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


The Lab hosts interactive installations using cutting-edge technology (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The Lab hosts interactive installations using cutting-edge technology (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Randall’s Island Park
July 22-24, $125 per day

It was a beautiful day on Randall’s Island for the first day of the inaugural Panorama: Music • Art • Technology festival. It did get rather hot — sweat poured off many of the performers as well as the dancing crowd — but the rains never came, and the sunset cast a brilliant glow over the festivities. Goldenvoice, the company that runs Coachella, tried to bring a world-class alternative music festival to New York City with All Points West in 2008 and 2009, and they’re giving it another shot with Panorama, which opened on Friday with a warm vibe. There were bathrooms everywhere — including numerous cans that were a major step up from standard Porta Potties — and the food and drink lines were fairly manageable. The layout is excellent, leaving room to feel the comfort of green grass and shady trees. Live bands play at three locations, the giant outdoor Panorama Stage and the smaller Pavilion and even smaller Parlor, which are under tents, protected from the blazing sun. DJs also perform in the Parlor as well as the Despacio, a dark, pounding dance space where you can really let go.

All Points West veterans Silversun Pickups returned to Randalls Island for Panorama festival (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

All Points West veterans Silversun Pickups returned to Randall’s Island for Panorama festival (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

It was the women who ruled day one, with standout performances from violinist Lindsey Stirling, FKA twigs (unveiling her new show, “Radiant Me²”), Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Amy Millan of Stars and Ariel Engle duetting for Broken Social Scene, and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire killing it in a spectacular silver outfit. Amid all the joy and dancing, several bands made mention of the troubles going on in America. Howard introduced “Don’t Wanna Fight” by saying how important that song is to her right now, then sang, “My lines, your lines / Don’t cross them lines / What you like, what I like / Why can’t we both be right? / Attacking, defending / Until there’s nothing left worth winning / Your pride and my pride / Don’t waste my time.” Arcade Fire leader Win Butler, who was born in California (the band is based in Montreal), let forth some curse-strewn protests against Donald Trump. But Kevin Drew, from the Toronto-based Broken Social Scene, tried to ease the pains with some jammy fun-time music, expressing the band’s enduring love for its U.S. fans.

Amy Millan pumps up the volume with Broken Social Scene at Panorama (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Amy Millan pumps up the volume with Broken Social Scene at Panorama (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Art and technology were on display as well at Panorama. A Google Play cube featured live graffiti-making and, up the stairs, a great view of Randall’s Island; in addition, live HD video from the Panorama Stage was projected onto the facade. Concertgoers swung in silk cocoons in Dave & Gabe’s “Hyper Thread,” enjoyed cotton candy under a dome in Emilie Baltz and Philip Sierzega’s “Cotton Candy Theremin,” and bounced around in Future Wife’s “Visceral Recess.” Interactive installations such as Gabriel Pulecio’s “Infinite Wall” and Red Paper Heart’s “The Art of Pinball” work much better if you put away the cameras and just experience them.

(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

FKA twigs had the Panorama audience eating out of the palm of her hand (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

One major hiccup was the journey to get to the east box office from the ferry, a winding, unmarked trip through construction sites, streets with fast-moving cars but no sidewalks, cops who knew where to tell you not to go but not actually where to go, and other bizarre, at times scary, elements. Use the west entrance from the ferry, the east from the buses, and don’t try to walk around outside the venue. Otherwise, there was a happy feeling throughout Randall’s Island, with good food, good bathrooms, not too many long lines, and, best of all, great music. Saturday’s show features Kendrick Lamar, the National, Blood Orange, and Foals, among others, while Sunday is highlighted by Holy Ghost!, Grace Potter, Sia, and LCD Soundsystem, who played with Arcade Fire on Randall’s Island back in 2007.


