Guilty Giraffe, Disco Cream, Sooner, Yairms Wednesday December 28, 8 pm at Sunnyvale: $10
Welcome back friends, orphans, Santa assassins, and gainfully employed. This is our time to shine. Join us in grabbing life by the tender parts while everyone else is still blubber-stuffed and belly-up on their parents’ couch, where life has little meaning, and existence sits somewhere between sleep apnea and dreams invaded by Wilford Brimley, who himself is napping, bloated and spread-eagle on a powder blue La-Z-Boy while diabetic sugar-plum fairies shimmy across his spittle-soaked mustache.
Last week, we told you about Soap Library, the “holistic” tape label specializing in cassettes that are not just objects to behold with your with your eyes and ears, but with your nose too. The brains behind this operation, Kerry Santullo and Rachel Barnhart–former co-workers at the Greenpoint-based Mexican Summer and, uh, current friends–decided to branch out from the predictability of the music industry machine, and go it alone with releases that are anything but “mechanical,” and instead occupy “more of a softer space.”
(Flyer by Brendan Winick, via Sunnyvale, Facebook)
White Rope, Fruit and Flowers, Sweet Baby Jesus, Grim River Tuesday December 20, 8 pm at Sunnyvale: $10
You’d be crazy to leave your apartment tonight, but if you’ve found a way to wear lipstick and keep your nose warm at the same time, then go for it. If you do so, you’ll be rewarded with some solid rock n’ roll vibes, possibly your last chance to get your fix before the holiday lockdown on all things happy and fun ensues.
The results of the election have churned up a tsunami of cultural backlash aimed at the incoming Trump administration’s rhetoric of hatred and intolerance (or, in at least one case, in support of it). There’s a lot of doom and gloom right now– hate crimes are on the rise as our new political era continues to take shape with increasingly horrifying cabinet appointments, from a conspiracy theory-touting Islamophobe as Secretary of Defense to a Department of Energy head who once called for the agency’s abolishment– even so, artists and cultural figures have banded together to express their dismay.
Some, like the Instagram campaign and public protest #DearIvanka, have infused political action with artsy weirdness, while others have just continued making the art they always have, the only difference being that the injustices they’re concerned with– the patriarchy, white supremacy, xenophobia– have seen something of a comeback as some Americans are once again proud to wear their prejudices on their sleeves (or Twitter feeds).
One recent X-Mas, three, maybe four years ago, my then-BF/now very much ex-BF, and I were out gift shopping (aka escaping family time), and making our way through every thrift shop we could find in our hometown. I can’t remember the exact year this all went down, but I can say with certainty that it was long before rumors of a Twin Peaks remake were circulating. I distinctly remember this BF grabbing something off a dusty bookshelf and clutching it close to his chest like he’d come across a $1.99 bowling bag full of hundo stacks. Actually, it was beat-up old cassette tape, though not just any U2 or Bon Jovi piece of trash, but the soundtrack to Twin Peaks.
You might have noticed that since the election, stories of hate crimes and swastika sightings have been everywhere. But the increase isn’t simply due to a greater public interest in issues like police brutality and racially-motivated violence– hate crimes themselves have actually been on the rise. And quantifiably so: in the first 10 days after Trump’s victory, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented 867 “bias-related incidents” across the country. (And yet, the government itself has no reliable way of tracking hate crime. “That’s because reporting of hate crimes is voluntary, not mandatory,” CNN reported yesterday.)
As New Yorkers, we live in one of the most progressive and diverse cities in the nation, so we might think that hate crimes only happen in rural America, and are therefore not our problem. Unfortunately, that’s just patently false. Back in November, Governor Cuomo said that the “ugly political discourse” of the campaign trail has only gotten worse, having transformed into an all-out “social crisis” of hate crime and intolerance. “This fear and this anger, misdirected, seeks an enemy,” he said. “It seeks a target and that target has become people who we see as different than ourselves.” Recently, Cuomo launched a Statewide hotline for reporting “incidents of bias and discrimination.” According to the NYPD, hate crimes have been on the rise in the last year right here in New York City– as of November 13, 328 had been reported since the start of 2016. (As Gothamist noted, that’s a 31.5 percent increase since 2015.)
