First of all please pardon me for a second while I sing my own praises… Gemini & Scorpio, the lovely event entrepreneurs who I have been working for these last few months (to the detriment of this blog I am afraid), have been featured in an article in the New York Times. My name is actually included! My grandmother is less excited about this than you might expect but I for one am pretty thrilled.
Setup for G&S Party, image from the NYTimes
Ok, moving on… I have a friend coming to town this weekend who went to film school at NYU and is taking some sort of test to try to get into a film apprenticeship program in the city. As per usual when I have a visitor I have drafted a list of all sorts of wonderful events taking place and I thought I would share them with you!
Friday night the Mad Breaks Tea Party is sure to be a riotous good time, of the G&S/underground/alt-events variety. There will be aerialists, a tea garden (of course), sculptural installations, fire spinners, a hookah lounge and all sorts of other madness.
On Saturday at Galapagos Art Space, Floating Kabarette takes burlesque to the air in a gravity defying weekly show only to be found in the Big Apple.
Also on Saturday, for a much more G-rated (and more film centered) evening, you can head to 92Y Tribeca for a sing-along with Fieval and friends! An American Tail is one of those Spielberg movies that you associate much more with childhood than with Spielberg. If you remember the songs get ready to belt them with other fans! Here’s a clip to refresh your memory:
On Sunday, another film related event, my favorite comedians are making fun of one of the most ridiculous things to hit the cinema in recent years- Twilight! Head to the Knitting Factory to see the Raspberry Brothers make a comedy out of this mess.
Since this is a film-centric weekend I also advised my visiting friend to check out the offerings at
Tonight you can experience the High Line in a whole new light (heh heh); LightmappingNYC is presenting a tour and discussion of the “challenges and innovations developed for the lighting of this 1.2 mile elevated train track.”
The human body unfolds as a surreal rock and roll fantasy in Inside Out, Swedish troupe Cirkus Cirkör’s phantasmagoric journey into the outer reaches of inner life. Accompanied onstage by dub-punk-new wave-electro-inspired band Irya’s Playground and featuring an outlandish mix of highly skilled acrobatics, musical theater, and spectacle, Inside Out boggles the mind by way of the body. Actors and acrobats course through veins, explode through space like uncoiled strands of DNA, and lunge across synapses to become the body electric. Breathtaking, poetic, and humorous, never before has there been such a fantastic, gravity-defying voyage.
On Thursday The New School is hosting a celebration of esteemed poet Marie Ponsot and her new collection of poems, titled ‘Easy’. Participants include Rosemary Deen, Jean Gallagher, Deborah Garrison, Richard Howard, Phillip Lopate, Alice Quinn, Sapphire, L.B. Thompson, and Jackson Taylor.
On Sunday the voice of one of the Wild Things (K.W.) will be exercising her lovely vocal chords at Joe’s Pub. Lauren Ambrose, whose performance in Exit the King I enjoyed almost as much as her performance as K.W., is also an accomplished singer. She is also much more attractive than her “wild” counterpart:
There are a number of great exhibits, some big some delectably small, worth checking out so stay tuned for an all-art post coming up shortly! I’ll also be bringing you more weekend events and fun things to look forward to next week! Be sure to follow me on twitter for last minute updates and other news from The Big Red Apple!
G and I saw the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Tosca a couple of weeks ago. I had read a few of the articles about the boo-ing on opening night so I was prepared for all sorts of atrocities. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the sets are dull and a bit dreary in comparison to the glitz of the old production (by Franco Zeffirelli), but in some sense their very drabness refocuses the audience on the music. Certainly opera has historically been about pomp and pageantry but it’s a brave new world and if we’re looking at opera in a new way that may not be such a bad thing.
Franco Zeffirelli's Production of Tosca
Richard Peduzzi's Production of Tosca
I had a long conversation with some older women during intermission about the pros and cons of various new productions presented in recent years. While one of them vehemently hated the new sets for Tosca she assured me that she was not against the updating of opera in principle. In fact she thought the production of Madama Butterfly performed last year was one of the most beautiful she had ever seen.
