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Week in Film: Endless LOLs, an Acid Western, and Great Advice From Russians


i hate myself 🙂
Friday April 7 through Thursday April 13 at Anthology Film Archives: $11

Joanna Arnow’s Bad at Dancing  highly personal, and highly awkward documentary–appropriately titled i hate myself :)– makes Welcome to the Dollhouse look like a film about a well-adjusted family. Arnow sums up her motivation in the form of a question at the film’s outset: “Is James a good person to be dating?” Prepare to laugh your sphincter right out of your butt when the BF climaxes following a reluctant hump and tells Arnow sweetly: “Feels good, babe. Thanks for just lying there.” What a hero.

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Steve Earle Gets Theatrical, Philippine Dance, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Soho Rep)

Samara
Now through May 7 at the Mezzanine Theater at A.R.T. New York Theaters, 8 pm (select times at 3 pm and 5 pm): $35+

Though this show is playing up near Hell’s Kitchen, it’s commissioned by Soho Rep, the acclaimed and boundary-pushing theater that recently left its longtime home base on Walker Street, downtown, due to conflicts regarding what the building was zoned for and what they needed to do to operate the theater. Without any sign of stopping their production output, Soho Rep and artistic director Sarah Benson have been putting up shows elsewhere in the meantime.

Samara unites two downtown theater heavy-hitters, Benson and Richard Maxwell of the New York City Players. Maxwell rarely brings outside directors on board, but has asked Benson herself to direct his latest work. They’ve assembled a cast that is diverse in gender, race, and even age, as the ensemble’s age range is 14 to 92. Notably, the cast includes singer-songwriter Steve Earle, who has a storied (and Grammy-winning) career in American roots and folk music and has penned tunes recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and more. Earle has also composed music for the play, so whether you’re a fan of avant-garde theater or just good old-fashioned American grooves, you’ll probably find something to like about this show. Keep Reading »

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Kyle, a Cocaine Comedy, Aims to Have You Snorting With Laughter

Kyle, a ‘cocaine comedy’ (Photo: Jody Christophersen, courtesy of Frigid New York, Horse Trade Theatre Group)

Up until, ahem, pretty recently, you could get away with making the claim that as Americans we are far more enlightened than we were 50, or even 10 years ago. The numbers appear to support this–  fewer of us are going to church, the youngins among us are far more tolerant than the olds, 60 percent of us are down to see marijuana legalized, and best of all, this whole “Golden Age of TV” thing means that even our beloved Idiot Box is smart these days. We all know what happened next– which meant that progress was not only going to be stopped, but deported back to Angela Merkel’s lap and replaced by nonsense rhetoric (the “best people” are doing “tremendous” things to make the U.S.A. “great” “again”) and “alternative facts.” We are only a few months into this horror show, but the impact on art, and how we process art, is already being felt.

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Little Tong Noodle Shop Is Mixian It Up as of Today

Photo by Afra Lu

Let’s face it, ramen has had its day in the noodle-soup limelight. Now it’s time for mixian to take its rightful place among NYC’s noodle royalty. And who better to make this happen than chef Simone Tong, graduate of Wylie Dufresne’s old Lower East Side spot wd~50. After a series of pop-up preview dinners, Tong opens her mixian restaurant, Little Tong Noodle Shop, today in the East Village.

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Watch This New Show to Find Out What the Dogs of Tompkins Really Think About You

Something strange is happening in the American psyche right now. Just a few years ago, the heroes of New York City-centric comedy TV were disconnected 20-somethings with suspiciously fancy apartments who wandered the earth clueless as to why no one wanted to date their flawless Tinder profile/soulless body. Now, they’re much tinier creatures that we rarely notice IRL and if we do, we’re like gagging and pointing and screaming: “Gawwwwd, I think that rat is bubonic.”

Hot on the hoofs of Louis CK’s The Secret Life of Pets, and HBO’s Animals (which just returned for season two), a new animated feature from Brooklyn-based animation company Cartuna offers a peek at what these city-dwelling creatures see in us humans. Obviously, it ain’t pretty.

