Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center
107 Suffolk St. between Rivington & Delancey Sts.
April 17-20, $10-$60
Admission: $10 entry only, $20 plus 25 booth tickets until 7:00 in advance, $30 plus 37 booth tickets after 7:00 in advance
VIP: $50 before 7:00, $60 after 7:00
Theater impresario extraordinaire Timothy Haskell has been scaring the hell out of New Yorkers for a decade now with his annual Nightmare haunted house, which for the last two years has focused on killers as its theme. A fan of immersive theater and kitschy pop culture, Haskell has now brought those together for his latest production, Full Bunny Contact. Billed as an “Insane Easter Carnival,” FBC takes places April 17-20 at the Clemente Soto Vélez Center on the Lower East Side, where ticket holders can play such games as Shoot the Peep, Raw Egg Putt, Little Bunny FuFu’s Revenge, and Dunk the Savior and watch or participate in egg-decorating and bunny burlesque contests, a Bunny Beauty Pageant, and a Temper Tantrum Easter Candy Contest for kids twelve and under. The main draw, however, is Full Bunny Contact: The Game, in which two people at a time enter a caged-in area and try to fill their Easter baskets with as many plastic eggs as possible in one minute — while fighting off a trio of large, not-so-friendly rabbits. Haskell, who has also directed such stage shows as I Love Paris, Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy, and Road House: The Stage Version of the Cinema Classic That Starred Patrick Swayze, Except This One Stars Taimak from the 80’s Cult Classic “The Last Dragon” Wearing a Blonde Mullet Wig, recently discussed his childhood holiday celebrations, how he likes his eggs, vicious rabbits, and more with twi-ny.
twi-ny: What happened to you as a child? Based on the kinds of shows and events you write, produce, direct, and create, there had to be some kind of major trauma involved.
Timothy Haskell: Nothing unusual. My mother says she dropped a toy Ferris wheel on my head, and anytime I do something unusual she blames herself for dropping a heavy toy on my noggin. As far as haunted houses are concerned, there was a trauma: the humiliation of going with my older sister and her girlfriends to a local haunt when I was seven and me chickening out in the first room and them making fun of me forever. I guess I’ve always wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t afraid of anything ever since then, even though I’m scared of everything.
twi-ny: How did you and your family celebrate Easter when you were a kid?
Timothy Haskell: I was raised Catholic, and Easter was a very big deal at my house. It’s when all the relatives from all over the country would come to the grandparents’ house, who lived in Atlanta (where I am from), and we would go to church, eat a massive meal, and do an egg hunt. But first, early in the morning before we went to church, we looked for our Easter baskets in our own house. My mother was very good about hiding them. I have very, very fond memories of Easter. All of my cousins were there, we got new outfits; I very much looked forward to it. Except going to church. None of us looked forward to that. I always wondered if the adults truly did.
twi-ny: Did you ever have a rabbit for a pet?
Timothy Haskell: We did ducks, we did rabbits, dogs, cats. I have no idea what its name was, and I was very young when we did rabbits. But I remember it being pretty vicious.
twi-ny: Where do you stand on the pets or meat discussion?
Timothy Haskell: I am a meat-eater, but only if it’s organic. I do have a problem with the mistreatment of the animals we use as food.
twi-ny: Where did the idea to turn Easter inside out and upside down come from?
Timothy Haskell: You know, I love holidays so much. I adore Christmas and of course Halloween. It’s not so much turning them upside down as much as it is making them fun again for adults. And not just any adults. Me. Making it fun for me again. I am a sentimental guy. Holidays are fantastic. I think people love celebrating them, and I think Easter in this city has lost its youthfulness. I hope this event brings some of that back.
twi-ny: What was the craziest thing you wanted to do for FBC but were eventually, and perhaps correctly, talked out of?
Timothy Haskell: It wasn’t my idea, but my codirector came up with an idea called “The Chicken and the Egg.” It had something to do with an egg coming out of a chicken in a graphic way. I nixed it pretty quickly.
twi-ny: With that in mind, how do you like your eggs prepared? (We won’t ask which came first, the chicken or the egg, unless you really want to tell us.)
Timothy Haskell: Well, I should have kept that other booth in the event to have found out which came first, but as far as my eggs, I love them poached. Diners hate it when I order them that way because it’s a pain in the ass, but I have to.
twi-ny: How about your chicken?
Timothy Haskell: Being from the South, I prefer my chicken grilled and barbecued.
twi-ny: Which game that made the final cut is your personal favorite?
