This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


Cutting-edge technology will allow Fab Four to come together for world tour

Cutting-edge technology will allow Fab Four to come together for world tour

The impossible is happening: The Beatles are getting back together. In a surprise announcement at the Liverpool Street Station in London, surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr said that the Fab Four would be reuniting for the whirlwind “Fool on the Hill” tour, using cutting-edge holographic technology to make it appear that John Lennon, who was shot and killed in December 1980 in New York City at the age of forty, and George Harrison, who died from lung cancer in 2001 at the age of fifty-eight, are live onstage. Concerts featuring such late icons as Prince, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson have had mixed results, but Dennis O’Dell, cofounder of Holo Again Imaging, explained in a statement that the next barrier has been crossed. “The simulation now is so seamless, you’ll fully believe that John, Paul, George, and Ringo are back together, playing their hits like they did at Shea Stadium, on Ed Sullivan, and at the Cavern Club.”

Beatles reunion tour includes monthlong  Broadway residency

Beatles reunion tour includes monthlong Broadway residency

It’s a family affair this time around, with Ringo’s son, Zak Starkey, playing drums, George’s son, Dhani Harrison, on guitar, and John’s sons, Sean Ono Lennon and Julian Lennon, supplying backing vocals, along with Paul’s son, James McCartney. Paul’s daughter, Stella McCartney, will design the costumes, while John’s widow, Yoko Ono, will design the set. “We couldn’t be more excited,” Paul said after emerging with Ringo from a train styled like the one the Beatles rode in A Hard Day’s Night. “Ringo and I have performed a lot together over the years, but for the four of us to reunite like this, it’s really a dream come true.” Ringo added, “We’re looking forward to spreading peace and love around the world. This music is boundless. I can’t wait.”

The tour opens July 1 at Wembley Stadium and will conclude in December with a monthlong residency on Broadway, where tickets will be available by lottery only and will range in price from $200 to $5,000. “I’m thrilled that we are able to work this out,” Paul said as he put his arm around Ringo. “A splendid time is guaranteed for all!” More information can be found on the official tour website here.


kiss book

Who: Lynn Goldsmith
What: Book talk, Q&A, and signing
Where: Morrison Hotel Gallery, 116 Prince St., second floor, 212-941-8770
When: Tuesday, March 26, free, 6:00 - 8:00
Why: From 1977 to 1980, photographer Lynn Goldsmith chronicled the rise of KISS, the hard rock group consisting of lead singer and bassist Gene Simmons, lead guitarist Ace Frehley, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley, and drummer Peter Criss. On March 27, the band, which now features Simmons, Stanley, lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, and drummer Eric Singer, will play Madison Square Garden for the last time as it makes its way around the world on its farewell tour. The night before, on March 26 at 6:00, Goldsmith will be at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince St. to present her 2017 gift to the loyal KISS Army, KISS: 1977-1980, an illustrated book that collects more than 250 shots of the band along with text contributions from Simmons and Stanley. “I have to admit appreciating singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, or Paul Simon a great deal more than the music of KISS, but who would I rather photograph or pay to see in concert? No contest: KISS,” Goldsmith writes in the introduction. Goldsmith will talk about working with KISS, participate in a Q&A, and sign copies of the book; in addition, prints will be on display. If you’re wondering where KISS is that night, it’s the third of three off-days prior to the MSG show.


(photo by Da Ping Luo)

Laurie Anderson will be presenting “Lou Reed Drones” March 13 at St. John the Divine (photo by Da Ping Luo)

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Ave. at 112th St.
Wednesday, March 13, free with advance RSVP, 6:30 - 11:30 pm

When punk godfather Lou Reed departed this mortal coil on October 13, 2013, at the age of seventy-one, he left behind a legacy of music, poetry, and good old New York City toughness. His songs and style have so influenced our concepts of “downtown,” “cool,” and “rock,” it’s as if he’s still with us. And that’s how it will feel on March 13, when his longtime partner, musician and artist Laurie Anderson, presents “Lou Reed Drones” in the Crossing at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for five hours beginning at 6:30. The soundscape installation features more than a half dozen of Reed’s guitars, each one in front of a large amplifier; his former guitar tech and collaborator Stewart Hurwood fiddles with various knobs and dials as droning feedback noise emerges, a different emanation of Reed’s famed Metal Machine Music. We saw the piece two years ago in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, where we could lie on the floor and just let it vibrate in all our cells; it’s a dramatic piece that can take you wherever you want to go, reaching another level as it floats into St. John the Divine’s eight-second echo. (Visitors are encouraged to walk around the space to experience unique sonic perceptions.) That performance offered the bonus of additional live musicians, including Anderson on violin. Free with advance RSVP, the work is part of the exhibition “The Value of Sanctuary: Building a House without Walls,” which continues at the cathedral through June 30.


