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


Who: Wyclef Jean
What: Livestreamed concert
Where: Apollo Digital Stage
When: Wednesday, September 9, free, 8:00
Why: Haitian-born, New Jersey-based multigenre superstar and activist Wyclef Jean will return to the stage of the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem on September 9 at 8:00 to perform his 1997 album, Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars, in its entirety for the first time ever. The double LP signaled the end of the Fugees, who performed at the Apollo in 1996, although bandmates Lauryn Hill and Pras appear on the record. “Stepping on the Apollo stage back in 1996 accomplished one of the greatest goals I had as a young Fugee, so it really feels like I’m coming home by having the opportunity to perform at the theater again,” Jean said in a statement. “I’ve been wanting to do a complete performance of The Carnival for a while now, and I’m excited that I’m able to combine energies with the Apollo and ADCOLOR to pull it off. All three of us are here to celebrate culture, diversity, and the Black American experience, and we’re ready to provide a historic performance that does just that.” The Carnival features such tracks as “Apocalypse,” “Guantanamera” with Celia Cruz, Jeni Fujita, and Hill, “To All the Girls,” “Anything Can Happen,” “Mona Lisa” with the Neville Brothers, and the Bee Gees-inspired “We Trying to Stay Alive” with John Forté and Pras.

The concert will take place with no audience and a minimal crew; you can watch the livestream here. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to support the legendary venue through this time of crisis. This inaugural Apollo Digital Stage show will be followed September 23 at 7:00 with a free conversation between Grammy-winning musician, actor, and activist John Legend and activist, scholar, and writer Salamishah Tillet (Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination, the upcoming In Search of “The Color Purple”: The Story of an American Masterpiece), exploring the duty of an artist, especially at this critical period in the nation’s history, and on September 29 at 6:30 by a discussion between authors Nic Stone (Dear Martin, Dear Justyce) and Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give, On the Come Up), looking at the flawed American juvenile justice system.

NUALA CLARKE: so i have observed

Nuala Clarke, still from so i have observed (part two of five), five-part video, 2020 (funded by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon)

Who: Nuala Clarke
What: Live discussion about so i have observed video series
Where: Zoom
When: Saturday, September 5, free with RSVP, 3:00
Why: During the pandemic, Irish artist Nuala Clarke created so i have observed, a five-part video that incorporates images from her series The Dream Drawing with text from Irish alchemist Robert Boyle’s 1664 Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours and her own dreams, with music by experimental composer Roarke Menzies. “I have sometimes thought it worth while to take notice, whether or no the Colours of Opacous Bodies might not appear to the Eye somewhat Diversify’d, not only by the Disposition of the Superficial parts of the Bodyes themselves and by the Position of the Eye in Reference to the Object and the Light, (for these things are Notorious enough;) but according also to the Nature of the Lucid Body that shines upon them,” Boyle writes in Experiment VII. The camera goes from shots of Clarke’s works on paper, seemingly floating in space, to scenes of her at work, washing her hands, folding clothing, at the beach, and wearing a mask, as she delivers the narration in voice-over. The first four videos total about twenty-three minutes, while the final one is eighteen minutes and features a score by Menzies.

Nuala Clarke will discuss her new video series on September 5 at 3:00 (photo courtesy Nuala Clarke)

“And then I see it in front of me, emerging from the dark. A body drawing is how I thought of it,” Clarke eloquently relates in part two, as shafts of light shine on abstract shapes twisting unhurriedly. “It was suspended, not square, paperlike, connected at points along the way, white and gold, curved, lungs, voids among the turning spaces. I woke slowly, remembering, made a drawing, and kept it in my mind’s eye.” On September 5 at 3:00, Clarke will host an informal and unrehearsed Zoom conversation in conjunction with the virtual opening of so i have observed. Having participated back in 2010 with Menzies and others in a performance Clarke curated for her show “You Delight Me” on Shelter Island, we are very familiar with the multidisciplinary approach she takes with all of her work, so we are excited about hearing her discuss this beautifully poetic project that deals with loneliness and loss, nature and beauty, centered around color. Be sure to check out the videos here first.


Jon Meacham and Wes Moore will discuss the life and legacy of John Lewis on August 28

Who: Jon Meacham, Wes Moore
What: Live discussion about John Lewis
Where: 92nd St. Y online
When: Friday, August 28, $20, 6:00
Why: In his new book His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope (Penguin Random House, August 25, $30), Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Jon Meacham writes, “There seemed no hope. An omitted ‘Mister’ might get you dumped in a swamp on an otherwise unremarkable summer day; walking home from church could lead to horrific sexual violence. ‘We know that if we protest we will be called “bad ni--ers,”’ the novelist Richard Wright wrote in his 1941 book Twelve Million Black Voices. ‘The Lords of the Land will preach the doctrine of “white supremacy” to the poor whites who are eager to form mobs. In the midst of general hysteria they will seize one of us — it does not matter who, the innocent or guilty — and, as a token, a naked and bleeding body will be dragged through the dusty streets.’ That was the way of the world into which John Lewis was born.” Lewis contributed an afterword to the book.

