About Town Listings
If you’ve walked along the West Side highway at night, past 22nd Street, you may have been mystified by the appearance of a curious orb, glowing green and red and orange and white, near the top of the Pace Wildenstein building. Its artist Robert Whitman’s newest project, SUN, 2007, which uses a movie generated by the Yohkoh satellite —that’s Japanese for sunbeam—a project developed by the Institute for Space and Astronautical Science that obtains images of the Sun in wavelengths not accessible from Earth. Whitman modified the rotation, speed and color of the star, and the final result is a monumental artistic interpretation of the Sun projected onto manipulated fabric. Now you know what that strange and beautiful thing is, that more beautiful sun that rises when the familiar one goes down. Robert Whitman’s “SUN” screens daily from sunset to 10pm and will remain on view through September 1, 2007. PaceWildenstein, 534 W. 25th St. (betw. 10th and 11th Aves.).
With probably the best pun I’ve heard in a while for a name, Lower Feast Side is just that: a festival of local culture and food that would warm the heart and tempt the tongue of the most demanding gourmand. Every Sunday from July 1 through September 9, on Broome Street between Allen and Orchard, the LES Business Improvement District is hosting this “interactive street fair” that reinvents itself every week. If you love the Lower East Side—and not just for its hipster cachet—or just want to find out what most of the fuss is about, all at once, go. Adorned with pushcarts reminiscent of ye olde LES, visitors can sample the best in food, clothes and accessories from a variety of sources on the Lower East Side and listen to the finest in local bands at the Living Room. Plus, a free historic walking tour of the Lower East Side at 3pm each Sunday leaving from the LES Visitors Center at 261 Broome Street, located on the block of the Feast. And, like we said, every Sunday it’ll be a little different—face painting for the kiddies one day, cooking demos from Whole Foods, a Green City Composting demo from the LES Ecology Center, and more. free.
BOUND BY BLOOD
Their father dies, and his estranged children come together to try and forge a new relationship. No, it’s not “The Darjeeling Limited,” Wes Anderson’s new flick (that’s Sept. 29). This is bombs in your mouth, premiering to rave reviews at the NYC Fringe fest. Half-siblings Danny and Lilly haven’t spoken for five years. While Lilly pursued a lofty advertising career in Manhattan, Danny took care of their abusive, insane father in Minnesota, building up mountains of resentment in the process. The death of their father reunites Danny and Lilly, forcing them to hash out their differences in a beer- and Jell-O-filled kitchen. The play, written by Corey Patrick and directed by Joseph Ward, plays through August 24 at Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St. (at Bedford), 212-239-6200. Fringenyc.org; $15.
As anyone with even an elementary knowledge of New York history can tell you, the Irish helped make this city the gritty, pugnacious, feisty place it is today. The toughs who filled the streets just before the turn of the century became cops, robbers, firemen—and boxers. Lots of them boxed. Close to where thousands of Irish men and women first set foot on American soil—South Street Seaport—the new exhibition, Fighting Irishmen: Celebrating Celtic Prizefighters 1820-Present, features these Irish sportsmen not just as the scrappy pugilists they were, but as contributors to our popular culture, because before movies and television and computers, if you didn’t go to the theater, you went to the ring for entertainment. Everything you could ever hope to see as it relates to the history of Irish boxers in NYC is here: Not just archival photographs and leaflets, but Jack Dempsey’s blazer, a heavy bag from Gene Tunney’s gym and, yes, Dan Donnelly’s mummified right arm. Through Dec. 31. South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton St., 212-748-8600; Fri.-Mon. 10am-5pm.
What crappy neo-garage band is named after two singers from a great Krautrock band? What did Jack White do before he became a rock star? When was the last time Devendra Banhart applied deodorant? If you think you’ve got the answers to these questions, you need a girlfriend/boyfriend, er, you’ve got what it takes to take on all comers at Rock Trivia Mondays. If you thought all that obscure knowledge was, in fact, useless, you haven’t been to Pianos on Mondays. Someone actually still cares, as it turns out, about the Eagles. Which is sort of cool, in its own way. OK, no it’s not. Not at all. (Answers: The Mooney Suzuki; furniture upholsterer; information unavailable at press time.) Pianos, 158 Ludlow St. (at Stanton St.), 212-505-3733; 8, free.
