Dear Friends,

Over many years growing up, I took art, drama, modern dance, Ukrainian folk dance (yes, you heard that right), piano (for 14 years!), harpsichord, composition, and bass lessons. My mom, as an art teacher wanted to expose me to different art forms to see if any resonated with me.

When I was in college, I was in Yanvalou, a drum and dance ensemble ensemble that performed the folkloric music and dance of Africa as it existed in the Diaspora, particularly in Haiti. It was my favorite thing. I loved learning about Haitian culture and getting to dance and perform regularly. I love bumping into my teacher, Peniel on the street on occasion.

Fast forward to present: I’m obviously more of an arts lover than a dancer/artist/musician/actress. What I do currently is more passive participation in the arts. While I’m an active audience member, I’m always watching. I had this realization recently and it made me miss being the artist. I recognize that my calling is to be behind the scenes but as a hobby, I wanted to perform again.

I was first enchanted by Batala NYC at a few gigs I booked with them last summer. Batala NYC is the city’s only all-female, Brazilian samba reggae band, playing the music of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil in Northeastern Brazil. They were powerful, beautiful, and their music deeply resonated with me, with my African drumming and dance knowledge. The all-women element was also really special – it reminded me of Yanvalou (after all I went to an all-women’s college), and seemed like a supportive group.

Batala NYC is part of a larger movement: there are chapters in over 25 cities in 15 countries on 5 continents, with a worldwide membership of over 1,000 percussionists. The name Batala is a combination of the phrase “bateu lá” meaning “hit there” in Portuguese and Obatalá, the deity who is the father of the Orixas and of all humanity.

I joined Batala at the beginning of this year. I LOVE it and it has been a complete joy to be a part of. The sound is awesome, the visual of 75+ women in one place is fierce, I’ve loved learning about a new culture, and knowing I’m part of something much bigger than myself. The group is diverse and the support of these amazing women from all different places and backgrounds is incredible. And…I also get to make music and perform again!

Check us out:

And here:

And here!

I’m obviously obsessed.

This has been so big for me. I went from being a passive observer to an active participant in music and the benefits have been immense.

As a producer, it has got me thinking about ways to activate audiences and make them artist themselves. Museums are good with this, offering sketching classes. How can we do this regularly with music and dance? How do we get concert attendees to make music while at a performance? How do we get dance audiences moving themselves? This is a question I will continue to ponder in my cultural undertakings. In the meantime, if you are usually an audience member, I encourage you to make an art! And if you’re an artist, I encourage you to be in an audience more. We always have a lot to learn from each other.

***

Have I piqued your curiosity and interest? Do you want to know how you can see Batala and even join the band?

We’ll be at One Penn Plaza THIS MONDAY, July 6th from 6 – 7:30pm. You’ll see it in the list below. Get ready to experience an enormous group of powerful women playing some fly music. It will be beautifully insane. Come on out and see us play! And women: if you’re interested, I can connect you to our director. Join! No music experience necessary. Really. It’s true! Come join us.

 

***

 

Accordions Around the World

 

Accordions Around the World Culmination,2014

 

Wednesday marked the launch of my favorite accordion series in the city! For the next eight weeks (through July – August), experience accordion traditions from around the world with my fun little project (ok, it’s really not so little with 100+ accordionists participating), Accordions Around the World. Ten accordionists will play each week in different pockets of Bryant Park. Come for a stroll; leave with a taste of music from around the world. You can always find me at Bryant Park from 6– 8pm. Full disclosure: I produce this.

On Friday, August 28th, two days after the end of the series, for the first time ever, we’ll have an accordion festival! Six bands from different places (all with an accordion, of course!), will play from 4 – 10pm. Sample Cajun, Slavic, French, Argentine, Colombian, and Irish music, with solo accordion interludes during the transitions. It’ll be a good time. I hope you’ll check it out. Check out some of what I wrote last year about my connection to the accordion.

Please, please, please come visit, enjoy the accordion (trust me – it is possible!), and come say hello. It’s one of my biggest joys, meeting people who subscribe to the list! I’m the blond girl, running laps around the park, with camera in hand. I’m serious: please say hi.

