Yesterday evening was perfect. I took a bike ride through the LES, Chinatown, and the Financial District, swung around to Battery Park to watch the mesmerizing Mophato Dance Theatre from Botswana as part of the Battery Dance Festival (who wins for best artist backdrops in NYC, with sight lines of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty). They were really good a pushed notions on “what is African Dance?” In addition, it’s a huge company – there were about 20 dancers and musicians! I really enjoyed myself. After, I biked alongside a party boat on the East River for most of the way home, managing to dance while biking, easily making new friends along the way (there were a few of us on bikes, following the music!) The icing on the cake (or in this case, “ice cream on the cone”) was an evening treat at my favorite, long-time soft serve joint (since 1974!), Ray’s Candy Store, on Avenue A. I like to chew the fat with Ray and love the old school offerings readily available. I usually get the soft serve but he has egg creams, ice cream sodas, lime rickeys, etc. It reminds me of the New York I grew up in. Ray is in his 80s. Go support him.
Two NYC recommendations:
- If you have the chance, check out the final days of the Battery Dance Festival. I knew about this series for quite awhile but went for the first time this week. I saw Erasing Borders first, which focused on many different Indian dance forms. I was blown away, so much so, I went back. It’s a great festival of local and international dance. And as I said earlier, the sight lines are phenomenal. You can catch the final night of the festival at Battery Park tonight or the phenomenal Mophato Dance Theatre + others tomorow at the Schimmel Center. Both are free but sure to RSVP for tomorrow.
#aboutlastnight: I couldn’t get enough of the #batterydancefestival and went back for more. Here is the first African company ever in the festival, @mophato_dance_theatre, from Botswana. #dance #africandance #botswana #moderndance #contemporarydance #lowermanhattan #batterypark #wagnerpark #nyharbor #newyorkharbor #views #theview #nyc #nysee
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I loved my first #batterydancefestival / Erasing Borders. Beautiful dancers, amazing backdrop. These Bharatanatyam dancers, Viraja and Shyamjith Kiran are flanked by a sailboat that just happened to pass as they came into this pose. #lowermanhattan #batterypark #nyharbor #newyorkharbor #hudsonriver #indiandance #bharatanatyam #nyc #nysee
2. I went to the opening night of “Capturing the Lower East Side’s Storefronts Oral History & Photo Exhibition” this week. What a show! The photos and stories came from a series of workshops done with neighborhood residents. The result is beautiful, personal, and relevant, especially since we lost two of the featured businesses, in the last month. I also love that it’s at Theater for the New City, a community arts institution to the East Village. These are the businesses and organizations we must support. Don’t miss this. You have until 9/18.
And now…this is what I got for the week:
Friday, August 18
Saturday, August 19
Dance: Beach Sessions Dance Series featuring Jodi Melnick/Jon Kinzel & Anonymous. A two-day dance series against the backdrop of Rockaway Beach with some of the best NYC-based choreographers of today. Repeats on 8/20 with different choreographers, Queens
Sunday, August 20
💁 Music: A not-to-be-missed bill of the summer: Mulatu Astatke, father of Ethio-Jazz with support from compelling female vocalists from Tunisia and Sudan by way of New York, Emel Mathlouthi and Alsarah & the Nubatones, NYC
Monday, August 21
Tuesday, August 22
Dancing/Music: Celebrate the solar eclipse with a high-tech experimental dance party and soundscape with accompanying drums. This evening event features two performances by award-winning Staten Island based electronic multimedia composers, performers, and sound artists: Izzi Ramkissoon (featuring Eric Cooper (cello), Patrice Ramkissoon (vocals), and Udachi (electronics)) and AJ Pantaleo (featuring Mike DiBenedetto), Staten Island
Wednesday, August 23
Film: Bad Hair (Pelo Malo) (Venezuela/Peru), BAD HAIR chronicles the life of nine-year-old Junior, living in a bustling Caracas tenement with his widowed mother, who fears he has pelo malo – bad hair. For his school photo, he wants to iron his stubbornly curly mane to resemble his pop star idols. His mother has serious misgivings; she suspects her son is gay. Rondón grounds her film in the cultural realities of working-class Venezuela – and, by dint of two remarkable performances, finds warmth and humor between mother and son, even as the uncertainties of pre-adolescence threaten to pull them apart. Sounds amazing. Queens
Thursday, August 24
Music/Dance: Pier 42 is a temporary park site is on the south side of FDR Drive that housed a community-informed park for a number of years. This afternoon/evening, it gives Lower Manhattan a salsa party, featuring one of my favorite son/salsa bands, Los Hacheros, NYC
💁 Music: Day 1: Jazz in the Garden with Art Baron. This year, I’m partnering with SummerStage and the Jazz Foundation of America to deepen the community focus of their Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. We’ll have community garden concerts in the neighborhoods where Charlie Parker lived, featuring jazz artists from the respective communities. Today is the East Village and we have trombonist Art Baron in 6BC Botanical Garden. Space extremely limited! NYC
💁 Music: Emilsen Pacheco Blanco is considered one of the bullerengue (a African drum tradition in Colombia) greats. He’ll be joined by the 13-person New York–based bullerengue collective Bulla en el Barrio, NYC
Friday, August 25
💁 Music: Day 2: Jazz in the Garden with Bill Saxton. This year, I’m partnering with SummerStage and the Jazz Foundation of America to deepen the community focus of their Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. We’ll have community garden concerts in the neighborhoods where Charlie Parker lived, featuring jazz artists from the respective communities. Today is Harlem and we have organist, Bill Saxton in the Harlem Rose Garden, preceding CPJF’s main event for the evening, Anat Cohen Tentet. Space extremely limited! NYC
Saturday, August 26
Music: Jazz Age Lawn Party. A Prohibition era-inspired gathering, “the biggest (not to mention the cleanest and most family-oriented) regular event in the ‘Retro Noveau’ movement,” (The Wall Street Journal.) Dressing up and picnicking is highly recommended for this magical opportunity to travel back in time. Note that you must pay to get into the small performance space but you can also easily enjoy the event from outside the gates, Governors Island
Music: Jazz veterans Lee Konitz Quartet and Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science along with Louis Hayes and Charenee Wade pay tribute to innovator and Bebop master, Charlie “Bird” Parker in Day 3 (of 4) of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, NYC
Sunday, August 27
Aight, that’s what I got. Have a great weekend everyone!
All good things,