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

VINCE GIORDANO: THERE’S A FUTURE IN THE PAST

Vince Giordano

Vince Giordano shows off his remarkable collection of Jazz Age arrangements in THERE’S A FUTURE IN THE PAST

VINCE GIORDANO: THERE’S A FUTURE IN THE PAST (Dave Davidson & Amber Edwards, 2016)
Cinema Village
22 East 12th St. between University Pl. & Fifth Ave.
Through Thursday, January 26
212-529-6799
www.cinemavillage.com
www.firstrunfeatures.com

Vince Giordano has an infectious glee throughout most of Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past, a lively documentary that celebrates his dedication and passion for keeping the music of the 1920s and 1930s alive. “He’s totally consumed by his mission,” one member of his band, the Nighthawks, explains. “He’s meant to be a bandleader,” another one says. Director-producers Dave Davidson and Amber Edwards follow the youthful Giordano, who will turn sixty-five in March, as the band plays at the Newport Jazz Festival, with Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion, at Sofia’s in the Edison Hotel, at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing, and at the New York Hot Jazz Festival at the Players club as well as recording a tune in the studio with David Johansen for Boardwalk Empire. The Grammy-winning Giordano and the Nighthawks have performed music for nearly two dozen films, including several by Woody Allen. But leading a Jazz Age band in the modern era is no easy task; Giordano, who plays the tuba, the string bass, and the bass saxophone and handles the vocals, has no roadies and no agent, so he and partner Carol Hughes are seen lugging equipment around, scrambling for gigs, and getting the orchestrations just right, testing Giordano’s gleeful onstage demeanor. “When I first met him, I thought he was very unusual and a nice person, but I didn’t think he was exceptional and crazy like he is,” Hughes says. The Brooklyn-born Giordano is also a music historian and archivist, having collected some sixty thousand arrangements, with twenty-five hundred brought to any single show, making for a wide range of setlists. Among those singing Giordano’s praises are many members of the eleven-piece Nighthawks, some of them who have been part of the band since the 1970s; sharing fun stories are reed players Mark Lopeman and Dan Levinson, trumpeters Jon-Erik Kellso and Mike Ponella, violinist Andy Stein, pianist Peter Yarin, trombonist Jim Fryer, and guitarist Ken Salvo.

The heart of the film is watching the remarkable band play such songs as “Stampede,” “Shake That Thing,” “The Moon and You,” and a glorious “Rhapsody in Blue” at Town Hall, by such legendary composers and bandleaders as George Gershwin, Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman, Bix Beiderbecke, and Duke Ellington. One of the most poignant parts occurs when Sofia’s, where Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks played every Monday and Tuesday night for five years, closes, so Giordano must find a new home, which he does, at Iguana NYC. (You can also catch them at the “Highlights in Jazz” forty-fourth annual gala on February 9 at BMCC’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center with Ms. Vinnie Knight and Cynthia Sayer & Her Joyride Band.) Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past is a poignant tale of a New York City treasure whose obsession brings great joy to the rest of us.

VINCE GIORDANO: THERE’S A FUTURE IN THE PAST

Vince Giordano will be at Cinema Village for QAs this weekend after 7:00  9:00 screenings of new doc

Vince Giordano will be at Cinema Village for Q&As this weekend after 7:00 and 9:00 screenings of new doc

VINCE GIORDANO: THERE’S A FUTURE IN THE PAST (Dave Davidson & Amber Edwards, 2016)
Cinema Village
22 East 12th St. between University Pl. & Fifth Ave.
Opens Friday, January 13
212-529-6799
www.cinemavillage.com
www.firstrunfeatures.com

