If you’re feeling a bit blue, stuck in NYC while your friends are rocking out at SXSW, you should be reminded of some of the amazing cultural events happening in our fine city- both High and Low.
This past weekend G and I attended, among other diversions (he met my mother for the first time this weekend! It went well!) Franco Zeffirelli’s legendary production of La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera. More than perhaps any other opera La Bohème has captured the imagination of generations of artists. Its compelling story was the basis for the musical Rent. Baz Luhrmann’s version also spent time on Broadway. Recently there was even a production without music. As G said after the performance, the characters are much more familiar than most characters in opera; these are people you can imagine knowing. Anna Netrebko was an incredible Mimi; both her acting and her singing were intensely evocative. I cried (of course) when she died but I also felt that the story had a message for the audience, much more so than the melodramatic plots of Aida or Tosca. If you haven’t seen this classic I highly recommend finding a way to do so.
I will be seeing a much less classic opera next week- The Nose is a surrealist opera based on a short story by Gogol.
Artist William Kentridge defies genres with Shostakovich’s adaptation of Gogol’s story. “The opera is about the terrors of hierarchy,” Kentridge says. “There’s a mixture of anarchy and the absurd that interests me. I love in this opera the sense that anything is possible.” The new production is conducted by definitive Shostakovich interpreter Valery Gergiev. Acclaimed baritone Paulo Szot, who won a Tony Award® for South Pacific, makes his Met debut as the man who wakes up to discover that his nose has disappeared.
Best known for animated films based on charcoal drawings, he also works in prints, books, collage, sculpture, and the performing arts. This exhibition explores five primary themes in Kentridge’s art from the 1980s to the present, and underscores the inter relatedness of his mediums and disciplines, particularly through a selection of works from the Museum’s collection. Included are works related to the artist’s staging and design of Dmitri Shostakovich’s The Nose.
I haven’t visited the Kentridge exhibit yet but G and I did take a look at Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, which just opened to the public on Sunday. The exhibit documents her various performance pieces, both through video and photographs of the original performances, and through recreations by actors. The most interesting, and disturbing, of the latter was a pair of naked actors- one female, one male- standing within a narrow archway; you had to pass between them to get into the next room. It was impossible not to touch the naked pair and this was hugely unnerving but, simply because it was unnerving, forced you as the viewer to think further about the piece. I am thrilled that the MOMA has chosen to showcase such challenging work. The exhibit is a triumph for the curator, Klaus Biesenbach, who has succeeded in creating a retrospective of performance art, something never done in the MOMA, and possibly never done as successfully in any other major museum.
Since 2005, Jonathan LeVine Gallery has been an important venue for Street Art (ephemeral work placed in public urban environments) and Pop Surrealism (work influenced by illustration, comic book art, and pop culture imagery). As such, the pieces in this exhibition—comprised of paintings, drawings, and sculptures—will be primarily figurative with a strong sense of narration.
I am quite a fan of this image (Ray Caesar, Arabesque):
Ray Caesar, Arabesque
On the lower end of the culture spectrum, this Thursday you can attend a retrospective of a rather different sort- a burlesque tribute to Dolly Parton! I expect The Queen of Country Music would be thrilled!
First of all please pardon me for a second while I sing my own praises… Gemini & Scorpio, the lovely event entrepreneurs who I have been working for these last few months (to the detriment of this blog I am afraid), have been featured in an article in the New York Times. My name is actually included! My grandmother is less excited about this than you might expect but I for one am pretty thrilled.
Setup for G&S Party, image from the NYTimes
Ok, moving on… I have a friend coming to town this weekend who went to film school at NYU and is taking some sort of test to try to get into a film apprenticeship program in the city. As per usual when I have a visitor I have drafted a list of all sorts of wonderful events taking place and I thought I would share them with you!
Friday night the Mad Breaks Tea Party is sure to be a riotous good time, of the G&S/underground/alt-events variety. There will be aerialists, a tea garden (of course), sculptural installations, fire spinners, a hookah lounge and all sorts of other madness.
On Saturday at Galapagos Art Space, Floating Kabarette takes burlesque to the air in a gravity defying weekly show only to be found in the Big Apple.
Also on Saturday, for a much more G-rated (and more film centered) evening, you can head to 92Y Tribeca for a sing-along with Fieval and friends! An American Tail is one of those Spielberg movies that you associate much more with childhood than with Spielberg. If you remember the songs get ready to belt them with other fans! Here’s a clip to refresh your memory:
On Sunday, another film related event, my favorite comedians are making fun of one of the most ridiculous things to hit the cinema in recent years- Twilight! Head to the Knitting Factory to see the Raspberry Brothers make a comedy out of this mess.
