You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.
Last Thursday, May 21st, I clanked down the metal stairs of Jimmy’s 43 and into the subterranean bar completely and thoroughly confused. I had been invited by Christine Elmo to come to a benefit for a dance production she has choreographed and hopes to produce. Christine is a New York dance artist who has performed in the city and Europe extensively for the last two years. (Check out the video of dancing in Central Turkey and her CV here. Beautiful!) She’s a mover and a shaker in every sense of the phrase. So I guess I expected the benefit would be in a black box theater south of Houston, someplace that reeks of fresh paint and sawdust.
Or: a categorical thesis on the recycled recycling of recyclables in pop culture
by J.D. Oxblood
I knew we were in bad shape during the previews. Sandwiched in between trailers for the latest installment of the “Terminator” franchise and the sequel to “Transformers” was an ad for an action-packed Summer Blockbuster that I didn’t recognize. I started thinking… what haven’t they done yet, and what could this be? Evil villains in hot Matrix-y black leather, a handpicked crew of “elite” heroes donning metallic super-suits… I turned to my date and said, “This has to be ‘G.I. Joe.’” In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m basically a pessimist, which means that I HATE to be right.
[Spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen the new “Star Trek” yet, and want to, don’t read this. It will only piss you off. Devil’s advocate alert: if you have seen “Star Trek,” and loved it, please read this, it will totally piss you off. Sympathizer alert: if you saw “Star Trek” and thought it was stupid—whether or not you enjoyed watching it—I can’t make a recommendation one way or the other. I got nothing to say you don’t know already, but sometimes it’s nice to have confirmation.]
A picture is worth a thousand words — especially when the letters have been rearranged to spell “vomit.” What more needs to be said?
The Sad Panda brought his friend to Bowling Green yesterday. His friend didn’t say much, but he was soooooo cute!
It looks like they’re filming an episode of Sesame Street in Washington Square Park today. Do down there and get your Oscar the Grouch on!
Jonathan Demme, Academy award winning director of Stop Making Sense, Philadelphia, Silence of the Lambs, and most recently Rachel Getting Married, is introducing the films of Hatian/American/French director Michelange Quay this coming Tuesday at the French Alliance / Alliance Francaise.
The event will feature two of Mr. Quay’s movies, the short The Gospel of the Creole Pig and the feature Eat for This Is My Body. Mr. Quay’s films are lyrical meditations on post-colonialism. The Gospel of the Creole Pig takes us from the slaughter pits in Port-au-Prince, where pigs are butchered in disgustingly unsanitary conditions, to the houses on top of the surrounding hills where rich people live in comfort. Water runs from the toilettes of the hilltop houses to the trash and chaos of the Cité Soleil, and all the while the voice of the creole pig tells us ironically about the cycle of life and its hierarchies of oppression.
Eat for This Is My Body is more narrative, but not much. Mr. Quay’s project is to convey the interdependency of Whites and Blacks under colonization and afterward — the relations of power and how both sides seek to achieve identity from its opposite. (It’s very Hegelian, and like the “end of history” never complete.) To this end the movie is a dream of the moment when colonization breaks down, a no/every time and place where the masters have lost their allies, but the slaves have yet to become masters. Elaborate and stunning visuals wind along like yarn from a spinning wheel, and rather than dialogue (which is minimal) an incantatory voice over keeps the plot from interfering with the movie’s anxious emotional texture.
It is guaranteed to be an enriching and thought provoking evening, and I personally can’t wait to see the discussion between Demme and Quay!
Tuesday May 26 at 7 p.m.
Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street
FIAF Members Free** ($2 advance tickets)
Students w/ ID $7
Poor little guy. I can only imagine how hot he’ll be tomorrow whent the temps are supposed to be in the 80s!
By J.D. Oxblood
City Winery is a big, fat, wooden room that would make a vacationing couple from Vermont feel very at home. High ceilings smattered with rotating fans, a pervasive blonde woodtone, and a stage so deep you could stack the Rockettes 6-deep and they could still kick. We rolled in around 10 to witness the changing of the guard—upper East Side diners were paying the stiff tabs for their undersized tapas & pricey vino as downtown hoodlums played musical chairs, vying for decent seats as they became available, nestling up to the stage and onto the raised dining area in back. This was a big room … could Doc fill it?