Nearly twelve years ago, I met with bandleader, musician, archivist, and historian Vince Giordano for a profile I was writing for the now-defunct New York Sun. “It’s really sad to say, but America has been a culture of, ‘If it’s old, it’s no good anymore.’ And I think that’s unfortunate,” the Brooklyn-born Giordano carefully explained. “A lot of stuff just gets swept aside. For many, many years, I was kind of the lone wolf out there, just plugging with this music. It’s a shame. Classic things don’t get outdated or old; they’re still great.” Giordano’s celebration of and dedication to the classic Jazz Age music of the 1920s and 1930s is on full display in Dave Davidson and Amber Edwards’s documentary, Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past, which opens January 13 at Cinema Village. The film follows Giordano and his band, the Nighthawks, as they play live concerts and perform music for major Hollywood films. Giordano also shows off his vast collection of more than sixty thousand musical arrangements. Giordano, Davidson, and Edwards will be at Cinema Village for Q&As following the 7:00 and 9:00 screenings January 13, 14, and 15; in addition, Davidson will be joined by sound designer Paul Kozel for Q&As January 13 at 3:00 and January 18 at 7:00. You can also catch Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks every Monday and Tuesday night at 8:00 doing their swing thing at Iguana NYC on West Fifty-Fourth St. Keep watching this space for a full review of the documentary.

MLK DAY 2017

The legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be celebrated all over the city and the country this weekend

The legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be celebrated all over the city and the country this weekend

Multiple venues
January 14-16
www.mlkday.gov

In 1983, the third Monday in January was officially recognized as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, honoring the birthday of the civil rights leader who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Dr. King would have turned eighty-eight this month, and you can celebrate his legacy on Monday by participating in a Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service project or attending one of numerous special events taking place around the city. Below are some of the highlights:

Saturday, January 14
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration: Historic Heroines: Coretta Scott King, 11:00 am, 2:00, 3:00; Muslim Arts Series: Many Tunes, One Melody, 5:00 & 6:00, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., $8-$12

Action in a Time of Injustice: MLK Salon with Yavilah McCoy, JCC Harlem, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., $5, 6:45

Sunday, January 15
MLK, Jr., I Have a Dream Celebration: Totally Tots Studio — Meet the Artist, 10:00 am; Holding History: MLK’s Life, 11:00 am; Protest Posters, 11:00 am; DNA Bracelets, 12 noon; MLK, Jr. Cinema, Our Friend, Martin (Rob Smiley & Vincenzo Trippetti, 1999), 11:00 am, 3:30; Story Time at BCM: Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other books, 1:30 & 3:00, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., $11

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration: Historic Heroines: Coretta Scott King, 11:00 am, 12 noon, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., $8-$12

Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Concert: Soul to Soul, with Lisa Fishman, Cantor Magda Fishman, Elmore James, Tony Perry, and musical director Zalmen Mlotek, presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., $20-$28, 2:00

Special Presentation: Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016), screening followed by Q&A, JCC Harlem, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., $5, 5:30

Monday, January 16
MLK, Jr., I Have a Dream Celebration: Totally Tots Studio — Meet the Artist, learn about Kehinde Wiley, 10:00 am; Love, Hope & Peace Postcards, 11:00 am; I Have a Dream Totes, 12 noon ($5); Brooklyn United Marching Band – Celebrating the Dream Performance, 2:00; Story Time at BCM: Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, 1:30 & 3:00; Freedom Hands, 2:00, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., $11

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration: Martin’s Mosaic, 10:00 am, 1:00 pm; Historic Heroines: Coretta Scott King, 11:00 am, 12 noon, 4:00; KaNu Dance Theater, 2:00 & 3:00, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., $8-$12

Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Thirty-first annual celebration, with keynote speaker Opal Tometi, the Institutional Radio Choir, and Sacred Steel band the Campbell Brothers, Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave., free, 10:30 am; screening of Ava DuVernay’s 13th, BAM Rose Cinemas, free, 1:00; launch of Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn with readings by Carl Hancock Rux, commentary by Theodore Hamm, and audience Q&A, BAM Fisher lower lobby, 321 Ashland Pl., free, 1:00

MLK Express Yourself Day, create signs with your own poster board, Old Stone House, 336 Third St., free, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Matinee, B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St., $25-$30 (plus $10 minimum per person at tables), 12:30

What’s Your Dream? Martin Luther King Jr. Day Family Program: reading of Kobi Yamada’s What Do You Do with an Idea?, broadcast of King speech, and art workshop, Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., free, 1:00 – 2:30

