Lower East Side

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Annual Loisaida Festival Celebrates Puerto Rican Heritage, Rain Or Shine

(Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)

The rain was out in full force this past Sunday, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of performers and Lower East Side residents who came out for a celebration of Puerto Rican heritage. For more than thirty years, the Loisaida Festival has served as an homage to Puerto Rican culture in the Lower East Side and back on the island. This year, the festival’s theme was “Bridging Resurgence: From Sandy to Maria.” According to the Loisaida Festival’s Twitter page, the theme served as “a tribute to the resilience of the Lower East Side, past and present, and in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.” Keep Reading »

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HIV Criminalization, Thermal Surveillance, and More Art This Week

Barton Lidicé Beneš, “Lethal Weapons: Silencer,” 1994. Mixed-media assemblage with artist’s HIV-positive blood, 16 1/8 x 15 1/8 x 3 1/2 in. Collection of Joshua Rechnitz. Courtesy of the estate of Barton Lidicé Beneš and Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York (image via Visual AIDS / Facebook)

Cell Count
Opening Thursday, May 31 at La MaMa Galleria, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 16.

Presented by Visual AIDS and curated by Kyle Croft and Asher Mones, this exhibition zeroes in on the insidious intersection of HIV and incarceration, both today and throughout history. Currently, more than half the states in America have laws in effect that criminalizes the act of potentially exposing someone to HIV without first disclosing their status, often regardless of other factors like viral load or actual transmission risk, leading many to deem them dangerous. The 15+ artists of Cell Count use their work to interrogate these laws and how they affect people with HIV, placing them into conversation with a larger history of “medically sanctioned violence and incarceration.” Keep Reading »

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Eleven Excuses to Stay in New York for the Memorial Day Weekend

(Photo via Elsewhere)

Stuck in town this Memorial Day weekend? You’re better off avoiding the mile-long airport lines anyway, so consider yourself lucky. But just in case you’re tired of hitting up to Smorgasburg for the third weekend in a row or staring at your computer screen as you Netflix your life away, Bedford + Bowery has put together plenty of options to keep you entertained over the long weekend.

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Help Bring Cup & Saucer’s Storefront Back to Life in a LES Park

Mock-up courtesy of Karla and James Murray.

Last July, when Cup and Saucer closed due to a rent hike after more than 75 years in business, the throwback luncheonette was mourned by Lower East Siders. The mom-and-pop diner has now been replaced by a chicken and pizza joint, but its storefront, at least, will return to the neighborhood in the form of a tribute that will live in Seward Park for a year. Karla and James Murray, the East Village photographers whose Store Front books document some of the city’s iconic and evocative facades, are creating a structure displaying near-life-size versions of four of their photos. “Mom & Pops of the LES,” as the project is called, is described in a Kickstarter campaign as “an artistic intervention and a plea for recognition of the unique and irreplaceable contribution made to New York by small, often family-owned businesses.”

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MTA History, Cooking With Comedy, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Caveat / Facebook)

Why Your Train Is F*cked
Wednesday, May 23 at Caveat, 6:30 pm: $15 advance, $18 doors

The MTA is generally bad, so much so that some guys tried to give it an award for being the worst at one of the L train shutdown town halls last week. Speaking of which, the L train shutdown? Seems bleak! Good thing I don’t have a regular commute, because I am too scared to bike anywhere. If you’ve been particularly frustrated about the MTA lately, come be among folks who feel similarly at a comedy show all about the history of this transit system, starting with the origins of the MTA in the 1830s. Let’s just hope your train doesn’t get too delayed on the way there. Who am I kidding? It probably will be.  Keep Reading »

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In This Scrappy Street Hockey League, a Deaf Referee Helps Keep the Peace

Joel Cohen (Photo: Mathew Silver)

In the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, a group of plucky amateurs were facing off in a game of street hockey at Rev. Joseph Moffo Rink. It was the Hammerheads against the Monstars, two teams with a bitter rivalry in the Mofo Hockey League, and the action was chippy from the outset. A defenseman for the Hammerheads jostled in the corner and emerged with the ball – a tangerine-colored sphere designed not to bounce on the asphalt. He flung it up the boards to his teammate, who raced shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the Monstars to retrieve it. They wore sneakers, not roller skates, and even though the surface was 50 feet shorter than a regulation rink, it was exhausting.

