About Cassidy Dawn Graves

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

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A Streepshow, a Neutral Milk Hotelier, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

Paul Alexander by Valentin Xtravaganza (via Howl Happening / Facebook)

Inside Out Upside Down
Thursday, June 1 at C’mon Everybody, 8 pm: FREE

Movement Research shows typically happen in places formally designated for performance, where people gather in chairs and observe dance pieces and exit when they are done. Tonight, they’re switching it up. As part of their annual Spring Festival, curated by Laurie Berg, Monstah Black, and Amy Khoshbin, dancers and movers and beyond will be congregating at Bed-Stuy bar C’mon Everybody. There, the night will shift in between performance and party, as a variety of movement artists, DJs, MCs and more explore the question: “What is the role of the club in activating a community and creating a cross-cultural blend?”

The night’s performers include Richard Kennedy, Tendayi Kuumba, and Larissa Velez-Jackson of the group Yackez. In addition to dancers and DJ sets, there will also be a special MC workshop led by producers from “nightclub hybrid” Jackie 60.

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A Sign of The Times, Russian Prison Tattoos, and More Art Shows

Rirkrit Tiravanija
untitled 2017 (tomorrow is the question, january 21, 2017), 2017
Acrylic and newspaper on linen
89 1/4 x 73 1/4 inches
Courtesy Rirkrit Tiravanija and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome
(c) Rirkrit Tiravanija

The Times
Opening Thursday, June 1 at The Flag Art Foundation. On view through August 11.

Hate it or love it, one newspaper that has rocketed even more to the forefront of the public eye in the past year is the Times. From the president’s dismissal of it as failing to its recent scoop battle with The Washington Post and even today’s announcement that it has eliminated its public editor position in favor of opening more of their articles’ comment sections, there is much to talk about.

This art exhibition goes even further than the paper’s recent goings-on, asking over 80 artists to use current and archival issues of the physical newspaper as a jumping-off point to create works of their own. Some imagine what the headlines would be in 2020, some insert themselves into the news, and others take a second look at press coverage of major historical and sociopolitical events. If the news wasn’t already on your mind constantly, this show could do the trick. Keep Reading »

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Indoor Comedy Shows, A Multitude of Taylors, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via LAWL / Eventbrite)

LAWL
Thursday, May 25 at New Women Space, 7 pm: $5

It is good to laugh, and there are allegedly real scientific statistics to back up such a claim. In fact, I just found something literally called the Laugher Online University, and you know what, I have a lot of questions about it.  But why spend your time on weird websites when you can venture into the real world and get some actual laughter?

You’re in luck— Thursday night is LAWL (Ladies and Womyn Laughing), Arti Gollapudi’s comedy night showcasing women, trans, and gender non-conforming funny folk. Gollapudi is no stranger to curating spaces prioritizing these groups, as she is also a co-founder of the Comedy Cunt Collective. Tonight at LAWL, you can see jokes n’ silly stories by Sue Smith, Shannon Odell, and Wanjiko Eke. And if I’ve made you too curious about this University of Laughter, you can always just look it up on your phone in between acts or something. Keep Reading »

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Rikers As Seen By A Former C.O., Superstar Creators, and More Art Openings

(image via The Living Gallery / Facebook)

Behind These Prison Walls
Opening Monday, May 22 at The Living Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. One night only.

This one-night-only exhibition will be showcasing the work of Lorenzo Steele Jr., a visual artist who formerly served as a corrections officer at Rikers Island. As we’ve outlined in the past, conditions at Rikers could be described as “dismal,” if you’re into understatements. This holds particularly true for its younger residents, as New York state still charges 16 and 17-year-olds as adults, one of only two states to do so. This will soon change due to the recent passing of the Raise the Age initiative; individuals under 17 will no longer be held in county jails as of October 2018 (18-year-olds, too, starting a year later) and the “majority” of defendants aged 16 and 17 will be dealt with in Family Court rather than tried as adults.

