Best of Manhattan: Arts & Entertainment

Written by admin on . Posted in Arts & Film, Breaking News, Music, Theater.


Best Immersive Theatrical Production:
530 W. 27th St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.)
www.sleepnomorenyc.com
Voyeuristic thrills. Venetian carnival masks. Wicked murderesses in bloodstained bathtubs. And that’s just the froth of the witch’s brew that Punchdrunk is serving up with Sleep No More, a Macbeth-inspired participatory experience that’s like nothing you would recognize from 10th grade English class. With six floors and over 100 rooms as your playground, you’re not watching the action but becoming a part of it. As you rifle through clues and follow Duncan down twisting, labyrinthine corridors to his doom, you’ll find yourself seduced—not only by witches in scarlet Art Deco-era evening gowns but by the whole delicious phantasmagoria.

Best Decadent Nightlife Experience:
www.dancesofvice.com
It’s midnight on a Saturday and you’ve wandered straight into what can only be described as the black-and-white wonderland of an Edward Gorey illustration. No, you’re not dreaming, just lost in the sumptuous, anachronistic surreality that is a Dances of Vice event. From baroque-flavored masquerade balls to Victorian murder mystery spectacles to Blade Runner-inspired afterparties, Dances of Vice makes you feel the way Charlie did after he unwrapped the golden ticket.

Best Broadway Quality Theater at a Tenth the Price: Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and the
100 Amsterdam Ave. (at 65th St., behind Lincoln Center)
www.laguardiahs.org
Pssst. Students at Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and the Performing Arts (the Fame school) are putting on Guys and Dolls from Dec. 8-18, and it only costs $20 for adults and $10 for students! Last year’s school musical, Hairspray, electrified sold-out audiences with its Broadway-quality singing, dancing, acting and set design—and musical direction and choreography by professionals Larry Pressgrove and Ben Hartley. But the annual musical is only one of several excellent productions by LaG students. On Nov. 4, you can hear the smooth-as-velvet Senior Jazz Band and rousing symphonic band for $10. There are choral events, gospel concerts, dramas, art shows, dance showcases and even operettas. You just might see the next Jennifer Aniston, Tichina Arnold, Laurence Fishburne or Al Pacino (all LaGuardia alums) take the stage.

Best Sexual Experience with Your Clothes On:
Upright Citizens Brigade , 307 W. 26th St. (betw. 8th & 9th Aves.)
www.ucbtheatre.com
Remember the thrill of playing “never have I ever” in the basement of your best friend’s home after homecoming? Bring that game full circle once a month and join in for a few rounds with 200 fellow pleasure seekers. Giulia Rozzi and Margot Leitman host Stripped Stories, a fun-loving, sex-themed storytelling show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. The Chelsea location is home base for the duo, who tour with Stripped Stories around the U.S. The show encourages audience members to laugh at their own sexual misfortune through comedians revealing their own on stage. At the end of the night, the audience is asked to join in for an interactive audience game of “never have I ever.” The rules are simple: Everyone starts standing up, the hosts ask a question and if you’re a no, you sit down. The winner is the last person standing, who is then interviewed about their sexual escapades on stage.

Best Uptown/Downtown Mash-Up: PopRally at
11 W. 53rd St. (at 6th Ave.)
www.moma.org
A series of collaborations between artists working in different mediums, PopRally brings the sort of cutting-edge programming usually left to Downtown warehouse parties to the upscale environs of the Museum of Modern Art. Past events have included a screening of the film Old Joy paired with a live performance by indie stalwarts Yo La Tengo, an evening of skateboarding videos, after-dark gallery tours and an evening of art trivia hosted by artist Ryan McNamara and DJed by hot Brooklyn band Tanlines. This beingthe Modern, it’s a bit more upscale than your average night out, but take that as a challenge and dress up, have a nice dinner first and soak in the sort of cultural cocktail that it would be impossible to find anywhere else.

Best Off-Off-Broadway Theater Company: Partial Comfort Productions
partialcomfort.org
You get Uptown quality for Downtown prices with this nearly 10-year-old theater troupe, currently on a roll after a trio of trenchant works: Thomas Bradshaw’s The Bereaved, Samuel D. Hunter’s A Bright New Boise and company co-founder Chad Beckim’s After. (Molly Pearson is Partial Comfort’s other parent.) PCP—which has an ongoing residence at Alphabet City’s Wild Project—prides itself on presenting fresh plays that refrain from giving easy answers and quick resolutions. These plays examine the quiet corners of human emotion and do it in ways that are wholly accessible and entertaining. The only thing not genuine is the name—when it comes to a salve for the theatergoing soul, these guys go all the way.

