Nude with a Goose Strikes Again!

Nude with a Goose, the fledgling curatorial partnership of Berit Hoff and Shannon McEneaney, recently had their second exhibition. If you didn’t read my post about their first show you should check it out for all the background info… These lovely ladies have taken it upon themselves to singlehandedly bring to light the strange, beautiful and thought provoking art that is hiding in the studio apartments of young artists all over the city. At the same time they are creating opportunities to curate instead of waiting for the art world to give them their dream jobs.

Their latest exhibit, Exposure, brought together 60 artists for a one-night-only event that was part exhibit and part nightclub, with Essential (a 12 year old party/event organization) handling the second part. The works shown ranged from oil paintings to sculptures made with unrecognizable materials. I will just tell you a bit about a few of my favorites.

Elisa Garcia de la Huerta’s brilliant photography addressed the theme in a more subtle way than some of the other works. The vibrant colors exposed details of her images in such a way that the viewer was continually drawn back to them from far corners of the room. I haven’t been able to find them online but if I do I’ll provide a link- check back.

Carlton Sturgill‘s work connects to the theme in a more direct way; the semi-nude woman in his painting is faceless and inviting.

Carlton Scott Sturgill

Emily Johnson’s charcoal drawing is more disturbing the longer you look at it. At first it appears to be people stacked up in a formation like cheerleaders performing, but as you look closer you see that instead of torsos each figure has a second set of legs, making the structure a tower of legs alone. To me this plays with the idea of exposure in a unique way- the exposure of the viewer’s first impression as false. I have failed to find a website for Ms. Johnson but I will appeal to Nude with a Goose- check back.

Marisa DeMarco‘s painting of a face in black and white, framed by pink headphones, is lovely. The chord to the headphones is unplugged and pointing straight to the left, as though waiting for the right music to color in the person, to expose them, or perhaps to show that when we are unplugged we are exposed as colorless. The style feels very Pop Art and while thought provoking the piece doesn’t feel overly combative.

Finally, while I cannot explain how Abdolreza Aminlari‘s piece deals with the theme, I can tell you that I found it compelling. It reminds me of Etch a Sketch in a strange way, but also of experiments with magnets in my High School physics class.

Abdolreza Aminlari

I am looking forward to seeing the next show by Nude with a Goose and I encourage you to keep tabs on them in the future!

Pushy by Discovery

Everyone has certain music that immediately brings them back to a particular place and time. On New Year’s Eve 2009 K and I found ourselves, somewhat by accident and somewhat by design, listening to a band we had never heard of in Cameo Gallery in Wburg. The singer was wearing these absurd sequin covered pants (or was it a dress? I’ll admit parts of the evening are blurry) and she was rocking them. I mean this woman had serious style and the music was exactly right for that moment. We felt energized and empowered. My photos of that show are even blurrier than my memories but when I hear Broke by Discovery I instantly get that rush of excitement.

I have got to find some peace

I can’t afford to go

but I can’t afford to love you anymore…

Can I walk the night alone?

Discovery recently released a new record, Pushy, (available on iTunes), and it’s full of Kathleen Cholewka’s intense personal style, together with the impressive musical additions of her bandmates. I particularly enjoy Lex Marsh’s sax. It’s the sort of sound that makes you want to be in a crowd of people, toasting to new experiences with your very closest friends. You can check them out in June at Goodbye Blue Monday.

Discovery

Culture High & Low

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.

Anna Netrebko

Anna Netrebko

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.

You can get a taste of Kentridge’s work at the MOMA, which is currently hosting a retrospective.

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.

You can see some less established artists in the Jonathan LeVine Gallery’s Five Year Anniversary Exhibition.

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

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!

P.S. Best way to spend St. Patty’s Day- Benefit Concert for City Reliquary at the Knitting Factory!

Please follow myself and Miss Scorpio on twitter for the latest and be sure to sign up for the G&S listserve so you can benefit from the editing that eats up so much of my time… Enjoy!

Purim NY-style!

As one of the few Jews in my elementary school I was often called upon to explain the strange holidays that peppered the Jewish calendar. Generally I was not envied, except when it was time for Purim. Purim is sort of like Mardi Gras but with a plot line. Observing the holiday involves telling the story, making a lot of noise, eating a lot, drinking, dressing up in costume, wearing masks, dancing and merry making long into the night, etc. Where better to learn about these important traditions than in the Big Apple? Here is a selection of exciting Purim events designed for the Jew and the goy alike.

If you want to connect with Israeli pop culture go to le Poisson Rouge, where Hadag Nahash will be pouring forth their provocative political hip-hop. Check out this video for a taste:

For a more, ahem, participatory celebration, make your way out to 3rd Ward for Heeb Magazine’s Pour ’em Party!

Pour ‘em for Purim! Dust off your costumes, shine your dancing shoes and get ready to guzzle. Ever been caught in traffic while the Chassids of South W’burg crowd the streets in costume in February? They are celebrating Purim. When the Jews of ancient Persia avoided extinction, God commanded them to celebrate by getting so drunk they couldn’t tell their friends from their enemies. Sounds good to us! Jewish or not, put on a costume and join us!

JDub Records is also throwing a Purim party, this one of the dancing variety, with excellent DJs throughout the night and $2 beers from Brooklyn Brewery to keep you moving.

As long as you have an appropriate costume in your closet, The Purim Party is free (I used to use a crocheted tablecloth as a veil when I dressed up as Queen Esther). They created this adorable poster so I trust that this party will be one of the more creative events.

The Purim Party

The Purim Party

I’m sure you’re aware that many NY comedians are Jewish, with that understanding I’m sure you realize that there simply has to be a Purim comedy show. There is! And it’s at 92Y Tribeca and features spoofs of Jersey Shore, online dating, Glenn Beck, Jay and Conan (including a very special surprise message from a Tonight Show w/Conan star), Glee, and more. Here’s the promo video:

And finally, if you’re still on your feet by Sunday evening check out the CRAZYKINKYPURIM Variety Show; it’ll be packed with crazy comedy, sexy song and dance, and steamy burlesque acts (not for the weak of heart!). Any event thrown by KinkyJews is sure to be, umm… kinky.

Have a very happy Purim! Follow me and Miss Scorpio on twitter for the latest and be sure to sign up for the Gemini & Scorpio weekly events list if you haven’t done so already.

A Film Student Comes to Town

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

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

I advise you to do the same, anytime you want to check out new foreign/independent film or see classics on the big screen! Enjoy!

Follow me and Miss Scorpio on Twitter for the latest event listings and be sure to sign up for the G&S weekly event list- everything you need to know about alt-events in NYC!