(Photo: Natalie Rinn)

Art Start Up!
Tuesday, December 27, 7 pm to 10 pm at Theater for the New City, RSVP by Email info@theaterforthenewcity.net to RSVP

This Tuesday, one of the last independent East Village art spaces still hangin’ on, Theater for the New City, will welcome a group of artists as well as an array community organizations to engage in a conversation about the East Village and Lower East Side arts scene. There’s a lot to survey: the current state of things, what’s missing, what improvements should be made to best suit the community the arts (hopefully) serve, and economic barriers that may be in place. That last one is sure to be a long conversation.

The initiative is brought on by the Cultural Plan for all New Yorkers, a new initiative that the city’s touting as “a roadmap for the future” of local culture that’s facilitated by input from everyday people in the community for a more well-rounded and inclusive arts scene.

“This time, the community will speak to the artists,” the event description states. Fear not members of the “community”– for once, organizers seem to be addressing people other than the ever-affluent folk now populating once diverse, low-income neighborhoods. Instead, they’re seeking out the views of individuals from “churches, mosques, synagogues, schools, settlement houses, NYCHA, and other residential and civic groups.” Art is so often created in an inclusive bubble and consumed by only those who can afford it (and perhaps, their friends), so it really is refreshing and comforting to see this sort of engagement. The Cultural Plan people even declare the panel is a “diverse” one that reflects a variety of artistic practices and identities. One can only hope it pans out into something useful.

(image via Exploring Queer Space / Facebook)

(Image via Exploring Queer Space / Facebook)

Exploring Queer Space
On view Wednesday December 28 (opening: 4 pm to 8 pm) through December 30 at Rogue Space Chelsea

There’s not a real bounty of exhibition openings happening in the days before 2017. It’s likely that folks are still reeling from the copious amount of food stuffs they ate over the holidays, or are simply too distraught by the abject horror that 2016 still continues to bring, even today. (RIP George Michael!)

However, it’s not all a barren wasteland devoid of art to gaze upon. Rogue Space Chelsea will open a show featuring the work of illustrator Cristy C. Road and photographer Luis Carle, both queer Latinx artists who have dealt heavily with these topics of identity in their works.

Road, a Cuban-American self-proclaimed “punk for life” who’s published zines and novels and continues to perform in a variety of genres, will be showing a portion of her “Next World Tarot” series, an illustrated Tarot deck reanimated by a cast of “electric queer characters” who triumph over oppression and trauma. With a focus on “body outlaws, endangered cultures, anti-colonial belief systems,” and “ancestral magic,” Road’s mystical and passionate illustrations are impactful in both form and content, working to bring attention to those who deal in magic (and sometimes, just the magic of survival) and people who don’t exactly fit the attractive-white-Brooklyn-transplant type so frequently profiled in news features. It’s about time someone did.

Luis Carle, who came to New York from Puerto Rico in 1984 to study at Parsons, also seeks to document and preserve, but through photography. His images of the LGBTQ Latino community, taken between 1990 and today, “document movements and protests while celebrating the individual participant.” Rather than simply portraying one slice of the queer experience, Carle (whose bio also reflects a diverse practice, with a hand in everything from advertising to fine artwork that hangs in galleries and museums, as well as a curatorial stint at the Nuyorican Poets Café) captures political hardship, the trans community, coming out, and more.

(Photo via The Living Gallery)

(Photo via The Living Gallery)

Drink N’ Draw
Wednesday December 28 , 7 pm at The Living Gallery: $10 

And if you’re still wanting more, The Living Gallery has their regular Drink N’ Draw on Wednesday at 7 pm. For $10, you’ll get materials, a live model to inspire you, and wine to really inspire you.

(Flyer via RAE BK)

(Flyer via RAE BK)

New Years Eve: All Systems Go
Saturday December 31, 9 pm to 1 am at 99 Bowery: $85

If you’re feeling extra deep-pocketed, street artist RAE BK (the same guy behind those super-involved found-object streetscape sculptures or maybe that awesome Chinatown basement guerrilla art show he had last year) is throwing a party and pop-up art show featuring more than 40 new art pieces (from paintings to sculptures) and old-school beats by DJ Kool Herc, aka the Jamaican-American DJ known as “the father of hip-hop” for his founding contribution to the art form’s Bronx genesis in the ’70s. There’s also gonna be a raffle and an open bar.

Sounds pretty, pretty swell, as long as you can swing $85 a head. If you can drink enough to justify the price, I’m not going to stop you. But hey NYE considering, it ain’t half bad.