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Performance Picks: Clickbait, Cults, and… Miss Frizzle

(image via HERE Arts Center)

America Is Hard To See
Now through February 24 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm: $35-45

Do you ever have an idea and sort of less-than-halfway execute that idea, and then spend a really long time procrastinating doing any more work on it and then find out that someone has beat you to the punch but in a way that seems really interesting and cool so you can’t help but appreciate it? Whether you have or you haven’t, that very thing happened to me with this new play. In college, I started writing a play about a trailer park community of sex offenders with nowhere else to live, based on the real manifestations of this phenomenon. I never finished it, or even came close, because writing plot is hard. Life Jacket Theater Company did, and they even traveled to Florida’s Miracle Village and interviewed its residents to create their show. Add in a helping of methodist hymns and theatricality, and you’ve got the recipe for a play that seems truly nuanced and exciting, particularly in today’s tumultuous time of #metoo reckonings. Keep Reading »

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Girl Power: Metrograph and Nitehawk Focus On Female Filmmakers

Image via Metrograph’s website

The lack of female directors in the film industry isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but with the rise of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp in the past year, this gender gap has been highlighted now more than ever– just take Natalie Portman’s presentation of the Best Director award at this year’s Golden Globes as an example. Nitehawk Cinema and Metrograph, two local movie theaters, are also recognizing this disparity with a series of film screenings focusing exclusively on female directors.

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Performance Picks: Battleship Burlesque, Benefit Shows, and More

FRIDAY

(flyer via Magical Girl Burlesque / Facebook)

Magical Girl Burlesque Presents Birthday Battleship Burlesque
Friday, January 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 8 pm: FREE (suggested donation to benefit Southern Poverty Law Center)

Ah, Battleship. That classic game of pegs, coordinates, and nearly naked bodies. If you’re confused about that last part, perhaps you’ll have your memory refreshed on Friday night, when the performers of Magical Girl Burlesque take to the stage and somehow reenact an entire game of Battleship with a burlesque twist. Here’s how such a thing will work: each performer on the lineup represents a boat piece. Audience members will play the game in the classic way, and when the battleships are sunk, the performer will perform. So in this case, losing the game is actually winning the game. The show is free, but donations will be collected for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Keep Reading »

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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: Mourning Braiding and Cyber Warfare

Nene Humphrey (image courtesy of Lesley Heller Workspace)

Transmission
Opening Wednesday, January 10 at Lesley Heller Workspace, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 18.

In the Victorian age, those who lost a loved one would enact an odd and intimate ritual known as mourning braiding. This practice consisted of braiding the actual hair of the deceased into a piece of jewelry. Artist Nene Humphrey is no stranger to incorporating mourning-centric behaviors into her work, and come Wednesday she will open a new exhibition at Lesley Heller Workspace on Orchard Street that combines the brain’s reaction to grief with this old-school hair ritual. The installation and “ritualized site of production” includes braiding stations featuring wire instead of hair and walls covered with weaved strands. Instead of actual people doing the braiding, the stations sit empty and projected videos show the plaits being constructed alongside similar-looking images of the brain. 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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Roomba As Painter, 3D Sound Fields, And More Art This Week

(image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

Channels
Opening Wednesday, January 3 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 24.

Channels seem like they’re becoming a bit of a relic, at least when they’re referring to the ones found on television. Several technological relics of sorts play a major role in sound artist and audio engineer Daniel Neumann’s new solo exhibition, aptly titled Channels. In it, large auditory objects appear simultaneously as sculptures and music-makers, including a custom-built vintage speaker and a 56-channel mixing board suspended in midair. The third “sculptural” component of the show is a bit more abstract: a 3D sound field made up of 56 sounds and their subsequent feedback. Whether you see it as a concert of objects or a visual display, there will be something to take in.

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Performance Picks: Experiments in Comedy, Magic Mushrooms, and More

THURSDAY

(flyer via littlefield)

A Gay Show For All People
Thursday, December 28 at littlefield, 7 pm doors, 8 pm show: $10

If you’re looking to literally make the yuletide gay, you have plenty of chances to do so at the holiday spectacular edition of Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp’s A Gay Show For All People. True to its name, this show features “comics and queers and mostly people who are both” doing their thing onstage while anyone who so desires to attend watches. The lineup is quite “stacked,” as the teens say, with Cole Escola, Naomi Ekperigin, Patti Harrison, Blake Daniel, Liza Treyger, Larry Owens, Bowen Yang and Matt Roger’s improv duo Sluck, Henry Koperski and His Straights, a live band playing “vodka songs,” and possibly more.

