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


The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex
Pier 86, West 46th St. & 12th Ave.
Tuesday, May 5, $55-$85, 7:00 - 11:00 pm

What true New Yorker doesn’t get excited by seeing a whole bunch of food trucks lined up on one street? Now there’s no need to go in search of a random meetup: Choice Streets 2015, the Village Voice’s fourth annual outdoor gathering of mobile eateries, is even better, taking place May 5 at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex. With great views of NYC (and no traffic!), Choice Eats brings together food trucks from the five boroughs, plus free drinks, live music from Mariachi Flor de Toloache, access to the museum, and — for VIPs — a goodie bag, all in one place. Ticket holders — twenty-one and over only — can sample from nearly two dozen food trucks as well as enjoy free tours of the retired aircraft carrier. VIP ($85, 7:00) and early admission ($65, 7:30) are still available, promising an extra thirty to sixty minutes of culinary delights, DJ sets, and, um, separate facilities. But everyone can relish the generous, unlimited samplings of signature dishes, sides, and desserts from some of the city’s most innovative food truck chefs, along with complimentary craft beer and specialty wine and liquor. The food-truck lineup includes some of our favorites from the streets, several of whom are new to the fest, like Snowday (we’ll have their divine grilled cheese drizzled with maple syrup, thank you very much) and Domo Taco (ah, braised five-spice pork burritos), in addition to returning faves Carl’s Steaks (always “Whiz wit,” in true Philly style), Big D’s Grub Truck (mmm, Yuca fries), Solber Pupusas (the Red Hook platter, please), and the Treats Truck (cookies and brownies, yes!). Among the other participating trucks are Gorilla Cheese, Korilla BBQ, Langos Truck, Mike ‘N’ Willie’s, Sweet Chili, the Vintage Ice Cream Guys, and Yankee Doodle Dandy’s, with more to be announced.



Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan star as former lovers in SKYLIGHT revival (photo by John Haynes)

Golden Theatre
252 West 45th St. between Broadway & Eighth Ave.
Tuesday - Sunday through June 21, $60 - $149

David Hare’s Skylight is a fierce battle of wits and wills, pitting former lovers against each other as they argue about class, wealth, privilege, social responsibility, love, and cooking. Carey Mulligan stars as Kyra Hollis, a thirty-year-old teacher living in a drab apartment complex in a not-so-pleasant neighborhood in northwest London. On a snowy night, she is unexpectedly visited by Edward Sergeant (Matthew Beard), the university-age member of a family she used to work for. Edward is concerned about the well-being of his father, Tom (Bill Nighy), a millionaire restaurateur who, according to Edward, is having trouble dealing with the loss of his wife, Alice, a year before. Edward doesn’t know the full story behind the relationship that his father and Kyra had, right under Alice’s nose, but he thinks Kyra can help him out of his funk. “Dad’s got very peculiar,” he says, adding, “You know Dad. He’s not what you might call ‘emotionally available.’” He also expresses his displeasure at how Kyra walked out on the Sergeants. “My mother died. She actually died. Not you. You did something else. You cut yourself off from us without saying anything. And in a way I’m coming to think that’s much worse. Because you just left and said nothing.” Shortly after Edward leaves, Tom arrives, and then the fireworks really begin. Tom is in attack mode, condescending and critical, lacing into Kyra, who is making pasta, for the life she’s chosen, teaching underprivileged children and living in a dive in a bad part of town. He walks determinedly around the apartment, carefully adjusting furniture and even trying to take over the cooking. But Kyra defends the choices she’s made, accusing Tom of being a cold, selfish prig more concerned with money and possessions than people. “You have no right to look down on that life!” Kyra says, to which Tom soon replies, “You’re the only person who has fought so hard to get into it, when everyone else is desperate to get out!” Their intellectual game of cat and mouse keeps getting more fiery — it’s no coincidence that they even argue over her cheap space heater — and eventually explodes when they start getting to the true heart of the matter, whether they ever really were in love, and whether that love still exists.


Tom (Bill Nighy) and Kyra (Carey Mulligan) rehash the past and look to the future in David Hare drama