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Feminine Anger, A ‘Futile Orgasm,’ and More Art This Week

(image via Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects / Facebook)

Crimes of the Gods
Opening Wednesday, May 23 at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 29.

The mythology of Greek gods have been around for ages, and usually comprise a large chunk of one’s education, whether that be in grade school or college theater classes. But something that is often glazed over or diminished in seriousness is the deep-seated misogyny inherent in many of these powerful characters, and how their actions may have laid a foundation for how our world operates today. Artist Susanna Coffey published an art book in 1988 centered around these tales of gods (men) taking what they want (women, usually), and woodcuts made from these images will be on view alongside self-portraits imbued with the same passionate feminine anger. “Now I see that the tale told in The Homeric Hymn is more of an ongoing truth than a myth,” Coffey writes in an essay included with the exhibition, and it’s worth wondering if the opposite will ever be true. Keep Reading »

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The Skinny On ‘Getting Naked: A Burlesque Story,’ Kicking Off the LES Film Festival in June

The Schlep Sisters. (From Getting Naked: A Burlesque Story)

The 2018 Lower East Side Film Festival is announcing its opening night film, Getting Naked: A Burlesque Storywith this exclusive from Bedford + Bowery. The documentary is about the wild and ever-changing burlesque revival in New York. It premiered at the 74th Venice International Film Festival and played at DOC NYC 2017 prior to its scheduled showing at the LES Film Festival on June 7.

We chatted with the film’s director, James Lester, about burlesque in New York and the inspiration behind his feature documentary.

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Art This Week: Salsa Soul Sisters, Persian Neil Diamond and More

(image via Lesbian Herstory Archives / Facebook)

Salsa Soul Sisters: Honoring Lesbians of Color
Opening Wednesday, May 9 at EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, 6 pm. On view through June 29.

There are only a paltry handful of lesbian-specific spaces left in the city, but many initiatives exist to inform of the bars, venues, and collectives that make up lesbian and queer history in the city and beyond. The Lesbian Herstory Archives in collaboration with EFA will be presenting an archival exhibition that shines a light on the Salsa Soul Sisters, a collective of lesbian and bisexual Black, Latina, Indigenous, and Asian-American women founded in NYC in 1976. If you can’t make the opening reception on Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion and open mic on June 1 and a closing reception on June 29. Keep Reading »

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Feminist HPV, Charles Atlas, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Andrew Hardigg / Facebook)

Gorilla Manners / Atlas / Coffee Cup Conundrum
Wednesday, May 2 at Dixon Place, 7:30 pm: $15 advance, $18 doors

Tonight, you can get not one, not two, but three shows in the same night. The first is Gorilla Manners, a play by Andrew Hardigg directed by Jordan J. Baum, which includes a character called Vaseline and a gorilla who does not like being stared at for too long (hence the “manners” portion of the title, I suppose). The second is Atlas, a show by The Red Lines that explores how communication can be distorted by the artifice that we create. The third, Coffee Cup Conundrum, not only works well as a tongue twister or vocal warm-up, but will likely also remind us about the massive amount of plastic we throw away and how we’re only going to be able to ignore it for so much longer. So, there’s something for everyone! Keep Reading »

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A Cartoonist Charged With Obscenity and More Art This Week

(flyer via Checks Cashed / Facebook)

Neu Show
Opening Thursday, April 26 at The Living Gallery, 7 pm to 11 pm. One night only.

Sometimes you want to go to a Chelsea gallery to silently stare at art alongside a bunch of people who probably have more money than you, and sometimes you want to stay in Bushwick and see some art while a local trans punk band plays. You can do the latter on Thursday at The Living Gallery (which just celebrated its sixth anniversary) at Neu Show, a showcase of nine local underground photographers, painters, experimental mixed-media artists, graphic artists, and more, with live tunes from local punk outfit Library and tracks from DJ Drew Redmond to keep the mood nice and energized. There is a $5 cover at the door, but the show is a mere one night only, and these artists need to be supported somehow. Keep Reading »