About Cassidy Dawn Graves

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

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Composers of Color, Macaulay Returns to Shea Stadium, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Joe’s Pub)

Lift Every Voice
Wednesday, April 12 at Joe’s Pub, 9:30 pm: $20-30

Musical Theater Factory, a production company created by Difficult People actress and multi-hyphenate Shakina Nayfack, presents this concert of songs penned by musical theater composers of color. The show is curated by members of MTF’s People of Color Roundtable, one of two regularly occurring “representation round tables” that provide a forum for people in marginalized groups to share new composition and creative work.

If you dare say musical theater is so predominantly white because there aren’t many other types of writers out there, this show will surely prove you wrong. Lift Every Voice will be showcasing over 15 composers in just one night, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg in regards to the wide array of non-white writers and composers working to breathe new life into the genre today. Keep Reading »

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Robotic Theater, Online Anxiety, and More Art This Week

(image courtesy of Disclaimer Gallery)

Anxiety Sex
Opening Wednesday April 12 at Disclaimer Gallery, 6 pm to 10 pm. On view through May 8.

Ah, anxiety and sex, two things that go together like peanut butter and jelly, or perhaps crying and bathrooms. Artist Charlotte Greene, the latest to set up shop at the inclusive Disclaimer Gallery inside the Silent Barn, sees this all too well. Focusing on the many strange ways digital encounters can translate to IRL ones, Greene has formed an array of digital collages made from predictive iPhone text, tweets, stream-of-consciousness writing, and more.

Riffing off of a computer’s ability to zoom, distort, crop, and alter images, many aspects of these collages have been modified accordingly, often to the extent that they are hardly legible anymore. This manipulation mirrors the strange spirit of online communication, in that it can be so easily seen as something larger, smaller, or entirely different than it ever intended to be. Talk about #relatablecontent!

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Steve Earle Gets Theatrical, Philippine Dance, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Soho Rep)

Samara
Now through May 7 at the Mezzanine Theater at A.R.T. New York Theaters, 8 pm (select times at 3 pm and 5 pm): $35+

Though this show is playing up near Hell’s Kitchen, it’s commissioned by Soho Rep, the acclaimed and boundary-pushing theater that recently left its longtime home base on Walker Street, downtown, due to conflicts regarding what the building was zoned for and what they needed to do to operate the theater. Without any sign of stopping their production output, Soho Rep and artistic director Sarah Benson have been putting up shows elsewhere in the meantime.

Samara unites two downtown theater heavy-hitters, Benson and Richard Maxwell of the New York City Players. Maxwell rarely brings outside directors on board, but has asked Benson herself to direct his latest work. They’ve assembled a cast that is diverse in gender, race, and even age, as the ensemble’s age range is 14 to 92. Notably, the cast includes singer-songwriter Steve Earle, who has a storied (and Grammy-winning) career in American roots and folk music and has penned tunes recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and more. Earle has also composed music for the play, so whether you’re a fan of avant-garde theater or just good old-fashioned American grooves, you’ll probably find something to like about this show. Keep Reading »

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Sexting Festival, French Star’s Rare Show, and More Art to See

(image courtesy of Cooler Gallery)

Flora
Opening Tuesday April 4 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through April 22.

Camilla Engström has had an interesting history for an artist. Born in Sweden, she swiftly relocated to Shanghai to work full-time as a model, and then made her way to New York to study fashion at FIT. However, she left to focus on her art, a familiar story that surely many can relate to. Now, she exhibits her multidisciplinary work around the city, and will be bringing a series of paintings and more to Cooler Gallery, a unique space nestled a stone’s throw from the Navy Yard.

This show is new territory for her, in a way. Her practice, the gallery states, typically revolves around a Swedish cartoon Engström created named Husa, a smiling femme figure with a curvy belly. This show will feature more landscape-driven works, but ones that still retain the dreamy, playful, Candyland-esque quality of Husa. There will not just be paintings on view, but also sculptural pieces that reflect particular elements of the paintings, bringing a multi-dimensional quality to it all. Keep Reading »

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Best Chairs in Comedy, Annoyance’s Last Night, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via The Annoyance)

Holy Fuck Comedy Hour
Wednesday, March 29 at The Annoyance Theater, 10:30 pm: FREE

As we’ve told you previously and with heavy hearts, strange n’ mighty little basement comedy theater The Annoyance is closing at the end of the month. More specifically, it’s the theater’s last night of shows tonight. What better way to send it off than by attending one of the shows The Annoyance is most lauded for, the late-night extravaganza that is the Holy Fuck Comedy Hour. The show assembles a strong assortment of comedians from different pockets of the NYC scene and asks them to write characters, scenes, songs, and more in only one week and then perform their creations with no rehearsal. And if you’re looking for even more chuckles, there will be three different improv shows happening earlier in the evening.

