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.

Christina Leith Hansen

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.)

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

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

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

Get The Beast In Your Inbox!

Daily Digest

Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast.

Cheat Sheet

A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know (and nothing you don't).

By clicking “Subscribe,” you agree to have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank You!
You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.

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

Drawing inspiration from American Psycho and Gossip Girl, New 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

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

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

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