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Week in Film: Polish Mermaid Strippers, a ‘Shapeshifting’ New Leftist, and More


The Lure
Friday February 10 through Thursday February 16 at IFC Center: $14

This beautifully shot, futuro nightlife fantasy flick is sort of like a glammed-up, femme-fatale version of Splash, only the mermaids here are hardly damsels in distress. These sister mermaids are flesh-eating fish people with vampy tendencies. They have the same power to entrance and, well, lure that sirens are supposed to have, but that somehow American imaginings have left out (Puritans, ughhh). I guess it took some Catholic guilt and Polish imagination to get this darkened-disco retelling of The Little Mermaid off the ground. IFC writes, “One sister falls for a human, and as the bonds of sisterhood are tested, the lines between love and survival get blurred.”

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Henry Chalfant’s Golden Age ‘Graf Writers’ Speak

Henry Chalfant, "Mad PJ" 1980 (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Henry Chalfant, “Mad PJ” 1980 (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Long before Gordon Gekko’s bimbo cousin was inaugurated in January (no doubt aided by doing the best impression of Ronald Reagan he could muster), trend pieces had picked up a scent that hinted which way the wind was blowing. It had notes of burnt hair and overcooked mini vegetables on the nose, followed by white wine spritzer, and finished with a robust whiff of Misty Slim Lights and the lingering, chemically after-stank of cheap knockoff perfumes like “If you like Giorgio you’ll love PRIMO!” Then, the elections made it official: the ’80s are back, baby.

It might have smelled delicious, but the Decade of Greed wasn’t exactly a superbly excellent time for everyone involved. But for all the negi vibes–magnified in New York City by an extreme wealth gap– the ’80s produced some truly inspiring art, and the best of it came from a thriving, vibrant underground. During this time, graffiti reached its “golden age,” as a recent photography exhibition, Henry Chalfant: 1980, reminded us, and it wasn’t long before graf became a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

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Week in Shows: Netherlands of Brooklyn, ‘Nihilist Queer Revolt,’ and More

(Flyer via Saint Vitus)

(Flyer via Saint Vitus)

Party to Protect Your Parts: A Planned Parenthood Benefit
Wednesday February 8, 6:30 to 11 pm at Saint Vitus: $15

Given the heavy flow of benefit shows going on around town these days, it seems inevitable that a band called Netherlands would pick Planned Parenthood as their cause of choice. Proceeds aren’t going directly to Planned Parenthood, but instead will be funneled into a PAC known as PPNYC Votes, which supports candidates running for political office at the state level. But wait a sec, aren’t we doing pretty well when it comes to reproductive rights in New York state? Actually, not so much. As one of the show’s organizers explained on Facebook, there is still a majority in the State Senate “opposed to reproductive rights.” You, like me, probably assumed that these Biblical, stick-up-the-you-know-what holdups of complex, usually self-hating origin (I mean, Brad Patton, the shimmery blond and toothy-smiled gay porn star, made a really convincing Mike Pence) were reserved for rural representatives, the same guys (they are all guys, let’s be real) who wilt at the sight of a stray tampon string. Wrong-o again. Four of those PP-blockin’ pols are from our very own city.

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In Williamsburg, a New Zine Destination Snuggles Up With a Comics Store

(Flyer via Quimby's /Facebook)

(Flyer via Quimby’s /Facebook)

When Quimby’s opened up a few weeks back just off the Metropolitan stop, Williamsburg gained another hip little bookstore in an area where it sometimes feels like culture is on the way out. Thankfully, Quimby’s is the real deal, even if it’s a revival of a Chicago institution first opened by Steven Svymbersky in the ’90s.

But wait a minute, isn’t there already a specialty book store on the block? Yeah, there most definitely is: Desert Island, probably the best comic bookstore in the city, and maybe one of the most glorious shops dedicated solely to graphic novels and arty comics.

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We’ve Got Your Cat Camp Agenda Right Here, Right Meow

 (Photo courtesy of Cat Camp)

(Photo courtesy of Cat Camp)

What’s the only thing that could get hoarders, single ladies, animal breeders, professional witches, Japanophiles, Exotic Joe voters, and Instagram famous cats into one room? Cat Camp, which calls itself New York City’s “first feline-focused symposium” is coming the the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea on Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12, for a weekend-long program ranging from serious discussions led by cat experts to a meet-n’-greet with celebrity cat Lil Bub.

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Week in Film: Turkish Street Cats, Glue-Sniffin’ Delinquents, and More


Scrubbers
Friday February 3 (10 pm), Thursday Feb 13, (7:30 pm) Monday Feb 20 (10 p), and Sunday Feb 26 (5 pm) at Spectacle: $5 

“Punk” is maybe one of the most confused, contradictory, and misunderstood terms, like, ever. For some people it’s a lifestyle, a fashion statement, or a style of music, for others its Liberty Spikes and an ever-present leather jacket with pins and patches and even more spikes. In its simplest form it’s an immediately recognizable baditude, and boy do these ladies at an all-girls borstal (the British school system for juvenile delinquents) know a thing or two about punk.

