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Hasidic Williamsburg Has Been Making Grim Headlines; Netflix’s ‘Unorthodox’ Aims to Trade Sensationalism For Authenticity

(Stills from “Unorthodox” courtesy of Netflix)

“You can really get into the weeds,” said Alexa Karolinski, the co-creator and co-writer of Netflix’s new mini-series Unorthodox. “Like, should she wear something on her head during her wedding? Should he be wearing white socks? Should the shirt be fully buttoned?” Being hyper-specific in dress and in ritual was vital for capturing a tradition-rich community on the margins, and Unorthodox has positioned itself as one of the most ambitiously detailed renderings of the Williamsburg Satmar Hasidic community ever on screen.  More →

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With NYC Now an Epicenter, Students Go to Great Lengths to Get Home to China

Returnees to Beijing waiting to be registered and sent to quarantine hotels. (Photos: Alice Qin)

As soon as New York confirmed its first case of coronavirus infection, Alice Qin, a sophomore at Barnard College, started considering flying back to China. When Columbia and Barnard moved all of its classes online, Qin booked a direct flight scheduled to depart on March 24. More →

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Virtual Performance Picks: Queer Bedroom Comedy and a Cannabis Cabaret During Quarantine


(image courtesy of Doll Body)

High Concepts
Wednesday, March 25 on @highconcepts Instagram Live, 9 pm: FREE (suggested donation)

People who regularly go to bars are surely having a hard time lately, but stoners might be doing a little bit better. They probably already spend a lot of time chilling out in their rooms. But for performers Doll Body and Vylette Tendency, it’s a bit different. They host a monthly “cannabis cabaret” at a DIY venue, featuring drag, burlesque, and other surprises, and things usually get hazy in a good way. While that’s on pause, they’re taking to Instagram Live for this month’s show, which celebrates producer Vylette’s birthday. Pray your internet connection will stay stable, and prepare for shows from Deity Delgado, Professor Lionel Longlegs, Bad News Bear, Foxy Belle Afriq, and your hosts. Ingest whatever you like while you watch, and don’t forget to tip.

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NYC Hotels Are Hanging Up Their ‘Do Not Disturb’ Cards

A balcony at The William Vale. (Photo: John Ambrosio)

Ian Schrager has a heavy heart. Closing his PUBLIC hotel until further notice was an “agonizing decision,” he wrote in an email sent out yesterday, but it had to be done to protect everybody from COVID-19. “[Closing] is against everything I personally believe in,” the hotelier wrote before acknowledging that “it is the only ethical, moral and humane thing to do.” It wasn’t the only hit the founder of Studio 54 took in recent days: An exhibit about the legendary nightclub was suspended when the Brooklyn Museum temporarily closed last week. More →

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Livestreamed Shows Are Facilitating Community and Creation (With Some Technical Difficulties)

Screenshot of Mark Vigeant’s Let’s Play Learning Games With Comedians (via Caveat / YouTube)

People have always said that the New York of the present is nothing like the old New York. If you compare today to just one week ago, that sentiment has never felt truer. Venues, bars, and countless other establishments are now closed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means live, in-person shows are a thing of the past for now. But many artists are adapting, putting on shows that are live-streamed or otherwise virtually broadcast. Anything from drag shows to intimate acoustic sets can now be consumed from your bedroom, provided you’re willing to tolerate some buffering.

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Bushwick’s RV Radio Station Shifts Gears, But the Wheels Aren’t Coming Off

(Photos: Serena Tara)

The cream-and-brown colored RV from which broadcasts every day is now quiet — and empty. The online radio station doesn’t fall under the category of businesses that had to temporarily shut down because of New York City’s latest coronavirus-related ordinances. But founder and manager Sheri Barclay, 37, decided it was better to be safe than sorry, and closed it down anyway. Only physically, though. KPISS is not going to stop transmitting. More →