Best performance art space for dinner and a movie (2008)


Bypass the chic main dining room, with its slightly incongruous chandelier made of found cardboard and submerge yourself in cool climes of Monkeytown's performance chamber. Four long white futon-couches line the walls, where a quartet of huge movies screens add to the futuristic blankness of the space. Every night of the week, Monkeytown offers movies, live music, video art, or multimedia performance in an intimate space, which holds only 32. While the show is going on, the waitstaff glides around the perimeter of the room like flight attendants, checking your water and delivering pan-continental cuisine such as Persian orzo, Lapsang souchong halibut, and papdam fish tacos. The delicious vittles, 6.1 surround sound, and the immediacy of your neighbors should prevent your date from initiating uncomfortable conversation. Which is for the best since the true attraction of Monkeytown is its strange and brilliant programming: A Bollywood remake of E.T.; an eight-and-half-hour-long screening of Fellini's 8 1/2; David Bowie's four best movies presented simultaneously with gamelan accompaniment; a Fluxus party to honor the passing of Allan Kaprow and Nam June Paik; a month-long exploration of Oprah Winfrey; a tribute to Luis Buñuel; a montage from an early '80s New Jersey–based cable access talent show, or the show-and-tell salons, to name a few. Monkeytown is a fully immersive multimedia experience—even the bathroom features a curated sound artist—and you won't want to miss a bit of it.


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