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Performance Picks: Literary Roasts, Asian Drag, 100 People In A Room

WEDNESDAY

(image via Drunk Education / Facebook)

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 →

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Art This Week: City Collages, Uyghur Portraits, and 2 Shows in 1

John Driscoll (image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

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 →

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Another Sex Toy Company Says MTA Advertising Jerked Them Around

(image courtesy of Dame Products)

These days, trains are delayed often enough for you to get a good look at whatever advertisements emblazon the subway walls. You might see ads for luxury scrubs or the city’s $15 minimum wage rollout, or perhaps ones for breast augmentation, birth control, or pitches for erectile dysfunction meds featuring limp cacti or simply the words “erectile dysfunction meds.” But you won’t be seeing ads for sex toys, as Dame Products has become the second sex toy company to have their ads considered and subsequently rejected by the MTA. More →

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Performance Picks: Exponential Festival, Comedy, and Sex Work

(image via Exponential Festival / Facebook)

The Exponential Festival
Now through February 2 at various venues, various times: $20

The Exponential Festival is a little different from the many theater festivals setting up shop in venues across the city this month. It’s exclusively based in Brooklyn, the material it champions is a little weirder and genre-expansive than what you might typically think of as “theater,” and it runs longer, which means both more shows (a dizzying array, really) and more chances to see them. Some highlights include a new short play by Athena playwright Gracie Gardner, a double bill of comedy from Justin Linville and David Perez, a play based on the Talmud and Kung-Fu films, a dystopian psychosexual musical with a disco soundtrack, an intimate show involving one audience member and one performer, and A Doll’s House, Part 3.

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Art This Week: Traumatized Clowns and Reducing Food Waste

Joel Osteen (Jessie Pierrot) part 1, 2018
Single Channel Video
00:31:28

Holy Fools
Opening Wednesday, January 9 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 3.

Clowns are perhaps one of the most polarizing figures on this green earth. Some people have a literal phobia of them, some find them distasteful, some chuckle at them, some employ them, some become them, and some make art about them. One of the art world’s more notable clown-based endeavors is Bruce Nauman’s 1987 piece Clown Torture, featuring a slew of video displays portraying “an absurd misadventure of a clown” that’s both morbid and humorous. Over three decades later, artist Ondine Viñao is putting her own spin on this work in an exhibition at Rubber Factory, recruiting four all-female clownish performers to stage their own mishaps, mixing both trauma and folly. More →

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Performance Picks: Three Theater Festivals and Quit-Happy Comedy

A scene from Chambre Noire, running January 10-13 at The Public Theater as part of The Public’s 15th Annual Under the Radar Festival. Photo Credit: Benoit Schupp

Under the Radar Festival
Now through January 13 at The Public Theater (some shows at offsite venues), various times: $30

Yesterday marked the start of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival, which showcases new performance from around the globe and is now in its impressive 15th year. While most of the shows take place at The Public, some are staged elsewhere, from Chelsea’s SVA Theater to The Met. Festival loyalists may recognize some familiar names—Peter Mills Weiss and Julia Mounsey’s [50/50] old school animation, a monologue-based work about violence that’s hard to adequately describe, also appeared as part of UTR’s smaller fest-within-a-fest last year, but is chillingly compelling enough to warrant a repeat viewing. Other highlights include creative storytellers James + Jerome filling the halls of The Met with their music-laced tales, multimedia puppet-centric riffs on both Frankenstein (Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein) and Warhol shooter Valerie Solanas (Plexus Polaire’s Chambre Noir), an evening with darkly odd comedian Lorelei Ramirez, and more. More →

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Art Exhibitions To Start 2019 With

Image: Logan T. Sibrel, ‘Best-Case’, 2018, Pencil on paper, 6.75 x 5.25 in. Courtesy the artist. (image via Leslie-Lohman Museum / Facebook)

Better Loser
Opening Friday, January 4 at Leslie-Lohman Project Space, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 6.

It’s the new year, and most of us are probably reflecting on what we did over the last 365 days and what we can do to at least be marginally better. Rather than dream up a more perfect being, artist Logan T. Sibrel prefers to focus more on the flaws and complications of being alive, making drawings depicting people who are acting difficult, awkward, aroused, and sometimes all three at once. Deemed “a serious joke,” his mixture of words and images are reminiscent of a sort of existential comic book. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to finally think of a resolution, or maybe just to ditch the concept entirely. More →

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A Jane Jacobs Theater Festival, Machine Learning Comedy, and More Shows To See

WEDNESDAY

(image via Caveat / Facebook)

Internet Explorers
Wednesday, December 19 at Caveat, 9 pm: $10

The internet can be a scary place, so that’s why this show has comedians to help you navigate the tangled mess that is the World Wide Web. If only it was a Mr. World Wide Web, and Pitbull was the sole creator and moderator of the online world. How different things might be… But they aren’t, so come to Caveat and see Mark Vigeant, a custom-made Twitter bot, and a merry band of assorted jokesters (including Botnik Studios, an “entertainment group” that uses machine learning) serve up their best material about artificial intelligence, the force that may one day replace humanity. More →

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Performance Picks: Drag Karaoke, Bread and Puppet Theater, and More

THURSDAY

(image via BEEF Show / Facebook)

Yell Club
Thursday, December 14 at Rockbar NYC, 9 pm: FREE

People seem to like karaoke, and people seem to like drag shows. These two groups don’t necessarily seem to always overlap, but come Thursday night they will unite at Yell Club, where one person sings karaoke while a drag performer lip-synchs that very same song. So, those of you who feel uninterested or afraid of doing drag but like singing songs when weird MIDI tracks and projected lyrics are involved (shoutout to Sun Fly, the weird karaoke backing track brand bug mascot I have taken a liking to), this will be your night to shine while also giving other performers some material.

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Art This Week: Psychedelic Collage and Meditations On The Unpleasant

(image via Nat Girsberger / Facebook)

Close Your Eyes
Opening Thursday, December 13 at The Storefront Project, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 6.

Looking at Nat Girsberger’s collages, on view at the Lower East Side’s Storefront Project starting Thursday, is a good way to get lost in a kind of psychedelic fantasy land. Outer space, nature, animals, and human figures intermingle in landscapes with colors that seem brighter than what one would typically encounter in reality. In a time where the news feels more and more anxiety-inducing every day, it’s important to have little moments of escape, where we’re not filled with dread and instead perhaps wondering about the inner life of a deer standing among very large mushrooms standing on a vivid path that seems to be leading into the sun.

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