BLACKOUT Film Festival Burns Brightly in the Hudson Valley Firmament

BLACKOUT lives up to its namesake as an undeniably fascinating event.

Taking place on Thursday, July 26th from 7-9 pm at Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, the festival is a triumphant collaboration with the Peekskill Film Festival organized by Alicia Morgan. BLACKOUT, curated by HVCCA’s Michael Barraco, features a series of short experimental films navigating the trenchant landscape of gender, race, and various political concerns. BLACKOUT taps into our current zeitgeist of anxiety blended with gradual catharsis to create touching vignettes of our contemporary moment.

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still from Tommy Hartung’s The Lesser Key of Solomon

Viewing political action and staged performance as nuanced facets of identity-making, films such as The Situation by Carmel Collective, Topple by Sarada Rauch and Ditch Plains by Loretta Fahrenholz offer unparalleled access to the psychological topographies and urban landscapes we are forced to encounter entrenched within the socio-political, racial and classist frameworks of today’s America.

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still from Sarada Rauch’s Topple

Meanwhile, Stephanie Jamison’s Sensus Plenior and Tommy Hartung’s The Lesser Key of Solomon explore performative mimicry and the occult as scenarios that touch on the spiritual nature of society. Touching from a Distance by Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere unites this dual look at sign and signifier to investigate mimicry and the reality colliding in protest-ridden Guadalajara, Mexico.

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still from Pagliacci by Livia Ungur & Sherng-Lee Huang

Finally, gender constructs are torn down and re-evaluated in both Built to Burst by Kate Gilmore and Untitled (Women) by by Deanna Erdmann. Sexuality and gender converge in the flamboyant fantasy film Pagliacci by Livia Ungur & Sherng-Lee Huang.

Tackling and engaging with divisive contemporary topics with humor, grace and candor, the films for BLACKOUT shine a bright light on the most pressing social issues of our current moment in surprising, and rewarding, ways. Artists Tommy Hartung, Sarada Rauch, and documentary subject of Paggliaci Rick Cataldo will even be present to introduce their respective films! Make sure to secure your tickets to BLACKOUT before it’s too late; link below.

http://www.peekskillfilmfestival.org/tickets/ 

-1 Below: A Look at Culture in the Outer Boros & NY Metro Area, Jan 29 to Feb 2, 2018

There are countless gallery guides exploring the cultural events happening throughout NYC, but how many can you find within walking distance or bus ride of your nest? How many events happen right down the street that you could swing by after a nice dinner with a friend? Why does every single blog profile seem to profile events happening in the art areas of Chelsea and the Lower East Side?

With these thoughts in mind, here at -1 Below we take a look at cultural events happening around New York City, minus one boro: Manhattan.

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Below we consider upcoming cultural highlights with five not-to-miss events from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx… with some cultural events to entice guests willing to venture farther afield.

Artwork by Katherine Toukhy, PES Grab back artist-in-residence
Artwork by Katherine Toukhy, PES Grab back artist-in-residence (Project for Empty Space, Newark, NJ)
  1. “Night Regulation” Radiator Gallery, 10-61 Jackson Ave, Long Island City feat. artists Loren Britton, Maria Dimanshtein, Nicholas Fraser, JF Lynch and Andrew Prayzner – curated by Patrick Neal. An exhibition touching on the fraught and complex relationship between conceptual and formal elements present in contemporary art. Opening: Feb 2nd from 6-9 pm  
  2. “Incision: Feminist in Residence” Project for Empty Space, 2 Gateway Center, Newark, NJ  (across from Penn station skybridge) feat. artists Chaya Babu, Christen Clifford, Camille Lee and Katherine Toukhy. Profoundly feminist, this exhibition explores the personal and political presence of being a woman artist in a complex, hierarchical art world pantheon.  Opening: Jan 31st from 6-8 pm.
  3. Know Your Mushrooms: Mycology 101” Earth Arts Center, 936 Madison Street, Brooklyn, NY for artists with a taste for the wilder side of nature, this class, led by expert agriculturalist and PDC practitioner Oliver Bolotin, covers key points outlined by Paul Stamets in the tome “Mycelium Running”. This class will cover wild mushrooms as well as growing your own fungi colony at home. Event takes place Sat, Feb 3rd: doors open at 8 pm with discussion beginning at 8:30. 
  4. “Reenactment” gallery talk, BRIC (The Stoop @ BRIC Arts) 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY. Coffee + Conversation discussing current BRIC exhibition “Reenactment” with curator Jenny Gerow and exhibiting artists Maria Hupfield and Farideh Sakhaeifer on how certain histories are privileged, stifled, and/or eventually re-examined. The exhibition features artworks by Ken Gonzalez-Day, Crystal Z. Campbell, Alicia Grullon (pictured in cover image), Hupfield, Sakhaeifer, and Marisa Williamson. Feb 3rd from 12-1 pm.  
  5. “Coming to America” Free Screening @Brooklyn Bazaar, 150 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY. A light-hearted look at America (specifically, Jamaica Queens) through the eyes of a visitor from our current administration’s so-monikered “shithole countries”, come laugh off our current xenophobia with Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s devastatingly witty performance, with turns by the commanding James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair in the classic 1988 film directed by John Landis.  No RSVP required, seating first come first serve. Jan 31st from 8-11 pm. 
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“Know Your Mushrooms: Mycology 101” Earth Arts Center