Dance: A Seaside Romp on Rockaway Beach
Aug. 25-26, beachsessionsdanceseries.com
The phenomenon known as AUNTS — an adaptable, ever-shifting network of dance artists — heads to Rockaway Beach for its latest adventure, a seaside romp taking place over two days at three locations.
Presented by Beach Sessions Dance Series, the free event begins at 5 p.m. on Aug. 25 with “Hustle on the Sand,” in which the dancer and choreographer Biba Bell, who lives in Detroit, experiments with that city’s signature line dance. From 5:30 to 6 p.m., a boardwalk procession sweeps the party along to The Castle, a 5,000-square-foot house with spiral staircases, expansive terraces and ocean views. For the next few hours, over a dozen artists make this their home, responding to the unusual architecture with performances that overlap and converse in unexpected ways.
The next day it all repeats (starting at 2 p.m.) but in reverse order. In typical AUNTS fashion, the structure is loose, and visitors can come and go as they please. SIOBHAN BURKE
Theater: Brittain Ashford and Grace McLean at 54 Below
Aug. 23; 54below.com
Dave Malloy’s “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” was a voluptuous extravagance when it hit Broadway in 2016 — a wild, woolly, sprawlingly designed adaptation of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” that overwhelmed the senses with its muchness. Except, that is, for the hauntingly vulnerable song “Sonya Alone.” Delicate and defiant, it was an astonishing solo by one of Mr. Malloy’s favorite collaborators, Brittain Ashford, whose voice has the kind of husky ethereality that can stop you in your tracks. That season, making his Tony Award predictions, Ben Brantley said that Ms. Ashford should have been nominated.
On Thursday night, Aug. 23, at Feinstein’s/54 Below, Ms. Ashford will team up for a cabaret show with a fellow “Great Comet” alum, Grace McLean, who also has been highly lauded in The Times. When Ms. McLean and her band performed as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, Stephen Holden called her “phenomenal.” In this week’s show, expect extraordinary musicianship and unpretentious vitality in an intimate setting that always feels, somehow, like you’ve just stepped into a film. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES
Pop: Afropunk Continues Its Inclusive Tradition
Aug. 25-26; afropunkfest.com
When Afropunk first went from documentary to festival in 2005, its inclusive mission seemed radical. Sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, fatphobia, transphobia and hatefulness are all banned for both attendees and performers, made explicit by giant banners posted around the festival grounds.
Now, though, as those conversations about discrimination have become even more mainstream, the festival’s first organizer, James Spooner, looks prescient. Afropunk now takes place annually in Atlanta, Paris, London, and Johannesburg, as well as Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park, where it began. Both its lineups, which include an assortment of R&B, hip-hop, and rock’s more eclectic (but still trendy) artists, and its attendees’ endlessly hip attire (Instagram virality or bust) are increasingly reflected in mainstream pop culture.
This year’s Brooklyn festival, already sold out in part thanks to an initiative that set aside a free ticket for a New York-area youth with each ticket purchased, features a number of Afropunk veterans. The indomitable Erykah Badu and fellow R&B envelope-pushers Janelle Monae and Miguel are among the headliners. Other artists include Daniel Caesar, Jaden and Willow Smith, Odd Future alumni Tyler the Creator and The Internet, whose latest album “Hive Mind” has already been received as one of 2018’s best — and an as-yet-unannounced special guest. NATALIE WEINER
Art: ‘Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age’ at the Getty
Through Oct. 28; getty.edu.
Drawings from the century in which the Netherlands gained independence from Spain and gave the world Rembrandt and New York City offer a fascinating mix of artistic and historical interest. The subjects of “A Lady and a Child Making Lace” (1629) are depicted by Gerard ter Borch almost entirely in shadow, while “Winter Landscape with Tower,” by Esaias van de Velde, captures the stark opacity of a northern European winter with a light application of brown and gray wash. But “Masterful Likeness: Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age” also includes the outdoor games, the indoor carousing, the posing and preening for the artist’s gaze. All of it looks strangely familiar — except for the billowy pants. WILL HEINRICH
Film: Regina Hall Champions Solidarity in ‘Support the Girls’
Last summer Regina Hall charmed us in “Girls Trip” as a megawatt self-help guru persuading women that they can have it all while desperately plastering over the cracks in her marriage, and her brand, with the help of her bestie posse.
This summer Ms. Hall is back (three cheers!), as a woman fast realizing that she can scarcely have anything — not a job, not a relationship, not some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. — without sisterhood solidarity.
“Support the Girls,” opening Friday, Aug. 24, follows Ms. Hall’s Lisa, the manager of the Hooters-esque Double Whammies, across a very bad day where she’s the only woman not displaying her assets in short-shorts and a crop top, yet still manages to attract the unwanted male gaze. Whammies bills itself as a family place, and Lisa is a fierce den mother, protecting her staff with a zero-tolerance policy when customers misbehave. But after running afoul of her boss (James Le Gros) when she uses a carwash to raise money for a waitress who’s been beaten by her no-good beau, Lisa reaches the end of her tether. And she unleashes her roar, just like a good many women are doing in this year of Time’s Up rage. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Classical Music: Exploring Diversity in Opera at Glimmerglass
Aug. 23; glimmerglass.org
The final week of the Glimmerglass opera festival in Cooperstown, N.Y., focuses on modern repertory and canonic staples: Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” Kevin Puts’s “Silent Night,” Janacek’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” and Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” According to Joel Rozen’s review in The New York Times, Bernstein’s midcentury modern musical and Puts’s more recent commemoration of the World War I Christmas Truce are festival highlights, sharing an engagement with “memorializing cross-cultural encounters in history through the diverse idioms of music, while indicting the violence that often springs from such encounters.”
Equally intriguing, though, is a Glimmerglass panel event: “Breaking Glass” on Aug. 23, part of the festival’s new touring forum and podcast series that explores diversity and inclusion in the world of opera. Featuring Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson, the creators of a Glimmerglass commission debuting in 2019, as well as the artist Paige Hernandez and the composer Victor Simonson, the panel will also include the musicologist Naomi André, whose new book “Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement” is a necessary exploration of how race has shaped the opera landscape in the United States and South Africa. WILLIAM ROBIN
TV: Take a Trip Down ‘Mystery Road’ in Australia’s Outback
Aug. 20; acorn.tv
In his Outback western “Mystery Road,” the Australian director Ivan Sen sent his alter ego, Jay Swan, an Aboriginal police detective of painfully few words played by Aaron Pedersen, into East Kimberley — a sun-scorched, gloriously rugged expanse in the country’s desolate northwest, where the distrust between white and Indigenous residents runs deep. And Swan, seen as a sellout to his people, is considered no better than a dog.
Now, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has given Swan a spinoff, directed by the Indigenous filmmaker Rachel Perkins and counting Mr. Sen as an executive producer. “Mystery Road,” debuting Monday, Aug. 20, on the streaming service Acorn TV, pairs Mr. Pedersen with Judy Davis (a far cry from her American roles as a Woody Allen sophisticate). As the local cop Emma James, Ms. Davis digs into the disappearance of two young hired hands — one, an Indigenous football player on the cusp of stardom; the other, a backpacker with a questionable identity — from her brother’s vast cattle station near the fictional hellhole of Patterson, where sexual predation, drug running and the quest for water weave as brilliantly tangled a tapestry as the stars in the kaleidoscopic night sky. New subscribers can use the code NYTACORNTV to get their first 60 days free. KATHRYN SHATTUCK