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


Central Park

Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla will float along Harlem Meer at dusk on October 26

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
Inside the park at 110th Street between Fifth & Lenox Aves.
Sunday, October 26, free, 3:00 - 6:00

The annual Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla returns to Central Park on Sunday, offering an afternoon of family-friendly activities celebrating All Hallows’ Eve. In order to participate in the flotilla, you need to bring a precarved pumpkin, with top, that is approximately eight pounds, is no bigger than a soccer ball, and contains no artificial materials such as paint, glitter, marker, or food dye. (Be advised that you don’t get your pumpkin back once it makes its way across Harlem Meer.) There will also be live music, spooky storytelling, pumpkin carving demonstrations, and a costume parade.


DANCING DREAMS offers teens the chance to work with dance-theater legend Pina Bausch

BAMcinématek, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
Monday, October 27, $14, 7:30

From 1973 until her death in 2009, legendary dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch ran Tanztheater Wuppertal, the German company that changed the face of dance theater forever with such seminal productions as Rite of Spring, Café Müller, Danzón, Masurca Fogo, and so many others, many of which had their U.S. premieres at BAM. In 1978 she staged Kontakthof, collaborating with Rolf Borzik, Marion Cito, and Hans Pop, set to music by Juan Llossas, Charlie Chaplin, Anton Karas, Sibelius, and other composers. In 2000, she revisited the piece with a cast of senior citizens, and eight years later she turned the roles over to a group of Wuppertal high schoolers, most of whom had never heard of her and had never danced before. Director Anne Linsel and cinematographer Rainer Hoffmann follow the development of this very different production in Dancing Dreams, speaking with the eager, nervous participants, who talk openly and honestly about their hopes and desires, as well as with rehearsal directors Jo-Ann Endicott and Bénédicte Billet, who do not treat the teens with kid gloves but instead are trying to get them to reach deep inside of themselves and hold nothing back. When Bausch shows up to choose the final cast, telling the teenagers that she doesn’t bite, the tension mounts. Dancing Dreams is an intimate look at the creative process, about dedication and determination and what it takes to be an artist. It suffers at times from feeling too much like a reality television show, mixing American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance with the fictional Glee, but it also offers a last glimpse at Bausch, whose final interview is captured in the film. “You might think I’ve had enough of Kontakhtof,” she says at one point. “But every time it’s a new thing.” Dancing Dreams is screening October 27 at 7:30 in conjunction with the current production of Kontakhtof running at BAM October 23 - November 2 and will be followed by a Q&A with longtime Tanztheater Wuppertal members Billiet and Dominique Mercy, moderated by Marina Harss. In addition, on October 25 at 12 noon, BAM and Dance Umbrella will present a free live stream of “Politics of Participation,” a cross-Atlantic panel discussion at King’s College with Penny Woolcock, Matt Fenton, Kenrick “H2O” Sandy, and Michael “Mikey J” Asante and at BAM with Julie Anne Stanzak and Simon Dove, moderated by Dr. Daniel Glaser.


(photo by Oliver Look)

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch’s KONTAKTHOF returns to BAM after nearly thirty years (photo by Oliver Look)

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Peter Jay Sharp Building
230 Lafayette Ave.
October 23 - November 2, $25-$110

To celebrate Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch’s thirtieth anniversary of its New York debut at BAM — the German company presented Rite of Spring, 1980, Cafe Muller, and Bluebeard back in June 1984 — the innovative, influential, and highly entertaining troupe is bringing back one of its most famous works October 23 – November 2 at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House as part of the 2014 Next Wave Festival. First performed at BAM in October 1985, Kontakthof (“Courtyard of Contact”) is a playful look at the world of dance itself, as well-dressed men and women battle it out in an intensely physical competition with plenty of fun humor. The work, which includes music by Charlie Chaplin, Anton Karas, Nino Rota, Jean Sibelius, and Juan Llossas and costume and set design by Rolf Borzik, has been performed by teenagers and senior citizens since its premiere in 1978; at BAM, the current company will take the stage, led by such familiar mainstays as Rainer Behr, Dominique Mercy, Eddie Martinez, Julie Anne Stanzak, Franko Schmidt, Cristiana Morganti, Andrey Berezin, and the inimitable Nazareth Panadero. The company is continuing on following Bausch’s death in 2009 at the age of fifty-eight, with longtime TW dancer Lutz Förster as artistic director. It’s always an event when they come to Brooklyn, having dazzled dance-theater lovers with such thrilling productions as Vollmond (Full Moon), “...como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si...” (Like moss on a stone), Danzón, Nefés, Masurca Fogo, and so many others over these last thirty years. If you’ve never seen this fabulous company in person, stop what you’re doing right now and pick up some tickets while they’re still left; you won’t be disappointed. You can also check out Wim Wenders’s Oscar-nominated Pina on Netflix to get a taste of what you’re in for. In conjunction with Kontakthof, on October 25 at 12 noon BAM and Dance Umbrella will present a free live stream of “Politics of Participation,” a cross-Atlantic panel discussion at King’s College with Penny Woolcock, Matt Fenton, Kenrick “H2O” Sandy, and Michael “Mikey J” Asante and at BAM with Stanzak and Simon Dove, moderated by Dr. Daniel Glaser. And on October 27 at 7:30, BAMcinématek will screen Dancing Dreams: Teenagers Dance Pina Bausch’s “Contact Zone,” followed by a Q&A with longtime Tanztheater Wuppertal members Bénédicte Billiet and Mercy, moderated by Marina Harss.