Who: White Lung
What: Panorama festival
Where: Randall’s Island Park, Panorama Stage
When: Sunday, July 24, $125, 1:10
Why: A classic punk foursome, Canadian quartet White Lung features singer-songwriter Mish Barber-Way front and center in their latest video, “Dead Weight,” but she’s obviously anything but dead weight, as evidenced on the group’s outstanding fourth studio album, Paradise (Domino, May 2016). In a recent interview with the the Line of Best Fit, Barber-Way noted: “I write for a living, so I’m always reading and researching. I did studies about bestiality, gender politics of pedophiles, female murderers who help their spouses rape and torture, biology, motherhood. I picked the brains of sex therapists, psychologists, white supremacists, cosmetic surgeons (the most interesting doctors to interview), and gynecologists. I was all over the place. This work all informs my lyrics, obviously. It’s what I am thinking about.” Paradise, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Prize, contains such tracks as “Hungry,” “Below,” “Demented” (in which Barber-Way declares, “I hate all that I see”), and the furious “Kiss Me When I Bleed” and “Sister.” No stranger to New York, White Lung played a gleefully anarchic set at the 2013 4Knots festival at the South Street Seaport; singer-songwriter Barber-Way, guitarist Kenneth William, bassist Lindsey Troy, and drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou will be back in the city for the Panorama music, art, food, and technology festival on Sunday, playing the Panorama Stage at 1:10; that day’s bill also includes, among others, the Black Madonna, Grace Potter, Kurt Vile & the Violators, and Holy Ghost! You can find the full schedule and set times for all three days here.


Who: Antfood, Dave and Gabe, Dirt Empire, Emilie Baltz and Philip Sierzega, Future Wife, Gabriel Pulecio, Invisible Light Network, Red Paper Heart, the Mountain Gods, VolvoxLabs, Zach Lieberman
What: Panorama: Music • Art • Technology
Where: Randall’s Island Park, the Lab
When: July 22-24, $125 per day ($230 VIP), $369 for three-day pass ($699 VIP), ferry $25 per day, shuttle $30 per day
Why: In addition to featuring such performers as Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, Alabama Shakes, Sia, the National, FKA twigs, and Grace Potter and some big-time food vendors, the Panorama Music • Art • Technology festival, taking place this weekend on Randall’s Island, where the popular Frieze fair is held, will host the Lab, a collection of interactive and immersive art installations by New Yorkers that offers a respite from what should be large crowds fighting potential rain. Invisible Light Network, Dirt Empire, and Antfood have collaborated on a 70-foot dome with a 360-degree virtual reality theater. Dave & Gabe’s “Hyper Thread” is a 3D soundscape where you can create your own sounds using silk cocoons. Emilie Baltz and Philip Sierzega turn the making of cotton candy into an orchestral experience with “Cotton Candy Theremin.” Future Wife’s inflatable playground, “Visceral Recess,” allows festivalgoers to bring out their inner child. Gabriel Pulecio’s “Infinite Wall,” consisting of mirrors, lights, and sounds, reacts to visitors’ individual movements. Red Paper Heart’s “The Art of Pinball” reimagines the analog arcade game as a virtual digital wonderland. “Gigantic Gestures,” by the Mountain Gods (Charlie Whitney and Sierzega), invites people to tap and swipe a large-scale smartphone to investigate body language. Kamil Nawratil’s VolvoxLabs has created “The Façade,” which transforms the outside of the Lab into a projection screen. And hacker Zach Lieberman uses refraction and caustics in an interactive light table in “Reflection Study.”


Who: The Julie Ruin
What: Panorama festival
Where: Randall’s Island Park, the Pavilion
When: Saturday, July 23, $125, 2:50
Why: Former Bikini Kill and Le Tigre legend Kathleen Hanna might declare, “I’m done,” on the Julie Ruin’s second album, Hit Reset (July 8, Hardly Art), but the riot grrrl cofounder’s career is far from over. “I’m not here to please you or beg on my knees or be the villain on your show,” she sings on “I’m Done,” adding, “I’m sick of waiting around to be heard from six feet underground.” The track is one of thirteen new tunes on the record, the follow-up to 2013’s Run Fast; the album also features such songs as “Be Nice,” “Rather Not,” and “I Decide.” On the band’s official website, Hanna, whose intriguing life was documented in the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer, notes, “I’ve written about my personal bouts with illness, abuse, sexism, and how hard it is for me to walk away from people even when they are toxic Tasmanian Devils before, but not in this way. Some songs were so close to me I had to stop singing in practice and while recording because I was crying. It’s rare to work with a group of people you feel okay doing that with. But there was laughter too.” Hanna, Kathi Wilcox, Carmine Covelli, and Sara Landeau will be at the Panorama music, art, food, and technology festival on Saturday, playing the Pavilion at 2:50; that day’s bill also includes Flosstradamus, Blood Orange, the National, Sufjan Stevens, and Kendrick Lamar. You can find the full schedule and set times for all three days here.


