Ukulele impresario Jake Shimabukuro stopped into Manhattan’s Sony Hall last week. It was one of several stops he’s making throughout the country—and for good reasons. The Hawaiian born artist is promoting his brand-new album, Jake and Friends, a collection of cover songs featuring the artistry of Bette Midler, Jimmy Buffett, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, Ziggy Marley and many others.
He’s also celebrating the holidays with the aptly titled tour, “Christmas In Hawaii”. For two solid hours, Shimabukuro delighted audiences with Christmas favorites and songs from his new release. He was joined by his band, guitarist Dave Preston & bassist Jackson Waldoff. Percussionist Taku Hirano joined the group for selected songs.
Thunderstorm Artis, a finalist in the 2020 spring season of TV’s The Voice-and a fellow native of Hawaii—opened the show with some original songs and a cover of the Beatle’s tune, “Blackbird,” the song which catapulted him to finalist status on the popular television contest.
Blue at 30
What do you get when you mix white pvc pipes,multi-colored paint, and marshmallows? You’ll find the answer at 434 Lafayette Street, home to Blue Man Group. Last week, the performance art troupe celebrated their 30th anniversary on Wednesday November 17th with a pre-show celebration at the White Oak Tavern.
What started in 1988 as a modest presentation in Central Park by Chris Wink, Phil Stanton, and Matt Goldman, led to other exposure in venues throughout Manhattan. Eventually, they found a permanent home on Lafayette Street and soon became a phenomenon. The group currently has companies in Las Vegas and Chicago, though none of its original members still perform.
Throughout the years, Blue Man has altered some sequences. An updated, amusing bit now involves larger than life cell phones. Still, the essence of the show remains true to its roots.
It’s not a particularly simple task describing what happens during this 90-minute spectacle and in many ways, to elaborate is to give up all the secrets.
Suffice is to say it is sensory overload at its most fun. It is equal parts frivolity and profundity. Retro yet timeless. Simple yet elaborate in execution. Touristy, yet “New York hip.” It’s an established institution-and fortunately, it doesn’t look like this odd, blue trio going away anytime soon.
Look for special offers on tickets to Blue Man Group and selected performances at Sony Hall on Goldstar.