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New York State Shines This Summer With Golden Anniversaries For Woodstock And Stonewall, Worldpride’s American Debut And A Full Roster Of Arts And Cultural Events

March 30, 2019 Destination New York No Comments Email Email

Fifty years ago, New York State was the epicenter for two cultural turning points: the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and the Stonewall uprising. In June 1969, LGBTQ community members stood up against discrimination at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, considered by many as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Later that summer, an estimated 400,000 people descended on the town of Bethel in the Catskills for Woodstock, a pivotal music and counterculture generation event. Special commemorations are planned across the state to mark these golden anniversaries.

“1969 was a year that rocked the world, and New York State led the band. The Woodstock and Stonewall anniversary celebrations will complement New York State’s countless summertime arts and cultural experiences,” said I LOVE NY Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi. “Beyond the milestones, great seasonal activities await visitors ranging from swimming to visiting wineries, and from camping to riding roller coasters. Our growing airports, new train stations and recently completed regional welcome centers make finding what you love on a family vacation or weekend getaway simple.”

Here’s a sampling of the best arts and culture celebrations, openings and events this spring and summer:

Woodstock Goes Golden

All eyes are on New York this summer as the state celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair:

· From August 15-18, music lovers from around the globe will make their pilgrimage to the site of the original concert in the Catskills, where Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will host an outdoor screening of the famous Woodstock documentary on the very field where the festival occurred. This is part of “A Season of Song and Celebration” which includes performances from legendary musicians including Ringo Starr, Arlo Guthrie and Santana.

· Michael Lang, co-founder of the original Woodstock, will host Woodstock 50 at Watkins Glen International from August 16-18, with multiple stages featuring a recently announced who’s who lineup of artists spanning music genres and generations. Headliners include Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Sturgill Simpson, and The Killers and original Woodstock performers like David Crosby, John Fogerty, Country Joe McDonald and Melanie.

Artistically Proud

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, New York State will host WorldPride 2019, the first time the international event will be held in the United States. Several of New York State’s esteemed arts and culture institutions are adding their support with events of their own:

· The Albany Symphony’s “Sing Out, New York!” (May 28-June 2 and June 6-9) will present free, outdoor concerts of performances including John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, “Of Rage and Remembrance,” a tribute to those lost to AIDS; and the premiere of composer Viet Cuong’s piece inspired by the beginning of the gay rights movement.

· Bishop Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop and Vice President of Religion at Chautauqua Institution, will lead a discussion about the building of America’s LGBTQ community on July 2 during the weeklong “Uncommon Ground: Communities Working Toward Solutions” program. The discussion will feature prominent advocates like Judy Shepard, who started the Matthew Shepard Foundation to advance equal LGBTQ rights after her son was killed in a hate crime.

· On July 5, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Pride at the Falls, a free concert at Niagara Falls. The concert will be accompanied by fireworks and the falls will be lit in rainbow colors.

· To close out the commemorative events for WorldPride and Stonewall 50, LGBTQ comedian Matteo Lane will be performing two shows on July 6 at the National Comedy Center. The New York-based comedian has performed stand-up on various shows including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Late Night with Seth Meyers, and was recognized by The Advocate as one of its 2018 LGBT Icons, Innovators, and Disruptors.

Celebrating American Classics

New York State has long been home to some of America’s greatest creators, and upcoming anniversaries and openings make it the perfect time to learn about their lives and legacies:

· Walt Whitman, one of America’s most treasured poets, was born May 31, 1819, and the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site on Long Island is commemorating the occasion all-year, with their 2019 Whitman Bicentennial Celebration. The Whitman Bicentennial Birthday Weekend, from May 31-June 2, features panels, tours and musical theater pieces. A Poet’s Picnic on June 1 will present Whitman-era music while a local poetry group stages a marathon reading of “Leaves of Grass.” The annual Walt Whitman International Festival, August 9-11, will present a student poetry workshop and presentation, theater and music performances, and Whitman scholar Ed Folsom.

· The newly-opened Hudson River Skywalk connects the homes of respected painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, leaders of the Hudson River School movement. The two-mile round-trip trail encourages visitors to explore some of the region’s most impactful arts contributions, while also providing scenic views of the Hudson River and River Valley from hundreds of feet above ground level on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is also showcasing the works of other Hudson River Valley artists in “Thomas Cole’s Refrain: The Paintings of Catskill Creek” from May 4-Nov. 3.

