Not too long ago, Michael Alan, the multimedia artist of Nude Thrift Shop notoriety, hosted an event at Bowery venue Teatro IATI and “really fucked up,” in his own words. “There was cake everywhere and, like, a bunch of bugs for months after,” he recalled. “I turned every person into a cake, and there was fish and garbage, for like a whole month I collected garbage. There was this infestation. They were really nice– they didn’t kick me out, they were just like, ‘Let’s take a break.’”
The former Pfizer plant at 630 Flushing Avenue on the Bushwick/Bed-Stuy/Williamsburg border is odd and massive, a veritable maze sporting a slew of office culture flyers and a strange sterile smell. No longer a biopharmaceutical plant, the building still mostly looks that way, making it a unique and sometimes strange home for local food companies, office workers, and also, art. Last week, the Re:Art show opened, transforming the fifth floor of the building into a massive art display. Some work was spread out over large hallways or slyly hidden among machinery, but in one mighty room was the vibrant “Fatter IRL” show, showcasing only work by artists who identify as fat.
Last week’s video of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault threw a giant dildo into a campaign that seemed impervious to shame, just as the candidate had almost started seeming more presidential (at least, in light of the spotty track record of previous presidents). As screwed up as the whole thing is, nothing in the video was all that surprising. The “locker room talk” only confirmed Trump’s image as a billionaire playboy who trades skyscrapers (his most phallic assets) like Pokémon cards, and gets whatever his little Trump desires.
“His whole image is vulgarly sexual in a way,” agreed Alfred Steiner, the curator of a very timely new art show. “And he’s played right into that the whole time.”
It’s rare when a music trend hits at all levels of the listener spectrum, but right now African music is resonating with everyone from pop junkies and passive, whatever’s-playing-at-the-club consumers to crate-diggers with eclectic collections and torrent combers with multiple hard drives devoted to the most obscure sounds they can find.
If you’ve been to Wild Torus events before, it’s likely you know all about their marathon performance-art benders and messy parties. Guests are necessarily a part of the events involving immense creation and destruction within the same night (or 48-hour marathon). My first Torus encounter was a mind-jostling, brain-crushing, chaotic mess. It was a crush of humanity, all soaked in sweat, and stuck with gloopy, sticky materials, under an onslaught of hypnotic drumming, loud-as-hell discordant synth drone, and anything and everything you can imagine.
I’m ashamed to say, The International Print Center New York, or IPCNY always gets tangled up in my brain with ICP– as in, yes, the Insane Clown Posse. But one thing you’re definitely not gonna find at IPCNY right now are white people dressed up like murderous clown folk who have yet to grasp some of the most basic, life-on-Earth concepts such as “stuff falls when you let go of it” and “some metal things stick together.” Instead, you’ll find a historically-minded, mind-mining show dedicated to a critical exploration of black identity in America from 1912 to the present by way of pulp.
Duchess Says is the ’80s freak-wave/post-punk band you never knew you were dying for. Hailing from Montreal, they’re out to prove that Montreal’s really gaining on NYC right now in every way. And who can resist a band that sounds a whole like like what would happen if the Cars and the Slits had two babies, both born under the darkest of stars, then those babies mated with Halloween incarnate, then all the resulting offspring started a band. Yup. Picture that one.
Saturday October 8 and Saturday October 15, 10 pm at Spectacle: $5
I trust that most of us here can agree that far too many films about sex and relationships are heteronormative, replete with sexist tropes, gender binarism, the male perspective, and/or female archetypes that are just godawful and tend to make those of us with brains in our heads question whether we are just totally insane for feeling zero identification with these boring storylines and banal characters. So we either play along, grumble and complain, laugh darkly, develop a self-depleting tick like methodically tearing out each and every hair on our heads, or avoid any sort of TV/film portrayals of romance and relationshits as if they were a postulating butt rash.
Even if GIFs are objectively one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to the internet, not everyone gets them. Humorless turds say that these grainy, animated loops are a passing fad, and a medium that’s prone to idiocy. Haters will continue to hate, but one criticism actually feels a bit true: GIFs lack nuance and are far too fleeting to communicate anything of substance. They’re the perfect metaphor for the kids-these-days refrain that our attention spans are shrinking. One recent and oft-repeated study conducted in Canada found that 2,000 participants, on average, measured a mind-bogglingly brief attention span of 8 seconds. Supposedly this means that in a competition between humans and goldfish, we’d lose to the fish.
This past weekend, attendees of Bushwick Open Studios had their pick of more than 400 participating art spaces around the Bushwick-Ridgewood area. The weather for the new October iteration of BOS– after years of holding the arts festival during the first weekend in June– was rather dreary, and we heard many attendees say that without the sunshine, the annual art celebration just wasn’t the same. Jan Van Damne, one of the many visitors wandering the private studios at 17-17 Troutman on Sunday, observed that things were “less chaotic” this year, but admitted to us that “springtime was an appropriate date” for the crawl. What was it, the weather? “No, no– it was just bigger before. New York City was waking up, so it was a great time for a creative festival.”
Last week, hundreds swarmed a Lower East Side gallery. They diligently lined up to see Bob, Linda, Louise, Tina, Gene, and others from beloved animated series Bob’s Burgers, immortalized within 75 works of art. Inside, the air was warm with bodies and beef (sliders were served all evening courtesy of Bareburger) and a certain delight pervaded the space. The gallery’s back wall was transformed into a life-size version of Bob Belcher’s animated restaurant counter, complete with actual ketchup and mustard bottles.
There’s been a bit of a stir surrounding this year’s Bushwick Open Studios. Firstly, they’ve been moved to this coming weekend instead of their usual summertime. There’s been a changing of hands in regards to who’s in charge, and supposedly a renewed focus on connecting with longtime locals rather than just hip, social-media-savvy (mostly white) artists and parties sponsored by Tumblr. The time has come to see how things have changed, and how they might’ve stayed the same. The jam-packed weekend can get overwhelming. Aside from all the artist studios that’ll be open (reason for the season), here are some highlights that might be worth your while.