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.”
Celebrate Lunar New Year with the New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic has had a long and fruitful relationship with China and its artists, and this year’s Lunar New Year concert on Tuesday includes a special treat: paradoxically, a piece titled “La Joie de la souffrance” (“The Joy of Suffering”). The piece, written in 2017 by Chinese-French composer Qigang Chen, is lump-in-throat beautiful as it evokes how joy and pain can go hand-in-hand. Chen wrote it as a violin concerto, but conductor Long Yu will lead the U.S. premiere of a version that features soloist Lu Yiwen playing the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese fiddle. The concert includes additional pieces inspired by folk music, Chinese and otherwise, and closes with an arrangement of selections from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.” It’s happening one night only, on Tuesday at David Geffen Hall, and you can learn more here.
– Steve Smith
Try kung fu and calligraphy at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum
The whole family is invited to Lunar New Year festivities at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights. There will be kung fu workshops, calligraphy classes and a Lunar New Year storytelling session. Kids will even have the chance to participate in a traditional lion dance. The event takes place Saturday, Jan. 28, and you can get the full schedule here. Tickets start at $13 for adults, and grandparents pay $12.
– Kerry Shaw
Mingle in fabulous company at WQXR’s new classical music mixer
What happens when you ask a fabulous performance artist like Thorgy Thor to put her spin on an event that makes classical music informal, interactive and a little irreverent? You get the launch of a new series in the Jerome L. Greene Space, the concert and events venue operated by New York Public Radio. WQXR is trying to create a space for the classical-curious and the classical-passionate to come together and experience something unique and fun. The theme of this first event is wellness and it will feature — among others — cellist Zlatomir Fung, who is a newly named Artist Propulsion Lab member (more info on that here). Let’s see what happens! “Queen of the Night with Thorgy Thor” gets started at 8 p.m. tonight, and you can read all the details here.
– Ed Yim, WQXR
Get lost in a psychedelic magenta art space
Everything’s coming up crimson red this year ever since it was announced that Pantone’s Color of the Year 2023 is Viva Magenta. To celebrate, ARTECHOUSE is putting on “MAGENTAVERSE,” an immersive audiovisual exploration of the vibrant color in its space in the boiler room of Chelsea Market. The exhibit, which also features content and inspiration from nature, NASA, and the James Webb Space Telescope footage of outer space, is a cinematic multisensory experience perfect for locals, tourists, Instagram addicts, stoners and anyone else looking to submerge themselves in pulsating reddish hues for 22 minutes or so. Get ticket info here.
– Ben Yakas
See a lavish display of ornate historic Chinese fashion
A capsule exhibition curated by the Museum of Chinese of America, called “How We Dressed in the Beautiful Country,” is on view for the East Side House’s annual winter benefit. The show is an amazing accomplishment, given that three years ago a devastating fire ruined MOCA’s archives. The collection showcases fashion of the mid-20th century, including ornate hand-tailored dresses and elaborate opera gowns, serving as a visual narrative of the evolving lives of Chinese people immigrating to and living in New York City. We spoke this week with curator Herb Tam and MOCA President Nancy Yao about the show, which is on view through Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Park Avenue Armory. You can find details here.
– Alison Stewart and Kat St. Martin, “All of It”
Catch up with three NYC hip-hop heavyweights at the Apollo
Legendary New York rappers Ma$e, Cam’ron and Jadakiss will perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for a special one-night-only concert this Saturday, Jan. 28. The artists hit the stage as part of a jam-packed 2022-23 season titled “The Next Movement,” which aims to illuminate “what’s new, now and next” in music, dance and more. For Cam’ron, it’s a quick return: he just played this room with the rest of Dipset last weekend, when Drake brought the crew out to perform some of their hits during his two-night stand. Learn more and grab tickets here.
– Precious Fondren
Celebrate Black history and culture in music and words
The January installment of the season-long Harlem Stage program “Black Arts Movement: Examined” is a special meeting between two historical figures. Interdisciplinary writer-scholar Thulani Davis has been a cornerstone of great Black music culture for nearly 50 years, whether reading poetry alongside pianist Cecil Taylor, composing librettos for Anthony Davis operas or winning a Grammy for liner notes in an Aretha Franklin box set. Likewise, trumpeter, composer and bandleader Wadada Leo Smith has influenced multitudes during his own artistic journey, from his membership in Chicago’s influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in the early ’70s to a 2013 Pulitzer Prize nomination for “Ten Freedom Summers,” his cycle of civil rights-inspired compositions. Tonight and tomorrow night, they bring their powers together to conjure a unique tale of America.
– Piotr Orlov