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Performance Picks: Comedic Compliments, Native Satire, All the Feels


(image via The Center for the Humanities)

This Isn’t Funny!: I, An Moron
Wednesday, November 8 at CUNY Graduate Center’s James Gallery, 7 pm: FREE

Comedy is a strange thing. Many write it off as merely jokes with little meaning, but comedy is one of our biggest and most pervasive cultural forces. So, be careful what you joke about, because hey, jokes do matter and it’s extremely easy to be very funny without tearing down marginalized groups. I see it happen literally all the time. Anyway, tonight you can see performance artist Dynasty Handbag perform their new work that riffs on “white activism” (#resist by buying this shirt about feminism!) and solo shows made by privileged heterosexual women with little self-awareness, which I also see happen all the time. After the performance concludes, the artist will be joined by Morgan Bassichis, Dominique Nisperos, Keisha Zollar, and moderator Bess Rowen for a discussion about the role of comedy in times of political unrest, and how one can utilize the genre to productively take on the establishment.


(flyer via Union Hall)

Boast Rattle
Thursday, November 9 at Union Hall, 10 pm: $10 advance, $12 day of

Ah, roasts. No, I don’t mean cookouts or that ceremony where you put the whole pig in the ground and take it out after a while. I am talking about the weird comedic ritual of hurling insults in a way some take as complimentary, ultimately. In my opinion, it is too easy to resort to cheap shots in a roast. Unless maybe you are roasting a white man who does not have many redeeming qualities. In any case, at this show you needn’t worry about expecting to laugh at any cruel or dumb retorts. In fact, Boast Rattle is a night of fierce compliments. So, you can sit back and watch Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Mike Drucker, Adam Conover, Shalewa Sharpe, and even Bizzy The Dog cook up their best words of praise to each other. Plus, this edition of the show is part of the New York Comedy Festival, so maybe you will feel fancier in the audience.


(flyer via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Every Feeling I’ve Ever Felt
Friday, November 10 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

When it comes to feelings, composer and musician Ellen Winter has many of them. So many, in fact, that she’s written an entire show to expose them all to you. Her one-night-only show at Ars Nova (where she also interned several years back) not only has a hefty dose of emotions all along the spectrum (and probably more than one or two tears), it also serves as a showcase of songs she’s written over the years, from renditions of punk songs past to new material from her upcoming solo album. With some rare actual good news coming from the most recent local elections and the inevitable advent of chillier weather and seasonal depression, I have also been feeling many types of feelings. It can always be a treat to experience them with a roomful of others, set to a handful of songs.


(photo: Theo Cote)

Don’t Feed The Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant
Now through November 19 at La MaMa, 7 pm (Sundays at 2 pm): $25, $20 students/seniors

One (and certainly not the only) group who has faced hundreds of years of oppression that still continues today is Native Americans. Though their land and livelihood is still largely disregarded today, illuminated by movements like that of Standing Rock and more, the struggles they face are not always splashed on the (virtual) front pages of the news. And when Native or Indigenous people are portrayed in fictional media, it’s equally uncommon that they themselves are the ones telling the stories or even playing the roles. That all gets turned on its head at Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective’s “greatest sideshow of Indigenous people you’ll ever see.”

Created by Murielle Borst-Tarrant of Spiderwoman Theater with music direction by Kevin Tarrant, Don’t Feed The Indians takes common Native stereotypes and subverts them in a satirical, musical night performed by actual Native artists. May the future only bring more and more work like this.

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This Man Has Spent 7 Years Unpacking the Mystery of ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’

Ben Sisto (right) with DJ Adrian Yin Michna at the conclusion of his talk.

Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who?

Ben Sisto spent an hour pondering that very question at Ace Hotel New York on Sunday night. Backed up by a detailed powerpoint and some items from his vast “Who Let the Dogs Out” collection, Sisto told a tale that stretches around the globe and is currently sending him on a small US tour.

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On Women’s Suffrage Centenary, Some Feminists Push For a Constitutional Convention

Yesterday marked 100 years since women won the right to vote in New York State. Activists used the occasion to urge New Yorkers going to the polls today to vote yes on Proposition 1, which would authorize, for the first time in 50 years, a convention to amend the state constitution.

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Churls Gone Wild: Trumpkins Party Down in Teaser For Onur Tukel’s The Misogynists

Back in May, when Brooklyn filmmaker Onur Tukel showed his Bob Byington-directed Infinity Baby at the Montclair Film Festival, he said his next one would be about “two Trump supporters in a hotel room partying and celebrating on election night.” Which was definitely intriguing, given Tukel’s penchant for mordant dialogue. Now we have a teaser for The Misogynists. The director neglected to mention that his film is about Trump supporters in a hotel room with hookers and cocaine.

