Just Do Art!

Ethiopia, 2009: A painted Karo man, at the Omo River. See “My Soul Flies.”

BY SCOTT STIFFLER  |  MY SOUL FLIES HOME TO AFRICA“I didn’t know what to expect,” says noted NYT photographer Chester Higgins Jr. of his initial 1971 excursion, “but I knew that I was not traveling to Africa to see the animals.” The continent’s small town life so fascinated Higgins that he’d return more than 30 times (and counting) to document the people, sites and ceremonies of Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal and Ghana. Candid and revealing, this exhibit’s small sample of work from Higgins’ time in Africa provides intimate glimpses into the soul of his subjects — whether the lens is focused on the eyes or the shoes.

Free. May 6-June 13, 9am-7pm daily. Opening reception, Sat. May 5, 12-2pm  (with African music, Ethiopian appetizers, rum and champagne). Artist’s talk, Wed. May 9, 6:30pm. At the Art @ Tekserve Galllery, at Tekserve (119 W. 23rd St., btw. 5th & 6th Aves.). For info, call 212-929-3645 or visit tekserve.com. Also visit chesterhiggins.com.


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The surreal thing: Gabriel Rios touches down at Rockwood Music Hall.

Mark it in pen on your calendar: You’ve got two upcoming chances to see, and hear, singer/songwriter Gabriel Rios. The San Juan native and recent NYC transplant — whose Puerto Rican rhythms were churned through computers and samplers during a stint in Belgium — continues his residency at Rockwood Music Hall with a stripped-down collection of songs featuring piano, percussion and guitar made to serve surreal tales of “growing older and of the end of the world as we know it.” The kid’s got talent, folks. See him now before the line is too long.

At 9pm on Fri. May 4. At 8pm on Fri. May 11. On Stage #1, at Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St., btw. Houston & Stanton Sts.). No cover, one-drink minimum (per set). For more info, visit rockwoodmusichall.com and gabrielrios.be.

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Left to right: Human beatboxes Kid Lucky, Rabbi D, J King and Grey Matter.
Eat your heart out, jazz. Curated by world-renowned beatbox artist Kid Lucky (search him on YouTube and be sufficiently amazed), this second annual installment of La MaMa Theatre’s American Human Beatbox Festival pays tribute to the American-born vocal style and technique of beatboxing (an enduring offshoot from the 1970s-era NYC hip-hop scene that long ago established itself as a global creative and social movement). Featured events include May 4’s 10pm “Unified Beats” — in which Dres Tha Beatnik, Yakko440, Kid Lucky, Lethal FX, YanCarlos Sanchez, Akim Funk Buddah, Amit and MC Beats improvise beatbox masterpieces.

Thurs. May 3 through Sun. May 6, at La MaMa (74A E. 4th St., btw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.). All events, except the Hip Hop Subway Series, are $10. The festival’s “Hip Hop Subway Series” is a traveling performance starting at Bryant Park and ending up at La MaMa. To reserve a spot, send an email to beatboxerentmedia@gmail.com. To order tickets to the festival, and for more info, visit lamama.org or call 212-475-7710.