Skylight premiered in England in 1995, with Lia Williams as Kyra and Michael Gambon as Tom, winning the Olivier Award for Best Play and earning four Tony nominations after moving to Broadway the following year. Nighy replaced Gambon in 1997, and therein lays this revival’s biggest problem: Kyra is supposed to be just past thirty, Tom nearly fifty; Mulligan is actually twenty-nine, but Nighy is sixty-four, so it’s difficult to get past the much bigger age difference now, hard to accept that Kyra was head-over-heels in love with the seemingly unlikable Tom, especially since their relationship is now so vitriolic. In addition, although the bookend scenes with Edward provide a different vantage point, they are dreadfully dull. But if you can get past those drawbacks, there’s much to like about Stephen Daldry’s production, which earned the 2015 Olivier Award for Best Revival. Mulligan, who previously appeared on Broadway in The Seagull and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in An Education, displays a whirlwind of emotions as Kyra, balancing her strength and determination with a heartbreaking vulnerability. She is a more than worthy adversary for Hare regular Nighy (The Vertical Hour, The Worricker Trilogy), who is carefully mannered as the erudite, poignantly nasty Tom. But every time the cerebral, politically tinged duel threatens to be too one-sided — in favor of the far more sympathetic Kyra — Hare (Plenty, The Judas Kiss) and Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Audience), who have previously collaborated on the films The Hours and The Reader, give Tom just the right twist, poking holes in Kyra’s motivations. Bob Crowley’s set opens up the apartment, with no walls or barriers between rooms or to the bleak outside, echoing the obstacles that Tom and Kyra break down as they rip into each other, rehashing their past as they look to the future, wondering if they belong together, or ever did.


Dr. Walter Mischel will deliver free lecture at the Schomburg Center

Dr. Walter Mischel will deliver free lecture at the Schomburg Center

Who: Dr. Walter Mischel
What: “How Mind and Brain Enable Self-Control: The Marshmallow Test and Beyond,” part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s Brain Insight Lectures series
Where: Langston Hughes Auditorium, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., 917-275-6975
When: Tuesday, May 5, free with advance RSVP here, 6:30
Why: Columbia University psychologist Dr. Walter Mischel, whose Marshmallow Test showed that young children would rather wait for two marshmallows than eat one immediately, will deliver a free public lecture on the brain, temptation, and willpower, in conjunction with the recent release of his latest book, The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control (Little, Brown, September 2014, $29). As he explains on his Columbia website, “One of our long-term longitudinal studies examines the ways in which the ability to delay gratification, assessed in our laboratory situations in early childhood, predicts a variety of consequential developmental outcomes in the life course and serves as a protective factor against chronic vulnerabilities such as rejection sensitivity.” Advance registration is strongly recommended, because in this case waiting might not yield you a happier outcome.


Who: The Very Best & Heems
What: Free outdoor concert as part of Northside Festival
Where: McCarren Park, Brooklyn
When: Friday, June 12, free with advance RSVP, doors at 2:30, music at 5:30
Why: Tickets have just been made available to the hot double bill of the Very Best and Heems, who will be playing a free Northside Festival show at McCarren Park on June 12. In addition, Against Me! will be taking the stage on June 13. The Northside Festival runs June 8-14 in venues throughout Greenpoint and Williamsburg, featuring art, music, film, and technology talks. Among the more than four hundred participating bands are Zola Jesus, Built to Spill, Neko Case, Sleigh Bells, Best Coast, Ex Hex, Hard Nips, and Life Size Maps.


(photo by Joan Marcus)

Richard Hannay (Robert Petkoff) is wrongly fingered for murder in THE 39 STEPS (photo by Joan Marcus)

Union Square Theatre
100 East 17th St. at Park Ave.
Wednesday - Monday, $20-$105

What are the 39 Steps? A thoroughly entertaining and endlessly inventive theatrical production, based on John Buchan’s 1915 novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1935 film, that has been on quite an adventure itself, just like its protagonist. The play began life in 1996 in a minimalist version written by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and a cast of four actors playing more than one hundred roles; it debuted at the small Georgia Theatre Royal, then went on a tour of English village halls and schools. In 2004, National Theatre of Brent cofounder Patrick Barlow rewrote the script, and in 2007 the updated edition won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy, then transferred to Broadway, where it played three theaters, was nominated for six Tonys, including Best Play (winning two, for Kevin Adams’s lighting and Mic Pool’s sound design), and won the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. It’s also made its way to more than a dozen other countries, from Israel, South Africa, and Turkey to South Korea, the Czech Republic, and Italy. It was last seen in New York City in 2010 at New World Stages, but it’s back now for an extended run at the Union Square Theatre, and just as one can watch the Hitchcock film over and over, the play is a blast even if you’ve seen it before. After dapper London bachelor Richard Hannay (Robert Petkoff) is falsely accused of murder, he goes out on the run, escaping the clutches of authorities as he heads for a Scottish castle. Along the way he gets caught up with the suspicious Pamela and the lonely farm wife Margaret (both played by Brittany Vicars, who also portrays ill-fated femme fatale Margaret), adding a sexy charm to the festivities.

