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Performance Picks: Bowie Cabaret, Country Christmas, Asian Drag

THURSDAY

(photo: Hanneke Wetzer)

Where Are We Now
Now through December 21 at La MaMa, 8:30 pm: $26 ($21 students/seniors)

Even though he’s not physically with us anymore, the spirit of David Bowie lives on through the musician’s storied legacy and acclaimed, sparkling body of work. All over, people are having Bowie-centric dance parties, Bowie-themed burlesque shows, and other tributes within the realm of nightlife. The latest of these you can catch is in the form of Dutch-German cabaret performer Sven Ratzke’s Where Are We Now, an intimate evening of storytelling and Bowie’s music, arranged simply for piano and voice. Ratzke has received international acclaim for his performances over the years, with particular attention given to his ability to seemingly transform into the Starman himself.

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Art This Week: Sci-Fi Meets Reality and Holiday Shows

An Evening With Muses
Opening Wednesday, December 18 at Ace Hotel New York, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 20.

Whether it’s a ticketed drink and draw event, a university art class, or a 1-on-1 arrangement, the IRL relationship between artist and model is alive and well these days, though it’s still usually more of a private affair. But on Wednesday, art models Najee and Ume will take to the Ace Hotel to pull back the curtain for all to see with the exhibition An Evening With Muses, which is based on a live drawing series they held at The Ace’s restaurant. On view will be work created in those live sessions, showcasing the many different ways that artist can represent muse. And to show you how it all happens, there will also be a live drawing presentation.

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Performance Picks: A Wholesome Evening In, and Deranged Holiday Drag

THURSDAY

(image via Sad Boy Club / Facebook)

SadBoyClub
Thursday, December 12 at The Deep End, 7:30 pm: $10 suggested donation

Lana del Rey talked about summertime sadness, but we all know that wintertime is when the blues truly come to stay a while. Though sure, the initial shock of seasonal depression is starting to wane a bit, it’s still dark and cold all the time. Rather than isolating yourself, bond with other bleak-minded folk who just happen to be talented performers at SadBoyClub, a “queer and weird” variety show at The Deep End in Ridgewood. Your $10 suggested donation gets you a cornucopia of drag, burlesque, sideshow, circus, and other surprises.

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11 Witchy, Queer, and Unique Holiday Markets to Spice Up Your Shopping

(image via Nowhere Bar / Facebook)

Like it or not, holiday shopping season is upon us. Sure, you can go to big-name stores or fight your way through the Union Square holiday market, but there are plenty of other ways to find meaningful gifts. Here are 11 unique pop-up shops and holiday markets to peruse, where you can find something special while supporting alternative and marginalized makers at the same time.

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Murakami, Couture’s Craft, and More Art This Week

(image via Staley-Wise Gallery / Facebook)

Behind the Scenes
Opening Thursday, December 12 at Staley-Wise Gallery. On view through January 25.

The world of fashion, be it editorial or runway, is very much a polished one. Outfits are perfectly tailored, images are retouched, runway shows are directed and planned, and makeup and hair is painstakingly crafted. It’s less common to get a peek at the work that goes into making this possible, but it’s the chief objective of photojournalist Harry Benson’s latest exhibition at Soho’s Staley-Wise Gallery. The prolific photographer, who has captured notable faces from JFK to The Beatles, has been snapping shots at fashion shows for decades. This show focuses on everything but the finished product (well, and some of that too): the designers at work, the models preparing to walk, the people who actually purchase couture, and more.

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Art This Week: Uncanny Glitches and Duchamp’s Commodification

Lina Puerta, Crop Laborer (pink and gold), 2018

Present Bodies: Papermaking at Dieu Donné
Opening Wednesday, December 4 at BRIC, 7 pm. On view through February 2.

Though it’s not quite as big a part of our lives as it used to be, paper is still ubiquitous. It creates our books, our restaurant menus, our never-ending piles of junk mail, and of course, our art. Starting Wednesday, our humble paper will get the star treatment at an exhibit at BRIC, showcasing artists who not only make art on paper but make the very paper displaying their art. The show features eight artists who participated in a recent residency at hand papermaking organization Dieu Donné. They all use their craft to explore marginalized bodies, taking both their identities and the medium their art exists on into their own hands.

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Art This Week: Avant-Garde Retrospective and Mall Memories

Phill Niblock
China 88 Slide 94
1988
Courtesy of Phill Niblock and Fridman Gallery.

Working Photos
Opening Monday, November 25 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 5.

Phill Niblock has been creating art for over fifty years, which is longer than the majority of people reading this have presumably been alive. This dedication to creation has manifested in the form of minimalist audio compositions, photographs, and film. He has collaborated with the likes of Sun Ra and shown work anywhere from the Tate Modern to DIY space Silent Barn. Now, he’ll be showing a wide variety of this multifaceted body of work at Fridman Gallery, in an exhibition that will be accompanied by a performance and screening series taking place both at the gallery and at Niblock’s longtime loft space on Centre Street.

