In 1983, the third Monday in January was officially recognized as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, honoring the birthday of the civil rights leader who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Dr. King would have turned eighty-eight this month, and you can celebrate his legacy on Monday by participating in a Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service project or attending one of numerous special events taking place around the city. Below are some of the highlights:
Saturday, January 14
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration: Historic Heroines: Coretta Scott King, 11:00 am, 2:00, 3:00; Muslim Arts Series: Many Tunes, One Melody, 5:00 & 6:00, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., $8-$12
Action in a Time of Injustice: MLK Salon with Yavilah McCoy, JCC Harlem, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., $5, 6:45
Sunday, January 15
MLK, Jr., I Have a Dream Celebration: Totally Tots Studio — Meet the Artist, 10:00 am; Holding History: MLK’s Life, 11:00 am; Protest Posters, 11:00 am; DNA Bracelets, 12 noon; MLK, Jr. Cinema, Our Friend, Martin (Rob Smiley & Vincenzo Trippetti, 1999), 11:00 am, 3:30; Story Time at BCM: Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other books, 1:30 & 3:00, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., $11
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration: Historic Heroines: Coretta Scott King, 11:00 am, 12 noon, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., $8-$12
Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Concert: Soul to Soul, with Lisa Fishman, Cantor Magda Fishman, Elmore James, Tony Perry, and musical director Zalmen Mlotek, presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., $20-$28, 2:00
Special Presentation: Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016), screening followed by Q&A, JCC Harlem, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., $5, 5:30
Monday, January 16
MLK, Jr., I Have a Dream Celebration: Totally Tots Studio — Meet the Artist, learn about Kehinde Wiley, 10:00 am; Love, Hope & Peace Postcards, 11:00 am; I Have a Dream Totes, 12 noon ($5); Brooklyn United Marching Band – Celebrating the Dream Performance, 2:00; Story Time at BCM: Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, 1:30 & 3:00; Freedom Hands, 2:00, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., $11
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration: Martin’s Mosaic, 10:00 am, 1:00 pm; Historic Heroines: Coretta Scott King, 11:00 am, 12 noon, 4:00; KaNu Dance Theater, 2:00 & 3:00, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., $8-$12
Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Thirty-first annual celebration, with keynote speaker Opal Tometi, the Institutional Radio Choir, and Sacred Steel band the Campbell Brothers, Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave., free, 10:30 am; screening of Ava DuVernay’s 13th, BAM Rose Cinemas, free, 1:00; launch of Frederick Douglass in Brooklyn with readings by Carl Hancock Rux, commentary by Theodore Hamm, and audience Q&A, BAM Fisher lower lobby, 321 Ashland Pl., free, 1:00
MLK Express Yourself Day, create signs with your own poster board, Old Stone House, 336 Third St., free, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Matinee, B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St., $25-$30 (plus $10 minimum per person at tables), 12:30
What’s Your Dream? Martin Luther King Jr. Day Family Program: reading of Kobi Yamada’s What Do You Do with an Idea?, broadcast of King speech, and art workshop, Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., free, 1:00 – 2:30
MLK Day Screening: The Negro and the American Promise (1963), Museum of the Moving Image, Redstone Theater, 36-01 35th Ave., $7-$15 (includes admission to galleries), 3:00
Artists Celebrate Dr. King’s Legacy: Featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., $5, 5:00
Special Presentation: Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016), screening followed by Q&A, JCC Harlem, JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., $5, 7:30
Martin Luther King, Jr. Evening Show: A Decade of Soul, classic soul & Motown revue, preceded by Aretha Franklin Tribute feat. “Lady Jae” Jones & the Decade of Soul Band featuring Bruce “Big Daddy” Wayne and special guest Prentiss McNeil of the Drifters, $20-$25 (plus $10 minimum per person at tables), B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St., 7:30
Who: Michael McElroy & the Broadway Inspirational Voices with special guests Billy Porter, Joshua Henry, Marcus Paul James, Adam Pascal, Telly Leung, Jarrod Spector, La Chanze, Lindsay Mendez, Chad Kimball, and Norm Lewis
What: All-star benefit for Broadway Inspirational Voices
Where: B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St. between Broadway & Eighth Ave., 212-997-4144
When: Monday, February 15, $30-$175, 7:30
Why: Founded in 1994, Broadway Inspirational Voices is a nonprofit dedicated to “providing hope to inspire and transform youth in need through music and the arts.” On Presidents Day, B. B. King Blues Club & Grill will host a benefit for the organization’s outreach programs; the evening will be led by BIV founder Michael McElroy (Big River) and members of the BIV choir ensemble, joined by a sensational group of special guests comprising Tony winners, nominees, and other Broadway favorites. The diverse cast features Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys), Marcus Paul James (Motown the Musical), Adam Pascal (Rent), Telly Leung (Allegiance), Jarrod Spector (Beautiful), La Chanze (The Color Purple), Lindsay Mendez (Wicked), Chad Kimball (Memphis), and Norm Lewis (Porgy & Bess), performing Broadway, Gospel, pop, and rock songs under the musical direction of James Sampliner (Honeymoon in Vegas).
Who: Darlene Love
What: Annual Christmas show
When: Wednesday, December 23, Saturday, December 26, and Saturday, January 2, $45-$50, 8:00
Where: B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St. between Broadway & Eighth Ave., 212-997-4144
Why: If you’re like us, one of the saddest parts of David Letterman’s retirement was not ever being able to see the one and only Darlene Love tear down the Ed Sullivan Theater again performing her rousing rendition of “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home).” But you don’t have to miss out, as you can catch the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer at B. B. King’s, playing her annual holiday show at the Times Square music palace, which will be experiencing its first Christmas without its founder, who died in May at the age of eighty-eight. Love will be mixing in songs from throughout her career, from 1960s hits (“He’s a Rebel,” “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” “Da Doo Ron Ron”) to holidays faves (including “Marshmallow World” from A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector) to tunes from her latest release, September’s Introducing Darlene Love, which was produced by Steve Van Zandt and features new and old tunes by Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Linda Perry, Jimmy Webb, Joan Jett, and others.
Monday, January 19
In 1983, the third Monday in January was officially recognized as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, honoring the birthday of the civil rights leader who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Dr. King would have turned eighty-six this month, and you can celebrate his legacy on Monday by participating in a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service project or attending one of numerous special events taking place around the city. BAM’s twenty-ninth annual free Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. includes a keynote speech by Dr. Cornel West, live performances by Sandra St. Victor & Oya’s Daughter and the New York Fellowship Mass Choir, the theatrical presentation State of Emergence, the NYCHA Saratoga Village Community Center student exhibit “Picture the Dream,” and a screening of Ken Burns, Sara Burns, and David McMahon’s 2012 documentary The Central Park Five. The JCC in Manhattan will host an Engage MLK Day of Service in Brooklyn: Feeding Our Neighbors community initiative, a screening of Rachel Fisher and Rachel Pasternak’s 2014 documentary Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent, and “Thank You, Dr. King,” in which Dance Theater of Harlem cofounder Arthur Mitchell shares his life story, joined by dancers Ashley Murphy and Da’Von Doane.
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan will teach kids about King’s legacy with the “Martin’s Mosaic” and Mugi Pottery workshops, the “Heroic Heroines: Coretta Scott King” book talk, and Movement & Circle Time participatory programs, while the Brooklyn Children’s Museum hosts the special hands-on crafts workshops “Let’s March!” and “Let’s Join Hands,” screenings of Rob Smiley and Vincenzo Trippetti’s 1999 animated film Our Friend, Martin, and a Cultural Connections performance by the Berean Community Drumline. The Museum at Eldridge Street will be hosting a free reading of Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom’s picture book What Do You Do with an Idea? along with a collage workshop. Also, Film Forum will show the 1970 three-hour epic documentary King: A Filmed Record . . . Montgomery to Memphis at 7:00, and the Harlem Gospel Choir will give a special MLK Day matinee at 12:30 at B.B. King’s in Times Square.
