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VR Meditation, A Day to Combat Rape Culture, and More Art Affairs This Week

(flyer via Babycastles / Facebook)

Mind Portals
Opening Thursday, April 27 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $10-15 sliding scale. On view through May 12.

Babycastles has done a pretty good job framing itself as the place to be when it comes to wacky tech-driven art and indie games. This Thursday’s opening will be no exception, as they will be unveiling a host of new video games, VR experiences, and multimedia installations. You can “follow an aries goat on an herb walk” (whatever that means, I’m intrigued) in Young Ascension Hypnosis’s VR video, relax and kick back in Avalon’s sound and flower installation “The Garden,” and find yourself in a flurry of disembodied hands and techno music through Palgal’s cleverly named video game “Palmystery.”

If this opening wasn’t internet-centric enough, net artist Molly Soda will be DJ-ing for the night as well, in addition to sets by Good DJ with High Speed Music, Neo Edo, and A Pigeon Is Born. Keep Reading »

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Three Shows You Won’t Wanna Miss This Week

(Flyer: Dealer)

Tournament, Big Huge, Barbed Wire, Dealer
Saturday April 15, 8 pm at The Glove: $10 

Grow a pair (or a pear?) and show your face at this pair of shows featuring some unfamiliar faces and others you know well. But don’t expect some double-mint/doppelgänger situation either, as these shows are mirror images of one another in a variety of ways.

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Art Openings: Augmented Reality Voyeurism, Tattoo Art N’ Meatballs, + More

(flyer via Slide To Expose / Facebook)

Slide To Expose
Opening Thursday February 23 at Babycastles, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 9.

This “collaborative augmented reality installation” is created by Molly Soda, Nicole Ruggiero, and an augmented reality app called Refrakt. If you’re confused about what augmented reality is, recall Pokemon Go. Two creators known for their “net art” collaborating with a literal app sounds like a match made in heaven. And it seems to be: Slide To Expose plays on themes of digital intimacy and privacy, but does so by asking viewers to scan objects in the gallery to reveal hidden pieces of a life online, like emails or text messages.

On the one hand, art all about online expression and how technology affects our lives can seem like old hat. On the other hand, if you’re getting another chance to take a peek into how an individual person expresses themselves online specifically, you’re going to be getting a unique and different experience every time. Plus, you’re doing so through scanning stuff. When any object could contain a secret, why not give it a whirl? Keep Reading »

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Week in Film: 8-Bit Computer Wars, Women Do Horror, and More


Harlan County, U.S.A.
Friday February 17 through Wednesday February 22 at The Metrograph: $15

Lately we’e seen some pretty intense and protracted protest movements fighting it out against the seemingly impossible-to-topple Powers That Be, and in some cases actually succeeding in their effort (or lasting much longer than anyone could have guessed).

Flashback to 1974, Southeastern Kentucky: a group of coalminers and their families organized against the Eastover Coal Company– one of those Coal Country corporate machines that own whole towns and everything in it. If you want to hear more about what it was like to be a director embedded in such a massive strike, be sure to go tonight at 7 pm for a special Q+A with the filmmaker Barbara Kopple. Because this film takes place in Appalachia, it would be absolutely criminal to proceed without a banjo, so the night includes a live performance by Appalachian musician Jack Morris, whose father David Morris was featured in the film’s soundtrack.

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Week in Shows: Teen Dreams Abound, Discover Digipoetics, and More

(Flyer by Alec Lambert)

(Flyer by Alec Lambert)

The Night Before: Retail, White Rope, Deli Girls
Thursday January 19, 8 pm at The Gateway:$5 in advance/ $8 at the door

Well, there’s a super compressor of shows happening this week between now and, as The Gateway calls it “the inevitable.” And we can’t think of a better way to keep your spirits up and get the ol’ body machine moving than a Retail show. You’ve probably seen retail, since they’re one of the hardest working bands in Brooklyn, a borough full of musicians who churn out records, shows and, in Retail’s case, self-replication by way of march, at a grind-till-death pace.

The question is whether that has been in the form of a sticker stuck to a dive bar bathroom door, or at an actual show— but if you know, then you know. If you don’t, you gotta go. The band’s new record Dead cranks it up by nearly every measure, with face-blasting screams that have the kind of sharpness shaped only by scar tissue. It’s majorly fast, unadulterated hardcore. In other words, total catharsis.

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At Babycastles ‘Super Hot Ronny’s Rumble’ Will Feature Real-Life Helicopter

(Flyer via Babycastles)

(Flyer via Babycastles)

You’ve been waiting your whole life for this moment, I can feel it. And now you finally have a chance to say “It’s not a tumor!” in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice and really, really believe it. Or wait– sorry, wrong movie. That’s Junior, everyone’s second favorite Schwarzenegger film. The first is Predator, of course, which Babycastles has invoked to emphasize just how real this 100 percent real helicopter’s gonna be at Super Hot Ronny’s Rumble. The video game collective and DIY art gallery’s competitive indie games tournament is back and it’s kicking off Saturday morning(ish) with a race to the helipad. First person to “Get to the choppa!” wins big at this “very lol” event.

