Theatre. We. LOVE – Ensemble Studio Theatre’s “Year of the Rooster”

“YEAR of the ROOSTER” – An EST/Youngblood Production – Eric Dufault asks you to “WAKE the F*#K UP!”

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

The EST/Youngblood production of Eric Dufault’s ‘YEAR OF THE ROOSTER’ begins its extended run January 2014.

Theatre. We. LOVE at the Angel Orensanz Foundation sits down with the cast and crew of EST’s production of “Year of the Rooster.”

by: Zoe V. SpeasThe Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

The wintry months of January and February mark my second anniversary with the City of New York. Most of my time was spent with one hand gripping onto the handrail of “back home” while I tried to skitter around the perimeter of the city on borrowed ice skates. I’m still here, surviving, but it has taken all of those two years for me to come around to letting go of the rail. I have let go, and it’s due almost entirely to the three-month-long relationship I’ve had so far with the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Youngbloods production of Eric Dufault’s Year of the Rooster.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the ArtsAs you’ll see by the title of this blog and subsequent headers, the point of my post is to tell you about all the brilliant, hilarious, inspiring things that the creative team of Rooster had to say when they generously sat down to talk to their fan (me) for an interview. I will do that. I promise. And let me tell you, sitting around a modestly-sized conference table surrounded by people whose transformations into warrior-roosters and  power-hungry McDonald’s managers – it can be pretty overwhelming.

Not to mention the fact that proximity to playwright Eric Dufault (in all of his humble, talented niceness) kind of makes you torn between wanting to hug and bake for him or beat his brains out in a jealous rage. At least then you could see close-up what the brains would look like of someone who can invite his audience into the world of cockfighting and middle-America and give it the grandeur of gladiators fighting in a Roman coliseum.

Grandeur, I need to add, made possible by director John Giampietro‘s excellent choice to underscore the action of the play with classical symphonies and fugues by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Ensemble Studio Theatre - Year of the Rooster - Theatre. We. LOVE - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Playwright Eric Dufault has always had a strong connection with animals, and much of his work incorporates the idea of “talking animals”, including the ongoing production of ‘YEAR OF THE ROOSTER’ at EST.

“I’ve always written plays that involve talking animals, including chickens,” Eric told me. He explained that he grew up surrounded by animals as a kid, chickens and roosters included. “But I read this book called Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some we Eat and that sparked the idea for Year of the Rooster. It included a section on cockfighting.”

Here’s a kicker. Rooster was the first play he’d written for the Youngbloods.

“I write pretty quickly,” he said.

Awesome.

Anyway, so this relationship – this three-month-long relationship I mentioned having with Year of the Rooster, it began back in the fall when the nightshift bartender from my favorite local pub – McCoy’s, on 9th Ave in Hell’s Kitchen – showed me a graphic postcard advertising for the show at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. It’s this very image (at the top of this blog), the one of a rooster devised entirely out of matchsticks scorched to various degrees, that now graces the front of the program for the show.

The postcard instructed me to “Wake the F#$k Up.”

Which, honestly, I hadn’t managed to do yet since moving to the city two years ago. I figured I could use the caffeine.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Ensemble Studio Theatre presents: Eric Dufault’s “Year of the Rooster”. Above (left to right): Delphi Harrington, Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit: Russ Kuhner

“The energy of this piece – it’s not something you watch. It’s something you go through,” EST’s Bobby Moreno said to me later. Bobby plays the character of Odysseus Rex aka ‘Odie.’ He’s the rooster you root for, the one who wants to murder the sun. You know. That one. “The structure of the play and the way the audience is arranged around it creates an inescapable intimacy in the experience.”

In other words, Dufault’s storyline and Giampietro’s direction wakes you the f$&k up.

By the end of the show, I was doubled over in pain. My stomach muscles were on fire with the pain of laughing way too much and way too loudly.

I didn’t know where I was for much of the production. We sat in a small, intimate theatre on the second floor of the EST building on W. 52nd, but with just a few, sparse blocks of furniture (and an amazingly accurate recreation of a McDonald’s restaurant), I was transported to middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma. Yet it was the physicality of the actors like Denny Dale Bess, an EST member since 2000 who plays Dickie Thimble in Rooster, as he strode through the space, cowboy-booted with a massive ten gallon-hat that transformed the location for me.

