterations, including a funky stint in a pop-up tent in the Meatpacking District. Now, it’s landed at Broadway’s Imperial Theater, which has been totally restructured to accommodate the show’s 360-degree, immersive staging. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, it remains one of the most authentic transfers of a smaller, more experimental production to a Broadway stage I have observed.

I have seen every NYC production of this show now, and always maintained it was too odd and unique to ascend to the oh-so commercial realm of Broadway. Turns out I was absolutely wrong, and audiences and critics alike are gobbling it up with a voracious enthusiasm. (Singer Josh Groban is now in a starring role.) There is even fanart of the characters, so you know it’s real. The 12 Tony nominations don’t hurt, either.

Great Comet‘s original Broadway cast recording will be released tomorrow and is now available for first listen over at Vulture. We caught up with the show’s writer and composer Dave Malloy, fresh off his Broadway debut temporarily stepping back into the role of Pierre, to talk how the Broadway transfer has affected the show’s music and even got him a little closer to Bowie. Keep Reading »

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Light-Soaked Galleries, Meditative Street Ads, and More Art Exhibitions

(image via Foley Gallery)

Subtext II: Meditations
Opening Wednesday, May 17 at Foley Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 25.

I would remark on the humor inherent in exhibiting artist Wyatt Gallery’s name, who is indeed showing artwork in a gallery, but it seems he’s already got that covered. As soon as you visit his website, the very large and very green phrase “a person, not a place” is followed, literally, by a trademark symbol. So, guys… he gets it.

For this show, Gallery is displaying a series of works using foundational material quite truly ripped off of the city streets, in that they are portions of the endlessly-stacked-and-glued mountains that are NYC street advertising and flyering. He transformed these found object compilations into “UV cured photographic plates,” making them even more abstract in the process. Interestingly, Gallery sees these dirty, aged poster creations as relevant to his practice of mindfulness and meditation. So next time you’re saddled with a 20-minute train wait, maybe you should try deep breathing while staring at the many advertisements on the walls. Perhaps inner peace will crawl out from in between the pages.

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