Featured NYC events in September 2018
This live talent showcase invites authors, comedians, scientists and others to present researched stories on a wide range of interesting topics. Presentations include spoken word, musical compositions, photography and more. The fall tour is the biggest one yet, with stops in San Francisco, Toronto, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles and other spots. This time, they hit BAM with an excellent lineup and musical support from the Magik* Magik Orchestra. September's edition features multimedia stories from Rebecca Skloot (#1 New York Times bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks), Ann Friedman (co-host, Call Your Girlfriend), Ed Yong (The Atlantic), Yowei Shaw (NPR's Invisibilia), Emily Dreyfuss (Wired), Jason Parham (Wired, Spook), Meg Smaker (filmmaker, Boxeadora), and NYC's own Landon Nordeman (photographer, New Yorker, New York Times) among others. They're set to discuss thirst traps through the ages, terrorist rehabilitation centers, small-town American businesses, robot ethics, flower extinction and other interesting topics.
Lions, tigers and bears—oh my! The Bronx Zoo goes all out every Halloween season, and this weekend kicks of its month of spooky festivites. Drop in to take a hayride through a haunted forest, watch live performances, get wowed by a mentalist, participate in a costume parade and lots more.
New York's favorite disco and house collective brings its introspective lyrics and floor-pounding beats to Elsewhere behind last year's Omnion. The record finds Andy Butler and Co. reimagining their sound with inflections of ’80s pop, techno and ambient, but one thing hasn't changed: these tunes will make you move.
Move over, film. The annual Tribeca TV Festival presents three days of premieres and panels featuring the very best of television. This year's bash toasts two decades of Law and Order: SVU with a panel discussion including Mariska Hargitay, Ice T, Dick Wolf and the rest of the cast. Bryan Cranston looks back on Breaking Bad for the tenth anniversary of its premiere, and Tracey Ullman shows up to preview a new season of HBO zaniness. Along with screening premieres of new series and returning favorites like Ray Donovan and Madam Secretary, the festival will host a viewing of one of Anthony Bourdain's finale episodes of Parts Unknown, followed by a discussion on his legacy with producers and episode guest W. Kamau Bell. Most events run for $20–$30 a pop. It's a golden era of episodics; don't miss the chance to bask in the glow of the small screen.
Once a year, builders and tinkerers of all ages convene at this innovation-centered event to show off their inventions—and teach onlookers how they can make them at home. This edition features talks on wearable electronics, 3D printing, droid-building, costume design and building your own phone, plus, oddly, a dance battle. We guess it truly is a fest for movers and shakers of all stripes.
The Color Factory NYC is officially open to the public as of Monday, August 20, and the experience is red hot. Actually, it covers a spectrum of hues, and it is guaranteed to be one of the most vibrant, educational and downright enjoyable Instagrammable moments you’ve encountered in New York. It really blue us away. The interactive exhibition, which is located in Soho, was designed and launched by event planner Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day (a crafts and celebrations blog) to help visitors explore the fun and importance of color. There are 16 rooms to explore throughout the 20,000-square-foot space which showcase immersive artwork from local writers, poets and musicians. The event got its start in San Francisco, but the Gotham iteration is very much an ode to New York, as there are various poems and tips for folks who live in the Big Apple throughout. Similar activiations such as a baby-blue ball pit remain in addition to a disco-themed dancefloor, oddball artifacts (think puke-inspired art) presented by the Mmuseumm and more. Best of all, you can wander through the installation phone-free (if you want.) Upon entry, you are given a card to scan at each of the various photographic experiences inside. The photos will be sent directly to your email, so you can focus on enjoying the art versus panicking over taking the perfect picture. That’s pretty convenient, but what we really love is that this ticketed attraction ($38) is worth the price in freebies alone. During your visit
An official guide from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum leads this walk around the reflecting pools. You’ll leave with a new understanding of how the memorial was created with the site’s past and future in mind.
The Museum at FIT unleashes the politics and provocations of the color pink at this stunning exhibition, featuring clothing from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Divided into two sections, the exhibition explores how the color has come to play into eroticism, punk rock, activism and gender politics. You'll explore historical ensembles from Japan, India, Africa, Mexico, Great Britain, the U.S. and beyond that played into the lives of commoners and royals alike; then gag at stunning looks from the vaults of Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Moschino and Comme des Garçon. Witness the splendor!
