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.”
Visit a tribute to New York City’s historic Black press
An installation on view now on the High Line conjures the power of the Black press. “Freedom’s Stand” is named after the first Black-owned and operated newspaper in New York City, Freedom’s Journal, founded in 1827. We spoke this week with Faheem Majeed, the Chicago-based artist and educator who created the piece. His work has been shown around the world, and he recently received the MacArthur and Field Foundation’s Leaders for a New Chicago Award. He’s the co-director of the Floating Museum, an arts collective that brings art to neighborhoods, and was chosen to direct the 2023 Chicago Architectural Biennial. “Freedom’s Stand” is on the High Line at 30th Street through August.
– Alison Stewart, “All of It”
Behold the power of a fully operational jazz trio
The Vijay Iyer Trio album “Uneasy” was recorded in late 2019, but it was released in the midst of the pandemic, and became one of jazz’s critical hits of 2021. It wasn’t hard to hear why: pianist Iyer, bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey summoned creative music that pushed and pulled worryingly, reflecting the era in which it was born and made. By the time the musicians got to play the music live – at the Village Vanguard, in January 2022 – the tension was almost a superpower. They explored every musical thread with a tautness and fierceness that made their interplay almost funky–and certainly louder and more dynamic than any piano trio out there. As they come a year later to play at Columbia University’s Miller Theater on Saturday, one can only imagine their improvisational force. Find out more here.
– Piotr Orlov
Catch a screening of “The Night of The Hunter” and other cult classics
“The Night of the Hunter” is a ‘50s film noir/horror thriller about a religious fanatic (played by the iconic Robert Mitchum) who preys on a widow and her kids to try to get some stolen money. The movie routinely shows up on lists of the greatest movies of all time, but it was a flop when it was released, and ended up being the only feature film Charles Laughton directed. You can catch it on a big screen tonight and tomorrow at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of their film series “Snubbed: Great Movies, No Nominations,” which highlights beloved and cult classic American films which scored no Oscar nominations. Further offerings include Robert Altman’s shaggy Raymond Chandler homage, “The Long Goodbye,” the Rolling Stones’s Altamont documentary, “Gimme Shelter,” and the Safdie Brothers’s modern Passover classic, “Uncut Gems.” Get all the ticket info here.
– Ben Yakas
Hear an electrifying contemporary approach to indigenous American music
I don’t know the Pow Wow artist Joe Rainey, a musician esteemed for taking indigenous American music in ingenious new directions. But I love the curation of the Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music series, and the fact that Rainey is collaborating with Owls, an ensemble whose members cross genres with the greatest of ease. Two members of Owls, Ayane Kozasa and Alexi Kenney, have been participants in WQXR’s Artist Propulsion Lab. So I’ll be making my way to Merkin Hall tonight! The concert starts at 7:30 p.m., tickets cost $25, and you can order them here.
– Ed Yim, WQXR
Have a laugh with Ophira Eisenberg… in the only show with a “scar competition”
Got mixed feelings about a scar? You’re in good company: Comedian, podcast host and master storyteller Ophira Eisenberg debuts her solo show in Manhattan this week, and it’s all about scars: how she got them, and how she lives with him. “Leaving a Mark: A Comedy about Scars” explores body acceptance and healing. Each night will feature a special guest storyteller, and include the audience in a “scar competition.” It’s on Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. at the SoHo Playhouse, and the last night is Feb. 17. Tickets start at $31.
– Kerry Shaw
See artistic expressions of Black history and culture
The exhibition “Heritage: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future in Black Art” just opened at Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery. Organized by NYC Parks’ Ebony Society and Art and Antiquities, the presentation features works by Parks’ employees, who explore matters of lineage and cultural history in varying mediums. Also on view are a selection of vintage hip-hop flyers and invitations produced by the Ebony Society, founded in May 1985 with the purpose of “uniting Parks & Recreation’s African American community, increasing African American visibility, and recognizing those who make outstanding contributions to Parks & Recreation and their communities.” The exhibition runs until March 9; learn more here.
– Precious Fondren
Celebrate a versatile jazz pianist’s milestone birthday
This weekend at The Jazz Gallery, pianist Ethan Iverson is celebrating his 50th birthday tonight and tomorrow night. Iverson’s best known as a founding member of The Bad Plus, the iconoclastic trio that turned Blondie and Black Sabbath into jazz standards. He stepped away from that band in 20-17. As a solo artist, he’s worked with venerable elders as well as peers and contemporaries. Iverson performs tonight with the premier rhythm section of bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart; tomorrow, he’s leading the quirky combo he devised for “Pepperland,” the Beatles homage he scored for the Mark Morris Dance Company. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. each night, and if you can’t attend in person, you can stream the shows online for a modest charge. Get the details here.
– Steve Smith