Arts Watch: What To Do in March

Gary Shteyngart on the Lower East Side. Photo by Matthew Monteith.

Gary Shteyngart on the Lower East Side. He’ll be reading from his new memoir, “Little Failure,” at Tenement Talks on March 31st. Photo by Matthew Monteith.

Here are some highlighted events happening on the Lower East Side this month:

Sat. 1 – If Buildings Could Talk! at the Museum of Chinese in America: Bring the kids (best for ages 5 to 11) to explore an exhibition featuring photographs of Chinatown residences called “A Floating Population”; then create your very own small-scale 3D model of a living space in Chinatown.

215 Centre St. // 11 a.m. // free.

Sun. 2 – Aruán Ortiz Quartet at Abrons Arts Center: Critically acclaimed Cuban pianist and award-winning composer Ortiz comes to Abrons with his superb quartet, including Rashaan Carter on bass, Eric McPherson on drums and David Gilmore on guitar. Enjoy an afternoon of free-flowing improvisation inspired by a range of influences, from the impressionist colors of Maurice Ravel to the rhythms of Thelonious Monk. Part of the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert series.

466 Grand St. // 3 p.m. // free.

Thurs. 6 – Faye Driscoll’s Thank You for Coming at Danspace: Bessie Award-winning choreographer and director Driscoll uses her latest piece to continue exploring “how we experience ourselves in relation to other bodies, other stories and the spaces we all inhabit, as a company of performers, designers, supporters and audiences is built around a long-term creative endeavor.”

Through Saturday, March 15 // 131 E. 10th St. // 8 p.m. // $20/$15 members.

Fri. 7 – The Rocky Horror Opera Show at the New Museum: Guest music curator Cori Ellison kicks off a series of musical events delving into the possibilities of the operatic voice by placing it in nontraditional contexts. A quartet of singers performs operatic standards to live accompaniment while an audience of die-hard opera fans and the general public are encouraged to dress up, sing along, dance and throw toast do whatever they’re moved to do.

235 Bowery // 7 p.m. // $12.

Thurs. 13 – Fourth Annual American Human Beatbox Festival at La MaMa: A variety of beatbox performance styles and forms is showcased in this three-day event that includes an open mic, beat rhyme battles and vocal wars featuring some of the leading beatbox artists in America. Curated and hosted by Kid Lucky. Through Sunday, March 16, 74A E. Fourth St., showtimes vary, $15 or two for $20/advance.

Fri. 14 – Hobo Grunt Cycle at Dixon Place: Forging empathic links between wounded soldiers and rescued fighting dogs, performer Kevin Augustine premieres his tribe’s latest work alongside a foam-rubber cast of life-sized pit bulls, disabled American veterans and a cadre of competing circus clowns, exposing the postwar legacy of soldiers while raising questions about peace and healing in our daily lives.

Also Saturday, March 15 // 161A Chrystie St. // 7 p.m. // $16.

Thurs. 20 – The War on Drugs at Bowery Ballroom: Still playing some of the best “road-trip music” around, frontman Adam Granduciel and his indie band from Philadelphia are back on tour with their new album Lost in the Dream, the followup to their highly regarded 2011 record, Slave Ambient.

6 Delancey St. // 9 p.m. // $20.

Sun. 23 -Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon at Bowery Arts + Science: JP Howard curates this showcase, which kicks off the salon’s spring 2014 series at Bowery Poetry for Women’s History Month and celebrates a “sacred space” for women’s voices.

308 Bowery // 3:30 p.m. // $10.

Mon. 31 – Little Failure at Tenement Talks: Former LES resident and award-winning author Gary Shteyngart returns to the neighborhood with a humorous yet poignant new memoir about his American immigrant experience. Growing up in Queens after moving with his parents from Leningrad, Shteyngart describes his journey toward becoming a writer against his parents’ wishes and the battle to survive public school as a “misfit” Soviet Jew in America, a country once viewed as the enemy. He is joined at the Tenement Museum by his friend, Suketu Mehta, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author.

103 Orchard St. // 6:30 p.m. // free.