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


(photo by Mary McCartney)

Elvis Costello will be at BAM on November 10 to talk about his new book (photo by Mary McCartney)

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Peter Jay Sharp Building
230 Lafayette Ave.
September 24 - November 10, $25-$30 ($45 with signed book), 7:30 or 8:00

Since its inaugural event in September 2013, BAM’s “Unbound” literary series has featured such personalities as John Cleese, Philip Glass, Kim Gordon, Jonathan Lethem, and Angélique Kidjo presenting their new books, teaming up with the nearby Greenlight Bookstore. Tickets are now on sale for the fall festival, which begins September 24 with the launch of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, with the author of Eat Pray Love joined by Tony-winning playwright and actress Sarah Jones. On September 27, Adam Driver, Paul Giamatti, David Strathairn, and others will be at BAM to read selections from Bryan Doerries’s The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today, followed by a discussion with Doerries, held in conjunction with the Onassis Cultural Center NY. On October 6, Sara Bareilles will discuss her essay collection, Sounds Like Me: My Life (so far) in Song, with Ben Folds, while Gloria Steinem will discuss her latest book, My Life on the Road, on October 27. The all-star lineup concludes on November 10 with Elvis Costello lending further insight to his memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, with Rosanne Cash. Tickets are $25-$30 for a seat in the Howard Gilman Opera House and $45 if you want a signed copy of the book as well. (The Gilbert, Doerries, and Costello books will be presigned.)


The Braata Folk Singers will help celebrate Caribbean Heritage at Brooklyn Museum on August 1 (photo © copyright Braata Productions)

The Braata Folk Singers will help celebrate Caribbean Heritage at Brooklyn Museum on August 1 (photo © copyright Braata Productions)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, August 1, free, 5:00 - 11:00

After taking last month off because of the July 4 holiday, the Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturday program is back August 1 with a celebration of Caribbean Heritage in preparation for the annual New York Caribbean Carnival Parade on Labor Day. There will be live performances by BombaYo, the Braata Folk Singers, Cuban jazz pianist Elio Villafranca, and Klash City Sound System and Supa Frendz; a printmaking workshop; a pop-up carnival with poet Arielle John; a book club talk with Naomi Jackson about her new novel, The Star Side of Bird Hill; and screenings of Black Radical Imagination shorts, clips from Taboo Yardies hosted by director Selena Blake, Jonathan David Kane’s Papa Machete, followed by a Q&A with Kane, and Cecile Emeke’s webseries Ackee & Saltfish, followed by a talkback with Emeke. In addition, you can check out such exhibitions as “Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks,” “The Rise of Sneaker Culture,” “Kara Walker: ‘African Boy Attendant Curio (Bananas),’” “KAWS: ALONG THE WAY,” “Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence,” and “FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds.”


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

You can relax with a wide range of poetry at fifth annual festival on Governors Island (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Governors Island
Colonels Row
July 25-26, free (donation suggested), 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
new york city poetry festival slideshow

The fifth annual New York City Poetry Festival, which continues Sunday on Governors Island, honors Gotham’s literary heritage with three stages named after a trio of iconic landmarks, the Algonquin, the White Horse, and Chumley’s. Poets from dozens of publishing houses, university presses, and nonprofit organizations read their works, in addition to the open mic Ring of Daisies and other places where poetry just pops up. There are lots of booths, a food truck, and a beer garden that declares that “the psychiatrist is in.” Walking across the big field, you can listen as one poem from one location morphs into one from another and then one from another in a kind of audio rainbow of words and expression. You can make visible poetry with Rachel Ossip’s interactive “to touch” installation, add your own epitaph to Christine Stoddard’s “Word Graveyard,” get a word as part of Maya Stein and Amy Tingle’s Tandem Poetry Project, and hang out with Karl C. Leone’s “Dionysia: A Bacchic Ode” (featuring art by Alexis Myre, music by Larkin Grimm, and live performances by Daniel Benhamu, Aron Canter, Nettie Chickering, Jochem le Cointre, Eli Condon, Mateo d’Amato, Hailey Kemp, Rafeh Mahmud, Siever O’Connor-Aoki, Olivia Porter, Vanessa Rose, and Michelle Rosen). Be sure to also check out building 407b for the Children’s Poetry Festival, Amy Bassin and Mark Blickley’s “Dream Streams,” the analog participatory “Typewriter Project: The Subconscious of the City,” and the Poetry Brothel, where you can get an extremely private one-on-one reading for a small fee. As an added bonus, stop by LMCC’s “(Counter) Public Art, Intervention & Performance in Lower Manhattan from 1978-1993” exhibition at the Arts Center at Governors Island to see video of John Kelly’s Love of a Poet piece from 1990.


