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


Ian Antal and Connie Castanzo star in New York Classical Theatre free production of Romeo & Juliet in the parks this month (photo courtesy New York Classical Theatre)

Ian Antal and Connie Castanzo star in New York Classical Theatre free production of Romeo & Juliet in the parks this month (photo courtesy New York Classical Theatre)

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, June 10
Los Lobos family concert, Celebrate Brooklyn!, Prospect Park Bandshell, 3:00

Monday, June 11
Musical Chairs, with host Andy Ross and DJ Flip Bundlez, Bryant Park, preregistration suggested, 7:30

Tuesday, June 12
New York Classical Theatre: Romeo & Juliet, Central Park, enter at West 103rd St. & Central Park West, runs Tuesdays - Sundays through June 24, 7:00

Yiddish Under the Stars returns to Central Park this week (photo courtesy City Parks Foundation)

Yiddish Under the Stars returns to Central Park this week (photo courtesy City Parks Foundation)

Wednesday, June 13
Yiddish Under the Stars, with Frank London and his Klezmer All Stars, Andy Statman, Pharaoh’s Daughter feat. Cantor Basya Schecter, Golem, Cantor Magda Fishman, Eleanor Reissa, Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird, and Zalmen Mlotek, Central Park SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield, 7:00

Thursday, June 14
Savion Glover featuring Marcus Gilmore, BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech, MetroTech Commons at MetroTech Center, 12 noon

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta will help you through those hot summer nights in Astoria Park on June 14

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta will help you through those hot summer nights in Astoria Park on June 15

Friday, June 15
Drive-In Movie: Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978), Astoria Park, Nineteenth St. & Hoyt Ave. North, 8:30

Saturday, June 16
enrico d. wey: silent :: partner, River to River Festival, Federal Hall, 15 Pine St., advance RSVP required, also June 15 & 17, 8:00


celebrate israel

57th to 74th St. up Fifth Ave.
Sunday, June 4, free, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

On May 14, 1948, “The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel” proclaimed, “The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” Israel’s existence has been fraught with controversy since the very beginning, and there have been recent issues involving President Trump and the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, but the nation perseveres, and on June 3 its seventieth birthday will be honored with the annual Celebrate Israel Parade. This year’s theme is “70 and Sababa!” As the official parade website explains, “When Israelis say something is Sababa, they mean it’s awesome, fantastic, super! In just seventy years, this tiny, arid country with few natural resources has grown, developed, and prospered beyond belief and expectation. With incredible landscapes and seascapes, gigantic skyscrapers and beautiful cities, amazing technological, medical, and agricultural advancements, Israelis have been at the forefront of it all, and the whole world has benefited. Israel: You are Sababa!”

On Sunday, tens of thousands of marchers are expected to make their way from Fifty-Seventh to Seventy-Fourth St. up Fifth Ave. Among the performers will be Ninet Tayeb, Omri Anghel, Paparim Ensemble Dancers from the Israeli Dance Institute, Kosha Dillz, Mitzvah Clowns, Milk & Honeys, Yarden Klayman, Six13, Lipa Schmeltzer, SOULFARM, Yakov Yavno, and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene playing excerpts from its upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof. The grand marshals are Dina and Jonathan Leader, with honorary grand marshals Jonathan Lipnicki, Siggy Flicker, Eyal Shani, Lipa Schmeltzer, and Liel Leibovitz. Special guests include members of the Israeli Knesset and numerous American public officials. In addition, the unaffiliated Israel Day Concert in Central Park is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary with a free show in Rumsey Playfield (2:30–7:00) that this year pays tribute to the seventieth birthday of the State of Israel. There will be live performances and speeches by Izzy Kiefe, Marcos Molinaro. Rita Cosby, Jules Wainstein, Chele Farley, Siggy Flicker, Chaim Kiss, Mordechai Shapiro, Ken Abramowitz, Helen Freedman, Aaron Klein, David Weprin, Rory Lancman, Stacy Kessler, Morton Davis, Martin Oliner, Mort Klein, Pete Hegseth, Danny Danon, Dani Dayan, Yehuda Glick, Tal Vaknin, Shuali Muallem, Oded Forer, Yoel Hasson, Avraham Fried, Shlomie Dachs, and more.


