46th St. between Sixth & Madison Aves.
Saturday, August 30, and Sunday, August 31, free, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
One of the best street festivals of the year is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary on Sunday with another afternoon of great food, music, dance, and more. Brazilian Day, which is being rebranded as BR Day New York, is a colorful celebration of the culture of the South American nation and of the many Brazilian immigrants who now live in the tristate area, believed to number more than 300,000. But first comes Saturday’s annual Lavagem da Rua 46, the ritual Cleansing of 46th St., a parade (don’t miss the Bonecos Gigantes de Olinda) from Times Square to Madison Ave., followed by a street fair, as part of Brazil Week NYC, with live performances by Alavontê, Lucy Alves, Chambinho do Acordeon, Del Feliz, Afoxé Filhas de Gandhy, Eu Sou do Sul, O Hierofante Cia de Teatro, Batala Band, França, Márcio Mendes, and Manhattan Samba, hosted by Monika Oliveira and George Roberts. The parade goes from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, followed by the fair from 1:00 to 4:00. Sunday’s festivities in Little Brazil will include two stages of live entertainment, with music from Daniel, Carlinhos Brown, Ivete Sangalo, Saulo Fernandes, Tiago Abravanel, and others, hosted by hunky actor Cauã Reymond, as well as traditional Brazilian cuisine (keep a look-out for whole hog, feijoada, fresh sugarcane juice, and caipirinha), arts and crafts, information about traveling to Brazil, capoeira demonstrations, and more, with some 1.5 million people expected to attend what is always a blast of a party, with little pockets of music and dance liable to break out anywhere at any moment. In addition, the Brazil Expo continues at the HSA Gallery (4 West 43rd St.) through August 29, exhibitions and performances are taking place through August 30 at the New York State Office Building (163 West 125th St.), and the Brazil Week Pagode do Massa after-party will rock out at B. B. King’s on Sunday night with Grupo Samba Mais, Trio Open Bar, and DJ Bruno Goiano. “We are going to show the world the cheerfulness of the Brazilian people,” Daniel said at a press conference announcing the events and this year’s theme, “The Greenyellow Mood.” Just don’t mention the recently completed World Cup if you want that cheerful mood to continue.
Every Labor Day, millions of people line Eastern Parkway, celebrating the city’s best annual parade, the West Indian American Day Carnival, waving flags from such nations as Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, the Cayman Islands, Antigua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Aruba, Curaçao, and many more. The festivities actually begin on August 28, with special events (listed below) every day leading up to the parade. The Labor Day partying commences at 2:00 am with the traditional J’Ouvert Morning, a precarnival procession featuring steel drums and percussion and fabulous, inexpensive masquerade costumes, marching from Grand Army Plaza to Flatbush Ave. and on to Empire Blvd., then to Nostrand Ave. and Linden Blvd. The Parade of Bands begins around 11:00 am, as truckloads of blasting Caribbean music and groups of ornately dressed dancers, costume bands, masqueraders, moko jumbies, and thousands of others bump and grind their way down Eastern Parkway to Grand Army Plaza, participating in one last farewell to the flesh prior to Lent. This year will feature a special tribute to Nelson Mandela. Don’t eat before you go; the great homemade food includes ackee and saltfish, oxtail stew, breadfruit, macaroni pie, curried goat, jerk chicken, fishcakes, rice and peas, and red velvet cake. The farther east you venture, the more closed in it gets; by the time you get near Crown Heights, it could take you half an hour just to cross the street, so take it easy and settle in for a fun, colorful day where you need not hurry. In addition, be prepared to see a whole lotta twerkin’ going on.