The production was so grounded and sincere in its commitment to each given circumstance – circumstances that grew more and more ridiculous and tragic as the plot progressed – that I forgot the Rooster world was one we can all agree is not “of us.” It’s an “other” world. Cock-fighting. Isolation. McDonald’s (both as an employee and gentically-modified chicken aka the brilliant Megan Tusing, I might add).

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

EST’s “Year of the Rooster” – From left to right: Thomas Lyons, Denny Dale Bess, Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner

Suddenly, we’re all from Oklahoma. Which we are, in our own ways. We’re all from that town, the one Eric Dufault creates with the characters of Gil Pepper and his aging mother, Lou. With Philippa and Dickie Thimble.

Of course, Denny’s family actually does originate from Oklahoma, I learned later in our interview, and these ties created a special bond for him with the environment of Rooster.

“I know these small towns,” said Denny, “each character in this piece is a part of my family.” In fact, the actors and Eric told me Denny’s relationship with Oklahoma was in large part the reason for the creative choice to isolate the play in his home state.

 But my wake-up call continued.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

From the Ensemble Studio Theatre production “Year of the Rooster.” From left to right, Thomas Lyons and Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner.

I was already shifting uncomfortably in my seat by intermission as I realized I was watching something happen that I dreamed was possible someday for my own writing, my own performance. The stagecraft was genius, reality grounded, characters as specific and genuine as ink-stamped fingerprints. I won’t go on and on about the beauty of the roosters when they really start to rage. It’s like watching a fully-staged battle scene in the opera, Carmen, but it’s just two guys and a bucket of feathers. You have to see what fight director Qui Nguyen came up with for the fight scenes in Rooster. You just have to.

But the wake-up call, it continued long after I had exited the theatre, having trouble focusing on my feet as I descended the stairs to the street, program clutched in my fingers.

I remember calling my mom (because who else do you call when you have one of your twentysomethings’ revelations about life?) as I walked to McCoy’s and telling her I’d found artists, real artists – the ones that create universes out of nothing, the ones who give everything of themselves to it without a thought. As much as I felt it, as a witness, imagine how the actors feel it every night they come together.

“I’ve never been involved in a cast where they show up two hours early to a call to do a line-through,” said Megan Tusing (seen below) during my sit-down. “They never do this show at less than 110-percent.”

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

EST’s “Year of the Rooster” – from left to right: Megan Tusing and Bobby Moreno. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner.

Stage Manager of Rooster Eileen Lalley, who calls such a tight show every night that I’m barely conscious of the passage of time, quickly added to this. “I’ve seen this show over a hundred times. I never get tired of it. I never sit in the dark checking my email, killing time. I can’t. The show always changes every night.”

EST member Thomas Lyons (Gil Pepper) pointed to his face, which had a pretty impressive shiner on the day of our interview and said, “Look at my face. This show doesn’t work on cruise control.”

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the ArtsYear of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

EST Member Denny Dale Bess in “Year of the Rooster” as Dickie Thimble. From the Unfiltered Production.

Watch Thomas for ten minutes as he battles with Megan, Denny, and his deliciously degrading mother played by the fabulous Delphi Harrington, and you see what he means.

EST has been operating for over forty years in New York City, developing new theatre in America to the tune of 6,000 new titles throughout their history. Programs like Youngbloods for playwrights under 30 serve to keep this mission alive.

We’re not blind to it. Budgets hurt. Theatre suffers as we suffer as the economy suffers, and there are no gymnasts flying from the rafters of EST dressed in spandex and shooting webs from their wrists.

I know I sat there among the actors and creative team, gushing about EST and Year of the Rooster, without a real clue of the difficulties and challenges behind keeping even such a historic company as the Ensemble Studio Theatre afloat.

I know, I know. I know. It’s tough. It’s tough as nails. We’re all roosters in a ring in New York City, fighting the biggest, meanest mother of a bird we’ve ever been up against.

But that art like Rooster can exist? Can be born into the world of commercialism on stage and celebrity-driven box office revenue and survive? And thrive? Here?

Damn.

I guess it’s time to let go of the hand-rail, Zoe. It will all skate right past you if you don’t.

 Like I said, wake-up call.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

EST’s “Year of the Rooster” left to right: Bobby Moreno and Thomas Lyons. Photo Credit Russ Kuhner

So it’s been three months now, and I’ve followed with proud fanaticism the progress of the extension of Year of the Rooster at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. I see the team passing through McCoy’s every now and then and each time I unabashedly sprint towards them and repeat the same garbled lines of “being super excited to see it” when it re-opens.

