I hope everyone enjoyed a safe July 4th holiday. Summer is now in full swing, and this week we’ve got short films, dance on film, music meets art, and plenty of opportunities to get outside and experience live music under starry skies. Life is good!

Complexions Contemporary Ballet presents
Black is Beautiful
Welcome to Black is Beautiful, a dance film choreographed and directed by Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Co-Artistic Directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, with video by Jacob Hiss. The film is the first episode of a four-part series, Snatched Back from the Edges, which they will roll out throughout the 2021-2022 season. Black is Beautiful is an intense, abstract depiction of the depth of systemic racism and oppression. Its heartfelt message of positivity celebrates black people’s power, majesty, and resilience throughout history despite these challenges. Set to the spoken word piece by the same name, the film features the poetry of four prolific poets from the United Kingdom: Terrell Lewis, Aicha Therese, Mr. Reed, and Poetess Jess.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet will be live at The PAC on February 4, 2023. Learn more about the company on their website. 
Watch Complexions Contemporary Ballet “Black is Beautiful” on YouTube

PBS presents
Short Film Festival
On-demand from Monday, July 11-Friday, July 22
Now in its 11th year, the PBS Short Film Festival is a celebration of independent films and filmmaking. Join us in exploring an incredible selection of captivating films about identity, society, culture, family, race, and humanity in this annual showcase of powerful and unexpected stories. It is part of a multiplatform initiative to increase the reach and visibility of independent filmmakers from across the country and amplify the voices of diverse content creators. Since its inception in 2012, hundreds of films celebrating love, acceptance, family, strength, equality, friendship, loyalty, and more have been presented under the festival’s banner. The 2022 festival carries the tagline “Stories that Stick” to highlight the impact of powerful storytelling. Audiences can watch and share all 27 films starting at midnight on July 11.
Learn more about the 2022 Short Film Festival on PBS.org

Yonkers on the River presents
Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hudson River Museum’s Opening Night Summer 2022
Friday, July 8, 8pm. Doors open at 7:30pm; seating is first-come, first-served
Hudson River Museum Amphitheater
Two of Westchester’s great cultural institutions—Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) and the Hudson River Museum—come together to present a lively evening of classical music. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the YPO is known for its inclusive performances with selections chosen to appeal to the widest variety of music lovers. What better way to spend a summer evening than with a little bit of Bach, jazz, and show tunes? Throw in some dance music and you have the perfect sampler of music under the stars. It’s a smorgasbord of fun and entertainment with a taste for everyone. The Guest Conductor for this special evening is Peter Szep, founder of the New York Opera Alliance and the New York Opera Fest which showcases the breadth and diversity of opera in New York City.
Learn more about this free series of summer concerts by visiting HRM.org

Jazz Forum Arts presents
Free Outdoor Jazz Concerts
Jazz Forum Arts is celebrating 25 years of free outdoor summer concerts in Westchester.
-Sunset Jazz at Lyndhurst, Tarrytown; Thursdays at 6:30-8pm, July 7 to August 25
-Jazz at Pierson Park, Tarrytown; Fridays at 6:30-8pm, July 8 to August 26
-Jazz at Henry Gourdine Park, Ossining; Mondays at 6:30-8pm, July 11 & 25, August 8 & 22
-Jazz at Horan’s Landing, Sleepy Hollow; Tuesdays at 6:30-8pm, August 2-23
For more information, visit the Jazz Forum Arts website

The Neuberger Museum of Art presents
Spiritual Counterpoint: Cleve Gray’s Threnody and Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time
Sunday, July 17, 4-5 pm
In their fourth collaboration, the Neuberger Museum of Art and Copland House again join forces to bring together two epic artworks, visual and musical, that share a focus on humanity’s spiritual and emotional healing. As timely as ever, Cleve Gray’s immense Threnody (1972) and Olivier Messiaen’s monumental Quartet for the End of Time (1941) respond to wartime death and destruction not with anger but with love and hope. Brilliantly co-existing within Messiaen’s magisterial musical canvas – a cornerstone work in the concert repertory – are the composer’s religious devotion, love of birdsong, and passion for mysticism and the super-natural.
The internationally acclaimed Music from Copland House ensemble, hailed for its “absorbing concert experiences” (Opera News), performs Messiaen’s masterwork in a gallery surrounded by Gray’s magnum opus. A 250-foot-wide, 20-foot tall, site-specific painting commissioned for the opening of the Museum in 1974, Threnody is a lament for the dead on both sides of the Vietnam War. Across its 28 panels, rhythmically spaced motifs suggest a diversity of imagery. Most vividly, perhaps, is a procession of solemn dancers that express the artist’s hope for humanity’s spiritual and emotional healing. “The depiction of tragedy often requires an element of hope …” explained Gray, “In the midst of death it had to offer the hope of life ….” The afternoon will be an unforgettable experience at the intersection of art, music, and spirituality.
This is a free concert but advance registration is requested. Register by clicking here.

Culture Picks is a weekly feature celebrating the performing arts. The arts are back and there is so much to take in, both live and virtual. Cultural connoisseur and PAC staff member Coni Guhl is here to help you sort through it all. Each week we will post her curated selection of events featuring the artists you know and love from The PAC Center Series, work being done by Purchase alums, plus a sampling of arts experiences you just can’t miss. Enjoy!

All times are EDT unless otherwise noted.

Pictured: Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Jared Brunson  © Complexions Contemporary Ballet