These Events Will Not Be Televised

Due to Events
Written and directed by Jean Ann Douglass and Eric John Meyer
Human Head Performance Group
The Brick, Brooklyn, NY
February 5-27, 2016

For much of Due to Events, the terrific and very funny new play by Jean Ann Douglass and Eric John Meyer, the conversational partners available to protagonist Hero (Anne Gridley) are one living animal and one dead one. Hero, a writer whose work concerns "the future," has been arrested and confined by order of the authorities to her one-room apartment while she awaits a trial with no set date, allowed to communicate with representatives of those authorities only by speaking into a taxidermies squirrel. Upon its arrival, this squirrel catches the interest of Hero's Cat (Laura Campbell), the only living thing that she has contact with aside from her dedicated if unconventional Lawyer (Ben Beckley). Read more »

Theban Plays

Theban Plays
Created by Ryan Pater, Eliza McKelway and Deidrea Hamid
Directed by Asa Horvitz
The Brick, Brooklyn, NY
January 22-30, 2016

Anyone expecting from Theban Plays a straightforward modernized retelling of Sophoclean tragedies should abandon that idea. This highly experimental work, conceived and directed by Asa Horvitz and created by its performers, uses its ancient Greek antecedents, short pieces of which are read at several points, as a jumping-off point for a tapestry of monologues, video, audio and music, and even painting. Taken together, these elements bring lines of thought inspired by its sources to bear on an interrogation of aspects of the modern condition. Read more »

Song of the Week: Robert Kidney - "Big Paradise"

Robert Kidney, of the legendary N.E. Ohio-based agro-blues outfit 15-60-75 aka The Numbers Bandis set to release his long-awaited solo album, -- Jackleg (Exit Stencil Recordingsl). Friend, producer and bassist Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu) wisely persuaded him to record a solo album at his Brooklyn studio sans any outside distractions apart from a satchel of new songs and his guitar. What you hear is what you get. Unfiltered. His earnest vocals and guitar playing will leave you mesmerized. Not unlike the Rick Rubin-produced Johnny Cash sessions. "Paradise Lost" is the blues of a white man, blues that never try to mimic the blues of the African-American blues giants of the past, but rather distilled into Mr. Kidney's own unique style, a style that he has nurtured and refined for well over five decades. This track is only the tip of the iceberg and a full ablum review will be posted shortly. In the interim, please listen and share this unique tale of Americana. And order the album today!

Behind the Scenes: Bradley Rubenstein

This is the fourth of a series of interviews that focus on Local 829's Scenic Artists’ "behind the scenes" talent who sculpt and paint in a variety of ways the sets we see on television, in movies and documentaries, on theater stages, and in the backgrounds of television and internet commercials.

I first met Bradley Rubenstein very early on in my days in the scenic arts, and it was immediately apparent that he was, and still is, respectfully dedicated to his work as a fine artist. I’ve followed his career closely since then, watching his art delving deeper and deeper into the human condition as he distorts and mutates his subjects. Recently, Rubenstein had one of his warped and mangled human forms in an exhibition titled HEAD that I curated for the Hampden Gallery at UMASS Amherst. Read more »

The Club

Pablo Larraín's latest release, The Club, has been the recipient of a variety of awards including the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, Best Film at Fantastic Fest, Chile's official Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film 2016. Diving into the secretive world of religious exile, Larraín investigates the shrouded lives of 4 men with existence-shattering pasts, whose futures are both stifled and protected by the Catholic Church. Read more »

Amos Gitai’s Rabin, The Last Day: The Moment Israeli Society Went Kaboom!

Amos Gitai. If you can recall when Vincent D'Onofrio was sexy, Gitai has that sort of confrontational charm. He turns you on while he sets you on edge, even at age 66.

One of Israel's most prolific directors, this constant provocateur has let loose with over 80 shorts, documentaries and narratives since 1972, many of them exploring Israel in an acutely critical manner, from Orthodox misogyny (Kadosh (1999)) to his war experiences during which he was wounded (Kippur (2000) ), to a story of a residence, from its Arab owners to the Israelis who took ownership (House (1980)). The latter documentary was made for Israeli TV but was deemed inappropriate, and if Gitai hadn't smuggled it out of the station, it would have been destroyed. Read more »

Gimme 10-Minutes

The Fire This Time 10-Minute Play Festival (2016)
Krainer Theater, NYC
January 21-February 6, 2016
 

The Obie Award-winning The Fire This Time Festival, a showcase of "early-career playwrights of African and African American descent," has returned to the East Village for its seventh iteration. Its 10-minute play festival features a strong slate of seven new short plays that demonstrate the festival's mission statement, that "[t]he African American experience is not represented...by one voice or one style," with tremendous impact. Read more »

