Wed

9/20

Thu

9/21

Fri

9/22

Sat

9/23

Sun

9/24

Mon

9/25

Tue

9/26

Today

Wed

9/20

Music

Kota the Friend

Photo: Pia Moné

After gracing the legendary Blue Note stage earlier this month with Black Thought, Joey Badass, and Sirius XM’s Statik Selektah, the independent rapper Kota the Friend commences a North American tour with a stop at the East Village lounge DROM. The set, presented by Major Stage, will be Kota’s premier headlining show following the August release of Paloma Beach, his sophomore project. A product of the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, Kota maintains his New York roots while branching out to a beachier, more California-inspired aesthetic; Paloma Beach, which boasts a felicitous feature from rapper Asher Roth, plays like a home away from home, with Kota finding solace in the simple pleasures of West Coast living. The record is also as political as it is personal, each track resting in both realms, the social commentary intertwined with the intimacies of young adulthood, fatherhood, and rapperhood.

Ivie Ani

Food & Drink

Mad. Sq. Eats

The fall version of this twice-a-year event from UrbanSpace and the Madison Square Park Conservancy runs daily from September 2–29, and it’s your chance to try food from two dozen vendors who converge on the park from all corners of the city. It’ll be hard to go wrong with any of it, but we recommend the po’boys from the Gumbo Brothers and whatever sweet concoction that Renegade Lemonade, Ice & Vice, and Macaron Parlour have teamed up to create. (Hint: It’s called “Renegade Vice Parlour.”) Or, if you look at a plate of chicken and waffles and think, “Wish I didn’t have to sit at a table and bother with utensils to enjoy this,” Chick’nCone is your food trend du jour.

Mary Bakija

Music

Bing & Ruth + Arone Dyer

As we struggle through our days in the ever-accelerating absurdity of life under late capitalism, it’s rare to find a moment of real tranquility. That’s exactly what No Home of the Mind, the latest album by David Moore’s electro-acoustic project Bing & Ruth, provides. On these patient tracks, Moore’s fluttering piano arpeggios are undercut by warm drones and wispy woodwinds. It’s not hard to infer from the album’s title that Moore can relate to the constant mental struggle that is imposed by merely existing today; we are grateful for work like his that provides at least a momentary refuge. Bing & Ruth will appear with Arone Dyer, one half of the experimental folk duo Buke and Gase, performing his durational choral composition Dronechoir.

Sophie Weiner

Music

An Evening With The Tallest Man on Earth & yMusic

yMusic is the most prolific chamber ensemble you’ve (probably) never heard of. The New York sextet has collaborated with everyone from Anohni to Ben Folds, and performed with everyone from John Legend to Paul Simon. Most recently, this July, the group launched a collaborative EP with the very strange Swedish songbird Kristian Mattson — better known by his stage name, The Tallest Man on Earth — whose ragged, dreamy vocals are a natural fit with chamber music. The EP’s fourth track, “Revelation Blues,” is also a beautiful description of a musical project that makes its way, drifting with shimmering glissandi, toward twangy revelation. Together at Pioneer Works, the groups will perform tracks from the collaborative venture, along with selections from yMusic’s previous album and unreleased tracks from The Tallest Man On Earth.

Sarah Edwards

Comedy

Dear Owen Wilson

In the summer of 2007, the actor Owen Wilson allegedly attempted to take his own life. That very same summer, a young Blair Socci (Girl Code) wrote him a detailed letter expressing her deepest love and sympathy for him. Now Socci hosts this hilariously revealing show, which invites comedians from all backgrounds to read a personal letter that they’ve written to a celebrity who has affected their life. This week’s powerhouse lineup includes Michael Che, Melissa Villasenor, and Sasheer Zamata — all three either current or former members of SNL — as well asDan Licata (The Chris Gethard Show). You’re guaranteed to leave knowing these four comedians about as intimately as you would a friend with whom you’ve just shared a three-hour brunch.

