theatre

Heather Christian Unleashes a Ravishing Tour de Force in The Bushwick Starr’s “Animal Wisdom”

Heather Christian in her Bushwick Starr show, “Animal Wisdom.” Photo by Maria Baranova.

The richest musical score this season might not be found on Broadway. To add to its allure, it’s created by a “migraine-suffering musician who talks to dead people.”

It’s a bold self-proclamation, but Obie Award winner Heather Christian’s Animal Wisdom is an equally bold work — and one that’s near impossible to pin down. To call it a play lumps it in with traditional narratives, and yet to label it a folksy-Requiem-mass-drama barely trumpets its dynamism, élan, and pure resplendence.

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A Fiery, Absurdist “Chamber Music” Now Playing at St. John’s

Members of the “Chamber Music” cast at St. John’s

“The chair recognizes Joan of Arc.”

It’s hard not to recognize her, in the theatrical sense — like the Joans we’ve seen, this one’s armor-clad, cross-bearing, and all-powerful. But is this Joan? Well, of course not; it’s merely a depiction.

But is the performer (a marvelously focused Bre Northrup) playing Joan, or a character who believes they are Joan? This is one of the central questions in Arthur Kopit’s Chamber Music, now playing through September 16 in the basement of St. John’s Lutheran Church (155 Milton Street).

Director Emily Moler makes dynamic use of her staging Kopit’s absurdist play, setting it in the round and utilizing the subterranean locale’s low-budget though ample space. In fact a church basement may be the unlikely, appropriate setting for Chamber Music: the play actually takes place in a mental institution, so a church (with its rigid mores) lends itself winningly to this story’s strict asylum. The “Joan of Arc” and other lady icons, from Osa Johnson to Pearl White, inhabit this jail, and their meeting of the minds feels echoed in the opening of Top Girls, Caryl Churchill’s feminist anthem. Continue reading

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An Unquiet Night: Reel Orchestrette Live Scores Faust at Film Noir Cinema

Film Noir Cinema at night © Julie Congo
Film Noir Cinema at night © Julie Congo

When Will Malitek, the owner of Film Noir Cinema (122 Meserole Ave), turned an old Greenpoint funeral home into his gorgeous new 54-seat movie theater, he remodeled with very specific plans in mind. There’s a sizeable gap between the screen and the first row, where Will says he could have added more seats, but he wanted space to present live music.

This summer, Film Noir Cinema has launched a new series presenting silent films with live music by Reel Orchestrette, a collaboration between musicians Bradford Reed and Geoff Gersh.

Faust Film Noir Cinema July 22 2017After a sold-out screening of Nosferatu in June, Reel Orchestrette is returning to Film Noir Cinema on Saturday, July 22 at 9pm with a live score for Faust, a 1926 German silent film directed by F. W. Murnau.

These two events are only the beginning. Malitek hopes to continue the series with screenings of all the major German silent films: Metropolis, Waxworks, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and more. And in October, he says we can expect to see a full lineup of silent horror films.

Tickets for Faust are $15 and on sale now at Film Noir Cinema (where you should also take a moment to flip through their incredible collection of films available to rent).

To find out more about the performance, we spoke with Reel Orchestrette’s Bradford Reed and Geoff Gersh. Continue reading

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LoftOpera revives “Otello,” Rossini’s Seldom Produced but Timely Masterpiece

Cecilia Violetta López as Desdemona and Bernard Holcomb as the titular Otello. Photo by Jamie Santamour.

LoftOpera never shies away from its edgy adaptations. In its upcoming production of Rossini’s Otello—based on Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name—the challenge lies not in an overt modernization but in the score’s groundbreaking and complex music, and in the fact that this opera has not been produced in New York in more than 40 years. Loft’s reimagining of the classic tale of otherizing and political upheaval—themes still grappled with today—will play at LightSpace Studios (1115 Flushing Avenue) from March 16–27. We had the chance to speak to four-time Loft director John de los Santos and conductor Sean Kelly, a specialist in the bel canto technique.

GP: How have rehearsals been going?

JdlS: It’s an incredibly challenging piece but I’m very lucky to have Sean, the cast, and the incredible musicians, so it’s been going well.

SK: No one has sung this opera before, so it’s new for everyone, which is exciting. The Otello (Bernard Holcomb) we’ve technically been working with since September/October to prepare musically for the role.

GP: Rossini’s Otello has not been seen in New York in decades. Why this piece now?

JdlS: The last piece Sean and I did for Loft was Rossini’s Le Comte Ory and we had a great success with that, so it’s great to be working on one of his tragedies. This piece was an evolvement for him in his music as he was trying out some new things and really trying to push his audiences to accept and deal with topics that were pretty controversial in this period. Everybody’s familiar with the Verdi version of Otello and this one’s 70 years older. I think this version is superior; there are several things he does better than Verdi. Continue reading

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When Freedom of Expression and Censorship Battled on Manhattan Avenue!