The celebrated indie-pop upstarts, who first made our hearts flutter with 2014's dreamily delicious single, "Archie, Marry Me," hit town for a pair of dates behind last year's effervescent and thoroughly satisfying Antisocialites. Catch the Toronto quartet at Greenpoint's Polish-community-center-turned-concert venue for a late-summer dose of starry-eyed melodies that'll carry you far into fall.
Brooklyn-via-Ohio alt-rock superstars the National present this two-day fest in Queens, featuring turns from Future Islands, Cat Power, Cigarettes After Sex, Phoebe Bridgers, Bully and more. The National headlines each night, so you'll have ample opportunity to savor singer Matt Berninger's microphone-stand-pounding, collar-tearing abandon on stage.
Selling Fast in September 2018
Tom and Betsy Salamon’s unique adventure—part interactive theater, part scavenger hunt, part walking tour—draws participants into an amusing web of puzzles and intrigue. You can choose between the three-hour New York tour, which takes participants through various neighborhoods of lower Manhattan, or the two-hour Village tour, which travels through quirky Greenwich Village on Saturdays. Groups of as many as 11 are booked every half hour.
Talented singers from the Broadway and cabaret worlds sing side by side in this tribute to the master of musical theater that has often featured former cast members of Sondheim shows. Guests at the September episode include Annie Golden, Sarah Rice, Hunter Ryan Herlicka, Seth Sikes and the Marquee Five.
Part cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the microphone (backed by the slap and tickle of Steve Doyle on bass and Billy Stritch at the ivories, plus the bang of Daniel Glass on drums). The waggish Caruso presides as host.
Broadway by the Year impresario Scott Siegel curates this monthly concert series, in which Broadway stars sing some of the Great White Way's best-loved tunes. Performers at the September edition include Lisa Howard, John Cudia, Danny Gardner, Ward Billeisen, Maxine Linehan and Brian Charles Rooney.
Photoville is back! And your Insta is about to get meta. NYC hosts a bounty of beautiful photography exhibitions, but only Photoville can claim to be as pretty as the photographs it showcases. Held in and around giant shipping containers in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the massive celebration of pictures features more than 600 artists, 75 exhibitions, talks, screenings, seminars and hands-on photography workshops for budding shutterbugs. There's also a beer garden from Brooklyn Brewery with food from Smorgasburg including Big Mozz, Mao's Bao and John's Juice. The best part: Photoville is totally free, and dog-friendly! Find a full list of hours and events on Photoville's website.
Satan's Alley may sound like an apt description for our present political circumstances, but it's also the name of the fictional musical in the lurid, outrageous Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive. And, 35 years later, it's the inspiration for Amanda Duarte's scorching new show about personal and political reawakening. The writer and Dead Darlings host puts the inferno of her personal life in perspective with the great garbage fire of American discourse at this dark engagement, which features fellow no-bullshit intellectuals the Gay Agenda, Becca Blackwell, Jenn Harris and Matthew Cleaver. While dishing out her singular opinions on Trump, Twitter and Tony Manero, she'll set us straight for the battles to come. Not to be missed.
The expansive Art Deco grandeur of the Edison Ballroom is the scene of this highly retro evening of dinner and swing music, courtesy of Battaglia and his brassy 16-piece crew. If you're looking for a time-capsule New York dance hall experience, this is where to find it. The fall show is titled September Swing.
A swinging fixture of the cabaret world, Ann Hampton Callaway has also branched into jazz and TV theme songs (The Nanny). She has a reassuringly mellow way with the standards, sung in a wry, dark-toned contralto. Her latest set is devoted to songs by the underrated Linda Ronstadt, including pop hits (like “Different Drum” and “Desperado”) as well as standards from the albums she recorded with Nelson Riddle. The adept Billy Stritch mans the keys.
Beloved comic actor Lynch shows off what she learned during her years on Glee (and her 2012 Broadway turn as Annie's Miss Hannigan) in a night of classic songs and comedy that pairs her with another expert TV funnywoman, Flannery, who played the boozy and blowsy Meredith on The Office. In their Carlyle debut, the two promise to deliver swinging nightclub entertainment "like the Rat Pack but with a couple of broads."
Fearless singer-songwriter and deceptively feather-light song stylist McKay is always guaranteed to flabber your gast with her witty, unwieldy and beguiling performances. In this Birdland run, she toasts the release of her seventh album, Sister Orchid, which includes versions of standards including "My Romance," "The Nearness of You" and "Georgia on My Mind."
