Friday, August 17, and Saturday, August 18, free, 5:00
The fourth annual Emerging Music Festival in Bryant Park takes place Friday and Saturday afternoon, featuring sets by ten up-and-coming bands from across the musical spectrum. The free festivities begin Friday at 5:00 with EZTV, followed by Underground System at 6:00, Palmas at 7:00, Ohmme at 8:00, and Evolfo at 9:00. Saturday kicks off at 5:00 with Madison McFerrin and continues at 6:00 with Plastic Picnic, 7:00 with Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton & Terry Waldo Rum House Jass Band, 8:00 with Native Sun, and 9:00 with Katie Von Schleicher. There will also be lawn games and juggling in between sets and food and drink available for purchase. The concerts are part of the Bryant Park Picnics program, which concludes August 22 with Accordions Around the World.
West 135th St. between Malcolm X Blvd. & Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19, free, 12 noon – 10:00 pm
Festival continues through August 25
The theme of the 2018 Harlem Week festival is “Women Transforming Our World: Past, Present & Future,” along with the subtheme “The Community within the Community,” saluting LGBTQ rights. The festivities continue August 18 with “Summer in the City” and August 19 with “Harlem Day,” two afternoons of a wide range of free special events along West 135th St. Saturday’s programs include Harlem Senior Citizens Synchronized Swimming, the NYC Children’s Festival in Howard Bennett Playground (with a parade, exhibits, games, arts & crafts, live music and dance, health testing, and sports clinics), the Harlem Week Higher Education Fair (with more than fifty colleges and universities), “Dancing in the Streets” with live performances and WBLS DJs, the International Vendors Village, the Fabulous Fashion Flava Show, the “Uptown Saturday Concert” (with Sarah Vaughan National Competition winner Ashleigh Smith, Bishop Marvin Sapp, Raheem Devaughn, and the Jeff Foxx Band), and the Imagenation Outdoor Film Festival in St. Nicholas Park. Sunday’s “Harlem Day” celebration features live performances on three stages, the International Vendors Village, the Upper Manhattan Auto Show, Our Health Village, the Upper Manhattan Small Business Expo & Fair, USTA Children’s Tennis Clinics, and the second day of the NYC Children’s Festival (with a Back to School theme).
The free summer arts & culture season is under way, with dance, theater, music, art, film, and other special outdoor programs all across the city. Every week we will be recommending a handful of events. Keep watching twi-ny for more detailed highlights as well.
Sunday, August 5
Movies Under the Stars: Escape to Witch Mountain (John Hough, 1975), Beach 94th St. off Shorefront Parkway in Rockaway Beach, 8:00
Monday, August 6
Movies Under the Stars: Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018), Cunningham Park, Queens, 8:00
Tuesday, August 7
signs & symbols: artists & allies, group exhibition opening featuring work and discourse, with live performances and discussions continuing every Thursday night through September 7, signs & symbols, 102 Forsyth St., 6:00
Wednesday, August 8
Hip to Hip Free Shakespeare in the Park: All’s Well That Ends Well, directed by Owen Thompson, Flushing Meadows Corona Park at the Unisphere, continues in repertory with King Lear at various parks through August 25, Kids & the Classics workshop at 7:00, show at 7:30
Thursday, August 9
SummerStage: Wild Style 35th Anniversary Reunion at the Amphitheater with special guest DJ Funk Flex, with Almighty Kay Gee, Busy Bee, Charlie Ahearn, DJ Grand Wizzard Theodore, DJ Tony Crush, Eclipse, EZ AD, Grand Master Caz, Patti Astor, and Rodney C and preshow hip-hop dance workshop with Fabel, East River Park Amphitheater in John V. Lindsay East River Park, 6:00
Friday, August 10
Lincoln Center Out of Doors: West Side Story Reimagined, with Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band and poetry by La Bruja and Rich Villar, Damrosch Park Bandshell, 7:30
Saturday, August 11, 18, 25
Norte Maar’s Dance at Socrates, with Kristina Hay and Hilary Brown | HB² PROJECTS and Gleich Dances with Sarah Louise Kristiansen on August 11, Movement Migration | Blakeley White-McGuire and Project 44 | Gierre Godley with Janice Rosario & Company on August 18, and Kyle Marshall Choreography and Kathryn Alter and Dancers with Thomas/Ortiz Dance and konverjdans on August 25, Socrates Sculpture Park, 4:00
Sunday, August 12
Blues Brunch with Bill Sims Jr., Bryant Park Southwest Porch, 12 noon
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, August 4, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum starts preparing for the annual West Indian Day Parade with the August edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter Alex Mali, the Pan Evolution Steel Orchestra, and the Brooklyn Dance Festival, with Dance Caribbean Collective, the Sabrosura Effect, Project of ContempoCaribe, KaNu Dance Theater, and Bloodline Dance Theatre, followed by a Q&A; a Fiyah Fit movement workshop with choreographer Jessica Phoenix; a caribBEING House mobile art center; a hands-on workshop in which participants can create noisemakers for the West Indian Day Parade, inspired by instruments in “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas”; Drink and Draw sketching of live models from mas camps, with sounds by Rodney Hazard; pop-up gallery talks by teen apprentices on Caribbean art and stylistic influences in the museum collection; pop-up poetry with Rico Frederick, Erica Mapp, and Camille Rankine of Cave Canem; and the community talk “Organizing Caribbean Communities in Brooklyn” with Ernest Skinner, Dr. Waldaba Stewart of the Medgar Evers Caribbean Research Center, Ninaj Raoul of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, and Albert Saint Jean of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “William Trost Richards: Experiments in Watercolor,” “Infinite Blue,” “Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more.
