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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.
HAPPENINGS — AT HOUSING WORKS BOOKSTORE CAFE
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.
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.
THE WASHINGTON SQUARE MUSIC FESTIVAL
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.
VOICES OF WOMEN
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.
SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK(ING) LOT
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.
ALEC MAPA: BABY DADDY
“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.
JAKE LAMOTTA AND DENISE BAKER IN “LADY AND THE CHAMP”
“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.