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Get Woke and Dodge the Oscars With This Week’s Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(flyer via Woke AF / Facebook)

Woke AF: A Mind-Opening Variety Show
Thursday, March 1 at UCB East, 11 pm: $7

Minds are like doors, I guess. Some are closed and some are open and some are in between and uh, some have doorbells? I’m working on it. Instead of trying to continue this bit, let’s get to the point here: Woke AF is a comedy variety show that aims to open your mind by exposing you to a diverse group of people waxing poetic/comedic about social issues they feel particularly attached to. Maybe it’s a topic you’re well versed in but have never heard joked about lovingly, or maybe you’ll learn something totally new. However your mind will react to this proposed awakening, you can expect to see ruminations of all sorts from Jes Tom, Corin Wells, Timothy Dunn, Glorilis Tavarez, Jesse Roth, and Kami Dmitrova. Just remember not to be too performatively woke, even if this is a performance. Keep Reading »

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City Life, Bodily Resistance, and More Art This Week

(image via Tina Kim Gallery / Facebook)

Jeong
Opening Wednesday, February 28 at Tina Kim Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm.

You’re probably familiar with the most common way to write music, with notes on a staff, even if you can’t read music yourself. But did you know there are other ways to do it? One of them, the Korean system Jeongganbo, dates all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty, which began in 1392 and ended much later, in 1910. Rather than using a staff system, it uses a grid system, with each note taking up a square in sequential order. Seoul-based artist Suki Seokyeong Kang was drawn to this geometric composition technique, and has created a series of “visual translations” of Jeonggabo in her new solo show at Chelsea’s Tina Kim Gallery. The show is mostly sculpture based, in a way that attempts to put forth both logic and harmony. Perhaps after exploring, you’ll come away with a subconscious new knowledge of how music can be made. Keep Reading »

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Here’s What It Looks Like When People Pie an Artist in the Face

(Photo courtesy of Jason Schmidt)

Jennifer Rubell has been on the receiving end of a pie-five for about nine nights thus far, and she still has 14 more to go. Since Feb. 8, the Meredith Rosen Gallery has been home to Rubell’s Consent, an exhibition of her newest works. Visitors have been invited to admire the artist’s paintings and, while you’re at it, smash a pie into her face.

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Meditations on Lip-Locking, and Other Art Shows to Catch This Week

Camae Ayewa/Moor Mother, detail from He’s Got the Whole World, 2017 (image via The Kitchen)

Camae Ayewa / Moor Mother
Opening Wednesday, February 21 at The Kitchen, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through March 17.

Camae Ayewa, who some may know by her musician moniker Moor Mother, is a truly multifaceted artist. She writes poetry, pens and performs visceral electronic noise protest songs referencing black activists and theorists, photographs, leads community workshops, makes collages, and if you’re impressed already, that’s merely a partial list of what she’s capable of. If your curiosity has been piqued, head on over to The Kitchen for a comprehensive look at Ayewa’s creative output and process. Though this is an art exhibition, it’s so much more than that; created as an accompaniment to her second solo album (and its subsequent instrumental accompaniment), the show delves into the album’s creation and inspirations by way of collage, film, soundscape, and poetry. On March 6 and 7, Moor Mother will take to the stage. Keep Reading »

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A Yarn About the Christopher Street Tree Cozies, Coming Down in April

(Photo: Ben Brandstein)

In November of last year, amid the aggressive grey that is winter in New York City, Christopher Street was overrun with color. From Hudson to Bleecker, someone had swaddled the trees in different shades of crochet. Nearly 1,500 squares of lavender, mint green, cobalt, powdered pink, and egg-yolk yellow lined the sidewalks. Passerby began posing with them, Instagramming them, calling them “tree cozies.” Parents admired the eight-foot-tall sweaters with their children, asking aloud which ones were medium, which ones were large. As it turns out, the trees of Christopher Street were clothed by Holly and her aunt Polly.

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Art This Week: Chapels, Cryptids, Self-Portraits

(image courtesy of Cooler Gallery)

Chiaozza Chapel
Opening Tuesday, February 13 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm.

Everyone’s favorite Navy Yard industrial icebox turned gallery is at it once again with a new exhibition by artistic duo Chiaozza. While their show’s name, Chiaozza Chapel, may sound like an old piece of ornate architecture you’d learn about in art history class, their work is certainly very modern. However, it’s still an actual chapel, at least in the formal sense of the word. The duo has transformed a small 6’x7’ section of the space into a colorful, geometrical space for contemplation and gathering. If you’re old-school, think of the structure within as a kind of modernized, minimalist stained glass. Personally, I think it kind of looks like a nice, stylish condo for birds. Keep Reading »

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Tartt House Film: The Goldfinch Begins Shooting in the Village

(Photo: Libby Torres)

The highly anticipated adaptation of Donna Tartt’s 2013 novel The Goldfinch began filming in Greenwich Village this Friday, with film crews taking over sections of 11th and 12th streets between 5th Avenue and University Place. In case you were living under a rock in 2014, The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction that year, and was selected as one of the 10 best books of 2013 by the New York Times Book Review.