 

Free Tickets!

 

The new Afro-Latino Festival launches next Friday, July 10th with a bang. The night will include performances by the Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats youth orchestra directed by 2015 Latin Jazz Grammy winner Arturo O’ Farrill, one of my favorites, NYC salsa band Los Hacheros, and Cuban songstress Danay Suarez will close the event. This is going to be fly.

And it’s just the beginning. On Day 2 there will be a dance party with one of the best DJs out there, Que Bajo?! and then a group near and dear to my heart performs: Colombian traditional band, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto. And this isn’t just bands; there are panels where we can learn about the culture and history. On the final day, there are Cultura Profetica, Les Nubians, Kafu Banton, Profetas and more.  I’m really impressed with this line-up and their really nice website. Holler at me if you’d like a ticket to opening night.

***

 

New to the list?

 

In my world, nothing compares to the sultry wonderfulness of NYC summer evenings and the beautiful art we, the public, brought together over the sake of art, get to experience together. So…arts for all!

I keep a compulsive list of free, summer cultural events. Back in the day, I had banker buds, grad school chums, non-profit pals, and unemployed friends. “Free” made arts available to all of us. I continue to stick to “free” because of my strong conviction that high-quality arts should be accessible to everyone. Some weeks I’ll share cool events I’ve been to and what made them so cool. So…

  • If you’re a fan, spread the word! Don’t just forward this list. Tell your friends to sign up (in the right-hand corner of the webpage.)
  • I’ll post last minute events as well as quick reviews of things I attend on Twitter. Follow me here.
  • Stars (***) indicate where I’ll most likely be or my main recommendation(s) for the day.
  • I usually post the list on the website first. If you haven’t received an email from me and you’re looking for things to do, be sure to check it!
  • Listings are in order of timing, more or less. On the weekends, when there are a lot of listings, I’ll try to break them down by time of day (i.e., Afternoon, Evening.)

 

***

 

 Aight, here’s what I got for July 3 – July 12:

 

Friday, July 3

 

Festival: International African Arts Festival. I love this festival. It’s enormous – you could spend the day there. You could spend multiple days there – it goes on all weekend. There are vendors selling African goods, foods, and there’s a strong music line-up with the likes of GRAMMY award-winning Living Color and hip hop artist, Talib Kweli. Check the schedule for the complete line-up. Make a donation if you can. Goes through Sunday, 7/5. (Brooklyn) >>

***Dance: For four consecutive weeks, Bryant Park presents modern dance. This week: 10 Hairy Legs, BARE Dance Company, and Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance. (Midtown) >>

Singing: Totally Public Karaoke! Bring your friends and your courage. (Uptown) >>

Dancing/Hawaiian: Kahulanui. In the early 20th century, Hawaiian bands started playing jazzed-up versions of beloved traditional songs on Hawaiian instruments. “This tropical-paradise-meets-big-band sound embraces swing’s brassy grace.” I saw this band earlier this year; they were very charming. Note: Midsummer Night Swing is not free. If you can pay, do so. But if not, many people congregate around Lincoln Center and create their own little dance party to the good music. (Uptown) >>

Film: White Wedding. Devoted groom-to-be Elvis sets out on a 1,800-kilometer South African road trip in order to give his fiancée, Ayanda, a European-style dream wedding, but finds that getting there won’t be easy thanks to his best friend Tumi and a wandering English doctor named Rose. Part of the Bronx Museum’s First Fridays and the African Film Festival. (Bronx) >>

Film: The Young Girls of Rochefort by Jacques Demy. Part of the French Film Festival, which screens classics and new French films around town. (Downtown) >>

 

Saturday, July 4

 

Festival: International African Arts Festival. I love this festival. It’s enormous – you could spend the day there. You could spend multiple days there – it goes on all weekend. There are vendors selling African goods, foods, and there’s a strong music line-up with the likes of GRAMMY award-winning Living Color and hip hop artist, Talib Kweli. Check the schedule for the complete line-up. Make a donation if you can. Goes through Sunday, 7/5. (Brooklyn) >>

