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‘Helen Keller Was an Asshole,’ and Other Things You’ll Learn at the Acker Awards

(Flyer via ACKER awards)

(Flyer via ACKER awards)

Helen Keller was an “undisciplined wild child who nobody could contain, and that’s what makes her heroic,” said Clayton Patterson as he explained the quote in the headline to this story.

I’d heard the unofficial elder-guardian of the Lower East Side say plenty of controversial things like this before, it’s usually part of a strategy of illustrating his radical points– how he disapproves of feminists (for often ignoring the need for the advancement of all women) and gay marriage (also for a reason you might not expect: because legalizing gay marriage does not necessarily signal that all queer people will reap the benefits of mainstream approval). The point with Helen Keller was that real adversity breeds character and makes for interesting art, and that the “wild child” can be a marker of artistic purpose. It’s all connected to how, as an artist-activist, Patterson considers almost everything he does to be both a work of art and an expression of solidarity with the underclasses, the maligned, and the avant-garde. Enter the Acker Awards, a way of recognizing members of the avant-garde arts community for their achievements and influence, happening Thursday, March 17 at Howl! Arts in the East Village.

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Chris Stein of Blondie: ‘Miley Cyrus at Her Craziest is Not Really Dangerous’

All images by Chris Stein from the book "Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk," and the exhibition of the same name at Somerset House in London, November 5 to January 25.

All images by Chris Stein from the book “Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk,” and the exhibition of the same name at Somerset House in London, November 5 to January 25.

Few people personify the downtown New York aesthetic like Chris Stein. As the guitarist of Blondie, he’s helped to define—and defy—what people talk about when they talk about New York. Fortunately for us, he was documenting his adventures in the dangerous old New York, as proven in his book of photographs. These were shown at the Chelsea Hotel in September, and a new show opened yesterday on the other side of the pond at the Somerset House in London.
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Mediocrity Is the New Black: Penny Arcade On Making It in ‘The Big Cupcake’

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The performance artist Penny Arcade called us back after getting out of a show that ran late. So, even in the midst of her own show Longing Lasts Longer (Nov. 2, 3, 9, 10 at Joe’s Pub), she’s making time to support the work of other artists. The legendary downtown icon is, wonderfully, still underground and still outraged. The new show and her preoccupations are deeply intertwined, as her work is primarily autobiographical, and our conversation ranged from why New York is now “the Big Cupcake,” to what makes Lena Dunham so special, to the young “creative soul” in the Times paying $3,700 rent.
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And Now, Watch Nick Zedd and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Do Burroughs

Penny Arcade (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Penny Arcade (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

The William S. Burroughs centenary continued last night with what might’ve been its marquee event — a marathon reading at St. Mark’s Poetry Project. And the reading’s finest moment? When Genesis Breyer P-Orridge — an old friend of Burroughs — read the talking asshole routine that Steve Buscemi did earlier this week.
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This Itinerate Bookstore Is Settling Down and Adding a Cafe Bar

(Photo: BGS-QD's Facebook)

(Photo: BGS-QD’s Facebook)

After raising a little over $20,000 this summer, the Bureau of General Services – Queer Division has secured a home for at least the next year.

Back in September, the queer bookstore and events space, where performance artists like Shane Shane and LES legend Penny Arcade have been known to let their freak flags fly, left Strange Loop Gallery, its home of nine and a half months, and took up residence at Cage gallery, around the corner at 83A Hester Street. (Strange Loop, by the way, will celebrate its two-year anniversary with a burlesque show on Thursday.) Now the bookstore announces that it’ll stay at Cage through 2014.
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