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


Torn Curtain

Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, and Lila Kedrova are all miscast in one of Alfred Hitchcock’s worst films, Torn Curtain

TORN CURTAIN (Alfred Hitchcock, 1966)
Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Film
11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Thursday, June 21, and Wednesday, June 27

MoMA is screening Alfred Hitchcock’s 1966 Cold War thriller, Torn Curtain, in its “Modern ‘Matinees’: Hitchcock/Truffaut, Fashionably Late” series, but don’t let that convince you that it’s museum-worthy. Torn Curtain is one of the Master of Suspense’s worst movies, and it never really had a chance. Hitchcock wanted Vladimir Nabokov to write it, but ultimately hired novelist Brian Moore to write the screenplay, then had Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall attempt to polish it. Hitch had little choice in Universal’s miscasting of the leads, Paul Newman and Julie Andrews; Hitchcock had no love for the former’s Method acting, and Andrews was on a tight schedule that affected her availability. He rejected Bernard Herrmann’s original score and replaced it with one by John Addison. The film was photographed and edited by television veterans John F. Warren and Bud Hoffman, respectively. And it was made on a limited budget, so Hitchcock’s “realistic Bond” picture relied on stand-in locations. The story was inspired by the defection of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, British diplomats who were members of the Cambridge Five spy ring; they defected to Russia in 1951.

In Torn Curtain, Newman is rocket scientist Michael Armstrong; Andrews is Sarah Sherman, his assistant and fiancée. Unhappy with the status of one of his projects, Armstrong decides to defect to East Germany and work with missile expert Gustav Lindt (Ludwig Donath). However, Armstrong does not anticipate Sherman following him and deciding to defect as well. Once in East Berlin Armstrong is trailed by security spy Hermann Gromek (Wolfgang Kieling), visits with a mysterious farmer (Mort Mills) and his wife (Carolyn Conwell), encounters the kooky Countess Kuchinska (Lila Kedrova), and meets such underground figures as Dr. Koska (Gisela Fischer) and Mr. Jacobi (David Opatoshu). The narrative is filled with plot holes and scenes that lack the tension Hitchcock is treasured for. Even the much-ballyhooed rural murder scene is awkward, though brutal. And the bus chase is torturous. Thus, Hitchcock’s fiftieth film is nothing special; nor would his next outing be, another Hollywood political thriller, Topaz. He would ultimately regain his form with 1972’s Frenzy, a British production written by Anthony Shaffer. Torn Curtain is screening June 21 at 1:30 and June 27 at 7:00 at MoMA; “Modern ‘Matinees’: Hitchcock/Truffaut, Fashionably Late” continues through July 4 with such other Hitchcock fare as The Paradine Case, Psycho, Saboteur, Spellbound, Suspicion, Rebecca, and Rear Window.


Pride Island packs them in on the pier every year as part of Pride Month

Pride Island packs them in on the pier every year as part of Pride Month

Multiple locations
June 18-24, free - $300 and more

This year’s pride festivities honor the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which set the Gay Pride movement in motion in full force. There are some new parties, while the March itself has changed its route, so pay close attention to the locations listed below. As always, the ticketed events and VIP treatment are selling out fast, so you better act quickly if you want to shake it up at some pretty crazy gatherings.

Monday, June 18
OutCinema, screening of Ideal Home (Andrew Fleming, 2018), followed by a Q&A and open-bar after-party, SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St., $35, 7:30

LGBT Community Center Garden Party: A Taste of Pride, with seasonal bites from North Square, Underwest Donuts, Boqueria, the Standard Grill, Rice & Gold, Quality Eats, Ample Hills Creamery, Ice & Vice, Javelina TexMex, Dinosaur BBQ, Sweet Chili, Café Patoro, Eataly, Breads Bakery, Enlightened Ice Cream, the Wayfarer, Island Oyster, and Hill Country Barbecue Market, Hudson River Park, Pier 84, West Side Highway at Forty-Fourth St., $99-$300, 6:00 - 10:00

Tuesday, June 19
OutCinema, screening of Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco (James Crump, 2017), followed by a Q&A and open-bar reception, SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St., $25, 7:30

Family Movie Night: screening of Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise, 1991), preceded by family-friendly games and activities, hosted by Miss Richfield 1981, Pier 45, Christopher St. Pier, Hudson River Park at Christopher St., free (reserved seating and other amenities $50), film at 8:30

Participants make their voices heard at the Rally and other Gay Pride events

Participants make their voices heard at the Rally and other Gay Pride events

Tuesday, June 19
Saturday, June 23

Pride Week at the Joyce, with a mixed program by MADBOOTS DANCE and The Missing Generation by Sean Dorsey Dance, Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. at Nineteenth St., $10-$46

