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Photos From the Massive Anti-Pride Rally, the Queer Liberation March

(Photos: Amanda Feinman)

Twenty blocks north of the World Pride parade kick-off yesterday, thousands in Bryant Park were singing. Sing Out, Louise! passed out pink-and-black “hymnals”—protest lyrics, set to recognizable Americana (“Somewhere over the rainbow, love trumps hate/Black lives matter to all, and Muslims can immigrate”). When those in attendance came to outnumber the print-outs, latecomers snapped photos of their neighbors’ copies, and followed along on their phones. More →

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Art This Week: Miss Meatface and Many Group Shows

(image via The Untitled Space / Facebook)

Miss Meatface
Opening Tuesday, July 2 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through July 13.

No, “Miss Meatface” does not refer to the latest right-wing woman to adopt the “carnivore diet,” that frightening all-beef culinary regime embraced by the likes of Jordan Peterson; it refers to the artist Kat Toronto, who creates bizarre and entrancing “performance-based photography” under the name Miss Meatface, which resemble stills from some surreal, experimental, BDSM-laced film you want to immediately consume in full. In addition to an exhibition of recent creations by Miss Meatface, Tuesday’s reception will also feature a zine signing and an artist talk between Meatface and The Untitled Space’s director, Indira Cesarine.

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The Stonewall 50 Rally Drew Pride Celebrants of All Stripes

Thousands of people from all over the world crowded around Christopher Park on Friday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising, several nights in the summer of 1969 when patrons of the Greenwich Village gay bar and their allies fought back against routine police harassment and ultimately catalyzed the LGBTQ rights movement. We asked the rally’s attendees where they came from, and what brought them to the dive that’s now a national monument and a worldwide symbol of pride and resistance. Play the video to hear their stories.

Video by Doreen Wang.

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Drawing Inspiration From Tribeca Arts + Culture Night

(Bob Eckstein)

Last Thursday kicked off the Tribeca Arts + Culture Night, an evening of visual art, performance and workshops that took place in over 25 venues. The event was captured by students from NYU’s Graphic Journalism class. Their subjects included artists Erin Ko, Valentin Loellmann, Azadeh Nia, William Yu, musician Kevin Bernstein and the rockabilly band, the Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. More →

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‘Drag Race’ Star Aja Dares Fans to Keep Up With New Hip-Hop Album

(Photo: AJ Jordan)

Aja, mostly, doesn’t care what you think. The rap artist, whose pronouns are “they/them,” came to prominence as a drag queen, through two stints on reality TV (RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9, and Drag Race: All Stars season 3). The two industries they straddle don’t often overlap: one world is dominated, traditionally, by masculinity, and the other by femininity, each with weirdly impermeable borders. But about not conforming to industry standards—or to fan expectations—they’re brash and unapologetic.  More →

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Does ‘Artwashing’ Blur the Line Between Beautification and Gentrification?

(Photo:  Ryan Roco)

Bushwick Collective held its annual block party this month in Bushwick, pairing blocks of street art with food trucks and performances by artists like rapper/pear enthusiast Rick Ross. However, cell phones and pot smoke weren’t the only things in the air. Beside the Jefferson Street L train station, the closest station to the block party, activists hung a bright pink banner reading “Bushwick Collective Exploits Artists + Community.” Activists also stood on a rooftop behind the stage, flying a stark burgundy banner reading “Artists Resist Becoming Weapons of Mass Displacement.” More →

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LGBTQ-Friendly Senior Housing Development Cleared For Controversial Elizabeth Street Garden Site

Raymond Figueroa, president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, at a rally to save Elizabeth Street Garden last year. (Photo: Ryan Krause)

In the latest chapter of a divisive issue that has pitted garden advocates against city officials and affordable-housing supporters, the City Council approved Haven Green on Wednesday, potentially cinching the fate of the Elizabeth Street Garden, where the city wants to build the development for senior citizens. Now, the project must win in the legal arena as well, after two grassroots organizations filed lawsuits against New York City the first week of March. More →

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Watching ‘Pose’ By the Piers: A Viewing Party in the Shadows of LGBTQ History

(Photos: Trey Strange)

