Museum of Arts & Design
2 Columbus Circle at 58th St. & Eighth Ave.
Tuesday- Sunday through August 18, $12-$16 (eighteen and under free)
The whole punk aesthetic is a tough one to capture in a museum setting. The Met’s 2013 Costume Institute exhibit “Punk: Chaos to Couture” was roundly booed — despite huge crowds — for its haute approach to punk culture, the antithesis of DIY. Currently, the Museum of Sex’s “Punk Lust: Raw Provocation 1971-1985” immerses attendees in the in-your-face sexuality and desire of punk music, language, and clothing, but it’s the Museum of Sex, which instantly scares away many art lovers. The Museum of Arts & Design gets things right with the superb “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986,” which continues at the Columbus Circle institution through August 18 (although some sections close August 11). Spread across two floors, the exhibit focuses on the DIY look and style of punk promotion, through album covers, advertisements, posters, zines, pins, flyers, and other ephemera. The show is divided into eight thematic sections, looking at typography, specific artists (such as Mark Mothersbaugh, Barney Bubbles, Neville Brody, Vaughan Oliver, Malcolm Garrett, and Peter Saville), political statements, sexual orientation, the influence of comic books and science fiction, and the New York scene.
Beginning with punk and extending into protopunk and New Wave, “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die” highlights the graphic presentation and messaging of such seminal figures as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello, Black Flag, Blondie, Buzzcocks, the Smiths, Kraftwerk, Devo, Patti Smith, the Cramps, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Talking Heads, Joy Division, the Slits, and the Dead Kennedys. Rare archival photographs by Fred W. McDarrah, Danny Fields, Bob Gruen, David Godlis, and others accompany Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s audiovisual installation Please Kill Me: Voices from the Archive, featuring fab interviews with and/or about Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Nico and the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, the New York Dolls, Debbie Harry, Jim Carroll, and many others; in an adjoining room, a black-and-white film boasts live performances (with dubbed-in audio). Jamie Reid’s brash work with the Sex Pistols stands out, challenging the status quo and resulting in lawsuits for its appropriation of corporate logos. You can also create your own private playlist the old-fashioned way, picking through a few boxes of vinyl records and spinning them on one of two turntables, listening on bulky headphones. The majority of objects are on loan from collector and archivist Andrew Krivine; the exhibition, originally presented at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan, is lovingly curated by Andrew Blauvelt and has been tweaked for the New York iteration. On August 8, MAD is hosting a pair of workshops, “Button Design with MAD Fellow Tamara Santibañez” (pay-what-you-wish, 6:00) and “Let's Draw with Mark Mothersbaugh!” ($15, 6:30).
Who: Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers
What: Summer of Sorcery Tour
Where: Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway between West 74th & 75th Sts.
When: Wednesday, November 6, $45 - $125, 7:30
Why: While the Boss is away, Little Stevie still must play. Steven Van Zandt, aka Little Steven, aka Miami Steve, is one of the busiest men in rock and roll. He starred in The Sopranos and Lillyhammer, runs the Underground Garage and Renegade Nation, tours the world with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and produces such shows as The Rascals: Once upon a Dream on Broadway. But with Bruce first spending a year on the Great White Way with his (mostly) one-man show and now taking a year off from touring, Stevie has returned to his solo career with a vengeance, bringing back the Disciples of Soul, with whom he recorded such great albums as Men without Women and Freedom — No Compromise in the 1980s. Steve and his band have been on the road since March 2017, first in support of Soulfire, consisting of reworkings of some of his best songs given to other artists, and now Summer of Sorcery, his first album of new material since 1999’s Born Again Savage, which featured songs from 1989-90 recorded in 1994. Tickets are now on sale to catch Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul at the Beacon on November 6, with a very special opening act, Peter Wolf and the Midnight Travelers; Wolf’s latest album is 2016’s A Cure for Loneliness. Teachers get in free as part of Stevie’s TeachRock initiative.
