178 Second Ave. between Eleventh & Twelfth Sts.
Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20, $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $20 food/beverage minimum, 9:30
Friday, November 16, and Saturday, November 17, $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $20 food/beverage minimum, 9:30
In a November 2015 twi-ny talk, Raquel Cion said, “Isn’t it great to be amidst a flurry of Bowie activity?” referring to Bowie’s sudden resurgence with an off-Broadway musical, new album, and various other new songs. “Oh, I have so much to say,” she added. Cion continues to have much to say as the show keeps evolving, especially following Bowie’s death in January 2016 at the age of sixty-nine; the massive success of the immensely popular “David Bowie is” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, for which you need to get timed tickets in advance; and Cion’s own battle with breast cancer, which she bravely documented on social media.
In Me & Mr. Jones: My Intimate Relationship with David Bowie, librarian and chanteuse Cion reflects on her life through her worship of Bowie — who was born David Jones — singing Bowie songs and sharing deeply personal anecdotes that are both moving and funny. She is not a Bowie impersonator; she interprets Bowie’s extraordinary music with intelligence, verve, and love. She continues the fall residency of her glittery multimedia performance, which was nominated for a 2015 New York Cabaret Award for Best Musical Comedy or Alt Cabaret Show, at Pangea October 19-20 and November 16-17, joined by Jeremy Bass on guitar, Daniel Shuman on bass, Michael Ryan Morales on drums, and music director Karl Saint Lucy on piano. If you’ve seen it before, Cion is promising significant ch-ch-ch-changes for this iteration. The show is directed by Cynthia Cahill, and Cion’s glam outfits are by David Quinn. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, with a $20 food and beverage minimum.
25th St. at Fifth Ave., Brooklyn
Saturday, October 20, $75, 8:00
Friday’s site-specific performance of Nightfall: A Moonlit Exploration is sold out, but tickets are still available for Saturday’s show, taking place in historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. You’ll be guided through the Gothic Arches and up and down the endless paths, following thousands of flickering candles as you pass by a vast array of tombs, graves, and crypts that date back hundreds of years. As you go, you’ll encounter music, storytelling, film, and more by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Rooftop Films, Morbid Anatomy, and others, curated by Unison Media, the company behind “Crypt Sessions” and “Angel’s Share.” Tickets are $75, for twenty-one and over only. If you’ve never been to the amazing Green-Wood Cemetery, this should be a great introduction to one of the city’s genuine treasures, especially around Halloween.
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and other NYU locations
566 La Guardia Pl. between Third & Fourth Sts.
October 17-28, free with advance RSVP
This past May, Karl Marx would have turned two hundred years old. The NYU Skirball Center is celebrating his bicentennial with twelve days of special free programming honoring the man who wrote, “The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political, and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.” Audiences can also determine if they want to contribute to the performances based on supply and demand and their own consciousness; the events are all free with advance RSVP but donations are welcome. The “Karl Marx Festival: On Your Marx” begins October 17 at 7:30 with London-based Bulgarian performance artist Ivo Dimchev’s one-hour show, P Project, in which people from the audience will get paid by agreeing to do spur-of-the-moment things involving words that begin with the letter “P.” For example, Dimchev will present them with tasks that might involve such words as Piano, Pray, Pussy, Poetry, Poppers, etc. On October 18 at 6:00, NYU professors Erin Gray, Arun Kundnani, Michael Ralph, and Nikhil Singh will discuss “Racial Capitalism” at the Tamiment Library. On October 19 at 9:30, DJs AndrewAndrew will spin Marxist discs along with readings by special guests from Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto.
On October 19 and 20 at 7:30, Brooklyn-based Uruguayan dancer and choreographer luciana achugar will present the world premiere of Brujx, which explores ideas of labor. On October 22 at 6:30, Slavoj Žižek will deliver the Skirball Talks lecture “The Fate of the Commons: A Trotskyite View.” On October 23 at 5:30, NYU professors Lisa Daily, Dean Saranillio, and Jerome Whitington will discuss “Futurity & Consumption” at the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis. On October 24 at 4:00, author Sarah Rose will talk about her 2017 book, No Right to Be Idle at the eighth floor commons at 239 Greene St. On October 25 at 5:30, luciana achugar, Julie Tolentino, and Amin Husain will join for the conversation “Labor, Aesthetics, Identity” at the Department of Performance Studies. On October 26 at 7:30, Malik Gaines, Miguel Gutierrez, Latasha N. Nevada Diggs, Ryan McNamara, Seung-Min Lee, and Alison Kizu-Blair will stage “Courtesy the Artists: Popular Revolt,” a live-sourced multimedia work directed by Alexandro Segade and Amy Ruhl. The festival concludes October 28 at 5:00 with Ethan Philbrick’s Choral Marx, a singing adaptation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s Manifesto for the Communist Party, performed by Benjamin Bath, Gelsey Bell, Sarah Chihaya, Hai-ting Chinn, Tomás Cruz, Amirtha Kidambi, Brian McQueen, Gizelxanath Rodriguez, and Ryan Tracy.
NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL: CARMINE STREET GUITARS (Ron Mann, 2018)
Film Society of Lincoln Center
West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway
Saturday, October 6, Walter Reade Theater, 4:15
Monday, October 8, Francesca Beale Theater, 2:30
Festival runs through October 14
In the second half of Ron Mann’s utterly delightful and unique documentary Carmine Street Guitars, a well-dressed, well-groomed young man enters the title store in Greenwich Village and identifies himself as Adam Shalom, a Realtor who is selling the building next door. Shalom tries to talk about square footage, but Carmine Street Guitars founder and owner Rick Kelly barely looks up as he continues cleaning a fret. It’s a critical, uncomfortable moment in an otherwise intimate and inviting film; throughout the rest of the eighty-minute documentary, the soft-spoken Kelly talks guitars and craftsmanship with a stream of very cool musicians and his punk-looking young apprentice, Cindy Hulej. But Shalom’s arrival harkens to one of the main reasons why Mann made the movie: to capture one of the last remaining old-time shops in a changing neighborhood, a former bohemian paradise that has been taken over by hipsters and corporate culture, by upscale stores and restaurants and luxury apartments. You’ll actually cheer that Kelly gives Shalom such short shrift, but you’ll also realize that Shalom and others might be knocking again at that door all too soon.
The rest of the film is an absolute treat. Mann follows five days in the life of Carmine Street Guitars; each day begins with a static shot of the store from across the street, emphasizing it as part of a community as people walk by or Kelly, who was born in Bay Shore, arrives with a piece of wood he’s scavenged. The camera then moves indoors to show Kelly and Hulej making guitars by hand, using old, outdated tools and wood primarily from local buildings that date back to the nineteenth century. Kelly doesn’t do computers and doesn’t own a cell phone; he leaves all that to Hulej, who posts pictures of new six-strings on Instagram. Meanwhile, Kelly’s ninetysomething mother, Dorothy, works in the back of the crazily cluttered store, taking care of the books with an ancient adding machine. Over the course of the week, they are visited by such musicians as Dallas and Travis Good of the Sadies (who composed the film’s soundtrack), “Captain” Kirk Douglas of the Roots, Eleanor Friedberger, Dave Hill of Valley Lodge, Jamie Hince of the Kills, Nels Cline of Wilco, Christine Bougie of Bahamas, Marc Ribot, and Charlie Sexton. Bill Frisell plays an impromptu surf-guitar instrumental version of the Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl.” Stewart Hurwood, Lou Reed’s longtime guitar tech, talks about using Reed’s guitars for the ongoing “DRONES” live installation. “It’s like playing a piece of New York,” Lenny Kaye says about the guitars made from local wood while also referring to the shop as part of the “real village.”
Mann, the Canadian director of such previous nonfiction films as Grass, Know Your Mushrooms, and Comic Book Confidential, was inspired to make the movie at the suggestion of his friend Jarmusch, who in addition to directing such works as Stranger Than Paradise (which featured Balint), Down by Law, and 2016 NYFF selection Paterson is in the New York band Sqürl. Plus, it was Jarmusch who first got Kelly interested in crafting his guitars with wood from buildings, “the bones of old New York,” resulting in Telecaster-based six-strings infused with the history of Chumley’s, McSorley’s, the Chelsea Hotel, and other city landmarks. Carmine Street Guitars, which is far more than just mere guitar porn, is screening in the Spotlight on Documentary section of the New York Film Festival on October 6 and 8, with Mann participating in Q&As after each show, joined by special guests, including Kelly and Hulej on October 6. The film will be preceded by the world premiere of eighty-seven-year-old Manfred Kirchheimer’s thirty-nine-minute Dream of a City, a collage of 16mm black-and-white images of construction sites and street scenes taken between 1958 and 1960, set to music by Shostakovich and Debussy. Kirchheimer (Stations of the Elevated) will also be at both Q&As as well as the October 6 free NYFF Docs Talk with Alexis Bloom, James Longley, Mark Bozek, and Tom Surgal, moderated by Lesli Klainberg.