van morrison

Who: Brian Fallon, Shawn Colvin, the Secret Sisters, Richard Marx, Marc Cohn, Bettye LaVette, Josh Ritter, Glen Hansard, Anderson East, the Resistance Revival Chorus, Lee Fields, David Johansen, Blind Boys of Alabama, Robert Earl Keen, William Elliott Whitmore, John Paul White, Darlene Love, Low Cut Connie, Valerie June, Patti Smith, and the house band of Tony Garnier, Steve Jordan, Smokey Hormel, and Leon Pendarvis, with more to be announced
What: Fundraising tribute to Van Morrison benefiting music programs for kids
Where: Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, 57th St. & Seventh Ave., 212-247-7800
When: Thursday, March 21, $48-$175 (VIP packages $325-$10,000), 8:00
Why: Since 2006, City Winery has been staging “Music of” benefit tribute shows to legendary performers at Carnegie Hall, from David Bowie, Prince, Aretha Franklin, and Bruce Springsteen to Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Webb, and the Who. This year City Winery owner Michael Dorf turns to Irish troubadour Van Morrison, the seventy-three-year-old Belfast-born genius who has made such albums as Astral Weeks, Moondance, Into the Music, Beautiful Vision, The Healing Game, and Pay the Devil. Equally adept at jazz, blues, R&B, rock, and soul, Morrison started with Them in 1964 and has released forty records as a solo artist, including six since 2015. In addition to being one of the great songwriters of all time and boasting one of the most gorgeous voices in the business, Morrison is a master at reinterpreting the work of others, so it should be fascinating to see how a group of fellow musicians cover his tunes March 21 at Carnegie Hall; the impressive roster is listed above. There will also be a rehearsal show at City Winery the night before ($45-$65, 8:00). All proceeds will benefit Midori & Friends, the Center for Arts Education, Little Kids Rock, the Grammy Music Education Coaliton, Fixing Instruments for Kids in Schools, the Orchestra Now, Jazz House Kids, the D’Addario Foundation, the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Sonic Arts for All, and the Church Street School for Music & Art.


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Martha Rosler’s A Gourmet Experience and Objects with No Titles are part of Jewish Museum retrospective (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd St.
Through March 3, $8-$18, pay-what-you-wish Thursday from 5:00 - 8:00, free Saturday

In November 2012, I tried to buy a mahjongg case from renowned artist Martha Rosler as part of her MoMA atrium presentation “Meta-Monumental Garage Sale,” but alas, we couldn’t agree on a price. However, I’ve completely bought into the Brooklyn-born artist and activist’s latest show, “Irrespective,” an involving survey exhibition continuing at the Jewish Museum through March 3. “We need to be out there, but we also need to be in here, because otherwise the art world will go on doing the things it’s done in the way it’s done it, and that is not really the best that art can be,” Rosler explains on the audioguide. “It’s hard for me to look at my own life as other than just keeping on with doing what I was doing, which was a tripartite thing: making work, writing about ways of thinking about the world and about the production of art, and teaching.” That perspective shines through in the exhibit, which includes photography, sculpture, video, text, and installation going back five decades, taking on war, advertising, mass media, political leaders, the education system, modes of travel, and more from a decidedly feminist angle.

(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Martha Rosler, Prototype (Freedom Is Not Free), resin, composite, metal, paint, and printed transfers, 2006 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Curators Darsie Alexander and Shira Backer and designers New Affiliates, in close collaboration with Rosler, have reconfigured the museum space, which is laid out almost like a maze as visitors go from gallery to gallery in whichever order they choose, following no specific pattern as they encounter Rosler’s oeuvre uniquely, on their own path, echoing the range of her subject matter and media. (However, it is loosely chronological if you go counterclockwise.) As you enter, to your left is Prototype (Freedom Is Not Free), a giant mechanical leg that threatens to kick you; it relates to the prosthetics soldiers need after losing a limb to an IED, while the inclusion of images of stiletto heels invokes women warriors as well as wives, mothers, girlfriends, and sisters who care for men when they come home from battle seriously wounded. Rosler has revisited her “House Beautiful” series, in which she takes magazine and newspaper ads promoting domesticity, featuring suburban women doing what was considered women’s work, and places war images over specific parts. A Gourmet Experience consists of a long table set for a banquet and audio and video dealing with cooking, serving, and eating; nearby is a new iteration of Rosler’s 1970s installation Objects with No Titles, a collection of soft sculptures made with women’s undergarments, coming in all shapes and sizes.