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Yoko Ono Plants Her Flag On East 4th Street

East 4th Street just got a neat little Easter egg: You wouldn’t know it, but a flag designed by Yoko Ono is now flying above the cultural district known as Fourth Arts Block, between Bowery and Second Avenue. Look above Creative Time’s headquarters and there it is: a white flag imploring passersby to “IMAGINE PEACE.” It’s the latest installment of Yoko’s same-titled campaign of billboards, pins, posters, and online messages.

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Help Lit Owner Erik Foss With His Art Book and He’ll Tattoo Your Name Wherever

It’s too late to etch your name on the bathroom walls of Lit Lounge (it closed in 2003), but Erik Foss, an owner of the legendary East Village rock dive, is willing to etch it onto his flesh. Yep: He’s promising to get a tattoo of your name, anywhere you want it, if you contribute $10,000 to his forthcoming art book’s Kickstarter.

Foss and Colab Projects are planning to release the monograph, If These Were Songs They Would Be Sad Songs, and they’re appealing to all of you slouches who never paid for drinks at Lit. As of now, they’ve raised about $10,250 of the $25,000 they’re attempting to scrounge up for a book tour, with 58 hours to go.

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New Exhibitions: One Artist In Two Galleries, Beautiful Soup, Native Transformers

(image via Disclaimer Gallery / Facebook)

First, Play / Second Date
Opening Wednesday, November 8 and Thursday, November 9 at Disclaimer Gallery and Field Projects, 6 pm to 9 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm.

It’s common to see many artists showing work in one gallery show, but less so to see a singular artist (who isn’t a long-deceased master or buzzy household name) exhibiting at multiple galleries in the same city at the same time. Though this may be rare, queer artist Loren Britton is far from ordinary. Both exhibitions explore the confines and freedoms of bodies and language, specifically in regards to the queer and gender non-conforming experience.

At Chelsea’s Field Projects, their charming but rough paper pulp wall reliefs reside. Over at Bushwick’s Disclaimer Gallery, a sandbox installation rife with pastel, pulp, and radical politics makes its home. At the former, it’s recommended attendees “stay clean”; at the latter, “getting dirty is encouraged.” Rounding out the artist’s presence is a coloring book collaboration with artist/designer Laura Coombs; people are encouraged to fill in the book on their time between exhibitions. Keep Reading »

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Photographer Jessica Yatrofsky On How Writing Poetry Is Like Keeping a Dirty Diary

(Photo: Gregory Harris)

Brooklyn-based photographer and filmmaker Jessica Yatrofsky has employed a sparse, muted, and– dare I say- poetic aesthetic that explores both male and female bodies and the gender politics that ensnare those bodies. Yatrofsky has previously released two photography books, I Heart Boy and I Heart Girl, that both utilized natural light, yearning gazes, and diverse body types to undermine traditional representations of masculinity and femininity.

Language has always been a part of Yatrofsky’s oeuvre, particularly in her video work. Her film Photography is a History of Masturbation was recently featured in the Museum of Sex exhibition NSFW: Female Gaze. In the video, an androgynous nude boy poses while a narrator, speaking in French, asks the viewer questions like, “Is all art beautiful?”

For a new poetry book, entitled Pink Privacy, Yatrofsky divorces herself from images entirely and gets lost in the written word. As with her visual work, the poems are sparse and direct. But in this medium, Yatrofsky relieves herself of the burden of her work being judged based on the bodies of her subjects. “With photography, I feel more guarded because it [depicts] other peoples’ bodies,” she says. “Poetry is just me. The snarky way that I look at the world.”

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Elsewhere, the New Venue From Team Glasslands, May or May Not Have an Orgasmic Stage

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Last year, the team behind Glasslands, the show space that shuttered alongside 285 Kent when Vice Media took over their space on the Williamsburg waterfront, announced that they’d be moving a little bit east and investing $3 million in a new, 24,000-square-foot venue in a former warehouse. Elsewhere opened Tuesday with a Battles show that doubled as a Halloween blowout, and is already serving up a full slate of programming. We stopped by last night as ADULT. finished up their show and learned something interesting about the stage.

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Controversial Landlords Agree to Six-Figure Settlement in Bushwick Buyout Case

A protestor outside of the Joneses’ East Third Street building in 2012. (Photo: Laura Edwins for The Local East Village)

Two controversial landlords who paid tenants to leave their rent-regulated apartments in Bushwick have reached a $132,000 settlement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today.

Between June 2016 and July of this year, Graham Jones and his brother Greg Jones gave buyouts to 33 residents– more than a third of the tenants– of three Bushwick buildings they had recently purchased, at 946 Bushwick Avenue, 920 Bushwick Avenue, and 1075 Greene Avenue. While the buyouts themselves were not illegal, the Joneses failed to provide written notices to the tenants informing them of their rights, including their right to refuse the offer and/or consult a lawyer. The landlords said they were unaware of the law, passed in 2015, that prohibits building owners from offering buyouts without giving tenants written notice– an act that falls under the legal definition of harassment. Among other things, the notice informs tenants that landlords are prohibited from contacting them for 180 days, should the tenant refuse a buyout.

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