Looking for something to do in New York? Go see the Downtown Jamaica Jazz Festival, which is free. Or catch a comedy set by Kenan Thompson, the longest-running cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” And this is your last chance to see the Jacques-Louis David blockbuster at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Comedy | Music | Kids | Film | Dance | Theater | Art
Kenan Thompson’s Ultimate Comedy Experience
May 15 at 1 and 7 p.m. at Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway, Manhattan; carolines.com.
Kenan Thompson is not only the star of the NBC comedy “Kenan,” he is also the longest-running cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” celebrating the end of his 19th season this month. But Thompson got his break in sketch comedy as a teenager on Nickelodeon’s “All That.” Since 2010, he has been seeking the next big comedy stars, both young and old, through his own nationwide Ultimate Comedy Experience contest, in partnership with Cherie Chiles-Buchanan of the production company SimplyC360. The competition returned in February after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic and culminates in two finales on Sunday at Carolines on Broadway, hosted by Thompson. The children’s showcase at 1 p.m. will be judged by the casting director Danielle Pretsfelder, while Lori Schulweis, a longtime producer of “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” will evaluate the adult comics at 7. Tickets start at $40 for the children’s show and $50 for the adult show, and are available through eventbrite.com. SEAN L. McCARTHY
May 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Kings Theater, 1027 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn; kingstheatre.com.
As Interpol draws crowds to an opulent theater in Flatbush this weekend, students of rock history will probably associate the group with more modest digs. In the early 2000s, Interpol was readily found at spots like Brownies and Lit Lounge — grimy but vibrant clubs in the East Village that nurtured a downtown rock revival. Two decades have passed since the band’s debut, “Turn On the Bright Lights,” pushed it to the forefront of that scene, and few of its contemporaries have matched its longevity. With Interpol’s seventh album due this summer, its singer Paul Banks has suggested a move away from the disaffected outlook that has long characterized his oblique lyrics. Still, fans can expect the group’s set list this weekend to cover familiar thematic territory: the aging, the fearing, the strife. Tickets start at $40 and are available at ticketmaster.com. OLIVIA HORN
Downtown Jamaica Jazz Festival
May 14 and 15 from noon to 7:30 p.m. at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue, Queens; jcal.org.
The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning is celebrating 50 years as a cultural institution in southeastern Queens, and this weekend it will present an impressive lineup at its annual jazz festival. On Saturday and Sunday, some of the city’s leading jazz musicians will convene on the lawn outside the nearby Jamaica Performing Arts Center. (In case of rain, the music will move indoors.) Curated by Rio Sakairi, the artistic director at the Jazz Gallery, the festival features a cross-section of contemporary saxophone talent: Birsa Chatterjee, Caroline Davis, Jaleel Shaw and Yosvany Terry will all lead bands. The drummer Johnathan Blake, fresh off a week at the Village Vanguard, will play with his quartet on Saturday. The Roy Hargrove Legacy Big Band closes things out that evening. And on Sunday, the prodigiously swinging drummer Jeff Watts, known as Tain, will play the festival’s final set. Admission is free. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO
‘How to Catch a Star’
May 13 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.; May 14 and 15 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; at Irish Arts Center, 726 11th Avenue, Manhattan; irishartscenter.org.
Learn More About the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The little boy at the center of this puppet-theater production always reaches for the sky. And no wonder: His great ambition is to capture a star. His pursuit of this celestial object — and, to some extent, its pursuit of him — takes up a lyrical 45 minutes. Presented by the Irish company Branar Teatar do Phaisti, “How to Catch a Star” uses Suse Reibish’s puppets to adapt Oliver Jeffers’s picture book wordlessly but not silently. Colm Mac Con Iomaire composed the lovely instrumental score, and the puppeteers Neasa Ni Chuanaigh and Grace Kiely, who will discuss their work after the Friday evening performance, provide sound effects like bird calls and the small hero’s sighs and murmurs. Along with the boy, the audience learns that sometimes the best way to grasp your dream is to let it come to you. Tickets start at $15. LAUREL GRAEBER
It Happens to Us: Abortion in American Film
Through May 21 at Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street, Manhattan; metrograph.com.
Much like the recent release of the French drama “Happening,” which deals with abortion, this series was scheduled before the publication on May 2 of a draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. The program is now uncannily topical. The subject of unwanted pregnancy onscreen dates almost to the beginning of narrative features, at least. Lois Weber and Phillips Smalley’s “Where Are My Children?” (on Saturday at the theater and streaming on its website through May 27), from 1916, has a plot that involves birth control and multiple abortions, including a fatal botch. Josef von Sternberg’s elegant and unsparing adaptation of “An American Tragedy” (on Saturday and Tuesday), from 1931, casts Phillips Holmes as Theodore Dreiser’s unscrupulous social striver and Sylvia Sidney as the pregnant workplace subordinate he refuses to marry. The series also highlights recent indies like “Premature” (on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday) and “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday). The makers of both will appear at certain showings. Tickets for each screening are $17 or, with membership, $10. BEN KENIGSBERG
Ongoing at Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, Manhattan; filmforum.org.
