1. 75 at 75: James Shapiro on Tom Stoppard

    A special project for 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center’s 75th anniversary, 75 at 75 invites authors to listen to a recording from our archive and write a personal response. Here, James Shapiro writes about Tom Stoppard’s reading from several of his plays: Night and Day, Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, and, in particular, Cahoot’s Macbeth. It was recorded live at 92Y on March 27, 2001.

    Shapiro writes:

    When I was sixteen I saw my brother act in a summer-stock production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and was hooked on Stoppard. When I got home I picked up a copy of Hamlet, which wasn’t taught in my high school. Encountering the two plays in that order left me with a nagging sense, one that I’ve never quite shaken, that Shakespeare owed more to Stoppard than the other way around.

    Read more on Poetry Center Online.

  2. "Illmatic was a new beginning of rap."

    Nas’ documentary, celebrating his critically acclaimed debut album, Illmatic, opened the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday night. It seems like everyone is talking about it. Photos from the event here.

    We’ve got more Nas in this hour long video from his talk last year, when he sat down with Rolling Stones Anthony DeCurtis for a wide-ranging conversation about his life and career.

    "How can you lose when you doing you?" he said at the time.

  3. We’d like to think John Turturro and Dr. Ruth are having an out-of-context conversation about a woman who’s going to have more babies, but they’re probably talking about his new movie Fading Gigolo, which he screened here last night. Either way, we are obsessed.

  4. If you missed Tracy Morgan and Hannibal Buress last night at 92Y, Grantland has highlights:

On the (very important) question of white people using the N-word at karaoke.
Buress: “You can’t pick a song that’s [N-word] heavy. Like, Kanye’s ‘All of the Lights’ is OK. But YG’s ‘My N—a’ you should avoid.”
Morgan: “When you drinking at the karaoke spot, know how many [N-Words] are in the song.”
On the Brooklyn Nets
Morgan: “If you’re a Nets, Mets, or Jets fan, you probably have low self-esteem.”
On Buress writing for 30 Rock
Morgan: “It was just you and a sea of white dudes.”
Buress: “We had an Indian dude.”
On the 92nd Street Y
Morgan: “I didn’t even know this shit was here! Is this the Upper East Side or what? This is where the good cocaine is.”
On side businesses
Buress: “I want to open a Jamba Juice.”
On performing for white audiences
Morgan: “That’s why I wear a watch. Because if white people see me wearing a watch they feel like they can trust me.”

Read more.

    If you missed Tracy Morgan and Hannibal Buress last night at 92Y, Grantland has highlights:

    On the (very important) question of white people using the N-word at karaoke.

    Buress: “You can’t pick a song that’s [N-word] heavy. Like, Kanye’s ‘All of the Lights’ is OK. But YG’s ‘My N—a’ you should avoid.”

    Morgan: “When you drinking at the karaoke spot, know how many [N-Words] are in the song.”

    On the Brooklyn Nets

    Morgan: “If you’re a Nets, Mets, or Jets fan, you probably have low self-esteem.”

    On Buress writing for 30 Rock

    Morgan: “It was just you and a sea of white dudes.”

    Buress: “We had an Indian dude.”

    On the 92nd Street Y

    Morgan: “I didn’t even know this shit was here! Is this the Upper East Side or what? This is where the good cocaine is.”

    On side businesses

    Buress: “I want to open a Jamba Juice.”

    On performing for white audiences

    Morgan: “That’s why I wear a watch. Because if white people see me wearing a watch they feel like they can trust me.”

    Read more.