209 West Houston St.
August 1 - November 4
For thirty-five years, Bronx-raised actor, singer, conductor, composer, gambler, puzzlemeister, and arranger Steve Sterner has been playing piano accompaniment to silent films at such venues as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the old Thalia, and Film Forum, where he’s been the resident silent film composer/accompanist since 1987. Film Forum is honoring the self-described “bad improviser” with a series of his own, “Steve Sterner Selects . . . ,” running through November 4 and beginning August 1, when the institution reopens after a major renovation and the addition of a fourth theater. The festival consists of a dozen silent works chosen by the longtime Upper West Sider, who’s lived in the same rent-stabilized apartment on West Seventy-First Street since 1979. Among the films chosen by the sixty-seven-year-old Sterner, who will, of course, play piano at every screening — preceded by his traditional cough drop — are King Vidor’s Show People, which will be introduced by FF programmer extraordinaire Bruce Goldstein; Clarence Brown’s Flesh and the Devil, the first silent movie Sterner played music for; William Wellman’s Wings, winner of the first Best Picture Oscar; Edward Sedgwick’s The Cameraman, in which Buster Keaton is let loose on an unsuspecting New York City; and Sam Taylor’s lesser-known Exit Smiling. Sterner, who was also the subject of Paola Ochoa’s short 2014 documentary, The Accompanist, recently answered questions via email for twi-ny about his life and career.
twi-ny: When did you first realize you wanted to play piano accompaniment to silent films? Was there a eureka moment?
steve sterner: I never aspired to accompany silent films. I was thrown into it by Wayne Daigrepont, a cartoon collector on the staff at the Thalia theater.
twi-ny: What do you see as the primary responsibility of playing piano accompaniment?
ss: Be faithful to the film and enhance it as best you can.
twi-ny: In the past, you have said that your playing should not be the focus, that the audience shouldn’t even notice you and instead should get lost in the film while you play. What does it feel like to now be the center of attention, putting together a series at Film Forum with your name in the title?
ss: The film is the star — I’m a supporting player. However, it’s always nice to be recognized when I’m not playing the piano.
twi-ny: On October 16, you will be sitting down with FF programming genius Bruce Goldstein for a discussion and Q&A in conjunction with a screening of William James Craft’s A Hero for a Night. What is it like working with Bruce?
ss: Working with Bruce has always been a joy. I think he’s one of the last great impresarios.
twi-ny: You’ve been doing this professionally since the early 1980s. Over those decades, has the audience changed at all? For example, are they any more or less attentive in this social-media-saturated age? And is the audience itself older, or are the younger generations showing up as well?
ss: I think the audience has gotten younger over the years, but other than that I haven’t paid much attention to the makeup of the audience.
twi-ny: For many years, you and Donald Sosin have been the go-to guys when it comes to this art form. Are you friends? Is there a competition between you for specific films or gigs?
ss: I wish I could play piano as well as Donald Sosin. I met him in the ’90s and have heard him play many times since. If there’s competition between us I’m unaware of it, but I’d never feel slighted to lose a job to him. He’s one of the best.
twi-ny: In addition to Film Forum, you’ve played numerous other New York City venues. Do you have a favorite (other than FF)?
ss: I enjoyed playing at the Thalia in the ’80s.
twi-ny: Is there a specific silent film that you would love to play piano with but for some reason, either rights or the quality or existence of an acceptable print, you’ve been unable to?
ss: Any lost film that’s been unearthed.
twi-ny: Do you have a particular favorite silent film?
ss: The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg.
twi-ny: Favorite silent film director?
ss: Lubitsch, Hitchcock, Seastrom, Murnau, and others.
twi-ny: Favorite silent film composer?
ss: Charles Hoffman and William Perry.
twi-ny: Favorite sound film composer?
ss: Max Steiner.
twi-ny: Favorite silent film star?
ss: Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Lon Chaney, Clara Bow, and Douglas Fairbanks.
twi-ny: When you're not accompanying silent films, what do you like to do for fun in New York City?
ss: I watch baseball and ’50s television shows on YouTube.