Natalia Hadjigeorgiou

Music

Avishai Cohen

As performed by the likes of Miles Davis, Chet Baker, and Kenny Wheeler, the jazz trumpet has been developed as a force of healing and calm. No other player in 2017 understands this centering aspect of the instrument quite like the Israeli-born Avishai Cohen, whose second LP for ECM, Cross My Palm With Silver, is as meditative a journey into music as you’re likely to embark upon this year. The five-song compendium reaches a highlight in “Theme for Jimmy Greene,” a touching tribute to the saxophone great whose strength and grace through an unspeakable tragedy makes him a true lion in this life. Cohen will be wrapping up his September tour at the former Village Gate, flanked by his touring quartet featuring Gadi Lehavi on piano, drummer Marcus Gilmore, and Barak Mori on bass — a distinctive combo who give their own intuitive stamp on the material presented across both Silver and Cohen’s ECM debut Into the Silence. One cannot imagine a finer pleasure in Manhattan during the Fall Equinox than experiencing the soothing brass of this un- paralleled modern master of the horn.

—Ron Hart

Thu

9/21

Art

Bronx Calling: The Fourth AIM Biennial

Photo: Maya Ciarrocchi's "Site" / courtesy the artist

Like so many recent group exhibitions of its kind, this year’s Bronx Biennial deals with widespread political problems. Climate change, racism, glaring economic disparity — these are our perennial issues, and therefore our perennial curatorial themes. It can become a bit monotonous, to say the least, but “Bronx Calling: The Fourth AIM Biennial” largely avoids that pitfall by not being overly didactic. This show is less about adhering to an overarching idea than it is about presenting works by artists most people have never heard of, which is always an admirable goal. Seventy-two painters, sculptors, and installation artists are included, all of them New York–based but many of them foreign-born. The exhibition is tied to the Bronx Museum’s Artists in the Marketplace program, now in its thirty-seventh year, for which thirty-six artists are chosen to participate in fifteen practical seminars on how to make a career in the arts.

—Pac Pobric

Film

The Whole World Sings: International Musicals

These may not enter your canon of karaoke guilty pleasures anytime soon, but subtitles aren’t necessary to feel the groove of the thirteen international musicals playing in this Quad Cinema series. “The Whole World Sings” is a kind of cinematic “It’s a Small World,” with stops spanning the globe: France, India, Brazil. Kicking off the series is the renowned Black Orpheus (1959), Marcel Camus’s retelling of a Greek myth during the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro; there’s little singing, but a continuously pulsating drumbeat keeps the rhythm going. On the other end of the scale is Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), whose dialogue is entirely sung, and which features one of Catherine Deneuve’s most iconic roles. Among the lesser-screened gems are Chantal Akerman’s colorful Golden Eighties, a/k/a Window Shopping (1986); Youssef Chahine’s Egyptian historical drama-musical Destiny (1997); Han Hsiang Li’s Chinese cross-dressing hit The Love Eterne (1963); and Seijun Suzuki’s strange yet self-explanatory Princess Raccoon (2005), starring Zhang Ziyi. The series was organized in collaboration with the Voice’s own Bilge Ebiri.

Kristen Yoonsoo Kim

Music

An Evening With The Tallest Man on Earth & yMusic

yMusic is the most prolific chamber ensemble you’ve (probably) never heard of. The New York sextet has collaborated with everyone from Anohni to Ben Folds, and performed with everyone from John Legend to Paul Simon. Most recently, this July, the group launched a collaborative EP with the very strange Swedish songbird Kristian Mattson — better known by his stage name, The Tallest Man on Earth — whose ragged, dreamy vocals are a natural fit with chamber music. The EP’s fourth track, “Revelation Blues,” is also a beautiful description of a musical project that makes its way, drifting with shimmering glissandi, toward twangy revelation. Together at Pioneer Works, the groups will perform tracks from the collaborative venture, along with selections from yMusic’s previous album and unreleased tracks from The Tallest Man On Earth.

