This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


De Sica Neorealist classic is the heartbreaking story of a man and his dog

De Sica neorealist classic is the heartbreaking story of an elderly man and his faithful dog

UMBERTO D. (Vittorio De Sica, 1952)
Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Blvd.
Wednesday, July 23, free, 7:00

We don’t think we’ll ever stop crying. Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterpiece Umberto D. stars Carlo Battisti (a professor whom De Sica saw one day and thought would be perfect for the lead role; it would be Battisti’s only film) as Umberto Domenico Ferrari, an elderly former bureaucrat who is too proud to sacrifice his dignity in order to pay his mean-spirited landlady (Lina Gennari), who rents out his room by the hour while he’s out walking his beloved dog, Flag, and trying to find some way to get money and food. Umberto D. is befriended by the boardinghouse maid (Maria Pia Casilio), who is pregnant with the child of one of two servicemen, neither of whom wants to have anything to do with her. As Umberto D.’s options start running out, he considers desperate measures to free himself from his loneliness and poverty. His relationship with Flag is one of the most moving in cinema history. Don’t miss this remarkable achievement, which was lovingly restored last decade by eighty-six-year-old lighting specialist Vincenzo Verzini, known as Little Giotto. Umberto D. is screening July 23 in Long Island City as part of Socrates Sculpture Park’s free summer Outdoor Cinema series and will be preceded by live music; Italian food from Pomegranate will be available for purchase as well. The sixteenth annual series continues through August 27 with such other international fare as Matías Piñeiro’s Viola, Linda Västrik’s Forest of the Dancing Spirits, and Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins.


Chakaia Booker’s “Take Out” offers a new perspective in the Garment District (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Chakaia Booker’s “Take Out” offers a new perspective in the Garment District (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Broadway Public Art
Garment District Plazas
Broadway between 36th & 41st Sts.
Through mid-November 2014, free
the sentinels slideshow

We feel a special affinity for Chakaia Booker’s new installation “The Sentinels,” five works that line Broadway’s Garment District Plazas just north of Macy’s. When we were growing up, our family ran a tire and auto repair business on Utica Ave. in Brooklyn, so the smell and touch of vulcanized rubber is in our veins. The project, sponsored by the Garment District Alliance and the New York City Department of Transportation, consists of five pieces that the Newark-born, New York City-based Booker, working with fabricator Alston Van Putten Jr., fashioned by first employing design software to come up with a scale model, then using stainless-steel tubing, recycled rubber tires, and power tools to put it all together. Situated along the pedestrian plazas on Broadway, the pieces evoke industrialism, labor, and environmentalism while honoring the African American experience; it also serves as a reminder that the area was formerly open to cars, but the only rubber currently allowed on that part of the street is Booker’s art.

Chakaia Booker’s “The Sentinels” is quite a sight to see on Broadway pedestrian plaza (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Chakaia Booker’s “The Sentinels” is quite a sight to see on Broadway pedestrian plaza (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The five works — “Shapeshifter,” “Gridlock,” “Take Out,” “One Way,” and the brand-new “LBD Duty Free,” created for this installation — offer a welcoming presence that invites passersby to investigate their intricate details (though no touching is allowed), as Booker and Van Putten Jr. were able to turn the tires into all kinds of twisting shapes that recall sewing and patchwork quilts as well as a kind of unique playground (but no climbing allowed). Particularly effective is 2008’s “Take Out,” which recalls a wonderfully framed painting looking up or down bustling Broadway as well as a mirror that makes it feel like you’re looking at yourself. “Placing these sculptures in the Garment District suggests a cross pollination, and cultivation of current, past, and future behavior,” Booker explained in a statement. “I hope this installation helps create a sense of community progression, symbolizing how this neighborhood has grown into the vibrant, creative, and artistic center it is today.” The black and gray color palette is also quite a contrast to the artist herself, who wears colorful head wraps and dresses. When we were at the Domino Sugar Factory last month seeing Kara Walker’s spectacular Creative Time project “A Subtlety,” we suddenly found ourselves standing next to Booker, whose dazzling outfit provided a stark contrast to Walker’s central white “mammy” sculpture. (You can see a photo of Booker at the show here.) Booker, whose “Manipulating Fractions” was part of the recent “Fact of the Matter” off-site Socrates Sculpture Park exhibition at the 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery, will be at the actual Socrates park in Queens from July 28 to August 1 leading the children’s outdoor art workshop “Build a Meal,” in which participants will sculpt a balanced meal using clay and other materials; preregistration is highly advised at 718-956-1819.