Music: The Bronx Arts Ensemble, whose good mission is “to nourish the arts in the Bronx by serving its diverse communities and developing audiences through arts education and musical performances of the highest professional standard” plays an Independence Day performance. (Bronx) >>

Music/Fireworks: Staten Island Philharmonic. I love the Alice Austen house and its sweeping views of New York Harbor. This is an ideal spot to watch a fireworks show, which will take place after the performance. (Staten Island) >>

Dancing/Motown: Dr. K’s Motown Revue. What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than by dancing to one of America’s most loved musical gifts! Note: Midsummer Night Swing is not free. If you can pay, do so. But if not, many people congregate around Lincoln Center and create their own little dance party to the good music. (Uptown) >>

Dancing/Swing: Get ready to jump, jive and wail on July 4th to patriotic and all-American tunes with the George Gee Swing Orchestra. They’re great. (Brooklyn) >>

***Fireworks: Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular on the East River. Advice from me: find a friend of a friend who has a roof in Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Lower Manhattan, or the East Village and hang there. All public spaces will be crowded. (NYC/Brooklyn) >>

Sunday, July 5

 

Festival: International African Arts Festival. I love this festival. It’s enormous – you could spend the day there. You could spend multiple days there – it goes on all weekend. There are vendors selling African goods, foods, and there’s a strong music line-up with the likes of GRAMMY award-winning Living Color and hip hop artist, Talib Kweli. Check the schedule for the complete line-up. Make a donation if you can. Goes through Sunday, 7/5. (Brooklyn) >>

Son: Los Soneros de Oriente. An afternoon of Cuban son. Harlem Meer has wonderful, intimate concerts, that are frequented by members of the neighborhood. (Uptown >>

Film: Invitation to Dance. The Parks Department is so cool. They are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with events around the cities. In Invitation to Dance 23-year-old Simi Linton was injured while hitchhiking to Washington to protest the war in Vietnam. Suddenly a young disabled college student, she confronted discrimination she couldn’t have imagined before. Simi emerges as a resourceful activist, and in time realizes that love, sexuality, and dance can once again be central to her life. (Brooklyn) >>

World: Banda Magda. This band has been making the rounds this summer! I wrote about her last week and will write about her again. Greek-born singer and accordionist Magda Giannikou has a beautiful charm. Their music taps into a wide range of international influences with songs sung in seven languages and forays into Brazilian baião rhythms, Greek dance music, jazz, samba, tango, +. (Uptown) >>

 

Monday, July 6

 

***Drumming: Batala NYC at One Penn Plaza. As I wrote above, Batala New York City​ is NYC’s ONLY all-women drumming band, playing the music of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. They are FIERCE, with upwards of 80 musicians. I’m also a member. Come on out and see them (and me!) play! One Penn Plaza, 6 – 7:30pm. (Midtown) >>

Dancing: The incredible Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence Dance Company teaches an all-levels dance class steeped in African and contemporary dance. (Brooklyn) >>

***Film/Talk: Grey Gardens. This screening and discussion connects Brooklyn filmmakers today with innovators of the past. Grey Gardens reveals a different side of the Hamptons through the lives of a reclusive mother and daughter. This cult-classic is paired with a recent Brooklyn-made short by Nathan Fitch of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective. His The Darker Side of Dreamland shows the effects of Superstorm Sandy on the residents of Coney Island. I have wanted to watch Grey Gardens for some time and this interesting series seems like it might be the perfect setting. Be sure to RSVP. (Brooklyn) >>

Literary: Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual literature series returns. Each week features a program with a reading, Q&A, and book signing with the authors, each curated by a different local, independent bookstore. This week, it’s Freebird. (Brooklyn) >>

Film: The Poseidon Adventure. The model for all disaster movies is an epic featuring the biggest stars of the time: Gene Hackman, Leslie Nielsen, Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine, Roddy McDowall, and more. A luxury liner is capsized by a rogue wave and with the entire world turned upside down, the survivors must fight for their lives.  In the quintessential outdoor movie venue, Bryant Park. (Midtown) >>

