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New York is connected

Creative groups often center around a specific person or place, making it easy to get involved. We look at five.

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EARL DAX


By Ben Walters

Since arriving in New York in 2005, promoter, producer and curator Earl Dax has had a pivotal role in the downtown queer creative scene, connecting drag royalty, major performance artists and up-and-coming talent.

THE DECADENTLY DISILLUSIONED
The likes of Justin Bond, Penny Arcade and Ana Matronic walk a teasy, sleazy line at Dax’s regular cabaret night, Weimar New York, which finds parallels between 1930s Germany and the USA today. Last week’s special shows focused on the election. For upcoming-show info, go to weimarnewyork.com.

THOSE SEEKING TOGETHERNESS THROUGH SONG
In addition to showcasing downtown vocalists like Bridget Everett and Novice Theory, Dax has produced songbook nights at Joe’s Pub for Nick Hallett and Passing Strange’s Stew. Dax’s next muse is songstress Jennifer O’Connor, whom he’s known “since her days as a bartender at Metropolitan.” O’Connor is at the Bowery Ballroom Wed 12.

BOYLESQUE DANCE FREAKS
Dax’s Tingel Tangel Club event, held at various Brooklyn and Queens locations, is a magnet for tricked-out trannies in handmade finery, courtesy of neodrag troupe the Pixie Harlots and a rotating cast of gendernauts and performers like Narcissister. It’s also bicoastal; SF’s DJ Peeplay made his NYC debut at October’s Tingel Tangel. /myspace.com/tingeltangelclub

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS
A thread of activism runs through many of Dax’s projects. He’s collaborated with Penny Arcade’s Globesity Festival and culture jammers the Yes Men and performance artist Karen Finley, and he contributed profits from last week’s Weimar New York election shows (featuring Tigger! and other Dax pals) to Democracy Now! He’s also recently discovered the Change You Want to See Gallery, run by art-activist group Not an Alternative (). “Turns out that I’ve lived within walking distance of the gallery ever since I moved to the city,” he says.

ART FAGS
Dax is a familiar face at primo art-world venues, having curated “HOT!,” a monthlong celebration of queer culture held at Dixon Place every summer (dixonplace.org), and masterminded an Art Jam salon at BAMcafé and occasional Tingel Tangel nights at Deitch Studios (deitch.com). Meanwhile, Dax vouches for Ginger Brooks Takahashi’s Full Moon PowerStitch craftfest at the New Museum Nov 13(newmuseum.org). Her old band used to rehearse in his basement.

NEXT: Barbès»

Barbès


By Joshua M. Bernstein

Blocks from bucolic Prospect Park sits this French-flavored bastion of Brooklyn boho cool. Flickering candles set aglow the bespectacled literati mingling with Scotch-sipping filmmakers, rabble-rousing marching bands and sweaty revelers swaying beneath the punched-tin ceiling. 376 9th St at Sixth Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn (347-422-0248, barbesbrooklyn.com)


LOCAL CINEPHILES
Join film lovers the first and third Mondays of each month for the Brooklyn Independent Cinema Series. Next program Nov 17 at 7pm: a selectionof short documentaries from the Brooklyn International Film Festival (brooklynindependent.com)

LITERATE ROCKERS
Come the first Sunday of every month for the rock-tinged 33 1/3 multimedia reading series. Joe Harvard talks about the Velvet Underground Dec 7 at 7pm. (33third.blogspot.com)

WORLD-BEAT DEVOTEES
Mondays bring Chicha Libre’s joyful Peruvian stew, while the Mandingo Ambassadors anoint Wednesdays with West African rhythms. Chica Libre: Mondays (except Mon 10) 7pm; Mandingo Ambassadors: Wednesdays 10pm

SONIC AFICIONADOS
WFMU DJ Bethany Ryker curates Wednesdays’ avant-garde performance series Stochastic Brooklyn. Next show Wed 12 with the Mary Halvorson Trio; 8pm, $10per set

DEMON DANCERS
Boogie to bombastic Gypsy brass and Balkan beats during Tuesdays’ hip-wiggling Slavic Soul Party! Tuesdays (except Tue 11) 10pm, $10 (slavicsoulparty.com)

NEXT: 3rd Ward»

3rd Ward


By Joshua M. Bernstein

Artists, designers and woodworkers flock to this creative compound to produce art, peruse exhibitions and occasionally party. 195 Morgan Ave between Meadow and Stagg Sts, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-715-4961, 3rdward.com)


SKETCH ARTISTS
Illustrators and artists outline models and sip beer at the biweekly Wednesday Drink-N-Draw events. Next event Wed 12 at 8pm, $15

CREATIVE COMRADES
A community of the independently employed escapes home isolation alongside fellow freelancers in the shared office space and digital media lab. Go to 3rdward.com for information.

