Seven Picks a Week is our guide to what’s worth catching in arts, culture and activities during the week ahead, with contributions from reporters throughout the WNYC/Gothamist newsroom and colleagues from WQXR and “All of It.”
Attend a retirement party for a trio of peacocks
For over 20 years, a trio of peacocks — Jim, Harry and Phil — have roamed the grounds of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights, flashing their plumage at squirrels and delighting locals. But those peacocks are getting older, and will soon leave the city for Animal Nation, an animal sanctuary in upstate New York. To celebrate their retirement, the Cathedral is hosting a family-friendly carnival featuring art workshops, face painting, storytelling and more on Saturday afternoon, culminating in an official goodbye ceremony for the beloved birds. Check out more details on the free event, which starts at noon, here.
– Ben Yakas
Get your classic Afro-Funk on in Bed-Stuy
One of the hardest-working groups in New York City, Super Yamba Band is also among its funkiest. A core quintet at the center of a collective, it plays a psychedelic, percussion-heavy mix of West African dance musics — Afrobeat, highlife, juju — often led by the Benin-born singer/guitarist Kaleta, a veteran of Nigerian legend Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80 orchestra. The live results are rarely anything less than a smiling sweatbox of soulful energy. On Saturday night, a stripped-down Super Yamba comes to one of its great old haunts, Bed-Stuy’s intimate, first-come-first-seated Bar LunAtico. They’ll be playing two sets; get the details here.
– Piotr Orlov
See the beauty in daily lives
Photography exhibit “This is Home” aims to showcase stories of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in New York City and abroad: “how they live, work, love, and when needed, stand up for what they believe.” Featured artists include Janice Chung, whose “Han in Town” celebrates Flushing, Queens; An Rong Xu; and Cindy Trinh, who captures vendors and shopkeepers at work. “This is Home” begins Saturday Jan. 21 and runs through Feb. 26 at Flushing Town Hall. The opening event and exhibition are free and open to the public; you can learn more and RSVP here.
– Kerry Shaw
Get acquainted with a handful of up-and-coming playwrights
Founded in 2009 by playwright Kelley Nicole Girod, The Fire This Time Festival supports Black playwrights in the early stages of their careers. This year’s 14th annual Ten-Minute Play Program features seven 10-minute plays that explore Black men’s relationship to masculinity, technology and artificial intelligence bias, and more. It will also feature a full-length play reading of Girod’s newest work, “A Body of Water,” which centers around her Cajun-Creole roots. The festival has a proven record of success, having developed the work of more than 80 playwrights, including Katori Hall, Dominique Morisseau and Radha Blank. The series runs through January 29 at the Kraine Theater in the East Village; for more information and to purchase tickets visit here.
– Precious Fondren
Listen deeply as a groundbreaking artist meditates on a mentor
The brilliant flutist and musical game-changer Claire Chase celebrates the 90th birthday of an American icon, the late composer, improviser and teacher Pauline Oliveros, with a musical experience that is beyond a concert. Oliveros is associated with a practice called Deep Listening, and in this event, the audience becomes a part of two pieces of music that are built from the ground up every time they are performed. Zankel Hall will assume its rare “theater in the round” configuration for this evening of cosmic intimacy. Chase also guides two more Oliveros-related events on Sunday: one for very small children at 10:30 a.m., and another for general audiences at 2 p.m.; you’ll find more about all of these events here.
– Ed Yim, WQXR
Bring the kids to discover a new view of a favorite old story
Queens Theatre, a delightful gem of a community space in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, offers an illuminating new bilingual spin on the Cinderella fable. Glass Half-Full Theatre, an Austin, Texas company that specializes mixing human and puppet characters, presents “Centicenta,” the story of 10-year-old Belinda, who loves to invent and tell stories. Written in English and Spanish by Caroline Reck and Rupert Reyes, the play is directed by Reck and features original music by Ammon Taylor. The theater hosts performances at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 22, and the second performance also includes American Sign Language interpretation. Pick up tickets here.
– Steve Smith
Catch Common making his Broadway debut in a Pulitzer-winning play
Seven years after it won the Pulitzer Prize, “Between Riverside and Crazy” by Stephen Adly Guirgis is making its Broadway debut. Also making a Broadway debut is Oscar- and Emmy-winning performer and hip hop artist Common. He joins a cast that’s been with the play from the jump — including its lead, the great Stephen McKinley Henderson, in a role he originated, inhabits and has evolved over time. The New York Times calls the play a “hilarious, loving and unvarnished vision of the universal human hustle intact. The Second Stage production of “Between Riverside and Crazy” is running at the Helen Hayes Theater until February 12; ticket information is available on the theater’s website.
– Alison Stewart and Luke Green, “All of It”