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


Robert Curvin speaks out during the Newark Riots of 1967 (Bettmann, 1967/ image © Getty Images)

Rutgers graduate and Congress of Racial Equality leader Robert Curvin speaks out during the Newark Riots of 1967 (Bettmann, 1967 / image © Getty Images)

Who: Sharon Owens, Moya Mathison, Arruna D’Souza, Alexis Green, Gimmidat, Ras Baraka, Linda C. Harrison
What: Newark Museum of Art virtual community day
Where: Newark Museum of Art Facebook Live and Zoom
When: Sunday, July 12, free (advance registration required for Zoom programs), noon - 5:00
Why: On July 12, 1967, after an incident of police brutality committed by white officers on Black taxi driver John Smith in Newark, New Jersey, a civil rebellion broke out, with four days of anger, riot, looting, and racial tension exploding during a tumultuous time across America — it was clearly not the Summer of Love for everyone. With parallels that are happening in the country today, the Newark Museum of Art looks back at that turbulent period with “Community Day: Say It Loud — A Reflection on the ’67 Newark Uprising, Then and Now.” The free, virtual afternoon consists of a series of special programs exploring social justice, including storytelling, performance, and talks, taking place between noon and 5:00 on Sunday afternoon, the fifty-third anniversary of the uprising. “Our country is fractured, and its most vulnerable communities are in mourning and looking for reprieve,” museum director and CEO Linda C. Harrison said in a statement. “The Newark Museum of Art stands by its commitment to not only aid in the healing process through art but to also be a catalyst for discussions on systemic racism, equity, and inclusion to help shape a more hopeful future.” Below is the full schedule; some events require advance registration on Zoom. (On July 18, the museum will host “Community Day: Celebrating Pride,” with drag queen Harmonica Sunbeam, Amanda Simpson of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, LGBTQIA musical artists Wafia and Calvin Arsenia, the LGBTQ+ Rights Panel: “Where Are We Going?,” fashion designer Marco Hall, DJ Kenneth Kyrell, and more.)

Sunday, July 12
“Storytime Live: Undoing Racism,” with Sharon Owens of the Newark Public Library reading Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Jon J. Muth, followed by a conversation with child therapist Moya Mathison, noon

“Inequality in Art,” with Aruna D’Souza, author of Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts, 2:00

Poet Alexis Green and Music by Gimmidat, Zoom only, 3:00

Ras Baraka and Linda Harrison in Conversation: “Newark, the Progressive City,” with Newark mayor Ras Baraka and Newark Museum of Art director and CEO Linda C. Harrison, 4:00


Olympia Dukakis looks back at her life and career in award-winning documentary

Olympia Dukakis looks back at her life and career in award-winning documentary

Who: Olympia Dukakis, Apollo Dukakis, Carey Perloff, Harry Mavromichalis, Sid Ganis, Anthoula Katsimatides
What: Livestream free premiere of Olympia (Harry Mavromichalis, 2019) followed by panel discussion
Where: Olympia Facebook page
When: Thursday, July 9, free with RSVP, 8:00 (opens virtually July 10)
Why: “Some people don’t know who the fuck I am,” San Francisco Pride parade celebrity grand marshal Olympia Dukakis says as she rides in a convertible in 2011, waving to the loud, large crowd lining the street. You’ll know just who the Oscar-winning actor is after watching Olympia, Harry Mavromichalis’s Maysles-esque documentary that has its online premiere July 9 at 8:00, followed by a Q&A with Dukakis, her brother Apollo Dukakis, writer-producer-director Mavromichalis, American Conservatory Theater artistic director emerita Carey Perloff, and executive producers Harry Sid Ganis and Anthoula Katsimatides. The film, which was shot mostly during the Obama administration and opens virtually July 10, reveals Dukakis, the star of such beloved hits as Moonstruck and Steel Magnolias and the breakthrough television series Tales of The City, to be a dynamic and imposing figure who holds nothing back as she discusses the movie business in Hollywood and the theater community in New York, shares intimate details about her sexual desires, suicidal thoughts, and drug addiction, and travels to her ancestral home in Lesbos, Greece, to reconnect with her past.

