Just Do Art: Week of June 15, 2017

In a smooth move groove: The Dance Cartel floors it at Harbor House, June 21 and 25, as part of the River to River Festival. Photo courtesy the artists.

R2R: RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL | As reliable as the tide but considerably less predictable, a deep dive into the sheer volume of events scheduled for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival will leave your head swimming with ways to soak in this annual genre-blurring, boundary-bursting celebration of dance, music, theater, and visual art. Offering 100+ performances and events at 31 indoor and outdoor sites spread across Lower Manhattan and Governors Island, this year’s R2R artists have a hunger for exploring uncharted waters that befits the festival’s waterfront setting. Here’s a modest sampling of what the schedule boasts.

Choreographing events that meld the “social nature of dance, the charge of a party, and the sharpness of a music video” to create a “fresh dance vocabulary that any Joe can get down with” is the promising premise of immersive events hosted by The Dance Cartel. With guest DJs in tow and audience participation on tap, they’ll take over Pier A’s Harbor House twice, on June 21 and 25. The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place is the site-specific setting for “Harbored” (June 22-25). Dramatizing the ups and downs of the American dream as experienced by immigrants during a two-century span, En Garde Arts’ return to “civic spectacle” is an epic mix of oral histories, dance, poetry, and music. Brooklyn-based visual artist Kamau Ware’s “Black Gotham Experience” has the Seaport District’s 192 Front Street as its central hub throughout the festival, with satellite programs and projects featuring art, music, performance, walking tours, and a graphic novel. From 4-8pm on June 20, Night at the Museums happens at 15 of Downtown’s most culturally significant destinations. You’ll get access to special programming, tours, and all of the stunning stuff you normally find by visiting the likes of Poets House, China Institute, The Skyscraper Museum, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, South Street Seaport Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and more (nine more, in fact).

 All events are free. Through June 25 at sites across Lower Manhattan and Governors Island. Visit rivertorivernyc.com.

No bull: Molly “Equality” Dykeman brings her brand of mullet-powered comedy to the QueerCom fest on June 17. Photo by Jenny Rubin.

“POWER TO THE MULLET!” | Her love of the ladies matched only by her capacity for cluelessness, compassion, and anything-goes substance abuse, we last saw Molly “Equality” Dykeman in the 2016 FringeNYC show “A Microwaved Burrito Filled With E. coli” — in which she and an equally irrepressible trans waitress commiserated when Molly was booted out of a lesbian wedding reception for rowdy behavior. Now, the ballsy and occasionally bitter bestie of underdogs everywhere (seven hours sober and counting!) returns for one hell of a night only, on a triple bill that’s part of the QueerCom festival.

“Power to the Mullet!” finds Molly (an improv-curious sketch comedy creation of the voraciously versatile Andrea Alton) tackling abominations like our “big orange Cheeto head” president and $14 organic smoothies, while occasionally favoring us with her earnest if not exactly chapbook-worthy poetry. Like the nachos Molly consumes with reckless abandon, you’ll soon find yourself acquiring a taste for that poetry, and going all bullish on this daffy and defiant dyke. “Mullet” shares the evening with the improv troupe “It’s A Good Thing You’re Pretty” and solo comedy from double minority (gay, Mohawk) T. Leclaire.

Sat., June 17, 7pm at the Peoples Improv Theater (aka PIT; 123 E. 24 St., btw. Park & Lexington Aves.). Tickets ($10) at the door or via thepit-nyc.com. Contact the PIT at 212-563-7488.

Get the inside scoop on their creative process, and scoop up some of their work, during your June 17 and 18 West Chelsea Artists Open Studios self-guided tour. Photo courtesy Barbara Rachko Studio.

WEST CHELSEA ARTISTS OPEN STUDIOS | Step into their minds by walking through their doors, by taking this self-guided tour that gives you access to over 30 artists located in buildings throughout the West Chelsea area. More than just an opportunity to browse, this annual event provides a rare chance to engage artists in conversation and, as a result, learn about what sets their chosen medium apart, and why they chose that particular style of expression. Haggling might even be part of that dialogue — but be gentle, kind patron of the arts, because the very fact you’re on their home turf means the price you pay to walk away with a one-of-a-kind creation won’t include a gallery markup fee (which can be 50 percent or more).

Free. 12-6pm Sat., June 17 and Sun., June 18. The self-guided tour starts at the West Chelsea Arts building lobbies (508-526 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.), where visitors can pick up tour maps. Maps are also available at co-sponsor Blick Art Materials locations (among them, 237 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) and 650 Sixth Ave., at W. 20th St.). Visit westchelseaartists.com for a list of participating artists.

—BY SCOTT STIFFLER

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