Expert Picks

Here’s What Our Culture Experts Are Doing in September—And You Should, Too!

Art on Governors Island! Duck butchery! Music in a crypt! Here‘s what we’re doing for the next 30 days.

Photo by Itzel Hernández Gómez/Courtesy of the New Museum

Start pulling out those billowy sweaters and pumpkin-scented candles, because we’re kissing summer goodbye and saying hello to autumn. Ease your way into the seasonal swap with a barbecue blowout, a black comedy inspired by Shakespeare, and some orchestration inside a very gothic locale.


Photo courtesy of The Black Madonna/Facebook
James Murphy x the Black Madonna at Knockdown Center, September 13

LCD Soundsystem frontman Murphy may have the better name recognition, but I’m more excited about the latter half of this high-profile, late-night celebrity DJ warehouse party in Queens. Chicago gospel house DJ and producer the Black Madonna has been releasing white label dance singles since the early 2010s. Her music embraces a spiritual side of EDM with emphasis on slow swells, strings, and ecstatic peaks; her 2017 blockbuster “He Is the Voice I Hear” brought that sound to a national audience. John Seroff, music expert

Blanck Mass at Elsewhere, September 21

Benjamin John Power, one half of the obscenely named duo Fuck Buttons, records his solo work under the name Blanck Mass. You’d be hard-pressed to tell one group from the other; both are maximalist, industrial electronic bands that verge equally into rough disco and drone-ish post-rock. Think of a harder-edged Mogwai and you’re halfway there. Power’s newest work is a rousing, flailing, mid-’90s throwback album titled Animated Violence Mild. I love it. John Seroff, music expert

Liszt: Poetic and Religious Harmonies at Green-Wood Cemetery, September 24–27

This new concert series will have you reconnect with cemeteries in a new, intimate way. In the catacombs, find your way around cold crypts and (of course) gothic and modern live music. Ross Tipograph, performance expert

September Events NYC 2019
Photo courtesy of The Angel’s Share: Adam Tendler & Jenny Lin/Facebook


LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island, opens September 19

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council has found a permanent residence on Governors Island, where artists will feature their work year-round. The inaugural season focuses on issues of ecology, sustainability, and notions of resilience. The council’s newly outfitted 1870s warehouse home is yet another reason to make the ferry journey to the island for an easy escape from the city. Molly Surno, art expert 

September Events NYC 2019
Photo by Zachary Tyler Newton/Courtesy of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
“Carmen Argote: As Above, So Below” at the New Museum, opens September 24

Combining her perspective as an immigrant and the materials in her own landscape, Mexican artist Argote responds to today’s cultural conversations and political climate in a way that’s uniquely hers. Molly Surno, art expert 

September Events NYC 2019
Photo by Itzel Hernández Gómez/Courtesy of the New Museum


Harry Potter and the Sacred Text at the Bell House, September 9

Two Harvard grads will do a deep dive into a chapter of Harry Potter, tell stories from their own lives, and try out “a medieval religious reading practice” with the audience. Share spiritual engagement with like-minded Potterheads! Ross Tipograph, performance expert

Have You Heard? at 3 Dollar Bill, September 13 and 14

Stalwart pioneer drag figure (and one of Lily Tomlin’s favorite comedians) Coco Peru presents her greatest monologues and some new material in this sure-to-be hilarious live show. Ross Tipograph, performance expert


Say Amen, Somebody at Lincoln Center, September 6–26

This little-seen (and currently streaming-unavailable) 1982 documentary centers on the then contemporary practice of modern gospel performance through the lives and songs of Thomas A. Dorsey and Willie Mae Ford Smith, whose collective century of presenting and teaching sacred songs is explored in considerable detail. Recently restored, this mesmerizing view of America’s recent spiritual past makes a wonderful bookend to the newly available Aretha Franklin concert film, Amazing GraceJohn Seroff, music expert

September Events NYC 2019
Photo courtesy of Milestone Films/Lincoln Center
Lutz Dammbeck Retrospective at Anthology Film Archives, September 16–24

When I heard that there was a retrospective of the German filmmaker and provocateur, I scrolled through his IMDB page not recognizing any titles…perfect! My kind of film experience is centered around discovery, which is precisely what you’ll get from an artist who makes movies connecting the Unabomber to Timothy Leary. Molly Surno, art expert 


Pig Island at Erie Basin Park, September 7

How many ways can you possibly eat pork? You’re going to find out in the most convenient way: by sticking your ribs with all the porcine you could possibly lay hands on. This signature Red Hook pig-out has more than 20 chefs competing for bragging rights and the Pig Island crown—which may or may not be made with bacon, but who’s to say? —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

September Events NYC 2019
Photo by Miguel Rivas/Courtesy of Pig Island
Harbor Up! at Pier A Harbor House, September 17

Shuck it up with the Billion Oyster Project and the students studying at the New York Harbor School during their annual soiree, where shucked seafood and top-shelf cocktails will be free-flowing and served with a side of aquamarine education. —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

September Events NYC 2019
Photo courtesy of Billion Oyster Project/Facebook
Duck Butchery at Cook Space, September 21

Ah, duck, the king of the poultry family. While you may think that butchering it is as difficult as it is delicious, the truth of the matter is that it isn’t so complicated once you know how to work around it. Butcher your birded friend and learn how you can utilize all of its juicy goodness—from yakitori to confitted legs—in this hands-on workshop. —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

September Events NYC 2019
Photo courtesy of Cook Space, Brooklyn


Sunday at Linda Gross Theater, begins September 4

A group of friends meet at their weekly book group to flex their intellectual muscles, but the real organ that gets a workout is the heart, as emotional truths spill out. This world premiere by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) is directed by the excellent Lee Sunday Evans (Dance Nation). David Cote, theater expert

September Events NYC 2019
Photo by Ahron R. Foster/Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Scotland, PA at Laura Pels Theatre, begins September 14

Anything named Scotland in theater makes one think of a bloody Shakespeare tragedy, and you wouldn’t be wrong imagining that here. The Roundabout’s new musical is based on an indie black comedy—itself inspired by Macbeth. The title villain and his lady are now a burger joint manager and his wife, letting nothing stand in the way of their American dream—even murder. David Cote, theater expert

Jazz Singer at Abrons Arts Center, begins September 24

I first saw director-writer Joshua Gelb’s work years ago when he powerfully revived America’s first musical, The Black Crook. His newest work, a collaboration with composer Nehemiah Luckett, is a deconstructed “exhumation” of the phenomenally popular early sound film The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson. Jolson, a Jewish vaudevillian, performs regularly throughout the picture in blackface, leaving behind a problematic legacy that Luckett and Gelb will do their best to untangle in this experimental musical. John Seroff, music expert

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