New York's nightly cultural offerings are the city's greatest attraction, as well as its most despairing. Every night there's something enticing to hear, see or do, but the guilt quickly settles in after you realize most of them you'll miss. Thankfully, there are reviews.
Last night I went to Phildanco's performance at The Joyce and saw something I did not expect: a dance set to Steve Reich's "Tehillim." Phildanco is one of America's premier contemporary dance companies, with a heavy African-American influence. And "Tehillim" is Reich's iconic Jewish chorale. Not there's a necessary contradiction, hardly. But seeing the company's exceptional dancers shimmy to Reich gave me pause.
In case you missed it, The New York Times had a nice piece yesterday on the discovery of 1,000 books for a long forgotten academic subfield: the "Science of Judaism." Now dormant, the Science of Judaism was an attempt by German scholars to study Judaism as a kind of lost ancient culture--how scholars today might study, for instance, Greco-Roman culture, or Egyptology.
The New Yorker does a fine job, usually, of deciding which feature articles to give out free on its website. Their logic seems obvious enough: if the story is of broad political or social importance, make it free. Keep all the other stuff--about the arts, food, sports, or other "soft" stories--behind the pay wall.
A classical music program that includes works by Haydn may not strike you as radical. After all Haydn--friend of Mozart, teacher of Beethoven--virtually invented the classical symphony as we know it. When newcomers think "classical music," it is probably the sounds of Haydn they hear in their head.