In 2005, in rural Utah, Zaq Landsberg formed a new nation called Zaqistan, on the understanding that our ideals about governance were worth reassessing. In Harlem’s Morningside Park, his year-long installation, Reclining Liberty – a 25 foot long Buddha-like version of the Statue of Liberty – is another review, this time of a quintessentially American symbol.
A more subtle memory of the Statue of Liberty is a tree that Ibrahim Mahama planted on his industrial tank sculpture that will be on view on the High Line on 16th Street through March. Inspired by a chimney he saw in a train workshop in his native Ghana, Mahama’s “57 Forms of Freedom” refers to his country’s struggle to emancipate British colonial rule.
The oldest black republic, Haiti, is at the heart of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s poster project: “A Return: Liberation as Power”. It will be on display on the BAM sign on the corner of Lafayette and Flatbush Avenues through Monday in connection with the DanceAfrica festival, and features images by six Haitian artists showing what freedom looks like to them.
Let Federico Fellini turn his own fears of creative paralysis into a creative tour de force. According to more or less general approval, “8½” (1963) is his masterpiece or at least the phantasmagoric summary of all Felliniesque things. It pops up frequently on lists of the greatest films ever made, especially among directors who no doubt refer (or want to refer) to Fellini’s deputy Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) – a filmmaker encircled by women and artistic staff, and by his own his own doubts are stifled as he prepares for a postponed shoot.
Last year marked Fellini’s 100th birthday, meaning theater closings denied New York audiences a parade of revivals similar to the one that accompanied Ingmar Bergman’s 100th on Friday. Please consult the Policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before viewing films in theaters.
Swing in the park
For the past few weeks, the nonprofit Giant Step Arts has been hosting free concerts in Central Park in hopes of bringing the city’s highly competitive jazz scene back to life. A vital organic energy surrounds these shows; Audiences tend to be a mix of fans who come on purpose and park goers who bump into the music and feel intrigued.
This Saturday show, which begins at 1 p.m., will include a headlining performance by Abraham Burton – a New York tenor saxophonist with decades of bandleader experience – and his trio with bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Eric McPherson. The next day, at the same time, Antoine Roney, another post-bop tenor player cut from a similar fabric, will make headlines.
Although they may be recorded for later release (part of Giant Step’s organizational mission), these shows will not be streamed. To see them live, go to the Seneca Village Site, just off the entrance on 85th Street and Central Park West, and follow your ears.
Back to the clubs
Carolines on Broadway, the last of the city’s biggest comedy clubs to reopen, is the first to offer a full weekend of headlining. Donnell Rawlings plays sets Thursday through Sunday (tickets start at $ 38.25). Rawlings was a regular on Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show,” and last year he returned to Dave Chappelle’s side as opening act and hype man on shows and podcasts. Rawlings also voiced Dez, the hairdresser, in the Oscar-winning animated film “Soul” and was a guest star on the Netflix series “The Cabin With Bert Kreischer”.
This weekend you can find stand-up showcases in all of Manhattan’s other major comedy venues (Comedy Cellar, Comic Strip Live, Gotham Comedy Club, New York Comedy Club, Stand, Stand-Up NY). Inquire with each club for lineups and Covid-19 guidelines.
SEAN L. McCARTHY
Not just for sleepyheads
A pillow fortress may be a dream destination for kids, but it’s also an inspiring starting point for treehouse shakers.
This dance theater troupe shows how far you can go with fabric, pillows and a lot of imagination. “Pillow Fort” was written and directed by Mara McEwin, the company’s co-founder, and designed and filmed by John Noel. It combines live action, animation, puppetry, music and movement into a nine-part web series for ages 3 to 7.
Any six- to eight-minute adventure that can be streamed on Vimeo for $ 1.99 goes beyond its convenient surroundings. The first three visit places like an enchanted forest, a lighthouse, and space. Two newly released episodes – “Hibernation” and “The Train Ride” – introduce characters that include a ballet bear and a brisk conductor.
With music by Anthony Rizzo and choreography by Emily Bunning – the audience can dance along – Pillow Fort includes downloadable instructions for related projects like making asteroid pancakes or building a cardboard locomotive.