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Jemima Kirke of Girls Talks Painting, Marriage and #MeToo

Kirke with “ShiShi In My Wedding Dress,” 2017. (photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

You may know her as the free-spirited Jessa in oft-discussed HBO show Girls, but Jemima Kirke considers herself more painter than actor. Her third solo exhibition, The Ceremony, is currently on view at Lower East Side gallery Sargent’s Daughters. A series of portraits depicting both friends and fictional women in their wedding dresses, the show seeks to interrogate why women still partake in this “antiquated ceremony.” A few days after the opening, we met with Kirke at the gallery to talk marriage, the #metoo movement, and recent controversy involving her castmate Lena Dunham.
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Exhibitions To See: 8-Bit Reality, Kathleen White, Immigrant Women

(image courtesy of Catinca Tabacaru Gallery)

Lateral Thinking With Withered Technology
Opening Thursday, December 14 at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 21.

Though the title of this exhibition may call to mind a really wrinkly cell phone, it is in fact a reference to the ideology of the creator of the Nintendo Game Boy, Gunpei Yokoi. This sort of reference feels right at home when it comes to this show by Shinji Murakami, which will transform a gallery space into an illuminated augmented reality playland. His materials of choice tend to be more traditional, such as wood, plastic, and glue, but he also uses vast amount of LED lights. Altogether, this creates a homage to 1980s gaming, particularly the simple and nostalgic 8-bit aesthetic. In the midst of this 8-bit world, the artist has turned an LED panel into a real-time display of Elon Musk’s Twitter feed, a clear reminder that while the gallery may look rooted in the technology of the past, we are in the present, and it’s a present that may not be too far away from colonizing other planets. Keep Reading »

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Circus of Dreams Ends Its Five-Year Run, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Circus of Dreams / Facebook, photos by Nick McManus)

Circus of Dreams
Wednesday, December 6 at Bizarre Bushwick, 9 pm: $10 suggested donation

This performance art variety show, originally hosted by bearded street performer Matthew Silver, was one of the first shows in New York I saw that wasn’t a formal “theater” show, and it truly bewildered and impressed me. It was strange, daring, messy, stressful, loud, rule-breaking, sometimes all of those things, sometimes none of them. It made me realize that there was this whole community of performance I didn’t know about or thought wasn’t around anymore, and I found myself involved in the show first as friend of performers, then recurring door worker, then occasional performer. Since then, the host and producer has changed to show regular Lindsee Lonesome but the spirit has stayed the same. Tonight, after five years, Circus of Dreams will happen for the final time, and it truly feels like the end of an era. So, if you’re free, pop by Bizarre to see some of the show’s veterans and newbies alike take that scrappy stage for the last time. I’ll be at the door. Keep Reading »

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A 4-Hour Hug and More Art to Embrace This Week

(image courtesy of Michael Alan)

Mind Body Sound
Opening Saturday, December 9 at Khorasheh + Grunert, 8 pm to midnight. On view December 6 – 9.

One wouldn’t normally associate an art opening with instances of prolonged hugging. Unless it’s the mouths of eager wine consumers hugging the rim of that little plastic cup they always give you at art openings. But at artist Michael Alan’s opening reception, there will be one very literal hug that will last for a whopping four hours. The participants will be Alan himself and his partner Jadda Cat, who will be doing the deed (hugging, that is) while covered in Alan’s visual artwork, stationed in the unmissable center of the gallery. This exhibition and performance is part of a long-running (17 years, to be exact) project of Alan’s entitled “The Living Installation,” a series of small performance-based art happenings, such as his recent glow-in-the-dark paint party. An array of his works on paper will also be on view, including new large-format abstract works and 96 baseball cards the artist created from childhood until the present day. Sometimes art, like life, works best with a little added affection. Just remember to ask for consent! Keep Reading »