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


New monograph on Philip Taaffe kicks off discussion on contemporary painting at the Cooper Union

New monograph on Philip Taaffe kicks off Cooper Union panel discussion on contemporary painting

Who: Lois Dodd, Thomas Nozkowski, Philip Taaffe, Barry Schwabsky, Faye Hirsch, John Yau
What: Panel discussion
Where: The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the Great Hall in the Foundation Building, 7 East Seventh St. between Third & Fourth Aves.
When: Thursday, April 19, free with advance RSVP, 6:30
Why: In conjunction with the publication of the first monograph on Philip Taaffe as part of the Lund Humphries Contemporary Painters series, the Cooper Union is hosting the panel discussion “Rewriting Painting” on April 19 at 6:30, featuring Cooper graduates, artists, and Lund Humphries subjects Lois Dodd, Thomas Nozkowski, and Philip Taaffe along with critics Barry Schwabsky (the editor of the Lund Humphries series), Faye Hirsch (who wrote the book on Dodd), and John Yau (who wrote the book on Taaffe). The free event explores the state and shape of contemporary painting, asking the questions “How far have artists extended the boundaries of the medium in the twenty-first century, and what does it mean to be identified as a painter today?,” “Is the word ‘painting’ still adequate to describe a practice which no longer necessarily involves paint or flat surfaces?,” and “And to what extent do the ways in which we write about painting influence both the public’s reception of the work and contemporary practice itself?” The discussion will be followed by a book signing with all of the participants.


(photo courtesy NYBG)

Earth Ball is part of Earth Day festivities at last weekend of the Orchid Show at New York Botanical Garden (photo courtesy NYBG)

The New York Botanical Garden
Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx
April 20-22, $12 children two to twelve, $28 adults ($38 for Orchid Evenings, adults only, 6:30 - 9:30)

The New York Botanical Garden’s 2018 orchid show, featuring installations by Belgian floral artist Daniel Ost, closes this weekend, but not before a flurry of special events in conjunction with Earth Day. On Friday at 11:00 am, Charles Peters will discuss his new book, Managing the Wild: Stories of People and Plants and Tropical Forests, in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, and the Discovery Center at the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden will host activities for children from 1:30 to 5:30. Orchid Evenings take place Friday and Saturday night, with specialty cocktails, music by DJ X-RAY, Alice Farley’s Orchid Dancers, and a nighttime viewing of the show. On Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 4:00, there will be a Herbarium Open House in the Steere Herbarium and “The Scientist Is In” booth on Conservatory Plaza. In addition, the fifteen-minute animated film Tree of Life will screen continuously in Ross Hall from 11:00 to 5:00, there will be tours of the conservatory and laboratory and demonstrations of the Hitachi TM4000 PLUS Tabletop Scanning Electron Microscope, and the Earth Ball will be on display on the Conservatory Lawn.


Public Reading on Democracy

“Public Reading on Democracy” at Live Ideas festival features Tamar-kali, Aisha Tandiwe-Bell, Greg Tate, Liz Abzug, and others reading works by Medgar Evers, Ida B. Wells, Muhammad Ali, Shirley Chisholm, Harvey Milk, Bella Abzug, and more

New York Live Arts
219 West 19th St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
April 18-22, free - $30

The annual Live Ideas festival at New York Live Arts has previously explored the legacies of Dr. Oliver Sacks and James Baldwin, examined social, political, artistic, and environmental issues (curated by Laurie Anderson), and looked into a nonbinary future (curated by Mx Justin Vivian Bond). The five-day 2018 festival, “Radical Vision,” asks such questions as “How do we not simply protect democracy but make it stronger?,” “What are new (radical) ways forward — ways that go to the roots of our current democratic crisis?,” “What is your radical vision of Democracy?,” and “What would you give up to make it real?” New York Live Arts will host live performances, panel discussions, special presentations, and participatory events addressing these issues, kicking things off on April 18 with a gala at Irving Plaza honoring Elizabeth A. Sackler and Bryan Stevenson, with performances by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes, Abby Z and the New Utility, and Esperanza Spalding. The festivities then move to New York Live Arts, with three days of free public readings on democracy, the forum “Bending Towards Justice?,” “The Press + the Resistance,” “By the People?,” and “How Do We Prepare for Trump’s Second Term?,” with such creators and thinkers as Xenobia Bailey, Lawrence Lessig, Alicia Hall Moran, Roger Berkowitz, Emily Johnson, Max Kenner, and Erin Markey. Live Ideas 2018 concludes April 22 at 7:30 ($10) with the Democrazy Ball, with DJ JLMR and performances by Daphne Always and the Dauphine of Bushwick. Below are some of the other highlights of “Radical Vision.”