The Doctor from India

Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Vasant Lad shares his love of life in The Doctor from India

THE DOCTOR FROM INDIA (Jeremy Frindel, 2018)
Quad Cinema
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
June 1-7
Special screening June 2 at 4:00 at Symphony Space

After seeing Jeremy Frindel’s The Doctor from India, you’re going to want to know even more about its remarkable subject, Ayurvedic master Dr. Vasant Lad. And you can get that chance this weekend when the doctor, who is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Pune, India, makes several appearances in New York City, participating in Q&As following the 6:45 shows at the Quad on June 1 and 2 and at Symphony Space on June 2 after the 4:00 Thalia Docs screening. The documentary provides an intimate, inside look at the seventy-five-year-old founder of the Ayurvedic Institute, who nearly single-handedly brought the ancient discipline to America and the rest of the world. “When I went first during 1979, no one even knows [the] word Ayurveda,” Dr. Lad says about his initial visit to the United States. “Now Ayurveda is flourishing, flowering, and it is my mission of my guru [Hammer Baba] to spread and propagate Ayurveda in the Western world.” Frindel shows the doctor — who is not licensed in America, where the medical establishment and insurance companies do not recognize Ayurveda as legitimate medical treatment — tending to patients in Pune, both at his main office during the day with students and in a clinic where people line up every night to be diagnosed for free. “The specialty of Ayurveda is the science of the pulse. Disease can be diagnosed by examining the pulse. I will look into your constitution, your prakruti, your vikruti, and let them know of any abnormalities,” he tells a patient. A kind, gentle, spiritual soul who does yoga and meditates, Dr. Lad describes Ayurveda as “the art of living in harmony with nature, in harmony with the surroundings, and that is a beautiful thing.” Frindel also speaks with Vedic scholar Dr. David Frawley, Doctor of Oriental Medicine Claudia Welch, first American Ayurvedic physician Dr. Robert Svoboda, and layman Len Blank, who sponsored Dr. Lad’s first visit to the West. “Dr. Lad is the most significant person in a sense galvanizing the movement of Ayurveda in the entire world but starting in the United States,” says Dr. Deepak Chopra, who has a fascinating connection to Dr. Lad involving the Maharaja Mahesh Yogi.

The Doctor from India

Dr. Vasant Lad tends to patients in unique ways in Jeremy Frindel’s The Doctor from India

Author of the million-selling book Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing, Dr. Lad believes that looking, listening, and communicating, along with the knowledge of one’s own sacredness and essence, are essential to the health of the mind and body. “This is unbelievable. People will think this is hodgepodge. This is not hodgepodge. This is a science,” he says after diagnosing a man’s mother by feeling her pulse through the son, the mother not even in the room. “The real cause of almost all disease is prana pada, which means a violation against the natural wisdom of your organism,” Dr. Svoboda adds. A private person, Dr. Lad gives director and editor Frindel (One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das) remarkable access to his life, revealing him to be a sweet, caring man who works tirelessly to spread Ayurvedic practice and treat his patients. He also speaks open and honestly about his family, including a very telling story about his courtship of his wife. He’s almost too humble despite his success. “I’m not doing [it]. It is being done through me. I am just an instrument in the hand of God,” he insists. The film borders on the worshipful and Rachel Grimes’s score can get overly treacly, but it’s hard not to fall in love with Dr. Lad and his unique approach to life, something you can learn even more about during his three appearances in New York City this weekend.


t’ai freedom ford

First Saturday program at Brooklyn Museum includes screening of The Revival: Women and the Word and live performance by cast member t’ai freedom ford

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, June 2, free (“David Bowie is” requires advance tickets, $25), 5:00 - 11:00