Theater events in September 2018
Hamilton: Theater review by David Cote What is left to say? After Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s prodigious quill scratched out 12 volumes of nation-building fiscal and military policy; after Lin-Manuel Miranda turned that titanic achievement (via Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography) into the greatest American musical in decades; after every critic in town (including me) praised the Public Theater world premiere to high heaven; and after seeing this language-drunk, rhyme-crazy dynamo a second time, I can only marvel: We've used up all the damn words. Wait, here are three stragglers, straight from the heart: I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right. A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda’s uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard. No wonder the show was anointed a sensation before even opening. Assuming you don’t know the basics, Hamilton is a (mostly) rapped-through biomusical about an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean who came to New York, served as secretary to General Washington, fought against the redcoats, authored most of the Federalist Papers defending the Constitution, founded the Treasury and the New York Post and even made time for an extramarital affair that he damage-controlled in a scandal-stanching pamp
In this captivating original musical, Hello, Dolly! scene-stealer Taylor Trensch now plays the title role of a high school student thrust into social relevance after a classmate's suicide. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score combines well-crafted lyrics with an exciting pop sound, and Steven Levenson’s book gives all the characters shaded motives. Read the full review.
If theater is your religion and the Broadway musical your sect, you've been woefully faith-challenged of late. Venturesome, boundary-pushing works such as Spring Awakening, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Next to Normal closed too soon. American Idiot was shamefully ignored at the Tonys and will be gone in three weeks. Meanwhile, that airborne infection Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark dominates headlines and rakes in millions, without even opening. Celebrities and corporate brands sell poor material, innovation gets shown the door, and crap floats to the top. It's enough to turn you heretic, to sing along with The Book of Mormon's Ugandan villagers: "Fuck you God in the ass, mouth and cunt-a, fuck you in the eye." Such deeply penetrating lyrics offer a smidgen of the manifold scato-theological joys to be had at this viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q. As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush, you will be transported back ten years, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with metatheatrical irreverence and a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years. The high
Theater review by Adam Feldman The world of Harry Potter has arrived on Broadway, Hogwarts and all, and it is a triumph of theatrical magic. Set two decades after the final chapters of J.K. Rowling’s world-shaking kid-lit heptalogy, the two-part epic Harry Potter and the Cursed Child combines grand storytelling with stagecraft on a scale heretofore unimagined. Richly elaborated by director John Tiffany, the show looks like a million bucks (or, in this case, a reported $68 million); the Lyric Theatre has been transfigured from top to bottom to immerse us in the narrative. It works: The experience is transporting. Jack Thorne’s play, based on a story he wrote with Rowling and Tiffany, extends the Potter narrative while remaining true to its core concerns. Love and friendship and kindness are its central values, but they don’t come easily: They are bound up in guilt, loneliness and fear. Harry (Jamie Parker) is weighted with trauma dating back to his childhood, which hinders his ability to communicate with his troubled middle son, Albus (Sam Clemmett); it doesn’t help that Albus’s only friend is the bookish outcast Scorpius Malfoy (the exceptional Anthony Boyle), son of Harry’s erstwhile enemy, Draco (Alex Price). Despite the best intentions of Harry’s solid wife, Ginny (Poppy Miller), and his friends Hermione (Noma Dumezweni) and Ron (Paul Thornley), things turn dark very fast. Set designer Christine Jones and lighting designer Neil Austin keep much of the stage shrouded in
Theater review by Adam Feldman “I'm no hero, that’s understood,” sings Bruce Springsteen in “Thunder Road,” self-effacingly but also with the knowledge that a cardinal rule of heroism is denying it. He's got the dirty hood, sure, but it’s a hoodwink of a kind, and in the extraordinary concert show Springsteen on Broadway he is candid about that: Rock stardom, he says, is partly “a magic trick.” He's the young man without a driver’s license writing songs about the road; the artist costumed in the “factory clothes” of his emotionally withholding father; the working man who is also always the Boss. For more than four decades, Springsteen has maintained a sturdy performance of authenticity. He writes unforgettable character songs and sings them, essentially, as an actor; between them, he recites eloquently plain-spoken monologues—full of lists that touch on joy and sex and pain—that he writes for the character of Bruce. So Springsteen on Broadway is less of a contradiction in terms than it may seem. Dressed in simple black with no band (though his wife, Patti Scialfa, joins him for two duets), he performs what amounts to a two-hour solo musical about himself, a rock-star cabaret act. The hits are here, including “Born to Run” and “Dancing in the Dark,” but stripped down and edged with wistfulness; “Born in the U.S.A.” is pared into a skeletal, nearly a cappella blues. It’s an intimate show and a generous one, not just to past friends and collaborators but also to the audience,
