The High Line, the elevated freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side that has become possibly the city’s most spectacular public park, was once utterly abandoned, a postindustrial wasteland filled with broken glass, tin cans, bottle caps, rusted metal, and nature run wild. On Friday, it will be home to a bunch of bottle caps again, this time as part of a promotion for Sweet Leaf Tea designed to encourage the kindness of strangers. Between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm, park visitors can pick up one of three thousand bottle caps from Sweet Leaf, each of which bears an instruction to do nice things, such as “Hail a cab for a stranger,” “Buy your co-worker coffee,” “Pay attention to your pet,” and “Give someone a compliment today.” In a statement, Friends of the High Line cofounder Joshua David explained, “This installation shows how public-private partnerships can present engaging opportunities for High Line visitors while also supporting the ongoing maintenance and operations of the park, which is funded entirely by the generosity of private donors.” When all the bottle caps are gone, a hidden Sweet Leaf mural will be revealed — and New York may be an even sweeter place to spend a sunny spring Friday.
Monday, May 13, Sixth Ave. at 50th St., free, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday, May 14, Columbus Circle, free, 12 noon - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, May 15, Yankee Stadium, Gate 6, 3:30 - 8:00
Thursday, May 16, Times Square, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mitchell Hurwitz’s Arrested Development seems to have been in its own state of arrested development for years. The cult sitcom, which follows the trials and tribulations of the rather dysfunctional Bluth family, ran on Fox from 2003 to 2006, after which rumors have persisted that it would move to another network or maybe even be turned into a feature film. Ten years after its debut, however, Arrested Development is finally back, with fifteen new episodes airing on Netflix beginning on May 26. Everyone is joining in the fun, with Jason Bateman as Michael, Portia de Rossi as Lindsay, Will as Gob, Michael Cera as George Michael, David Cross as Tobias, Jeffrey Tambor as George, Jessica Walter as Lucille, and Ron Howard as the narrator; among the returning cast of guest characters are Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn, Mae Whitman as Ann Veal, Scott Baio as Bob Loblaw, and Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero. To celebrate this new stage in the bizarre life of this wacky series, Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana stand, which the Bluth family started sixty years ago and had its official ribbon cutting fifty years ago, will be serving free treats across from Radio City Music Hall on Monday, May 13, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; in Columbus Circle on Tuesday, May 14, from 12 noon to 7:00 pm; in front of Gate 6 at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, May 15, from 3:30 to 8:00; and in front of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on Thursday, May 16, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, with a 12 noon reunion of the Never Nudes. Be on the lookout for stray fox feet, Mr. Bananagrabber, and spliffs, and never forget that “there’s always money in the banana stand.” And now, everyone join in: “Big yellow joint / big yellow joint / I’ll meet you down at the big yellow joint!”
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, May 4, free, 5:00 - 11:00 (some events require free tickets distributed in advance at the Visitor Center)
The Brooklyn Museum celebrates its collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, “John Singer Sargent Watercolors,” in the May edition of the free monthly First Saturday program. There will be several gallery talks, including one by curator Teresa Carbone, on the show, which brings together ninety-three pieces from the two institutions. In addition, there will be an art workshop in which participants will make their own watercolor postcard, pop-up immersive theatrical happening inspired by Sargent’s paintings, a garden party with a photo booth and swing music by Les Chauds Lapins, a book-club talk with Janet Wallach on Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell (whom Sargent painted), screenings of Lisa Duva’s Cat Scratch Fever and Dominique Monfery’s Eleanor’s Secret, live performances by Layali El Andalus, Jesse Boykins III, Young Magic, and East Village Radio DJ Hannah Rad, and more. The galleries will remain open late so visitors can also check out “LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital,” “Käthe Kollwitz: Prints from the ‘War’ and ‘Death’ Portfolios,” “‘Workt by Hand’: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts,” “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui,” “Raw/Cooked: Marela Zacarias,” and other exhibitions.
THE SEARCHERS (John Ford, 1956)
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Saturday, May 4, $16, 11:30 am
That’ll be the day when someone tries to claim there’s a better Western than John Ford’s ethnocentric look at the dying of the Old West and the birth of the modern era. Essentially about a gunfighter’s attempt to find and kill his young niece, who has been kidnapped and, ostensibly, ruined by Indians, The Searchers is laden with iconic imagery, inside messages, and not-so-subtle metaphors. Hence, it is no accident that John Wayne’s son, Patrick, plays an ambitious yet inept officer named Greenhill. The elder Wayne stars as Ethan Edwards, a tough-as-nails Confederate veteran seeking revenge for the murder of his brother’s family; he’s also out to save Debbie (Natalie Wood) from the Comanches, led by a chief known as Scar (Henry Brandon), by ending her life, because in his world view, it’s better to be dead than red. Joining him on his trek is Debbie’s adopted brother, Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), who wants to save her from Edwards. The magnificent film balances its serious center with a large dose of humor, particularly in the relationships between Ethan and Martin and Ethan with his Indian companion, Look (Beulah Archuletta). And keep your eye on that blanket in front of the house. The Searchers is screening as part of Nitehawk Cinema’s “Country Brunchin’” series and will be preceded by a live set by New York City postpunk folkers Tatters and Rags.
French Institute Alliance Française (and other venues)
Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th St.
Le Skyroom, 22 East 60th St.
Tinker Auditorium, 55 East 59th St.