***Film/World: Half of A Yellow Sun + Les Nubians. Imagenation usually has great film and music pairings. This does not disappoint. I haven’t seen this film but learned a lot about Nigerian history and was touched by the book, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie. the Parisian-Cameroonian Les Nubians mix hip hop, neo soul and African music. Marcus Garvey Park is a great venue to experience culture. This will be fly! (Uptown) >>

 

Tuesday, July 7

 

Dancing/Salsa: Conjunto Sabrosura “cross-pollinates lyrical Cuban son with the explosiveness of old school New York salsa big bands.” Get your salsa on! While you have to pay to enter the formal dance floor (and you should if you can afford it!), there’s usually dancing that usually happens on the outskirts of the Lincoln Center Plaza. (Uptown) >>

Salsa: Our Latin Thing. In the 1970s, New York gave birth to a sound that would change the face of Latin music. At the renown Cheetah Nightclub, the artists who would come to be known as all-star musicians played “Salsa Gorda,” influenced by American Jazz, Soul, and Rock and Roll. They perform tonight. (Bronx) >>

***Walk: Elastic City. I love this organization. Elastic City “intends to make its audience active participants in an ongoing poetic exchange with the places we live in and visit.” Artists lead walks that are so interesting and often multi-sensory. This walk, in partnership with the Poetry Project. In this particular walk with artist Wayne Koestenbaum, participants will write and draw and talk and accumulate, experimenting by making spontaneous records of our ruminations and observations, whether with pencil, pen, stick, stone, scrap, spit, or other found (and offered) substances. The goal: “to liberate and unhouse our repertoires of verbal and visual markmaking. In the process, we’ll compose a document (or a bagful of documents) to take home afterward and keep as a record of our adventure.” Sounds super cool. Repeated again on July 9th. (Downtown) >>

***Classical: Washington Square Music Festival. In this final week of this 57(!) year old series, the 17 piece New York Jazz Harmonic plays the music of Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Scott Joplin, and Sousa. Featuring bandoneonist, JP Jofre. (Downtown) >>

 

 

Wednesday, July 8

 

Afternoon

***Soul/Appalachian: Martha Redbone. I love Martha Redbone. I wrote about her a few weeks back. Go check her out. (Downtown) >>

Evening

***Soul: Lady Moon & The Eclipse​. Three vocalists with soaring harmonies atop a classic keys/bass/drums rhythm section. They were a finalist in the WNYC Battle of the Bands this year. One Penn Plaza, 6 – 7:30pm. (Midtown) >>

***World: Accordions Around the World. Ten accordionists play in different pockets of Bryant Park. Come for a stroll; leave with a tasting of music from around the world. Every Wednesday in July and August from 6 – 8pm. Full disclosure: I produce this. (Midtown) >>

***Latin: Compass / Systema Solar / Helado Negro. This is a great line-up of some of the best Latin acts out there today. I’m a huge Systema Solar fan from my time in Colombia. “Space-aged beats” with the traditional Colombian rhythms. So hot! I also really like Helado Negro, electro and Miami-bass meets kraut rock. This should be really good. (Uptown) >>

Dancing: Kukuwa: African Dance Workout. My favorite type of dance class! (Brooklyn) >>

Theater: New York Classical Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew. The New York Classical Theatre company makes Shakespeare interactive. Join them for an evening in Battery Park’s lovely Teardrop Park. Be ready to move! Through 7/12. (Downtown) >>

Dancing/Lindy Hop: Gordon Webster Big Band with vocalist Brianna Thomas. Get ready for the great tunes and ballads of the golden era of jazz. While you have to pay to enter the formal dance floor (and you should if you can afford it!), there’s usually dancing that usually happens on the outskirts of the Lincoln Center Plaza. (Uptown) >>

