Under the Radar Wednesday January 4 through Sunday January 15, various showtimes at The Public Theater and other spaces: $20 and up
Ah yes, it’s that time again, when the slew of January performance festivals sail in every winter to overwhelm you with a seemingly endless supply of shows. One of these is The Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival, which presents a wide variety of music, performance, and more from artists based across the U.S. and all over the world.
“Honestly, I just wanted a festival and to throw a big party,” says Coree Spencer of her forthcoming Cinder Block Comedy Festival. As lighthearted as that seems, Spencer organized the festival on her terms in order to challenge the ongoing status quo in the comedy world.
If watching this dub-step blasting, Benzedrine-fueled trailer moves you toward a migraine, you might assume that you’re too old for Low-Level Festival. I mean, isn’t this the sort of thing you’d find on Snapchat, anyway? What’s it doing on a slow-load medium like YouTube? In a way, you’re right– Low-Level is incredibly future-oriented and nearly everyone involved is so now, in mind and body, that they make Tavi Gevinson look like the Cryptkeeper. They’re hyper-concerned with the latest existing technologies and the kind of people who can actually understand what the last wave of Millennials, or kids born after the year 2000 (i.e. literally cyborgs) are thinking. Of course, that’s not the whole story.
If this sticky heat doesn’t exactly make you feel inclined to eat, well, you’ll just have to get over that nonsense. Firstly, because no one can survive a juice cleanse and have friends to speak of; secondly, because there are two musically-inclined feasts on the way to your ears and gullet, serving to remind you that solid food is essential to having fun and being fun. Prepare thyself, hungry foodies, for Pizzafest III and CookoutNYC’s Little Big BBQ.
It was a whirlwind weekend at the second-annual NYC Porn Film Festival. Who knew that getting slapped across the eyes with a regular throng of weens; being inundated with sauce shots, endless bumpin n’ grindin, butt pirates, fet fun, furries; and having to contend with a tarted-up unicorn who happened to have a passion for, well, piss could be so exhausting? It was almost as if we were the ones doing all the porking.
What’s being billed as a “16 hour fully immersive,internationally inspired” music and visual art event is coming to a yet-to-be disclosed location near the Jefferson stop, joining Northside and Out in the Streets on the growing list of festivals happening in and around Bushwick this summer. Variance, however, is situated somewhere between Brooklyn’s answer to SXSW and the super-local chill fest known for bringing DIY regulars out of their usual dank, cavernous confines and onto the grassy grounds of Onderdonk House.
(Photo courtesy of Saint George Ukrainian Festival)
It’s officially feelin’ like almost-summertime, and you know what that means– more ice cream and more murders. We trust you’re all aware that higher temps mean an uptick in lickin’ that delicious gift of mother cow teat and an increase in violent crime along with “human conflict” in general.
So if you’re feeling an incident of bad behavior coming on, it’s best to preemptively repent and do something cute, cultural, and community-oriented to quiet your demons– this weekend, get thee to the Saint George Ukrainian Festival, aka the East Village-based Slavic block party to rule them all. It helps that a century-old Ukrainian Catholic Church will be cowering over you, which– no matter what your religious (or non-religious) affiliation– is guaranteed to make you feel far too guilty to commit any dastardly deeds.
Wednesday night, Bushwick Open Studios organizers convened at the local community and activist space Mayday, for a “town hall meeting,” and their first coordinated public appearance since Arts in Bushwick (AiB) announced they were moving the annual arts festival from the June date it held for eight years to a later one in October. News of the change-up was shocking for many community members and while some gallerists and artists expressed enormous disappointment, AiB was adamant that the move was intended to bring BOS back to its roots. As the fest’s organizers told us earlier this month, the festival had been “co-opted by many different commercial interests.”
When B+B asked at the meeting if there had been a breaking point, Laura Braslow, a longtime Bushwick resident who’s been involved in organizing BOS for the decade of its existence, told us: “It’s been several years of this trajectory, largely since the end of the recession. There’s stuff that’s happened structurally, but really a lot of those changes that you see in the city as a whole are playing out locally, and we’re trying to figure out how this organization can accomplish its mission in that context.” In short, BOS was suffering not only from a kind of corporate robbery, but also from their own inadequate attempts to reach out to the community as a whole. And in the highly charged atmosphere of a neighborhood in the midst of one of the harsher examples of gentrification in Brooklyn, neither of those things were going to fly for much longer.
January is theatre-fest time: there’s the always exciting COIL fest, Under the Radar at the Public Theater, and the opera-centric summit Prototype. But Theresa Buchheister– a founding member of Title:Point, the DIY production company that runs Vital Joint at the Silent Barn– thought it was the perfect opportunity to introduce her own operation into the mix, The Exponential Festival, as a counterpoint to the usual.
New York City’s very own massive music festival, Governor’s Ball just announced its epic lineup for 2016. If it wasn’t for the consistently good curation each summer on Randall’s Island, it’s hard to imagine anyone would suffer the trappings of #ThatFestivalLyfe: water-gouging, being herded around like cattle and jammed, sweaty and dehydrated amongst so many feather-adorned man buns and general douchebaggery.
I’m not gonna lie, I kind of hate myself for writing this one and the existence of a festival like this is not only proof that ’90s nostalgia has been fully commodified but that it’s pretty much reached the end of its rope. Mark my words, this is the last of a thoroughly enjoyable session of decade worship. The jeans can stay and the good music too, but when something like Smash Mouth emerges for the sake of a throwback celebration, well, then you know we’ve gone a step too far. But keep your cool and you can catch Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Blind Melon, and more.
It’s finally almost here, New York’s Alright 2015! Get excited for this year’s all things punk fest where tons of related official and unofficial happenings are being held in and around Bushwick, Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, and the Lower East Side. And you can stop screaming now, this isn’t a festival in any traditional / horrendous sense of the word, meaning you can put all your eggs in a basket marked “no” as in no you aren’t going to find anyone looking “Coachella as fuck” at this event. Or maybe you will. I haven’t turned on any TVs in a while so there’s a distinct possibility I’ve just been asleep at the wheel and Coachella hats are the new normcore. Well, normcore be damned — it’s time to break out your spikes, boys and girls (but only if you like saxophones).