Back in April, local band Walking Shapes played twenty-four different places in New York City in twenty-four hours, in conjunction with the release of their debut album, Taka Come On. The five-piece won’t be going quite as nuts at the annual CMJ Music Marathon, but they will be playing Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday at 10:00, Cameo Gallery on Wednesday at 8:50, and Spike Hill on Friday night at 11:20. This year’s annual festival features more than thirteen hundred performers at more than eighty venues October 21-25; below are some more recommendations for opening night.

“Reinventing the Steel: Finding Metal’s Next Big Bands,” panel discussion with Andrew “Cutter” Puyleart, Carl Severson, Darren Dalessio, Kodi McKinney, and Sammi Chichester, Rosenthal Pavilion, NYU Kimmel Center, tenth floor, 12:30 pm
September Girls, Cake Shop, 3:30; Cameo Gallery, 11:00 pm
Cymbals, Cake Shop, 5:45; Glasslands Gallery, 10:45
Olga Bell, Mercury Lounge, 6:30
STRNGRS, Spike Hill, 8:30
James, Webster Hall, 9:15
Cold War Kids, Brooklyn Bowl, 11:00
The Suffers, Drom, 12 midnight


New York City zoos are celebrating Halloween with their annual Boo at the Zoo events, with special family-friendly weekend programs (as well as on Halloween itself at some locations). At the Bronx Zoo, you’ll encounter the Jack O’Lantern Illumination — Creatures of the Night in Somba Village, the Carnival of Extraordinary Animals puppet shows at the Asia Plaza Theater, 3-D carved pumpkin displays in Dancing Crane Plaza, costume parades led by the Alice Farley Dance Company, Creepy Crafts Workshops, such Creature Chats as “Birds of Halloween: Owls and Vultures” and “Batty About Bats,” magic shows in the tent at Grizzly Corner, a Music for Aardvarks Halloween sing-along at the Terrace Café, Broadway at Boo presentations by cast members of On the Town and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a hay maze, treat stations, a dinosaur safari, and more. At the Prospect Park Zoo, there will be a scavenger hunt, Wildlife Witch magic shows, animal meet-and-greets, pumpkin treats for dingoes and baboons, costumed characters, storytelling, a Spooky Barn, and a parade and dance party. And at the Queens Zoo, Boo at the Zoo takes place October 31 – November 2, with trick-or-treat stations, costumed animal characters, a haunted habitat, pumpkin picking, face painting, arts and crafts, enrichment classes about pumas and Andean bears, and Halloween critter meetings. (Note: The Staten Island Zoo’s Spooktacular took place October 18-19, and nothing is scheduled for the Central Park Zoo and New York Aquarium.)


MoMA Film, Museum of Modern Art, the Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2
11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Monday, October 20, $12, 7:00

There’s a reason why Bill Morrison calls his production company Hypnotic Pictures; for more than twenty years, the Chicago-born, New York-based experimental director has been making hypnotic, mesmerizing films that pair spectacular found footage in various states of decay with gorgeous original soundtracks. The results are as much about its main subjects — natural disasters, societal ills, Frankenstein — as about the history of film, particularly the physical celluloid itself, especially poignant now in the digital age. On October 20, Morrison will be at MoMA for the museum’s latest installment of Modern Mondays, discussing his work in conjunction with the midcareer retrospective “Re-Compositions,” comprising a rotating selection of his oeuvre shown in the Ronald S. and Jo Carole Lauder Building Lobby through March 31. The exhibition is supplemented with “Compositions,” a series of screenings through November 21 consisting of Morrison’s full-length and short films and videos, including The Great Flood, with the score performed live by composer Bill Frisell and Ron Miles, Tony Scherr, and Kenny Wollesen; the trio of All Vows, Just Ancient Loops, and Light Is Calling, with live musical accompaniment by cellist Maya Beiser; a collection of eight 16mm films made between 1990 and 1996; three dystopian works (Gotham, Dystopia, The Highwater Trilogy) made between 2004 and 2008; five 35mm projects from 2000 to 2005; and his 2002 masterpiece, Decasia.


jim gaffigan

Barnes & Noble Union Square
33 East 17th St. between Broadway & Park Ave. S.
Monday, October 20, free, 7:00

“What are my qualifications to write this book? None, really,” comedian Jim Gaffigan writes at the beginning of Food: A Love Story (Crown Archetype, October 21, $26), the follow-up to his 2013 bestseller, Dad Is Fat. “So why should you read it? Here’s why: I’m a little fat. Okay, to some I might not be considered that fat, but the point is, I’m not thin. If a thin guy were to write about a love of food and eating, I’d highly recommend that you do not read his book. . . . First of all, how do you know they really feel passionately about food? Well, obviously, they are not passionate enough to overdo it. That’s not very passionate. Anyway, I’m overweight.” The stand-up comic and married father of five, who has appeared in such films as The Love Guru and on Broadway in That Championship Season and has publicly shared his desire for Hot Pockets and bacon, among other edibles, will be at the Union Square Barnes & Noble on October 20 at 7:00 to read from and discuss his new book, which features such chapters as “Not Slim Jim,” “The Buffet Rule,” “Cup of Gravy,” “Salad Days,” “Kobe Beef: The Decadent Meat,” “French Fries: My Fair Potato,” and “Hot Pockets: A Blessing and a Curse.” Seating will begin at 5:00 on the fourth floor, with priority given to those who have purchased a copy of the book; the event will conclude with a signing.