Just Do Art: Of Ghosts, Fests, Films, and Self-Guided Tours

Get to know the artists behind the art, by taking the High Line Open Studios tour. Seen here, a visitor to the studio of Tom Cocotos. | Photo courtesy of Tom Cocotos

BY SCOTT STIFFLER with Sidebar by BOB KRASNER | What’s private becomes public when you rub shoulders with the West Chelsea Gallery district’s own. From 12-6pm, Sat., Oct. 13 and Sun., Oct. 14, the High Line Open Studios event is a self-guided tour that gives you access to over 30 studios, where visitors are able to engage the artists in conversation about the creative process — and highly encouraged to purchase art directly from their studio inventory (at deeply discounted prices). To download the map and get more info, visit highlineopenstudios.org.

The Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society’s Halloween concert scares up some frightfully good seasonal selections. | Photo by Evelyn Guidatis Magarban

If you exit your Open Studios experience hankering for another self-guided tour guaranteed to provide a window into the lives of others, a stroll through Merchant’s House Museum is a must. This 1832 late-Federal and Greek Revival treasure is a designated landmark on the federal, state, and city level — and home to dozens upon dozens of unexplained, and well-documented, paranormal happenings (spectral sightings, phantom sounds, disembodied voices captured on tape). Check out their roster of annual “Spirited” October events at merchantshouse.org. Reservations are highly recommended for one of our favorites: “Chant Macabre: Songs from the Crypt,” coming to life for one frightful night only, on Thurs, Oct. 18 at 7pm (tickets are $30). It’s a melodic, comedic, quite possibly menacing excavation of ghost-themed and death-obsessed selections from the work of Schubert, Liszt, Debussy, Duparc, Loewe, Mussorgsky, and more, performed with passion, zeal, and world-class skill by the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society.

The Chelsea Film Festival’s Women in Power benefit is a prelude to next week’s Oct. 18-21 screenings. | Photo courtesy of CFF

Local in its brick and mortar incarnation, but international so far as the scope of its subject matter is concerned, the Chelsea Film Festival (CFF) screens documentaries, shorts, and features by emerging filmmakers who are anything but risk-averse (a programming choice that has produced gem after gem, year after year). It’s set to unspool Oct. 18-21 at AMC Loews 34th Street — but first, CFF’s Second Annual “Women in Power” event considers the topic, “Women in Leadership Positions: How Did They Make it To The Top?”Julie Menin (Commissionerof the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment)gives the opening remarks, there’s a Networking Luncheon, and Baruch Shemtov (Entertainment Anchor on “Good Day New York”) moderates a panel whose guests include Danielle Campbell, Gigi Gorgeous, and Simone Missick. Attendance to this Wed., Oct. 17, 11am-3pm event to benefit CFF (a nonprofit) is invitation-only, so send an email inquiry to press@chelseafilm.org. Visit chelseafilm.org to learn more about CFF’s year-round mission and this year’s festival selections.

The East Side WWI Centennial Commemoration Committee cordially invites you to an event worth saluting — and attending. Held at 6:30pm on Thurs., Oct. 18 at E. 75th St.’s Cultural Center of the Lycée Français de New York, this evening of musical performances and distinguished guest speakers is anchored by a screening of the 1941 film “Sergeant York,” with Gary Cooper in the title role. Why, you ask? Well, as the ESWWICC will tell you, the East Side’s York Avenue is named after Sgt. Alvin York, one of WWI’s most decorated American soldiers. Learn more about the group’s mission, and secure your reserve tickets to this free event, by visiting bit.ly/WWISgtYork, or calling the office of Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright at 212-288-4607.

Photo by Bob Krasner

Last Call for ‘Kink Haüs’ | Multi-disciplinary artist Gunnar Montana has settled into the basement at La MaMa for a brief run of “Kink Haüs.” The intimate space has been transformed by Montana to house a show that is a visually striking, energetic mix of modern dance, homo-eroticism, ballet, burlesque, Broadway musicals, performance art, and drag shows. The only thing missing is dialogue. Not that it’s needed, as the vignettes easily convey Montana’s vision in the hour-long show. “I’m looking back at my 20s,” he states, “and I’m criticizing and celebrating the choices I made.” Montana adds, “It’s quintessentially me, but also a commentary on the gay lifestyle.” Now two years sober, he notes that the final scene represents his “closing the door” on that period and “turning the page to the next chapter.”

The final performances are Thurs.-Sun., Oct. 11-14, at 8pm (additional 10pm show on Fri.). For tickets and info, visit lamama.org/kink_haus. Artist info at gunnarmontana.com.

—BY BOB KRASNER

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