Looking for something to do in New York? Seize the chance to see the Fringe outside of a New England jazz club, or feast on the cinematic morsels offered by the BAMkids Film Festival in person and online.
Comedy | Music | Kids | Film | Theater | Art
‘Leaving a Mark: A Comedy About Scars’
In her new one-hander, “Leaving a Mark: A Comedy About Scars,” Ophira Eisenberg uses humor to delve into the gory details behind the lingering evidence of her bodily injuries, as well as those of others: At the performances, which are from Thursday to Saturday through Feb. 17, a special guest will appear each night in a segment called “Scar Talk,” and audience members will get a chance to engage in show-and-tell about their own bumps and bruises.
This month, Eisenberg is just one comedian among a handful at SoHo Playhouse who are mining personal material: Gastor Almonte presents “The Sugar,” about coming to terms with his diabetes (every Friday at 9 p.m. through Feb. 17); Sam Morrison deals with the aftermath of losing his older boyfriend to Covid-19 in “Sugar Daddy” (from Wednesday to Saturday at 7 p.m. through Feb. 17); and Gabe Mollica’s “Solo: A Show About Friendship” continues in an extension of its run (at 9 p.m. through Feb. 25; see the theater’s calendar for specific dates).
Tickets to these shows start at $21 and are available on SoHo Playhouse’s website. SEAN L. McCARTHY
Pop & Rock
Since beat-making videos took off on YouTube in the mid-2000s, many music producers have seized the opportunity to pull back the curtain on their process. Today’s savvy, social-media-enabled beat makers can build a following with behind-the-scenes clips that document their gear and share their works in progress.
Such is the story of Kaelin Ellis, a Floridian musician whose compositions draw on jazz, gospel and funk. Years after garnering some early success with a pitched-up, glitched-out remix of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” Ellis began posting production videos on Twitter, ultimately catching the ear of the rapper Lupe Fiasco in 2020. A collaborative EP, “House,” quickly ensued, with songs that combine Ellis’s ambling, melodic production and Fiasco’s pensive lyricism. (Several tracks also feature contributions from the designer and D.J. Virgil Abloh, who died in 2021.)
Having released multiple albums just in the past year, Ellis will have abundant material to draw from for his free show at Lincoln Center on Friday. Admission is first come first served. OLIVIA HORN
For around five decades, the saxophonist George Garzone has been moving on two parallel tracks: teaching the art of jazz improvisation to generations of students, including A-listers such as Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman and Mark Turner; and anchoring the Fringe, a trio steadfastly devoted to free-form invention.
The Fringe is considered jazz royalty in Boston, where it has held down a Monday residency at a series of local clubs since the mid-1970s. Following the death of the original Fringe drummer Bob Gullotti in 2020, the band, rounded out by the bassist John Lockwood, has carried on as a duo at ongoing weekly appearances at the Lilypad in Cambridge, Mass. This weekend, Garzone and Lockwood will temporarily relocate to the West Village, where they will meet up with the drummer Ben Perowsky, whose flowing, intuitive style and wide range of experience across the jazz and pop spectrum ought to make him a perfect fit for the group’s abstract yet ever-purposeful excursions.
Tickets are $40 at the Smalls website, where the shows will be livestreamed free. If a set has not sold out, walk-ins will be admitted for $25. HANK SHTEAMER
25th Annual BAMkids Film Festival
Any New Yorker will tell you that the city is full of characters. But some particularly intriguing examples will turn up this weekend. Among them are happy little monsters, enterprising robots, a beetle that craves the limelight, a cell that gains consciousness and a delusional, blues-singing cat. Children can encounter them not only in Brooklyn but also in their own homes.
That’s because the annual BAMkids Film Festival is back, in person on Saturday and Sunday and streaming on demand at BAM’s website from Saturday through Feb. 12. Now in its 25th year, this cinematic celebration offers multiple screening programs of international short films — animation and live action, fiction and documentary — for ages 3 to 5 and 6 to 8, and one slate for children 9 and older.
Young cinephiles who attend in person can also enjoy free activities: live dance and circus performances, games like giant checkers and Jenga, and workshops devoted to paper art and stop-motion animation.
