Don’t Miss ‘Smoke’ at the Flea Theater

Smoke at the FleaKim Davies’s “Smoke” has been extended through February 1 at The Flea Theater in Tribeca, giving you just under a month to check out this critically acclaimed new play. Described as a “BDSM erotic power game,” this play kicked off the season at The Flea, an award-winning noncommercial theater founded in 1966, and was extended due to its popularity.

According to The Flea, “Featuring The Bats, the resident acting company at The Flea, and directed by Flea Resident Director Tom Costello, SMOKE brings an entitled college student and a jaded wannabe artist – with more in common than they though – past the verge.” The play features actors Stephen Stout, Madeleine Bundy, Ivan Dolido, and Adelind Horan.

New York Times theater critic Anita Gates draws parallels between the power games in “Smoke” and those depicted in “Venus in Fur,” but calls those of the latter “distant, almost artificial” when compared to this new play written by Davies. “The premise of the intense, provocative, and exceedingly clever ‘Smoke,’ having its world premiere in the Flea Theater’s intimate basement space, could put off anyone who finds sadomasochism, bondage, and discipline rather curious hobbies,” says Gates. In her notably positive review she also writes that “the plot is intriguing, the dialogue is consistently surprising, and the performances are exceptional, making a convincing argument that sex is exactly like every other kind of human interaction.”

Other critics have echoed Gates’s praise of the play. “We’re seduced and titillated by the actors’ incredible technical control: It’s just so delicious to let them have the upper hand…where there’s Smoke, there’s fire, and Kim Davies’s S&M two-hander is hot,” said TimeOut NY. In another rave review, Stage and Cinema called “Smoke” “remarkable…a superior, flawless work.” It really doesn’t get much better than that as far as theater reviews are concerned.

See for yourself by heading to The Flea to watch “Smoke” before time runs out! Visit The Flea Theater’s website for more information about performance times and to purchase tickets.

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NYC Is Rich with Holiday Entertainment

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Don’t miss seeing the iconic Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall this holiday season! / Image: radiocitychrismas via Instagram.

Anyone who has spent even just a few days in New York City during December knows that it’s one of the most magical places to experience the holiday season. The city and all of its lights, colors, smells, and sounds truly comes to life this time of year; never has it been a better time to get out and explore NYC and all of its cultural offerings, of which there are many. There is definitely no shortage of holiday programming this month. Here are three performances that are not to be missed:

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is hands down one of the most iconic holiday performances in New York City. Held at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan and featuring the impressive choreography of the legendary Rockettes, the annual Christmas Spectacular draws in audiences from around the world. “Every year, the Rockettes push themselves further to put on a show that’s more dynamic, more challenging and more magical than the last,” explains Radio City Music Hall, where “Christmas dazzle was invented.”

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens

Since 1992, the New York Botanical Gardens has hosted the dazzling show, which features model trains and more than 150 cherished NYC landmarks. It is considered to be “one of the most impressive collections of miniature architecture ever seen,” and showcases a constant parade of model railway trains. It’s a show that has appealed to wide-eyed children and nostalgic adults alike, and each year is touted as even more spectacular than the last.

Gotham Holiday Swing

Don’t miss out on this energetic display of swing music at Town Hall on December 17. According to the event’s description, “Ringing in the holiday season with style and swing, Gotham Holiday Swing features an all-star cast celebrating music from the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, along with stories and poem about New York,” of the spirited event headlined by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, NYC’s leading swing band. Get ready to dance your way through the holiday season at Gotham Holiday Swing!

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Killer Heels at the Brooklyn Museum

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The Brooklyn Museum always hosts an incredible range of exhibitions that feature the works of local and international artists from various artistic movements and eras. One of the museum’s most fascination current exhibits features an art form that many people continue to embrace today: the high-heeled shoe.