Former modern dancer Mavromichalis balances wonderful home movies and family pictures with clips from throughout Dukakis’s career, photos from her stage work, primarily with her Montclair, New Jersey–based Whole Theatre company, and words of praise from Whoopi Goldberg, Laura Linney, Diane Ladd, Rocco Sisto, Lynn Cohen, Lainie Kazan, Austin Pendleton, Ed Asner, Armistead Maupin, and her cousin, former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. She and her husband of more than fifty years, actor Louis Zorich, speak extremely openly and honestly about their marriage, she explores her relationship with her mother, and she spends time with her children and grandchildren. Dukakis, who turned eighty-nine last month, is direct and forthright, displaying a rebellious and independent spirit along with a touching vulnerability, an intense social conscience, and a resolute sense of female empowerment that still drives her even as she tackles modern technology, specifically Siri, which presents a few challenges. She’s one tough character who has never been afraid to say what she thinks; she’s also a supremely talented actor who shines on stage and screen, including in this lively and affectionate documentary.


Black Dance Stories

Who: Jamar Roberts, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Cynthia Oliver, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris, J. Bouey, Kyle Marshall, Okwui Okpokwasil, Charmaine Warren
What: Live discussions with Black dance artists
Where: Zoom and Black Dance Stories YouTube channel
When: Thursdays in July, free, 6:00
Why: “Our dance world was pummeled by Covid-19 and Black dance artists around the world are finding ways to talk about life during this time,” Black Dance Stories founder Charmaine Warren said in a statement about her new online discussion series. “Our world was further turned upside down after horrible events ensued nationally and globally, bringing attention, yet again, to the need for the Black Lives Matter movement. Black dance artists have not been quiet since. Black dance artists have been doing the work. Black dance artists continue to make work. To stay involved, we will hold weekly impromptu discussions and tell stories — Black Dance Stories. This is one action — we will stay involved.” Performer, producer, and dance writer Warren kicked things off last Thursday with Ayodele Casel and Stefanie Batten Bland; the live Zoom talks continue Thursday nights at 6:00 in July with a stellar lineup.

On July 9, Warren will be speaking with longtime Alvin Ailey dancer and choreographer Jamar Roberts, whose Cooped is a searing testament to society’s current ills, and choreographer and Elisa Monte Dance artistic director Tiffany Rea-Fisher, who is also the vice president of the Stonewall Community Development Corporation and a member of Women of Color in the Arts. On July 16, Warren will Zoom with Bronx-born choreographer, actor, dancer, and performance artist Cynthia Oliver and artist, educator, and organizer Marjani Forte Saunders, who won a Bessie for her solo show Memoirs of a . . . Unicorn. On July 23, Warren meets with Philly native and street dance pioneer Rennie Harris, founder of Rennie Harris Puremovement, who choreographed the much-talked-about Lazarus for Alvin Ailey, and dance artist, writer, and choreographer J. Bouey, founder and cohost of “The Dance Union Podcast” and current member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. And on July 30, Warren chats with choreographer, educator, and dancer Kyle Marshall, whose Kyle Marshall Choreography “sees the dancing body as a container of history, an igniter of social reform, and a site of celebration,” and Brooklyn-based writer, performer, and choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili, who just won an Antonyo Award for her stirring performance in the Public Theater revival of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf and who was the subject of Andrew Rossi’s 2017 documentary, Bronx Gothic. It will be hard not to stay involved with this roster of exciting creators.



Jaume Plensa is back in his Barcelona studio, where he will take part in the inaugural “Galerie Lelong Conversation” (photo courtesy Galerie Lelong)

Who: Jaume Plensa, Mary Sabbatino
What: Artist talk inaugurating “Galerie Lelong Conversations”
Where: Galerie Lelong Zoom
When: Thursday, July 9, free with advance registration, 2:00
Why: “April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.” So begins T. S. Eliot’s epic 1922 poem, “The Waste Land.” Spanish artist Jaume Plensa uses that quote for the title of his new online exhibition, “Jaume Plensa: April is the cruelest month,” which continues on Galerie Lelong’s website through July 10. The show consists of drawings on Super Alfa Guarro paper from his new “STILL” series, created during the month of April, when Plensa was sheltering in place at home, unable to get to his studio. Each of the works contains letters, either arranged randomly, in the shape of a heart, or forming such words as panic, dementia, suicide, insomnia, and anxiety on the fingers of a hand. In the exhibition text, gallery vice president and partner Mary Sabbatino explains, “Language is not the only means to communicate and can sometimes work against comprehension. ‘We are best when together,’ says Plensa. In the contemplation of these drawings, we see a world both intimate and expansive, expressive of shared human experience during a time when the world was ‘still.’”

