#st john the divine
Lerner Piano Lounge Dwellers: Take It Outside!

Play Me, I'm Yours!

If you are in Morningside Heights right now and have nothing to do, or something okay-not-great to do, go to St. John the Divine to listen to people play the piano.

But wait! These aren’t just people, and this isnt just any piano! Professional musicians will be playing music all day at the Cathedral in celebration of  the fourth annual celebration of Make Music New York, a celebration of free music on the Summer Solstice. Today is also the first day of Play Me, I’m Yours, a new public music initiative in which pianos are placed all around the city for anyone to play. Check out the schedule for St. John here (music till 8 tonight) and the full schedule of events for Make Music New York here. The pianos will be hanging out on street corners in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn until July 5; click here for more information about the project and a list of piano locations.

Free Famous Person

1980′s New Wave correspondent Jeff Illouian reports–that as we type these very words–Sting is rehearsing with a full live orchestra in St. John the Divine. You don’t have to pay, you just have to swoon!

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Photo by David Hu

Guy on Tightrope at St. John Divine

Unfortunately you won’t be able to see him walking a tightrope up in the sky today, but if you’re interested you will have a chance to meet stuntster and artist Philippe Petit tonight at St. John the Divine.

Petit is most famous for his tightrope walks between the towering tips of skyscrapers in the city. His multiple walks on a rope stretched between the tops of the World Trade Center towers in 1974 earned him international fame, and became the subject of a documentary called Man on Wire.

St. John will be showing the documentary tonight at 7 p.m. before opening a question and answer period with Petit himself. It is a benefit screening, so it’s not quite clear whether you have to pay $20, or whether that’s a suggested donation a la Met. But Petit might just be worth the money. Aside from what he calls “artistic crimes” like the tightrope walking, St. John reports that his activities as an Artist in Residence there have included “writing, drawing, close-up magic and street juggling, and the study of lock-picking, French wine, and 18th century timber framing.” He was once also seen bullfighting in Peru – the indisputable mark of a true Renaissance man.

If you can’t scrape together the money, you can find the documentary and Petit’s book of the same title online, or you can wait for what could be a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to see Petit again later this year. Gothamist reports that Petit is planning yet another tightrope walk for sometime this fall. Infinitely better than the movie, and free!

St. John’s the Museum

 -Photo courtesy of CityRoom

Every ArtHum student knows that St. John the Divine is a goldmine for statues, painting, and generally beautiful stuff. But even if you’re not an old hand at looking at old pretty things, it’s certainly worth taking a walk down the street to see St. John’s new additions to the displayed collection.

 

The two newcomers, both 16 ft. long 17th century tapestries, now hang above eye level in the North and South transepts. They are both part of the Barberini collection, named for the cardinal who commissioned them as a gift for Pope Urban VIII.

The tapestries, titled “Agony in the Garden” and “The Crucifixion” are meant to convey a theme of struggle, relating to both the season of Lent, which ends in a few weeks, and the fire of 2001 that left the church and its art under the wraps of renovation for seven years.

But even if you don’t feel the pain and penitence welling up, the fine detail and expertly restored colors of the tapestries, particularly in “The Crucifixion” will strike you immediately. And for such a Met-like experience, you won’t even have to use a MetroCard ride.

AskBwog: Where Do the Peacocks Go in Winter?

Remember when you were in eighth grade and you were forced to read The Catcher in the Rye? Remember when Holden asks that taxi driver where all the ducks in Central Park go in the winter? Remember how you thought that was somehow a metaphor for imminent escape from your acne-ridden 13-year-old existence? Yeah, we do too.

We can only imagine that resident Bwog Zoologist David Berke was thinking along the same lines when, on a stroll past St. John the Divine, and he wondered out loud where the Cathedral’s most famous creatures, its peacocks, go when it gets cold out. Unable to procure an answer and eventually discovering that many Columbians don’t even know about the existence of the peacocks at the Cathedral in the first place, we decided to investigate. (more…)

St. John the Divine Reopens

Yesterday was a big day for Morningside Heights. Our most famous off-campus building, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, reopened fully Sunday, seven years after the massive 2001 fire that forced its partial closure.

$40 million later, the Cathedral is back in all its splendor. The rededication of drew a crowd of thousands to 112th Street and all the big-name city publications covered the story.

