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Performance Picks: Spooky Drag and Sex Work Fundraising

WEDNESDAY

(poster courtesy of Shark Party Media)

Never A Boy
Wednesday, October 30 at UCB Hell’s Kitchen, 9 pm: $9

Visibility and representation in the media for trans and gender non-conforming people is certainly better than it once was, but it’s still all too common to see trans characters played by cis actors (or written by cis writers) or shoehorned into unfortunate stereotypes. That’s not the case with comedian Chloe Koser’s one-woman show Never A Boy. Koser tells her own story in her own words, delving into her personal journey of transition with a narrative that’s poignant but also unabashedly, comedically explicit. It’s not all autobiography, though; in between the memoir components of the show, Koser will perform an array of absurd characters, from a tampon maker to someone with deep carnal desire for a whale.

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Art This Week: Human Bones and Tyree Guyton

Nicole Awai, Reflection Pool, 2019, acrylic paint, resin, graphite, nail polish, plastic, shells, crystalline solids and paper, 50 x 38 in. 

Envisioning the Liquid Land
Opening Wednesday, October 30 at Lesley Heller Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.

Envisioning the Liquid Land could be the title of a book on how climate change will undoubtedly plunge us all underwater one day, but it’s also the name of Nicole Awai’s latest solo show, on view starting Wednesday at Lesley Heller Gallery on Orchard Street. The Trinidad-born artist and teacher is known for utilizing a wide range of items in her art, from nail polish and resin to feathers and shells, in order to explore the intricacies of living in America today. Awai’s multifaceted style gives her work a multi-dimensional feel reminiscent of candy-colored dreamlands that look almost like normal life, but more surreal and more intriguing. That’s not all—in the gallery’s project space, there will also be an installation by Rachelle Dang, inspired by Hawaiian colonialism and botanical cabinets.

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Musings on Mortality, Witches, and More Spooky Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Orchid Receipt Service / Facebook)

Orchid Receipt Service
Now through October 26 at Mitu580, 7 pm: $25 ($10 for low-income artists)

One of the perks of seeing theater in New York is that sometimes you get to see actors that would normally only occupy your TV screens in person. Typically, this happens on Broadway stages, where you have to fork over big bucks (and go to Times Square) to see big names. Corinne Donly’s new play Orchid Receipt Service, a dreamscape centering around two transmasculine people’s relationship, breaks that mold by being in Gowanus (well, still a trek for some). Not only does the show feature Billions actor Asia Kate Dillon, both its cast and creative team are almost entirely made up of trans, non binary, and gender non-conforming artists. So not only can you see a face you know from TV, you can also see the stars of an inclusive, expansive future.

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Art This Week: Trippy Paintings and Dreamy Colors

(image via Sidel and McElwreath)

Harvest
Opening Wednesday, October 23 at 172 East 4th Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 20.

Frequently, galleries will show work by acclaimed artists who just happen to not be alive anymore. Sometimes their work gets combined with more contemporary creations, but not when art advisory group Sidel & McElwreath is concerned. Their focus is squarely on living artists, and they’ll be showcasing nine of their favorites at an East Village exhibition opening this Wednesday. The work included runs the gamut in both form and content, like a bountiful harvest should, and presents a chance for artists and viewers of art who may not normally gather in the same room to come together as a community.

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Performance Picks: Comedy With Free Pizza and Plenty of Drag

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Great Fairy Venus Celestina / Facebook)

I’m Selfish! The Birth of Venus
Wednesday, October 16 at Dream Baby, 9:30 pm: $10

Drag performer The Great Fairy Venus Celestina’s recurring show at the bar Dream Baby is always named I’m Selfish, but this time the title feels even more justified, as it will be celebrating the literal birth of Venus herself. Join the birthday queen, members of her Haus, and other special guest performers who will be turning out “Venus-themed” numbers for all to see. The cast will be performing a whopping three sets, so there will be plenty of time to see, tip, and drink, including some chances to win free booze.

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Art This Week: Cinema of Transgression and Outdoor Oddities

Image: Other Wise from “Mirror Mirror, Daylight Cinema” at The Old Shul for Social Sculpture, Tessa Hughes-Freeland.

Passed and Present
Opening Thursday, October 17 at Howl! Happening, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 17.

One of the pioneers of the Cinema of Transgression—an New York-based underground movement active in the 80’s that focused on low-budget subversion—was Tessa Hughes-Freeland, an experimental filmmaker who utilized psychedelic, kaleidoscopic visuals in her work, as well as found footage. This exhibition at East Village space Howl Happening acts as a “cinematic survey” of her work, featuring sculptures, videos, and an “interactive kaleidoscope.” Beyond the opening reception, there will be several special events throughout the course of the show, including film screenings and filmmaking workshops led by Hughes-Freeland herself.

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Canary Club Jazzes Up The Lower East Side

(photo: Heidi’s Bridge)

While you still can’t (legally) drink on the street, the Lower East Side is about to feel a little more like New Orleans now that it has Canary Club. The Broome Street restaurant, bar, and live music spot opened its doors this week, serving up French Creole-inspired dishes, creative cocktails, and tunes ranging from jazz to disco. More →

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Performance Picks: MCR Burlesque and Indoor-Outdoor Comedy

THURSDAY

Not Straight Not White
Thursday, October 10 at 132 W 21st Street, 7 pm: FREE

At this trio show, audiences get the best of three worlds. There’s photography, there’s sculpture, and there’s performance, and it’s all created by young artists (Patrick Arias, Jinyong Choi, and Garrett Allen) who are, as the title suggests, neither straight nor white. To those deeply enmeshed in inclusive, queer, nightlife-y worlds, this may not seem like the most revolutionary thing (though I’d advise taking a closer look at those scenes to see how consistently diverse they really are), but recall that it was a mere two days ago that the Supreme Court was contemplating queer and trans people’s right to hold a job without the constant fear of being fired simply for who they are. Not Straight Not White acknowledges these tumultuous times and attempts to imagine a better future, one where the marginalized take back the power.

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Art This Week: Pastels, Flowers, and Queer Abstraction

(image via Equity Gallery / Facebook)

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Opening Wednesday, October 9 at Equity Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 2.

There are plenty of exhibitions nowadays that spotlight creations by queer artists of present and past, but this show at Equity Gallery organized by critics and curators Christopher Stout and Eric Sutphin narrows its focus even more to zero in on what they call “queer abstraction.” Deeming the exhibition a “visual essay,” it (and the six artists participating) aims to explore how the subgenre has been showcased both locally and abroad, and the power (or lack thereof) of abstract art that doesn’t have an overt political statement to it.

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