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Virtual Performance Picks: Queer Bedroom Comedy and a Cannabis Cabaret During Quarantine


(image courtesy of Doll Body)

High Concepts
Wednesday, March 25 on @highconcepts Instagram Live, 9 pm: FREE (suggested donation)

People who regularly go to bars are surely having a hard time lately, but stoners might be doing a little bit better. They probably already spend a lot of time chilling out in their rooms. But for performers Doll Body and Vylette Tendency, it’s a bit different. They host a monthly “cannabis cabaret” at a DIY venue, featuring drag, burlesque, and other surprises, and things usually get hazy in a good way. While that’s on pause, they’re taking to Instagram Live for this month’s show, which celebrates producer Vylette’s birthday. Pray your internet connection will stay stable, and prepare for shows from Deity Delgado, Professor Lionel Longlegs, Bad News Bear, Foxy Belle Afriq, and your hosts. Ingest whatever you like while you watch, and don’t forget to tip.

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Livestreamed Shows Are Facilitating Community and Creation (With Some Technical Difficulties)

Screenshot of Mark Vigeant’s Let’s Play Learning Games With Comedians (via Caveat / YouTube)

People have always said that the New York of the present is nothing like the old New York. If you compare today to just one week ago, that sentiment has never felt truer. Venues, bars, and countless other establishments are now closed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means live, in-person shows are a thing of the past for now. But many artists are adapting, putting on shows that are live-streamed or otherwise virtually broadcast. Anything from drag shows to intimate acoustic sets can now be consumed from your bedroom, provided you’re willing to tolerate some buffering.

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Art This Week: Hong Kong Video Art and Filipino Oceans

Film stills from Joanna Vasquez Arong’s video Sampit sa Dagat (Call of the Sea), 2019. (image courtesy of Pintô International)

Mother Boat
Opening Thursday, March 12 at Pintô International, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through April 30.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot to feel nervous about nowadays. One ever-present problem that only seems to be worsening is the issue of ocean pollution. As it’s basic knowledge that most of the world is covered in water, this is a global issue—at East Village space Pintô International, artists focus on how this issue has affected the Philippines, which is an archipelago. The four participating artists explore how plastic waste and other refuse has impacted the shores and waters, with several creating sculptures or installations from found discarded materials. Others shine a light on Filipino tradition and how the ocean plays a crucial part within that. Collectively, they work to demand a more sustainable, compassionate future all over the world.

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Performance Picks: Women’s Day and an Experimental Puppet Show


(image courtesy of HERE)

Kosmos Invers: The Morphology of XOS
Now through March 14 at HERE, various times: $25

It’s relatively easy for the average person to forget about puppets. They were probably a part of your childhood in some way, but nowadays you don’t see them much, aside from that one time you and some friends went to go see Avenue Q. However, puppetry as an art form is multifaceted and flourishing. If you want an example of some of the most innovative and experimental puppetry happening today, look no further than Kalan Sherrard. The visual artist, street performer, and puppeteer has been a unique presence in the city (and around the world) for years, and now he’s bringing his latest solo piece to HERE in Tribeca, telling a philosophical, environmental, and visceral tale of two planets that oscillate between demonic and heavenly. More →

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Art This Week: Women’s Stories and Wacky Lamps

(image via @randcompanynyc / Instagram)

It’s Lit
Opening Tuesday, March 3 at 64 White Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 25.

On Tuesday, R and Company’s gallery at 64 White Street gets lit. Only it’s not the kind of lit you think. Unless you’re thinking of the literal definition of the word and not the slang version, in which case you’d be right. Indeed, this is an exhibition of creations that also act as lamps and other various lighting. The selection of illumination on display far exceeds anything you’d typically run into at a furniture store, but the gallery will feel like one, with everything arranged like a surreal, shining showroom. There are lamps that look like taxidermy chicken and swirling granite sea anemones, the kind of streetlights that would feel at home in a video game with quaint villages made from clay, and much more to behold. It will certainly be lit.

