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.
With MoMA’s main digs in Midtown under renovation, the second summer PopRally is going across the river to Staten Island on July 27. Partnering with Rooftop Films, MoMA is holding the festivities at one of the city’s genuine treasures, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, for food, drink, music, film, and more. The main event is a 9:00 screening of Ron Howard’s classic 1984 comedy, Splash, starring Tom Hanks as Allen Bauer, a single guy who falls in love with a mermaid (Daryl Hannah) who is being tracked by a scientist (Eugene Levy); John Candy is Hanks’s crazy brother. The evening will also include giveaways, trivia contests, music from DJ Tom of Maker Park Radio and the Gotham Easy Brass Band, beverages from Five Boroughs Brewing Co., and food from Staten Island vendors Ho’ Brah Tacos and Egger’s Ice Cream Parlor. Free shuttle bus service will be provided between Snug Harbor and the Staten Island Ferry terminal before and after the screening. Attendees are encouraged but not required to show up in aquatic costumes; you can bring a blanket (limited chairs will be available) that you can spread out on the South Meadow. Go early and check out the lovely Snug Harbor itself; admission is only five dollars and it’s open till five. PopRally will be traveling to the Bronx next.
Who: Nick Zinner and an all-star group of musicians
What: “41 Strings”
Where: Rockefeller Center plaza, between 49th & 50th Sts. and Fifth & Sixth Aves.
When: Saturday, July 27, free, 6:00
Why: On July 27, Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner will perform his symphonic composition “41 Strings” in Rockefeller Plaza. A celebration of the four seasons, the four-part, twenty-eight-minute work, cowritten with creative producer Berrin Noorata, debuted in 2011 for the forty-first anniversary of Earth Day. At Rockefeller Center, Zinner, an adventurous musician and photographer who has collaborated on several artistic projects, will be joined by guitarists Paul Banks of Interpol, Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Band, Sarah Lipstate of Noveller, Aku Orraca-Tetteh of Florence and the Machine, Ava Mendoza of Unnatural Ways, Angel Deradoorian, and Andrew Wyatt, in addition to synth players Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem and Ben Vida of Soft Circle, drummers Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ryan Sawyer of Gang Gang Dance, and Hisham Bharoocha of Soft Circle and Black Dice, bassists Jaleel Bunton of TV on the Radio and Andy Macleod, and a thirty-five piece string ensemble with arrangements by Gillian Rivers. The free concert will begin at 6:00 with “IIII” by Bharoocha, Chase, Sawyer, Vida, and student drummers. You can get a taste of what’s to come in this Creators Project video from 2011.
Komische Oper Berlin teams up with British company 1927 for a candy-colored fantastical version of The Magic Flute, which kicks off Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Directed by Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky, the nearly three-hour delight features the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, conducted by Louis Langrée, playing in front of a terrific cast and a large white wall on which Paul Barritt projects fanciful hand-drawn animation throughout. The performers, who mostly appear and disappear through several doors at multiple levels of the wall — the set is by Esther Bialas, who also designed the fun costumes — interact directly with the cartoonish images, petting a black cat, sending hearts, blowing smoke rings, and being chased by a fire-breathing serpent. None of librettist Emanuel Schikaneder’s dialogue is spoken; instead, it is projected in dramatic fonts projected on the wall.
After being saved in a dark forest by the Queen of the Night (alternately played by Audrey Luna or Aleksandra Olczyk), Tamino (Julien Behr / Aaron Blake) meets Papageno (Rodion Pogossov / Evan Hughes), who initially takes credit for the rescue and so is punished by the Three Ladies (Ashley Milanese, Karolina Gumos, and Ezgi Kutlu), who make him mute by taking away his mouth, which flies across the screen like a chattering teeth toy. The ladies, who serve the queen, show Tamino a picture of the ruler’s daughter, Pamina (Maureen McKay / Vera-Lotte Böcker), to Tamino, who instantly falls in love with her. But Pamina has been captured by the evil Monostatos (Johannes Dunz) for his boss, the intellectual Sarastro (Dimitry Ivashchenko / Wenwei Zhang). For protection, the ladies give Tamino a magic flute (an animated fairy) and Papageno magic bells that emerge from a box as tiny dancers. As Tamino tries to free Pamina through a series of trials (silence, temptation, fire and water), Papageno searches for his own love.