Thursday, August 28
Caribbean Woodstock: A Celebration of Light, with Tarras Riley, Skinny Banton, Ricardo Drue, Adrian Dutchin, Mr. Famous, Surrette Bon Bon, Statement, Mikey, Boodoosingh Tassa Drummers, Problem Child, Zouk & the Gang, DJs After Dark, Barrie Hype, and an Ole Mas costume contest, hosted by Susan Kennedy, Dr. Bob Lee, and Jemma Jordan, Brooklyn Museum, $30, 7:00
Friday, August 29
The Official Stay in School Fest, with live performances and college fair, Brooklyn Museum, free, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Brass Fest 2014, with Machel Montano HD, Patrice Roberts, Lyrikal, Mr. Killa, Rayzor, Skinny Fabulous, Teddyson John and the TJ Project, Blakk Rasta, Red Fyah Band, Farmer Nappy, Da Big Show, DJ Sounds 4 Life, DJ Stephen, DJ After Dark, and DJ Spice, and Boodoosingh Tassa Drummers, hosted by Gizelle D Wassi One and MC Wassy, Brooklyn Museum, $55, 8:00
Saturday, August 30
Junior Carnival Parade, St. John’s Place between Kingston & Brooklyn Aves. to Brooklyn Museum at Washington Ave., 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Steelband Panorama 2014, showdown between steel orchestras from New York and Toronto, with Cross Fire Steel Orchestra Inc., Despers USA, Adlib Steel Orchestra, Metro Steel Orchestra, CASYM, Sonatas Youth Committee, D’Radoes, Sesame Flyers/Steel Explosion, Pan Fantasy, Harmony Music Makers, Pantonic, DJ One Plus, MC Godfrey Jack, and Jemma Jordan, Brooklyn Museum, $45, 8:00
Sunday, August 31
Diamanche Gras: The Legends Are Coming! with the Mighty Sparrow, Lord Nelson, David Rudder, Leon Coldero, Lennox Picou, Lima Calbio, Something Positive Dance Troupe, Sunshine Band, Kings and Queens of the Bands, and others, Brooklyn Museum, $40, 7:00
Staging a retrospective of a late performance artist whose work was very much of the moment can be a daunting, difficult task, but curators Klaus Biesenbach, Anna-Catharina Gebbers, and Susanne Pfeffer have done a terrific job with the simply titled “Christoph Schlingensief,” MoMA PS1’s exciting exploration of the career of the German multidisciplinary artist who died in 2010 at the age of forty-nine. Over the course of thirty years, Schlingensief produced experimental films, cutting-edge operas, radical theater pieces, and public actions and interventions that shattered the boundaries between audience and performer and challenged the social and political status quo of his native country and beyond. The expansive exhibition examines Schlingensief’s working process and the reaction to his pieces through film and video clips, photographs, documentation, installation, related paraphernalia, and lots of wall text that puts his oeuvre in context. For “Chance 2000,” Schlingensief formed a political party that fought for the rights of the marginalized; for one event, Schlingensief called for people to bathe in a lake at Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s summer home, hoping to get enough participants to flood the house. In “Please Love Austria — First Austrian Coalition Week,” Schlingensief mocked right-wing anti-immigration zealots by placing twelve supposed asylum seekers in containers and filming them Big Brother-style. For Parsifal, Schlingensief reimagined Richard Wagner’s opera at the Bayreuth Festival, incorporating contemporary religious symbolism and a decomposing rabbit.
The audience became protesters in Rocky Dutschke ’68, following Schlingensief into the street as he re-created a famous shooting while declaring, “No Power for Anyone.” MoMA PS1 visitors can get involved themselves in several interactive installations. You can take a seat in a comfy living-room set to watch Schlingensief’s unique television show Talk 2000, which challenged the conventions of the genre. You most definitely should walk all around “The Animatograph,” a rotating multimedia house of bizarre horrors with surprises at every turn. And in “Stairlift to Heaven,” individuals strap themselves into a chairlift that takes them up past a projection of excerpts from Schlingensief’s 2007 film, The African Twin Towers, and to a private viewing booth. Schlingensief’s legacy continues with “Opera Village Africa,” an “artistic reservoir for the future” that is an actual village he and his wife, Aino Laberenz, built in Burkina Faso, complete with a hospital, a primary school, a theater group, a birthing clinic, and more, overseen by Laberenz since her husband’s death from lung cancer in 2010. “What kind of art is it that no longer has any access, no longer lets anyone in, and also doesn’t step out of itself?” Schlingensief asked. “Here the idea is to finance an art platform which is to serve as a basis for children and teenagers. So we can learn again how creativity comes about and develops. That’s the idea of the Opera Village.” It’s also the central focus of most of his work, the intersection of art and activism, producing public actions and interventions — with a wicked sense of humor and an anarchic distaste of authority — that can impact complacency and conventionality potentially on a global scale, even after his death. “Nothing is certain because I show it. Everything describes itself, overwrites and dissolves,” he once said. “This is not fatalism; this is my principle of pleasure.” There is much pleasure to be found in this dazzling display, especially for those who invest the time to soak in all the thrilling details.
NEW YORK COMIC CON / NEW YORK SUPER WEEK
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th St. (11th Ave. between 34th & 39th Sts.)
Thursday, October 9, $35, 12 noon - 7:00
Con continues through October 12; New York Super Week runs October 3-12
New York Comic Con continues to get more and more popular every year, with bigger and bigger guests and longer and longer lines. Tickets for the ninth annual event, running October 9-12 at the Javits Center, are already sold out for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the organizers haven’t even announced the full slate of activities for any of the days. So your only chance for getting in will be to go on Thursday, when there will be appearances by such spotlight guests as Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad, Hollows series author Kim Harrison, and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) and Natalia Tena (Osha) of Game of Thrones and such featured guests as Jason David Frank of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Ben Templesmith, Bob McLeod, Dustin Nguyen, Jimmy Palmiotti, Peter David, Stuart Moore, and Terry Moore, and dozens of special guests as well. In conjunction with NYCC, New York Super Week runs October 3-12 at various locations throughout the city, consisting of related events, including a thirtieth anniversary screening of The Karate Kid at the 92nd St. Y with Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, and Martin Kove; metal monsters X Japan at Madison Square Garden; Neil Gaiman as the subject of host Ophira Eisenberg’s “Ask Me Another” live show at the Y; “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along and Whedonverse Party” at Union Hall; “The First (and Probably Last) Annual New York Feline Film & Video Festival for Humans” at Galapagos Art Space; a “Dr. Who Trivia and Costume Contest” at the Way Station; “Cure You or Kill You: 19th Century Medical Science and Quackery” at the Museum of Morbid Anatomy; and “Rave of Thrones,” a DJ set by Nairn with special guests Zedd Stark and Trance Rayder at B. B. King’s.
