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  • Zeitgeist-identifier and design icon Marc Jacobs perfectly captures the spirit of New York City as the hub of the fashion world in an ultra-specific, ALL CAPS party invitation. Promoting the release of the book Gloss, Marc’s glitter-soaked party will happen sometime during New York Fashion Week, (between September 10 and September 17) at fabled 1980-90s nightclub Tunnel.

    This glamorous fête is separate from the September 10 book signing event at Bookmarc that looks to be open to the public.

    The fabulousity of the strict “dress to kill” party guideline, expertly delineated in the invitation, seems to be even more exciting than the party itself. So much so that it’s been getting lots of attention online thanks to Yahoo! Style, who first posted the colorful dress code.

    As we await hungrily for images from the event, you won’t believe what sort of look requirements Marc lays out for select guests after the jump!

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  • NURTUREArt’s group show Sextant looks to our sense of reality and place as constructed from memory, history, and objects. While a serious subject, some works are able to retain playfulness, an example being Igor Ruf’s video work The Cave (2015). The artist as actor recites the same lines over and over as he moves and dances around a cave space. Subtitles indicate that he is saying he has bananas and a guitar, among other basic necessities, and he doesn’t need much else. We see Ruf repeating names and asserting his identity, and it’s unbelievable in its goofiness. He touches on the ability objects have in shaping our memories and how those moments cumulatively form the perception we wish to have for ourselves, and for others to have of us, and he maintains a lightheartedness throughout.

     

    Calum Craik has two pieces in the show that also examine, as he writes in an artist’s statement, “a hazy memory, actual events, and experience.” He is more interested in pop culture, however, as he feels that “everyday objects act as vehicles to question and imagine…documents, photographs, and raw materials act as a mechanism to reconsider truths, events, or invent new possibilities.” This certainly rings true in Lesiure (2013). A space blanket, shiny and geological-looking, is situated across a small image of a California pool that lays flat on the floor. Above this image hangs a small bowling ball resembling the earth. This creates a shadow on the lower left corner of the pool’s image – a shadow over a typical representation of leisure and relaxation. The space blanket is underscores the reminder that there is something always bigger looming.

    While Craik’s work is more philosophical, Nikola Uzunovski’s is actively involving geography and the celestial with history and experience. Prints from his photographic series My Sunshine (2008) are on display. They are captivating in the artist’s attempt to create artificial sunlight in the Arctic Circle by positioning an aerostat-figure in the area. Sometimes it is flying, other times it is lifted by individuals. The results are photographs where beaming, ethereal light emerges through the globed figure and is reflected in the sky to appear like the sun itself. The location was chosen because the sun stays below the horizon and can’t give light to the ground beneath. Uzunovski states, “This phenomenon has a massive influence on the emotional state and relational dynamics of the local population.” By combining scientific technology and art he transforms the lived experience. The artist literally and metaphorically shedding light in dark areas. And he looks to have “extensive participation of the public, moving from the scientific community… to embrace whoever wishes to join.”

    Sometimes silly, sometimes ironic, and sometimes poignant, Sextant (named after one of the first instruments that followed astral navigation) is nonetheless profound, enhanced by the intimacy of the space. It’s definitely worth a visit before the close on August 30th.

    NURTUREArt is located in Bushwick, at 56 Bogart Street.

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  • The latest feature from Brazilian filmmaker Anna Muylaert may take place in São Paulo, but its story could be transplanted to any country with a functioning class system. While class differences and tensions are at the heart of The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?), the film also tackles complicated family dynamics; the result is a multi-layered drama that is as entertaining as it is perceptive.

    Val (Regina Casé) is the longtime housekeeper for an upper-class family consisting of laid-back Dr. Carlos (Lourenço Mutarelli), his driven, successful wife Bárbara (Karine Teles) and their teenage son Fabhino (Michel Joelsas), who Val has virtually raised from childhood. Casé is a physically and emotionally expressive actor and her character is a warm, forceful presence, whether interacting with the family or with other workers in the home, especially younger housemaid Edna. Val’s constantly in motion, serving or cleaning up after the family, comically miming her feelings to Edna or muttering to herself as she goes about her duties. She has an intensely affectionate relationship with Fabhino, a coddled kid she caresses and croons to like a baby; he clearly enjoys the attention. In one scene, Val eavesdrops as his parents question him about marijuana they found, then she helps him hide it; the two are totally in cahoots.