He did, but the sound system didn’t. The PA was lacking, but I quickly forgot about it as the shapely Bird of Paradise came on to warm up the crowd with a little gogo to surf music, in a purple sparkly bra and a short skirt cut on an angle, accentuated with bangles and nude fishnet stockings. Babe-o-licious.
Last Thursday some of the Propeller company’s all-male cast sat down with the audience to discuss their production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
The last time I saw the Propeller company was two years ago when they did Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew in repertory at BAM. The Taming production highlighted the text’s sexual violence by by playing on LGBT domestic violence issues. Petruchio as an abusive boyfriend just seems scarier when it’s a big, butch, swaggering cowpoke beating up on a skinny, emo boy. Or maybe they were reading too much into a cute, human story of a man teaching his new wife to be respectful. Either way, it was powerful — that is to say good theater — and good theater is always interesting.
The Alliance for Downtown informs us here at CC that there is a video shoot today at Exchange Place. Thanks for the warning! I guess TV has its act together more than the office of the POTUS, whose low-flying plane stunt caused a real life evacuation of freaked out office workers last month.
I love the props! How unrealistic is this news van?!
The 5th of May is a lot of things to a lot of people. You couldn’t turn on the radio or open up a web browser yesterday without someone telling you that the 5th of May is the day Karl Marx was born, the day Cy Young threw the first perfect game in modern baseball, the Day that Kublai Khan became the ruler of the Mongol empire, and the day that Coco Chanel debuted Chanel No. 5. It also happens to be the day that Mexican troops led by Ignacio Zaragoza repulsed repeated attacks by French troops under Charles de Lorencez at the Battle of Puebla. This is the occasion celebrated as “Cinco de Mayo.”
By J. D. Oxblood
What does the Kentucky Derby have to do with New York City, you ask? The answer is twofold: the Kentucky Derby is the first of three races in the , which culminates in the , held right here on Long Island, AND, as it turns out, there are a lot of Kentucky transplants to New York. And if this blog is dedicated to culture, we should focus our lens wherever culture is found, no matter how hillbilly, depraved or—in this case—well-lubricated.
Handicapping the Derby is always a crap shoot, and this year was no exception. In a race with 20 horses, anything can happen, especially when so many of them are essentially untested. Favorite Dunkirk was going after the Roses with only 4 starts under his saddle. Favorite was optimism incarnate for trainer “Cowboy” Jones, following a devastating tragedy last year when show horse had to be euthanized seconds after the race with two shattered legs. I Want Revenge, the heavy favorite, scratched the day before the big race. Pioneerof the Nile [sic] never caught my eye because of the wonky spelling—exactly the kind of nonsense that proves I’ll never be an adept handicapper.
I was cranky at 11:45 after spending 45 minutes in stop-and-go traffic on the Williamsburg Bridge. It seemed like everyone on Long Island was trying to push their cars into Manhattan. I prayed that some supernatural force would strike upstate lawmakers blind and replace them with legislators who know that fewer cars in Manhattan + more money for the MTA = real growth for NYC. Then I prayed to make it to Lady GaGa’s show at Terminal 5 on time.
The doors opened at 11. Three opening acts made up the bill, and I figured each one would be 15 minutes, so by the time I rolled in at 12, I was prepared to be homicidally angry, worried that I had missed her altogether. But luck was on my side. She waited for the witching hour to start the show, and I had just enough time to grab a drink and wade hip deep into the sweaty, writhing flesh pond surrounding the stage before beats started pumping out of the PA.
By J.D. Oxblood
Through friends of friends I got on the guest list and passed by to check out the hubbub, bub. M2 is one of those Chelsea monstrosities that is everything you would expect—a long frickin’ walk from the subway, an enormous, cavernous room cut up by gargantuan furniture pieces guaranteeing that movement becomes impossible when the joint gets crowded and that no proper dance floor will ever erupt, grotesque hanging structures (in this case, faux-mirror balls constructed by crystals hung in sequence by 50-pound test) designed to remind you of the vertigo-inspiring height of the ceilings (nothing declares opulence in NYC like wasted space), louder than necessary, and a fantastic, state-of-the art lighting setup that is completely underused, like your grandma buying a Hummer and never taking it out of the driveway.