Just Do Art! Week of July 12, 2012

Compelling form, forward-thinking function: Bruce Rosenbaum and Gary Sullivan’s Steampunk Wedding Time Capsule unlocks its mementos at a future point of your choosing. Until then, a countdown feature on the antique grandfather clock chips away at the due date. Photo by Gary Sullivan

BY SCOTT STIFFLER  |  EXHIBITION: “STEAMPUNKINETICS”   The last time Bruce Rosenbaum descended upon Gotham’s cobblestone streets, it was that bygone era known as winter 2012 — when he curated an exhibition at Soho’s Wooster Street Social Club. Tricked out with all manner of gauges and gears, the highly stylized collection of cell phones, chairs, bicycles and desktop workspaces made perfect sense among the tattoo parlor’s buzzing metal machinery. Now, the prolific and visionary Rosenbaum returns (this time to Tribeca) to once again push the envelope of the already boundary-shattering world of Steampunk.

“Steampunkinetics” is an exhibition of over 40 kinetic sculptures by 18 artists inspired by (and entrenched in) the Steampunk aesthetic. The still-evolving genre — which has grown from a literary device to a rich subculture encompassing everything from fashion to visual art to home design — mashes the Victorian industrial aesthetic with elements of contemporary technology and futurism. The result, as seen in “Steampunkinetics,” is a forward-thinking yet retro-informed take on everything from the functional (lighting and musical instruments) to the fantastical (time machines and airships).

Free. Through Sept. 2: Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm & Sun., 11am-6pm. At AFA (54 Greene St., at Broome St.). For info, call 212-226-7374 or visit modvic.com, afanyc.com and steampuffin.com.

In the lower portion of the clock, letters and small mementos can be deposited and stored. Photo by Gary Sullivan

HAPPENINGS — AT HOUSING WORKS BOOKSTORE CAFE  A fine selection of books (the kind with hundreds of pages instead of one screen) is just the tip of the iceberg that keeps Housing Works Bookstore Cafe afloat. Lingering, socializing and contemplation are encouraged by a series of events offering everything from author meet and greets to lit-themed performances. Staffed almost entirely by volunteers, 100 percent of the profits support the Housing Works mission to fight homelessness and AIDS.

Theatre of the Oppressed performs at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, on July 24. Photo by Katy Ru

On Tues., July 17, a panel addresses the social relevancy of comic books. On hand will be writer and former crime reporter Dennis O’Neil and photorealistic artist Neal Adams — whose collaborative efforts returned Batman to his brooding roots.  Also on hand will be writer Christopher Irving and photographer Seth Kushner — whose “Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics” outlines the genre’s history through Irving’s interview-based essays and Kushner’s photography.

On Wed., July 18, “Copyright & Punishment in the Digital Age” has online entrepreneurs Drew Curtis (Fark.com), Erik Martin (Reddit) and Ken Fisher (Ars Technica) discussing intellectual property and fair use online. Rob Reid, whose new novel “Year Zero” brings an intergalactic perspective to these issues, moderates.

July 17: Dennis O’Neil, with collaborator Neal Adams, discusses the social relevancy of comic books. Photo by Seth Kushner

On Thurs., July 19 ($8 cover),  the ongoing Moth StorySLAM series features 10 stories addressing the theme of “Show Tunes.” The best tale wins.

On Mon., July 23, “A Decade of Fluxblog Live: 10 Years of Perfect Tunes” features Rob Sheffield (Rolling Stone Magazine), Au Revoir Simone singer Heather D’Angelo and others talking about one song from the decade 2002–12 as a way to mark the tenth year of Floxblog (the first mp3 blog).

On Tues., July 24, Theatre of the Oppressed presents “Stigma and the City” — based on real events experienced by performers from Housing Works’ 13 Theatre Troupe (an ensemble of NYC artists living with, or affected by, HIV).

All events happen at 7pm (free unless otherwise noted), at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby St., btw. Prince & Houston Sts.). Hours: Mon–Fri., 10am–9pm and Sat.–Sun., 10am–5pm. For info, call 212-334-3324 or visit housingworksbookstore.org.

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