ANNIVERSARIES: Wilhelm Furtwängler Born 130 Years Ago

Is Wilhelm Furtwängler (January 25, 1886 - November 30, 1954) the greatest conductor ever? While there are some who, in preference to his highly inflected, interventionist style, would prefer a more straight-forward conductor such as his contemporary Arturo Toscanini, many cognoscenti believe that at the least Furtwängler, when heard in his favored 19th century Austro-Germanic repertoire, ranks supreme of his type in the pre-stereo era. The aforementioned Toscanini himself was an admirer; asked who aside from himself was the greatest conductor, he named Furtwängler, and also pushed for the German to take over the directorship of the New York Philharmonic when Toscanini relinquished its reins, though controversy prevented that. Read more »

The 5th Wave Inspires 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Make Crappy Films

Lately, if you feel unworthy because God has given you just too good a life...just too much joy... and your hair shirt is at the cleaners, you can do your penance by watching J Blakeson's The 5th Wave. Read more »

Touch Me

Touch
Written by Toni Press-Coffman
Directed by James Masciovecchio
Cave Theatre Co. UNDER St. Marks, NYC
January 14-24, 2016

A chance meeting in a high school physics class kicks off the narrative of Bronx-born playwright Toni Press-Coffman’s Touch. Kyle (Josh Triplett) gets to know quirky free-spirit Zoë after she pokes her head into the wrong Arizona classroom. After graduation, they marry, and Kyle channels his lifelong love of science center into a career in astronomy. Aside from some of the usual marital disagreements, their relationship brings out the best in one another, until, on one Thanksgiving spent with Kyle's childhood friend Bennie (Alex Etling) and Zoë's sister Serena (Cassie Wood), a random act of violence alters the course of all of their lives. Read more »

Naz & Maalik: Black, Gay, Muslim, and in Love

"For the longest time I couldn't put a name to who I was. I didn't have an image to who was like me. It was torturous," Jane Lynch notes in Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema, the savvy documentary from 2006 by Lesli Klainberg and Lisa Ades. Read more »

In Defense of the Eagles, and Not Being a Jerk About Recently Deceased Musicians

I noticed that even as 99% of my Facebook friends were eulogizing the late David Bowie in reverential terms, there were a few dissenters. Aside from a non-musical issue*, the most negative thing I saw about Bowie was along the lines of "I never cared/listened/understood the attraction." It's kind of passive-aggressive, since there's not much point to alerting us all to the fact that you are apparently apathetic yet somehow still feel we all need to hear from you on this trending topic, but it's pretty low-key, so whatever.

Then Glenn Frey died, and a much larger portion of the internet decided that this was the perfect time to remind us how much they hate the Eagles, how bad the Eagles' music is, and how clueless the rest of us are for apparently being deluded into liking them. Read more »

Object of Affection

The Changeling
Written by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley
Directed by Jesse Berger
Red Bull Theater at the Lucille Nortel Theatre, NYC
December 26, 2015-January 24, 2016

Ushering in the New Year, Red Bull Theater brings us a tragic tale of sex in payment for murder. Jesse Berger sure-handedly directs Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's 1622 tragicomedy The Changeling, the main plot of which introduces the noble Beatrice-Joanna (Sara Topham) as she finds a "giddy turning" in herself from Alonzo de Piracqo (John Skelley), to whom her father, Vermandero (Sam Tsoutsouvas), intends her to be married, towards Alsemero (Christian Coulson). In order to "change [her] saint," she eventually enlists the aid of her father's servant De Flores (Manoel Feliciano), whom she professes to abhor and whose skin condition suggests a spatter of blood across his face, to remove the obstacle that is Alonzo. Read more »

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: The Complete 1978 Radio Broadcasts (Soundstage)

I bought it for myself, but this was my Christmas present, arriving in the mail from England on Christmas Eve: a fifteen-CD set containing five epic Springsteen concerts from the legendary Darkness on the Edge of Town tour. When the Cleveland deejay who emceed the show for WMMS-FM introduced the band by saying, "Round for round, pound for pound, there ain’t no finer band around," he wasn't just rhyming, he was telling the truth.

Why, you ask, did this set come from England? Well, it's an unauthorized collection of bootlegs, but in Europe, radio recordings are public domain, so this is actually a legal release.

The word went out through the fan network I ordered it on Amazon U.K. before the release date. Perhaps Bruce doesn't get a penny out of this, but I've seen it suggested that writers' royalties would still have to be paid. Either way, for £15.99 (slightly under $24) plus Amazon's usual $3.99 shipping, I couldn't resist. In the years soon after these shows, when all of them were individually bootlegged on massive vinyl box sets, any one of them cost more than that. Read more »

The 4th Wave Feminist Performance Art

Robert Adanto's documentary The F Word navigates the liminal space between 3rd and 4th wave feminism and between IRL and URL by capturing the work of Brooklyn-based artists who raise questions about self-representation, sexuality, and embodiment. Their work offers a glimpse of unbridled female power and sexual agency, and yet is not fully rooted in fantasy, often contending with the brutal realities of the male-dominated (art) world. Along with this dynamic cast of artists, The F Word includes commentary by scholars and professors alike -- including former Art in America senior editor Nancy Princenthal -- to add background and to contextualize the works and concepts he explores. After the premiere, three of the film's artists, Kate Durbin, Leah Schrager, and Katie Cercone will join the director in a post-screening panel discussion. Read more »

Syndicate content