Wisconsin-born, Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Jaimie Warren will activate her twisted fairy-tale installation at the Hole on August 17, promising that “you will witness vomiting deities, epic love ballads, and multiple beheadings.” Warren, a photographer, performance artist, filmmaker, and codirector and cofounder of the traveling community-oriented, child-friendly fake public access television show Whoop-Dee-Doo, will stage, with more than twenty collaborators, One Sweet Day, a half-hour musical at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 for no more than fifty guests at a time, in the medieval cave/castle/forest/mountain she has built in the back of the Bowery gallery, consisting of, among other elements, giant saints with glowing red eyes, an open wall casket with three somewhat familiar bodies, and a pair of video stations where visitors can watch “One Sweet Day: Self-Portrait as Shepherd, GG Allin, and Prince in Re-Creation of Studio Reconstitution of the Thebaid by Fra Angelico,” a cracked tale of good vs. evil vs. weird that mixes in Punky Brewster with all the madness. The exhibition itself, which continues through September 3, also includes the music videos “I Got My Mind Set on You: Self-Portrait as George Harrison in Re-creation of Ancient Egyptian Papyrus Painting of Ma’at and Isis,” “Somebody to Love: Self-Portrait as Freddie Mercury in Re-creation of Saints Cosmas and Damian by Matteo di Pacino (1350-75),” “I Just Called to Say I Love You: Self-Portrait as Stevie Wonder in Re-creation of Primavera by Sandro Botticelli (1482),” and “You Are Not Alone: Self-Portrait as Michael Jackson in a Re-creation of the Genealogical Trees of the Dominican Order,” featuring characters dressed up as pop-culture icons; the works were made at residencies at the Abrons Art Center in Manhattan, Artspace in North Carolina, American Medium in Brooklyn, and Helmuth Projects in San Diego. Advance RSVP is strongly recommended.
The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx
Chillin’ with Chihuly: Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13, 1:00 - 4:00
Chihuly Nights: Thursday, August 10, 17, 24, $35, 6:30
Jazz & Chihuly: Friday, August 18, $40, 6:00
Exhibition continues Tuesday – Sunday through October 29, $10-$28
The New York Botanical Garden’s “CHIHULY” exhibition, his first new show in New York in a decade, features colorful and extravagant site-specific glass-blown works by Dale Chihuly spread throughout the grounds, including at the Native Plant Garden, the Lillian and Amy Goldman Fountain of Life, the Leon Levy Visitor Center, the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum, and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyard’s Tropical Pool, as well as works on paper and early works on view in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building. There are special bonuses during the month of August to enhance the oeuvre of the Washington State native, whose NYBG pieces were partially inspired by a 1975 Niagara Falls group show he participated in. On August 12 and 13 from 1:00 to 4:00, accordionist Tony Kovatch, Spanish guitarist David Galvez, and saxophonist Keith Marreth will play acoustic music at various locations in the garden, joined by steel drummer Earl Brooks Jr. and cellist Laura Bontrager on Saturday and steel drummer Mustafa Alexander and oboist Keve Wilson on Sunday. Meanwhile, Brooklyn-based UrbanGlass will host flame-work demonstrations at Conservatory Plaza and the visitor center. There will also be ice-cold treats available for purchase to keep everyone cool. On August 19, the NYBG Summer Concert Series presents “Jazz & Chihuly: Songs of Protest & Reconciliation,” with live music by pianist Damien Sneed and an all-star ensemble, along with special guest trumpeter Keyon Harrold, followed by a late-night viewing of the exhibition. You can also see short films about Chihuly’s creative process on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm or check out “Chihuly Nights,” with Fulaso, Richard & Ashlee, and Mustafa Alexander on April 10, Mandingo Ambassadors, Almanac Dance Circus Theater, and Alexander on August 17, and Samba New York! and Alice Farley on August 24. “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced,” Chihuly says about his work; these programs enhance that experience in unique ways.