Wednesday, April 18
Contents Under Pressure: Democracy in Crisis, keynote conversation with Sherrilyn Ifill and Professor Lawrence Lessig, moderated by Bill T. Jones and with an opening performance by mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran with artist and puppeteer Matt Acheson, $15-$30, 6:30

Thursday, April 19
Dahlak Brathwaite: Spiritrials, one-man multidimensional play written by and starring Dahlak Brathwaite, with a score by Brathwaite and Dion Decibels, directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Sean San Jose, $15-$30, 8:00

Friday, April 20
Mike Daisey: The End of Journalism, monologue, $15-$30, 8:00

Saturday, April 21
Zephyr Teachout: Hands-on Politics, workshop with Zephyr Teachout, free with advance RSVP (suggested donation $5-$10), 1:00


Dahlak Brathwaite will perform Spiritrials at New York Live Arts’ Live Ideas festival

Resistance & Friends, with live performances by vocalist and composer Like a Villain (Holland Andrews), singer Joseph Keckler, choreographer and dancer Marguerite Hemmings, drag queen and performance artist Ragamuffin, poet and performer Saul Williams, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, and choreographer and dancer Keely Garfield (Mandala), hosted by drag king Elizabeth (Macha) Marrero, $15-$25, 8:00

Sunday, April 22
Cynthia Hopkins: Learn a Song of Resistance, free with advance RSVP (suggested donation $10), 11:00 am

The Secret Court, staged reading by Abingdon Theatre Company, written by members of the Plastic Theatre and conceived by Tony Speciale, $12-$15, 12:30

Kenyon Adams: Prayers of the People, a secular liturgical performance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” participatory ritual/performance conceived by Kenyon Adams (little ray), directed by Bill T. Jones, featuring Cynthia Hopkins, Padraic Costello, Vinson Fraley, Rebecca L. Hargrove, Walker Jackson, and Adams, $15-$25, 6:00


Benedict Cumberbatch and special guests will perform Letters Live at the Town Hall May 18-19

Benedict Cumberbatch and special guests will perform Letters Live at the Town Hall May 18-19

Who: Benedict Cumberbatch and surprise guests
What: Letters Live New York
Where: The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd St. between Sixth Ave. & Broadway, 212-997-6661
When: Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, $62-$202 (use presale code LLNYC), 8:00
Why: On May 18-19, Letters Live will make its New York City debut, with Oscar nominee and Olivier and Emmy winner Benedict Cumberbatch and special guests reading letters at the Town Hall. Past events have featured letters by David Bowie, Mohandas Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Kurt Vonnegut, Charlotte Brontë, Tom Hanks, Katherine Hepburn, Richard Burton, Patti Smith, Abraham Lincoln, James Baldwin, and Che Guevara, read by Gillian Anderson, Sir Ian McKellen, Kylie Minogue, Russell Brand, Thandie Newton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rose McGowan, LeVar Burton, Mark Hamill, Anjelica Huston, James Corden, Oscar Isaac, Mary J Blige, Jude Law, Nick Cave, Sir Ben Kingsley, and others. Presale tickets for the epistolary presentation, which was inspired by Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note anthologies and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter, are now available using the code LLNYC. Part of the proceeds will be donated to 826NYC and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.


