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Last week A and I went to see Lorenzo Pisoni perform his childhood in his one man show ‘Humor Abuse.’ The theater is tiny and Pisoni draws his audience into the story (sometimes literally) while keeping them on their toes (beware of those sandbags!). One of my favorite lines went something like…

‘So it was me and a lifesize model of me and several helium balloons in the steamer trunk and it was summer and it was hot and sometimes the balloons would break, and it was very loud. This started when I was three. I HATE balloons.’

The tricks and acrobatics were exciting but it was the story that really drew the piece together and made it feel worth watching. I only wish clowning was always that engaging!

Friday night I saw Emanuel and the Fear play at Crash Mansion (I mentioned the show to you in my weekend post). The number of instruments on stage is a bit overwhelming but all of the sounds are used to great effect, including the voices of the two vocalists- Emanuel Ayvas and Liz Hanley.

Dallin Applebaum and Liz Hanley

Emanuel Ayvas and Liz Hanley

Liz Hanley, Brian Sanders and Colin Dean

Liz Hanley, Tom Swafford and Brian Sanders

Saturday was beautiful and I hope everyone spent as much time out in the sunshine as possible; I certainly did! I had a picnic in Prospect Park with a group of friends and then we all wandered over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to experience the cherry trees in bloom. They will be blooming for several weeks and you can keep track of their progress and plan your visit accordingly through the website.

Cherry Tree blooming in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Cherry Tree blooming in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Saturday evening G and I attended one of the Jazz at Lincoln Center events. Of course first we wandered around failing to find the theater and then failing to find the box office but eventually we made it to our seats. This event showcased some pieces by Wynton Marsalis, who was also performing, and some stories by Langston Hughes. I will admit the whole thing was a bit too edgy for me. There was a whole series devoted to various animals and generally speaking no matter how interesting it is to make a saxophone sound like a monkey I still do not think it’s worth buying tickets to hear the result. However, some of the jazz was more traditional and certainly the technical skill of the musicians was more than adequately demonstrated. There was also tap dancing, which was marvelous to watch, even from the balcony. P.S. If you attend any events at the Rose Theater you should call the box office and ask for the seats behind the stage; they’re cheaper and you’ll be right on top of the action (I intend to do this next time).

We grabbed a bit of a hurried dinner at Cafeteria (classic Chelsea restaurant- music loud enough for a club, men with too much product in their hair, modernist furniture and slightly pretentious everything, however pretty yummy for all that) before heading over to the Chelsea Clearview Cinemas to see The Raspberry Brothers in action! Jerm says I was one of the first to begin promoting their show but luckily others have now caught on; check out his interview with Andrew Singer in The Apiary. The Apiary is also recommending the improv comedy festival at The Creek LIC this weekend, which also includes an act from one of the Raspberry Brothers (amazing how comedy comes together).

The Raspberry Brothers

The Raspberry Brothers

On Sunday G and I experienced a somewhat different form of comedy at the Barrymore Theater, where we saw an all-star cast perform ‘Exit the King.’ The whole cast is fantastic but I felt like Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon were really incredible. The script was witty and occasionally just a tad profound without feeling dark. For example;

He acts as if no one has ever died before!

No one alive HAS ever died!

The final scene is rather hypnotic and was not necessarily the best way to draw the story to a close. I adored the absurd capes and crowns and had to fight the urge to go and find a very long piece of fabric immediately (I played dress up a lot as a child).

Sunday night I had dinner in a bubble. Yes, a giant plastic bubble, the Raumlabor’s Spacebuster to be precise. This art installation by German artists focuses on the idea of using vacant space. The bubble will be traveling to various locales around the city this week and you should try to attend one of the events. It is definitely an amazing experience to dance to tunes spun by Jonathan Toubin inside a bubble in the courtyard of the Old American Can Factory... so I expect the other events will be at least as enjoyable.

The Spacebuster behind the Old American Can Factory

The Spacebuster behind the Old American Can Factory

Inside the Spacebuster after dark

Inside the Spacebuster after dark

Add that to your plans this week! Also be sure to look at my earlier post for other events to consider and stay tuned for additions!

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NOTE: The Big Red Apple is now TheBigRedApple.net

To view this post at its new location click HERE!

I’ve already mentioned a number of wonderful events taking place this weekend; these additions may make it impossible to choose!

Tonight is the start of The Anthology Film Archives’ weekend at the Chelsea Hotel. They’ll be showing films about, filmed at, or created by residents of The Chelsea Hotel.

The Chelsea Hotel has been a haven for artists and thinkers for 125 years, and, despite recent forebodings of change, it remains an almost miraculous island of continuity and cultural integrity in a city that makes such longevity nearly impossible. Countless legends have made the Chelsea their home including writers from Mark Twain and Dylan Thomas to Arthur Miller and Jean Paul Sartre; musicians such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, and Iggy Pop; and a whole host of artists, including Jasper Johns, Arman, Willem De Kooning, and Robert Crumb. Among the famous figures who lived (or worked) there are many whose histories are intertwined with Anthology, from early associates, friends, and supporters (Shirley Clarke, Patti Smith, Julian Schnabel, Michel Auder) to filmmakers included in the Essential Cinema collection (Robert Flaherty, Harry Smith, Andy Warhol, and PULL MY DAISY participants Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Jack Kerouac), and many others from the downtown counter-cultural milieu from which Anthology emerged in the late-sixties.

Tonight check out Alex Cox’s cult classic ‘Sid and Nancy.’

What’s the most hipster event conceivable? A symposium about what the hipster culture “was” (apparently it is no longer authentic; how ironic is that?). Saturday afternoon the literary magazine n+1 hosts “An Afternoon Panel, Symposium, and Historical Investigation” entitled “What Was the Hipster.” Need I say more?

Also on Saturday you can learn a new way to paint Easter Eggs, or experience the art form for the first time, at Spacecraft Brooklyn:

In the Ukranian tradition, you can intimately greet Spring’s arrival by decorating eggs using the ancient technique and tools of psanky. You will have the opportunity to learn the meaning of all classic symbols and designs and be encouraged to create new ones of your own.

Saturday is also the first day of the Food For Thought Film Festival, which is devoted to several crucial issues: access to clean food and water; human rights; local and sustainable agriculture; and the effects of policy on small American farmers.

food

I would also like to add a few ongoing theater productions that have been stirring up some excellent buzz.

“Exit The King”marks Geoffrey Rush’s Broadway debut as a king who refuses to retire without a fight. He plays alongside Susan Sarandon, Lauren Ambrose, Andrea Martin, William Sadler and Brian Hutchinson. All six actors have received high marks for their performances.

Lauren Ambrose (Queen Marie), Geoffrey Rush (King Berenger), William Sadler (The Doctor) and Susan Sarandon (Queen Marguerite).

Lauren Ambrose (Queen Marie), Geoffrey Rush (King Berenger), William Sadler (The Doctor) and Susan Sarandon (Queen Marguerite).

Another Broadway debut worth celebrating is that of Neil LaBute, the writer of the hit play “Reasons to be Pretty.” This love story, about a man who mentions the unthinkable to the woman he adores ( her physical imperfections), is a “hopelessly romantic drama about the hopelessness of romance.”

Also ongoing, and recently extended, is Christopher Durang’s play “Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them.”

torture

Stay tuned for more weekend events!

Past Shenanigans

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