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Monthly Archives: November, 2013

The Cultural Calendar | 11.24.13


Today is Sunday, November 24th, 2013. It is the 328th day of the year. There are 37 days remaining until the end of the year. We are in the sign of Sagittarius. You always see the best in things, and this makes people worry.

In Ancient Rome, this day signaled the beginning of Brumalia, a month-long festival celebrating the waning of the light.



In 1859, Charles Darwin published, On the Origin of Species.

In 1936, Noel Coward’s, Tonight at 8:30, premiered in New York City.

In 1947, John Steinbeck’s novel The Pearl, was published.

Also in 1947, The House Un-American Activities Committee found “The Hollywood 10” in contempt because of their refusal to reveal whether they were or were not communists.

In 1952, Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap opened in London, and it is still running today!

In 1956, Pajama Game closed at St. James Theater New York City after 1063 performances.

In 1962, The British satirical television program, That Was The Week That Was, was first broadcast.

And in 1966, The Beatles began recording sessions for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.


The composer Pachelbel, of the famous cannon, was born on this day in 1690. American architect Cass Gilbert, who designed The Woolworth Building, and many more, was born on this day in 1859. Painter Toulouse Lautrec in 1864. Scottish actor/comedian, Billy Connolly in 1942. And, ladies and gentlemen, Katherine Heigl was born on this day in 1978.



Mexican painter Diego Rivera in 1957. Actor George Raft in 1980. Bluesman Big Joe Turner in 1985. And the great Freddy Mercury died on this day in 1991.


  • Mind The Gap Theatre presents Theatre Uncut – a reading of 7 new short plays by writers including Neil Labute. That’s tomorrow, November 25th at 6:30. The event is FREE and tea will be served. For more info see Kari Morris or visit

  • This Weds, the 27th, there’s a glamtastic tribute to the David Bowie album Aladdin Sane at Duane Park, with a cast of downtown greats, including our own Raquel Cion, performing the album in its entirety. Shows at 9pm and Midnight. More info at

  • Winter Miller is throwing a variety show that’s a benefit for rape survivors: Rape Aid. Friends Don’t Let Friends Rape at the New Ohio, Dec 17th, 7pm. Tickets are 20 bucks with room to donate more directly to charity. See Winter for info.

  • Ryan Rumery’s new EP, Flower Man, from a short film of the same name, will be available exclusively on Bandcamp this Tuesday, Nov. 26. Visit to download or see Ryan after the service – raise your hand Ryan.

  • Micia Mosely brings together hot NYC comics for Micia Mosely & Friends. That’s Thursday December 12, 2013 7:30pm sharp. FREE, upstairs in the Dixon Place lounge.

  • Our dear Justin Sayre is making his Joe’s Pub debut with a show called In My Girlish Days, it’s December 8th and you better get a ticket NOW.

  • And, today’s visual artist, Martyn Thompson has a show December 12th, called Cezanne’s Shadow, he’ll be showing tapestries other work. It’s at LF8 on E. 7th St – info can be found at



This weekend we celebrate TRASH in New York City


This weekend we celebrate TRASH in New York City. It’s the first time we’ve done this theme – it’s been really great to push ourselves this season with new themes – it forces us (me) to move outside of comfortable circles of thought when producing, curating, writing – and that uncomfortable place is a really great place to be as an artist. Some say it’s where all the really good stuff in life waits – that uncomfortable place. I know that when I push myself or, even better, allow myself to be in that uncomfortable place, new ways of looking at things will arise. There’s really no guessing what will come. It’s one of the great mysteries of life – what will happen next, if I allow it? And, even if I don’t…

It’s funny, too, this theme of TRASH – it’s the stuff we’ve decided is no good, or no longer has a use, or is not valuable – or things we’ve used up. Maybe we have ideas about ourselves that we’ve used up, or ways of looking at life – maybe we can recycle some of those. That’s something else I’m thinking about right now – how to recycle some of the things I’ve decided I don’t need, for whatever reason. Maybe focusing on trash is a way to meditate on all that is, rather than just what we want life to be.

It also strikes me that one of the things humans do best is create trash. Our planet is overflowing with it. What are we going to do with all the trash we’ve created and continue to create daily? We’re also really good at the verb trash – we trash things – forests, ecosystems, indigenous cultures…is it just in our nature, or is it a phase we’re in as a species? And, what is the upside to trash as verb? Cuz isn’t trash another word for destruction – and, isn’t destruction the shadow to creation? In addition to everything else, we’re also a very creative species – like ants, we build things, we envision new ways of living and then implement them. We’re ingenious, in many ways.

So, Sunday we’ll celebrate TRASH. I’m happy for the opportunity to think about it – and really excited to see all the beautiful art and performance and worship of this most-mundane topic – and how we elevate it to art.
Dig in.


Martyn Thompson | visual artist

This Sunday, our visual artist will be Martyn Thompson, a world-renowned photographer who specializes in still life, interior, beauty, accessory, fashion and travel photography. Martyn’s also a visual artist who makes installation, sculpture and other original work with his hands and he’s been a great participant and supporter of The Secret City for several years. This Sunday, Martyn’s going to present images from his latest book, Working Space, which documents the work spaces of a number of different designers, artists and creative people. He’ll also be creating an installation for the day using found materials. Martyn’s work is a combination of aesthetic beauty with documentary pull – he catches the moment and draws the viewer in- past work includes Elle Decor, NYTimes Magazine, Vanity Fair and more. His previous book, Martyn Thompson Interiors, came out in 2011. His website is


This Sunday we celebrate TRASH!


