Fun Things to Do in NYC This May 2022

Looking for something to do in New York? Go see the Asian Comedy Fest at Stand Up NY and Caveat or the British singer Nilüfer Yanya at Webster Hall. Take the kids to Our First Art Fair, as part of NADA New York. Or you can still catch “Hangmen” on Broadway and the Jacques-Louis David blockbuster at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Friday at 6, 8 and 10 pm at Stand Up NY, 236 West 78th Street, Manhattan; standupny.com. Saturday at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. at Caveat, 21A Clinton Street, Manhattan; caveat.nyc

For the third straight year, Ed Pokropski, a writer and producer at NBCUniversal, and the producer and comedian Kate Moran have assembled dozens of performers for this festival, and like last year, they’re right on time to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month . The six shows will feature Julia Shiplett, Michael Cruz Kayne, Usama Siddiquee, Karen Chee with the puppeteer Kathleen Kim, the podcasters from “Feeling Asian,” and Yuhua Hamasaki from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Friday’s 8 pm lineup includes perhaps the festival’s buzziest performer: Jes Tom, a nonbinary trans comedian who co-stars in the new Hulu rom-com “Crush.” (Tom will also headline their own show on May 14 at the Bell House.) Tickets start at $25 per show ($65 for an all-night pass) and are available at asiancomedyfest.com. SEAN L. McCARTHY

Classical Music

Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm at National Sawdust, 80 North Sixth Street, Brooklyn; live.nationalsawdust.org.

This year’s iteration of the annual contemporary music blowout known as the MATA Festival has been programmed by the composer and alto saxophonist Darius Jones. For the festival’s final two nights, Jones has put together a set of works by younger artists on Friday and one of his own on Saturday. Friday’s concert will feature notable artists like Travis Laplante, who is scheduled to play his solo tenor saxophone opus “The Obvious Place.” And Saturday’s performance will offer the world premiere of Jones’s piece “Colored School No. 3,” which references a Brooklyn building once used as a segregated school for Black children into the early 20th century. Tickets for each night are $25. SETH COLTER WALLS

Pop rock

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Webster Hall, 25 East 11th Street, Manhattan; websterhall.com.

Though as a teenager she was tapped to be in a girl group assembled by Louis Tomlinson of One Direction, Nilüfer Yanya chose a self-determined path over the prospect of pop stardom. The British singer’s debut album, from 2019, contained notes of jazz and indie pop but leaned predominantly into alt-rock, showcasing the guitar chops she had honed since picking up the instrument at age 12. Yanya’s sophomore effort, released in March, follows suit but pares her sound down to essential components: wafty melodies, crisp beats, circuitous guitar work reminiscent of Radiohead. Ironically titled “Painless,” the album is spiked with thorns, its lyrics tackling the complicated, damaging side effects of desire. On Saturday, Yanya heads a bill that also features two other singer-guitarists: Ada Lea and Tasha. Tickets start at $25 and are available at axs.com. OLIVIA HORN

Thursday from 4 to 8 pm; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm at NADA New York, Pier 36, 299 South Street, Manhattan; newartdealers.org.

While the New Art Dealers Alliance has always catered to the business’s youngest members, it would be hard to find exhibitors younger than some appearing at this year’s NADA New York exposition. They’re the entrepreneurs 12 and under participating in Our First Art Fair, presented by the alliance and the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Here, youngsters display and price their creations, receiving all proceeds. Little artists who missed the April submission deadline can still contribute by completing a required form and delivering it, along their work, to the fair. On Saturday from 2 to 4 pm, museum educators will also attend, providing art supplies and helping with last-minute entries. What doesn’t sell goes to the museum’s permanent collection—no small distinction. NADA passes start at $40; they’re free for children. LAUREL GRAEBER

Ongoing at Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, Manhattan; filmforum.org.

You’ve seen Brian De Palma’s “Blow Out”? “Diva” is the other major film of 1981 (released in the United States in 1982) that involves a protagonist with a hot-potato audio recording, or technically two: Jules (Frédéric Andrei), a postman and opera fan, secretly records a star vocalist, Cynthia Hawkins ( the real-life soprano Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez), who makes a point of only singing live, at a performance in Paris. Soon after, he unwittingly comes into possession of another tape that could expose an international drug-and-sex-trafficking operation.

But the crazy convolutions of the plot are hardly the point. “Diva,” directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix, who died in January, is perhaps the film most identified with a trend in France that became known as the cinema du look, movies for which visual style and attitude left the prevailing impressions. In a print showing at Film Forum, the shades of blue are dazzling, and an elaborate chase through the Paris Metro is pretty exciting, too. Ben Kenigsberg

Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Sky Rink, 61 Chelsea Piers, Manhattan; chelseapiers.com.