A MAN’S BREAST FRIEND
Thank God for Feminism. We have this movement, along with the way it’s been taught and espoused in liberal arts colleges, to thank for the fact that nowadays, taking your clothes off in public is actually an expression of power. And, smart chicks can do it. Because of Feminism we have things like Suicide Girls, striptease classes at Crunch, and Thursday and Sunday Burlesque Nights at Rififi. According to their website, these nights offer “a variety of eye-popping striptease, magic, acrobatics and vaudevillean antics.” On girls with names like Veronika Sweet, Nasty Canasta and Creamy Stevens. I was in the area just the other night, and the line was around the street. Hey, call it whatever you like—I still get to look at boobs. Rififi, 322 E. 11th St. (betw. 1st & 2nd Ave.), 212-677-1027; Sun-Thurs. 10, $5.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15
Badly Drawn Boy is one of the great post-Beatles British bands to go the McCartney, instead of the Lennon, route to crafting an excellent catalogue of pop gems and heartbreakers. For this writer, hearing the Boy, and especially the “About a Boy” soundtrack which made central songwriter Damon Gough famous, always takes me back to a very specific time and place: The living room of a very sweet, moderately pretty young woman whom I dated briefly while trying to get over the very beautiful tempest from which I had just barely managed to extricate myself some months before. Like that brief rebounding affair, BDB is kind of boring, but wonderful. Who says romance and its trappings have to knock you off your feet? Sometimes it’s fine to just massage you into the blissful forgetting of all your troubles. Spiegeltent, at Pier 17 (off Fulton St.), 212-279-4200. 10, $35.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 16
THE AURAL PHALLUS
If you’ve seen live any of the Hot NYC bands in recent months—bands like Deerhunter, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Secret Machines, even—chances are good that if you arrived at 8 when the doors opened instead of at 11 when the headliner went on, you had your mind fucking blown. Maybe because you weren’t expecting to have it blown so early, or maybe because if you like the fancypants sound of YYYs et al you may have forgotten the transformative power of the Riff. Yes, the Riff. The fancypants bands have plenty to recommend them; I have all three of the bands on my iPod. But what they don’t do well (if at all) tonight’s headliners do better than anyone else right now. Heavy Hands and Endless Boogie have pledged their undying fealty to the magic of the simple phrase, played over and over, at very high volumes. How lead singers and homoerotic stage play are nice, but for some—this writer included—nothing beats the aural equivalent of a tremendous phallus smacking you over the head. The Hands and the Boogie flex their prodigious riffscles tonight, with Black Cobra and MegaNeura at Club Midway, 25 Ave. B (at 3rd St.); 8, $8.
Stripped down, user friendly and unpretentious in execution if not quite in name, KGB Bar’s Drunken! Careening! Writers! is the best reading series in town. Unlike many bookstores and reading venues—if not most, or so it seems—this one dispensed with vacation this year. Thank God. August is painfully slow for bookworms and lit lovers. Tonight, settle in readings from Robert Westfield, whose first novel, “Suspension,” won both the Gay Debut Fiction and Gay Fiction Lambda Literary Awards this year; Justin Courter, author of “Skunk: a Love Story,” in which “An obsession for skunk musk sends a young man on a picaresque journey”; and Robin Cloud, a Brooklyn-based comedienne who is not promoting a book but is hilarious and fantastic nonetheless. KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd Ave. and Bowery), 212-505-3360. 7, Free.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17
YOU GUYS ARE WEIRD
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum brings the art of histrionic rock to new heights. (Or lows.) If you’ve ever heard the growls, hisses, whines, twists and turns of their recorded music, then you have some idea of what you’re in for tonight. Caveat emptor: Their faces will probably be painted, and there may be at least one white person onstage with dreadlocks. Tread, if you dare, the thin line between the avant-garde and the completely ridiculous. With Tub Ring and Made Out of Babies. Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St. (betw. 9th and 10th Aves.), 212-414-5994; 8pm, $13.
