There are few cities in the world that rival New York when it comes to people watching. Call me a booster, but as a born and raised New Yorker, there’s little I find more soothing than just beholding the city’s many microcosms in action. It makes sense then, that this summer, after over a year of hunkering down indoors, we city dwellers are clamoring to get outside and be (safely) among each other again.
Ever the responsive programmers, the folks at Creative Time have teamed up with artist Rashid Johnson to present Red Stage, “an open invitation and access point for artists, makers, and passersby to reclaim space through performance and experimentation,” based on the South Plaza of Astor Place. The month-long series of free public programs promises opportunities for audience members — as well as those just enjoying the great urban outdoors — to dance, sing karaoke, and once again engage in cultural dialogue on the streets of New York.
This weekend alone, highlights worth catching include musical performances by the Celisse, Ché Buford, and Mal Sounds in honor of Juneteenth (June 19); a Father’s Day Letter Writing Workshop focused on incarcerated parents and caregivers from Black & Pink: NYC; and a performance and sonic meditation on freedom by celebrated musician Jason Moran, with the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts and Total Freedom (Ashland Mines) — also in honor of Juneteenth.
“The Red Stage has been a beautiful site for holding our shared grief and finding joy together through it all,” explained Diya Vij, Creative Time’s associate curator. As she notes, there’s also ample opportunity for the public to join in and propose their own programming: “Book [the People’s Stage] to organize together, hold discussions and reading groups, marathon readings, play music, recite poetry, perform, rehearse, rest, and gather. It’s open and available to everyone.”
Sign up virtually up to 48 hours in advance and until 9am (EST) on the day of; in-person sign ups are also possible at Red Stage, until availability is filled.
When: daily through July 4
Where: Astor Place (South Plaza) (East Village, Manhattan)
More info at Creative Time