Outdoor artisanal food court in Greeley Square Park is a culinary treat (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Outdoor artisanal food court in Greeley Square Park is a culinary treat (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Greeley Square Park
Broadway between 32nd & 33rd Sts.
Daily through August 1, 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

We are absolute suckers for the spate of trendy food courts popping around the city, from the indoor Todd English Food Hall at the Plaza and the brand-new Hudson Eats in the World Financial Center to the pop-up Mad. Sq. Eats by Madison Square Park and Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. You can also catch us now at Broadway Bites, which continues through August 1 in Greeley Square Park by Macy’s. More than thirty vendors are selling their edibles; you can start with a pastry and a cup of joe from Breads Bakery, then move on to a slice of pizza from Roberta’s, a bulgogi burger from Asiadog, a rice ball from Arancini Bros., barbecue from Mason Jar NYC, takoyaki teriyaki balls from Mimi & Coco NY, a variety of meatballs from Mighty Balls, gluten-free veggie fare from Two Tablespoons, or a burger and truffle fries from Bar Suzette. There’s also California street food from Jicama NYC, Asian street food from Hong Kong Street Cart, Indian from Chutney, Thai from Bangkok Bar, Colombian from Palenque, Korean from Seoul Lee Korean Barbecue, Turkish from MMM Enfes, Mexican from Mexicue, cured meats from Charlito’s Cocina, empanadas from La Sonrisa Empanadas, sandwiches and beer from Mayhem & Stout, Brazilian cuisine from Carnaval, healthy Japanese fusion from Onigiri by Tampopo, and tacos from Brooklyn Taco Co. For dessert, our favorite is Macaron Parlour, but you can also try delights from Stuffed Artisan Cannolis, Nunu Beers & Scoops, La Newyorkina, Gelato Ti Amo, and Melt Bakery. As with Mad. Sq. Eats, it’s worth making a trip to this outdoor food court, not just stop by if you happen to be in the area or are going to or coming from Macy’s, Penn Station, or Madison Square Garden. In addition, we recommend taking your food just a few blocks north on Broadway and find a table amid Chakaia Booker’s public art installation, “The Sentinels,” a collection of sculptures made from tires and tubing.


Tyler Ashley’s KIDNAP ME premieres July 21 at the HOT! Festival at Dixon Place (photo by Catherine Sun)

Tyler Ashley’s KIDNAP ME premieres July 21 at the HOT! Festival at Dixon Place (photo by Catherine Sun)

Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street
Monday, July 21, $12-$15, 7:30
Festival continues through August 5