(image via Front Room Gallery / Facebook)

Mallrat to Snapchat: the End of the Third Place
Opening Friday, November 29 at Front Room Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 12.

One of the most popular places to shop during the holidays is a mall, or at least it used to be. Now, these hubs for teen socializing, family activities, and hurried gift-searching are becoming a thing of the past, replaced by online stores and shifting shopping tendencies. Photographer Phil Buehler seeks to illuminate this cultural shift in his solo exhibition Mallrat to Snapchat, using a New Jersey mall that closed earlier this year as his main case study. The show will appropriately open on Black Friday, and features photographs of the mall in various stages of existence as well as paraphernalia like vinyl albums from 1973, the year the mall opened.

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Performance Picks: Bill Nye Burlesque and a Boozy Experiment

THURSDAY

(image via Stonestreet Comedy Hour / Facebook)

The Stonestreet Comedy Hour
Thursday, November 20 at Stonestreet Studios, 8 pm: pay what you can

Thursday is like the Friday of the weekdays (yes, Friday is technically a weekday too, but you know what I mean), so it’s only natural that you do some sort of activity before you have to go to bed and wake up early one more time that week. One recommended one is The Stonestreet Comedy Hour, a short-but-sweet donation-based comedy show that takes places within Stonestreet, a film production studio that also trains NYU students. Hosted by Jesse Roth, a comedian with an occasional penchant for song and dance, the show features sets by Allison O’Conor, Patrick Nolan, Ariel Gitlin, Andrew Coalson, and Matt Gehring, plus, everyone’s favorite: free snacks.

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Weird New Yorkers, Deathly Drawings, and More Art This Week

(image via shelter_gallery / Instagram)

Impractical Frontiers
Opening Tuesday, November 19 at Shelter Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 5.

Despite the magazine’s general air of sophistication, cover art for The New Yorker can run the gamut—recall that one time they put DIY space Palisades (RIP) on the cover. However, they probably wouldn’t sell an issue plastered with the image of someone defecating on the street, or a naked George Washington, looking back at you cheekily. Those images (and more) you can find at artist Timothy Wehrle’s solo show at Shelter Gallery (which occupies the same space on East Broadway as the galleries Shrine and Sargent’s Daughters). The artist’s unique drawings, made from colored pencil and graphite, depict serenely strange scenes from the midwest to the city rendered in soft, surreal detail. 

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Performance Picks: Blacklight Burlesque, Queer Cowboys, Space-Age Late Night

FRIDAY

(image via Plan B / Facebook)

Plan B: Glovember
Friday, November 15 at Bodeguita, 9 pm: $5

There’s no denying it anymore: it’s dark and cold out. Unfortunately for many of us, that means seasonal depression, bemoaning daylight savings, and investing in one of those SAD lamps that may or may not actually work. One way to get a little more light in your life is by attending the latest edition of the Plan B variety show, which presents drag and burlesque in the back of Bodeguita, a cozy Cuban bar and restaurant off Myrtle-Broadway in Bushwick. This time, the show is blacklight-themed, which the performers will be embracing heartily, surely in the form of neon body paint, glowing outfits (that won’t be on for long) and other surprises.

SATURDAY

(photo: Danny Bristoll)

Virgo Star
Now through December 1 at La MaMa, various times: $25 ($20 for students and seniors)

Astrology has exploded in popularity lately, from apps that send you negs from the stars to people’s signs being referenced in movies and TV. Though Virgo Star, the latest performance offering from the Pioneers Go East Collective, seems like the latest edition to that starry trend, but it’s actually an exploration of cowboy culture—another buzzy topic nowadays. Using dance, theater, projections, and more, the show deconstructs the Wild West and classic western movies to find what those stories might look like when told from a queer perspective.

SUNDAY

(image courtesy of The Violet Hour)

The Violet Hour
Sunday, November 17 at Caveat, 7 pm: $10 advance, $12 doors

Late night talk shows are one of our culture’s oldest forms of entertainment. Typically, there’s a white guy in a suit, he does a monologue, he interviews a guest who is there to promote something, a musician plays, etc. Sure, this formula has some slight deviations now, but it mostly remains the same. One attempt to do something new instead is The Violet Hour, a live late night talk show at Lower East Side space Caveat that’s literally out of this world. Hosted by a Victorian spiritualist time traveler who live in a spacecraft, the show focuses on our planet and the climate-related issues plaguing it, as well as how to enjoy our time here while we still can. This Thanksgiving-themed show’s special guests include Broadway performer Alex Brightman, conservationist Brett Jenks, and musician Eileen.