(718) 260–2500 Brooklyn Paper’s essential guide to the Borough of Kings March 22–28, 2019
This festival will have a new attitude!
Legendary soul queen Patti LaBelle will rock
the Prospect Park Bandshell on June 4 as the
opening act for the Bric Celebrate Brooklyn!
Festival, the borough’s longest-running, mostlyfree
summer concert series, according to the
media maven producing the show.
“We are thrilled to kick off our summer concert
series at the Prospect Park Bandshell with R&B
icon Patti LaBelle,” said Bric President Kristina
Newman-Scott. “This year’s festival will open
with a renewed sense of energy and commitment
to the artistry that defines Brooklyn.”
The Philadelphia-born crooner rose to fame
following the release of the 1974 disco hit “ Lady
Marmalade ,” which she sang with her band Labelle.
After the group broke up in ’76, the Philly
vocalist’s solo career took off — her eponymous
solo album soared to number 31 on the R&B albums
chart, driven by now-classic tunes including
“ You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover, ” and
“ Since I Don’t Have You .”
And after numerous Grammy nominations,
including for her 1984 crossover hit “New Attitude,”
and a pair of wins for her 1991 R&B album
“Burnin’ ” and 1994 dance number “When
You Talk About Love,” LaBelle’s name was immortalized
in American music history with the
2004 induction of her version of “Lady Marmalade”
into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
LaBelle’s blowout concert event will kick off
Bric’s 41st annual Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
summer-music series. The arts organization
plans to announce the remaining line-up
of free and paid acts sometime in May, according
to spokesman Ron Gaskill.
Before LaBelle’s free 8 pm performance at
the Prospect Park Bandshell, Bric will host a
decidedly not-free opening night gala, which
has been dubbed “The Revel,” open to wellheeled
music lovers who can afford tickets that
start at a whopping $750. The gala, which will
honor longtime Bric board member Hilary Ackerman,
will also help fund the remainder of the
concert series, Gaskill said.
Patti LaBelle at Bric Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
Prospect Park Bandshell, enter at Ninth
Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope,
(718) 683–5600, www.bricartsmedia.org/cb.
June 4 at 8 pm. Free. — Colin Mixson
Be my Baba tonight: A new adaptation of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” opening at the Target Margin Theater space on April 1, puts the focus on Baba’s female slave,
Marjana, who actually saves the day.
By Aidan Graham
It’s open sesame in Sunset Park!
A new play in Sunset Park will put
a feminist lens on a familiar tale from
the Middle East. “Marjana and the Forty
Thieves,” opening on April 1 at the Doxsee
theater, tells the classic tale of Ali Baba
and the titular bandits, but puts the focus on
Marjana, the story’s overlooked protagonist,
according to the play’s director.
“Marjana is the slave woman who solves
every problem, and saves the day again
and again. The focus on her really does
come from the story. She drives the action,”
said David Herskovits, founder of
the Target Margin Theater.
The story follows Ali Baba as he stumbles
upon, and then steals, an extravagant
treasure assembled by 40 bloodthirsty bandits.
When they come for revenge, Marjana,
a slave in Ali Baba’s household, foils their
plot with tenacity and quick thinking.
Target Margin’s adaptation highlights
the role-reversal inherent in the tale of a
powerless woman taking charge of the situation,
according to Herskovits.
“We try to take material and make it
more true to itself, a more complete representation
of what the story already is,”
During the intimate 75-minute performance,
a five-member cast will act out
the story, with one actor standing in for
all 40 thieves. The audience will relax on
couches and sofa cushions while sipping
on tea, which the director hopes will give
the night an inviting, joyous feeling.
“We want people to feel comfortable.
We want it to feel intimate. It’s a dense
text, but we want it to be adventurous and
artistically fun,” he said.
“Marjana” is the latest installment of Target
Margin Theater’s multi-year exploration
of “The One Thousand and One Nights,”
which started with last year’s production
“Pay No Attention to the Girl.”
Herskovits said he was drawn to the
source material for its excess of drama
and vast cultural influences.
“The text is so rich in the diversity of its
stories. And ‘One and One Thousand Nights’
emerges from many different cultures and areas
as well. No culture has authoritative ownership
of the story. It’s like the Silk Road, because
it takes you all the way from the Pacific
to North Africa,” said the director.