This Sunday we celebrate TRASH! A great resource for all creative people. Why is it that artists always move into places of refuse and neglect? Because that’s where life is made, where ideas are born – like cultural petrie dishes.

We’ve got a lovely, trashy gathering of artists and community this Sunday – with photographer Martyn Thompson providing the visual art; multi-instrumentalist and composer Terry Dame, who’s going to bring in her Horn of Plenty Sounds – which she has made out of used parts from various horns and utility items; Honey La Bronx, the Vegan Drag Queen, is presenting the food offering – she’s making something that every New Yorker knows and loves…And, we’ll be watching a clip from John Waters’, Female Trouble – talk about a trashy work of art! Oh, and our pal Justin Sayre is going to do a reading from White Trash Cooking – what could be better?
Also, it’s time for our annual food drive – benefitting Food Bank for New York City – what better way to give back than to make a donation that will ensure somebody else has food to eat – especially right now, with recent cuts in foodstamps, and the economy what it is – and, just in time for Thanksgiving.
So, please join us for TRASH. This Sunday. And please bring a food offering.
The Secret City NY – TRASH

Sunday, November 24th
11:30 am
Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street
Btwn Rivington and Delancey

$15 Suggested Donation



Terry Dame | multi-instrumentalist and composer


I’m excited to present Terry Dame, multi-instrumentalist and composer, to our community on Sunday. She’s bringing one of her created instruments – it’s called the Horn of Plenty Sounds – a sensor driven controller instrument built from old brass horns, sprayers and pumps.  Various types of sensors, such as motion, light and proximity, are imbedded in the objects and when triggered produce an unlimited variety of sounds.  An old copper insecticide sprayer sprays piano notes, a bike pump delivers electric guitar riffs, a laser toy casts an invisible beam that when plucked plays an upright bass, a rooster crows out from an old straight trumpet.  The Horn of Plenty is one part musical instrument, one part science experiment, one part pure delight. Check out her website at:


“The Vegan Drag Queen”


Our food offering this Sunday is presented by Honey LaBronx, “The Vegan Drag Queen.” Star of her own cooking show on YouTube and also a gay rights activist, Honey uses her exposure as a drag performer to spread the vegan message to new audiences. A member of Queer Rising, Honey was one of the 8 arrested for blocking New York City traffic for marriage equality, one of many events preceding NY’s legalization of same-sex marriage. Honey most recently launched the new “Big Fat Vegan Radio” podcast co-hosting with Laura Yaz. I’m delighted to have Honey join us – and she’s whipping up something tasty for TRASH.


Our 4th Annual Food-Drive is ON


This month marks our 4th annual food drive, benefiting Food Bank for New York City. We started doing this when we had our service dedicated to SUSTENANCE – and we collected about 50 pounds of food. This year, we’re hoping to collect 200 pounds of food. We have bins at Dixon Place all week, so you can stop by to make a food donation anytime this week. And, we’ll be accepting donations this Sunday, at our monthly gathering, also at Dixon Place.

As you probably know – there’s a real need for food right now. Food prices have gone up, and food stamps have been cut for a lot of people in the past month.

Here are some facts about the Food Bank:

1. The Food Bank For New York City feeds 400,000 hungry New Yorkers daily. Of the 400,000,

  • 1/3 are children under the age of 18.  A majority of these children are eligible for free or reduced lunch, Statistics show that over 90% of children receiving a free or reduced lunch rate at school are at risk of not eating again that day.
  • 1/3 are elderly/ senior citizens, who have worked all their lives and upon retirement cannot afford food after expenses.
  • 1/3 are working poor, or single parent homes. Hard working taxpayers who unfortunately cannot afford food after all other expenses.

2. The Food Bank distributes food to over 1000 agencies within the five boroughs (soup kitchens, pantries, mobile pantries at school cafeterias, homeless shelters, schools, community centers, etc.)

3. Due to our ability to purchase below wholesale price, for every $1.00 donated, the FB can help provide 5 meals.

4. The Food Bank has distributed a little over 1 million lbs of pet food, for low income families throughout the 5 boroughs

5.  For every $1.00 donated $.91 are used for our programs (purchasing food, etc.) $.9 for administrative fees.

So, whether you can give a can or a case of food, please give.  It’s a really great thing to do – just in time for Thanksgiving.

My best,



Phil Abrams


“With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he also was an illusion, that someone else was dreaming him.”

~ The Circular Ruins by Jorge Luis Borges

When Erik and Chris approached me about performing at The Secret City and said that the theme was Dreams, I immediately remembered a story that my mother had introduced to me when I was just an adolescent. The Circular Ruins told the story of a wizard who created a man in his dreams, sent him off into the world, only to discover that he, himself, was just someone else’s dream. It has always been one of my favorite tales as it speaks to my own questioning of the nature of our existence. We are certainly ephemeral beings – here today, gone tomorrow – not unlike the delicate sculptures I create with bubble liquid, wands, and smoke. The melding of the two together was, without a doubt, a perfect offering for the congregation in Los Angeles. Sometimes the bubbles, depending on external conditions, can be uncooperative, but fortunately everything came together that morning and I experienced the feeling that even if life is an illusion it can also be quite fulfilling when the magic happens!


Phil Abrams


Phil Abrams | IMBD




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