Just Do Art!

We got ‘em on the spot: See the Eli Yamin Blues Band, on Oct. 26. Photo courtesy of Trevor J. Martin


Tribeca Performing Arts Center’s annual Spotlight series kicks off with the Eli Yamin Blues Band performing spiritual, classical, bebop and blues-infused selections from their debut CD (“I Feel So Glad”). For this Oct. 26 gig, the ensemble will feature violinist and vocalist Mazz Swift along with longtime band members Bob Stewart on tuba, LaFrae Sci on drums/vocals — and on piano and vocals, founder Eli Yamin (of whom Wynton Marsalis said, “I learn from Eli every time I see his work.”).

The Spotlight series continues on Nov. 9, with singer/songwriter Jonathan Spottiswoode’s band (Spottiswoode & His Enemies). On Dec. 14, it’s the Brooklyn-based four-piece “reduction-stutter-funk band” Aabaraki. New York’s top African-American comics are featured in headliner Sherrod Small’s “Best Black Show Ever,” on Feb. 15. On March 1, hear what the merger of traditional jug band energy, amped-up lap steel guitar and Chicago-style blues harp sounds like — when the eight-piece Hudson Valley band Spuyten Duyvil performs.

April 12’s show features The Brooklyn Women’s Chorus — and on May 10, the Spotlight series concludes with “Laughs for Mom,” a comedic pre-Mother’s Day celebration featuring stand-up Joe Matarese’s autobiographical recollections of his dysfunctional Italian family (which, given the show’s theme, might go light on mom jokes purely as a one-time courtesy). Adrienne Iapalucci and Paul Virzi are also on the bill.

The Eli Yamin Blues Band performs on Fri., Oct. 26, 8pm. At BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (199 Chambers St., btw. Greenwich Ave. & West St.). Tickets: $15 ($10 when you purchase a Spotlight FIVE subscription). To order, call 212-220-1460 or visit tribecapac.org/spotlight.htm. Also visit tribecapac.org and eliyamin.com.

Tired of staring at art in a gallery or museum only to fruitlessly ponder what its creator was thinking? Go straight to the source, by taking a free self-guided tour of West Chelsea art studios. This year’s installment of the “High Line Open Studios” event doesn’t promise definitive answers to your questions about the meaning of a particular piece…but it does afford the rare opportunity to interact with artists in the very space where their work is created.

What began in 2000 as a grassroots movement by a group of four artists housed in the West Chelsea Arts Building has evolved into an annual event whose 2012 installment will see more than 70 artists open their studios up to the public. In addition to gaining insight into the creative process, art lovers, collectors, dealers and visitors who fall for a particular piece will have the ability to purchase that work before it makes its way to a gallery wall.

The free self-guided tour takes place daily, 12-6pm, from Fri., Oct. 19 through Sun., Oct. 21. At the West Chelsea Arts Building (508-526 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). A map listing 10 West Chelsea arts district buildings housing the participating studios will be provided. To preview the tour, visit highopenstudios.org.

Amore Opera delivers two comedic tales. Photo Courtesy Amore Opera

Amore Opera’s ambitious double bill boldly reinterprets two comedies composed by Gaetano Donizetti (“Olivo e Pasquale” and “Don Pasquale”) as a sort of singing “Godfather” saga — by transplanting the action to 1800s Sicily and casting the Part II titular character as a quick-tempered crime boss operating undercover as an oil exporter trying to marry off his strong-willed daughter while clashing with his younger brother (the benevolent and humane Pasquale). Years pass, and the aging Don finds even more frustration when again mixing Cupid with coercion (by planning another marriage, this time for his nephew). Deception, disguises and hilarity ensue!

Directed by Nathan Hull, the two productions run in tandem from Oct. 19-Nov. 4. At The Connelly Theater (220 E. 4th St., btw. Aves. A & B.). For specific performance dates/times and to purchase tickets ($40, $30 for student/seniors), call 866-811-4111 or visit amoreopera.org.

Mari Andrejo, in “Riders to the Sea.” Photo by Edward Herbst


Director Beth Skinner and composer/musician Edward Herbst — whose Triple Shadow company creates visual theater through live music, real-time video projections, masks, puppetry and dance — has been presenting at La MaMa E.T.C. for 20 years. Their latest La MaMa incarnation, “2 From the Sea,” is composed of two solo adaptations of plays whose themes are based on stories of the sea.