Best Place to See the Next Big Band: (Le) Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker St. (betw. LaGuardia Pl. & Thompson St.),
www.lepoissonrouge.com
(Le) Poisson Rouge (French for “The Red Fish”) is a veritable cornucopia of nightlife and entertainment options. Concert hall, nightclub, karaoke lounge, art/poetry/fiction gallery, cabaret—you name it, they host it. But particular recognition goes to their concert hall for regularly showcasing up-and-coming bands at an affordable price (the majority of their shows are just $15). In the past year, (Le) Poisson Rouge has featured buzzworthy acts like Beach House, Dan Deacon, Lykke Li and the ever-so-trendy Florence and the Machine. Occasionally, they even get the opportunity to showcase major performers like Paul Simon and Lou Reed (these shows are generally attached to a benefit or charity and are a bit more expensive). But the true price of a concert lies beyond just the cost of the ticket, and (Le) Poisson Rouge accommodates accordingly by serving up some cheap drink deals like $3 Rolling Rocks and $5 well drinks.

Best Place to Keep the Ghosts of Broadway Past Alive: Musical Mondays at Splash
50 W. 17th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.)
www.splashbar.com
Carol Channing, Hugh Jackman and Mary Martin never got together and threw back kamikaze shots—at least, not to our knowledge. But video jockey John Bantay (a Broadway baby himself, having recently appeared in the revival of The Ritz) provides the next best thing for rabid show tune fans on Monday nights at Splash Bar, with an encyclopedic vault of musical songs on celluloid. Crowds rock out to such staples as Wicked’s “Defying Gravity,” Funny Girl’s “Don’t Rain on my Parade,” The Drowsy Chaperone’s “Show Off” and even the Jersey Boys medley from the 2006 Tony Awards telecast. You can also catch recordings of musical numbers from films like Little Shop of Horrors, Pennies From Heaven and The Wiz. Famous fans like Christina Applegate, Kristen Chenoweth, Cheyenne Jackson and La LuPone have even been known to turn out. And remember, newbies: The show ain’t over until Jennifer Holliday sings.

Best-Kept Theater Secrets: Susan Louise O’Connor and Will Rogers
These two marvelous New York actors rarely stop working and yet have managed to stay under the radar, charting a course that’s a testament to both their impressive range and stunning depth along the way. Take O’Connor’s incisive work last spring in Kari Bentley-Quinn’s Paper Cranes at Packawallop Productions and compare it to her zany antics in Joshua Grenrock and Catherine Schreiber’s Desperate Writers, the show that followed merely days after the close of Cranes. Rogers embodied a similar one-two punch, bounding from his subtle work as a Harvard undergrad getting an unintentional education in Classic Stage Company’s Unnatural Acts to turn in the sharpest performance in Jeff Talbott’s The Submission at MCC Theater. Both have played a litany of roles with effortless grace and have never stolen the spotlight. It’s time that spotlight shone on them.

Best Exhibit to Stand in Line For: De Kooning: A Retrospective at MoMA
11 W. 53rd St. (at 6th Ave.)
www.moma.org
Yeah, it was the Alexander McQueen exhibit at The Met that broke records with their labyrinthine lines this summer, and it was an interesting, if anemic, showcase. At the same time, though, it conflated fashion with costume design, two worthy but distinct areas of art. This MoMA exhibit is on sturdier artistic footing. It makes a thorough case for the many merits of abstract expressionist art and why Willem De Kooning might just be their best representative—even more so than his more famous colleague, Jackson Pollock. Organized by John Elderfield, chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture, the retrospective covers the entirety of the Dutch artist’s seven-decade-long career. This is the rare art exhibit whose works are powerfully palpable, justifying every scrape, line and brushstroke. It demonstrates how de Kooning’s oeuvre wasn’t just a reflection of his own life but of everyone’s.

Best Playwright We Hope Never Gets Co-Opted by Hollywood: Crystal Skillman
Awards and accolades have a habit of continuously being flung in the direction of Skillman, the unconventional and uncompromising scribe of such Downtown successes as Nobody, Birthday, Crawl, The Vigil or the Guided Cradle and Cut. Skillman has a unique voice, both irreverent and soulful, and her plays are of-the-moment instant classics. She is unafraid of challenges and has experimented with such formats as the Western, musicals and graphic novel adaptation. There is seemingly no world this exemplary talent cannot create within the sandbox of her own mind—which begets the fear that one day the tempting hand of Hollywood will come calling. Let’s hope that day is far away—we need Skillman here to help keep New York theater organic for a long time to come.

Best Underground Strip Club: Saint Venus Theater
www.saintvenustheater.com
You need to apply to get on the invite list to this elite traveling strip club. Parties are hosted at a rotating roster of destinations, and the only way to find out where is to be accepted and receive their weekly email. Each party requires a $40 admission, which includes 2-for-1 drinks and a complimentary lap dance. Yay! Once past the doorman, a bevy of beauties await, and it is the girls who make this pole worth dancing. Saint Venus holds casting sessions looking for the best and the brightest, so if you go to Columbia or NYU and want to check it out, be prepared to run into some scantily clad classmates.

Best Video Rental Store (Yes, They Still Exist): Video Room
300 Rector Pl.(at Rector Park) or 1403 3rd Ave.(betw. 79th & 80th Sts.), 212-962-6400 or 212-879-5333
This is a confusing time for home video entertainment. Blockbuster is dead, signaling the end of the chain movie rental store as we know it. However, the combined price increase for Netflix’s DVD service coupled with their paltry online streaming selection makes one pine for the days of the corner video hut. Keep hope alive, children! The video store lives! One of the best remaining rental stores in the city, Video Room, is carrying on as if it was 1985. With two locations (one on Rector Street in Battery Park City and the other on Third Avenue on the Upper East Side), this place has every movie. Seriously. And if it doesn’t exist on DVD, they’ll have it on VHS. Yes, they carry over 12,000 titles on video cassette. As if they weren’t awesome enough already, they also deliver. Fire up those VCRs and set your time machines to 198-awesome!

