Spring is in full swing and there’s no shortage of outstanding events in NYC this May. Take in the cityscape and all the greenery by participating in this year’s TD Five Boro Bike Tour. Literary enthusiasts can snap up tickets to An Evening with Neil Gaiman, where the scribe will be sharing various short stories. And if you’d rather tickle your funny bone this spring, check out Brit comic Eddie Izzard on his world tour Force Majeure.
Our May highlights
May is Bike Month; time to take your two-wheeled steed out of the corner of your living room and hit the pavement once more. If you love cycling but have a horror of navigating New York traffic, join Bike New York’s annual trans-city cyclathon. As the name suggests, this 32,000-strong ride spans all five boroughs in the course of 40 miles and five bridges. And thanks to a partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation, each and every one of those miles is automobile-free. The route begins near Battery Park, moves up through Manhattan and makes a circuit of the boroughs before winding up at Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth for a festival (catch the ferry back to lower Manhattan afterward). Though general registration is sold out, you can still sign up to ride as a VIP or with a charity; visit the website for more information. Starting location: Franklin St at Church St.
Any savvy ’80s-music connoisseur could pick out all the ingredients that made up Haim's 2013 debut, Days Are Gone—a touch of Michael Jackson, a pinch of Bangles, a spoonful of Eagles, a generous dash of solo-era Stevie Nicks—a fact that didn’t make the mix any less appealing. The L.A. sister act deployed virtuoso chops, dizzying vocal arrangements and club-ready production values in the service of staggeringly well-made songs, resulting in the pop triumph of 2013. Expect an ecstatic sing-along and dance party here, as Danielle, Este, Alana & Co. headline their biggest NYC shows to date.
The very long subtitle of Walker's first ever public-art project reads an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant. While the word artisan is a bit vague, the subject of sugar is certainly in keeping with the artist's career-long investigation of the historical wages of slavery and racism. Sugar was a key leg of the so-called triangle trade that traversed the Atlantic between the 16th and 19th centuries, as European slavers brought their human cargo to the Caribbean in exchange for molasses, which was then transported back to the Continent to be made into rum. However, the project is described as focusing on its site—the old Domino Sugar factory, which will soon be rebuilt as a complex of office and residential towers along the Williamsburg waterfront. Perhaps then, the piece will comment on the use of art as an emollient—or better yet, sweetener—for real-estate development. Whatever the outcome, urban spelunkers should have a field day going through the abandoned plant.
The queer nerds of Geeks OUT have already paid puntastic tribute to George Takei (Takei Back the Night), and Sigourney Weaver (Dream Weaver) with their annual art show and fund-raising party. This year, they're saluting the man who brought Magneto and Gandalf to the big screen, the ever-fabulous Ian McKellen. Dozens of artworks inspired by the acclaimed British actor will be on view and for sale in a silent auction, which benefits Geeks OUT's ongoing mission to raise the visibility of LGBT people in the gaming, comics and sci-fi communities.
More events in May 2014
France invades New York for a three-week festival of performances and talks that also unveils two publications: an anthology of existing writing, and a catalog documenting aspects of the festival. Events take place at venues throughout town, and the artists are a diverse, experimental crew, including Christian Rizzo, Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud, David Wampach, Ashley Chen, Cédric Andrieux, Christophe Ives and Lyon Opera Ballet. Visit the website for details. • frenchculture.org
“This ain’t no party / This ain’t no disco / This ain’t no foolin’ around,” sings David Byrne in “Life During Wartime,” the 1979 Talking Heads single that superimposes Third World political terror on East Village hipster malaise. More than 30 years later, the surreal mash-up of foreign and banal recurs in Byrne’s ecstatic and dynamic first musical, about the rise and fall of former Filipino first lady Imelda Marcos. Here Lies Love is most definitely a party, in a sort of disco, and while there’s plenty of fooling around, the piece cannily demonstrates how the pleasure principle dovetails with revolutionary zeal.
Hibernation season is over! Burly, fuzzy dudes take to the streets to strut their stuff during this incredibly popular annual celebration of all things ursine, brought your way by the Urban Bear honcho Robert Valin. Events range from screenings and comedy shows to dance parties and the requisite beer blasts. Check the website for specifics as they're planned.
