Now that you’re done binging on Black Mirror and Westworld, it’s good to know there’s a sci-fi film fest in the not-so-distant future. The New York Science Fiction Film Festival launches next Friday, January 20, and brings an intriguing slate of films to downtown venues like the Roxy Hotel Cinema and Anthology Film Archives. The schedule promises UFO cults, zombie attacks, breath mint ads for vampires, apocalyptic viruses, murderous humanoid robots, android clones of Philip K. Dick, and Winston Churchill battling Nazis with a group of time-traveling super scientists. There’s even a 360 VR experience simulating a Bohemian Grove-esque virgin sacrifice, set to music by These Machines Are Winning. Okay, then!
Arts + Culture
Opening Tuesday January 10 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through January 31.
Firstly, let’s discuss this gallery’s name. Sure, it sounds sort of pompous, in a cooler-than-you kind of way, and maybe that’s what they think of themselves. But the origin of this gallery is actually, well, cool. It exists within a “repurposed industrial icebox” in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, so it really is a cooler gallery. Plus, it seeks to display work that involves elements of manufacturing, so it’s aware of its roots. But enough about the gallery, let’s get to the show: artist Kate Hush makes massive sculptures of neon light, and what she is particularly trying to capture in her solo show, Female Behavior, are women and their so-called “wicked ways.” She writes of light being produced when bonds are broken, such as the cutting of a diamond, so she has crafted female silhouettes to portray those who are seen as cruel and conniving simply for being “sharp” or for cutting ties with a man who will then call her crazy. May women burn bright and powerful as much as they can, especially now.
Perhaps a mental exercise will help you cope with this frigid Monday morning: Imagine you’re on an island, in a field of grass. The summer sun is shining and water is sparkling all around you. You’re holding an ice-cream-topped egg waffle and Trent Reznor is yelling, “Slave screams!”
Snap off the icicle tears. We’re just 199 days away from that reality, because Panorama is returning to the shores of Randall’s Island on July 28. The weekend festival, which debuted last year with an epic LCD Soundsystem comeback, just announced the lineup for its second edition, and headliners include R&B crooners Frank Ocean and Solange on Friday, commonwealth acts Tame Impala and Alt-J on Saturday, and Lollapalooza throwbacks Nine Inch Nails and A Tribe Called Quest on Sunday. Others highlights include DJ Shadow, Future Islands, Belle & Sebastian, Sofi Tukker, and Cloud Nothings.
Nowadays, it’s common to see one generation insisting that the other will never understand them, whether its Jerry Seinfeld lamenting that college kids are “too PC,” the drag performer Lady Bunny balking at “crybabies” and new pronouns, or tweens making memes decrying the whole bootstraps thing (every Boomer’s favorite piece of outdated advice).
Given this disconnect, it’s not everyday that you see a generational cross section of people in the same room together, let alone actually listening to each other. This rings especially true for people in the queer community, who experience generational differences in even starker terms because of the gaping hole that the AIDS epidemic left behind. But bridging this gap is exactly what La MaMa’s Squirts: Generations of Queer Performance seeks to do.
Vapid & Screaming
Opening Monday January 2, 6 pm to 9 pm at 208 Bowery. On view through January 4.
Nowadays, gallery space in Manhattan is pricey, yet art is still being created left and right. For those still clinging on to the last kernel of hope that there is hope for the island, well, there might be something there. At least, for pop-up shows.
Take 208 Bowery–a former restaurant supply shop-turned-pop-up hub which recently featured a Drake-themed event, among other art shows and will now be the site of Vapid and Screaming, a pop-up show of work by “emerging fag, femme, and queer artists.”
Art Start Up!
Tuesday, December 27, 7 pm to 10 pm at Theater for the New City, RSVP by Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP
This Tuesday, one of the last independent East Village art spaces still hangin’ on, Theater for the New City, will welcome a group of artists as well as an array community organizations to engage in a conversation about the East Village and Lower East Side arts scene. There’s a lot to survey: the current state of things, what’s missing, what improvements should be made to best suit the community the arts (hopefully) serve, and economic barriers that may be in place. That last one is sure to be a long conversation.
If you’re still mourning the loss of Leonard Cohen last month, this may help: Film Forum is screening Tony Palmer’s classic documentary Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire for two weeks starting January 18. A lovely antidote to all those “Hallelujah” covers, the doc follows Cohen on a month-long tour of Europe in the spring of 1972, after his salad days in New York City. While it starts off with the obligatory footage of the band boarding planes and signing autographs (Cohen was already a big deal at the time, having released his first three albums), it soon takes a far more pensive turn.
Sure, you could spend your New Year’s Eve in a confessional, but that would be a sin. Instead, why not head over to The Stone and kiss this miserable year goodbye with some real legends of downtown avant-garde.
When the Public Theater announced that musician/producer extraordinaire Nile Rodgers would grace its stage in January, we knew our fingers would be on the trigger the second tickets went on sale (which, by the way, is today, December 22, at 2pm). But things just got a whole lot more interesting: On Tuesday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that Rodgers will be inducted during a ceremony at the Barclays Center in April.
How many times have you passed a city trash can overflowing with coffee cups and thought to yourself, “Damn, do the Olsen twins live around here?” Even in Greenpoint, where trash bins have been replaced by Big Belly solar compactors, you’ll often see the green beasts serving as unwitting Starbucks counters. What’s it going to take to end the scourge of empty cups? Does Camelbak need to come up with a coffee version, so baristas can pipe the brown stuff straight into our backpacks? Should we all start snorting caffeine in powder form?
The Perfect Play
Wednesday, December 21 at JACK, 7 pm: $15
Not much seems perfect in 2016, especially in these last few moments. However, at Clinton Hill art space JACK, experimental performance ensemble Banana Bag and Bodice will summon a crop of luminaries of the downtown theater and performance world in a grand attempt at perfection. If a pursuit of flawlessness makes your eyes roll into oblivion, let me clarify that what these folks are actually doing is staging their fourth annual adults-only musical weirdo version of the classic Nativity story. You know, the perfect child, the virgin birth, etc.? Perfect. There’s certainly a lot to unpack here. Particularly the virgin birth– I still have a lot of questions about that. But I trust that this merry gang of creators, who have also dreamt up concoctions like a Beowulf musical and an experimental piece on political prisoners scored by a soundscape of found objects like fishbowls and license plates, will do the whole thing justice. After the formal show, stick around for drinks and “special Christmas musical maneuverings.”
While you’re giving everyone gift subscriptions to Vanity Fair in the name of Donald Trump, you might want to check out a magazine that launched just a few days ago. It’s called DRØME (Scandinavian-stlye slashed Os are totally trending) and it has already hipped us to a short film featuring Eric Wareheim as a mutant Haribo bear.