Williamsburg

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Performance Picks: A Queer Eye Parody, Bushwig’s Return, and More

THURSDAY

(photo: Rachel Nicholson, via Facebook)

Athena
Now through September 16 at JACK, 8 pm (some shows at 3 pm and 7 pm): $18-25

You can probably divide people into three categories regarding competitive athletics they engaged with growing up: more mainstream sports-doers who partook in football, basketball, and the like; people who vehemently did no sports at all; and those drawn to more niche offerings, like martial arts or fencing. The latter grouping is the star of Gracie Gardner’s play Athena, which is being revived for a brief run following a sharply successful debut at Clinton Hill space JACK in February. Presented by The Hearth, which “tells the stories of women,” the play surrounds two teenage girl fencers training for the Junior Olympics. Though such a task undoubtedly requires the duo to spend quite a lot of time around each other, “friends” they do not seem to be. While this situation seems stressful to go through personally, it surely will be interesting to spectate upon. Keep Reading »

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BK Wildlife Summer Festival Is the Labor Day Bash You Won’t Want To Miss

(Image posted by Brooklyn Wildlife on Facebook)

The Brooklyn Wildlife Summer Festival returns this Friday for a triumphant sixth year. The festival, which according to Brooklyn Wildlife founder Christopher Carr, is the “largest independent art and music festival in Brooklyn” with no corporate sponsors, features a lineup of more than 150 performers over the course of 10 days. It touts not only summer music jam sessions, but also “fine art shows, multi media presentations and tech meet ups” per their Eventbrite page.

In lieu of receiving corporate, non-profit or government funding, Carr, a full-time photographer who runs the Gamba Forest art studio with his partner (which is also hosting the festival’s Saturday lineup), funds the entire festival out of pocket–with the exception of a $10 application fee that he charges first-time performers seeking to play in the festival. The out-of-the-box music fest seeks to be the “new CMJ, the new WMC, the new SXSW” according to their Facebook event page. But doesn’t that sort of big tent, mainstream vibe run counter to the festival’s purpose as a gathering of indie artists? According to Carr, whom Bedford + Bowery spoke with by phone, not necessarily. In the early days of SXSW, Carr recalls smaller or mid-sized venues that brought people together in appreciation of solid indie music. He approaches his music festival in a similar way.

Photo from last year’s festival at Gamba Forest Gallery in Greenpoint (Photo: Nick McManus)

“I’m going for that middle ground where it’s large enough that it’s worth the time of the venues and individuals that put in the effort, but not so large that it cannibalizes itself,” says Carr. “I also enjoy Afropunk…but there’s an irony about a festival [that] punk kids can’t afford. We want to find that nice little area where we get some coverage, but we don’t need to cater to the media.” Carr also notes that this year’s festival stands out from previous years in two ways: “magnitude” and “decentralized performances” AKA events hosted in private residences with the help of the website artery.is. With so many events and performers, it can be hard to know where to start, but Carr suggests paying particular attention to metal band No Clouds, esoteric rapper Akai Solo (performing on the festival’s opening night at Trans-Pecos), and reggae/hip-hop artist D-Andra.

You can scope out the links to the performers’ music on the festival’s website and find more information about the various events on Facebook.  Tickets ($50) are available here. The 10-day summer fest runs from Friday, August, 31 through Sunday, September 9.

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Performance Picks: Anarchist Emmas and Violent Ellens

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Tank / Facebook)

Red Emma and the Mad Monk
Now through September 1 at The Tank, 8 pm: $20-30

Nowadays, when one thinks about theater (particularly any form of commercial theater, Broadway or otherwise), radical politics aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Or the second or third for that matter. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see this serve as the cornerstone of Red Emma and the Mad Monk, a new play with music by Alexis Roblan presented as part of The Tank’s Ladyfest. It centers around a 12 year-old girl who has a mystic Russian imaginary friend and enjoys fighting online with “deplorables,” an unsettling pastime for someone so young, but it probably happens more than we’d like to think. In the midst of this, she learns about the influential anarchist activist Emma Goldman, and starts to consider the world a bit differently. Keep Reading »

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Black Art Matters and More Exhibitions This Week

(image via Con Artist Collective)

August Summer Residency Showcase
Opening Wednesday, August 29 at Con Artist Collective, 7 pm to 11 pm. On view through August 31.

It’s the end of the summer, which means people are scrambling to get the last of their leisure time in before it feels less justifiable to do so. This often means less events and other artistic goings-on. After all, it’s hard to have an art show when you don’t want to leave the beach. But the restless vigor of Con Artist Collective continues—on any given day (including in the midst of the end-of-summer lull) you can probably find them up to something, whether that be the party-filled unveiling of a new art exhibition or something else entirely. Starting Wednesday night, the Lower East Side art space’s summer studio residents will be showing their latest creations. Keep Reading »

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Surrealist Artist Dom Dirtee Thinks Both Sides Are Drinking the Kool-Aid

(Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)

It was a boiling-hot day in Brooklyn when I strolled by a dull gray electrical box and glimpsed vivid shades of red, purple and blue. The square black sticker pasted onto the box contained a blue angelic figure with red wings kneeling in prayer beneath a bizarre hodgepodge of images depicting the decrepit state of America today: pills—possibly a nod to the opioid epidemic—logos for Fox News and Vice, Facebook and Twitter social media icons, an iPhone, an AK-47, an Amazon box, and an array of dollar bills upon dollar bills. Scrawled in tiny white font beneath the image were the words Dom Dirtee.
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The Return of The Macaulay Culkin Show and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Subtle Pride / Facebook)