    Courtesy of Oscilloscope

    Courtesy of Oscilloscope

    Val hasn’t seen her own daughter Jéssica (Camila Márdila) in 10 years, as the girl has been living up north with relatives while her mother works in São Paulo. One day, Jéssica calls and announces that she is coming down to the city to apply to the university.

    “Of course she can stay here; you’re almost family,” says Bárbara upon hearing the news, no doubt imagining some mini version of the simple, servile Val. Jéssica, however, is very much her own person; intelligent and self-confident, she views her chosen field of study, architecture, as a means for social change. She intuits that staying at the house of her mother’s employers is not a good idea, but she has no choice: that’s where Val lives. The family – especially Carlos – is impressed by Jéssica’s intellect and drive, and initially treat her like a guest, in stark contrast to their behavior toward good old Val. When Jéssica refuses to be deferential and asks if she can stay in the guest room rather than share Val’s cramped quarters, her mother is mortified. “When they offer you something they think you’ll say ‘No,’” she explains, but Jéssica is having none of it: “They’re not my bosses, Val.”

    Carlos – a frustrated painter who sports Coachella and Ramones t-shirts — takes a real interest in Jéssica, which veers uncomfortably into impropriety. Bárbara is understandably not thrilled, especially after she winds up serving the girl breakfast one morning when Val oversleeps. Though it would be easy to portray Bárbara one-dimensionally as a jealous wife and mother, she seems appropriately conflicted. Meanwhile Fabhino – also applying to the university – is somewhat smitten with Jéssica, who is way more mature than he, in addition being a better student. Frustrated with her daughter’s lack of sensitivity to her own position and class boundaries in general, Val finds solace in affectionate conversations with Fabhino. The arrival of Jéssica has clearly upset whatever balance existed in the household.

    Courtesy of Oscilloscope

    Courtesy of Oscilloscope

    Things come to a head after Jéssica winds up in the pool with Fabhino and his friends, after which she and Val decide to find their own apartment. When those plans fall through, Jéssica at first refuses to go back to the house, further frustrating her mother, who doesn’t seem (or want) to understand how strained things have become there. Finally mother and daughter have it out. “I don’t think I’m better (than everybody),” Jessica answers Val’s accusations. “I just don’t think I’m worse.”

    In general, Muylaert’s characters are believably flawed, neither completely sympathetic nor contemptible, though Val behaves in a particularly clueless manner in a couple of scenes, especially when she brags about Jéssica in front of Fabhino, clearly upsetting him. We have to believe that her outsize emotions have gotten the better of her.

    The film moves along briskly as events build up to a satisfying conclusion. A combination family drama, character study and social commentary, The Second Mother is an impressively solid blend of all three.

    The Second Mother opens Friday in New York at Angelika Film Center and the Paris Theatre.

    Marina Zogbi

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  • As the summer season steadily winds down, and we start looking towards dressing for colder weather, let’s look at items that women can wear all season long.

    But let’s not forget that many of us tend to wear the same clothes all season long, on account of frigid temperatures in many places of work.

    (After all, we can’t ignore talk about unfairly regulated, “sexist” air-conditioners.)

    Meaning, that while it may be hot outside, it’s ice-cold in many offices, movie theaters, shopping venues and more, so the need to stash a sweater in our totes is vital to summer survival.

    However, this trend story is not about office politics, or sweater layering, it’s about what we can wear anytime and anywhere that’s always on trend (and will still look fierce under a sweater or with opaque tights).

    Here are your three, tried-and-true fashion items (plus a bonus item) below:

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  • Courtesy of Gkids

    Courtesy of Gkids

    Even in a field of distinctive and cutting-edge animated films, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is unusual. Directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King), the long-gestating passion project of producer Salma Hayek features the work of eight international independent animators, in addition to Allers’ crew. Though constructed as a children’s tale, the film contains sophisticated animated segments inspired by chapters from Lebanese poet Gibran’s much-quoted guide to philosophical and spiritual enlightenment. The framing story’s simplistic narrative and overly broad humor, presented in traditional (if not actually hand-drawn) animation style, is somewhat at odds with its dark political overtones, adding to the disconnect.  Despite its flaws, however, The Prophet — buoyed by a diversity of splendid animation — becomes surprisingly poignant by its conclusion.

