On any given night Molasses Books, the tiny bookshop/bar in Bushwick, draws a colorful crowd to readings and other happenings– really, on any given night of the week you are bound to find cool characters. But on Tuesday, an especially great group made it out to Chess Night, a newish event popping off once a month at the shop. At one point, my friend who had invited me to the casual, come-and-go-whenever get-together, looked up from his chess game and remarked, “I’ve heard, like, five people mention polyamory tonight.”
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.
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.
Calling all never nudes! And just regular AD fans, too. Hang out with your friends (and make new ones–how can you not love a stranger in jorts?) while watching Arrested Development and playing bingo. How it works is you look for things like the stair car and the banana stand, and if that’s on your bingo card, you put down a chip. Win a game and you’ll get either a free drink or frozen banana. But come as a never nude and you’ll get both automatically.
Over the past 10 years, this festival of interactive “big games” has seen giant conga lines marching through Times Square and golf balls flying over the Lower East Side. This year’s installment will feature games like Rose Macbeth, where you’re blindfolded and holding a “knife” (retractable) in a “graveyard” (technically, Manhattan Bridge Archway Plaza), stalking out an opponent you need to “impale” (prod) for victory.
Read more here.
If you’re planning to head to any of the Seaport Music Fesival shows, here’s extra incentive to make the short trip from the Lower East Side to the Seaport: the Alliance for Downtown New York is launching a “Game On!” festival that will bring a slew of programming to the East River waterfront. As part of the fest, which runs from June 26 through Labor Day, they’re bringing in several tons of sand and creating a beach where you can sit in lounge chairs and play shuffleboard (which should spare you the trek to Smorgasburg’s new shuffleboard courts at Jones Beach).
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We’re approaching a cultural moment in the history of New York City where there’s really no excuse not to go upstate for a weekend of arts and games. First, we told you about Offsite; then Summer Camp; and then last week, we wrote about The Last Weekend, a three-day food, arts and crafts festival taking place in September in the Catskills. Now comes Heptagames, a “festival of games, installations, and performances” taking place in the Catskills this weekend.
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