Video: This New Yorker is the National Pole Champion

Shaina Cruea is the 2014 U.S. National Pole Champion, known for combining her signature contemporary dance style with the beauty of fluid strength and grace. But she wasn't always so confident.

More »

Famously Terrible Park Slope Theater Called Police on Moviegoer Over Fruit

Image by Flickr user Fried Dough
The Pavilion Theater is reportedly on high alert for these red menaces.
The Pavilion Theater, Park Slope's preeminent movie palace, has had a bit of a public relations problem for a very long time. First there were the complaints that the theater was filled with bedbugs, complaints one of the managers, Ross Brunetti, wrote in a public letter were "rumors" and untrue.

The bedbug fervor subsided after 2012 or so, but the complaints continued: about the famously indifferent employees, the busted HVAC system that left the theater freezing in the winter and broiling in the summer, the various mysterious spills that left the place unpleasantly sticky year-round, and the things like torn screens and fuzzy picture quality that seem like they should be, you know, avoidable. In 2012, a fuming IndieWire critic dubbed it "the worst movie theater ever." Yelpers seem to agree.

As of Sunday, though, as Fucked in Park Slope was first to report, they have a different public relations problem to face, after kicking a 41-year-old diabetic father of three out of a screening of Divergent because he had fruit.

More »

Michael Bloomberg Blooms with Magical Warmth in Official Portrait, Also Some Kind of Rash, Maybe

Image via NYC Mayor's Office
The mayor and his flat-screen TV shoulder growth.
In a delightful end-of-year surprise to news bloggers across the city, outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg's official portrait was unveiled this morning at City Hall. You're looking at it. That's it. It's not a joke or an inter-office Photoshop.

In case your browser is blocking the image -- out of good taste, perhaps -- it depicts Bloomberg, arms crossed and some sort of flat-screen TV tumor growing from one shoulder, as the busy City Hall bullpen bustles behind him. His face is flushed with goodwill, or possibly rosacea. His nose appears to be in bloom.

More »

Former New York Arts Club President Agrees to Pay Nearly $1M for Using the Club as a Personal Checking Account

Categories: Creeps, The Arts

The National Art Club's tony interior.
At a time when the National Endowment for the Arts has had so much downward pressure on its fundingthat Kickstarter has become a better source of funding for creative projects, people grifting our local cultural institutions should piss us the hell off. Yesterday, the New York state attorney general announced a settlement with Aldon James, former president of the National Arts Club here in New York City, to repay $900,000 in misused funds to the club and $50,000 for wasting everybody else's time.

More »

Beauty and the Vernacular Beast: Street-Art Meets Ballet at Lincoln Center Art Series Opening

Categories: The Arts

Hunter S. Thompson, in his landmark book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, said that "every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time -- and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened." Recognizing the rumble beneath its feet, the New York City Ballet (NYCB) opened its art series this past Friday night with a show specifically geared toward engaging the Internet generation during what could be their moment of clarity.

The packed house was a mix of seasoned theatergoers and newbie twentysomethings who were told by a pair of emcees that the evening's four selections were meant to bridge the gap between the arcadian world of ballet and the cynical, media-saturated climate we find ourselves in today. Specifically, George Balanchine's early '70s choreography for Pierre Henry's "Variations Pour Une Porte et Un Soupir" was compared to David Bowie's glam-rock opus, "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars," the connotation being that alternative gender roles and the intellectual rigor of secular life remain central to modern progress. (What's next? Punk rock?)

More »

Once Upon a Time in the Bronx: Theatre of the Oppressed Explores Violence, Family Life

Actors in Theatre of the Oppressed's upcoming production in the Bronx.
When directors with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC asked a group of teenage girls to strike a pose that they think represents the Bronx, most of them did the same thing: They chose images with weapons.

This is how artist Melanie Crean remembers a workshop with around ten teenage girls in the Bronx, who were then in the early stages of creating a play that they will perform in front of a live audience this coming week.

"[Violence] is a very real part of their lives that is not necessarily getting discussed and analyzed in schools or elsewhere," Crean told the Voice. "We're starting to...get people talking about problems, so we can start to think about solutions."

This is part of the unique process of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, a nonprofit group on the rise that collaborates with organizations throughout the city to create original productions with communities that face some kind of oppression or discrimination.

More »

Theater Group Barters Moving Services For Performance Space For Show About Moving

Faced with the unattractive and expensive prospect of raising money to find traditional spaces in which to perform, a young theater company, Rudy's Meritocracy, has turned to manual labor. The group is advertising their services as a makeshift moving company. If you hire them, they'll help you move your stuff, and after that's done they'll put on a 40 minute show about moving titled THISISMYREALLIFE in your new apartment. The group came upon the idea in part from their experiences of being 20-somethings in the city. "All our friends are moving all the time," Cordelia Istel, one of Rudy's Meritocracy's three members, told Runnin' Scared Friday. "We're two, three years out of school and have just looked at friends constantly moving and realized that provided us with empty space."

More »

Theatre of the Oppressed Brings Homeless Actors to the Stage Tonight

Some of these folks have never acted on a stage before, but then again, this is most definitely not your traditional performance.

Tonight, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC is partnering with nonprofit group Housing Works to put on a show centered around the experiences of being homeless and HIV-positive in New York City.

The actors, who have been collaborating on all aspects of the performance since September, are all HIV-positive (except one staffer from Housing Works), and all have experienced homelessness themselves. The production, called The Worm in the Big Apple, aims to tell the personal stories of these New Yorkers and shed light on some of the larger challenges this population faces.

And the audience gets on stage, too.

More »

Media And Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver Talks New York As Set Piece

Screen shot 2012-01-29 at 1.23.09 PM.png
via @NYCMayorsOffice
Though much of the real-life news in the city this past week was worth of a couple Law & Order episodes, the mayor's office brought our attention to on-screen drama. Not only was there the Thursday Gossip Girl hoopla (xoxo, Mayor Mike), but on Tuesday the film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close got a surprise Oscar nomination for Best Picture. In a press release the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting announced that Extremely Loud was a "Made in NY" film. To learn more about that label, we talked to Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Friday. Read some excerpts of our conversation after the jump:

More »

Susan Sarandon Shares Her New York Favorites

Thumbnail image for Susan 2resized.jpg
Courtesy of SPiN NYC
When we saw reports of Susan Sarandon hanging out at the opening of the High Line roller skating rink this summer, we immediately wanted to do two things. First, we wanted to go check out the rink -- which we did (hey, celebrity endorsements work!). The second? Chat with the 64-year-old Sarandon, a Chelsea resident who prefers downtown to uptown, and is an outspoken devotee of the city. So, how did the High Line relationship happen?

"I just loved when they approached me about supporting the High Line," she told us by phone last week, in a conversation ranging from her Jackson Heights childhood to cycling in the city and parks, ping-pong, and her dogs. "I love finding ways to use things that have been around for a while. Maybe that's something you develop as you get older and you yourself want to keep being used."

That's not something we think Sarandon has to worry about. Highlights from our chat, after the jump.

More »