Salsa: Ismael Miranda. “El niño bonito de la Salsa” (the pretty boy of Salsa) made such an impression on Fania bandleader Larry Harlow, that he was hired as Larry’s lead singer. He later joined the Fania All Stars and went with this band on tour around the world. He just released another album and it’s #1 on the Billboard’s tropical Latin chart. Check out this old-school (in my opinion, the best kind!) salsero! (Bronx) >>

Dancing/World: The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble. Once again, the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library converts the plaza out front into a huge dance floor where they provide a dance lesson and then the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble performs. The Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble fuses the language, rhythm and percussive instruments of Garifuna music (Maracas, Garifuna Drums, Turtle-Shells, Conch Shells) with jazz. They are also some of the nicest people, successfully promoting their unique culture. (Brooklyn) >>

Funk/Pop: The Stepkids. “A gleeful blend of classic jazz, R&B, funk, 70s pop rock and countless other genres and styles with  a uniquely personal brand of modern psychedelic soul.” I’m not so familiar with them but willing to give them a try. (Midtown) >>

Film: Live-In Maid (Argentina). A comedy of class consciousness and codependency. I have come to trust Socrates Sculpture Garden for their amazing curation of films, each Wednesday in July and August. A mix of documentary and films from around the world, they keep it interesting (though their grass is kind of lumpy.) (Queens) >>

 

Thursday, July 9

 

Afternoon

***Music: Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba. “In Bassekou’s hands it sounded both ancient and utterly contemporary…like some African answer to Hendrix.” Malian powerhouse Bassekou Kouyate and his Ngoni Ba band revitalize the ancient ngoni lute tradition with rock-inflected energy. I love this instrument! And these guys are usually griots – they can trace the musicians in their family back hundreds of generations. This should be great. (Brooklyn) >>

Evening

***Dancing/Tango: A tribute to Octavio Brunetti with Pedro Giraudo Tango Orchestra. One of Argentine tango pianist Octavio Brunetti’s last sets was at last year’s Midsummer Night Swing. To honor him, Midsummer Night Swing and Brunetti’s friend and colleague, bassist, composer, and arranger Pedro Giraudo, will lead the night’s tribute. Watching tango might be one of my favorite things in the world. So beautiful. While you have to pay to enter the formal dance floor (and you should if you can afford it!), there’s usually dancing that usually happens on the outskirts of the Lincoln Center Plaza. (Uptown) >>

Blues: John Hammond. Check out this Grammy winner and Blues Hall of Fame virtuoso of harmonica and slide guitar as he conjures the Delta Blues in one of my favorite free concert locales. (Downtown) >>

Caribbean: Jah Pan. This steel drum band is comprised largely of musicians from Trinidad and Tobago, the country that created steel drums, (or “pans”) and produces the vast majority of the world’s best players. This should be fun in an unlikely venue: under the Manhattan Bridge. (Brooklyn) >>

Bluegrass: Punch Brothers / Sarah Jarosz. A night with one of the premiere new bluegrass bands on the scene. (Brooklyn) >>

Walk: Elastic City. I love this organization. Elastic City “intends to make its audience active participants in an ongoing poetic exchange with the places we live in and visit.” Artists lead walks that are so interesting and often multi-sensory. This walk, in partnership with the Poetry Project. In this particular walk with artist Wayne Koestenbaum, participants will write and draw and talk and accumulate, experimenting by making spontaneous records of our ruminations and observations, whether with pencil, pen, stick, stone, scrap, spit, or other found (and offered) substances. The goal: “to liberate and unhouse our repertoires of verbal and visual markmaking. In the process, we’ll compose a document (or a bagful of documents) to take home afterward and keep as a record of our adventure.” Sounds super cool. Repeated again on July 16th. (Downtown) >>

 

Friday, July 10

 

***Dance: The final week of Bryant Park presenting modern dance. This week: Jennifer Muller/The Works, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, and Manuel Vignoulle Dance. (Midtown) >>

Theater: New York Classical Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew. The New York Classical Theatre company makes Shakespeare interactive. Join them for an evening in Battery Park’s lovely Teardrop Park. Be ready to move! Through 7/12. (Downtown) >>

