Just Do Art: Week of June 9, 2016
THE HUDSON RIVER DANCE FESTIVAL | Modern dance in all of its visual complexity and stylistic diversity — performed on a lawn near the water, with the promise of a spectacular sunset — is the siren call of this free showcase curated by Chelsea’s own indoor movement mecca, The Joyce Theater. Music from electronic pioneer Clams Casino and the fashions of designer Narciso Rodriguez give wing to bodies careening back and forth through time and space, when Stephen Petronio Company performs their 2014 piece, “Locomoter.” An excerpt from “Concerto Six Twenty-Two” will be one of the works from Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Created in 1986, it was inspired by support networks active during the height of the AIDS crisis. In celebration of their 30th Anniversary, Urban Bush Women present iconic moments from the company’s vast repertoire. Founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar provides the music, with additional sound compositions by Trey Judson in collaboration with Kakilambe Drum Troupe.
Free. At 6:30pm on Wed., June 15 & Thurs., June 16 (same program both evenings). At the Pier 63 Lawn (at W. 23rd St. & the Hudson River), in Hudson River Park. Visit hudsonriverpark.org/events.
THE FLYING DOCTOR BY MOLIERE (OVER AND OVER AND OVER) | Everything old is new again (and again and again and again), when the game-for-anything good eggs from recently hatched theater company flexCO transform Central Booking art gallery into an everything-goes performance space, in which a short farce by Moliere is mounted multiple times. The plot: Lucile, betrothed to another man, favors Valere — who orders his dimwitted manservant to masquerade as a doctor, and prescribe a medicinal trip to the countryside for Lucile, who will then marry her true love. Nothing, of course, goes according to plan — and to heighten that effect, flexCo director Michael Doliner (who did the adaptation) raises the stakes with each performance, throwing live indie rock and bluegrass music, champagne, literature, and an airborne MD into the mix.
Through Sat., July 2: Wed. at 7:30pm, Thurs.–Sat. at 8pm & Sun. at 2pm (Fri., June 10 performance is at 10pm). At Central Booking (21 Ludlow St., at Hester St.). For info & tickets ($5–$30), visit flexcodot.com.
THE CHELSEA MUSIC FESTIVAL | At just 24 years of age, Isaac Newton invented calculus, explained the color spectrum, and came up with the concept of gravity. The Chelsea Music Festival — also a high achiever still in the flush of youth — has chosen “Gravity 350” as the theme for its seventh year. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as CMF pays tribute to Newton’s triptych of 1666 breakthroughs by showcasing world-class and fast-rising movers and shakers in the fields of food, music, and art. Site-specific festival events, which take place all around Chelsea (Aperture Foundation, Canoe Studios, General Theological Seminary, Leo Baeck Institute, St. Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church), include classical and jazz concerts, late night and daytime open-air happenings, visual and tasting feasts, and Saturday morning family-themed events. Among this year’s In-Residence group: composer Michael Gandolfi, multi-media visual artist Lukas Birk, and Chef Timothy McGrath. Noteworthy performing artists include double bassist Dominik Wagner, clarinetist Vera Karner, organist Stephen Tharp, jazz pianist Adam Birnbaum, The Lee Trio, and Momenta Quartet.
June 10–18, at various locations. Visit chelseamusicfestival.org for the schedule of events, and to purchase tickets (ranging from Free to $68, plus applicable online service fees; discounts available for those under 30, students, and seniors).
THE DEATH OF A BLACK MAN (A WALK BY) | Just walk on by, or walk a mile in the shoes of another? This new work from William Electric Black documents the harrowing consequence of hearsay and mistaken identity, during a day in the lives of victims, perpetrators, and survivors of inner city violence — specifically, murder by bullet, in the name of pride or vengeance. The third entry in his ongoing “Gunplays” series presented with the support of Theater for the New City, “Walk” uses poetry, rap, song, movement, video projections and intense audience immersion to examine the root causes, and the consequences, of a shooting in an urban playground. Through a series of non-linear vignettes, the audience experiences police investigations, protests, funerals, community deliberation, and shootings.
Through June 19: Thurs.–Sat. at 8pm, Sun. at 3pm. At Theater for the New City (155 First Ave., btw. E. Ninth & E. 10th Sts.). For tickets ($15 general, $12 students/seniors, $10 per for groups), call 212-254-1109 or visit theaterforthenewcity.net. Also visit gunplays.org.
OFFLINE PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” | One good madcap troupe deserves another — and they’ll get it, as the comedians, improvisers, and musicians of Offline Productions bring digital age sensibilities and an unpredictable performance style to their interpretation of Shakespeare’s motley crew of mismatched lovers, manipulated actors, and busybody fairies. Nothing is what it seems, but the consequences are real — when a magical, mystical land known as the Lower East Side takes the place of the Bard’s enchanted forest, and lines blur between the desires of noble lords and the dreams of starving artists. After the show, cast a spell of your own by visiting the William Barnacle Tavern (next to the theater), where they’ll be offering $5 “Puck’s Potion” or “Fairy Queen” specialty cocktails.
