How To Spend Your Spring #2015


Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing
March 26–June 28
Hancock’s self-portrait — a demonic figure with giant tube-shaped breasts — is decidedly unflattering, but it captures the essence of an artist immersed in the perversely humorous world of underground comics. This extensive survey features his long-running mythological story about evil Vegans battling creatures called Mounds, as well as more personal work, including panels involving Torpedo Boy, a childhood alter ego. In one remarkable sequence that both acknowledges and rebukes an artistic influence, the costumed African-American kid encounters Philip Guston’s infamous Klansmen. Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 West 125th Street, — Robert Shuster

When the Curtain Never Comes Down
March 26–July 5
This fresh collection of outsider art explores ritual, self-promotion, and performance in the creative acts of the self-taught. The efforts are wonderfully odd. In homage to a sea goddess, Raimundo Borges Falcão roller-skates in elaborate outfits assembled from trash. Spiritually guided, Bill Anhang lights up paintings, sculpture, and garments with complex arrangements of LEDs. Here, too, you can listen to painter Hans Krüsi’s distorted recordings of insects and music, and marvel at the winged machines of Gustav Mesmer, a schizophrenic obsessed with human-powered flight. American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, — Shuster

Wine Riot
March 27–28
Can you — or anyone — taste 250 wines in four hours? Probably not, but you can try your best at the spring Wine Riot event. A $60 ticket lets you grab a glass and create your own tour of new wines from all over the world. Use a companion mobile app to mark your favorite glasses and find out where to pick up a bottle later. If you’re feeling lost (or drunk), pros are on hand to answer questions and add a connoisseur’s expertise. If all that wine goes to your head, put down the glass and hit the non-alcoholic activities, including a photo booth and temporary-tattoo stand. 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, — Julianne Pepitone

Orchid Evenings 
March 28, April 4, 11, 17–19
By day, the New York Botanical Garden’s “Orchid Show” features poetry readings and plant-care instructions amid a showcase of chandelier-like hanging orchid designs and walkways packed with colorful blooms. By night (on select spring weekends), the show includes a special Orchid Evenings component. Wander through the walkways and greenhouses to admire the orchids by moonlight, stop for a lipstick touchup courtesy of a Guerlain makeup artist, or drop by the Pine Tree Café to enjoy dinner and live music. The $35 tickets ($25 for NYBG members) include one specialty cocktail, beer, or glass of wine. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, — Pepitone

NYC Craft Distillers Festival
March 28
The second annual NYC Craft Distillers Festival turns the gorgeous Bowery Hotel into Prohibition-era New York, when the moonshine flowed and flapper dresses were plentiful. Don your Gatsby-inspired attire and sample more than 60 premium spirits — rye, gin, bourbon, applejack, moonshine, and more — from 20 specially selected craft distilleries. As you sip the spirits, a Twenties jazz band will play at each of the two sessions (tickets are $95 for the 1–4 p.m. section and $100 for the 7–10 p.m. bash), adding to the speakeasy feel. The Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery,— Pepitone

Flower Arranging Workshop
March 29
Stems Brooklyn operates out of Ditmas Park’s Sycamore, the borough’s only combination flower shop and bar. Enjoy both parts of this offbeat yet delightful pairing at a flower-arranging class, where you’ll sip two botanic-inspired cocktails as you learn the 101 of the craft. The laidback folks at Stems will share tips for choosing and preparing flowers, as well as ensuring balance in your arrangement. As an added bonus, you’ll also learn DIY home flower arranging — perfect for turning those bodega stems into a lovely display that screams spring. Stems is devoted to finding a mix of unique and high-quality florals, so you’ll leave the $75 class with a variegated bouquet that’s romantic and a little bit wild. 1118 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, — Pepitone

Liz Gerring/Michelle Dorrance
March 31–April 5
Who says female choreographers can’t get work? These two garner rave reviews and pack houses; offering beauty and brains in contemporary and tap styles, they split the week. Go twice. Gerring’s cool, elegant glaciertakes its name from Michael Schumacher’s score and its austere look from designer Robert Wierzel. Dorrance, a long drink of water with a sharp mind, brings The Blues Project, with music created and performed live by Toshi Reagon and a cast of all-star dancers, including Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, who infuse tap with unusual warmth and emotion. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue,  Elizabeth Zimmer

Jessie Ware
April 1
Few singers today can tug heartstrings quite like Jessie Ware. Riding the success of her sophomore album,Tough Love, the British singer offers a quietly soulful voice steeped in heartbreak and longing. Crisp production and sleek, layered arrangements keep Ware in line with today’s more sophisticated pop musicians, but when the bells and whistles are stripped away, what’s left is nearly a dozen simple yet beautifully crafted love songs. Ware has a couple of dance numbers mixed into her repertoire as well, but this promises to be a cathartic outing for the recently dumped and perpetually heartsick. Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street, — Jackson Connor


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