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


Museum of Food and Drink event  brings Brooklyn, Poland, and vodka together

Museum of Food and Drink event brings Brooklyn, Poland, and vodka together

62 Bayard St., Brooklyn
Thursday, May 25, $30, 6:30

The Spring Spirits series at the Museum of Food and Drink continues May 25 with “The Vodka Contract: Rediscovering Vodka in the Heart of Polish Brooklyn,” in which curator and artist Elizabeth Koszarski-Skrabonja tells how her father, Kazimierz Koszarski, brought the vodka brands Zubrówka, Wisniówka, and Wyborowa to America in August 1939, distributing them through the Austin-Nichols building in Williamsburg. Promising “a dramatic story of love, herbs, and vodka,” the evening, which is copresented by the Polish Cultural Institute of New York, will also feature Polish bites from Karolina Gumpert, live entertainment (the tango!) from Azuz Ensemble, and the introduction of the new cocktail the Kosciuszko Bridge, designed by Joel Lee Kulp. After the event, attendees will be able to get drink specials around the corner at Pete’s Candy Store, including the vodka-based Greener Pastures.


theater of war

Who: Zach Grenier, Kathryn Erbe, Reg E. Cathey
What:Free performance of scenes from ancient Greek play, followed by Q&A
Where: Allison & Howard Lutnick Theater, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, West Forty-Sixth St. & Twelfth Ave.
When: Sunday, May 28, free with RSVP, 7:00
Why: In conjunction with Fleet Week, Theater of War is presenting a dramatic reading of scenes from Sophocles’ Philoctetes, translated, directed, and facilitated by Brooklyn-based artistic director Bryan Doerries, author of The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today. The event, part of a project that “is designed to promote understanding, compassion, and positive action,” features Tony nominee Zach Grenier (The Good Wife, 33 Variations), Tony nominee Kathryn Erbe (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Speed of Darkness), and Emmy winner Reg E. Cathey (The Wire, House of Cards). The dramatic reading will be followed by a Q&A with community panelists.


block party

La MaMa hosts multidisciplinary block party on May 20

La MaMa
East Fourth St. between Bowery & Second Ave.
Saturday, May 20

La Mama will be celebrating its fifty-fifth season on May 20 with its annual block party, held in conjunction with the twelfth La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival. “Dancing in the Street” takes place from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on East Fourth St. between Bowery and Second Ave., also known as Ellen Stewart Way, named after La MaMa’s beloved founder, who passed away in 2011 at the age of ninety-one. The afternoon will feature free performances and workshops with Al Son Son Tablao Flamenco, Alexandra Amirov, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, the Blue Bus Project, Brooklyn United Marching Band, DJ Todd Jones, East Village Dance Project, Janice Rosario, Kinding Sindaw, Kinesis Dance Project, Kinetic Architecture Dance Theater, Lei Making, Hula, Malcolm-x Betts, Pua Ali’I Illima O Nuioka, Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring, Reyna Alcala, Rod Rodgers Youth Ensemble, Company, Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Stefanie Batten Bland, Silver Cloud Singers, Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Step Team, White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company, and Yoshiko Chuma. Food and drink will be available from La Contrada, Proto’s Pizza, the Bean, Express Thali, Sobaya, Hasaki, Otafuku, Robataya, Harlem Seafood Soul, Miscelanea, the 4th St Co-op, and Obsessive Chocolate Disorder. There will also be video montages running in the lobby of the theater highlighting the campaign for creative activism (#HereToDance). Attendees are encouraged to bring plastic bags, which Maura Nguyen Donohue will collect and incorporate into her Tides Project: Drowning Planet immersive, interactive installation.


Art School Confidential</em is part of Metrograph tribute to Terry Zwigoff

Art School Confidential is part of Metrograph tribute to Terry Zwigoff

7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Saturday, May 20, 4:00
Series runs May 19-21