The novel is a Dickensian bildungsroman; it tells the story of Theodore Decker, who becomes involved in art theft and forgery after a troubled childhood. Ansel Elgort is reportedly set to play the adult Theodore, while Finn Wolfhard (yes, of Stranger Things fame) has been cast as the younger version of Boris, Theodore’s childhood friend. Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, and Jeffrey Wright are all supposedly part of the cast as well.

While the film unfortunately won’t be released until 2019, you might as well get started on the book in the meantime– it’s a whopping 784 pages long.

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Responses To The Inauguration Anniversary, And More Shows To See

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Citizens United II: What Happened?
Wednesday, January 17 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

If you couldn’t tell from the title alone, this is a political show. Though just to clarify, it’s not a staged reading of the Hillary Clinton book. At least, I don’t think it is. “Leftist performance collective” Citizens United returns once more to the Ars Nova stage to parse through these troubled political times by way of drag shows, poetry, performance art, punk music, and more. The group joins the many artistic efforts happening this month to commemorate-slash-mourn the one-year anniversary of the presidential inauguration. In fact, the last time Citizens United brought their unique stylings to the stage was January 2017. What has happened since that fateful month is dizzying and often cringe-worthy to think of, and possibly perfectly summed up by a night of chaotic performance. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Marking a Year of Resistance, and More


“America” ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE artwork by Touba Alipour

One Year of Resistance
Opening Tuesday, January 16 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through February 4.

Though it feels like several eternities, it’s been about a year since Trump was inaugurated. A large array of artists have been asked to channel their rage and other such emotions into their work, resulting in the wide spread that is One Year of Resistance, a group show at The Untitled Space in Tribeca. This gallery is no stranger to art that responds to the current political climate; the month of the 2017 inauguration they presented group exhibition Uprise / Angry Women. For One Year of Resistance, which serves as a follow-up to Angry Women, curator and gallery director Indira Cesarine has asked over 80 artists of all genders to contribute work inspired by “the controversial policies and practices of our current president.” The work ranges from literal depictions of Trump to more symbolic renderings of #resistance. Can you believe it’s only been a year? Keep Reading »

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Under the Radar Festival and More Must-See Performance

A scene from Antigonón, un Contigente Épico, running January 10-14 at The Public Theater as part of The Public’s 14th Annual Under the Radar Festival. (Photo: Lessy Montes)

The Public’s Under The Radar Festival
January 4-15 at The Public Theater and other venues, various times and prices.

It is time once again for the slew of winter theater festivals that usually fill the month of January to its very brim, and cause many an artist to triple-check their schedule and/or wallets to see how they can make it all work. Beginning on Thursday is one of the most notable fests, Under The Radar, presented by The Public Theater. Though it’s only 12 days, there are more than 155 performances across five venues. Even slightly pondering that gives me scheduling-related anxiety.

A brief sampling of highlights: Roger Guenveur Smith and CalArts’s piece exploring the New Year’s Eve concert Jimi Hendrix played in 1969 in NYC, queer ensemble Split Britches’s meditation on anxiety and doomsday created in collaboration with local artists and elders, a concert of work by Erin Markey and Emily Bate, harunalee’s exploration of how memory can be gendered and racialized, Cuban company Teatro El Público’s underground drag-cabaret version of Antigone, and more. There is truly so much more. Keep Reading »

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

WEDNESDAY

(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.

THURSDAY

(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.

FRIDAY

(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.

SATURDAY

(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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Performance Picks: Immersive Witchcraft, FMK, Branded Comedy

THURSDAY

(flyer via Branded Content: A Corporate Variety Hour / Facebook)

Branded Content Presents: Whole Foods
Thursday, November 2 at Pine Box Rock Shop, 8 pm: FREE

Ah, it appears the brands are at it again, my friends. The brands are always at it again. In this case, the brands are going seasonal, as the weather is finally getting colder some of the days but other days it feels like summer still and the earth will surely burn to a crisp sooner than we know it. Anyway, while we still have time on this strange planet we call home, you might as well spend a Thursday night watching some free comedy at a show that is all about the perils and peculiarities of brands and their content. The evening is hosted by Simone Norman and Jackson Fisher, and features Jay Jurden, Jeremyah Schur, Mary Houlihan, Kate Dellis, Gianmarco Soresi, and Chanel Ali, with a little help from the biggest jokester of all, Whole Foods. Keep Reading »