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Art This Week: Bushwick Cartoonists Move To Midtown, The High-Story of Glass Pipes

Redsnapper, HAT (High Alien Life) Meteorite, 2016, Borosilicate glass, 5 x 3 x 3 inches (image via apexart)

Outlaw Glass
Opening Wednesday March 29 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 27.

I caught wind (or rather, smoke?) of this show through an email with the subject line “Weed really like to see you at our opening.” As I love subtlety, I of course opened the email. What I found was actually more intriguing and complex than one may imagine: an artistic showcase and exploration of the many variations and “legally grey” nature of glass pipes. Or um, I mean, “functional glass art.”

The show, organized by David Bienenstock and presented by the ever-interesting apexart, takes a deep dive into the legacy of pipes, bongs, and their makers. Bienenstock, who formerly served as Head of Content for High Times and has published two whole books centered around lighting up, seems to really know his stuff. A cursory browse of the pieces (heh) that will be on view shows a wide range from highbrow to lowbrow and everything in between. You’ll find everything from works by the historic Bob Snodgrass, who peddled intricate handmade creations to Deadheads aplenty, to a big glass monster truck and a pipe with a built-in mustache that could very well be found at your local Urban Outfitters.

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Hairy Ape in an Armory, Patriarchy Smashing, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Chris Tyler / Facebook)

Not Normal: Intersection, Corporate Doubleteam, and Orangutan
Wednesday, March 22 at Irondale Ensemble Project, 8 pm: FREE

As long as politics are a hellscape, there will be artists to create work about it. Tonight, Not Normal will present a three-part evening all about the utter nonsense that seems to grow greater every day. Even the word “greater” seems tarnished now and conjures images of red hats and the pallid, fleshy faces wearing them.

In any case, the evening’s programing begins with The Intersection, an “artistic conversation about identity” spearheaded by a group of creators but open to the public. It’s dubbed a discussion “jam session” of sorts. Next is Chris Tyler’s Corporate Doubleteam, a play about how the white boys will play when the Trump is away, and by “play” I mean do a circle jerk potentially involving an intern. Haven’t we all been there? Closing out the night is Orangutan, a one-woman show written by Troy Deutsch and performed by Kristina Mueller all about the curious character of Trump’s mother. If you’re feeling generous, the show will also be accepting donations for Planned Parenthood.

THURSDAY

(image via Knockdown Center / Facebook)

Incarnata Social Club
Thursday, March 23 at Knockdown Center, 8 pm: $10 suggested

The experimental art salon started in a basement by Kembra Pfahler and Orlando Estrada has moved on to bigger digs, taking up residency in the massive Knockdown Center this Thursday. A fittingly sizable lineup will be showing work, with a bill comprised of Social Club regulars and newcomers alike, including Nandi Loaf, Chris Cole, Whitney Vangrin, Cameron Cooper, Shawn Escarciga, and more. Anyone with a bigoted attitude will presumably be booted, as Estrada proclaims the show a “queer, femme, trans, POC, GNC safe space” and a “no shade zone.”

FRIDAY

(flyer via New York Neo-Futurists)

The Neo Show: Smash the Patriarchy
March 24-25 at The Kraine Theater, 10:30 pm: $20

The New York Neo-Futurists have recently rebranded their recurring show, formerly known as Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, but they’re still up to the same artistic madness. Which is to say, they’re definitely still trying to do 30 short and strange plays in 60 minutes. Or, at least “a barrage” of short plays in an evening. This weekend, in a reprisal of sorts of their popular Too Many Ladies show last year, an all-female cast of Neo will be taking over the Kraine Theater to strut their stuff and dismantle some oppressive systems in the form of many feminist short plays. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for this show to include a literal smashing of the patriarchy, as the Neo-Futurists pride themselves on their unique technique of creation in which everyone plays themselves and what they are doing in the moment is true. Aside from that, they’re up for anything.

