Block parties and street fairs are a sure sign that spring has arrived. But you might want to trade in roasted corn and trashy trinkets for ballet performances and panel discussions at Symphony Space’s second annual Upper West Fest, a three-week marathon of more than 50 performances, presentations and exhibitions. The cultural good times begin on April 28, at the Kick-Off Block Party along 80th Street. Kids from the Ballet Hispanico will perform the flamenco and followed by a country-and-western concert by the Space’s political cabaret, Thalia Follies. Teens will perform scenes from Disney’s High School Musical.
This year, too, Folksbiene’s National Yiddish Theatre and the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan are presenting their first Yiddish film festival. “We’ve been presenting live Yiddish theater for 32 years,” said Motl Didner, associate artistic director at the Yiddish Theatre. “Film just seems to be more of a popular art form … so we’re hoping that it will bring in people … [who] are more open to seeing a foreign-language film.” What a chochmeh! No worries for those not in the Yiddish know: There will be English subtitles.
On April 28, pianist Peter Sokolow will provide the lively musical score to the silent film East and West and Monday will bring a recently restored print of Ilya Motyleff’s The Cantor’s Son, a classic starring Moishe Oysher as an immigrant who makes it big as a singer in America and returns to Europe to make his parents proud. Oh shtik naches!
More information on the Upper West Side Fest can be found at http://www.upperwestfest.com