On July 9 at 2:00, in conjunction with the closing of the exhibition the next day, Sabbatino will host a live Zoom “Galerie Lelong Conversation” with Plensa, who is back in his Barcelona studio. Plensa is best known in New York City for his large-scale works Echo in Madison Square Park and Behind the Walls at Rockefeller Center; for more on the artist, check out the trailer for Pedro Ballesteros’s new documentary, Jaume Plensa: Can You Hear Me? The next “Galerie Lelong Conversation” will take place in August with Brooklyn-based artist Leonardo Drew, who had a solo show at the gallery last year. And as Eliot also wrote in “The Waste Land”: “There is shadow under this red rock, / (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), / And I will show you something different from either / Your shadow at morning striding behind you / Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”


ringo starr

Who: Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Dave Grohl, Sheila E., Sheryl Crow, Gary Clark Jr., Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Peter Frampton, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo, Willie Nelson
What: Ringo Starr’s eightieth birthday celebration
Where: Ringo Starr website and YouTube channel
When: Tuesday, July 7, free (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: No matter what side of any argument you are on these days, we can all use a whole lotta peace and love — and Richard Starkey is just the man to bring it to us. The Liverpudlian better known as Ringo Starr turns eighty on July 7, and he’s celebrating with a gynormous virtual party that everyone is invited to. Among his special guests chiming in with music and congratulations from wherever they’re sheltering in place are Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Dave Grohl, Sheila E., Sheryl Crow, Gary Clark Jr., Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Peter Frampton, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo, and Willie Nelson. It’s free to watch, but Ringo is soliciting donations for Black Lives Matter Global Network, the David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares, and WaterAid. You can also honor Ringo and his wife, Barbara, by posting #peaceandlove Tuesday at noon all over social media.



Breakout Unorthodox star Shira Haas will participate in 92Y Q&A on July 7

Who: Anna Winger, Shira Haas, Amit Rahav, David Canfield
What: Live Q&A with cocreator and costars of Unorthodox series
Where: 92Y online
When: Tuesday, July 7, free, 5:00
Why: One of the runaway television hits of the pandemic has been Netflix’s Unorthodox, about a young married Orthodox woman in Brooklyn who runs away to Berlin to escape the suffocating life she is trapped in. The four-part series has led to the breakout success of Israeli actress Shira Haas, who has a smaller but critically significant role in the earlier Israeli series Shtisel, which also involves Orthodox marriage. On July 7 at 5:00, Haas, who stars as Esty Shapiro in Unorthodox, will be joined by Amit Rahav, who plays her husband, Yanky, and showrunner Anna Winger for a free live online discussion with Entertainment Weekly’s David Canfield as part of the online partnership between EW and the 92nd Street Y.


willie nelson picnic

Who: Willie Nelson & Family, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Particle Kid, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Shakey Graves, Ziggy Marley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen, Asleep at the Wheel, Steve Earle, Kurt Vile, the McCrary Sisters, John Doe, Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen, Devon Gilfillian, Nathaniel Rateliff, Charley Crockett, the Peterson Brothers, Johnny Bush, Matthew Houck, Vincent Neil Emerson, Kinky Friedman, Gina Chavez, Kalu James, Monte Warden, Parker McCollum, Trey Privott, the War and Treaty
What: Virtual Independence Day celebration
Where: LuckStream
When: Saturday, July 4, $35 in advance, $45 day of show, 4:30
Why: Since 1973, Willie Nelson has been hosting July 4 week picnics with great music, food, and more. This year the festivities go virtual, with Willie hosting from his Luck ranch in Texas with an all-star lineup either performing live from the Luck saloon and chapel, at Nelson’s Pedernales Studios, or from wherever they’re sheltering in place. The roster features live sets by Charley Crockett at 4:40, the Peterson Brothers at 5:40, Particle Kid at 6:40, Shakey Graves at 7:00, Vincent Neil Emerson at 8:00, and Asleep at the Wheel at 9:00, followed at 9:30 by a prerecorded ninety-minute finale with music, interviews, and stories by such luminaries as Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Ziggy Marley, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, Kurt Vile, John Doe, and Kinky Friedman as well as Willie and his sons, Lukas and Micah. Food and drink are also on the menu, with a “Prime Cuts” episode with chef Scott Roberts of Salt Lick BBQ, cocktail suggestions from mixologist Jessica Sanders, and delivery packages if you live within spitting distance of the ranch. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 day of show, with one dollar from each sale going to the Luck Reunion Fund, which “is dedicated to preserving and supporting the musical and cultural community inspired by the work of Willie Nelson and the Luck Reunion family.” Happy birthday, America!