After pivoting to pavement during the pandemic, Ice Theater of New York returns to its true milieu, which is also a fitting place to reflect on climate change. As part of its home season, the company will present the premiere of the choreographer Jody Sperling’s “Of Water and Ice,” which draws on her research in the Arctic and is set to music by DJ Spooky. It will be joined on the program by 10 other works, many of them also new, with soundtracks ranging from Philip Glass to Rachmaninoff to Madonna. Don’t expect a string of Nathan Chen-like acrobatic feats, though; the company, founded in 1984, is rooted in the art of ice dancing, which combines the ethos of concert dance with the speed, momentum and strength of ice skating. Two of the form’s best-known practitioners, the British champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, will be honored at Monday’s gala performance. Tickets start at $25 and are available at icetheatre.org. BRIAN SCHAEFER


Critics’ Pick

Through June 18 at the Golden Theater, Manhattan; hangmenbroadway.com. Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes.

In Martin McDonagh’s Olivier Award winner, set in the 1960s, a threatening mod from London (Alfie Allen of “Game of Thrones”) walks into a grim northern English pub run by a former hangman (David Threlfall). Pitch-black comedy ensues. Directed by Matthew Dunster, this production was a prepandemic hit downtown. Read the review.

Through June 26 at the Hudson Theater, Manhattan; plazasuitebroadway.com. Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes.

Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker revel in physical comedy as they play two married couples and a pair of long-ago sweethearts in the first Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s trio of one-act farces, a smash at its premiere in 1968. John Benjamin Hickey direct. (Onstage at the Hudson Theater. Limited run ends July 1.) Read the review.

Critics’ Pick

Through July 10 at Circle in the Square, Manhattan; americanbuffalonyc.com. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss team up for David Mamet’s verbally explosive tragicomedy, set in a Chicago junk shop where an inept pair of small-time criminals and their hapless young flunky plot the theft of a rare nickel. Neil Pepe direct. Read the review.

At the Winter Garden Theater, Manhattan; musicmanonbroadway.com. Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes.

Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine, returns to the stage as the charlatan Harold Hill opposite Sutton Foster as Marian the librarian in Jerry Zaks’s widely anticipated revival of Meredith Willson’s classic musical comedy. It’s a hot ticket, and one of Broadway’s most stratospherically priced shows. (Onstage at the Winter Garden Theater.) Read the review.

Critics’ Pick

Through May 15 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org.

“Radical Draftsman,” a momentous and deadly serious exhibition, assembles more than 80 works on paper by this prime mover of French Neo-Classicism, from his youthful Roman studies to his uncompromising Jacobin years, into jail and then Napoleon’s cabinet, and through to his final exile in Brussels. It’s a scholarly feat, with loans from two dozen institutions, and never-before-seen discoveries from private collections. It will enthrall specialists who want to map how David built his robust canvases out of preparatory sketches and drapery studies. But for the public, this show has a more direct importance. This show forces us — and right on time — to think hard about the real power of pictures (and picture makers), and the price of political and cultural certainty. What is beautiful, and what is virtuous? And when virtue embraces terror, what is beauty really for? Read the review.

Critics’ Pick

Through June 5 at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan; 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org.

A Lithuanian refugee who landed in New York City in 1949, Jonas Mekas became a founder of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, Film Culture magazine and Anthology Film Archives. He also made scores of collagelike “diary” films. “The Camera Was Always Running” is Mekas’s first US museum survey, and its curator, Kelly Taxter, approached the daunting task by mounting a high-speed retrospective projected on a dozen free-standing screens.

Most of the films in the exhibition are broken up into simultaneously projected pieces, so that the full program of 11 takes just three hours. Many are diary films — abstract kaleidoscopic records of Mekas, his brother Adolfas, also a filmmaker, and the SoHo bohemians and Lithuanian transplants of their circle. Since the point of all this, even more than documenting the variety of Mekas’s life in particular, is to capture the magical incongruity of life in general, Taxter’s inspired staging may even make the works more effective. Read the review.

Critics’ Pick

Through June 5 at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, Manhattan; 212-219-1222, newmuseum.org.

Ringgold’s first local retrospective in almost 40 years features the Harlem-born artist’s figures, craft techniques and storytelling in inventive combinations. And it makes clear that what consigned Ringgold to an outlier track half a century ago puts her front and center now. The show begins with a group of brooding, broadly stroked figure paintings from the 1960s called “American People Series.” All the pictures are about hierarchies of power; women are barely even present. Ringgold referred to this early, wary work as “super realistic.”

In the ’80s, an elaboration on the painted quilt form, called “story quilts,” brought Ringgold attention both inside and outside the art world. It is the vehicle for Ringgold’s most formally complex and buoyant painting project, “The French Connection.” Overall, it feels, in tone, like a far cry from the “American People” pictures, but there’s politics at work in the French paintings, too. Read the review.

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