Through June 26. Thurs., 7pm; Fri. & Sat., 8pm. Sun., June 26, 7pm. At Theatre 80 (80 St. Marks Place, btw. First & Second Aves.). For tickets ($25 general, $35 & $45 for premium seating, various discounts for students, seniors, groups), visit offlinenyc.com.
THE WASHINGTON SQUARE MUSIC FESTIVAL | Having begun its 58th season on June 7, this reliably eclectic open-air classical concert series (always with an indoor venue at the ready, should it rain) continues for the next three Tuesdays. June 14’s program marks the first festival appearance by Canticum Scholare. The NYC-based vocal group, which specializes in music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, will join conductor Lutz Rath and the Festival Chamber Ensemble in performing Handel’s “Dixit Dominus.” Elsewhere on the program: works by Mozart and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. On June 21, Rath and the Ensemble present the first complete version of Hanns Eisler’s “Septet No. 2, The Circus” ever to be heard in the US (Eisler arranged the piece from his 1947 work on music for Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus”). Also a program highlight: trombonist David Taylor in the world premiere of “Quatre Kakokosmoi” for bass trombone & strings. The series concludes on June 28, with Ron Wasserman leading the 17-piece New York Jazzharmonic band — with works including The Weavers co-founder Fred Hellerman’s “Fourth of July” (composed in 1987 for a symphony but never performed, it’s been re-orchestrated by Wasserman for his group’s jazz sensibilities). Thus ends this year’s series, at which point they’ve banished any doubt surrounding our opening observation about eclecticism!
Free. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tuesdays in June, 8pm, in Washington Square Park (main stage south; Fifth Ave./Waverly Place, btw. W. Fourth & Macdougal Sts.). Rainspace: NYU’s Frederick Loewe Theatre (35 W. Fourth St. at Greene St.). Call 212-252-3621 or visit washingtonsquaremusicfestival.org.
ARChive OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC’S SIZZLIN’ SUMMER SALE | While we were busy heralding the advent of the CD, mourning the loss of vinyl, praising the iPod, and debating the right to download our favorite tunes, the ARChive of Contemporary Music’s mission remained the same: amass the world’s largest collection of popular music, for use by artists and scholars. Two times a year, the general public benefits from the bounty of their pack rat mentality, at a sale that’s as carefully curated as the three million sound recordings in ARC’s permanent collection. The highlight of this summer event: 65,000 recently donated 45s. The other 30,000-or-so items include pop, jazz, country, dance, rock, world, and Broadway music. There are hundreds of CDs for $1–$5 each; cassettes and Classical LPs, 2 for $1; plus music books of all kinds, 7″ singles, VHS & DVD videos, and 60s psychedelic posters. The good news: all proceeds go to support the ARChive’s nonprofit music library and research center work. The bad news: you’ve missed the spirited June 9 members-only cocktail party and early shopping soirée. But don’t fret. Join ARC’s merry little band while you’re flipping through their bins, and you’ll score an invite to their second sale of the year, come December.
Daily, 11am–6pm, Sat., June 11–Sun., June 26, at ARChive of Contemporary Music (54 White St., btw. Broadway & Church St.). Visit arcmusic.org or call 212-226-6967.
FATHER’S DAY “FIDDLER ON THE ROOF” SING-ALONG | Starting with (but not limited to) the fact that you’re alive to read this, Dad deserves a certain amount of respect — so don’t steal the old man’s thunder during his show-stopping rendition of “If I Were a Rich Man.” That’s assuming you’ve started a new “Tradition!” of your own, by allowing him to channel his inner Tevye — at what we’re confidently predicting will turn out to be the best go-to Father’s Day gift since the invention of the necktie. One thing’s for sure: The Museum of Jewish Heritage’s sing-along screening of 1971’s “Fiddler on the Roof” is a socially acceptable way to come in costume as the film’s iconic characters, then belt one out — which, sad to say, is discouraged at the otherwise excellent revival now on Broadway. In the likely event this gathering of the musical theater tribe gives your family patriarch a taste for more, note that it’s co-sponsored by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene — whose summer residency program at the Museum presents a fully-restored performance of the Roaring Twenties romantic comedy operetta “The Golden Bride” (July 4–Aug. 28).
The “Fiddler” event takes place Sun., June 19, 3pm, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (36 Battery Place). Tickets are $15, $10 for Museum or Theatre Folksbiene members, and $36 for families (up to four people). To purchase tickets, visit nytf.org or call 212-213-2120, x204 (after business hours, 866-811-4111).
—BY SCOTT STIFFLER