Everyday Things Opening Friday September 9 at Disclaimer Gallery (inside the Silent Barn), 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through October 2.
Though artist Megan Tatem often works in illustration, creating works for magazines and doing graphic design over at Hearst Media, this “tongue-in-cheek” exhibition will showcase another side of her work: photography. The show provides commentary on imagery related to racial stereotypes, but wrapped up in a tight layer of sarcasm. This results in lighthearted visual observations on assumptions like “white people can’t dance” and who holds the highest proclivity for fried chicken, but also delves into darker, serious territory, also acknowledging how racial stereotypes like the assumption that people of color are dangerous or prone to crime can (and has) lead to unwarranted violence against them.
Everyone knows New York real estate is tough. Two people who know it particularly well are Tom Tenney and Robert Prichard. Both were involved with experimental Lower East Side performance space Surf Reality, which garnered repeat mentions in the Times for their contributions to the alternative comedy scene of the mid-late ’90s and was one of the home bases for the Art Star community, along with nearby Collective Unconscious. Surf Reality went a similar route of many experimental venues in the neighborhood, and closed in 2003. It’s since been replaced with a Bikram yoga studio. Faced with the inevitability of an unaffordable rent and changing tides, they turned to the airwaves and began online community radio station Radio Free Brooklyn in May of 2015.
Wild Torus at the Torus_Porta last year (photo: Nicole Disser)
Brooklyn performance art duo Wild Torus are known for their wild, orgiastic, and messy shows, which often get the audience involved. They’ve always been a bit extreme, but found themselves in a situation that shocked even them when, in April, a performance art festival they did with Estonian performance collective Non Grata at East Williamsburg space The Paper Box was shut down mid-show without warning.
Mike Berlant (aka Vlady VØz Tokk, one half of Wild Torus along with Amy Mathis / Mág Ne Tá) recounted their experience on Facebook, in a post that was shared over 50 times and led to many in the surrounding arts community leaving bad reviews of the venue (including bad experiences some organizers had with other shows done there) and calling for it to be blacklisted. A month later, Wild Torus found themselves being sued by Paper Box for defamation and for “trashing” the space. They say they weren’t informed of the suit until the New York Post called them for comment for a piece they wrote about it.
If you’re not the type to sit around watching short-form video clips all day, this is the show for you. Impressively funny ladies Jo Firestone and Aparna Nancherla are bringing their Refinery29 web series, “Womanhood,” to a real, live venue. No more straining your eyes staring at bright screens to get your laugh on– these are 100% in-person joke-tellers, which is probably a lot more fun than 100% in-person bank tellers. Firestone and Nancherla have graciously assembled a group of nice folk to help them teach you all about the complex terrain of women’s bodies and lives, including Dylan Marron, Naomi Ekperegin, Marlena Rodriguez, and Diana Kolsky (who will truly contain multitudes as “The Haters.”) You might wanna take your headphones off for this one.
J.Stephen Brantley (L) and Nico Grelli (R) (photo: Hunter Canning)
It’s relatively common for people to write plays that are autobiographical, and then perform in those plays. Less common is an autobiographical play performed in the same neighborhood where events took place that led the play to happen, and produced by the very person that runs the theater where the writer used to squat. If this sounds a little convoluted, it is. But it’s also the very true nature of J.Stephen Brantley’s new play The Jamb, about two queer punks in their forties: one gone straight-edge, one stuck in the wild days of his youth.
Up Against The Wall Opening Tuesday August 30, 7 pm to 10 pm at Booklyn. On view through September 27.
Greenpoint “artist and bookmakers organization” Booklyn, which has impressively been hanging around since 1999, presents this exhibition of prints by two projects: Imagining Apartheid, a Montreal-based initiative bringing awareness to Palestinian liberation and the BDS movement with a focus on Israeli Apartheid, and Celebrate People’s History: Iraq Veterans Against the War, a portfolio project which aims to highlight veteran and active duty members who were against the war and have spoken out over the last ten years. Placed side-by-side, these prints and posters highlight years of a common struggle and fight for demilitarization and justice regardless of country or nationality.
“It’s like that dream you had where you’re at your high school dance but it’s not your high school, your ex is there but it’s not really your ex, your mom’s in the corner…”
This isn’t a retelling of a long-winded and elaborate joke, but a description of folk group Prairie Empire‘s dreamy new music video for their song “Circles,” off their impressive new record The Salt. In it, Prairie Empire’s leader Brittain Ashford finds herself quite literally dancing circles around and with people of all sorts as the innocent goings-on of a dance hall unfold in slow motion around her and Ashford’s melancholy vocals soar.
America is replete with music festivals (especially this summer, New York). There are so many it could make your head spin, causing you to momentarily lose sanity and fall into a killing spree.
That’s not exactly what happens in Jared Saltiel and Toby Singer‘s new musical South By South Death, but it’s close—the show is about a group of friends who head south to attend the infamous “Didgeridoo Music Festival,” conveniently set on a remote island. At the festival, pop star “Ciley Myrus” is headlining, but there’s something darker afoot. Someone in a Myrus mask begins killing everyone and documenting the carnage. Through selfies, of course. As more and more people die, there’s another disaster looming, this one of the natural variety: Hurricane Beyoncé.
Wednesday With Westerns! Wednesday August 24, 7 pm at City Reliquary; $7.
The City Reliquary, a tiny, quirky wonderland of a museum, will be the location for this western art party this evening. Gallop amongst NYC memorabilia, but don’t get too distracted, as there will be plenty to do on the frontier. Selections include the chance to get your own Wanted poster painted by artist Omer Gal, experimental Japanese movement genre butoh done with a Texas twist, line dancing, a hog-tying contest, theatrical happenings, ghostly songs, wandering Western characters, and surely much else. If you have the gall to come in a Western-themed costume (god forbid nobody mistake you for a lost Republican on the way there), you’ll be greeted with a free shot of tequila or whiskey. As the cow/boy creature on the poster proclaims so proudly, “Be a REAL cowboy like me!” Darn tootin’.
Admittedly, when I heard House of Yes was doing a show called Ketamine: The Musical, I wanted to roll my eyes. I imagined a glitzy spectacle full of drug jokes and little self-awareness, happily consumed by an audience of partiers. Or, like, an entire show where people sit there motionless? I don’t know. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way.
Consumption Opening Monday August 22, 6 pm to 9 pm at The Living Gallery. On view one night only.
For one night only, the humble Living Gallery will be taken over by artist and “earth-loving dumpster-diver” Jill Rosati’s fantastical sculptures. Among them are “vomcanoes,” vaguely grotesque creations that look as if a mound of dirt grew legs and eternally spewed a fine stream of luminescent sludge that may or may not contain human hair. Yum! Rosati is committed to showing the ugly and excess-filled side of human nature (and sometimes, just nature itself), but smartly does so using sustainable and recycled materials so she doesn’t necessarily waste in order to portray waste.
Some of us have the distinct memory of weaving up and down the aisles of Kim’s Video– or really, any old-school place of a similar disposition with B-film and cult-movie analogue tapes galore– while an endless stream of campy horror flicks played on the junky old TV set. Did you ever feel a burning desire to run your fingers up and down the spines of those dusty VHS tapes? Then use those same gritty fingers to grab handfuls of mushy bananas and stuff them into your face?
If somehow the answer to this twisted fantasy is “yes,” then you best get over to Terra Firma tonight, because believe it or not all these things will be available to you there, coz lord knows the days of the video store (it’s kind of like Netflix, only IRL) are over and done with. This is where your people are now.