Lorenzo Steele Jr. knows this particular plight all-too well, as the majority of his photographic documentation (taken from 1987-1999) chronicles the grim conditions to which inmates at Rikers have been subjected. Specifically, his work zeroes in on the adolescent jail and its solitary confinement unit. These images will be displayed alongside found weapons and other prison-sourced artifacts. Even as we spend our days lamenting the state of politics and Russia and the world, it is important to remind ourselves that there are also local travesties still happening around us, and it wasn’t the new administration that put them there. Keep Reading »

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Eurodance Gorillas, Bad Tattoo Roasts, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Heaven Is Here! A Eurodance Party and Spiritual Rebirth Seminar
Wednesday, May 17 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $16

Do you love Eurovision? Did you miss it this year? Do you have no idea what I’m talking about? Do gorillas bring a smile to your face and a rhythm to your hips? Whichever of these categories you might fit into, perhaps you might be intrigued by the latest offering from Ars Nova Makers Lab member Emily Oliveira, working in collaboration with Max Branigan and James Gentle. We last saw her organize a night of performances involving songs each performer’s mother selected, and this time she’s taking more of a performer role herself. However, instead of mothers, there will be someone a little more primal. I’m talking about everyone’s favorite sign-language speaking gorilla, Koko.

Yes, in this strange Wednesday night journey you’ll learn that Koko is “a divine liaison to the spiritual world,” and she has facilitated the birth of a Eurodance group called All Ball through her educational sign-language YouTube videos. Perhaps electronic beats and kindly primates really can save the soul. Keep Reading »

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Great Comet‘s Dave Malloy On Epic Choral Songs, Hamilton, and Showing Tunes to a New Generation

(photo: Chad Batka)

Nowdays, the commercial and insular shell that is Broadway is feeling a little less untouchable. Of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is a major catalyst behind this shake-up, but the latest to breathe new life into the Great White Way has been Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, an “electro-pop opera” based on a drama-laden portion of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

The immersive show began at Ars Nova in 2012 and has gone through many iterations, including a funky stint in a pop-up tent in the Meatpacking District. Now, it’s landed at Broadway’s Imperial Theater, which has been totally restructured to accommodate the show’s 360-degree, immersive staging. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, it remains one of the most authentic transfers of a smaller, more experimental production to a Broadway stage I have observed.

I have seen every NYC production of this show now, and always maintained it was too odd and unique to ascend to the oh-so commercial realm of Broadway. Turns out I was absolutely wrong, and audiences and critics alike are gobbling it up with a voracious enthusiasm. (Singer Josh Groban is now in a starring role.) There is even fanart of the characters, so you know it’s real. The 12 Tony nominations don’t hurt, either.

Great Comet‘s original Broadway cast recording will be released tomorrow and is now available for first listen over at Vulture. We caught up with the show’s writer and composer Dave Malloy, fresh off his Broadway debut temporarily stepping back into the role of Pierre, to talk how the Broadway transfer has affected the show’s music and even got him a little closer to Bowie. Keep Reading »

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Light-Soaked Galleries, Meditative Street Ads, and More Art Exhibitions

(image via Foley Gallery)

Subtext II: Meditations
Opening Wednesday, May 17 at Foley Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 25.

I would remark on the humor inherent in exhibiting artist Wyatt Gallery’s name, who is indeed showing artwork in a gallery, but it seems he’s already got that covered. As soon as you visit his website, the very large and very green phrase “a person, not a place” is followed, literally, by a trademark symbol. So, guys… he gets it.

For this show, Gallery is displaying a series of works using foundational material quite truly ripped off of the city streets, in that they are portions of the endlessly-stacked-and-glued mountains that are NYC street advertising and flyering. He transformed these found object compilations into “UV cured photographic plates,” making them even more abstract in the process. Interestingly, Gallery sees these dirty, aged poster creations as relevant to his practice of mindfulness and meditation. So next time you’re saddled with a 20-minute train wait, maybe you should try deep breathing while staring at the many advertisements on the walls. Perhaps inner peace will crawl out from in between the pages.