loiza festival

105th St. between Park & Lexington Aves.
July 24-26, free

The annual celebration of James the Greater, known as the Loiza Festival del Barrio and the Festival of Santiago Apostol, takes place this weekend on East 105th St., three days that focus on the African influence of the Puerto Rican community of Loíza on New York City with live entertainment, family-friendly activities, a religious processional, and a tribute to those affected by the March 2014 gas explosion on 116th St. On Friday, Taino Towers Day: El Barrio Fuerte . . . !Basta Ya! features art workshops, storytelling, children’s games, and music by 5 en Plena and salsa music and dance from Swing y Sabor. On Saturday, there will be a special installation of La Casita/La’Kay (with Adrian “Viajero” Roman, Manny Vega, Sophia Dawson, David Zayas, and Damaris Cruz) and live music by DJ Geko Jones, the Palladium Mambo All Stars, !BOMBA YO!, Johnny Olivo & Herencia de Plena, Jose Mangual & Son Boricua, and !Retumba! On Sunday, the processional kicks off at 12:30 at Iglesia Catolica de la Santa Agonía, with Frankie Vasquez as Padrino and Olga Rosa as La Madrina, followed by live performances by Danza Fiesta, Legacy Women, Milteri Tucker y Bombazo Dance Company, Tipica 73, Evelyn Jimenez y Orgullo Taino, and the Family Affair Mambo Dance team.


Museum at Eldridge Street
12 Eldridge St. between Canal & Division Sts.
Tuesday, July 14, $10, 7:00

I grew up on knishes. When I was a kid, my father would regularly bring home a big cardboard box of Gabila’s square delights, as their fleet of trucks was serviced by our family tire and auto repair shop on Utica Ave. in Brooklyn and Larry would always give a dozen to my father whenever they came in. So I’m particularly looking forward to July 14, when native New Yorker and food journalist Laura Silver will give a talk at the Eldridge St. Synagogue about her book Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (Brandeis, May 2014, $24.95). “More than latkes, matzoh, or the apple-and-walnut charoset that crowned the seder plate, knishes were my family’s religion. For knishes, we went on pilgrimages,” Silver writes in the first chapter, “Au Revoir, Mrs. Stahl’s: Brighton Beach to the Lower East Side.” She continues her exploration of the “pillow of filling tucked into a skin of dough” in such chapters as “In Search of the First Knish: From the Holy Land to the Old Country,” “Mrs. Goldberg to Gangsta Rap: The Knish in Culture,” and, most important, “Where to Get a Good Knish,” Silver details the history of the doughy delicacy, which can be stuffed with potato, cheese, kasha, mushrooms, spinach, fruit, and rather unusual mixtures in this experimental gourmand time. Attendees will also get a sample from one of our favorite knisheries, Yonah Schimmel (or is it Yonah Shimmel?), where we often go for the delectable chocolate and cheese version.


that independents

Who: The Unbearables, Great Weather for Media, InDigest, Seven Stories Press, Three Rooms Press
What: The Monthly @ Cornelia Street Cafe, hosted by Peter Carlaftes & Kat Georges
Where: Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia St. between Bleecker & West Fouth Sts.
When: Friday, July 3, $8 (includes a free drink), 6:00
Why: “It’s a strange time in the world of publishing,” writes Three Rooms Press cofounder Kat Georges on her company’s website. “The giant publishers continue to merge. Independent bookstores continue the struggle to keep their doors open. New technology has made it easy for authors to publish their own books. Yet, somehow, independent publishers are thriving. . . . If one thing unites the small presses, it is their dedication to their unique vision.” You can find out more about that unique vision on July 3, when five small presses come together at the Cornelia Street Cafe to discuss their publishing philosophy and present some of their authors to read from their work. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.


Zanele Muholi (South African, b. 1972). Faces and Phases installed at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany, 2012. (Photo: © Anders Sune Berg)

Zanele Muholi, “Faces and Phases,” installed at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany, 2012 (photo © Anders Sune Berg)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, June 6, free, 5:00 - 11:00

The June installment of the Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturday program celebrates LGBTQ Pride, with live performances by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Aye Nako, DJ Lynnee Denise, DJ Ilsa, and Junglepussy with DJ Joey Labeija; an exhibition talk by Jess Wilcox on “Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence” and ten-minute pop-up gallery talks about “Diverse Works: Director’s Choice, 1997–2015”; a flag-making workshop; a poetry performance by Dark Matter (Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramanian); a literary workshop with bklyn boihood, focusing on its upcoming publication, Outside the XY; screenings of Seyi Adebanjo’s 2013 documentary, Trans Lives Matter! Justice for Islan Nettles, followed by a talkback with the director, and Dan Sickles & Antonio Santini’s 2014 film, Mala Mala, followed by a talkback with the directors and cast memebers Paxx and Joyce Puty; and a tribute to retiring museum director Arnold Lehman, with reflections and performances by DapperQ, Visual Aids, Harriett’s Apothecary, Haiti Cultural Exchange, CaribBEING, Afrika 21/Harriet’s Alter Ego, and Balmir Latin Dance. In addition, you can check out such exhibitions as “Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks,” “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic,” “Kara Walker: ‘African Boy Attendant Curio (Bananas),’” and “Chitra Ganesh: Eyes of Time.”