Best Venue to See ’90s Relics: Mercury Lounge
217 E. Houston St. (betw. Essex & Ludlow Sts.)
www.mercuryloungenyc.com
Anyone suffering from a lack of moping, guitar fuzz and twitchingly catchy choruses in their lives should head directly for Mercury Lounge. Over the last 12 months, the LES stalwart has played host to such ’90s alterna-rock icons as J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., Juliana Hatfield and Evan Dando of The Lemonheads, among others. The intimate back room with its pleasantly cluttered, lower-than-average stage is small enough to keep from intimidating skittish performers who may not have been on stage in over a decade. Plus, the only way on and off the stage is through the crowd—dust off your back issues of Sassy and bring them in for an autograph. Strangely, there’s less plaid here than in any Bushwick hangout—kids these days.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

Arts & Entertainment

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.





I Love You

Thurs., Jan. 6

The last time I previewed an I Love You show, I wasn’t wrong to evoke Hole
and Sleater-Kinney and PJ Harvey. That’s what came to mind when I listened to their five-song CD.
But I’d never seen them live—and live, it’s a whole different game. More Siouxsie than Courtney,
more Poly Styrene than Liz Phair, I Love You singer and frontwoman Edi puts on a performance that’ll
make you embarrassed for not trying hard enough in whatever it is you do. The night I went,
she rocked ‘n’ rolled while dressed up as Marie Antoinette (or was it the Queen of Hearts?) while
an adorable lil’ sidekick danced around in similar garb, in front of the stage—topless.
I can’t guarantee nudity for tonight’s performance, just great old-style punk rock and a hell of
a stage show.

Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St. (betw. Ludlow & Essex Sts.), 212-260-4700;
7:30, $8.

—Jeff Koyen

 

Michelle Shocked

Mon., Jan. 10

Michelle Shocked goes acoustic for an early set at Joe’s Pub in support
of her upcoming studio release (due out this month). Shocked owns and publishes her own complete
catalog so is something of a figurehead for artistic independence. Plus, she kicks it with her singing.
Shocked is joined by Raul Midon, the jazzy pop singer/guitarist whose debut disc (with a guest appearance
by Jason Mraz) arrives early this year.

Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (betw. E. 4th St. & Astor Pl.), 212-539-8778; 6:30,
$30.

—Alan Lockwood

 

GlobalFEST | Sat., Jan. 8

The second annual globalFEST, produced in connection with the World
Music Institute in NY, Association of Presenters (APAP) and World Music/CRASHarts
of Boston, promises 13 acts from five continents on three stages. There’s renegade New Yorkers
such as the salsa-licious Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra; songstresses
from Peru (Eva Ayllon), Argentina (Juana Molina) and shamisen boyos from Japan (Yoshida Brothers)
and Poland (Warsaw Village Band); and Basement Bhangra’s.

For me, it’s the French cafe and Gypsy swing of Paris Combo and Guinea’s
Mory Kanté that’ll sell the most tickets. Griot, kora player and singer Kanté is
to Guinean dance-folk what DJ Rekha Caetano Veloso is to Brazillian Tropicalia: an untouchable
master of form, funk and subtlety whose oral histories should be as historical as any holy text.
After having not performed in New York City for 14 years, Kanté comes representing the acoustic
funk of Sabou, a CD filled with ancient traditionalism kept sacred while being pushed into
modernity—a cool rootsy groove whose dusted nastiness makes the Dirty South seem as spotlessly
gleaming as Kraftwerk’s Dusseldorf studio in comparison. Like singer Salif Keita only chattier,
Kanté’s richly textured voice lives each portrait he paints—even if you can’t tell
what he’s singing.

With Paris Combo and cosmopolitan cool singer Belle du Berry, you can’t
help but tell what’s she’s singing about. Even when she’s singing in cheery picturesque jibberish
(“I’m going round and round in my box, like a fish in a furnished apartment”), du Berry tops each moment
of Paris Combo’s electro-gypsy-jazz-Brazi-funk with seared sexuality and a pointed sense of
universal consciousness so rare in Latin-lover lounge sounds. Their due-soon CD, Motifs,
like the bebopping Django-like Living-Room, explores everything from the dread of boredom
and the suffering of silence to modern romance to their multicultural mix. Bon appetit.

The Public , 425 Lafayette St. (betw. E. 4th St. & Astor Pl.), 212-539-8778;
$40, 7:30.