[Note: The review below is for a 2014 version of this show, which was then titled The Imbible. A revised version now plays at New World Stages. A different, brunch-theater edition, titled Day Drinking, plays on weekend matinees.] Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Great! Now imagine him as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of ethanol alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. That description of Anthony Caporale’s The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking may sound far-out, but the show is both educational and entertaining. (It's also a fine showcase for a cappella classics arranged by Josh Ehrlich and performed by a gifted ensemble that includes the show's director, soprano Nicole DiMattei.) Mixing whimsy and information, Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's lessons—on subjects like the drinks served at Prohibition-era speakeasies, the origin of the gin and tonic, and the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink—can be washed down with complimentary, thematically appropriate beverages. As Caporale says, “Trust me, I get funnier with every sip.” That makes the show a must-see for anyone who enjoys free booze, which is probably nearly everyone.—Amelia Bienstock
Theater review by Helen Shaw When you walk into Say Something Bunny!, you enter another time. You might not notice that at first, because the brick office space where it takes place is so determinedly ordinary-looking. The small audience sits around a doughnut-shaped conference table, and as Alison S.M. Kobayashi begins her multimedia docuplay, some spectators are already paging through the scripts that have been placed in front of each chair. The text turns out to be the full transcript of a real, unlabeled 65-year-old recording that Kobayashi found hidden in an antique wire recorder: the audio relic of a teenage boy in Woodmere, Queens, enthusiastically taping two dozen family members and neighbors. Kobayashi has listened to the recording hundreds of times and has a seemingly boundless interest in the people whose voices it preserves, including amateur recordist David, mother Juliette and neighbor Bunny. She conducts us through a pair of after-dinner conversations, the first in 1952—she deduced the date from song lyrics mentioned on the wire—and the second in 1954. Aided by coauthor Christopher Allen, she pursues hints and half-heard jokes to determine who these people were and what befell them; she shows us the census records she used to find their old houses. The play unspools unhurriedly, leaving space for Kobayashi to make jokes, play short films and highlight points of historical interest. It takes a while for it to sink in that—of course—many of these vibrant people
This musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz addresses surprisingly complex themes, such as standards of beauty, morality and, believe it or not, fighting fascism. Thanks to Winnie Holzman’s witty book and Stephen Schwartz’s pop-inflected score, Wicked soars. The current cast includes Jackie Burns as Elphaba and Amanda Jane Cooper as Glinda.
Theater review by Diane Snyder For seven Harry Potter novels, the mediocrities of the Hogwarts house Hufflepuff lived in the shadow of their overachieving schoolmates. Matt Cox’s Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic gives them their due. In this funny and affectionate homage to J.K. Rowling’s world of wiz kids, Harry, Hermione and Ron take a back seat to average American wizard Wayne (Zac Moon), goth gal Megan (Julie Ann Earls) and math genius Oliver (Langston Belton), who is stuck at a school that doesn’t even teach his subject. They may not be at the top of the class, and they’re not wild about Harry, but they persevere through adversity and find power in friendship. A press release asks that the word parody be avoided in describing Puffs, but much of the show’s comedy is clearly aimed at Potterphiles. The 11 cast members play an assortment of characters, from a mumbling potions master to a squeaky house elf, and some of the jokes will be lost on those with no knowledge of the films or books. But even Potter virgins will enjoy the show’s witty wordplay and well-executed physical comedy. At times, the pacing is so frenetic that jokes can’t find a place to land, but there’s heart as well as humor here. In the past two years, Cox and director Kristin McCarthy Parker have shepherded their silly, subversive show from the People’s Improv Theater to Off Broadway’s New World Stages. Like its main characters, Puffs illustrates the heigh
After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery. Running time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.
