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


come out and play

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, July 15
Harlem Meer Performance Festival: Keith “the Captain” Gamble and the NU Gypsies, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, Central Park, 2:00

Monday, July 16
Piano in Bryant Park: Daryl Sherman, July 16-20, Bryant Park, 12:30

Tuesday, July 17
High Line Art: Kerry Tribe Artist Talk, panel discussion with Kerry Tribe, moderated by Melanie Kress and Ana Traverso-Krejcarek, about Tribe’s Exquisite Corpse film, the High Line at Fourteenth St., 7:00

Black Mother will be shown in Socrates Sculpture Park on July 19

Black Mother will be shown in Socrates Sculpture Park on July 19

Wednesday, July 18
Outdoor Cinema: Black Mother (Khalik Allah, 2018) and Symphony of a Sad Sea (Carlos Morales Mancilla, 2018), Socrates Sculpture Park, with live performance at 7:00, film at sunset

Thursday, July 19
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot: Hamlet, starring Jane Bradley and directed by Karla Hendrick, Clemente Parking Lot, 114 Norfolk St., July 19-21 & 26-28, 6:30

Piano in Bryant Park continues weekdays at 12:30

Piano in Bryant Park continues weekdays at 12:30

Friday, July 20
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival: Anoushka Shankar, Land of Gold, My Brightest Diamond, Prospect Park Bandshell, 7:30

Saturday, July 21
Come Out & Play, Manhattan Bridge Archway Plaza, DUMBO, family-friendly activities 1:00 - 5:00, adult games 7:00 - 10:00

Sunday, July 22
SummerStage: Ginuwine, the Ladies of Pink Diamonds, and DJ Stacks, Corporal Thompson Park, Staten Island, 5:00


Milford Graves enjoys a bite in his garden in new documentary about the unique percussionist and philosopher

Milford Graves enjoys a bite in his garden in new documentary about the unique percussionist and philosopher

7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Opens Friday, July 13

Jake Meginsky’s unconventional documentary of unconventional musician Milford Graves begins with the following epigraph from Graves: “Look at the room downstairs / Look at the garden outside / Don’t try to analyze it / Just take it in.” That is not only Graves’s life philosophy but also the best way to experience Milford Graves Full Mantis, which opens today at Metrograph. Born in 1941 in South Jamaica, Queens, where he still resides, Graves is an avant-garde free jazz percussionist who plays and lives to his own beat. In 2004, Meginsky knocked on Graves’s door, asked to study with him, and soon became the Professor’s assistant. He’s been documenting him ever since; the film, codirected by drummer Neil Young, who also edited and photographed it with Meginsky, features compelling live footage along with peaceful moments in Graves’s basement and expansive garden. Early on, Meginsky shows a wild excerpt from a 1973 concert at the Jazz Middelheim Festival in Antwerp in which Graves performs with Joe Rigby and Hugh Glover on reeds and Arthur Williams on trumpet; the fierce, dissonant music might not be to everyone’s taste, but it serves as a terrific counterpoint to Graves’s calmer side, pontificating on, well, sometimes it’s hard to tell what, but it’s always fascinating.

There are also clips of Graves playing solo at the Brandeis Improv Festival in 2015 and in one of the Park Avenue Armory’s historic rooms in 2016; in 2011 in his basement, where he’s surrounded by African sculpture, books, and computers that record his heartbeat and nervous system, which he incorporates into his work; and in Japan in 1981 with dancer Min Tanaka at a school for autistic children, where his unique performance inspired the kids to get up and move to the groove. In his backyard dojo he explains Yara, the discipline he invented based on martial arts, African ritual dance, the Lindy Hop, and the praying mantis and which he refers to as “the black way of self protection.” There are no talking-head experts or Graves acolytes singing his praises; the only voice heard in the film is Graves’s own, and for the first half of its ninety minutes Meginsky doesn’t show the film’s subject as he talks. Instead, while Graves speaks about his past and shares his kaleidoscopic philosophies, the camera slowly focuses on his lush garden or shows some of Graves’s animations. But eventually Graves is seen sitting in his basement, telling a long, remarkable story of a turning point in his life. He’s an engaging character, bursting with enthusiasm and a unique view of the human body, the five senses, tear ducts, and the parasympathetic nervous system. And throughout, he keeps playing those drums, holding the sticks in his trademark way on a nonstandard kit he put together himself. Graves will be at Metrograph for Q&As with Meginsky, Young, and drummer William Hooker at the 7:00 screening on July 13 and with Meginsky at the 6:00 show on July 14; Meginsky will also participate in a Q&A following the 7:00 screening on July 19, which will be introduced by drummer Susie Ibarra.