You’ve seen Brian De Palma’s “Blow Out”? “Diva” is the other major film of 1981 (released in the United States in 1982) that involves a protagonist with a hot-potato audio recording, or technically two: Jules (Frédéric Andrei), a postman and opera fan, secretly records a star vocalist, Cynthia Hawkins (the real-life soprano Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez), who makes a point of only singing live, at a performance in Paris. Soon after, he unwittingly comes into possession of another tape that could expose an international drug-and-sex-trafficking operation.
But the crazy convolutions of the plot are hardly the point. “Diva,” directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix, who died in January, is perhaps the film most identified with a trend in France that became known as the cinéma du look, movies for which visual style and attitude left the prevailing impressions. In a print showing at Film Forum, the shades of blue are dazzling, and an elaborate chase through the Paris Metro is pretty exciting, too. BEN KENIGSBERG
Through June 18 at the Golden Theater, Manhattan; hangmenbroadway.com. Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes.
In Martin McDonagh’s Olivier Award winner, set in the 1960s, a menacing mod from London (Alfie Allen of “Game of Thrones”) walks into a grim northern English pub run by a former hangman (David Threlfall). Pitch-black comedy ensues. Directed by Matthew Dunster, this production was a prepandemic hit downtown. Read the review.
Through June 26 at the Hudson Theater, Manhattan; plazasuitebroadway.com. Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes.
Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker revel in physical comedy as they play two married couples and a pair of long-ago sweethearts in the first Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s trio of one-act farces, a smash at its premiere in 1968. John Benjamin Hickey directs. (Onstage at the Hudson Theater. Limited run ends July 1.) Read the review.
Through July 10 at Circle in the Square, Manhattan; americanbuffalonyc.com. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.
Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss team up for David Mamet’s verbally explosive tragicomedy, set in a Chicago junk shop where an inept pair of small-time criminals and their hapless young flunky plot the theft of a rare nickel. Neil Pepe directs. Read the review.
‘The Music Man’
At the Winter Garden Theater, Manhattan; musicmanonbroadway.com. Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes.
Hugh Jackman, a.k.a. Wolverine, returns to the stage as the charlatan Harold Hill opposite Sutton Foster as Marian the librarian in Jerry Zaks’s widely anticipated revival of Meredith Willson’s classic musical comedy. It’s a hot ticket, and one of Broadway’s more stratospherically priced shows. (Onstage at the Winter Garden Theater.) Read the review.
Jacques-Louis David: Radical Draftsman
Through May 15 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org.
“Radical Draftsman,” a momentous and deadly serious exhibition, assembles more than 80 works on paper by this prime mover of French Neo-Classicism, from his youthful Roman studies to his uncompromising Jacobin years, into jail and then Napoleon’s cabinet, and through to his final exile in Brussels. It’s a scholarly feat, with loans from two dozen institutions, and never-before-seen discoveries from private collections. It will enthrall specialists who want to map how David built his robust canvases out of preparatory sketches and drapery studies. But for the public, this show has a more direct importance. This show forces us — and right on time — to think hard about the real power of pictures (and picture makers), and the price of political and cultural certainty. What is beautiful, and what is virtuous? And when virtue embraces terror, what is beauty really for? Read the review.
Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running
Through June 5 at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan; 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org.
A Lithuanian refugee who landed in New York City in 1949, Jonas Mekas became a founder of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, Film Culture magazine and Anthology Film Archives. He also made scores of collagelike “diary” films. “The Camera Was Always Running” is Mekas’s first U.S. museum survey, and its curator, Kelly Taxter, approached the daunting task by mounting a high-speed retrospective projected on a dozen free-standing screens.
Most of the films in the exhibition are broken up into simultaneously projected pieces, so that the full program of 11 takes just three hours. Many are diary films — abstract kaleidoscopic records of Mekas, his brother Adolfas, also a filmmaker, and the SoHo bohemians and Lithuanian transplants of their circle. Since the point of all this, even more than documenting the variety of Mekas’s life in particular, is to capture the magical incongruity of life in general, Taxter’s inspired staging may even make the works more effective. Read the review.
Faith Ringgold: American People
Through June 5 at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, Manhattan; 212-219-1222, newmuseum.org.
Ringgold’s first local retrospective in almost 40 years features the Harlem-born artist’s figures, craft techniques and storytelling in inventive combinations. And it makes clear that what consigned Ringgold to an outlier track half a century ago puts her front and center now. The show begins with a group of brooding, broadly stroked figure paintings from the 1960s called “American People Series.” All the pictures are about hierarchies of power; women are barely even present. Ringgold referred to this early, wary work as “super realist.”
In the ’80s, an elaboration on the painted quilt form, called “story quilts,” brought Ringgold attention both inside and outside the art world. It is the vehicle for Ringgold’s most formally complex and buoyant painting project, “The French Connection.” Overall, it feels, in tone, like a far cry from the “American People” pictures, but there’s politics at work in the French paintings, too. Read the review.