  5. Instructor Spotlight: Louis RosenLouis Rosen has been teaching Music Appreciation and Music Theory at 92Y School of Music for over 30 years. What began as a part-time gig to make ends meet when he relocated to New York as a young composer resulted in the Chicago native becoming a faculty fixture. His career as a musician and composer blossomed, too. Louis’ partnership with Broadway actress Capathia Jenkins yielded three albums and return concert engagements at New York venues such as Joe’s Pub, Birdland and Iridium Jazz Club, along with tours that took him from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Harare, Zimbabwe. His work also includes a recent solo album, four musical theater pieces and over 30 scores for plays produced on and off-Broadway and in major regional theaters. Most recently, he composed the score for Lincoln Center Theater’s Act One, which opens on Broadway tonight. Here, Rosen talks about the similarities between Bach and the Beatles, seeing 92Y change over the years, and the student that inspired him most. How have you seen 92Y evolve in your 30 years teaching here?The more 92Y integrates new ideas and reaches out to new audiences, the more successful it is. My sense is that the institution is a bit more nimble now; we’re more able to adapt to changes in the culture and look beyond the present in planning for the future. This is certainly true of the 92Y School of Music. 
[[MORE]]
You’ve taught everything from Bach to the Beatles. What do you see as the link between all these genres?The most important connection that links all of the music that I teach, whether it’s Bach, Beethoven, The Beatles, Gershwin, Ellington, Dylan or contemporary concert composers such as Glass, Adams or Reich, is that all of these artists have written terrifically well-made, expressive music. Good music is simply good music. Period. And all of this music comes out of a particular place and time; so when one studies the music of a particular composer or era, one is also studying history. When I was in high school, I briefly considered becoming a history teacher. One could say that I did, indeed, become a history teacher; it’s just that I teach history through the endlessly fascinating lens of music and art. What kinds of New Yorkers take Music Appreciation and Music Theory?Music Appreciation students range from avid music lovers and concert-goers to people who want music to be an important part of their life, but feel their lack of knowledge regarding the technical elements or history of music is a barrier. The age range is broad—from thirty-somethings to senior citizens—usually folks who are in a moment in their lives when they’re able to pursue interests that take them beyond career and family. My students are usually very accomplished people who bring a lot into the classroom, and that makes the classroom a very interesting and vibrant place.  The same groups of people also tend to take our Music Theory courses; but Theory also attracts the passionate amateur musician who is taking lessons on a particular instrument, or playing in a rock band or classical chamber music group, some of whom even aspire to professional work in the field. The age range among students goes from late teens and twenty-somethings to senior citizens. And our Music Theory classes, similar to Music Appreciation classes, study works across all genres. Our more advanced classes have analyzed the work of composers including, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Ravel, Debussy, Gershwin, Paul Simon, The Beatles, Harold Arlen and much more. What was the most inspiring story to come out of your class?There have been many. I’ve taught musicians in their teens and twenties who have gone on to have thriving professional careers. Perhaps the most delightful story is that of a fellow who began studying both theory and appreciation with me at the age of 68, and who after four years of work decided to return to university and get a Bachelor’s of Music degree. He was 76 when he walked down the aisle to collect his diploma. Before he came to 92Y, he had never touched an instrument in his life. Who were your musical inspirations growing up?I was raised on popular music. My father’s favorite singer was Frank Sinatra. He also loved the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein. This music, along with all of the pop music I heard on AM Radio, was my pre-adolescence soundtrack. Classical music wasn’t at all part of my growing up. But it was a small group of songwriters who were prominent in the late 1960s that inspired me to become a musician: Paul Simon, The Beatles, Laura Nyro, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, all of the songwriters that I teach. I actually only began to study music formally when I was 18 years old. That’s when I discovered classical music. Copland, Bernstein, Stravinsky, Ravel, Gershwin, the theater music of Stephen Sondheim—they could all be added to the list of important influences after I began studying. And I was fortunate in my mid-twenties to have the opportunity of studying in master classes with Bernstein and Sondheim. You’ve been teaching here for 30 years. What fuels you today?I’m invigorated by my students. People return to study with me semester after semester, and that allows me to continually explore a vast range of music and history. It keeps me learning. And when I learn something new, I want to share it. That excitement—the wow factor of learning about something and sharing— hasn’t gotten old for me. Hear Rosen’s original music in the new Broadway play Act One at Lincoln Center Theater, as well as his new solo CD Time Was. Sign up for a class with Rosen in either Music Appreciation or Music Theory.

    Instructor Spotlight: Louis Rosen

    Louis Rosen has been teaching Music Appreciation and Music Theory at 92Y School of Music for over 30 years. What began as a part-time gig to make ends meet when he relocated to New York as a young composer resulted in the Chicago native becoming a faculty fixture. His career as a musician and composer blossomed, too. Louis’ partnership with Broadway actress Capathia Jenkins yielded three albums and return concert engagements at New York venues such as Joe’s Pub, Birdland and Iridium Jazz Club, along with tours that took him from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Harare, Zimbabwe. His work also includes a recent solo album, four musical theater pieces and over 30 scores for plays produced on and off-Broadway and in major regional theaters. Most recently, he composed the score for Lincoln Center Theater’s Act One, which opens on Broadway tonight.

