What (Else) To Do When You're in Town for NYU's 2017 Commencement

Because there's only so much pomp and circumstance a person can stand.
photo: flowers in front of the Washington Square Park arch

We know—this isn’t any ordinary trip to New York. You’re here for the Big Day. For the cap and gown (at last). For as many posed family portraits as your brand new NYU graduate, decked out in Violet, will endure.
There’s the All-University Commencement at Yankee Stadium on May 17, of course, and the graduation ceremonies for each school—but you already knew all that. You’ve already got your outfits picked out and reservations made for a celebratory feast or two—not to mention a game plan for Grad Alley, NYU’s carnival-like Commencement-Eve block party.
What else is there to do? A lot, it turns out.
On the off chance you happen upon a moment of downtime during your stay—or just need a few minutes of peace and quiet amid all the fanfare and nostalgia—here’s a guide to some low-key entertainment across campus.

Performances

Steinhardt music students perform woodwind chamber music in a free concert at Provincetown Playhouse on May 11.

A large scale Chinese singing reality show brings students from 56 schools around the country to compete in a grand finale at Skirball on May 12.

In the Frederick Loewe Theater, The NYU Chorale, Women’s Choir, University Singers, NYU Men’s Glee Club, Madrigal Singers, and Jazz Choir sing into spring on May 13. That evening also brings a strings chamber music concert at 35 West 4th Street, room 303, and Operas at the House, a showcase of three short original operas presented by the Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at NYU Tisch’s Black Box Theater. The following evening (May 14), the NYU Percussion Quartet performs in the Loewe Theater.

National Theater Live presents Jude Law starring in the stage production of Obsession—broadcast live at Skirball from the Barbican Theatre in London on May 18. 

As part of its The Blarney Star Concert Series, the Glucksman Ireland House at welcomes Irish fiddler Erin Loughran for a performance on May 19.

The New York City Gay Men's Chorus joins forces with the London Gay Men's Chorus for I See Fire: Anthems for a New Era at Skirball on May 20. 

Exhibitions

Tisch highlights student work with Show Three, an exhibition of work from the entire senior undergraduate Photography & Imaging class on May 11, an animation showcase also on May 11, and a Design Show 2017, an exhibition featuring the work of 18 MFA set, costume, lighting, and film designers (on view May 9-18, with a meet the designers event on May 13). 

80WSE presents an exhibition of thesis work by Steinhardt MFA students (on display in the gallery through May 23), and Journal Excerpts 1997-2000 by professor Lyle Ashton Harris (on view in the Washington Square Windows through July 9). A multimedia installation of Harris’s work is also featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial Exhibition, on view through June 11 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. 

The Grey Art Gallery presents Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia, the first retrospective of works by the artist best known as the lead singer of the American new Wave band DEVO. This exhibition chronicles the beginning of his career in the early 1970s through the present (on view through July 16).

At the NYU Langone Medical Center Art Gallery, Portia Munson's Earth Rights exhibition features works that serve as a reminder of the profound impact we have on our environment (on view through July 16).

Talks

Lisa Dwan (CBA '17) will explore the relationship between body and identity in the works of Samuel Beckett in a talk presented by NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts on May 11.

On May 13, the Glucksman Ireland House presents a day of all things Yeats, organized in partnership with the Yeats Society of NY. 

Deutsches Haus hosts “Journalism in Troubled Times,” a May 15 conversation among the Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen, SPIEGEL ONLINE’s New York correspondent Marc Pitzke, and NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen.

Richard Wormser will screen and discuss his documentary film American Reds, which explores the vision and blindness of the American Communist Party between 1930 and 1960, on May 16 at the Tamiment Library.

Only at NYU

May 16 kicks off a two-day exhibition of recent creative tech projects by the graduate students in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. 

You never know what you might find there, but here are some highlights from a previous showcase:

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