Sarah Edwards

Dance

Dorothée Munyaneza + Compagnie Kadidi

Born in Rwanda and now based in Marseille, France, Dorothée Munyaneza makes her second New York appearance in Unwanted, which “examines,” per a release, “the repercussions of rape used as an instrument of war.” Accompanied live by Oregon-based musician Holland Andrews and made collaboratively with composer Alain Mahé and South African visual artist Bruce Clarke, the 75-minute piece draws on the stories of Tutsi women who are survivors of genocide, investigating how the female body “holds, moves, and operates within the confines of a lived trauma.” “The culture of rape,” Munyaneza has said, “is a question that can resonate here as well.”

—Elizabeth Zimmer

Dance

Stanley Love Performance Group

From the wilder shores of American postmodern dancing comes Juilliard grad Stanley Love. He celebrates his ensemble’s 25th anniversary with Brings Swings, Sings Chimes Rings Wings, Flings Zingahlings-Spirit Party Things, another in his arsenal of large-scale works, this time for fifteen dancers who contribute their own unique characteristics and ideas to the choreography. The Kitchen’s curator Matthew Lyons and Sarah Michelson of its advisory board organized this undertaking, which marks the return of Love to the space for the first time since 1998; they’re describing it as “a journey of eclectic aesthetics related to emotion, rhythm, message and communion.” Sounds very Sixties to me.

—Elizabeth Zimmer

Fri

9/22

Film

The Power of the Powerless: Five Banned Films from the Czechoslovak New Wave

Photo: The Cremator / Courtesy Czech Center New York

In a sense, that recent Trump-moment bromide — “just think of all the great art we’re going to get under fascism” — could refer to Czech cinema following the Soviet invasion of 1968, which recalibrated the vital spout of the Czech New Wave from innovative and freewheeling to innovative and slyly dissident. Timed to observe the forthcoming Václav Havel Day (September 28), the Film Society–hosted “Power of the Powerless: Five Banned Films From the Czechoslovak New Wave” offers a quintet of movies produced as the boom was lowering on a nascent liberal Czechoslovakia. Miloš Forman’s classic The Fireman’s Ball (1967) leans softly on metaphor but thrives on droll, chilly-cheerful hijinks; Jiří Menzel’s Larks on a String (1969) is a talky, aphoristic reimagining of The Lower Depths; Albee and Antonioni are heavily felt in Karel Kachyňa’s paranoid two-hander The Ear (1970); and be sure to make room for Juraj Herz’s bracing The Cremator (1969), which dilutes its own allegory in the queasy embrace of genteel, first-person horror.

Jaime NChristley

Art

NY Art Book Fair

More than 370 book dealers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers — heralding from nearly twenty states and around thirty countries — are huddling into MoMA P.S.1 for the twelfth edition of this annual fair. It’s not just about mere buying and selling: The weekend is also packed with approximately thirty individual events and a two-day conference on matters having to do with underground publishing, community organizing, and “guerrilla collecting.” One event to look out for is a screening on Friday, at three in the afternoon, of video works by the choreographer Simone Forti in celebration of On An Iron Post, a new book about her to be released by Hesse Press in October. For those preferring an evening venture, nab a spot at Thursday night’s Courtyard concert (admission is $10), which includes performances by musicians like Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. The first two thousand people to arrive to that show will receive a ticket specially designed by Emma Kohlmann.

—Pac Pobric

Music

Tomas Fujiwara

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara hits a home run on Triple Double, the upcoming debut album by a super sextet featuring three pairs of instruments played by Fujiwara and Gerald Cleaver (drums), Mary Halvorson and Brandon Seabrook (guitars), and Ralph Alessi (trumpet) and Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet). Fujiwara’s structurally intricate yet melodically appealing writing honors the players’ creative personalities as he disassembles and recombines them into consistently changing permutations. Without a bassist, the guitarists trampoline between registers like acrobats spotting one another’s moves. The drummers sound like augmented percussive reality, and the horn players sing at one another from their respective mountaintops. The feeling in tracks like “Diving for Quarters,” which plunges and churns in an almost Indian rhythmic cycle, is reminiscent of the old Weather Report axiom: “We never solo, we always solo.”

