Our critics and writers have selected noteworthy cultural events to experience virtually and in person in New York City.
Pop & Rock
Flying Lotus’s headlining performance at Carnegie Hall marks a new level of mainstream acclaim for a beat maker who came up through Los Angeles’s hip-hop underground. It’s a career first, but not a family first: FlyLo (whose real name is Steven Ellison) is, after all, the grandnephew of John and Alice Coltrane.
On Saturday at 8 p.m., Ellison takes the stage of Manhattan’s premier concert hall as part of a multimonth series celebrating Afrofutrism, an expansive movement that anticipates futures shaped by Black thought and cultural production. His inclusion in the lineup reflects his position as a new torchbearer for a genre that his great-aunt helped pioneer.
Ellison’s oeuvre extends beyond the restless, cosmic-jazz-indebted electronic compositions from which he made his name. His recent work in TV and film demonstrates his interest in world building, and in concert, he seeks to impress visually as well as sonically. Tickets for what’s bound to be an immersive multimedia show start at $17.50 and are available at carnegiehall.org.
For its seventh iteration, the Women in Theatre Festival gave the following instructions to the five female playwrights it commissioned: Create a two-hander that an audience could enjoy both in person and online.
Unfortunately, this year’s in-person performances were canceled because of the spread of the Omicron variant, but thanks to the festival’s directive to produce hybrid plays, its lineup could shift seamlessly to a virtual setting — from “Rigged” by Georgina Escobar and “#GirlPowerHour” by Kaaron Briscoe, which feature regular people seeking connection on digital mediums, to Amina Henry’s “Blackbox,” in which two actors must remember how to be onstage again. Eliza Bent’s “In Service of Memory” examines how forgetting can feel like medicine. And in the moving “Middle C” by Erin Mallon, a piano teacher comes to terms with how much she has learned from her favorite student.
These short works, along with a series of monologues, will be available on demand through March 18; go to eventcombo.com and search for “Women in Theatre Festival 2022.” Streaming passes, which cost $25, grant a week’s access.
If you’re still wary of attending the few in-person classical concerts that haven’t been postponed, tuning in to livestreams can prove to be an invaluable workaround. Even so, you can feel like you’re missing out on a key function of the live experience. One way to mitigate this disconnect is to venture into the realm of acousmatic composition — since those performances use speakers rather than live instrumentation.
One of the leading composers on the contemporary acousmatic scene is Natasha Barrett, whose works I’ve enjoyed at Empac, an experimental performing arts center in Troy, N.Y. Her latest full-length recording, “Heterotopia” (after Foucault), is a headphones-listening extravaganza, and gives a thrilling sense of her skill with immersive, surround-sound designs. “Speaking Spaces No. 1” may at first come across as a field recording of a nature walk — complete with birdsong and woodpecker percussion rolls — until the piece seems to wander into an industrial landscape. The album, currently available to download on Bandcamp, offers exquisite musique concrète.
SETH COLTER WALLS
The Seattle-based choreographer Donald Byrd has always made dances with an eye toward history: They respond to the past and document the present to contend with the future. Among them is “Strange Fruit,” from 2019, which takes its name from the haunting protest poem Abel Meeropol wrote in 1937 and turned into a song that Billie Holiday recorded in 1939 and memorably performed throughout her career. Drawing on the music, the dance delves into the often-overlooked history of lynchings in America while connecting them to modern racial terrorism; it’s a rare work that belongs to the genre of horror.
Byrd’s company, Spectrum Dance Theater, will perform the piece this weekend at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University in New Jersey as part of the Peak Performances series. The dance runs 40 minutes and is followed by a 30-minute discussion — Byrd considers communal processing an integral part of the production. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, at 8 on Saturday and at 3 on Sunday. Tickets are $50 and available at peakperfs.org.
You don’t have to be a Francophone — or even a Francophile — to enjoy the French Institute Alliance Française’s winter festival. It helps, though, to love animated movies.
They’re the subject of Animation First, which runs from Friday through Sunday in person at the institute’s Manhattan headquarters and then online — with a largely different slate — from Monday through Feb. 21.
Adolescent filmgoers are likely to be drawn to the opening-night feature, “The Crossing,” about two young people migrating through a menacing, war-ravaged landscape, as well as titles like “The Tower” (online only), which focuses on an 11-year-old Palestinian refugee.
Much younger viewers have options, too, such as “Princess Dragon” (Saturday), about a girl being raised by the fire-breathing creatures, and “Wonderful Wacky Wolves,” a fur-filled streaming shorts program. (A complete schedule is online.)
A full-festival pass is $80 to $120; an online-only pass, $25. Tickets for individual in-person programs range from $10 to $25, and some are free, including panel discussions and Sunday’s closing feature, “The Summit of the Gods,” a teen-friendly paean to mountaineering.
5 Things to Do This Weekend – The New York Times