Gay pride and diversity are the themes of the Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturday program on June 2. There will be a live performance by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus; a community talk on zines with Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz and Elvis Bakaitis, moderated by Maya Harder-Montoya; a hands-on art workshop in which participants can make a pride notebook inspired by David Bowie and “Radical Women”’s Virginia Errázuriz; a drink-and-draw event with live models styled by the Phluid Project and Jag & Co. and tunes spun by DJ Illexxandra; a screening of The Revival: Women and the Word (Sekiya Dorsett, 2016), with performances by t’ai freedom ford and Be Steadwell and an introduction by director Dorsett, hosted by SafeWordSociety; a screening of the latest episode of Viceland’s My House, followed by a talkback with cast members Tati 007, Jelani Mizrahi, and Alex Mugler, executive producer Elegance Bratton, showrunner Sean David Johnson, and producers Giselle Bailey and Nneka Onuoraha; Joy, a celebration of queer and trans people of color with music, games, dance-offs, and guest DJs Nappy Nina and Rimarkable, hosted by bklyn boihood; pop-up poetry with Wo Chan and Charles Theonia; pop-up gallery talks on “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985” by teen apprentices; and the community talk “NYC Trans Oral History Project” with Jeanne Vaccaro, activist Bianey Garcia-D la O, poet El Roy Red, and podcast producer Cassie Wagler. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “William Trost Richards: Experiments in Watercolor,” “David Levine: Some of the People, All of the Time,” “Infinite Blue,” “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985,” “Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu,” “Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more. However, please note that advance tickets are required to see “David Bowie is,” at the regular admission price.


Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church discuss merlot and more in Alexander Payne’s Sideways

SIDEWAYS (Alexander Payne, 2004)
7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Friday, June 1, 7:00

The “Academy at Metrograph” series, a yearlong residency for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Lower East Side cinema house, concludes June 1 at 7:00 with Sideways, eclectic director Alexander Payne’s fourth film, following the underseen Citizen Ruth, the excellent Election, and the overrated About Schmidt. Sideways is fabulously entertaining from start to finish, a smart, inventive, very funny dark comedy about friendship and love set in California wine country. Paul Giamatti stars as Miles, a schlumpy wine connoisseur who is having trouble getting over his divorce and the failure of his massive novel to get published. His best friend, Jack (Thomas Haden Church), is getting married, so the two head off on a road trip, with Miles looking forward to sampling fine wine, and Jack anticipating sampling fine women. While Jack finds what he is looking for in Stephanie (Sandra Oh, who was married to Payne at the time), Miles seems hell-bent on not allowing himself to enjoy life, even as a beautiful woman with a deep appreciation of the grape (the excellent Virginia Madsen in what should have been a career-redefining performance) shows an interest in him. You definitely do not have to be a wine drinker to fall in love with this marvelous movie, one of the best of 2004; it was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Madsen), and Best Supporting Actor (Haden Church), and screenwriters Jim Taylor and Payne won for Best Adapted Screenplay. Taylor will be at Metrograph to talk about the movie, which will be preceded by a screening of Jeff Fowler’s 2004 Oscar-winning short, Gopher Broke, and followed by a wine tasting with vintages provided by Francis Ford Coppola Winery.


Chuck Palahniuk will be signing copies of Adjustment Day at BookCon

Chuck Palahniuk will be signing copies of Adjustment Day at BookCon

Javits Center
655 West 34th St. at 11th Ave.
Saturday, June 2, $45, and Sunday, June 3, $40 (kids six to twelve $10 per day)

As BookExpo America became more and more an industry trade show, ReedPOP started BookCon, two days of literary events at the Javits Center organized for book lovers not necessarily in the business. Taking place June 2 and 3, BookCon includes panel discussions, Q&As, autograph sessions (must be digitally ticketed in advance), screenings, quiz shows, podcasts, sneak peeks at new books, and more, divided into Kids & Family, Adult & Fiction, YA, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, and Aspiring Writers. Among the 2018 participants are Amanda Lovelace, Angie Thomas, Brad Meltzer, Cassandra Clare, Charlaine Harris, Chuck Palahniuk, StacyPlays, Trista Mateer, David Baldacci, Holly Black, Kiersten White, Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, Kami Garcia, Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, Sandra Brown, Tahereh Mafi, Walter Mosley, Megan Abbott, and many others. Below are only some of the highlights. (Full disclosure: In another part of my life, I work in children’s book publishing.)