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California Invasion, Pop. 1280’s First Gig of the Year, and More Good Shows

Fred Thomas (Image via PopGun)

Fred Thomas, Kyle Forester, What Next? 
Wednesday March 29, 8 pm at Union Pool: $12

Back in 2007 when Saturday Looks Good to Me had found its way into CMJ, the Detroit Metro Times wondered, “Will Success Spoil Fred Thomas?” The short answer has turned out to be, no, not really. The slightly longer one is that Fred Thomas is a nice guy. So nice is Fred Thomas, that even after finding some well-deserved recognition in a fast-shrinking corner of music that is still confoundingly known as “indie rock,” he still does normal cool-dude stuff. He recently even stooped to record the lowliest trash-life punk that Detroit has to offer: the K9 Sniffies, whose members I hesitate to even call “musicians” (but who I am obligated to admit are my friends, or whatever).

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Week in Film: a Very Lynchian Retrospective, Full-Frontal Greek Mythology, and More


Metamorphoses
Saturday March 25 (10 pm),  Sunday March 26 (7:30 pm), Tuesday March 28 (10 pm) Thursday March 30 (10 pm) at Spectacle: $5, advance tickets available 

You know what’s cool about ancient Greek mythology? It looks good on almost anyone. Even 21st-century French people, as you’ll see in Christophe HonorĂ©’s new film Metamorphoses. It’s actually based on a really old poem–but you already knew that by the film’s title right? Metamorphoses (the original) dates to about 8 AD when this Roman dude named Ovid fused bits from more than 250 existing Greek mythos together to create a pretty wacky piece of non-linear literature that defies the standard didactic, A-to-B tellings that were popular back then. Thankfully, Ovid’s story is every bit as riveting as the OG mythos, which are always chock-full gore, guts, adultery, betrayal and, of course, horny gods mingling with orgy-prone mortals.

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What’s Up With the Giant Spikes Outside of Cooper Union?

Jan Palach Memorial at Cooper Union (Photo: Anaka Kaundinya)

Cube, meet spikes.

The Alamo returned in November and now another piece of monumental art is being installed outside of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. The sculpture, a nine-foot-by-nine-foot cube with spikes mounted on top, is by John Hejduk, an artist, architect and former Dean Emeritus of Cooper Union.

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Hairy Ape in an Armory, Patriarchy Smashing, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Chris Tyler / Facebook)

Not Normal: Intersection, Corporate Doubleteam, and Orangutan
Wednesday, March 22 at Irondale Ensemble Project, 8 pm: FREE

As long as politics are a hellscape, there will be artists to create work about it. Tonight, Not Normal will present a three-part evening all about the utter nonsense that seems to grow greater every day. Even the word “greater” seems tarnished now and conjures images of red hats and the pallid, fleshy faces wearing them.

In any case, the evening’s programing begins with The Intersection, an “artistic conversation about identity” spearheaded by a group of creators but open to the public. It’s dubbed a discussion “jam session” of sorts. Next is Chris Tyler’s Corporate Doubleteam, a play about how the white boys will play when the Trump is away, and by “play” I mean do a circle jerk potentially involving an intern. Haven’t we all been there? Closing out the night is Orangutan, a one-woman show written by Troy Deutsch and performed by Kristina Mueller all about the curious character of Trump’s mother. If you’re feeling generous, the show will also be accepting donations for Planned Parenthood.

THURSDAY

(image via Knockdown Center / Facebook)

Incarnata Social Club
Thursday, March 23 at Knockdown Center, 8 pm: $10 suggested

The experimental art salon started in a basement by Kembra Pfahler and Orlando Estrada has moved on to bigger digs, taking up residency in the massive Knockdown Center this Thursday. A fittingly sizable lineup will be showing work, with a bill comprised of Social Club regulars and newcomers alike, including Nandi Loaf, Chris Cole, Whitney Vangrin, Cameron Cooper, Shawn Escarciga, and more. Anyone with a bigoted attitude will presumably be booted, as Estrada proclaims the show a “queer, femme, trans, POC, GNC safe space” and a “no shade zone.”