—Richard Gehr

Dance

New York City Ballet

The local team’s schizophrenic fall season opens with a clutch of performances of Peter Martins’s somber Scandinavian Swan Lake, then switches gears to launch four new ballets, including the first of two new pieces by resident choreographer Justin Peck (this one to Stravinsky); one by company principal Lauren Lovette; a work by eighteen-year-old School of American Ballet alum Gianna Reisen; and the third contribution to the repertory by soloist Troy Schumacher. (All of these offerings are dressed by hot fashion designers.) Then we lurch back to Swan Lake before toggling between a program of Balanchine dances; another of enduring works by Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, and Peck; and a whole bill of works to twentieth-century violin concertos.

—Elizabeth Zimmer

Film

Mulholland Dr.

Following his experience making Dune (1984), David Lynch went to great lengths to ensure that he would never again suffer the foolishness of executive interference. His caution paid out ample dividends when he reclaimed his jettisoned ABC pilot for Mulholland Dr. and transformed it into a 146-minute feature. His quick-thinking retrofit now reads as thematically significant: Half of Mulholland Dr. looks and feels like a fresh foundation poured to support the ambitions of a multi-part saga, more or less ready for prime time. The other, without an iota of haste, steers the enterprise into the maw of consumptive despair, a crushing tale of amour fou filtered through the cuneiform of Angeleno neo-noir. Not your ordinary pity party, the film, birthed by rejection, is darkly rich with its visceral empathy for the cold-pressed madness of its heroine (Naomi Watts), and ecstatically high on the crescendos of Rebekah del Rio’s showstopping “Llorando.”

Jaime NChristley

Sat

9/23

TV

Tribeca TV Festival

Photo: Designated Survivor / ABC / Ben Mark Holzberg

Film festivals — they’re not just for films anymore! Tribeca is the latest cinema institution to welcome the episodic arts into its fold, following similar programs offered in recent years by the Toronto International Film Festival and South by Southwest — not to mention standalone events like New York’s Split Screens Festival and Austin’s ATX Television Festival. The inaugural Tribeca TV Festival includes sneak-peek screenings of Better Things, At Home With Amy Sedaris, and Designated Survivor, among others. But the real draw (and the real reason to shell out thirty bucks to watch an episode you’ll be able to see on TV soon enough) is the chance to hear from the creators and actors themselves, like Better Things’ Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K., appearing September 22; the stars and creators of the newly revived Will & Grace (September 23); and her highness Oprah Winfrey, who’ll be promoting her network’s new prison-focused documentary series, Released, on September 22.

—Lara Zarum

Art

Partners in Design: Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Philip Johnson

Theirs was a friendship with a lasting influence on the way Americans regarded everyday objects. Alfred Barr and Philip Johnson — together credited with, according to a release from the Grey Art Gallery, “[introducing] modern design to North America” — worked closely together at the Museum of Modern Art in the Thirties and Forties to cultivate their vision of beauty inspired by the Bauhaus school: Barr, as MoMA’s first director, and Johnson, as its first curator of architecture. This small exhibition is the very first to examine their partnership, which, through pivotal exhibitions they organized, made MoMA a testing ground for design that was functional as well as attractive. On view are industrial objects from these shows (tubular chairs, a graceful sink) and also sleek furniture and prints from the men’s homes that offer a glimpse into the personal palates of these young pioneers.

Claire Voon

Music

Brooklyn Comes Alive

Three north-Brooklyn venues will become shape-shifting artistic petri dishes during the annual improv-oriented rock/jazz/other festival known as Brooklyn Comes Alive. From noon to whenever, Saturday and Sunday, members of jam bands like the Disco Biscuits, Umphrey’s McGee, and moe., along with numerous fellow travelers — including the saxophonist Skerik, New Orleans piano great Henry Butler, and session drummer par excellence Bernard Purdie — will perform in various one-time-only configurations. Potential highlights include the latest version of guitar futurist Dave Harrington’s Merry Pranksters, with keyboardist Yuka Honda; funky jazz guitarists Eric Krasno and John Scofield alongside a couple of Meters; a hot-and-heady reimagining of Green Day’s Dookie; a tribute to fuzzy-hatted acid-jazzers Jamiroquai; a blues-sweating Allman Brothers celebration; and dozens of other why-the-hell-not collusions. Also: The Crystal Method.