Timothy Haskell: Well, the main event is the centerpiece and is what I came up with many years ago before any other idea. I always wanted to do something centered around people trying to capture eggs away from bunnies who don’t want them to. But in terms of the midway, I am fond of Hare-y Up. You race against a person dressed like a rabbit, hopping while you have to wear a forty-pound tortoiseshell and get on all fours. The rabbit has the odds, but he/she will be pretty cocky and will give the slow and steady turtle a shot.
twi-ny: Do you have a favorite Easter-themed (or bunny-themed) movie or television show?
Timothy Haskell: Well, I guess Harvey is the go-to response, but I genuinely love that movie. It is so off-the-wall for any era, especially 1950. I guess Donnie Darko would be a close second, however.
twi-ny: It’s one thing to mess with Halloween, and something very different to screw around with Easter. Do you expect any blowback or controversy to rise up over FBC?
Timothy Haskell: I hope not. It would be nonsensical and would prove they know nothing about the event. As I have told others, “Remember all the stuff you used to love about celebrating Easter? All the fun stuff? That’s Full Bunny Contact.” Christians embrace the Easter Bunny, so I’m not sure why they would start protesting now, but you never know. There is a little tongue-in-cheek religiosity, but it is not the M.O. of the event at all.
twi-ny: Have you set your sights yet on any other holidays for future events?
Timothy Haskell: We tried to do a summer event last year, Camp Nightmare, that logistically became untenable, but I still would like to try that. We’ve done Nightmare Before Christmas: The Experiment twice already. That did very well, but it wasn’t quite the Christmas event that I’ve wanted to do. This year we will hopefully do it the way I want to do it. I want to create the most garish Christmas wonderland imaginable, as if we ran a contest for the best Christmas lawn decorating in the country and some couple from the Midwest won and their prize was a trip to New York to design our set. And you can barely move there is so much illuminated plastic, but once you get past the junk, there are eight different kinds of Santas that you can take a picture with. Only one of them is a normal Santa. It’s basically a bizarro version of Macy’s winter wonderland.
A pair of “proud equine guardians” have been posted at the Sixth Ave. and Forty-First St. entrance to Bryant Park, one at rest, head bowed, the other rearing up, neighing toward the sky. The fifteen-foot-high models, constructed of laser-cut steel plates, are the work of Scottish sculptor Andy Scott, smaller versions of the one-hundred-feet-high Kelpies — mythological waterborne equine creatures — he created for the Helix Parkland on the Forth & Clyde Canal near Falkirk, the artist’s father’s hometown, in central Scotland. The Kelpies, which will remain on view in Bryant Park through April 23, are part of the annual Scotland Week (Tartan Week) festivities, a celebration of Scottish culture taking place all over the city. On April 6, there will be a special Tartan Day Observance in Bryant Park at 12:30 with the New York Metro Pipe Band, the Highland Divas, and others, followed by a talk with Scott about the Kelpies at 3:00. That night, the Caledonian Collective will be hosting a concert at Webster Hall with the LaFontaines, Nina Nesbitt, Lau, and Hector Bizerk. Iona in Brooklyn will be presenting a Scottish fiddle workshop on April 7 with Katie McNally, followed by a Live Trad Session with McNally and Neil Pearlman; on April 8, Scottish Octopus with piper Andrew Forbes will be there, and on April 9 Troy MacGillivray will lead a Cape Breton fiddle workshop and a live session with Scottish Octopus. Also on April 9, Whisky Live takes place at Pier Sixty in Chelsea, with tastings, exhibitors, master classes, live music, and more. On April 10, Celtica will play Drom, while the Cape Breton Scots at Jalopy is highlighted by the work of musician and photographer Matt Diaz. Pop International Galleries is showing “As Others See Us” through April 10, and the 92nd St. Y is presenting “Scots Jews: Identity, Belonging, and the Future” through April 27, consisting of photos taken by Judah Passow. And you can see the double bill of Douglas Maxwell’s A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity and Sabrina Mahfouz’s Clean performed by Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre Company through April 27 at 59E59.
Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main St., Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Saturday, April 5, free with garden admission ($2-$4), 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Exhibit continues Tuesday - Sunday through
“Just as I wonder / whether it’s going to die / the orchid blossoms,” writes Sam Hamill in his poem “The Orchid Flower,” continuing, “and I can’t explain why it / moves my heart, why such pleasure / comes from one small bud.” The New York Botanical Garden isn’t the only local oasis celebrating the beautiful flowering plant that delivers such pleasure. (“The Orchid Show: Key West Contemporary” continues there through April 21.) On Saturday, April 5, in conjunction with the opening weekend of the garden’s seventy-fifth anniversary since being constructed for the 1939 World’s Fair and fiftieth anniversary since the 1964 fair, the special exhibit “Taiwan: A World of Orchids” will feature a host of special activities, presented with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO-NY). Taiwan just happens to be the largest exporter of orchids in the world. “It is particularly appropriate that QBG is leading off its World’s Fairs Anniversary Season with ‘Taiwan: A World of Orchids,’” QBG executive director Susan Lacerte said in a statement. “Taiwan was the first nation to break ground on its pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair and fifty years later, our friends at TECO-NY are celebrating the anniversary with us by sponsoring this exquisite event.” In addition to what promises to be a dazzling orchid display, there will be arts and crafts all day long, an appearance by “Techno Prince” Dancing Doll at 12:45, a garden tour at 1:00, a traditional tea ceremony and guqin performance at 1:45, Taiwanese snacks and giveaways, and more.
DRAMA DESK SPRING LUNCHEON AND PANEL DISCUSSION
Sardi’s Eugenia Room
234 West 44th St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
Friday, April 4, $50-$60, 11:45 am
Has Shakespeare ever been hotter in New York theater? Mark Rylance just dazzled Broadway in Twelfth Night and Richard III; Kenneth Branagh will be starring in and directing Macbeth at the Park Avenue Armory in June, following Ethan Hawke’s portrayal at Lincoln Center; Julie Taymor inaugurated Theatre for a New Audience’s new Brooklyn space with A Midsummer Night’s Dream; the National Theatre of China just made its U.S. debut with Richard III at the Skirball Center; Romeo & Juliet could recently be seen on Broadway and at Classic Stage; the Public Theater moved Antony and Cleopatra to Haiti; and we’ve had a surfeit of King Lears, with Frank Langella at BAM, Michael Pennington currently at Theatre for a New Audience, and John Lithgow set to take on the role this summer at the Delacorte. On April 4, the Drama Desk will delve into this Shakespearean deluge with the panel discussion “Why Shakespeare? Why Now?” at its annual spring luncheon, taking place in Sardi’s Eugenia Room. The event will be moderated by theater teacher, critic, translator, and playwright Dr. Carol Rocamora and feature Taymor, who in addition to Midsummer Night’s Dream has directed productions of The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, and Titus Andronicus for stage and/or screen; John Glover, who played multiple roles in Macbeth at the Vivian Beaumont; Scott Shepherd, who starred in the Wooster Group’s Cry, Trojans! based on Troilus and Cressida; Daniel Sullivan, who has helmed seven Shakespeare in the Park plays; and Pennington, the cofounder of the English Shakespeare Company who has appeared in more than a dozen Shakespeare productions in addition to writing several books on individual works by the Bard.
BACK TO THE FUTURE (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
St. Patrick’s Gymnasium
268 Mulberry St.
Saturday, March 22, 7:00, $45
Sunday, March 23, 6:00, $38
Get that flux capacitor ready and prepare for 1.21 gigawatts of inspired fun at the Back to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. On March 22 & 23, BBQ Films, the team that turns movie screenings into interactive participatory events, are this time going back to the crazy days of 1985 — and 1955 — as Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) tries to save his family’s future without bedding his hot-to-trot mother (Lea Thompson) while attempting to pair him up with his ultra-nerdy father (Crispin Glover) by the time of the Enchantment Under the Sea high school dance. And the only way Marty can accomplish this desperate task is with the help of mad scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and a specially outfitted DeLorean. Each night, the re-created prom will begin an hour before the screening of Robert Zemeckis’s runaway hit, Back to the Future, with appropriate 1950s attire recommended for all attendees. There will be live music from the Tee-Tones (no relation to Chuck Berry), beer from Brooklyn Brewery and wine from Vinos Libres (the first drink is free), a photobooth, a swing dance demonstration, futuristic 3D glasses, giveaways, an event poster, and gourmet popcorn in addition to an after-party with Mr. Nice, DJ sets from a place both wonderful and strange and GHOST COP, and freaky visuals courtesy of CHNNLS. Tickets go fast for all BBQ Films gatherings, so you might have to hit eighty-eight miles an hour to get them in time. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.