Brooklyn DIY staples Palisades and Silent Barn are just two of many nightlife spaces that have been subject to a Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots, or MARCH—a Giuliani-era creation that summons members of the NYPD, FDNY, State Liquor Authority, Department of Buildings, and more to an establishment that’s been deemed problematic, usually at peak weekend hours and usually without warning.
Posts by Cassidy Dawn Graves:
Improvement (Don Leaves Linda)
February 7-9 and 13-16 at The Kitchen, 8 pm: $25
One of the most common ways people encounter opera is when very old compositions from well-known classical greats like Mozart are revived. This opera at The Kitchen is also a revival of sorts, but a more modern one: it has “newly reconstructed” a work from 1985 by late experimental composer Robert Ashley, staging it with a chorus of live vocalists and an “electronic orchestra.” The opera centers less around the Don in the title, but around a woman named Linda. She embarks upon many types of ventures spanning many locations and historical periods throughout the opera, all with varying degrees of success—something that should spark some level of familiarity in us all. More →
Destruction and Transformation: Vernacular Photography and the Built Environment
Opening Thursday, February 7 at The Walther Collection, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 25.
No geographic location ever looks exactly the same over time, but if there’s one type of place that has the most potential for rapid transformation, it’s cities. This photo show at Chelsea’s The Walther Collection seeks to spotlight photographs taken throughout history that reveal the ways buildings and land have been knocked down and built upon, and not always in beneficial ways. Taken between 1876 and 2000, this “vernacular photography” (defined as “utilitarian imagery made primarily for commercial or personal purposes”) illustrates how urban expansion has been historically valued more than preserving the natural world, from mining towns in rural Kentucky and West Virginia to the sprawling metropolises of NYC and Los Angeles. More →
The Nobodies Hosting All Stars 4
Friday, February 1 at Brooklyn Bazaar, 7 pm: FREE
The fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars is upon us, and has been for some weeks now. It also happens to be the only season I have ever watched, and every week I am reminded of how much the main challenge of each episode typically resembles something I was once made to do in theater school. If you don’t want to watch alone, sashay to Brooklyn Bazaar, where drag collective (and pro-wrestling aficionados) The Nobodies will be hosting a screening of the latest episode, as they do every week. Obviously when drag performers host a Drag Race screening, you’re not just going to get people sitting and staring at a screen. This is a show in its own right: expect live drag acts, bingo, banter, and even the chance to do your own lip-synch if you so desire.
Tilt, the basement bar and club underneath the McKibbin Lofts not to be confused with nearby arcade sports bar Tiltz, is about to get a whole lot gayer. The bar, which co-owners of the legendary Lit Lounge opened in December 2016 with The Trash Bar’s Aaron Pierce, is about to re-open as The Vault, a gay bar helmed by a team who are no strangers to queer Brooklyn nightlife.
The trio of owners—Meg Cavanagh, Cameron Cole, and Josh Luis—met through their various involvements (“bartending and DJing and working for drag queens”) in Brooklyn’s thriving LGBTQ nightlife scene, primarily at the now-closed Williamsburg space This N’ That. Cavanagh explains Tilt’s owners reached out to some of their friends about how to go about transforming the space into a gay bar, and their friends referred the trio to Tilt. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened; East Williamsburg bar The Rosemont went from a jazz club to a queer space filled with drag shows back in 2017. “It’s always easier to start a space that has some kind of beginnings to it than to start from scratch,” Cavanagh adds.
Fake Smears and Facial Food Fiascos
Opening Thursday, January 31 at Contra Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through February 15.
While playing with your food has long been understood as a childish act one grows out of, not everyone stops meddling in their munchies. Sometimes this is actually for the best; in the case of artist David Henry Nobody Jr., it’s resulted in some compelling (and sometimes stomach-turning) sculptural works featuring the artist’s head and corn, cabbage, tomatoes, lunch meat, and even a bag of corn flakes stuck around his head that then gets steadily filled with milk. That’s just a smattering of what Nobody Jr. has to offer in his new show Fake Smears and Facial Food Fiascos (say that fives times fast). Opening at Chelsea’s Contra Gallery on Thursday, it explores the absurdity of both humanity and the waste we leave behind. More →
Thursday, January 24 at Eris Evolution, 8 pm: $11 advance, $15 doors
The average show in Brooklyn—comedy, burlesque, music, and beyond—seems to have gotten a touch more diverse in recent years, but it’s still common to walk into a venue and see predominantly white faces staring back. That’s not the case at burlesque performer Stella Nova’s EthnoGraphic, a variety show featuring exclusively performers of color. As Nova does burlesque herself, the lineup is filled with striptease and pasties, with acts from Abby Fantastic, Fox Squire, and Lady Mabuhay, as well as slam poet Omar Holman and comedian Lauren Clark. More →
Andy Warhol: By Hand, Drawings 1950s-1980s
Opening Tuesday, January 22 at New York Academy of Art, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through March 10.
Most people know Andy Warhol by his colorful printed pop art creations, films, and tendency to bring together some of the city’s most intriguing artists, writers, socialites, and drag performers. Or perhaps his associations with The Velvet Underground or Interview magazine come to mind. But Warhol also made drawings—he started out as a commercial illustrator—and you can see a selection of them created over the course of 30 years in a new exhibition at the New York Academy of Art. Rather than the bold shades of Warhol works like the iconic painting Campbell’s Soup Cans, these drawings are more minimal, often featuring nothing more than a pencil and paper. If you’ve already seen the sprawling Whitney retrospective, here’s a chance to see the artist in a new light. More →
Drunk Education: Roasts of ‘Great’ Literary Men
Wednesday, January 16 at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 7 pm: FREE
The books you read in school growing up (and maybe even now) were most likely written by (white) men, save for a few exceptions. There were plenty of opportunities to discuss this work, usually mandatory, but most of the time this involved parsing through the analytical layers of it all, marveling at what a multifaceted creation had come into existence at the hands of these men. Wednesday’s Drunk Education is a little different. Notable literary men will be the central topic, yes, but they’ll be roasted by three women writers (Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos, Observer’s Helen Holmes, and freelancer Becca Schuh) until nothing is left but some charred remains. More →
Slight Perturbations / The Weight of Things
Opening Wednesday, January 16 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 13.
Fridman Gallery’s new space on Bowery has two levels, upper and lower. Fittingly, there will be two exhibitions opening there this Wednesday: a show of of interactive sound sculptures by John Driscoll in the upper space, and a two-channel video installation by Dana Levy centered around the Palace of Versailles in the lower space. Driscoll’s sculptures resemble hodgepodge collections of found objects or avant-garde furniture pieces crossed with a science fair, but they’re much more than something to puzzle over: they contain minuscule microphones and speakers, and a “reflective foil” that creates sound with help from whatever objects are nearby. And though it’s in the lower level, Levy’s video work deals with the upper crust of Versailles, depicting the palace’s contents steadily crumbling due to an earthquake. More →