Who: Colin Davey
What: Author talk and book launch
Where: Shakespeare & Co., 2020 Broadway at 70th St., 212-738-0001
When: Monday, May 20, free with advance registration, 7:00
Why: Scientist, martial artist, and software engineer Colin Davey celebrates the 150th anniversary of the American Museum of Natural History with the extensively researched, fully illustrated new book The American Museum of Natural History and How It Got That Way (Fordham University Press/Empire State Editions, $34.95, May 2019), written with Thomas A. Lesser. Davey (Learn Boogie Woogie Piano) will be at Shakespeare & Co. on May 20 to launch the book, which details the history of the museum in such chapters as “The Jesup Years (1881–1908) and the Seventy-Seventh Street Facade,” “The Akeley African Hall: From the Elephant in the Room to the Seven-Hundred-Pound Gorilla,” “The Golden Age of Spaceflight and the Hayden Planetarium,” “The Evolution of the Dinosaur Exhibits,” and “Robert Moses and the Norman Bel Geddes Report.” In the foreword, Kermit Roosevelt III, the great-great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, whose statue resides in front of the institution, writes, “What the museum has done, in different ways, through the different stages of its life, is to feed the human sense of wonder at the universe.” Among the figures who appear in the tome are “Boss” Tweed, Clyde Fisher, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Morris K. Jesup, Carl Akeley, Robert Moses, and many others as Davey, a regular visitor to the museum since he was a child, shares fascinating historical details about the museum from its beginnings on Manhattan Square through the Hayden Planetarium, the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and the future Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation.
Who: Arundhati Roy, Siddhartha Deb
What: The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, PEN America World Voices Festival
Where: Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th St.
When: Sunday, May 12, $30-$65, 6:00
Why: The fifteenth annual PEN World Voices Festival comes to a close in New York City on May 12 with Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy delivering the prestigious Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, the keynote event of the weeklong celebration of the written word, which seeks to “broaden channels of dialogue between the United States and the world.” The Indian screenwriter, essayist, novelist, and activist is the author of The God of Small Things and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness; her collection of essays, My Seditious Heart, is coming out in June. She will be speaking about “the defense of the collective, of the individual, and of the land, in the face of the destructive logic of financial, social, religious, military, and governmental elites”; the talk will be followed by a Q&A with Indian writer and professor Siddhartha Deb. Among the other events this weekend are “Secrets and Lives” with Boris Kachka, Dani Shapiro, and Bridgett M. Davis, “The Art of Violence” with Rodrigo Rey Rosa, Tommy Orange, and Mohammed Hanif, “Women Uninterrupted” with Jennifer Egan, Inês Pedrosa, and Elif Shafak, and the free debate “A Question of Justice” at the Center for Social Innovation.
Who: Lawrence Weiner and Glenn Fuhrman
What: Artist talk in conjunction with publication of The FLAG Art Foundation: 2008-2018
Where: Gagosian Shop, 976 Madison Ave. at 75th St., 212-796-1224
When: Tuesday, April 16, free with RSVP, 6:00
Why: In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the Chelsea-based FLAG Art Foundation has published The FLAG Art Foundation: 2008-2018, a fully illustrated catalog that looks back at its first fifty exhibitions, which has featured such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Mark Bradford, Maurizio Cattelan, Robert Gober, Félix González-Torres, Jim Hodges, Ellsworth Kelly, Charles Ray, Gerhard Richter, and Cindy Sherman. On April 16, gallery founder Glenn Fuhrman and seventy-seven-year-old Bronx-born conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner will be at the Gagosian Shop on the Upper East Side to discuss the history of FLAG as well as its current exhibition “On Board the Ships at Sea Are We,” consisting of works by Weiner, Rachel Whiteread, and Robert Therrien examining scale, materiality, and absence. The catalog includes a foreword by Fuhrman, preface by founding director Stephanie Roach, and original contributions from Ashley Bickerton, Delia Brown, Patricia Cronin, Cynthia Daignault, Lisa Dennison, Sarah Douglas, Elmgreen & Dragset, Eric Fischl, James Frey, Louis Grachos, Stamatina Gregory, Jane Hammond, Hilary Harkness, Jim Hodges, Philae Knight, Josephine Meckseper, Richard Patterson, Jack Shear, Carolyn Twersky, Lesley Vance, Rebecca Ward, and Heidi Zuckerman. Admission is free with advance RSVP.