—A.D. Amorosi

 

Winter Jazzfest | Sun., Jan. 9

This wintry Jazzfest is a genre-jumping affair, one where the Dirty
Detroit grit of saxophonist James Carter’s Organ Trio meets trumpeter Dave Douglas going through
his Miles vibe. (Douglas will hate me saying that.) Having recorded languid blues, muddled hiphop
and music with Middle Eastern twists, Douglas spent 2004 on Strange Liberation, a CD that
recalls Davis’ moody twilight-toned Filles de Kilimanjaro. With his own new label, Greenleaf
Music, Douglas is promising that its debut release, his own Mountain Passages, featuring
tuba player Marcus Rojas and cellist Peggy Lee, will roll between contemplative solemnity and
drunken ecstasy.

While we await Douglas’ debauch, Detroit saxophonist Carter—a
tenor man who came to Manhattan under the aegis of Lester Bowie in order to hook up with the New York
Organ Ensemble—keeps his Hammond groove grinding with fellow Motor City men, drummer Leonard
King Jr. and organist Gerard Gibbs.

But for a lot of ears, this gig is a chance to hear Los Angeles-born singer
Gretchen Parlato after her victory in the 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition.
You could spruce up the compliments and say “voice like angel” and compare her to Sinatra in terms
of dynamics and subtone, or Chet Baker in terms of cottony cool. You wouldn’t be far off the mark.
Parlato’s sense of subtle rhythmic interplay and understated theatrical nuance takes the ache
of Frank and implicates it throughout an improvisational-based esthetic that rests, most often,
on Brazilian master-class moments from Caymmi and Jobim as well as classics by Parker, Gershwin
and Bjork. As simple and restive as she sounds in print, her voice—scatting, cooing, leaning
back then soaring—can leap through complex tempo and rhythmic shifts as if riding rapids.
Anyone who goes on after her will have their work cut out for them.

Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard St. (betw. B’way & Church St.), 212-219-3132; 6,
$25.

—A.D. Amorosi

 

Duets with Ghosts

Weds., Jan. 5

As led by classically trained pianist Daniel Kelly, Duets with Ghosts
is a jazz quartet that plays alongside found and vintage recordings. The quartet of live musicians,
including Dave Wood on guitar, Shanir Blumenkranz on bass and Chris Michael on drums, create original
and improvised compositions to fit Kelly’s sampled apparitions, bringing together two time periods
in one live performance. The effect is rich, almost cinematic. Not to be missed.

Freddy’s Bar & Backroom, 485 Dean St. (6th Ave.), Park Slope, 718-622-7035, 9:30,
free.

—Steven Psyllos

 

Theo Bleckmann

thurs., Jan. 6

Theo Bleckmann brings his Weimar Kabarett back to the intimate surroundings
at Joe’s Pub. The set is subtitled “German songs of war and peace, love and exile,” and draws material
from songs banned as degenerate during the Nazi era. Much of it has lyrics by Bertold Brecht; all
of it gleams with Bleckmann’s refined emotional tracery. Gary Versace offers a honed, resonant
accompaniment on piano and accordion. Bleckmann’s worked and recorded with Meridith Monk, Laurie
Anderson, Ikue Mori and Elliott Sharp, among others. His own Anterroom arrives on Traumton
early in ’05; plus, he lends his prime vocalise to Matt Moran’s pending disc of Charles Ives music.

Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (betw. E. 4th St. & Astor Pl.), 212-539-8778; 7, $15.

—Alan Lockwood

 

Lunchtime Organ Recital

Tues., Jan. 11

Why not? All you have to do is eat your Wendy’s value meal a little bit quicker
than usual, maybe skip the baked potato, head over to Central Synagogue, and allow yourself to be
blown away by the most powerful, least-portable instrument going around today. You’ve always
loved the occasional organ solos as featured in your favorite Tears for Fears songs; haven’t you
imagined there could be something more? Come see potential realized as Gregory D’Agostino plays
works by Widor, Vierne, Langlais and Duruflé. Then, go back to work.

Central Synagogue, 652 Lexington Ave. (55th St.), 212-838-5122; 12:30, free.

—Dan Migdal

 

Patricia Barber | Mon., Jan. 10

Though Barber is one of jazz’s most brilliant live interpreters of song
(hers, others), it’s simply not fair that she’s representing herself solely with a new Live:
A Fortnight in France
. This recording doesn’t do justice to her dusky musicality,
her odd poetic métier or her deconstructionist takes on popular song. That’s not to say
it isn’t brash and ideal.

The disillusioned irony-laced sentiment (or pungency) of new songs
“Whiteworld” and “Gotcha” fuses neatly with the gray sexuality of the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood.”
(Her forte is re-ripping others’ classics into utter unrecognized-ness) The moldy languor of
“Call Me” mixes well with the prickly prick-tease of “Pieces”; “Dansons la Gigue!” takes the suggestive
words of the poet Verlaine and adds to them a haughtiness the guitarist might hold as his own. But
she, Barber, lends Live a speechiness that’s oddly disconcerting for the dry iced-over
Barber. “Whiteworld” has an almost preachy feel that those connected to her cool vocalese and elegiac
lyrical chilliness might be confounded by.

That said, a little steam heat placed under Barber goes a long way to creating
a new weirdly warm Patricia—one who promises, within, “Whiteworld,” that a new, similar
eight-song cycle is afoot.

Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St. (betw. MacDougal St. & 6th Ave.), 212-475-8592; 8 &
10:30, $10.

—A.D. Amorosi

Yanira Castro’s Beacon | Fri.-Sun., Jan. 7-23

For four years, Yanira Castro has been crafting small-scale choreographies
into an odd array of public and private non-traditional spaces. In July 2000, she participated
in the Judson House Project, a multimedia memorial to the history of that important site of early
happenings and counterculture, before it was razed to make room for another NYU monstrosity. Castro
found that providing such a unique environment for her movement created a specific, unexpected
relationship between audience and performer. Last year’s project, Cartography, clarified
this theme by placing four intimate duets in spaces around the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn.
Castro and her collaborators (lighting designer/installation artist Roderick Murray and costumer
Albert Sakhai) housed her movement, which can look quite formal or casually gestural, in haunting,
evocative visual and aural worlds throughout this industrial complex while audience members
perambulated from one environment to the next.

Castro’s new project, Beacon, is set in the echoing, abandoned
(and potentially cold as a witch’s tit) pool of the Brooklyn Lyceum. Working with the same collaborators,
plus four stunning dancers and composer Dan Siegler, Castro will seat the audience in pens within
the space, separated by Plexiglas. While the dance only tacitly references the history of the public
bathhouse, Castro’s methodical vocabulary and background as a writer promise a poetics of movement
that evokes claustrophobia and absence. After “osmosing everything” for years and looking to
both film and dance forms for inspiration, Castro believes in this piece she has found a voice of
her own, more specific and more personal. She says, “I’m no longer interested in the canon; what
can I say?”

Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Ave. (President St.), Park Slope, 212-924-0077; 7 & 9,
$20.

—Chris Dohse

 

Russ Meneve

Fri. & Sat., Jan. 7 & 8

The only thing funnier than Russ Meneve’s humor is his casual, “by the
way” delivery—that or the fact that he was once an accountant for Price Waterhouse. “I think
I like food better than sex,” goes one of the Jersey native’s bits. “I was watching a porno the other
day, and this pizza delivery guy was just giving it to this housewife—and all I could think
was, ‘Aw, that pizza’s getting cold.’ At least put it in the oven—he’s bending you over the
stove anyway.” Those boys by the watercooler sure do miss you, Russ.

Comedy Cellar, 117 MacDougal St. (Minetta Ln.), 212-254-3480; 12:30 a.m., $15, 2 drink
min.

—Sean Manning

 

Patrice o’neal

Thurs., Jan. 6

Patrice O’Neal is not big. I mean, he’s physically a large specimen,
a former Northeastern football recruit. But he’s not a household name yet. That is a surprise, as
he’s maybe the funniest black comic since Eddie Murphy (yes, funnier even than Chappelle, Rock,
Wallace or any Wayans brother). He has no shtick but delivers the jokes with precision timing, honed
no doubt on the streets of Roxbury, MA. His bit Tough Crowd appearances didn’t do him justice.
He’s, yes, big enough for his own prime-time special.

Caroline’s on Broadway, 1626 B’way (50th St.), 212-757-4100; 10, $19.50, 2 drink min.

—Lionel Beehner

 

Under the Radar Festival | Through Mon., Jan. 10

Under the Radar Festival spills the theatrical cornucopia at St. Ann’s
Warehouse for an extended weekend, courtesy of PS 122’s former artistic director Mark Russell
and Susan Feldman of Arts at St. Ann’s. Pegged to the annual APAP Conference (when New York hosts
arts presenters from around the nation), “Under the Radar” gives audiences here a packed and eclectic
program of happening theater on rotating, day-long bills—as well as upping the ante for
the participating companies’ tour bookings.

Cynthia Hopkins alt-country musical Accidental Nostalgia opens
the fest (and continues this month for a return run at St. Ann’s), along with Part 1 of Elevator Repair
Service’s full-text reading of the Great Gatsby, GATZ (which runs in full at the
Performing Garage in Soho) and the Foundry Theater’s K.I. from “Crime”, with Oksana Mysina
playing Katerina Ivanova from the margins of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. L.A.-based
Herbert Siguenza plays Mario Moreno, the Mexican Charlie Chaplin, in ÁCantiflas!; Bay
Area spoken word and tap man Marc Bamuthi Joseph brings his Word Becomes Flesh; Big Dance
Theater melds Richard Nixon and Kaspar Hauser in Plan B; and New York’s own Civilians do
some 30 characters in Gone Missing, with music by Michael Friedman.

For more on the music tip, downtown’s string juggernaut Ethel plays
their tape/improv Streaming Ethel for one matinee—”that’s the cherry on top on Saturday,”
says Radar’s co-mastermind Russell, “and it’ll make for an afternoon of great theater. We wanted
to get a mass of things going early in the year, to show viewers and producers the tip of the iceberg
of a lot of creative theater work going on around the country.”

St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water St. (betw. Dock & Main Sts.), Dumbo, 718-254-8779;
www.artsatstanns.org, $15-$25, $40 festival pass.