FILMMAKER WANNA-BES
Local cinematic talent gathers every other Sunday at Moviehouse to show off their work. Next screening Sun 9 at 8pm, free

KNOWLEDGE SEEKERS
Experienced artists, as well as novices who spend their days in other professions, trek to Bushwick for classes ranging from screen-printing to furniture building. Class schedule varies; go to 3rdward.com for more info.

HANDS-ON ARTISTS
Artisans who join the collective get space to hammer, saw and weld in the wood and metal fabrication shops. Go to 3rdward.com for information.

NEXT: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center »

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center


By Erin McHugh

The Center, as it’s known to LGBT New Yorkers, is where the community congregates, educates and advocates, thanks to a diverse array of clubs, meetings and social events. 208 W 13th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-620-7310, gaycenter.org)


CHICK BOOKWORMS AND CINEPHILES
Lesbians ponder Rita Mae Brown instead of Dan Brown at the SAL Book Discussion Group (third Sunday of each month, 1–2:30pm). Lesbian Cinema Arts offers a series of films and discussions. Next screening Nov 14 at 7:30pm; $10, advance $8

THE WORKING GAY
Probably the best LGBT professional networking gig in town—the Out Professionals social-hour/guest-speaker combo, still going strong after 25 years—is one of the most popular Center events. Next event: B2B Networking Intensive, Thu 6 6–9pm; $10, OP members $5 (outprofessionals.org)

FITNESS BUFFS
Gays, lesbians and transgenders meet on the mats for Yoga for People of All Genders, a drop-in class where they stretch their minds, bodies and social circles. Tue 6–7:30pm; suggested donation $5

LGBT MOMS AND DADS
The successful program, Center Kids, Center Families—for LGBT parents and their children under the age of nine—started back in 1989 and has gone far beyond the sandbox. Parents come for support, training and plenty of family events. For info, call 212-620-7310 or e-mail centerkids@gaycenter.org.

BINGO FANATICS
Get your B-12 shot with hostess Lady Clover Honey, go-go boys and girls, prizes and a $500 jackpot. These Friday nights rock a packed house of 100-plus gamers. It’s like Bingo Without Borders—everybody comes! Next events Nov 21, Dec 19 7–10pm; $15, advance $12

NEXT: KGB Bar»

KGB Bar


By Kelly McMasters

Once a Ukrainian social club, this epicenter for downtown literati still conjures the crumbling, inconspicuous air of a speakeasy; smokers crowd the steep stoop, and heavy red curtains obscure the intimate second-floor bar where readings are first-rate and free. 85 E 4th St between Second and Third Aves (212-505-3360, kgbbar.com)


THE LIT ELITE
Forget the Barnes & Noble blockbusters; if you want to know which tomes to flaunt on the subway, hit The KGB Series—which comes in fiction, poetry and nonfiction flavors—to see indie faves such as poet Brenda Shaughnessey, novelist Samantha Hunt and memoirist Joan Wickersham. Sun (fiction), Mon (poetry), Tue (nonfiction) 7–9pm

DO-GOODERS AND PHILANTHRO-PHILES
Every second Thursday, literacy nonprofit Behind the Book combines charity with art, hosting new local authors and spreading the word about its mission to promote reading in low-income public schools. Next event: Nov 13 7–9pm; donation suggested

OFF-DUTY BAR FOLK
After the readings finish for the night, the podium is packed away, music replaces the musings, and the crimson bar fills with the East Village service crowd. The drinks are stiff and cheap, and the creaky old spot is a favorite among late-night bartenders just off their shifts. Every night after about 10pm

IRREVERENT AND ROWDY WORDSMITHS
Based on the belief that readings should be short (15 minutes max), sweet (laughter is the goal) and expertly performed (no droning monologues, please), the series Drunken! Careening! Writers! takes over the bar every third Thursday. The next installment features “Funny Gay Males.” Nov 20 7–9pm

NEXT in Essentials 2008: New York is connected A look back at the people, places and things we’ve considered “essential” in the past.»

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