MLK Day Screening: The Negro and the American Promise (1963), Museum of the Moving Image, Redstone Theater, 36-01 35th Ave., $7-$15 (includes admission to galleries), 3:00

Artists Celebrate Dr. King’s Legacy: Featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., $5, 5:00

Special Presentation: Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016), screening followed by Q&A, JCC Harlem, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., $5, 7:30

Martin Luther King, Jr. Evening Show: A Decade of Soul, classic soul & Motown revue, preceded by Aretha Franklin Tribute feat. “Lady Jae” Jones & the Decade of Soul Band featuring Bruce “Big Daddy” Wayne and special guest Prentiss McNeil of the Drifters, $20-$25 (plus $10 minimum per person at tables), B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St., 7:30

LIVE FROM BARNES & NOBLE: JOSH GROBAN, DENÉE BARTON, DAVE MALLOY, AND CAST MEMBERS FROM THE GREAT COMET…

great-comet

Who: Josh Groban, Denée Barton, Dave Malloy, Steve Suskin, more
What: Live performance and book signing
Where: Barnes & Noble, 150 East 86th St. at Lexington Ave., 212-369-2180
When: Friday, January 13, free, 4:00 (priority seating with book purchase at B&N Upper East Side starting at 9:00 am)
Why: Steven Suskin’s new book, The Great Comet: The Journey of a New Musical to Broadway (Sterling, November 2016, $40), takes theater fans behind the scenes of the remarkable story of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, an electropop opera based on a seventy-page section of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace that began life in the eighty-seven-seat house Ars Nova in 2012, only to find itself a smash hit at the 1,200-capacity Imperial on Broadway four years later. The book includes a five-song CD (with three songs from the off-Broadway production and two from the Broadway edition) as well as a foreword by Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis. On January 13 at 4:00, Suskin will be at the Upper East Side B&N on Eighty-Sixth St. to sign copies of the book, joined by Denée Barton, who is exquisite as Natasha, Josh Groban, who has earned raves as Pierre, and Dave Malloy, the show’s creator, composer, librettist, orchestrator, music director, and original Pierre. The B&N event will include live performances along with a signing; the participants will only be signing copies of the new book that were purchased that day, starting at 9:00, at the store, which also gets you priority seating; no other memorabilia will be autographed.

NEW EAR FESTIVAL 2017

Yulan Grant will close out the second annual New Ear Festival at Fridman Gallery on January 16 (photo courtesy of the artist)

Yulan Grant will close out the second annual New Ear Festival at Fridman Gallery on January 16 (photo courtesy of the artist)

Fridman Gallery
287 Spring St. by Hudson St.
January 8-16, $20, 8:00 (6:00 opening night)
www.fridmangallery.com

Curated by Peter Evans, the second annual New Ear Festival at Fridman Gallery on Spring St. consists of nine days of unique musical performances that push the edge of sound art. On January 8, opening night pays tribute to accordionist, composer, and humanitarian Pauline Oliveros, who passed away in November at the age of eighty-four, with performances by cellist and composer Leila Bordreuil, turntablist Maria Chavez, trumpeter Nate Wooley, and Evans and the premiere of the film Apple Box Orchestra. January 9 will feature jazz trumpeter, composer, and vocalist Amir ElSaffar, saxophonist and clarinetist Ole Mathison, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. Drummer and alt rapper Kassa Overall will perform on January 10, followed the next night by keyboardist, vocalist, and mixed-media artist Ohal Grietzer and multimedia artist Victoria Keddie. January 12’s lineup boasts Grammy-nominated composer, musician, and installation artist Miya Masaoka, electronic artist Byron Westbrook, and performance and video artist Ursula Scherrer, while January 13 brings cellist and composer Tomeka Reid, trumpeter Jaimie Branch, and mixed-media and animation artist Selina Trepp. Percussionist, installation artist, and composer Diego Espinosa performs January 14, followed by multimedia artist, percussionist, and instrument inventor Levy Lorenzo and composer Lea Bertucci on January 15. The festival concludes January 16 with a sound and video performance by multidisciplinary artist Yulan Grant. If you can’t make it to the gallery, you can livestream the events here.