Director Terry Zwigoff, who has claimed to “not be interested in comics too much” and who made the fab 1995 documentary Crumb, about comic book artist R. Crumb, reteamed with comics legend Daniel Clowes for the outrageously entertaining Art School Confidential, inspired by a four-page black-and-white strip Clowes wrote in a 1991 edition of his comic book Eightball. (The two previously worked together in 2001 on the outstanding Ghost World, earning them an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.) Clowes has expanded Art School Confidential into a very funny satire/murder mystery set in a New York City art school based somewhat on Pratt in Brooklyn (though the film was shot in Southern California). Max Minghella (The Social Network, The Handmaid’s Tale) stars as Jerome Platz, an art student from the suburbs who dreams of becoming the next Picasso. Used to being beat up by bullies, he is desperately looking to fit in somewhere, and he might just find his place in Strathmore art school, along with Beat Girl, Kiss-Ass, Army Jacket, Vegan, Filthy-Haired Girl, Preppy Girl, Nympho, and other stereotypes, as well as the art teacher claiming to be preparing for his own exhibition (John Malkovich, also one of the film’s producers). Jerome is befriended by Bardo (Joel David Moore), a disillusioned student who can’t figure out yet which stereotype Jerome is. Bardo introduces Jerome to Jimmy (Jim Broadbent), a drunken, failed artist who represents many a Strathmore student’s future. Jerome falls hard for Audrey (Sophia Myles), a part-time model who is also being courted by the ridiculously straitlaced and seemingly talentless, though celebrated, Jonah (Matt Keeslar). And one of Jerome’s roommates, the hyperactive Vince (Ethan Suplee), is making a movie about the Strathmore Strangler, who has claimed several victims and is still on the loose. Art School Confidential gets just about everything right (save for two brief appearances of the boom mic), turning clichés inside out in hysterical ways. You don’t have to be a comic-book fan geek to love this film, which is screening May 20 at 4:00 as part of Metrograph’s weekend tribute to Zwigoff, who will be on hand to discuss the work. The series also includes Ghost World, Louie Bluie, Crumb, and the New York premiere of the director’s cut of Bad Santa, with Zwigoff at Metrograph for all screenings.


The life and career of influential artist and collector Claude Simard will be celebrated at Jack Shainman Gallery on May 17

The life and career of influential artist and collector Claude Simard will be celebrated at Jack Shainman Gallery on May 17

Who: Hank Willis Thomas, Leslie Wayne, Sarah Douglas, Ian Berry, Jack Shainman
What: Roundtable discussion in conjunction with “If I Had Possession over Judgement Day: Collections of Claude Simard,” running through September 24 at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College
Where: Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves., 212-645-1701
When: Wednesday, May 17, free with RSVP, 6:30
Why: In September 2014, influential gallerist and artist Claude Simard, the cofounder of Jack Shainman Gallery (first in DC, then NYC), passed away suddenly at the age of fifty-eight. In conjunction with the new exhibition “If I Had Possession over Judgement Day: Collections of Claude Simard,” at the Tang Museum at Skidmore, Jack Shainman Gallery will host a roundtable discussion on Simard, with artists Hank Willis Thomas and Leslie Wayne and ARTnews editor in chief Sarah Douglas, a former assistant to Simard and Shainman. The event will be hosted by Tang director and exhibition curator Ian Berry, and Shainman will be in attendance. “Simard dedicated over thirty years of his life to engaging with and enriching the lives of artists as both muse and patron,” the exhibition website explains. “His voracious drive to collect and discover resulted in a sizable collection of art and artifacts from across centuries and continents.” The Skidmore show features works by John Ahearn, Matthew Barney, Alighiero e Boetti, Nick Cave, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Leon Golub, Kerry James Marshall, Roberto Matta, Chris Ofili, Gabriel Orozco, Nancy Spero, Jessica Stockholder, Wayne, Thomas, and many others. You can read the reactions of Skidmore students to specific works in the show here. Currently on view at Jack Shainman is “Becky Suss: Homemaker.”


Ginny’s Supper Club is one of dozens of eateries participating in third annual Harlem EatUp!

Ginny’s Supper Club is one of dozens of eateries participating in third annual Harlem EatUp! Festival

Multiple locations in Harlem
May 15-21, free - $1,500

The third annual Harlem EatUp! Festival takes place May 15-21, with dozens of chefs, restaurants, culinary organizations, mixmasters, and artists participating in tastings, walking tours, dinners, concerts, and more celebrating Harlem culture. Below is only a handful of the nineteen special events happening across the borough.