Things are liable to get even hotter when Tyler Ashley premieres his latest work, Kidnap Me, at the twenty-third annual HOT! Festival: The NYC Celebration of Queer Culture. Last summer, the Brooklyn-based choreographer and dancer shed his clothes for Swadhisthana: The Event at NYPAC; the multidisciplinary genderqueer artist has also presented pieces on the High Line and Times Square while also dancing with STREB, Walter Dundervill, and others. His first evening-length work, the ninety-minute Kidnap Me, is a durational performance, inspired by Béla Tarr’s 2011 film The Turin Horse and the music of the late African American composer and performer Julius Eastman, that examines hunger, family, and stardom, focusing on the creative process. In his artist statement for New York Live Arts, Ashley explains, “I conduct experiments in desire, endurance, vulnerability, and determination by creating image-based dances inspired by sport, nightlife, physical labor, and excessiveness. . . . I work to push myself closer to the audience, challenging what they may expect and unsettling the performance space. I exploit the chaos present in the search for resolution.” Kidnap Me premieres July 21 at Dixon Place and will be performed by Ashley, Aranzazu Araujo, Sarah McSherry, Diego Montoya, Shane O’Neill, Rakia Seaborn, and Gillian Walsh. HOT! continues at Dixon Place through August 5 with such other programs as Lucas Brooks’s Cootie Catcher, Vincent Caruso’s Clueless, Joe Castle Baker’s Just Let Go, Anna/Kate’s Fear City / Fun City, Jack Feldstein’s Three Months with Pook, and J. Stephen Brantley’s Chicken-Fried Ciccone: A Twangy True Tale of Transformation.


A pair of concerts will honor folksinger and activist Pete Seeger and his wife, filmmaker and activist Toshi

A pair of free concerts will honor folksinger and activist Pete Seeger and his wife, filmmaker and activist Toshi Aline Seeger

Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Damrosch Park Bandshell
Sunday, July 20, free, 4:00

SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
Monday, July 21, free, 6:00

Five years ago, more than fifty musicians paid tribute to Pete Seeger on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday at an all-star concert at Madison Square Garden, highlighted by several appearances by Pete along with some of his family members; the setlist featured such classic folk songs as “If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “There’s a Hole in My Bucket,” “Goodnight Irene,” “Bring ’em Home,” and “This Land Is Your Land.” Last July, his wife of nearly seventy years, filmmaker and activist Toshi Seeger, passed away at the age of ninety-one. Six months later, Pete died at ninety-four. Over the next few days, their legacies will be celebrated in a pair of free concerts in Manhattan. On Sunday, July 20, Lincoln Center Out of Doors is presenting “A Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi Seeger,” beginning at 4:00 at the Damrosch Park Bandshell. The impressive lineup that will be singing the praises of the longtime couple includes Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow, Holly Near, the Paul Winter Consort, Martha Redbone, Dar Williams & Dan Zanes, Guy Davis, Tom Chapin & the Chapin Sisters, David Amram with Adira & Alana Amram, Mike + Ruthy with Penny Bossom-Seeger, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, the Hudson River Sloop Singers, and others, along with such speakers as Harry Belafonte, George Wein, and Michael Moore; the show will be hosted by Pete and Toshi’s grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson. (If you can’t make it to the show, you can watch the live stream here.) On Monday, July 21, SummerStage and WFUV are honoring the legendary folksinger and activist with “New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger” at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park at 6:00, hosted by Gina Belafonte and Cahill-Jackson. Scheduled to perform are Steve Earle, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, James Maddock, Anti-Flag, Toni Blackman, the Chapin Sisters, Rebel Diaz, Elizabeth Mitchell & Dan Zanes, Mike + Ruthy, Nyraine, the Tony Lee Thomas Band, and Amanda Palmer, with DJ sets by Kool Herc. Pete loved sing-alongs, so be sure to come with your best voice for these two very special programs.


Catherine Deneuve dreams of a better life in Luis Buñuel’s TRISTANA

TRISTANA (Luis Buñuel, 1970)
BAMcinématek, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
Saturday, July 19, 2:00 & 6:45, and Sunday, July 20, 2:00, 4:15, 6:30 & 8:45
Series runs through August 14

