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


secret society of the sisterhood

Green-Wood Cemetery Chapel Steps
Fifth Ave. & Twenty-Fifth St.
Tuesday, May 29, $25-$30, 7:00 - 11:00 pm

The Secret Society of the Sisterhood is making its New York City debut on the night of the full moon, May 29, at historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Dubbed “An Evening of Storytelling for Women and Fierce Allies of Women,” the show is hosted by BanterGirl founder Trish Nelson, a self-identified producer, performer, writer, and waitress who hopes “that other women across the land will be able to see that no matter where you come from, or where you currently are in life, you do not have to wait around for someone else to give you permission to execute your dreams.” The theme of the May 29 event is “Soooo... THAT happened!,” with actress and poet Amber Tamblyn, writer and activist Lorri Davis, bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton, and comedian Ayanna Dookie sharing true tales. There will also be live music by Kaki King and a song by Treya Lam, visual art by Aditi Damle, Rebekah Harris, and Marguerite Dabaie, and a dance party led by DJ Tikka Masala. Proceeds from the festivities will go to Girls Write Now, which provides mentoring programs, college prep courses, reading series, digital exhibitions, workshops, and more to empower young women. So you’re not going to want to miss this opportunity not only to hear and see cool things — it all takes place under candlelight — but also to get to hang out at an amazing cemetery during a full moon. We already can’t wait to tell people, “Soooo... THAT happened!”


dine around downtown

28 Liberty Plaza
Between Liberty & Pine and Nassau & William Sts.
Tuesday, May 22, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Admission: free, all dishes $7 and less

Sponsored by the Downtown Alliance, the seventeenth annual Dine Around Downtown will feature signature dishes from more than three dozen Lower Manhattan restaurants, from pizza places and burger joints to steak and seafood houses. Among the participating eateries are ATRIO Wine Bar, Battery Gardens, Bavaria Bier Haus, Blue Ribbon Bakery, the Capital Grille, Cowgirl SeaHorse, Delmonico’s, Eataly, Financier Patisserie, Harry’s Italian, Inatteso, Le District, Mad Dog & Beans Mexican Cantina, OBAO Water Street, Parm Battery Park, Route 66 Smokehouse, Stone Street Tavern, SUteiShi, the Tuck Room, and Ulysses’ Folk House. There will also be live music by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem-All Stars and a raffle. Each plate goes for no more than $7, with proceeds benefiting the Downtown Alliance, which “is striving to make Lower Manhattan a wonderful place to live, work, and play by creating a vibrant multi-use neighborhood.”


fun in the sun

Essex Street Market
120 Essex St. between Rivington & Delancey Sts.
Saturday, May 19, free (advance registration suggested), 12 noon - 5:00

In the fall, the Essex Street Market, a fixture on the Lower East Side for nearly eighty years, will be moving across the street. So its annual spring block party will be featuring current businesses as well as new ones coming in later this year. Taking place May 19 from noon to five o’clock, the party will include such vendors as Saxelby Cheesemongers, Arancini Bros, Puebla Mexican, Samesa, Josephine’s Feast!, and Harlem Shambles, with most food items five dollars or less. There will also be live music by Yotoco, Cumbiagra, and DJ tres dos.


Symphony Space honors Leonard Bernstein with Wall to Wall presentation on May 19 (photo by Don Hunstein, 1961; courtesy of Sony Music)

Symphony Space honors Leonard Bernstein with Wall to Wall presentation on May 19 (photo by Don Hunstein, 1961; courtesy of Sony Music)

Symphony Space, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre
2537 Broadway at 95th St.
Saturday, May 19, free with advance RSVP (reserved premium seating $100-$250), 3:00 - 11:00

Symphony Space celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its popular Wall to Wall series on May 19 with Wall to Wall Leonard Bernstein, eight hours of the Maestro’s music, divided into three segments, running from 3:00 to 5:30, 5:30 to 8:30, and 8:30 to 11:00. Free general admission tickets are available in advance, or you can get premium reserved seating for $100 per segment or $250 for the whole eight hours. The show will feature compositions (and occasional dance) from West Side Story, On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide, Peter Pan, and On the Waterfront in addition to such works as the Chichester Psalms, Three Meditations from Mass, To What You Said, The Lark (French and Latin Choruses), Simple Song, and Halil: Nocturne for Flute, Percussion, and Piano. Among the many performers are pianists Garah Landes, Simon Mulligan, Michael Brown, Grant Wenaus, Peter Dugan, and Eric Huebner, cellists Summer Boggess and Nick Canellakis, percussionists Gregory Landes, Daniel Druckman, Pablo Rieppi, and Sae Hashimoto, bassists Randy Landau and Aaron Theno, flutists Janet Axelrod and Mindy Kaufman, sopranos Harolyn Blackwell and Elizabeth Smith, baritone John Brancy, Calliope Brass, DUO: Stephanie and Saar, the Pit Stop Players, Keigwin + Company, and many more. The event will also include film clips and discussions about Bernstein’s life and career. Over the decades, the Wall to Wall program has also honored such luminaries as Steve Reich, Johnny Cash, Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Aaron Copland, and the Gerswhins, among others.


(photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Harlem EatUp!)

Chef Marcus Samuelsson is one of the hosts of the fourth annual Harlem EatUp! Festival (photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Harlem EatUp!)

Multiple locations in Harlem
May 15-21, free - $1,500

The fourth annual Harlem EatUp! Festival takes place May 15-21, with dozens of chefs, restaurants, culinary organizations, mixmasters, and artists participating in tastings, dinners, concerts, and more celebrating Harlem culture. Below are only some of the special events happening uptown.

Wednesday, May 16
Dine in Harlem: Clay, with host chef Gustavo Lopez and guest chef Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao, $135, 7:00

Dine in Harlem: Melba’s Restaurant, with owner Melba Wilson and guest chef Andrew Zimmern, $110, 7:00

Thursday, May 17
The Harlem EatUp! Annual Luminary Award Dinner, honoring Dapper Dan and Bevy Smith, hosted by chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Adrienne Cheatham, and Geoffrey Zakarian, Red Rooster Harlem, $250, 6:30

Dine in Harlem: Harlem Shake, with proprietor Jelena Pasic and guest chef Josh Capon of Mercer Street Hospitality and live music by Angel Rose, $85, 7:00

Saturday, May 19
The EatUp! Main Stage at the Harlem Stroll, with culinary demonstrations by Leticia “Skai” Young, Raymond Zamanta Mohan, Jose Garces, Marcus Samuelsson, Stephanie Izard, Melba Wilson, and Jacques Torres and live performances by the Peoples Band, Lorenzo Laroc, and the Rakiem Walker Project, Morningside Park, free, 12:30 – 5:30

Ultimate Grand Tasting at the Harlem Stroll, featuring dishes from Bo’s Bagels, Charles Country Pan Fried Chicken, Drunken Fruit, Ginny’s Supper Club, Harlem Haberdashery, Harlem Chocolate Factory, Harlem Shake, Harlem Tavern, Land Yoga, Lee Lee’s Bakery, LoLo’s Seafood Shake, Make My Cake, Melba’s Restaurant, Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread, Oso Harlem, Piatto D’Oro, Ponty Bistro, Row House, Settepani, Sisters Caribbean Cuisine, SpaHa Soul, Sugar Hill Creamery, Sugardale Inc., Tastings Social presents Gaudir, the Edge Harlem, and the Grange Bar & Eatery, adults only, Morningside Park, $85-$110, 12:30 – 5:30

Saturday, May 19
Sunday, May 20

The Marketplace at the Harlem Stroll, with more than two dozen food vendors, a kids’ zone, demonstrations, live performances, and more, Morningside Park, free, 12:30 – 5:30

Sunday, May 20
The EatUp! Main Stage at the Harlem Stroll, with culinary demonstrations by Melba Wilson, Lorenzo Boni, Jernard Wells, Marcus Samuelsson, Jarobi White, Adrienne Cheatham, and Laila Ali and live performances by Siya featuring Yacouba Sissoko, Vy Higginson’s Sing Harlem Choir, and Johnny Mambo & Friends, Morningside Park, free, 12:30 – 5:30

Ultimate Grand Tasting at the Harlem Stroll, featuring dishes from Bier International, Bierstrasse, BLVD Bistro, Cove Lounge, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Drunken Fruit, Ginny’s Supper Club, Harlem Chocolate Factory, Harlem Haberdashery, Harlem Tavern, Kingston Restaurant & Bar, Land Yoga, Lady Lexis Sweets, Lloyd’s Carrot Cake, Moffle Bar, Piatto D’Oro, Row House, Settepani, Shake Shack, Sisters Caribbean Cuisine, Spaha Soul, Sugardale Inc., Tastings Social presents Mountain Bird, the Kosher Kitchen, the Sylvia Center, and Uptown Veg & Juice Bar, adults only, Morningside Park, $85-$110, 12:30 – 5:30


