5 Things to Do This Weekend
When starting their dance company L-E-V in 2013, the Israeli artists Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar signaled that it would be a heart-centered endeavor. After all, Lev means “heart” in Hebrew. Over the past five years, that intention has been explicitly realized with the creation of their “Love” trilogy. The first part came to New York in 2017, the second in 2019, and this week the series concludes with “Chapter 3: The Brutal Journey of the Heart” at the Joyce Theater.
As the title indicates, Eyal and Behar are more interested in love’s dangers than in its delights. Eyal, L-E-V’s choreographer and a former star dancer with the Batsheva Dance Company, expresses emotional contortions by distorting bodies in fascinating ways; Behar, a former party producer, imbues the work with the communal catharsis and shadowy secrets of a club. The special sauce is Ori Lichtik’s electronic score, both throbbing and ethereal. Performances are through Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2. Tickets start at $45 and are available at joyce.org.
After a year’s absence because of the pandemic, this touring onstage celebration of the “Sesame Street” series has returned to the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Titled “Let’s Party!” and playing its final performances on Saturday and Sunday, this 90-minute musical revival features not only Oscar but also familiar faces like Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, Abby Cadabby and Rosita, who provides an interactive lesson in Spanish.
Little fans will also learn about cooperation. When Sesame Street’s residents discover that they have different concepts of fun, they have to devise festivities that all will enjoy.
Tickets start at $25, but you can also find free “Sesame Street” entertainment on the show’s YouTube channel. Its extensive Black History Month playlist includes an animated video about the aviation pioneers Bessie Coleman and James Banning and a compilation of “Sesame Street” clips featuring Black guest stars like John Legend, Lupita Nyong’o and Erykah Badu.
Pop & Rock
Though it has been represented on the global stage for decades, assouf — an invention of Tuareg musicians that blends rock, blues and African folk music — has a notable new ambassador in Mdou Moctar. Since 2008, the Niger-born artist has poured his prodigious guitar talents into hypnotic, riff-heavy recordings. At first, they reached their audience organically, traveling around the Sahara region through informal file-sharing networks; more recently, Moctar signed with the New York-based indie label Matador, solidifying his foothold overseas.
Moctar released his sixth album, “Afrique Victime,” on Matador last year. Between wild, crackling tendrils of guitar, he sings in Tamasheq about homesickness, long-distance love and the lingering legacy of colonialism in his homeland. On Friday at 7:30 p.m., Moctar and his band will play “Afrique Victime” in its entirety at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; the unorthodox indie rocker Bartees Strange will open. The concert kicks off a music series curated by the critic and poet Hanif Abdurraqib. Tickets start at $35 and are available at bam.org.
In “Sandblasted,” the playwright Charly Evon Simpson sends two women on a desert quest that might not lead exactly where they dreamed. Fortunately, Odessa (Marinda Anderson) and Angela (Brittany Bellizeare) run into a wellness guru named Adah (played by the talk show personality Rolonda Watts) who might take them to the place they really need to be.
This existential play deals with hope, healing and our willingness to turn celebrities into our own personal deities. Who do we choose to believe and why? Simpson’s sophisticated comedy dispenses unshakable bits of wisdom, and an ode to fresh air hits quite strongly given the many restrictions we have been living with in order to survive.
“Sandblasted” runs at the Vineyard Theater through March 13. Tickets start at $26 and are available at the theater’s box office and website.
We’re living in boom times for new flute compositions — thanks in part to Claire Chase’s ongoing “Density 2036” commissioning project. But Chase is not the only player working to expand the instrument’s contemporary profile. “Field Anatomies,” a new solo album from Laura Cocks, reveals a strong taste in living composers.
This set gets off to a vivacious start with the composer David Bird’s “Atolls,” for a solo live piccolo that often plays alongside 29 prerecorded parts. In its opening minutes, the composition wastes no time in showing off Cocks’s febrile instrumental prowess. But there’s also much to revel in as the background piccolo parts take on a greater presence in the mix.
On his website, Bird writes that he derived pitches for the background piccolos by analyzing “a crash cymbal and Janet Leigh’s infamous scream from Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho.’” Despite the clear sense of alarm carried by that source material, Cocks’s realization of the work evokes more contemplative moods. That satisfying, subtle array of approaches finds consistent expression across the balance of the album.
SETH COLTER WALLS