EASY RIDER (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
Radio City Music Hall
1260 Sixth Ave. at Fiftieth St.
Friday, September 20, 8:00 — tickets go on sale August 2 at noon
Fifty years ago, a film came along that perfectly captured sociopolitical changes taking place across America; the golden anniversary of that revolutionary tale is being celebrated on September 20 at Radio City Music Hall with a special one-night-only screening introduced by one of the stars and featuring songs played live by some of the original artists. Tickets go on sale at noon on August 2 for Easy Rider Live, a gala presentation of a newly remastered print of Dennis Hopper’s seminal film, which was named Best First Work at Cannes, with opening remarks by costar Peter Fonda and live performances by Roger McGuinn, John Kay of Steppenwolf, and special guests, produced by T Bone Burnett.
No mere relic of the late 1960s counterculture movement, Easy Rider still holds up as one of the truly great road movies, inviting audiences to climb on board as two peace-loving souls search for freedom on the highways and byways of the good ol’ U.S. of A. Named after a pair of famous western gunslingers, Wyatt (producer and cowriter Fonda), as in Earp, and Billy (director and cowriter Hopper), as in “the Kid,” make some fast cash by selling coke to a fancy connection (Phil Spector!), then take off on their souped-up bikes, determined to make it to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras. Along the way, they break bread with a rancher (Warren Finnerty) and his family, hang out in a hippie commune, pick up small-town alcoholic lawyer George Hanson (an Oscar-nominated Jack Nicholson), don’t get served in a diner, and eventually hook up with friendly prostitutes Karen (Karen Black) and Mary (Toni Basil) in the Big Easy. “You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it,” George says to Billy as they start discussing the concept and reality of freedom. “Oh, yeah, that’s right. That’s what it’s all about, all right. But talkin’ about it and bein’ it, that’s two different things. I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em.”
The always calm Wyatt, who is also known as Captain America, and the nervous and jumpy Billy make one of cinema’s coolest duos ever as they personally experience the radical changes going on in the country, leading to a tragic conclusion. The Academy Award–nominated script, written with Terry Southern, remains fresh and relevant as it examines American capitalism and democracy in a way that is still debated today, particularly on Twitter. And the soundtrack — well, it virtually defined the era, featuring such songs as Steppenwolf’s “The Pusher” and “Born to Be Wild,” Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9,” the Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night),” the Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today,” Thunderclap Newman’s “Something in the Air,” and McGuinn’s “Ballad of Easy Rider.” The Radio City event should offer contemporary insight on just how far we’ve come — or haven’t — in half a century.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, August 3, free (some events require advance tickets), 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum gets ready for the West Indian American Day Carnival on Labor Day in the August edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by Los Habaneros, DJ I.M., DJ TYGAPAW, and Noise Cans; a hands-on workshop in which participants can make Caribbean carnival masks; a Flag Fête workshop and performance with Haitian choreographer and dance instructor Charnice Charmant and Afrobeat dancers; teen pop-up gallery talks on “Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha”; a screening of Khalik Allah’s Black Mother, followed by a talkback with Allah and curator Drew Sawyer; Likkle Bites with food from Caribbean-owned Brooklyn businesses Greedi Vegan and Island Pops; an artist talk with Liz Johnson Artur; and the discussion “Yoruba in Pop Culture” with Grammy winner Chief Ayanda Clarke, presented by the Fadara Group. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Garry Winogrand: Color,” “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall,” “Eric N. Mack: Lemme walk across the room,” “Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha,” “One: Egúngún,” “Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion,” “Infinite Blue,” “Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on Paper,” and more.
