We sort of say this every week, but there is so.much.good.stuff happening in NYC over the next seven days. Celebrate James Joyce and Bloomsday in arty style, attend a con focused on comics and black culture, watch the sun rise with Yoko Ono … and if you’re a woman especially, go watch Goodfellas in the theater.
When: Tuesday, June 16, 6–10pm
Where: Knockdown Center (52-19 Flushing Avenue, Maspeth, Queens)
One should probably not admit this so readily on the internet, but I have not read the epic masterwork that is James Joyce’s Ulysses. But that won’t stop me from celebrating Bloomsday! How could I resist anyhow, when I’m promised “an ambulatory experience that will mirror Joyce’s prose in all its juicy, uncompromising, vulnerable, fragmented, and synesthetic confusion” at the Knockdown Center, complete with live performances, videos, sound installations, paintings, poetry, violin, books, mysterious liquids, and darts? Maybe I’ll be inspired to go home and start reading the book.
Skin and Bones Comic Con
When: Opens Thursday, June 18
Where: The Studio Museum in Harlem (144 West 125th Street, Harlem, Manhattan)
If (like me) you missed the third annual Black Comic Book Festival back in January, now’s your chance to catch up a little. Starting on Thursday, the Studio Museum in Harlem will present the Skin and Bones Comic Con, “a weekend-long festival … that celebrate[s] the dynamic contribution of comics to contemporary black art and culture.” The event features screenings, workshops, cosplay, an indie book fair, and more — a fantastic chance not only to discover new artists but also to push past the mainstream whiteness of comics and think more deeply about their connection to black culture. While you’re there, do not miss the impetus for the event: an exhibition celebrating 20 years of artist Trenton Doyle Hancock’s funny, grotesque, alternately cryptic and pointed work on paper.
When: Friday, June 19–Thursday, June 25 ($13; check site for times)
Where: Film Forum (209 West Houston Street, West Village, Manhattan)
Earlier this month, the New York Post‘s Kyle Smith wrote an absurd review of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) in which he argued that women are incapable of connecting with the film. According to Smith, the film’s overriding focus on male relationships, specifically the culture of “ball-busting,” precludes women from accessing its characters. Utter hogwash. Goodfellas is a masterpiece because it immerses its audience, utterly convincingly, in the day-to-day life of a group of gangsters. Thanks to Scorsese’s direction and the vivacious editing of (three-time Oscar winner) Thelma Schoonmaker (who isn’t mentioned in Smith’s article), the viewer shares in the daily rituals of the characters: you can smell the food cooking and you can feel the shuffle of a deck of cards. If anything, Goodfellas is celebrated precisely because it renders the behavior and motivations of its characters in a palpable way — and that includes its depiction of male friendships and chauvinism. —Tiernan Morgan
Poetry from Ads
When: Friday, June 19, 7–8pm (free)
Where: Storefront for Art and Architecture (97 Kenmare Street, Soho, Manhattan)
O Me! O Life! is an evening of poetry culled and created from advertisements (and organized by Hyperallergic contributor Samuel Jablon). The performance is part of Storefront TV, an annual program of commissioned proposals that are supported and filmed at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Here’s a taster of what to expect:
This performance will highlight the shared experience of navigating NYC. The poetry is the language of architecture, it is created from words that literally cover sides of buildings. Street signs, announcements, and traffic lights direct us; they are the rules to how we navigate public space. The performance will counteract the ads by offering a space to create an exchange.
A Post-Apartheid Play
When: Through Sunday, June 21 ($35–70)
Where: BAM Fisher Fishman Space (321 Ashland Place, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)
Based on a book by psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, who was part of the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, A Human Being Died That Night is a tense play on the nature of evil and the complications of forgiveness. With Noma Dumezweni as Gobodo-Madikizela and Matthew Marsh as the infamous death squad head Eugene de Kock, nicknamed “Prime Evil” for his involvement in torture and murder during apartheid, the play transforms BAM’s intimate Fishman Space into a prison cell where the two-person dialogue weaves through reconciliation, race, and the shifting of “good” and “bad” under government control. —Allison Meier
Lower East Side Film Festival
When: Through Sunday, June 21 (check site for tickets)
Where: Various venues
This week, the Lower East Side Film Festival will screen films ranging from a four-minute short on the terraformation of Mars to a full-length feature on an anti-bullying activist and Mexican transgender women seeking asylum in the US. This will be the fifth year that the festival showcases work by emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. Each evening has a theme, which is often cryptic but nonetheless intriguing, including “Music Video Night” and “Mind F*ck Night.” Directors will be present at a number of screenings, and there will also be a few panels, mostly notably a conversation on “Women Writers Redefining the Landscape of Television,” where the story writers and editors of House of Cards, Alpha House, Nurse Jackie, and Be Here Nowish will discuss their experiences in the entertainment industry. —Elisa Wouk Almino
When: Sunday, June 21 (4:30–8am) ($22)
Where: The Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)
I don’t normally advocate waking up at an ungodly early hour, but this seems worth making an exception for: in conjunction with its current Yoko Ono exhibition, the Museum of Modern Art is opening its lobby and sculpture garden really early on Sunday morning for live music (including Blood Orange), art making, a breakfast bar, and a chance to see the Ono show. YOKO ONO MORNING PEACE 2015, as the event is called, doesn’t quite rise to the level of the work by which it’s inspired — 1964 and ’65 gatherings in which the artist brought people onto her roof at sunrise and “sold artworks with typewritten pieces of paper attached to glass and other materials” — but it should be a lovely way to start your day. Seven other official MORNING PEACE events will take place around the world on the same day, or you can host your own based on these supremely Ono-esque instructions:
On the solstice at sunrise
celebrate mornings of
past, future, and now.
Listen to the world.
Touch each other
when the sun comes up.
Pioneers of Pedagogy
When: Sunday, June 21, 12–7:30pm ($30)
Where: Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn)
Responding to the current upheaval in education — from the collapse of public school systems and rise of charter schools in US cities, to the corporatization of higher education and the student debt crisis — Pioneer Works and the Wassaic Project are launching an annual Summit on Pedagogy, bringing together practitioners of alternative teaching models. The inaugural summit’s roster of hands-on workshops includes Caroline Woolard and Susan Jahoda leading a class on helping art students form collectives and solidarity economies, Tal Beery envisioning an environmental curriculum for the next 1,000 years, and Monica O. Montgomery exploring ways of teaching the principles of the Black Lives Matter movement. —Benjamin Sutton
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With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, and Benjamin Sutton