Wednesday, June 20
OutCinema, screening of From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet? (Marilyn Bennett, 2016), followed by a special panel conversation moderated by Tiq Milan, SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St., $25, 8:00

Thursday, June 21
Savor Pride, immersive food-driven fundraiser, with barbecue dishes by Amanda Freitag, Michael Anthony, Zac Young, Lazarus Lynch, and Jake Cohen, God’s Love We Deliver, 166 Sixth Ave. at Spring St., $80-$100, 6:00

Friday, June 22
The Rally, with performances by the Resistance Revival Chorus, Taina Asili, Ms. White, and others and speakers Dr. Herukhuti, Jodie Patterson, and more, hosted by Danity Diamond, Stonewall National Monument, Sheridan Square, free, 5:00 - 7:00

CosPlay & Pride, sunset cruise with Phi Phi O’Hara & DJ Cameron Cole, Pier 40, Hudson River Park, West Houston & Clarkson Sts., $35-$50, 6:00

Fantasy, with DJ Eddie Elias, DJ Jared Conner, and special secret performances, Slate, 54 West Twenty-First St., $60-$230, 10:00 pm - 4:00 am

The March brings people together -- and will do so on a new route in 2018

The March brings people together — and will do so on a new route in 2018

Saturday, June 23
Youth Pride, for LGBTQIA+ and ally teens, with DJs Amira & Kayla and a live performance by Bea Miller, 14th Street Park, Fourteenth St. between Tenth Ave. & West Side Highway, free, noon - 6:00 pm

VIP Rooftop Party, with DJs Boris, Dani Toro, J Warren and secret acts all day long, Hudson Terrace, 621 West 46th St., $75-$120, 2:00 - 10:00 pm

Teaze HER, with lap dance classes, a silent disco DJ battle, aphrodisiac oyster-tainment tastes, a spanking booth, electrified viola, curated tastings, specialty drink sipping, intimate burlesque, sexpert educational tips, and more, the DL, 95 Delancey St., $40-$80, 5:00 – midnight

Masterbeat Masterbuilt, construction-site party with casino, game show, university, and more, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th St., $120-$140, 10:00 pm – 6:00 am

PrideFest street fair immediately follows the March

PrideFest street fair moves to University Pl. this year

Saturday, June 23
Sunday, June 24

Pride Island, with Tove Lo, Lizzo, DJ Simon Dunmore, Big Freedia, Sasha Velour, and DJ Dawson on Saturday, Kylie Minogue, DJ Grind, DJ Ralphi Rosario, and DJ Corey Craig on Sunday, Pier 97, Hudson River Park at Fifty-Seventh St. & West Side Highway, $60-$95

Sunday, June 24
PrideFest, twenty-fifth annual street fair with music, food, merchandise, and more, featuring live performances by Alex Newell, Parson James, and others, hosted by Ross Mathews, University Pl. between Thirteenth St. & Waverly Pl., free, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

The March, with grand marshals Billie Jean King, Lambda Legal, Tyler Ford, and Kenita Placide, Lavender Line from 16th St. & Seventh Ave. to Eight St. & Fifth Ave. to Twenty-Ninth St. & Fifth Ave., free, 12 noon

Femme Fatale, women’s rooftop party with DJs RosyQ, Mary Mac, and Tatiana, hosted by Madison Paige, Hudson Terrace, 621 West 46th St., $30-$60, 4:00 - 10:00 pm


The Breakfast Club screens for free in Bryant Park on Monday night

The Breakfast Club screens for free in Bryant Park on Monday night

The free summer arts & culture season is under way, with dance, theater, music, art, film, and other special outdoor programs all across the city. Every week we will be recommending a handful of events. Keep watching twi-ny for more detailed highlights as well.

Sunday, June 17
New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks: Free Indoor Concert in Staten Island, Music Hall, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, free, 3:00

Monday, June 18
Movie Nights in Bryant Park: The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985), Bryant Park, lawn opens at 5:00, film begins at sunset

Tuesday, June 19
Night at the Museums, with free admission to and special programs at African Burial Ground National Monument, China Institute, Federal Hall National Memorial, Fraunces Tavern Museum, Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, National Archives at New York City, National Museum of the American Indian — Smithsonian Institution, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, 9/11 Tribute Museum, NYC Municipal Archives, Poets House, the Skyscraper Museum, and South Street Seaport Museum, 4:00 - 8:00

Big Daddy Kane celebrates thirty years since his debut record in Coney Island on June 20

