January 14 - March 24
America came of age in the 1960s, from the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X to Vietnam and the Summer of Love. Carnegie Hall is paying tribute to the turbulent decade with the two-month series “The ’60s: The Years that Changed America,” inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Robert A. Caro. The native New Yorker, who turned eighty-two this past October, is the author of such books as The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York and the four-part The Years of Lyndon Johnson, with a fifth tome on the way. “Luther King gave people ‘the feeling that they could be bigger and stronger and more courageous than they thought they could be,’ Bayard Rustin said — in part because of the powerful new weapon, non-violent resistance, that had been forged on the Montgomery battlefield,’” Caro wrote in Master of the Senate, a quote obviously apt for MLK Day. Running January 14 through March 24 all across the city, the festival features concerts, panel discussions, film screenings, dance, art exhibitions, and more. Below are only some of the many highlights; keep watching this space for more additions.
Sunday, January 14
Saturday, March 24
“Max’s Kansas City,” photos and writings, Mark Borghi Gallery, free
Friday, January 19
“You Say You Want a Revolution: Remembering the Sixties,” Library After Hours opening night program with experimental films, album-cover workshop, games and puzzles, curator tour led by Isaac Gewirtz, dance party with Felix Hernandez, and more, exhibit continues through September 1, the New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, free, 7:00
Kronos Quartet, works by Stacy Garrop (world premiere inspired by “I Have a Dream” speech), Zachary J. Watkins (world premiere inspired by Studs Terkel), Terry Riley, John Cage, and Janis Joplin, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, $62-$72, 9:00
Tuesday, January 23
Friday, May 18
“The Global Interconnections of 1968,” Kempner Exhibition Gallery, Butler Library (sixth floor), Columbia University, free
Thursday, January 25
Snarky Puppy with David Crosby and Friends, including Chris Thile and Laura Mvula, Stern/Perelman at Carnegie Hall, $26-$100, 8:00
Friday, January 26
Bernard and Irene Schwartz Classic Film Series: Coming Home (Hal Ashby, 1978), Justice in Film presentation introduced by Susan Lacy, New-York Historical Society, free with pay-what-you-wish museum admission, 7:00
Tuesday, February 6
Sunday, February 11
March, duet from Lessons inspired by civil rights movement, part of winter season program by Ronald K. Brown / Evidence, a Dance Company, the Joyce Theater, $26-$46
Friday, February 16
“Philip Glass Ensemble: Music with Changing Parts,” Stern/Perelman at Carnegie Hall, $14.50 - $95, 8:00
Wednesday, February 21
“The Summer of Law and Disorder: Harlem Riot of 1964,” panel discussion, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, free with advance registration beginning February 7, 6:30
Tuesday, March 13
Bernard and Irene Schwartz Distinguished Speakers Series: “The ’60s from Both Sides Now: An Evening with Judy Collins,” in conversation with historian Harold Holzer, New-York Historical Society, $38, 6:30
Saturday, March 24
“The Vietnam War: At Home and Abroad,” multimedia presentation with Friction Quartet performing George Crumb’s “Black Angels” and more groups to be announced, narrated by John Monsky, Zankel at Carnegie Hall, $35-$45, 2:00
David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center
20 Lincoln Center Plaza
January 5-7, $22-$167
The Shanghai Dance Theatre has landed in the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center this weekend with the U.S. premiere of Soaring Wings, a new-agey epic modern fable presented in a style reminiscent of the Radio City Rockettes. Written by Luo Huaizhen and directed and choreographed by Tong Ruirui, the lengthy two-hour piece is about the discovery of seven crested ibises, a much-loved bird species thought to be extinct, in Shaanxi Province in 1981. The lavish production boasts more than three dozen dancers in gorgeous costumes by Zhong Jiani, who does an especially effective job with the flowing white wings of the seven women portraying the “bird of good fortune” as well as the dark, ominous, futuristic garments worn by a corp of male dancers who represent pollution and environmental degradation. Huaizhen and Ruirui have a penchant for lining up the performers in Rockette-like vertical and horizontal columns, while Ruirui’s choreography features perhaps all-too-realistic birdlike neck and head movements for the crane women, which manages to be simultaneously completely convincing and disturbingly eerie. The staging is simple, with a perhaps-dead tree with its roots showing that is wheeled on- and offstage, in front of projections of scenes of clouds and mountains on a rear scrim. Principal dancers Zhu Jiejing and Wang Jiajun lead a large cast that perpetually smiles coquettishly as they flirt with ballet and contemporary and folk dance, creating a lush, evocative something that is not quite any of those genres but which had audience members enthusiastically sneaking cellphone photos. And Guo Sida’s syrupy score is far too reminiscent of “Healing Rhythms,” a biofeedback program developed by doctors Deepak Chopra, Dean Ornish, and Andrew Weil — one of the program’s training skills even involves a floating feather, which plays a prominent role in Soaring Wings, continuing through January 7 at Lincoln Center before flying to Boston. And no, there is no kickline at the end.