In trying to modernize the Metropolitan Opera Peter Gelb is paying less attention to its older audience in an attempt to bring in a younger one. What attracts young people? As a young person myself I feel ill-equipped to answer for my demographic. G and I loved the new production but both agreed that we would have loved the old one as well. What we found powerful and exciting was the experience of having the singers’ actual voices, un-amplified, surrounding us even from the cheap seats. It will never cease to amaze me that a human being can create such a sound. I tend to feel that seeing opera in HD is less magical because of the lack of contact with those sound waves but if you’re interested in experimenting with opera before taking the leap watch the new production of Tosca on the big screen this weekend at BAM. Let me know what you think.
As a somewhat clumsy individual with very little sense of rhythm I am totally in awe of dancers; the grace and expressiveness of their movements never cease to dazzle me.
In-I at BAM was especially interesting as Juliette Binoche is not a professional dancer and described this piece as ‘acting through movement.’ She and Akram Khan created a new sort of dance together; it is brilliantly evocative. What I liked most about the style was that while it was much less acrobatic than most dance it seemed to be more physical; the interaction between the two bodies seemed more emotionally charged than the more technical movements I’m used to seeing (especially in ballet). The weakest portions of the piece were the spoken narratives; they lacked the emotion and drama of the movement. Juliette Binoche has said that she does not intend to dance again but if she does be sure to snag those tickets early!
Juliette Binoche and Akram Khan in In-I at BAM
I also attended two of the Fall for Dance performances at City Center (remember when I waited in line all morning for tickets? It was worth it!). Each of the programs consisted of four pieces, each performed by a different dance company. I will just tell you a bit about my favorites.
Les Biches, a rarely seen work from the Ballets Russes, was an adorable depiction of the 1920s flapper scene. I particularly loved seeing the ballerinas hiding behind a big blue couch to spy on the men. This ballet was considered very provocative when it was first performed and while it’s hardly scandalous the mood it evokes is no less enjoyable.
Snow, choreographed and performed by Sang Jijia, was hypnotic and intensely beautiful. The “snow” drifting down on the stage made the scene ethereal and Jijia’s repetitive movements pulled the viewer into a trance. I couldn’t tell you how long the piece went on, only that afterwards I felt lonely and expectant. The program reads
When snow begins to fall,
The world is silent
And the mind begins to speak aloud…
I believe that is a perfect description of the piece.
Diana Vishneva’s performance of The Dying Swan was truly exquisite. The piece was originally danced by Anna Pavlova and I felt as though her elegance was inhabiting the stage. Vishneva is a prima ballerina at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, so we can only hope her company visits The Big Apple again soon!
Diana Vishneva as The Dying Swan
Many of the companies who participate in Fall for Dance perform here throughout the year; I will certainly be alerting you to exciting events but keep your eyes open for news of those dancers in particular and be sure to let me know if you find something before I do!
Tonight (Sept. 17) is the 2nd Annual Park Slope Restaurant Tour! Last year’s tour was my first date with G so this marks our 1 year anniversary. Head out to 7th Ave. with someone who might be special and see if stellar samples can be good luck for you too!
Starting tonight and running through Oct. 3 M.E.A.N.Y. Fest (Musicians & Emerging Artists New York) will be showcasing up and coming bands at various venues throughout the city. G and I will be seeing Black Taxi play next Saturday (Sept. 26) and we’d love to see you there!
Tonight is the opening reception for the Recession Art Sale. The exhibition itself will open Monday and run through next Sunday (Sept. 21-27). Here’s a piece by Thaddeus Radell, an artist whose work will be on sale:
Tomorrow night (Sept. 18) you can sample an array of Indian street food all in one place, the Indian Culinary Center:
Your hands and feet won’t be the only things pretty enough to eat at the Indian Culinary Center’s (131 West 23rd Street) evening of Henna and Street Foods of India this Friday from 6-10 p.m. In addition to body art applied by an onsite specialist, the evening will feature such savory bites as Bhel Puri (spicy snack mix), Aloo Tikki (potato croquettes), and Kati Rolls (Indian wraps).
On Saturday (Sept. 19) find someone willing to give up their spot on a team and you could be part of a Craft Beer Scavenger Hunt run by the lovely folks of Metro Metro!