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe is an homage to “fashion’s most provocative accessory.” The exhibit celebrates the history, cultural applications, and innovative design that has made high-heeled shoes such an enduring genre of footwear. “As fashion statement, fetish object, instrument of power, and outlet of artistic expression for both the designer and the wearer, throughout the ages the high-heeled shoe has gone through many shifts in style and symbolism,” explains the Brooklyn Museum. “Deadly sharp stilettos, architecturally inspired wedges and platforms, and a number of artfully crafted shoes that defy categorization,” are what museum goers can expect to find at Killer Heels.

killer heels

The exhibition traces the history of the high-heeled shoe from 16th century Italy to the contemporary shoes worn on runways today. Killer Heels features more than 160 historical and contemporary pairs of heels on loan from designers, the Brooklyn Museum’s renowned costume collection, and the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Lovers of haute-couture will recognize designers like Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Noritaka Tatehana, and many others represented in this expansive exhibition.

Whether you’re an obsessive shoe collector or prefer your one pair of comfortable tennis shoes, Killer Heels is an impressive exhibition that is not to be missed on your next visit to the Brooklyn Museum. Learn more by visiting the exhibition’s web page.

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe

Through February 15, 2015

Robert E. Blum Gallery, Brooklyn Museum

Images: via www.brooklynmuseum.org.

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Summer Streets Returns to NYC

You never know what you'll find at Summer Streets...

You never know what you’ll find at Summer Streets…

For three Saturdays in August, seven miles of New York City’s vibrant, bustling streets will be closed to traffic and open to its many diverse communities in a block party-type art event of epic proportions. Organized by the NYC Department of Transportation, “Summer Streets” is an annual event that truly captures the energetic hum of summer here.

“Summer Streets is an annual celebration of New York City’s most valuable public space – our streets,” explains the Department of Transportation. “On three consecutive Saturdays in August, nearly seven miles of NYC’s streets are opened for people to play, run, walk and bike. Summer Streets provides space for healthy recreation and encourages New Yorkers to use more sustainable forms of transportation,” of the yearly summertime celebration.

summer streets 2014 map

In addition to providing the space for New Yorkers to come out and play, Summer Streets exists as an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the arts. According to NYC-ARTS, “The event is part bike tour, part walking tour, part block party – a great time for exercise, people watching, or just enjoying summer mornings. Passersby are welcome to participate in the arts and crafts workshops, listen to musical performances, [and] learn to salsa dance,” of the myriad opportunities to explore, observe, and create during Summer Streets. There will also be a 25’ climbing wall, a 160’ elevated zipline, as well as the return of the incredible “Voice Tunnel.”

Last summer, more than 300,000 people came to take advantage of the closed streets that extend from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, as well as to Park Avenue and connecting streets. Admission is always free, and there are three different opportunities to experience Summer Streets next month.

Summer Streets 2014

Saturday, August 2nd, 7:00am-1:00pm

Saturday, August 9th, 7:00am-1:00pm

Saturday, August 16th, 7:00am-1:00pm

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Chuck Jones Exhibition Coming Soon to the Museum of the Moving Image

Chuck Jones exhibition 2014

Even if the name Charles Martin “Chuck” Jones doesn’t sound familiar to you, his iconic cartoons and animation art are recognizable, and beloved, around the world. Chuck Jones (1912-2002) was the creative mind behind the enduringly popular cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, as well as Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, and Pepé Le Pew, among others. These characters continue to inspire nostalgia in the adults that remember watching them on Saturday mornings, as well as delight young audiences today.

This month, the Museum of the Moving Image will present What’s Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones in a special presentation of the artist’s work that explores his creative genius and his pop culture and fine arts influences. According to the Museum of the Moving Image, “The exhibition features 23 of Chuck Jones’s animated films, interactive experiences, and more than 125 original sketches and drawings, storyboards, production backgrounds, animation cels, and photographs, demonstrating how Jones and his collaborators worked together to create some of the greatest cartoons ever made,” of the expansive exhibition.

chuck jones exhibition 2014 nyc

The Animation of Chuck Jones celebrates Jones’s life and career, the latter of which spanned three decades. In that time, Jones directed more than 300 animated films, and was presented with an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. This particular exhibition is made possible by a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, and the Museum of the Moving Image, which is proud to present this incredible collection of contemporary artistic artifacts.

