About Cassidy Dawn Graves

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

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More Theater Festivals, Clowns, And Performative Activism

(photo: Ian Douglas, courtesy of American Realness)

American Realness
Now through January 16 at Abrons Arts Center and other venues, various times and prices.

If you thought last week’s Performance Picks covered all the winter theater festival shows to see, you would be incorrect. There are actually more, believe it or not. Abrons Arts Center and Gibney Dance’s American Realness festival began yesterday, bringing with it a slew of dance and movement-based works, including several world premieres. Whether you’re interested in profound performance art, classic dance, or pop cultural tribute, American Realness likely has you covered.

Some intriguing titles include nora chipaumire’s punk salute to Patti Smith and Zimbabwe, Neal Medlyn’s investigation into Pina Bausch and his years as an “untrained dancer in New York contemporary dance,” NIC Kay’s solo performance inspired by queer ballroom and Butoh, Adrienne Truscott’s “dance about dance without any dance,” Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis’s physical delve into the seeing and perceiving of bodies both disabled and not, and of course, more. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Mourning Braiding and Cyber Warfare

Nene Humphrey (image courtesy of Lesley Heller Workspace)

Transmission
Opening Wednesday, January 10 at Lesley Heller Workspace, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 18.

In the Victorian age, those who lost a loved one would enact an odd and intimate ritual known as mourning braiding. This practice consisted of braiding the actual hair of the deceased into a piece of jewelry. Artist Nene Humphrey is no stranger to incorporating mourning-centric behaviors into her work, and come Wednesday she will open a new exhibition at Lesley Heller Workspace on Orchard Street that combines the brain’s reaction to grief with this old-school hair ritual. The installation and “ritualized site of production” includes braiding stations featuring wire instead of hair and walls covered with weaved strands. Instead of actual people doing the braiding, the stations sit empty and projected videos show the plaits being constructed alongside similar-looking images of the brain. Keep Reading »

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Under the Radar Festival and More Must-See Performance

A scene from Antigonón, un Contigente Épico, running January 10-14 at The Public Theater as part of The Public’s 14th Annual Under the Radar Festival. (Photo: Lessy Montes)

The Public’s Under The Radar Festival
January 4-15 at The Public Theater and other venues, various times and prices.

It is time once again for the slew of winter theater festivals that usually fill the month of January to its very brim, and cause many an artist to triple-check their schedule and/or wallets to see how they can make it all work. Beginning on Thursday is one of the most notable fests, Under The Radar, presented by The Public Theater. Though it’s only 12 days, there are more than 155 performances across five venues. Even slightly pondering that gives me scheduling-related anxiety.

A brief sampling of highlights: Roger Guenveur Smith and CalArts’s piece exploring the New Year’s Eve concert Jimi Hendrix played in 1969 in NYC, queer ensemble Split Britches’s meditation on anxiety and doomsday created in collaboration with local artists and elders, a concert of work by Erin Markey and Emily Bate, harunalee’s exploration of how memory can be gendered and racialized, Cuban company Teatro El Público’s underground drag-cabaret version of Antigone, and more. There is truly so much more. Keep Reading »

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Roomba As Painter, 3D Sound Fields, And More Art This Week

(image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

Channels
Opening Wednesday, January 3 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 24.

Channels seem like they’re becoming a bit of a relic, at least when they’re referring to the ones found on television. Several technological relics of sorts play a major role in sound artist and audio engineer Daniel Neumann’s new solo exhibition, aptly titled Channels. In it, large auditory objects appear simultaneously as sculptures and music-makers, including a custom-built vintage speaker and a 56-channel mixing board suspended in midair. The third “sculptural” component of the show is a bit more abstract: a 3D sound field made up of 56 sounds and their subsequent feedback. Whether you see it as a concert of objects or a visual display, there will be something to take in.

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Performance Picks: Experiments in Comedy, Magic Mushrooms, and More

THURSDAY

(flyer via littlefield)

A Gay Show For All People
Thursday, December 28 at littlefield, 7 pm doors, 8 pm show: $10

If you’re looking to literally make the yuletide gay, you have plenty of chances to do so at the holiday spectacular edition of Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp’s A Gay Show For All People. True to its name, this show features “comics and queers and mostly people who are both” doing their thing onstage while anyone who so desires to attend watches. The lineup is quite “stacked,” as the teens say, with Cole Escola, Naomi Ekperigin, Patti Harrison, Blake Daniel, Liza Treyger, Larry Owens, Bowen Yang and Matt Roger’s improv duo Sluck, Henry Koperski and His Straights, a live band playing “vodka songs,” and possibly more.

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Jemima Kirke of Girls Talks Painting, Marriage and #MeToo

Kirke with “ShiShi In My Wedding Dress,” 2017. (photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

You may know her as the free-spirited Jessa in oft-discussed HBO show Girls, but Jemima Kirke considers herself more painter than actor. Her third solo exhibition, The Ceremony, is currently on view at Lower East Side gallery Sargent’s Daughters. A series of portraits depicting both friends and fictional women in their wedding dresses, the show seeks to interrogate why women still partake in this “antiquated ceremony.” A few days after the opening, we met with Kirke at the gallery to talk marriage, the #metoo movement, and recent controversy involving her castmate Lena Dunham.
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Performance Picks: 30-Year Christmas Carol, Queer Vloggers, Gay Hell

THURSDAY

(image courtesy of A Christmas Carol)

A Christmas Carol Year Five: Home For The Holidays
December 14-18 at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, 8 pm or 7 pm: $30

Marriages are technically a commitment for life. The team behind this deconstructed, imaginative, and wacky riff on A Christmas Carol directed by Andrew Neisler and told through the story of a fictional couple has chosen something no less ambitious, particularly for live performance: they will perform a version of this show every year, for thirty years. Now, they’re on their fifth year. Things are changing, but they show no signs of slowing down. So, come on down to whatever a “fashion and design accelerator” is and pay this kind couple (Ryann Weir and Andrew Farmer, who also wrote the piece) a visit. Though Farmer was the writer behind the recent series of spooky subway-centric tales, I assume this show will be more seasonal than spine-chilling. Also, it includes unlimited beer and wine. Keep Reading »

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Exhibitions To See: 8-Bit Reality, Kathleen White, Immigrant Women

(image courtesy of Catinca Tabacaru Gallery)

Lateral Thinking With Withered Technology
Opening Thursday, December 14 at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 21.

