Volume 81, Number 16 | September 15 - 21, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Jamie Newman Photography

Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance tears it up. See “FAB! Festival.”

Just Do Art!

COMPILED BY SCOTT STIFFLER

FAB! FESTIVAL

An abbreviation for “Fourth Arts Block” or just a more efficient way to say “fabulous?” Why can’t it be a little bit of both? “FAB!” lives up to the promise of its name and then some, with their annual “FAB! Festival” — a daylong celebration of creative expression from the artistic entities that occupy Manhattan’s only official cultural district. In that one short block (East 4 Street, between Lafayette and Second Ave.), you’ll find a dozen theaters, eight dance/rehearsal studios, three film editing suites and a large screening room. But they’re just getting started. Over the next two years, nearly 40,000 square feet of space on the block will be reclaimed for cultural use. Within 10 years, that number will climb to 145,000 square feet. At that point, they’ll probably have to add another day or two to this fab little fest. But for now, here’s a partial list of the dance, theater and music you’ll find on multiple stages:

Once again, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance opens the FAB! Festival fierce modern dance from choreographer Enrique Cruz DeJesus (accompanied by hot Latin beats and warm R&B rhythms from the elegantly funky SoulJaazz Band). On the Cabaret State, artists from Nuyorican Poets Café offer the best of their spoken word, and an excerpt from the new play Felony in Blue. Other outdoor performers include Bang Dance, Dixon Place, Downtown Art, JT Lotus Dance Company, La MaMa, Li Chiao-Ping Dance, The Living Theatre, Metropolitan Playhouse, New York Neo-Futurists and Rod Rodgers Dance Company.

At La MaMa E.T.C.— The Club, “Plays, Plays and More Plays!” delivers a glimpse of Off-Off Broadway, by way of a one-hour review of, well, plays, plays and more plays! Elsewhere indoors, “WOW! Wow Cabaret” features performers from WOW Café Theatre (the country’s oldest women and trans folks’ theater collective). To reserve a seat, visit fabnyc.fabfestival.org.

At The New York Theatre Workshop rehearsal space, take part in the classes Introduction to Feldenkrais and Awareness Through Movement —taught by Annie Rudnick. Other classes include Hatha Yoga, Writing & Performing Your Story: An introduction in Neo-Futurism for Seniors. For info, visit fabnyc.fabfestival.org.

On the street all afternoon: Materials For The Arts encourages you to create your own mixed medium art pieces — with reusable materials. For more info, mfta.org. “Get Your Pickle On!” is sponsored by The 4th Street Food Co-op and the Biocitizen school of environmental philosophy. Thrill to “spine-tingling high-wire lacto-acidophilus fermentation demonstrations,” then learn how to pickle the old fashioned way (in front of the 4th Street Food Co-op, 58 E. 4th St., btw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.). If eating without the act of creating is more your thing, stop by the Mexicue Food Truck, the artist-run food cart appropriately known as “The Cart,” as well as the vendor locations of Bugsella, The Chocolate Swirl, Granola Lab, MissWit, P&H Sodas, La Sirena, Vspot, and many more.

“FAB! Festival is a free event. It takes place Sat., Sept. 24, 1-5pm (on E. 4 St., btw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.). For info, visit fabnyc.org.

THE COMPLETE & CONDENSED STAGE DIRECTIONS OF EUGENE O’NEILL, VOLUME I: EARLY AND LOST PLAYS
Prolific enemies of the past who don’t spend a second resting on their laurels, the NY Neo-Futurists’ newest work takes the “eloquent yet obsessive and often controlling” stage directions from Eugene O’ Neill plays and turns them into fast-paced physical comedy. The long title of that play is, in fact, a short way of saying the Futurists draw from the beginning career, and obscure writings, of a Broadway darling who was once “considered an experimental, Downtown playwright…His plays defied the melodramatic conventions of the day and much of his work premiered with the Provincetown Players on MacDougall Street.” Welcome back! Through Oct. 1, 8pm, at The Kraine Theatre (85 E. 4th Street, btw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery). For tickets ($18, $12 for students), call 866-811-4111 or visit nynf.org.

TENEMENT TALKS AT THE LOWER EAST SIDE TENEMENT MUSEUM
Like a cool breeze that comes with the change in seasons, we’ve come to anticipate the Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s “Tenement Talks” series with all the good things that happen when summer turns to fall. This imaginatively curated series of discussions and readings — meant to illuminate New York City’s culture, history and people — has returned after a July/August hiatus. Here’s what’s on the September calendar:

Mon., Sept. 19, 6:30pm:
Shot over a two-year period, the documentary “Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness” chronicles how residents of Patchogue, New York reacted to a series of anti-immigrant attacks against the town’s Latino residents. Those attacks — which culminated in the 2008 murder of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero — led the victim’s brother, the mayor and concerned residents to acknowledge the simmering tensions which sparked the incident. For more info, visit niot.org.

Thurs., Sept. 22, 6:30pm:
In conversation with Algonquin editor and publisher Elisabeth Scharlatt, Ilene Beckerman discusses her book “The Smartest Woman I Know.” It’s the story Gingy — a grandmother who dispensed unforgettable wisdom to Gingy and her sister, Tootsie, as well as to the customers at a stationery and magazine store. Those customers ranged from Irish nannies to Sara Delano Roosevelt to Marlene Dietrich. For info on the author, visit ilenebeckerman.com.

Tues., Sept. 27, 6:30pm:
Meet, greet, listen to and question author Sam Wasson. His “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman” is a encyclopedic account of the making of 1961’s “Breakfast” — which, thanks to that little black dress, made Hepburn into an icon. For info on the author, visit samwasson.com.

