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MIKE EDISON’S FIFTH ANNUAL BANNED BOOK PARTY | Celebrated in his time and frequently censored in ours, Mark Twain used to advertise his lectures with this promise: “The trouble begins at 8.” Author and provocateur Mike Edison isn’t making that claim. But it’s a safe bet that his own upcoming 8pm debacle will see Twain’s savvy marketing slogan come to pass — when Edison and friends present the fifth installment of their yearly tribute to Banned Book Week (Sept. 30-Oct. 6). This self-professed “evening of literary hi-jinks, state-sponsored fear, vampires, music, sex and smokin’-hot smarty-pants thrills” features special guests who’ll read passages from their favorite banned books. Brush up on your knowledge of forbidden titles, because the evening ends with a spirited round of “Name That Banned Book.” Before that, however, those who’ve been burying their noses in profane pages can cut loose and dance to the outer space bop and dirty blues stylings of the Interstellar Rendezvous Band — whose members include drummers Bob Bert (Sonic Youth), Dee Pop (Bush Tetras, Gun Club) and Mickey Finn (the Left Banke), with Edison laying down licks from his set-for-stun theremin.
Fri., Sept. 28, 8pm. At 92Y Tribeca (200 Hudson St., btw. Desbrosses & Vestry Sts.). Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 on the day of the event. For info and reservations, visit 92y.org. Also visit mikeedison.com.
FREAK FICTION — IN THE FAB! FEST | No, he won’t be reading from “Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to YouTube.” That isn’t being released until February 2013. But maybe, if cornered and plied with a little sugar, he’ll autograph your copy 2005’s “No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book that Made Vaudeville Famous.” In any event, this much is certain: Our own beloved Downtown theater columnist Trav S.D. will be turning some very compelling pages — when he presides over an afternoon of “Freak Fiction.”
As the NY Innovative Theatre Foundation’s leg of Fourth Arts Block’s annual FAB! Festival, Mr. S.D. has gathered a bevy of indie theater’s most outlandish and grotesque performers — who will enchant and amuse when original fiction escapes from their troubled mouths. On the bill, along with your host: The incomparable Lady Aye; the lyrical and fashion-challenged Bobby Oahu (aka Josh Hartung); the impeccable Jennifer Harder; and steampunk clown Dandy Darkly. As twisted a stage persona as ever there was, Mr. Darkly is an utterly unique and potentially fatal cocktail of mince and menace that’s not to be believed…even once he’s been seen!
Free. Sat., Sept. 22, 3:30pm. At the Kraine Theatre (85 E. 4th St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For info, visit fabnyc.org./fabfestival, nyitawards and travsd.wordpress.com.
MUSIC: FLAMENCO JAZZ PIANIST ARIADNA CASTELLANOS | Classically trained musician Ariadna Castellanos has created a new musical language all her own — by bringing her gift for improvisation and her love of Flamenco to the genre of jazz. At the upcoming 8th Annual NY Gypsy Festival, she’ll preview selections from her recently recorded debut (“Piano Flamenco with Universal Music”). Set for release by the end of the year, the album was produced by Grammy Award-winning composer and producer Javier Limón — who, in his first meeting with Castellanos, recalls being “impressed with a brutal technique and a wild intuition, rare in pianists. She is born to break taboos and go against the current.”
Sun., Sept. 30, 6:30pm, at Drom (85Avenue A, btw. 5th & 6th Sts.). Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 in advance. For info, visit dromnyc.com or call 212-777-1157. Also visit nygypsyfest and ariadnacastellanos.com.
JOSÉ PICAYO: NEW WORK | José Picayo’s “Magnolia kobus” (2012, silver gelatin print, 40” x 60″).
José Picayo’s latest return to Robin Rice Gallery (his seventh show there) is a return to form, of sorts. A photographic exploration of 100-plus-year-old specimens of trees found in a New Jersey public arboretum, “New Work” is a follow-up study of the Florida palms featured in Picayo’s 2004 exhibition. Taken with an 8” x 10” Deardorff camera as well as his dwindling supply of 8” x 10” Polaroid film (a technique the artist employed for his 2008 “Mugshots” exhibition), Picayo’s stark black and white images find simplicity and beauty in tangled roots and branches. If you find yourself drawn to them, head east of U.S. 1 in New Brunswick. There, in a 50-acre “utopia of trees” on the Rutgers University campus, you can channel Picayo’s muse — in living color.
Through Oct. 28, at Robin Rice Gallery (325 W.11 St., btw. Greenwich & Washington Sts.). Gallery Hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-7pm. For info, call 212-366-6660 or visit robinricegallery.com.
HOMO COMICUS | Making room inside its big tent for everything from biting satire to blue humor to good old-fashioned set-up/punchline jokes, the long-running (but still fabulous-looking) “Homo Comicus” has something to offer funny bones on all ends of the Kinsey scale. The October installment skewers heavily towards females with supernatural showbiz credits and large gay followings. Caroline Rhea (a lovable aunt on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) and Jackie Hoffman (Broadway’s “The Addams Family”) join Michele Balan, Jackson Ross Best Jr. and your affable host Bob Montgomery for an evening of lavender-leaning comedy.
Wed., Oct. 3, 8:30pm. At Gotham Comedy Club (208 W. 23rd St., btw. 7th & 8th Aves.). Cover: $20, plus two-beverage minimum. For reservations, call 212-367-9000. For more info, visit homocomicus.com.
THE BACHELOR’S TEA PARTY | So much for the classic five-course tea service as a gesture of civility and a gateway to tranquility. In the hands of Stolen Chair Theatre Company, the placid and polite ritual becomes a window into the intimate, combative dynamic between two unconventional movers and shakers. This “perverse take on a young girl’s imaginary tea party” is inspired by Elsie de Wolfe (credited with creating the profession of interior designer) and Bessie Marbury (credited with introducing America to Oscar Wilde). In the early 20th century, they shacked up, sans men, and referred to themselves as “The Bachelors.” With dolls at the table and audience members seated inches away, teatime becomes “a playfully perverse” take on the civilized ritual.
Every Sun. through Oct. 28, 5pm, at Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon (56 Irving Place, btw. 17th & 18th Sts.). For tickets ($55, including a 5-course tea service), visit stolenchair.org or call 212-410-2830. Capacity is limited, so reservations are strongly recommended.