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Nippon in New York: Asa Akira, ‘Monkey Business,’ Jero @ Japan Day, Peelander-Z

As spring continues and the weather continues to warm, New Yorkers can enjoy activities all over the city both indoors and out.

Nippon in New York: May 2014
Nippon in New York: May 2014
Youichi Tsukada
'Insatiable: Porn—A Love Story,' the debut book by Asa Akira, is available May 6.
Grove Press

This month’s highlights include:

May 2-3, 7:30 p.m.

Veggetti, Kato and Nakamura Project IX – Pleiades

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$30, $24 Japan Society members

Two Japanese tour de force artists, acclaimed musician Kuniko Kato, praised by Steve Reich as a “first rate percussionist,” and dancer Megumi Nakamura, internationally known since her days with Jiří Kylián’s Netherlands Dance Theater, explore the mesmerizing scores of legendary 20th century composer Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001). Project IX – Pleiades, which features one of Xenakis’ most complex and ambitious pieces, Pléiades, is a multimedia work delivered through live performance and a state-of-the-art sound/projection installation. Directed by Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti, one of the featured artists in the 2014 NY PHIL BIENNIAL. The Friday, May 2 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet the Artists Reception.

Saturday, May 3, 2:00 p.m.

Monkey Business: Japan/America Writers’ Dialogue

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

$15, $12 seniors/students, $10 Asia Society and PEN members

In conjunction with PEN World Voice Festival 2014! For the past three years PEN World Voices and Asia Society have provided a place for dialogues between established and upcoming writers in the United States and Japan. This year Laird Hunt and Matthew Sharpe join Toh EnJoe and Hideo Furukawa for another exciting and provocative cross-cultural literary encounter between Japanese and American writers. Moderated by Motoyuki Shibata and Ted Goossen, editors/translators of Monkey Business, the English-language anthology of newly translated Japanese writing, now celebrating its fourth edition. Ticket price includes a copy of the book and signing following the program. For additional free readings taking place in Manhattan and Brooklyn, click here.

Tuesday, May 6

Insatiable: Porn—A Love Story by Asa Akira

$25 MSRP

At age 28, Asa Akira has already led an extremely unusual life. Born in New York and raised in Japan as a pre-teen, then coming of age at the prestigious United Nations International School in Manhattan, she eschewed the academic aspirations of her classmates and soon was earning a good living by stripping and working as a dominatrix at a sex dungeon. Akira has now built up a reputation for being one of the most popular, hardworking, and extreme actors in the adult entertainment industry, winning dozens of awards and appearing in nearly 400 films to date and the popular DVDASA podcast. In her debut book, Akira provides an inimitable voice from the inside in a world where porn is increasingly becoming part of the mainstream.

May 8-11

Resonance: Miki Orihara Solo Concert

Ellen Stewart Theatre, 74A East Fourth Street

$20 adults, $15 students/seniors

Part of the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival! A principal dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company since 1987, Miki Orihara explores the continuity and lineage between modern dance and contemporary dance, as a new generation of artists begins to create work and inspire the next phase of modern dance. Includes works by Martha Graham, José Limón, Martha Clarke, Miki Orihara, and Adam Barruch, with a new score by Senri Oe.

Sunday, May 11, 8:00 a.m.

Japan Day @ Central Park

Naumburg Bandshell


The annual event returns, featuring the Japan Run for both kids and adults, activity and food tents, and a full day’s worth of stage programs featuring American superstar enka singer Jero, who last performed in New York at Japan Society in 2012. In addition to his hit single “Umiyuki,” he will also be singing “NY Ondo” to accompany the Japan Day Original “Bon-Odori” (Japanese traditional summer festival dance).

“This will be my first time singing ‘NY Ondo,’” said Jero in a statement. “I will do my best to hype up everyone in the audience to enjoy the Japan Day festivities.”

Friday, May 16, 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Tommy Campbell’s TEA TrEE^O with special guest TOKU

WhyNot Jazz Room, 14 Christopher Street


Well known in Japan as the only flugelhorn player as well as a jazz singer, TOKU has also collaborated with several world renowned artists such as Hank Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Hart, Eddie Gomez, David Kikoski, Toshinobu Kubota, Miki Imai, Maki Oguro, EXILE, and ZEEBRA. His latest collaboration will be two intimate sets with with jazz group Tommy Campbell’s TEA TrEE^O. Don’t miss your chance to check out his special one-night only show in New York City!

Saturday, May 17, 8:00 p.m.


Glasslands Gallery

289 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn


Originally formed in 1998 in New York, Japanese action comic punk band Peelander–Z has appeared at major music festivals including Bonnaroo and the Vans Warped Tour and has also been featured on TV programs such as VH1’s Best Week Ever and Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade among others.

At its live shows, Peelander–Z guarantees intense audience participation and a chance to exercise. You’ll see the band in colorful costumes reminiscent of Japanese anime, the Red Squid, human bowling and all-around insanity, so rock out and have a great time! Featuring support acts Math the Band and Bluejay.

Sunday, May 18, 3:00 p.m.

Kobo Abe's The Uniform (staged reading)

hpgrp Gallery New York, 529 West 20th Street, #2W

$15-$50 (suggested donation)


A scandalous tale of absurdity filtered through the cracked lens of wit and irony, Kurotama Proect presents a world premiere English reading of legendary Japanese novelist Kobo Abe (The Woman in the Dunes)’s first published play, originally written in 1955. Translated by Keiko Tsuneda and John K. Gillespie and directed by Jun Kim (Kutsukake Tokijiro), the worlds of black comedy and experimental theater will collide in an intimate setting for lit and theater fans alike.

May 24-June 29

The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise

JACK, 505 1/2 Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn

$25-$35, $15 students

From Toshiki Okada, the mastermind of the 2010 PlayCo hit Enjoy, Sonic Life probes the everyday lives of comfortable professionals in their thirties. Everything seems perfect. But beneath the surface, a surreal abyss opens up. Directed by Dan Rothenberg and translated by Aya Ogawa, this play offers a quirky and heartbreaking account of the undercurrent of our contemporary lives.

May 28, 30, 31

Toshio Hosokawa's The Raven

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College

524 West 59th Street


Based on the narrative poem by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven” tells the classic story of a man visited by a raven after the death of his lover. Now, contemporary classical composer Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven, a monodrama for mezzo-soprano and twelve instrumentalists, will receive its U.S. premiere as part of the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL festival. Directed and choreographed by Luca Veggetti, it stars mezzo-soprano Fredrika Brillembourg and dancer Alessandra Ferri, former prima ballerina assoluta with the Royal Ballet (1980–1984), American Ballet Theatre (1985–2007) and La Scala Theatre Ballet (1992–2007).

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