Performance Space New York Embraces the East Village Vanguard

Downtown theater organization PS122 marks the reopening of its recently renovated home with a new name and a wild (and free) performance party.

Back in 1980, the abandoned East Village public school PS122 was commandeered as a beachhead for cutting-edge theater, dance, and performance art. A generation of famous and infamous performers (including Karen Finley, Spalding Gray, and John Leguizamo) utilized PS122 as a space to experiment and cut their teeth. Following seven years of extensive renovations to its home base—which now offers two theaters and an elevator—and a stint as a roaming arts organization, PS122 is rebranding as Performance Space New York and marking the occasion of its newly announced opening season with the resurrection of its Avant-Garde-Arama mini festival.

The party starts with a series of impromptu performances on the venue’s multiple stages, hosted by Carmelita Tropicana, IKE and The Factress. The lineup features an array of downtown icons who date back to PS122’s beginnings—Penny Arcade, John Zorn, Holly Hughes—alongside the next generation of performance artists, including Erin Markey, Reggie Watts and Adrienne Truscott. Adventurous musical guests The Hawtplates, Pharmakon and The Illustrious Blacks will also share the bill.

PSNY promises late-night DJ sets from Le Tigre’s JD Samson and pivotal NYC nightclub fixture Justin Strauss. The combination of this supernova of downtown talent combined with free entry means you should plan on arriving early or run the risk of waiting in line at the mercy of “door queen” Shiny Penny. Come dressed to impress…or at least provoke.

Why You Should Go: This one-night-only performance art party is packed with downtown royalty, drinks, dope DJs, and more fun than you can reasonably expect to have on a Sunday night.

Open House Avant-Garde-Arama Dance Party
Performance Space New York
150 First Avenue (between East 9th and 10th Streets), East Village
Sunday, February 18
6 p.m.–1 a.m.

Surely you’re going to need fuel to rave the night away. We’ve got your table covered. Find out what else our experts recommend in New York City in The Guide.