BROOKLYN MUSEUM FIRST SATURDAY: NEW YEAR, NEW FUTURES

Jason Benjamin’s SUITED will be shown at the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday night, followed by the discussion “Queer Style as Resistance in Post-Trump Activism”

Jason Benjamin’s SUITED will be shown at the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday night, followed by the discussion “Queer Style as Resistance in Post-Trump Activism”

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, January 7, free, 5:00 - 11:00
212-864-5400
www.brooklynmuseum.org

A lot of Americans were glad to bid good riddance to 2016, although there’s plenty of fear for what can happen in 2017. The Brooklyn Museum explores some of those very legitimate concerns in its free First Saturday program on January 7. There will be live performances by Tank and the Bangas, Discwoman (DJs BEARCAT and SHYBOI) and Cakes Da Killa; a Brooklyn Dance Festival workshop; a book club reading, discussion, and signing with Daniel José Older for his latest Bone Street Rumba novel, Battle Hill Bolero; a hands-on art workshop in which participants can make masks inspired by “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt”; a screening of Jason Benjamin’s Suited, followed by a “Queer Style as Resistance in Post-Trump Activism” talkback with Benjamin, dapperQ, Anita Dolce Vita, Daniel Friedman, Debbie-Jean Lemonte, and Rae Tutera; a curator tour of “A Woman’s Afterlife” with Edward Bleiberg; pop-up gallery talks on “Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty”; a community resource fair with Active Citizen Project/Project EATS, Caribbean Leadership Empowerment Foundation, Historic Districts Council, Spaceworks, Carroll Gardens Association, and Pioneer Works; Kids Corner storytelling (“Virtuous Journeys”) with Rezz and Mando; and pop-up publishing with DIY feminist publishers Pilot Press, led by Jen Kennedy and Liz Linden. In addition, you can check out such exhibits as “Iggy Pop Life Class by Jeremy Deller,” “Beverly Buchanan — Ruins and Rituals,” “The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago,” “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas,” “Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty,” and “Infinite Blue”; admission to “Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present,” which closes January 8, requires a discounted admission fee of $10.

NEVER BEFORE, NEVER AGAIN

never-before-never-again

Triskelion Arts
Muriel Schulman Theater
106 Calyer St. (enter on Banker St.)
January 5-8, $16-$20
www.triskelionarts.org

Most of the winter performance festivals, such as Under the Radar, COIL, Prototype, and American Realness, consist of experimental works that have either already been performed elsewhere or will afterward. However, the nonprofit Triskelion Arts, which was founded in Brooklyn in 2000 to “foster the development and presentation of the performing arts,” has something very different in mind with its “Never Before, Never Again” festival, which consists of dance, music, comedy, theater, poetry, and other disciplines in improvisational performances that have never been presented before and never will again quite like they will be during the third annual event, running January 5-8. The improv celebration begins January 5 with the Lovelies; Alyssa Gersony; Judah Levenson, Hank Mason, and Shane Gertner; kamrDANCE; NOW ACCEPTING ALL OFFERS MADE; and Katelyn Halpern & Dancers. On January 6, the lineup features Schmidt / Keenoy Movement / Sound Lab; slowdanger; Jog Films; Debbie Z & Friends; and the Lovelies. Saturday’s roster boasts Mauri Connors and Mindy Toro; TanzKlub; the Shelburne Trio (bassist Kevin Farrell, dancer Rachel Mckinstry, and poet Josh Adler); stb x at; Sarah Foster / MoveWorks; and Boom Bat Gesture Performance Group. The festival concludes January 8 with Ali Perkins; Kirsten Schnittker; Jason Mears / Quentin Tolimieri; There’s No Law (Rachel Cohen, Michael Henry, Irene Siegel); and Lokasparsa Dance Projects / clyde forth. Tickets are $16 in advance, $20 at the door to check out these now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t performances.