Dancing/Latin: José Alberto “El Canario.” Dubbed “El Canario,” for his exquisite voice and amazing ability to use his highly melodious whistling skills as a solo instrument, the former member of Típica 73 returns to Damrosch Park to celebrate his 4oth anniversary in salsa music. While you have to pay to enter the formal dance floor (and you should if you can afford it!), there’s usually dancing that usually happens on the outskirts of the Lincoln Center Plaza. (Uptown) >>

Latin: Kinky / Los Auténticos Decadentes / Astro. Originally Bajofondo was on this program and I was so excited! Sadly, they are no longer but instead we get Mexican techno-funk rockers KINKY, who are known for their “insanely catchy disco-funk rhythms,” Chilean indie pop of ASTRO, who would be right at home on a bill with MGMT and Passion Pit, and the ska-infused rock of the beloved Buenos Aires band LOS AUTÉNTICOS DECADENTES. Fun! (Brooklyn) >>

Hip Hop: La Bruja with Circa ’95 (Patty Dukes & Reph Star), and NeNe Ali. From my time working in the Bronx, I got to know these artists personally. They are such good people, loyal to their home borough, and excellent artists. Support them! (Bronx) >>

Music: Goha by Jacques Baratier. Part of the French Film Festival, which screens classics around town. (Uptown) >>

 

Saturday, July 11

 

Afternoon

Jazz: Don Byron New Gospel Quintet. Part of the now-annual, Rite of Summer Music Festival that celebrates cutting edge and contemporary classical music, today Don Byron gives us the intersection of gospel and jazz. (Governors Island) >>

Classical: Every Saturday afternoon, Bargemusic, a great presenter of classical music (and also a cool location: an old floating barge on the East River with amazing views of the city) has free concerts, including a Q&A with the musicians. (Brooklyn) >>

Dancing: Hip Hop Dance class. My friend Alan Watson is a hip hop dancer and got requests for private lessons from people gearing up for a wedding. He started creating wedding dance tutorials on youtube and now has 70,000 views! He’ll be teaching an in-person workshop in New York City all geared towards absolute beginners and you can actually choose what you want to learn via this survey. Space is limited; you must RSVP to secure a spot. (Downtown) >>

 

Evening

Dance/Dancing: Gibney dance teaches and performs with a beautiful backdrop of the NYC skyline for three consecutive weeks. Week 1. (Brooklyn) >>

Theater: New York Classical Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew. The New York Classical Theatre company makes Shakespeare interactive. Join them for an evening in Battery Park’s lovely Teardrop Park. Be ready to move! Through 7/12. (Downtown) >>

Dancing/Swing: Harlem Renaissance Orchestra + Swing. On this final night of Midsummer Night Swing, the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, made up of Harlem residents performs while dancers vie for the Ambassador Prize, a tip of the hat to late Savoy dancing legend Frankie Manning, the patron saint of the Lindy Hop. While you have to pay to enter the formal dance floor (and you should if you can afford it!), there’s usually dancing that usually happens on the outskirts of the Lincoln Center Plaza. (Uptown) >>

Dance: Hip Hop Dance: From the Street to the Stage. Gabriel “Kwikstep” Dionisio and Ana “Rokafella” Garcia Dionisio curate a night of all types of hip hop dance in the borough it all began: the Bronx. (Bronx) >>

***Indie: The New Pornographers / Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. The New Pornographers are “virtually peerless in the world of power-pop and indie-rock.” (NPR) I agree with this because this might be one of the only Indie bands I truly like! And I really like Thao. This should be good. (Brooklyn) >>

Dancing/Ragtime: Waldo’s Gotham City Band.Terry Waldo leads his Gotham City Band  in authentic versions of the music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, and Louis Armstrong. Dance with him! (Brooklyn) >>

 

Sunday, July 12

 

Day

***Tour: Explore the history of the Young Lords by bike! Join Boogie Down Rides, a Bronx based bicycling and art collective for a ride from the South Bronx to the Lower East Side visiting important sites that animate the story of the Young Lords Party. BYOB (Bring your own bike + helmet.) (Bronx) >>