Big Daddy Kane celebrates thirty years since his debut record in Coney Island on June 20

Wednesday, June 20
City Parks Foundation SummerStage: Big Daddy Kane: Long Live the Kane 30th Anniversary, with Big Daddy Kane and the Finisher Mister Cee, hosted by Doug E Fresh, Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island, 3052 West Twenty-First St., 7:00

Thursday, June 21
Smith Street Stage: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Jonathan Hopkins, continues Wednesday - Sunday through July 1, Carroll Park, Brooklyn

Friday, June 22
Films on the Green: La Bûche (Danièle Thompson, 1999), Transmitter Park, West St. between Kent St. and Greenpoint Ave., 8:30

Saturday, June 23
Sunday, June 24

Figment Festival, participatory arts activities, Governors Island, free, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm


(photo courtesy of Grasshopper Film)

Okwui Okpokwasili takes viewers behind the scenes of her one-woman show in Bronx Gothic (photo courtesy of Grasshopper Film)

Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St.
Tuesday, June 19, $10 (includes museum admission), 8:00

“Okwui’s job is to scare people, just to scare them to get them to kind of wake up,” dancer, choreographer, and conceptualist Ralph Lemon says of his frequent collaborator and protégée Okwui Okpokwasili in the powerful documentary Bronx Gothic, which is being shown on the terrace of the Museum of the City of New York on June 19, kicking off the uptown institution’s “Moonlight & Movies” outdoor program, part of the second annual “Smile, It’s Your Close Up: New York’s Documentaries” series, a joint venture with the Maysles Documentary Center. Directed by Okpokwasili’s longtime friend Andrew Rossi, who will introduce the screening, the film follows Okpokwasili during the last three months of her tour for her semiautobiographical one-woman show, Bronx Gothic, a fierce, confrontational, yet heart-wrenching production that hits audiences right in the gut. Rossi cuts between scenes from the show — he attached an extra microphone to Okpokwasili’s body to create a stronger, more immediate effect on film — to Parkchester native Okpokwasili giving backstage insight, visiting her Nigerian-born, Bronx-based parents, and spending time with her husband, Peter Born, who directed and designed the show, and their young daughter, Umechi. The performance itself begins with Okpokwasili already moving at the rear of the stage, shaking and vibrating relentlessly, facing away from people as they filter in and take their seats.

She continues those unnerving movements for nearly a half hour (onstage but not in the film) before finally turning around and approaching a mic stand, where she portrays a pair of eleven-year-old girls exchanging deeply personal notes, talking about dreams, sexuality, violence, and abuse as they seek their own identity. “Bronx Gothic is about two girls sharing secrets. . . . It is about the adolescent body going into a new body, inhabiting the body of a brown girl in a world that privileges whiteness,” Okpokwasili, whose other works include Poor People’s TV Room and the Bessie-winning Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance, explains in the film. National Medal of Arts recipient Lemon adds, “It’s about racism, gender politics — it’s not just about these two little black girls in the Bronx.” Rossi includes clips of Okpokwasili performing at MoMA in Lemon’s “On Line” in 2011, developing Bronx Gothic at residencies at Baryshnikov Arts Center and New York Live Arts, and participating in talkbacks at Alverno College in Milwaukee and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, where the tour concluded, right next to her childhood church, which brings memories surging back to her.

(photo courtesy of Grasshopper Film)

Okwui Okpokwasili nuzzles her daughter, Umechi, in poignant and timely documentary (photo courtesy of Grasshopper Film)

Rossi is keenly aware of the potentially controversial territory he has entered. “As a white man, I was conscious of the complexity and implications of embarking on a project that revolves around the experience of African American females,” he points out in his director’s statement. “But fundamentally, I believe in an artist’s creative ability to explore topics that are foreign to the artist’s own background. I think this takes on even more resonance when the work itself has an explicit objective to ‘grow our empathic capacity,’ as Okwui says of Bronx Gothic, [seeking] an audience that is composed of ‘black women, black men, Asian women, Asian men, white women, white men, Latina women, Latina men. . . .’” Cinematographers Bryan Sarkinen and Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times, The First Monday in May) can’t get enough of Okpokwasili’s mesmerizing face, which commands attention, whether she’s smiling, singing, or crying, as well as her body, which is drenched with sweat in the show. “We have been acculturated to watching brown bodies in pain. I’m asking you to see the brown body. I’m going to be falling, hitting a hardwood floor, and hopefully there is a flood of feeling for a brown body in pain,” Okpokwasili says. Meanwhile, shots of the audience reveal some individuals aghast, some hypnotized, and others looking away.