—Alan Lockwood

 

From Imagination to Reality: The Art of Science Fiction

Through Fri., Jan. 28

Between Interconnectedness | Through Sun., Jan. 16

Art and science are old companions, yet they rarely meet today, as science
has become extremely complex and art increasingly self-absorbed. We normally think of art as the
more inspiring practice, but two shows currently running explore the role of science as muse.

“From Imagination to Reality: The Art of Science Fiction”—curated
by Vincent Di Fate, a leading sci-fi illustrator and author—is on display at the New York
Academy of Sciences. A small but impressive collection of paintings, the show considers aliens,
androids, man-eating monsters, altered states, other worlds and dire predictions for this world.

Straight out of a sci-fi B-movie, the Academy is the perfect home for
a “mad scientist.” Located in a beautifully preserved, 1919 neo-Renaissance mansion, it still
has its original, dark, Elizabethan-era woodwork, large creaky doors and tiled floor. Originally
created as book covers, the finely painted illustrations of colorful bug-eyed monsters, irate
cyborgs and stylish spaceships are on display in the main hallway and waiting room. Divided thematically,
sci-fi film props punctuate the images, such as an alien rocket, the head of the Creature from the
Black Lagoon, and—gracing the 16th-century Florentine mantel—the severed hand
of X.

Highly skilled, these sci-fi artists are unconcerned with contemporary
art theory. And the ethical conundrums that do concern them border on the futuristic, like John
Schoenherr’s picture of an alienated astronaut, Michael Whelan’s robot at the moment of self-awareness
and Donato Giancola’s depiction of species-to-species communication.

What’s missing in the sci-fi art exhibit can be found in profusion at
Smack Mellon’s exhibition “Between Interconnectedness,” curated by Suzanne Kim. Illustrating
art theory, the seven artists use engineering and science’s pictorial qualities to dress up their
ideas, rather than explore ethics or future horizons.

Angie Drakopoulos applied the terminology and imagery of physics and
biology to create a video, a deck of cards and a series of resin paintings. Her paintings apply the
natural abstraction of cells and stars to create intriguing necklaces of dots and diagrams suspended
in layers of milky resin.

Shown upstairs at this foundry-turned-spice warehouse-turned gallery,
Eva Lee’s three videos, titled The Liminal Series, blink hypnotic patterns and rhythms that also
refer to the micro and macro.

David McQueen created kinetic landscapes. One portrays a desert with
a slowly rising and setting sun (lamp); the other features snow falling on a cabin. The snow is made
by spidery wire fingers striking suspended chalk cubes. Inside the tiny cabin, a camera feeds a
live picture of the snowy scene to a back room, where yet another snow machine dusts the floor.

Though several of the works are visually serene and others mechanically
entertaining, the rhetoric is overbearing, the artistic outcome meek, and the science a playful
device.

New York Academy of Sciences, 2 E. 63rd St. (5th Ave.), 212-838-0230; 9-5, free.Smack
Mellon, 56 Water St. (Main St.), Dumbo, 718-834-8761; 12-6, free.

—Julia Morton

 

Un-Ho-Hum

Tues.-Sat., Jan. 4-8

You might say an exhibition lasting less than a week but advertising
both an opening and a closing reception (6-9 p.m. on each day) has its priorities a bit confused.
But this group show featuring “intentions in time and space” by Gigi Gatewood, Layla Lozano and
other mixed-media locals has many reasons to celebrate. Foremost among them is RUN.EXE,
a video painting by Transmodernist John Bonafede. Best known for his tombstone-style etchings
of manhole covers, Bonafede’s Abramovic-like use of body as both canvas and brush proves a unique
commentary on human transit—all the more pertinent in lieu of those impending fare hikes.

The Proposition Gallery, 559 W. 22nd St., 2nd fl. (11th Ave.), 212-242-0035, Tues.-Sat.
10-6, free.

—Sean Manning

Chris Larson: Pause

Through Sat., Jan. 22

Life is on pause for further investigation. Using popular tv
culture and real events to explore the American character, Pause, a sculpture by Chris
Larson, is a study of duality and contrast.

Pause is a life-sized, room-sized wooden reconstruction of
the Dukes of Hazzard’s car, aka the “General E. Lee,” smashing into the cabin of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
The outlandish humor of the piece drives us to question the artist’s intent. Rugged individualism
and righteous indignation come head to head in Larson’s instructive, destructive display of raw
lumber.

Rare Gallery, 521 W. 26th St. (10th Ave.), 212-268-1520; Tues.-Sat., 10-6, free.

—Julia Morton

 

Sugar and Stress | Through Sat., Feb. 5

It’s easy to see greatness in the artwork of respected masters, but how
many of us would have seen potential in their earliest works? Dealers who show unknowns have the
difficult (sweet and stressful) job of discovering those emerging talents. The Fredericks Freiser
Gallery presents four new painters, each on display for the first time in a major group show. A test
of the young artists’ ability to create a buzz, the exhibit also puts the dealer’s eye for good art
on exhibit.

Selma Hafizovic paints porn. Camouflaged by thick strokes of harsh
color, her seductive women appear through angled slices and hacked shapes. Loud and disturbing,
Hafizovic bucks the recent wave of young women painting cheesecake nudes. We’re looking at sex,
but seeing hypocrisy, greed and violence. Not an easy subject to sell, this artist gets points for
having the guts to step away from the easy-bake crowd to tackle an ugly truth.