Music events in September 2018
After pairing on single "Walk It Talk It," Canadian R&B superstar Drake joins forces with hip-hop trio Migos on the Aubrey and the Three Migos Tour. Expect to hear plenty of ubiquitous new tracks from his latest album Scorpion. Here's hoping that Drake and Migos play at least part of the show in the Soul Train-themed attire from their collaborative video. While he's in town for gigs at both the Garden and Barclays Center, Drake will also be hosting an event called "The Day Party" at Brooklyn Mirage on Sunday, August 26. Drake associate DJ Spade is spinning, and you can also expect an appearance by Youtube star Shiggy a.k.a. the guy behind the “Shiggy Dance” from the “In My Feelings” challenge. (No word if Drake himself will be performing or just hanging out.)
The world owes a great cosmic debt to time-traveling bandleader Sun Ra. He went back to Saturn and left the funkiest, swingingest band in the Milky Way here on Earth. This afternoon matinee show is your opportunity to travel the spaceways; your captain is 90-year-old Arkestra mainstay Marshall Allen.
A rapper who keeps company with the indie rock crowd (she's signed to Philly label Don Giovanni), Sammus writes hip-hop paeans to geek culture—gamers, comics fans and so forth. She plays with a rotating cast of openers for this Mercury Lounge residency. Most notably, you'll find multi-instrumentalist Mal Devisa performing Sept 11, who works surprisingly textured tunes from a pared down framework: soulful vocals soaring over loops of understated bass guitar. Her strikingly direct tunes have garnered her quite a word-of-mouth reputation in the local indie scene, exploring resilence, displacement and isolation with a revelatory spirit. Also look out for hectic noise-duo Machinegirl (Sept 18) and self-described "future-soul" quintet Jelani Sei (Sept 25).
Pitchfork and October present their second annual pairing of bands and brews. The fest hits Governors Island with a two-day lineup of more than 20 acts, including Vince Staples, Yo La Tengo, Chic, Vagabon, Julie Byrne and the Flaming Lips. Between sets, grab beer samples from over 90 different breweries based near (Blue Point, Circa) and far (India's Bira 91, Germany's Aktien). A single-day ticket includes 45 ounces of beer, a two-day ticket includes 90 ounces and plenty more is available for $1.50 per 3-ounce pour. Come thirsty.
Portland, OR, singer-songwriter Liz Harris brings her murky yet lovely tunes to NYC for the first time in over two years. She hits town behind her latest, Grid of Points. A sparse affair à la 2014's Ruins, Grid of Points finds Harris once again at the piano, her voice swathed in reverb and drifting among the chords like a slowly curling mist. It's music well worth losing yourself in.
The great bard of Irish R&B turns up in Queens for a rare show. You never know what you're going to get from a Van gig—or what mood the famously prickly singer-songsmith will turn up in—but he remains one of the least contrived performers of his generation. While Morrison's vocals might have diminished over the years, his penchant for thrilling improvisational risk remains very much intact. Outlaw-country figurehead and genuine American institution Willie Nelson brings his road-sharped crew to open the night.
The London singer imbues her sugary music with pop-punk riffs, J-pop nuances and video-gameworthy synths, putting it all together in a very post-internet way. Her debut, Rina, is essentially a study in society’s obsession with new technology, from the imagined life of a blogger on “Ordinary Superstar” to the smart-phone addiction of “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome.”
Seminal ‘90s punk band Jawbreaker came out of retirement last year, which meant two decades’ worth of teenagers who passed around 24 Hour Revenge Therapy CDs finally got to shout along to a live rendition of “Boxcar.” Since reuniting for Riot Fest last September, the trio has gradually expanded its tour and even revealed plans to log some studio time. If you weren't able to catch the band during its sold-out run at Brooklyn Steel in February, consider this Coney Island appearance your shot at redemption.
The Aussie quintet has peddled bright, bounding indie rock on its two splendid EPs—2016's Talk Tight and 2017's The French Press—and now it's added an equally infectious debut album to its oeuvre. A 35-minute collection of pristine guitar pop, Hope Downs beautifully showcases RBCF's keen melodic sensibilty, chugging motorik vim and clever, impressionistic lyrics.
The former Talking Head, active solo artist and avid bicyclist returns to Forest Hills for the first time since his erstwhile band visited in 1983 (he's also doing a two-night stint at Kings Theatre directly afterward). His new show is a choreographed spectacle that echoes his Stop Making Sense heyday. In the opening slot, Merrill Garbus and Co. supply Afrobeat-inspired pop with vocal gymnastics that never fail to impress.