The Night Before: Retail, White Rope, Deli Girls Thursday January 19, 8 pm at The Gateway:$5 in advance/ $8 at the door
Well, there’s a super compressor of shows happening this week between now and, as The Gateway calls it “the inevitable.” And we can’t think of a better way to keep your spirits up and get the ol’ body machine moving than a Retailshow. You’ve probably seen retail, since they’re one of the hardest working bands in Brooklyn, a borough full of musicians who churn out records, shows and, in Retail’s case, self-replication by way of march, at a grind-till-death pace.
The question is whether that has been in the form of a sticker stuck to a dive bar bathroom door, or at an actual show— but if you know, then you know. If you don’t, you gotta go. The band’s new record Dead cranks it up by nearly every measure, with face-blasting screams that have the kind of sharpness shaped only by scar tissue. It’s majorly fast, unadulterated hardcore. In other words, total catharsis.
You’ve been waiting your whole life for this moment, I can feel it. And now you finally have a chance to say “It’s not a tumor!” in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice and really, really believe it. Or wait– sorry, wrong movie. That’s Junior, everyone’s secondfavorite Schwarzenegger film. The first is Predator, of course, which Babycastles has invoked to emphasize just how real this 100 percent real helicopter’s gonna be at Super Hot Ronny’s Rumble. The video game collective and DIY art gallery’s competitive indie games tournament is back and it’s kicking off Saturday morning(ish) with a race to the helipad. First person to “Get to the choppa!” wins big at this “very lol” event.
As we’ve mentioned recently, DIY art and game space Babycastles has been working hard to offer alternatives to the often exclusionary world of video games, showcasing work by indie game designers and artists who reveal that yes, there can be more to video games than mindless shooting and the Mountain Dew-guzzling men who often play them.
The previous exhibit on view was Toronto-based Kara Stone’s The Mystical Digital, offering a witchy and introspective take on games, with selections like Techno Tarot, where a robot gives you a detailed tarot reading, and Cyclothymia, a narrative exploring connections between emotions and astrology.
Another Canada-based game designer and programmer, Mx. Dietrich “Squinky” Squinkifier, has similar wishes to disrupt the tired norms in video games and video game culture. Rather than appealing to one’s inner mystic or the Bushwick dwellers who frequent places like Catland, Squinky’s games are more familiar to those who might stay in on a Friday night, presenting playable stories of awkward social interactions and small Claymation creatures of indistinct gender.
The Montreal-based artist’s second solo exhibition, Squinky Hates Video Games, is a compilation of work from the past three years in the form of ten different games, some of which were created during a stint at UC Santa Cruz’s Digital Arts and New Media MFA program. Squinky completed the program in 2015, and was recognized by Forbes that year as one of 30 Under 30 in Games.
“Cyclothymia” and “Ritual of the Moon” on view at Babycastles (Photo: Kara Stone)
The term “gamer” usually conjures up a torrent of awful connotations– an exclusively white-male circle jerk where the only manifestation of “diversity” is between the Cheetos-stained 4chan nerds with a sunlight problem and fedora-wearing MRM creeps who fancy themselves activists. You can catch all of them gushing over first-person shooters and probably trading furry porn at a LAN party, a place where anybody else wouldn’t be caught dead. More →
Ike At Night Now through June 4, Wednesday through Saturday at The Bushwick Starr: $18.
Acclaimed comic performer Ikechukwu Ufomadu hosts a talk show of his own creation at the Bushwick Starr. Each night is different, featuring a new selection of handpicked artistic guests each time, including B+B fave M Lamar, theatre director Richard Maxwell, performance group Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble, The Dance Cartel choreographer Ani Taj, and more. More →
Orphan Action League Continues every Wednesday through June 1 at The Annoyance Theater, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 8:30pm. Tickets are $10. More info here.
An eccentric orphaned millionaire who found success in a children’s book series about orphan children has now taken his fictional dreams into the real world with a hand-selected group of crime-fighting orphans called, fittingly, the Orphan Action League. Follow their adventures (including some neat choreographed fight scenes and a fully-produced original theme song) weekly at The Annoyance with this show by Andrew Benedict, directed by Annie Donley. There may be no parents, but there will certainly be chuckles n’ thrills.
Somehow, it makes perfect sense that Ashok Kondabolu‘s art exhibition and ideas convention puts fake Rolexes, early ’90s TV commercials, and the Ramayana (a Hindu epic poem that dates to the 4th-century BC) on equal footing. The guy talks a mile a minute, ideas both hairbrained and right-on spilling out of his mouth. Sometimes he veers off into sounding like that friend who’s really smart but smokes way too much weed. Ashok is definitely less hazy, but you’d still be wise to shrug off some of the goofy madness and self-conscious humor. Beneath it all there are nuggets of brilliance and speedy ambition, the products of which are on full display at Yo Fight My Mans, which opens tonight at Babycastles.
You’d have to be living under a rock to be surprised to hear Bushwick is undergoing some explosive changes. It feels like streetscapes here are transforming faster than anywhere else in the city and many longtime residents feel they’re losing grip on their neighborhood. But Bushwick is in a strange limbo right now. While the northeast corner is bubbling over with ritzy new restaurants, bars, clothing stores, and art galleries, all increasingly patronized by German tourists and chiseled young bro dudes with man buns, for now at least the southern section closer to the graveyard has resisted these striking demographic shifts and skyrocketing rents. “We need to make moves now,” explained Drew Vanderburg, a resident of Bushwick and a graduate student at Parsons in the Design and Urban Ecologies program.
Less than a year after we brushed elbows with Rihanna at “the most buzzed about tattoo shop in the history of man” at 26 Clinton Street, Bang Bang (aka Keith McCurdy) packed up his crew and moved on. Last night, the space was playing host to a different New York niche culture – call it revenge of the nerds.
Liam the 11-year-old intern shows off his ID card. (Photo: Nicole Disser)
Liam Walsh is leaving his internship at Babycastles, where, three days a week, he fires up the gallery’s indie video games and shows visitors how they work. He’s resigning to attend summer camp in Maine. More →