Who: Dick Gregory, Onaje Allan Gumbs
What: Comedy, music, political discussion
Where: Black Spectrum Theatre, Roy Wilkins Recreation Center, 177 St. & Baisley Blvd., Queens, 718-723-1800
When: Saturday, October 22, $35 in advance, $45 at the door, 8:00
Why: This past summer, Joe Morton played comedian and activist Dick Gregory in the excellent show Turn Me Loose. Now you can see the real thing, as Gregory, who just turned eighty-four on October 12, will be at the Black Spectrum Theatre in Queens on October 22, sharing his sociopolitical musings and conspiracy rants about the state of the world; he should be in extra-fine form with the election approaching. (You can get a taste of his thoughts on Donald Trump here.) The evening will also feature a performance by Harlem-born, Queens-raised pianist, composer, and bandleader Onaje Allan Gumbs, who has released such albums as That Special Part of Me, Remember Their Innocence, Sack Full of Dreams, and Just Like Yesterday.
Who: Mutual Benefit, Shamir, Waxahatchee, Sadie Dupuis, Jazmine Hughes, Adam J. Kurtz, Dorothea Lasky, Mychal Denzel Smith, Doreen St. Felix, Brandon Stosuy
What: Housing Works Design on a Dime Benefit
Where: The Courtyard at Industry Park, Second Ave. between 36th & 37th Sts., Brooklyn
When: Friday, October 7, general admission $20, 6:00 - 11:00
Why: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe is holding its first-ever off-site event on October 7, teaming up with the Creative Independent for a benefit featuring live performances by musicians Shamir, Waxahatchee, and Mutual Benefit, book readings and signings by Sadie Dupuis, Dorothea Lasky, Mychal Denzel Smith, and Doreen St. Felix, a presentation by artist Adam J. Kurtz, and remarks from Brandon Stosuy; the event will be hosted by Jazmine Hughes. Complimentary refreshments include snacks from local Brooklyn vendors and potent potables courtesy of Greenport Brewing Company and Whispering Angel Wines; there is limited first-come, first-served seating. All proceeds will benefit Housing Works’ “health care, housing, job training, advocacy, and other services provided to homeless and at-risk New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.” The benefit is part of a Design on a Dime weekend fair running October 6-9 at Industry City, with one-of-a-kind room vignettes by such interior designers as Akhira N. Ismail, Callidus Guild, CAVdesign, David Netto, House of Julien, LABLstudio, Leonora Mahle, Monica Hofstadter, Sheep + Stone, and others.
DANNY SAYS (Brendan Toller, 2016)
IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. at Third St., 212-924-7771
Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway between 62nd & 63rd Sts., 212-757-2280
Opens Friday, September 30
“He’s a handmaiden to the gods. He’s been midwife to some of the most important people in music,” John Cameron Mitchell says at the beginning of Danny Says, Brendan Toller’s highly entertaining if scattershot documentary about Danny Fields. Born Daniel Henry Feinberg in Brooklyn in 1939, Fields graduated from the University of Pennsylvania when he was still a teenager, dropped out of Harvard Law School, and went on to one of the wildest careers in the music business. Attracted to both cutting-edge and celebrity culture, Fields was a DJ, a magazine editor, a record executive, a press agent, and a band manager, always doing things his way. “I always went against the grain,” he says in the film, which features family photographs, home movies (including scenes from his bar mitzvah), outstanding music clips, and new and archival interviews with Fields, a natural storyteller with a casual delivery, whether he’s talking about his sexual promiscuity, hanging out with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick at the Factory, or trying to hook up Jim Morrison and Nico. Nothing is off limits as he shares tales about going to gay bars, making “Have a Marijuana” with David Peel & the Lower East Side, developing a friendship with Linda Eastman, and playing the Ramones for Lou Reed for the first time. “He had a way with words that made you want to become part of whatever he was doing,” Peel says in the film.
Others who sing Fields’s praises are Wayne Kramer, Judy Collins, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Justin Vivian Bond, Leee Black Childers, Lenny Kaye, Jonathan Richman, Jann Wenner, and Tommy Ramone. Toller, who met Fields while finishing his 2008 debut film, I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store, made when he was twenty-one, and editors Ian Markiewicz and Timothy Sternberg have a blast with the archival concert footage, especially of the Stooges and the Ramones (who honored Fields with their song “Danny Says” on End of the Century) in their early days as well as the Velvet Underground, the Doors, the MC5, and the Modern Lovers. Playful animation by Emily Hubley, Johnny Woods, and Matt Newman accompanies several of Fields’s longer anecdotes. The narrative flow is rough, bouncing around like an album with some great songs but doesn’t quite achieve greatness itself, but it’s still a whole lotta fun. “What motivates me is to be in the right crowd,” Fields says. Seeing this film puts moviegoers in the right crowd, at least for ninety minutes. Danny Says opens September 30 at Lincoln Plaza and IFC Center; Toller will be at IFC for a Q&A with Michael Musto following the 7:15 screening Friday night.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, October 1, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum breaks out for its free October First Saturday program, “Beyond Borders.” There will be live performances by Maria Usbeck, Sol Nova, and M.A.K.U. Soundsystem; a screening of Kathleen Foster’s Profiled, followed by a talkback with Foster, Natasha Duncan, Joseph L. Graves Jr., Kristine Anderson Welch, Jill Bloomberg, and Joël Díaz; a salsa party with Balmir Latin Dance Company; pop-up gallery talks and a curator tour of the refreshed American Art galleries with Nancy Rosoff; a hands-on workshop in which participants will use the Mexican folk art technique of repujado; and a book club reading and talk by Gabby Rivera, author of Juliet Takes a Breath. In addition, you can check out such long-term installations as “Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn,” “Double Take: African Innovations,” and “The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago.” Entry to the new exhibition “Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present” requires a discounted admission fee of $10.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Ave.
