With the change of seasons, the growing availability of vaccines and the cautious return of live performance, New Yorkers may be feeling more hopeful than they have in a while. But whatever stage of the pandemic we’re in, it can still be exhausting, as the effects of a depleting year settle in.
A new digital production from the tap dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel promises a jolt of joy to help carry us through this second pandemic spring. Presented by the Joyce Theater, the evening-length “Chasing Magic” reunites Casel with the jazz composer and musician Arturo O’Farrill, a follow-up to their celebrated 2019 Joyce engagement. In addition to a collaboration with the choreographer Ronald K. Brown, the show includes contributions from the tap artists Anthony Morigerato, Naomi Funaki, Amanda Castro and John Manzari, among many others, emphasizing creative chemistry as an antidote to isolation. The presentation starts streaming on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern time and will run until April 21; tickets are $25 and available at joyce.org.
The Views From Hitchcock’s ‘Window’
After a year of confinement, probably the last thing New Yorkers want is to stare out of an apartment. But “Rear Window,” Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece, never gets old, and its story gets to the heart of what cinema is.
James Stewart, as an intrepid photographer with a broken leg, becomes a captive spectator riveted by a frame — not a movie screen, but his window, out of which he vicariously experiences the love lives and loneliness of his neighbors, until he glimpses evidence of a possible murder. Repeat viewings don’t dull the suspense and only inspire awe at how Hitchcock handles the single set and the perspective of Stewart’s character. In a dark theater, the finale — in which the protagonist uses a flashbulb to defend himself — will have its proper blinding effect.
“Rear Window” is screening at Film Forum from Friday to April 15. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.
Focused on Feelings
Adolescence is often difficult, and for those experiencing it, asking for help can be harder still. On Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Eastern time, the 2021 Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Festival will address those challenges with short works that focus on mental health.
Presented by Community Access, a Manhattan nonprofit, this free virtual program will feature the festival’s winning film — Kat Dolan’s “Nobody but Myself” — and seven finalists. The movies, which were selected from more than 700 submissions by directors ages 15 to 25, explore subjects like anxiety, body image and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Dolan’s project portrays depression as an intimate companion, while Naeela Djemil’s “Petrichor” depicts how it affects a young Muslim woman.
Shadille Estepan, the communications and outreach manager for Born This Way Foundation, a youth initiative co-founded by Lady Gaga, will moderate a concluding Q. and A. with the filmmakers. Streaming on event.gives and on Facebook, the entire program will also be accessible afterward on Community Access’s Instagram page and YouTube channel.
Putting on a Mix
When the Komische Oper Berlin schedules a season of music dramas, it often delights in making sure that repertory war horses alternate with modernist works and jesting rarities. Fitting a similar mold is its orchestra’s upcoming free concert on Friday at 2 p.m. Eastern time (streaming at komische-oper-berlin.de, where the concert will remain for one week following the live presentation).
The classic on offer is Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony. The modernist work is Webern’s Variations for Orchestra. The jesting rarity? That would be Friedrich Gulda’s Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra — a piece full of handoffs between jazz and rock influences as well as vintage Austrian dances (among other reference points).
As a pianist, Gulda collaborated with Chick Corea and was a noted interpreter of Mozart, so he came by his wide-ranging affections honestly. But since the concerto can also register as pastiche, it will be interesting to hear whether the conductor James Gaffigan — a New York favorite, making his debut with this orchestra on Friday — can bring a sense of unity to the overall program.
SETH COLTER WALLS
Though her early career was rooted in the go-go scene in Washington, D.C., the singer and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello has long since transcended regional and genre affiliations. For three decades, her records have moved freely between R&B, hip-hop, rock and jazz, provoking and challenging listeners with experimental forms and overt politics.
As a curator and headliner of this year’s BRIC JazzFest — which returns virtually this weekend for its sixth edition — Ndegeocello is something like the festival’s spiritual guide. Like her, few of its participants are strictly jazz musicians. Thursday night’s program features Phony Ppl, an energetic Brooklyn five-piece nourished by funk and hip-hop (as heard on their recent single with Megan Thee Stallion). On Friday, Ndegeocello shares the bill with the composer, vocalist and art-world darling Justin Hicks. Robert Glasper, an inventive pianist with a Rolodex of high-profile collaborators including Kendrick Lamar and H.E.R., will perform on Saturday.
Tickets for the streams, which commence each night at 7 p.m. Eastern time, start at $20, and are available at bricartsmedia.org. Prices scale up according to the number of viewers per household.