Monday, September 29, 2008
(above: my friend standing next to a laser light with mohair string tied to it...)
(above: the new Galapagos space in DUMBO. The former one in Williamsburg is now called Public Assembly.)
Dumbo art happenings: definitely worth it. The area, DUMBO, in general is pretty adorable, from the panoramic views from the park to the cute galleries and cafes along the streets.
Friday night I attended the "No Big Deal" party at alphabeta, a warehouse space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, after accidentally scoring a free taxi ride. (I got upset that the driver didn't know where Franklin Ave was, and he refused to take my money, telling me to get out of his cab. Upon my exit, a group of people immediately veered to take the cab, and he curtly replied that he was off duty, to which the girl in the group replied, "No, we're going to New York." Not able to help myself, I replied back, "Honey, this is New York," and walked the remaining three blocks to my destination (after they managed to convince the cabbie to take them and I was informed by friendly local kids that my destination was indeed only a few blocks away).
The "No Big Deal" party was part grafitti warehouse and store, and part totally hoppin' house party -- complete with free Sparks drinks -- with an expansive backyard Below are some pictures of the event.
And then, true Brookyln undergound party-style, it got shut down by the police.
We proceeded afterwards to a bar by the name of CoCo 66 (see their myspace profile here and the NY Mag write-up here), which was a fun dancing time to be had.
Luckily, though tired, I was not too exhausted to make it back to DUMBO the next day, OR go to the Ratatat show and have a blast there.
The show exceeded my expectations. Terminal 5 was packed, their performance had the crowd fully pumped, and their set was short but sweet. And that perfectly describes how my weekend felt: short but sweet.
Friday, September 26, 2008
ANYWAY, so I think I may be going to go to the BAM Takeover event this Saturday night instead of Ratatat, featuring the lovely St. Vincent performing, among other featured events of the evening at BAM. Unless... I end up going to Ratatat after all, with my friend who still has extra tickets... NYC life: part complete spontaneity and flexibility, and part meticulous advance planning... the two are currently uncomfortably and excitingly colliding in my life (but aren't they always?).
Apart from this dilemna, I also plan on going out tonight, possibly to this:
For a full description of this event, see the Going.com write-up. And a snippet from their description:
"No Big Deal is new art/music/remix collective project, and of course, party. Whoever you are, it doesn't matter, come for the love of music and art. Dance with your eyes closed. Go crazy, who cares. It's no big deal."
The party is tonight, at alphabeta, located at 70 Greenpoint Ave in Brooklyn.
Also, ongoing this weekend:
The website gives details of this extensive festival, sponsored by Current. From the website:
For the 12th year running, the entire neighborhood of Dumbo, Brooklyn, will become a multi-sensory art arena, FREE and open to all.
Over the FESTIVAL weekend, art will be happening everywhere: streets, sidewalks, storefronts, elevators, lobbies, the water, the waterfront, parks, nooks, crannies, NY Water Taxi, and more. Along with the 65+ new public art projects, over 100 local artists will open their studios to the public and at the new Galapagos Art Space, video_dumbo will feature a non-stop program of cutting edge video art from NYC and around the world.
The FESTIVAL presents art that breaks the white cube: art that is touchable, accessible and interactive. The appeal is universal: for many of the anticipated 150,000 visitors, the FESTIVAL will be their first encounter with art and artists.
DAC, the big impact small non-profit, has been making the annual 3-day event possible since it was founded by local artists in1997. As New York City's creative edge is increasingly threatened by skyrocketing rents, DAC is committed to preserving what is possibly the last urban oasis of its kind: a site where young artists can test their ideas in the public domain, have unprecedented freedom and play. Visual artists have a long tradition of harnessing New York City as their canvas, seeing no boundaries between studio and street. The FESTIVAL allows artists to act upon that impulse by providing them with a place where the unpredictable, the spontaneous and the downright weird can still happen.
I will let these words from the DAC website speak for themselves.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Date: Saturday, September 27 (rain or shine)
Location: Governor's Island
Time: The event will begin at exactly 3:15 PM. Arrive early and remember to budget time for weekend subway service delays and lines to get on the ferry. The event will be over at 4:06.
