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


Who: Jordan Klepper, Fred Armisen, Maura Tierney, Thomas Sadoski, Arian Moayed, Annie McNamara, April Matthis, Vin Knight, Young Jean Lee, Joel Perez, Yo La Tengo
What: Virtual gala
Where: Elevator Repair Service online
When: Wednesday, June 23, $25-$500, 7:30 (private virtual cocktail reception at 7:00 for donors of $2,500+)
Why: During the Trump era, comedian Jordan Klepper has been one of the funniest, move insightful television journalists around, in his “Fingers the Pulse” segments on The Daily Show, in which he fearlessly goes straight into the heart of the MAGAverse, speaking with Trumpists who are not in on the joke. He has also hosted his own satirical series, The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, as well as the influential special Jordan Klepper Solves Guns. On June 23 at 7:30, the Michigan-born Klepper, a former member of the Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade, will be hosting The Tonight Zoom with Jordan Klepper A Celebration of Live Theatre (remotely) (and partially pre-taped), a virtual gala benefiting New York City experimental theater stalwarts Elevator Repair Service.

Founded in 1991 by artistic director John Collins, ERS has developed a unique theatrical language over its thirty years, presenting collaborative works that often reimagine literary classics into something new and unpredictable at such venues as the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, the New York Public Library, and PS122. Among their shows are Marx Brothers on Horseback Salad, The Sound and the Fury (April Seventh, 1928), Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf, The Select (The Sun Also Rises), Measure for Measure, and their widely acclaimed Gatz, an eight-hour adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

At the virtual gala, Klepper will interview ERS company members Vin Knight, April Matthis, and Annie McNamara as characters they have portrayed in the troupe’s productions; there will also be appearances by Fred Armisen, Maura Tierney, Thomas Sadoski, Arian Moayed, Young Jean Lee, Joel Perez, and Yo La Tengo. It might be called “a celebration of live theatre,” but, in true Klepper/ERS style, they are pointing out that it will take place remotely, with some prerecorded segments. Tickets start at $25 and go up to $10,000 for the Gold Virtual Table, which includes a preshow cocktail reception for twelve people, tickets to ERS’s upcoming adaptation of The Seagull at the Skirball Center, and select merchandise.


Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Zola Mashariki will discuss 7 Years at Tribeca Festival

AT&T Terrace at Spring Studios
50 Varick St.
June 12-19, free - $40

This year’s live discussions at the Tribeca Festival are taking place outdoors, on the AT&T Terrace at Spring Studios on Varick St. While some of the hottest events are already sold out — featuring such creators as Tina Fey, Sanaa Lathan, M. Night Shyamalan, Amy Schumer, Emily Ratajkowski, Blondie, John Legend, and Shira Haas — there are still many more available, with directors, CEOs, designers, and podcasters.

Thursday, June 10
Series Preview: Red Frontier, with Mimi O’Donnell, Sarah Nolen, Maria Dizzia, and Kara Young, $26, 7:00

Friday, June 11
Storytellers – Scott Z. Burns, $40, 5:00

Saturday, June 12
Jason Hirschhorn: The Business of Entertainment, free with RSVP, 1:00

Live Recording: Resistance, with Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr. a musical performance by Ivy Sole, a poetry reading by Dominique Christina, and a stand-up set from Elsa Waithe, $26, 3:00

Sunday, June 13
Jason Hirschhorn: The Future of Podcasting, with Conal Byrne, Jason Hirschhorn, James Kim, and Rachel Ghiazza, free with RSVP, 1:00

Tribeca Talks: Jad Abumrad with Jason Reitman, $26, 5:00

Monday, June 14
Series Preview: Apple TV+ Siegfried & Roy Original Podcast, with Steven Leckart and Will Malnati, $26, 5:00

Scott Rechler Recalibrate Reality: The Future of NY, free with RSVP, 7:00

Tuesday, June 15
Directors Series — Doug Liman, with Jason Hirschhorn, 5:00

Wednesday, June 16
Live Recording: Ear Hustle, with Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor, $26, 5:30

Scott Rechler Recalibrate Reality: The Future of NY with David Rockwell, free with RSVP, 7:30

Saturday, June 19
Black Filmmakers vs American History, with Jelani Cobb, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Kasi Lemmons, and Melina Matsouka, moderated by Warrington Hudlin, $40, noon

