By the time I arrived at Knockdown Center on Saturday night for day two of Nasty Women– the four-day, all-women exhibition and giant middle finger directed at Trump–the place had been all but cleaned out. All anyone could talk about was the “epic” turnout for opening night– even the shuttle bus driver sounded beat when he told me how he helped move “thousands” of people back and forth between Knockdown and the Jefferson stop.
Tackling the topic of feminism is a monumental task for any art exhibition, let alone one that fits inside a downtown art space called White Box–which you already know, or maybe just guessed, is not all that enormous. Even if the curator had the MoMA to herself, a show like this would require some epic planning. And from the viewer’s perspective? Yeah right. Seeing everything in one go would be require an Odyssean attention span which, let’s be real, just doesn’t exist anymore.
So when curator Lara Pan was commissioned by the non-profit art space White Box to put together a show “about women,” she and her co-curator Ruben Natal-San Miguel came up with Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (on view through January 21), a 27-piece show that fits neatly within a realm of feminism she knows well. She may have felt compelled to whittle down the larger theme, but she managed to keep the feeling of an epic, history-sweeping, time-spanning, half-the-human-race, cross-culturally inclusive narrative. At the same time, the show defies what we’ve come to expect from women’s art exhibitions: those one-note, temporary deviations from the default (i.e. white men) that are plagued by tokenism, tiptoeing, stale themes, and work that’s about as revolutionary as a closet full of pantsuits.
If you’ve seen the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer, you know Kathleen Hanna was stuck out at sea for a long time when she was creatively paralyzed and overwhelmed by the day-to-day challenges of Lyme disease. One of the harshest consequences of her illness was profound fatigue, something that severely limited her capacity to write or perform music. At times, she found it difficult to even speak.
Lucky for us– oh, and for Hanna too– she’s doing much better these days, so much so that even though her band The Julie Ruin, like, just released their new album, Hanna is making an appearance this week at a speaker store in Soho, of all places, called Sonos.
Musicals are often full of emotion, especially during moments of song. When a woman sings of wanting the people who irk her “slain,” it’s usually not a threat to be taken literally. But in Ambition: The Female American Serial Killer Musical, now playing as part of the Planet Connections Theater Festivity in the East Village, such musical stylings do indeed foreshadow death.
Ambition is written by Asian-American playwright and performer Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin, who is also the co-creator of a web series called 2 Girls 1 Asian and helps produce and curate a bimonthly performance series called Undiscovered Countries, which is how we met. Since then, we’ve performed in each other’s respective variety shows and I’ve generally kept tabs on her work. When I heard about this project I knew I had to check it out, as I am the type who spent many childhood years up late combing through the Wikipedia pages of people who have done awful things. People, but largely men.
In 2011, Kate Bolick touched off a heated debate with her confessional Atlantic article “All the Single Ladies,” which described her experience breaking up with her “loyal, kind” boyfriend of three years, assuming someone new would come along, only to find herself still unattached at 39 and dealing with the stigma and fears that come with singledom. Her first book, Spinster, tells the story of what happened when she embraced being single. It interweaves her personal life with historical context brought to life by five single ladies who were reveling in their independence long before Beyonce wrote the anthem.
Sure, everyone’s psyched for the all-female Ghostbusters, but last Sunday, as part of the Bushwick Film Festival, a panel of women in the industry came together and agreed on something scary: there are not enough women being represented in films, TV, and behind the camera.
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Welcome to Girls Talk, in which two of our favorite New Yorkers share the text messages they sent during this week’s episode of Girls.
The text in blue belongs to her roommate, Chiara Atik, author of the play “Women,” a mash-up of Little Women and Girls, which just completed a run at the Kraine Theatre in the East Village. They live on the Lower East Side, and watched the latest episode of Girls together while communicating only through texts.
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