Since this is a film-centric weekend I also advised my visiting friend to check out the offerings at
Bloody marys and mimosas are on the menu; our friend Fiore Tedesco from The Brooklyn Laundry is making egg tacos and other brunch snacks; and you can bring your little ones and your dogs. We love it when they come. Residents Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin will be laying down the disco, house and such; and our special guest is Moodymann, a Motor City legend. We’ve heard him drop everything from boogie to grime to techno, but no matter what he plays it’s always super funky and super fun.
If you want less dancing and more eating this afternoon you should check out the Dumpling Festival! There will be hundreds of dumplings from around the world so if you missed the Dumpling Crawl I wrote about recently this is your chance to make up for it!
Tonight you can take Halloween to a new level by setting sail on a fetish cruise. When the Baroness is involved you’d better believe the play stations will be HOT. Note: Do not go on this cruise if you will be uncomfortable viewing and/or participating in public flogging, suspension and latex fashion shows.
For a more literary Saturday night you can celebrate the opening of another independent bookstore in Brooklyn- The Greenlight Bookstore!
The long-awaited 2,000-square-foot space has everything literati (and wannabes) could want, including a huge kids’ section, French and Spanish editions, graphic novels galore, and tons of NY-centric titles.
Tonight is also the Zombiecon! If you feel confident in your ability to drink beer with a fake knife sticking out of your throat, then this is the event for you!
For more fun on boats this weekend you can clamor aboard the Steamship Lilac on Sunday to experience Oktobership- the party comes complete with circus performers, theater troupes and live bands (talk about rocking the boat!)!
If you’d rather stay on dry land head over to P.S.1 where they’re opening their fall exhibits in style:
Join us for an opening day celebration of four new exhibitions: 1969, a large-scale presentation of works produced in the year 1969 drawn from all of the collecting areas of The Museum of Modern Art; Robert Bergman: Selected Portraits, twenty-four gripping portraits of individuals the photographer captured during his travels through the American Rust Belt; Between Spaces, a group exhibition organized by the junior curatorial staff for the second time in P.S.1 history; and On-site 2: Chitra Ganesh, a vivid new wall installation by the Brooklyn-based artist in P.S.1’s lobby. Special DJ set by AJ Slim playing rare 1960s funk, soul, rock, afrobeat, and latin. Experience the Afterparty by MOS, winners of the 2009 Young Architects Program in the courtyard. On view through October 26.
That’s all for the moment; stay tuned for additions and follow me on twitter for the latest from The Big Red Apple!
I’m running off to meet my grandmother so I’m just throwing up a few things on my way out; stay tuned later for news of The Dumpling Festival, P.S.1’s Fall Openings, the Jaguar Club and other excitement this weekend.
Saturday you can engage in warfare of a new and different variety- The Marshmallow Civil War will tear this city apart! How Newmindspace comes up with this madness I do not know but you should prepare your weapon and check the facebook page for the exact location later today!
This weekend is the New York Independent Film and Video Festival; it is meant to be an unpretentious version of some of the bigger festivals in town. There are lots of choices so you’re sure to find that perfect unknown film to impress your hipster date.
This weekend you have two opportunities to see The Lord of the Rings as you’ve never seen it before:
Howard Shore’s Original Academy Award®-winning score performed live to the epic motion picture by the 21st Century Orchestra, The Collegiate Chorale and Brooklyn Youth Chorus conducted by Ludwig Wicki.
Can you imagine that incredible score performed live while the movie is screened on an enormous screen? If not buy your tickets now and experience it in person.
Burlesque stars Anita Cookie and Clams Casino and emcee Neil O’Fortune, the minds behind The Costello Show: A Burlesque Tribute to the Other Elvis, KISS THIS: Burlesque Rock City and more, return to the Joe’s Pub stage with Killer Queen Burlesque! A burlesque tribute to the music of Queen, Killer Queen Burlesque made it’s debut in early 2008 and has been their most-requested show ever since. Now it returns with an all new, all-star cast: a night of funny, campy, sexy performances combining striptease with live music and comedy, all unified by Queen’s unstoppable lineup of beloved hits.
At the Brooklyn Skillshare this weekend you can learn such useful skills as butter making and how to infuse your own vodka. There is also a free lunch involved; I can only imagine the water-cooler talk potential (so, what did you do this weekend? I learned to make butter!).
