Here's a List of All the David Bowie Tributes Taking Place in NYC
Photo by Jimmy King
As news spread this morning that David Bowie's latest, fantastic album Blackstar was in fact his last — a haunting parting gift that proved his genius through the very end — the world erupted in collective mourning. New Yorkers on their way to work and unsure of what else to do began leaving flowers outside 285 Lafayette St., Bowie's residence with wife Iman since 1999. But for many of us, a bouquet simply isn't enough to honor an artist of his magnitude, to recognize the impact he had on not only our musical tastes, but who we are on a fundamental level. Nor is it enough for a city Bowie loved ever since he heard a test pressing of The Velvet Underground and Nico in 1966, when he was just 19, and the city where he chose to spend the end of his life. We need a way to collectively celebrate and send off the space oddity who graced us with his presence for so many wonderful decades. And thankfully, New York venues are rising to the challenge. The below list of tributes will be updated continuously.
No Return Post-Punk Society's Bowie Tribute
8 p.m., $6
This Alphabet City alternative to weekend nightlife nightmares steps away from its typically goth leanings to honor Bowie, although they admittedly don't have to stray all that far: the more experimental cuts from Low (and the other 2/3 of the Berlin trilogy) already fit nicely with the theme, and it's undeniable that Bowie's aesthetics and theatricality inspired many of the artists No Return usually spins. Plus, will there ever again be a more perfect opportunity to wear your The Hunger-inspired outfit of a crisp suit, leather jacket, and round sunglasses indoors? No, there won't.
7 p.m., free (skates $15)
Despite this absurd weather, the Bryant Park rink is alive and well, and they're throwing their hat in the tribute ring with a special session dedicated to Bowie. From 7-9 p.m. it'll be only his music serenading graceful gliders. Tunes start with his early career and end with Blackstar (try not to cry during that part, it'll mess up the ice). To make it even more festive, they've hired two face-painters who are prepped to turn skaters into Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust, Jareth the Goblin King, or almost any other classic Bowie look. BYO Think White Duke suit.
Feeling Gloomy's Emergency Bowie Farewell
The Grand Victory
11 p.m., $6
Tongue-in-cheek London transplant party Feeling Gloomy plays sad music you can dance to every third Saturday at the Grand Victory. In recognition of the "actually deeply sad thing that's happened" they're pushing a planned Australian-themed party to next month and dedicating this edition to the Thin White Duke. They promise to play every danceable Bowie song, plus limited cuts from Iggy Pop, the Velvet Underground, and other Bowie contemporaries with whom he shared an artistic kinship. Threats have even been made regarding an appearance of "Real Cool World" to bring a little levity to the situation, something even the most distraught fan would have trouble scowling at. Dressing up for this one is highly encouraged.
Sally Can't Dance: A Tribute to Bowie & Elvis
10 p.m., $10
Bowie cover band extraordinaire Michael T. & the Vanities are the featured act amongst a lineup of over 15 musicians from across genres gathering to fete Bowie and the man who first inspired him. The night is split over two levels, with a room each for the two artists (Bowie's downstairs). This one's been in the works for a while—Michael T. (an accomplished Bowie impersonator) posted, elated, about his band's fantastic practice just hours before news of Bowie's death hit—and, thanks to expert DJs like Jonathan Toubin, the quality level here is high.
8:30 p.m., $30
We have jazz saxophonist Donny McCaslin to thank for the genre-defying instrumentals on Blackstar, and although this run of jazz shows has been on the books for months, they now take on a special significance. Bowie initially tapped McCaslin to play on his 2014 cut "Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)" after hearing a headlining set at 55 Bar in the West Village, then called in McCaslin's full group when production began on Blackstar. It was a case of one great artist recognizing the talent of another: McCaslin has built a jazz career out of Bowie-like agility, conjuring up everything from trip-hop to pop with a flurry of his fingers. Reports from the studio suggested a meeting of near-equals in their respective genres, and what resulted is a return to Bowie's tradition of surprising his fans with unimagined new sounds. These sets won't be all Blackstar, but it's quite fortuitous to be able to thank this group in person for their contributions to Bowie's legacy.
3/31 + 4/1
The Music of David Bowie
Carnegie Hall + Radio City Music Hall
8 p.m., $40-160
In a very strange coincidence, this concert had been in the works for months and was scheduled for announcement this morning well before news of Bowie's death hit. Part of Carnegie Hall's long-running yearly artist tribute series, it now serves as a star-studded memorial celebration: Cyndi Lauper, Jakob Dylan, the Roots, and the Mountain Goats are just a few of the performers who will share their take on a man who influenced them all in some way or another. In case you wanted to get tickets, though, here's what we saw when we logged on at the stroke of 11 a.m. Update: A second show for April 1 has been added at Radio City Music Hall, with a similar lineup.
A God-Awful Small Affair
9 p.m., $24-115
Marilyn Monroe impersonator and jazz chanteuse Nikki Luparelli has been doing Bowie tributes since 2009, and this is her second time bringing the enchanting show to the Metropolitan Room. Also a standup comic, Luparelli peppers her sets with jokes and asides that put her in the top tier of nightclub performers. Especially for those unable to get tickets to the blowout tribute performance above (which is basically everyone), this long-in-the-works evening is a high-production way to celebrate the Bowie catalogue.
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