May 1 – June 1, free - $40
After having explored the art and culture of Africa, Haiti, Lebanon, and Morocco in past years, FIAF’s 2013 World Nomads festival heads to Tunisia this spring for a month of multidisciplinary programs that look at the history of the small North African nation, particularly within the context of the recent revolution that led to the downfall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The now-biennial festival begins on May 3 ($35, 8:00) with a concert in Florence Gould Hall featuring singer Sonia M’Barek and the Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture ensemble, followed by a reception with Tunisian delicacies. Also on Friday night (free, 7:00), brother-and-sister choreographers Selma and Sofiane Ouissi will debut a twelve-minute video in Tinker Auditorium about Tunisian women potters. On May 4 (free), visitors are encouraged to add their own message of peace to a canvas supplied by Tunisian graffiti artists eL Seed and Jaye at the New Museum’s Ideas City street festival on Rivington St. On May 6 ($40, 12:30), Syhem Belkhodja, Dora Bouchoucha, Kenza Fourati, Lina Lazaar Jameel, and Leila Souissi will gather at FIAF for the English-language panel discussion “The Role of Women in Tunisian Society,” which includes lunch and wine. The next afternoon (free, 1:00), Belkhodja, Bouchoucha, Lazaar Jameel, and Amna Guellali will be joined via Skype by Hélé Béji and El Iza Mohamedou for the “Women in Tunisia” talk “Art, Women & Politics” at White Box, which is also hosting a free Tunisian photography exhibition highlighting work by Héla Ammar, Amine Boussoffara, Wassim Ghozlani, Amine Landoulsi, Zied Ben Romdhane, Rim Temimi, and Patricia Triki that is part of the World Nomads visual arts program “The After Revolution.” Tuesday in May ($10), FIAF will screen Tunisian movies curated by Bouchoucha as part of its weekly CinémaTuesdays series, including such films as Moufida Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace and Hinde Boujemaa’s It Was Better Tomorrow. Tinker Auditorium will be turned into a traditional Souk, or Tunisian craft market, May 8-10 (free, 5:30 – 8:00), with food and crafts available for purchase. On May 9-10 ($25, 8:00), choreographer Jonah Bokaer delves into his relationship with his Tunisian-born father in the meditative The Ulysses Syndrome, set to a Mediterranean soundscape. On May 12 (free, reception at 6:00), eL Seed and Jaye will be at 5Pointz in Long Island City to create a mural with Meres One and others and screen a film about them. On May 14 ($25, 8:00), Radhouane El Meddeb will perform the solo piece Sous leurs pieds, le paradis, which honors the role of women in Tunisian society, set to music by Oum Kaithoum. Singer Ghalia Benali will take the stage at FIAF on May 15 ($25, 8:00), Tunisian DJs will spin at CATCH Roof on May 15 (free, 10:30), and Emel Mathlouthi will perform previously banned songs on May 22 ($25, 8:00) at FIAF. In addition, throughout the festival the FIAF Gallery will host a multimedia exhibition with works by Héla Ammar, Amel Ben Attia, Nicène Kossentini, Mouna Jemal Siala, and Mohamed Ben Slama that focuses on women artists and the aftermath of the revolution.
CALL ME KUCHU (Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malike Zouhali-Worrall, 2012)
Museum of Arts & Design, the Theater at MAD
2 Columbus Circle at 58th St. & Broadway
Monday, May 6, minimum donation $100 ($36 for AJWS Young Professionals), 6:00
Every June, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and other cities celebrate gay pride as millions of marchers and spectators come together in parades, marches, and other events in which no one has to hide their sexuality. Such is not the case in Uganda, where many believe that being gay should lead to being executed — and that not turning in a gay friend or relative should result in life in prison. In the heartbreaking yet stirring Call Me Kuchu, codirectors Katherine Fairfax Wright, who also served as editor and photographer, and Malike Zouhali-Worrall, who also produced the award-winning documentary, go deep inside the LGBT community in Kampala, meeting with such gay and lesbian LGBT activists as Naome Ruzindana, Stosh Mugisha, John “Longjones” Abdallah Wambere, and movement leader David Kato, the first openly gay man in Uganda, who risk their lives on a daily basis as they fight for freedom and battle against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a draconian measure being strongly pushed by Member of Parliament David Bahati that threatens the lives of anyone and everyone involved in homosexual acts. As white American evangelicals come to Uganda to support the so-called Kill the Gays legislation, expelled Anglican Church bishop Senyonjo becomes a staunch defender of the LGBT community, the only religious leader to do so. Meanwhile, Giles Muhame, managing editor of Uganda’s popular Rolling Stone newspaper, proudly explains his mission of outing gays on the front cover of his publication, hoping that they get arrested, tried, convicted, and hanged by the government. But the activists won’t let that stop them. “If we keep on hiding,” Kato says, “they will say we are not here.” When tragedy strikes, everything is put into frightening perspective. Call Me Kuchu is a powerful examination of personal freedom and individual sexuality, a film that delves into the scary nature of repression, homophobia, and mob violence in an unforgiving, bigoted society. The documentary, which was the closing-night selection of the 2012 Human Rights Watch Film Festival, is scheduled to open in theaters next month, but it is having a sneak preview on May 6 in a benefit for American Jewish World Service, an organization that “works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world”; the event will include a cocktail reception followed by a screening of the film and a Q&A with Zouhali-Worrall, Fairfax Wright, AJWS president Ruth Messinger, and AJWS Africa program officer Gitta Zomorodi. Advance ticket sales are closing at 12 noon on Friday, but walk-ins are encouraged on Monday.