The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored at Harlem Gate on April 4

The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored at Harlem Gate on April 4

Who: Adepero Oduye, Amma Whatt, C. Kelly Wright, Kyle Marshall, Bertha Hope
What: An evening of live performances and tributes celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Where: Harlem Stage Gatehouse, 150 Convent Ave. at West 135th St., 212-281-9240 ext. 19
When: Wednesday, April 4, free with RSVP, 7:30 & 8:45
Why: On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, altering the course of America’s future. Harlem Stage is honoring Dr. King’s legacy with a special program on April 4, 2018, the fiftieth anniversary of his murder. At 7:30 and 8:45, singer-songwriter Amma Whatt, actress, singer, and dancer C. Kelly Wright, dancer and choreographer Kyle Marshall (a solo piece set to Dr. King’s “On the Mountaintop” speech), actress, writer, and director Adepero Oduye (an excerpt from “The Drum Major Instinct”), and jazz pianist Bertha Hope will perform a tribute to MLK and Harlem, built around one of MLK’s most famous quotes, putting it into contemporary context: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


nyc teen author festival

Multiple locations
March 18-25, free

The tenth annual NYC Teen Author Festival starts today, kicking off a week of readings, signings, and panel discussions featuring more than one hundred authors at the New York Public Library, Barnes & Noble, the Strand, Books of Wonder, McNally Jackson, and Little City Books. Among the topics that will be discussed are “Areas of Expertise: YA Writers on YA Writing,” “Queer Voices in YA — The 2018 Edition,” and “Writing the Perils of Real Life.” Below is the complete lineup for this free festival, although attendees are strongly encouraged to purchase books at each event.

Sunday, March 18
Kick Off! with Arvin Ahmadi, Susane Colasanti, Sara Holland, Richard Lawson, Dana Mele, Krystal Sutherland, and Ashley Woodfolk, the Strand, 828 Broadway, 7:00

Monday, March 19
Areas of Expertise: YA Writers on YA Writing, with Jen Calonita, Holly Kowitt, Emmy Layborne, Sarah Darer Littman, E. Lockhart, Sam L. Miller, Jess Verdi, Katherine Webber, and Ibi Zoboi, New York Public Library, Mulberry Street Branch, 10 Jersey St., 6:00

Tuesday, March 20
The Complexity of Characters, with Corinne Duyvis, Michele Hodkin, Billy Merrell, Alyssa Sheinmel, Yvonne Ventresca, and Ismee Williams, Little City Books, Hoboken, 7:00

Wednesday, March 21
The Past Ten Years, the Next Ten Years, with Zoraida Cordova, Gayle Forman, Lexa Hillyer, Tiffany Jackson, Kody Keplinger, Justine Larbalestier, and Scott Westerfeld, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., Berger Forum, 6:00

Friday March 23
Queer Voices in YA — The 2018 Edition, with Arvin Ahmadi, Kheryn Callender, Billy Merrell, Sam J. Miller, Sarah Moon, Mark Oshiro, and Will Walton, moderated by David Levithan, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., South Court, 2:00

Evolution of a Writer, with Jen Calonita, Alison Cherry, Kody Keplinger, Sarah Darer Littman, Alexandra Monir, Matthue Roth, Leila Sales, and KM Walton, moderated by Aimee Friedman, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., South Court, 2:50

Ambitious Girls, with Katie Bayerl, Kayla Cagan, Sharon Cameron, Maria Dahvana Headley, Tiffany Jackson, Lauren Spieller, and Amy Trueblood, moderated by Melissa Walker, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., South Court, 3:50

Bookish Romance, with Jennifer Castle, Mia Garcia, Shani Petroff, Lindsay Ribar, Tiffany Schmidt, Jennifer E. Smith, and Stephanie Kate Strohm, moderated by Kieran Scott, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., South Court, 4:40

Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing with Tara Altebrando, Gina Damico, Lauren Gibaldi, Emily X. R. Pan, Kim Purcell, Randy Ribay, and Maggie Stiefvater, Upper West Side B&N, Eighty-Second St. & Broadway, 7:00

Saturday, March 24
Debuts, with Kheryn Callender, Lindsay Champion, Kim Chance, Kit Frick, Amy Giles, and Anna Hecker, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., Celeste Bartos Forum, 1:00

What a Difference a Decade Makes, with Molly Booth, Sharon Cameron, Sara Holland, Laurent Linn, Andy Marino, Amy McNamara, Michelle Schusterman, Peternelle van Arsdale, Marit Weisenberg, Martin Wilson, and Jeff Zentner, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., Celeste Bartos Forum, 1:50

