Who: Jay Rubin, Ted Goossen, Aoko Matsuda, Satoshi Kitamura, Motoyuki Shibata, and Roland Kelts
What: Lecture, discussion, and reception
Where: Japan Society, 333 East 47th St. at First Ave., 212-715-1258
When: Thursday, May 7, $12, 6:30
Why: Haruki Murakami is one of the world’s greatest living writers, but he couldn’t have reached that level without working with outstanding translators. That critical literary art form is explored in this Japan Society program, featuring Jay Rubin, who has translated such Murakami books as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Norwegian Wood, and 1Q84, and Ted Goossen, who translated The Strange Library and this summer’s Wind/Pinball: Two Early Novels, the long-awaited official English-language publications of Murakami’s Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973. Goossen will also talk about his debut novel, The Sun Gods. Joining Rubin and Goossen will be authors Aoko Matsuda and Satoshi Kitamura and Murakami translating partner Motoyuki Shibata, with Monkey Business coeditor Roland Kelts serving as narrator. The literary evening, which will conclude with a reception, is part of a Monkey Business tour that will also be stopping off at BookCourt on May 3, Asia Society on May 4, and McNally Jackson on May 7; the latest edition of Monkey Business features a new essay by Murakami. Murakami fans might also want to check out Ninagawa Company’s theatrical production of Kafka on the Shore, which comes to the Lincoln Center Festival July 23-26.
Who: High school students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Seattle
What: Seventh annual August Wilson Monologue Competition
Where: August Wilson Theatre, 245 West 52nd St. between Broadway & Eighth Ave.
When: Monday, May 4, free, 7:00
Why: The finals for the 2015 August Wilson Monologue Competition will take the stage May 4 at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway, honoring the late, legendary playwright by performing two-to-three-minute excerpts from his works, the ten-part Pittsburgh Cycle that includes such modern classics as The Piano Lesson, Fences, Two Trains Running, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Gem of the Ocean. The finalists, two from each city, will work with longtime Wilson collaborators Kenny Leon and Todd Kreidler on their monologue and also get the opportunity to take in Something Rotten! The judges for the annual event, which began in 2007, are Crystal Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden, David Gallo, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Pauletta Washington. The winner receives $1,500, with $1,000 for the runner-up and $500 for honorable mention. The evening will also include a live performance by musician Guy Davis.
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St.
Saturday, May 2, free, 11:00 – 8:00
The Whitney is celebrating the opening of its new home on Gansevoort St. with a block party on May 2, featuring live performances, interactive installations, workshops, and free admission to the museum, where you can check out the inaugural exhibitions “America Is Hard to See” and, on the roof, “Mary Heilman: Sunset.” At the block party, you can take the mic in Trisha Baga’s “Whitney Idol Karaoke,” catch K8 Hardy and Ryan McNamara’s pop-up, site-specific The Poseurs, a Dance, trade your own smile recipes for canned smiles in Nari Ward’s “Sugar Hill Smiles,” get your groove on at My Barbarian’s “Classical Music Dance Party,” make forts, monsters, and other cool things at Friends of the High Line’s “High Line Builders,” learn about the history of the Meatpacking District from local purveyors Jobbagy Meats, help Lize Mogel construct a scale model of New York in “Crowd-Sourced City,” and hang out at Ei Arakawa and Shimon Minamikawa’s “Cyber Café.” Live performances include Gobby in Bed-Stuy Love Affair’s “Gate,” spoken-word DJ Mark Beasley, the Ethyl Eichelberger cover band the Eichelburglers, Jacolby Satterwhite’s “Ein Plein Air: Diamond Princess” with Camp & Street, Tracie Morris with Mr. Jerome Harris and Jemman, and a Tribe Called Red.
Multiple locations in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan
Saturday, May 2 free
More than two dozen independent bookstores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens are participating in Independent Bookstore Day on May 2, with signings, readings, lectures, film screenings, art exhibits, children’s activities, giveaways, games, food tastings, discussions, and, in several cases, free beer, to steer you clear of Amazon and B&N. Guitarist Gary Lucas will be performing live at bookbook on Bleecker St. Paul Durham, Matt Myklusch, Michael Northrop, Dianne K. Salerni, and Josh Lieb join together for a Fantastic Middle Grade panel at Books of Wonder. Amy Hest, Chris Raschka, Deborah Heligman, and Cynthia Weill are among a dozen authors and illustrators who will be at Bank Street Book Store. Housing Works will host a Kidlit Game Show emceed by C. Alexander London. Colm Tóibín, Eileen Myles, Joseph O’Neill, DJ Spooky, Said Sayrafiezadeh, and others are among the literati taking part in a marathon Langston Hughes reading at McNally Jackson. Jon Scieszka will lead a Mad Scientist Party at the Community Bookstore, followed by an evening celebration with Paul Auster, William Corbett, and Felix Harr. The powerHouse Arena will launch Luke’s Lobster’s Real Maine Food, with sample treats. And Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman will be team captains in a game of Pictionary at the Astoria Bookshop during this first-ever national Independent Bookstore Day.