As part of NY Craft Beer Week, we are having a daylong, multi-borough discovery of beer, bars, and neighborhoods. Teams of four will pore over the city in the pursuit of delicious knowledge while embracing the healthy spirit of competition. To cap the day off, hunters will enjoy a private afterparty hosted at the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg.
The sixth annual Sagra del Maiale, an outdoor pig and apple festival commemorating the Autumnal Equinox, will take place outside il Buco between 1-8 p.m. The guest of honor will be a 200-pound heritage breed Crossabaw Pig, slow roasted in an “infiernillo” (“little hell”) by Chef Ignacio Mattos.
Il Buco Pig Roast 2007
If you can’t make it out to taste what Park Slope has to offer then you may want to sample the West Village Sunday (Sept. 20); Taste the West Village lets you try a number of top shelf restaurants for a small fee (from $10 depending on the number of tastes).
If you haven’t looked at my last post yet you should be sure to scroll down orclick hereto get more information on Juliette Binoche at BAM, Conflux (an annual New York festival for contemporary psychogeography) and the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, all of which are ongoing or coming up THIS weekend!
To that already exciting array I would like to make some additions!
This weekend and next you can experience Euripides as you’ve never experienced him before! The production of Medea playing at Petit Versailles is anything but the play you read aloud in your High School English class:
Medea at Le Petit Versailles is a cross-culturally cast production of a modern, poetic new translation of the classic Greek play. The production is a site-specific collaboration by local artists from a variety of fields, including dance, visual arts, film, theatre, and experimental music.
If you’d like your theater “to go” you should consider experiencing The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; this innovative theater piece allows you to experience travel in a new way as you explore the neighborhood by bus. In an NPR story Robert Smith described the piece as “part tour, part narrative.” It’s certainly not plot-driven but if you’re looking to explore an area you’re unfamiliar with this is likely to be a much more poetic version of your standard tour.
Several times a year fashion designers gather in Midtown to bow down before the altar of Anna Wintour. Across the East River a very different set of designers exhibit their anti-establishment experimental work at Secret Project Robot:
Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, the original innovator of unorthodox fashion shows in Brooklyn, opens its sixth season on September 18th and 19th, at Secret Project Robot. The group of designers we assembled this year, with their finger on the pulse of our fashionable neighborhood, will display the diverse elements that make up what Williamsburg fashion aesthetic is about, right now!
Next week Fall For Dance is taking over New York City Center. You may recall that I spent all morning yesterday (and a good part of the afternoon) waiting on line to purchase tickets; if you were not on line with me you can still purchase some gallery seats and partial view seats at the box office. I’m most excited about performances by New York City Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
As far as I know Le Fooding is totally sold out but if you’re more cunning than I am try to get tickets to this foodie extravaganza at P.S. 1 next weekend. Le Fooding D’Amour is a showcase for up and coming French chefs as well as a place to see more established chefs in action.
FRANCE is actually home to countless up-to-date chefs. They just don’t get mentioned enough. The media are too dazzled by the glittering stars. The fact is that bourgeois cuisine is no longer France’s daily bread. Techo-cuisine never will be. In Paris, the gourmands are devouring the gourmets. Our favorite chefs are not celebrity chefs. Their photos aren’t printed on packs of vacuum-sealed ham. So where do you ﬁnd these oh-so-Parisian luxuries? In their restaurants, their bistros? Such hodgepodge words! No, in their kitchens. They’re frequently French, most certainly Parisian, and always authors, of course.
If Le Fooding proves inaccessible you can still check out some very exciting new art for free! The DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival “presents touchable, accessible, and interactive art, on a scale that makes it the nation’s largest urban forum for experimental art.” Here’s an interesting piece from last year’s festival:
I have a couple of additions to make to my last post and I also want to give you a heads up on some events coming up NEXT weekend!
Tonight if you’re up for the Fashion’s Night Out extravaganza you may want to add your first sighting of Anna Wintour into the bargain; the empress of the fashion world will be… da da da… at a mall in Queens! That is something worth seeing darlings!
Tomorrow night A and I are continuing our tradition of seeing deeply questionable theater by checking out a new production, which to its credit sold out its first run, titled Three Irish Widows. Why is it questionable? Mainly because it’s a one man show with 25 characters. If you’re not up for the experience you can just look forward to our review.
