About Cassidy Dawn Graves

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

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Tonight, A Chasm Of Art And Performance Opens Again In Brooklyn

Julia Sinelnikova (photo: Luis Nieto Dickens)

In December 2016, we spoke with artist and curator Julia Sinelnikova (known in some circles as The Oracle) about her festival CHASM, which intended to be four days of music, multimedia art, DJ sets, and more in a secret, industrial East Williamsburg location. However, four days became just two—it was cut short out of fear of a raid, as the city was in the midst of increased crackdowns on DIY spaces following the deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. Keep Reading »

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La Nacional Will Reopen, Seeking To Be ‘More Authentic Than Ever’

(image courtesy of La Nacional)

The last time we checked in with the Spanish Benevolent Society’s beloved restaurant La Nacional, they announced they’d be closing for a “complete renovation” in March 2016, with a planned reopening featuring new chefs in May of that same year.

The Spanish Benevolent Society’s executive director Robert Sanfiz finds it “really hilarious” to look back on that optimistic estimation. “We had go through major structural work,” he tells me. “Ultimately, it was going to eat a lot of our time and a lot of the money we put away.” Despite the delay, La Nacional will officially reopen on June 15, which coincides with both the 150th anniversary of the Spanish Benevolent Society and the World Cup match between Spain and Portugal. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Drag, Science, Neurodivergence

THURSDAY

(flyer via The Dirty Blondes / Facebook)

DRAG!
Thursday, May 31 at Le Poisson Rouge, 7 pm: $35

Everyone likes drag. Well, maybe not everyone, but it’s certainly been having a mainstream moment lately, so it’s safe to assume more people like drag than ever before. If you’d like to see some drag, there are many places you can go in the city, but tonight you can specifically go to Le Poisson Rouge, where an array of colorful performers such as Bear Lee Legal, Glace Chase, Chris Tyler, Dynasty, and Donald C. Shorter Jr will be giving shows, shows, shows to help raise money for feminist theater company The Dirty Blondes. The show’s Facebook event proclaims “bodies will dance, drinks will flow and gender norms will be smashed,” which sounds like a recipe for a nice night to me. And yes, I know Drag Race is also tonight, but you can just watch it later. Keep Reading »

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This Sunday, Brunch And Browse Vintage For A Good Cause

(image courtesy of Soho Grand)

The weekend is typically associated with excess, whether that’s an excess of lounging n’ Netflixing or boozing n’ partying. Oh, and brunch, the notorious brunch. Let’s face it, you’re probably going to be spending money this weekend in one way or another, so why not do so in a way that will also benefit others? You can do just that this Sunday at the latest edition of the Soho Grand Hotel’s Trunk Show Treasures, a brunch party and vintage shopping experience that helps raise money for the Bowery Mission. Keep Reading »

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An Exhibit Pairing Death and Femininity Brings Life To Bushwick

artwork by Vei Darling (photo: Vei Darling)

Last week at Bushwick gallery Powrplnt, a group of colorfully-dressed folk sat down and discussed gender. They spoke of societal constructs, deadnames, toxic masculinity, and how norms surrounding body hair can be racist, all while surrounded by eager listeners and an array of art and zines. While some gallery exhibitions have just one night of special programming, this was but one mere component of the multifaceted Death Becomes Her, a show curated by Liberian-American multidisciplinary Vei Darling exploring how concepts of death and femininity intersect in both spirituality and society. Keep Reading »

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You Can Help Crown The Best Of Brooklyn Nightlife

(flyer via Brooklyn Nightlife Awards / Facebook)

Awards shows may be a great way to spend an evening, but at the end of the day you’re usually watching a bunch of fancy rich people give shiny trophies to a bunch of other fancy rich people while even more fancy rich people watch. Plus, the elite group who voted for the nominees? They’re more than likely to also be fancy rich people. But then, there’s the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards, where the performers getting trophies (well, more like bricks with plaques on them) may look fancy, but it’s probable they creatively cobble together most of their eye-catching outfits and props using stuff from thrift shops and the dollar store, just like the rest of us. Keep Reading »

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HIV Criminalization, Thermal Surveillance, and More Art This Week

Barton Lidicé Beneš, “Lethal Weapons: Silencer,” 1994. Mixed-media assemblage with artist’s HIV-positive blood, 16 1/8 x 15 1/8 x 3 1/2 in. Collection of Joshua Rechnitz. Courtesy of the estate of Barton Lidicé Beneš and Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York (image via Visual AIDS / Facebook)

Cell Count
Opening Thursday, May 31 at La MaMa Galleria, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 16.