The Mile High Dance Party is back for a second week at Pianos; I had a blast last week and I would highly recommend swinging by after other goings on Saturday night. Check out their awesome flyer for this week:
Get into the Halloween spirit early this October with a trip to Greenwood Cemetery, for extra spookiness check out Angels and Accordions- a very ummm… unique site specific work you have to see to believe.
Finally, quick heads up for next week, in celebration of the release of Where the Wild Things Are, there are a range of events happening in the city; it’s billed as Wild Things Week and it’s going to be (ahem) wild!
The burlesque community gathered in all their splendor at the 7th Annual Golden Pasties Awards; the audience was decked out in glitter and sequins and giant fake eyelashes and more hair spray than I have ever before seen in use at one time (and I’ve been to the south). If the Oscars were half as entertaining as The Golden Pasties they would have more viewers than the Superbowl.
Highlights included Miss Astrid as the most caustic announcer you can imagine, especially when interacting with timid Scott Rayow.
Miss Astrid and Scott Rayow
Dulce de Leche’s performance, set to the song Tainted Love, was positively delicious. The presenting of awards seemed a bit secondary, though that may have had more to do with Miss Astrid’s intense scorn (all part of the act I’m sure). Some of the awards were more, ahem, colorful than those distributed at your average award show. I was particularly a fan of “Most likely to end up in Bangkok missing their liver.” Now that is one hell of a distinction.
One of the most beautiful acts was a truly ethereal piece performed by Miss Orchid Mei.
Miss Orchid Mei
Legs Malone had one of the most creative acts; she danced to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes… with a giant match. Props for props!
Speaking of props, The Love Show put on an adorable show with paper umbrellas set to It’s Raining Men. It was particularly fun to have Miss Astrid glowering from the back of the stage during the large ensemble pieces.
The Love Show
Finally, Chata must be given credit for making limbo sexy in a way it has never been before! Look for these performers and all the others from The New York Burlesque Festival at their regular gigs around the city! I’ll send you more info on my favorite shows soon or you can search the site to read about shows I’ve seen in the past.
Good morning everyone! I don’t know about you but I had one hell of a weekend! I can’t wait to post my full review of The Golden Pasties, not to mention Brooklyn Boulder, Girl in a Coma and the Mile High Dance Party (Abstract: They were all incredible!). First I want to send out a couple of announcements for today so we can all get the week off to an excellent start!
First off, it may be a bit chilly but it’s not too cold for an outdoor dance performance! The Joyce Theater is presenting a preview of its fall season on the Upper Terrace of Bryant Park this evening. My friend JS is one of the dancers opening the performance so there’s sure to be lots of elegance and beauty in the park!
The Joyce presents six companies performing selections from their upcoming season: Ballet Hispanico, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Complexions, Keigwin + Company, Parsons Dance, and Rioult. For more information on The Joyce Theater, please visit: www.joyce.org.
Also this evening Edmund White will be discussing the bad old days of NYC at The Half King:
In the New York of the 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, you might find the likes of Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at the next cocktail party, and you were as likely to be caught arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic tumult. Combining the no-holds-barred confession and yearning of A Boy’s Own Story with the easy erudition and sense of place of The Flaneur, this is the story of White’s years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to erotic entanglements downtown to the burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers. It’s a moving, candid, brilliant portrait of a time and place, full of encounters with famous names and cultural icons.
There is nothing, I mean nothing, more questionable than questionable musical theater. The New York Musical Theater Festival showcases new and still-in-development musicals; some will go on to be Broadway sensations (Avenue Q got its start at NYMF), others will be so terrible that they will become immortalized. In my mind the art of choosing which show to see is in finding the show that will be just bad enough to be good. My pick for this year is The Last Smoker in America- a musical about smoking. With lyrics like “the glowing tips of all those cigarettes looked like fireflies” this could be the best/worst musical I’ve ever seen. For help in picking your poison check out this article.
After listening to this analysis of the New York Film Festival I have decided that I am simply not miserable enough to attend any of the films being shown this year. I am hoping to have more luck at the other two film festivals happening this weekend. The Coney Island Film Festival involves “a stunning array of high and low-brow fare, as diverse as the neighborhood it represents. Subjects range from the profound to the profane, showcasing the independent spirit and irreverent nature of the one and only Coney Island.” I am particularly drawn to the short films, such as “Mollye Asher’s Slim and Lena a modern film noir set in the grit and glamour of the neo-burlesque scene,” which I think will fit in very well with The New York Burlesque Festival (also happening this weekend). The Red Hook Film Festival is also focused on our fine city; the festival brings us 2 days of shorts filmed in NYC.