In-person tickets to individual screening programs start at $9. Streaming tickets, which must be bought separately, are pay what you wish, starting at $5 for individual programs and $30 for a festival pass. A full schedule is online. LAUREL GRAEBER
Seijun Suzuki Centennial
The director Seijun Suzuki (1923-2017), whose 100th birthday Japan Society is celebrating with this retrospective, was never a plot guy. His reputation hinges more on his penchant for abstraction — for backgrounds filled with loud, solid colors and set pieces that float almost apart from the narrative.
In “Tokyo Drifter” (showing on Saturday), the title character (Tetsuya Watari) stands on a train track as a locomotive approaches, playing chicken with an almost identically dressed man trying to shoot him. They exchange gunfire, but Suzuki cuts away without a conventional payoff shot. (It’s unclear how they avoid being hit by the train.) And if, after just one viewing, you can diagram the connections among all the yakuza in this film, you are incredibly sharp.
Japan Society’s program, which opens Friday with “Kagero-za,” from 1981, will feature imported prints of early Suzuki films that are difficult to see stateside. “Satan’s Town,” from 1956, billed as the earliest recognizable example of his style, will screen on Saturday with “Love Letter,” a 40-minute film from 1959. BEN KENIGSBERG
‘A Beautiful Noise’
The Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter who gave the world “Sweet Caroline” gets the bio-musical treatment in this new show starring Will Swenson in the title role. Directed by Michael Mayer, it has a book by Anthony McCarten, choreography by Steven Hoggett and a well-stocked catalog of hits to draw on. Expect “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Holly Holy” and more. Read the review.
Lea Michele stars as the striving then celebrated entertainer Fanny Brice — opposite a sizzling Ramin Karimloo as her roguish husband, Nick — in the first Broadway revival of this Jule Styne-Bob Merrill musical since Barbra Streisand was a sensation in the role in 1964. Tovah Feldshuh plays Fanny’s mom. Isobel Lennart’s book was newly revised by Harvey Fierstein; Michael Mayer directs. Read the review.
Spoiler alert: At the end of “Romeo and Juliet,” both lovers die. Not so in this musical comedy, which imagines — with an assist from Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife — what happens when Juliet goes on living without her Romeo. Running in London’s West End since 2019, the show has a book by David West Read (“Schitt’s Creek”) and a song list full of pop hits by Max Martin (“… Baby One More Time”). Read the review.
The half-dozen wives of Henry VIII recount their marriages pop-concert style — divorces, beheadings and all — in Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s upbeat musical, which has an all-female cast and an all-female band. It also has a 2022 Tony Award for best original score, and another for Gabriella Slade’s instantly iconic costumes. Read the review.
Art & Museums
‘Theaster Gates: Young Lords and Their Traces’
Spread over three floors, comprising around 100 objects, and surveying the past decade of Theaster Gates’s career, this ambitious and elegiac exhibition makes sense of what has sometimes seemed to be a contradiction between the pragmatism of Gates’s work in community organizing — as much about the nuts and bolts of fund-raising and red tape as anything — and the poetic idealism of his other art. These include ceramics, paintings, sculptures and installations, sometimes connected to performances, and often incorporating found objects and historically charged materials. Read the review.
‘Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina’
At the center of “Hear Me Now,” a revelatory exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, stands a majestic artifact: a stoneware storage jar that may qualify as one of 19th-century America’s great sculptures. It measures over two feet high, with a slightly rippling surface layered with drips of glaze in contrasting earth tones. The jar, from the collection of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., was created by a gifted enslaved artisan now called David Drake, but who was known for decades only as Dave the Potter or Dave. Organized with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, this show is the first in the Northeast to explore the work of Drake and other enslaved potters (their names still unrecorded) who worked in the two dozen potteries operating in the Old Edgefield district of South Carolina through much of the 19th century. Read the review.
‘Edward Hopper’s New York’
The Whitney’s latest dive into its extensive Edward Hopper holdings sounds at first like the museum coasting on its hometown hero. Here is an occasion to trot out works like “Early Sunday Morning,” which makes a tidy Anytown of rowhouses along Seventh Avenue. But focus instead on that apostrophe in the title: This is Hopper’s New York, emphasis on the possessive, and for all its crowd-pleasing fare, this is a more challenging show about his dominion over the city. In paintings we know well and many we don’t, as well as some enlightening works on paper and writings, the artist long described as a Realist is recast as the architect of his own personal fantasy metropolis. Read the review.
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