They’re mercifully patient with me, but I think it’s because we see the same thing when we see that rooster devised of burned matchsticks. We see possibility. We see fire and power and drive. We see the future of art and theatre. And despite the cold and the money and the work and the fatigue, we know that we’re a part of it.

We’re part of that message that EST and thousands of other theatre artists are screaming throughout New York City:

Wake. The. F#^k. Up.

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Year of the Rooster - Ensemble Studio Theatre - NYC - Theatre. We. LOVE. - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Musicians. We. LOVE. Katy Gunn & Fred Baker – New York Music

Musicians. We. LOVE. – KATY GUNN and FRED BAKER take on the New York Music scene.

by: Zoe V. SpeasThe Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

The “We. LOVE.” series at the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts is proud to present a new chapter - Musicians. We. LOVE. This week, we’re excited to introduce to you the talents and stylings of Katy Gunn and her brother Fred Baker. 

New York Music

Musician. We. LOVE. Katy Gunn in performance.

FOLLOW THESE LINKS for a sampling of Katy Gunn’s track, “Beautiful Things” and Fred Baker’s “Pocket Full of Detritus”.

New York Music

Musicality as an inherited trait: Katy Gunn practices the violin with her older brother.

I’ve believed for a long time that musicality is an inherited trait as specific and definite as brown eyes vs. blue, or a crooked thumb vs. straight.

Katy and Fred have the gene, it’s undeniable, and while they both trained from their youth in classical violin and guitar respectively, today they’re searching for the soul of the city in their respective songwriting and poetry-rap explorations in the world of New York music.

New York Music

Fred Baker performing his unique style of what his sister refers to as “poetry-rap”

I first encountered these musicians at a private concert hosted by the Lower East Side’s New York music venue - the Living Room – a gorgeously intimate “talent incubator”  established in 1988 by Jennifer Gilson, who owns it with her husband, Steve Rosenthal.

Katy Gunn was one of the last few performers to have a night at the Living Room before it closed its doors temporarily.

It was not Katy’s first time at the venue—she has performed there before with other musical groups—but the evening was made even more special by the invitation I received by two wonderful members of the team at NOoSphere Arts on East Houston Street in the Lower East Side. Founding Artistic Director Sol Kjøk and gallery manager Annemarta Mugaas are friends of Ms. Gunn’s and have adopted her as a musician-in-residence at NOoSphere, where the brother and sister team have performed frequently in the past, often in conjunction with performance art and dance pieces sponsored by the gallery.

New York Music

Katy Gunn and Fred Baker perform at NOoSphere Arts on E. Houston Street in the Lower East Side.

Before I first parted the curtains to the private backroom performance space where Katy and her brother were performing, I was expecting a fully stocked band complete with percussionist, strings, guitar, and back-up vocals.

New York Music

Katy Gunn performs at the Living Room in New York’s Lower East Side with Fred Baker and vocalist, Thea Beemer.

When I stepped into the room and found only Katy and her brother and vocalist Thea Beemer, I was amazed. The trio created such fullness and variety of sound through Fred’s work on the sound pad and Katy’s ability to sing and orchestrate her violin simultaneously as Thea harmonized seamlessly with her melodies.

New York Music

Musicians. We. LOVE. Katy Gunn, New York Music.

The problem with my music,” said Katy of this complicated blending process, “is that there’s so much wacky instrumentation and orchestration—it’s a challenge to make it work live.

Through use of live sampling, Gunn’s multifaceted sound elicits the intimacy of a jazz/blues background, with an infectious pop/electronic dance beat.  The lyrics she composes touch on a variety of issues, from religion and faith (“All the People”) to the obsessive and all-consuming nature of love (“Beautiful Things”)—they speak to the search of an artist trying to understand the world and New York music through louder questions, and more colorfully.

“The more we divorce ourselves from religion, if art doesn’t replace that idea of spirit, we’ll all be in trouble,” Gunn says.

Learning about the process and resultant navigation of the New York music world can be an overwhelming experience, even sitting across from Katy Gunn and Fred Baker at a cozy Thai restaurant on the Lower East Side. Especially when she doesn’t seem to recognize it as such in the least.

Katy Gunn - New York Music

from http://www.katygunn.com – Katy Gunn’s photoshoot in Brooklyn.

