Just Do Art!

Photo by Liron AlmogFood for thought: The Nalaga’at Deaf-Blind Acting Ensemble’s “Not by Bread Alone” runs through Feb. 3.

Photo by Liron Almog
Food for thought: The Nalaga’at Deaf-Blind Acting Ensemble’s “Not by Bread Alone” runs through Feb. 3.

NOT BY BREAD ALONE  In addition to housing the world’s only professional deaf-blind acting company, Tel Aviv’s Nalaga’at Center is also home to the BlackOut Restaurant (which operates in complete darkness, with blind waiters) and the sign language-only Café Kapish (whose servers are deaf).

Through February 3, NYU’s Skirball Center hosts the acting ensemble, the restaurant and the café — offering New York audiences a means by which to experience, contemplate and celebrate a unique convergence of “theater, passion and food.”

In the U.S. premiere of “Not by Bread Alone,” 11 storytellers knead, form and bake bread while using a mix of reality and fantasy to convey their memories and dreams. Each new scene is announced by a drum beat, which the actors can neither see nor hear (but they can feel the vibration; a skill learned at Nalaga’at). At the end of the show, the bread they’ve baked is shared with the audience — an act of solidarity that underscores the play’s themes of overcoming challenges and our universal need to connect.

The show runs 80 minutes and is performed in Hebrew (and Hebrew sign language), with English subtitles. Jan. 17 at 7:30pm; Jan. 19, 26 & Feb. 2 at 6pm & 8:30pm; Jan. 20, 27 & Feb. 3 at 3pm & 7pm; Jan. 22-24 & 29-31 at 8pm; Jan. 23 & 30 at 2pm.  At the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place, at Washington Square). For tickets to the show ($40-$75), nyuskirball.org or 212-352-3101. For admission to BlackOut (which, for $200, includes food, beverage, tax, gratuity and a premium orchestra seat to “Not by Bread Alone”), call 212-488-1505.

Photo by Marguerite LorimerCaught in a trance: Alessandra Belloni and company perform “Tarantella: Spider Dance.”

Photo by Marguerite Lorimer
Caught in a trance: Alessandra Belloni and company perform “Tarantella: Spider Dance.”

 TARANTELLA: SPIDER DANCE Rome native and world-renowned percussionist Alessandra Belloni (who specializes in Southern Italian music, dance and tradition) returns to Theater for the New City with her 16-member troupe of musicians, vocalists and stilt, aerial, fire and tarantella dancers. Along with guest percussionist Massimo Cusato of Calabria, the ensemble will perform “Tarantella: Spider Dance” — which explores how sexually repressed women known as “taranta” (who’ve suffered from abuse, powerlessness and the feeling of being “caught in a web that binds them”) find their cure by dancing the “pizzica tarantata.”

The journey of one such woman, Arianna, begins when Dionysus takes her to a shaman (Belloni). After witnessing a procession of the Black Madonna in Southern Italy, a healing ceremony of the pizzica tarantata and a celebration of the Feast of St. Rocco (with stops in New York and Brazil), Arianna and Athena re-unite for a cross-cultural celebration of healing.

Fri./Sat., Jan. 18/19, at 8pm. Sun., Jan. 20 at 3pm. At Theater for the New City (155 First Ave., btw. 9th & 10th Sts.). For tickets (25), call 212-245-1109 or visit smarttix.com.

THE SECOND ANNUAL MISS TWIN PEAKS PAGEANT  By the time season one’s “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” murder mystery was resolved, ratings for the aggressively eccentric nighttime soap opera “Twin Peaks” had, well, peaked. That’s a shame, since season two took some very odd liberties with another iconic plot device. Jam packed with contestants driven by motivations both sinister and pure (and a killer lurking nearby), “Peaks” creators David Lynch and Mark Frost brought to the beauty pageant all the surreal panache they lavished on season one’s Log Lady, dancing midget, dream sequence giant, damn good pies and owls that were not what they seemed.

Move over, Miss America: Miss Twin Peaks is determined to claim your crown.

Move over, Miss America: Miss Twin Peaks is determined to claim your crown.

As the creative mind behind Downtown’s “The Pink Room: David Lynch Burlesque” performance series, Francine has tirelessly dedicated herself to celebrating and satirizing the Lynch canon (past shows have recontextualized “Blue Velvet,” “Wild At Heart,” and “Eraserhead” for longtime fans and virgin converts). Now, for the second year running, The Pink Room’s “Miss Twin Peaks Pageant” pays tribute to that dark season two excursion. Before the night is over, you’ll see Schäffer the Darklord rapping his original song “David Lynch Movie,” an audience participation challenge and burlesque performances by many of Twin Peaks’ fine citizens (including Audrey Horne, Shelly Johnson, Norma Jennings, crazy Nadine Hurley, Denise/Dennis Bryson and Wyndom Earle). Warning: Consuming one or all of the “Peaks”-themed specialty cocktails may result in strange dreams and waking nightmares.

Sat., Jan. 26. From 11pm to…late. At Parkside (317 E. Houston St., at Attorney St.). Tickets are $15 in advance (brownpapertickets.com) or $20 at the door. This is a 21+ event, with a 2-drink minimum. For info, visit francineburlesque.com.

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