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Performance Picks: Winter Theater Fests and Queer Comedy

(image courtesy of The Public Theater)

Under the Radar Festival
Now through January 19 at The Public Theater, various times, $25+.

What do Laurie Anderson, prize-winning playwright Aleshea Harris, and multiple stories about the moon have in common? They’re all part of The Public Theater’s 16th annual Under the Radar Festival, the long-running celebration of innovative performance work from around the world and one of the biggest signifiers that January’s theater festival season is upon us once again. This year, they’re presenting 12 theater pieces, four concerts, six works-in-progress, and several parties. Highlights include Selina Thompson’s pice inspired by a trip retracing a Transatlantic Slave Triangle route, Back to Back Theater’s exploration of disability and an AI-dominated future, and the aforementioned moon tales: one of virtual reality by Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huan, one of desire on the West Bank by Palestine’s Remote Theater Project.

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A Home For Little Wanderers, and the Occasional Arsonist

1940s Tax Lot photo. Credit: New York City Department of Records.

The Saturday before Christmas, 1921, near Third Avenue and 12th Street, a truck struck and killed little Amelia Laredo, who was on her way to buy a present. She was living just around the corner at the Howard Mission and Home for Little Wanderers, a Protestant-run orphanage housed in the four-story red brick-and-frame townhouse at 225 East 11th Street. On Saturdays, Jennie Hudson, the mission superintendent, would give each child a dime for the movies but that day, Amelia told her friends that she was going to use the money to buy a Christmas gift for her brother, a cripple, who was in Brooklyn Hospital.  More →

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Art This Week: Peep Shows and Curious Comfort

(image via friedman_benda / Instagram)

Opening Thursday, January 89 at Friedman Benda, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 15.

Everyone has a different definition of comfort. Your grandfather’s old and cigarette-scented armchair might feel like home to you but cause another person to wrinkle their nose in disgust. Curator Omar Sosa’s latest show at Friedman Benda focuses on the harmonies and contradictions inherent in items, particularly pieces of furniture and design, meant to bring comfort in one way or another. As this is an art exhibition and not a furniture showroom, comfort is usually interpreted quite creatively—think a boxy bookshelf that leans but never falls, a sculpture entitled “Toilet Sink,” and a colorful blanket meant for a pair.

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The Village East Cinema: From Yiddish Theater to Arthouse Cinema

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On Nov. 16, the Village East Cinema held a special screening of The Room, a maybe-the-worst-film-ever classic that has become a cult phenomenon. The screening included a talkback with the eccentric writer/producer/star/financier Tommy Wiseau. Screenings of the movie have become something of an event since it first hit theaters in 2003, even inspiring a critically acclaimed movie by James Franco, The Disaster Artist. More →

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Performance Picks: Bowie Cabaret, Country Christmas, Asian Drag


(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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How Spin Replaced Waitressing as the NYC Actor’s Side Gig of Choice

Sydney Sabean (Photo: Jae Thomas)

Sydney Sabean basically lives out of a spin studio bathroom. She teaches up to nine classes every week—constantly in a cycle of showering, getting ready and sprinting out the door to her next job. She carries a backpack with enough clothes, food and work for the day, which sometimes includes three or four different outfits. More →

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Don’t Be Surprised If Musical (and Romantic) Duo Drug Couple Runs For Office 

Brooklyn indie duo Drug Couple is a band marked by a series of contradictory facets. The band’s members, Miles and Becca (themselves a couple) are willing to talk about their past projects, while hesitant to delve into the specific details (or even provide their surnames). Becca is ever the optimist, while Miles is a pessimist to his core. Most notably, their forthcoming EP seeks to reconcile the process of finding love and romantic companionship in a time when the End seems increasingly Nigh.  More →