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For Samara, Soho Rep Goes Uptown and Into Another World

(L-R): Jasper Newell, Paul Lazar (photo: Julieta Cervantes)

I don’t often think about laser tag. Maybe my life would be more interesting if I did, but it’s just not frequently on my mind. However, I was thinking of that childhood adventure game as I walked up the stairs into A.R.T. New York’s theater building in Hell’s Kitchen. There, I was handed a square of grey foam that I held to my chest like a shield as I walked into a industrial-feeling room constructed of black rubber milk cartons. Not that I was about to be faced with beams of light and fog. Not yet. I was here to see a play. Keep Reading »

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Little Green Guys, 5-Hour Durationals, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(poster by Mikey Heller, via Facebook)

Little Green Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Frogs and Lizards
Wednesday, May 10 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $5

First of all, I don’t know what I can say about this show that will make it any more appealing than the title already makes it. Little green guys! Why make jokes about people and places when you can make them about frogs and lizards. They’re small, they’re wacky, and they’re one of a kind. A grand old lineup of people will be stopping by to wax comedic about these green-hued critters, including Jo Firestone, Lorelei Ramirez, Annie Donley, Anthony Oberbeck, Carmen Christopher, The Junk Bros, and more, plus your amphibian-and-reptile-loving hosts Joe Rumrill and Andrew Tisher.

The only thing that would make this show better is if actual frogs and lizards made their way up the steps to Babycastles, clambered up the mic stands, and croaked out their own jokes and humorous musings. I guess we will just have to wait for the sequel to see that. Keep Reading »

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After Opening as a Jazz Joint, The Rosemont Trades Swing Time for Queer Nights

People crowd into the rear area of a Bushwick bar. They’re hooting and hollering, throwing dollar bills into the air as a drag queen named Ruby Fox, with long hair and an outfit reminiscent of an underground fetish party, lip syncs and launches into a back handspring. Where a kitchen once sizzled, a DJ now spins. Nowadays, this is just an average Wednesday night at The Rosemont, a newer project from Trash Bar’s Aaron Pierce that initially opened in Bushwick last May. Rather than carrying on the wild spirit of Trash, The Rosemont was poised to be more mature, a jazz club slinging bespoke cocktails and small plates. But recently they brought on someone new, switching saxophones for death drops.

Hopeful as Pierce was for this new, classier direction, seven days a week of jazz didn’t prove entirely fruitful. Enter Troy Carson, previously known for opening Williamsburg gay bars Metropolitan and Sugarland and managing East Village spots Nowhere Bar and Phoenix, who now serves as The Rosemont’s general manager. Keep Reading »

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Alleyway Objects, Tech Art Galore, and More Visual Treats Opening This Week

(image via The Lodge Gallery)

Foofaraw & Spleen
Opening Wednesday, May 10 at The Lodge Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through June 11.

This exhibition brings together two artists whose work is lighthearted, literary, and warmly familiar. The Lodge Gallery and DAVID&SCHWEITZER Contemporary, whose Ayakamay exhibition we recently covered, will be pairing up paintings by Heather Morgan and watercolor works on paper by Paul D’Agostino for the jauntily-named exhibition “Foofaraw & Spleen.”

Morgan, who normally deals in self-portraits, has created an array of portraits of familiar faces that are not her own. Looking back at you will be a selection of figures that Morgan considers inspirational: writers, musicians and the like, ranging from esteemed literary fellows to plain old rock stars. D’Agostino, on the other hand, will be showing a portion of the 140 works on paper he’s created for a book project. As they are titled The Produce Chronicles, With Flowers, it seems he is taking a leafier approach than Morgan’s human renderings. Together, their work creates a harmony of quaint depictions, from the natural realm to the human species.

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After A Long Wait, Chuko Ramen’s Bushwick Location Is Open For Slurping

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

This past Monday, notable noodle purveyors Chuko Ramen began serving dinner in their Bushwick location at 144 Evergreen Avenue. Now, North Brooklynites will no longer have to make their way to Prospect Heights to enjoy a bowl of Chuko’s flavor-packed veggie miso ramen or their celebrated kale salad.
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