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


Poet CAConrad will be giving personalized (Soma)tic poetry rituals in Madison Square Park through July 23 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Poet CAConrad will be offering free personalized (Soma)tic poetry rituals in Madison Square Park through July 23 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Madison Square Park Oval Lawn
Twenty-Fourth St. between Madison & Fifth Aves.
Through July 23, free, 12 noon – 5:00 pm (workshops nightly at 6:00)

“Every single human being is creative. When we commit ourselves to nurturing our artistic capacities we improve our ability to more deeply discern the world around us and make the constructive decisions needed in order to thrive in this world,” fifty-one-year-old poet CAConrad writes in his (Soma)tic Manifesto. Through July 23, Conrad will be performing “(Soma)tic Poetry Rituals” in Madison Square Park, under one of American artist and MacArthur Fellow Josiah McElheny’s three sculptures that comprise “Prismatic Park,” a collaborative public art project that is hosting free dance, music, and poetry through October 8, sponsored by Danspace Project, Blank Forms, and Poets House. Born in Kansas and raised in Pennsylvania, Conrad is the author of such books as The City Real & Imagined, ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness, and the upcoming While Standing in Line for Death. In 1998, Conrad’s boyfriend, AIDS activist Earth (Mark Holmes), was brutally raped, tortured, and murdered in Tennessee at the age of thirty-six. In order to break out of his subsequent depression and his inability to break away from a factorylike existence that had been with him since childhood when his family ran a casket company, Conrad developed rituals that helped respark his creative energy and his life in general. He is currently in the midst of a six-day residency in Madison Square Park, sitting (in the shade) at a small table under McElheny’s open red vaulted-roof pavilion (with red and yellow glass), where the public is invited to join him for approximately twenty minutes as Conrad develops a personalized (Soma)tic poetry ritual for each individual participant, involving crystals, liquids, and writing. The rituals are meant to help anyone seeking new ways to cope with today’s world; they are not limited to writers. The personalized rituals — bring pen and paper to take copious notes — are first come, first served, from 12 noon to 5:00, followed by workshops from 6:00 to 8:00; on July 22, Conrad delves into crystal trees, while on July 23 he will read tarot cards. “Prismatic Park,” which also features a blue sound wall and a reflective green dance floor, continues with concerts by Joe McPhee & Graham Lambkin (July 25-30), Shelley Hirsch (August 22-27), Matana Roberts (September 5-10), and Limpe Fuchs with poet Patrick Rosal (October 3-8), dance by Netta Yerushalmy (August 1-6) and Jodi Melnick (September 12-17, 19-24), and poetry by Joshua Bennett (August 15-20), Donna Masini (August 29 – September 3), and Mónica de la Torre (September 26 – October 1).


Annual Rubin Museum Block Party will celebrate the sounds of the street this year

Annual Rubin Museum Block Party will celebrate the sounds of the street this year

Rubin Museum of Art
West 17th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
Sunday, July 16, free (including free museum admission all day), 1:00 - 4:00

The Rubin Museum plans to make some noise at its annual block party, taking place July 16 from 1:00 to 4:00 on West Seventeenth St. This year’s fête is inspired by the new exhibition “The World Is Sound,” which explores the impact of sound in Tibetan Buddhism in the creation / death / rebirth cycle, with ritual music, immersive installations, and the largest “Om” ever, recorded by visitors to the Om Lab. The block party will have spaces for meditation, hands-on art activities for adults and children, a silent disco with Nepali pop curated by Dorjee Dolma, Himalayan snacks, bubble painting, the Wheel of Sounds and the Wheel of Feelings, and live performances by the New York Suwa Taiko Association, the Blue Angels Drumline, poets John Giorno and Tenzin Dickyi, MSHR (Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy), and Dana Flynn of Laughing Lotus Yoga in addition to a Kirtan concert with the Bhakti Center. Partyers can also stop by “Drawing Sound,” a live painting and sound collaboration curated and hosted by Rhiannon Catalyst, and check out presentations by ACHA Himalayan Sisterhood (music selections), Adhikaar (oral histories), Grassroots Movement in Nepal (Nepali children’s songs), India Home (Garba dance), Tibetan Community of NY/NJ (musical instruments demos), and the United Sherpa Association (translating English names into Tibetan). As a bonus, the museum will be open for free all day long (11:00 am - 6:00 pm), so you can experience such exhibits as “Henri Cartier-Bresson: India in Full Frame,” “Masterworks of Himalayan Art,” and “Sacred Spaces” asw well as “The World Is Sound.”


