As spring continues and the weather continues to warm, New Yorkers can enjoy activities all over the city both indoors and out.
This month’s highlights include:
Wednesday, May 4, 8:30 p.m.
PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway
New York City welcomes the return of Babymetal, a genre-smashing trio of teenage girls who perform a fusion of metal and idol music dubbed kawaii (cute) metal. After playing to a capacity crowd at Hammerstein Ballroom in 2014, the group returns to support its second album Metal Resistance, now available on Amazon and iTunes. After playing venues like the Tokyo Dome and Wembley Arena in London, Babymetal is poised to become one of the biggest (and widely known abroad) Japanese musical acts today.
Friday, May 6, 8:00 p.m.
Shrine, 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard
J-pop meets jazz! The J-MUSIC Ensemble is an NYC-based, jazz-rooted instrumental band that is devoted to bringing new perspectives to modern Japanese music, showcasing a fresh take on the best of J-pop, anime and video game tunes. This strikingly sonorous eight-piece band combines the elements of the electric guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums with a full horn section—saxophone, trumpet, and trombone–to deliver a full and powerful, yet dynamic, sound. Following in the jazz tradition, the horns do not play a background role in this instrumentation; instead, they are at the forefront and are put in the same role as leading singers.
Anime Fan Fest 2016
Garden State Exhibition Center, 50 Atrium Drive, Somerset (NJ)
$32-$114, children under 10 free
OTAKU USA Magazine, the largest anime and manga magazine in the U.S., and MAD Event Entertainment producers of Comic Con in Long Beach, CA, has partnered to produce the OTAKU USA Anime Fan Fest at the Garden State Convention Center. The first year event features a star-studded guest list of voice actors, cosplayers, and more! “After producing countless events celebrating comics and pop culture, and our first convention in New Jersey having been such a success, we decided the time was right to produce an anime show” said Martha Donato, executive director and founder of MAD Events. “When we had the opportunity to co-produce this event with the number one magazine for anime and manga, we knew we had the makings of what will be one of the biggest weekends of the year for fans in New Jersey!”
Pete’s Candy Store (May 7, 8:00 p.m.)
709 Lorimer Street (Brooklyn)
ShapeShifter Lab (May 8, 7:00 p.m.)
18 Whitwell Place (Brooklyn)
The “Legendary Godmother of Japanese Electronica,” Coppé celebrates 20 years of her “phantom” Tokyo record label: Mango + Sweet Rice. Following a London St. Giles Church showcase, Coppé presents fresh interpretations of 20 years of global sound collaborations featured on the double vinyl release 20rpm. Associate producer d3pths (programming) and David Ambrosia (acoustic bass) support Coppé, with a special guest appearance May 8 by Kaoru Watanabe (taiko, transverse flute) and the J-MUSIC Ensemble, led by Grammy-nominated saxophonist Patrick Bartley.
Sunday, May 8, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Japan Day @ Central Park
Rumsey Playfield, East 69th Street
Now celebrating its 10th year as an annual tradition, Japan Day features the Japan Run for both kids and adults, activity and food tents, and a full day’s worth of stage programs featuring Soh Daiko, Bon Odori with the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York, Miki Orihara with Senri Oe, taiko drumming with COBU, and headliner Akiko Yano!
Monday, May 16, 7:00 p.m.
(le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street
$20-$25 advance, $25-$30 day of show
Critically acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa has earned outstanding international recognition as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber music artist since winning First Prize in the prestigious 1990 Japan Music Foundation Piano Competition in Tokyo, and the Diploma Prize at the 1998 Concurs Internacional Maria Canals De Barcelona in Spain, with such accolades from the New York Times as “Mr. Kigawa’s feat deserves the highest praise, especially since it was combined with such alacrity and sensitivity to the musical material … brilliantly done … a careful and serious-minded musician, quietly poetic and considerate” and from The New Yorker “Unbelievably challenging program. Kigawa is a young artist of stature.” For this performance, Kigawa performs the complete Ligeti piano edtues.
Thursday, May 19, 8:00 p.m.
QNMF & Musica Reginae Present: Makoto Nakura, marimba
The Church-in-the-Gardens, 50 Ascan Avenue (Forest Hills, Queens)
Featuring internationally-acclaimed marimbist Makoto Nakura and pianist Barbara Podgurski, this program shows the equal partnership of marimba and piano, the largest of the keyboard instruments, as they speak with their own individual voices. The program will feature works of Kevin Puts, Lane Harder, Philip Lasser, and Benjamin C.S. Boyle. The world premiere of “Prelude and Fugue” by Lane Harder will be juxtaposed with two Preludes and Fugues of J.S. Bach. This special evening will conclude with the New York premiere of Benjamin C.S. Boyle’s “Les Bois du Paradis,” a most suitable piece to be played in Forest Hills. A number of the composers will be present to discuss their works. Reception to follow the event with an opportunity to meet the artists and composers.
Keiko Fujii Dance Company: Tamashi no Hibiki (Soul Vibrations)
92nd Street Y (Buttenwieser Hall)
Keiko Fujii Dance Company of Osaka is joined by select dancers from New York in this collaboration with renowned Taiko drummer Kenny Endo (May 20-21) and Kaoru Watanabe (May 22), a former member of taiko performing arts ensemble legends KODO. Tamashii no Hibiki/Soul Vibrations peeps into human beings’ minds, exploring the vibrations in the silent inner sanctuary of the body.
Wednesday, May 25, 8:00 p.m.
Singing has been Eir Aoi’s passion all her life, and this young anime theme singer has been making appearances in several countries including the U.S., Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and Germany—all within the past two years! Eir made her recording debut in 2011 with “Memoria,” the ending theme of TV anime Fate/Zero, which debuted at #8 on the Oricon single chart and sold close to 60,000 copies. The following year, she performed at Animelo Summer Live 2012: INFINITY∞ in front of an audience of 30,000 at the Saitama Super Arena. In 2014, Eir released the singles “Cobalt Sky” and “Sirius” (the opening theme of TV anime Kill la Kill). That summer, Eir touched down at Anime Expo, North America’s largest anime convention, and made her appearance at the special Kill la Kill event, which attracted over 3,500 fans.
Saturday, May 28, 1:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Hatsune Miku Expo 2016 Concert
Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street
Hatsune Miku is a Japanese music sensation, a 16-year-old blue-haired girl with a unique voice and prodigious energy. What makes her special is that she is not a human singer, but a virtual persona who uses a computer-generated voice and 3D graphics to perform on stage. With a repertoire entirely provided by individual creators, she is the first truly crowd-created virtual talent. But being virtual doesn’t stop her from filling up concert halls, or teaming up with major artists like Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams! Internationally popular, with over 2.5 million followers on Facebook, the increasing demand for concerts overseas paved the way to Miku Expo, a world tour that places the virtual idol front and center in America This long-awaited live concert spectacular (her first in NYC since 2014) will utilize cutting-edge projection technology and a live band. With support by Anamanaguchi; a special Digital Stars party will also be held Friday, May 27 at Littlefield in Brooklyn (tickets $20) featuring guest Hachioji P and more!
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