Category archives: Art for Progress

  • Founded in 1962, Film Comment has long been the critical voice of art-house and independent cinema, while also offering thoughtful coverage of more mainstream movies. The Film Society of Lincoln Center, which has published the magazine since the 1970s, annually presents the Film Comment Selects festival, which runs this year from Friday, Feb. 17, through Thursday, Feb. 23. Now in its 17th year, the festival screens movies that are not generally shown elsewhere, mixing the new and noteworthy with older, sometimes forgotten films that deserve another look.The scope of the festival is demonstrated by its opening night films: a premiere of Stéphane Brizé’s A Woman’s Life, an intricate adaptation of the Guy de Maupassant novel; and an Ultra-widescreen IMAX presentation of Terrence Malick’s trippy Voyage of Time, a visual and aural treat. The festival also features a four-film tribute to recently deceased cinematographer Raoul Coutard and revivals including 1972's The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds and rarely seen 1962 short On the Harmfulness of Tobacco, both directed by Paul Newman.Here’s a look at a couple of other films to be screened:Bitter Money, Wang Bing’s rambling, fly-on-the-wall documentary about Chinese migrant workers, is sometimes a tough slog. His loose, observational style doesn’t always serve the stories of his subjects—various individuals who have traveled to Huzhou to work in the city’s garment factories—nor does it consistently[...]
  • Returning to New York Fashion Week this season is none other than Kayne West, debuting his fifth season of Yeezy for Adidas.The collection featured oversized sweatshirts, slouchy outerwear, and utilitarian trousers -- all restricted to neutral tones.See some of the looks for yourself.https://twitter.com/theyeezymafia/status/831979870066466826West's presentation of looks also included the kickoff of the much-Instagrammed Calabasas line, Refinery 29 reports.Photo Credit: AKM-GSI The 15-minute showcase took place at Pier 59 Studios -- an old-line NYFW locale -- and attracted celebrities including his wife Kim Kardashian, sister-in-law Kylie Jenner, LaLa Anthony, Teyana Taylor, Hailey Baldwin and more.https://twitter.com/lala/status/831987657177702401Cameos from models included Luka Sabbat and Amina Blue, and the show marked the launch of Halima Aden -- the Somali-American stunner who is IMG Models' first hijab-wearing model.https://twitter.com/Edward_Enninful/status/831968901168820226?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw The rapper/designer with Teyana TaylorPhoto Credit: Walik  Check out more looks from the showcase below.
  • Modern Rendition of Cymbeline to Premier this April at NYC’s Historic Theatre 80 St. Marks Director/Producer Alexis Confer and Art for Progress Founder Frank Jackson are proud to announce their upcoming production of Cymbeline at Theatre 80 St. Marks this spring. This production will use the classic language of Shakespeare, but approach the Bard’s “fairytale” with a modern lens. The audience will be transported to a world floating between the blurred morality and frenetic energy of a Vegas-like kingdom and the stark, colorful beauty of the American Southwest.In order to bring a fresh, nuanced and uniquely comedic performance to the stage, the company is intentionally made up a variety of performance backgrounds from musicians to stand up comedians, from classically trained Shakespearean actors, to improvisers. Led by Confer’s direction, the tight-knit cast has done several Shakespearean shows together in 2015-2016 - Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream produced by OFFLINE Productions and Much Ado About Nothing produced by Art for Progress.Most importantly, the goal of the show is to create a great live performance experience while raising awareness and funds for arts education. All profits from the show will go to Art for Progress’s programs for children and young adults - helping to empower NYC’s young artists.Art for Progress’ Arts Education Community provides under-served youth with dynamic artistic programming that promotes reflection and self-expres[...]
  • Tomer Heymann’s documentary about choreographer Ohad Naharin, Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance, begins with a rehearsal scene in which a dancer falls backward repeatedly, as Naharin encourages her to “let go.” This painstaking (and literally painful) process is familiar to most dancers and anyone who’s witnessed the art of making tough choreography look easy. In the case of the iconoclastic Naharin, artistic director of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company and founder of the Gaga (no relation to Lady) movement technique, the choreography is both incredibly demanding and extremely rewarding, as his dancers and audiences can attest. Mr. Gaga, which delves into Naharin’s creativity as well as his personal life, includes interviews, archival footage and many performance clips. The result is a visually thrilling and soul-satisfying portrait of a remarkable talent and individual.Born and raised on a kibbutz, Naharin was an instinctive dancer as a child, influenced by his music-loving mother Tzofia. Home movies show bucolic kibbutz life as an idyllic setting for a creative child. Later, Naharin served as an entertainer in the Israeli Army, during which time he first began to create dances. The choreographer, who narrates much of his own story, explains how the “absurd theater” of performing for soldiers influenced dances such Sadeh21. We also learn via an early interview that he began dancing because of a family tragedy, a dramatic story that will be revisited later in th[...]