Wear: A Red, Blue, Yellow, or Green t-shirt.
Bring: An umbrella and an uninflated balloon.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
In addition to these musicians (none of whom I am yet familiar with), the museum exhibits are open, including the exhibit "Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger" (closing September 21st). For those unfamiliar with Darger, see the Wikipedia entry on him. His outsider art has become relatively well-known and influential, and it should be well-worth it to see this exhibit!
After this, I plan on attending another art gallery, Canada, located at 55 Chrystie St. between Hester and Canal St. All I know of this gallery is what's on the website, specifically that it is hosting an Opening Reception this Friday from 6-9 pm.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Absinthe features a series of performances and theatrics, tied together by a slinky MC cabaret singer hostess and two comic, acrobatic performers. A 2006 review of the show on NY Times gives an adept synopsis of the show, but also reveals that the performers and their acts are varied with the show. The NY Times review features the act of a man in a bathtub, which was entirely absent from the performance I saw Friday. Regardless, the acts highlighted an unbelievable array of the acrobatically impressive and skilled to the comic and the bawdy. A more recent review of Absinthe, along with another Spiegelworld show, La Vie, from 2007, can be seen here. As the review states, be prepared for the intimacy of the show and possible audience participation.
The act which my date was called to participate in involved the "married couple" comic hosts who introduced their act as a demonstration on how to correctly make use of bananas in erotic play. Their performance consisted of shooting banana bites from their mouths across the stage into the mouth of their partner -- and also an attempt to shoot banana bites into the mouth of my date. As their act wound down, the bites became chewed up, processed banana sludge which they continued to switch back and forth.
This sort of jarring physical humor was balanced with acts purely gorgeous and breathtaking in their grace, from a hula-hooping gymnast/contortionist to a roller-skating couple whose finale included the woman attached to her partner by neck-braces and her whirling in the air, turning her entire body while only supported by her neck.
And the act which I was included in: an incredibly robotic, mechanical-styled dancer who lip-synced snippets of the song, and in a "low battery" pause, took my hand to have me "power him up" and stage-snuck a kiss on the lips with me.
Needless to say, it was a fun, fully captivating evening.
And, not to diminish my enjoyment of and satisfaction with the evening, the weekend continued in the same vein. Saturday I went dancing with a few friends of mine at Cattyshack, a ladies' club in Park Slope.
We stayed there, mostly dancing, until closing time at 4:00 am. The spirit of dancing camaraderie bordered on the libidinous. While there, we all donned creatures-of-the-night personas, temporarily paused in a collective dance trance, transported to a world apart from our daily cares.
And the next evening, Sunday, I found myself in a friend-of-a-friend's apartment in Harlem for a dinner party. In addition to my friend, I had only met one other person before. The evening felt like a throwback to a college dorm night, where a group of people sat discussing life and love and work. Having this sort of evening engaging in ponderous, meaningful and personal conversation was refreshing.
And so this weekend perfectly encapsulated my idealization of NYC culture at its height: a heady mix of the personal and anonymous, where we can both, and even simultaneously, lose ourselves and intimately connect, on emotional and physical levels.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Shows ongoing until Sep 15th (closing) - danscores by Ofelia Loret de Mola: Available Space.
Friday night, (shows ongoing until Nov 2nd), Absinthe at Spiegeltent.