Who: Darlene Love
What: A Darlene Love Christmas: Love for the Holidays
Where: B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves., 212-997-4144
When: Friday, December 26, Saturday, December 27, and Friday, January 2, $45, 8:00
Why: The great Darlene Love performs holiday classics and more during multiple-show run in Times Square
To me, it was never quite Hanukkah until I devoured my grandma Ud’s sizzling-hot latkes, smothered in applesauce and sour cream. These days, fried potato pancakes have gone gourmet, so you can celebrate the Festival of Lights with some two dozen versions at the sixth annual Latke Festival, taking place December 15 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. This year’s menu includes Veselka chef Tom Birchard’s Pork Goulash Latke with Prunes & Red Beans, Delicatessen chef Michael Ferraro’s Sweet Potato Latke with Duck Rillette & Black Truffle Vinaigrette, Toloache chef Julian Medina’s Potato Pancake with Beef Short Rib Chorizo & Chipotle Crema, Baz Bagel chef Bari Musacchio’s Latkes Dill-Luxe with House Cured Gravlax, Sour Cream & Dill, B. B. King Blues Club & Grill chef Wenford Patrick Simpson’s Potato Pancake BBQ Chicken Slider, Benchmark chef Ryan Jaronik’s French Onion Soup Latke with Gruyere, Beef Gelée & Beef Carpaccio, PRINT chef Gabe Stulman’s Caraway Spiked Latke with Brats, Beer Mustard & Crispy Onion, Tres Carnes chef Sasha Shor’s Smoky Poblano Latke with 16-Hour Texas Smoked Brisket, Ancho Chile-Tamarind Date Molé & Hot Pink Pickled Onions, and Hill and Bay chef Eric Perlmutter’s the ChutzSpud. Among the judges voting for the best latke — there is also a people’s choice award — are former NBA commissioner David Stern, Saveur editor in chief Adam Sachs, and food writers Marion Nestle, Joan Nathan, and Meryl Gordon. Proceeds will benefit the Sylvia Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to inspire young people and their families to establish independent healthy eating habits — so that they may lead healthy and productive lives.”
Last August, Prince protégées LiV Warfield and Shelby J. tore up City Winery with a week of hot shows with the New Power Generation and the NPG Hornz, including one extremely late night in which they joined their mentor for a rip-roaring set. More recently, Warfield has been making a name for herself on the talk-show circuit in support of her brand-new solo record, The Unexpected (Kobalt, February 2014), knockin’ ’em dead performing “Why Do You Lie?” on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, “Soul Lifted” on The Arsenio Hall Show, and “BlackBird” on Sway’s Universe. (She’s also scheduled to appear on Late Show with David Letterman on April 4.) The Peoria-born singer takes a giant step forward with the explosive new album, the follow-up to her soulful, intimate 2006 debut, Embrace Me, the horn section lifting her to new levels on ten songs bookended by brief instrumentals. On the title track, which was written for her by His Most Royal Purpleness — Prince also cowrote the seven-minute “Your Show” with his former backup singer and serves as the album’s executive producer — Warfield and the NPG Hornz channel Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company; the record is also highlighted by the bold hooks of “Why Do You Lie?,” the foot-stomping blues of “BlackBird,” the pure funk of “Lena Blue,” and the jazzy grandeur of “Freedom.” Warfield will be headlining B. B. King’s on April 6 with the NPG Hornz in what promises to be an electrifying evening. She’ll also be sticking around after the show to meet fans and sign copies of her CD.
twi-ny: You were born and raised in Peoria, went to college and recorded Embrace Me in Portland, Oregon, and are now based in New York City. How has place made a difference in your life and career?
LiV Warfield: Every place that I have been has been so instrumental in who I am as an artist. Peoria provoked interest in music but Portland allowed me to free my talent and discover who I was musically. Now that I live in New York it has opened up so many doors for me and people have welcomed my music and artistry.
twi-ny: It’s been eight years between your first solo record, Embrace Me, and The Unexpected. Why so long?
LW: What took so long is that I had to learn a lot. I was given the opportunity to work with Prince not long after Embrace Me and he has taught me so much. I learned how to write, arrange, and really become a better artist. The wait was worth it to me and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.
twi-ny: How has it been going from backup singer to being the central attraction again?
LW: Going from a background singer to the central attraction is definitely a different experience but I am now better prepared for what’s to come.
twi-ny: You have a justly celebrated powerhouse voice; why do you open the new record with an instrumental? Is that just a tease?
LW: I wanted to do something unexpected with the open and close. I also wanted it to be very musical and allow you to go on a journey with me.
twi-ny: In “Fly,” you sing, “People don’t define me / I need to be who I need to be.” As your career takes off, has it been difficult to break out of conventional categorizations, especially since your music embraces so many different genres?
LW: Yes, it has been difficult because people do want to box you in. I want to make good music for all to enjoy. I understand that people need categories but my hope is that people will be open and just enjoy it. There is something for everyone on The Unexpected.
twi-ny: What’s the coolest thing about working with and getting to know Prince?
LW: The coolest thing about working with Prince is that I can call him my mentor and I can talk to him whenever I want. I am so thankful for him and sometimes it’s hard to believe.
twi-ny: Is there a specific meaning behind why you capitalize the “V” in your first name (LiV)?
LW: There is significance to it. I work with an amazing group of musicians and I am part of a collective unit. It’s not just about me . . . it’s about the unit. The small “i” reminds me to keep things in perspective.