After an unusually chilly spring, it’s finally starting to feel like summer. Enjoy some seasonal events this month that celebrate the best of both fine art and pop art.
This month’s highlights include:
June 4-5, 6:30 p.m.
New York Japan CineFest 2015: Program 1 & Program 2
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
$12, $10 students/seniors, $8 members
Co presented by Asia Society and Mar Creation, Inc., New York Japan CineFest highlights some of the most exciting new voices in cinema, presenting two nights of short films by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers. The first night features all-new works made within the last year, while the second night’s program spotlights female directors and is followed by a Q&A with Ema Ryan Yamazaki (Monk by Blood) and Hazuki Aikawa (Reflection). The first night’s program is followed by a reception.
June 4-7, 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Hiromi Trio Project featuring Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips
Blue Note Jazz Club, 131 West Third Street
Part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival! A native of Hamamatsu, Japan, Grammy-winning pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara is one of the world’s top young international performers in jazz. As part of the Trio Project with bassist Anthony Jackson (Paul Simon, the O’Jays, Steely Dan, Chick Corea) and drummer Simon Phillips (the Who, Judas Priest, David Gilmour, Jack Bruce), her passionate and incendiary keyboard work has been a shining light on the jazz landscape since her 2003 debut. She takes up a four-night residency at the Blue Note in support of her latest album with the Trio Project, Alive, which was released in 2014.
June 5-6. 7:30 p.m.
Kota Yamazaki/Fluid hug-hug OQ
Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street
$25, $20 Japan Society members
Global traditions flow together in this latest work by Bessie Award-winning choreographer Kota Yamazaki. Inspired by Japanese ritual poetry readings held at the Imperial Palace, Yamazaki’s OQ (ōkyu is the phonetic reading of the Japanese word for “palace”) features dancers from diverse cultural and dance backgrounds including Western contemporary, butoh and hip-hop. Within a space designed by award-winning New York architect collective SO-IL that complements the dancers’ fluid motions, Yamazaki’s palace, with its own rituals and customs, comes to life before your eyes. The Friday, June 5 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception.
Saturday, June 6, 7:30 p.m.
Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions
The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza
Brought to life by the Orchestra at St. Luke’s performing all new arrangements and carefully timed visuals from recent and classic Pokémon video games, Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions has become the must-see video game concert of the year, giving fans and newcomers of all ages a chance to experience the evolution of the Pokémon franchise like never before. Includes music from 16 Pokémon titles; $1 of each ticket goes to supporting arts education programs.
Saturday, June 6, 8:00 p.m.
Kamijo World Tour 2015
Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street
$40 GA, $120 VIP meet & greet
Both a singer-songwriter and producer, Kamijo is best known as lead singer of the visual kei bands Lareine and Versailles. He has also been the head of two independent record labels, Applause Records and Sherow Artist Society. His music covers many genres, Lareine having mainly a pop rock style, and Versailles a clear symphonic metal and power metal sound. In 2013, Kamijo began a solo career for the first time, with his debut single “Louis ~Enketsu no La Vie en Rose~.” Celebrating twenty years of musical projects, this is a rare opportunity to see one of Japan’s most globally popular visual kei artists up close, in a place where fantasy becomes a beautiful reality.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue Street
Imagine a ballet where NAO robots and humans dance to Maywa Denki’s mechanical musical orchestra, whose instruments double as witty art installations. Brimming with good-natured humor and emotional insight, this startling international hit by Blanca Li—who has collaborated with the Paris Opera Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera and choreographed films for Pedro Almodovar, videos by Beyoncé and Daft Punk, and Jean-Paul Gaultier’s runway shows—is an upside-down trip through a magical, topsy-turvy world in which everything becomes its other. Human dancers become robots and robots dance like humans in a fantastical trip into the future.
Garden State Exhibit Center, 50 Atrium Drive, Somerset, NJ
The largest independently organized anime convention in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. AnimeNEXT features Japanese creators of anime and manga, voice actors, musical acts, artists, vendors and exhibits, events, panels, workshops, gaming, and cosplay. This year’s headlining musical guest is FLOW, a five piece rock band whose song “GO!!!” became the opening theme for Naruto in 2004. This year, the band released their second anime-related compilation album FLOW ANIME BEST 極-KIWAMI-, which they followed up with an ambitious three-month world tour beginning in May. Don’t miss their only U.S. appearance!
Wednesday, June 17, 7:30 p.m.
The Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd Street
$20 advance, $25 day of show
Born in Gifu, award-winning artist Shunzo Ohno is a famed trumpet stylist whose playing and original compositions have touched millions of people. A versatile musician who has played, recorded and toured with such renowned leaders as Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Art Blakey, and many others, his fascinating life, with his triumph over illness and adversity is the subject of a biography, Trumpet of Hope, and a documentary, Trumpet of Glory.
Saturday, June 27, 10:00 a.m., main event 3:00 p.m.
2015 All American Open International Karate Championships
Hunter College Sportsplex, 695 Park Avenue
NO pads! NO gloves! Just pure, unadulterated, full-contact knockdown Kyokushin karate fighting at its finest—live! Nearly 100 competitors are scheduled to compete in kata (classic Japanese karate forms) and kumite (knockdown karate fighting) in Juniors, Seniors, Women’s & Men’s Divisions. In addition, inspiring children’s karate demonstrations & dramatic board-breaking exhibitions will round out the Main Event festivities. Who will rule in NYC today?
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