Pre Covid-19 we searched the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you didn’t have to.” We made it as easy as 1-2-3.
Covid-19 has required some changes. Stay Safe.
Earlier today we covered 14 classic NYC films. Scroll down the site for a bit to find it. Now, how about some more useful information.
New York magazine is biweekly these days and every issue has a wonderful section, “The Culture Pages,” which includes a “To Do” list – 25 things to see, hear, watch, and read. Here are my favorites from the current issue (Dec.23 – Jan.06).
“Salman Toor: How Will I Know” Queer Rococo. The first museum solo of Salman Toor gives us an artist who beautifully records, in iridescent color, sensitive scenes of secret and intimate lives of gay men at home. With an assured, almost conservative approach, Toor skillfully renders young queer brown men from his own lived experience. These sharings branch out so that all the freighted weight of history or violence fades, as paintings become vehicles of visual pleasure, intellectual wit, and radical vulnerability. —Jerry Saltz Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort, through April 4.
“In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at the Met” Ongoing. The ultimate balm to the soul in all of Western painting may be the Dutch works that include Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals. Thanks to the very deep pockets of the collectors and robber barons of New York, the Met has them and is now displaying 67 of these masterpieces. Get lost in some of the finest brushwork and deepest color in all of painting; glimpse infinity. —J.S. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue.
Under the Radar Festival Let’s get weird. Every year, the Radar Festival welcomes adventurous international art, avant-garde local heroes, and Highly Odd Work from across the U.S. to scramble our willing brains like eggs. This year, 600 Highwaymen’s gentle, inspiring A Thousand Ways (Part One), in which audience members speak to each other by phone, starts December 21; you’ll need to wait till January 6 for the festival proper, which will include digital performances by U.K. poet Inua Ellams, a cooking show–whodunit by Piehole, and Javaad Alipoor’s comedy Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran. —Helen Shaw publictheater.org, January 6 to 17.
New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker Jeté into the new year. George Balanchine’s legendary 1954 staging of The Nutcracker is the ne plus ultra of balletomaniac excess: a massive cast (including 63 dancing children), the lush designs of another age (Rouben Ter-Arutunian’s exquisite cutout sets), and neoclassical perfection. In 2019, the New York City Ballet filmed the production at Lincoln Center, and so this year the Land of Sweets is available via Marquee TV on your favorite streaming device, a magical portal that even the Rat King (a.k.a. 2020) cannot close. —Helen Shaw marquee.tv, through January 3.
Prometheus Narrated by Beethoven superfan Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry joins the Philharmonia Orchestra in a new video concert performance of the Prometheus story complete with adorable animated drawings. “The outraged ruler of the gods hurled thunderbolts,” Fry declaims. Cut to Esa-Pekka Salonen on the podium, who raises his arm and hurls the thunderbolt chords that open Beethoven’s ballet The Creatures of Prometheus. —Justin Davidson youtube.com/c/PhilharmoniaLondon.
Falstaff Verdi’s last opera. The Bavarian State Opera, an online leader, keeps a select repertoire up for a month at a time. Director Mateja Koležnik made her company debut with a production, set in a casino and inspired by the films of Paolo Sorrentino, that played to an empty house and a worldwide audience. —Justin Davidson staatsoper.de, through January 5.
Fragments Part I: Traviata Scenes from the Verdi masterpiece. The pandemic has given new life to the classical-music video. The fanatically demanding conducting dynamo Teodor Currentzis and the St. Petersburg-based orchestra he founded, musicAeterna, have used their enforced sabbatical to hole up in a recording studio and record chunks of opera scenes, starting with the melancholy opening of the last act of Verdi’s La Traviata, enriched by NOIR Films’ moody black-and-white film. —J.D. musicaeterna.org/en.
*This article appears in the December 21, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!
“Interesting. Unusual. Uniquely NYC. Highlights of this week’s top events include the documentary Museum Town, Shared Dreams, The Public’s annual Under the Radar Festival, and more. Get the NYC-ARTS Top Five in your inbox every Friday and follow @NYC_ARTS on Instagram or @NYCARTS on Twitter to stay abreast of events as they happen.”
The Public Theater announced the full line-up for the 17th annual “UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL,” running January 6-17, 2021. This popular and highly-anticipated festival of The Public’s winter season includes artists from across the U.S. and around the world, including Chile, Iran, and the U.K. Curated by UTR Festival Director Mark Russell, this year’s free “UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL” features a robust line-up of digital livestream and streaming on-demand performances, as well as the return …
Beginning Monday, December 7th, Fort Gansevoort presents “Shared Dreams.” Organized by writer and curator Ariella Wolens, the exhibition is Fort Gansevoort’s first with the 89-year-old Bronx-born self-taught painter. Malcah Zeldis began her artistic practice in the late 1960s, producing folk-art inspired works centered on themes related to urban life and Jewish practices, biblical narratives, and historical figures. She has devoted most of her attention to the latter, dedicating many series to such prominent 20th century …
Hudson River Museum announces “Librado Romero: From the Desert to the River,” which is on view through June 27, 2021. The exhibition, which includes paintings and sketchbooks, explores the varied landscapes of the artist’s journeys, both internal and external, from his childhood in Calexico, California, to his studio in Yonkers and a home overlooking the Hudson River. Librado “Lee” Romero was a contributing photographer to a team that earned The New York Times a Pulitzer Prize …
South Street Seaport Museum’s monthly sea-music event, “Sea Chanteys and Maritime Music,” continues virtually on Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 2pm ET. From our living rooms and kitchens join a round-robin of shared songs featuring members of The New York Packet and friends. Listen in, lead a song, and belt out the choruses for your neighbors to hear on the first Sunday of every month. The event is FREE. Sign up here to receive the …
PLUS ONGOING EVENTS
GD: Unfortunately, fans of Broadway will have to wait a little longer for shows to resume — until at least late May 2021. That hurts!
