Just Do Art, Sept. 25, 2013
INDIA MUSIC WEEK
When they’re not adding wax to that 2 million-plus library of recordings, the ARChive of Contemporary Music is cooking up new ways to collect records. The Downtown non-profit can already lay claim to having the world’s largest collection of popular music — and on Oct. 6, ARC hopes to secure a place in the Guinness Book by drawing upwards of 10,000 revelers to the World’s Largest Bhangra Dance. DJ Rekha spins, and so do you — to the beat of traditional drum-heavy Punjabi dance music infused with Western elements, such as hip-hop and house. The potentially record-setting party is part of India Music Week — an idea that’s been percolating since ARC Director B. George spent a year in India during the 1970s, then returned in 2012 to collect recordings. The event, which puts an additional six-day spin on ARC’s 2011 World Music Day and last year’s Brazilian Music Day, is meant to be the first in an annual October happening (in the coming years, Scandinavia, Cuba, Louisiana and China are scheduled for their seven days in the sun). First things, first, though: India Music Week, happening from Oct. 6-13, will celebrate the genres, facets and evolving forms of Indian music — via videos, seminars, concerts, lectures, sound files, broadcasts, narrowcasts, album cover gallery exhibits, photos and blogs.
Dig into it all, with a visit to the evolving website indiamusicweek.org and the blog indiamusicweek.wordpress.com. For info on ARC (whose holiday record/CD sale begins Dec. 7), visit arcmusic.org. The Bhangra Dance, a free event, happens at 5pm, Oct. 6, at South Street Seaport (part of the 26th annual Diwali Festival).
THE WOMEN AT WORK FESTIVAL
Stage Left Studio is the driving force behind this annual festival, whose proceeds benefit the Girl Effect (which helps adolescent girls around the world raise themselves, and their villages, out of poverty). This year, matters of legacy, destiny and identity taking center stage, so to speak, at Stage Left’s sixth floor space. Artistic Director Cheryl King has packed the festival bill with the work of 11 authors, whose takes on sexual politics, family matters and love seem intriguingly complex. King’s own trio of “Ten-Minute Plays” look at different aspects of the new at-home HIV test. Writer/performer Monica Bauer’s “The Year I Was Gifted” takes a working-class girl into a prestigious school for the arts. In “Drama at the Point and “Alzheimer’s Blues, two other writer/performers (Karen Sklaire and Erica Herd) plunge an idealistic teacher into the troubled NYC school system and force a daughter to confront her already difficult mother’s grim diagnosis.
For a plot synopsis of all shows, and more info, visit stageleftstudio.net. There, you can also purchase advance ($22) tickets. General admission is $25 at the door. Student/senior discounts available in person or online (ID required at the door). Women at Work runs through Oct. 5 (one or two shows on weeknights, matinee and evening shows on the weekends). At Stage Left Studio (214 W. 30th St., 6th floor, btw. 7th & 8th Aves.).
“TWEET” EXHIBIT, AT THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS
The Children’s Museum of the Arts, which recently celebrated its quarter century of promoting self-expression and esteem, is gearing up for a busy fall. Their permanent collection includes work created by children from around the world — and visitors to the museum, who write haikus and hang them from the PoeTree. On Sept. 26, CMA will unveil a new exhibition (which runs through Jan. 26, 2014). “Tweet” takes you back to a time before 2006 — when tweeting was pretty much exclusively used to describe the chirp of a bird (not the 140-character message it’s become synonymous with). Through viewing artwork and using your own handheld technology, “Tweet” asks us to look around, enjoy nature and see the birds. In partnership with NYC Audubon, CMA will host a series of Bird Call Workshops — the first of which takes place on Sat., Sept. 28, from 12-3pm.
CMA is located at 103 Charlton St. (btw. Greenwich & Hudson Sts.). Hours: Mon. & Wed., 12-5pm; Thurs. & Fri., 12-6pm; Sat. & Sun., 10am-5pm. Admission: $11 (Seniors and 0-12 months, free from 4-6pm). Thursdays are pay-as-you-wish. For info, call 212-274-0986 or visit cmany.org. Follow them at blog.cmany.org.
CHELSEA OPERA 10th SEASON OPENER
Two one-acts, performed twice by a cast of four, add up to a bill of double digit distinction — as Chelsea Opera opens its 10th season with the New York premiere of Richard Wargo’s “Ballymore, Part One — Winners” and Seymour Barb’s “La Pizza con Funghi.” Steven Crawford guest conducts the Chelsea Opera Chamber Orchestra and Lynne Hayden-Findlay provides the stage direction. Soprano Samantha Britt, mezzo soprano Darcy Dunn, Chad Kranak and Robert Balonek play all of the roles in both operas, whose plots mine the genre’s grand tradition of epic tragedy and broad comedy. In “Ballymore,” young lovers Mag and Joe (in the family way and about to graduate high school) are shadowed by a mysterious pair who allows the audience to eavesdrop, with the knowledge that a tragic accident will soon cut short the exuberant couple’s plans. In “La Pizza,” the classic arc of a 19th century Italian opera is played for laughs — as the soprano’s plan to poison her older baritone husband (so she can shack up with that dreamy tenor) is complicated by a loose-lipped mezzo maid. Although every character has drawn their last breath by the final curtain, Chelsea Opera assures us they’ve got far more than 10 lives — and seasons — left in them.
Fri., Oct. 11 at 7:30pm & Sat., Oct. 12 at 4pm. At St. Peter’s Church (346 W. 20th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). Advance tickets are $35 preferred, $30 general, $20 students/seniors ($45, $40 & $25 at the door). To order, visit ovationtix.com or call 866-811-4111. For more info, visit chelsaopera.org.
— BY SCOTT STIFFLER