Editor Andrew Coffman and coeditors Thomas Rivera Montes and Rossi shift from Okpokwasili performing to just being herself, but the film has occasional bumpy transitions; also, Okpokwasili, who wrote the show when she was pregnant, does the vast majority of the talking, echoing her one-woman show but also at times bordering on becoming self-indulgent. (Okpokwasili produced the film with Rossi, while Born serves as one of the executive producers.) But the documentary is a fine introduction to this unique and fearless creative force and a fascinating examination of the development of a timely, brave work. “Smile, It’s Your Close Up: New York’s Documentaries” concludes July 11 with “Under the Influence of the Maysles Brothers,” consisting of several shorts introduced by Sean Price Williams; “Moonlight & Movies” continues August 2 with The Naked City (Jules Dassin, 1948), introduced by James Sanders and screened in conjunction with the exhibition “Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs.” Also on view at the museum are “Elegance in the Sky,” “Beyond Suffrage,” “Art in the Open,” and “New York at Its Core.”


(photo by Adam Woodruff)

Landscape designer Piet Oudolf and filmmaker Thomas Piper visit lush gardens around the world in gorgeous documentary (photo by Adam Woodruff)

IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
Opens Wednesday, June 13

Thomas Piper’s Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf is a beautifully composed documentary that unfolds much as flowers and plants grow, evolving over fall, winter, spring, summer, and then fall again. In 2014-15, Piper followed innovative Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf as he visited gardens around the world and developed a brand-new one, Durslade Farm, for the Hauser & Wirth Somerset gallery in Bruton, England, which will ultimately be home to fifty-seven thousand plants. For more than thirty years, Oudolf has taken a unique, radical approach to gardens, as demonstrated in the 1999 book Dreamplants: A New Generation of Garden Plants, which he cowrote with garden designer and writer Henk Gerritsen. “I wanted to go away from traditional planting, [using] plants that were not seen in gardens but were very good garden plants. The more difficult thing was to learn what plants do,” Oudolf tells Hermannshof Garden director Cassian Schmidt in the film. “Your work teaches people to see things they were unable to see,” designer and photographer Rick Darke says to Oudolf as they walk through White Clay Creek Preserve in Landenberg, Pennsylvania. In designing his gardens, Oudolf first creates a multicolored blueprint that is a work of art in itself, like abstract drawings and paintings. He combines plants that would never be together in the wild. “It may look wild, but it shouldn’t be wild. This is what you’d like to see in nature,” he explains in his home base, the lovely Oudolf Garden in Hummelo, where he’s lived with his wife, Anja and their children since 1982. For him, it’s not just about color or size but about character. “I put plants onstage and I let them perform,” he says.


Piet Oudolf’s preparatory drawings and paintings are works of art unto themselves, including this rendering for a garden at the Serpentine Gallery pavilion

Piper, who has previously directed, edited, and/or photographed films about artists Eric Fischl, Sol LeWitt, and Milton Glaser, author James Salter, and architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, includes lengthy, poetic shots of many of Oudolf’s creations as they change over the seasons, accompanied by piano and guitar interludes composed and performed by Charles Gansa and Davíð Þór Jónsson. Among the people the soft-spoken Oudolf meets with to talk shop are High Line horticulture director Tom Smarr, Northwind Perennial Farm designer and nurseryman Roy Diblik, Lurie Garden horticulture director Jennifer Davit, High Line lead designer James Corner, and Hauser & Wirth presidents Iwan and Manuela Wirth. Oudolf gets ideas for “landscapes that you would dream of but will never find in the wild” everywhere he goes; while driving along the Willow City Loop in Texas, he continually stops by the side of the road to take pictures of the spectacularly colored meridian.

Oudolf envisions his gardens as communities, consisting of native and nonnative species, just like communities of people welcoming immigrants. Although he doesn’t consider his work political, he does understand that the natural environment is under siege by climate change and other factors. Serpentine Gallery artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist explains, “If you look at the incredible multiplicity of plants Piet Oudolf has been using in his gardens, it’s not only a celebration of the beauty of plants but it is also the sheer diversity of plant species, and I think that is a wonderful statement to protest against this notion of extinctions.” Oudolf also sees the annual evolution of gardens as representative of the birth, life, and death process of humans, with one major difference. “It’s like what we do in our whole life span happens here in one year, and I think that works on your soul,” he philosophizes. “I won’t come back, but they will.” Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf opens at IFC Center on June 13, with Piper and Oudolf participating in Q&As at the 5:30, 7:00, and 7:30 shows that day; the 5:30 screening will be introduced by High Line horticulture director Andi Pettis.


