With less than four weeks until River To River 2014 kicks off, we couldn’t agree more. See the full article for their recommendations, and get ready for movement, sound, visual art, and participatory experiences in Lower Manhattan between June 19–29.
Consider yourself lucky: For the thirteenth annual edition of River To River (R2R), the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council has trimmed this normally month-long, totally free summer arts event down to a lean 11 days — without sacrificing any of the diversity we’ve come to expect from its dense blend of music, dance, visual art and participatory experiences.
With many of the activities set outdoors, the June 19-29 festival hits that late spring/early summer sweet spot — meaning there’s every chance you won’t even need a light jacket, and even less chance you’ll be subjected to the sort of oppressive heat that will soon have us pining for a winter storm advisory. So forget all about those Netflix marathons and binge on the arts, old school style: by seeing and doing as much as you can, all around Lower Manhattan, in a week and a half. These highlights will get you started. For R2R, top to bottom, visit the website: RiverToRiverNYC.com.
On opening night, the “R2R Bash” (5-8 pm) is a block party-style event on North End Way. Many of the festival’s participating artists will be there for meet-and-greet opportunities, and there will be discounts at area restaurants and retailers. In addition to many family-friendly activities, the dance troupe/rock band People Get Ready will get, and keep, the people moving.
On the first official night of performances, June 20, “Terry Riley and Friends” is dedicated to the music and influences of minimalist composer Terry Riley. Performers include his son, Gyan, Tracy Silverman and the Young People’s Chorus. Renowned flutist Claire Chase and Bulgarian percussionist Svet Stoyanov will perform a new duet by composer Marcos Balter that’s based on a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, paired with a new arrangement of Riley’s “Tread on the Trail.”
On June 21, R2R contributes to the citywide day of free music that marks the summer solstice. “New York Walkscape” is a parade through Lower Manhattan, during which participants will transform environmental sounds into a musical score (by using a specially created, GPS-enabled app). “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” celebrates the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas in a distinctly modern way — by using your mobile device to accompany the singing of words from Dylan’s work. It concludes when all involved converge on a public park, for a group sing. “Digital Sanctuaries, NYC” is another gizmo-driven walk. It allows you to visit 12 historic sights throughout Lower Manhattan, using an app to turn them into musical, meditative sanctuaries.