Saturday, June 2
Marching Along with Congressman John Lewis, with John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Afua Richardson, Downtown Stage, 12 noon

Love Them More: Taye Diggs and Shane Evans, moderated by Jason Reynolds, Room 1E10, 12:30

Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives, with Viet Thanh Nguyen, Thi Bui, Porochista Khakpour, Joseph Azam, and Novuyo Tshuma, moderated by Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Room 1E16, 1:45

Social Justice Warriors: Redefining Youthful Rebellion, with DeRay Mckesson, Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Jason Reynolds, moderated by Kwame Alexander, Room 1E10, 3:00

Spotlight on Diane Guerrero, with Diane Guerrero, moderated by Cristina Arreola, Downtown Stage, 3:15

Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Val Emmich will discuss the making of the Dear Evan Hansen novel at BookCon

Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Val Emmich will discuss the making of the Dear Evan Hansen novel at BookCon

Sunday, June 3
President Bill Clinton & James Patterson / The President Is Missing, with President Bill Clinton and James Patterson, Main Stage, 11:00 am

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel, with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Val Emmich, moderated by Crystal Bell, Room 1E10, 12:15

PBS: The Great American Read, with Veronica Roth, Daniel José Older, Glynnis MacNicol, and Yahdon Israel, Main Stage, 2:15

RE-orientation: LGBTQ Creators of Mass Media, Culture, and the Stories People Want to Read, with Emily Jordan, Damon Suede, Dhonielle Clayton, Harper Miller, Heidi Heilig, and Mackenzi Lee, Room 1E16, 2:30

Beyond Books, with Zach King, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Tiffany Jackson, moderated by Sarah Enni, Room 1E16, 3:30


Jean Smart is one of the special guests at IFC Centers split Screens Festival

Jean Smart is one of the special guests at IFC Center’s Split Screens Festival

IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
Wednesday, May 30 - Sunday, June 3

There once was a time when television was considered vastly inferior to the movies, although that is hard to believe now. Actors and directors eschewed the boob tube, even though so many great actors and directors actually got their start there, in series and live dramas. But we’re now in the midst of another golden age of the small screen, with hundreds of cable channels and streaming services, and IFC Center is celebrating the television explosion with the Split Screens Festival, which runs May 30 through June 3. Fifteen programs, including advance screenings and panel discussions, are being presented, involving such shows as The Americans, Westworld, Divorce, Billions, Better Call Saul, Younger, and The Outer Limits and featuring such guests as Jean Smart, Damson Idris, Jeffrey Wright, Debi Mazar, Walter Mosley, David Costabile, Thomas Haden Church, and Vanguard Award winner Sandra Oh. Below are only some of the highlights.

Wednesday, May 30
Farewell, Comrades! The Americans Finale Viewing Party, screening and discussion with Jen Chaney and Alan Sepinwall, moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz, 9:30

Thursday, May 31
Smart TV: The Many Faces of Jean Smart, with Jean Smart, $15, 7:00

Sandra Oh will receive Vanguard Award at Split Screens Festival

Sandra Oh will receive Vanguard Award at Split Screens Festival on June 3

Friday, June 1
Money in the Bank: David Costabile on Billions, with David Costabile, $15, 6:00

Acting Machine: Westworld’s Jeffrey Wright, with Jeffrey Wright, $15, 7:30

Saturday, June 2
Do Not Adjust Your Set: Journey to The Outer Limits, including screening of classic Demon with a Glass Hand episode starring Robert Culp, with Stephen Bowie, Reba Wissner, Wallace Stroby, and Daniel Kraus, $15, 11:00 am

The Women Behind the Camera: Four Top TV Directors on Showing vs. Telling, with Tricia Brock, Gillian Robespierre, Julie Anne Robinson, and Lauren Wolkstein, $15, 2:45

Sunday, June 3
Damn Fine Coffee: Twin Peaks Fan Theories, with Jeremiah Beaver, J. C. Hotchkiss, Matthew C., Andreas Halskov, Samantha McLaren, Donald McCarthy, and Connor Ratliff, $15, 11:00 am

Dead Girls: A TV Obsession, with Alice Bolin, Megan Abbott, and Sarah Weinman, $15, 5:00