Brit stand-up Russell Howard is like a puppy who's just been fed a few Pixy Stix: He bounds across the stage with exceedingly good cheer, flopping about in a naturally funny way. He's also quite clever. The combination, on view in his series Russell Howard's Good News, is irresistible.
The Asian-inspired street-food extravaganza kicks off its fifth anniversary with a cocktail reception, an outdoor night market and the Grand Feast tasting, featuring fifty top chefs—past participants include Masaharu Morimoto, Daniel Boulud and David Chang—and eight bartenders. luckyrice.com
May is Bike Month; time to take your two-wheeled steed out of the corner of your living room and hit the pavement once more. If you love cycling but have a horror of navigating New York traffic, join Bike New York’s annual trans-city cyclathon. As the name suggests, this 32,000-strong ride spans all five boroughs in the course of 40 miles and five bridges. And thanks to a partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation, each and every one of those miles is automobile-free.
This first New York museum exhibition of the Icelandic artist (born 1976) features his videos, which are known for their filmic gloss and narrative compression, as well as a performance with ten musicians. As the show titles suggest, the works relate to the artist's family members, all of whom are noted actors in Iceland's film and theater worlds.
Much more than a fantasy author, Gaiman creates stories—be they novels, graphic novels, scripts or short works—that are appealingly dark and clever, and that reach for a level of myth that most modern writers wouldn't even consider. Tonight you'll be sure to hear from The Ocean at the End of the Lane, his 2013 novel about adolescence, which many consider to be his best.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art may be known for its paintings and ancient treasures, but fashion is increasingly what brings crowds to the institution. Nearly 700,000 people came to the stunning “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” retrospective in 2011, making it one of the most-visited exhibitions in the museum’s history. Last year’s “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” was a more modest success, as 450,000 people clamored to see a replica of CBGB’s grotty bathroom. With more fashion-focused visitors than ever, the timing is perfect for the museum to open its revamped Costume Institute on May 8. It’ll be bigger and better—and thanks to a particularly helpful benefactor, it’ll be known by a new moniker: the Anna Wintour Costume Center.
Well, this ought to be something.… The omnitalented bombshell—a star for nearly five decades—returns to the arenas in support of last year's Auto-Tune–drenched dance-pop beltfest Closer to the Truth. The album hasn't yet spawned a "Believe," but lead track "Woman's World" did burn up the dance charts. On the strength of over-the-top razzle-dazzle, not to mention stylistic breadth and sheer megastar wattage, these gigs could be the pop spectacle of the year.
The tent-tastic London art fair on Randalls Island is back for its third New York edition. A global array of 190 galleries is setting up shop under a temporary structure overlooking the East River, designed by New York architects SO–IL. Six contemporary artists—Darren Bader, Eduardo Basualdo, Eva Kotátková, Marie Lorenz, Koki Tanaka and Naama Tsabar—have been commissioned to create site-specific works for the proceedings, which also include talks by artists and writers, and a special tribute to Allen Ruppersberg’s Al’s Grand Hotel, an art project that the artist actually ran as a hotel over six weekends in 1971, at 7175 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.
The Manhattan Cocktail Classic
Brazilian artist Lygia Clark (1920–1988) wasn’t particularly well known to American audiences during her lifetime, but then neither was much of art being produced during the postwar era in Brazil, or, for that matter, the rest of South America. Yet during the 1960s and ’70s, the Brazilian art scene, in particular, was a hotbed of radical innovation thanks to the Neo-Concretist movement, of which Clark was a leading figure. This MoMA retrospective of the multimedia artist represents the first comprehensive examination in North America of her work, and surveys everything from her efforts in painting and sculpture to her self-styled “abandonment” of art, as she made her move into a unique form of conceptualism that grew out of a lengthy period of psychoanalysis.
Discovery's Faso and Free Magic are back with another edition of their long-running bash, featuring a soundtrack of house, techno, various bass-music beats and more. This edition looks like another hot one (aren't they all?): It boasts a guest set of deep and funky beats from the talented Detroit production vet Scott Grooves, one of the more underrated guys on the scene and a truly inspiring figure.