Presented by Visual AIDS and curated by Kyle Croft and Asher Mones, this exhibition zeroes in on the insidious intersection of HIV and incarceration, both today and throughout history. Currently, more than half the states in America have laws in effect that criminalizes the act of potentially exposing someone to HIV without first disclosing their status, often regardless of other factors like viral load or actual transmission risk, leading many to deem them dangerous. The 15+ artists of Cell Count use their work to interrogate these laws and how they affect people with HIV, placing them into conversation with a larger history of “medically sanctioned violence and incarceration.” Keep Reading »

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MTA History, Cooking With Comedy, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Caveat / Facebook)

Why Your Train Is F*cked
Wednesday, May 23 at Caveat, 6:30 pm: $15 advance, $18 doors

The MTA is generally bad, so much so that some guys tried to give it an award for being the worst at one of the L train shutdown town halls last week. Speaking of which, the L train shutdown? Seems bleak! Good thing I don’t have a regular commute, because I am too scared to bike anywhere. If you’ve been particularly frustrated about the MTA lately, come be among folks who feel similarly at a comedy show all about the history of this transit system, starting with the origins of the MTA in the 1830s. Let’s just hope your train doesn’t get too delayed on the way there. Who am I kidding? It probably will be.  Keep Reading »

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Feminine Anger, A ‘Futile Orgasm,’ and More Art This Week

(image via Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects / Facebook)

Crimes of the Gods
Opening Wednesday, May 23 at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 29.

The mythology of Greek gods have been around for ages, and usually comprise a large chunk of one’s education, whether that be in grade school or college theater classes. But something that is often glazed over or diminished in seriousness is the deep-seated misogyny inherent in many of these powerful characters, and how their actions may have laid a foundation for how our world operates today. Artist Susanna Coffey published an art book in 1988 centered around these tales of gods (men) taking what they want (women, usually), and woodcuts made from these images will be on view alongside self-portraits imbued with the same passionate feminine anger. “Now I see that the tale told in The Homeric Hymn is more of an ongoing truth than a myth,” Coffey writes in an essay included with the exhibition, and it’s worth wondering if the opposite will ever be true. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Wrestling With Friendship, Oddly Satisfying Content, and More

THURSDAY

(image via Bushwick Starr)

Singlet
May 16-June 3 at The Bushwick Starr, 8 pm: $20-25

Singlet, the new show from the singular (get it, singular sounds like “singlet”) mind of performance and cabaret artist Erin Markey is about wrestling, yes, but it is also about so much more. That’s not a metaphor or anything; this show about friendship and rivalry takes its inspiration from everyone’s favorite performative form of consensual violence involving spandex and rings, but also Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, Precious Moments collectible dolls, Jean Genet’s The Maids (aka one of the plays everyone directed scenes from in theater school to be edgy), couples counseling podcasts, and a myriad more references I may never fully comprehend, tbh. Markey will be performing alongside frequent collaborator Emily Davis, and I wouldn’t be surprised if tickets sell out soon, so as the teens say, hop to it.

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Art This Week: Life-Size Rhinos, Lower East Side Grit, and More

(image via Gagosian / Facebook)

Things
Opening Tuesday, May 15 at Gagosian, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 23.

When you look into the body of work that Swiss artist Urs Fischer is created, you’ll quickly see a common theme is how the human form can be manipulated and distorted, whether that’s crafting grotesque collages of faces that once looked typical or sculpting a huge bust of Katy Perry and inviting onlookers to alter it with clay. He’s also interested in how everyday objects (a block of cheese, a gallery floor) can be broken open or picked apart until something new and surprising is created. Average objects will once again be on display in his latest show at Midtown’s Gagosian, aptly titled Things. The central “thing” of the show is a life-size rhinoceros sculpture with household items like vacuum cleaners and copiers clinging to it as if it was some sort of huge magnet for domestic chores or office tasks. And isn’t everyone, unfortunately, at some point in their lives? Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Queer Anniversary, Modern Dance, This Alien Nation

WEDNESDAY

(art by Payton Turner, image via This Alien Nation / Facebook)

This Alien Nation
Wednesday, May 9 at Joe’s Pub, 7 pm: $20 advance, $25 doors

It would take a lot of willful ignorance not to see that living as an immigrant in Trump’s America (or even in Obama’s) can be an experience fraught with anxiety, fear, and a sense of disappointment in a large portion of humanity. But for all the cruel, discriminatory people out there, there are others who make a point of giving immigrants a platform to tell their own stories and maybe even get paid for it. Sofija Stefanovic’s This Alien Nation is one such show, providing a monthly space for some of their “favorite outsiders” to show an audience whatever it is they do best. This month, guest hosted by Abeer Hoque, features storyteller Mansoor Basha, poet and drag performer Wo Chan, comedian Ana Fabrega, journalist and author Aatish Taseer, performer and filmmaker Angel Yau, and musician Amalia Watty. Keep Reading »