When you think about classic horror flicks, the word “feminism” probably doesn’t jump out at you– those blood-bathed scenes are usually dominated by hot young women, running around helpless and screaming for their lives. But Spicy Witch Productions is turning the slasher genre on its head in their new repertory season at The Clemente, by exploring the fetishization of violence through the lens of an all-female creative team.
This is Happening
Any show that begins in full blackout long enough for the elderly patron next to me to start murmuring and glancing at the program with the light of his phone screen is one that is going to pique my interest.
Evening – 1910, a new musical written by Randy Sharp and Paul Carbonara (a former guitarist and music director for Blondie), has many interest-piquing factors. Indeed, it began in the pitch dark. It’s an entirely sung-through musical in a quaint and intimate space (the Axis Theater in the West Village) with a live band. It follows immigrants who arrive in the city in 1910. Some are showgirls at a failing variety show theater on the Bowery who dream of finding more fulfilling work, one is a man who enjoys using his camera. Their lives are interrupted by a rich man who intends to transform the theater into a cinema.
On May 20, the 50,000-square-foot Knockdown Center will become the site of a bold new experiment in live performance. Authority Figure, directed by performance/dance/sound artists Monica Mirabile and Sarah Kinlaw, is an immersive and participatory experience exploring themes of surveillance, authority, and obedience. Appropriately vast in scale, it features over 150 performers (including a child and a pregnant woman), and has been created with six choreographers, seven installation artists, and six musicians, including local faves Pictureplane, SOPHIE, and Hot Sugar.
Lucy Hearn recently did what so many musicians and artists before her have done when she made the big move to New York, hoping to find a bigger audience and a more “intense” environment. But instead of leaving Sydney, Australia behind in a flurry of middle fingers and broken shot glasses, Hearn (who fronts an indie pop band called Fieldings) is taking a piece of her hometown with her.
As an active member of the scrappy arts community in Sydney, she founded Strange Cuts, a rotating event that functioned as a live-music space, homemade goods market, and art show. On Saturday, May 21, at Secret Project Robot, Hearn and her organizing partner Caitlin Pasko of Drunken Piano, will host the very first Brooklyn Strange Cuts. It’ll feature performances by Fieldings as well as a slew of other local bands like Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk. Plus, there’ll be visual art and cool things to throw your money at brought to you by independent purveyors of handmade objects, garments, and book things.
If you care about the gold rush sweeping Brooklyn and you haven’t been listening to WNYC’s There Goes the Neighborhood podcast…well, you must be living under a rock (or maybe in Tribeca). The eight-episode capsule podcast, hosted by The Nation‘s Kai Wright, is required listening. From studying landlord and developer tactics to understanding people’s complicated relationships with their homes and neighborhoods, it goes beyond the constant stream of tenant harassment cases to really try to make sense of the historical and social context around the recent developments in the changing the city.
Will it be as uplifting as the impromptu tributes across New York City or the Purple Rain Day second line in New Orleans? It remains to be seen, but Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams has announced that he’ll host a celebration of Prince this Friday at Fort Greene Park. A press release promises three hours of his music, followed by an 8 p.m. screening of Purple Rain.
Coming your way faster than you can say “wayward seed deluge,” it’s the second iteration of what’s indisputably the artiest smut fest the world over. The NYC Porn Film Festival is returning June 4 and 5), uniting an actually-smart postmodern exploration of porn with an earnest, non-binary, non-heteronormative, super sex-posi celebration of sex on film.
This year, the organizers say they’re once again dedicated to “exploring human sexuality through art, audience participation, parties, live performance, film, virtual reality, and sex technology.” Even if it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be seeing Miley Cyrus on the bill again this year, there will be plenty else to set fire to your loins.
While Bushwick Open Studios is fighting back against the bro-vasion of a festival that started out, anyway, as a means of celebrating local artists and the neighborhood where they live and work, Greenpoint Open Studios has remained the nerdy (not actually related) little sister that never had to tell corporate bandits and party promoter tagalongs to beat it. We’re guessing this has something to do with the G train– whatever it is that’s holding back a heavy influx of too many non-art and non-Greenpoint related interests, keep doing what you’re doing.