Dapper Richard Hannay (Robert Petkoff) is determined to prove his innocence in stage version of Hitchcock classic (photo by Joan Marcus)

Dapper Richard Hannay (Robert Petkoff) is determined to prove his innocence in stage version of Hitchcock classic (photo by Joan Marcus)

Petkoff (All the Way, Spamalot) is dashing and elegant as the dashing and elegant Hannay, a self-assured man with a wry sense of humor despite his challenging circumstances, and recent Juilliard graduate Vicars makes a solid New York stage debut. But it’s Arnie Burton (Peter and the Starcatcher, The Lives of the Saints) and Billy Carter (All That Fall, Port Authority) who do most of the heavy lifting, playing some hundred and fifty roles, from spies and bobbies to train conductors and farmers as well as Mr. Memory and the man missing part of his finger. In one riotous scene, they literally switch hats at a furious pace, going from character to character in a mad comic frenzy that leaves everyone breathless. Director Maria Aitken makes spectacular use of Peter McKintosh’s playfully spare set, involving miniature trains, windowless frames, shadow puppetry, and a lamppost, turning stagecraft inside out and upside down while winking knowingly at the audience. Barlow’s script makes reference to numerous Hitchcock films, and yes, Sir Alfie does indeed make an appearance. Because Burton, who was in the original Broadway cast, and Carter are identified as “Clowns” in the program, everyone is given a spongy red nose upon entering the theater; it’s an odd marketing conceit, but it’s all in good fun, and there’s plenty of good fun to be had in this extremely clever romp.


Free tours aboard the Ambrose are part of South Street Seaport Museum opening-day festivities

Free tours aboard the Ambrose are part of South Street Seaport Museum opening-day festivities

South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton St.
Saturday, April 25, free, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

The South Street Seaport Museum will celebrate its opening day on April 25 with a full slate of free activities on board its historic vessels and offering special one-dollar six-month memberships. The festivities include a 2:00 bell-ringing by city councilmember Margaret Chin on the lightship Ambrose, a scavenger hunt, a Float Your Boat buoyancy demonstration of clay boats, a mobile print shop, the talk “How to Get There from Here: Sailor’s Navigation,” the scientific program It’s Alive! about living organisms in New York Harbor, the uprigging of the 1893 Fredonia schooner Lettie G. Howard, tours of “Street of Ships” Schermerhorn Row, a participatory mural on the Seaport Storywall, a photo booth, deck tours of the nineteenth-century schooner Pioneer and the Ambrose, temporary tattoos, line tossing, live music by the Lobbyists, tours of the 2911 barque Peking with “Sailor Stories” by museum historian Jack Putnam, the Naked Angels theater group presentation of the concert/play Seawife, a historic district walking tour, and more.


Large crowds will gather to see the blooming cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Large crowds will gather to see the blooming cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Ave. at Eastern Parkway
Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, April 26, $20-$25 (children under twelve free), 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

It’s been a ridiculously cold and long winter, but springtime finally seems to be here, and with it comes one of our favorite annual festivals, the Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The weekend celebrates the beauty of the blossoming of the cherry trees with live music and dance, parades, workshops, demonstrations, martial arts, fashion shows, Ikebana flower arranging, a bonsai exhibit, Shogi chess, garden tours, shopping, book signings, Japanese food, and more. Below are just some of the highlights of this always lovely party, with many events going on all day long.

Saturday, April 25

The Battersby Show: Beginner Cosplay Crafting, with Charles Battersby, Ann Milana, Lady Ava, Mink-the-Satyr, and Uncle Yo, J-Lounge at Osborne Garden, 12 noon

Sogetsu Ikebana Demonstration, with Yoko Ikura and Shoko Iwata, auditorium, 1:00

Dancejapan with Sachiyo Ito, Main Stage, Cherry Esplanade, 1:15

Ukioy-e Illustration Demonstration with Artist Jed Henry, J-Lounge at Osborne Garden, 2:00

Samurai Sword Soul, Main Stage, Cherry Esplanade, 2:15

Urasenke Tea Ceremony, auditorium, 3:00 & 4:15

Takarabune Dance, Main Stage, Cherry Esplanade, 3:15

Hanagasa Odori Parade with flower hat dance by the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York, J-Lounge at Osborne Garden, 4:15

Akim Funk Buddha’s Urban Tea Ceremony, Main Stage, Cherry Esplanade, 5:00

Sunday, April 26

Children’s Suzuki Recital, Brooklyn College Preparatory Center, auditorium, 11:30

Awa Odori Parade, with Takarabune Dance, J-Lounge at Osborne Garden, 12 noon & 3:00

The Battersby Show: What Is Cosplay? with Charles Battersby, Aleta Pardalis, Dokudel, Mario Bueno, Uncle Yo, and YuffieBunny, J-Lounge at Osborne Garden, 1:00

Rock and Roll Love book signing with Misako Rocks!, J-Lounge at Osborne Garden, 2:00

Sohenryu-Style Tea Ceremony with Soumi Shimizu and Sōkyo Shimizu, auditorium, 2:30

Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York performs Minbu dances, Main Stage, Cherry Esplanade, 3:00

Magician Rich Kameda, J-Lounge at Osborne Garden, 4:00

NY Suwa Taiko Kids All Stars, Main Stage, Cherry Esplanade, 4:15

The Sixth Annual Sakura Matsuri Cosplay Fashion Show, with original music by Taiko Masala, Main Stage, Cherry Esplanade, 5:15