Nine Must-See Events at NYC’s Premier Performance Art Festival

From a musical performance that gossips about Beyoncé to opera singers on bicycles, the team behind PERFORMA picks the nine must-see shows during the festival’s fifth installment.

11.06.13 10:45 AM ET

PERFORMA—the nearly month-long biennial celebrating the multi-faceted realm of performance art—is back for its fifth installment. Featuring over 100 events in more than 40 venues, PERFORMA celebrates a wide-range of artistic disciplines through audience participation. This year, the exhibitions are driven by Surrealism, integrating the art movement's historical legacy into various forms of music, dance, and design.

In no particular order, the team behind PERFORMA offer their suggestions of the nine best performances to see this month.

(PERFORMA 13 runs through November 24.)

 Ryan McNamara, MEƎM: A STORY BALLET ABOUT THE INTERNET, 2013. Photo courtesy the artist.

courtesy the artist

1. Ryan McNamara, MEEM A STORY BALLET ABOUT THE INTERNET (Connelly Theater, 220 East 4th Street)

McNamara explores the concept of the Internet through a fully-immersive choreographed performance. The dance and movements emphasize the online world's place as a multi-faceted "space of engagement."

Friday, November 8, 8:00 pm; Saturday, November 9, 8:00 pm; Sunday, November 10, 8:00 pm; Monday, November 11, 8:00 pm; Tuesday, November 12, 8:00 pm; $20

Cally Spooner, And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, 2013. Courtesy of the artist, The Stedelijk Museum, and MOTINTERNATIONAL.

Courtesy of the artist, The Stedelijk Museum, and MOTINTERNATIONAL.

2. Cally Spooner, And You Were Wonderful, On Stage (National Academy Museum, 1083 5th Avenue)

A scattered chorus line from a Broadway musical (produced by Spooner) moves from the margins to the center as they gossip about Beyoncé, Lance Armstrong, Barack Obama, and the lack of liveness and authenticity in contemporary life, before moving in unison towards an automated, spectacular finale.

Friday, November 8, 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm; Saturday, November 9, 6:30 pm, 8:30 pm; $15

Fest (sketch), 2013 © threeASFOUR

© threeASFOUR

3. threeASFOUR, FEST (The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Avenue)

Meant to bring together people of all backgrounds, threeASFOUR offers audience members the opportunity to participate in a ritual hand-washing ceremony before breaking bread from edible couture dresses worn by three female performers.

Sunday, November 10, 6:00 pm; FREE with RSVP

4. Ed Fornieles, NEW YORK NEW YORK HAPPY HAPPY (Sky Room, New Museum, 235 Bowery)

Drawing inspiration from American Psycho and Gossip GirlNew York New York Happy Happy is a gala in which participants are encouraged to play an exaggerated version of themselves developed in conversation with the artist in order to engineer more extreme versions of social drama.

Thursday, November 7, 8:00 pm; $50 - $90

5. Chez Deep: Colin Self and Alexis Penney, Performa After Hours (Fig. 19, 131 ½ Chrystie Street)

Drag collective Chez Deep, featuring Colin Self and Alexis Penney, performs latest excerpts from their manifesto alongside a six-person choir.

Saturday November 9, 9:30 pm; FREE

 File name: Derrick_Adams Once Upon a Time 2013 performa

Derrick Adams
 File name: Derrick_Adams Once Upon a Time 2013 performa

Derrick Adams

 File name: Derrick_Adams Once Upon a Time 2013 performa

Derrick Adams

Derrick Adams

6. Derrick Adams, Once upon a time… (Salon 94, 12 East 94th Street)

Commissioned by the Calder Foundation, Adams explores how we "engage and reinterpret overlooked histories" by highlighting the American cultural phenomenon of schoolchildren reciting historical texts on stage, including three Harlem Renaissance-era poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar, Claude McKay, and Langston Hughes.

Saturday, November 9, 6:30 pm, 9:00 pm; FREE (RSVP reccomended)

12 E 94th St

7. Tori Wranes, Yes Nix, (SIR Stage 37, 508 West 37th Street)

Through a visual concert, Tori Wranes explores new ways to make the audience pay attention to sound—with opera singers on bicycles, an elder choir singing and playing flutes, and a gun used as a microphone.

Friday, November 22, 7:30 pm; Saturday, November 23, 7:30 pm; $25

 Bedwyr Williams, still from The Starry Messenger, 2013.

Bedwyr Williams

8. Bedwyr Williams, A Break In, (Thea Westreich, Art Adisory Services, 114 Greene Street)

Following the success of his Venice Biennale piece, Williams's monalogue features a thief breaking into the home of a New York City couple.

Sunday, November 10, 5:00 pm, 6:30 pm; $15

Mark Blower

9. Eddie Peake, Endymion, (Swiss Institute, 18 Wooster Street)

Through choreographed movements, Peake explores intimacy and emotions including jealousy and power. The performance considers the complex politics of the body and interactions between people.

Thursday, November 14, 9:00 pm; $20