Adapted from a radio play by Dylan Thomas, “Holiday Memory” features Seamus Maynard subbing for the author (shades of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”) by regaling the audience with a wistful childhood recollection of a day at the seaside. His tale is accompanied by an original musical score for harmonium, mandolin and toy piano, intertwined with traditional Celtic songs performed by Edward Herbst.

Set in the Aran Islands, John Millington Synge’s “Riders to the Sea” takes place during the October 31/November 1 Gaelic harvest festival of Samhain (which heralds the beginning of the dark season). In the hands of Triple Shadow, it’s a time when the boundaries between the living and dead thins. Solo actor Mari Andrejco plays Cathleen, who leaves a light in the window to guide the departed home and sets places at the table for her six brothers, father, and grandfather, all lost at sea. The music, composed and performed by Herbst, includes traditional Irish songs.

Oct.18-Nov. 4. Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30pm, Sun. at 2:30pm. At La MaMa E.T.C. (74A E. 4th St., btw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.). For tickets ($18, $13 for students/seniors), call 212-475-7710 or visit lamama.org. Also visit tripleshadow.org.

Writer and “Ax Wound” founder Hannah Neurotica host this reading and open mic for horror and feminist-themed work (partially in solidarity with the Halloween season, partially in celebration of the magazine’s new issue). Founded with the mission to create a dialogue about gender in the horror, slasher and gore genres (which typically reinforce patriarchal values), “Ax Wound” has found a hungry audience among both feminist horror fans and general interest genre enthusiasts. Following a reading of excerpts from the latest issue, Neurotica will lead a discussion on what it means to be a feminist horror fan, artist, filmmaker and writer.

Mon., Oct. 22, 7pm. At Bluestockings Bookstore (172 Allen St., btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.). The suggested donation is $5 (but at Bluestockings, you’ll never be turned away because of empty pockets — so just show up!). For info, visit bluestockings.com, hannahneurotica.com and axwoundzine.com.

Always heard but seldom (if ever) seen, the identity of a Broadway pit musician is shrouded in mystery. Normally, a Pit Stop Players concert affords them the opportunity to step onto the stage and reveal themselves to the world. But this is no normal gig from the 14-member chamber ensemble (who’ve collectively played in pit orchestras for over 120 Broadway productions). “Paranormal Activities” is a Halloween-themed concert in which the group will perform in costume — thus, ironically, concealing their true selves. Audience members are encouraged to help increase the air of mystery by also showing up in costume.

Conductor and composer Joshua Rosenblum, who presides over the fun, assures that the evening will have its dark side as well: “This is a collection of great scary music,” says Rosenblum of the creative content. Selections will include Louis Levy’s theme from the film “Sabotage,” George Lessner’s “Ride of the Headless Horseman” (from the Broadway production of “Sleepy Hollow”) and the world premiere of Rosenblum’s “Zombies Eating Pie.” The Players assume no responsibility for restless dreams — but they do promise that your nightmares will have a killer soundtrack.

Mon., Oct. 29, 7:30 pm, at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Benzaquen Hall (450 West 37th St., btw. Ninth & Tenth Aves.). For tickets ($25, $15 for students), purchase cash only at the door or visit smarttix.com. For info on the Pit Stop Players, visit rosenblummusic.com or facebook.com/pitstopplayers.

No strangers to multitasking while navigating a razor-thin edge, this upcoming Benefit Gala from Ice Theatre of New York — a figure skating ensemble that’s been integrating the sensibilities of contemporary dance, music and art since 1984 — entertains while raising funds for a good cause. All proceeds will help fund ITNY’s New Works and Young Artists Series — an outreach program for NYC public school children, as well as its 2012-2013 season’s artistic programming.

“Dare to be Debonair” sees ITNY welcoming special guest Richard “Mr. Debonair” Dwyer (one of the most popular performers in the history of show skating and a Guinness Book of World Records holder for Longest Professional Skating Career). Other featured performers of equally impressive accomplishment include Tai Babilonia, Dorothy Hamill, Linda Fratianne and JoJo Starbuck. The ITNY company will perform pieces from its repertory, including works from NYC dance choreographers.

Mon., Oct. 22, 7pm (cocktail reception to follow). At the Chelsea Piers Sky Rink (21st & West Sts.). Single benefit tickets are $350 and up. For performance only, $25. To order, call 212-929-5811 or email itny@icetheatre.org. Also visit icetheatre.org for info on the 2012-2013 season.