About Cassidy Dawn Graves

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

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Afro-Futurism, Theater in a Kitchen, And More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(flyer via The Illustrious Blacks / Facebook)

The Illustrious Blacks: HYPERBOLIC!
Thursday, September 7 at Joe’s Pub, 9 pm: $15 advance, $20 doors

The Illustrious Blacks is a duo comprised of musician Manchildblack and performance artist Monstah Black. The mythos behind the Afro-futurist group goes like this: each man was the ruler of his own planet and known throughout the cosmos for his own unique artistic offerings. One day, the two planets collided, resulting in a colorful explosion that was not disastrous, but instead created a perfect union of art, music, fashion, dance, and theater. I have to say, this whole origin story somehow reminds me of the King Of All Cosmos from the Katamari video games, which is a game in which you play a little creature who rolls up big spheres of stuff to be turned into planets to please a big king. I’m sure that isn’t a very relevant comparison to what The Illustrious Blacks’s show will be like, but it’s still kind of fun to think about.

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Intergalactic Utopias, Suburban Kitsch, and More Art This Week

(image via Max Rosen / Facebook)

Omg Random
Opening Tuesday, September 5 at Benson’s NYC, 7 pm. On view through September 19.

Some art shows are tightly curated, conceptually driven projects that claim to elegantly tackle a Big Theme. Others are just selections of nice-looking stuff. Both types of curation are valid, but sometimes you want to give your lil’ old brain a break and just look at some fun, colorful works of art. Luckily, it appears that the aptly-titled Omg Random, opening tonight in the Lower East Side, will deliver all this and a bag of chips. But probably a bag of chips in painting form.

The show consists of work by Mary Houlihan, Max Rosen, and Rosie Morales. They will be showing paintings, mixed media works, collages, and more. Some of you may know Mary as a comedian, but she also makes very fun paintings. I once commissioned her to make a custom dog painting that really turned out great. I have not commissioned dog paintings from the other artists, but they seem top-notch as well. And if you like what you see, prints will be available for sale at the opening.

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Ex Habitus Tells A Queer Tale of Privilege and Podcasts

Derek Christopher Murphy, Renee Rises (photo: Jo Chiang)

Nowadays, the latest form of media to stir up a craze is also probably the most simple. Podcasts are becoming more popular than ever, allowing anyone anywhere the chance to hear people jabber on about anything from carnal desires to hyper-niche political in-jokes. Some fund their ventures through services like Patreon, others insert mid-show interludes hawking mattresses and web design platforms for advertiser money.

New satirical play Ex Habitus, written by Lilla Goettler and Katie Hathaway and presented as part of the inaugural Corkscrew Theater Festival, gives a behind-the-scenes look into the world and drama of this auditory media form. While it’s billed as a take on “millennial podcasting,” don’t expect any complaints about killing industries. There’s not even one mention of avocado toast. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Cavemen Presentations, Bodily Explorations, Socialist Talents

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Creative Independent / Facebook)

What Is A Body?
Wednesday, August 30 at 58 Kent Street, 7 pm: FREE

What is a body? Well, that’s a good question. For one, it’s a sack of flesh with some organs in it. But it’s also so much more. This performance and panel discussion delves into the inherent relationship that live performance has with bodies. If you make something and perform it yourself, the way your body exists, moves, and functions affects how that performance happens. Additionally, the societal constructs regarding bodies and how they should act and appear will affect the audience’s perception of the performance. Is there a way to prevent or subvert this? Performers Erin Markey, Neil Goldberg, and Jonathan Gonzalez will all show you some of their work, and then discuss what you’ve seen and how it relates to the big wide world of bodies. Keep Reading »

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Trash, Ceramics, Holograms, and More Art This Week

(image via Kiera Ní Briain Bono / Facebook)

Trash Capsules: Archives of Illness, Food, and Diaspora
Opening Monday, August 28 at New Women Space, 7:30 pm to 10 pm. One night only.

Our bodies tell us a lot about ourselves. Other material objects do too, such as what we throw away, what we eat, and what we hold on to. Performance and visual art showcase Trash Capsules asks artists and creators working across disciplines to create something that deals in stories of chronic illness, assimilation, food-based rituals, and cultural memory. These topics vary, but they all relate to what makes us human. Artists posting on the show’s Facebook event are attempting to crowdsource items like a baby pool, baby toilet, and a blender, so it seems like it will be an interesting and probably messy night. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Pizza N’ Jokes, Anime Burlesque, A ‘Folkloric Spectacle’

THURSDAY

(image via Tiny Hornets)

Tiny Hornets, Or, It Didn’t Have To Come To This
August 24-September 8 at 389 Melrose Street, 7:30 pm: $12

What is folklore? Who belongs to it, who disseminates it, and who decides what it looks like? That is what The Drunkard’s Wife, Craig Flanagin, and Normandy Sherwood are trying to figure out in their latest creation, Tiny Hornets, in which a guide introduces you to a slew of villagers and all their peculiarities. These villagers are all unique in their own ways, including one who may or may not be interested in the taste of flesh. And of course, folk isn’t folk without music and dancing, so there will be plenty of that too.

