Just Do Art: Week of June 1, 2017

Seen here, Lutz Rath conducts the Festival Chamber Orchestra. Washington Square Music Festival concerts happen every Tues. in June. Photo by Sally J. Bair.

THE WASHINGTON SQUARE MUSIC FESTIVAL | A sweet source of June swoon for music lovers of many stripes, The Washington Square Association’s free outdoor Tuesday night concert series offers the distinct possibility of moon and the certitude of croon. June 6’s opening installment tips its hat to Pride month by welcoming America’s first gay and lesbian chorus. Rendered by the venue as technically unable to raise the roof, but powerful nonetheless, The Stonewall Chorale lends its 60+ voices to Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” newly transcribed for chamber orchestra by timpanist and percussionist Charles Kiger. The series’ longtime musical director, Lutz Rath, conducts the Festival Chamber Orchestra — and returns for those duties on June 13, conducting the Festival Chamber Ensemble in a program featuring harp soloist Mélanie Genin. June 20 sees the Ensemble return with selections from Rameau, Boccherini, and Mozart — along with four works by the thunderously dynamic New York Taiko Aiko Kai drum ensemble. The series concludes June 27, with a “Mostly Argentinian” program of tango and jazz featuring master bandoneonist and composer JP Jofre, backed by a nine-piece band.

Tuesdays in June at 8pm, in Washington Square Park (main stage south; Fifth Ave./Waverly Place, btw. W. Fourth & MacDougal Sts.). All concerts are free (seating on a first-come, first served basis). Rainspace for June 6 & 13: Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, at Thompson St.); rainspace for June 20 & 27: NYU Tishman Auditorium (40 Washington Square South). Visit washingtonsquaremusicfestival.org or call 212-252-3621.

Sizzling hot: ARChive of Contemporary Music’s summer sale has 33,000 music-themed items (give or take) up for grabs. Photo courtesy ARChive of Contemporary Music.

ARChive OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC’S SIZZLIN’ SUMMER RECORD + CD SALE | Everything old isn’t new again at the ARChive of Contemporary Music, because the recordings they collect (1950 to the present) never did and never will go out of style — certainly not in the hearts and minds of artists and scholars who flock to this Tribeca-based nonprofit to access their library of over 90 million songs and over three million pieces of rare music-related photos, sheet music, press kits, and memorabilia. Twice a year (right now, then in December), ARC opens its doors to the general public, with a fundraising sale whose fair price “wow” factor is eclipsed only by the breadth of its offerings: 30,000 items representing the best of what was left after they did their Noah’s Ark thing (i.e., keeping two of everything for that ever-expanding permanent collection). There’s no gristle in this “Sizzlin’ Summer” sale,” whose offerings include a selection of Latin recordings pressed in South America, Classical LPs for $1, other LPs, $1-$5, CDs, box sets, 2,000 never-before-offered singles, music-themed VHS and LaserDisc titles, vintage ’60s psychedelic posters, magazines, and rare Fillmore East programs. Spurred to action by a recent donation of books (for sale at the sale, of course), the ARChive crew is a tempting trade agreement: bring in any music-related book not in stock and exchange it for one of “equal or there-abouts face value.” Prep for your act of amiable bartering by visiting arcmusic.org/catalogs/books to see the 9,500 titles already in their book catalog.

Daily: Sat., June 3–Sun., June 18. Weekdays, 11am–7pm; weekends, 11am–6pm. At ARChive of Contemporary Music (54 White St., btw. Broadway & Church St.). Visit arcmusic.org or call 212-226-6967.

Bianca Jagger at Studio 54 in 1977. Discover the backstory of this iconic image in “The Incomparable Rose Hartman,” opening June 2 at the Quad. Photo by Rose Hartman, courtesy the filmmaker.

FILM: “THE INCOMPARABLE ROSE HARTMAN” | “She’s a rose with thorns,” says one keen observer, in this begrudgingly admirable warts and warts look at longtime West Village resident and photographer Rose Hartman — the woman who helped create the global face of NYC nightlife by confidently entering (then elbowing her way through) Gotham’s most fantastic parties, galas, and fashion shows. Labeled by an impressive parade of talking heads as everything from “a very complex character” to somebody who “just doesn’t quit, to the point that you really want to strangle her,” this self-professed “chiffon jungle” safari photographer has an essence far more difficult to capture than that of her subjects. Starting out as a strict observer back in the day when the A-List had names like Capote and Warhol, the film makes a compelling argument that Hartman’s gift for “impulsive portraiture” (as one person describes it) elevated her from paparazzi to “visual historian.” It’s telling, however, that few who sing her praises appear on camera with her — and for good reason. More than once, Hartman berates director Otis Mass, who, like so many before him, finally snaps. “Rose,” says the exasperated director, “shut the f–k up and let’s talk.” The exasperated viewer will feel the same way, and long before the film’s 70-minute running time has come to an end — thus granting Hartman’s desire: “I don’t want to be humanized. I like to come across as provocative.”

Opens Fri., June 2 at Quad Cinema (34 W. 13th St., btw. Sixth & Fifth Aves.). Visit quadcinema.com.

Bicycle Habitat’s Hal, from filmmaker Fredgy Noël’s “Seven Days in New York.” Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

FILM: “SEVEN DAYS IN NEW YORK” | Independent filmmaker, 12-year Gothamite, and tart nostalgist Fredgy Noël populates her satisfyingly candid documentary with one longtime New Yorker for each day of the week — outsized personalities all, but none of them reduced to the sort of “boy, they sure are real a character”-type depictions that have soured so many other lazy and/or uninformed attempts to get under the Big Apple’s skin. A smart decision by director, cinematographer and editor Noël to sit back and observe rather than engage her subjects in conversation or bring third party talking heads into the mix pays off every time, revealing hidden dimensions and yielding quiet moments that speak volumes (such likable tour guide Sherwood, who, unable to stomach looking at New Jersey because that’s where his ex-wife lives, plays it for laughs then gets caught by the camera having uttered a very telling slip of the lip).

With seven character sketches unfolding in just under 50 minutes, “Seven Days in New York” knows how to dig in and drill down, then move on before we’ve had our fill. Harlem hair queen Monae, Billymark’s West bartender/co-owner Billy, and Bicycle Habitat’s Hal are among the witty, stubborn, natural born charismatics who made it here, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Their incurable love of the city is contagious.

This film screened Wed., May 31 as part of the NewFilmmakers New York Film Festival at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave., at Second St.). For info on future screenings and more artist info, visit fredgynoel.com. “Seven Days” will be available on vimeo.com in December.

By Scott Stiffler

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