In the dog days of summer, it’s best to escape the heat in a place that’s cozy and cool. For those into Japanese cultural events, this month offers a diverse selection of music, film premieres and parties—all in the comfort of indoor air conditioning.
This month’s highlights include:
Thursday, Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m.
Young Professionals Second Annual Midsummer Matsuri and Karaoke Party
Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street
$10 for corporate and individual members, $15 for non-members
Japan Society’s Young Professionals events provide the opportunity for emerging business leaders from the U.S. and Japan (aged 25-45) to meet people with similar interests, experience programming on timely topics, and network with their peers. Attendees are invited to join for a night of networking, singing, eating and drinking featuring singer and Japanese TV personality Alex York as MC! Yukata and other summer attire are welcome, and admission includes light Japanese food and one drink ticket, cash bar thereafter. Space is limited; for advance registration email email@example.com or call 212-715-1219.
Saturday, Aug. 3, 7:00 p.m.
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue
$35 members/students/seniors, $40 non-members
As part of the closing night presentation of the 36th Asian American International Film Festival, this screening of Our Homeland includes a Q&A with the director followed by an awards ceremony and gala reception featuring chef’s tasting tables and open bar with specialty cocktails sponsored by Rémy Martin. Sent decades ago as a child to North Korea under a repatriation program, Sungho returns to Japan for a temporary medical visit. A wrenching human drama unfolds as his family grapples with why he was ever let go. Under the constant surveillance by an accompanying North Korean official, Sungho and his family reunite again in this sensitive tale inspired by Korean-Japanese director Yang Yonghi’s true family story. Capturing the tender feelings of separation, memory, and belonging, the film also provides a rare glimpse into the life of ethnic Koreans in Japan. Presented in Japanese and Korean with English subtitles.
Count Down My Life
Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place
$15 advance/$18 door
U.S. premiere! Written and directed by Ikko Ueda, this smash hit rock musical is part of the 17th annual New York International Fringe Festival. A 29-year-old aspiring playwright sets himself a time limit: win a playwriting prize by the time he turns 30, or give up pursing his dream. Putting all his energy into a chance to write one last work, as life questions and worries mount, the future is held in one phone call. Featuring the original cast and musicians from Japan, Count Down My Life will be presented in Japanese with English subtitles.
Thursday, Aug. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Sullivan Hall, 214 Sullivan Street
$10 general admission
Get ready rock all night with this spectacular five-act showcase featuring Mariko, Mugen Hoso, the Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass, the Aster Place, and Divining Rod! For band links and more information, click here.
Friday, Aug. 16
Cutie and the Boxer
Lincoln Plaza Cinema and Landmark Sunshine Cinema
Winner of the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and a hit at film festivals around the world, this candid New York story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of renowned “boxing” painter Ushio Shinohara and his artist wife, Noriko. As a rowdy, confrontational young artist in Tokyo, Ushio seemed destined for fame, but met with little commercial success after he moved to New York City in 1969, seeking international recognition. When 19-year-old Noriko moved to New York to study art, she fell in love with Ushio—abandoning her education to become the wife and assistant to an unruly, husband. Over the course of their marriage, the roles have shifted. Now 80, Ushio struggles to establish his artistic legacy, while Noriko is at last being recognized for her own art—a series of drawings entitled “Cutie,” depicting her challenging past with Ushio. Spanning four decades, the film is a moving portrait of a couple wrestling with the eternal themes of sacrifice, disappointment and aging, against a background of lives dedicated to art.
Monday, Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Taka Kigawa, piano
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street
$20 advance, $25 day of show
A native of Nagano, 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. His New York City recital in 2010 was chosen as one of ”the best concerts of the year” by The New York Times. Also his New York city recital in August 2011 was picked as one of ”the most notable concerts in the first half of the season 2011-2012.” His repertoire is extremely large and varied, ranging from the baroque to avant-garde compositions of today. This performance features music of John Zorn, Sean Shepherd, and Elliott Carter.
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