On Sunday you can help save the world, or at least learn about the people who are saving the world, at Ecofest! This massive event includes everything from a fashion show presenting sustainable clothing to live concerts and demonstrations of environmentally friendly cars.
If you’re more interested in fried dough than hemp you may want to spend your Sunday at Atlantic Antic- my favorite annual street festival. Last year K and I enjoyed lots of live music, tried on hats made by local artisans, and checked out the antique buses that the Transit Museum rolled out for show and tell!
There are quite a range of performances taking place in the Big Apple this weekend. The aforementionedBurlesque Festival is one excellent example (I have my tickets to the Golden Pasties; do you have yours?) and Prelude is sure to be full of surprises as well.
Saturday night at Pianos you can join the Mile High club, well, sort of, you can check out the awesome VJ stylings by Valujet Visuals and dance the night away at the best new dance party in town.
It might not be exactly a performance act but NY Pickle Day is certain be entertaining (and delicious). Check out this video of last year’s festivities:
Wow. Now I’m hungry. Speaking of hungry, Bar Celona will be opening in Wburg this weekend; Daily Candy says
Former glue factory turned noir tapas lounge dishes braised oxtail, herb- and goat cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers, and crispy codfish bombas with orange garlic marmalade. Gazpacho- and paella-flavored artisanal cocktails from madmen mixologists The Tippling Bros. are worth the trek.
Of course if you’re REALLY hungry you simply must head out to the Lamb Takedown, brought to you by the creators of the Chili Takedown and certain to, umm… take you down.
Sunday night if you feel up to a splurge get tickets to the best tasting event of the fall- The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Preview Gala at New York Public Library’s Astor Hall:
Some of the world’s greatest bartenders will be mixing New York’s most iconic hometown drinks, with jazz greats Vince Giordano and the Nighthawksproviding the soundtrack for the appropriate activities (fancy attire and dancing–in addition to lots of drinking–will be encouraged).
One advance notice: I’m also excited about the first-ever Vertical Three Ring Circus at the Trapeze School of New York. You may recall my foray into the aerial arts last spring took place at TSNY. This performance will feature “the aerial performances of Suspended Cirque and Una Mimnaugh, the flying trapeze team from TSNY, and unicycle, juggling and trampoline acts.”
Stay tuned for additions and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or keep track of the tweets in the sidebar for all the latest news (if you’ve been following you’ll know all about the Ultimate Pole Dancing Championships…)!
Tonight one of my favorite fellow bloggers has helped to organize a benefit concert at Glasslands. The organization receiving the benefit is called Young Invincibles; they’re an “organization that was created in order to raise awareness about health care reform amongst young people.” Best of all The Woes, who I’ve raved to you about in the past, are one of the acts! If all the hoopla about healthcare reform has made you itch to make a difference but activism is not quite your forte this is the perfect way to spend your evening! Go out and rock out to great music for a cause!
Also tonight Dare Dukes will be crooning his sexy urban folk songs at Banjo Jims; he’s been on tour so get out and welcome him back in style!
Starting tomorrow the 7th Annual New York Burlesque Festival will be making the Big Apple too hot to handle! My favorite performer, Gigi La Femme, will be hitting the stage and if all the shows aren’t enough the festival will wrap up with the award show to end all award shows- The Golden Pasties!
To return to Prelude… Let me just say that all of the programs are questionable in exactly the right way- ambitious and sincere but possibly over-the-top. I am particularly drawn to ‘Arts in Conversation: Digital,’ which is taking place on Thursday:
From prestidigitation to wall-sized projections, from sleight-of-hand to mediated environments, artists have used the digital arts – in both senses of the word – to amaze audiences, heighten and transform our perception. Whether the illusion is created by video, computer, or by hand the notion of “the digital” remains central to many artists’ presentational aesthetics. Join us in a conversation on the uses of the digital in building imaginative space and informing performance practice.
On Sunday you can plan ahead and buy your perfect and unique holiday gifts at the Astoria Autumn Fest!
Stay tuned for news of even more upcoming events including a rooftop screening of Firefly, the Lamb Takedown (competitive eating just keeps on expanding), some amazing aerial moves at my favorite Trapeze School and short films with a live score!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or keep track of the tweets in the sidebar for all the latest news!