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‘Office of Nightlife’ Bill Passes, Aims to Ease the Headache of Booze Pouring

Council Member Rafael Espinal and others at a hearing on the Office of Nightlife and cabaret law repeal in June (photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Back in May, City Council member Rafael Espinal announced a plan to sponsor legislation that would create an “Office of Nightlife” and “Nightlife Advisory Board.” After a lengthy hearing and initial City Council approval, the latest version of the bill passed the council with a strong majority later today.

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Not A Real Body Farm, Sad & Asian Creations, and More Art Shows

(flyer via Paradice Palase)

Body Farm
Opening Thursday, August 24 at Paradice Palase, 4 pm to 9 pm. One night only.

Ok, to ease your nerves (or disappoint you), this isn’t an exhibition of an actual body farm. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, body farms are decomposition research facilities. So then, what is this Body Farm? It’s a one-night-only pop-up exhibition being put on by Paradice Palase, a Brooklyn space that “believes in a community-supported gallery model and getting artists paid for their efforts.” TBH, really all you have to say is that this is an organization that cares about paying artists and that would make their show worth going to. Plus, there seems to be a neon pineapple sign involved, which sounds fun. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Demystifying Sex, Activist Storytelling, Adolescent Witchcraft

WEDNESDAY

(image via HERE Arts Center)

The Sex Myth: A Devised Play
August 16-20 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm (Sunday at 4 pm): $35

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to state that most of America had either an awful sex ed or none at all. Sure, you can take to the internet in all its glory to learn a thing or two, but formal sex education programs are notoriously lacking. This has created a hush-hush attitude around carnal matters, which leads to shame, misinformation, sensationalism, and a whole host of other not-so-great stuff. A new devised show, The Sex Myth, uses real stories and experiences to expand conceptions of what is “normal” in bedrooms and bodies alike.

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Art Openings: Teacups Get Handsy, Ruminations on the Grid, Photography Galore

Tom Butler, analog photography (image via Foley Gallery)

Analog v. Digital
Opening Wednesday, August 16 at Foley Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 26.

Nowadays, it’s common to hear that film photography is dead and that anyone can be a photographer who has enough money to get the iPhone with that fancy Portrait Mode built-in. Nothing like automated depth of field to convey the illusion of skill and craft! However, this group show at Foley Gallery seeks to uplift both analog and digital forms of photographic art.

The gallery defines “analog” as “the photographer using light sensitive paper or film in the process” and “digital” as “using hardware requiring a digital component (point and shoot, cell phone or dSLR cameras) regardless of how it was printed.” Fifty artists in total, approximately 25 in each category, will demonstrate the wide range of photography that’s still out there. It’s one of the rare times that focusing on the merits of “both sides” isn’t a totally useless thing to do.

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Performance Picks: Bats N’ Rats, Comedy Music Fest, + More

WEDNESDAY

(poster by Jack Sjogren)

Little Gross Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Bats and Rats
Wednesday, August 9 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $5

The last time I saw Joe Rumrill and Andrew Tisher pay tribute to quirky creatures, it was at Little Green Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Frogs and Lizards. Though sadly no actual frogs or lizards were in attendance, the show went swimmingly (do lizards swim?) and it appears they are continuing on with this charming theme. This time around, they’re dedicating it to the little guys often misunderstood or feared by the human species: bats and rats.

The two hosts have assembled a mighty group to sing the praises and oddities of these furry and beady-eyed critters. Expect creative concoctions of all sorts from Patti Harrison, Ike Ufomadu, Alyssa Stohona, Phil Meister, Brian Fiddyment, and Joey Dundale. This may be the only time you see someone screaming at the sight of a rat in a positive and encouraging way. I was once walking and a rat scurried across the sidewalk and ran straight into my boot on his way to his destination. Maybe he was heading, slowly but surely, to this show. Keep Reading »

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Colors of Childhood, Black Natural Hair, and More Exhibitions This Week

Naomi Clark (image courtesy of Cooler Gallery)

Milk Curd and Cherry Pits: Color Stories by Naomi Clark
Opening Tuesday, August 8 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through August 25.

Not everyone has a favorite color, but surely there is a shade that reminds you of a specific time, place, person, or feeling. For those with conditions like synesthesia, colors can take on an even more tangible role in memories and associations. To others, they can just look nice, without being imbued with any sort of deep meaning.

In Milk Curd and Cherry Pits, her exhibition at Cooler Gallery, painter and textile artist Naomi Clark connects color with her childhood. Even the title itself conjures a simpler, more rustic time, when everyday items like the pits within cherries were new and surprising. She’s particularly drawn to yellows and blues, creating simple shapes on small canvases. To Clark, these works are associated with relaxed, childlike creativity. To you, perhaps something else entirely.

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