Who: Lonneke Gordijn, Lee Ranaldo
What: Online conversation hosted by Pace Gallery
Where: Pace Gallery Instagram Live
When: Thursday, April 23, free, 5:00
Why: If you haven’t been to Pace’s huge new home in Chelsea yet, it will be a little while longer before you get to check it out. But during the lockdown, Pace is hosting a series of livestreamed performances and conversations. On March 12, musician, composer, visual artist, writer, producer, and Sonic Youth cofounder Lee Ranaldo was scheduled to play a duet with EGO, a shapeshifting sculptural installation by DRIFT, a Dutch studio that was established in 2006 by Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn to bring people together with nature and technology. That event was cancelled because of the coronavirus, but on April 23 at 5:00, Ranaldo and Gordijn will take part in “Duet: Lonneke Gordijn in Conversation with Lee Ranaldo.” The free talk, focusing on creative collaboration in today’s complex world, will be streamed live on Instagram.
Who: Richard Thompson
What: Livestreamed couch concert
Where: Somewhere in Montclair, New Jersey
When: Sunday, April 19, 4:00
Why: London-born Richard Thompson is one of the greatest guitarists and singer-songwriters of the last fifty years. On March 29, the master raconteur played a twelve-tune live show from his couch in Montclair, where he is sheltering in place with his partner, singer-songwriter, author, and adoption advocate Zara Phillips. (You can watch it here.) The setlist included songs from throughout Thompson’s long career, from his days in Fairport Convention to teaming with his wife at the time, Linda Thompson, to deep cuts from his solo records. Among the songs he performed on his acoustic guitar were “I Misunderstood,” “Now Be Thankful,” “Down Where the Drunkards Roll,” “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight,” and the pandemic-related “Keep Your Distance,” accompanied by Phillips on several numbers. They also did some Covid-19 shtick. Thompson was as acerbic and funny as always, his infectious smile so necessary at this time. He is returning to his couch on April 19 at 4:00 for another livestreamed concert, benefiting the Community FoodBank of New Jersey; you can donate to the fund here. If you’ve never seen Thompson live, you’re missing one of the best performers around; don’t miss this next chance to see him in about as intimate a setting as you can imagine. And maybe by then he and Phillips will have figured out where to place the camera and how to turn the stream off at the end.
Who: Musicians, actors, television hosts, and other celebrities
What: Global Citizen benefit concert
Where: Global Citizen and many streaming sites
When: Saturday, April 18, donation suggested, 2:00 pm - 8:00 am
Why: Dozens of musicians will be appearing tonight in “One World: Together at Home Special to Celebrate COVID-19 Workers,” an international concert to benefit health-care workers on the front lines of the Covid-19 crisis. Proceeds from the presentation go to the WHO’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The show is sponsored by Global Citizen, the nonprofit whose mission statement declares: “Around the world, countless people face daily inequalities — from the LGBTI community, to children with disabilities. We can build a better world, but only if we each raise our voice and take action.” Among those making appearances from their homes during the overnight marathon, which is curated by Lady Gaga (who helped raise $35 million in one week for the charity), are, in one two-hour block, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Lang Lang, Milky Chance, Niall Horan, Picture This, Rita Ora, Sofi Tukker, and the Killers; Annie Lennox, Ben Platt, Common, Ellie Goulding, Jack Johnson, Kesha, Michael Bublé, and Sheryl Crow in another two-hour block; and Angèle, Billy Ray Cyrus, Christine and the Queens, Hozier, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Leslie Odom Jr., Luis Fonsi, and Sebastián Yatra in a third segment.
Also on the bill are the Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys, Amy Poehler, Andrea Bocelli, Awkwafina, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Celine Dion, Chris Martin, Connie Britton, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, Heidi Klum, Jack Black, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lily Tomlin, Lupita Nyong’o, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Pharrel Williams, Sam Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Shawn Mendes, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, and Usher, with hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel. Give generously if you can — and stay safe and healthy.
Since May 2001, twi-ny has been recommending cool things to do throughout the five boroughs, popular and under-the-radar events that draw people out of their homes to experience film, theater, dance, art, literature, music, food, comedy, and more as part of a live audience in the most vibrant community on Earth.
With the spread of Covid-19 and the closing of all cultural institutions, sports venues, bars, and restaurants (for dining in), we feel it is our duty to prioritize the health and well-being of our loyal readers. So, for the next several weeks at least, we won’t be covering any public events in which men, women, and children must congregate in groups, a more unlikely scenario day by day anyway.