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Performance Picks: Clowns and Musical Trauma Comedy


(image via Darian Lusk / Facebook)

Piano Boy
Thursday, February 27 at Vital Joint, 8 pm: $5

Billy Joel made a name for himself by being a Piano Man, or at least singing about one. But that was in the past. Now, it’s the era of the Piano Boy. Or at least it will be on Thursday night when musical comedian Darian Lusk performs his hourlong one-man show of the same name. In it, Lusk will take to the piano (or at least a little Casio keyboard) to perform an array of songs he’s penned over the past year, delving into topics from Judaism to group chats. He’ll be joined by opener Mary Houlihan.

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Art This Week: The Power of Posters, Light-Activated Paintings, and More

The Rat Cigarettes, c. 1938, Xie Zhiguang. From the collection of Mark H. Choko (image courtesy of Poster House)

The Sleeping Giant / The Swiss Grid
Opening Thursday, February 27 at Poster House. On view through August 23.

We see posters frequently in our everyday life. Movies coming out soon, ads for startups, information on new citywide regulations, the list goes on. Posters are such a frequent facet of our surroundings we tend to write them off. At Chelsea space Poster House, that all changes. Expand your understanding and appreciation of rectangular printed matter with their latest exhibitions. One, The Sleeping Giant, explores how posters illustrated China’s economic development in the 20th century. The other, The Swiss Grid, delves into the ubiquitous Swiss design and typographic style, typically involving sans serif fonts and a geometric-yet-asymmetric page layout.

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Performance Picks: Black Friday and Socialist Comedy


(image via Paid Protest / Facebook)

Paid Protest
Thursday, February 20 at Secret Loft, 8 pm: $10 suggested donation

It’s getting to be that time of the year, the time where it’s impossible to ignore electoral politics no matter how hard you try. Of course, it’s important to stay informed, but there’s a balance one should strike between staying ignorant and getting completely enveloped in, say, Twitter conspiracies. One way of doing that is by logging off and heading to Paid Protest, a DSA fundraiser comedy show that was once in Brooklyn but has now made its way to Manhattan’s Secret Loft. This time, the team is raising cash for DSA’s Housing Working group through sets by Kate Willett, Alise Morales, Moss Perricone, Judah Friedlander, Jordan Jensen, and Shalewa Sharpe, alongside hosts Kath Barbadoro, Simone Norman, and Alex Ptak. Plus, there’s free pizza.

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Art This Week: Rebellious Black Girls and Creations Beyond the 9-to-5

Nichole Washington, “The Keepers” (image via The Untitled Space)

Rebellious Black Girl
Opening Tuesday, February 18 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through February 28.

Though the cultural landscape is certainly more diverse than it used to be, it can still fall into the trap of expecting people of certain identities to look and behave a certain way, lest they be cast off and deemed unacceptable. Artist Nichole Washington pushes against all that with her solo show Rebellious Black Girl, on view at The Untitled Space in Tribeca for the rest of the month—which, of course, is also Black History Month. Washington’s work is centered around photography, but with a playful, mixed media twist, mixing vivid pinks, purples, and teals with bold imagery of powerful Black people expressing themselves however they please.

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Art This Week: Unconventional Perspectives and Mao in America

Kristen Schiele, “Kites,” 2019, 29″x 32”, Acrylic, oil on canvas (image courtesy of Equity Gallery)

The Center Cannot Hold
Opening Wednesday, February 12 at Equity Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through March 7.

So many variations in culture can be traced back to perspective, be it metaphorical or literal. The latest group show at Equity Gallery, The Center Cannot Hold, assembles 17 artists and six curators to grapple with the topic from all angles, and the variety will ensure there’s plenty of different perspectives to explore perspective from. How meta! More specifically, these artists are interested in what happens when perspective and spatial reasoning becomes skewed and illogical, resulting in landscapes and creations that break with most known conventions of what things should look like. As some say, they only way to progress is to discard the rules and norms and start anew.

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