Above is public art by Jackie Chang titled Signs Of Life (1999, ceramic and mosaic) that is on permanent display underground in the Metropolitan Avenue / Grand Street subway station in Brooklyn. It is an example of the many commissioned pieces of art on display throughout the MTA subway system that once (but alas no longer) was filled with bright, colorful, often visually stimulating graffiti art that was not commissioned and that the MTA would rather forget all about altogether.
Welcome to installment #37 in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog series in which I take a look at some of the fun (many free) events happening in the Big Apple in the week ahead.
Funk band Cameo is playing a free show in Central Park on Tuesday, July 2nd, presented by the producers of the Freedom Dance Party club - the weekly diverse music party begun one decade ago by Herbert Holler, DJ Cosi and Marc Smooth. The party celebrates their ten year anniversary and is happening at Central Park's SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield near 72nd Street on the East Side. It should be very well attended, so if you plan on going try and get there by 5pm.
Another free park concert happening that same day, but up in the Bronx, is a performance from the "King of Latin Soul" Joe Bataan, plus Felix Hernandez's Rhythm Revue - both playing at Soundview Park from 6pm to 8pm. More info on both of these shows at City Parks SummerStage Productions.
On Saturday all the way in downtown Manhattan at the South Street Seaport is the free outdoor 4 Knots Music Festival with Kurt Vile & Violators headlining the all-day (1pm to 8pm) music festival on two stages with other (mostly rock) acts Parquet Courts, White Lung, and hot new Brooklyn emcee Fat Tony, whose recently-released Smart Ass Black Boy album is among the many innovative new hip-hop releases of the summer. The annual 4 Knots free festival is produced and presented by the Village Voice weekly newspaper who are also responsible for the festival after party in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Lil B (aka the East Bay's The BasedGod) will headline this already sold-out after party concert. Should be good, so too bad it's sold out. But entrance to the daytime festival, that will also feature such acts as Marnie Stern, Hunters, Reigning Sound, The Babies, and Helitropes, is guaranteed provided you get there early. It starts at 1pm, so show up by noon and you should have no problem of getting in and scoping out a good spot for the day long event on the wooden pier (weather forecast says it will be sunny and in the 90s, but organizers say the show will go on regardless of rain or shine.) All ages. No cover. More info here.
Art fans/followers of the Light and Space movement will be pleased to know that Scrim Veil - Black Rectangle - Natural Light - an installation by Robert Irwin, an artist of the Light and Space movement - will be on preview (members only plus one guest) June 26th and will go on general public display as of June 27th. The installation will then run through September 1st at the Whitney Museum of American Art where museum goers can enjoy access to this grand-scale art installation. In 1977, the installation was actually made specifically for the famed NYC museum’s fourth floor where it, "uniquely engages the Whitney’s iconic Breuer building and the natural light that emanates from the large window in the fourth floor gallery space" according to Whitney curators and as seen in photo above. Tickets range from free up to $20 depending on how and when you plan your visit. More general Whitney info here.
Even more museum fun plus the addition of music is the kick off this weekend of the ever-popular annual summer series at MoMA's PS1, which is not at MoMA in midtown but one borough over in Long Island City, Queens, (right beside 5Pointz graffiti mecca) where dance, music, and art converge at PS1's typically packed and off-the-hook Warm Up Saturday afternoon parties.
The latest 2013 Warm Up summer series begins this Saturday, June 29th, and will run every Saturday through September 7th in PS1's big outdoor courtyard (see photo above of previous summer party) where this year there will be a temporary urban landscape by CODA called Party Wall, the winning design of the 14th annual Young Architects Program. As far as the live music for the Warm Up parties, it will be really good again this year with bookings such as first wave UK rave/acid house/techno era DJ/producer A Guy Called Gerald headlining on July 27th - the Manchester artist who scored big with his late '80's crossover dance hit single "Voodoo Ray." King Britt plays August 17th, Caribou on August 24th, Kode9 on July 20th, and The Martinez Brothers July 6th.
But this weekend's kick off party is a definite must-not-miss event with legendary Detroit techno pioneer Juan Atkins (pictured left) on a talent-packed bill along with Lee Gamble, Heatsick, NHK'Koyxen, and Bill Kouligas (the latter two presented as part of ISSUE Project Room and Goethe-Institut NY's PAN_ACT festival). Tickets for PS1's Warm Ups are $15 to $18. More info here.
The nasty recent spike in the number of gay bashing incidents in New York City over the past few months will no doubt be a focus and cause for solidarity among those attending the Gay Pride events this week, which culminate in the annual LGBTQ Pride March on Sunday (June 30th) that has been an important part of the city's culture since 1970. Sunday's march follows a series of other pride-related events in the days leading up to the march. These include a big rally on Friday evening (June 28th) from 7pm to 10pm at Hudson River Park's Pier 26 on West St. in TriBeCa. To be hosted by Pandora Box and Keith Price, this is a free event with no tickets needed. Performances by Vicci Martinez and Pam Ann. The next day, Saturday, June 29th, the festivities continue at the same outdoor waterside location with a party titled Rapture on The River running from 3pm to 10pm with DJ Dimples and DJ Whitney Day both spinning house and other dance music. Tix are $25 and available to purchase here, as are tickets for the VIP Rooftop after party that day and Sunday. Sunday's march begins at 36th St. and Fifth Ave. where folks start lining up at 11am for a noon kick off time when it will travel downtown and westward to end up at Christopher and Greenwich Streets in the West Village. It is free. More detailed info on the march other pride events at the NYC Pride website.