    Here, Rosen talks about the similarities between Bach and the Beatles, seeing 92Y change over the years, and the student that inspired him most.

    How have you seen 92Y evolve in your 30 years teaching here?
    The more 92Y integrates new ideas and reaches out to new audiences, the more successful it is. My sense is that the institution is a bit more nimble now; we’re more able to adapt to changes in the culture and look beyond the present in planning for the future. This is certainly true of the 92Y School of Music.

    Read More

  6. Hannibal Buress & Tracy Morgan
5 Things We Learned About Tracy Morgan Last Night The SNL alum who gave life to Brian Fellows and received an Emmy nomination for his work on 30 Rock split sides at 92Y on April 16. Morgan was here to discuss his latest stand-up special Bona Fide, his seven seasons on both SNL and 30 Rock and how his life has changed. Here are 5 things we learned last night.
Morgan intended to organize a family reunion for his relatives with his first big SNL paycheck… but he bought a Ford Expedition instead.
He threw his name in the hat for David Letterman’s job at The Late Show (which ultimately went to Stephen Colbert).
He honed his facial expressions by watching Carol Burnett.
Morgan’s oldest brother was born crippled, so at school, he learned to be funny as a way to deflect bullies.
When he turns on the TV, Morgan usually chooses documentaries over sitcoms and comedy shows.

    Hannibal Buress & Tracy Morgan

    5 Things We Learned About Tracy Morgan Last Night

    The SNL alum who gave life to Brian Fellows and received an Emmy nomination for his work on 30 Rock split sides at 92Y on April 16. Morgan was here to discuss his latest stand-up special Bona Fide, his seven seasons on both SNL and 30 Rock and how his life has changed. Here are 5 things we learned last night.

    • Morgan intended to organize a family reunion for his relatives with his first big SNL paycheck… but he bought a Ford Expedition instead.
    • He threw his name in the hat for David Letterman’s job at The Late Show (which ultimately went to Stephen Colbert).
    • He honed his facial expressions by watching Carol Burnett.
    • Morgan’s oldest brother was born crippled, so at school, he learned to be funny as a way to deflect bullies.
    • When he turns on the TV, Morgan usually chooses documentaries over sitcoms and comedy shows.

  7. So, the correlation between yoga and Passover is not obvious to you?  It’s not surprising, says Judy Fuhrer, a 92Y May Center yoga instructor who weaves Jewish principles into her daily yoga practice. Fuhrer is currently writing The Yogadaha, a guide that aims to fuse Seder and Yoga Sutra.  While Passover observes the Jews’ freedom from physical bondage, Fuhrer says the holiday also encourages thoughts about achieving personal freedom from bad habits, physical limitations and other barriers that could prevent you from being your best.  Fuhrer describes the union of Passover and yoga even further:

“[The] purpose is to unite the body, mind and spirit for health and well-being. Through a regular practice of connecting yourself to Yoga postures, and Kavanah (good intentions/prayer), you will experience a powerful way to relieve the stresses of modern-day life.” 

Who’s up for a Passover yoga class next year?

    So, the correlation between yoga and Passover is not obvious to you?

    It’s not surprising, says Judy Fuhrer, a 92Y May Center yoga instructor who weaves Jewish principles into her daily yoga practice. Fuhrer is currently writing The Yogadaha, a guide that aims to fuse Seder and Yoga Sutra.

    While Passover observes the Jews’ freedom from physical bondage, Fuhrer says the holiday also encourages thoughts about achieving personal freedom from bad habits, physical limitations and other barriers that could prevent you from being your best.

    Fuhrer describes the union of Passover and yoga even further:

    “[The] purpose is to unite the body, mind and spirit for health and well-being. Through a regular practice of connecting yourself to Yoga postures, and Kavanah (good intentions/prayer), you will experience a powerful way to relieve the stresses of modern-day life.”

    Who’s up for a Passover yoga class next year?

  8. #MusicMonday: What do Passover, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and A Prairie Home Companion have in common? The Passover song “Dayenu.”  More than 1,000 years old, this lively 15-verse song, part of the Passover Seder celebration, lists 15 gifts God gave his people, beginning with leading them out of slavery. In each verse, the singer says that if God had given his people this one gift, it would have been enough—“dayenu.”  In the 1970s, fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show around the world developed a variety of irreverent audience participation stunts. In Israel, when “ingénue” Susan Sarandon says with dismay, “If only we hadn’t made this journey… if only the car hadn’t broken down… oh, if only we were amongst friends… or sane persons,” audience members sing “Dayenu”—“it would have been enough.” And on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion—that mainstay of mainstream Minnesota/Scandinavian-American culture—the show’s music director Richard Dworsky performs “Dayenu” every year on the broadcast nearest Passover.  Here’s a sample from the song, in an Israeli recording.