7 Years: A Conversation with Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Zola Mashariki, $26, 5:00


ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York
Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan online
Through May 5, $12 per virtual film, $45 for in-person comedy night

“Everybody has crutches,” multidisciplinary artist and performer Bill Shannon says in Crutch, screening at the thirteenth annual ReelAbilities Film Festival. “Some of them you can see; some of them are invisible.” Founded in 2007 by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, the festival is “dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities.” Running through May 5, it opened April 29 with Michael Parks Randa and Lauren Smitelli’s Best Summer Ever at the Queens Drive-In at the New York Hall of Science, with appearances by Itzhak Perlman and Lachi, and will be virtual the rest of the way (with one notable exception), consisting of eighteen programs, from panel discussions and Q&As to shorts and full-length films as well as a comedy night. The eight feature documentaries can be streamed throughout the festival; each will also have a live Q&A with the filmmakers and/or subjects. Among the topics explored in the works are disabling injury (Ahead of the Curve), Down syndrome (The Special), blindness (Maricarmen), amputation (Augmented), mental health (The World Is Bright), autism (In a Different Key), and ALS (closing-night selection Not Going Quietly, with Temple Grandin participating in the Q&A).

There will also be a Gamechanger talk about authentic storytelling with Lauren Ridloff and Katherine Croft, “Black Future Month: Legacy, Present & Afro-Futurism” with Keith Jones, CJ Jones, Tameka Citchen-Spruce, Safiya Eshe Gyasi, Diana Elizabeth Jordan, and Trelanda R. Lowe, “Fashion, Beauty, and Disability” with KR Liu, Natalie Trevonne, Dana Zumbo, and Aubrie Lee, an author talk with Jodi Samuels about parenting children with disabilities and her book Chutzpah, Wisdom and Wine: The Journey of an Unstoppable Woman, as well as four collections of shorts. In addition, there will be a live reading of the pilot script for the unproduced television series Disgraced with writers Julie Klausner and Alex Scordelis and star Shannon DeVido along with Amy Sedaris, Larry Wilmore, Jackie Hoffman, Chris Gethard, Sasheer Zamata, and others, and a live, hybrid comedy show with Maysoon Zayid, Tina Friml, Martin Phillips, Jenny Cavallero, and Ryan Haddad, hosted by Pamela Schuller, taking place in person on the JCC Manhattan rooftop ($45) and online ($15).


The Shed’s McCourt has been reconfigured for the return of live, socially distanced performances (photo by Jasdeep Kang)

The Shed
McCourt Theater in the Bloomberg Building
545 West 30th St. at Eleventh Ave.
April 2-22

On April 2, the Shed kicked off its in-person spring season, “An Audience with . . . ,” as singer, polymuse, and cellist Kelsey Lu took the stage at the reconfigured eighteen-thousand-square-foot McCourt theater, performing with a band for a socially distanced crowd of 150. “Everyone’s intention is to receive something; that energy is flying throughout the room, and it’s buzzing and it’s vibrating,” Lu says in a behind-the-scene video about the making of the show. Next up is Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the New York Philharmonic on April 14 and 15, musical performers Renée Fleming, Bill Frisell, Christian McBride, and Dan Tepfer on April 21, and comedians Michelle Wolf, Jared Freid, and Cipha Sounds on April 22. “When I performed in its very first events, I was struck by the architectural innovation of the Shed, especially the amazing flexible enclosure of the McCourt,” Fleming said in a statement about the theater, which features 115-foot-high ceilings and a state-of-the-art MERV ventilation system. “It could not be more ideal for these unusual circumstances, as we finally begin to gather again, safely, for live performances.” The Shed will later host the annual Frieze art fair and present its annual “Open Call” art exhibition. You can check out its ongoing digital Up Close programming here.


