Bill T. Jones
– Artist’s Website –
In 1964 the New School hosted a series of lectures called “The American Race Crisis.” In 2016 the subject still feels urgent.
One of the 15 civil rights leaders who spoke at the New School that year was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With the federal observation of his birthday on Monday, plenty of events around the city will honor his legacy; some of the more notable ones use his life’s work to talk about the persistence of racism.
WNYC and the Apollo Theater, for example, will present the 10th edition of their annual King celebration, hosted by the WNYC radio personalities Brian Lehrer and Jami Floyd. The theme this year is “Race and Privilege: Exploring MLK’s Two Americas,” and the guests include Taylor Branch, who wrote the historical trilogy “America in the King Years,” and Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist and immigration activist.
The celebration also includes music. “Blackbird, Fly,” by the composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and the spoken-word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, will have its premiere. Mr. Roumain will also perform a duet with the singer Emeline Michel.
Registration for free tickets is closed, but a standby line will form before the event, and tickets will be distributed if there is space. Portions of the discussion will be broadcast during “The Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday.
(Sunday at 3 p.m., 253 West 125th Street, Harlem; 800-745-3000, apollotheater.org.)
On the actual holiday, the choreographer Bill T. Jones speaks about the marriage of art and activism over his decades-long career.
Much of Mr. Jones’s art examines identity, even mainstream projects like his angst-ridden choreography for the 2006 musical “Spring Awakening.” Most recently, the Miser saw him perform at New York Live Arts with the chamber ensemble yMusic. His shouts of phrases like “Drop it!” and repetitive gestures, like holding his hand in the shape of a gun, explored his apparent inspiration: headlines that tell of the toxic, cyclical relationship between the police and black youths. On Monday, he is likely to discuss these issues more pointedly.
(At 7:30 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue, at 76th Street, 646-505-4444, jccmanhattan.org; $5.)
Apropos of dance, though unrelated to the holiday, this weekend MoMA PS1 is hosting Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, two inventive alumni of Merce Cunningham’s company. Their latest work, “Horizon Events,” features five more dancers and a Charles Atlas video as part of the performance component of the exhibition “Greater New York.”
In an email, the artists said “Horizon Events,” created for the museum’s main third-floor gallery, was inspired by the “stretched, abstracted quality” of the Louise Lawler prints that hang on the walls. Some of the piece is choreographed; the rest will be improvised with “layers of choice-making within specific parameters,” they added. Although the performance is $15, admission to “Greater New York” is free for New York City residents.
(Friday through Sunday at 8 p.m., 22-25 Jackson Avenue, at 46th Avenue, Long Island City, Queens; 718-784-2084, momaps1.org.)