Even during a tranquil holiday weekend, New York never stops incubating new musicals.
“Lysistrata Jones” is a contemporary, cheeky take on Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” this one set in Athens, Georgia. Instead of denying sex to men to stop the Peloponnesian War, the women are university cheerleaders who play coy to snap their boyfriends’ losing streak in basketball.
The satirical book-in-progress by Douglas Carter Beane (Broadway’s “Sister Act” and “Xanadu”) has references to texting, “sexting” and even the troubles of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The theater is a real-life gym, showcasing the best basketball-themed choreography since the movie “High School Musical.” Lewis Flinn has written an exuberant pop score, and given the acoustics, it’s high volume.
Should this wind up on Broadway? You be the judge.
“Lysistrata Jones” is at the Gym at Judson, 243 Thompson St. at Washington Square South through June 19. Information: +1-866-811-4111; http://www.transportgroup.org/index.php.
Exploring Ryoji Ikeda’s immersive “The Transfinite” at the Park Avenue Armory is like being inside a huge digital brain, synapses exploding.
Black-and-white barcode-like bands project across the floor and onto a 45-foot-tall screen, accompanied by layers of synchronized sound.
“To me, the purest beauty is the world of mathematics,” the Japanese electronic composer and visual artist wrote about his compelling creation.
“The Transfinite” is at 643 Park Ave. at 67th St. through June 11. Information: +1-212-616-3930; http://www.armoryonpark.org.
A few blocks south, Brio is a favorite among locals and tourists for its efficient service and reliable Italian fare. The soup specials, pizza and whole wheat vegetarian pasta seldom disappoint.
At 137 E. 61st St. Information: +1-212-980-2300; http://brionyc.com/
Composer Cy Coleman wrote hits for Broadway (“Sweet Charity,” “The Will Rogers Follies,” “City of Angels”) and for Frank Sinatra. David Zippel, Coleman’s collaborator on “City of Angels,” stitched them together in “The Best Is Yet to Come,” a Vegas-style revue.
Billy Stritch, a legendary pianist and singer, heads the company. Joining him are roof-raiser Lillias White, “Phantom of the Opera” veteran Howard McGillin, siren Rachel York, chanteuse Sally Mayes and charmer David Burnham (who, sadly, can’t charm enough with “Witchcraft”). It’s mostly a smiley-face catalog, with refreshingly no “and then he wrote” patter. There is too much gloss on the blues that suffused Coleman’s songs and made them timeless.
“The Best Is Yet to Come” is at 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. through July 3. Information: +1-212-279-4200; http://www.59e59.org.
An alternate look back comes from David Johansen of the 1970s-era rock band New York Dolls at City Winery. Johansen says on the City Winery site that while he loves his earlier loud and fast songs, he’s been yearning to perform songs that allow him to explore singing’s more soulful side.
At 155 Varick St. Information: +1-212-608-0555; www.citywinery.com/events/162349.
Part conceptual art, part hucksterism, all fun: Alexander Melamid’s new “Art Healing Ministry” aims to cure ills through art. The Soho store he set up should at least cure some blahs.
There are shoe insoles with van Gogh’s self portrait ($25), a wood box allegedly stuffed with happiness ($100) and a modified Jasper Johns flag poster, with the message: “Jasper Johns is the answer! Stare and Get Cured.” (On display but sold for $250.)
“The goal is to take art away from the ethereal and make it useful,” said Gary Krimershmoys, an art adviser who worked with Melamid, 66, to create the store. It includes a meditation area and what resembles a dentist’s chair where Melamid promises free art-healing evaluations.
At 98 Thompson St. Information: +1-212-334-0403; http://arthealingministry.org.
It’s been seven weeks since director Sidney Lumet died and 28 years since his “Serpico” stunned audiences. Al Pacino was nominated for an Oscar as Frank Serpico, the real-life New York City policeman who exposed cop corruption and was thanked for it with a bullet in the face. Bloomberg’s Peter Rainer called it probably the best New York cop film. The Museum of the Moving Image screens it at 7 p.m.
Visit early to see “Trash Mirror,” David Rozin’s installation, in which computer-controlled motors arrange 500 irregularly shaped objects to build a picture of a visitor based on his or her video image.
The Museum is at 36-01 35 Ave., Astoria, Queens. Information: +1-718-784-0077; http://www.movingimage.us/
With likely heavy traffic on the East End of Long Island and the Atlantic Ocean a forbidding 56 degrees Fahrenheit, Manhattan may seem almost rural by comparison. For greener pastures, Governors Island opens to the public for the summer this weekend.
Free ferries leave from the Battery Maritime Building. Bicycles are welcome or can be rented on the 172-acre island, which is car-free and features a 2.2-mile promenade.
Also opening there this weekend is the largest exhibition of American sculptor Mark di Suvero in New York since the 1970s. Among the dozen works is 1993-95’s “Old Buddy,” described as a composition of girders named in memory of the artist’s dog.
Governor Island is open Friday through Sunday, and Monday holidays through Sept. 25. Information: http://www.govisland.com/html/home/home.shtml.
Memorial Day also ends Fleet Week in New York Harbor, including the unfurling of a 100-foot American flag and tours of military vessels.
At Pier 86, W. 46th St. and 12th Ave. Information: +1-212-245-0072; http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/FleetWeek2011atIntrepid.aspx.
(Philip Boroff is a writer at Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)