About Cassidy Dawn Graves

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

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Performance Picks: A Trap Musical, Butoh in the Park, Steven Tyler’s iPad

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Paperboy Prince / Facebook)

Trap Musical
Wednesday, July 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 9 pm: $7-15 suggested donation

I have to be honest, I find this event extremely baffling. The poster has Pepe and Shia LaBeouf on it, neither of which are particularly beloved images lately, yet the show is subtitled “#TheyWillNotDivideUs.” Are the divisive villains in this story Pepe and Shia LaBeouf? There doesn’t seem to be much indication, but in any case the idea of a “full-length trap and R&B musical production” being performed in a Bushwick bar that specializes in the wild and weird seems like a good enough selling point. Helmed by Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs, the cast is massive and jam-packed with a bevy of local performance artists, musicians, dancers, rappers, and more.

If you’re itching to see what in tarnation this thing is but can’t attend tonight, the event indicates it is going to become a monthly affair on the fourth Wednesday of every month. It will become a late-night party after the performance concludes, where you can process what you just saw by dancing until the wee hours.

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Technicolor Blanket Forts and More Art To Soak Up This Week

(flyer via Point Green / Facebook)

Tümbiverse
Opening Thursday, July 27 at Point Green, 7 pm to 11 pm. On view through August 5.

Despite what you may think, “Tümbiverse” isn’t a weird German futuristic version of Tumblr. It refers to painter Michael Bianchino’s sweeping and immersive “technicolor portraits” that invite all types of self-expression. He won’t be the only one creating art, as Bianchino and co-curator Jasmine Williams have asked 20 innovative folk to do what they do alongside his vibrant mini-worlds. The result is expansive, featuring textiles, video art, sculpture, performance art, voguing, and even a living doll experience courtesy of Toshi Salvino.

On the last day of the exhibition, the band Confetti Armor will lead a hands-on workshop on “blanket forts as ritual practice,” which will surely justify any of the times your mom said you were wasting time making a blanket fort growing up. Uh, mom, I was doing important ritual work. And if you’re hungry for even more art in a Greenpoint photo studio, earlier in the week Point Green will also be showing How This Has To Be Told, a 35mm slideshow of photos by Martha Naranjo Sandoval that interrogates old photos and the power they have. Keep Reading »

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Tessa Skara Is a Goddess of ‘Confessional Comedy Rock’

(flyer courtesy of Tessa Skara)

Though she’s previously declared herself “the Courtney Love of comedy,” Tessa Skara says it would actually be more fitting to call herself the comedic Liz Phair, referring to the ’90s alt-rock musician’s confessional style. All these music comparisons aren’t pulled out of thin air, but refer to Skara and her rock music comedy cabaret creation Rock Goddess, being staged at The Duplex this Sunday.

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Performance Picks: AI Theater, the ‘Courtney Love of Comedy,’ and More

THURSDAY

(flyer by Lorelei Ramirez)

Not Dead Yet
Thursday, July 20 at C’mon Everybody, 8:30 pm: $5 advance, $7 doors

This comedy show, hosted by the multi-talented and highly strange Lorelei Ramirez, really gets to the bottom of the human condition based on its title alone. Sure, we aren’t dead yet, but we will be soon. Whether it be from being cooked alive due to climate change, from inhumane health care policies (though that one seems a tiny bit less likely now), from an aggressive ghoul with a mustache that no one can see but you… Or maybe you’re just one of the lucky few to pass peacefully. Either way, you’re still here. So you might as well go to this comedy variety show.

The show itself (which is monthly) is packed to the brim with notable creatives serving up a whole bevy of funny n’ weird stuff across disciplines. There’ll be comedy by Becca Blackwell, Brett Davis, Sydnee Washington, and Katie Boyle; readings by poet Sasha Fletcher; videos by Lukey Walden and Alan Resnick, and even music by Drag Lomax and Tredici Bacci. As the teens say: what more could you want? Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Father + Son Collab, VR World, Hairy Domesticity

(image via Babycastles / Facebook)

Virtual Insanity
Opening Monday, July 17 at VR World NYC, 7 pm to midnight.