Justin Craun paints adolescent males. Dummy Drone features
an adult ventriloquist holding his dummy. And Psycho Private depicts a row of four teenaged
boys, dressed in private-school uniforms, grinning at us through ski masks. In both pictures,
the predominant colors are red, white and blue. Though arranged like a snapshot and filled with
smiles, the mood is as anxious as the paint (which flies off the figures, drools or hangs in globs).
Suggesting intimidation and exploitation by the powerful and privileged, Craun’s subject is
not news, but his alarmed approach is visually exciting.

Looking for a new way to paint the old abstract, Miyeon Lee edited and
flattened ordinary objects, turning them into pure graphics. BCN is a mixture of thin horizontal
lines in gray and white dissecting an almost vertical piece of folded red clothing. Harmony
is a broken window with a curtain at one side. The cracks and shards of the pane are taped together,
creating a star pattern. What do they mean? Nothing and anything—they’re abstracts. Gently
challenging, they’re also quite lovely.

Gregory Edwards has just two paintings displayed, the others have three
each. The first, Future Primitive, a close-up of a wild spotted cat, looks like a black-light
poster. The highly contrasted face is painted half in red and half in turquoise, with the background
done in the opposite colors. The second painting, Nobody, is a head wearing a ribbed
ski mask. Done in black and white, it’s surrounded by a grayish smoke that goes black at the bottom
of the small canvas. Perhaps a comment on concealment, it’s harder to get a read on Edward’s style.

The dealer saw something though, now it’s your turn.

Fredericks Freiser Gallery, 504 W. 22nd St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), 212-633-6555;
call for times, free.

—Julia Morton

 

Thomas Ashcraft’s Laboratory

Through Sat., Jan. 29

What’s behind the long black curtain? Same planet..different world.
It’s the world inside Thomas Ashcraft’s head. Chosen for exhibition by fellow artist and neighbor
Bruce Nauman, Ashcraft’s installation is a trip.

Dimly lit, the room is neatly arranged with draped lab tables, catalogued
boxes and glass cases filled with mock artifacts. There are magnifying glasses, carefully posed
lights and daily, logs that recount the installations progress.

The artifacts made of twigs, metals, coins and seeds are curious, but
not as visually absorbing as the fantasy of scientific investigation this enveloping environment
explores.

Cue Art Foundation, 511 W. 25th St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), 212-206-3583; Tues.-Sat.,
10-6, free.

—Julia Morton

 

Dalek

Sat., Jan. 8

At the forefront of the newer generation of graffiti artists turned
pro is Dalek, who this week begins a three-week stint at McCaig-Welles Gallery, cited for Best Graffiti
(Indoors) in the 2004 Best of Manhattan issue. He brings along with him new explorations of his odd
little “space monkeys” that always seem to be maliciously smiling at the viewer from afar. Like
Shepard Fairey’s “Andre the Giant” grill, these characters were first seen on the avenues of most
metropolitan communities across the world; now, they’re the signature work of an internationally
recognized artist. This exhibition is also a rare opportunity to purchase an inexpensive piece
of graff history in the making.

McCaig-Welles Gallery, 129 Roebling St. (betw. N. 4th & N. 5th Sts.), Williamsburg,
718-384-8729; 8-10, free.

—Steven Psyllos

 

Electronics Recycling | Sun., Jan. 9

There comes a day when you can blow no more. It’s not that we’re unimpressed
with your saved game of Zelda—knocking on Gannon’s door with two bottles of life potion,
and every heart container full. We especially enjoy how you’ve chosen a biting nugget of profanity
rather than your own name for the Link character, even if we did this some 13 years ago. Excitebike
is another story. You were right all along; we could never touch your custom Excitebike
course designs. They were the most optimal placements of ramps, jumps and oil slicks imaginable.
Our tongues were held purely by jealousy.

Now that we’ve come clean, it’s your turn to face the facts. You can blow
into your Nintendo cartridges all you want; you can even use the trutsy, advanced technique of blowing
through your shirt. You know very well that the blinking light on your NES is no longer a simple matter
of dust. Your gray lady is 20 years old. It’s time to put her down, and get a tax deduction.

Old computers, monitors, network devices, peripherals, components,
tv’s, VCRs, DVD players, A/V stuff, radios, stereos, cellphones, pagers, PDAs, phones, answering
machines—all will graciously be taken off your hands this Sunday at Union Square Park. Of
course, this is true of most every day in the park, but this promises to go down in a more organized
fashion, thanks to the Lower East Side Ecology Center, the New York Community Trust, the Parks Dept.
and their efforts to redistribute unwanted goods to the needy. You could always try your greedy
luck in the flooded eBay electronics market, but are web-savvy customers going to let you unload
your broke shit without giving some negative feedback in return? That’s right, today’s collection
accepts devices, “working and non-working.” At least drop off your pager, caveman.

Union Square Park, North Plaza, 17th St. (betw. B’way & Park Ave.), 212-407-4022;
9-5, free.

