December 09, 2018

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The Week in Culture: Native Art at the Met; the Fringe Festival in a Ferry

The Week in Culture: Native Art at the Met; the Fringe Festival in a Ferry
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Through Oct. 6, 2019; metmuseum.org.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American wing has never before hosted a show of Native work. But this new exhibit, featuring 116 masterworks from 50 cultures across North America, is an unforgettable way to begin catching up.

An extraordinary early-20th century Yup’ik dance mask — painted wood and vegetable fiber depicting a white-nailed hand clutching a salmon, a spotted bird and half a human face — wears its mind-bending imagery casually: After ceremonial use, the Yup’ik typically threw their masks away. A Tsimshian headdress frontlet from 19th-century British Columbia, on the other hand, in which squares of iridescent green abalone shell alternate with grimacing faces, was clearly intended for the ages. WILL HEINRICH

Oct. 3-31; fringenyc.org.

Bringing your own venue didn’t used to be an option at the New York International Fringe Festival, which until this year rented all of the theaters where its shows took place. But in the newly reconfigured version of this scrappy downtown stalwart, it has both pared back the overall number of productions and expanded from Manhattan, adding a slate of shows in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island dubbed FringeBYOV, starting on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Locations in those boroughs include a shipping container (for a version of “Macbeth” called “Makbet”), subways and ferries (several downloadable pod plays from This Is Not a Theater Company) and perhaps your very own kitchen, should you want a performer named Brian Feldman to deliver a monologue of your choosing while he does your dishes (“Dishwasher”). Also in the mix are more conventional spaces like the Irondale Center (“Salome,” from the company M-34) and the Brick (“Donald Trump Dies in the End,” a comedy).

The bulk of the festival, though, is still in Manhattan, and you’ll have to wait a little longer for those shows. That segment runs Oct. 12-28. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

Oct. 3-6; brooklynemf.com.

While New York is a destination for night life connoisseurs, there’s no question that the center of forward-looking electronic music still resides across the pond. Small pockets of influential D. J.s and producers reside in cities like Detroit, Chicago, D.C. and Los Angeles, but the infrastructure for them to distribute and perform their work pales in comparison to what’s available in Europe. Artists there attain a level of success virtually unheard-of Stateside.

That’s why when perusing the lineup for the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, artists from the borough itself are mostly supporting acts. The headliners provide a remarkable survey of European electronic music: the French house artist Breakbot; DJ Hell, a German turntablist who’s a curator of the soon-to-be-opened Museum of Modern Electronic Music in Frankfurt; Massimiliano Pagliara, who spins a blend of house and disco; and the Russian dentist turned international house sensation Nina Kraviz. England is represented by Mount Kimbie and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs; Sweden by DJ Seinfeld.

The biggest name in ballroom (not fox trots, but the local house subgenre), MikeQ, may be the sole large-type artist from the tristate area. But his dynamic House of Yes party, which has been folded into this edition of the festival, is sure to be one of its highlights. NATALIE WEINER

Sept. 28.

Think of the milestones that could have been achieved — the cure for cancer or solving the energy crisis or even world peace — if only men could keep it in their pants. And that’s just the starting point for Nina (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a New York stand-up comedian who caps her raunch-riddled, take-no-prisoners routines with stress vomiting, anonymous sex and getting knocked around by the married cop (Chace Crawford) she’s seeing.

But after he bangs up her face one too many times in Eve Vives’s “All About Nina,” opening Friday, Sept. 28, Nina sets off for Los Angeles, where a tryout for a “Saturday Night Live”-esque comedy show awaits. During a club set, she brashly announces that she doesn’t date — she has sex. Then Rafe (Common) walks up and asks: “What would you like? What do you want?” He’s not merely inquiring about her drink order.

Ms. Winstead — killing it — burrows into pain and rage like a run-amok tap root while proving that women can be funny too. Common — sizzling and sensitive — reveals himself a leading man. And if their romance initially borders on the fairy-tale, just wait until you get to the punch line. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Oct. 1; hbo.com.

In May, Meghan Markle married Britain’s Prince Harry with the signature flowers from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth embroidered on her 16-foot veil. The couple, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — with Harry recently appointed Commonwealth youth ambassador — will soon embark on a tour of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific island nations of Fiji and Tonga 65 years after Queen Elizabeth II’s post-coronation Commonwealth tour.

With places to go and people to see, there’s protocol galore — and who better to impart centuries of monarchical wisdom than Her Majesty? “Queen of the World,” an ITV documentary debuting Monday, Oct. 1, on HBO, follows the queen, now 92, across a year as she prepares the younger generation of the royal family for the global stage. Charles, the Prince of Wales; William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Princess Anne; Sophie, the Countess of Wessex; and Princess Beatrice of York make appearances. As does Meghan, who reminisces about her wedding day as she is reunited with her Givenchy gown as it’s prepared for exhibition. Yes, it’s emotional. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Oct. 1-7; armoryonpark.org.

Sometimes it takes a few years, even decades, to transform the spark of an idea into something fully realized. In 1980, the Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker studied at New York University, where she burrowed into building “Violin Phase,” her now classic solo to the music of Steve Reich.

At the same time she was listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and she didn’t forget them. More than 30 years later, she has unveiled “The Six Brandenburg Concertos,” for 16 members of her Brussels-based company, Rosas.

Accompanied live by the baroque ensemble B’Rock, the work makes its North American premiere on a grand scale, in the 55,000-square-foot drill hall of the Park Avenue Armory. At once sensuous and severe, Ms. De Keersmaeker’s dances can be bracing in their abandon or willfully introspective. And even when wildly complex, they seem born from the simple process of hearing music and falling in love. SIOBHAN BURKE

Oct. 1-4; acfny.org.

As the fall season revs up in the world of Big Classical — Carnegie Hall hosts its opening gala, featuring the San Francisco Symphony, on Oct. 3 — smaller-scale wonders unfold at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York’s festival Moving Sounds, a powerful collision between canonic and new.

The four-night event, held at several Manhattan venues this week, focuses on the legacy of Gustav Mahler and transmutes the composer’s gargantuan vision into more intimate settings, including a new chamber arrangement of movements from the unfinished Symphony No. 10 played by the Argento New Music Project.

New Mahler-inspired works by a range of contemporary composers will be performed, including a solo piano improvisational response to the Symphony No. 1 by Elisabeth Harnik. Notably, the festival also grapples with the legacy of his wife, Alma Mahler, who is more often treated as muse than as creative figure in her own right: Monday’s concert will feature several of her early songs, as well as a homage to her music by Patricia Alessandrini. WILLIAM ROBIN



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