I think we can all agree that reality as we know it currently leaves something to be desired. So, what about virtual reality? For those not particularly prone to dizziness and/or nausea, it can be a very effective way to literally escape the perils of life and be thrust into a new environment. Even if you move your head in a bunch of angles, you can’t escape it! It’s pretty remarkable, TBH. Or terrifying, depending on what world you’re virtually immersed in. 

Tonight is the beginning of VR World NYC and Babycastles’ “VR-themed exhibition and concert.” You’ll be able to see VR ~experiences~ crafted by 9 developers/artists and vibe to music from Icarus Moth, RAFiA, and Haleek Maul. How hard can you dance without your VR goggles falling off? Tonight be the night to find out. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: MTA Love Poems, Jeb Bush Meets Sam Shepard, and More

WEDNESDAY

(flyer by Alex Farr)

Holding: A Queer Black Love Story
Wednesday, July 12 at Secret Project Robot, 9 pm: FREE (donation suggested)

This performance is presented as part of queer, trans, POC-centric collective BUFU’s month of community programming, available in full on their website. Created and performed by Alex Farr and Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, Holding explores the ways one can tell a queer black love story in 2017, particularly in these more precarious political times. Prioritizing the powerful nature of being soft and kind to others, the show states, “We name our tenderness as an act of resistance—intimate resistance that should be celebrated, protected, and cared for.”

After the performance, the artists will stick around for a talkback discussion, unlike a certain David Mamet who recently said he would fine artistic groups $25,000 if they dared to publicly discuss his work after a production of it.  Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Printmaking in Protest, Robots Will Kill, Mexico + Staten Island

(image via Center for Book Arts)

Center for Book Arts Summer Exhibitions
Opening Wednesday, July 12 at Center for Book Arts, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through September 23.

This Wednesday, The Center for Book Arts will unveil their two summer exhibitions, titled “Protest Profest: Global Burdens” and “Animation + Printing.”  Though the institutions focuses on books (obviously), the exhibitions themselves span a variety of disciplines. “Protest ≠ Profest” is their annual Artist Members Exhibition, with the timely concept of showing work dealing with activism and “current societal concerns.” In order to narrow down the type of theme that could easily fill multiple rooms worth of art (and to keep with the book focus), works on display will either be artist’s books or works relating to the book arts.

“Animation + Printing” is predominantly a short film showcase, but all films have been created using techniques typically applied to the creation of books, such as  etching, moveable type, and silkscreen. A whopping 50-ish artists will be partaking, and the exhibition theme invites a cross-discipline experience for many, as several printmakers will be attempting animation and vice versa. Keep Reading »

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A ‘Fair’ Roger Ailes Memorial, The Secret Life of Plants, and More Art This Week

Rochelle Feinstein, The Week in Hate, 2017, oil on canvas, 40 by 38 inches (via yours mine & ours)

The Roger Ailes Memorial Show: Fair and Balanced
Opening Thursday, July 6 at yours mine & ours, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through August 4.

When news surfaced that Roger Ailes of Fox News had departed this earthly plane, certain left-leaning pockets of the internet reacted similarly to the announcement that longtime Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia had kicked the bucket. That is, they were not mourning in the typical sense, unless your regular mourning routine includes Twitter jokes and dances of joy. Now, a little over a month since he passed, LES gallery yours mine & ours will be gathering an array of artists to memorialize the man. And remember, being memorialized may have a positive connotation, but it merely means that people are publicly remembering what you did.