Skylight One Hanson, Fort Greene
Saturday, September 27, $55-$85, 2:00 - 6:00
Tickets are on sale for the Village Voice’s fourth annual Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival, in which more than 1,500 suds lovers will get to drown themselves in more than one hundred specialty brews mostly from the tristate area. The four-hour party, held in the glorious Skylight One Hanson space in the old Williamsburg Savings Bank, will feature drink from such breweries as Alphabet City, Asahi, Braven, Captain Lawrence, Dogfish Head, Keegan, Radeberger, Radiant Pig, Shipyard, Schmaltz, Shiner, Singha, Singlecut, Sly Fox, Steadfast, Two Roads, Victory, and many more to be announced. Food trucks will be on hand to supply a solid base, and there will be live entertainment, demonstrations, meet-and-greets, and talks as well. The event runs from 2:00 to 6:00; the $85 VIP ticket gets you in at 2:00 and provides access to the private VIP lounge, free snacks, and a gift bag, while the $65 Early Entry ticket lets you enter at 2:30 and the $55 General Admission ticket allows you in at 3:00. For the event, the Village Voice is partnering with Lifebeat, Music Fights HIV/AIDS, a “nonprofit dedicated to educating America’s youth (13-29) about HIV/AIDS prevention.”
Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal
89 East 42nd St. at Vanderbilt Ave.
August 18-22, free, 7:00 am - 7:00 pm (food available for purchase 11:00 am - 4:00 pm)
Grand Central Terminal’s classy Vanderbilt Hall is getting a makeover this week, being transformed into an indoor public picnic space August 18-22, with tables covered in gingham cloth, an AstroTurf floor, prizes and giveaways, and food from many of the restaurants that are located throughout GCT. “Life’s a Picnic in Grand Central” will also feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and live performances. You can bring your own lunch or pick up specials from a rotating lineup of GCT eateries, including Café Spice, Ceriello Fine Foods, Ciao Bella Gelato, Financier Patisserie, Junior’s Bakery, Magnolia Bakery, Zaro’s Bakery, Manhattan Chili Co., Tri Tip Grill, Two Boots Pizza, and Murray’s Cheese. Below is the music schedule, programmed in conjunction with Music Under New York.
Monday, August 18
Music Under New York: Susan Keser, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
West Village String Quartet, 4:00 – 7:00
Tuesday, August 19
Music Under New York: Gabriel Aldort playing Galdort Gumbo, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Music Under New York: West Village String Quartet, 4:00 – 7:00
Wednesday, August 20
Big Apple Circus presents Dicky’s Wacky Magic Show, 12 noon – 2:00 pm
Music Under New York: The Poor Cousins, 4:00 – 7:00
Thursday, August 21
Music and dance from iLuminate and Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter, 12:30 – 2:00
Music Under New York: Jason Green, 4:00 – 7:00
Friday, August 22
Broadway Hour: musical performances from Chicago, Motown, Pippin, and Cinderella, 12:30 – 1:30
Music Under New York: Inti & the Moon, 4:00 – 7:00
It’s easy to see why Morgan Neville’s Twenty Feet from Stardom was such a critical and popular success, raking in more than five million dollars at the box office and winning an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Yes, it tells the story of a fabulous group of remarkably talented backup singers, including Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, Claudia Lennear, Jo Lawry, Lynn Mabry, and David Lasley. Yes, there are some big-time superstars singing their praises, including Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Chris Botti, and Mick Jagger. And the music and inside tales are simply phenomenal, particularly the behind-the-scenes scoop on “Gimme Shelter,” which featured Clayton on the original record, while Fischer’s been singing it live onstage with the Stones for the last twenty-five years; surprising looks at Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and David Bowie’s “Young Americans”; Love discussing Phil Spector, “He’s a Rebel,” and cleaning houses; and Hill’s attempt to be both a background vocalist and the lead singer playing her own songs. (Sadly, Clayton was involved in a serious car accident this June and “has a long road of recovery ahead,” according to her website.)
But at the film’s tender heart is the idea of honoring the people in the back, those without whom many of these famous success stories might be very different. Most Americans, when it comes down to it, live in the background, the men and women who make things happen while someone else ultimately gets the credit. In Twenty Feet from Stardom, the background singers finally get their due, and in a way each and every one of us does as well. Of course, it also helps that these marvelous women have sensational voices and plenty of great anecdotes to share. Twenty Feet from Stardom is screening August 17 at 7:00 in Marcus Garvey Park at the special SummerStage / ImageNation Cinema Foundation presentation “Bellatrix! A Soul Train Tribute to Women in Music,” which begins with live performances by Jamila Raegan, the Ki Ki Experience, and Raye 6 & Phyllisia Ross, with Winston's Crew Collective and the Firey String Sistas serving as the house band, followed by a Soul Train Jam spun by Ubiquita Sound System.