place: new york, usa

Michaela Coventry

Michaela Coventry

Michaela Coventry

reason for travelling

I was in New York in January 2012 to pitch Lucy Guerin Inc’s new work Weather at the The International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) Congress.

festival time

New York in early January is the perfect time for any dance or performance maker to visit. There is so much on in such a concentrated period of time, that it makes the perfect research trip.

Coil, Under the Radar and American Realness all offer multi ticket deals. Added to these festivals are programs at places such as The Kitchen and Danspace. Along side performances there are also complimentary programs of forums, workshops, classes and non-performance presentation. You could spend 18 hours a day immersed in dance, theatre and performance.

for culture

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

So many places—it IS New York!

Frick Collection is housed in the Frick 5th Avenue home which was turned into a museum 75 years ago—intimate and engaging. It should leave every Australian pondering what legacy they would leave if they were a certain WA mining magnate.

Baryshnikov Arts Center was established by Misha (as he’s known) in 2005 to open up contemporary performance to a wider audience. It housed much of the Coil Festival this year while PS 122 waits to move into its new home which I imagine will become a major institution in the coming years.

Also not to be missed is the New Museum on the Bowery and of course MoMA.

For dance try the Danspace Project, St Marks in the Bowery. You just need to look at the list of people on their Artist Advisory Board! Like any truly great space that seeks to nurture, explore and investigate contemporary dance, you’ll have your hits and misses—think Antistatic in the 90s (Performance Space, Sydney – see realtime dance archive).

New York sign

New York sign

New York sign

American Realness Festival, Abrons Arts Center is a new contemporary performance festival, only three years old, embodying what I imagined Under the Radar would be, rigorous and ambitious. It’s not focused on finding the “new”, or the “next big thing” but rather it curates work that has a sense of riskiness an/or experimentation.

Printed Matter is a must in New York. A not-for-profit that promotes, publishes and exhibits publications by artists. You need to dedicate a couple of hours to discover the gems hiding just behind that next shelf. Your gay friends will undoubtedly request you bring back a copy of PinUps. I was a bit too timid to purchase.

Also a highlight is PS122’s Coil Festival held each winter.

for refreshment

Izakaya Ten, 10th Avenue, Chelsea. Sit at the bar and try the more home-style Japanese dishes. The warm sake stewed with puffer fish fin is amazing—drink it down to the fin at the bottom of your cup.

Puffer fish fin in sake, Izakaya Ten

Puffer fish fin in sake, Izakaya Ten

Puffer fish fin in sake, Izakaya Ten

Mary’s Fish Camp offers a seasonal menu. I’m still dreaming of the gazpacho with huge chunks of lobster tail I had there last spring.

One word: Brooklyn. Try La Superior for the most amazing seemingly simple Mexican food. $5 margaritas!

Café Colette offers Diner style with great “New American” cuisine – great for lunch/brunch.

for sleeping

The Ace Hotel lived up to expectations and the wannabe-rock-star in me loved having the velvet rope pulled aside for myself and guest on Friday and Saturday nights as I laughed at those who had to line up just to experience the very groovy foyer bar. But, if you’re like most of us, you’ll need to check out cheap deals online.

Empire State Building, from Ace Hotel window

Empire State Building, from Ace Hotel window

Empire State Building, from Ace Hotel window

other recommendations

The meatpacking district for galleries. You’re not wrong, there’s a lot of mediocre art on those walls but once in a while—wow! Hiroshi Sugimoto at Gagosian Gallery in 2008/2009, or more recently Monica Cook at Post Masters on West 19th Street.

Clearview Cinema on West 23rd: Is it still not daggy to dress up and sing along to The Rocky Horror Picture Show almost 40 years after the fact? Friday night midnight showings are worth it just to watch the young ones screaming with delight, dressing up in the bathrooms. Scarily I could still remember every word as I sang along, choking on the hairspray. Perhaps only for those in NYC for a longer stay and running out of options.

final thoughts

Read Just Kids, Patti Smith’s memoir of her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe and “making it” in NYC in the 70s and 80s—walk the same streets and dream of time travel…


The Frick Collection http://www.frick.org/

Baryshnikov Arts Center http://www.bacnyc.org

New Museum on the Bowery http://www.newmuseum.org/

MONA http://www.moma.org/

Danspace Project, St Marks in the Bowery http://danspaceproject.org

American Realness Festival, Abrons Arts Center http://tbspmgmt.com/AMERICAN_REALNESS_.html

Printed Matter http://www.printedmatter.org/

Gagosian Gallery http://www.gagosian.com/

Post Masters http://www.postmastersart.com/

Clearview Cinema, Chelsea http://clearviewcinemas.com/cgi-bin/locations.cgi?id=034&flag=diplay_theatre

Izakaya Ten, http://izakayaten.com/

Mary’s Fish Camp http://www.marysfishcamp.com

Ace Hotel https://www.acehotel.com/newyork

Café Collette http://www.cafe-colette.com/

La Superior http://www.lasuperiornyc.com/


Michaela Coventry is the Executive Producer of Lucy Guerin Inc, Melbourne. Previously she has worked as Manager for Stalker/Marrugeku and Project Manager and Publicist for Performance Space, Sydney from 2001-2004. She has also worked as a freelance producer, production manager and publicist for artists and companies such as Julie-Anne Long and Wendy Houstoun, Sam James, The Fondue Set, Tess De Quincey, PACT Theatre, Urban Theatre Projects and Brink. In 2003 she was awarded an Emerging Producer secondment with Robyn Archer’s dance focused Melbourne International Arts Festival.

For more on Lucy Guerin Inc see realtimedance

6 March 2012