Now that we’re in October, sunset has moved into the 6:30 range, but “civil” twilight is hovering around 7:00. So it is appropriate that from October 3-8, the High Line will be hosting The Mile-Long Opera, a biography of 7 o’clock, beginning each night at seven. The free presentation consists of one thousand singers from across New York, delivering the world premiere of this site-specific event, as the audience makes their way along the elevated park. The words were written by poets Anne Carson (librettist) and Claudia Rankine (essayist), based on interviews conducted with New Yorkers at Abrons Arts Center and the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce in Manhattan, ARTs East NY in Brooklyn, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement in Queens, the POINTCDC in the Bronx, and Snug Harbor in Staten Island, discussing what seven o’clock means to them. The work was created by composer David Lang and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the design studio behind the High Line. The Mile-Long Opera is directed by Elizabeth Diller and Lynsey Peisinger, with music direction by Donald Nally, sound by Jody Elff, lighting by John Torres, and costumes by Carlos Soto; wildly inventive, multidisciplinary Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson is the creative adviser. Although advance registration is closed, there will be standby lines beginning at 6:30 each night at Gansevoort & Washington Sts.; since the event is free, you can expect many people who have signed up will not show, so there should be a pretty good chance of getting in. You can also experience the event in 360 degrees via an app that will be available on October 3. So think about it: Just what does 7:00 mean to you?
Belgian choreographer Anne de Keersmaeker has been making deeply thoughtful, intellectually exciting, stunningly beautiful work — “the art of dance as an act of writing movements in space and time,” as it says in the mission statement of her company — for nearly four decades. On October 1, just a few weeks after its September 12 world premiere in Berlin, her eagerly anticipated adaptation of The Six Brandenburg Concertos opens at the Park Avenue Armory, home to several great explorations of Bach, from the 2014 St. Matthew Passion by Peter Sellars, with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, to the 2015 Goldberg by pianist Igor Levit and visual artist Marina Abramovic. De Keersmaeker’s piece is choreographed for sixteen members of all generations in her Rosas company, performed to all six concertos played live by noted baroque orchestra B’Rock, conducted by Amandine Beyer, who has worked with De Keekrmaeker previously. With costumes by An D’Huys and set and lighting design by Jan Versweyveld, Ivo van Hove’s partner and regular collaborator, the two-hour piece promises to be a fascinating look at the interplay of pattern in music and movement, interpreted by masters.
De Keersmaeker has never shied from setting her works to music that is both challenging and fiercely beloved; in 1980, her well-known Violin Phase was performed to the music of Steve Reich, and just a year ago in September, twi-ny was riveted by her work with Salva Sanchez on A Love Supreme at New York Live Arts, performed to John Coltrane’s classic album. “Like no other, Bach’s music carries within itself movement and dance, managing to combine the greatest abstraction with a concrete, physical, and, subsequently, even transcendental dimension,” De Keersmaeker has said. In a recent interview with Jan Vandenhouwe, artistic director of Kunsthuis Opera Vlaanderen Royal Ballet Flanders, De Keersmaeker noted, “Just like Bach in composing, I have to impose rules on myself which over time I can break. . . . Measure by measure we try to compensate Bach’s musical counterpoint with a choreographic counterpoint. It is certainly an enormous challenge to match the logic of the dance vocabulary with that of the music.” It’s a challenge that will be met in the Wade Thompson Drill Hall during this very special week of performances, by De Keersmaeker and her co-creators and dancers, Boštjan Antončič, Carlos Garbin, Frank Gizycki, Marie Goudot, Robin Haghi, Cynthia Loemij, Mark Lorimer, Michaël Pomero, Jason Respilieux, Igor Shyshko, Luka Švajda, Jakub Truszkowski, Thomas Vantuycom, Samantha van Wissen, Sandy Williams, and Sue Yeon Youn. De Keersmaeker and Beyer will take part in an artist talk with Performa founding director and chief curator RoseLee Goldberg on October 4 at 6:00; the event is sold out, but it will be streamed live on Facebook here.