Subtle Pride: Live in Concert
Thursday, August 9 at Rubulad, 8 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

While yes this is a concert, and this listing typically does not include those, I happen to know that seeing the group Subtle Pride in concert is not your average musical experience. In addition to many songs (often a cappella, harmony-laden, and/or improvised), there are often sketches, monologues, and other strange theatrical experiences peppered in within all the music sung by Mina Walker (of the band Daisy The Great), Brigette Lundy-Paine (of Netflix series Atypical), Zach Donovan, and Misha Brooks. It’s sort of hard to explain, but when I saw them at Dixon Place a year or two ago I was very impressed and also a little confused at times. But if you like celebrity culture, vocal harmonies, weird theatrics, and other such things, it is likely you will have a nice time. Keep Reading »

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Get Your Summer Reading (or Flirting) On With These 9 Book Talks

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America

(Image credit: Amazon)

Thursday, August 2 at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Darnell Moore, writer and leader in the Movement for Black Lives, brings what’s sure to be a riveting discussion of his new memoir No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America to the Brooklyn Historical Society. The description for his book on his website recounts how three neighborhood boys in Camden, New Jersey tried to set him on fire when he was only 14. In the three decades since that encounter, Moore has gone on to seek solace in the gay community of Philadelphia, justice on the front lines in Ferguson, Missouri, and life in his current home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In this book, he seeks to understand how that 14-year-old boy not only survived, but became the individual that he is today. Tickets to this event cost $5.

Books Beneath the Bridge: Greenlight Poetry Salon

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Michael Jackson Mural Hits East Village as Spike Lee Preps MJ Block Party

(Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)

At the corner of First Avenue and East 11th Street, tourists and residents alike stopped in their tracks, stunned by the mural in front of them. It was a very familiar visage split straight down the middle. The right half of the face depicted an image of a young boy with a relaxed smile, round cheeks and a discernible afro on a white backdrop. The left half, by contrast, showed an older, gaunt face with straight hair and alert eyes on a black backdrop. The faces were further bifurcated into crisp diamonds in all the colors of the rainbow, standing out from the neighboring red brick facades. The face was none other than the late king of pop: Michael Jackson.

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Feminist Food from the Past Comes to Life at MOFAD

An edible display of Saint Agatha at MOFAD (Photos: Tara Yarlagadda)

On the corner of Bayard and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) is a quiet, unassuming structure whose only distinguishing exterior feature is the bright red door that beckons guests inside. But inside the museum, food history is being made. Thirty-nine guests—mostly women—have come together on this Wednesday night to recreate Judy Chicago’s 1970s feminist artwork The Dinner Party, which is a permanent exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Chicago’s Dinner Party arranges an elaborate dinner banquet on a triangular table. The table hosts place settings for 39 iconic female figures throughout history. These settings include gold china and brightly-painted porcelain plates in the shapes of butterflies and vulvas. The artwork also displays the names of 999 other women in gold inscription on the tiled floor beneath the table.

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Performance Picks: Wallace Shawn, Heavy Metal Comedy, and More

THURSDAY

(image via The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret / Facebook)

The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret
Thursday, July 19 at Bizarre Bushwick, 10 pm: $10 suggested donation

Even though your parents probably told you otherwise, it can be fun to sin. Someone who knows that well is Vic Sin, a dance, drag, and burlesque performer who produces The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret every month at Bizarre, which is hosted by drag performer (and leader of the inimitable queer drag and burlesque collective Beefsquad) Lee VaLone. It also happens to be Lee’s birthday, so you know the show will be extra special. Helping celebrate (and sin) will be the stacked lineup of C’Etait BonTemps, Angelica Sundae, Devo Monique, Dynasty, Laé D. Boi, Mini Horrorwitz, Nyx Nocturne, and Theydy Bedbug. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Drag Competition, Comedy (Divine Or Otherwise)

WEDNESDAY

(image via House of Yes / Facebook)

Hot Mess: Drag Competition
Wednesday, July 11 at House of Yes, 10 pm: FREE

When you think of a drag competition, surely one certain television show comes to mind. But, as RuPaul’s Drag Race has made clear, not every type of drag performer is allowed to partake. But at Madame Vivien V’s live drag competition Hot Mess, there are no such limitations. “All drag is equal so whatever form you take, [whether] you are a seasoned professional or a baby darling, if you’ve got something to say, we want to give you the stage,” the event page articulates, noting that the show will include queens, kings, “queerdos,” and whomever else may want to strut their stuff. The winner will receive the coveted title of Mx. Hot Mess, as well as $100 cash. Plus, unlike a lot of events at the glitzy House of Yes, it’s free. Keep Reading »

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Queer Intimacy From Mapplethorpe and Goldin, Plus More Art This Week

Hikaru Fujii, The Primary Fact, video still, 2018, seven-channel video, 73 min. Courtesy of the artist. (image via ISCP / Facebook)

The Primary Fact
Opening Tuesday, June 26 at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 12.

Did you know there is a recently-excavated mass grave in Athens, Greece with contents dating back to 7 B.C., including “eighty shackled skeletons” with great teeth? Artist and current resident at the International Studio and Curatorial Program Hikaru Fujii does, and he’s spent a lot of time documenting and learning about this curious piece of history. The result of this work will be on view in The Primary Fact, the artist’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. It features predominantly video and photography, focusing on the “inconclusive scientific viewpoints” that have emerged about the grave, its contents, and its history. In addition to displaying actual imagery from the Athenian grave, Fujii also assembled a group of Greek men to recreate the choreographic moment of mass execution (presumably due to a political coup) that led to this grave in the first place. Keep Reading »