There’s more questionable theater on the way next week when Juliette Binoche and Akram Khan bring their unique dance piece, In-I, to BAM (Sept. 15-26). Take a look at this clip:
I find Juliette Binoche breathtaking and I’m excited to see how she works in a new medium.
“You Are Here [aka The Maze]” was conceived and created by TROUBLE, the Bushwick artist duo and married couple Sam Hillmer, 31, and Laura Paris, 41. Death by Audio, normally just two rooms with some in-between areas and a long hallway, is now a Maze complete with tall walls, confusing turns, and dead ends. The experience will be unconventional in every sense. The stage will be part of the maze, leaving it up to the performers to figure out how they can work in the space. There are many bands and artists up for the challenge, including Dan Friel (Sept. 10), A Place to Bury Strangers and Sian Alice Group (Sept. 11), Ty Segall (Sept. 18), Calvin Johnson (Sept. 14), Screaming Females(Sept. 26), The Coathangers (Sept. 29) and Zs (Oct. 2). Most of the acts performing are experimental in nature, which may or may not help them as they improvise in the altered space.
Next week (Sept. 17-20) Conflux, an annual New York festival for contemporary psychogeography, is taking over our fine city to help us re-explore and redefine our urban environment:
Conflux is the annual New York festival for contemporary psychogeography, the investigation of everyday urban life through emerging artistic, technological and social practice. At Conflux, visual and sound artists, writers, urban adventurers and the public gather for four days to explore their urban environment. From architects to skateboarders, Conflux participants have an enthusiasm for the city that’s contagious. Over the course of the long weekend the sidewalks are literally transformed into a mobile laboratory for creative action. With tools ranging from traditional paper maps to high-tech mobile devices, artists present walking tours, public installations and interactive performance, as well as bike and subway expeditions, workshops, a lecture series, a film program and live music performances at night.
On the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum, the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival will also be rocking the city next weekend. With Mirman in control it’s hard to know what’s in store, but it’s likely to be playful, irreverent and ever so slightly weird.
Last Friday after seeing In the Loop at BAM (it was hilarious, full of snide one-liners) P and I walked down to Union Hall to see Annie and the Beekeepers and Keegan Dewitt perform (and to eat mini-burgers). We went mostly on a whim so Annie’s voice took me entirely by surprise. It has the sort of deep smooth sound you don’t often hear from such a young performer and it made me nostalgic for the great female singers I grew up with (Joni Mitchell, Natalie Merchant, Sarah Mclachlan, etc.). Their bluegrass/folk sound is enriched by their truly excellent musical skills. They met at Berklee College of Music and all three are a credit to the institution. I hesitated between buying their first recording, Annie Lynch and the Bee Keepers or their more recent one, the Squid Hell Sessions EP, but was convinced by Ms. Alexandra Spalding to buy both (always have a beautiful woman selling things- works every time). Listening to their music at home I have been especially pleased with a number of the lyrics, like this line from their song Dirty Laundry:
We made a promise/a promise is worth nothing it’s but a word/and I’ve burned those words into the ground/like ashes to the dirt
Annie Lynch, Alexandra Spalding and Ken Woodward
The last act of the night was Keegan Dewitt. I’ll admit when he first started playing the piano I was thinking of heading upstairs for a game of bocce ball but once he started singing I was quite enamored. His voice is amazing and hearing it coupled with a sole instrument makes it stand out that much more. I picked up his CD Sadness to Relate but discovered when I tried to play it that it’s blank! (Anyone want to send me a replacement?) I was somewhat bummed out by this but I suppose I’ll just have to wait until he’s back in town to hear all that lovely crooning again.
Check them both out online and I’ll let you know if they play again in The Big Apple.
P.S. Keegan Dewitt’s manager promised to mail me another CD as soon as he read this post (thanks Robert!)
In August many New Yorkers flee their hometown to escape the sticky heat and herds of tourists; this August make your friends in the Catskills green with envy when you tell them about all the shenanigans you got up to in The Big Apple while they were swatting mosquitoes! This week has lots of jealousy worthy events in store!