Ok, that’s a little overwhelming. So how can we even begin to respond to awful garbage like this?
The Love Witch Thursday December 15, 4:15 pm at Nitehawk: $12
If you can play hooky this afternoon, do. Your first hideout should be Nitehawk’s last screening of The Love Witch, which (witch?) I’m kicking myself for not getting to until now. I blame it all on Anna Biller– the filmmaker has done such a convincing job of making this throwback film look like an actual piece of vintage sexploitation that, for-realsies, even after several once-overs I failed to realize is actually a brand new movie that I should definitely be paying attention to. I mean, even the movie poster (see below) looks exactly like an airbrushed box-office placard advertising some cheap-o, long-forgotten ’70s erotic thriller.
Tackling the topic of feminism is a monumental task for any art exhibition, let alone one that fits inside a downtown art space called White Box–which you already know, or maybe just guessed, is not all that enormous. Even if the curator had the MoMA to herself, a show like this would require some epic planning. And from the viewer’s perspective? Yeah right. Seeing everything in one go would be require an Odyssean attention span which, let’s be real, just doesn’t exist anymore.
So when curator Lara Pan was commissioned by the non-profit art space White Box to put together a show “about women,” she and her co-curator Ruben Natal-San Miguel came up with Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (on view through January 21), a 27-piece show that fits neatly within a realm of feminism she knows well. She may have felt compelled to whittle down the larger theme, but she managed to keep the feeling of an epic, history-sweeping, time-spanning, half-the-human-race, cross-culturally inclusive narrative. At the same time, the show defies what we’ve come to expect from women’s art exhibitions: those one-note, temporary deviations from the default (i.e. white men) that are plagued by tokenism, tiptoeing, stale themes, and work that’s about as revolutionary as a closet full of pantsuits.
One of Jared Kushner’s buildings, 118 East 4th Street, where tenants have taken legal action against their landlord (Photo courtesy of Streeteasy)
After months of pleading with Westminster City Living to restore cooking gas and address a litany of repairs in her aging East Village tenement building, Jennifer Hengen and other members of the 118 East 4th Street tenant association had reached their breaking point. “It was like waiting for Godot,” she recalled.
Not only had the building’s real-estate management company, headed by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, neglected to fix problems in her building, and many more across the neighborhood, but tenants felt as if the problems didn’t really matter to management. “We’re invisible to them because we’re not millionaires,” she said. “I just don’t think we’re taken very seriously– number one, because we’re not in one of the big, shiny buildings and, number two, because we are rent-stabilized.”
Queer Trash 4: It Gets Sleazier Saturday December 10, 8:30 pm at Alphaville: $10
Remember back when you’d regularly opt out of noise shows? The way things used to be, they were pretty much guaranteed to be dominated by white boys, unbathed (like, in a stilted way) and of questionable talent, who’d rather spend all night trying to make contact between forehead and concave chest for maximum gloom appeal, while dropping painfully lame hints about holding a copious stash of heavy drugs in an attempt to add mystery and subversiveness to their otherwise dull music.
Homogenous, standoffish scenes are just the worst. There is a silver lining, though: the backlash tends to be far superior than the priggish haughty BS anyway. Queer Trash 4 is no exception, and the queer noise acts they spotlight are carrying out the kind of insurgency that most noise makers only dream about.
If you’re a dedicated visitor of spots like Shea Stadium and Alphaville, you’ve inevitably seen or heard Sexy Neighbors. Going on seven years of recording together as a psychedelic post-punk do-whatever-we-want garage band, the odds that they’ve caught your attention are on their side, even if they’ve dwelled comfortably underground.
These days, there are countless ways to act like an entitled jerk even if you don’t go around launching empty Turkey’s Nest cups into McCarren Park (pretty sure NYC squirrels are just paid actors anyway). For starters, Amazon Prime, Seamless, Caviar, and eBay have all contributed to a massive increase in packaging waste. But starting this week, if you live and/or order takeout food within the Greenpoint area, you can sign up for a new eco-conscious initiative that will help you hate yourself a little less. Patrons of two local restaurants will be given free takeout food containers that can be returned to the restaurant for reuse.