In the dog days of summer, it’s best to escape the heat in a place that’s cozy and cool. For those into Japan-related cultural events, this month offers a diverse selection of film premieres and live music—all in the comfort of indoor air conditioning.
This month’s highlights include:
Aug. 15-20, 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Blue Note Jazz Club, 131 West Third Street
The career of multi-Grammy winner Bob James is long, varied and continues to evolve at every turn as he continues to captivate audiences throughout the world for more than 50 years, 58 albums, and innumerable awards. While James is recognized as one of the progenitors of smooth jazz, his music has also had a profound effect on the history of hip-hop, having been sampled frequently since the early days of the genre. A longtime star in Japan, he has recorded a piano duet album with Keiko Matsui, and worked with Seiko Matsuda as a guest vocalist on “Put Our Hearts Together,” written by James and his daughter Hilary in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Joining Bob and his special guests for the week’s sets are trumpeter Randy Brecker on Aug. 16.
Aug. 18-20, various times
New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, 610 West 56th Street
The best three-day anime convention in New York City returns for its third year and features over 100 events and panels, three days of cosplay, game tournaments and anime screenings, concerts, balls and dances. This year’s special guests include Tyler Walker, Heather Walker, Chuck Huber, Aaron Roberts, Brittany Lauda, Matt Shipman, Ian Rubin, Dokudel, Michael A. Zekas, Marcus Stimac, and Reni Mimura!
Aug. 19-20, starts 10:00 a.m.
Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street
PLAY NYC is New York’s first and only dedicated games convention. The weekend will feature three floors of playable games for all consoles, PC, virtual reality and mobile devices from studios large and small and developers old and new. Games will include indie projects with some larger triple A titles. Get access to some of the biggest games coming later this year and discover many you’ve never even heard of. PLAY NYC celebrates every facet of gaming in a way that only the Big Apple can by uniting players, developers and industry pros at a games event like no other. Special guest speakers include multi-instrumentalist Zac Zinger of Japanese traditional/jazz fusion project KAI.
Part of Studio Ghibli Fest 2017! From the legendary director Hayao Miyazaki comes a rollicking adventure about a a young girl with a mysterious crystal pendant who falls out of the sky and into the arms and life of young Pazu. Together they search for a floating island, the site of a long-dead civilization promising enormous wealth and power to those who can unlock its secrets. But greedy pirates, spies, and the army are also all in hot pursuit! As one of Studio Ghibli’s earliest films, and the first to be released officially under the studio’s banner, Castle in the Sky quickly established the studio’s reputation for strong heroines, unforgettable storytelling and beautiful artwork. The English-dubbed cast includes the vocal talents of Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman, Mark Hamill, Mandy Patinkin, Jim Cummings and more! Dubbed in English on August 27 and subtitled on August 28, this special two-day event will also feature GKIDS Mini-Fest, an ongoing festival of the best animated shorts from around the world.