Carnegie Hall’s wide-ranging, multidisciplinary Migrations: The Making of America festival comes to the Langston Hughes Auditorium at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on April 16 for “In Perpetual Flight: The Migration of the Black Body.” Through dance, music, and theater, the program traces the journey toward liberation of the black body across time in the US, from the slave trade and the Great Migration to the Civil War and the Back to Africa movement, exploring its impact on contemporary American culture. The evening, held in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre and its current NBT Beyond Walls initiative, features four live performances and presentations by Alvin Ailey dancer and choreographer Hope Boykin, screenwriter, playwright, and director Keith Josef Adkins, Obie-winning actress and singer Kenita R. Miller, composer and sound designer Justin Hicks, NBT CEO Sade Lythcott, and NBT artistic director Jonathan McCrory, utilizing works from the Schomburg Center archives from such seminal figures as James Baldwin, Harriet Powers, Marcus Garvey, Harriet Tubman, and Jacob Lawrence. “This event is allowing us to acknowledge the consistent flight, movement, and navigation black people have been engaged in within this country ever since the black body was ripped from the shores of Africa — human bodies stripped from home and forced into slavery,” McCrory said in a statement. “That perpetual flight has produced four hundred years of migration that have generated moments of agitation, acceleration, acclimation, and aspiration.” Admission is free; advance registration is strongly recommended.
The English word “democracy,” and the concept of ruling by the common people, comes from Greek classical antiquity. The Public Theater, in partnership with Onassis USA, hearkens back to those origins in the 2019 Onassis Festival: Democracy Is Coming. From April 10 to 28, the Public and such other venues as La MaMa will present live performances, discussions, and more exploring the meaning and role of democracy from its early days to the present time, as fascism rears its ugly head in America and around the world. Below are only some of the many highlights.
Wednesday, April 10
Saturday, April 13
Relic, solo performance by Euripides Laskaridis, examining the current Greek crisis, Shiva Theater at the Public, $35, 8:00
Wednesday, April 10
Sunday, April 28
Socrates, new play by Tim Blake Nelson, directed by Doug Hughes, and starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Niall Cunningham, David Aaron Baker, Teagle F. Bougere, Peter Jay Fernandez, Robert Joy, Miriam A. Hyman, and others, Martinson Hall at the Public, $85
Saturday, April 13
Brunch, Tragedy & Us, book talk with Simon Critchley interviewed by Paul Holdengräber, the Library at the Public Theater, free with advance reservation, 11:30
Choir! Choir! Choir!, community singalong created by Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, free with advance reservation, Public Theater lobby, 5:00
Sunday, April 14
Democracy Is the City, panel discussion with Alfredo Brillembourg, Karen Brooks Hopkins, and Kamau Ware and a live performance by Morley, Shiva Theater, 2:00
Monday, April 15
Public Forum: Of, by & for the People, featuring a conversation with Oskar Eustis, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Kwame Anthony Appiah and live performances by André Holland and Diana Oh, Shiva Theater, $25, 7:00
Thursday, April 18
Saturday, April 20
Antigone: Lonely Planet, Lena Kitsopoulou’s comic version of Sophocles’s tragedy, Shiva Theater, $35
Monday, April 22
Public Shakespeare Presents: What’s Hecuba to Him? Tragic Greek Women on Shakespeare’s Stage, commentary and readings from Euripides and Shakespeare with Professor Tanya Pollard, Isabel Arraiza, Tina Benko, Phylicia Rashad, and Ayana Workman, Martinson Hall, $35, 7:00
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, April 6, free (some events require advance tickets), 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum celebrates Frida Kahlo in the April edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by Renee Goust, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company (Puebla: The Story of Cinco De Mayo), and Pistolera (with visuals by Screaming Horses), as well as Yas Mama!’s El Noche de las Reinas with Lady Quesa’Dilla and DJ sets by Hannah Lou and Shomi Noise, hosted by Horrorchata; pop-up poetry with Danilo Machado, Jimena Lucero, and Francisco Márquez; the community talk “Art and Disability” with Dior Vargas and Kevin Gotkin; pop-up gallery talks of “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas” with teen apprentices; a hands-on workshop in which participants can adorn instant photos with a Kahlo-like flourish; and an “Archives as Raw History” tour focusing on disabled artists and visitors with archivist Molly Seegers. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” “Eric N. Mack: Lemme walk across the room,” “One: Do Ho Suh,” “One: Egúngún,” “Something to Say: Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine, Deborah Kass, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Hank Willis Thomas,” “Infinite Blue,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” “Kwang Young Chun: Aggregations,” and more.
Who: Amor Towles
What: Books Are Magic author event
Where: First Unitarian Congregational Society, 119 Pierrepont St.
When: Friday, April 5, $14-$21, 7:00
Why: Massachusetts native Amor Towles will be in Brooklyn on April 5, celebrating the release of the paperback edition of his bestselling novel A Gentleman in Moscow (Penguin Books March 26, $17). In the court transcript that opens the book, Secretary Ignatov asks, “I have no doubt, Count Rostov, that some in the galley are surprised to find you charming; but I am not surprised to find you so. History has shown charm to be the last ambition of the leisure class. What I do find surprising is that the author of the poem in question could have become a man so obviously without purpose.” Towles’s follow-up to 2011’s Rules of Civility is set in 1922, when Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a hotel across from the Kremlin. General admission tickets for the author event at the First Unitarian Congregational Society are $21 including a copy of the book and $14 without.