As I ask her about the process she undergoes to develop a new song or new lyric idea, and she begins to explain – with difficulty, at times – I’m comforted to realize that it’s the same challenge, the same difficulty even that I face as a writer, grasping at wisps of an idea in the hopes of weaving it into something resembling a story.

It starts as an imprint,” says Gunn. “One I keep coming back to. I get a beat down, and then find lyrics that match with that rhythm. Sometimes I’ll wake up after sleep with ideas and I’ll try to go and find them again. When it’s something, I’ll listen to it and think, ‘I must have heard this somewhere before…’”

I’m nodding and swallowing heaps of Pad Thai at this point. I think Katy notices my far-off expression and dismisses my confusion with a sweep of her hand. Then she says something to me and to Fred that I’ll remember forever. Especially his response.

New York Music

Katy Gunn and Fred Baker, in performance.

“Anyone can do it, if you put your mind to it,” Katy Gunn assures me. Fred looks up from his curried chicken and rice dish and lifts an eyebrow. “Not anybody,” he adds firmly, and she doesn’t argue. Just smiles.

The truth of the matter is that Katy and Fred do what they do for the same reason that an artist creates, or a writer composes, or an actor takes the stage.

“When I do it well, it’s the only thing that makes me happy,” says Gunn.

“I’m totally paranoid leading up to it, but if it goes well, I’m lost in this lovely place—there have been times I’ve performed when I find myself in a separate world, watching it all happen. There’s no self-identity. It’s a living meditation.”

Listening to her music – and to the music of other up-and-coming new singer/songwriters of the New York music scene – is to participate just as fully as performing it. You become aligned with the artists’ message, you’re rooting for them, like noble underdogs fighting for the survival of art in the face of an increasingly oppressive Gotham City.

Follow Katy Gunn at her website for updates about performances, music downloads, and album releases!

Zoe V. Speas is a writer and editor for the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts. Follower her on tumblr and twitter.

Banksy Street Art: The End of an Era

The End of an Era: A month of Banksy Street Art in New York

by: Zoe V. SpeasThe Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts

Banksy Street Art residence in New York City - from October 27 in Greenpoint.

Banksy street art residence in New York City – from October 27 in Greenpoint.

October has been a busy month in the art world. We had a government shutdown, a Banksy street art residence, and consequent reactions ranging from outrage to a revitalization of  the question of defining art.

It all ties together, really, and that’s what I wanted to talk about before Halloween hits us full-force tonight and it’s November before we know it or remember how it came upon us so quickly.

banksy street art

The shutdown. Remember when that happened?

(Hey.  Remember when THIS happened?)

The first piece I wrote for the Angel Orensanz Foundation was a discussion about the definition of art, creatively entitled, “What is Art?” I scratched it out in a pitifully banged-up notebook during the long train ride from Richmond, VA to Penn Station, NYC.

I talked about how art is fundamentally dramatic—there are countless full-length theatrical dramas and comedies featuring characters that are artists or connoisseurs of art because of this quality. Whatever definition you assign to art, I believe it must allow for the drama and the conflict that is created by putting brush to canvas, hands to clay, etc. We thrive off of this drama, we need it, and we live for it because it illustrates the constant questions that percolate beneath the surface in us from day to day.

banksy street art - angel orensanz

Tahir Square. Angel Orensanz. Politics in art.

Too bad our society isn’t crafted to allow for the necessity of art.

In fact, we spend a lot of effort and money marginalizing art into something to do with leisure or entertainment. But there’s a difference—a monstrosity of a difference—between leisure/entertainment and art. Leaving the theatre after a production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal or Shakespeare’s Richard III, I’m certainly not at my leisure. Entertained? More like slapped in the face by humanity.

By the way, those productions I just listed? Totally playing right now in NYC. Check them out. You’re welcome.

So, of course, when the government shut down for the first time in seventeen years, what’s the first thing to be cut from funding?

banksy street art

Always the first thing to go: shutting down the museums, shutting down the government.

The National Endowment for the Arts. In other words, the museums—the culture hubs, the “non-essentials.”

And in the middle of that conflict, Banksy comes to New York City for a self-curated artist’s residence and stirs the pot for us.

Banksy - Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts - New York City

Banksy street art at Yankee Stadium. October 30, 2013.

Banksy’s street art residency is called “Better Out Than In: an Artist’s Residency on the Streets of New York”, and beneath the stencil-outline header, a quote from Paul Cézanne triumphs the mission statement of the work.

