Just Do Art!

Compiled by Scott Stiffler


There’s more to celebrate than the fact that the days are getting longer. The H.T. Chen & Dancers’ “Lantern Festival Celebration” will lighten your mind and spirit by providing food for thought (plus refreshments for the physical body). Appropriate for the whole family, the dances will range from the long-unseen romantic duet “Nocturne” to H.T. Chen’s “Big Brother” (performed by long-time Company dancer Renouard Gee) to the Chinese Lion Dance-inspired “Heart of Grace.” Also scheduled to be performed is “Warriors of Light” — a piece from Chinese Opera, which concerns the journey towards enlightenment. So brave the tail end of winter and get to know (or rediscover) what the Chen Dance Center has been doing right — and doing very well — since 1988. Thurs. through Fri., Feb. 17-19. Pre-show activities at 7pm, show at 7:30pm. At the Chen Dance Center (70 Mulberry St., corner of Mulberry & Bayard). For tickets ($15; $10 for students/seniors), call 212-349-0126. Seating is limited; reservations required.


The Jewish Women’s Circle’s “Challah Baking Workshop” (sponsored by Chabad of Battery Park City) will give you all the techniques and tips you need in order to make your own delicious homemade challah. Bring along your daughter and friends, and have fun — and never rely on store-bought again! Suggested donation: $18. Wed., Feb. 16, 7pm. For details, or to RSVP, email Rabbi@chabadbpc.com. Visit chabadbpc.com


When Zach Morris of Third Rail Projects (creators of the Steampunk Haunted House) walks past an empty storefront, he doesn’t press his nose up against the glass and dream of the day when the space will be selling $5 foot-long subs or overpriced designer duds. Quite some time ago, he had the foresight to envision an evolving art installation inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass.” That dream is now a reality, albeit a twisted and ever-morphing one (appropriate, considering Carroll’s propensity for images and ideas that are as silly and surreal as they are dark and disturbing). The ever-unfolding life-size dioramas are on view through March 18, at One New York Plaza Art Space (concourse level). Mon. through Fri., 7am–7pm. Visit artsbrookfieldproperties.com and thirdrailprojects.com.    


The Chinese year 4709 (Year of the Rabbit) began on February 3 — marking the start of a two-week celebration distinguished by fireworks, festive food and dancing. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (the country’s largest college of acupuncture and Oriental medicine) invites you to learn about the Chinese New Year by attending a series of health-minded events. Throughout the day, there will be massage demos and lectures, free acupuncture and a workshop on Qi Gong (a thousand-year-old martial art that combines deep breathing with postures and movements that allow the body to naturally and automatically release hormones that relieve stress). At 2:30pm, the documentary “9000 Needles” screens. It chronicles Devin Dearth’s journey into health with the help of a mixture of Eastern and Western Medicine — after suffering a devastating stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side. Visit 9000needles.com for more info on the film. By the time your day is done, you’ll be looking forward to 2012 — when you’ll know by experience why the Chinese say “Gung Hey Fat Choy” instead of “Happy New Year.” Sat., Feb. 12, 12pm-3pm at The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (915 Broadway at 21st St., 5th floor). Admission and participation is free. RSVP is requested. Contact cneipris@pacificcollege.edu or call 212-982-3456 x226. For questions, call x229. Visit pacificcollege.edu.


Thank the gods that someone — specifically, Gallery 300 — has managed to fill that vacant ground level storefront on 22nd Street and Eighth Avenue with something considerably more visually compelling than brown paper on the windows. Currently, the work of sculptor Sabin Howard (a NYC native) is on display — in a collection of stunningly rendered bronze statues whose muscular, in-motion bodies seem as if they’re about to burst from within the venue’s large wrap-around corner-to-street windows. “Apollo and other Bronze Gods,” a retrospective of 20 large bronze figures, is accompanied by his latest life-size bronze sculpture — 2010’s “Apollo.” It’s his third life-size work (a companion to 2006’s “Aphrodite” and a successor to 2005’s Hermes, both of which are on display). Smaller-scale sculptures on view “Anger,” “Man” and “Eros” (2000-2001). “My work is an alchemy of form and energy,” says Howard. “It speaks a universal narrative of what it means to be human.” FREE. Through March 31, at Gallery 300 (300 W. 22nd St.). Gallery Hours: Tues.-Fri., 4-8pm; Sat./Sun., 12:30–8pm and by appointment. Call 917-327-5714 or visit gallery300.net. For info on the artist, visit sabinhoward.com.