Volume 81, Number 17 | September 29 - October 5, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Just Do Art!

Compiled by Scott Stiffler

Providing a welcome alternative to all the ghosts and ghouls on the boards this time of the year, October also belongs to “HOWL! ARTS PROJECT 2011” — that annual Downtown event that doesn’t need blood and gore to shock and awe in the name of entertainment. The third annual presentation of this sprawling happening (brought to you by HOWL! Arts Project and The Actors Fund) delivers songs, dance, film, performance art, burlesque, drag entertainment and family-friendly fun — all in the name of raising funds to benefit HELP. Short for “Howl! Emergency Life Project,” this financial assistance fund helps Lower East Side and East Village artists make ends meet until that sunny day when Obama drops the act and officially makes this a Socialist regime whose merciless taxation will fund a bloated national arts budget. Until then, having HOWL! And HELP will do nicely, thank you.

The roster of grant-worthy talent includes: Butoh dance company Vangeline Theater; “Vice Palace” — the latest musical from the Cockettes, as presented by San Francisco’s Thrillpeddlers; The Abingdon Theater Company’s “Lost On the Natchez Trace”; music from Transgendered Jesus; the Rosie’s Theater Kids production “Students On Strike”; and a night of Bingo like you’ve never seen before, courtesy of co-hosts Linda Simpson and Murray Hill.

October 1-31, at Theatre 80 (80 St. Marks Place). For tickets ($10, $15 and $20), visit brownpapertickets.com (or cash only at the door). For a full schedule, visit howlfestival.com.
If you’ve ever watched one of those atrocious, silly and occasionally staged ghost-baiting paranormal “Reality TV” shows and said, “I could do that,” then don’t miss this lecture designed with the budding supernatural sleuth and the paracurious in mind. It’s being given by Dan Sturges (sturgesparanormal.com) — host of the recently launched weekly web-based event, “The Psi Show.” Built like a mighty brick pizza oven, this kind and skeptical soul was handpicked in 2007 by the curious, credible historians at the Merchant’s House Museum to lead an ambitious investigation of “Manhattan’s most haunted house.” Occupied by the Tredwells (a wealthy merchant-class family) along with various servants and caretakers for a century, those who lived and died there have been making their presence known ever since the place opened up as a museum 75 years ago. During his many investigations, Sturges has picked up crystal clear recordings of footsteps, strange bumps in the night and unexplained voices seemingly engaged in intelligent conversation with members of the investigative team. You’ll hear those audio clips, see unsettling images caught on film, learn about equipment used in the effort to gather evidence and also have a laugh or two (Sturges is well aware of his pursuit’s absurdities). By the time the talk is done, you’ll be able to tell the difference between EMF and EVP — and if you need clarification, there’ll also be a spirited Q&A session (plus the chance to buy tickets to a raffle whose winner will get to accompany Sturges and the team on a future Merchant’s House investigation).

Sat., Oct. 8, 7pm, at the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Seating is limited. Reservations strongly recommended. For tickets ($20, $10 for MHM members), call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.

After a successful run of similar events in San Francisco and Los Angles, Irish Film New York makes its Gotham debut by showcasing the best in contemporary Irish cinema — with the goal of making this year’s event an annual Greenwich Village happening. In addition to a series of shorts, filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions and filmmaker receptions, six films will be screened — among them, the documentary “Knuckle.” It’s a visceral look at the violent world of bare-knuckle boxing among Ireland’s Traveler community. The film will have a national release in December, and HBO’s already hard at work adapting it into a dramatic series (think “Sopranos” with bloody fists instead of smoking guns). Also screening is the Galway Film Festival-winning feature “Parked” — starring the always worth-your-while Colm Meaney, about two friends who both live in their cars.

Fri., Sept. 30 through Sun., Oct. 2. All films are screened at NYU’s Cantor Film Center (36 E. 8th St.). For tickets ($12; $10 for students. Festival Passes, $60 for six screenings), visit irishfilmnyc.com.

For quite some time now, Dan Zanes has been a major force in the realm of children’s music — but parents of a certain age still remember dancing to the beat of the tunes he played while a member of the 1980s group Del Fuegos. But this is 2011, folks, and the little ones only know (and care) about “Dan Zane and Friends.” This upcoming event helps NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts launch its popular Big Red Chair Family Series — a program of live performances for young people and families.