Saturday, October 1, $15-$20 (children under twelve free), 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
The weather might be cooling a bit, but it’s going to remain hot, hot, hot this weekend at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s twenty-fourth annual Chile Pepper Festival. On Saturday, October 1, the BBG will celebrate all things spicy with a full slate of activities, highlighted by tastings from more than five dozen food purveyors divided into Hot Sauce Sorcery (Bacchanal Sauce, Beast Feast Maine, Black Irish Hot Sauce, Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce, Poor Devil Pepper Co., Queen Majesty Hot Sauce, more), Chile-Chocolate Debauchery (Hernán Mexican Mole, Little Bird Chocolates, Lululosophy Artisan Chocolates, MarieBelle, Raaka Chocolate, Whimsy & Spice, others), Combustible Condiments (Anarchy in a Jar, Calcutta Kitchens, Elvio’s Chimichurri, Josephine’s Feast, Mama Margarita’s Salsa, Nafi’s Hot Pepper Condiments, Pierre’s Spicy, etc.), Hi-Scoville Sweets (Brooklyn Soda Works, Bushwick Kitchen, Culture: An American Yogurt Company, La Newyorkina, Mike’s Hot Honey, OddFellows Ice Cream Co,. Spoonable), and Piquant Pickles & Such (Divine Brine, Holy Schmitt’s Homemade Horseradish, Mama O’s Premium Kimchi, Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi, North Brooklyn Farms, Pure Mountain Olive Oil, Rick’s Picks, Zia Green Chile Company). The live-music lineup begins at 10:00 with Pilette’s Ghost and continues with Dahka Band (10:45), Élage Diouf (12:15), Hazmat Modine (1:45), Aurelio (3:15), and the Lost Bayou Ramblers (4:45). Robbins & Ringold, consisting of Todd Robbins and Stephen Ringold, will serve as masters of ceremonies. There will also be a Chile Chat with Gregory Seaton at 10:30, a Hot Chiles for Cool Kids workshop in which kids can take a pepper plant home, Sahadi’s Souk, and a booth featuring Archestratus Books + Foods.
Multiple community gardens on the Lower East Side
Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25, free
More than fifty community gardens on the Lower East Side are participating in the fifth annual LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens) Harvest Festival, a weekend of free special events, including music, dance, film screenings, walking tours, workshops, art, poetry, karaoke, meditation, and more. Below are only some of the recommended events for Saturday and Sunday; there are also activities at the M’Finda Kalunga Garden, Fireman’s Garden, Liz Christy Garden, Secret Garden, El Sol Brillante, Doroty Strelsin Suffolk St. Garden, East Side Outside Garden, Umbrella House Rooftop Garden, Creative Little Garden, Lower East Side People Care Garden, Kenkeleba House Garden, Children’s Magical Garden, Green Oasis, Elizabeth St. Garden, Toyota Children’s Garden, Sam & Sadie Koenig Garden, and many others. The festival is a great way to become familiar with and support these small gems that can be found all over the Lower East Side.
Saturday, September 24
Permaculture tour with Ross Martin and Marga Snyder, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 12 noon
Live music with Elizabeth Ruf, Ben Cauley, Avon Faire, Tammy Faye Starlight, Witch Camp with Amber Martin & Nath-Ann Carrera, Salley May, and Val Kinzler, DeColores Garden, East Eighth St. between Aves. B & C, 1:00 – 5:00
Guided meditation, with Matthew Caban and Jaquay Saintil, the Lower East Side People Care Garden, Rutgers St. between Henry and Madison Sts., 2:00
Collaborative poetry workshop with Rhoma Mostel, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 3:00
“The Bride” performance piece by Theresa Byrnes, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 4:00
Dance performance with Heidi Henderson and students from Connecticut College, Kizuna Dance, John Gutierrez, Sheep Meadow Dance Theater, Rina Espiritu, Lauren Kravitz, and Shantel Prado, Cornfield Dance, Rod Rodgers Teen Dancers, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 4:00
Dimensions of Ecology panel discussion, with Stuart Losee, Felicia Young, Anna Fitzgerald, and Chloe Rosetti, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 5:00
Sunday, September 25
Pysanky workshop: How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs, with Anna Sawaryn, 6B Garden, Ave. B at Sixth St., 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
“Garbagia Island” Creatures Performance and Fashion Show, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 1:00
Vangeline Theater’s “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee,” contemporary Butoh dance, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 2:00
“Garden to Table Nutrition,” with Vanessa Berenstein, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 3:00
Fountain installation: “Jeux d’Eaux” by Nicholas Vargelis, Le Petit Versailles, Second St. between Aves. B & C, 4:00
Laughter Yoga, with Sara Jones, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 5:00
Photography show: George Hirose’s “Midnight in the Garden,” Campos Garden, Twelfth St. between Aves. B & C, 6:30
Dance party with Ray Santiago Band, Campos Garden, Twelfth St. between Aves. B & C, 7:30-9:30