Made in America
As Thanksgiving—America’s very own holiday—looms, let’s stuff ourselves with knowledge about our national heritage. Here’s a feast of upcoming talks, shows and celebrations all dealing with U.S. icons and institutions, social issues and celebrities.
- A number of noted musicians (Wynton Marsalis, Steve Reich, David Shire) have created works which riff on the compositions of Stephen Sondheim, the Grand Old Man of that uniquely American art form, the stage musical. Hear them in this piano concert. Symphony Space, Thursday, Nov 19.
- Bob Hope pioneered and perfected the stand-up routine, that staple of American comedy—so argues Richard Zoglin, author of Entertainer of the Century. He’s discussing his biography of Hope and the comedian’s once-towering position in pop culture, and signing copies afterwards. 92nd Street Y, Monday, Nov. 30.
- What Hope did to revolutionize comedy, Frank Sinatra did for song, one could say (and over just about as many decades, too). Via his new tome, Sinatra’s Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World, poet and cultural critic David Lehman gives a full-throated appreciation of man once known simply as The Voice. The Cooper Union – The Great Hall, Thursday, Dec. 3.
- Performing arts folk ranging from playwright Tony Kushner to soprano Karyn Levittgather to say “Happy Birthday, Eric Bentley”—the legendary man of theatrical letters, whose accomplishments include translating and introducing the works of Brecht to American audiences. Michael Riedel of The New York Post hosts this tribute concert. The Town Hall, Monday, Dec. 7.
- The Salem Witch Trials have gone down as one of the most infamous events in American history. Penetrate the puzzling panic that gripped Massachusetts in 1692, in this lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff. New-York Historical Society, Monday, Nov. 23.
- Once, when a person went off to war, he or she would be unheard from for months or years. Now, a U.S. soldier can talk, text or click a computer key to make instant contact with the home front. A communication-studies professor reflects on the significance of “Social Media in the American War Zone.” 92nd Street Y, Friday, Dec. 11.
- The Bill of Rights seems so fundamental to our government that it’s hard to believe controversy raged over the creation of it, 200 years ago. Leading the campaign in favor was James Madison, and his fight is detailed in this lecture by an authority on the founding fathers, Richard Brookhiser. New-York Historical Society, Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Arts & Culture
- A musicologist and a jazz musician swing and sway to the music of the Great American Songbook, concentrating on three memorable tunes by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin. 92nd Street Y, Friday, Nov. 20.
- Complete that holiday shopping list with handmade pottery, jewelry, furnishings and clothing, all made in the U.S.A., by artisans around the country, at the American Fine Craft Show at the Brooklyn Museum. Your admission allows you to explore the museum exhibits too. Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 21 & 22.
- Celebrate that symbol of Art Deco (constructed for an all-American auto company), the Chrysler Building, on its 85th birthday in this illustrated lecture, featuring hitherto-unseen vintage photos, followed by a festive reception. The Cooper Union – Rose Auditorium, Thursday, Dec. 17.
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