All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.

I’ll say that perhaps the “outside” to which Cézanne referred might be of a slightly different context than the interpretation apparent in the Banksy street art, but in terms of impact? Banksy’s been spot-on.

banksy street art

“Better Out Than In” – Bansky street art residence in NYC. October 2013.

All of a sudden art—regardless of how you define it—emerges as a buzzword, a hot topic, the spark that ignites a city of people, young and old, desperate for a cause to impassion them enough to speak out.

It’s impassioned me, anyway.

I’ve spoken to gallery owners, artists, event planners, businessmen, and students about Banksy street art in New York this past month and I encountered no one who had nothing to say, no comment to add. In fact, the topic has served as a jumping-off point to larger issues of politics and society and the boundaries that divide generation from generation.

For myself, I have always been loath to discuss political leanings with friends and acquaintances—the ensuing arguments inevitably evolve into a loop of misunderstanding and personal affront. I prefer to stay within the realm of art and theatre where I feel comfortable arguing my beliefs—and yes, maybe that makes me a coward, being afraid of engaging in a dispute for fear of defeat or humiliation.

banksy street art

Banksy’s Greenpoint portrait being painted over by a masked woman. Which is the graffiti – the Banksy street art or the silver paint obscuring it?

Graffiti does ruin people’s property and it’s a sign of decay and loss of control,” the mayor said, “Art is art, and nobody’s a bigger supporter of the arts than I am–you running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted.” 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, October 2013.

And yet, this October, I found myself spewing fire over the contradictions arising between vandalism and art, between art as a necessity and our unhesitating cessation of its funding when goings get tough, between the opinions of the Mayor of New York and the arts community of his city.

Banksy’s residence brought me to a single, perhaps obvious conclusion:

If I argued before that art is fundamentally dramatic, then it also must be deeply political.

I’m going to risk sounding like a college sophomore writing a term paper and quote the dictionary at you here—a definition of the word political“relating to relationships of power between people in an organization; to affairs of the state or government.”

Relationships of power between people. Yup. Sounds about right.

Art becomes the venue through which people can argue rights of individualism and power upon a level playing field. There are no mayors, governors, nor presidents: only personal expression and paintbrushes. And regardless of what you think of the Banksy street art and its artistic merits, his residence challenges us to question our relationship to one another, to our government, and to the city walls that house and protect us. 

Call it graffiti or call it art.

It was swift, it was dramatic, and it defined the month of October for me and countless other New Yorkers. Happy Holidays, everyone.

New York City Weekend

Finally, it is Friday, so here are the Angel Orensanz Foundation suggestions for you to have a great weekend in New York City.

First, let’s pay homage to our neighborhood, the beautiful Lower East Side, where the art gallery ABC no Rio stands, starting today at 7 pm, they will be hosting Family Misfit Healing a 8 hour show in which 8 performers will create, from scratch, a dynamic family portrait. To know more, click here.

Tomorrow, you can enjoy a late Halloween in the L.E.S., since Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center  has joined with nearly 40 merchants to give candy away to Trick ‘r Treaters between 4-7 pm.  When you see a sign inside a window that says “Participant in Halloween Too” you know that’s a spot that you can Trick ‘r Treat. To see the list of participating stores, click here.

Not very much a Halloween person? You can go to the other side of the island to celebrate the The New Yorker’s Passport to the Arts, a celebration of the New York art scene, or better, a self-guided gallery walk through premier art destinations in Chelsea and Soho. The event begins with a champagne reception and culminates in a wrap party and silent art auction with 75% of proceeds benefiting the American Red Cross Greater New York Region. Know more and get your tickets here.

Don’t want to go outside? No worries, the New York Historic Society and MoMA have great art exhibitions to keep you occupied. In the first destination you can enjoy John Rogers: American Stories, which is the first full retrospective of the most popular American sculptor, whose subjects included scenes from the front lines and the home front of the Civil War, insightful commentaries on domestic life, and dramatic episodes from the stage and literature.

On MoMA you can see Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone. The Polish sculptor reconceptualized sculpture as an imprint not only of memory but also of her own body, using provocative objects that evoke Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme, and Pop art.

Art in New York (weekend planner)

Finally, it is Friday! Do you already have plans for the weekend? Yes, no? Well, the Angel Orensanz Foudation blog is offering you some good suggestions for an artful and fun weekend in New York City.