On August 28 at 6:00, as part of the 92nd St. Y program “92Y Confronts Hate: The Great Thinkers,” Meacham, who has written such other books as American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, Franklin and Winston, and The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, will be joined by bestselling author, army combat veteran, and Robin Hood CEO Wes Moore to discuss the life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis, the beloved civil rights leader who passed away in Atlanta last month at the age of eighty. The talk is being held in conjunction with the fifty-seventh anniversary of the March on Washington, which is being honored virtually this year by the NAACP here. Tickets are $20 and help benefit the 92nd St. Y as it deals with the Covid-19 pandemic; you can hear an audio clip of the book here. “The Great Thinkers” continues August 31 with “Marion Nestle: Master Class on the Politics of Food and Health,” September 15 with “Master Class with Paul Krugman and Mauro Guillen: Our World in 2030,” and September 17 with “Paula Scher: Master Class on Design, Branding and Identity with Ellen Lupton,” while “92Y Confronts Hate” continues September 8 with “Symone Sanders with Jonathan Capehart — No, You Shut Up: Speaking Truth to Power.”


Who: Neil Gaiman, Susan Orlean, William Shatner, Carla Hayden, Charles Bolden Jr., Marlon James, Ann Druyan, Marjorie Liu, more
What: Livestreamed marathon reading
Where: Ray Bradbury marathon
When: Saturday, August 22, free, 4:30 (available through September 5)
Why: “It was a pleasure to burn.” So begins Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451, one of the most banned books ever in America. The protagonist is Guy Montag, whose job it is to burn down houses where he finds outlawed books. In honor of the hundredth anniversary of Bradbury’s birth — the novelist and screenwriter (The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes) was born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, and passed away on July 5, 2012, in Los Angeles — a wide ranging group of people will read the book online, including writers, actors, scholars, and librarians. The stream begins August 22 at 4:30 and continues through September 5, with such participants as Neil Gaiman, Susan Orlean, William Shatner, Carla Hayden, Charles Bolden Jr., Marlon James, Ann Druyan, and Marjorie Liu reading the three parts of the book, “The Hearth and the Salamander,” “The Sieve and the Sand,” and “Burning Bright.”


Who: Octavio Abúndez, Ali Ahn, heather atone, Raffi Barsoumian, Bryan Cogman, Bethany Joy Collins, Peter Coyote, David Holt, Leslie Feist, Ken Hada, Joseph Keckler, Muna Malik, Rebecca Nagle, Bebe Neuwirth, Nikki Nice, Nicole Poole, Lee Ranaldo, Patrick Riley, Robert Ruiz, Kate Soper, Gloria Torres, Tom Todoroff, Nick Waterhouse, Emily Wilson
What: Marathon reading of Emily Wilson’s 2017 translation of The Odyssey by Homer
Where: Oklahoma Contemporary, Facebook, YouTube
When: August 20-22, 27-29, free, 8:00 - 9:30
Why: From May 15 to June 28, Emily Wilson posted Odyssey-a-Day readings, short clips she performed from her 2017 translation of the epic eighth century BCE poem by Homer. This week and next week, she will be part of a marathon reading of her translation, along with twenty-three people from diverse walks of life, including actors, artists, curators, politicians, professors, writers, and musicians, each sharing one of the two dozen books that comprise the classical work of literature. Hosted by the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center in partnership with the Kirkpatrick Foundation, the six evenings, August 20-22 and 27-29, will stream live on Facebook, YouTube and the center’s website from 8:00 to 9:30. Among the readers are actor and director Peter Coyote, Emmy winner Bebe Neuwirth, Sonic Youth cofounder Lee Ranaldo, conceptual artist Octavio Abúndez, singer-songwriter Feist, Oklahoma City mayor David Holt, visual artist Bethany Joy Collins, and Wilson herself. Of course, everyone will be participating from wherever they’re sheltering in place, giving new meaning to the line “But even so, I want to go back home, / and every day I hope that day will come.”


Who: Harriett D. Foy, Zora Howard, Q’orianka Kilcher, Leah Lewis, Chelsea Rendon
What: Virtual play about women’s suffrage
Where: New York Times online
When: Tuesday, August 18, free with RSVP, 7:00
Why: The Nineteenth Amendment might have given women the right to vote, but there is still a lot of work to do, including ending voter suppression particularly of people of color. On August 18 at 7:00, the New York Times will premiere the new play Finish the Fight, adapted by Ming Peiffer (Usual Girls, i wrote on ur wall and now i regret it) from the 2020 picture book Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers and the Times staff. The show stars Harriett D. Foy as Mary McLeod Bethune, Zora Howard as Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Q’orianka Kilcher as Zitkála-Šá, Leah Lewis as Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, and Chelsea Rendon as Jovita Idár and is directed by Whitney White (Our Dear Dead Drug Lord, What to Send When It Goes Down). Upon registering, you can submit questions for the creators that might be answered in a Q&A following the show.


Who: Prisca Afantchao, Sojourner Ahebee, Kazim Ali, Kimberly Blaeser, Jericho Brown, Meera Dasgupta, Kwame Dawes, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Safia Elhillo, Martín Espada, Sesshu Foster, Kimberly Jae, Raina J. León, Mwatabu Okantah, Alberto Ríos, Terisa Siagatonu, Matthew Thompson, Emma Trelles, Nikki Wallschlaeger, Monica Youn, avery r. Young
What: Live poetry reading in support of Black lives
Where: CrowdCast, YouTube
When: Tuesday, August 18, free with RSVP, 8:00
Why: On Tuesday, August 18, at 8:00, more than two dozen poets will gather online for “One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives.” The event is hosted by the Poetry Coalition, which consists of poetry organizations across the country; each founding member organization selected one poet and poem. Part of the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Coalition is “dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.” To find out more about Black-led and Black-serving organizations fighting injustice, the coalition has further information here.