THURSDAY | 5.29

[FESTIVAL]

SUNDANCE EAST

Robert Redford's party comes to NYC

If you didn't fly to Park City, Utah, for indie films in the snow earlier this year, well, at least now the films are on their way here—minus the annoying media invasion. BAM is bringing the Sundance Film Festival to us, and for 11 days, you'll have a chance to see 10 films, 12 documentaries, and 36 shorts from this year's event. Nanette Burstein's American Teen—a documentary that follows the lives of Indiana teens and manages to defy all high-school stereotypes—kicks off opening night, followed by a raucous prom party for adults, which includes some hot beats and spiked punch. Let's get this party started right. At 8, BAM, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, bam.org/sundance, $15 EUDIE PAK

[READING]

Knock 'Em Out

Writers go head-to-head in a competitive-reading challenge

At Opium magazine's Literary Death Match reading series, four authors read short pieces in front of a panel of judges; two are eliminated, and two square off in a final challenge that might involve guessing an author's name written in the Cyrillic alphabet or playing something called "Stab a Hole in Nebraska." Although no one has walked away from the nearly year-old series with a broken nose or a fat lip to date, things can get ugly: When LDM debuted in San Francisco last July, My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up author Stephen Elliott threw a drink in the face of a judge who told him his piece had no literary merit. Let's hope readers Bob Powers (author of You Are a Miserable Excuse for a Hero), Opium's Aaron Garretson, Canteen magazine's Garth Risk Hallberg, and a soon-to-be-announced writer from SMITH magazine are thicker-skinned when the judges—Ben Greenman of The New Yorker, Joel Dovev of the sketch-comedy group Killing My Lobster, and Gill Bumby, proprietor of "A Fair and Honest Appraisal of Your Appearance"—tell it like it is. At 7, Housing Works Bookstore, 126 Crosby Street, housingworks.org, $10, includes the new issue of Opium ELIZABETH THOMPSON

[ART]

Jackass Primeval

Long before Johnny Knoxville risked a scraped elbow or stubbed toe for the sake of MTV, there was performance artist Chris Burden. In the early '70s, Burden (a Yale attendee and UCLA professor) performed several acts in which he subjected himself to being shot and risked drowning, burning, and electrocution. You could say his performance pieces were a true reality show, in which spectators could either intervene or merely stand back, aghast. Jack*%ss, a group exhibition, explores the work of Burden and other artists who have tested the limits of their own bodies, such as lying in the middle of a burning five-pointed star or climbing to the end of a branch until it gives. The exhibition features photographs, film, and sculpture. Through August 1, Susan Inglett Gallery, 522 West 24th Street, 212-647-9111, free ARACELI CRUZ

 
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