Los Vigilantes (photo by Timothy Schenck)

Los Vigilantes will activate Radamés “Juni” Figueroa’s “La Deliciosa Show” on the High Line with a free concert on July 12 (photo by Timothy Schenck)

Who: Los Vigilantes
What: Free live performance presented by High Line Art
Where: On the High Line at Thirtieth St.
When: Wednesday, July 12, free (advance RSVP recommended), 6:00
Why: For the current High Line Art group exhibition “Mutations,” which continues through next March, Puerto Rican artist Radamés “Juni” Figueroa contributed “La Deliciosa Show,” a funky open-air nightclub in a construction shed on the High Line at Thirtieth St. On July 12 at 6:00, San Juan garage band Los Vigilantes will take the stage there, playing a free set in conjunction with the exhibition, which focuses on the relationship between humanity and nature. Since 2012, Los Vigilantes — consisting of Javier Garrote, Pepe Carballido, Jota Mundo, and Rafael Díaz — have released such albums and EPs as Al Fin, the eponymous Los Vigilantes, and Viento, sereno y el mar, featuring such songs as “Un Dia Nada Mas,” “Un Tono Mas Siniestro” (“Paint It Black”), “Me Siento Azul,” and “Mi Mami Dijo.” Figueroa, who had a solo show at Taymour Grahne on Hudson St. in 2015, has invited Puerto Rican punksters Reanimadores to play the space on September 27.


New York Transit Museum Vintage Bus Bash pulls into Governors Island on Saturday (photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)

New York Transit Museum Vintage Bus Bash pulls into Governors Island on Saturday (photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)

Governors Island
Saturday, July 8, most events free

Tomorrow is a busy day on Governors Island, one of the city’s genuine summer treasures. The New York Transit Museum Vintage Bus Bash (11:00 am – 4:00 pm, free) pulls into Colonels Row, four classic old vehicles that used to shuttle passengers around the city. You’ll be able to check out 1956’s Bus 3100, 1958’s Bus 9098, 1959’s Bus 100, and 1971’s Bus 5227. The seventh annual Full Moon Festival takes place from 12 noon to 2:00 ($50-$61) on the Play Lawn, with Vic Mensa, Larry Heard a.k.a. Mr. Fingers, Kelela, DJ Harvey, Connan Mockasin, Abra, Jeremy Underground, Axel Boman, Tops, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Selvagem, Donna Leake, and Mass Meditation by the Big Quiet. The fourth annual It’s Your Tern! Festival (12 noon – 4:00, free) celebrates the threatened common tern, many of which have been nesting on Tango Pier. There will be games, arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt, a special spotting scope viewing, and bird tours led by Annie Barry and Kellie Quinones. The free Rite of Summer Music Festival in Nolan Park presents “Pamela Z — Works for Voice and Electronics” at 1:00 and 3:00, a live performance by the San Francisco-based composer and media artist. In addition, you can visit such free continuing exhibitions and programs as “The Public Works Department Presents: Sanctuary City,” “Christodora: Nature, Learning, Leadership,” “New York Electronic Art Festival,” “Art of Intuitive Photography,” a family-friendly literary party at “The Empire State Center for the Book,” the NYC Audubon Summer Residency, “Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons,” “Billion Oyster Project Exhibit,” “Sculptors Guild Presents: Currently 80,” A.I.R. Gallery’s “Taken on Trust,” the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s Island Outpost, LMCC’s “A Supple Perimeter” by Kameela Janan Rasheed, the Woolgatherers’ “Genesis 22,” and the Dysfunctional Theatre Company’s “Dancing with Light.”