A press release for the show has opted not to include a traditional exhibition description, instead reprinting in full an essay by Monica Lewinsky that ran in The New York Times on May 22, 2017. Entitled “Roger Ailes’s Dream Was My Nightmare,” Lewinsky articulates for many paragraphs how Ailes and Fox was one of the first to incessantly cover her sexual involvement with Bill Clinton in a way that she writes made her “[cease] being a three-dimensional person.” The fact that this exhibition elected to uplift a woman’s story instead of trumpet about its own prestige should give you a clue of what’s in store. Keep Reading »

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Surrealist Warehouse Festival, Fantastic Comedy, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via Brian Fiddyment / Twitter)

Prayerz
Wednesday, June 28 at Vital Joint, 9 pm: $5-10 sliding scale

Regular old prayers are boring. Clasping your hands together and murmuring at the sky all polite-like? Come on. And don’t get me started on the kinds of prayers that just happen as a silent “conversation with God” in your head (i.e. the kinds I did as a child, I was no heathen). Let’s get some performative prayer up in here! And that’s just what comedian Brian Fiddyment will bring you in his monthly show at East Williamsburg space Vital Joint. Well, maybe. It’s a show and open mic focusing on multimedia-based and non-traditional comedy pieces are given priority. Perhaps that was the true Word of the Lord all along.

And if you want to double up on the #showz, get there early, because at 8 pm three groups of artists are performing new experimental works as part of ?!: New Works, deemed “the spiritual successor to the Exponential Festival.” Keep Reading »

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Experimental Comics, A Munchkin Saga, and More Art This Week

(image via Artists Alliance Inc)

Sweety’s Radio: Edición Especial
Opening Tuesday, June 27 at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space. On view through July 30.

Sweety’s, a curatorial initiative “dedicated to the labor of black and brown artists,” will be taking over the Lower East Side’s Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space until the end of July, using their time to stage live talk show interviews with artists and “Spanish-speaking cultural producers.” They’ve partnered with four unique artists, who will be interviewed by Sweety’s and given space for a week to show their work. Once those weeks have concluded, the four members of Sweety’s will be creating a collaborative installation.

The residency begins with Cecilia Gentili, a performer, storyteller, and advocate for trans women of color, and continues with illustrator Raul Gonzalez III, poet and AIDS activist Emanuel Xavier, and visual artist Elia Alba. As the Manhattan art world continues to largely fulfill its reputation of being upper-class, cis, and white, ventures like Sweety’s are a breath of fresh air.

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Pride-ful Shows, Political Theater, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Clubbed Thumb)

What The Constitution Means To Me
June 21-July 1 at The Wild Project, 8 pm: $25

With this piece by playwright and actor Heidi Schreck directed by Oliver Butler, Clubbed Thumb continues their annual Summerworks series of new plays. Fittingly, so far they have all dealt with sociopolitical or governmental issues in ways that have been a bit more overt than the typical downtown theater offering. Such is a sign of the times. Schreck’s What The Constitution Means To Me appears to be no exception.

The play is about someone also named Heidi who finds a unique way to make money in 1989, which is giving speeches about the Constitution. Only, she is told her orations are not personal enough, which leads to an exploration into the women of her past (who seem to have consistently attracted “violent men”) and how the Ninth Amendment may have had more of an impact than she thought on them. Keep Reading »

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Funky Ceramics, Mermaids at Sunny’s, and More Art Openings

Jess Sheridan. Trump This, 2017. Screenprint. 22 x 15 in. Printed and published by the artist. Edition: 45. (c) 2017 Jess Sheridan.

Just Under 100
Opening Thursday, June 22 at International Print Center, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through September 16. 

This show marks the 56th edition of the International Print Center’s New Prints Program, the result of an open call for fine art prints created in the last 12 months. Curator Katherine Bradford has selected 98 of them from artists all over the world, and they will all be on view in the self-proclaimed “small” gallery space of the IPC on West 26th Street.

While there isn’t necessarily a unifying theme for all the prints, several seem to have a political bent. On the gallery’s website, I observed at least one pussy hat reference and one print involving a woman in an American flag hijab and ripped jeans skateboarding on top of the head of a man with very orange skin. Which isn’t surprising, as nowadays it almost seems like more effort to avoid referencing the current political climate than not. Keep Reading »