James Beard Awards
Known as the culinary “Oscars,” this star-studded awards showcase gathers food-world heavyweights from coast to coast under one roof—last year’s winners included New York bigwigs like Mission Chinese Food supertoque Danny Bowien and molecular-gastronomy poster boy Wylie Dufresne (wd~50, Alder). Semifinalists will be announced February 19th and tickets go on sale March 18th. • 212-675-4984, jamesbeard.org/awards
The very long subtitle of Walker's first ever public-art project reads an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant. While the word artisan is a bit vague, the subject of sugar is certainly in keeping with the artist's career-long investigation of the historical wages of slavery and racism.
The company—including dancers Roberto Bolle, Herman Cornejo, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Veronika Part, Xiomara Reyes, Polina Semionova, Hee Seo, Daniil Simkin, Cory Stearns, Ivan Vasiliev, Diana Vishneva and the newest principal, James Whiteside—returns for its spring season. Highlights include the company premiere of Frederick Ashton's Cinderella, as well as a "Shakespeare Celebration," featuring Ashton's The Dream and Alexei Ratmansky's The Tempest. The lineup also features Leonide Massine's Gaîté Parisienne and Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, and guest performers Alina Cojocaru, Maria Kochetkova and Denis Matvienko.
Even just workshopping Force Majeure last year, the world-renowned comedian and "executive transvestite" dazzled with his language games, historical concerns and fanciful visions of yak dressage. No doubt when Izzard visits the city as part of this global tour, the finished product will be as energetic, witty and strangely informative as past efforts.
Burlesque stars Calamity Chang and Sukki Singapora join forces with Thirsty Girl Productions for the second annual Asian Burlesque Spectacular, tossed in homage to such fabled and groundbreaking performers as Barbara Yung and Mei Ling. The show features Seattle's Shanghai Pearl, Denver's Orchid Mei, Montreal's Cherry Typhoon, Toronto's Wrong Note Rusty, Calgary's Miyuki Divine, San Fran's Bunny Pistol, San Diego's Miss Di’ Lovely, Tokyo's Violet Eva, NYC's own Cheeky Lane, and, of course, Misses Chang and Singapora themselves; drag artist Yuhua Hamasaki is the evening's glamorous host.
Get over the politics and the pudding pops, and spend the rest of your life boasting to parents and comics that you spent time with the Cos. His clean, amiable slice-of-life stand-up laid the foundation for everything from his book Fatherhood to The Cosby Show. On tour and in his recent special (Far from Finished), his stories are as sharp as ever.
Let’s face it, Roland Emmerich’s 1998 reboot of the Japanese monster series didn’t exactly set the world on fire (in either sense). So here’s a chance to get back to the roots of what Godzilla is all about: less chatty-chatty, more smashy-smashy. And who better to deliver than DIY movie master and Monsters director Gareth Edwards, the man who made a classic big beastie flick in his bedroom. He has a larger budget this time around and bona-fide stars—Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins.
Two impressive writers, one Irish and one English, make a rare combined appearance in the city. The eminent O'Brien's fiction and plays have the keen ability to put the inner lives of female protagonists on display, and O'Brien recently did the same for herself in memoir Country Girl. Best known for his darkly funny Patrick Melrose series, about growing up and getting away from a highly dysfunctional family, St. Aubyn satirizes literary prizes in Lost for Words.
After more than a decade of misfires, arthouse oddities and bleak personal projects, Swedish writer-director Lukas Moodysson finally (and perhaps grudgingly?) returns to the sparky, indie-comic tone of his best-loved films Show Me Love and Together. We Are the Best! is a joyous celebration of youth, friendship and rebellion, and if there’s a nagging note of regret and bitterness it never manages to undermine the overwhelmingly compassionate tone.This is a film of flawless, natural performances, particularly from the three young leads. It’s 1982, and Bobo (Mira Barkhammer) and Klara (Mira Grosin) are best friends, bolshy 13-year-old outsiders whose love of punk leads them to form their own band.