That said, as George Bernard Shaw once noted, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”
Some parks are still open, great places to breathe in fresh air, feel the sunshine, and watch the changing of winter into spring. We will occasionally be pointing out various statues, sculptures, and installations, but check them out only if you are already going outside and will happen to be nearby.
You don’t have to shut yourself away completely for the next weeks and months — for now, you can still go grocery shopping and pick up takeout — but do think of others as you go about your daily life, which is going to be very different for a while. We want each and every one of you to take care of yourselves and your families, follow the guidelines for social distancing, and consider the health and well-being of those around you.
We look forward to seeing you indoors and at festivals and major outdoor events as soon as possible, once New York, America, and the rest of the planet are ready to get back to business. Until then, you can find us every so often under the sun, moon, clouds, and stars, finding respite in this amazing city now in crisis.
2econd Stage Theater, Tony Kiser Theater
305 West 43rd St. between Eighth & Ninth Aves.
Tuesday - Sunday through March 22, $69-$125
“There’s a very good chance you’re not going to die,” President Trump said when news about the coronavirus crisis was first spreading. While that might be true when it comes to Covid-19, it’s not true in general, as mightily declared by Young Jean Lee in Raja Feather Kelly’s glorious remounting of her one-act play with music, We’re Gonna Die, continuing at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater through March 22. The sixty-five-minute work consists of stories about loneliness and death that Lee collected from friends and relatives and transformed into a series of monologues delivered by one woman, as if all these awful events happened to her. Lee first presented the show at Joe’s Pub and then at Lincoln Center’s Clare Tow Theater, where she was the lead, backed by her rock band, Future Wife.
Janelle McDermoth now takes over, and she is dazzling as she relates poignant tales and blasts out songs both gentle and fierce across David Zinn’s calming, antiseptic set, a kind of hospital waiting room with a vending machine, lots of empty chairs and a central spiral staircase that goes through the ceiling and the floor, evoking a way station. As you enter the theater, a large-scale neon sign of the title moves slowly back and forth in front of the stage, a reminder of what is going to eventually happen to each and every one of us. Guitarists Freddy Hall and bandleader Kevin Ramessar, keyboardist and dance captain Ximone Rose, and bassist Debbie Christine Tjong enter and sit down, while drummer Marques Walls plays in a separate room off to stage left. As the show continues, balloons occasionally drop from above, accumulating in a far corner, telling us that even though this might be about the inevitability of death, it doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.
The stories are told chronologically, as if belonging to one life, beginning with the presenter as a little girl trying to understand her weird uncle and why her two best friends shunned her, then considering dating and partnering relationships with men and caring for her ailing father. The songs, which pour forth from a wide range of genres — the arrangements are by Remy Kurs, with orchestrations by Cian McCarthy — relate directly to the tales, beginning with the opening number, “Lullaby for the Miserable,” in which the singer remembers something her mother told her when she was unable to get to sleep as a child: “When your brain’s had enough / And your body gives up / You will sleep / By and by / By and by / You will sleep / By and by / You are not the only one / You are not the only one / You are not the only one / You are not the only one.” That repetition serves as a leitmotif for the rest of the show, which emphasizes that no one is spared from life’s problems and, eventually, death itself.
Later, the singer recalls, “About a year ago, I went back home for a younger cousin’s wedding, and while I was at home, I found my first white hair. Now, I had never been a person who worried at all about getting older or losing my looks — I just never thought about that stuff. So it all just kind of hit me in this one moment. . . . I had reached the point in my life where everything from here on out was going to be a downward decline towards deterioration and sickness and death. And this had never occurred to me before, so I was really traumatized.” She follows that up with a funky, funny number about something her grandmother told her mother: “When you get old / You will lose your mind! / And everything will hurt all the time! Uh-huh / Uh-huh / . . . / When you get old / All your friends will die! / And you will be a burden to the world! / Uh-huh / Uh-huh.” Among the other songs, whose titles sum things up pretty clearly, are “I Still Have You,” “Comfort of the Lonely,” and “Horrible Things.” Even the Korean-born Lee’s full name, Young Jean Lee, seems relevant, suggesting a youthfulness even though the “Young” is an Americanization of her surname.