Broadway theaters closed on March 12 as New York City enacted rules to promote social distancing and slow the spread of Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a show. The NYC theater community has responded with initiatives and online shows to help support its members and entertain audiences via the internet while we’re staying away from crowds.
We’ve put together a sampling of streaming performances you can watch from your laptop or phone:
Broadway HD Starting in 2015, this online service began offering HD versions of classic and recent Broadway plays and musicals. You can try it out for free (with a one-week trial) or buy a subscription (from $9 a month) to watch some of your favorite shows. You can see stars like Katherine Hepburn in 1973’s televised version of The Glass Menagerie as well as musical hits like Kinky Boots, An American in Paris and Cats.
Stars in the House Broadway actor, director and writer (and radio host) Seth Rudetsky and his husband, producer James Wesley, host two shows a day from their house on YouTube. The hourlong shows, which air live at 2pm and 8pm (the usual Broadway start times), raise money for the Actors Fund, helping to provide emergency relief for those unemployed in the theater community.
Living Room Concerts Broadwayworld.com has started posting daily concert videos from an array of performers, mainly those whose shows were running before the recent closure of Broadway. They’re posting a new video every day—stars featured include Carolee Carmello (Hello, Dolly!), Kathryn Gallagher (Jagged Little Pill) and teenager Andrew Barth Feldman, the former lead in Dear Evan Hansen.
Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar This West Village bar, known for sing-alongs to Broadway show tunes, has taken the experience online. They’re streaming two main sets of songs each evening, usually starting at 4pm, with different pianists tickling the ivories. To watch, join their Facebook group and tune in to “Sing out, Louise” (in the comfort of your own living room). You can also tip the piano players via Venmo or PayPal, with details during each performance.
Download recent shows, like the SpongeBob SquarePants musical, on Amazon Many recent shows are available to rent or buy on Amazon and other online streamers, usually in the range of $3–12. Highlights include Rent, taped just before it ended its Broadway run; 2013’s Carousel, via Live from Lincoln Center; 2010 Tony Award winner Memphis; and the original Broadway production of Into the Woods, starring Bernadette Peters.
Virtual Hal Prince Exhibit at Lincoln Center In December 2019, the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts opened an exhibit on the late Harold Prince, the legendary Broadway producer behind megahits like The Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd. While the library is closed, you can take a virtual walk-through and 30-minute guided tour of the gallery with Doug Reside, the show’s curator.
Broadway Dreams Live Lessons The Broadway Dreams Foundation is hosting free daily lessons, led by some accomplished Broadway-caliber talent, for aspiring actors, singers and dancers. Their lineup has included actors from Frozen, Head Over Heels and Chicago. To watch, get the Zoom link from their Facebook page. Sessions begin at 1pm; each day’s links are posted five minutes before class begins, though the schedule is listed earlier than that.
Viral Monologues from 24 Hour Plays Every year, the 24 Hour Plays event presents a series of shows that are written, cast, directed and performed in one day with the involvement of talent from the NYC theater community. Now they’re doing a mini version, with online monologues, on their Instagram account. They’re performed by actors like Denis O’Hare and penned by playwrights like David Lindsay-Abaire.
Groove to disco versions of Stephen Sondheim songs Broadway Records just released the digital version of Losing My Mind, a compilation of Sondheim songs with a dance beat. Conceived by Broadway performer Joshua Hinck and arranger Scott Wasserman, the 12-song album is an expanded version of a popular concert they put on in 2018. The album features singers like Alison Luff (Waitress) and Chip Zien (from the original Into the Woods). You can preview a track, “Unworthy of Your Love,” from Passion; hear the collection on Spotify; or order a copy from the Broadway Records site.
Broadway Backwards 2020 Encore Broadway Cares, which produces number of annual AIDS fundraisers, has put together a special encore series of recent star-studded performances from Broadway Backwards, at which performers belt out famous show tunes with gender-swapped roles. They’re also asking viewers to support an emergency fundraiser for actors affected by the Covid-19 crisis—you can make a donation at broadwaycares.org.
Watch Broadway classics like Cabaret for free on YouTube These days you may be wondering, “What good is sitting alone in your room?” You can get a very direct answer on YouTube by watching the 1993 version of Cabaret, featuring Alan Cumming in his breakout role. Other star turns worth checking out for free are Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin in American Playhouse‘s 1986 broadcast of Sunday in the Park with George; Carol Burnett in 1964’s Once Upon A Mattress; Nell Carter in a 1982 broadcast of Ain’t Misbehavin’; Lauren Bacall in 1973’s Applause; Gregory and Maurice Hines in 1980’s Eubie!; and Ethel Merman and Frank Sinatra in 1954’s Anything Goes.
Jason Alexander sings on Twitter While most people know Jason Alexander as George from Seinfeld, he got his big break on Broadway in a Stephen Sondheim musical (Merrily We Roll Along). He recently went on Twitter to sing a song from the show that got him interested in theater, Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin. The beautiful ballad, “With You,” has a message of love and support we can all use today.