Just Do Art! Week of June 14, 2012

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Their beat goes on: Losers Lounge pays tribute to Sonny & Cher.

The Losers Lounge — that ongoing series that takes pop culture cheese and spins it into solid gold entertainment — returns to Joe’s Pub. Their mission: canonize the music of Sonny & Cher into the “New American Songbook.” Joined by an eclectic cast of guest singers, house band The Joe McGinty Seven will recreate, elevate and reimagine songs from the couple’s memorable output. “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On” are almost certain to be on that list — but the Losers will also be resurrecting some selections that highlight Sonny & Cher as solo performers and songwriters in their own right.

Thurs., June 21 at 7pm; Fri., June 22 at 7pm & 9:30pm; and Sat., June 23 at 6:30pm & 9pm. At Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette St., near Astor Place). For tickets ($25, two-drink or $12 food minimum), visit loserslounge.com. Also visit joespub.com. 


Is every summertime arts event below Canal part of River to River? No…it just seems that way. The sprawling annual festival takes place in over 25 indoor and outdoor locations — and every daytime, evening and weekend event (music, dance, theater, visual art, film) is free. In a fitting nod to the epic nature of The River to River Festival, Bang on a Can returns for their seventh year of opening the festival with a marathon 12-hour concert.

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Sun Ra Arkestra at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon.

Currently celebrating their own quarter-century milestone, “Bang” has grown from a one-day marathon Mother’s Day concert (in Soho, circa 1987) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a roster of year-round international activities. The lunch to late night River to River event will be, they assure us, “an incomparable 12-hour super-mix of boundary-busting music from around the corner and around the globe, featuring rare performances by some of the most innovative pioneering musicians of our time side-by-side with some of today’s newest exciting young artists.”

So far, announced selections include the “near impossible works” of the late American-exile Conlon Nancarrow, the “jarring music” of Hague-based composer Akiko Ushijima and a recreation of experimental sound pioneer Alvin Lucier’s 1969 electronica masterpiece (“I am sitting in a room”).

The marathon’s featured performers (sure to be more entertaining live than what you can currently access on YouTube) include the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Pauline Oliveros and the Deep Listening Band, Dither, Grand Band, The Guidonian Hand, Heavy Hands, Newspeak, NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble with Jonathan Haas, Talujon, TwoSense, Ashley Bathgate, Maya Beiser, Vicky Chow, Kris Davis, Vijay Iyer, Kaki King, Michael Lowenstern, Alvin Lucier, Todd Reynolds and…MORE.

Sun., June 17, noon-midnight, at the World Financial Center Winter Garden (220 Vesey St., btw. West St. & North End Ave.). Admission is free. For more info, call 718-852-7755 or visit bangonacan.org. Also visit rivertorivernyc.com.


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Shakespeare in the great outdoors: New York Classical Theatre’s “Twelfth Night” roams Central (then Battery) Park.

Currently being performed in Central Park (through June 24), New York Classical Theatre’s production of “Twelfth Night” takes its show on the road — all the way down to Battery Park — beginning on June 26. Selected performances of this roving play will be preceded by the company’s popular family-friendly workshops. Led by cast members, the workshops use games and exercises to help audiences better understand the play’s comedic but complicated plot.

Shakespeare’s lively journey of mistaken identities, misguided lovers and joyous celebration recasts the play’s setting to New York City, circa 1900. “The turn of the twentieth century was a magical time of excitement and possibility here in New York City, and that perfectly parallels this story of self-reinvention and new beginnings,” said NYCT founder and artistic director Stephen Burdman. “This is my 25th year as a director, and I wanted to present this play, which includes some of Shakespeare’s greatest poetry, as a ‘love letter’ to the city that has provided me such a rewarding artistic home.”

Free Downtown performances run June 26-July 22, 7pm — and family workshops are July 7, 8, 21 & 22 at 5pm. At Battery Park (meet in front of Castle Clinton). For more info, call 212-252-4531 or visit newyorkclassical.org/whats-playing.


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