FRIDAY

(flyer via New York Neo-Futurists)

The Neo Show: Smash the Patriarchy
March 24-25 at The Kraine Theater, 10:30 pm: $20

The New York Neo-Futurists have recently rebranded their recurring show, formerly known as Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, but they’re still up to the same artistic madness. Which is to say, they’re definitely still trying to do 30 short and strange plays in 60 minutes. Or, at least “a barrage” of short plays in an evening. This weekend, in a reprisal of sorts of their popular Too Many Ladies show last year, an all-female cast of Neo will be taking over the Kraine Theater to strut their stuff and dismantle some oppressive systems in the form of many feminist short plays. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for this show to include a literal smashing of the patriarchy, as the Neo-Futurists pride themselves on their unique technique of creation in which everyone plays themselves and what they are doing in the moment is true. Aside from that, they’re up for anything.

SATURDAY

(image via Park Avenue Armory / Facebook)

The Hairy Ape
March 25-April 22 at Park Avenue Armory, various times: $30+

The glorious Park Avenue Armory will see a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic 1921 expressionist play The Hairy Ape, starring Tony-nominated actor Bobby Cannavale. The Armory is no stranger to elaborate theatrical productions, acting as host to such spectacles as Paul McCarthy’s grotesque and sprawling WS installation. The production, directed by Richard Jones, initially appeared at The Old Vic in London. Its subject matter is certainly relevant for American audiences, as it centers around a worker who seeks for belonging amidst a sea of the filthy rich, including those found in the money-laden areas of New York. Will capitalism ever be dismantled? Not if you spend money on this play, I guess.

SUNDAY

(flyer via In the Works / Facebook)

In the Works
Sunday, March 26 at The Duplex, 9:30 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors plus a 2-drink minimum

Spend your Sunday taking in the musical stylings of several new composers at this edition of the In the Works series, presented by Honeck-Moss Productions. The evening will showcase a handful of composers, each presenting about 15 minutes of newer material that they are working on. This time around, you’ll hear pieces from patriotic songbird Marcus Goldhaber, edgy belter and rock opera creator Terra Warman, and “piano troubadour” Peter Trevino, who has collaborated with members of Journey and The Foo Fighters.

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Week in Film: Cinema Kink a-Go-Go, a Chloë Sevigny Retrospective, and More


Cinekink NYC
Thursday March 16 through Sunday March 19 at Anthology Film Archives: $11 individual screenings, $45 to $85 for all-access pass (get your tickets here) 

Fet culture and cinema? I mean, duh, guys, they’re a match made in heaven– er, whichever circle of hell doms and bronies go to. (Dunno about you guys, but that’s where I’m hoping to end up, Lucifer willing). That’s why Cinekink NYC– which clears up any confusion by calling itself “the kinky film festival”– is popping off this week for its 14th year.

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Get Beamed Into an Alien Afterlife via This Trippy Video Game and Gallery Show

Taken by yours, mine, & ours gallery

You wake up in a hospital. There is a doctor standing over you in scrubs, running his hand down a clipboard, a mask pulled tight across his face. There’s a vague beeping behind you and the sounds of miserable sobbing coming from somewhere. The beeping grows longer and louder until, all of a sudden, it flat-lines and your consciousness (soul? being?) rises up out of your body. “Let me tell you a secret. . .” a calm, female, British voice says from somewhere as your consciousness floats into a cosmic, hallucinogenic light show on the way to your alien afterlife.

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Patti Smith Sang Some Lou Reed at a Gala For Anthology Film Archives’ Expansion

Video courtesy of Jonas Mekas

I don’t know about you, but galas are not an everyday thing around these parts– the closest this reporter’s been to a real black-tie-and-gown affair was high school prom, which didn’t even really happen because my date got arrested. So needless to say, when I was somehow allowed to crash the Anthology Film Archives gala –a fancy fundraising party and art auction held last week to raise cash for the theater’s expansion– I was just slightly out of my realm. It was made all the more surreal by a performance from Patti Smith, and seeing people like John Waters, Zosia Mamet, and Zac Posen’s eyebrows all in one room.

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