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March 13th, 2008

SOHO POLITICS: THE STATE OF SOHO.

by D. Clark MacPherson

Many of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop. In fact, SoHo is waiting for the other shoe store to hit us as we check out the new high-end chains that have moved here at rents exceeding $40,000 per month. National chains would rather lose money on West Broadway than make money in Astoria, Queens.

So, if SoHo is such a hot spot, why is everyone intent on destroying its essence? Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | News

March 13th, 2008

PLUNKITT OF TAMMANY HALL: A POLITICAL COLUMN OF AMAZING RANDOMNESS.

by Trip Plunkitt

From the Winter 2008 issue: Even before Spitzer’s extracurriculars came to light, he was still a less than ideal governor, as Trip Plunkitt points out.

The national political season is heating up, with candidates for president stumping around the country. We try to get all our news on this subject from The Daily Show’s marvelous “Clusterf@%k to the White House.” It sure beats Katie Couric!

Well, if the swift and sad decline of the east coast “Gubernator,” Eliot Spitzer, shows us anything, it’s that good material for the plots of tragic operas is still being created. After campaign-issued hyperbole (especially after the 12 long years of the Pataki lockdown) the “day one everything changes” governor has become the “empty promise” governor, twisting the limits of power and showing us that a regressive and overbearing prosecutorial mentality run amok is a very terrible thing indeed. What some saw as hope for real reform has turned into a course in government misconduct. Why, Governor Spitzer has even made upstate Republican State Senator Joe Bruno seem sympathetic–do you know how hard that is to do? Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | News

March 12th, 2008

THE VOLUPTUOUS HORROR OF KAREN BLACK @ THE PARK AVE. ARMORY: 3/14/8 @ 8PM. FREE.

by John Coakley

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Now you know where Amy Winehouse got her hairdo.

Kembra Phaler brings her still compelling, tried and true mix of punk rock, horror movies, performance art and sexual provocation to the Whitney Biennial. The piece is called Actressology and will feature an on-stage wedding and celebration. Just don’t ask her to play The Electric Slide.

Actressology
Friday, 3/14/8 @ 8pm
Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue at 67th Street
(212) 616-3930
Free

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

March 12th, 2008

REVIEW: THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT

by John Coakley

hat

I was doubtful when the actors appeared on stage – they all looked so young, particularly Daniel Gerdes, who portrays Dr. S. And the opening monologue that he gave us to set the scene was delivered with a certain lack of subtlety that betrayed his inexperience. But his few lines were to be the only words spoken until the very end of this one act play – everything else was sung. You see, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is an opera, inspired by Oliver Sacks‘ essay of the same name and written by Michael Nyman and Christopher Lawrence.

I have little experience with opera, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But after a few minutes I acclimated to everything being sung and my disbelief was on its way to being suspended. The Man… concerns the case of Dr. P., a musician who is suffering from an ever-worsening case of visual agnosia; that is to say, his brain either ignores or misinterprets what his eyes tell him to see. This condition and its effects starts out as a source of fascination and comic foibles, such as when Dr. P. is told to find his shoe that is plainly on the floor next to him, and instead turns to his bare foot and sings “My Shooooooe!” in a triumphant, heroic baritone. But as we get deeper into the case and we see what lengths his wife had to go to just to help Dr. P. get through his day, the tone turns serious, and by the end, tragic. Dr. P’s world becomes more and more abstracted, until music becomes his only form of certainty. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

March 11th, 2008

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS PANEL @ JUDSON MEMORIAL CHURCH: 3/13/8 @ 6:30PM.

by John Coakley

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Can’t argue with the facts.

Federal protections of reproductive rights have been getting weaker of late. New York State is pretty reasonable when it comes to these rights, thank god. But if yesterday’s Guv Luv scandal proves anything, it’s that lawmakers are fallible – boy, are they fallible – and you never really know who will take their place when they fall. So let’s not take our rights for granted.

Planned Parenthood has assembled a panel of distinguished speakers to discuss where we are now and how we can make sure that we don’t let what we have slip away. Get the facts and ask some questions.