Richard Gehr

Music

Love Theme

Twin Peaks: The Return was a remarkable television event in nearly every way, but its soundtrack stood out as one of the show’s most memorable and inventive elements. In addition to a score by the genius and longtime David Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti, nearly every episode featured a modern performer (including the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Nine Inch Nails) playing the show’s iconic Roadhouse. In one particularly affecting segment, David Lynch’s son Riley teamed up with Alex Zhang Hungtai of the moody, dissonant outfit Dirty Beaches for a song with a band called Trouble. Just weeks removed from the finale, Hungtai is debuting yet another project, this time a group named Love Theme, an experimental drone trio in which he plays saxophone. Just try to listen to these noir-ish, ominous sounds and not conjure a vision of Laura Palmer’s face.

Sophie Weiner

Dance

Gaspard & Dancers

All summer, dancers and companies from around the country flock to Durham, North Carolina, to strut their stuff at the American Dance Festival. But as the season shifts, Pilobolus Dance Theater alumnus Gaspard Louis, a Haitian choreographer now working and raising a family in Durham while running ADF’s year-round creative-outreach program, brings to New York a program of five works, four of them local premieres, and some with live music by North Carolina composers. The repertory, performed by Louis’s multicultural ensemble, includes Pothos and Portrait, which explore the life and work of the late painter Jean-Michel Basquiat; In-Side a Song; Forbidden; and Tota Pulchra Es.

—Elizabeth Zimmer

Music

Cap’n Jazz

Earlier in 2017, after years of the so-called emo revival bringing us updated versions of classic groups, one of those outfits, Cap’n Jazz, announced a reunion, their first in seven years. In the wake of playing FYF Fest in July, the Chicago band, formed in 1989, will play Brooklyn Steel this week. Cap’n Jazz’s sound, a mix of impassioned vocals and noisy, punk-inspired rock, along with the band’s sentimental and intellectual lyrics, formed the basis of what would become early emo, setting the inspirational groundwork for current bands like The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. Cap’n Jazz are emo’s Rosetta Stone — this show is unmissable if you care at all about the genre.

Sophie Weiner

Nightlife

OP 003: Roller Dome With Kyle Hall & Anthony Naples

Anyone living in the city has at some point dreamed of what New York was like in the bad old days, when Manhattan wasn’t a theme park for rich people and nightclubs downtown were packed with artists instead of finance bros. This party, at a Bed-Stuy community center that once housed a Salvation Army day care, is a chance to experience a slice of that fantasy. According to the party planners, the event will feature “a 4900 sq ft roller rink in the gym & dance floor in the cafeteria — all fit out with sweeping projections, spatial and lighting design,” and soundtracked by the techno stylings of Detroit’s Kyle Hall and the inventive house music of Anthony Naples. Some roller skates will be available for rent, but it’s suggested that you bring your own. Start brushing up on your tricks now.

Sophie Weiner

Sun

9/24

Art

Photoville

Photo: Holly Andres / 43-Day Fashion Shoot / New York magazine

Photoville, now in its sixth year, offers a unique viewing experience that combines public art, pop-up architecture, workshops, events, and food vendors. The festival, which takes place at the Brooklyn Bridge Plaza in DUMBO, transforms over fifty shipping containers into makeshift galleries, and also includes immersive outdoor installations and “EmergiCubes” — a series of four-foot-high cubes displaying the work of emerging photographers chosen by James Estrin and David Gonzalez, co-founders and photo editors of the New York Times’ “Lens Blog.” Visitors exploring the photo village will also find other diverse exhibitions, ranging from “Life on Arctic’s Edge” and “Redefining Gender” to “Shadows of Pakistan”; free workshops on topics such as studio portraiture, sports photography, and street photography; as well as talks (hosted at the St. Ann’s Warehouse Studio) on subjects like “A Picture of America: Privilege, Race & The Era of Trump,” “Climates in Conflict,” and “Contact High: Hip-Hop’s Iconic Photographs and Visual Culture.”

