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This week is a big one for poetry, with events celebrating John Ashbery, Claudia Rankine, and Ugly Duckling Presse. If that’s not enough, try some openings — of a show devoted to an artist’s psychological self-portraits or an exhibition that embraces expanded cinema.
An Evening with John Ashbery
When: Tuesday, December 8, 7pm (RSVP required, $10 suggested donation)
Where: Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn)
It’s not every day that you get to hang out with one of the premier American poets of the 20th century, in the company of four more terrific writers. A $10 suggested donation for an evening celebrating John Ashbery — with Ben Lerner, Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Mónica de la Torre, and our own John Yau — is hard to beat.
The Breast Portrait Project
When: Tuesday, December 8, 6:30pm
Where: New York Studio School (8 W 8th Street, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)
At the New York Studio School, artist and Hyperallergic contributor Clarity Haynes will lecture about her work and practice. Haynes is probably best known for her monumental paintings of breasts, titled the Breast Portrait Project, which she started in 1998 with a self-portrait. The project seeks to depict the reality and beauty of the sitters’ bodies, through a feminist cultural intervention in which sitters gain pride from their resulting images. —GSV
An Evening with Claudia Rankine
When: Tuesday, December 8, 8:15pm (35 and under $15, general $22)
Where: 92nd Street Y (Lexington Avenue and E 92nd Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
Claudia Rankine will read from her recent, award-winning work, Citizen: An American Lyric. A powerful combination of poetry and social criticism, the book is concerned with black life in America, from finding a seat on the subway to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Following the reading, Rankine will discuss her art, the psychology of trauma, and social justice — or lack thereof — with two representatives from the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society. —VR
Poems, Dancing & Beer
When: Friday, December 11, 7:30pm
Where: The Boiler (191 North 14th Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
Celebrate the holidays with poetry and dancing at Ugly Duckling Presse’s annual holiday party. Ugly Duckling is a nonprofit independent press based in Brooklyn that publishes works of poetry, translation, and experimental nonfiction, providing much-needed space for new and overlooked authors. Following a suite of readings from the poets of recent UDP releases, dance the night away with DJ Tres Dos and Lagunitas Brewery. —VR
When: Opens Friday, December 11, 5:30–8pm
Where: Postmasters Gallery (54 Franklin Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
Giovanni Garcia-Fenech makes self-portraits that aren’t quite what you’d expect if you’ve ever seen him in person. Improvising without the help of a mirror, Garcia-Fenech paints his body as he perceives and feels it, not how it actually looks — and so the slender, unassuming artist becomes an assembly of oversize, awkwardly-positioned body parts. Garcia-Fenech has a uniquely insightful, self-deprecating, and funny sensibility, and I’m excited to see it in action in his first Postmasters show.
An Exhibition of Expanded Cinema
When: Opens Friday, December 11
Where: Microscope Gallery (1329 Willoughby Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn)
Never Twice, a series of live moving-image performances at Microscope Gallery, will feature eight New York artists who work between film and performance. For a month, performances will be held on Sunday nights, with the gallery open during the week as artists set up equipment or rehearse. While these pieces may be performed again, their unique circumstances can never be replicated exactly in the way of traditional films. Highlights include new works by Ken Jacobs and Barbara Hammer. —GSV
Last Chance: Camille Henrot
When: Ends Saturday, December 12
Where: Metro Pictures (519 W 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
Camille Henrot’s current solo outing is both wonderfully playful and profoundly weird. With her handmade phone sculptures that connect you to imagined hotlines, Henrot reaches for the metaphysical, and even when she doesn’t quite get you there, the journey is likely to provoke. Equally entertaining, and perhaps sharper, are her large watercolor drawings of animalistic humans and humanistic animals — they look like New Yorker cartoons awaiting accompanying myths. In the final room, a zoetrope gathers the show’s brimming anxieties and whips them into a whirling oblivion.
Star Wars Movie Marathon
When: Saturday, December 12, 4pm–Sunday, December 13, 4am
Where: Gemini & Scorpio Loft (Douglass Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn)
The Force Awakens opens in 10 days. 10 days!!! Have you watched all the trailers? Even the Japanese one? Of course you have. Where is Luke Skywalker? Who is the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke? Why does C-3PO have a red arm? How can you possibly contain your excitement? Well, one option is to spend this weekend watching the entire Star Wars saga. The Gemini & Scorpio Loft will be hosting a marathon screening, complete with cash bar and themed drinks. The series will be screened in “machete order” (i.e. VI, V, I-III, VI), with the prequel trilogy replaced by a fan-made edit. (If for some reason you prefer the prequels, in which the characters stand around and chat in CGI environments, then this isn’t the screening for you.) In any case, prove your fandom by watching all six films in a row. As Master Yoda put it, “Do or do not. There is no try.” —TM
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With contributions by Tiernan Morgan, Victoria Reis, and Gabriella Santiago-Vancak