The electro post-rock band Collapsing Scenery has been hailed as “the voice of LA’s new underground,” so it only makes sense that their tripped-out, abstract videos are essential to their music. Cool, but doesn’t every synth-dominated band these days sorta need visuals to make what is by and large a cold-blooded genre cluster feel even remotely emotive? And what’s so special about swiping a bunch of “found footage” from YouTube, throwing on a glitchy distortion filter, and calling it a “short film”? If you answered “yes” and “nothing,” in that order, then you’re exactly right– only, not about Collapsing Scenery.
Lower East Side
Coin-Op: a tiny art show
Opening Monday, April 17 at Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball, 9:30 pm. One night only.
The Sunshine Laundromat in Greenpoint has a lot to offer. You can wash your clothes. You can play plenty of pinball. You can sip beer or wine while doing all of this. And tonight, you can experience something a little bit artsier. The vending machine at Sunshine has been host to many trinkets and miscellany, even catching media attention last year when they restocked it with Plan B and pregnancy tests alongside bite-sized candies. While you could argue that is a much more practical move, tonight this little machine sandwiched between a photobooth and Jurassic Park pinball machine will be filled with art of all shapes and sizes.
Well, not quite all shapes and sizes, seeing as there is only so much space in that thing. The exhibition’s Facebook event has even outlined parameters for interested artists: any submissions “can range in size from a personal bag of Cheetos to a Snickers bar or a can of Axe body spray.” If you’re on your last pair of underwear and have been putting off laundry for an undisclosed amount of time, this little art show could be the motivation you needed to get ‘er done. And you could leave with a souvenir—since the art will be in a literal vending machine, the pieces will indeed be available for purchase. Keep Reading »
Ghost in the Shell (1996)
Thursday April 13, Saturday April 15, and Sunday April 16 at The Metrograph: $15
No better time to see the original Ghost in the Shell, now that the anime classic has been remade and lost a good chunk of its futuristic/cyborg ambiguity in the process via the casting of a decidedly blonde, white bombshell in the lead. In the remake, Scarlett Johansson plays Major, i.e. an Anglicized version of the already Anglized Cyborg Major Kusanagi from the anime version.
The year is 2029, and this “perfect specimen of human-brained computer engineering” has been tasked with tracking down the elusive and amorphous villain known as The Puppet Master, whose precise plan for overthrowing the world– a Blade Runner-like super-city megalopolis where the human race has become so consumed by technology, that they are now inseparable and, at times, difficult to distinguish. The film deftly navigates the ethical and existential quandaries that are dramatically more real than they were in 1996 when the animated film was made.
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Thursday April 13 through Thursday April 20 at Nitehawk: $12
Panteha Abareshi specializes in cutthroat portraits that pair the rawness of ecstatic creation with the realness of first-hand experience. As a young woman of Jamaican and Iranian descent, it seems only natural that she paints other women who look like her. But according to Abareshi, there’s much more at stake than the physical appearance of her subjects.
“I draw women of color only,” she has said of her effort to bring greater visibility to women who are so often left out of, or invisible, in the art world (not to mention under- and misrepresented everywhere else, too). But there are no smiling models or perfect angels in any of the paintings on view at The Girl Who Loves Roses, a show of Abareshi’s work at the new downtown gallery Larrie, NYC (“It’s a women’s space,” founder Emily Spitale told me). Instead, the women you meet are brooding, suffering, and embattled. Often they are splattered in blood, wearing a vacant expression, and seemingly staring at a target point that hovers right between your eyebrows.
If you’ve never been to a Pink Mass show and your idea of BDSM is 50 Shades of Grey, then grab your smelling salts for this one. Even I found myself flinching at photos of the band’s live performances– gory scenes of large, sweat-soaked men sheathed in balls-to-the-wall bondage gear, bending into various shapes of mastering and submitting, and abiding strictly by the band’s stated “personal interests”:
Sure, the first boat got stuck in the mud on its way up from the Gulf Coast, but it looks like the city’s new ferry service is really, actually happening. And, for once, sooner than expected: Mayor de Blasio announced today– via the delightful chiptune promo above– that the Rockaway route will launch May 1, meaning you’ll soon get to pay your respects to the washed-up whale that was buried on the beach this week. Or, less morbidly: tacos! Tacoway Beach reopens in less than 22 days, according to the countdown clock we’ve had our eye on all winter.
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 »
Opening Tuesday April 4 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through April 22.
Camilla Engström has had an interesting history for an artist. Born in Sweden, she swiftly relocated to Shanghai to work full-time as a model, and then made her way to New York to study fashion at FIT. However, she left to focus on her art, a familiar story that surely many can relate to. Now, she exhibits her multidisciplinary work around the city, and will be bringing a series of paintings and more to Cooler Gallery, a unique space nestled a stone’s throw from the Navy Yard.
This show is new territory for her, in a way. Her practice, the gallery states, typically revolves around a Swedish cartoon Engström created named Husa, a smiling femme figure with a curvy belly. This show will feature more landscape-driven works, but ones that still retain the dreamy, playful, Candyland-esque quality of Husa. There will not just be paintings on view, but also sculptural pieces that reflect particular elements of the paintings, bringing a multi-dimensional quality to it all. Keep Reading »
Sometimes I hate my friends. Like right after the release of Pokémon Go. Nearly every single one of them not only downloaded the dang thing, but actually used it in public. In broad daylight. In front of other people. Meeting up for a drink at the bar turned into scavenging the streets for more bars with more Pokémons. This had to be an ironic thing that my pals would forget after a day or two, I assumed. But after weeks of this nihilistic nonsense, I was feeling like so many of the little things that make life tolerable had been invaded by an army of tiny, mind-numbing jerks. Pokémon Go seemed like a harbinger of the kind of voluntary sedation that could become the norm in response to some scary stuff from above. So maybe Oliver Stone came across as just slightly insane when he likened Pokemon Go to “totalitarianism,” but I kind of agree with him. Pokemon Go feels like nothing less than a small, but important sign of the coming cultural apocalypse.
The Girl Who Loves Roses
Thursday March 30, 6 pm to 9 pm at Larrie, NY: free
Kelsey and Remy Bennett, granddaughters of Tony Bennett, are working artists, outspoken feminists, and curators of various exhibitions and art happenings. You might be saying to yourself, “Of course they are.” But that would be a jerk move, since the Bennett sisters take after their family patriarch, who is widely known as one of the nicest dudes in showbiz (the Daily Beast called him “one of the greatest living Americans” for his long history of service to just causes including “Nazi hunting” and participating in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches of the Civil Rights movement). Their approach to curating is ultra-inclusive and social justice-oriented, but it’s not motivated by self-congratulatory horn tootin’ and seems instead to come from an easy, natural inclination to do good work.
Soap Library is the “holistic” tape label we told you about in December that’s out there crafting some mighty fine-looking, object-d’art cassette tapes. Big whoop, you say? Well, they also create multi-sensory experiences for their listeners by way of custom accessories that are way cooler than a kooky matching necklace that you’ll never be not-embarrassed enough to wear.
Concert for Immigration Rights: Glasser, Underground System, Tigue, Elena Moon Park & Friends, Ashley Bathgate, and Ljova
Wednesday March 22, doors 7 pm at Le Poisson Rouge: $25
Le Poisson Rouge is hosting a benefit this week for the New York Immigration Coalition, which is cool. As you might expect, they’ve put together an eclectic lineup to help rake in the cash for a chill cause: defending immigrants rights. Funds are going directly to the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) which provides services that LPR says are “particularly crucial in the wake of the recent presidential executive actions.” Hear, hear.