Thursday, March 13
6:30-8:30pm

Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South, NYC

RSVP here.

Featured speakers include: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Take Action

March 11th, 2008

FIGHT THE MALLIFICATION OF SOHO: TUESDAY, 3/11/8 @ 7:30PM.

by You the Reader

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Prince Street – for now.

Thank you to the SoHo Alliance for the heads-up.

The Department of Transportation is proposing to turn Prince Street from Lafayette to West Broadway into a PEDESTRIAN MALL every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

By erecting police barricades and eliminating vehicles, the DOT wants to make our streets ‘friendly’ to tourists. If you think Prince Street is already a carnival, this proposal will turn SoHo into a Disneyland theme park as tourists flock to the latest destination spot: the new SoHo Mall.

# EMS, NYPD and Fire Department vehicles during an emergency will not be able to travel speedily down Prince Street through the throngs.
# Cars will be unable to turn onto Prince. This will result in increased honking throughout SoHo.
# Other SoHo streets will get increased congestion and pollution, as cars avoid Prince Street.
# Residents will be unable to unload groceries and merchandise in front of their own homes.
# Bicycle/Pedestrian conflicts will be exacerbated.
# Expect more peddlers stretching six blocks down the middle of Prince Street to fill the space.
# More street performers and food vendors will likely appear. Will jugglers and mimes be far behind?
# Will this cockamamie experiment spread to your street? Is Spring Street next, or maybe West Broadway? Maybe all of SoHo?

We need you at the community board to PROTEST to stop this dangerous proposal:

Tuesday, March 11th at 7:30 p.m
NYU Silver Building
32 Waverly Place, east of Washington Square Park
Room 713
I.D. required

BODIES COUNT! Let the city know that SoHo is a residential neighborhood – not a tourist commodity. Please forward this to friends and neighbors. If you are absolutely unable to attend, email your comments to: info@sohoalliance.org
We’ll forward to the community board. For more information, call 353-8466

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Take Action

March 9th, 2008

SAVOR – A BENEFIT FOR GMHC: MONDAY, 3/10/8 @ 7PM.

by You the Reader

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Gay Men’s Health Crisis proudly presents Savor, a deliciously decadent four-course French dinner prepared by an all-star team of world-famous chefs: Tony Aiazzi, Jason Hicks, Victoria Love, and Galen Zamurra. Ted Allen of Iron Chef America will be hosting.

Savor brings a new twist to the traditional benefit dinner by shining a spotlight on celebrity chefs and creating a physical environment that will transport guests through France as panoramic wall projections depict scenic landscapes throughout the evening. The event will include a reception, Tony Kushner presenting honors to Urvashi Vaid, live entertainment, and live and silent auctions.

Monday, March 10, 2008
7 pm – 10 pm
Skylight Studios
275 Hudson Street
New York City

Click here to purchase tickets.

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Take Action

March 9th, 2008

INCITE ARTS FESTIVAL: VARIOUS LOCATIONS, 3/9/8 – 3/15/8.

by John Coakley

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Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

The InCite Arts Festival is a showcase of performances and exhibitions by and from students and alumni of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. Some intriguing work is being presented here, including a rarely performed Tom Stoppard piece called Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and an English Libretto interpetation of Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat; the music for that piece was written by Michael Nyman, who was responsible for the soundtracks to The Piano and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover. Definitely worth a look.

Click HERE for tickets.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

March 8th, 2008

KEITH GESSEN + JOSHUA COHEN @ KGB BAR: SUNDAY, 3/9/8 @ 7PM.

by John Coakley

kgbb
KGB Bar: A good place to read or listen to others read.

KGB Bar is a literary bar. That is to say, they offer readings almost every night of the week for no cover and the writers get paid in drinks and exposure. The audience tends to be respectful and quiet, which is something a few more ‘upscale’ venues (yes, I’m talking to you, Joe’s Pub) should really encourage. It’s cozy and warm, the kind of place where a solitary person could spend the non-event hours reading in peace. Cozy also means small, so get there early if you want a seat.