Who: Emily Johnson / Catalyst
What: All-night outdoor performance gathering
Where: Randall’s Island Park
When: Saturday, August 19, $50, dusk to after sunrise
Why: You don’t just go to a show by Emily Johnson / Catalyst; you become part of an experience. In such presentations as Niicugni and Shore, Johnson builds a sense of community for all involved, including cast, crew, and audience. On August 19, her multiyear project Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars reaches its next level on Randall’s Island, where people will gather for an evening of song, dance, storytelling, quilting, ritual, and more under the night sky. The world premiere, presented by Performance Space 122, is directed by three-time Obie winner Ain Gordon (The Family Business, Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell) and features performers Tania Isaac, twelve-year-old Georgia Lucas, and Johnson, with visual design by textile artist Maggie Thompson, lighting by Lenore Doxsee, and quilt construction by volunteers from around the country. The ten-to-twelve-hour piece explores such questions as “What do you want for your well-being? For the well-being of your chosen friends and family? For your neighborhood? For your town, city, reserve, tribal nation, world?” You can participate as much as you want as the audience is led into discussions and programs about engaged citizenship, safety, Indigenous people, and making connections. Four thousand square feet of quilts will serve as home base for performances, resting, and just hanging out. Supper, breakfast, and snacks will be served as well. Johnson is a magnetic personality who cares very deeply about the future of all the people and animals living on this planet, so Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars should be a powerful and moving experience, in addition to being a lot of fun. Look for our interview with Johnson about the project coming soon; in the meantime, you can contribute to the Kickstarter campaign to help fund this project here.
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS (Dylan Southern & Will Lovelace, 2011)
BAMcinématek, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
Sunday, August 6, 7:30
Series runs through August 13
On April 2, 2011, after ten years of building a devoted following that was still growing, electronic dance-punk faves LCD Soundsystem played what was supposed to be its farewell show at Madison Square Garden. Directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, who previously documented the British band Blur in No Distance Left to Run, capture the grand finale in the often bumpy, sometimes revelatory concert film Shut Up and Play the Hits. The movie is divided into three distinct sections that take place before, during, and after the massive blowout, with Southern and Lovelace weaving between them. There is extensive footage of the event at the Garden, including performances of such LCD classics as “Dance Yrself Clean,” “All My Friends,” “Us v Them,” “North American Scum,” and “Losing My Edge.” Although the multicamera approach tries to make you feel like you’re there, onstage and backstage with front man Murphy, keyboardist Nancy Whang, bassist Tyler Pope, drummer Pat Mahoney, and various special guests, it lacks a certain emotional depth, and the sound, primarily during the first songs, is terrible, although that could have been the fault of the tiny theater where we saw it more than the film itself. The second section features music journalist Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto) interviewing Murphy at the Spotted Pig in the West Village a week before the concert, asking inane, annoying questions that Murphy strains to answer.
But the most fascinating part of the film by far, and how it starts, involves Murphy the day after the show. He allows the camera to follow him everywhere, from waking up in his bed with his dog to carefully shaving with an electric razor to visiting the DFA offices for the first time in a year. It’s hard to believe that the night before he was a grandiose rock star but now he is walking his pooch, sitting on a bench in front of a coffee shop, and spending most of the day alone. The camera gets right into his face, showing every gray hair, zooming in on his puffiness and his deep-set, nearly dazed eyes. The film would have benefited from less time with Klosterman and more with Murphy as he contemplates his past, present, and future. It also would have been interesting to hear from the other members of the band, but Shut Up and Play the Hits is specifically about Murphy, who, at forty-one, suddenly doesn’t know what to do with his life, having left an extremely successful gig that was only gaining popularity. (However, in January 2016 the band reunited, once again hitting the road, including a fab headlining gig at the Panorama festival that July.) Shut Up and Play the Hits is screening August 6 at 7:30 in the BAMcinématek series “In Concert,” which continues through August 13 with such other live-music films as Bill and Turner Ross’s Contemporary Color, D. A. Pennebaker’s Monterey Pop, and Mel Stuart’s Wattstax.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, August 5, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum starts preparing for the West Indian American Day Carnival events over Labor Day weekend with the August edition of its free First Saturday program. (First Saturdays is skipped in September.) There will be live performances by RIVA & Bohio Music and the Drums and Bugles International Bands Association; the mobile art center caribBEING House, where visitors can share their own stories; a gallery tour of “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85” with Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art curatorial assistant Allie Rickard; pop-up gallery talks of “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas” with teen apprentices; a screening of Matt Ruskin’s Sundance Audience Award winner Crown Heights, introduced by actress Natalie Paul and followed by a Q&A with film subject Colin Warner, community activist Rick Jones, and attorney Ames Grawert; a sneak peek of Cori Wapnowska’s documentary Bruk Out!, followed by a talkback with Wapnowska and Dancehall Queen Famous Red, moderated by Hyperallergic editor Seph Rodney; a Book Club event with Oneka LaBennett reading and discussing her new book, She’s Mad Real: Popular Culture and West Indian Girls in Brooklyn, followed by a signing; an Artist’s Eye talk by Melissa Bunni Elian on her contribution to “The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America”; a wukkout! movement workshop based on high-energy soca dancing; a hands-on workshop in which participants can make paintings with watercolor and salt; and a Flag Fete in which visitors can bring their own national flag, joined by female-identified Caribbean artists Sol Nova, Young Devyn, and Ting & Ting featuring Kitty Cash and special guests.
