This Week In & Around Chelsea: May 22-28, 2023

Happening This Week, in “This Week In & Around Chelsea”

PANDEMONIUM at the Library / FJK Dance / Caftans & Cocktails / Free Classes at Pier 57 / Children’s Book Reading Series / Down to Earth Farmers Market Chelsea / Future Events: Lower Chelsea Walking Tour / Community Cleanups

PANDEMONIUM at the Library: Monday, May 22, 6-8pm at Jefferson Market Library (425 Sixth Ave.) | Puma Perl—a poet and award-winning arts writer (for her work with Chelsea Community News) hosts this night of music, poetry, and art. Music by LJ Murphy and Puma Perl and Friends. Readings by Nancy Mercado, Jane Ormerod, and Nicca Ray. Plus, purchase artwork and books from independent publishers, artists, and from renowned photographers Julia Gorton and Linda Troeller. For more info about this free, handicapped-accessible event, click here.
Poster by Danielle Charette.
FJK Dance: Tuesday, May 23 through Thursday, May 25, 7:30pm at New York Live Arts (219 W. 19th St. btw. 7th & 8th Aves.) | FJK Dance, the 10-member, Iraqi-curated contemporary dance company, celebrates their ninth season with new and signature works. Ballet and ballroom dancing are among the influences that inform work created for the ensemble by Fadi J. Khoury, FJK’s Arab-American choreographer and Artistic Director. Using dance, music, and visual art to celebrate his Middle heritage while questioning stereotypes and gender roles, Khoury hopes, he says, “to inspire a cross-cultural dialogue, and a world where culture is safe.” General Admission tickets are $45 ($20 for students). To order, click here. To visit the FJK website, click here.
Photo courtesy of FJK Dance.


Caftans & Cocktails / Wednesday, May 24, 5pm-8pm at Housing Works Thrift Shop Chelsea (143 W. 17th St. btw. 6th & 7th Aves.) | Ever since Sondheim made it the clothing of choice for a certain type of monied Mrs. lounging around while planning a brunch on her own behalf, the caftan’s reputation has been diminished (to say nothing of what Mrs. Roper did to the widely misunderstood frock). But as the draw of this May 24 event, it’s looking good these days. Seriously, we’re not being charitable—you are.

Caftans & Cocktails is a wardrobe-enhancing, soirée whose proceeds help further the mission of Housing Works—a “healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS” working toward ending “the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses.” Up for grabs at amazing prices will be a mix of current and vintage caftan styles. Attendees are encouraged to “come dressed in your more glamorous caftan, enjoy a cocktail, and shop styles ready for your next trip to the beach!”

Upping the event’s fabulous factor: The presence of co-hosts Natalie Kates, Mickey Boardman, Justin Vivian Bond, Julia Clancey, Jay Inkpen, Monica Mahoney, Francesca Romana Mondello, Florence Müller, SisterFace, and Melody Weir. Music by DJ Lady Bunny with punch-packing libations provided by Coppa Cocktails. To register for this event (general admission, $23.18), click here.


“Pop” go the cards, at Gustavo’s weekly class. | Photo courtesy of Pier 57.

Free Classes at Pier 57  | “Ever give someone a birthday card, graduation card, or condolence card and wished you had made it yourself, and that something could spring to life upon opening said card? Well sometimes wishes do come true.” Talk about a narrative hook! If this class is as tongue-in-cheek fun to take as its descriptive text is to read—and we’ve every reason to believe that’s the case—then Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful lifelong practice of people making cards that spring to life upon opening. What’s more, the class (which its creator whimsically insists is actually an “Academy) is free of charge and no advance sign-up is necessary. Chelsea’s own Gustavo is your instructor, and those instructions “pop” out at you Wednesdays, 6pm, in Pier 57’s Seahorse Classroom. For more info, click here.

Elsewhere on the schedule of free weekly instructional events, Gustavo is your guide once again, when school’s in for the Finger Puppet class—Tuesdays, 4-5pm at Pier 57’s ROOM. Puppetry enthusiasts and absolute beginners alike can learn how to craft an original creation from the raw material of poster board cylinders, air drying clay, and pure imagination. It’s appropriate for, the instructor tells us, “ages 4 to 104.” Sorry 1-,2-, and 3-year-olds—go find your fun some other place! Okay, sorry. Quit crying. You guys are babies! Speaking of which, instructor Rachel has something special for babies and toddlers: Her Musikgarten classes (ages 0 to 3 years) happen Tuesdays at 10:15am and 11:15am, offering “a chance for families to learn to connect with children

In the realm of music, you’ve got to crawl before you walk. In that respect, the Musicgarten class has your back. | Photo courtesy of Pier 57

in a musical setting.” Finally, on Thursdays at 6pm, Rachel’s Ukulele class is just for adults—ironic, because by the end of this one-hour class, you’ll feel like a kid again. Designed for any level of experience but with distinct notes of instruction for first-timers, Rachel makes sure that by hour’s end, everybody will be able to contribute good-sounding stuff to the group jam session. Best of all, no uke required! There will be some on hand for those who have yet to make the plunge and purchase one of the quirky little instruments. All of these classes run through July and are the brainchildren of Smartworks, an instructional business founded and staffed by married couple Gustavo and Rachel. For more info on all sorts of Pier 57 classes, click here. For all things Smarworks, click here.

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