Dead of night: ‘Nightfall’ brings surprises to Green-Wood Cemetery

The edge of night: Sword swallowers, fire performers, musicians, and contortionists will surprise visitors at Green-Wood Cemetery’s “Nightfall” event on Oct. 19 and 20.
Brooklyn Paper
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They’re taking a leap in the dark.

Thousands of candles will light up Green-Wood Cemetery for two nights of artistic surprises, as circus performers, musicians, and storytellers ply their trade among the tombstones. The performers of the “Nightfall” event on Oct. 19 and 20 are not out to spook graveyard visitors, but instead aim to enchant them with wonders in the dark, according to the artistic director of Rooftop Films, which will screen short films at the event.

“The theme is nightfall in the sense of the timelessness that’s created when you’re wandering around after dark,” said Dan Nuxoll. “It’s more a vibe of mystery and encountering the unexpected, as opposed to stuff that’s horrifying.”

Guests will be welcomed with a “musical experience,” and see a short, as-yet-unnamed film before wandering into an evening adventure, according to Nuxoll.

“They’ll really spread out throughout the cemetery and go wherever their feet take them,” he said.

Sword swallowers, hula-hoop artists, magicians, mentalists, and stilt-walking ballerinas from the borough’s Bindlestiff Family Cirkus will stroll through the graveyard, performing for attendees as they encounter them. Several small stages will feature more elaborate performances, including Brooklyn a cappella quartet the Apple Boys, artists operating a pyrophone — an organ whose notes are accompanied by quick bursts of flames — and contortionist and dancer Miss Ekat, who will perform in a dress created with Rooftop Films, which will serve as a screen for old black-and-white films while she dances.

Bindlestiff’s co-founder said the cemetery will give attendees a quiet space to contemplate the enchantment around them and the locals who came before them.

“Knowing that all these permanent residents aren’t watching the show but are there for it is touching,” said Williamsburg resident Keith Nelson. “Just to be in that much nature and quiet in the middle of Brooklyn is magic.”

The cloak of nightfall will also enhance the beauty of the graveyard, said Nuxoll.

“One of the things we want to tap into is the timeless quality of Green-Wood and the mysteriousness of the space,” he said. “It becomes even more mysteriously beautiful in the evening.”

“Nightfall” at Green-Wood Cemetery (500 25th St. at Fifth Avenue in Greenwood Heights, (718) 768–7300, Oct. 19 and 20 at 8 pm. $80.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Posted 12:00 am, October 9, 2018
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