BANG THE DRUMS
Djembe and conga drums, bells, shakers and sticks await you at Battery Park City Park Conservancy’s sunset drumming circles led by master drummers Maguette Camara, Pamela Patrick, and Mary Knysh (who also leads jams three August). The evenings begin with the teaching of traditional drumming patterns. After establishing a steady heartbeat pulse, individuals—young and old, novice and experienced—contribute their own rhythmic patterns as part of call and response chanting and drumming. Working together as a drumming village, everyone taps into his and her own creativity. All engage in cooperative, non-verbal communication, sharing the heady responsibility for creating beautiful, exciting sounds. It’s always incredible, one in a great series of summer events that bring the community together way downtown. Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park (access at Battery Place). 6:30pm. FREE
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18
Was New York City before Dinkins and Giuliani really that bad? Was it ever that bad? My parents would say no, but they didn’t live in the Bronx or Harlem. At any rate, it’s fun to think that, even if it wasn’t, the City of the 1970s is at least the perfect backdrop for these two mythic tales of violence and power. Tonight’s double feature, “The Warriors” and “Superfly,” are well suited to each other. The action is stylish and groundbreaking, the characters are vicious anti-heroes who are tremendous fun to watch. And the city, dressed up with the potency of Homer’s Ilium in medias res, is a place you’ll love to visit but be thrilled to leave. Part of the NYC Noir series, continuing through Aug. 30, at Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. (6th Ave. & Varick St.), 212-727-8110, $5-$10.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 19
The band Golden City, composed of defunct indie obscurities The 101 and Christie Front Drive, won’t change your life, or your perception of what Rock can do. (If anything, hearing them, a vast improvement of their constituent parts, will prove the point that you should beware bands with numbers or girls’ names.) But on a Sunday night, when all you want to do is cushion the blow before the impending work week with a few beers and some live pub rock in the background, you can’t do much better. Fat Baby,112 Rivington St. (at Essex). Time and price tba.
MONDAY, AUGUST 20
GARDENING FOR CHANGE
Author of Grassroots Gardening: Rituals for Sustaining Activism,
Donna Schaper is senior minister of Judson Memorial Church at Washington Square. She’s also the Jane Jacobs of gardening, a community-minded activist who argues that gardening is a great passion for many progressive, political, communal people. In 2003 she wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that told the story of her rejection from Coral Gables Garden Club because she was too liberal. In response to her article, dozens of garden societies across America contacted Schaper, inviting her to join their societies. Listen tonight as she addresses many of the same themes from Grassroots Gardening, in which she talks about how urban gardening sustains and foments community—and thus, activism and social change. McNally Robinson Booksellers, 52 Prince St. (betw. Lafayette and Mulberry), 212-274-1160. 7pm; FREE.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21
SCOTTISH FILMMAKER REDISCOVERED
Before his death from cancer at age 54 in 1991, the Scottish filmmaker Bill Douglas amassed a small but impressive body of work. According to the scholar Rhys Graham, writing in his book “Senses of Cinema,” Douglas “should have become one of the most significant figures in modern cinema.” He made only four features—three of which compose a trilogy—and a handful of shorts, in which he transforms his personal dramas into cinematic poetry. Tonight, a rare screening of two 16mm films that Douglas lovers consider his best: “My Childhood (1972)” and “My Ain Folk (1973).” These intimate, autobiographical masterpieces—unjustly called “austere” and “confessional” by one critic—are not on DVD; and anyway, they deserve to be seen as light reflected into space. Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Ave. (at 2nd St.), 212-505-5181. 7, $8; $5, members; $6, seniors and students.
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