Just Do Art: Week of Oct. 20, 2016
MAH JONGG IN JEWISH AND CHINESE HERITAGE | Although the precise details of its Qing Dynasty origins will be forever shrouded in mystery (or at least intense debate), there’s nothing open to interpretation about the enduring appeal of Mah Jongg — a draw-and-discard game whose most popular variation (four players sitting around a table) has been part of the social fabric of America’s Chinese and Jewish communities since making its stateside debut in 1920. Co-sponsored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the China Institute, this event will delve into the history, meaning, and tradition of Mah Jongg. Panelist Gregg Swain (co-author of “Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game”) will pay tribute to the craftsmanship of those lost-to-history designers who created the game’s first tiles — while Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, from the Council of American Jewish Museums, speaks to Mah Jongg’s past and present impact on popular culture.
Wed., Oct. 26, 7pm, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (36 Battery Pl., at West St. & 1st Pl.). For tickets ($12 general, $10 for MJH and China Institute members), call 646-437-4202 or visit mjhnyc.org. Also visit mahjonggtheartofthegame.com and chinainstitute.org.
ERYC TAYLOR DANCE: THE 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY PERFORMANCES | A full decade after its debut performance, the prodigious output, collaborative nature, and nurturing instinct of this prolific company is still in lock step with its founding mission: “advance appreciation of dance by creating and presenting original performances, conducting master classes and workshops, and awarding grants to aspiring choreographers.” Not content to rest on its laurels, this anniversary performance from Eryc Taylor Dance will feature seven world-premiere choreographic works — each with its own stand-alone narrative, choreographed by Taylor and company members, and performed over the course of 60 requisitely tight and dynamic minutes by the quartet of Nicole Baker, Chris Bell, Graham Cole, and Jacob Kruty.
The selections include “Grand Duet,” an Eryc Taylor/Timothy Patterson-choreographed dance featuring Cole and Baker; the Bell-danced “#1 Fan,” which he choreographed, based on his original story. The quartet performs “Song for Cello & Piano,” directed by Taylor to an original composition by author/composer Daniel Tobias; and “Dances on Wood,” another quartet work choreographed to an original score by renowned composer and longtime Chelsea Hotel resident Gerald Busby.
Fri., Oct. 21 & Sat., Oct. 22, 8pm, at the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance (55 Bethune St., at Washington St.). For tickets ($30; $20 for students & seniors), call 858-401-2456 or visit eryctaylordance.com.
“NICE T!TS!” — A RECONSTRUCTIVE COMEDY | Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the appropriately scheduled time for writer/performer Amy Marcs to present an encore run of this multi-character solo comedy about how breast cancer changed her view of femininity, self-confidence, and mortality. “I have a family history of this disease,” she told this publication prior to the 2015 run of her show. As a teenager, Marcs saw her 51-year-old mother die from the disease. Years later, she responded to her own diagnosis (and, ultimately, a double mastectomy) with “an unbelievable gut instinct that I had the emotional strength to go through this.” Determined to get back what she lost (metaphor and spoiler alert!), “Nice T!ts!” is a frank, funny, sharp, wry, and, at times, unabashedly sad look back at her “quest to find the perfect set of boobs,” and the emotionally complicated aftermath of achieving that goal.
–By Scott Stiffler