Ian Antal and Connie Castanzo star in New York Classical Theatre free production of Romeo & Juliet in the parks this month (photo courtesy New York Classical Theatre)

Ian Antal and Connie Castanzo star in New York Classical Theatre free production of Romeo & Juliet in the parks this month (photo courtesy New York Classical Theatre)

The free summer arts & culture season is under way, with dance, theater, music, art, film, and other special outdoor programs all across the city. Every week we will be recommending a handful of events. Keep watching twi-ny for more detailed highlights as well.

Sunday, June 10
Los Lobos family concert, Celebrate Brooklyn!, Prospect Park Bandshell, 3:00

Monday, June 11
Musical Chairs, with host Andy Ross and DJ Flip Bundlez, Bryant Park, preregistration suggested, 7:30

Tuesday, June 12
New York Classical Theatre: Romeo & Juliet, Central Park, enter at West 103rd St. & Central Park West, runs Tuesdays - Sundays through June 24, 7:00

Yiddish Under the Stars returns to Central Park this week (photo courtesy City Parks Foundation)

Yiddish Under the Stars returns to Central Park this week (photo courtesy City Parks Foundation)

Wednesday, June 13
Yiddish Under the Stars, with Frank London and his Klezmer All Stars, Andy Statman, Pharaoh’s Daughter feat. Cantor Basya Schecter, Golem, Cantor Magda Fishman, Eleanor Reissa, Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird, and Zalmen Mlotek, Central Park SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield, 7:00

Thursday, June 14
Savion Glover featuring Marcus Gilmore, BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech, MetroTech Commons at MetroTech Center, 12 noon

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta will help you through those hot summer nights in Astoria Park on June 14

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta will help you through those hot summer nights in Astoria Park on June 15

Friday, June 15
Drive-In Movie: Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978), Astoria Park, Nineteenth St. & Hoyt Ave. North, 8:30

Saturday, June 16
enrico d. wey: silent :: partner, River to River Festival, Federal Hall, 15 Pine St., advance RSVP required, also June 15 & 17, 8:00


A bride and her bridesmaids are looking for trouble in fab comesy

A bride and her bridesmaids are looking for trouble in fab Paul Feig comedy

BRIDESMAIDS (Paul Feig, 2011)
Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Saturday, June 2, 11:30 am
Series continues through August 25

First and foremost, don’t link Bridesmaids in with all those lousy Saturday Night Live one-note movies. And don’t assume it’s a silly chick flick either. As it turns out, Bridesmaids is one of the most consistently funny laugh-out-loud romps of this century. Directed by Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig, Bridesmaids is an endlessly clever and insightful examination of love, loneliness, and friendship starring SNL’s Kristen Wiig, who cowrote the smart script with Groundlings member Annie Mumolo (who makes a cameo as a nervous flyer). Wiig shows impressive depth and range as Annie, a perennial screw-up whose closest childhood friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is marrying into a very snooty upper-crust family. After agreeing to be Lillian’s maid of honor, Annie gets involved in a battle of wits with Lillian’s future sister-in-law, the elegant Helen (a radiant Rose Byrne), who is determined to outshine Annie in every way possible and steal Lillian away from her. Already a mess — she had to close her bakery, she shares an apartment with a bizarre pair of British siblings, she works in a jewelry store where she drives away potential customers with her sorry tales of woe, and she allows herself to be treated miserably as a late-night booty call for a self-centered businessman (Jon Hamm) — Annie experiences a series of hysterical, pathetic setbacks as she attempts to organize the bridal shower and bachelorette party, including a riotous potty-humor scene in a high-end boutique that is likely to go down in comedy history for its sheer relentlessness.

The rest of the bridesmaids are quite a hoot — Becca (Ellie Kemper), the Disney-loving kewpie doll; Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a foul-mouthed married mother who can’t wait to go crazy away from her family; and the groom’s burly sister, Megan (the hugely entertaining Melissa McCarthy, on the cusp of superstardom), who lives life without a filter. Annie is so caught up in her own failures that she doesn’t recognize when something potentially good enters her life, in the form of state trooper Nathan Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd). Wiig gives the finest performance of her career to that point as Annie, clearly a role that is very close to her heart. Despite the slapstick nature of many of the jokes, Bridesmaids is filled with heart and soul, making it one of the best comedies in years. Bridesmaids is screening June 2 at 11:30 am in the Nitehawk Cinema series “Brunch Movie” and “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” The latter continues on Saturdays through August with such other films as Thelma and Louise, Stand by Me, Roman Holiday, and Before Sunrise.