Uncle Floyd and Oogie are back on Tuesday nights in weekly live clips show

Who: Uncle Floyd, Scott Gordon
What: Live watch party
Where: StageIt
When: Tuesday nights at 8:00, $5
Why: I was aghast to learn that there will be a live, online watch party of great moments from The Uncle Floyd Show on Tuesday, March 30, at 8:00. What made me so upset was not that the event was happening at all but that it was the eighth presentation, meaning that I had missed the first seven. The horror! I spent a significant part of my childhood dedicated to The Uncle Floyd Show, a super-low-budget pseudo-children’s show beaming out of New Jersey, available on cable station WHT, Wometco Home Theater, and U68. The host, onetime circus entertainer Floyd Vivino, was a warped version of Soupy Sales, in a checkerboard suit, bowtie, and porkpie hat, cracking jokes from before your grandparents’ time, along with double and triple entendres, delivered by a madcap group of characters that included Scott Gordon, Craig “Mugsy” Calam, Richard “Netto” Cornetto, Jim Monaco, Art “Looney Skip” Rooney, Charlie Stoddard, David “Artie Delmar” Burd, Clark the Wonder Dog, Bones Boy, and Oogie, the Uncle Floyd’s ever-present hand-puppet sidekick. They performed ridiculously silly skits (oh, how I loved the Dull family) and musical parodies (Bruce Stringbean, Neil Yuck, “Deep in the Heart of Jersey”) and had such famous guests as the Ramones (who name-check Uncle Floyd in “It’s Not My Place [in the 9 to 5 World”]), the Boomtown Rats, the Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, Tiny Tim, Squeeze, Cyndi Lauper, and David Johansen lip syncing to their hit songs. My favorite was vaudeville veteran Benny Bell playing his 1946 novelty classic “Shaving Cream.” I even went to see the gang perform live at the Bottom Line, and so did David Bowie, who was turned on to the show by John Lennon; the Thin White Duke’s song “Slip Away” is actually about Uncle Floyd. The Uncle Floyd Show was a nostalgia act with no past, instead predicting the future of DIY variety series and internet programs, an early version of Instagram and TikTok.

The Uncle Floyd Show ran in one form or another for nearly twenty-five years. Fortunately, Gordon preserved more than seven hundred hours of excerpts and complete broadcasts, and he and Vivino are now streaming them on Tuesday nights at 8:00 for five bucks on the StageIt platform, as Uncle Floyd and Scott’s Video Clip Club, with live, interactive discussions. This week’s edition features the full New Jersey Network show from January 8, 1985, with additional segments from the WHT broadcast from May 12, 1980, including a song from a group from Whitestone that had a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for seventeen weeks and on the R&B charts as well. (For more fun, engineer Gordon and Vivino also team up Sunday mornings at 9:00 for the WFDU-FM 89.1 radio show Garage Sale Music.) “Once a time they nearly might have been / Bones and Oogie on a silver screen / No one knew what they could do / Except for me and you,” Bowie sings on “Slip Away,” continuing, “Don’t forget to keep your head warm / Twinkle twinkle, Uncle Floyd / Watching all the world and war torn / How I wonder where you are.” Now you know: They’re on StageIt every Tuesday night. (The April 13 show will consist of segments from 1979, a full show from 1983, and a musical appearance by a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award–winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band.) See you there. And don’t forget to snap it, pal.


On March 14, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “I am not ready today at this hour to say, let’s have a city with no bars, no restaurants, no rec centers, no libraries. I’m not there.” But he was there the next day, shutting down the city while allowing St. Patrick’s Day revelers one last chance to become superspreaders, letting them have one final party night on March 16. A year later, Gotham has suffered 775,000 cases and more than 30,000 deaths, so for 2021, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be virtual, but restaurants are back open. For those who are not planning on cramming into any pubs quite yet, there are several online gatherings to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland.

The parade, a New York City institution since 1762, will be virtual in 2021, honoring first responders and essential workers. There will be events all day long, from a livestreamed mass and a composite of previous parades to live entertainment and interviews.

The Gingold Theatrical Group, which is dedicated to the work of George Bernard Shaw, is hosting a livestreamed Irish Poetry Slam with Robert Cuccioli, Tyne Daly, Melissa Errico, Jessica Hecht, Daniel Jenkins, Andrea Marcovicci, Tonya Pinkins, Thom Sesma, Renee Taylor, Sally Wilfert, Karen Ziemba, and others taking part in an open mic night beginning at 6:00 (admission is free with advance RSVP), with people contributing poetry, songs, toasts, jokes, monologues, sayings, and more, preferably by or inspired by Irish writers. "Ordinarily, we’d be having our annual Golden Shamrock Gala on the seventeenth, but . . . nope!” Gingold artistic director David Staller said in a statement. “This shindig will take place over Zoom! Not Irish? Not a problem. On St. Pat’s, we’re ALL a little Irish. This is just a party. Not a performance. Not a fundraiser. Just a chance for us all to raise a glass and be ‘together.’”

