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!

1/28: A Concert for Everyone

There are three fantastic concerts taking place tonight, and I suspect everyone will find at least one of them appealing.

For something folksy and slow, with plenty of strumming and melancholy, go to The Living Room, where Dare Dukes will be singing about his current home town of Savannah, Georgia as well as our fine urban jungle. In this video Dare is playing with Savannah accordionist, Rose Lifschutz:

Also this evening, one of my favorite rock bands will be hitting the stage at Bowery Ballroom. Black Taxi always put on an excellent live show and they’re catchy numbers, like Pretty Mama, get the whole crowd moving. Watch it here then go out and see it live:

Finally, B is very excited to see Hooray for Earth at Union Hall. Watch this (rather odd but cool) music video and I’m sure you’ll see why:

I am saved from having to make a choice between these three concerts by a prior commitment- tickets to Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera. I hope you are able to make a choice! Enjoy!

Shenanigans to Save Haiti!

Who said New Yorkers were heartless?! On the contrary the creative community of NYC has come out in full force to present amazing events to benefit the people of Haiti. As I’ve browsed events, and worked on G&S listings this week I have been struck by the number of performances, parties and restaurants who are giving their profits to organizations like The Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. Here are a selection of such events…

Tonight I Am Ayiti (Haiti) at the Caribbean Cultural Center will feature DJ Laylo on the 1s and 2s, Kalunga Neg Mawon, Tiga Jean-Baptiste & T’Chaka and Jhon Clarke (formerly of Black Parents). The CCCADI is a drop off location for supplies; you can donate first aid supplies and hygiene items.

Saturday night at Lab 24/7 there will a very hot concert to benefit Doctors Without Borders. The event, called Kombit, meaning ‘to come together for the good of the community’ in Haitian creole, will feature Mr. REO, the consummate Haitian via Brooklyn rapper; Ayanna Witter-Johnson, a unique young composer, song-writer, vocalist, cellist and pianist; and Akua Taylor, a singer with soulful African influences.

Also on Saturday, at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, you can enjoy a night of comedy to benefit Haiti relief efforts. Zach Galifianakis, Britt Daniel (of Spoon), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), St. Vincent, Janeane Garofalo, Wyatt Cenac (of the Daily Show) and others will be making you laugh, all the name of charity.

My pick of the bunch is the concert titled Horns for Haiti, happening at The Living Theater on Sunday; the Hungry March Band, Raya Brass Band, and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra are performing for a night of badass brass, haitian drumming, and ample dancing. I have seen all three of these bands perform and each one individually is enough to make your night truly fantastic. Check out this picture of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra at Coney Island:

Rude Mechanical Orchestra

Also on Sunday, you are morally obligated to eat out! To be specific, you are morally obligated to eat out at one of the 40+ restaurants in NYC who are donating 10% of their profits on Sunday to Haitian relief efforts. Check out the list of participating restaurants and make your reservations today; it’s luxury for a good cause!

On Wednesday Music vs. Hunger is doing a special show to benefit Haiti (their shows usually benefit the food banks of NYC). Go to Bruar Falls for performances by Breakfast in Fur, No Eye Contact, El Medio and  Drew Citron.

Stay tuned for updates, follow me on twitter for the latest, and if you can’t make any of these events please consider making a donation to The Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders (or some other organization of your choice).

PopRally, Singing with the Muppets and more!

It’s great to be back in the city and I’m super excited about all the events coming up! PopRally tonight is sold out but if you can figure out a way to get in it’s sure to be worth the effort! This is the premiere of “SCRYING, a non-narrative performance ballet conceived and directed by New York-based artist Jen DeNike and choreographed by Melissa Barak.” There will also be a live performance of “tribal/electronic/ambient anthems” by Soft Circle.

Also tonight you can learn the gritty details of the work of undercover cops in the tenements of the LES at the start of the twentieth century. This lecture, at the Tenement Museum, will be full of stories of prostitutes, immigrants, anarchists and other questionable characters.

LES Tenements around 1900

LES Tenements around 1900

If you’ve never heard of Alaina Hammond, now is the time to discover the work of this talented writer; the series “Here We Go Again: More Plays by Alaina Hammond” is playing at Manhattan Theater Source several nights this week. It’s not terribly questionable theater but the tickets are cheap enough ($15) that even if you find it questionable it’s not an unreasonable expense.

It’s been some time since I’ve gotten a shot of burlesque and I may get my fix on Wednesday at Skits ‘n’ Tits:

Outrageous monthly variety show presents NYC’s best burlesque beauties, comedians, sketch, variety acts, and music. Produced by and starring Diane O’Debra (formerly of the O’Debra Twins), Steph Sabelli (absurd characters, improvisational comedian), and Jessica Delfino (award winning dirty folk rocker publicly denounced by the US Catholic League). Starring celebrity guests, amazing giveaways, drink specials and more, including a super secret surprise celeb comedian. A wild, dirty little show.

On Saturday you can sing-along with the Muppets when they Take Manhattan at 92Y Tribeca. Check out the trailer and be prepared to join in with your favorite fuzzy friends.

There are lots of other awesome things coming up so stay tuned for more updates!