Your Week in Culture: Outsider Art, Claude Debussy, the Godfathers of ‘Black Panther’

Your Week in Culture: Outsider Art, Claude Debussy, the Godfathers of ‘Black Panther’

The two-week lineup begins on Friday, Feb. 2, with “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” Melvin Van Peebles’s 1971 action thriller — set to a soundtrack by Earth, Wind & Fire and dedicated “to all the brothers and sisters who had enough of the Man” — about a male prostitute dodging the L.A.P.D. while making a run for Mexico. Huey P. Newton of the Black Panthers declared it “the first truly revolutionary black film,” while The New York Times christened its creator “the first black man in show business to beat the white man at his own game.”

Other gems: the blaxploitation films “Cleopatra Jones,” “Foxy Brown” and “Abar: The First Black Superman”; Sidney Poitier’s revisionist Western, “Buck and the Preacher”; and Ivan Dixon’s anti-white-supremacy cult classic, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” — considered such a potent call to arms that the F.B.I. was rumored to have suppressed it for decades. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Claude Debussy – Piano Music – Stephen Hough (piano) Video by Hyperion Records

Classical Music: Debussy, 100 Years Later

Jan. 30;

The music of Claude Debussy has been a lifelong fascination of the ever-inquisitive British pianist Stephen Hough: the first LP he ever owned was “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair.” But Mr. Hough’s dazzlingly lucid new album of Debussy’s solo piano works, released this month on Hyperion, is his first record dedicated exclusively to the composer.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the radically prismatic composer’s death, which is being celebrated with recordings, performances and new works commissioned in his memory. On Jan. 30, Mr. Hough arrives at Carnegie Hall for a solo recital that places Debussy’s music — including both books of the kaleidoscopically ruminative “Images” as well as the famously enchanting “Claire de lune” — alongside two contrasting landmarks of the 19th century, Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major and Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata. WILLIAM ROBIN


From left, Ugo Chukwu and Julia Sirna-Frest in “[Porto]” at the Bushwick Starr in Brooklyn.

Marina McClure

Theater: A Comedy Well Timed for #MeToo

Jan. 28 to Feb. 25;

“Lardons or anchovies?” the bartender asks the woman who’s just walked in, and already he’s poured her a soothing glass of the red wine she always drinks. This bar is a comfortable place with foodie pretensions, and in Kate Benson’s savory, skewering comedy “[Porto],” it’s where the brainy, funny, lonely heroine goes for a little company — once she’s talked herself, surely not for the first time, into believing that it’s O.K. for a woman to get a drink by herself.

When “[Porto]” had its world premiere a year ago at the Bushwick Starr in Brooklyn, in a run coinciding with the women’s marches around the world, its thoughtful feminism matched the fervor of that moment. A lyrical play about female desire, pleasure and competing fears — being alone vs. pairing up with a man and losing oneself — it seems equally well timed for the #MeToo movement.

Its Off Broadway premiere starts previews on Sunday, Jan. 28, at WP Theater. Watch for a hallucinatory cameo by Simone de Beauvoir highbrow-bickering with Gloria Steinem (nope, not the real one), and a Chorus of Dumb Bunnies, spewing lowbrow imperatives about snaring a man. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett – Shady Grove Video by milkrecordsmelbourne

Pop: Jen Cloher, Backed by Courtney Barnett

Jan. 30;

“Indie rock is full of privileged white kids/I know because I’m one of them,” Jen Cloher sings on “Shoegazers,” a tart, bluesy highlight from the self-titled LP that she released in August. That crackling sense of humor drives much of Ms. Cloher’s songwriting; she likes to lob accusations that, often as not, loop back into self-criticism. The album, her fourth, adds up to a persuasive case that, privileged as she and/or her audience might be, this Australian artist is one of indie rock’s sharpest observers.

Many American fans know Ms. Cloher as the romantic partner of the more famous Courtney Barnett, also an Australian indie-rocker. Ms. Cloher sings about that, too — some of her most poignant songs deal with the vexed intersections of fame and love. (See “Forgot Myself,” the album’s excellently sulky opener, or the softer-hued “Sensory Memory.”) Expect the payoff to be high, musically and emotionally, when Ms. Cloher headlines Rough Trade NYC on Jan. 30, with Ms. Barnett playing guitar in her backing band. SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON


Mina Nishimura

Ian Douglas

Dance: Mina Nishimura in Manhattan

Feb. 1-3;

Sometimes choreographers slave over dances for months. Others create at the speed of light. This season, Mina Nishimura, the luminous Japanese-born dancer and choreographer, has no choice but to do just that for her latest premiere, “Bladder Inn (and X, Y, Z, W).”

The time crunch comes down to scheduling: In recent weeks, Ms. Nishimura has been busy as a performer, dancing in back-to-back works by Kota Yamazaki, her husband, and Dean Moss. “I’m thinking of what I can do within the condition,” she said in a recent interview. “It’s good practice to see what you can do in a very limited amount of time.”

Her group work “Bladder Inn” refers to Ms. Nishimura’s choreographic pursuit of finding language that relates to internal landscapes. Her plan? To use the architecture of the theater — which is housed in St. Mark’s Church — to create a dreamlike scene awash with wandering bodies. GIA KOURLAS

ITV Girlfriends Trailer | 3 January 2018 Video by AccioMDL

TV: 3 Beloved Actresses in 1 Show

Jan. 29;

The casting of three beloved actresses around the age of 60 — Miranda Richardson, Zoë Wanamaker and Phyllis Logan — as the leads in a major British network television drama was so remarkable that it made the nightly news in that country last month.

“Girlfriends,” the latest from the writer Kay Mellor, debuting Monday, Jan. 29, on the streaming platform Acorn TV, stars the triumvirate as longtime friends dealing with the challenges, both physical and emotional, of late-middle-age. For Ms. Logan’s Linda, it’s the mysterious death of her husband on their anniversary cruise. For Ms. Wanamaker’s Gail, it’s a pending divorce from the spouse she still loves and the care of assorted family members. And for Ms. Richardson’s Sue, it’s the end of the affair with her son’s father, a married man who claims — twist that knife — that she’s no longer relevant. In a news release, Ms. Mellor, 66, called the show her passion project, adding that she longed to give a voice to “women of a certain age who feel like they are invisible and unheard.” KATHRYN SHATTUCK

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