“Girls Burn Brighter,” by Shobha Rao
Every single time that I had to leave Rao’s
debut novel, I found myself
counting down the
seconds until I could
get back to it! A beautifully
written story of
two best friends, who
meet as teenage girls in
a small village in India,
are separated by a tragic
incident, and who endure
much more tragedy in the
journey to reconnect with
one another. Be prepared
to be angry, to cry, and to want to grab Savitha
and Poornima and hold them tight.
— Jeff Waxman, Word 126 Franklin St. at
Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096,
Community Bookstore’s pick:
“Milkman,” by Anna Burns
Set in Northern Ireland
during the Troubles
of the 1970s, Anna
Burns’s Man Booker
explores the paranoia,
repression, and nearsurreal
living in a community
at war with itself. Rigorous
and distilled in
its prose and structure,
Burns claims a place beside
Joyce and Beckett as one of the Emerald
Isle’s all-time greats.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore 43
Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield
Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.
commu nityb ookst ore.net .
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick:
“Machines Like Me,” by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan’s new novel is set in an alternative
1980s, where technology
is much more advanced
and Britain has just lost
the Falklands War. Our
protagonist finds himself
in a love triangle with the
girl of his dreams and the
he has just purchased.
This is one of the wittiest
pieces of speculative
fiction I have read
in a long while, and Mc-
Ewan’s thoughts are a joy to wade through. Of
course we’ve seen robots gain sentience in countless
books and movies, but we have not yet encountered
the likes of Ian McEwan’s Adam — an
endlessly complex and fascinating character.
— Sarah Goewey, Greenlight Bookstore 686
Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland
Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200,
To watch a thief New play changes focus to give ‘Ali Baba’ story a feminist spin
“Marjana and the Forty Thieves” at
the Doxsee 232 52nd St. between Second
and Third avenues in Sunset Park,
(718) 398–3095 www.targetmargin.org.
March 28–April 20; Thu–Sat at 8 pm;
Sun at 3 pm. Offi cial opening April 1 at
8 pm. $25–$35.
By Julianne McShane
She’s facing history.
A Bay Ridge artist will read
from her picture book about a girl
in the late 19th century who learns
to ride a bicycle, at Stories Bookshop
in Park Slope on March 24. “Born to
Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face”
highlights a pernicious rumor during
the 1890s: that a woman’s delicate
constitution could not handle
the strain of cycling, and that any attempt
to do so would lead to a permanent
disfiguration dubbed “bicycle
face” — an idea that shocked the
“I had never heard of ‘bicycle face’
— obviously it’s the
most ridiculous thing imaginable,”
said Kelsey Garrity-Riley. “It’s something
we don’t think twice about —
every little girl and boy learns to ride
a bike, and it would never occur to
me to not have that freedom and independence.”
Author Larissa Theule wrote the
story of youngster Louisa Belinda
Bellflower, who feels frustrated by
the limits she faces as a girl. After
Louisa ditches her skirt for pants and
demands that her brother teach her
how to ride, he warns her of the bulging
eyes and closed-up jaw that doctors
claim will plague female cyclists.
Louisa remains undaunted,
and after falling off the twowheeler
again and again, she
finds her balance and her own
“bicycle face” which is intentionally
one of the few times the
character smiles in the book,
“When she finally does ride,
her ‘bicycle face’ is a gigantic,
gorgeous smile,” the illustrator
said. “Before that, there’s this intensity
and determination. I appreciate
girls being given the space not
to have to constantly be smiling.”
The artist says that the book
teaches a lesson of resistance
that she hopes will prompt readers
to consider the barriers they
still face today.
“At the time it wasn’t an overt form
of oppression, but there’s still all these
small ways that women and minorities
are held down in a way that may not
seem obvious, and I would encourage
people to look for those ways,”
“Born to Ride” story time with
illustrator Kelsey Garrity-Riley at
Stories Bookshop and Storytelling
Lab (458 Bergen St. between Fifth
and Flatbush avenues in Park Slope,
www.storiesbk.com). March 24 at
10:30 am. Free.
Picture this: Ridgite Kelsey Garrity-Riley will read from the book
she illustrated, “Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face,” at a
free March 24 event at Stories Bookshop and Storytelling Lab in
Park Slope. Kelsey Garrity-Riley