Saturday night, Midnight Juggernauts show at Le Poisson Rouge. (with Grandmaster Flash)
Available Space Dance Performances: From the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council website:
September 8–10 & 12 at 12:30pm, September 13–15 at 8:00pm
City Hall Park, near the entrance at Broadway and Warren Street
Subway: R, W City Hall, 2,3 Park Place, 4,5,6 Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall
Ofelia Loret de Mola, a Mexican choreographer, collaborates with actors, musicians, and a visual artist to transform a swath of City Hall Park into a carnival that evokes the grit and cheap sparkle of a Mexican circus. Beginning on and around the chess tables, the dancers perform as circus characters illustrating chess in a political subtext to live music. The audience travels with the performers from the west side to the east side of the park where they are later led by a marching band to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Available Space is presented as part of Celebrate Mexico Now 2008, the 5th annual citywide festival of contemporary Mexican art and culture produced by CN Management. The festival closes on Sept. 15, celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Yesterday evening's performance featured the choreography of Lar Lubovitch, and his aptly-named group, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. The performance featured white-clad dancers who pranced and pirouetted with amazing synchronized gracefulness and agility. My two friends and I meanwhile split a bottle of white wine (and I give a shout out to all the other wine-drinkers at events like this; without one of their corkscrews, we ourselves would have been "screwed") and a simple bread, fruit and cheese spread. The dancers' costumes were made of rather diaphanous, flowy material that easily caught the wind and highlighted their sculpted physiques. Seeing them up there made me feel a little self-conscious of my wine and snack consumption while sitting idly to such a majestic, coordinated performance; it also inspired me to focus on pursuing dance classes for myself, which we'll see if anything actually comes of it...
What I particularly liked about this evening was that, as a free and outdoor performance, the crowd featured a diversity of attendees, including young children and dogs, and it had a very laidback al fresco vibe. The children in front of us mostly migrated to the side of the audience and enacted their own little ballet, unconcerned with anything but their own enjoyment of the moment. This sort of non-restrictive, open ambiance is the advantageous aspect of seeing outdoor performances. On the down side: tonight's show is canceled because of the inclement weather, though tomorrow's should still go on. Read more about this and other River to River events at http://www.RiverToRiverNYC.com.
Afterwards, I went out for drinks along 14th St. with a couple of friends, stopping first at Beauty Bar, a retro bar with beauty salon stylings, free manicures, and 50's era music. We moved on To Blind Pig, the polar opposite to Beauty Bar, a wood-paneled sports bar only two doors down. Unfortunately, my friend and I ended up missing the Bunny Rabbit show. We promptly fled the dank college houseparty vibe of GlassLands to find ourselves caught in the evening rainstorm and proceeding under partial cover of my friend's picnic blanket to the nearest pizza shop. I'd say it was a successful, rain-soaked Friday night!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Now, having scaled Mt. Marcy and Mt. Algonquin, I am left with pleasant memories, stunning pictures, sore legs, and a newfond appreciation for my bed and a hot shower.
(above: my friend and me at the top of Mt. Marcy)
Now back in NYC: With the gorgeous weather that prevails, I am not yet read to call summertime quits. Upcoming notable events I am considering:
Friday, September 5th: Bunny Rabbit performing live at GlassLands Gallery. 11pm-4am.
Saturday, September 6th:
-- Monster Island Arts & Music Block Party, Williamsburg, 2-10pm.
-- Circus Amok, Riverside Park. Performances start at 2pm and 5pm.
-- Art Parade, West Broadway at Houston St, starts at 4pm.
Friday, September 5th. GlassLands Gallery, located in Williamsburg at 289 Kent Ave. between S. 1st and S. 2nd St. Bunny Rabbit - visit her Myspace page if you aren't familiar with this chick rapper reminiscent of Peaches. And her Youtube page, a conglomeration of Bunny Rabbit and Black Cracker, called Bunnycrack.Saturday, September 6th: Monster Island Arts & Music Festival. 2-10pm, Third Annual Block Party. Located in Williamsburg, at Kent Ave. and Metropolitan Ave. FREE. See Secret Project Robot for more on its mission statement, which "stress[es] the importance of the art party as a way to create an inclusive and tangible environment" and "... push[es] every event beyond the norm..."
Circus Amok is "a New York City based circus-theater company whose mission is to provide free public art addressing contemporary issues of social justice to the people of New York City." (see website for further info). Click here to see video clips of the circus, featuring the woman dubbed the Bearded Lady. Click here for the schedule. Circus Amok plays regularly!
Art Parade 2008, at West Broadway and Houston. The event is organized and sponsored by PAPER Magazine, Creative Time and Deitch Projects. This year, the fourth annual art parade will feature over 900 participants!