Amelia Rina

Film

Sam Fuller’s War Movies

Historian Marsha Gordon guests-curates this series inspired by her recent book, Film Is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller’s War Movies, which interrogates the violent imagination of this gruffest of American auteurs. From The Steel Helmet to The Big Red One to his own footage of the liberation of Falkenau, Sam Fuller creates empathy for men in situations where death haunts every frame.

—Peter Labuza

Dance

Pina Bausch

Two early works by the late, great German tanztheater artist — The Rite of Spring (1975) to the iconic Stravinsky score, and Café Müller to Purcell (1978) — share the opening program at the 2017 Next Wave Festival. They caused a sensation when first shown here in 1984 and led to fourteen more appearances at BAM by Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal. Parts of Café Müller turn up in Pedro Almódovar’s Talk to Her, and Wim Wenders immortalized the choreographer in his 2011 documentary, Pina. Since her death in 2009, her company members, now under the direction of Adolphe Binder and Dirk Hesse, have strived to keep her unique vision alive. Tickets are nearly gone; get your name on a waiting list.

—Elizabeth Zimmer

Music

Gang Gang Dance

It’s been six years since Gang Gang Dance released their excellent psychedelic dance record Eye Contact, and little has been heard from them since. So it’s with great excitement that we recommend you go see the group live at Baby’s this week. So far there’s no word on new material, but more announced tour dates instill hope. The unconventional group was known for sprawling, psyched-out dancepop that wouldn’t sound amiss blasting out of a Burning Man temple. We’re glad to have them back.

Sophie Weiner

Mon

9/25

Film

Kelly Reichardt: Powerfully Observant

Photo: Meek's Cutoff / Courtesy MoMA

The closest thing that resembles a Kelly Reichardt instruction manual occurs not long into her latest, Certain Women (2016), when Gina (Michelle Williams) sits down with her husband and their elderly neighbor to discuss the acquisition of some sandstone. Polite yet circumspect words hover, but the air is heavy with nameless antagonism. Reichardt’s silently investigative eye permits the viewer to dissect the scene along socioeconomic, gender, or generational lines, but we’re with Gina, and we mean to get that sandstone. Here lies the crux of Reichardt’s elusive style, rife with spaces and silences: She paints and looks, and paints, and looks, her canvas filling with detail as a fog evaporates. Most of her films, presented here by MoMA under the title “Kelly Reichardt: Powerfully Observant,” rate as unmissable; only the eco-thriller/scowl-a-thon Night Moves (2013) seems to stumble as it chases ill-defined genre kicks. Reichardt’s infrequently screened debut, the buzzy, Wanda-esque River of Grass (1994), is a plum for fans, glowing with the DNA of what was to come.

Jaime NChristley

Art

Dave Hardy: Public Setting

Tightly sandwiched between ceiling and floor, vertical slabs of glass elegantly stand among pieces of foam, cement, and wood inside an abandoned mini-bank, where the erstwhile haste of money-making has left the room with a ghostly ambiance. Titled That a Dead Man Sings (2014), this and other brilliantly stacked and congregated sculptures by Dave Hardy occupy the Bulova Corporate Center, an unabashedly Art Deco building located on Astoria Boulevard. With its granite floors and dwarfing columns, the historic property absorbs visitors into a surreal corporate environment, reminiscent of the heyday of Mad Men. This offsite Queens Museum exhibition celebrates the New York–based artist’s kinetic sculptures of equal doses tension and harmony, containing such salvaged materials as metal, cement, polyurethane foam, and even pretzels. Both Untitled (2013) and Destiny (2014) poignantly evoke the human form, long cuts of glass substituting for legs and sinuous piles of foam imitating arms and torsos.

Osman Can Yerebakan

Art

Cristóbal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque

Art historians have tended to give little prominence to painters from New Spain, as much of Central and North America was known between 1521 and 1821. These artists, Cristóbal de Villalpando among them, have largely been considered provincial copyists of the grand European manner. But the tide is turning. This show, which is centered on Cristóbal’s monumental 1683 depiction of Moses and the Transfiguration (it’s 28 feet tall), makes the case that he was not only a technically accomplished artisan, but also an innovator working in a noble tradition. The painting has recently been conserved and is shown here for the first time outside the Puebla Cathedral in Mexico. Ten additional works by the artist provide further context, but this exhibition is only a taste. A larger show of around one hundred pieces of seventeenth-century Mexican painting, titled “Pinxit Mexici,” comes to the museum next April.

