Just Do Art!


Compiled by Scott Stiffler


We’re about halfway through a month-long event that sounds like the perfect antidote for those who found the recent Ginsberg-inspired HOWL! Festival (howlfestival.com) to be about as edgy as a butter knife. The Lower East Side Archives, along with local artists and creative/cultural venues throughout the East Village and the Lower East Side, are currently presenting “Underground Howl” — which shines a light on the vibrant, gritty, diverse creative output of area artists, intellectuals and activists. Decades after Ginsberg let out his primal, poetic and pissy howl, challenging work is still being created that would make the man proud. You’ll find that work in Underground Howl’s many participating bars, clubs and theaters (including Kenkeleba House, Yippie Cafe, bar 82, TheaterLab, Theatre 80,  Bluestockings, Metropolitan Playhouse, Ding Dong Lounge and Varga Gallery).

Upcoming, in the fest: 5CC Cultural Center’s “Awareness Nights” offers a series of original compositions and performances, generally beginning around 8pm (June 18, 29). Every Monday and Thursday throughout June, it’s “I Love Lucy’s” night at Lucy’s on Avenue A. Lucy and artists will be in attendance (pool table Mondays, pinotta Thursdays). An “Art Party” will be held from 6-9pm at Patti Kelly Gallery on June 26th (E. 8th St., btw. Aves. C & D). The closing party happens on June 30, 6-10pm, at Bar On A (Avenue A & 11th St.). Underground Howl happens through June 30, at various locations. For a full schedule of events, visit undergroundhowl.org.


The week-long “Banners & Cranks: A Cantastoria Festival” is being presented by HERE and its Dream Music Puppetry Program (Basil Twist, Artistic Director). All events feature the cantastoria style — in which handmade paintings on flip-over banners, animated on scrolls & moving mechanisms, sung and spoken narration, puppetry and live music combine in a one-of-a-kind storytelling experience. Each night features a different “cabaret style” show organized around a theme. Visit here.org for a full schedule — and consider these promising premises: “Sink or Swim” (Sun. June 26, 7pm) tempts you into the deep end, with work from veteran puppeteers and young newcomers from New York, North Carolina, Vermont and Canada. Also on June 26, at 2pm: “The Cat & the Fiddle” is a family-friendly tale (tail?) featuring stories, poems, tales and fables. Definitely for adults, Fri., June 24’s 11pm performance of “Phobia & Fetish” explores murderous passions and odd obsessions.

Opening Celebration: Sat. June 19, 4-7:30pm in Brooklyn Bridge Park (free). Then, Wed. June 22 & 23 at 7pm; Fri. June 24, at 7 & 11pm; Sat June 25 at 7pm; Sun June 26 at 7pm. At HERE (145 Sixth Ave. Enter on Dominick St., one block south of Spring St.). For tickets ($20 per show, $30 for a two-show pass), call 212-352-3010 or visit here.org (or purchase at the HERE Box Office, 5pm to curtain on show days).


The Montclair, New Jersey-based Freespace Dance — under the direction of Donna Scro — returns to St. Mark’s Church with a program of four New York premieres (and live music). “Breath of the Heart” features an as-yet untitled men’s study in power and vigor. “Wombed” is a contrasting duet created by Scro (in collaboration with Nicole Smith), which explores the shared experience of the female world. The group dance “From This and Before” highlights the full company to music composed and performed by Amanda Harberg. Freespace’s Dance 2 Company is featured in “Fear or Love” — choreographed by company dancer Smith. On June 23, a free post-performance discussion features guest composers Harberg, Brett Deubner and Donna Scro. After the June 24 performance, a private reception honors choreographer Randy James for his contributions to dance in New Jersey. For info and to make a reservation, call 973-641-1931. “Breath of the Heart” happens Thurs.-Sat., June 23-25, 8pm at St. Mark’s Church (131 E. 10th St. at 2nd Ave.). For tickets ($18, $12 for students/seniors), call 866-811-4111 or visit danspaceproject.org. Also visit freespacedance.com.