London-based troupe Boy Blue’s Blak Whyte Gray made its US debut last November at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. The sold-out dance-theater production proved so popular that Lincoln Center is bringing it back, running August 1-3 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College as part of — surprise! — the annual summer Mostly Mozart Festival. The three-part, ninety-minute piece offers an abstract look at culture and identity, incorporating hip-hop, African chanting, electronics, and more. The music and creative direction are by Boy Blue cofounder Michael “Mikey J” Asante, with choreography and direction by Kenrick “H2O” Sandy, lighting by Lee Curran, and costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight. The August 2 show will be followed by a talk with Sandy and Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, professor, and critic Margo Jefferson. “The time is right to ask questions, to break free from the inner tension of a system that isn’t working, and to emerge on the other side to an awakening — a return to roots, a celebration of culture,” Boy Blue’s website explains about Blak Whyte Gray. Mostly Mozart continues through August 9 with plenty of Wolfgang programs as well as Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Yang Liping Contemporary Dance’s Under Siege, and International Contemporary Ensemble performing works by Nathan Davis, Ann Cleare, György Kurtág, Kate Soper, Anahita Abbasi, and Dai Fujikura.
U.S. Grant National Memorial Park
Wes 122nd St. & Riverside Dr.
Sunday, July 28, free, 12 noon - 8:30 pm
Festival runs July 28 - August 31
Tens of thousands of people are expected to converge in U.S. Grant National Memorial Park on July 28 for the beloved Great Day in Harlem festival, part of the forty-fifth annual summer Harlem Week celebration. This year’s theme is “Our Local History Creates a Global Impact,” focusing on Harlem’s cultural influence around the world, while the music theme is Bill Withers’s classic “Lovely Day.” A Great Day in Harlem will feature an International Vendors Village from 12 noon to 8:00, the Artz, Rootz, and Rhythm International Cultural Showcase at 1:00, the Regional Gospel Caravan at 3:00 with Bishop Hezekiah Walker, the McDonald’s Gospel Super Choir, Kirk Franklin, and a tribute to Dr. Bobby Jones, a Fashion Fusion Showcase at 4:30 honoring the Black Fashion Museum, and “A Concert under the Stars” at 6:00 with Nicole Bus, Harlem Week music director Ray Chew, and more paying tribute to Spike Lee and the thirtieth anniversary of Do the Right Thing and Robert “Kool” Bell of Kool & the Gang in honor of the group’s fiftieth anniversary. Harlem Week continues through August 31 with such other events as the Youth S.T.E.A.M. Hackathon on August 1, New York City Economic Development Day on August 8, Summer in the City on August 17, Harlem Day on August 18, and Harlem Restaurant Week beginning August 19.
Dancer and choreographer Ligia Lewis takes her Sensation series outside with the captivating Sensation 1 / This Interior, continuing in the High Line’s Fourteenth Street Passage through July 25. The free show is set in one half of the divided passageway under a building, protecting it from potential rain, and the audience gathers at either of the two ends or lines up against the long, horizontal walls. Over the course of sixty minutes, Trinity Bobo, Emma Cohen, Rebecca Gual, Miguel Ángel Guzmán, Stephanie Peña, and Jumatatu M. Poe slowly walk into the space one at a time, moving extremely slowly as they head to spots marked on the ground by a pink “X.” When they reach their destination, they stay there for an extended period of time, their feet firmly planted on the ground as their bodies convulse, their hands reach out, and their faces contort into silent screams, set to an electronic score by Twin Shadow (aka George Lewis Jr., Lygia’s brother) that begins as noise, then incorporates words and phrases before transforming into a song.
To best experience the powerful performance — admission is free with advance RSVP — attendees are strongly encouraged to walk throughout the area, weaving around the dancers and making direct eye contact; it is like a sculpture garden where the statues have come to life, moving in agonizing, yearning ways. (Of course, the High Line is itself a sculpture garden, its 1.4-mile length filled with changing site-specific artworks.) Very few audience members, however, took advantage of that opportunity on opening night; after the show, I spoke with several of the dancers, who said they want the people to walk around them in the shared space, to become part of what is happening together. The Dominican-born, Berlin-based Lewis, who has recently completed a trilogy consisting of Sorrow Swag (2014), minor matter (2016), and Water Will (in Melody) (2018), rightfully calls this outdoor piece Interior, as it delves deep into what’s inside all of us, and needs to get out.