Latin: ¡Retumba! An afternoon of Afro-Caribbean music and dance. Harlem Meer has wonderful, intimate concerts, that are frequented by members of the neighborhood. (Uptown) >>

***World: Cesária Évora Orchestra / Mayra Andrade / Dino D’Santiago / DJ Lefty. An afternoon of music from the Cape Verde Islands. You don’t get this too often! (Uptown) >>

World/Dancing: Glukh Polka Band. Polish music with polkas, valses and polonaises.  It begins with a dance lesson and then there’s live music. I went to Flushing Town Hall for the first time earlier this summer and it’s so great! The space is beautiful and the energy at their shows is really nice. Go support them! This event takes place in a their garden. (Queens) >>

World/Dance: Ologundê. Celebrate the rich Afro-Brazilian culture of Salvador, Bahia through a diverse repertoire of music, dance and martial arts. (Queens) >>

Classical: The Bardekova Ensemble. Enjoy Mozart, George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, Scott Joplin and others inside the beautiful Woolworth Chapel at Woodlawn Cemetery. This may sound morbid but I love cemeteries as a music venue. They’re so peaceful and beautiful. (Bronx) >>

***World/Art: La Isla Bonita.  I like to promote community-created arts events as much as I can as well as events in Staten Island, which sadly, I can never find too much about (step up, SI!)  My friend Natalia Linares co-created a music series out of her hometown (Staten Island) called Isla, presenting the local talent in her borough, for her borough. The day looks great with all-female Mariachi band, Flor de Toloache, local DJS, community arts projects, and more. Go explore the outermost-borough. The ferry ride alone is so worth it. (Staten Island) >>

 

Evening

World: Ilusha Tsinadze. You don’t get to hear Georgian music too often. We’re talking the Central Asian country, Georgia; not down South! (Uptown) >>

***World/Art: Pioneer Works Second Sundays. This is one of the most beautiful spaces in New York and this monthly event will soon be on everyone’s radars (and it might already be – last time was packed!) Open artist studios and live music. To start,
Barranquilla native Carolina Oliveros leads Bulla en el Barrio, paying homage to many of Colombia’s less familiar cantadoras. Carolina has a beautiful voice and she is accompanied by members of one of my favorite NYC bands, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem. Following them, Grammy-nominated, Ruben Blades-accompanying, Costa Rican percussionist/vibes player Felipe Fournier pays tribute to Tito Puente, the mambo king, performing with a group of musicians who have collectively played with some of the greatest Latin musicians – Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colon as well as the late Tito Puente himself. Both bands should be excellent. $10 suggested donation. (Brooklyn) >>

***Sight: Manhattanhenge takes place only twice a year, when the setting Sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons. It’s a sight to see, although it’s a little ridiculous to see so many tourists standing in the middle of the street to catch the perfect (or not – they’ll be backlit!) selfie. (NYC) >>

***Festival: Giglio. Two years ago, I went to my first Giglio Sunday with 100+ men in white outfits and red scarves lifting a few-story-tall statue, dancing down the street. I talked to many older Italians who grew up in the neighborhood and heard their stories. They were in Williamsburg  before the hipsters! It was all very fascinating. A very unique NYC tradition and experience, that’s for sure. But aside from the lift, it’s your average Italian street festival with sausage and peppers and rides that look a little unstable. There are multiple lifts so check the schedule (Brooklyn). >>

Theater: New York Classical Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew. The New York Classical Theatre company makes Shakespeare interactive. Join them for an evening in Battery Park’s lovely Teardrop Park. Be ready to move! (Downtown) >>

***Film/World: Celia: The Queen + Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros. As I shared earlier in the week, Imagenation usually has great film and music pairings. This again, does not disappoint. Learn about the life of Cuban/salsa superstar Celia Cruz with “El Abogado de la Salsa” (the lawyer of salsa),  Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros. The Bronx seems to be the perfect venue for this particular event (salsa was born in the Bronx!) (Bronx) >>

***

 

Aight friends, that’s what I got. Have a great 4th of July weekend!

All good things,

Ariana