Sunday night is Fiction night at KGB, and this time they’re going to feature Keith Gessen. He’ll read from his upcoming novel All the Sad Young Literary Men, which is about three young friends who struggle with growing up and aspiring to greatness at the same time, something to which most young writers can no doubt relate. Also on board is Joshua Cohen, reading from A Heaven of Others, which places a young, Jewish victim of death by explosion in a Muslim afterlife. How many virgins are set aside for non-jihadist infidels? Come to the reading and you just might find out.

Keith Gessen & Joshua Cohen
Sunday, March 9 2008 7:00pm – 9:00pm
KGB Bar
85 East 4th Street, 2nd Floor
Free

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | Events | New York

March 7th, 2008

LUCIAN FREUD AT MoMA: RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND – MONDAY, 3/10/8.

by John Coakley

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How you’ll feel if you miss it.

It’s a known fact that those of us fortunate enough to live here in New York tend to let too much of the good stuff pass us by. A tourist here for three days will make a point of visiting the Museum of Modern Art (outrageous admission price be damned because everything seems outrageously priced to him) along with a Broadway show, a trip up to the Empire State Building, a good-hearted but awkward visit to the World Trade Center site, a concert at Carnegie Hall and – if he’s smart – at least one visit each to Gray’s Papaya and Moon House.

Granted, one of the best things about living here is not feeling the frantic need to cram as much as possible into each day; we visit the Met when we feel like it, and maybe only then visit two or three rooms because to do more would cause sensory overload. Fair enough. But it’s easy to get too cavalier and miss things that you had every intention of seeing. For example: have you been to the Lucien Freud etchings exhibit at MoMA yet? The one that has been there for months? The one that ends Monday? That’s right, Monday. Get your ass over there, pronto. Tonight it’s even free, though it will likely be packed. A better bet may be to play hooky and go on the very last day. Nothing says “I am a citizen of New York City” like skipping work for the arts. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | Events | New York

March 5th, 2008

THE CRAIC: 3/6/8 – 3/8/8, VARIOUS LOCATIONS.

by John Coakley

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Shane MacGowan when he had more teeth. Yes, I said more.

Craic is Gaelic for fun, as in the Irish expression, “Fair enough, good craic and all that,” which is usually said right before you get to the part where the subject of your story goes too far and does something really embarrassing. Example: “Donal always thought Siobahn was fuckin’ gorgeous, so he was teasin’ her a bit, tryin’ to get her attention; fair ‘nough, good craic and all that. But he went too far when he started makin’ fun of her club foot. Jayzus, what an idiot.” Craic, coincidentally, rhymes with crack – this has confused many an American tourist.

The craic that matters here is the name of the Irish Film and Music Festival that opens tomorrow night. Of particular note is If I Should Fall from Grace, a documentary about Shane MacGowan. As the leader of The Pogues and in his solo career, Shane has written some of Ireland’s most amazing songs. He’s also been drinking since he was six and has done almost every drug known to man. He’s a living example of the genius/addict traits that are so often – right or wrong – used to describe the Irish character, as well as that of musicians in general. Should be an interesting way to get a jump on St. Patrick’s Day, one that doesn’t involve frat boys puking on your shoes.

Click here for tickets.

The Craic
If I Should Fall from Grace: The Shane MacGowan Story
Saturday, March 8th @ 7pm
Cinema Village
22 E. 12th St., New York, NY 10003

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

March 4th, 2008

THE SLITS + SHELLSHAG @ THE MERCURY LOUNGE: 3/5/8 @ 9:45PM, $10.

by John Coakley

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The Slits.

The Slits formed 31 years ago in London. They took the idea that punk was a boundary-melting ideal rather than a particular sound and ran with it, finding inspiration in Reggae and Dub music as well as the Sex Pistols. They have reunited and word is that their new record is a worthy return.

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Shellshag

Opening act Shellshag is no slouch either. They’re a guitar/drums/vocals duo that gets the crowd all riled up with their chunky distortion and commanding beats. They opened for my old band during the 2004 Republican Convention and tore the roof off. Check ’em out.

