psychoPEDIA: Daily News

Is DUMBO the New Williamsburg?
Stuffed Cabbage, Carousel Rides, and a Whole Lot of Art

It all started a few months back when a well-known Williamsburg art and performance space by the name of Galapagos announced that its wading pool would soon be drained, and its doors barred for good. That is, until they re-opened in the neighboring Brooklyn 'hood of D.U.M.B.O. (which, it’s been argued, had been courting the experimental venue for some time). Inevitably, the announcement led countless greasy-haired, peg-leg panted twenty-somethings to question: Really? The very place plagued by overpriced artists lofts and baby buggies by the dozen? So, an ever-present discourse – the constant questioning of what will be NYC’s next underground artist hotspot – continues.

To the untrained eye, Front Street in Dumbo might appear much like the street with the same name in Manhattan (save for an increasingly small difference in rent price). So, isn’t it apples and oranges? Not exactly -- the Dumbo community (which includes the likes of jewelry designer Brian Crumley and art/publishing mavens powerHouse Books) would argue. And, this weekend, they’re going to prove it with the eleventh annual Art Under the Bridge Festival, sponsored by the local Dumbo Arts Center, a non-profit contemporary arts organization. So, why not do as Dumbolinos do and dig in? Here, five reasons to open your eyes, saddle up, and jump on the bandwagon:

Ed Schmidt's Dumbolio
See Ed Schmidt’s monthly variety show, Dumbolio, held at the powerHouse Arena this Saturday, 8pm, in conjunction with the Arts Under the Bridge Festival. A concoction of stand-up, choreographed dance and live musical performances, each is a force to be reckoned with. In the past Schmidt has welcomed everything from ventriloquists to local bands. This Saturday, the madness continues with Vitaly Komar, who will give a slide-show presentation about teaching unemployed Thai elephants to paint; Jed Distler, who will sing about a lifetime of dead-end jobs; and Rachelle Garniez, an acclaimed accordion player, will work her magic.

Tara Parsons' The Innocents Project
While ridden with somber undercurrents, artist Tara Parsons’ The Innocents Project, which takes place Saturday from 3pm-5pm from atop the Manhattan Bridge, is a must-see. In remembrance of thousands of Iraqi and American fatalities, Parsons will release biodegradable parachutes, each marked by the name of one of the deceased. Whether positioned at sea level, or towering overhead, the image will no doubt be one of poignancy and beauty.

Rashaad Newsome's Shade Compositions
Don't miss the Friday night (7pm) live performance of Brooklyn-based Newsome's latest work: The one-time showing, Shade Compositions, is a choreographed presentation by three black females of dismissive actions often categorized as “ghetto” - all of which, compounded, will create “an orchestra of rhythmic compositions.” Or, if you can’t make it, check out Saturday or Sunday’s installations showing Shade Compositions on video, which will also be on view at French boutique/art space Colette later this fall.

Jane’s Carousel, 56 Water Street
Anyone who has traversed Water Street this summer is probably all too aware of the beautiful, (literally) untouchable antique carousel on display within the confines of a building steps down from Jacques Torres’ namesake shop. An original from 1922, constructed by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, the carousel (officially known as Jane’s Carousel) has generated desperation in both children and adults alike – each eager to sit atop its wooden saddles, slowly circling its mirrored core to the sound of borderline creepy carnival melodies. Well, the jig is finally up. For one weekend, this Saturday and Sunday (noon-4pm), children of all ages can take a spin on the stunning antique for a mere dollar – a plenty fine price considering all proceeds benefit the Dumbo Arts Center.

Not for Thought Alone: The Stuffed Cabbage Project
While stuffed cabbage may appeal to everyone’s taste buds, the Hungarian Cultural Center is banking on the concept that a collaboration of New York and Budapest-based artists will whet your appetite for art. At once a street event and experimental artwork, the stuffed cabbage project features multiple artists’ works that have been created based on their sampling of one of Hungary’s favorite dishes. Artists Jinkee Choi, Agnes Eperjesi, Marie Losier, Trong B. Nguyen and Petra Valentova contribute.

*For a complete list of Arts Under the Bridge Exhibits and Festivities, including Open Studios – which allows visitors the opportunity to get a first-hand look at what it’s like to be a Dumbo-based artist – check here.

~Alisa Gould-Simon

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