Meanwhile, Knowledge Workings Theater Company, started in 2018 by Joe Queenan, T. J. Elliott, and Marjorie Phillips Elliott, is holding its Second Annual Virtual (Not Necessarily Virtuous) St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. Anyone can participate by making their own video, following specific instructions on YouTube here and seeing what contributors posted last year. It’s free, but it you want to donate, Knowledge suggests you do so to the Irish Rep, which is presenting JM Synge’s The Aran Islands, starring Brendan Conroy, March 16-28, including 3:00 and 8:00 screenings March 17.

On Wednesday night at 8:00 GMT, Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival concludes with Barróg Lá Fhéile Phádraig, featuring performances by Lisa O’Neill, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Caoimhe Ní Fhlatharta, Seamus and Ronan Ó Flatharta, Diarmuid and Brian Mac Gloin, Cormac Begley, Ronan O’Snodaigh and Myles O’Reilly, Doireann, and Siún Glackin and Mohammad Syfkhan, sharing a big virtual hug extending across the Atlantic.


Nowhere Fest takes place in three-dimensional fantastical wonderlands

March 11-13, $5-$100

One of the most innovative online platforms to emerge during the pandemic is Nowhere, a three-dimensional fantastical world where users’ images appear on the front of seedlike pods that can move around the location and interact with one another face-to-face. I’ve experienced it three times so far, twice for multimedia presentations from EdgeCut and New York Live Arts (NYLA), allowing participants to navigate through different virtual spaces to watch live and prerecorded dance, music, and high-tech art, and once when NYLA rolled out its upcoming season, previewing works and giving people the opportunity to speak with the artists. What feels unique is the agency each pod has, able to meet others and interact, settle in front of a virtual screen or proscenium within the virtual area, or wander off with magical flourishes. The platform, which can be pronounced “No Where” or “Now Here,” will be hosting a virtual festival March 11-13, featuring performances, panel discussions, and more in conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration that Covid-19 was a global pandemic. Admission is $5 to $100, based on what you can afford, with proceeds benefiting Helping Hearts NYC, which “was created to provide aid to those affected the most during this time, and to those on the front line saving lives.”

Nowhere digital platform offers new way to experience live events with other people (screenshot by twi-ny/mdr)

Nowhere Fest celebrates the technological advances made over the last twelve months to connect people when they couldn’t physically be together in the same space. Jen Lyon, Liz Tallent, Patrick Wilson, Stephen Chilton, and Becca Higgins of the National Independent Venue Association will talk about their industry and the Save Our Stages Act. Columbia University Rabbi Irwin Kula, the president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, will meet with Kristina Libby, the CEO and founder of SoCu and the Social Works Co., and chair professor Robert Wolcott, cofounder of the World Innovation Network. Athena Demos, Michael “Danger Ranger” Mikel, and Damian Madray will look at the future of Burning Man. Tony winner Christine Jones, director Tamilla Woodard, and actor-writer Shyla Lefner will discuss the success of the Theatre for One program “Here We Are,” in which one actor at a time performed for one audience member, with microphones and cameras on for both. Heidi Boisvert and Kat Mustatea of EdgeCut will lead a conversation with artists about the development of hybrid live performances. Group.BR will delve into its use of the digital platform in its reimagining of its immersive, site-specific Inside the Wild Heart. EMBC Studio goes behind the scenes of its recharge rooms.

People can meet face-to-face and watch live performances and talks at Nowhere Fest

There will also be appearances, performances, demonstrations, and talks by comedian Chris Gethard, mentalist and mind reader Vinny Deponto, Shasta Geaux Pop, world champion whistler Lauren Elder, singer-songwriter Andrew McMahon, QuarMega, House of Yes & Elsewhere, Macy Schmidt of Broadway Sinfonietta, Deep End NYC, the Feast + Art Plus People, wellness innovator Leah Siegel, Hoovie cofounder Vallejo Gantner, Pete Vigeant of Completely Surrounded Games, poet Mason Granger, filmmaker Storm Saulter, MICRO DIY MUSEUMS founder Charles Philipp, Robert Siegel and Scott Simon of NPR, magician Greg Dubin, DJ Passionfruit, DJ MSG, Globally Curated founder Megs Rutigliano, photographer Will O’Hare, and strategy and design consultant and musician Alain Sylvain. Attending Nowhere Fest might just be the best five-dollar entertainment purchase you make during the pandemic (of course, give more if you can), introducing you to the future of live, online performance once we’re on the other side of this crisis.