Just Do Art!

In the lower portion of the clock, letters and small mementos can be deposited and stored. Photo by Gary Sullivan

BY SCOTT STIFFLER  |  EXHIBITION: “STEAMPUNKINETICS”  The last time Bruce Rosenbaum descended upon Gotham’s cobblestone streets, it was that bygone era known as winter 2012 — when he curated an exhibition at Soho’s Wooster Street Social Club. Tricked out with all manner of gauges and gears, the highly stylized collection of cell phones, chairs, bicycles and desktop workspaces made perfect sense among the tattoo parlor’s buzzing metal machinery. Now, the prolific and visionary Rosenbaum returns (this time to Tribeca) to once again push the envelope of the already boundary-shattering world of Steampunk.

“Steampunkinetics” is an exhibition of over 40 kinetic sculptures by 18 artists inspired by (and entrenched in) the Steampunk aesthetic. The still-evolving genre — which has grown from a literary device to a rich subculture encompassing everything from fashion to visual art to home design — mashes the Victorian industrial aesthetic with elements of contemporary technology and futurism. The result, as seen in “Steampunkinetics,” is a forward-thinking yet retro-informed take on everything from the functional (lighting and musical instruments) to the fantastical (time machines and airships).

Free. Through Sept. 2: Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm & Sun., 11am-6pm. At AFA (54 Greene St., at Broome St.). For info, call 212-226-7374 or visit modvic.com, afanyc.com and steampuffin.com.


A fine selection of books (the kind with hundreds of pages instead of one screen) is just the tip of the iceberg that keeps Housing Works Bookstore Cafe afloat. Lingering, socializing and contemplation are encouraged by a series of events offering everything from author meet and greets to lit-themed performances. Staffed almost entirely by volunteers, 100 percent of the profits support the Housing Works mission to fight homelessness and AIDS.

[/media-credit] Theatre of the Oppressed performs at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, on July 24. Photo by Katy Ru

On Tues., July 17, a panel addresses the social relevancy of comic books. On hand will be writer and former crime reporter Dennis O’Neil and photorealistic artist Neal Adams — whose collaborative efforts returned Batman to his brooding roots.  Also on hand will be writer Christopher Irving and photographer Seth Kushner — whose “Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics” outlines the genre’s history through Irving’s interview-based essays and Kushner’s photography.

[/media-credit] July 17: Dennis O’Neil, with collaborator Neal Adams, discusses the social relevancy of comic books. Photo by Seth Kushner

On Wed., July 18, “Copyright & Punishment in the Digital Age” has online entrepreneurs Drew Curtis (Fark.com), Erik Martin (Reddit) and Ken Fisher (Ars Technica) discussing intellectual property and fair use online. Rob Reid, whose new novel “Year Zero” brings an intergalactic perspective to these issues, moderates.

On Thurs., July 19 ($8 cover),  the ongoing Moth StorySLAM series features 10 stories addressing the theme of “Show Tunes.” The best tale wins.

On Mon., July 23, “A Decade of Fluxblog Live: 10 Years of Perfect Tunes” features Rob Sheffield (Rolling Stone Magazine), Au Revoir Simone singer Heather D’Angelo and others talking about one song from the decade 2002–12 as a way to mark the tenth year of Fluxblog (the first mp3 blog).

On Tues., July 24, Theatre of the Oppressed presents “Stigma and the City” — based on real events experienced by performers from Housing Works’ 13 Theatre Troupe (an ensemble of NYC artists living with, or affected by, HIV).

All events happen at 7pm (free unless otherwise noted), at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby St., btw. Prince & Houston Sts.). Hours: Mon–Fri., 10am–9pm and Sat.–Sun., 10am–5pm. For info, call 212-334-3324 or visit housingworksbookstore.org.


[/media-credit] Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure (lead guitar & vocals), Daniel “Dliz”Villeneuve (percussion) and other members of the Deep Sahara Band perform music of West Africa — in Washington Square, on July 31. Photo by Sally J. Bair

The Washington Square Music Festival — under the auspices of the Washington Square Association and under the musical direction of Lutz Rath — is in the midst of its 54th season of free concerts.

The popular summer series began July 10, with the WSMF debut of conductor Michael Conley and the West Village Chorale. On July 17, the Washington Square Festival Chamber Ensemble presents an evening of Viennese chamber music (at St. Joseph’s Church, 371 Sixth Ave.). With David Oei on piano and Lutz Rath on speaker and cello, selections include Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A minor and Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon. On July 24, the program “Music for Strings & Winds” features the Chamber Ensemble performing selections including Dvořák’s Serenade in D minor, Op. 44 and Mozart’s Divertimento in D for winds and strings, K.131. On July 31, the Deep Sahara Band performs music of West Africa (featuring band leader and vocal soloist Abdoulaye Alhassane). Both the July 24 and 31 performances happen in Washington Square, main stage, south of Fifth Ave.; rainspace, St. Joseph’s Church).