OK, so there are a fewwww sponsored things going on this year at GOS, but the greedy capitalist overlords in this case are, like, a potato chip maker and Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. (oh, and one advertising interest, but we’ll get to that later). We’d be crazy to hate on free salty snacks and local beer! But remember: it’s all about the art and more than 300 local artists and their often pretty cool studio spaces.
The last time we saw Nasa Hadizadeh of Alt Space– the IRL art and fashion hub of Alt Citizen– it was January and she and her crew were so, so ready to cram their stuff inside a baby blue short bus and escape winter early by way of an enviable jaunt across the country. That’s exactly what Alt Space did after closing down its Montrose Avenue incarnation. Now, after a few months and some bumps along the way (including a broke-down bus), they’ve returned to Brooklyn with a whole new lease on pop-up life.
Its awning says Second Time Around is a thrift shop, but it doesn’t have all that much clothing on its shelves, and this weekend there won’t be any on its staff, either. On Saturday night, workers at the Bushwick store will actually be figure models, performing naked as part of artist Michael Alan’s Nude Thrift Shop. They’ll be painted by the artist until the place becomes a “naked, oozing painted weirdo shop” — and to top it all off, the backyard will host “a kiddie-pool naked dance party.”
“Have you been to one of our shows lately?” Reverend Billy asked me. The answer was– no, I have not. Not ever. In my chat with the eco-activist, author, and radical preacher who “prays to life on earth,” I was curious to know what in heaven’s name a Reverend was doing on the calendar at a Bushwick DIY venue like Market Hotel. But Billy’s explanation brought everything together for me. “They’re a little like mosh pits,” he explained. “It’s a punk gospel for life. It’s a laboratory for getting going again.”
A teaser like that is hard to turn your back on, and so is the Reverend’s larger environmental message: consumerism and “nation-state allegiances” stand in the way of our relationship with the Earth. As the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent, there’s a new kind of urgency to changing our ways, and Reverend Billy believes that calls for physical, direct action are the only way to foment radical change. But when he’s not putting his body on the line to preach against the further slaughter of the earth, the Reverend is hosting shows like the one happening this weekend at the Market Hotel. “I’m trying to preach here,” he said, exasperated. “And along with the choir, we’re trying to inspire activism in our audience.”
It’s been a month and a half since Northern Spy Food Co. left the East Village and took its coffee seltzer with it (luckily, we snagged the recipe). Now, its lovely space on East 12th Street is coming back from the dead one last time. Fleishers Craft Butchery, the other company co-owned by Christophe Hille, is doing a pop-up burger joint there next weekend. And just like LCD Soundsystem, Northern Spy’s beloved kale salad is making an unexpectedly swift return.
Friday, April 15 to Sunday, April 17, Fleishers will be cooking up patties made with its local, sustainable, pasture-raised meats, which you know and love from burgers like the one at Red Hook’s Grindhaus, named best in the city by Village Voice readers. The menu, below, will feature three varieties of burgers (including a bacon, egg and cheese number) as well as beef-fat fries and Northern Spy’s kale salad. (You know, to cut all the beef fat.) Beer, wine, and brunch bevies will also be served.
You’ll want to bring friends to this: for every burger downed at the pop-up, Trinity Lower East Side‘s soup kitchen gets six ounces of pasture-raised beef.
Classic American Burger – $12
Classic blend of NY State pasture-raised beef with American cheese, special sauce, red onion and lettuce
100% Grass-fed Burger – $13
NY State grass-fed beef with lettuce, tomato and onion
The Bacon Egg & Cheeseburger – $15
Made from NY State pasture-raised beef & bacon blend, sunny fried egg, American cheese
Beef Fat Fries – $6
Northern Spy’s Famous Kale Salad – $12
Fleishers Burger Pop-up, 511 East 12th Street, April 15 to April 17; Friday from 5:30pm to 11pm, Saturday from 11am to 11pm, Sunday from 11am to 4pm.