SATURDAY

(image via Park Avenue Armory / Facebook)

The Hairy Ape
March 25-April 22 at Park Avenue Armory, various times: $30+

The glorious Park Avenue Armory will see a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic 1921 expressionist play The Hairy Ape, starring Tony-nominated actor Bobby Cannavale. The Armory is no stranger to elaborate theatrical productions, acting as host to such spectacles as Paul McCarthy’s grotesque and sprawling WS installation. The production, directed by Richard Jones, initially appeared at The Old Vic in London. Its subject matter is certainly relevant for American audiences, as it centers around a worker who seeks for belonging amidst a sea of the filthy rich, including those found in the money-laden areas of New York. Will capitalism ever be dismantled? Not if you spend money on this play, I guess.

SUNDAY

(flyer via In the Works / Facebook)

In the Works
Sunday, March 26 at The Duplex, 9:30 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors plus a 2-drink minimum

Spend your Sunday taking in the musical stylings of several new composers at this edition of the In the Works series, presented by Honeck-Moss Productions. The evening will showcase a handful of composers, each presenting about 15 minutes of newer material that they are working on. This time around, you’ll hear pieces from patriotic songbird Marcus Goldhaber, edgy belter and rock opera creator Terra Warman, and “piano troubadour” Peter Trevino, who has collaborated with members of Journey and The Foo Fighters.

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Shea Stadium Announces Kickstarter, Hopes to Return as a Legal Space

Shea Stadium (photo: Luke Chiaruttini)

East Williamsburg DIY venue and recording studio Shea Stadium announced a $50,000 crowdfunding initiative today, with the end goal of turning the space into a “completely legal, 100% permitted venue.” In early March, the venue had announced an indefinite closure on Facebook in light of multiple violations and show shutdowns.

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This Museum Has ‘Expanded Visions’ For Queering and Preserving Art

Installation view, Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 2017. (photo: Riya Lerner)

Despite the suffocating amount of luxury stores, there are still some small pockets of Soho that retain the neighborhood’s old gritty art spirit. As you pass The Performing Garage, where experimental troupe The Wooster Group and others still rehearse and perform, you’ll now encounter an new and improved iteration of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. After lengthy renovations, the museum has reopened and nearly doubled in size with Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, an exhibition rich in the history and scope of queerness and the artistic expression surrounding it.

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Patron Saints of the Local Scene, and More Art Affairs This Week

F8 Tropical , 2017
28 x 21 Inches
Dye Sublimation on Aluminum

Particle Paradise
Opening Wednesday March 22 at Foley Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 30.

Photography is said to be a significant documentation tactic due to its ability to capture reality in its truest form. Particle Paradise, Joseph Desler Costa’s solo show at Foley Gallery, seeks to lay bare the ways one can manipulate the medium of photography to turn it into something sleeker, or even a total rejection of reality. This can happen through tactics like double exposures, cut paper constructions, in-camera editing, or even snapshots of the equipment used to create the photo in the first place.

The show is named for a video game mod that allows players to customize their experience through hacking and tweaking the existing code, allowing the gameplay experience to change oh-so-slightly or immensely. I don’t know about you, but I associate mods with either sneakily downloading sexy clothes for my Sims or that time I bought a Gameshark to use with my Pokemon and it glitched in a way it was not supposed to and I felt fear deep in my heart. Maybe this show will be something like that?

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Something ‘Terrifying’ and Four More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Maude Gun / Facebook)

Maude Night #4
Wednesday, March 15 at Muchmore’s, 9 pm: $5-7 suggested donation

This is decidedly not the UCB showcase, but a queer/femme/POC space for variety performance and expression helmed by witchy, culty performance-art band Maude Gun. The lineup includes “Mountain Moving Witch of the West Coast” Carissa Matsushima, “Ritualistic Serotonin Poem Witch” Tara Jayakar, “Nose Bleeding Drama Queen Healer” Holly Simple, and a closing piece by Maude Gun themselves. Though it is the name of their band, they seem to be rather generous with the term “maude,” referring to their booked performers and potentially everyone in the room by the moniker. In the event description is a reminder: “let’s mind our pronouns! (call everyone a MAUDE if you’re lost)” Keep Reading »

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This Hip-Hop Dance Production Involves a Mascot, Wrestling, and a Senior Aerobics Class

(photo: Maria Baranova)

It could take something as simple as a step-touch to unite the generations. At least that’s the impression you might get in a room with the company of experimental hip-hop and dance group Yackez. Most contemporary dance projects are rife with young and lithe bodies, but the cast of the latest and largest Yackez production, Give It To You Stage, ranges from ages 25 to 87. Keep Reading »