—Pac Pobric

Literature

I Write Banned Books

September 24–30 is “Banned Books Week,” the American Library Association’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. To mark the occasion, PEN America has partnered with Strand Books to invite authors of banned or challenged books to speak out against censorship. The event is as timely as ever: Last year witnessed a 17 percent uptick in complaints of book-banning. The discussion will include David Levithan, whose 2013 Two Boys Kissing was removed from shelves because its cover features, well, two boys kissing; Coe Booth, whose young-adult novels Tyrell and Bronxwood faced censorship challenges in Virginia; and Ariel Schrag, whose comics anthology Stuck in the Middle was challenged by an Oklahoma school library. Moderated by Jason Low, publisher and a co-owner of Lee & Low Books, the conversation will highlight the value of reading books by authors of diverse backgrounds and experiences.

—Amy Brady

Theater

The Peculiar Patriot

Spoken-word artist Liza Jessie Peterson brings attention to the injustice of mass incarceration in this solo show. A Def Poetry alum, Peterson has been developing and expanding her narrative piece since 2003; during that time, she has toured the in-progress work to various prisons, and become a teacher and counselor at Rikers Island. She knows firsthand the untold stories of those behind bars and the families impacted by the prison system. In the show — which takes its title from the term the peculiar institution, a euphemism for slavery — Peterson’s character, Betsy LaQuanda Ross, links the history of slavery to the contemporary privatized prison system, where white people profit off the confinement of people of color. Betsy visits incarcerated friends and family, and though she tries to entertain them with gossip and humor, she also forces the audience to reckon with the racial inequities perpetuated by the system.

Nicole Serratore

Tue

9/26

Film

Jamaa Fanaka: L.A. Rebel

Photo: Penitentiary / Wizard Video / Photofest

Never was there a more fiercely independent spirit than that of Walter “Jamaa Fanaka” Gordon, who accomplished something most filmmakers would never dare attempt: While still a student at UCLA, he completed three feature-length films, one of which — Penitentiary (1979), the first in a trilogy of manic, progressively weirder prison boxing epics — went on to be the highest-grossing independent film of that year. Because of the comparative commercial appeal of his work, Fanaka was a rebel even among the rebels, an outcast among his classmates in the UCLA-birthed L.A. Rebellion movement. But there was more to Fanaka than outsize ambition: He subverted the blaxploitation template to tell stories with an uncommon tenderness, ones that he knew would appeal to a wide audience. His masterpiece, Emma Mae (1976), uses its disreputable genre trappings (a revenge story is the selling point) to tell an outsider’s coming-of-age story as she moves from the Deep South to the Southern California of the late Seventies. Fanaka has now been gone for five years, but he and his films persist through a philosophy that he described as “secular immortality.” Through his cinema, people departed and places forgotten live on as if in the present day — they are alive to the viewer.

Samuel BPrime

Film

P. Adams Sitney: Filmmaker as Film Theorist

Few artists possess the talent and audacity to repeatedly challenge their audience in the manner of Stan Brakhage, who stands as perhaps the single most important director of the American avant-garde. Even fewer have written or spoken so articulately about their own work. That writing, concentrated in Metaphors on Vision, provides theoretical insights and introductions to some of Brakhage’s best films, but has been unavailable for some forty years — until now. Anthology Film Archives and LightIndustry are republishing Metaphors, and the latter institution will commemorate the re-release with a lecture by P. Adams Sitney, the foremost scholar of American avant-garde cinema. Sitney will discuss and screen the work of Brakhage as well as that of Maya Deren and Hollis Frampton, two contemporaries equally determined to redefine the medium’s possibilities. Neither lifelong fans nor those seeking to dip their toes into one of the art’s most fecund minds for the first time should miss it.

Forrest Cardamenis