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SUMMER MUSIC IN CHELSEA
The next installment of St. Peter’s Summer Music in Chelsea concert series features an all-Mozart program that nourishes the soul of those in the pews, while raising much-needed funds to benefit the church’s Food Pantry outreach program. Matthew Oberstein will conduct the New Amsterdam Summer Orchestra, with violinist Jiwon Evelyn Kwark as the guest soloist. The selections include Mozart’s Violin Concerto #5, K. 219 A Major (Turkish) and Symphony #38, K. 504 D Major (Prague).
Thurs., July 28, at 7:30pm. At St. Peter’s Church (346 W. 20th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). The suggested donation is $10 ($5 for students/seniors). For more info, visit stpeterschelsea.com, or call 212-929-2390.
CHELSEA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Running three years in a row is an admirable achievement — but the upcoming fourth installment of the Chelsea Music Festival elevates the annual event to its rightful place as an official local tradition. CMF 2013 is poised to deliver another imaginative, unconventional fusion of music, art, cuisine and family-friendly programming. This time around, the British-Italian theme pays tribute to three composer anniversaries: Benjamin Britten (100th), Arcangelo Corelli (300th) and Carlo Gesualdo (400th).
Performances will showcase existing and newly commissioned works in the classical, jazz, folk, art song and early music genres. The featured artists include Germany’s Ensemble Amarcord, musicians from London’s Guildhall School of Music, Mexican visual artist Nacho Rodriguez Bach, Momenta String Quartet and The Declassified. Designed to stir your soul while stimulating your intellect, CMF’s lectures, festival talks, collaborative visual art exhibits and post-concert receptions encourage dialogue between artists and audiences.
June 14-22, at various venues — including Dillon Gallery (555 W. 25 St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.), the Leo Baeck Institute (15 W. 16th St., btw. 5th & 6th Aves.) and the General Theological Seminary Chapel (440 W. 21st St., btw. 9th & 10th Aves.). Tickets range from $25-65. Purchase at chelseanusicfestival.org — where you’ll find a complete schedule of events. Students and seniors receive a $10 discount, per concert (must show ID at the door). The CMF@Noon outdoor concerts are free. Following the festival on Twitter (@cmf_nyc) and Facebook (facebook.com/chelseamusicfestival).
Like a rundown carnival’s dark ride attraction, Clay McLeod Chapman packs his monologues, short stories, novels and plays with the unnerving sense that serious danger is lurking just around the bend. But unlike promised Midway thrills that rarely materialize, Chapman’s characters always deliver when it comes to crossing the line that separates sinister impulse from violent action. That makes him particularly well-suited for this musical version of “The Penalty.”
Chapman’s stage adaptation (with music and lyrics co-written by Robert M. Johanson) is inspired by the Gouverneur Morris novel and the Lon Chaney film version. Set in 1920 New York City, a legless beggar’s plea for spare change is ignored by Lower East Side passersby — who are blind to the fact that the seemingly helpless derelict is actually an underworld kingpin obsessed with executing a macabre revenge plot against the prominent doctor who deformed him. “The Penalty” stars Gregg Mozgala as Blizzard, along with an ensemble that includes actors from Mozgala’s The Apothetae theater company (dedicated to the production of new full-length plays about the “Disabled Experience,” and the only NYC-based company to be run, owned and operated by people with disabilities).
Fri. & Sat., June 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 & 29. At 7:30pm, at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St., btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). For tickets ($15 in advance, $18 at the door; $12 for students/seniors), call 212-219-0736 or visit dixonplace.org.
THE LAST OF THE ITALIANS
Once dominant and now dwindling, South Greenwich Village’s Italian community has been captured for the ages — in vibrant and loving detail — by New York-based photographer, writer, installation and mixed media collage artist Anne Kristoff. In “The Last of the Italians,” Kristoff uses expressive photos accompanied by brief interview excerpts to tell the story of a changing neighborhood’s casualties, stubborn survivors and enduring traditions. At its best, as in the case of Frances Ciotta, the exhibit’s combination of visual and audio beautifully conveys both the crystalized essence of a particular person and their universal desire to retain that which they hold near and dear.
“We celebrated everything in that place,” says Ciotta of an old haunt. Refusing an invite to join her daughter in the outer boroughs, she insists, “I’m going from here to the cemetery. I’m my own boss. I like it that way.” True to her word, Ciotta passed away in 2012, exiting this world as a Village Italian. Her sense of defiance endures, alongside other exhibit participants — such as 43-year-old Tommy Cannella (who’s been praying in front of the blessed mother at St. Anthony’s for decades) and 16-year-old Christina Auricchio (who admits to spending most of her time out of the neighborhood, yet daydreams about what life would have been like to grow up with dozens of kids her age on the block).
Free. Through June 15, at Soho Gallery for Digital Art (138 Sullivan St., btw. Houston & Prince Sts.). For info, call 212-228-2810. Visit lastoftheitalians.com to view exhibit photos and listen to their accompanying audio clips.
YOU ARE DEAD. YOU ARE HERE.
The debut production from playwright Christine Evans, director Joseph Megel and media designer Jared Mezzocchi’s Transit Lounge theater company shifts between the past and present, telling the story of a charged encounter between an American soldier and an Iraqi girl blogger.
The project came about in 2010 when Megel commissioned Evans to write a script about a U.S. veteran haunted by video game-style flashbacks to Iraq. What ultimately became “You Are Dead. You Are Here.” has been evolving ever since, most recently under the auspices of the HERE Artist Residency Program. Inspired by the ever-blurring line between video game environments, interactive technology and military research, the play incorporates animated landscapes from “Virtual Iraq” — a virtual reality program used in military training, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy and rehabilitation. Dr. Skip Rizzo, the creator of Virtual Iraq, worked with Transit Lounge to retool his cutting-edge software for the stage.
Tues.-Sun. at 8:30pm, Through June 22, at HERE (145 Sixth Ave., just below Spring St., entrance on Dominick St.). For tickets ($10 in advance, $18 one day prior, $20 day of show), call 212-352-3101, visit here.org or purchase at box office (5pm to curtain, on day of show). Student rush tickets free with ID.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER