East Village arts guide
You're artistic, avant-garde, a real pioneer. You jumped the river for cooler pastures years ago. But guess what? You're missing out on what these creativity hothouses are cultivating.
Tue Jul 21 2009
- The locals guide to the East Village
Fuse Gallery quietly shows some of the city’s most inventive urban and graphic art, in the back of the notoriously grungy Lit Lounge. (And we mean all the way in the back—to enter, patrons walk through the bar.) Over the past year, Fuse’s curators have stepped up their game, luring in celebrity guest artists like Spike Jonze and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Even better is their knack for finding works of eye-popping craftiness, such as the current show of William Lemon’s “voodoo” creations, which incorporate slivers of Andy Warhol canvases. 93 Second Ave between 5th and 6th Sts (212-777-7988, fusegallerynyc.com)
Drom has done for the city’s jazz and world-music scenes what (Le) Poisson Rouge, in Greenwich Village, has done for the classical-music scene: moved them off the conventional circuit and repackaged them in a trendy subterranean nightclub and restaurant. The menu here is something you could call “haute Turkish fusion,” with high-concept cocktails and finger foods like lamb skewers, marinated olives and a hummus plate. The real fusion happens on Drom’s stage, though. This month’s performance lineup includes everything from Afro-Peruvian jazz band Alcatraz (Friday 24) to Japanese bossa nova singer Akemi (Sunday 26). 85 Ave A between 5th and 6th Sts (212-777-1157, dromnyc.com)
The Wild Project
It’s a theater. It’s a gallery. It’s an eco-space. The Wild Project is the only venue in the neighborhood—and the city—where you can see a damn good play or art show in a building cooled naturally by a 2,000-square-foot living green roof. But even without the promise of low-flush toilets and sustainable bamboo seats, the productions here stand on their own—the Wild Project specializes in first-rate, non-granola fringe fare, including the recent The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents (sex, mental illness!) and Stitching (sex, violence, doomed pregnancy!). Stop by before August 1 for Lisa Ebersole’s dysfunctional family dramedy, Mother. Now up in the gallery: a collection of eerie abstract cell-phone photographs by David Melrose, titled “Self Examination as a Chance Operation.” 195 E 3rd St between Aves A and B (212-228-1195, thewildproject.com)
The tiny experimental concert space helmed by alto-sax iconoclast John Zorn is proof that the East Village’s bohemian roots still run deep. It’s the kind of place where adventurous concertgoers who brave the venue’s no-booze policy and spartan plastic chairs might find themselves sitting next to Lou Reed. The focus is on the musicians, many of whom seem to be famous Zorn cohorts; in the next couple weeks, the Stone hosts Vijay Iyer (Thursday 23), Meshell Ndegeocello (July 31) and the BBC, an awesome side project from Wilco guitarist Nels Cline (July 30). Ave C at 2nd St (no phone, thestonenyc.com)
Performance Space 122
The veteran institution, which became famous in the ’80s and ’90s for showcasing left-field artists like Annie Sprinkle and Spalding Gray, hasn’t lost its cred. P.S. 122 remains the go-to presenter of weirdly fascinating performance art, from audience-interactive political theater to a dinosaur-themed opera by noise-rockers Japanther. Don’t miss the hilarious hippie play The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side, which just extended its run through August 17. 150 First Ave at 9th St (212-477-5829, ps122.org)
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Take back the East Village
Once, the East Village was the shit. Is there any cool left? We found out.