An iconoclastic 12-piece marching band conceived by Bang on a Can premieres ambitious processional music from every corner of the music world, works that coax funk from the funereal and would make a halftime show sparkle with sophistication. Choreographer Susan Marshall weds parade spectacle to new pieces by Tyondai Braxton (of Battles), Goran Bregovic, and Stew and Heidi Rodewald, and arrangements of songs by Björk, Meshuggah, Mingus, Nancarrow, and Zappa.
If it rains they’ll be performing throughout August so you’ll have more chances to experience this funky version of a marching band.
Also at the whim of the weather gods, Waltz with Bashir may be screening in Socrates Sculpture Park this evening; for an audience numbed to the violence shown on the news this animated film is somehow more real than a traditional documentary. Here’s the trailer:
On Thursday check out a special shorts screening of work by Peter Buntaine and Lorenzo Gattorna of New York(er) Shorts on a rooftop in Bushwick (15 Lawton Street, Brooklyn; films screen at sunset).
New York City’s longest running exhibition of award-winning independent short films presents “An Evening of the World’s Best Short Films,” featuring live music, celebrity guests, and noteworthy, festival award-winning short films compiled over the past ten years. Films to be featured include: Super Powers – Best Short Film, 2007 Tribeca Film Festival; Yours Truly – voted best animated short film at over five international festivals; Stalker Guilt Syndrome – Live Action Comedy – Jonah Kaplan, Brooklyn; Tanghi Argentini – Audience Prize, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival; plus other classic shorts.
For the literary amongst you there’s a great reading at Solas Thursday night, courtesy of the St. Mark’s Bookshop- John Joseph will read from his autobiographical work The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, which details his experiences in the punk scene and his struggles with homelessness, addiction and insanity. Be prepared to be horrified.
For those of you who have a favorite anime character (admit it- you have more than one), Saturday is your chance to dress the part at Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition’s All Day Anime Event! Keep your costume legal (no naked nymphs, etc.) and mingle with other anime enthusiasts while checking out awesome new artworks!
If you think you have what it takes to complete the Pizza Tour of Brooklyn join fellow pizzaholics for a day of serious eating this Sunday.
Have you heard of silent kung fu films? No? Well, that may be because there is only one surviving from the golden age of Chinese cinema. Rooftop Films will be bringing it to you with a new original score by Devil Music Ensemble, performed live, at the Automotive High School in Brooklyn. This screening of Red Heroine also includes a martial arts demonstration and is followed by an open bar.
Finally, to add a little art to your weekend I recommend checking out the ongoing exhibit at the Yossi Milo Gallery- Sexy and the City New York Photographs:
Sexy and the City shows the alluring, romantic and sometimes scandalous side of New York’s people and places. Capturing private, intimate moments and blatant displays of sexuality, these photographs span the decades from the 1940s to the present day, taken in landmark locations like the Brooklyn Bridge and in the quiet, out-of-the-way corners of the city.
This is one photograph being displayed:
Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic image of a kissing couple in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945
Have an excellent week(end) and stay tuned for additions!
We have quite a week ahead of us, particularly if the rain confines itself to convenient times of day! Tonight, don’t forget there’s an excellent indoor event at Union Hall- the Board Game Olympics! The organizers at Metro Metro have some good tricks up their sleeves- get out there and play nice!
If you want to do a bit more moving and a bit less eating Wednesday night check out the Official Tango Factory Milonga Opening at Drom. There will be “live electro tango music” and a “dance exhibit”- sounds promising, if a bit on the unusual end of tango!
There’s a ton going on Thursday; my pick if it’s not raining is a screening of To Catch a Thief in Brooklyn Bridge Park. This might well be the most romantic event of the summer- the bridge glittering above you as Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (future Princess of Monaco) exchange smoldering looks on the silver screen. Sneak in a bottle of wine and a blanket to cuddle under; check out the trailer for a taste of what you’re in for:
If you’re looking for a more classic sound check out the Saxophone Summit at Kaufmann Concert Hall. The 92Y is hosting this all-star concert with saxophonists including Jimmy Heath, Phil Woods and Steve Wilson.
Finally, if you’re still feeling nostalgic, round out your week with a visit to Camp Wanatachi, aka Glasslands Gallery, for lots of great music and theatrical reenactments, plus s’mores, friendship bracelets and hair wrap stations!