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LES Fest of Arts packs weekend full of free performances

Like “Avengers: Endgame,” only with an army of poets, musicians and dancers instead of superheroes, the Theater for the New City’s Lower East Side Festival of the Arts will bring together a dream team of local performers all in one place.

The fest, the 29th annual installment, starts tonight, Fri., May 24, at 6 p.m., ushering in a sweeping smorgasbord of free performances for the weekend. Each artist gets a relatively brief time onstage, allowing the audience to experience the full range of the famously creative neighborhood’s dynamic talent.

Friday night’s performers, upstairs in the Johnson Theater, include Penny Arcade, Mister Pablo, Briana Bartenieff, William Electric Black, Louisa Bradshaw, New Yiddish Rep and more. Downstairs in the Cabaret Theater will be Star69, Dawoud Kringle, Wendy Stuart,  Burning City Orchestra, Lei Zhou, Pretty Gritty and Lady Clover Honey, among others.

New visual art is on display in the lobby.

Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. will see action on the outdoor stage, on 10th Street between First and Second Avenues, including poetry, music, comedy and theater.

Saturday and Sunday will also feature tons more goings-on inside TNC. Saturday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. will see a youth program and also an all-day film series from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday will feature an extensive poetry jam with more than 30 bards giving readings, plus an open mic as time allows. A full slate of performances will keep on running until at least midnight.

All events are free.

For a full list of performances, click here.

One Comment

  1. Kathryn Adismsn Kathryn Adismsn May 24, 2024

    Love just knowing this East Village tradition is still going strong! Congratulations to Richard West, who produces and hosts Saturday afternoon’s poetry on the outdoor stage. Little known fact: my very first NYC journalism piece was a 1986 cover story published in The Villager about TNC’s move from 2nd Ave into the “garbage” building. Richard has the only hard copy — I’d like to get it back to scan and send to Lincoln Anderson.

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