Showstopping Performances

This summer, visitors to New York State can enjoy world-class talent beyond Broadway:

· Alvin Ailey and a small group of African-American modern dancers first took the stage in 1958, launching a new era in the performing arts. Mr. Ailey became one of the groundbreaking greats in African-American history, while the work of his Company grew beyond the limits of the stage to encompass education, community outreach and cultural diplomacy. Travelers to New York City this summer can catch the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, on the heels of a joyous 60th Anniversary celebration, from June 12 – 16 at Lincoln Center.

· Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has taken the world by storm, and the show will now bring its magic to the Capital-Saratoga region with a run at historic Proctors Theatre in Schenectady from August 13-25. For visitors seeking more of Alexander Hamilton, the #HamiltonInAlbany program highlights sites that played an important role in his life and career. From May 16 through October, “When Alexander Hamilton Called Albany Home” tours the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, where Hamilton married Eliza Schuyler in 1780.

The Future of Art

While the state’s cultural legacy lives on, New Yorkers are also envisioning and creating innovative new art forms, including these new cultural developments at the following spaces and events:

· The Shed, located in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, is scheduled to open on April 5. The Shed is both an arts organization and a state-of-the-art performance venue that includes a massive movable shell that transforms an outdoor plaza into a covered performance space. The first half of its opening season (April-August) features: new work by conceptual artist Trisha Donnelly through May 30; a documentary film from Beatriz Gonzalez, considered a founder of the movement of Modern Colombian Art (June 19-Aug. 25); and Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a kung fu musical with songs by Sia (June 22-July 27). Open Call (May 30-Aug. 25) will be free to the public and show new art from 52 New York City-based up-and-comers.

· At the intersection of art and technology, LUMA Projection Arts Festival celebrates its fifth year September 6-7. The first and only festival in the United States dedicated to the art of projection mapping, LUMA has become a global showcase of creativity and storytelling. The festival transforms downtown Binghamton into a series of stories, using buildings as the canvases for projections that are both technically advanced and aesthetically remarkable.

Hidden Gems

New York State is full of incredible cultural institutions that are worth a summer vacation visit, from one-of-a-kind museums to historic performance centers, and the set of a landmark sci-fi television show:

· Two of Chautauqua-Allegheny’s greatest cultural institutions – the National Comedy Center and Chautauqua Institution – are teaming up for a weeklong program exploring what we can learn from the space where free speech, political correctness and humor intersect. From July 27-Aug. 3, “What’s Funny?” will provide new insights about the art of comedy and its impact on society.

· The Chautauqua Institution is commemorating a pair of anniversaries this summer. The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra turns 90 and has announced a lineup of 22 performances, beginning June 27 and running through mid-August, at the Chautauqua Amphitheater. Performances will be led by Maestro Rossen Milanov and feature pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Scriabin’s Piano Concerto.

· The Chautauqua Opera Company, also celebrating its 90th anniversary, is North America’s oldest continuously operating summer opera company. This summer’s mainstage season features three operas based on the three Figaro plays by 18th century French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais. During the company’s Trilogy Weekend (July 25-27), audiences can experience all three operas across three consecutive nights.

· The Smith Opera House in Geneva is commemorating its 125th year with special programming, beginning with free weekly tours of the historic space from May 1-June 26. Originally built with the dream of bringing entertainment to the Finger Lakes, the Smith still serves as a venue for the

arts ranging from burlesque to opera. One of the oldest operating performing arts theaters in the United States, the Smith’s original 1894 façade, 1931 art deco interior and comprehensive theater, music and film programming make it a perfect cultural destination this summer.

· The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice celebrates 10 years of bringing the vocal arts to Main Street in the Catskills this summer. Vocal artists from around the globe will join local talent as they aim to generate a greater appreciation for this special art form. Events scheduled from August 2-4 will honor African-American culture.

· Hollywood legend William Shatner returns to the Adirondacks town of Ticonderoga on June 7-8 for The Captain’s Inspection Tour Weekend. The famed actor’s encore appearance to the set of the original Star Trek series includes several special events, and visitors will be able to tour the immersive, jaw-droppingly accurate sets from the iconic TV show.

For more information on these and other happenings in New York State this year, visit iloveny.com. Media can find press releases and more at iloveny.com/thebeat.

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