This show will likely sell out, so either click here for tickets or, if possible, swing by the Mercury Lounge box office before 7pm tonight to buy the tickets directly and avoid those ridiculous TicketBastard surcharges.

Wednesday, 3/5/8
Shellshag: 9:45pm
The Slits: 10:45pm
Mercury Lounge
217 E. Houston St. (corner Ave A & Houston)
212-260-4700

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

March 3rd, 2008

PETER CAMERON @ THE NEW SCHOOL: MONDAY, 3/3/8 @ 6:30PM, $5.

by John Coakley

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Peter Cameron, author of Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, reads and discusses his work. Someday… is an endearing novel about a college-bound Manhattan teenager who is trying to decide whether college is the right path for him or not. After all, he could take the money for college and buy a nice little house in the Midwest and work at a gas station, right? Oh, and he also has a crush on the man who runs his Mom’s art gallery. Sort of. Maybe. This novel affectionately but clearly exposes the ease with which teenage delusions can cloud one’s vision of reality. It’s a book that is sophisticated enough to please adults and breezy enough for young adults, and this talk with the author promises to be just as entertaining.

Monday, March 3, 6:30 p.m.
Alvin Johnson/J. M. Kaplan Hall,
66 West 12th Street, room 510
Admission: $5
Free to all students and New School faculty,
staff, and alumni with ID
Moderated by Helen Schulman, fiction coordinator,
the Writing Program.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

March 2nd, 2008

PARIS W/ DIRECTOR CEDRIC KLAPISCH @ IFC: SUNDAY, 3/2/8 @ 5:45.

by John Coakley

Paris
Juliette Binoche and Romain Duris in Paris

Paris concerns a middle aged man (Romain Duris) awaiting a heart transplant whose life is interrupted by the arrival of his sister (Juliette Binoche) and her children. Their presence causes him to reconsider his life and how it might be spent. Other characters include a divorced couple who still have to work together in an open-air market and a professor hoping for one last great romance. This is exactly the kind of film that Hollywood would fill with lots of contrived ‘meet cute’ situations involving Jennifer Garner and the Hunk Of The Moment, as well as snarky children and suspiciously well-timed reconcilliations. This is a French film, though, so you will likely get a thoughtful meditation on the choices people make in life, as well as the all around superiority of Juliette Binoche. ‘Nuff said.

This is part of a a festival called Rendez-Vous with French Cinema that runs through Sunday, March 9th at both the IFC Center and the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center. It’s worth looking into.

Paris
IFC Film Center
323 Sixth Avenue
Sun Mar 2 at 5:45pm
Dir. Cedric Klapisch will be there in person.
Buy Tickets Here.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

March 1st, 2008

31 UNDER 31: YOUNG WOMEN IN ART PHOTOGRAPHY: SAT 3/1 – FRI 3/28 @ 3RD WARD BROOKLYN

by John Coakley

ML
Charlie and Honey by Molly Landreth

The good folks at Ladies Lotto and Humble Arts Foundation are presenting this exhibition of work by 31 up and coming lady photographers. If my lesbian friends can reclaim the word ‘lady’ from its patriarchial origins and use it in as an empowering adjective, can I, in turn, as a priveliged white male, use it in a similarly ironic fashion in the spirit of solidarity and kinship? ‘Cause I hate saying ‘female.’ Woah. Sarah Lawrence flashback. Sorry.

What matters here is that the artists are worthy of your support because their work is worthy of your support – you won’t be ‘supporting the scene’ while stifling groans. Just check out Molly Landreth’s web site if you doubt it. This is good work, strong in its clarity and matter of fact tone. And credit must be given to the gallery for being open seven days a week. Gallery hopping is an activity that has always seemed made for lazy Sunday afternoons to me. One more reason why I can’t wait to move the hell out of Chelsea.

3rd Ward Brooklyn
195 Morgan Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11237
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 1st, 7-9pm. After party w/ open bar & DJ 24Court 9pm-12am
RSVP for free entry is required to 31@ladieslotto.com
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday: 8am – midnight, Saturday + Sunday: 9am – midnight

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

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