Don’t miss out on The Animation Art of Chuck Jones, as well as all of the other incredible exhibitions the museum has to offer this summer!

What’s Up Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones

July 19, 2014-January 19, 2015

The Museum of the Moving Image 

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Unlock Your Inner Child with a Sleepover at the American Museum of Natural History

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The American Museum of Natural History / Image: Sebastian Bergmann via Flickr CC

When you were little, did you ever get to take a special trip to a museum after-hours? Museums such as the Boston Museum of Science and New York’s world famous American Museum of Natural History have been inviting children to spend the night and continue exploring all of the exhibits after the general public has gone home for years. Now, the latter museum is offering a special opportunity for adults to unlock their inner child by staying overnight at the museum!

Earlier this month, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) announced that it would soon be offering an adult version of its overnight program. As Ana Colon of Refinery29 reports, “The AMNH announced Tuesday it will debut an adult version of the popular program on August 1. The sleepover ‘for grown-ups’ – and you know it’s for grownups because it says it on the poster, in big, colorful font under a drawing of the museum’s iconic blue whale – features a more sophisticated program, with presentations by curators and a midnight screening of the ‘Dark Universe’ space show. Oh, and there’s booze,” of the more adult-focused programming.

This might just be the coolest sleepover location ever! / Image: via Facebook

This might just be the coolest sleepover location ever! / Image: via Facebook

The AMNH is one of the world’s leading scientific and cultural institutions; for nearly 150 years the museum has been on a mission to discover and interpret cultural artifacts, relics from the natural world, and the universe to present to the public. The AMNH is “renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections, which serve as a field guide to the entire planet and present a panorama of the world’s cultures.” With this in mind, it’s no wonder that people of all ages are lining up explore its offerings 24 hours a day.

The one drawback to the sleepover for grown-ups at the AMNH is the hefty price of admission. Still, if you and some friends can afford to splurge a little bit, the experience might just be worth it.

Learn more about the museum and its overnight and daytime programming by visiting www.amnh.org.

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NYC’s Best Summertime Arts and Music Festivals

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New York City is known for its abundant arts and culture offerings, and for many, summer is the best time to experience them. With outdoor arts and music festivals taking place all over the city, there is no shortage of entertainment to enjoy. Here are three of NYC’s most anticipated summertime arts and music festivals.

SummerStage 2014. SummerStage is an annual festival that always features an incredible lineup of eclectic musicians and performers. This year should be no exception, and with four different places to catch the festivities – Central Park, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens – SummerStage 2014 promises to be one of the best outdoor festivals of the summer. With various concerts and events dedicated to soul, world music, brass bands, DJs, Opera, contemporary bands, and more, SummerStage is defienitely one of New York City’s best music festivals.

Screen shot 2556-07-16 at 12.25.35Celebrate Brooklyn! Celebrate Brooklyn! was originally created as “a catalyst for a Brooklyn performing arts scene and to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect,” BRIC explains. From its 1979 beginnings to now, the festival has featured over 2,000 performers and artists that range from emerging bands to world-famous dancers, all of which impact more than a million neighborhood residents annually.

The celebratory festival brings music, film, spoken word writings, theater, and dance to Brooklyn, inspiring a fantastic community gathering unlike any other. With big names like Neutral Milk Hotel, Jack Johnson, and The National playing for free this year, you do not want to miss out on Celebrate Brooklyn! Prospect Park Bandshell, various dates and times throughout the summer.

MoMA PS1 Warm Up 2014. Now in its 17th year, MoMA PS1’s Warm Up festival is an annual series held in the museum’s courtyard. MoMA PS1 is known for its commitment to featuring avant garde, site-specific works, and the Warm Up festival follows suit. According to NYC-ARTS, “the museum’s outdoor series continues its tradition of introducing audiences to experimental live music, sound, performance and DJs.” At $18 for admittance, this special summertime programming is a little bit pricier than some of the others offered in NYC, but with 11 opportunities to experience truly energetic, compelling shows, you’ll want to catch at least one.

What festivals are you planning on checking out this summer?

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