In 2004, the Langston Hughes African American Film festival began as a simple weekend series. Nearly a decade later, the festival has expanded to feature more than 40 films over the course of nine days. When guests aren’t viewing feature-length movies or documentary shorts, they can attend workshops and interactive events, all focused on celebrating black filmmakers both up-and-coming and established.
During the three-day Heineken City Arts Festival, more than 170 imaginative minds will storm the city as bands, actors, artists, and poets grace 20 eclectic venues. The weekend's artistic wizardry begins Thursday at The Paramount, where visual and performance artists regale guests with private art experiences before the stage lights up with the energetic pop of Robyn, whose album Body Talk Pt. 1 was given an 8.5 rating by Pitchfork media. Friday brings the Grammy-nominated lyricism of alt-country rocker Ryan Adams, backed by Rebecca Gates of The Spinanes, and Saturday's Latino-funk-hip-hop amalgam of Ozomatli merges musical elements from around the globe like a UN mosh pit. Once aural cavities have had their fill of rhythm, they can drink in the spontaneous stylings of their favorite musical artists at the Celebrity Karaoke Party or give their own pipes a workout during Grease, Purple Rain, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch movie sing-alongs. A range of poets, performance artists, and local artisans will also unfurl a range of innovation. The Genre Bender showcase puts disparate artistic dimensions on a creative collision course as artists from a range of disciplines merge their expertise to create innovative new projects, such as food poetry, dance films, and finger paintings that sing "MacArthur Park" in falsetto.
The experienced dance instructors at Century Ballroom teach novice and veteran hoofers alike on its 2,000-square-foot dance floor, schooling on the basics of a variety of toe-tapping numbers. Aspiring rug-cutters select a dance style for the five-week course ($60), with options including the East Coast swing, energetic Lindy hop, and sultry tango. In 60-minute classes, learn the basic foot patterns and seductive steps of salsa—a blend of Afro-Cuban and Latin moves set on the crunchy surface of a tortilla chip—or glide across the floor in a sophisticated waltz set to the music of Strauss. Century Ballroom shares a building with The Tin Table restaurant, allowing dancers to replenish calories expended during energetic sashays and face-melting jazz hands.
Highline transforms hearty, messy, classic bar eats into equally tasty vegan versions and pairs them with a bevy of brews and specialty cocktails made from house-made, flavor-infused spirits. The meat-free menu replaces game with vegetable-based equivalents made in the Highline kitchen, ensuring that not a single animal or animal cracker is harmed in the making of each meal. Munch on stacked comestibles including the reubender ($8), stocked with thin-sliced house-made vegan pastrami, sauerkraut, vegan provolone and russian dressing on rye, or the tempesto ($10), a flavor-storm of smoky bacon-style tempeh, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a tidal wave of house-made pesto on grilled rye bread. More than 20 varieties of beer ($3+) lie in wait behind the bar, while signature cocktails enliven tongues with spirits infused with flavors such as lavender, vanilla, orange, strawberry, amateur journalism, and basil. The High On Fire margarita ($8) lights up tequila with a habanero infusion, and the Orange Goblin ($8) haunts glasses with vanilla-orange-infused bourbon, Luxardo cherry liqueur, and Navan liqueur.
Faire Gallery hosts a calendar full of events while serving up a small menu of light café fare irrigated with coffees and cocktails. Fill your mouth hangar with starters such as the hummus, pita, and tomato plate ($6) and parmesan black-pepper popcorn ($6), or verdant edibles like The Yummy Salad, a symphony of spring greens accompanied by tomatoes, avocados, parmesan cheese, and chicken ($7). Sandwiches ($7) include the grilled brie with tomatoes and whisper of Dijon mustard on French bread and the Jessixawich, a pile of turkey, avocado, and provolone on a buttery croissant, the bread of hemophilic European royalty. Brunch offerings include The Pesto, a mix of egg, provolone, pesto, and tomato on an English muffin, which can be combined with coffee or a mimosa for maximum mouth clapping ($3.30/$5/$7). Mollify chattering sweet teeth with Nutella on a croissant ($3), or try the Nutella mocha. Lattes, hot chocolate, and espressos are also available in addition to beer, wine, and cocktails.
The group formerly known as Musicians Emeritus Symphony Orchestra haven't changed their mission—they've just dropped a few syllables. Under their new moniker, they continue to tunefully bow, blare and percuss their way through polished programs that celebrate the joy of performing. Music Director Anna Edwards leads the musicians—who range in age from teenagers to nonagenarians—as they sonically tear into timeless pieces and new compositions alike.