About Cassidy Dawn Graves

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

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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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Sci-Fi Egg-Laying, Ski Shop Fantasies, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via ROFL3 / Facebook)

ROFL3: The Slumber Party
Wednesday, May 3 at Our Wicked Lady, 8 pm: FREE

“Comedy shows” sounds a lot like “comedy shoes.” What are comedy shoes? Maybe they’re big ol’ clown shoes, or super squeaky slippers, but it doesn’t matter what you think they are. The dynamic duo of Edy Modica and Eliza Hurwitz have declared their comedic footwear of choice to be roller skates, proclaiming (and skating) this loud and clear in their monthly show on wheels, ROFL. Bet you never knew that age-old internet acronym was actually referring to roller skates.

This month, a fine bunch of funny folk will be rolling in to tell jokes and make merry, including Marcia Belsky, Dan Licata, Jaboukie Young-White, Charles Gould, and Aparna Nancherla. I once tried to perform as a character wearing roller skates and when I tried to stand in one place for a duration of time I slowly and endlessly rolled forward and did not know how to stop. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

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Artists Envision Inspiring Women, Masterful Portraits of Black Artists, and More Art Openings

Work by Jess De Wahlis, Michael Hubbard, and Diana Casanova (image courtesy of The Untitled Space)

She Inspires
Opening Tuesday, May 2 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 20.

Tribeca art gallery The Untitled Space and its curator Indira Cesarine, who reacted swiftly after Election Day with their massive Angry Women group show in partnership with the ERA Coalition, are returning with another large and women-centric group show. She Inspires will show the work of 60 artists who have made pieces that feature or are inspired by “women that have made a positive impact on the world.” Exhibiting artists include Cesarine herself, Molly Crabapple, and Elisa Garcia de la Huerta of the Go! Pushpops collective. The definition of “inspiring women” is broad, as the show includes portrayals of local luminaries, famous faces like Frida Kahlo, and even fictional characters like Wonder Woman.

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Computers Writing Poetry, Eugene O’Neill + A Light Meal, and More Performances To Gaze Upon

WEDNESDAY

Eunice Wong in MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA. (Photo: Gaia Squarci)

Mourning Becomes Electra
April 26-May 20 at Abrons Arts Center, various times: $45-75

If short n’ sweet shows are your preferred method of entertainment, this could be quite the change of pace. The Obie-winning company Target Margin Theater will be commemorating their 25th anniversary of making work by taking on Eugene O’Neill’s 1931 work Mourning Becomes Electra, and they’re doing it in a big, big way. Or rather, a long, long way. The production runs around six hours long, but don’t expect to sit for that entire time. Mourning Becomes Electra is technically a play cycle, consisting of three plays that serve as a modern retelling of Greek tragedy The Oresteia, turned into a Freudian family melodrama set at the end of the Civil War. So, the company is dividing Abrons’s Playhouse into different sections, guiding audiences between different portions of the performance space as the play cycle progresses.

If you’re still hesitant about committing to this behemoth endeavor, know that it also includes two intermissions and “a light meal.” Everyone loves a nice meal.

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VR Meditation, A Day to Combat Rape Culture, and More Art Affairs This Week

(flyer via Babycastles / Facebook)

Mind Portals
Opening Thursday, April 27 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $10-15 sliding scale. On view through May 12.

Babycastles has done a pretty good job framing itself as the place to be when it comes to wacky tech-driven art and indie games. This Thursday’s opening will be no exception, as they will be unveiling a host of new video games, VR experiences, and multimedia installations. You can “follow an aries goat on an herb walk” (whatever that means, I’m intrigued) in Young Ascension Hypnosis’s VR video, relax and kick back in Avalon’s sound and flower installation “The Garden,” and find yourself in a flurry of disembodied hands and techno music through Palgal’s cleverly named video game “Palmystery.”

If this opening wasn’t internet-centric enough, net artist Molly Soda will be DJ-ing for the night as well, in addition to sets by Good DJ with High Speed Music, Neo Edo, and A Pigeon Is Born. Keep Reading »

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Get Decked Out in Parisian Denim at 13 Bonaparte’s First-Ever US Pop-Up

(image courtesy of 13 Bonaparte)

Paris-based contemporary clothing label 13 Bonaparte is bringing its unique collection of apparel to America for the first time. Its pop-up shop opened yesterday, in response to a heightened demand from American customers. The pop-up will sell the brand’s midseason wardrobe and premiere its expanded le denim collection, which includes pieces designed specifically for women. Keep Reading »