(photo by Michael George)

FIAF-hosted Bastille Day celebration packs them in on Sixtieth St. (photo by Michael George)

Sixtieth St. between Fifth & Lexington Aves.
Sunday, July 15, free, 12 noon – 5:00 pm

On July 14, 1789, a Parisian mob stormed the Bastille prison, a symbolic victory that kicked off the French Revolution and the establishment of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Ever since, July 14 has been a national holiday celebrating liberté, égalité, and fraternité. In New York City, the Bastille Day festivities are set for Sunday, July 15, along Sixtieth St., where the French Institute Alliance Française hosts its annual daylong party of food, music, dance, and other special activities. The celebration begins with a live screening of the World Cup Final in Florence Gould Hall and outside, where, as luck would have it, France vies for the coveted title. There will be a Summer in the South of France Tasting in FIAF’s Tinker Auditorium from 12 noon to 4:30 ($25), with wines from Sud de France, French beers from Kronenbourg, Président cheeses, Bayonne Ham, and artisan breads from Maison Kayser, as well as the elegant Champagne & Jazz Party in Le Skyroom at 1:30 and 3:30 ($65-$75), featuring Champagnes from Pol Roger, Ayala, Champagne Delamotte, and Besserat de Bellefon, cocktails from Grand Marnier, macarons from Ladurée, chocolates from Voilà Chocolat, and hors d’oeuvres from Maman Bakery, in addition to a live performance by Chloé Perrier. The annual raffle ($20) can win you such prizes as trips to Paris and Le Martinique or dinners at French restaurants.

Food, drink, and beauty and fashion items will be available in the French-themed market and the new French Garden from Jerome Dreyfuss, 727 Sailbags, L’atelier, Moutet, French Wink, Ladurée, Brasserie Cognac, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, Le Souk, Miss Madeleine, Oliviers & Co., Mille-feuille, Sel Magique, Simply Gourmand, St. Michel, Sud de France, Macaron Parlour, Pistache, Lunii, and others. The fête also includes roaming French mime Catherina Gasta, a kids corner with a library and arts & crafts, a photobooth, “An Ode for Freedom” interactive street art with Kinmx & Iljin, Can-Can Dancing with Karen Peled (12:45 & 2:10), a Caribbean Zouk dance lesson with Franck Muhel (4:25), the Citroën Classic Car Show, live performances by MarieLine Grinda (1:00), It’s Showtime NYC! (1:30), Jacques & Marie’s Paris Swing Band (2:30), the Hungry March Band (2:55), La Jarry (3:05), and Sense (3:55), and a sneak peek screening of Yvan Attal’s Le Brio ($14, 5:30) in Florence Gould Hall.


Yellow Submarine

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film is being rereleased in a 4K restoration for its fiftieth anniversary

YELLOW SUBMARINE (George Dunning, 1968)
IFC Center and other locations
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
Opens Monday, July 9

John, Paul, George, and Ringo are summoned to save Pepperland from the music-hating Blue Meanies in the 1968 psychedelic, surreal animated favorite, Yellow Submarine, being rereleased in theaters July 9 in a sparkling, newly restored 4K version with 5.1 Stereo Surround Sound. The Beatles’ fourth movie, following the dynamic duo of A Hard Day’s Night and Help! and the television disaster Magical Mystery Tour, was based on the Fab Four’s 1965–67 Saturday morning cartoon series and the 1966 song “Yellow Submarine,” which appeared on side one of Revolver. The chief Blue Meanie (voiced by Paul Angelis), with his ever-faithful right-hand man, Max (Dick Emery), by his side, declares war on music, sending his troops, including the Apple Bonkers, Clowns, Snapping Turks, and Dreadful Flying Glove, to attack Pepperland, trapping the band in an opaque sphere and turning the residents into stagnant, colorless beings. Only Old Fred (Lance Percival), newly appointed lord admiral by the mayor (Emery), escapes, taking off in an unusual yellow submarine and rounding up John Lennon (John Clive), Paul McCartney (Geoffrey Hughes), George Harrison (Peter Batten and Angelis), and Ringo Starr (Angelis) to try to save the day against the fascist Blue Meanies, who only take no for an answer.