In 2016, the Brooklyn-based Lee — a multitalented writer and performer whose previous plays include Straight White Men, Lear, The Shipment, and Untitled Feminist Show — and Future Wife released a DVD of readings and songs from the show with such special guests as Colin Stetson, Kathleen Hanna, Adam Horovitz, Sara Neufeld, David Byrne, and Laurie Anderson, but there’s nothing like seeing it with one singer, and McDermoth (A Bronx Tale, Soul Doctor) is a revelation. Dressed in cool yellow and black leather (the costumes are by Naoko Nagata), she struts around with an infectious determination and a nod and a wink, winning over the audience immediately and never letting go; she is us, and we are her. Kelly, who has choreographed such plays as Fairview, A Strange Loop, The House That Will Not Stand, and Girls, explodes We’re Gonna Die to the next level, transforming it from an involving song cycle to a more fully fledged theatrical production. There’s a clock onstage that depicts the real time, minutes and seconds ticking away not just in our lives but, more important, on the show itself. I found myself filled with sadness as the sixty-minute mark approached, knowing it would soon be over. But I was also energized and invigorated by the fantastic finale, in which everyone participates and caution is thrown to the wind. Yeah, so we’re all gonna die. That shouldn’t mean that we can’t make the most of every moment we’re still here.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, March 7, free (some events require advance tickets), 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum honors Women’s History Month for its free First Saturday March gathering with “Geographies of Gender,” programs dealing with issues of gender, queerness, and color. There will be live performances by Thelma, Christopher Unpezverde Núñez (the autobiographical Yo, Obsolete), Ushamami, DJ Sabine Blaizin, Brown Girls Burlesque (Black Femme Warrior, with Hoodoo Hussy, Chicava Honeychild, Dakota Mayhem, Skye Syren, Genie Adagio, Delysia La Chatte, and Burgandy Jones), Hanae Utamura (A Letter from Future Past [The Pacific]), and Sammus; an artist talk with Naima Green, Caroline Washington, Rin Kim Ni, and Sable Elyse Smith about Green’s Pur·suit, followed by card games using decks with portraits of queer women and trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people; teen apprentice pop-up talks focusing on gender themes in the Arts of Asia galleries; a curator tour of “Out of Place: A Feminist Look at the Collection” led by curators Catherine Morris and Carmen Hermo; a hands-on art workshop where participants can make textile collages inspired by “Out of Place”; a Belladonna* poetry reading with S*an D. Henry-Smith, Giannina Braschi, and Jesse Rice-Evans; and a night market of Brooklyn vendors with goods made by local women and nonbinary artists. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley,” “Out of Place: A Feminist Look at the Collection,” “African Arts — Global Conversations,” “JR: Chronicles,” “Jeffrey Gibson: When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks,” “Climate in Crisis: Environmental Change in the Indigenous Americas,” and more.
French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall, Tinker Auditorium
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
March 6-7, $7-$14 per event, $45 full weekend pass
FIAF is paying homage to the life and career of filmmaker Chantal Akerman with five special programs this weekend. Friday night at 7:00, FIAF will screen Akerman’s 2011 film, Almayer’s Folly, which was based on Joseph Conrad’s first novel, followed by a conversation with actor Stanislas Merhar and French journalist Laure Adler. On Saturday at 1:00, Akerman’s 2002 film, From the Other Side, about Mexican immigration in California, will be shown. The tribute continues at 3:15 with the unique documentary Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman, made for French-German television in 1997. At 4:30, the panel discussion “Chantal Akerman’s Legacy” brings together cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton (Akerman’s former partner), screenwriter Leora Barish (Desperately Seeking Susan, Basic Instinct 2), writer-director Henry Bean (Noise, Basic Instinct 2), actor, director, writer, and Akerman student Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess, Support the Girls), and moderator Adler, with a toast at 6:00. The celebration of Akerman, who died in 2015 at the age of sixty-five, concludes Saturday night at 7:00 with “Chantal?,” a live performance by Wieder-Atherton, with works by Bartók, Janáček, and Prokofiev and originals set to Akerman’s written words and her 1968 short Blow Up My City, followed by a Q&A with Wieder-Atherton, Merhar (La Captive, Almayer’s Folly), and Adler. “I wanted to play along with her, her every move, her silences, her dancing at once burlesque and deadly serious, her anxiety as she is humming little tunes,” Wieder-Atherton explained in a statement.