Just Do Art! Week of June 13, 2012

Sun Ra Arkestra at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon. Photo by Stephanie Berger

BANG ON A CAN MARATHON OPENS THE RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL  Is every summertime arts event below Canal part of River to River? No…it just seems that way. The sprawling annual festival takes place in over 25 indoor and outdoor locations — and every daytime, evening and weekend event (music, dance, theater, visual art, film) is free. In a fitting nod to the epic nature of The River to River Festival, Bang on a Can returns for their seventh year of opening the festival with a marathon 12-hour concert.

Currently celebrating their own quarter-century milestone, “Bang” has grown from a one-day marathon Mother’s Day concert (in Soho, circa 1987) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a roster of year-round international activities. The lunch to late night River to River event will be, they assure us, “an incomparable 12-hour super-mix of boundary-busting music from around the corner and around the globe, featuring rare performances by some of the most innovative pioneering musicians of our time side-by-side with some of today’s newest exciting young artists.”

So far, announced selections include the “near impossible works” of the late American-exile Conlon Nancarrow, the “jarring music” of Hague-based composer Akiko Ushijima and a recreation of experimental sound pioneer Alvin Lucier’s 1969 electronica masterpiece (“I am sitting in a room”).

The marathon’s featured performers (sure to be more entertaining live than what you can currently access on YouTube) include the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Pauline Oliveros and the Deep Listening Band, Dither, Grand Band, The Guidonian Hand, Heavy Hands, Newspeak, NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble with Jonathan Haas, Talujon, TwoSense, Ashley Bathgate, Maya Beiser, Vicky Chow, Kris Davis, Vijay Iyer, Kaki King, Michael Lowenstern, Alvin Lucier, Todd Reynolds and…MORE.

Sun., June 17, noon-midnight, at the World Financial Center Winter Garden (220 Vesey St., btw. West St. & North End Ave.). Admission is free. For more info, call 718-852-7755 or visit bangonacan.org. Also visit rivertorivernyc.com.

Shakespeare in the great outdoors: New York Classical Theatre’s “Twelfth Night” roams Central (then Battery) Park. Photo by Miranda Arden

NEW YORK CLASSICAL THEATRE’S ‘TWELFTH NIGHT’  |  Currently being performed in Central Park (through June 24), New York Classical Theatre’s production of “Twelfth Night” takes its show on the road — all the way down to Battery Park — beginning on June 26. Selected performances of this roving play will be preceded by the company’s popular family-friendly workshops. Led by cast members, the workshops use games and exercises to help audiences better understand the play’s comedic but complicated plot.

Shakespeare’s lively journey of mistaken identities, misguided lovers and joyous celebration recasts the play’s setting to New York City, circa 1900. “The turn of the twentieth century was a magical time of excitement and possibility here in New York City, and that perfectly parallels this story of self-reinvention and new beginnings,” said NYCT founder and artistic director Stephen Burdman. “This is my 25th year as a director, and I wanted to present this play, which includes some of Shakespeare’s greatest poetry, as a ‘love letter’ to the city that has provided me such a rewarding artistic home.”

Free performances run June 26-July 22, 7pm — and family workshops are July 7, 8, 21 & 22 at 5pm. At Battery Park (meet in front of Castle Clinton). For more info, call 212-252-4531 or visit newyorkclassical.org/whats-playing.

For the benefit of Housing Works: The Portland Cello Project. Photo by J. Quigley

 THE PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT: A BENEFIT CONCERT FOR HOUSING WORKS  |  Some celebrated masters of music’s most moody, contemplative instrument are combining forces to raise funds for one of NYC’s most worthy causes. Housing Works provides housing, healthcare, job training and advocacy for New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Their Downtown Bookstore Cafe regularly hosts a variety of imaginative and entertaining special events — and on June 25, it’s the site of a benefit concert from The Portland Cello Project. The indie orchestra with a cult following is known for its unpredictable and unconventional playlist. You’re as likely to see an improvised version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” as you are a centuries-old classical selection.

Mon., June 25, 8pm (doors open 7:30pm), at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby St., btw. Houston & Prince Sts.). Tickets ($15; guarantees admission but not seating) are on sale now at housingworks.org/events. For more info, call 212-334-3324. All ticket sales benefit the Housing Works mission of fighting to end AIDS and homelessness.

READING: “LOVE, CHRISTOPHER STREET: REFLECTIONS OF NEW YORK CITY”  |  Edited by Thomas Keith with an introduction by Christopher Bram, the 26 native New Yorkers, American transplants and international writers who contributed to “Love, Christopher Street” represent four decades of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender life that transpired on that famous street and throughout the five boroughs.

At an upcoming event sponsored by Out Professionals, several authors will read from their original essays. Among them: “Dis-membering Stonewall” — the Rev. Irene Monroe’s eyewitness account of that hot night in 1969 when police raided the Stonewall Inn and drag queens fought back. Bob Smith’s “Silence = Death: The Education of a Comedian” recalls life as an out stand-up comedian in the 1980s. You’ll have to pick up the book if you want to hear “An Old Queen’s Tale” — Penny Arcade’s saga of how, as a runaway, she was taken off the street by gay men who introduced her to Warhol’s Factory. Also among the authors featured in the book, but not at the readings: Martin Hyatt (“My Last Big Addiction”), Justine Saracen (“The Opera Singer’s Pants, and How I Got In Them”) and Charles Rice-González (“A 1986 Bronx Story”).

On Wed., June 27, from 6:30-9pm at the LGBT Community Center (208 W. 13th St.). Admission is $10.  Author readings from Mark Ameen, Christopher Bram, Martin Hyatt, Fay Jacobs, Michele Karlsberg, Rev. Irene Monroe, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Bob Smith & Judy Gold and Charlie Vázquez. For more info, visit “Love, Christopher Street” on Facebook or email lovechristopherstreet@gmail.com.

Writer, producer and director Jessie Maple’s film “Will” is preserved by the Women’s Film Preservation Fund (which is being honored at Anthology Film Archive’s June 25 benefit). Photo courtesy of WFPF

ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES 2012 FILM PRESERVATION HONORS & BENEFIT  |  With Tribeca Cinemas, 92YTribeca, Film Forum, Angelika Film Center, Quad Cinema and the IFC Center all within walking distance of each other, Downtown has an embarrassment of cinematic riches. But for sheer volume, scholarship and scope, nobody does it better than Anthology Film Archives. During four decades spent preserving, presenting and promoting independent, non-commercial and avant-garde cinema, Anthology has amassed over 20,000 films and 5,000 videos. Each year, they preserve an average of 25 films, while hosting nearly 1,000 public programs. All of that comes at a price, though…and that’s where you come into the picture. Their Annual Film Preservation Honors and Benefit celebrates those who’ve made important contributions to film heritage — and the proceeds help support Anthology’s preservation and public screening programs. This year’s honorees: The Women’s Film Preservation Fund, film restoration lab Cinetech and Richard Pena (who earlier this year retired as Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Director of the New York Film Festival). A raffle (you don’t need to be present to win) will reward winners with prizes such as a private screening at Anthology, a visit to the set of “Boardwalk Empire” and VIP tickets to “The Colbert Report.”

Mon., June 25, 7-10pm, at The Standard (High Line Room + Terrace; 848 Washington St. at W. 13th St.). For tickets ($175), visit anthologyfilmarchives.org/support/2012honors or call 212-505-5181, x10. Raffle tickets are $25 each; $100 for five.

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