Last Tuesday afternoon, Thomas Deshields threw on a tee shirt and mid-thigh shorts, left his Jersey City apartment and fled to New York City. The 22-year-old stopped in at a liquor store, splurged for a bottle of whiskey and stuffed it into his bag, then sauntered through West Village gay bars — Monster Bar first, then the Hanger — until finally, the clock neared 10 p.m., and he walked down Christopher Street toward the piers. In front of him was Pier 45, where men who look like him have, throughout history, met to hook up and take shelter, where poor New Yorkers have bought and sold drugs, where trans women have turned tricks for cash, and where rich New Yorkers have paid them for it. More →

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Performance Picks: Diverse Comedy, Pride Drag, and A Wacky Take On Whitman

THURSDAY

(image via Runnin’ On Empty / Facebook)

Runnin’ On Empty With Yotam and Lisa
Thursday, June 27 at le poisson rouge, 7 pm: $2 advance, $3 doors

Some comedy shows in Manhattan require hefty cover charges and overpriced food and drink minimums, but the aptly-named Runnin’ On Empty only asks for a slim smattering of dollar bills: three, to be exact, or two if you Venmo in advance. Hosted by Lisa Franklin and Yotam Tubul, the show features a blend of seasoned and recognizable performers and stand-ups who are still starting out. Will you be able to tell who is who? Well, as long as you have a nice time, I guess it doesn’t matter. This time, the show welcomes Myq Kaplan, Ashley Brooke Roberts, Usama Siddiquee, Madeleine Olnek, Brittany Carney, and Felipe Di Poi.

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Folk Fest Turns Governors Island Porches Into Stages

On Sunday, the Nolan Park area of Governor’s Island was absolutely packed with picnic blankets, happy toddlers, and mandolins. The 21 historic, sun-yellow houses that circle Nolan’s perimeter were once home to military officers, back when the island was in use by the Coast Guard; now that it’s open to the public, there are cultural and art exhibits set up in many of them. And every year during the Porch Stomp folk festival, their sprawling, white-columned, 19th-century porches transform into stages.

Theo Boguszewski, who alongside Nick Horner is one of the festival’s co-producers, noted that Noland Park is the perfect location for an all-acoustic day of programming. “There’s not a lot of electricity, and [the houses] are all close together,” she said—everything can be kept near, communal, on the grass, and no one need compete loudly with anyone else.

It’s also not trivial that the houses face each other in a circle; in fact, it’s become part of the fabric of the festival. “We don’t post exact locations of the artists until the day of. We want to encourage people to just walk around the periphery,” Boguszewski said. The Porch Stomp vibe is too laid-back for tiered staging; it’s highly democratic in this way. If you take a few minutes and stroll from house to house, you’ll get a sampling of everything on offer.

This year, those offerings included scene staples like Sheriff Bob, and up-and-comers like The Racket River Girls and Glaser Drive. “The goal is to make music a shared, participatory thing,” Boguszewski said. “Not just a couple of really good musicians, but all the people with a banjo sitting in their trunk.”

She and Horner accepted almost everyone who applied to play in the lineup this year, as part of this egalitarian mission statement. Last year, there were around 120 performers in Porch Stomp’s lineup; this year, the number was closer to 200. As a result of the overwhelming response, they ended up needing to expand out past Noland’s porches for the first time. They set up pseudo-stages in nearby spots, including at the Manhattan and Brooklyn ferry landings (these caught some of the best foot traffic, by the way: packs of people entering the island stopped here, first). The resulting feel was that of an integrated folk bubble. A car-free, acoustic oasis in the East River.

Growth has meant other changes this year, too: Porch Stomp was sponsored for the first time, not just run on donations. And being “as inclusive as possible” also meant expanding the genre limits a bit. “Folk” has traditionally, for Porch Stomp, meant bluegrass and Americana sounds. But on Sunday, they devoted a stage to Irish folk tunes, and another to trad jazz—these genres have overlapping histories, and spiritual kinships, with American folk, but were integrated into the Porch Stomp lineup for the first time. There were workshops offered to audience members in harmonica, bluegrass harmony singing, and flatfooting, a form of Appalachian clog dancing not far removed from Irish step. And in the middle of the day, Bethlehem and Sad Patrick brought their unique blend of guitar, soulful vocals, and body percussion to one of the house exteriors. Their genre hybridization felt indicative of the festival’s larger growth this year, and also happened to put the “stomp” in Porch Stomp.