panorama food

Panorama: Music Art Technology
Randall’s Island Park
July 22-24, $125 per day ($230 VIP), $369 for three-day pass ($699 VIP), ferry $25 per day, shuttle $30 per day

Once upon a time, the food at all-day music festivals was little more than hot dogs, burgers, cotton candy, soda, and pretzels. But the foodie revolution has changed all that, and now festivals of all genres rely on artisinal food trucks and booths to feed hungry concertgoers. Panorama NYC is right on top of the trend with some of the best food vendors in the five boroughs. Taking place July 22-24 on Randall’s Island with such performers as Arcade Fire, Sia, LCD Soundsystem, the National, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, and Sufjan Stevens, Panorama also boasts a pretty impressive gourmet lineup of nearly four dozen eateries. Among the food purveyors, with gluten-free and vegan options available, of course, are American Cut, Arancini Bros., Asia Dog, Bareburger, the Beatrice Inn, Dough, Khe-Yo, Landhaus, MatchaBar, Melt Bakery, the NoMad, Pasquale Jones, Roberta’s, Sushi Azabu, Tica’s Tacos, and Waffle de Lys. Although you don’t go to such festivals as Panorama for the food, it’s a lot more fun when you can chow down on some quality eats and drinks while watching eleven hours of music in the hot sun.


Who: Broken Social Scene
What: Panorama festival
Where: Randall’s Island Park, the Pavilion
When: Friday, July 22, $125, 5:30
Why: The joyous indie Canadian musical collective known as Broken Social Scene, built by and around Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, has consisted of a varying panoply of mainly Toronto-based talent with up to nineteen members onstage at times playing an eclectic array of instruments and featuring an ever-changing roster of female singers on tour. But after three well-received albums in four years (2001-05) and one more in 2010, BSS hasn’t released a new record, and it hasn’t performed live in the U.S. since 2011. (The band played a memorable headlining set at the Siren Festival in Coney Island back in 2008.) All that changed last week when the band appeared at a small show at Chicago’s Metro, followed by a full-on concert at the Pitchfork Festival. Exactly one week later they repeat the feat in New York with a small, sold-out Thursday night show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and a subsequent Friday festival appearance on the Pavilion stage at the Panorama art, music, food, and technology festival, with such other performers as fka Twigs, Silversun Pickups, Alabama Shakes, Here We Go Magic, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, White Lung, and Arcade Fire. You can find the full schedule and set times for all three days here.


Steve Shaiman and Swingtime Big Band

Steve Shaiman and Swingtime Big Band return for their annual summer gig in Carl Schurz Park on July 20

Who: Steve Shaiman and Swingtime Big Band
What: Summer Sounds Series at Carl Schurz Park
Where: John Finley Walk, East River Promenade, top of the 86th Street Grand Staircase
When: Wednesday, July 20, free, 7:00
Why: New York-based Swingtime Big Band, purveyors of “Authentic Swing in Living Color,” will be performing a free outdoor concert on July 20 at John Finley Walk in the shadow of Gracie Mansion as part of the Summer Sounds Series in Carl Schurz Park. Led by artistic director, saxophonist, and clarinetist Steve Shaiman, Swingtime’s seventh annual Summer Sounds show will feature the new program “By George,” big band arrangements of George Gershwin tunes from the Great American Songbook. The twenty-member Swingtime Big Band, which consists of reeds, trombones, trumpets, two vocalists, and bass, guitar, drums, and piano, has a busy couple of weeks ahead, with upcoming performances in West Hempstead, Greenport, Rocky Point, Westhampton, and Holbrook on Long Island.