FRIDAY | 5.23

LOWER YOURSELF

Join the wildest quarter of an arts-mad city

Still an energy source of undimmed voltage, David Amram at 77 makes you wonder whatever made the Beats feel beat-down. He's irrepressible—and he's a featured attraction at the wild annual event that allows the Lower East Side to show off the creative types it has spawned. For 13 years, Theater for the New City has opened its doors to the public, free of charge, and brought together hundreds of talented performers for the LES Festival of the Arts. The three-day event includes film screenings (Jim Jarmusch, Kriota Wilberg), multimedia, poetry (hosted by Lissa Moria), puppetry, music (Amram!), readings, theater pieces, art installations, and much more. Composer and satirist Richard West will host the day-long block party on Saturday, which includes an arts fair with food and vendors. Through Sunday at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, and along East 10th Street between First and Second avenues, theater forthenewcity.net, free ARACELI CRUZ

Feel the Afrobeat.
Steve Adigun
Feel the Afrobeat.
Damn this rotary phone.
Susan Simpson
Damn this rotary phone.

[THEATER]

TALKING HEADS

A morning show that makes The View look civilized

Our utopian dreams of the morning talk show may have been shattered by the bitter in-fighting on The View (Rosie-era), so it may come as no surprise that Brad and Lori, hosts of Wake Up America!, don't entirely get along. If you've ever wondered just what barbs the co-hosts were capable of trading during commercial breaks, this is your chance to get a glimpse behind the scenes of your favorite nighttime morning show. Bradford Scobie and Laura Sweeney star as a closeted gay Republican and ex-meth-head divorced soccer mom, respectively, who welcome crackpot celebrities, get hopped up on coffee, and let out the vicious inner selves beneath their pearly white smiles. At 9:30, Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-967-7555, joespub.com, $15 SHARYN JACKSON

[MUSIC]

HOURS IN THE DARK

Two multimedia artists bridge the gap

Sometime letter presser, aphorism dealer, and painter Matthew Brannon recorded the last page in a very long novel in this year's Whitney Biennial Park Avenue Armory annex, using sounds collected via "Words on a page, ink on paper, and hours in the dark." Brannon then combined the results with actual nighttime recordings made in the Armory's cavernous confines for his debut CD; tonight, the Whitney hosts a release party. Luke Fischbeck's Lucky Dragons, whose sound-and-video installation at the Armory was a Whitney highlight, provides the entertainment: His immersive, participatory live shows involve motion and pressure sensors, dancing, and the occasional group hug. At 7, Whitney Lower Gallery, 945 Madison Avenue, 1-800-WHITNEY, free ZACH BARON

[DANCE]

BIG BANG

African bash takes Brooklyn by storm

Each year, BAM's annual DanceAfrica Festival is a damn good reason to stay in town over the Memorial Day weekend. In its 31st year, the celebration of everything African brings the motherland to the BK with a grand outdoor bazaar offering crafts, food, and clothes; a film program (including the dramatic documentary Amandala! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, about music in South Africa during apartheid); art by students from La Yahoushua Secondary School in Accra, Ghana, and the city's Norman Thomas High School; nonstop Afrobeat via the Earthman Experience; and, of course, dance featuring live performances by the Gambia's Ceesay Kujabi and the Bachinab, Atlanta's all-female troupe Giwayen Mata, Harlem's LaRocque Bey School of Dance Theatre Inc., and Brooklyn's BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble. Buy dope stuff, take in some culture, eat tasty food, and then burn off the calories in a dance workshop afterward. Go to bam.org for the full schedule, BAM, 30 Lafayette Avenue, 718-636-4100, $20–$40 KEISHA FRANKLIN

Stage Cuts

In the late 19th to early 20th century, toy (a/k/a "paper") theater was at the peak of its popularity, featuring lovely model prosceniums and colorful paper characters. Great Small Works resurrects this lost art with its 8th International Toy Theater Festival, a 10-day event that features a host of new and traditional theatrical productions stationed throughout St. Ann's Warehouse, along with a temporary museum that showcases vintage toy-theater memorabilia and other special events. Be sure to check out Peter Schauerte-Lüke's Zeralda's Ogre, a performance based on German author Tomi Ungerer's children's book (about an ogre who loves to gobble up the kiddies for dinner). And if that doesn't suit your appetite, there's also The Story of Radha and Krishna, an epic Indian tale (performed by singing puppets) that tells of their immortal love and how it changed the way we humans relate to each other. Check for full schedule, St. Ann's Warehouse, 38 Water Street, Brooklyn, greatsmallworks.org, $20–$50 EUDIE PAK

 
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