Bwog headed over today to see what all the fuss was about and found a rather placid St. John: the usual few tour buses were parked outside, but inside we found only a few dozen people praying or touring. Still, the Cathedral looks truly glorious, and Bwog suggests heading over ASAP. You can skip the $5 suggested donation and just marvel from the entrance.

 Photo by Liz Naiden 

Dios, Patria, Libertad in Morningside Heights

Wondering what the fuss around St. John the Divine around 2:00 was all about? Apparently, it’s Dominican Heritage Month. Bwogger-slash-tipster David Iscoe has the scoop:

“A crowd waving Dominican and American flags stood on Amsterdam and 110th, and then a motorcade of black Town Cars and Suburbans, with Dominican flags, came by joyfully honking their horns. The crowd greeted them and sang a song, presumably the Dominican national anthem, and then the cars turned left on 110th and sped off, still honking. The motorcade was pretty sizable, it took three traffic cycles to move through.”

More photos after the jump.

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Staking out God’s House

jhgAfter finding out about Elton John’s shindig at the little old cathedral down the way, Bwog donned our best wannabe-paparazzi gear (i.e., a dinky digital camera) and headed over at eight o’clock for a glance at the spectacle. A quick peek turned into nearly an hour of celebrity-sighting bliss as we joined the groundlings swarming to ogle icons of culture meandering up the church steps, accompanied by starshowers of camera flashes. We saw lots of skin, lots of 7-inch heels (what a trend!), and lots of pissed-off security guards. Celebs included Richard Gere and Calista, Liv Tyler, Kid Rock, Robin Williams, the Scissor Sisters, the Osbourne parents, Elizabeth Hurley, Yoko Ono, and… Fran Drescher’s boob.

We couldn’t really see much of the action, but the celebs aren’t the point–it’s the spectacle that follows them. Morningside Heighters don’t get much excitement in their lives, and Elton injected it with a healthy dose of starpower last night. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!” gasped one man to his female companion, grabbing her by the waist. The groundlings cried out, “You’re beautiful!” and cheered for the cooks and servers when they hurried through the door. Across the street, Bwog helpfully informed passersby of what the hell was going on at their church, and mentally noted their responses. (more…)

Elton John the Divine

eltonPage Six is reporting that Elton John will be celebrating his 60th birthday party this evening with cocktails, dinner, and dancing just down the street at the cathedral of St. John the Divine. The guest list of 300 will probably include more star power than Columbia’s seen since the Dalai Lama. 

Awesome. But does anyone else find this a little…arrogant? I mean, who has their birthday in a house of worship? Especially someone who wants to “ban religion completely“?

Jesus.  

 

It’s the pagan jamboree!

As we perused the calendar of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine this morning, as is our wont, we came across the usual upcoming list of off-the-beaten-trail artistic and religious events. We know the Cathedral is always a little quirky, but if O’Reilly catches onto this stuff, we’ll go from “left-wing jihadis” to “debauched Wiccans” in no time flat.

Tomorrow, Christians make nice with the forces of evil with the

Halloween Extravaganza & Procession of Ghouls

Fri. Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. & 10 p.m.

This year’s feature is Nosferatu, the 1922 silent film classic.

 And if that isn’t enough heathen for you, wait ’til next month, when you have the

27th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration

Thur. Dec. 14, Fri. Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Sat. Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Join Paul Winter, the Paul Winter Consort and other special guests for an intimate Solstice Concert.

What’s next? Roman bathouse orgies? Druidic human sacrifices? Mayans ripping out people’s hearts as Mel Gibson smiles on? We just don’t know.

St. John the Corporate

Cathedral of St. John

Spec reported last fall that the Cathedral of St. John the Divine would let Columbia and AvalonBay Communities build on the Close (the parcel of land bordered by Morningside, Amsterdam, 110th, and 113th) in exchange for rental income. Today, the New York Times reports that AvalonBay will build a 20-story, 300-unit apartment building on the southeast corner of the site.

Bwog thinks that Columbia’s parcel on the north side of the Close is the perfect place for a new freshman dorm. Living next door to both the St. Luke’s emergency room and the cathedral, freshmen could get CAVAd and atone for their sins in a one-block radius!

Update:

Apparently, no-go on the dorm. Bwog just got an e-mail from Tao Tan, who informs us that the Close will be home to the new Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Construction is supposed to start in 2-3 years.