All concerts are free and take place on Tuesdays at 8pm. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For info, call 212-252-3621 or visit washingtonsquaremusicfestival.org.


[/media-credit] Voices of Women: Christina Rosas, Courtenay Schowalter, Melissa Gerstein and Elizabeth Eiel. Photo courtesy of VOW

The Voices of Women — four professionally trained classical singers whose influences include opera, jazz, classical and cabaret — will present a new summer program featuring the works of composers Barbara Anselmi, Jason Robert Brown, Stephen Flaherty, Stephen Sondheim and more.

Wed., July 19, 6:30pm at the Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia St.). Admission is $20, cash only at the door (includes a $10 food/drink credit). For reservations, call 212-989-9319. For more info, visit vowsingers.com.


[/media-credit] Better than what you find in Cantral Park: see “Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot.” Photo by Lee Wexler/Images for Innovation

Why slum it among the flora and fauna of Central Park? See classical theater the way the Immortal Bard intended — in an empty parking lot on the Lower East Side. The Drilling Company’s 2012 “Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot” season is currently offering “The Merry Wives of Windsor Towers,” through July 28. Hamilton Clancy directs the enduring tale of class conflict and gives it a contemporary spin by placing the action in Windsor Towers — an imaginary condo that has just gone up on the Lower East Side. The comic hero, John Falstaff, is a classic LES real estate man always looking to score some primo land (and ladies).

Free. Through July 28, Thurs.-Sat., at 8pm. In the Municipal Parking Lot (at the corner of Ludlow & Broome Sts.). The running time is 2:30. For info, call 212-873-9050 or visit shakespeareintheparkinglot.com. 


[/media-credit] It’s a boy! Out, proud parent Alec Mapa’s solo show has wicked wit and a pure heart. Photo courtesy of Spin Cycle

To enjoy Alec Mapa’s dirty, hilarious solo show, you don’t have to be a gay Asian star of stage and screen who hit midlife, married a Caucasian documentary film producer, adopted a lovable little African American boy and lived happily ever after in the hip, granola-crunching bubble of California. You just have to have an open mind…and you can do that, right?

“Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy” — which had its NYC premiere back in February — is returning for four shows only, and has something to say to queers contemplating adoption, straight couples who are expecting and yes, even bitter singles who think they’ll need to exceed that drink minimum by a good five or six in order to enjoy a show about how lives are transformed by children. After coming clean about his trampy past (in graphic detail), Mapa goes for the jugular by tugging at the heart. Surrounded by LGBT families on a gay cruise, he and his partner (“Bullied” producer Jamison Hebert) jump through numerous hoops to adopt a five-year-old boy who shows up with his meager belongings in a trash bag and thinks he’s being abandoned every time somebody leaves the room for a glass of water. Later, recalling the verbal disciplining of his son in public, Mapa beams with pride when little Zion looks at him and deadpans, “And the Academy Award goes to…” — proving that whether through blood or adoption, all sons are destined to become their father…or fathers!

At 7:30pm on Thurs., July 19 through Sun., July 22. At the Laurie Beechman Theater (located inside West Bank Café, 407 W. 42nd St., at Ninth Ave.). For tickets ($22, plus a $15 food/drink minimum), call 212-352-3101 or visit spincyclenyc.com. Follow Alec on Twitter @AlecMapa, and visit alecmapa.com.


[/media-credit] “Lady and the Champ” pairs boxing legend Jake LaMotta and cabaret sensation Denise Baker. Photo by Barbara Lee

For a “Raging Bull” whose power and fury couldn’t be contained, legendary boxer Jake LaMotta seems consigned — by fate or desire — to entertain while working in confined spaces. Decades after retiring from the ring, the former world middleweight champion and saloon owner spent time as a stand-up comic. His most recent project has been performed on the intimate stages of the Triad Theatre and Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency. Now, the show transfers to Off-Off Broadway for a limited run.

“Lady and the Champ” is an evening of songs, stories and videos created and performed by the legendary pugilist and singer Denise Baker — whom the smitten LaMotta (who just turned 90) affectionately refers to as his future seventh wife (“Lucky #7,” he’s dubbed her). Six previous marriages ought to give you some idea of the colorful tales you’re in for when LaMotta spins ribald yarns of those years as a boxer — and a post-retirement life that’s become as legendary as his furious work in the ring.

In previews Thurs., July 19 at 7pm and Fri./Sat., July 21-22 at 7:30pm. Opens Sun., July 22 (3pm); then, Fri. & Sat., July 27-28 at 7:30pm and Sun., July 29 at 3pm. At the Richmond Shepard Theatre (301 E. 26th St., at Second Ave.). For tickets ($25), call 212-684-2690.

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