Who: Bambi Kino, Olivia Neutron John, Conspiracy of Beards, Tin Sandwich, Daniel Kahn, Danny Kroha, Todd-O-Phonic Todd, the Baseball Project, Michael Shelley, Fool’s Paradise with Rex, Miriam, Billy Jam, and more than 150 record and CD dealers
What: WFMU Record Fair
Where: Brooklyn Expo Center, 79 Franklin St. between Noble & Oak Sts.
When: May 1-3, $7, 4:00 – 7:00 Friday, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Saturday & Sunday (early admission Friday at 4:00, $25)
Why: Because there’s still nothing like spinning that black circle. In addition to tons of vintage vinyl and CDs for sale from all musical genres, the annual WFMU Record Fair will feature screenings of such cult classics as Francis Ford Coppola’s Dementia 13, Dan Lucal’s Dance of the Clones, Tim Smith’s Sex and Broadcasting (followed by a Q&A with Smith), Christopher Kirkley’s I Sing the Desert Electric, Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson’s Radio Unnameable, Selma Vilhunnen’s Song, Cate Giordano’s Heritage, Olivia Wyatt’s The Pierced Heart & the Machete, and Philippe Garrel’s The Inner Scar.
IRIS (Albert Maysles, 2014)
Film Forum, 209 West Houston St., 212-727-8110
Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway between 62nd & 63rd Sts., 212-757-2280
Opens Wednesday, April 29
“I like individuality,” self-described “geriatric starlet” and nonagenarian fashion doyenne Iris Apfel says at the beginning of octogenarian Albert Maysles’s penultimate film, Iris. “It’s so lost these days. There’s so much sameness. Everything is homogenized. I hate it. Whatever.” Iris celebrates that individuality, not only Apfel’s, who at ninety-three is still active in the fashion world, but Maysles’s, who passed away in March at the age of eighty-eight, leaving behind a legendary legacy that changed the face of documentary cinema, including such classics as Salesman, Grey Gardens, and Gimme Shelter. Throughout the film, Apfel speaks directly to Maysles, who ends up on camera several times, breaking that once-impenetrable fourth wall that he, his brother, David, and their partner, Charlotte Zwerin, helped tear down years ago. Maysles spent four years filming the Queens-born Apfel as she shared her lovely story, growing from an interior designer and textile-business owner to a world-renowned fashion collector, tastemaker, and rule breaker, accompanied all along the way by her husband of more than sixty-six years, Carl. Maysles shows Iris, in her trademark enormous circular-framed glasses and unique, colorful ensembles that mix designer clothing with a healthy dose of inexpensive accessories, as she bargains at a cheap local store, advises women at a special Loehmann’s event, prepares for her 2005 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, hawks her jewelry line on the Home Shopping Network, works on a window display at Bergdorf Goodman, and talks fashion with Martha Stewart, Tavi Gevinson, and others. Maysles interviews such designers as Alexis Bittar, Duro Olowu, Naeem Khan, and Dries van Noten, Met curator Harold Koda, Architectural Digest editor in chief Margaret Russell, and J. Crew head Jenna Lyons, who have only the most kind and generous things to say about the always positive Apfel, who has a genuine love of life. “It’s better to be happy than well dressed,” she tells friend and photographer Bruce Weber.
Maysles also explores the Apfels’ inspiring relationship, filled with humor, a love of collecting knickknacks and tchotchkes (strewn about their cluttered apartment), and an infectious yen for trying anything and everything that life has to offer. The film concludes with Carl’s one-hundredth birthday party. Early on, Iris tells a story about one of her first jobs, toiling for Frieda Loehmann in Brooklyn. “One day she called me over and she said, ‘Young lady, I’ve been watching you.’ She said, ‘You’re not pretty, and you’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter. You have something much better. You have style.’” Iris indeed has style, as this wonderful documentary extols, a marvelous tribute both to her and Carl as well as Albert Maysles. Who needs pretty when something this beautiful is what emerges? Iris opens April 29 at Lincoln Plaza and Film Forum, where it will be preceded by Vivian Ostrovsky’s fashion short, Losing the Thread. Producers Laura Coxson and Rebekah Maysles, one of Albert’s children, will be at Film Forum for the 6:20 show on April 29, while Iris herself will participate in a Q&A following the 6:20 screening on May 1 and will then introduce the 8:20 show.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, April 4, free, 5:00 - 11:00
You know L.A.-born, New York–based artist Kehinde Wiley has made it, since one of his works is featured in the hit show Empire. Wiley’s new show at the Brooklyn Museum, “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic,” is the centerpiece for the May edition of the institution’s free First Saturday program. The free evening will feature live musical performances by Chargaux and Zebra Katz and DJ sets by Juliana Huxtable and Total Freedom; a curator talk by Eugenie Tsai about the Wiley show; a Wiley-inspired three-dimensional frame-making workshop; pop-up gallery talks; an interactive space curated by Browntourage combining entertainment and activism; a screening of Jeffrey Dupre’s short 2014 documentary Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace; and a Wiley-inspired dance performance of Leaders of the New School by Art of Legohn. In addition, you can check out such exhibitions as “Revolution! Works from the Black Arts Movement,” “Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks,” “Diverse Works: Director's Choice, 1997–2015,” “The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago,” and “Chitra Ganesh: Eyes of Time.”