On Saturday go visit Christopher Columbus is his living, up on the Upper West Side, the Japanese Tatzu Nishi has erected a contemporary space around the granite granite statue of the discoverer of the Americas built in 1892. Some people find the work offensive, but, nonetheless, it is an interesting experience, climbing up and having a conversation or just starting at Columbus.

“Tatzu Nishi: Discovering Columbus” runs through Nov. 18 at Broadway and Eighth Ave. Information: +1-212-223-7800; http://www.publicartfund.org.

Columbus opened a big precedent to other navigators and so did Andy Warhol for artists, and he is on display in The Met and we talk about it here.

 “Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years” runs at the Met, 1000 Fifth Ave. through Dec. 31. Information: +1-212- 535-7710; http://www.metmuseum.org.

But, if none of those fit you, there is still a lot going on in New York City, you can go to the Coney Island Film Festival in Coney Island Museum (1208 Surf Avenue) or Sideshows by the Seashore for a screening of one of the more than 70 documentaries and short and feature films that are part of this annual festival. It will open on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a screening of “Play Dead”. A full schedule is at coneyislandfilmfestival.com.

But that is not the only Festival, San Gennaro brings its feast to Mulberry Streer, between Canal and Houston from 11:30 am to 11 pm as a celebration of Italian culture. Between the both festival you can appreciate the 40th edition of the Gracie Square Art Show in Carl Schurz Park, where more than a hundred artists will display their work in the park, as they celebrate their 40 years. To know more: graciesquareartshow.info.

And if you can, also squeeze in the `Carnival Panorama` from the Queens Museum of Art, the displays of Caribbean culture and art escape from the museums to Corona Park.

free festival will go on from 3 to 8 p.m.; food is additional. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, (718) 592-9700, queensmuseum.org.

Saturday night you can stroll , if you choose not to go to the Coney Island Film Festival, to the New York Philarmonic as it inaugurates its Fall season with The Rite of Spring,” Stravinsky’s propulsive paean to the life force.

At Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Information: +1-212- 875-5656; http://nyphil.org.

On Sunday, you can start at the Museum of New York City, with the exhibition Photographs of New York and London. People and landscapes from both global cities are displayed in different ambients.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, (212) 534-1672, mcny.org; $10, $6 for students and 65+; $20 for families, (maximum of two adults); free for children 12 and younger and members.

Not a fan of photography? You can enjoy the 7th annual Brooklyn Book Festival, where Joyce Carol Oats, Pete Hammil along about 280 others writers will discuss their work and many booths from large and small publishers will show you a enourmous selection of readings. Want to know more? Click here:  http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org.

At Night, you can appreciate the New York City Ballet fall season premiere with a celebration of Balanchine and Stravinsky. The composer wrote music to order for the choreographer’s Greek trio inspired by classical themes: sunny “Apollo,” mournful “Orpheus” and the cerebral “Agon.”

David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center. Information: +1-212- 496-0600; http://www.nycballet.com.

 

L.E.S. art galleries (part 3)

On Monday we decided to talk about Angel Orensanz, after all, he is the star of our next exhibition here in the Angel Orensanz Foundation. “Burning Bronzes” will debut on September 12th and you can read all about it here.

Now, onto the galleries of Lower East Side. Last week we featured the group exhibition going on inside DODGEgallery, this time we go a little west onto Bowery St, where the Charles Bank Gallery is located. They are presenting Inglorious Materials, a group exhibit featuring collage works by Scott Zieher, Ryan Dusso, Dan Mort, Cassandra C. Jones and Halsey Burgund. The name comes from  the fact that each artist uses collages supported by different mediums, like digital media, or paper.

Another exhibit from the Lower East Side gallery is Ryan James Macfarland – Tide Study, a collection of photographs that explore nature and its relation to us, how it affects us. The Florida photographer  shows stunning landscapes reducing all the complexities of nature into frames.

South onto Canal St, go inside 3A Gallery to appreciate another solo exhibition, this time the Paintings of Kurt Finsten, the Denmark-based artist uses color in a naked and unadulterated way, or as the poem used as a description for the exhibit in the gallery’s website says: “He loves their colours fresh and fine“.