Though the title of this exhibition may call to mind a really wrinkly cell phone, it is in fact a reference to the ideology of the creator of the Nintendo Game Boy, Gunpei Yokoi. This sort of reference feels right at home when it comes to this show by Shinji Murakami, which will transform a gallery space into an illuminated augmented reality playland. His materials of choice tend to be more traditional, such as wood, plastic, and glue, but he also uses vast amount of LED lights. Altogether, this creates a homage to 1980s gaming, particularly the simple and nostalgic 8-bit aesthetic. In the midst of this 8-bit world, the artist has turned an LED panel into a real-time display of Elon Musk’s Twitter feed, a clear reminder that while the gallery may look rooted in the technology of the past, we are in the present, and it’s a present that may not be too far away from colonizing other planets. Keep Reading »

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Circus of Dreams Ends Its Five-Year Run, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Circus of Dreams / Facebook, photos by Nick McManus)

Circus of Dreams
Wednesday, December 6 at Bizarre Bushwick, 9 pm: $10 suggested donation

This performance art variety show, originally hosted by bearded street performer Matthew Silver, was one of the first shows in New York I saw that wasn’t a formal “theater” show, and it truly bewildered and impressed me. It was strange, daring, messy, stressful, loud, rule-breaking, sometimes all of those things, sometimes none of them. It made me realize that there was this whole community of performance I didn’t know about or thought wasn’t around anymore, and I found myself involved in the show first as friend of performers, then recurring door worker, then occasional performer. Since then, the host and producer has changed to show regular Lindsee Lonesome but the spirit has stayed the same. Tonight, after five years, Circus of Dreams will happen for the final time, and it truly feels like the end of an era. So, if you’re free, pop by Bizarre to see some of the show’s veterans and newbies alike take that scrappy stage for the last time. I’ll be at the door. Keep Reading »

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A 4-Hour Hug and More Art to Embrace This Week

(image courtesy of Michael Alan)

Mind Body Sound
Opening Saturday, December 9 at Khorasheh + Grunert, 8 pm to midnight. On view December 6 – 9.

One wouldn’t normally associate an art opening with instances of prolonged hugging. Unless it’s the mouths of eager wine consumers hugging the rim of that little plastic cup they always give you at art openings. But at artist Michael Alan’s opening reception, there will be one very literal hug that will last for a whopping four hours. The participants will be Alan himself and his partner Jadda Cat, who will be doing the deed (hugging, that is) while covered in Alan’s visual artwork, stationed in the unmissable center of the gallery. This exhibition and performance is part of a long-running (17 years, to be exact) project of Alan’s entitled “The Living Installation,” a series of small performance-based art happenings, such as his recent glow-in-the-dark paint party. An array of his works on paper will also be on view, including new large-format abstract works and 96 baseball cards the artist created from childhood until the present day. Sometimes art, like life, works best with a little added affection. Just remember to ask for consent! Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Patriarchal Trash, Woodland Puppetry, Black Remembrance

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Fire Signs Present / Facebook)

Fire Signs Present: Sociable Sagittarians
Wednesday, November 29 at Artichoke Pizza, 9 pm: FREE

Artichoke Pizza is known far and wide for serving up very large, very rich, very cream-laden slices of pizza to late-night revelers and hungry lunch-searchers alike. But when they opened a Bushwick location in the old Northeast Kingdom space not too long ago, they also began hosting events and shows in their basement. One such monthly show is a woman-centric variety show helmed by Fire Signs Present, a duo (of fire signs, of course) comprised of performers Meg McDermott and Nancy Pop. Each month, they book women and femme comedians, storytellers, musicians, and anything in between, typically who belong to the astrological sign of the month, but not always. (Full disclosure: I performed at last month’s Scorpio show. Fellow Scorpio Risings…hello.) This time around, it is all about Sagittarius folk, specifically Hannah Abney, Thoughtress, Brittany Sherrod, and Aston Hollins McClanahan. Plus, there is free prosecco. Keep Reading »

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Streetball Letterman Jackets, Art & AIDS, and More Exhibitions This Week

(image via Fort Gansevoort)

I’ve Been Heard
Opening Thursday, November 30 at Fort Gansevoort, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through

“Public Parks to this day exist as one of the very few remaining spaces that are designed to be democratic: free and open to all,” proclaims a statement for artist and boxing teacher Cheryl Pope’s latest installation at Fort Gansevoort. While the intent for a location isn’t always put into practice by all, it does remain true that public parks provide, or attempt to provide, such a freedom. Pope’s installation focuses on NYC youth, who often flock to parks and the street basketball courts that accompany them. After speaking with an array of young people, she created banner flags and “All-American Varsity Letterman Jackets” displaying some of their statements, elevating the words of youths who may be often ignored into literal fine art. Keep Reading »