Wed., Sept. 28, 6:30pm:
“Amore: The Story of Italian American Song” is Mark Rotella’s celebration of the “Italian decade” (the years after the WW II, but before the Beatles — when Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin and others dominated the charts. For info on the author, visit markrotella.com.

All events take place at the Tenement Museum Visitor Center and Museum Shop (103 Orchard St., at Delancey). Admission is free, and seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis (purchase a copy of the featured book by calling 212-431-0233 ext. 259, and a seat is guaranteed). For info, tenement.org. For Twitter: twitter.com/tenementmuseum. Visit their blog: tenement-museum.blogspot.com.

STEELY DAN: SHUFFLE DIPLOMACY TWENTY ELEVEN
For a duo whose most recent work centered around the virtues of greeting the apocalypse with equal parts nihilism, denial and a jazzy party vibe (2003’s “Everything Must Go”), Steely Dan isn’t quite ready for the world to end. Last seen here during 2009’s “Rent Party” tour, the thankfully prolific duo of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen are back with “Shuffle Diplomacy Twenty Eleven” — which, far from heralding the end times, promises “an idealistic strategy for World Peace.” Their run features performances of complete albums (“Gaucho” on Sept. 16 and “The Royal Scam on Sept. 20) — plus fan voting online to determine the set for Sept. 22’s Request Night.  Classics like “Reelin’ in the Years” and “Deacon Blues” are sure to please — but for a taste of what makes them both relevant and enduring, here’s hoping they’ll lay into “Pixeleen” and “Cousin Dupree” on September 23. That evening’s “21st Century Dan” program features work from 2000’s “Two Against Nature” and the aforementioned “Two Against Nature.” Both albums deliver lyrics, licks and a narrative vision every bit as layered and complex as their ‘70s output. Through Sept. 23., at the Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway, at 74th St). For tickets, visit steelydan.com (telecharge.com for multi-show packages). For venue info, visit beacontheatre.com.

WESTBETH ANNUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL
Opened in 1970, the West Village’s Westbeth continues to offer affordable artists’ housing and an array of cultural activities. Westbeth Artists’ Housing provides affordable living and working spaces for artists and their families. Lest you think the absence of starvation or squatting has made them soft, this annual three-day festival showcases the work of Westbeth’s prolific community. Listen (and dance to) music from world-renowned classical composers David del Tredici and Richard Hundley; New York’s Soul Man Bobby Harden and his eight-piece soul band; John Menegon & Patrick McKearn; Marie McAuliffe; Barry Temkin Raytones; Hal Miller, Steve Berger with Bob Dorough and Pat O’Leary and 3Spirit — as well as, of course, surprise guests and many, many other gifted Westbeth performers rass Ensemble. The Westbeth Gallery will also be open during the Festival (presenting the group “Lehman Downtown”—featuring work from faculty members of Lehman College Art Department and members of the Lehman College Gallery).
Free. Fri., Sept. 23, 8-11pm, at the Brecht Forum (451 W. St., btw. Bank & Bethune). Sat., Sept. 24 & Sun., Sept. 25, 12-7pm, at the Westbeth Courtyard (155 Bank St., btw. Washington & West).

SPANISH EXPERIMENTAL FILMMAKER ADOLPHO ARRIETTA
Underground? Avant-garde? Experimental? Spanish filmmaker Adolpho Arrietta fits all these descriptions — and also answers to “Alfo,” “Adolfo” and “Udolfo.” See for yourself (or ask him) why this maverick’s work is as difficult to pin down as his name — when Anthology Film Archives presents some of Arrietta’s most stunning works to have emerged from 1960s/1970s underground cinema. The filmmaker will appear this month at Anthology. Screenings include 1972’s “Pointilly” — a 26-minute voyage to the world of childhood. Also scheduled is 1974’s “The Adventures of Sylvia Couski.” This fairy tale by way of musical comedy sees a city of transvestites trying to relive the Belle Époque of festivities and art. 1976’s “Tam Tam” has the outcasts of Saint-Germain-des-Prés organizing a party in honor of an unknown beauty whose may or may not show up.
All films are in French, with English subtitles. Sept. 15-18, at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave., at 2nd St.). Tickets: $9 general, $7 for students, seniors and children (12 & under); $6 for AFA members. For more info, call 212-505-5181 or visit anthologyfilmarchives.org. Twitter: twitter.com/anthologyfilm. Facebook: facebook.com/AnthologyFilm.

MEDEA
Japan Society launches its Fall 2011/Spring 2012 Performing Arts Season with a North American premiere — the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center production of “Medea.” Satoshi Miyagi (celebrated Artistic Director of SPAC and successor to the legendary Tadashi Suzuki) brings the scale and visual scope of a kabuki play to the Euripides masterpiece by transforming it into a play-within-a play takes place in a traditional Japanese restaurant. As male members of the establishment call upon female waitresses for entertainment, late Meiji era gender-based tensions bubble to the surface. Live music as well as Miyagi’s signature bunraku puppet theater-inspired style (utilizing two actors per role — one to speak and one to move), puts a uniquely Japanese cultural spin on the classic Greek tragedy. Since its premiere in 1999, the production (featuring a cast of 19) has appeared in 20 cities and 11 countries. Performed in Japanese with English subtitles. Fri., Sept. 23 and Sat., Sept. 24 at 7:30pm. Sun., Sept. 25 at 5pm. At Japan Society (333 E. 47th St., btw. First and Second Ave.). For tickets ($32), call 212-832-1155 or visit japansociety.org. Also visit spac.or.jp.

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