Just Do Art, Week of July 17, 2014
JADED EYES ARTS COLLECTIVE PRESENTS “THE FOX”
Only as old as the year is long, Jaded Eyes Arts Collective puts its founder, Matt Savins, in the position of mysterious (and perhaps dangerous) interloper — when the provocation-minded troupe brings their inaugural production to the Gene Frankel Theater for a limited run. Adapted by Allan Miller from a 1922 novella by D.H. Lawrence, “The Fox” hasn’t been seen on Manhattan boards since its debut at the Roundabout Theatre in 1982.
Set in rural 1918 England, Savins’ Henry is a charismatic World War I vet who, on his way home, endears himself to Nellie (Clea Straus Rivera) and Jill (Elizabeth Elkins). On a farmhouse whose physical isolation mirrors the women’s distance from traditional domestic roles, Henry offers to catch an elusive fox that’s been depleting their stock of hens. The predatory dynamic happening outside soon finds its way into the farmhouse, as Henry’s increasingly domineering presence (and some uneasy dreams) forces to the surface issues of femininity, power dynamics, and desire.
At 7:30 p.m. on July 18, 19, 23–26 & at 2 p.m. on July 19 & 26. At The Gene Frankel Theatre (24 Bond St., btw. Bowery & Lafayette). Purchase tickets ($18) at thefox.brownpapertickets.com. For more info, visit thefoxnyc.com.
SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKING LOT PRESENTS “TWELFTH NIGHT”
Shakespeare on the roof? In an alley? On a moving flatbed truck, perhaps? The Drilling Company is weighing its options, determined to ensure that the show will go on. After the current (20th!) season of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, the much-loved “Bard-under-the-stars and among-the-cars” open air must-see will be kicked to the curb. This is no midsummer night’s dream. Plans have been cemented to pave over the parking lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome, to accommodate the Essex Crossing project that will swallow up other neighborhood stalwarts (including the beloved Olympic Diner and the infamous nip bottle paradise known as Jade Fountain Liquor Corporation). Fittingly, The Drilling Company notes that the first of two swan songs in this particular location — “Twelfth Night” — is “one of the last and most bitter-sweet of Shakespeare’s comedies.”
This adaptation casts shipwrecked twins Sebastian and Viola as lost visitors swept into the Municipal Parking Lot — where they must navigate mistaken identity and unrequited love, after encountering characters reimagined as contemporary Lower East Side denizens (Sir Toby is an affectionate nod to the drunks who’ve injected their own drama to past productions; Olivia resides in one of the area’s new upscale towers; Feste is a drag queen, and the servants are longtime neighborhood residents employed by monied newcomers).
“Like the Lower East side itself,” notes director Hamilton Clancy, “the Parking Lot is a melting pot. Shakespeare speaks to human diversity and performing it in the Parking Lot has always seemed the perfect frame for us. This production aims to celebrate that.” The celebration doesn’t end with the last night of “Twelfth.” One final stab at immortality remains, when The Drilling Company presents “Othello” (July 31–Aug. 16).
“Twelfth Night” plays through July 26. Thurs.–Sat., 8 p.m. at the Municipal Parking Lot (corner of Ludlow & Broome Sts.). Free (donations gratefully accepted). Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes. For info, call 212-873-9050 or visit shakespeareintheparkinglot.com.
THE BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY “RIVER & BLUES” SERIES
Fifteen years ago, blues and parks enthusiast Abby Ehrlich found a way to merge those two great loves — and Downtown audiences have been profiting from it ever since, in the form of annual free concerts that comprise the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s “River & Blues” series. As the BPCPC’s Director of Parks Programming, Ehrlich has a decisive (albeit, collaborative) hand in selecting the bands and producing their concerts. So far, the series has presented trumpet sensation Christian Scott and blues-meets-swing-meets-surf band The Wiyos. Three performances remain, set against the backdrop of a spectacular — and increasingly earlier — sunset over the Hudson River.
On July 24, the Heritage Blues Quintet celebrates the longstanding musical mingling between African-American music, modern jazz, and Western European harmony. Slide guitar, blues drumming, virtuosic harmonica, a pounding horn section and three part harmonies are among the tools used to bring contemporary life to classics from Son House, Muddy Waters, Leadbelly, and others. On July 31, soul singer and songwriter Bettye LaVette — who famously teamed with Bon Jovi to sing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” at President Obama’s 2009 Inaugural Celebration — performs an R&B set that’s alternately intimate and epic.
The series wraps up on Aug. 7, when the 12 members of Sun Ra Arkestra builds on the legacy of its late founder (who would have turned 100 in May). Composer, pianist, electronic keyboardist, synthesizer player, poet, and Afro-Futurist philosopher Sun Ra will surely be smiling down from his home planet of Saturn, as the band continues his legacy by taking you on an intergalactic journey spanning the past, present, and future of jazz. Charismatic altoist Marshall Allen, who has led the Arkestra since 1995, presides over the highly evolved and skillfully calibrated madness.
Free and family-friendly. All shows are 7–8:30 p.m. at Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park (access: Battery Place), in Battery Park City. For info: 212-267-9700 or visit bpcparks.org.
“DISCO BALL” AND THE CHELSEA ART WALK
It’s a sight that can only be fully appreciated by those of us who loved the nightlife — and had to boogie — during that too-brief period in the 1970s. Occasional theme nights notwithstanding, we’ll never again see a time when flecks of light from a swirling, mirrored ball land on the shiny polyester and slick vinyl threads worn by hundreds of sweaty, twirling revelers.
From the late ‘70s through the early ‘80s, photographers Flo Fox and Len Speier captured the dance moves, immaculately shellacked hair, and decadent revelry of the NYC disco scene. Nine works each — from their time spent prowling long gone clubs such as Xenon, Area, Roseland, Starlight, and Studio 54 — comprise “Disco Ball.” It’s one of three exhibits currently at Carter Burden Gallery. The nonprofit space gives voice to New York City’s re-emerging older artists — who, this exhibit reminds us, were in their prime during the reigning days of Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, The Village People, The Bee Gees, and The Weather Girls. You won’t find any of those artists in this exhibit, though, nor will you see the garish colors of 1970s fabrics or the ultra violet lights that flooded the dance floor. By presenting the disco era in black and white, Fox and Speier allow the viewer to focus on the intense displays of self-expression, rather than the bright and shiny surroundings.
Also on view through July 24, Bill Richards’ bold “Streamed Space Paintings” are filled with luminous streams of color that, curator Marlena Vaccaro notes, appear to “converge and diverge simultaneously, forming a kind of fluid Gordian knot that seems to unravel as it is tied.” In the installation “On the Wall,” Marilyn Sontag uses cut and torn shapes of paper to create a light, ethereal environment that gives the illusion of movement.
Free. On view through July 24. A closing reception will be held that day, from 5–8 p.m. — as part of the Chelsea Art Walk. For info on other galleries and studio artists participating in the Art Walk, visit artwalkchelsea.com. Carter Burden Gallery is located at 548 W. 28th St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves. Suite #534). Hours: Tues.–Fri., 11 a.m–5 p.m. & Sat., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. For info, call 212-564-84505 or visit carterburdengallery.com.
— BY SCOTT STIFFLER