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Performance Picks: 30-Year Christmas Carol, Queer Vloggers, Gay Hell

THURSDAY

(image courtesy of A Christmas Carol)

A Christmas Carol Year Five: Home For The Holidays
December 14-18 at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, 8 pm or 7 pm: $30

Marriages are technically a commitment for life. The team behind this deconstructed, imaginative, and wacky riff on A Christmas Carol directed by Andrew Neisler and told through the story of a fictional couple has chosen something no less ambitious, particularly for live performance: they will perform a version of this show every year, for thirty years. Now, they’re on their fifth year. Things are changing, but they show no signs of slowing down. So, come on down to whatever a “fashion and design accelerator” is and pay this kind couple (Ryann Weir and Andrew Farmer, who also wrote the piece) a visit. Though Farmer was the writer behind the recent series of spooky subway-centric tales, I assume this show will be more seasonal than spine-chilling. Also, it includes unlimited beer and wine. Keep Reading »

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Essex Crossing Announces Affordable Housing Lottery, New Market Vendors

115 Delancey Street, late November. (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

A couple of pieces of news today about the Essex Crossing development that’s rising above the Lower East Side as we speak. Three new vendors have been announced for the relocated Essex Street Market, and an affordable housing lottery launched today for 98 units in the same building.

The vendors set to join Essex Street Market when it relocates to 115 Delancey Street next year are Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, a local favorite whose wasabi, durian, and pandan flavors draw lines out the door on Bayard Street; Essex Shambles, an offshoot of uptown boutique butcher Harlem Shambles; and Zerza, a fast-casual offshoot of the same-named East Village Moroccan spot that will serve “whole-food, plant-based ingredients and organically sourced meats with Moroccan spices and Mediterranean extra virgin olive oils,” according to a press release form the NYC Economic Development Corporation.

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How Pepe the Frog Tried to Get His Groove Back: The Musical!

When Pepe the Frog was coopted by the alt-right last year, the cartoon amphibian’s creator didn’t exactly think, “Feels good, man.” Instead, he set out on a quest to reclaim Pepe. That effort has now inspired a “meme musical experience” titled Passion of the Frogin which the internet’s favorite hate symbol goes looking for love.

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Exhibitions To See: 8-Bit Reality, Kathleen White, Immigrant Women

(image courtesy of Catinca Tabacaru Gallery)

Lateral Thinking With Withered Technology
Opening Thursday, December 14 at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 21.

Though the title of this exhibition may call to mind a really wrinkly cell phone, it is in fact a reference to the ideology of the creator of the Nintendo Game Boy, Gunpei Yokoi. This sort of reference feels right at home when it comes to this show by Shinji Murakami, which will transform a gallery space into an illuminated augmented reality playland. His materials of choice tend to be more traditional, such as wood, plastic, and glue, but he also uses vast amount of LED lights. Altogether, this creates a homage to 1980s gaming, particularly the simple and nostalgic 8-bit aesthetic. In the midst of this 8-bit world, the artist has turned an LED panel into a real-time display of Elon Musk’s Twitter feed, a clear reminder that while the gallery may look rooted in the technology of the past, we are in the present, and it’s a present that may not be too far away from colonizing other planets. Keep Reading »

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SantaCon Photos: Drinking in a Winter Wonderland

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

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The joyous delight/pestilent scourge that is SantaCon brightened/darkened our city once again on Saturday, as thousands of red-suited revelers were disgorged from Penn Station into what happened to be a wet, glorious snow globe of an afternoon.

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Grassroots Tavern Will Close Dec. 31, After 4 Decades On St. Marks

(Photo: Razi Syed)

The Grassroots Tavern, an East Village institution for some 42 years, will close on Dec. 31. The owner of a Murray Hill bar is set to take over its subterranean space on St. Marks Place.

James Stratton, who manages the tavern with his co-owner Douglas Bunton, said the rent had just become too high for a business like the Grassroots. “We were not forced out by any means, it would just have required a radical change for the business and the way we operate,” he told Bedford + Bowery. “We basically decided we had to throw in the towel.”

The owner of The Ginger Man, a Murray Hill bar that has been compared to “Euro Disney’s vision of the classic Irish watering hole,” is aiming for a liquor license at 20 St. Marks Place. 

“It’s heartbreaking,” said a Grassroots bartender when we visited the bar Thursday. 

(Photo: Ben Rosenzweig for NY Mag)

“All the sudden, overnight, the rent skyrocketed, so we were put out of business,” said another bartender, Lawrence Carter, who has worked at Grassroots Tavern for the past 10 years. “It’s inevitable, I guess.”

Carter spoke wistfully about the sense of community that will be gone with the closing of the tavern. “We had any- and everybody from the old East Village, when it was musicians, artists and writers– they would all congregate at the Grassroots.”

Since hearing that the tavern might close, people have been coming in to say goodbye to the bar and reminisce about past nights out, Carter said. “I’ve met parents who’ve brought their kids in because the husband and wife met at Grassroots,” Carter said. “Now, they have adult children who they’ve brought back to the bar. Now, that’s gone.”

Robert Precious, owner of The Ginger Man, submitted a liquor license questionnaire to Manhattan Community Board 3 last month. In contrast to the stale popcorn at Grassroots, he plans to offer “casual restaurant fare” at a yet-to-be-named 23-table establishment, according to the questionnaire. Live jazz performances are slated to continue. Precious also owned another midtown bar, Under the Volcano, which was sold in 2008.

Opened in 1975, Grassroots has been a fixture on best dive lists; Gothamist admired its “tin ceilings, dark lighting and tap beers served in heavy glass mugs,” Travel + Leisure nodded to its “cheap pints and lack of attitude.” It has even appeared on Esquire‘s list of Best Bars in America, thanks to its “beer, darts, conversation. And enough gloom to keep the NYU students from making it a ‘college bar.'”

Some grew concerned about the bar’s future when it was announced, early last year, that its building had been sold

The shuttering of Grassroots follows that of another St. Marks Place institution, Cafe Orlin, which closed after 36 years in October.

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Protesters Say No Wei to Trump’s Travel Ban and ‘Tax Scam’

(Photos: Scott Lynch)

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Dozens of people assembled in Washington Square Park last night to express their anger and disgust with both the Supreme Court’s upholding of Trump’s Muslim Ban and the Senate’s passage of “Tax Scam” legislation. After more than an hour of speeches delivered before Ai Weiwei’s sculptural portrait of refugees, “Fences,” the crowd marched down Broadway to 26 Federal Plaza, and staged a die-in before the imposing, heavily guarded home of, among other things, Immigration Court and the New York City district field office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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SantaCon Location Comes Early

(Photo: Scott Lynch)

Breaking from a years’ long tradition of withholding its starting point until the night before, SantaCon announced last night that its red-suited revelers will first gather Saturday morning at the sprawling James A. Farley Post Office at 421 8th Avenue. Organizers reportedly made the early announcement as a bow to public officials who have complained that they needed more time to alert their constituents to the costumed boozers coming into their neighborhoods.

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