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Cartoon by Julia Wertz

The other day, I gave a talk on the Irish history of Greenpoint, and a long-time Greenpointer offered me a new twist on a famous old Greenpoint legend.

Before diving into the story, lets get acquainted with the story’s protagonists. The legendary scandalista Eva Tanguay was a Vaudeville legend who came to perform at the B.F. Keith’s Theater at Manhattan Avenue and Calyer Street sometime around the turn of the century. Notorious as the “I Don’t Care Girl”—the title of her signature song—Tanguay established herself as the queen of Vaudeville in 1901 with the New York City premiere of her controversial show “My Lady.” The Lady Gaga of her day, Tanguay was brazen, impudent, and shameless in the eyes of the Prudish. Some of her hit songs like “It’s All Been Done Before But Not the Way I Do It” and “Go As Far As You Like” boldly suggested illicit pleasures. She wore a shockingly revealing dress made entirely of pennies and filled her act with racy double entendres. Greenpoint’s Mae West, who later became equally notorious, was an early admirer who later incorporated many elements of Tanguay’s act into her own suggestive performances. Continue reading

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“Nightcap Riot: Mombucha”: Culture and Live Cultures Make for One Heck of a Night Out

JCBrooks_Greenpoint_Greenpointers_karaweisenstein
JC Brooks & The K.i.D. ©Erik Herrstrom

When “I can’t feel my face,” refers to the walk from the subway instead of Drake’s oeuvre, you know the deep freeze of mid-January has descended. It’s hard to find entertainment that justifies donning a puffy coat and wrapping up like a woolen burrito. But no one can Netflix and chill forever. If you’re like me and you’ve logged at least ten hours of couch time binging “Making a Murderer” this month, it’s time to get out of the house.

Luckily, a group of nightlife veterans are eliminating the guesswork and serving up the perfect night out, right here in Greenpoint. “Nightcap Riot: Mombucha” is one part concert, one part immersive theater, one part kombucha brewing tutorial, with a dash of comedy, and plenty of kombucha-infused cocktails. The resulting two and a half hours go down smoothly. It’s fresh, different and way more interesting than spending winter downing pints at the same old bar. Continue reading

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From Vaudeville to Oil Slicks to Premium Condos — The Hook-Up 11/20

Via The New Yorker
Via The New Yorker

Though Greenpoint’s industrial history gets dredged up on the regular, it’s less often that we talk about its former status as a thriving hub of theatre and vaudeville. Today, the world is still a stage, but these illustrations done for the New Yorker are beautiful and surprising.

Is Yelp! holding a mirror to racist attitudes toward gentrification? A study compared restaurant reviews in the two rapidly changing neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Bed-Stuy, and it seems as though “ethnic charm” means something different depending on where you’re brunching.

The blowback from the NuHart rave was apparently not enough to stop Jack Daniels from relishing the noise complaints it generated last week on Huron Street. Looks kind of fun though — not going to lie.

A number of community boards are banding together to oppose de Blasio’s proposed zoning changes. According to DNAinfo, “the last time local groups connected on such a wide scale was during the 1990s when the Giuliani administration was changing zoning around adult-use establishments.”

For your light Friday afternoon read, here’s a good briefer on how Newtown Creek acquired its legacy of poison. As a supplement, here’s a reflection on how we normalize oil sheens in our waterways.

Here they come! Greenpoint’s priciest condos! The building comes complete with its own regal-sounding condo tower name: The Gibraltar. Hopefully it will come to represent the “limit to the known world” of escalating real estate prices.

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Out of the Ash at Glasshouse: An All-White Dinner Party with Sylvia Plath

DSCF2143 outoftheash_greenpoint_greenpointers_kweisenstein

Sylvia Plath isn’t what you’d call a good time gal. Her writing is a glimpse into the mind of a very brilliant woman dealing with severe mental anguish. Plath’s focus on death and suicide can be gruesome, but her writing is gorgeous and nuanced, too. Asylos Theater Company is drawing on Plath’s complicated canon for its newest immersive show, Out of the Ash, playing at Glasshouse (246 Union Ave.) in Williamsburg on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:00 pm.

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Twin Sister, Greenpoint Gallery Night, Earth Day Festival, Collateral Glamage, Public Paddling: What’s Happening Greenpoint? (5/8-5/14)

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There are more events in our weekly calendarSubmit Greenpoint events, too!