Sun., Oct. 2, at 3pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at nyuskirball.org, or by phone at 212-352-3101. The show runs approximately 70 minutes and is appropriate for all ages. NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is located at 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square.

Don’t envy Ellen Bradshaw for working in the Village and watching the seasons change from the window of her studio. You’ll be better off just enjoying the view. Bradshaw’s “4 Seasons in the Village” allows you to contemplate a collection of new oil paintings documents the artist’s favorite streets, haunts and corners of the West Village. Painted in each of the four seasons, Bradshaw’s favorite West 4th Street view is the centerpiece of this show. Whether it’s summer’s brilliant rays casting shadows or snow covering the sidewalk outside of Village Cigars, the artist depicts the Village as the ultimate small town — “a refuge from the rest of the city,” as she puts it. Solitary amblers, shop owners, bench-sitters, dog walkers, delivery trucks and bicycles propped against street signs convey a sense of routine and serenity.

Artist Receptions on Thurs., Oct. 6, 5-8pm and Sat., Oct. 8, 3-6pm. The exhibit runs from Oct. 4-29. Gallery Hours: Tues.–Sat, 11am-6pm or by appointment. At Pleiades Gallery (530 W. 25th St., 4th floor, btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). For info, call 646-230-0056 or visit pleiadesgallery.com. For info on the artist, visit ellenbradshaw.com.

Here’s a fun and educational event for a generation that has no idea “Pong” was ever an activity that didn’t have the word “Beer” in front of it. Well worth the trip out of Manhattan, Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image does a postmodern take on the question “Where did video games come from?” by offering a Skype chat with the inventor of the home video game (Ralph Baer) followed by a demonstration of William A. Higinbotham’s legendary analog computer game, “Tennis for Two.” That oscilloscope simulation of a tennis game is considered to be the first of its kind to introduce modern conditions of game play: multiple players, a screen display, and external controllers for player-to-game interaction. The recreation of this 1958 game will be presented by Brookhaven National Laboratory scientist Peter Takacs and curators of the William A. Higinbotham Game Studies Collection (WHGSC) at Stony Brook University. Following the demo, audience members will be invited to play and share their reactions.

Tickets for “The Beginnings of Video Games” are included with Museum admission, and are available first-come, first-served basis on the day of the event ($12 adults, $9 college students and senior citizens, $6 children 3–12, and free for Museum members). Saturday, October 1, 2pm, at the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave. at 37th St., in Astoria). Subway: M (weekdays only) or R (all times) to Steinway Street. N (all times) or Q (weekdays only) to 36th Ave. For more info, visit movingimage.us or call 718-777-6888.

“Takin’ that note [that] nobody wrote [and] puttin’ it down.” That observation, from impromptu lyrics added by Jon Hendricks during a 1968 studio recording of Thelonious Monk’s “In Walked Bud,” nails it. Like the musician referenced in the song’s title (Bud Powell), there was never anybody like Monk, and there never will be again. Piano virtuosos including Cuban-born classical pianist Adonis Gonzalez, pianist and composer Jed Distler and rising Cuban jazz star Axel Tosca certainly think so — and to prove it, they’ll pay tribute to the prolific bebop architect at this annual birthday concert (which continues Arts World Financial Center’s 10-year march toward the Thelonius Monk centennial in 2017). “It’s a testament to Thelonius Monk’s brilliance and originality that his influence can be heard in the work of pianists across a variety of musical genres,” said Debra Simon, Artistic Director of Arts World Financial Center. “We’re thrilled to present the latest installment in our ten-year tribute to the preeminent jazz pianist of the 20th century and his many gifted disciples.”

Free (no tickets or reservations required). Tues., Oct. 4, 12-4pm. At World Financial Center Winter Garden (220 Vesey St.). For info, call 212-945-0505 or visit artsworldfinancialcenter.com.

Fusing elements Japanese Bunraku-inspired puppetry with magical realism, Jen Silverman’s “Crane Story” takes you on a quest through a magical land of the dead. East meets west, and myth meets storytelling, when the suicide of her brother launches a Japanese-American girl on a journey to rescue his soul. This world premiere is being presented by The Playwrights Realm. Dedicated to nurturing emerging young playwrights, they produce only a single full Off-Broadway play each year.  But 2011’s production didn’t happen overnight. “Crane Story” was developed during the past four years, though a series of workshops and readings.

Tues. through Sat., 8pm (through Oct. 1). At Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce St). For tickets ($30), call 212-239-6200 or visit playwrightsrealm.org.

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