Just Do Art!

December 5: The Rob Susman Brass Quartet leads the carol sing, under the Washington Square Arch. Photo by Ken Howard


WASHINGTON SQUARE TREE  |  Maybe it’s the comfort taken by participating in a seasonal tradition, or the way exhaled breath looks as it wafts upward on a chilly December night, past a string of twinkling lights. Maybe it’s a matter of group dynamics and distinctive acoustics. One thing’s for sure, carols and brass instruments just sound better when they bounce off the Washington Square Arch. On December 5, it’s a Facebook page photo op moment waiting to happen — as the Rob Susman Brass Quartet leads children and grown-ups alike in the singing of beloved holiday carols. No pressure to remember the words — The Washington Square Association will provide complimentary songbooks. That happens after Santa Claus (whose appearance was confirmed just as we went to press) shows up to lead the children in a countdown that ends with the illumination of a 45-foot-tall tree taking up temporary residents under the Arch (and lit for the season between the hours of 4pm and 1 am daily).

Free. The tree lighting and carol sing happens on Wed., Dec. 5, at 6pm. At the Washington Square Park Arch (at the foot of Fifth Ave., one block south of Eighth St.). Then, at 5pm on Christmas Eve (Mon., Dec. 24), another carol sing, same location. For info, visit washingtonsquarenyc.org or call 212-252-3621.

Photo by Brian Loube
Left to right: Yibin Li, Muneyoshi Takahashi, Sean Katsuyama and Entela Barci.

THE IRIS STRING QUARTET  |  Named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow — and comprised of four musicians equally devoted to education and performance (each teaches their respective instrument) — the Iris String Quartet will perform the first chamber music evening of the season at the Metropolitan Playhouse. The program, comprised of 20th and 21st century American music, includes Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135, Nick DiBerardino’s “Celestial Dances” and, from Michael Kosch, the world premiere of “Allegro con fuoco” from Giotto for solo violin.

Tues., Dec. 4, 8pm. At the Metropolitan Playhouse (220 E. Fourth St. btw. Aves. A & B). For tickets ($25 for adults, $10 for children), call 800-838-3006. For info, visit metropolitanplayhouse.org.

Photo courtesy of the artist and apexart
The medium is the marketplace: Matt Brown’s “The Bathtub Synth” is a featured work in “As Real As It Gets.”

AS REAL AS IT GETS  |  “Tell me about yourself,” says Rob Walker, “and you might mention where you’re from, the music you prefer…but I doubt you’ll mention brands or products.” Whether we own up to it or not, the marketplace is a medium (and a message) in its own right — as powerful an indicator of who we are as our occupation or political persuasion. So what does it matter if nothing in this Walker-curated exhibit actually exists? “All brands,” he asserts, “are imaginary.”

Rather than simply mocking our love/hate relationship with material culture (we claim to see through the profit motive of advertising, yet we’re fiercely loyal to certain brands), “As Real As It Gets” uses the work of artists, designers, writers and musicians to illustrate how “imaginary brands and fictional products can become a means of expressing joy, fear, humor, unease, ambivalence.”

After perusing this collection of never-was stuff (and probably wishing you could buy some of it), make the not-so-great leap from targeted consumer to product creator, courtesy of the “Imaginary Brands with MakerBot” 3D Design Tutorial (Sat., Dec. 8, 11am and 2:30pm).

On view through Dec. 22. At apexart (291 Church St., btw. White & Walker Sts.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 11am-6pm. For more info, call 212-431-5270 or visit apexart.org.

ARC’s WINTER HOLIDAY RECORD & CD SALE  |  “We’re high and dry post-Sandy, but are taking in tons of material from others and all of this needs care, cleaning and cataloging,” says ARChive of Contemporary Music co-founder B. George.

With so many irreplaceable treasures swept away or damaged beyond repair by storm waters, the ARC mission seems more relevant — and urgent — than ever. This non-profit music library and research center collects, preserves and provides information on popular music of every permutation, from 1950 to the present. Since its humble founding in 1985, ARC’s archives have grown to over 2 million sound recordings (plus over three million books, magazines, videos, films, photographs, press kits, newspapers clippings, memorabilia and ephemera relating to the history of popular music).

What does this bone-dry bounty mean to you, the humble consumer? Funny you should ask. Coming up just in time to find the perfect gift for the old school music lovers on your “nice” list, ARC’s Winter Holiday Record & CD Sale functions as their major fundraiser of the year — and provides you with the chance to peruse their reasonable prices and highly eclectic selection of books, CDs, LPs, singles, VHS tapes, DVDs, sheet music and…more.

Join ARC as a member and you’ll score an invite to their December 6 party (which also serves as Jamie Records’ launch of the ARCTIC records reissue package and ARC’s launch of the Bill Adler Holiday Record Collection). Local classified startup Krrb.com hosts, with champagne courtesy of Tribeca’s Bubble Lounge and food by Two Boots Pizza and Brooklyn’s Bonnie’s Grill.

Photo courtesy of ARChive of Contemporary Music
Anybody can browse and buy…but only ARChive members can attend the party.

ARC’s Winter Holiday Record & CD Sale happens Sat., Dec. 8 through Sun., Dec. 16, from 11am-6pm daily. At ARChive of Contemporary Music (54 White St., btw. Broadway & Church St.). Visit arcmusic.org or call 212-226-6967.