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Tino Sehgal’s This variation goes from dark to light to dark again (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Daily through Sunday, May 13, free with advance tickets, 1:00 to early evening
Tenth Ave. at West Thirty-First Sts. (entrance on West Thirty-First)
shed slideshow

Next spring, the new arts center known as the Shed will open by Hudson Yards. Through May 13 of this spring, Shed chairman Dan Doctoroff and artistic director and CEO Alex Poots are presenting “A Prelude to the Shed,” a wide-ranging amuse-bouche consisting of live dance and music, panel discussions, an architecture exhibit, and an experimental course for students, all held in and around a transformable venue in an undeveloped lot at Tenth Ave. and West Thirty-First St., designed by architect Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works and Berlin-based conceptual artist Tino Sehgal. Around the structure are tall, comfortable seats built into all four sides. The centerpiece of “Prelude” is Sehgal’s This variation, which interacts with choreographer William Forsythe’s Pas de Deux Cent Douze, a reimagining of the main duet from his 1987 ballet In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. The show begins every afternoon at one o’clock and continues into the early evening. You enter the space into almost complete darkness, but don’t let that stop you from moving forward. Just shuffle slowly, hands out, reacting to the movement and sounds of Sehgal’s performers, who will be able to see you and avoid any collisions. There are tiny slits of light, and your eyes will eventually adjust, first picking out silhouetted figures, then recognizing them as flesh-and-blood people.

Roderick George performs to a surprised audience at Prelude to the Shed (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Roderick George performs to a surprised audience as part of “Prelude to the Shed” (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The cast includes Margherita D’Adamo, Descha Daemgen, Sandhya Daemgen, Jule Flierl, Roderick George, Michael Helland, Louise Höjer, Nikima Jagudajev, Josh Johnson, Leah Katz, just in F. Kennedy, Stuart Meyers, Thomas Proksch, Claire Vivianne Sobottke, and Andros Zins-Brown, many of whom have performed This variation in one of its previous incarnations, dating back to Documenta 13 at Kassel in 2012. They sing familiar songs and emit various sounds and utterances as they jump and move across the room. The audience can sit on the floor, lean against a wall, or move about carefully. However, after a while, the east wall is pushed out and turned around, opening the area to the rest of the city, allowing light to come pouring in and giving prime views to the men, women, and children who had been seated on the big chairs outside (and who kept sitting on them as the walls were moved). George and Johnson then join together for the Forsythe duet on this new indoor-outdoor stage; however, the afternoon we were there, Johnson was absent, so George performed a lovely solo, improvising while maintaining Forsythe’s choreographic language for two dancers, followed by a gorgeous piece sung by D’Adamo as she and George interacted. The space is eventually closed up and it starts all over again, each performance unique. More free tickets have just been released, but walk-ins are welcome as long as there is room.


Raquel Cion brings her deeply personal David Bowie tribute to Pangea on May 11 & 12 (photo by Jody Christopherson)

Raquel Cion brings her deeply personal David Bowie tribute to Pangea on May 11 & 12 (photo by Jody Christopherson)

Pangea NYC
178 Second Ave. between Eleventh & Twelfth Sts.
Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12, $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $20 food/beverage minimum, 9:30

In a November 2015 twi-ny talk, Raquel Cion said, “Isn’t it great to be amidst a flurry of Bowie activity?” referring to Bowie’s sudden resurgence with an off-Broadway musical, new album, and various other new songs. “Oh, I have so much to say,” she added. Cion continues to have much to say as the show keeps evolving, especially following Bowie’s death in January 2016 at the age of sixty-nine; the recent opening of the immensely popular “David Bowie is” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, for which you need to get timed tickets in advance; and her own battle with cancer. In Me & Mr. Jones: My Intimate Relationship with David Bowie, librarian and chanteuse Cion reflects on her life through her worship of Bowie — who was born David Jones — singing Bowie songs and sharing deeply personal anecdotes that are both moving and funny. She is now bringing her glittery multimedia performance, which was nominated for a 2015 New York Cabaret Award for Best Musical Comedy or Alt Cabaret Show, to Pangea May 11-12, joined by Jeremy Bass on guitar, Daniel Shuman on bass, Michael Ryan Morales on drums, and Karl Saint Lucy on piano. If you’ve seen it before, Cion is promising significant ch-ch-ch-changes for this iteration. The show is directed by Cynthia Cahill, and Cion’s glam outfits are by David Quinn. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, with a $20 food and beverage minimum.