Combining vaudeville, silent movie tropes, a bawdy sense of humor, anime, and a heartfelt reverence for Mozart’s extraordinary music, this version of The Magic Flute — Wolfgang’s 1791 work, which premiered only a few months before his death at the age of thirty-five, was not made for opera aficionados but for the general public — creates a devilishly delicious, weird and wonderful world that will bring out the kid in you, although it is not necessarily for die Kinder. The staging is endlessly inventive, and the cast has everything timed to the second as they immerse themselves into the animation, which is spectacular, particularly the Queen of the Night, who is a giant eight-legged spider. Tantalizing references abound: The magic flute itself is a Tinker Bell-like naked winged creature, Monostatos evokes F. W. Murnau’s vampire Nosferatu, Sarastro looks like silent-film pioneer Georges Méliès, Papageno is a cross between Buster Keaton and Ed Wynn, and the magic bells and the three spirit boys recall Henry Darger’s drawings. Diego Leetz deserves special mention for his magnificent lighting design, with its many nods to silent cinema, as well as principal Jasmine Choi and Tanya Dusevic Witek on flute. It’s a shame this production, so bursting with life’s energy and romance, treachery and trepidation, is running only four days, as it’s a Magic Flute for the ages.
Who: Raquel Cion, Jeremy Bass, Rembert Block, David Cale, Amanda Duarte, Amy Priya Santos, Genevieve Chapin, Michael Ryan Morales, Karl Saint Lucy, DM Salsberg, Zac Selissen
What: Benefit for NARAL Pro-Choice America
Where: Pangea, 178 2nd Ave., 212-995-0900
When: Friday, July 19, $15-$35 in advance, $20-$40 at the door, 8:00
Why: Since early 2015, glittering chanteuse Raquel Cion has presented her inspiring, ever-evolving show Me & Mr. Jones: My Intimate Relationship with David Bowie, a deeply personal look of the impact the Thin White Duke has had on her life and career. On July 19, Cion will be celebrating her half-century birthday at Pangea, paying homage to Bowie’s fiftieth-birthday concert at Madison Square Garden, performing songs by Mr. Jones with special guests Jeremy Bass, Rembert Block, David Cale, Amanda Duarte, Amy Priya Santos and a backing band consisting of Zac Selissen on guitar, musical director Karl Saint Lucy on keyboards, Genevieve Chapin on bass, Michael Ryan Morales on drums, and DM Salsberg on vocals. Tickets for “Raquel Cion & Friends: A Very Special Birthday Concert” are $35 in advance ($40 at the door) for VIP cabaret seating and hors d’oeuvres and $15 in advance ($20 at the door) for the bar area live feed, with proceeds benefiting NARAL Pro-Choice America. Everyone will partake of what should be a spectacular birthday cake by rogue pastry chef Miranti Dame Cuchi, but not as fabulous as Ms. Cion herself, who will be all dolled up in couture by David Quinn and makeup by Coco Bennett.
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
72 Bowne St., Red Hook
Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14, $95-$390
Twenty-two drivers and eleven teams will hit the streets of Red Hook for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship grand finale, taking place July 13 and 14 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. On Saturday, the gates open at 7:00 in the morning, with practice on the Red Hook Circuit at 7:30 and 10:00, qualifying at 11:45, and racing at 4:00. On Sunday, the gates open again at 7:00, with practice at 9:00, qualifying at 11:45, and the race at 4:00. Tickets begin at $95 for the grandstand and $390 for the podium lounge. The family-friendly Allianz E-Village is open all day both days, with live performances (beatbox flautist Greg Pattillo, King Charles Unicycle Troupe, banjo and bass duo Coyote Crow, Emphasis Entertainment Dance Crew, others), stunts, technological innovations, autograph sessions, virtual reality simulators, Smorgasburg food, and more ($12, kids under twelve free with adults). Team DS Techeetah, with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne and André Lotterer, are currently number one in the standings with 216 points, followed by Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler (Daniel Abt and Lucas Di Grassi) at 173, Envision Virgin Racing (Sam Bird and Robin Frijns) at 150, and the Nissan e.dams team (Sébastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland) at 139. During the races, watch out for Attack Mode, and you can vote to give five drivers a Fanboost.