I’m not gonna lie, when I heard Wild Torus— the aggressively psychedelic Bushwick performance art duo– would be hosting their “most ambitious event yet” this weekend, I imagined a sweaty, gyrating orgy of disembodied tentacles coated in globs of indecipherable goo, or “Torus Juice” as it’s known (it’s actually corn syrup). Not exactly gallery material. When I first encountered Wild Torus’ cult-like “digital spirituality” rituals at their Bushwick home base, Torus Portus, I had never seen anything like it– and I haven’t seen anything to match it since.
This week, whether you want to be entrenched in the Halloween spirit or just want to watch some good old fashioned people telling jokes, you can slide on over to one of these shows to get your fill.
Esoterica Teaser Performance
At Visana NYC, 321 1st Avenue, East Village. 11:30 doors, midnight performance; free. More info here.
There isn’t much info available on this late-night performance preview at a speakeasy—it appears to be purposefully cryptic—but Esoterica’s website indicates it’s a richly-visual performance experience based to some degree on Dante’s Divine Comedy, where heaven and hell intermingle. “A portal to The Inferno will be opened,” the Facebook event declares. Well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.
Downtown-style performance art saunters uptown a bit for the 12th annual Prelude Festival at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center. Spanning three days, Prelude celebrates many of the exciting and zany performance and multidisciplinary artists who are making work today. Come get immersed in the world of the theatrical with installations, panel discussions, and performances from notable artists like high-belting queerdo Erin Markey, site-specific pioneers En Garde Arts, and Obie-winning experimental playwright Mac Wellman. Attendees will be transported via party buses to the closing party Friday night at PioneerWorks in Red Hook. Best of all, it’s free. Performance times vary. Full schedule available here.
From Cyndi Lauper drag cabaret shows to garden romps, here’s this week’s local (and affordable) theater and performance.
Cabaret artist Salty Brine continues his residency at The Red Room on East 4th Street with HE’S SO UNUSUAL, a dazzling evening of song and scene that places Cyndi Lauper’s debut album She’s So Unusual into a world of Prohibition and perfectly-coiffed pansies. No stranger to taking on entire albums in one evening, Brine’s past “Spectacular Living Record Collection Cabaret” shows have included Joni Mitchell’s Blue and the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. There will be surprises, and there will definitely be impressive costumes.
A young man with rich brown hair, soft lips and a blindfold reposes on a mattress. It will only take one quick movement of your wrist to sign the waiver, and then he is yours to watch. To kiss. Or both.
House of Yes is nearing rebirth, and co-founder Anya Sapozhnikova (who along with her partner Kae Burke was dubbed a member of the Brooklyn Establishment) promised that a “next level” venture is on the horizon. “Everything here has to be really fucking awesome,” she explained. When we dropped by the new House of Yes today, just steps away from the Jefferson stop in Bushwick, it was hard to believe the place was part of the craziness of Bushwick Open Studios last weekend. “It was so packed, like wall-to-wall, people couldn’t even get in,” Anya recalled. For now, the place has once again kicked up the sawdust and instead of performers, aerialists, and burlesque babes, we were met with sweaty construction workers. But Anya– who’s been through a fire, police raids, and evictions– seemed intent on forging through the final weeks of wood saws, drills, and hammers.
Philip Kafka, owner of Soho-based advertising firm Prince Media, has put up a second Detroit banner in place of the one we spotted at the beginning of March. Before we could make fun of his latest problematic plea to Bushwickians, the performance artist Matthew Silver and a pal stripped down to their underpants (gross) and freaked out some brunching Millennials (ew).
A new feature film based loosely on Bizarre, the splendidly raunchy Bushwick performance space and bar, doesn’t exaggerate for the sake of shock value. If anything, it’s a little watered down from reality, according to its owner.
“[The filmmaker] couldn’t put the craziest stuff in the film because I think he didn’t want to maybe shock too much,” owner Jean-Stephane Sauvaire explained. “But I like that many of the regular performers are in the film– it really gives a picture of the different sensibilities and different performers, and at the same time you feel they are all the same spirit.”
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Yesterday around lunch time, four women stood at the intersection of 14th Street and First Avenue, scanning the crowd and timidly making eye contact with the occasional passerby. Their white t-shirts read: “Slow dance with me.”
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A fire-haired woman named Ellen Turrietta (a.k.a. Ginger Mama) has outlined something of an occupation corridor on East Seventh Street and Second Avenue in the East Village, turning a strip of sidewalk outside of her former apartment first into a free barbershop and then into a “leather shop” consisting of dog collars, filthy garments, and a skeleton bodysuit complete with inflatable boner.
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It’s that time again, folks. The time when the world’s most avant-garde and experimental theater types descend on the East Village and Lower East Side for a fortnight of moderately insane adventure know as the Fringe Festival. The 18th edition of the Fest will be deluging the metropolis with playful peculiarities from August 8 to 24.
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Sam Green’s documentary The Weather Underground (seen in the above clip) earned him an Oscar nomination in 2004, but recently he’s been focusing on “live documentaries.” The screenings of these works (for example The Measure of All Things) are accompanied by in-person narration and live music, taking inspiration from old travelogues, the Benshi tradition and TED talks. Now, Green will be giving a lecture at Union Docs about the history of combining film and performance (one timeless, the other ephemeral), and the work of current day practitioners.