Rhythm and Relaxation
by Elizabeth Kennedy, 07/28/2009
BAM Rhythm & Blues Festival at MetroTech
Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been thrilling audiences for 40 years, and this week it's your turn. The Grammy Award–winning South African choral group is a hit with music lovers of all ages, and their rhythmic a capella sounds are sure to get your body moving. They've sold more than 7 million albums worldwide and collaborated with legends like Paul Simon (on his album Graceland), Dolly Parton, Stevie Wonder and more. Thursday is their debut performance at the BAM Rhythm & Blues Festival at MetroTech, so get to Brooklyn for the free outdoor concert.
MoMA Thursday Nights
A martini at the museum? Sounds like a pretty cool happy hour to us. The Museum of Modern Art keeps its doors open late for MoMA Thursday Nights. For the price of regular admission, you can view pieces from the museum's permanent collection and new exhibitions, then head to the outdoor Sculpture Garden for live music—this week, it's Brazilian—and refreshments. A cash bar is set up for cocktails, beer and wine (and nonalcoholic drinks as well), and desserts like sorbetto and gelato will be provided by Il Laboratorio del Gelato. Music begins at 5:30pm, so clock out and start your weekend early here.
Classes at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
If you think you've got the beat (or even if you're rhythmically challenged), head to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and brush up on your technique. Friday's classes include everything from ballet to "Zumba Latin Fitness" to capoeira to hip-hop, and you're invited to experience them. Grab some comfortable clothes (no leotards required) and get ready to shake it with your fellow dancers; everyone from beginner to advanced is welcome to join. The instructors here really know their stuff—plus how cool would it be to say, "I got down at the Ailey Extension"? Visit alvinailey.org to register, and prepare to get into the groove. Classes start at $16.50 if purchased online and $17 if you register in person.
The American Museum of Natural History has teamed up with MTV2 to bring you SonicVision, a whole new breed of music video being showcased at the institution's impressive Hayden Planetarium. This Friday or Saturday, check out a psychedelic music show in the same forum in which you'd normally learn about celestial bodies and the Milky Way, featuring tracks from the Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Coldplay, Stereolab and more. Alt-rock fans won't want to miss it, nor will lovers of state-of-the-art technology. Tickets are $15 (or $12 for museum members); shows begin at 7:30pm and 8:30pm both nights.
Harlem Meer Performance Festival
If you're in the mood to learn some new steps and hear some great music, spend Sunday at the Harlem Meer Performance Festival in Central Park. Dancer, choreographer and actress Loretta Abbott will instruct a swing-dancing lesson at 1pm, which is followed by a performance from the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band (come with fingers ready for snapping for this one). You can even picnic at this free event, so grab a blanket and head down to the waterfront at the Chares A. Dana Discovery Center for fresh air and cool tunes.