Tuesday, May 16
Homage to Billie Holiday, with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Rickie Lee Jones, Lizz Wright, Bettye LaVette, Deva Mahal, Ruthie Foster, William Bell, Southside Johnny, Rachael Price, members of Antibalas, and others, hosted by Bevy Smith, the Apollo Theater, $40 - $1,500, 8:00

Wednesday, May 17
Dine In Harlem: Ginny’s Supper Club, with food prepared by Michael Anthony and Marcus Samuelsson and live music from Nate Lucas and the Rakiem Walker Project, $125, 7:00

Friday, May 19
The Harlem EatUp! Annual Luminary Awards Dinner Honoring Jonelle Procope of the Apollo Theater, with food prepared by Roger Mooking and Alex Becker and live music by the Rakiem Walker Project, hosted by Marcus Samuelsson, Ginny’s Supper Club, $230, 6:30

Saturday, May 20
The Harlem Stroll: Ultimate Grand Tasting, featuring dishes from more than two dozen Harlem restaurants, including BLVD Bistro, Charles Country Pan Fried Chicken, Harlem Chocolate Factory, Harlem Pizza Co., Melba’s Restaurant, Madison Street Bakehouse, Red Rooster Harlem, Settepani, Sisters Caribbean, and Zoma, with Bordeaux wine classes and live music from the Rakiem Walker Project, Morningside Park, $85-$110, 12:30 – 5:30

Saturday, May 20
Sunday, May 21

The EatUp! Main Stage, Morningside Park, with Marcus Samuelsson, Karl Franz Williams, Brian Washington Palmer, Donatella Arpaia, Darryl Burnette, Roger Mooking, Lorenzo Boni, Raymond Mohan & Leticia “Skai” Young, Daniel Holzman, Johnny Mambo & Friends, Vy Higgensen’s Choir from Harlem, Lorenzo Laroc, the Rakiem Walker Project, Pierre Thiam, DJ Stormin Norman, and New Beginnings Drum & Bugle Corps, free, 12:30 – 5:30

The Harlem Stroll Marketplace, with more than two dozen food vendors, a kids’ zone, demonstrations, live performances, and more, Morningside Park, free, 12:30 – 5:30

Sunday, May 21
The Harlem Stroll: Ultimate Grand Tasting, featuring dishes from more than two dozen Harlem restaurants, including Sexy Taco Dirty Cash, Chaiwali, Shake Shack, Safari Restaurant, SpaHa Soul, Solomon & Kuff Rum Hall, Mere Viola’s Sweet Delight, Lady Lexis Sweets, LoLo’s Seafood Shack, and Harlem Tavern, with Bordeaux wine classes and live music from the Rakiem Walker Project, Morningside Park, $85-$110, 12:30 – 5:30


Even house arrest and potential imprisonment cannot stop Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi from telling cinematic stories

THIS IS NOT A FILM (IN FILM NIST) (Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, 2011)
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater
144 West 65th St. between Eighth & Amsterdam Aves.
Thursday, May 18, free, 7:30

“You call this a film?” Jafar Panahi asks rhetorically about halfway through the revealing documentary This Is Not a Film. After several arrests beginning in July 2009 for supporting the opposition party, the highly influential and respected Iranian filmmaker (Crimson Gold, Offside) was convicted in December 2010 for “assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” Although facing a six-year prison sentence and twenty-year ban on making or writing any kind of movie, Panahi is a born storyteller, so he can’t stop himself, no matter the risks. Under house arrest, Panahi has his friend, fellow director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb (Lady of the Roses), film him with a handheld DV camera over ten days as Panahi plans out his next movie, speaks with his lawyer, lets his pet iguana climb over him, and is asked to watch a neighbor’s dog, taking viewers “behind the scenes of Iranian filmmakers not making films.” Panahi even pulls out his iPhone to take additional video, photographing New Year’s fireworks that sound suspiciously like a military attack. Panahi is calm throughout, never panicking (although he clearly does not want to take care of the barking dog) and not complaining about his situation, which becomes especially poignant as he watches news reports on the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan.

“But you can’t make a film now anyhow, can you?” Mirtahmasb — who will later be arrested and imprisoned as well — asks at one point. “So what I can’t make a film?” Panahi responds. “That means I ask you to take a film of me? Do you think it will turn into some major work of art?” This Is Not a Film, which was smuggled out of Iran in a USB drive hidden in a birthday cake so it could be shown at Cannes, is indeed a major work of art, an important document of government repression of free speech as well as a fascinating examination of one man’s intense dedication to his art and the creative process. Shortlisted for the Best Documentary Academy Award, This Is Not a Film is screening for free on May 18 at 7:30, followed by a talk, in the amphitheater at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center as part of the Seventh Art Stand, an initiative that refers to itself as “an act of cinematic solidarity against Islamophobia.” The Seventh Art Stand, which shows films in more than four dozen theaters, universities, and community centers across the United States to promote discussion about political issues involving Muslims, will also be presenting films May 11-15 from Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen at Anthology Film Archives.