Just Do Art

Have songbook, will travel: Carolers make a stop at Washington Mews, during 2012’s Greenwich Village Caroling Walk.  PHOTO BY DAVIS FOULGER

Have songbook, will travel: Carolers make a stop at Washington Mews, during 2012’s Greenwich Village Caroling Walk. PHOTO BY DAVIS FOULGER

GREENWICH VILLAGE CAROLING WALK
There’s no need to hop across the pond to have yourself a merry little “Christmas Carol”-type experience. The Village has an ample amount of cobblestone charm and picturesque Dickensian pathways to navigate — without the hassle of 19th century London’s flower women, fishmongers and roving gangs of pickpocketing urchins. Soak up the atmosphere, and create some of your own — by taking part in the West Village Chorale’s 39th Annual Greenwich Village Caroling Walk. Songbooks will be provided, upon arrival at the Meeting Room of Judson Memorial Church. From there, groups of singers will head out on six routes, as the solstice sun dips toward the horizon. Refreshments await you at Judson, when the event comes full circle (at which point there will be a bit more singing, and much conviviality).

One in six (at the least) will stop by Stonewall, when groups of singers fan out across the area, for Dec. 21’s Greenwich Village Caroling Walk.  PHOTO BY WAYNE VALZANIA

One in six (at the least) will stop by Stonewall, when groups of singers fan out across the area, for Dec. 21’s Greenwich Village Caroling Walk. PHOTO BY WAYNE VALZANIA

Free. Sat., Dec. 21, at 3pm. Meet at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, at Thompson St.). For info, call 212-517-1776 or visit westvillagechorale.org.

Why so glum? Mike Schwitter is among the Less Than Rent members plumbing the depths of holiday depression, in Dec. 17’s “A Blue Christmas Without Jew.”  PHOTO COURTESY OF LESS THAN RENT

Why so glum? Mike Schwitter is among the Less Than Rent members plumbing the depths of holiday depression, in Dec. 17’s “A Blue Christmas Without Jew.” PHOTO COURTESY OF LESS THAN RENT

LESS THAN RENT’S “HOW LTR STOLE CHRISTMAS”
Considering the source, the tagline “LTR’s First Annual Holiday Variety Show” sounds like a threat wrapped in a promise — but it may be the perfect gift, for those prefer to fill their seasonal plate with dark meat, dark matter and edges that cut. “We aim to navigate the complexities of our generation and the modern world by exploring the vast canons of the past in new and imaginative ways,” says the Less Than Rent collective — who are currently bringing that mission statement to the stage in the form of three wild, profane, chaotic and “highly unwholesome” Christmas-themed variety shows. Elf choirs, holiday sweater stripteases, a reenactment of the Hanukah story and staged readings of the worst-ever TV holiday specials figure into the mix on any given night.

Now for some bad news: You’ve missed the first two installments (Dec. 3’s “A Miracle on East 4 Street” and Dec. 10’s “America’s Next Top Virgin Mary Christmas Beauty Pageant”). The good news? Dec. 17’s “A Blue Christmas Without Jew” gives you one last chance to catch the troupe’s profane proceedings. It’s hosted by Brandon Zelman, directed by Nicole Ventura and will feature various seasonal atrocities by guest playwrights, as performed by LTR members including Cory Asinofsky, Ben Diserens, Mark Levy, Olivia Macklin, Tom Sanchez and Catherine Weingarten. Certain unpleasant truths will be told — and latkes will be served!

Tues., Dec. 17, at 9pm. At The Kraine Theater (85 E. Fourth St., btw. Second Ave. & Bowery). For tickets ($10), call 212-868-4444 or visit smarttix.org. Also visit lessthanrent.org.

A mother (Verna Hampton) confronts her son (Kadeem Harris) in the presence of a lost brigand (Brandon Melette, center) who would lure him into hate crimes — in “Welcome Home Sonny T.”  PHOTO BY JONATHAN SLAFF

A mother (Verna Hampton) confronts her son (Kadeem Harris) in the presence of a lost brigand (Brandon Melette, center) who would lure him into hate crimes — in “Welcome Home Sonny T.” PHOTO BY JONATHAN SLAFF

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY PRESENTS:  “WELCOME HOME  SONNY T”
Written in the tradition of Steven Carter, Lorraine Hansberry, Charles Fuller and James Baldwin — who confronted black family and community issues with gripping realism — “Welcome Home Sonny T” is the first in playwright/director William Electric Black’s five-part “Gunplays” series, which addresses inner city violence and guns.

“Activist” theater is nothing new for Black (a.k.a. Ian Ellis James, who serves as Artistic Director of La MaMa’s Poetry Electric series and is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning writer for his work on “Sesame Street”). In 2009, he directed Theater for the New City’s “Lonely Soldier Monologues: Women at War in Iraq” — a series of solo performances based on a book by Helen Benedict.

With this debut installment in the “Gunplay” series, Black spotlights the social impact of alienation and unemployment on young black males, as well as the declining influence of the church. Part of a seven-member cast, Richard Pryor Jr. (son of the comedian) plays a prominent black minister (and former 60’s radical) grappling with his own inability to restore order in a neighborhood scarred by gun violence.

Through Dec. 22, Thurs. through Sat. at 8pm and Sun. at 3pm. At Theater for the New City (155 First Ave., at E. 10th St.). For tickets ($15, $12 for students/seniors), call 212-254-1109 or visit smarttix.com. Also visit welcomehomesonnyt.com and theaterforthenewcity.net.

Cut from the same cloth, but wearing different colors: Eliza Bent and Dave Malloy are the titular mojo workers, in “Blue Wizard/Black Wizard.”  PHOTO BY MICHAEL DE ANGELIS

Cut from the same cloth, but wearing different colors: Eliza Bent and Dave Malloy are the titular mojo workers, in “Blue Wizard/Black Wizard.” PHOTO BY MICHAEL DE ANGELIS

BLUE WIZARD / BLACK WIZARD
Like a two-person Barry Manilow, Eliza Bent and Dave Malloy write the songs — and they also write the script. Busy enough behind the scenes, the duo also stars in “Blue Wizard/Black Wizard.” Mikeah Earnest Jennings and Nikki Calongev play referees, charged with judging a series of battles and contests meant to save onlookers from the “Great Mediocrity.” As the Incubator Arts Project production plays itself out, mounting evidence suggests that the two opposing mojo workers might not actually be wizards — just regular people trying to inject some meta-theatrical excitement into their mundane lives. A score written in the style of “Prince-inspired medieval techno” seeks to “warp the conventions of musical theater and classical art song to intersect with the sensibilities of electronic music.” That, along with the presence of a 12-person chorus, ought to ensure that spectators won’t suffer from the on-stage display of wizardly ennui.

Through Dec. 22, Tues., and Thurs. through Sun., at 8pm. At Incubator Arts Project — located inside St. Mark’s Church (at 131 E. 10th St., at Second Ave.). For tickets ($18), call 866-811-4111 or visit incubatorarts.org.

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