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Now You Can Have Your Liquid Dinner and Eat it Too, Food Returns to Tørst

(Photo courtesy of Tørst)

(Photo courtesy of Tørst)

When Tørst opened along Manhattan Avenue back in 2013, as the official bar but not exactly brew pub of Evil Twin brewery, the brewmaster Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø attracted a lot of attention for upping his beer game even more. Known for its extensive and ever-rotating selection of beers, some rarely seen in the States, and many made by the kind of high-end microbrews that Jeppe was experienced in making himself, Tørst topped itself shortly after with the addition of an in-house restaurant.

At first glance Luksus– an extension of the bar’s overly-lit, Nordic minimalist setting– inspired a lot of gaggy, knee-jerk, and not so glowing reactions. But like frowny Nordic people themselves and, say, Ikea furniture, the restaurant grew on critics and customers, who seemed to get used to the stiff, hardened outer layer. That is, until chef Daniel Burns peaced out and Luksus abruptly closed, Michelin star and all. But, as of this week, Tørst is back in the restaurant biz, and a new chef seems to have taken notice of the initial criticism.

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Week in Music: Put Your Goth Pants On, ‘Opti-Mystic’ Beach Rock, and More

(Flyer by Madison Velding-VanDam)

(Flyer by Madison Velding-VanDam)

Sharkmuffin, Def. GRLS, Stringer, The Wants, Taottss
Tuesday January 31, 7:30 pm at The Knitting Factory: $10

Here’s a great way to get an early-week jumpstart on shaking out your iHunch, and you don’t even have to drop lunch-times-three to attend an oversold yoga class where you will probably just get a black eye anyway after getting kicked in the face by some newly enlightened finance bro trying to hold flying crow pose. (You know the type: he invaded your yoga class after joining Pantsuit Nation on Facebook and buying a bunch of expensive safety pins.)  Sharkmuffin is a super magnetic, neu garge, and occasionally surf rock-strumming threesome (or “glam-grunge,” as they prefer) who balance hard partying with “opti-mystic” vibes.

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Fancy Food Court, Gotham Market, Plunks Down in Fort Greene

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

With the opening of Gotham Market in Fort Greene this weekend, Brooklyn gained yet another fancy food market, adding to our city’s ever-growing assortment of what are essentially upscale mall food courts catering toward fresh-obsessed gastrodorks, stoner-bro cooks, hipster foodies with mad money to blow on artisanal popsicles, and vulnerable hangover zombies. Gotham Market, for example, swaps out Sbarro for Apizza Regionale, serving brick oven pizza, “locally-sourced Italian fare,” and charcuterie. For once, this isn’t just another outpost for the Smorgasburg empire– actually, as the ground-floor tenant at The Ashland, one of the new luxury high-rise buildings sprouting all over the “Brooklyn Cultural District,” it is something else entirely.

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Williamsburg Loses a Longtime Art Gallery, But First a Banger for the Ages

The Front Room says goodbye to Williamsburg this weekend (Photo courtesy of The Front Room)

The Front Room says goodbye to Williamsburg this weekend (Photo courtesy of The Front Room)

From the outside, New Yorkers might come across as exceedingly transient people who, for some reason, find joy in completely upending their lives and sacrificing what little pittance they make to participate in the moving industrial complex, forking over mountains of dough for stuff like brokers and “cleaning” fees, which don’t actually do anything except dig a pit for your money to fall into. The truth is that– for most people, anyway– moving is rarely the result of voluntary circumstances.

As we know, the cycle of buy-out/get-price-out hurts more than your wallet, it’s a real bummer for communities (i.e. real people) and cultural institutions as well. A few places defy all the odds and hang on through gentrification, and an art space called The Front Room is one of them. For 18 years, Kathleen Vanuce along with her husband and business partner Daniel Aycock, have operated their gallery in the front, and living quarters in the back (switching up the usual party/business arrangement), meanwhile Williamsburg transformed around them. This weekend, however, will be their last.

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Week in Film: OG Badass Babe Mildred Pierce; Purple Reign in Blood, and More


Purple Rain: Terror Beyond Belief
Friday January 27, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5 always

Ok, so I might be outing myself as a giant lame by admitting this but, until I came across this mind-blowing feature presentation, I had no idea that “détournement” is actually, like, its own thing. Basically, that’s just a fancy word for (re)appropriated movies that have been drastically altered and yet retain some of the original characteristics of their source films which tend to be instantly recognizable classics. The result is a chunky, weird-tasting at first, but then loveably gritty combination of parody/homage, familiar/totally alien, nostalgic/apocalyptic– or post-modern upchuck that could trick your grandma and scare the kids. In other words, it’s very punk.

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