In her most influential and well known video, Semiotics of the Kitchen, Rosler creates a new kind of verbal and physical language using standard utensils and her body. Food, labor, and power structures are highlighted in such photographic series as “Air Fare,” “North American Waitress, Coffee-Shop Variety (Know Your Servant Series, No. 1),” and “A Budding gourmet: food novel 1.” On the audioguide she notes, “Who doesn’t like food, especially if you’re Jewish? Our entire domestic life is centered on the question of reproduction and maintenance; maintenance involves, aside from cleaning the house and doing the laundry, making sure everyone is fed three times a day. And you’re supposed to be good at it.” In the video Born to Be Sold: Martha Rosler Reads the Strange Case of Baby $/M, Rosler defends Mary Beth Whitehead, a surrogate mother who decided to keep the baby she was carrying for adoptive parents, while in Unknown Secrets (The Secret of the Rosenbergs) she employs a handout, photographs, a stenciled towel, and a package of Jell-O to detail how Ethel Rosenberg might have been framed.

Martha Rosler

Martha Rosler wields a sharp knife in Semiotics of the Kitchen (black-and-white video with sound, Jewish Museum, New York)

Reading Hannah Arendt (Politically, for an Artist in the 21st Century) comprises mylar panels hanging from the ceiling, printed with quotes from the German Jewish theorist’s 1951 book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, including this paraphrasing of Noam Chomsky: “‘Detachment and equanimity’ in view of ‘unbearable tragedy’ can indeed be ‘terrifying.’” Photos of airports are accompanied by such phrases as “haunted trajectories,” “interpenetration of terrors,” and “vagina or birth canal?” In The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems, Rosler snaps photos along the Bowery but without any people in them; instead, she adds various words associated with drunkenness, but the absence of the denizens of Skid Row is palpable. In “Greenpoint Project,” she documents the gentrification of the neighborhood where she’s lived for nearly forty years. And in “Rights of Passage,” she traces her commute using a toy panoramic camera.

While some of the work is repetitive thematically, Rosler argues on the audioguide that “when people say, ‘Wait, you did that already,” I would say: ‘That’s right, I did that already, and so did we. And how is what we’re doing now different from what we did then?’” The Jewish Museum show might go back fifty years, but it doesn’t feel old in the least, as so much of what Rosler stands for and has been exploring throughout her career is still on the line, from war to gender inequality, from corrupt politicians to reproductive rights. That she does so with a wickedly wry sense of humor — she has referred to herself as a “standup comic” — only makes it all the more accessible, using laughter as a decoy. “The Monumental Garage Sale is a decoy,” she tells Molly Nesbit in a catalog interview. “Cooking and its customs and material objects are decoys: they provide an entry into daily life — roles and procedures that have become naturalized or normalized.” Thus, I might not have purchased that mahjongg case at MoMA, but that was just a decoy as well.


Angie Thomas will be at Symphony Space on February 6 for the launch of her second novel, On the Come Up

Angie Thomas will be at Symphony Space on February 6 for the launch of her second novel, On the Come Up (photo by Anissa Hidouk)

Who: Angie Thomas, radio host Angela Yee, actress Dominique Fishback
What: Book talk, Q&A, signing, live performance
Where: Symphony Space, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 2537 Broadway at 95th St., 212-864-5400
When: Wednesday, February 6, $10-$45, 6:30
Why: In a different side of my life, I have the privilege of working on many wonderful book projects for kids of all ages. Two years ago, it was absolutely thrilling to be part of the publisher’s team on The Hate U Give, the debut novel by Angie Thomas that has spent one hundred weeks at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was turned into a movie by 20th Century Fox. More recently it’s been thoroughly exciting to work on Thomas’s second book, On the Come Up (HarperCollins Children’s Books, $18.99), which goes on sale on Tuesday, February 5. The Jackson, Mississippi, native will celebrate the publication with a special event at Symphony Space’s Peter Jay Sharp Theatre the next night, February 6, featuring Thomas in conversation with radio host Angela Yee, an audience Q&A, and a book signing; in addition, actress Dominique Fishback (The Deuce), who portrayed Kenya in The Hate U Give, will perform an excerpt from the novel, which is about an aspiring teenage rapper. Tickets are $30 to $40 and include a copy of On the Come Up; a limited number of companion tickets are available for $10 (without the novel).


tibet house benefit

Who: Artistic director Philip Glass, Stephen Colbert, Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff, Jon Batiste, New Order’s Bernard Sumner, Phil Cunningham, Tom Chapman & Joe Duddell, Debbie Harry, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Angélique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson with cellist Rubin Kodheli, Tenzin Choegyal, the Patti Smith Band and the Scorchio Quartet, and an invocation by monks, with honorary chairs Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman, and Arden Wohl
What: Thirty-second annual concert raising funds for the nonprofit Tibet House US, celebrating the Year of the Pig and Tibetan New Year (Losar)
Where: Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St., 212-247-7800
When: Thursday, February 7, $35-$200 (special packages with the concert, party, and more start at $500), 7:30
Why: Tibet House US was founded in 1987 at the request of the Dalai Lama, “dedicated to preserving Tibet’s unique culture at a time when it is confronted with extinction on its own soil”; the annual benefit concert is always one of the cultural highlights of the year in New York City, with an eclectic roster of performers paying tribute to the historic nation.