The Blue Meanies prepare to invade Pepperland in Yellow Submarine

The Blue Meanies prepare to invade Pepperland in Yellow Submarine

The film mainly comprises set pieces, in varied animation styles, built around such Beatles songs as “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Nowhere Man,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “All Together Now,” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” as the Mop Tops are joined by the brilliant but strange Jeremy Hillary Boob (Emery) on their dangerous mission, which is like an acid trip gone loco. Of course, that doesn’t preclude them from sharing silly little jokes, puns, and double entendres along the way as they reference war, soccer, loneliness (“Nothing ever happens to me. I feel like an old splintered drumstick,” Ringo opines), monsters, the art of Salvador Dalí and Giorgio de Chirico, Apple Records, famous celebrities, cartoon villains, Albert Einstein’s time-space continuum theory, and other Beatles songs. There are comic scenes in a grand, door-filled hallway and in an expanse of black holes. And of course, there’s an endless parade of great music, including “Hey Bulldog,” which was deleted from the original US release.

Sure, a lot of it doesn’t make any sense, but when was the last time you sat down and really listened to such gems as “Only a Northern Song” and “It’s All Too Much”? More than two hundred animators — whose faces can be seen in the “Eleanor Rigby” scene — worked on the project, which was written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn, and Erich Segal — yes, the author of Love Story — with dialogue enhancement by Liverpool poet Roger McGough and lead animation by Robert Balser and Jack Stokes under the creative direction by Heinz Edelmann. The Beatles, who occasionally made script suggestions but mostly stayed in the background, make an appearance at the end as themselves, not in cartoon form, perhaps to satisfy their movie contract, but they still seem to be having fun, as you will too. And remember, as George says, “It’s all in the mind.” The fiftieth-anniversary restoration of Yellow Sumbarine will be playing at IFC Center, Landmark at 57 West, the Beekman, the Alamo Drafthouse, Kew Gardens Cinemas, Williamsburg Cinemas, and other theaters in the tristate area. Oh, and by the way, “Are you bluish? You don’t look bluish.”


Rebecca Manson

Rebecca Manson’s “Closer and the View Gets Wider” will be installed in Tribeca Park on July 9 (photo courtesy Rebecca Manson)

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, July 8
Summergarden: New Music for New York: Juilliard Concert I: New Music for Mixed Ensembles, featuring Tanada II by Shin-ichirō Ikebe, Leonora Pictures by Philip Cashian, and A Sibyl by James Primosch, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, Museum of Modern Art, 8:00

Monday, July 9
Public Art Opening: Rebecca Manson at Tribeca Park, installation of “Closer and the View Gets Wider,” Tribeca Park, 6:00

Tuesday, July 10
Bryant Park Reading Room: Poetry, with Shara McCallum, Jill McDonough, Alessandra Lynch, and Donald Revell, produced in partnership with Alice James Books, Bryant Park, 7:00

Wednesday, July 11
Films on the Green: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972), J. Hood Wright Park, 351 Fort Washington Ave., 8:30


Moonstruck will screen for free at Oculus Plaza on July 13

Thursday, July 12
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival: Antibalas, Combo Chimbita, DJ Nickodemus, Prospect Park Bandshell, 7:30

Friday, July 13
Tribeca Drive-In Presents Westfield Dinner and a Movie: Moonstruck (Norman Jewison, 1987), Oculus Plaza, 7:30

Saturday, July 14
NYC Audubon: “It’s Your Tern!” Festival, Governors Island, 12 noon - 4:00


Heroes contact sheet, 1977 (photograph by Masayoshi Sukita. © Sukita/The David Bowie Archive)

Heroes contact sheet, 1977 (photograph by Masayoshi Sukita. © Sukita/The David Bowie Archive)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing and Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, fifth floor
Daily through July 15, $20-$35

Any major career survey of gender-bending, genre-redefining, multidisciplinary, intergalactic superstar David Bowie must be innovative, unique, cutting-edge, and unusual, for nothing less would do justice to the man born David Jones in Brixton in 1947. The Brooklyn Museum’s “David Bowie is,” the most successful exhibition in the institution’s history, is just that, an illuminating exploration of the actor, musician, singer-songwriter, fashion icon, painter, video artist, husband, father, and more. Given unprecedented access to Bowie’s personal archive, the wide-ranging, highly ambitious, immersive multimedia presentation collects hundreds of items, from sketches of his parents to his baby pictures, from handwritten lyric sheets to books that influenced him, from posters of his early bands to drawings of his costumes and sets for live performances, among a multitude of other memorabilia and paraphernalia. One section is devoted to a single song, “Space Oddity,” with video, photographs, screenprints, album artwork, music sheets, related toys, and more, another looks at his various stage personas (the Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, Hamlet), and another explores his work in film and theater, including Labyrinth, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Elephant Man, The Last Temptation of Christ, Basquiat, and The Image. A five-minute clip from the 1969 promotional film Love You till Tuesday features “The Mask (A Mime),” in which Bowie performs as a mime.