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At Babycastles, Squinky Makes Video Games For The Awkward in Us All

(photo: Clement Shimizu)

(photo: Clement Shimizu)

As we’ve mentioned recently, DIY art and game space Babycastles has been working hard to offer alternatives to the often exclusionary world of video games, showcasing work by indie game designers and artists who reveal that yes, there can be more to video games than mindless shooting and the Mountain Dew-guzzling men who often play them.

The previous exhibit on view was Toronto-based Kara Stone’s The Mystical Digital, offering a witchy and introspective take on games, with selections like Techno Tarot, where a robot gives you a detailed tarot reading, and Cyclothymia, a narrative exploring connections between emotions and astrology.

Another Canada-based game designer and programmer, Mx. Dietrich “Squinky” Squinkifier, has similar wishes to disrupt the tired norms in video games and video game culture. Rather than appealing to one’s inner mystic or the Bushwick dwellers who frequent places like Catland, Squinky’s games are more familiar to those who might stay in on a Friday night, presenting playable stories of awkward social interactions and small Claymation creatures of indistinct gender.

The Montreal-based artist’s second solo exhibition, Squinky Hates Video Games, is a compilation of work from the past three years in the form of ten different games, some of which were created during a stint at UC Santa Cruz’s Digital Arts and New Media MFA program. Squinky completed the program in 2015, and was recognized by Forbes that year as one of 30 Under 30 in Games.

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At The Mystical Digital, Video Games Can Be Witchy Too

"Cyclothymia" and "Ritual of the Moon" on view at Babycastles (Photo: Kara Stone)

“Cyclothymia” and “Ritual of the Moon” on view at Babycastles (Photo: Kara Stone)

The term “gamer” usually conjures up a torrent of awful connotations– an exclusively white-male circle jerk where the only manifestation of “diversity” is between the Cheetos-stained 4chan nerds with a sunlight problem and fedora-wearing MRM creeps who fancy themselves activists. You can catch all of them gushing over first-person shooters and probably trading furry porn at a LAN party, a place where anybody else wouldn’t be caught dead.

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Performance Picks: PowerPoint Presents and an Appearance by Ronald Trump

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Bushwick Starr)

(image via The Bushwick Starr)

Ike At Night
Now through June 4, Wednesday through Saturday at The Bushwick Starr: $18. 
Acclaimed comic performer Ikechukwu Ufomadu hosts a talk show of his own creation at the Bushwick Starr. Each night is different, featuring a new selection of handpicked artistic guests each time, including  B+B fave M Lamar, theatre director Richard Maxwell, performance group Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble, The Dance Cartel choreographer Ani Taj, and more. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Crime-Fighting Orphans, Sperm Stories, Work By Indigenous Women

WEDNESDAY

(image via Andrew Benedict)

(image via Andrew Benedict)

Orphan Action League
Continues every Wednesday through June 1 at The Annoyance Theater, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 8:30pm. Tickets are $10. More info here
An eccentric orphaned millionaire who found success in a children’s book series about orphan children has now taken his fictional dreams into the real world with a hand-selected group of crime-fighting orphans called, fittingly, the Orphan Action League. Follow their adventures (including some neat choreographed fight scenes and a fully-produced original theme song) weekly at The Annoyance with this show by Andrew Benedict, directed by Annie Donley. There may be no parents, but there will certainly be chuckles n’ thrills.

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Ashok Kondabolu of Das Racist Curates a Show Inspired By Things That Make Him Go ‘Whoa’

(Photo: Joe Perez / Babycastles)

(Photo: Joe Perez / Babycastles)

Somehow, it makes perfect sense that Ashok Kondabolu‘s art exhibition and ideas convention puts fake Rolexes, early ’90s TV commercials, and the Ramayana (a Hindu epic poem that dates to the 4th-century BC) on equal footing. The guy talks a mile a minute, ideas both hairbrained and right-on spilling out of his mouth. Sometimes he veers off into sounding like that friend who’s really smart but smokes way too much weed. Ashok is definitely less hazy, but you’d still be wise to shrug off some of the goofy madness and self-conscious humor. Beneath it all there are nuggets of brilliance and speedy ambition, the products of which are on full display at Yo Fight My Mans, which opens tonight at Babycastles.

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Pound a Pint, Help Print This Informative Guide to the Bushwick Housing Crisis

map of vacant lots (Photo: Parsons)

map of vacant lots (Photo: Parsons)

You’d have to be living under a rock to be surprised to hear Bushwick is undergoing some explosive changes. It feels like streetscapes here are transforming faster than anywhere else in the city and many longtime residents feel they’re losing grip on their neighborhood. But Bushwick is in a strange limbo right now. While the northeast corner is bubbling over with ritzy new restaurants, bars, clothing stores, and art galleries, all increasingly patronized by German tourists and chiseled young bro dudes with man buns, for now at least the southern section closer to the graveyard has resisted these striking demographic shifts and skyrocketing rents. “We need to make moves now,” explained Drew Vanderburg, a resident of Bushwick and a graduate student at Parsons in the Design and Urban Ecologies program.

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