From Nintendo to manga to metal to Tarantino, November is just as colorful as the blowing leaves in the air and on the ground. Add to that a Meiji era throwback exhibition at Resobox, the destroy-all-monsters vibe of Kaiju Big Battel (just in time for Turkey Day), and a world premiere at Japan Society and you’ve got an irresistibly epic rundown.
This month’s highlights include:
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 7:00 p.m.
JETAA New York presents Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story
Columbia University, Uris Hall 301
$7 advance, $10 at the door, students free with ID
Following its New York premiere at Japan Society last July, the New York chapter of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program Alumni Association presents an encore screening of this touching documentary film about Taylor Anderson and all the young people who travel the world trying to make a difference. Taylor was an extraordinary American who dedicated herself to teaching Japanese children in the JET program, living her dream right up to the events of March 11, 2011. Includes a post-screening Q&A session with director/producer Regge Life and Taylor’s father Andy Anderson.
Friday, Nov. 1, 8:00 p.m.
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest
The Theater at Madison Square Garden
While F. Scott Fitzgerald famously pooh-poohed second acts, second quests are an entirely different matter. Back by popular demand and presented by Jason Michael Paul Productions, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses returns to the Theater at MSG with breathtakingly new visuals and music exploring additional chapters from the Zelda franchise as well as the beautifully orchestrated four movement symphony recounting the classic storylines from some of the most popular video games in history. Take up your wooden sword and shield as a live orchestra and the Montclair State University Vocal Accord brings to life the masterpieces of legendary Nintendo composer and sound director Koji Kondo.
Thursday, Nov. 7
The Life & Works of Osamu Tezuka
Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street
$25/$20 Japan Society members, seniors and students
Best known as the creator of Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) is often credited as the “Godfather of Anime and Manga” due to his prolific output, pioneering techniques, and reimagining of genres. His work redefined Japanese cartoons, transforming them into an irresistible art form, and incorporated a variety of new styles in their creation. Leaving a lasting impact on literature and film, his work also influenced a range of other artistic genres. In this special lecture, Tezuka’s works are presented by Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica. This event is moderated by NYC-based cartoonist Katie Skelly. Ticket price includes a pre-event wine and Japanese hors d’oeuvres reception.
Nov. 8—Dec. 5
Working Life in Meiji Japan: 1868-1912
41-26 27th Street, Long Island City
The Resobox Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of 19th century hand-colored photographs of Japanese entrepreneurial class culture from the Burns Archive. The images in this exhibition showcase the best of Japanese photographs that were made to show the perceived exotic nature of Japan to the West. Several of the great early photographers’ studios are represented, including Kusakabe Kimbei, Felice Beato, and Baron von Stillfried. These photographers, under government supervision, documented the artisans, shopkeepers and workers that made up the bulk of the Japanese middle and working class entrepreneurial society. It was critical for Japanese “public relations” of the era to put a face on Japan’s people and products, as they were being exported for the first time to international fairs and expositions. It was through these fairs and photographs that the world was introduced to Japan. An opening reception will be held Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 11, 8:00 p.m.
Dir En Grey
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place
Fresh off their last triumphant American tour in 2011 supporting their eighth studio album Dum Spiro Spero, this Osaka-based alternative metal/death metal/experimental/avant-garde quintet with rabid fanbases around the globe has returned with a new EP titled The Unraveling. Before they play a pair of sold-out shows at the famed Nippon Budokan in March, here’s your chance to see them general admission-style at the intimate Irving Plaza.
Thursday, Nov. 14, 8:00 p.m.
Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street.
Beginning his career as a guitarist in the popular Japanese rock band BOØWY in 1981, rock guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei’s innovative sound and electrifying performances continue to win him acclaim and admiration around the world. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the film Kill Bill, the legendary axeman touches down for an exclusive New York appearance where fans can catch an electrifying performance of the film’s iconic theme song “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” straight from the fingertips of its original composer. Hotei will be joined by drummer Zachary Alford, most recently in the spotlight for his work on David Bowie’s latest album, and the acclaimed New York-based British bassist Tony Grey.
Nalata Nalata, 2 Extra Place
An exhibition of works by renowned “living products” designer Masanori Oji and Ashikawa Woodworking, Yukari is the first showcase from the East Village’s Nalata Nalata that highlights the designers and the stories behind its curated homeware products to coincide with the launch of its new pop-up shop. Intended to showcase how a product could be a form of connection, or yukari (a word used in Japan since ancient times), it can be revealed through the relationships that exist between maker and designer, designer and user, and it can even connect the past and present and create links between generations: past, present and future. An opening reception with Oji will be held Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16, 7:00 p.m.
Kaiju Big Battel Presents JaPandemonium
Kaiju Big Battel brings its monster mayhem to the Big Apple one more time, this time to Studio 48! Located in the heart of Manhattan, it will be an epic site of building smashing, monster slamming fun. Be there for Unibouzu vs. Tucor! Be there as special guest referee (and Peelander-Z frontman) Peelander-Yellow returns to maintain order! Be there as danger happens in front of your very eyes! Just be there!
Monday, Nov. 18, 8:00 p.m.
USA-Japan Goodwill Concert
Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, 881 7th Avenue
Tickets free at the box office (limit eight per person)
The massive earthquake that struck Eastern Japan on March 11, 2011 victimized over 20,000 people. Approximately 20,000 Americans were then dispatched to provide aid and relief supplies, with donations then raining in. To continue these efforts for those who remain in need, following an earlier appearance last February the USA-Japan Goodwill concert returns to Carnegie Hall with a brand new lineup featuring the Takada Family Gospel Choir, Studio 24, Kinden-Ryu Taishogoto, Atsushi Ueda and Sachiko Muto (a.k.a. Ocarina Hibiki), and the Long Island Harmonizers.
Nov. 20-Dec. 8
Alec Duffy Our Planet
Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street
$20/$14 Japan Society members (Nov. 20 only); $28/$22 Japan Society members for all other performances
This world premiere from the Japan Society Commission is billed as a non-seated, standing and walking performance experience. Get a rare look behind the scenes of Japan Society’s landmarked building in this newly commissioned theater production that whisks the audience through offices, conference rooms and backstage areas. Directed by Alec Duffy, founder of the OBIE Award-winning company Hoi Polloi, the inaugural English-language production of this acclaimed play by young theater phenom Yukio Shiba juxtaposes the everyday life of an ordinary family with the galactic events of the earth’s birth and death. Duffy’s creative team includes Obie-winning scenic designer Mimi Lien, composer Tei Blow and Japanese motion graphics master Nobuyuki Hanabusa, whose moving images enhance the building-wide playing field. Performed in English.
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