—Dan Migdal

 

Counter-Inauguration Planning Meeting | Thurs., Jan. 6

Eight years ago I stood in the middle of the Washington DC mall with a buddy
of mine and a flask of vodka in hand, marveling at how Bill Clinton had so smoothly handed defeat to
an ailing Republican Party. I was interning at the time at the American Enterprise Institute. Little
did I know that the walls around my cubicle housed some of the Right’s greatest and most dangerous
thinkers, as well as several future deputy cabinet secretaries and Bush appointees.

What was striking about that day was not that Clinton was being re-inaugurated
for another four years. More shocking was the missing outrage among the far right. There were no
protests that I could see. No boos or hissing or Heritage Foundation interns forming human chains.
The right did not waste its time in protest but instead regrouped, redoubled its get-out-the-vote
efforts, and waged an ideological and robust war against Clinton and his would-be successor.

Everyone knows what happened next. Clintonism lost and Rove entered
our kitchen conversations. What’s worrisome is that Democrats have not learned from their mistakes.
They continue to spout the same platitudes and promises, which is Mozart to the ears of New Yorkers,
but elevator music to most of the country.

In three weeks our commander in chief will be inaugurated for a second
term. Washington DC, come January 20, will be full of well-wishers waving at his motorcade, some
with five fingers, some with one. To join the latter category, meet at Judson Memorial Church this
Thursday.

Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Sq. S. (Thompson St. side), 212-477-0351; 7pm,
free.

—Lionel Beehner

 

Makor’s Pins and Pints

Sat., Jan. 8

It’s finally safe for Jewish singles to engage in awkward matchmaking
events at Bowlmor Lanes again. Just weeks ago, it was uncovered that the Ramallah-based Palestine
Commercial Services Company had invested $1.3 million in the downtown bowling hot spot on behalf
of—who else?—Yasser Arafat. Arafat, an avid disco-bowler in his day, was said to
have approached his beloved sport with such vigor that it seemed he was trying to drive the pins “out
into the sea.” Bowlmor parent-company, Strike Holdings, has since returned the departed chairman’s
investment, encouraging Jewish recreation, and subsequent procreation, to proceed as usual.

Bowlmor Lanes, 110 University Pl., (betw. 12th & 13th Sts.), 212-255-8188; 9,
$60.

—Dan Migdal

 

Non-Fiction Books & Paper Fair

Sat., Jan. 8

Back in 1992, some famous artist was selling hand-made pieces of paper
at the Guggenheim for several thousand dollars a sheet. We thought it was ridiculous back then,
but who knew? In a world where paper is becoming as much a thing of the past as shoehorns and Phoenicians,
maybe one day that misaligned photocopy you’re about to crumple up and throw away will be a much-sought-after
collectors item. Fine antique paper and dusty books about other things long gone come together
at this annual fair that, if nothing else, helps remind us what weird shit people used to use, think
and create in those forgotten days before laptops, TiVo and iPods.

Tip Top Shoe Bldg., 155 W. 72nd St., 4th fl. (B’way), 212-579-0689; 10-2, free.

—Jim Knipfel

Dia de los Reyes Parade

Thurs., Jan. 6

Three Kings Day is the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and for many
is the traditional gift-giving day. On the night of Jan. 5, eager children leave shoeboxes full
of hay under their beds for the camels of the Magi, hoping that when they wake the hay will be replaced
with presents.

Today’s parade, which is organized by El Museo del Barrio, features
camels, sheep, horses, tall puppets, floats, costumes and music. The fun begins at 10 a.m.
at 106th St. and 5th Ave. The Three Kings—this year, it’s community leaders Moises Perez
and Augustin Díaz and local poet Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez—will lead the way to
El Museo’s Teatro Heckscher, where those same eager kids who traded hay for Bratz dolls will get
even more gifts handed to them by los Reyes themselves. Inside, students of Ballet Hispanico
and Grupo Folkl—rico Tepeyac will perform (unfortunately, the show is already sold out).

106th St. (5th Ave.), 212-660-7144; 10, free; those wishing to march in the parade should
show up at 8:30 a.m. to register.

—Brett Gelbord

 

Dance on Camera Festival 2005

Jan. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22

Celebrating its 33rd year, the Dance on Camera Festival features documentaries
on sacred trance-inducing dances (The Gods of Bali), the importance of ceremonial dance
in the Pueblo Indian culture (Dancing from the Heart), tributes to the great Michael Powell
(The Red Shoes), dance and design (Somewhere In Between) and the lives and struggles
of modern dancers (Carmen and Geoffrey). The scope of this festival is its greatest
asset. For those not patient enough to sit through documentaries from early-20th-century Russia,
consider instead one of the many docs in which the body’s movement is a starting point. Of particular
note are Counter Phrases 2 by Thierry de Mey in Program 7, Amelia by Edouard Lock
in Program 6, and the eight short films of Program 4: Short Stories from Around the World.

Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, 165 W. 65th St. (betw. B’way & Amsterdam
Ave.), 212- 875-5601; call for times, $10, $7 st.

—Steven Psyllos


..