Luis Buñuel’s adaptation of Benito Pérez Galdós’s 1892 novel Tristana is an often underrated, deceivingly wicked psychological black comedy. A dubbed Catherine Deneuve stars as the title character, a shy, virginal young orphan employed in the household of the aristocratic, atheist Don Lope (Fernando Rey), an avowed atheist and aging nobleman who regularly spouts off about religion and the wretched social conditions in Spain (where the Spanish auteur had recently returned following many years living and working in Mexico). Soon Don Lope is serving as both husband and father to Tristana, who allows the world to pile its ills on her without reacting — until she meets handsome artist Horacio (Franco Nero) and begins to take matters into her own hands, with tragic results. Although Tristana is one of Buñuel’s more straightforward offerings with regard to narrative, featuring fewer surreal flourishes, it is a fascinating exploration of love, femininity, wealth, power, and a changing of the old guard. Deneuve is magnetic as Tristana, transforming from a meek, naive, gorgeous girl into a much stronger, and ultimately darker, gorgeous woman. Lola Gaos provides solid support as Saturna, who runs Don Lope’s household with a firm hand while also taking care of her deaf son, Saturno (Jesús Fernández), yet another male who is fond of the beautiful Tristana. The film is one of Buñuel’s most colorful works, wonderfully shot by cinematographer José F. Aguayo, who photographed Buñuel’s 1961 masterpiece Viridiana, which was also based on a novel by Galdós and starred Rey. Tristana is screening July 19 & 20 as part of BAMcinématek’s five-week tribute to the master filmmaker, who passed away in 1983 at the age of eighty-three. The series continues through August 14 with such other Buñuel works as The Milky Way, The Phantom of Liberty, Wuthering Heights, Belle de Jour, The River and Death, El Bruto, and the superb double-feature pairing of The Exterminating Angels and Simon of the Desert.


Bugs and Daffy go at it in RABBIT SEASONING, part of special Museum of the Moving Image tribute to Chuck Jones this weekend

Bugs and Daffy go at it in RABBIT SEASONING, part of special Museum of the Moving Image tribute to Chuck Jones this weekend

Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria
Saturday, July 19, 1:00 & 2:30, and Sunday, July 20, 1:00, free with museum admission

Some people learn about life from their parents, others from books and movies, and still others from religion. We discovered everything we ever wanted to know about the world from one primary source: Warner Bros. cartoons. And the mastermind behind it all was one of our heroes, Charles Martin “Chuck” Jones, who was a director at Warner Bros. from 1939 to 1962. The Spokane-born Jones ended up making more than 250 films, earning eight Academy Award nominations and three wins as well as an honorary Oscar in 1996, presented to him by Robin Williams. “Like my contemporaries Wile E. Coyote and Daffy Duck, I have little time and no inclination to find fault or failure in others, for I have too many abundant and stimulating faults and failures of my very own,” Jones explained in his 1999 memoir, Chuck Amuck, offering words to live by that continued, “Recognition of my own ineptitudes has always led me to better understanding of my trade. Jumblings, mistakes, and errors in judgment are the essence, the very fabric of humor.” There will be plenty of humor, and no noticeable faults or failures, this Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 when the Museum of the Moving Image presents “Chuck Jones Matinees: Duck Amuck and Other Cartoons,” a program of eight of Jones’s best animated works, being shown in conjunction with the exhibition “What’s Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones,” which opens July 19 and runs through January 19. And what a lineup of seven-minute classics they are. In Rabbit Seasoning, Bugs and Daffy confuse Elmer Fudd as to which of them it’s legal to hunt. In Feed the Kitty, big, tough dog Marc Anthony can’t help but be charmed by a cute but devious little kitten. Bugs ends up in the ring taking on an angry toro in Bully for Bugs, in which he famously declares, “I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque” and “Of course you realize this means war.” Someone is having an awful lot of fun drawing and erasing Daffy in the masterpiece Duck Amuck as Jones gets right to the heart of his creative process. Bugs meets Marvin the Martian and the Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator in Hare-Way to the Stars. The Road Runner keeps getting the best of Wile E. Coyote in Zoom and Bored. Michigan J. Frog belts out, “Hello, my baby / Hello, my honey / Hello, my ragtime gal,” but only at certain times, in One Froggy Evening. And Bugs and Elmer do Wagner in What’s Opera, Doc?, one of the greatest short films ever made, wonderfully displaying Jones’s take on high and low culture, his sly humor, and his contagious exuberance.