July 23, 2019 | 67° F

Music, art, festivals to enjoy for spring season

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As March starts to wind down, spring is firmly on its way. Odds are, you’re much more willing to hop on a train to New York City now as opposed to a few months ago. Since the weather is bound to get better, here are some events in NYC and Philadelphia that will be worth the commute. 

  1. Mean Girls on Broadway (Opening on April 8)

Tina Fey’s first attempt at movie screenwriting birthed a classic, the ever-quotable "Mean Girls." Now, 14 years after the movie’s release, a version of the film is coming to Broadway. With music written by Emmy winning composer (and Tina’s husband) Jeff Richmond, the show should be a hit. The stage adaptation will stick close to the original story, but with a Broadway book written by Fey and all original lyrics, it’ll definitely have plenty of surprises. At the end of the day, a Broadway ensemble singing about the odds of “fetch” catching on seems too good to miss.

2.  Hank Willis Thomas @ Jack Shainman Gallery (March 29 to May 12)

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist based out of Plainfield, New Jersey. He’s had his work featured in the Whitney, Guggenheim and MoMA. From March 29 to May 12 his work will be featured in the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City. Among the work is a piece that features a Confederate flag in variant colors, historical photographs, and a piece made entirely of soccer jerseys. Thomas’s work has always represented an incisive look at our culture and our times, so the opportunity to view his work is an exciting one.

3.  Tribeca Film Fest (April 18-29)

Film festivals are often seen as pricy trips which require a commitment to camping out in a city for a few days. Thankfully, with Rutgers’ proximity to NYC, the Tribeca Film Festival is an option that’s much easier on the wallet. Since the festival occurs while classes are drawing to a close, you’ll probably want to shoot for Matinee tickets. The Matinee package costs $55 and includes six matinee-priced tickets and a one-year subscription to The New York Times. For film nuts, especially those with a passion for independent films, this is an event to keep on your radar.

4.  "Black Pulp!" @ The African American Museum in Philly (through April 29)

The African American Museum in Philadelphia was founded in 1976, as the first institution funded and built by a major municipality to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage of African Americans. A few blocks away from the Liberty Bell, the AAMP is part of the historic sector of Philadelphia. "Black Pulp!" is an exhibit showcasing print media of various black arts movements and black life from 1912 to 2016. The exhibit pairs print media with contemporary art from African American artists. Some of these are collaborations that could have never happened in real life, as these artists, writers and publishers all lived in different time periods. Works by Langston Hughes, Kara Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Kerry James Marshall and more are on display. This well-curated exhibit is a showstopper, worthy of a trip to Philly. 

5.  Lorde/Run The Jewels/Mitski @ The Barclays Center (April 4)

This concert is coming up, so if you’re considering going, move fast! The reason it’s a notable event is because of the diverse and incredibly talented roster of artists performing. Of course Lorde, the New Zealand pop star is headlining, but her openers are two very different performers, from each other and from Lorde. Run the Jewels (or RTJ) is a rap duo of Killer Mike and El-P, artists from very different backgrounds who came together to shake up hip-hop. Mitski is a Japanese-American singer-songwriter who’s been on a meteoric rise in the last couple of years. Lorde is one of the lead figures in alternative pop, RTJ are at the forefront of alternative hip-hop and Mitski is a prominent musician in alternative rock. To have them all on the same bill is sure to be an interesting experience.

There’s always something to do, especially in the big cities that neighbor Rutgers. Consider this a starting point, and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Jordan Levy

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