Original lyrics for “Ziggy Stardust,” by David Bowie, 1972. Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

Original lyrics for “Ziggy Stardust,” by David Bowie, 1972 (Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum)

Organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the show gets everything right that MoMA’s 2015 disaster, “Björk,” got wrong. Purchasing timed tickets in advance, visitors traverse the exhibition at their own pace and in whatever order they would like, wearing headphones that, in a move of genius, react to where they are physically. Thus, when you’re in front of a video screen depicting Bowie performing “The Man Who Sold the World” on Saturday Night Live, that is what you are hearing. Turn around and take a few steps in any direction and the audio will switch to whatever you are now looking at, whether it’s an interview with designer Kansai Yamamoto, Bowie’s preparations for the never-made Diamond Dogs film, or a small room dedicated to his final record, Blackstar. There is something to experience in almost every nook and cranny, so sometimes it is fun to let the audio guide you, attracted by what you hear instead of what you see.

David Bowie with William Burroughs, February 1974. Photograph by Terry O'Neill with color by David Bowie. Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

David Bowie with William Burroughs, February 1974 (Photograph by Terry O’Neill with color by David Bowie. Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum)

Among the items to watch out for are a series of line drawings that serves as an artistic conversation between Bowie and Laurie Anderson; Guy Peellaert’s original painting for the Diamond Dogs album cover; the original lyrics to “Rebel, Rebel”; a Bowie painting of Iggy Pop in a Berlin landscape; a letter from Jim Henson to Bowie about Labyrinth; a John Lennon sketch (“For Video Dave . . .)”; Bowie’s script for the Lazarus musical; a Bowie doodle on a cigarette pack; a telefax from Elvis Presley; and Bowie’s charcoal drawing of his adopted home, New York City. The exhibition culminates in high style in a room blasting the original “Heroes” video and live footage of “Rebel, Rebel” from the Reality Tour and “Heroes” from the Concert for New York City, headphones off, everyone experiencing transcendence as one. “Though nothing, nothing will keep us together / We can beat them, forever and ever / Oh, we can be heroes just for one day,” Bowie declares, leaving behind a remarkable legacy that will continue to keep people together, believing that every one of us has the possibility of being a hero. On July 7 (exhibition ticket required, 8:00), Resonator Collective will perform a Bowie tribute, on July 14 ($16, 2:00), there will be a conversation between Daphne Brooks and Jack Halberstam about Bowie’s lasting influence, and on July 15 ($16, 2:00), the final day of the exhibit, the museum hosts the discussion “The Soulfulness of David Bowie” with Carlos Alomar, Robin Clark, and Christian John Wikane. After seeing the exhibit, you’ll have yet more ways to end the already tantalizing sentence fragment “David Bowie is . . .”


Leonard Cohen

Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal will present U.S. premiere of Dance Me in Prospect Park on July 6

Prospect Park Bandshell
Prospect Park
Ninth St. & Prospect Park West
Friday, July 6, free, 8:00

In November 2016, Canadian troubadour Leonard Cohen passed away at the age of eighty-two. The poet, singer-songwriter, novelist, and Zen monk left behind a six-decade legacy of investigating love and the human condition like no one else. In 1972, the year after Cohen released one of his masterpieces, Songs of Love and Hate, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal was founded, a company dedicated to merging classical dance with more contemporary styles. On July 6, the troupe will present the U.S. premiere of Dance Me at the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of the free BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. The eighty-minute piece was commissioned, prior to Cohen’s death, for Montreal’s 375th anniversary and debuted in Canada last December. Set to songs from throughout Cohen’s long career and organized around the cycles of existence as experienced through the changing seasons, Dance Me was conceived by BJM artistic director Louis Robitaille and is choreographed by Andonis Foniadakis, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Ihsan Rustem for fourteen performers, with musical direction by Martin Léon, scenic design by Pierre-Étienne Locas, lighting by Cédric Delorme-Bouchard and Simon Beetschen, video by Hub Studio (Gonzalo Soldi, Thomas Payette, and Jeremy Fassio), sound by Guy Fortin, and costumes by Philippe Dubuc. On December 20, 2012, Cohen played the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, opening the show with “Dance Me to the End of Love,” from his 1984 album Various Positions, in which he croons, “Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin / Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in / Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove / Dance me to the end of love.” BJM’s Dance Me should lift the Brooklyn audience in the beautiful confines of Prospect Park.