Bastille Day

FIAF will celebrate Bastille Day with annual street fair on July 9

60th St. between Fifth & Lexington Aves.
Sunday, July 9, free, 12 noon – 7:00 pm

On July 14, 1789, a Parisian mob stormed the Bastille prison, a symbolic victory that kicked off the French Revolution and the establishment of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Ever since, July 14 has been a national holiday celebrating liberté, égalité, and fraternité. In New York City, the Bastille Day festivities are set for Sunday, July 9, along Sixtieth St., where the French Institute Alliance Française hosts its annual daylong party of food, music, dance, and other special activities. There will be a Summer in the South of France Wine, Beer, Cocktail, and Cheese Tasting in FIAF’s Tinker Auditorium from 12 noon to 4:30 ($25) as well as the elegant ninety-minute Champagne & Chocolate Tastings in Le Skyroom at 12:30 and 3:00 ($65-$75) featuring delights from Drappier, Pol Roger, Bollinger, Ayala, Brimoncourt, La Caravelle, Chocolat Moderne, La Maison du Chocolat, MarieBelle, Voilà Chocolat, and Maman Bakery, with live music from the Avalon Jazz Band. The annual raffle ($5) can win you such prizes as a trip to Paris and Le Martinique or dinners at French restaurants. Food and drink will be available from Bien Cuit, Brasserie Cognac, Dana Confection, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, Financier, Le Souk, Miss Madeleine, Oliviers & Co., Pain D’Avignon, Sel Magique, Simply Gourmand, St. Michel, Sud de France, François Payard Bakery, Pistache, the Crepe Escape, and others. The fête also includes roaming French mime Catherina Gasta, a photobooth, the pop-up Marché Français boutique, a kids corner, a pop-up library, a Caribbean Zouk dance lesson with Franck Muhel (12:15), the Citroën Car Show, a “Libres Ensemble” Slam Performance with Brooklyn rapper Napoleon Da Legend and Québecois slammer Webster (1:00), It’s Showtime NYC! (1:45), Can-Can Dancing with Karen Peled (2:30 & 3:45), DJ Ol’ Stark (2:45), the Hungry March Band (3:00), a concert with French baritone David Serero (3:45), and the New York premiere of Lisa Azuelos’s Dalida ($8-$14, 5:30).


Groundhog Day is one of many musicals that will present stripped-down versions of production numbers in Bryant Park this summer (photo by Joan Marcus)

Groundhog Day is one of many musicals that will present stripped-down versions of production numbers in Bryant Park this summer (photo by Joan Marcus)

Bryant Park
40th to 42nd Sts. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Thursdays, July 6 to August 10, free, 12:30

The annual summer Broadway in Bryant Park series features stripped-down performances Thursday afternoons at 12:30 from numerous current and upcoming Broadway and off-Broadway musicals, offering a free sneak peek at shows that are lighting up the Great White Way and elsewhere. Below is the full schedule.

Thursday, July 6
STOMP, Groundhog Day, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, with the winner of Steinway’s Rising Star on Broadway Contest, hosted by Christine Nagy

Thursday, July 13
Kinky Boots, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, School of Rock, Soulpepper on 42nd Street, with the Aruba Tourist Authority Carnival Dancers, hosted by Delilah

Thursday, July 20
Waitress, Chicago, Cats, Spamilton: An American Parody, hosted by Rich Kaminski

Thursday, July 27
A Bronx Tale, Anastasia: Home at Last, Avenue Q, The Imbible, hosted by Delilah

Thursday, August 3
Miss Saigon, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, Broadway Dreams, with the Aruba Tourist Authority Carnival Dancers, hosted by Bob Bronson

Thursday, August 10
Come from Away, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bandstand, Curvy Widow, with Brooke Shapiro, hosted by Helen Little


Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks are headlining an evening of hot New York and French jazz in Central Park on July 1

Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks are headlining an evening of hot New York and French jazz in Central Park on July 1

Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
Enter at 72nd St. & Fifth Ave.
Saturday, July 1, free, 6:00 - 10:00 pm

Paris and New York City come together for the special jazz, swing, and ragtime show “The Bridge,” a SummerStage event presented by the French Mission du Centenaire of WWI, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and the New York Hot Jazz Festival. The headliner is the hardest working man in jazz, Vince Giordano, the subject of the recent documentary There’s a Future in the Past; Giordano will be leading his amazing band, the Nighthawks, with guest appearances by Catherine Russell, Kat Edmonson, Nicolle Rochelle, and DeWitt Fleming Jr., performing “From Harlem to Montmarte: The Jazz Age Voyage.” The four-hour show also features the New York City-based Avalon Jazz Band, with vocalist Tatiana Eva-Marie and guest guitarist Stephane Wremble performing “Do You Zazou? The Swing Kids of Wartime Paris”; California-born New Orleans chanteuse Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses performing “Sidney Bechet: The Paris Years”; and French orchestra Ensemble Matheus, with opera singer Natalie Dessay, conducted by Jean-Christophe Spinosi. Doors open at 5:00 for what should be one truly hot show, which commemorates WWI and the cultural alliance between the United States and France.