Finally, on Forsyth St inside myplasticheart gallery , you can enjoy another group exhibition on the L.E.S. Signs of Apocalypse features 30 artists curated by Lou Pimentel, and is about, as he explains it: “The Mayans believe that the world will end in 2012, and with so many things going wrong in the world; tsunamis, earthquakes, global warming, flocks of birds/schools of fish mysteriously buying the farm; one can’t help but think about it. What do you consider to be a sign of the Apocalypse? I invited  some of my favorite artists to translate, and give life to the fears living in their heads.”

Sources:

http://www.charlesbankgallery.com

http://www.myplasticheartnyc.com

http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/2012/08/gallery-goer-what-to-see-this-week-13.html

http://3agallery.com/

Art in New York City (artful weekends)

Finally it is Friday! And, we here at The Angel Orensanz Foundation are pleased to serve you up our selection of several of the art events going on in NYC this weekend.

First off, this is your last chance to go see Telettrofono, the audio walking tour that sound artist Justin Bennett and poet Matthea Harvey created for Stillspotting NYC: Staten Island, a program by the Guggenheim Museum. The sound tour intermingles history and fantasy as it takes you along the waterfront, mixing ambient sounds from the borough with invented noises to pay homage to the unacknowledged inventor of the first telephone, Antonio Meucci, a Staten Island resident of Italian descent.

In another borough of New York City, more specifically Brooklyn, you can enjoy Target First Saturdays in the Brooklyn Museum. This Saturday is Caribbean Rhythms, starting at 5:00 p.m.  While you are there, don’t forget to go up to the 4th floor of the museum to see the exhibition Playing House, set in the popular American period rooms. Since the rooms become a little less exciting after the first time you go, the museum decided to give a white card to four artists to create new life inside the space. Mary Lucier added videos, Betty Woodman and Anne Chu opted to add polka-dot ceramic shards and bouquets, and Ann Agee decided to transform an 1850 parlor into a sculpture workshop.

On Sunday, it looks like it is going to rain, so how about staying inside? So how about the inside  of Guggenheim? Where you can enjoy the critically acclaimed Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective.  The Dutch photographer knows how to manipulate and she makes it all look really natural, portraying images of teenagers with such reality that they transport you into their universe.

Don’t feel like seeing still images? How about a movie? Head to the Anthology Film Archives for a screening of Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film, a documentary that explores avant-garde cinema, showing rare interviews and movie clips that can make you fall for the style. From filmmaker Pip Chodorov’s own description: “I wanted to share a few of the films I love and introduce you to some of the free, radical artists who made them.” Or you could stroll north to Lincoln Center to watch A Heart In Winter, by the French director Claude Sautet, a love and jealousy story between a violin maker, his business partner and a violinist.

sources: artinfo, guggenheim, nytimes, brooklynmuseum,

The hidden art treasures of NYC

We showed you the boat graveyard in Staten Island and the hidden subway station and today Angel Orensanz Foundation would like to share with you another NYC secret! This time it’s a collection of museums that are not in your New York City guide. The MET , the Guggenheim, those are all great, but you can find real treasures in the little art spaces that not many people are familiar with.

To pay homage to where the Angel Orensanz Foundation stands, the first little treasure is a museum right in our neighborhood that will keep you up to date with all the stories of the Lower East Side. It’s called the Tenement Museum, on the corner of Delancey and Orchard streets. The museum offers tours inside an old tenement house, promoting historical understanding through a deep trip back into the past of the neighborhood and the lives of the families that lived in the building, with each floor recreating the history of a different family. They also offer tours in the neighborhood, so you can see what has changed (certainly the Angel Orensanz Foundation is one of the places that exemplifies this change) in the Lower East Side.

Angel Orensanz has experimented with various arts, including the moving image. Luckily there is a museum in Queens that celebrates just that. The Museum of the Moving Image embraces a wide range of materials related to the film industry that goes from the earliest nineteenth century optical toys to the latest in digital art. The museum explores all the phases of the making of the moving image, with interactive exhibitions showing of contemporary and classic films, hosting discussions, exhibiting unique collections and more. It is definitely an experience you shouldn’t miss in NYC.

Also in Queens,  get to know the “Global Graffiti Mecca”5 Pointz. It is not so much an official museum as it is an outdoor art exhibit, where aerosol artists from all over the world come to paint colorful graffiti pieces on the walls of the 200,000 sq. foot factory building.

Finally, take a trip to Brooklyn to check out the little museum which shouldn’t be missed called The City Reliquary. It’s located in the Williamsburg area and it displays many NYC artifacts, connecting the past and the present of the city.

Sources: matadornetwork