Martinson Hall, the Public Theater
425 Lafayette St. at Astor P.
January 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, $25
Andrew Schneider uses high and low tech to investigate what makes a life — and what might happen at death — in the mind-blowing After, having its New York City premiere as part of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival. The sequel to his mind-blowing, Obie-winning YOUARENOWHERE (which can be pronounced as “You are nowhere” or “You are now here”), After explores the construction of consciousness through perception and sensation, creating a kind of collective hallucination as two people, Schneider and Alicia ayo Ohs, discuss various aspects of existence amid flashing lights, electronic sounds, color shifts, near-complete extended darkness, and heavenly cloud cover. “Your brain is not reality,” ayo tells Schneider early on, calling into question what humans, and theater patrons, see and hear. The Milwaukee-born, Brooklyn-based Schneider wrote the text and directs the show in addition to handling the experimental lighting, projections, and set design, which essentially is a spare stage with a bright white floor; the lights quickly go on and off, joined by loud, sharp noises, as scenes change magically in mere seconds, reminiscent of Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information and Nick Payne’s Constellations. At one point, Schneider and ayo will be sitting in folding chairs, then will be lying on the floor, then will be leaning over a desk, the changes coming like firing synapses. Later the two performers are joined by a larger cast, including production coordinator Kedian Keohan and scenic coordinator Peter Musante, but it’s the relationship between Schneider and ayo that is at the heart of the eighty-minute show.
Throughout, the sound emerges from all over the theater, as if it has physical form; sound designers Schneider and Bobby McElver, who refer to the effects as auditory holograms, are employing the cutting-edge spatial audio technology Wave Field Synthesis, which was developed at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer. The piece is deeply theoretical as well as being super-fun and thought-provoking, balancing serious philosophy with an intoxicating playfulness and razor-sharp sense of humor. As the audience enters Martinson Hall at the Public, Irma Thomas’s heart-tugging “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)” softly repeats over and over, the Soul Queen of New Orleans singing, “I know / to ever let you go / oh, is more than I could ever stand”; but the mood shifts when that is replaced by Starship’s tacky, and loud, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” as Mickey Thomas (no relation) and Grace Slick warble, “And we can build this dream together / standing strong forever.” Former Wooster Group member Schneider (Field, Tidal, Wow+Flutter) and assistant director and script developer ayo (Faye Driscoll’s Thank You for Coming series), dressed in dark clothing and wearing microphones as well as electronic gadgets on each of their arms, don’t miss a beat as After delves into the nature of language and movement, of speech and human behavior, putting the audience through sensory overload and sensory deprivation to imagine the biochemical secrets of life and death.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, January 6, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum looks to 2018 with its January First Saturday program, “New Year, New Futures.” There will be live music by Sinkane, BEARCAT, Zaven of Resonator Collective (an in-gallery soundscape for the terrific exhibition “Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo”), and New Kingston; a curator tour of “Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum: The Body in Bronze” with Lisa Small; a hands-on art workshop in which participants can make zines inspired by “Proof”; a community talk with Murad Awawdeh, the vice president of advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition; a screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary about James Baldwin, I Am Not your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017), followed by a discussion with activists Jessica Green and Aisha Karefa-Smart (Baldwin’s niece); a Feminist Book Club event focusing on the 1970 book Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement, edited by Robin Morgan, hosted by Glory Edim of Well-Read Black Girl based on selections by Judy Chicago; pop-up gallery talks on “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making”; a Brooklyn Dance Festival movement workshop and live performances; pop-up poetry with DéLana R. A. Dameron (Weary Kingdom) and Rickey Laurentiis (Boy with Thorn), followed by a signing; and a NYLaughs comedy showcase with Negin Farsad, Nimesh Patel, and Jordan Carlos, hosted by Ophira Eisenberg and followed by a discussion on humor, activism, and crisis. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making,” “Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt,” “Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo,” “Arts of Asia and the Middle East,” “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.
David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center
20 Lincoln Center Plaza
January 5-7, $22-$167
Shanghai Dance Theatre makes its New York debut January 5-7 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center with Soaring Wings, an evening-length celebration of harmony about the “bird of good fortune,” the Japanese crested ibis. Set to traditional Chinese music, the environmentally conscious work celebrates the interdependence between nature and humanity, building the theme around the rediscovery of ibises in Shaanxi Province in 1981, thought to be in extinct in China and Japan as the result of twentieth-century modernization. Presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group as part of its Image China program, which began in 2009 “as a bridge of cultural exchanges between China and other countries,” Soaring Wings features more than two dozen dancers, including principals Zhu Jiejing and Wang Jiajun. Zhong Jiani’s lush, elegant costumes bring the endangered species to beautiful life; the show is written by Luo Huaizhen, with music by Guo Sida, direction and choreography by Tong Ruirui, lighting by Xing Xin, makeup by Xu Bin, and props by Li Hongchao. The award-winning Shanghai Dance Theatre, which was founded in 1979 and melds Chinese classical dance with ballet and folk traditions, has been traveling the world with Soaring Wings and such other productions as Fragrance, so its New York debut is greatly anticipated.