Just Do Art, Week of Oct. 9, 2014
BY SCOTT STIFFLER | CRAZY 8 CARTOON FESTIVAL on EIGHTH STREET
Close off the block, put up a screen, show some classic and cutting-edge cartoons and everybody will be happy — but the Crazy 8 Cartoon Festival has broader ambitions. Awaken your inner illustrator, by strolling a single block of West Eighth Street and taking part in every comic-and-cartoon-art-themed activity this (first annual!) event has to offer: 8 hours of animation, 8 hours of comic and cartoon art shows from seasoned pros, 8 hours of family art projects, cartoon-ified $8 adult cocktails, super high-end (and super real) cartoon tattoos for $8, and an 8-minute street parade! In a bold break from the “8” theme, the festival lasts 14 hours — during which four gigantic original wall murals will be created.
Free. From 10 a.m. to Midnight on Sat., Oct. 18, on the block of W. Eighth St. (btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.). Visit crazy8cartoonfestival.com for schedule and event info. Also visit villagealliance.org for info or the event’s sponsor.
CHANT MACABRE: SONGS FROM THE CRYPT
From the stunning Greek revival parlor to the modest fourth floor Irish servants’ quarters to their extensive collection of clothing, housewares and furnishings used by the Tredwell family over the course of nearly a century, it’s easy to sing the praises of the Merchant’s House Museum — NYC’s only family home preserved intact from the mid-1800s era. Not so easy to sing are the vocal pyrotechnics of The Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society. This foursome with fearsome pipes will soon return to the abnormally paranormal Merchant’s House, for “Chant Macabre: Songs From the Crypt.” It’s their annual program of ghoulish music by 19th-century composers Schubert, Carl Loewe, Schumann, MacDowell, Liszt, Debussy, Mussorgsky, Massenet, Saint-Saëns, and Strauss — as well as somewhat lighter (yet fittingly dark-themed) ballads and vaudeville selections from the same period. They’re all performed in the aforementioned Victorian parlor — where museumgoers have reported phantom notes from the non-functioning piano and snoring from an unoccupied sofa (past BSESS audiences have sworn they saw a ghostly concertgoer dressed in period attire).
This event always sells out (proceeds benefit the Museum), so reservations are strongly recommended. Call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org — where you’ll find info on other “spirited” October events, including their spine-tingling late-month Ghost Tours and an Oct. 21 Ghost Hunting 101 lecture by frequent Merchant’s House paranormal investigator Dan Sturges.
“Chant Macabre” happens Fri., Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Tickets are $25, $15 for Museum members.
HIGH LINE OPEN STUDIOS
Apple picking is fine, but what you take home can only be fun to look at for a short period of time before it all goes bad. Our idea of a fall weekend tradition is the High Line Open Studios tour. Dozens of West Chelsea-based artists will make their workplaces accessible to art lovers, enthusiasts, collectors, curators and dealers (with great deals on long-lasting work that’s suitable for framing, or already framed!).
Fri., Oct. 17 from 6–8 p.m. and Sat./Sun., Oct. 18/19 from 12–6 p.m. On event days, a greeter at the West Chelsea Art Building (508/526 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.) will provide a map (also available in the lobby of Westbeth Artists Housing, 55 Bethune St., and at participating sponsors’ locations). Visit highlineopenstudios.org for a downloadable version of the map along with artist and sponsor info.
THE BAD THEATER FEST
We’re betting — and really, really hoping — that bad is just another name for good, when it comes to the short plays, comedy shows, dance, puppet theater and films presented by edition #3 of the annual Bad Theater Fest. Weird, wonderful and eccentric are words used by organizers to describe the 50-plus works. Based on our quick scan of the lineup, we’re inclined to agree.
“Golden Lear” is Shakespeare’s gloomy and lengthy “King Lear” finally done right: performed in 30 minutes by TV’s iconic Golden Girls. “Everybody Dies” is demented monologist Jason Blanche’s confession of his crippling fear that his status as an only child will one day take him back to Boston, to serve as primary caretaker for his “overwhelming mother.” Stand-up comic Tabitha Vidaurri’s “Write if You Get Work” dissects every day job she’s had over the last eight years. Three best friends give equal attention to the absurd and scatological, in the scripted humor of “The Rolling Scones Sketch Show.” Banished to the basement and forced to collaborate on a lowly advice column, four once-powerful women plot to get their old mega-media jobs back, in “Dear Penelope.” Oh, the horror! “Cat” is an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway atrocity, with one man doing all of the singing, dancing and feline pelvic thrusting. In addition to dozens of other shows, bad art will grace (or curse?) the lobby, and there will be a Bad Costume Contest and Halloween Party on Oct. 31. The fest returns in mid-2015, with an all-film format.
Two-hour blocks of multiple performances at 7, 9 & 11 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 17, 24, 30. Also at 5, 7, 9 & 11 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 18, 25 & Nov. 1. Best/Worst of Fest performances on Sun. Nov. 2 at 7 & 9 p.m. At Chelsea’s newly-opened Treehouse Theater (2nd floor of 154 W. 29th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves). For tickets ($15) and schedule, visit badtheaterfest.com. Twitter@badtheaterfest and on Facebook at facebook.com/BadTheaterFest. For venue info: treehousetheaternyc.com.
THE CHELSEA FILM FESTIAL
Now an annual fall event, the Chelsea Film Festival (CFF) supports the work of emerging, risk-taking filmmakers whose documentaries, shorts, and feature-length passion projects deserve big screens and wide audiences. International in scope (a dozen countries are represented), the festival’s commitment to empowerment is also hyper-local. As a non-profit cultural organization, CFF provides free arts classes to Chelsea youth, year-round.
From India, “Blemished Light” opens the festival, with filmmaker Raj Amit Kumar in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. The crime drama takes place in both NYC and New Delhi (“archetypal cities of economic and patriarchal control”), where four characters must perpetrate violence or fight it, in the name of freedom. “Let’s Dance” is South Korean filmmaker Seyong Jo’s documentary about the social uproar following a 2009 whistle-blowing incident in which obstetricians named colleagues who were performing surgical abortions. “A Quintet” has young filmmakers from Germany, the United States, Italy, the Balkans and Turkey meet in Berlin, then return home to create their segments based on what they’ve discovered about each other.
Oct. 16–19 at the SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) and The New School University Center (65 Fifth Ave., corner of 14th St.). Visit chelseafilm.org for screening schedule, film synopsis & clips, and ticket purchase. Individual tickets are $13 ($8 for students/seniors), with festival passes at $91 for the general public and $56 for students/seniors). Follow the fest on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube & other social media.