    #MusicMonday: What do Passover, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and A Prairie Home Companion have in common?

    The Passover song “Dayenu.”

    More than 1,000 years old, this lively 15-verse song, part of the Passover Seder celebration, lists 15 gifts God gave his people, beginning with leading them out of slavery. In each verse, the singer says that if God had given his people this one gift, it would have been enough—“dayenu.”

    In the 1970s, fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show around the world developed a variety of irreverent audience participation stunts. In Israel, when “ingénue” Susan Sarandon says with dismay, “If only we hadn’t made this journey… if only the car hadn’t broken down… oh, if only we were amongst friends… or sane persons,” audience members sing “Dayenu”—“it would have been enough.”

    And on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion—that mainstay of mainstream Minnesota/Scandinavian-American culture—the show’s music director Richard Dworsky performs “Dayenu” every year on the broadcast nearest Passover.

    Here’s a sample from the song, in an Israeli recording.

  9. Rabbi Dan Ain & Nathan Phillips
Wishing everybody a happy Passover. We hope to see some of you at our 92Y Seders.
So about those four questions…Question no. 1: Why is this Haggadah different from all other Haggadahs? Rabbi Dan Ain will be leading a Passover Seder with writer/comedian Nathan Phillips, author of The Bob Marley Haggadah, in Brooklyn. For those of you who can’t join us, our friends at JDate have published the all-new JDate Haggadah with a fresh take on Pesach. Or you can always download The Maxwell House Haggadah (this one simply gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling). Question no. 2: Why do we eat Matzah? Rabbi Dan has the answer over at HuffPo.Question no. 3: Where can I find a creative family Seder? We’ve got one with songs, stories and games at 92Y.Question no. 4: What makes this night different from all other nights? We’ll leave that one to you.

    Rabbi Dan Ain & Nathan Phillips

    Wishing everybody a happy Passover. We hope to see some of you at our 92Y Seders.

    So about those four questions

    Question no. 1: Why is this Haggadah different from all other Haggadahs? Rabbi Dan Ain will be leading a Passover Seder with writer/comedian Nathan Phillips, author of The Bob Marley Haggadah, in Brooklyn. For those of you who can’t join us, our friends at JDate have published the all-new JDate Haggadah with a fresh take on Pesach. Or you can always download The Maxwell House Haggadah (this one simply gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling).

    Question no. 2: Why do we eat Matzah? Rabbi Dan has the answer over at HuffPo.

    Question no. 3: Where can I find a creative family Seder? We’ve got one with songs, stories and games at 92Y.

    Question no. 4: What makes this night different from all other nights? We’ll leave that one to you.

  10. We are honored to find our new audio and video site, 92YOnDemand.org, in the company of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, CBS Interactive, BuzzFeed Video on YouTube, and many others who have been selected as an Official Honoree for the 18th Annual Webby Awards.
92YOnDemand.org was recognized as a 2014 Webby Award Honoree in three different categories: Cultural Institution, Web/Media Streaming, and Online Film & Video / Variety.
A big congratulations to all the staff here at 92Y that worked on the site – it was a 92Y-wide effort. We hope that you’ve had the opportunity to watch and listen to the amazing array of programs available for free on the site and that you continue to visit often. If not, there’s no better time to check it out here: http://92yondemand.org/

    We are honored to find our new audio and video site, 92YOnDemand.org, in the company of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, CBS Interactive, BuzzFeed Video on YouTube, and many others who have been selected as an Official Honoree for the 18th Annual Webby Awards.

    92YOnDemand.org was recognized as a 2014 Webby Award Honoree in three different categories: Cultural Institution, Web/Media Streaming, and Online Film & Video / Variety.

    A big congratulations to all the staff here at 92Y that worked on the site – it was a 92Y-wide effort. We hope that you’ve had the opportunity to watch and listen to the amazing array of programs available for free on the site and that you continue to visit often. If not, there’s no better time to check it out here: http://92yondemand.org/