What: Panorama festival
Where: Randall’s Island Park
When: Friday, July 28, through Sunday, July 30, 12 noon - 11:00 pm
Why: Resting for a moment near the main stage, twi-ny struck up a conversation with a few of the thousands of music fans who traveled by ferry, bus, and shuttle to enjoy the three days of perfect summer sunshine, thoughtful event planning, and spectacular music that came together for Panorama NYC. From outstanding sets from headliners Girl Talk, Frank Ocean, Solange, A Tribe Called Quest, and Nine Inch Nails to newer performers including Foxygen, Dhani Harrison, and Angel Olsen to the excellent food, futuristic HP Lab, and dance music (and free water everywhere!), all of us agreed that in more than twenty-five years of NYC festivals, highlighted by the great late 1990s Guinness Fleadh (1997–99), the Beasties’ epic Tibetan Freedom Concert (1997), and a brief flash of Catalpa (2012), Panorama NYC has outdone them all, achieving possibly the best vibe ever at a NYC-based festival. For two years in a row, Goldenvoice, which produces Coachella, FYF, Stagecoach, and many other music fests, has done a fabulous job with vendors, sponsors, staging, and transport, creating an inclusive, joyful weekend of music and art that should not be missed. Below are just a few of our many photos; you can find more from Friday here and from Sunday here.
BJÖRK: BIOPHILIA LIVE (Nick Fenton & Peter Strickland, 2014)
BAMcinématek, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
Thursday, August 3, 7:00 & 9:30
Series runs through August 13
“Welcome to Biophilia, the love for nature in all her manifestations, from the tiniest organism to the greatest red giant floating in the farthest realm of the universe. . . . In Biophilia, you will experience how the three come together: nature, music, technology. Listen, learn, and create. . . . We are on the brink of a revolution that will reunite humans with nature through new technological innovations. Until we get there, prepare, explore Biophilia.” So announces British naturalist Sir David Attenborough at the beginning of Björk: Biophilia Live, Nick Fenton and Peter Strickland’s lovely film of Icelandic musician Björk’s final show of her Biophilia tour, a more-than-two-year journey in which she presented a dazzling multimedia concert experience based on her 2011 album and genre-redefining interactive app. Filmed at the Alexandra Palace in London, the cutting-edge in-the-round show features Björk performing such complex songs as “Thunderbolt,” “Moon,” “Crystalline,” and “Virus” from the hit record, accompanied by the twenty-woman Icelandic chorus Graduale Nobili and a group of visually dramatic instruments built and/or adapted specifically for her, including a pendulum-swinging gravity harp, the percussive hang, a gameleste, and a Tesla coil. In addition, most songs have related animation that ranges from the far reaches of space to deep inside the human body. Fenton, a longtime documentary editor, and Strickland, the writer-director of such fiction films as Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Varga, often splash the animation on the front of the screen, immersing the viewer in a vast array of shapes, colors, and scientific imagery, like a turned-around Joshua Light Show.
But even amid all the gadgetry and computers, Björk is the real star, ever charming in a wild wig and futuristic costume as she sings in her engaging accent and unique voice, enchanting the audience for more than ninety minutes as she brings together nature, music, and technology in a whole new way. We saw the show when it came to Roseland in March 2012 and can heartily affirm that Fenton and Strickland have done a wonderful job capturing the feeling of being there, something that is rare in concert films. Björk: Biophilia Live is screening August 3 at 7:00 & 9:30 in the BAMcinématek series “In Concert,” which continues through August 13 with such other live-music films as Bill and Turner Ross’s Contemporary Color, Will Lovelace & Dylan Southern’s Shut Up and Play the Hits, and Mel Stuart’s Wattstax.