The creation of Shaun Leonardo’s latest public artwork — “Between Four Freedoms,” whose exhibit has been extended until Tuesday at Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island — is based on the idea that the four freedoms mentioned in Roosevelt’s 1941 speech does not apply equally to everyone. How would our most vulnerable citizens interpret them? In a series of workshops prior to installation, Leonardo attempted to answer that question. First, he pointed to freedom from fear: how can it be considered feasible if children remain in prison? How can people explain when fear persists in the shadows for them?
The culmination of these exercises is depicted in a series of large vinyl murals of hand gestures (sometimes speaking louder than words) that Leonardo painted on the granite walls at the entrance to the park. However, words have not been completely ignored. QR codes around the works link to audio recordings of workshop participants discussing what freedom – or the lack of it – means to them.
Make hearts beat faster
This 1,200-square-foot vivarium mimics an 80-degree light-filled rainforest and provides close encounters with as many as 500 creatures, such as monarch, viceroy, blue morpho, and emerald swallowtail butterflies, and atlas and luna moths. (Temporary admission is required and visitors must purchase tickets that include access to special exhibits.) For curious children, the thrill of wandering among the blossoms and greenery of the show is watching these free-flying international travelers disembark or emerge with outstretched hands from a doll.
Little visitors who prefer to keep insects at bay can enjoy several exhibits outside the conservatory doors. Among them is a short film about metamorphosis and displays of butterfly habitats and adaptations. Owl butterflies, for example, have large spots that resemble owl eyes — a way to fool predators — while monarchs contain foul-tasting toxins. Those bright orange wings are nature’s warning sign.
Of instincts and moods
Before Paul Verhoeven’s latest provocation, the 17th-century lesbian-non-drama ‘Benedetta’, kicks off on December 3, IFC Center invites viewers to revisit his old-time scandals. While his early Dutch outrage isn’t much represented (except “Spetters,” one of the most phallocentric films ever made, showing on Saturday), you can’t ask for a sharper selection on Friday night than “Basic Instinct” (also seen Sunday through Tuesday), the subject of protests — even during filming — over the depiction of Sharon Stone’s bisexual murder suspect. It forms, together with Verhoeven’s return to the Netherlands, the gripping World War II drama “Black Book” (on Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday), as the pinnacle of his mastery of the erotic thriller.
Perhaps less seen, but relevant to ‘Benedetta’, is ‘Flesh + Blood’, screening on 35 millimeter film on Sundays. Rutger Hauer’s character leads a group of mercenaries who claim a divine mandate, but the encroaching plague proves impervious to superstition. “Benedetta” concludes the series on December 2.
They say the Thanksgiving table isn’t a place for certain topics, but those are exactly the kind of scraps DL Hughley can make a feast of.
The comedian, who hosts a nationally syndicated afternoon radio show with an accompanying series on Pluto TV’s LOL! Network, has been making waves since the late 1990s, when he starred on his own ABC sitcom and toured as one of “The Original Kings of Comedy” alongside Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac, who died in 2008.
Hughley had the political knowledge to host his own CNN show and the mainstream appeal to compete in “Dancing With the Stars.” In 2012, he created and starred in “DL Hughley: The Endangered List,” a Peabody Award-winning mockumentary for Comedy Central. This year he published his fifth book, How to Survive America. He’s sure to have plenty to say when he performs at Carolines on Broadway on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 and 9:45 PM. Tickets start at $60, with a minimum of two drinks.
SEAN L. McCarthy
Five movies to watch this winter
don’t lock him up
Wycliffe Gordon, a trombonist and composer who also (virtuoso) dabbles in trumpet, tuba, and more, has described his childhood as “Classical music at home, gospel music at church, and country music on the radio.” On trombone, he fits in so well with the music he plays that it’s tempting to pin him down there: “Aha, he’s a hard bop player.” “Oh, that’s the sound of a New Orleans traditionalist.” What you actually hear is his reach and the coolness of his stride.
Gordon was once a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a former professor at Juilliard next door. He is no stranger to Dizzy’s Club stage. He returns there for his annual Thanksgiving week series of shows, with sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. every night through Sunday, except on Thursdays, when he will throw a special party at 7 p.m.
His quintet, the International All-Stars, includes Australian saxophonist and multi-reed singer Adrian Cunningham, Israeli-born pianist Ehud Asherie, Japanese bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and drummer Alvin Atkinson — as is Gordon, a native of the American South. . Tickets to the Thanksgiving performance are $178, which includes a three-course meal. The shows on Friday and Saturday cost $55; on Sunday, $40.