    Courtesy of Gkids

    Courtesy of Gkids

    Very loosely based on its source and set in a vaguely Middle Eastern land, the narrative involves a rambunctious little girl whose mother (voiced by Hayek) cleans the rooms of a poet (Liam Neeson), imprisoned for seven years due to his inflammatory writing. One day he is told that he will be released to return to his own country, but the authorities — autocratic bad guys (Alfred Molina, Frank Langella) — aren’t exactly truthful. While young children might not understand the film’s themes of censorship, artistic freedom and tyrannical political regimes, older kids will probably be put off by the story’s naive presentation. (There’s also the distracting matter of ostensibly Arabic characters voiced by actors with Spanish, Irish and American accents.) But all is forgiven every time the story gives way to one of Gibran’s poetic essays, each a distinctive animation either sonorously narrated by Neeson or — in two instances — sung plaintively: Damien Rice’s “On Children,” which underscores Nina Paley’s trippily psychedelic segment and “On Love,” Lisa Hannigan and Glen Hansard’s lovely duet for Tomm Moore’s elaborate, swirling clip.

    Courtesy of Gkids

    Courtesy of Gkids

    In addition to those animated chapters, the film features Bill Plympton’s simple, pencil-drawn “On Eating and Drinking”; Michal Socha’s lovely, inventive “On Freedom”; Joann Sofar’s sexy tango “On Marriage”; Joan Gratz’s flowing, painterly “On Work”; the delicate watercolors of Mohammed Saeed Harib’s “On Good and Evil” and the Brizzi brothers’ elegant, old-school “On Death.”

    Though  uneven, The Prophet is ultimately a visually stunning homage to one of the 20th century’s most influential books and its author.

    Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is playing at Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

    From the sublime to …?

    Sneakerheadz, a documentary by David T. Friendly and Mick Partridge, is a mostly lighthearted look at the phenomenon of grand-scale sneaker collecting. Though the film includes interviews with designers, collectors, resellers and pop culture pundits, the obsession with amassing countless shoe styles — most never to be worn — will likely remain a mystery to anyone who isn’t part of the culture. Needless to say, sneakerheads themselves will probably be all over this.

    Through talking heads such as Sneakerology retailer Jeff Elliott, designer Frank the Butcher, and rapper/collector Wale, the film traces the rise of kicks culture, the result of popular culture’s embrace of hip hop, sports and street styles. (Of course there’s a nod to Run DMC and the hit “My Adidas.”) Sneaker celebs such as Jeff Staple, whose collab with Nike resulted in the hugely popular Pigeon Dunk (2005), and influential Japanese boutique owner Hommyo Hidefuni are featured prominently, in addition to high-profile collectors like MLB pitcher Jeff Guthrie, who houses his stash in a fancy vault named Fort Knox and confesses that his obsession’s demands can get overwhelming. We also see Carmelo Anthony admitting, “I stopped counting after 1,000.”

    sneakerheadz

    Though mainly a guy thing, a couple of women are included, notably DJ Samantha Ronson, who gazes fondly at a photo album of the collection she keeps in storage. The resale value of limited editions such as the Nike Dunk Low “Paris” (several thousand dollars) is pretty impressive, with Michael Jordan’s “flu game” shoes (worn during the 1997 NBA finals) selling at auction for nearly $105,000 a couple of years ago.

    The dark side of all this — violence erupting among crowds awaiting a new release and kids getting beaten or killed for their kicks — is touched upon, as is the responsibility of corporations who manufacture demand with hyped-up limited edition releases. But the film doesn’t dwell too much on the downside, instead including a bit of uplift with a Nike-sponsored program (at Oregon’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital) in which sick kids design their own styles. (This actually resulted in the best-selling Nike Air Foamposite One).

    Mainly, the film serves as an entertaining look at a culture that is, as commenters note, largely about retaining youth and optimism: “Life may be hard; new shoes are a beacon of hope.”

    Sneakerheadz is playing at Village East Cinema.

    Marina Zogbi

     

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