WEDNESDAY 5/8
Let’s Build A Garden For Greenpoint @ Diamond Bar (43 Franklin St) 7-10pm, FREE, Join the 61 Franklin St Garden for a fundraiser to build a community garden, bring donations  – including tools, 20% of the bar sales donated, RSVP
♫ YVLTRS / Black Salad / Del Guapo @ Big Snow (89 Varet St) 8pm, $7, RSVP 

THURSDAY 5/9

Brooklyn Brewery Night @ Barcade (388 Union Ave) Starting at 4pm, Celebrate Brooklyn Brewery’s 25th Birthday with a very special tap lineup, RSVP
♦ Q and Y: A Brief Comedy About Death
@ Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Ave) 8pm, $8, Play written and directed by Theresa Buchheister, after/during the show you can drink, get haircuts, buy records, look at art, hang out in the garden, make out in the corner!RSVP
♫ Height / Eze Jackson / Handjob Academy / Zebra Baby @ Death by Audio (49 S.2nd St) 8pm, $7, More Info

FRIDAY 5/10

♦ Greenpoint Gallery Night @Various Galleries, 6-9pm, FREE, As art fairs bustle away at opposite ends of the East River, over a dozen galleries open their doors, After party 9pm at Coco 66RSVP, download map HERE
♦ Portals: A Series @ The One Well (165 Greenpoint Ave), 7-10pm, FREE, The One Well & HollyBear present a collection of mixed media works for your viewing pleasure, More Info
An Evening of Music & Comedy @ Death by Audio (49 S.2nd St) 8pm, $10, Comedians Chris Gethard & Dave Hill, music by Shellshag / Swearin’ / Black Wine, RSVP
♫ Heaven / Tennis System / Nightmare Air / Dead Leaf Echo @ Union Pool (484 Union) 8pm, $8, RSVP

SATURDAY 5/11

*
Greenpoint Earth Day 2013 Festival
@ McCarren Park (766 Lorimer St) 11am-5pm, FREE, Recycle your electronic waste, eco-friendly and educational displays, health & wellness tips & demos, arts & crafts, children’s activities, live music, More Info
• Vegan Shop Up @ Pine Box Rock Shop (12 Grattan St) Noon-6pm, FREE, Vegan Shop-Up is NYC’s only all vegan pop-up market featuring the best small businesses around, More Info
• Public Walk Up Paddling @ Broadway Stages Boatyard (49 Ash St) Noon-4:30pm, FREE, Short Canoe & Kayak paddles in Creek, More Info
♦ 2013 Arts Happening Series: A Guest In The Cavern @ Northside Town Hall (132 Wythe Ave) 6-10pm, FREE, A multi-media installation by Jesse Gelaznik, featuring video art by Rachel Blackwell, Dirty Churches will perform Music for Mirrors, RSVP
• 5 Boros Basketball Fundraiser @American Legion 1771 (519 Leonard St) 7-11pm, $30, Great food, Live entertainment and dancing plus raffles! More Info
♫ Twin Sister / Empress Of / RElyse @ Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Ave) 8pm, $10,
RSVP
♫ Charlie Nieland / Oh Halo / Hard Plastic Buttons @ Bar Matchless (577 Manhattan Ave) 8pm, $8, RSVP
♥ Collateral Glamage @ Legion (790 Metropolitan) 9-4am, FREE, favorite local bands and dj’s for this monthly all night dance party, rock and roll, cheap drinks! RSVP

 SUNDAY 5/12
• Roots 66 @ Coco66 (66 Greenpoint Ave) 4-11pm, DJs Autovac & Subtexture will be spinning Roots, Rockers and Rocksteady, happy hour until 8pm, RSVP
• Greenpointers Terrarium Class with Claire @ Diamond Bar (43 Franklin St) 5-7pm, $50, all supplies are provided to make a gorgeous terrarium to take home, plus a Sly Fox beer! Buy Tix
Marissa Nadler/Guy Blakeslee/Jozef van Wissem @Saint Vitus (1120 Manhattan Ave) 8pm, $12, RSVP

MONDAY 5/13

Bad Movie Brooklyn presents They Live
@ Berry Park (4 Berry St) 8pm, FREE, a fun, totally kickass John Carpenter flick packed with social commentary that’s just as relevant today as it was in 1988, RSVP
Broken Comedy @ Bar Matchless (577 Manhattan Ave) 8:30pm, FREE, Tevor Noah / George Gordon / Danny Kallas / Rob O’Reilly, More Info

TUESDAY 5/14
* Bootleg Cinema – The Great Silence w/live set by Morricone Youth @ Brooklyn Rod & Gun (59 Kent Ave) 8pm, One of the best and most unusual spaghetti Westerns ever made accompanied by a live musical performance, RSVP

*  Greenpointers’ Pick
♫ Music
♥  Pheremones likely
♦  Art Event
☺ Comedy Event
#  Foodie Event

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