Writing the Perils of Real Life, with Heather Demetrios, Kevin Emerson, Maxine Kaplan, Emily X. R. Pan, Bonnie Pipkin, and Gae Polisner, moderated by Brendan Kiely, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., Celeste Bartos Forum, 2:30

Evolution of a Writer, with Patty Blount, Donna Cooner, Heidi Heilig, JJ Howard, Dana Mele, Nisha Sharma, Abby Sher, and Suzanne Weyn, moderated by Kass Morgan, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., Celeste Bartos Forum, 3:25

Debuts, with Alisa Kwitney, Derek Milman, Mark Oshiro, A. M. Rose, Julia Rubin, Nisha Sharma, and Ashley Woodfolk, moderated by Leila Sales, New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Ave. at Forty-Second St., Celeste Bartos Forum, 4:10

Into the Wilds, with Cathleen Bell, Rhoda Belleza, Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, Michelle Schusterman, Alexandra Monir, Melissa Ostrom, Sarah Nicole Smetana, and Kaitlin Ward, moderated by Kass Morgan, McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St., 7:00

Sunday, March 25
Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing, with Arvin Ahmadi, Katie Bayerl, Cathleen Bell, Patty Blount, Kheryn Callender, Sharon Cameron, Kim Chance, Shani Petroff, and Randy Ribay, Books of Wonder, 18 West Eighteenth St., 1:00

Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing, with Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, Michelle Schusterman, Susane Colasanti, Donna Cooner, Gina Damico, Heather Demetrios, Lauren Gibaldi, and Amy Giles, Books of Wonder, 18 West Eighteenth St., 1:30

Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing, with Lexa Hillyer, Michelle Hodkin, Sara Holland, Amalie Howard, Kody Keplinger, Richard Lawson, and Emmy Layborne, Books of Wonder, 18 West Eighteenth St., 2:00

Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing, with Barry Lyga, Dana Mele, Billy Merrell, Sam J. Miller, Sarah Moon, Melissa Ostrom, Emily X. R. Pan, and Bonnie Pipkin, Books of Wonder, 18 West Eighteenth St., 2:30

Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing, with Gae Polisner, Kim Purcell, A. M. Rose, Julia Lynn Rubin, Kieran Scott, Alyssa Sheinmel, Abby Sher, Sarah Nicole Smetana, and Jennifer E. Smith, Books of Wonder, 18 West Eighteenth St., 3:00

Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing, with Stephanie Kate Strohm, Amy Trueblood, Peternelle van Arsdale, KM Walton, Kaitlin Ward, Marit Weisenberg, Scott Westerfeld, Ashley Woodfolk, Jeff Zentner, and David Neilsen, Books of Wonder, 18 West Eighteenth St., 3:30


Judy Chicago Designing the Entry Banner for The Dinner Party, 1978 (courtesy of Through the Flower Archive)

“Judy Chicago Designing the Entry Banner for ‘The Dinner Party,’” 1978 (courtesy of Through the Flower Archive)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, March 3, free, 5:00 - 11:00

The Brooklyn Museum honors Women’s History Month with its free March First Saturday program, featuring live performances by Leikeli47, DJ Sabine Blaizin (Oyasound) with live percussion by Courtnee Roze, MICHIYAYA Dance (with Anya Clarke and Mitsuko Verdery leading a jam session), and Brown Girls Burlesque, presenting “Act Like a Lady! Strippin’ Fo’ the Culture,” with Hoodoo Hussy, Elektra Taste, Dakota Mayhem, Skye Siren, and Dirty Honey Shake dancers, hosted by Ravenessa; a book launch of Beverly Bond’s Black Girls Rock! Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. with Bond, Michaela Angela Davis, and Eunique Jones Gibson; pop-up gallery talks by teen apprentices in the “American Art” galleries; a community talk with representatives from THINK!Chinatown; Cave Canem Foundation poetry with zakia henderson-brown, Marwa Helal, and Aracelis Girmay; a hands-on art workshop inspired by Judy Chicago’s banners; a curator tour of “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making” led by Carmen Hermo; and a Feminist Book Club discussion of Janet Mock’s Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me, with Glory Edim of Well-Read Black Girl. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “One Basquiat,” “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making,” “Arts of Korea,” “Infinite Blue,” “Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys,” “Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum: The Body in Bronze,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more.