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January Events: American Realness, Under the Radar & Coil Festivals

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Miguel Gutierrez: Age & Beauty/American Realness Festival.

We are in the dead of winter but downtown alternative performance venues are heating up this month. Several theater festivals on the Lower East Side are in full swing during the next couple of weeks. If you’re looking for an interesting cultural diversion, keep reading.

The sixth annual American Realness Festival opened last night at the Abrons Arts Center. During the next 10 days, there will be 23 avant-garde productions on three stages from artists aiming to “expose issues and questions around identity, form, ritual, death, history, pop-culture, cooperation and the professionalization of art making.” Highlights include the latest installment of dancer-choreographer Miguel Gutierrez’s  “Age and Beauty”and the world premiere of Keith Hennessy’s dance-based solo performance, Bare/Skin.

The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival is also drawing downtown theater-goers. Taylor Mac’s, “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1900-1950s” is bound to be a big draw. Mac is “accompanied by a live band, dancing beauties, and special guests in his unique mash-up of music, history, performance, and art.” Individual performances will cover shorter periods but the whole thing will be performed in a six hour tour de force Jan. 25.

Finally, there’s PS122’s Coil Festival. One installation you might want to check out is Temporary Distortion’s, “My Voice Has an Echo in It,” at the Ideal Glass Gallery on East 2nd Street. Band members perform inside a video box that’s 24-feet long. It has glass on one side and a mirror on the other. To hear the six hour-long performance, you need to wear a pair of headphones. The Times wrote about the show yesterday.

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