  • With an unprecedented climate of change and concern dawning in the United States, Art for Progress arts education programs are more essential than ever. AFP is embracing the ever-growing need for alternative and supplemental art, music, theater, and fashion programs for young people representing the voice of true expression in our city. Once again this has been an exciting semester for existing Art for Progress arts education programs in New York City’s public schools, and there are some new programs in the works for the second half of the school year.Our flagship music program at Humanities Preparatory Academy, which includes school day sessions as well as after school, is flourishing and has produced and cultivated a bunch of wonderful talent this semester. Everyone at the school is looking forward to the talent show on February 16th, which will include solo vocal and instrumental performances, and a variety of ensemble pieces and even a dance number.  AFP’s after school program at the James Baldwin School is also going strong and was well represented in the recent school-wide talent show on Friday, January 20. Students from both schools have been working hard after school every day, choosing songs and rehearsing. Especially impressive is the spirit of mutual encouragement among the students as the shows approach.As for AFP’s Young Adult Music Enrichment Program, tracking is nearly completed on Bronx rock band Statik Vision’s full-length album, and we are preparing [...]
  • A solid directorial and screenwriting debut by Australian actor and theater director Simon Stone, The Daughter borders on melodrama, but still manages to pack a considerable wallop. Stone originally converted Henrik Ibsen’s 1884 play The Wild Duck into a production set in present-day Australia for Sidney's Belvoir St Theatre in 2011. Like that version, some of the original story's details have been stripped away for The Daughter, yet the film retains a Nordic moodiness. As with live plays, the actors often sell the thing and The Daughter is no exception; Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Miranda Otto and Ewen Leslie, especially, deliver intense performances that make the film’s escalating drama compelling throughout.These events are set in motion by Christian (Paul Schneider), who returns to his Australian hometown after 15 years in the U.S. to attend the wedding of his father Henry (Rush)—a wealthy lumber mill owner—to his much younger housekeeper, Anna. There is obvious friction, as the son seems disgusted both by Anna’s age and the fact that his father is still using the car that belonged to his late wife, Christian’s mother.Complicating things, Henry has just shut down the mill, leading to an exodus of unemployed workers and their families from the town. Christian’s childhood friend Oliver (Leslie) is one worker who hasn't left; he and his wife Charlotte (Otto) dote on their daughter Hedvig (Odessa Young in a tough role), a bright high schooler who is also very cl[...]
  • Have you seen the movie 'Hidden Figures' yet? It's the first film, with an all female (and predominately black) cast, to remain the Number 1 movie in America for two weeks in a row since 2011's 'The Help,' according to Huffington Post!And after Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the movie is poised to surpass the $100 million dollar mark.Yas, kween!What's also extraordinary about the 60s-era gender and race-barrier-breaking movie is the costuming by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus who recently a nomination for Excellence in Period Film by the Costume Designers Guild of America (CFDA). "In many ways it's not a flashy picture, so the costumes have a fresh reality in a period way that's not... flashy," Ehrlich Kalfus tells Fashionista. To create the stunning looks seen in the movie, Ehrlich Kalfus referenced vintage issues of Ebony magazine, while adhering to NASA's ironclad rules for office attire.However, Ehrlich Kalfus managed to find inventiveness and individuality when it came to the film's vibrant looks.Regarding Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson)'s costuming, she adds: "There was some liberty in terms of colors, styles and shapes, because she did make her own clothes and I took advantage of that."Photo Credit: Hopper Stone/20th Century Fox Film Corp. h/t Fashionista Vivid and rich colors abound in 'Hidden Figures,' including 60s-era jewel-toned 2-piece suits and soft prints -- a sharp contrast to the male costuming of white button-down [...]
  • How much do we really know someone? That’s the main question posed by Claire in Motion, a quiet, uneasy new film co-written and directed by Lisa Robinson and Annie J. Howell. A sort of hybrid mystery/character study, the movie stars Betsy Brandt (best known for her role as Marie Schrader in Breaking Bad) as a math professor at a Midwestern university whose husband—a fellow academician—fails to return from a hiking trek. There’s no hysteria or big, crashing emotions in this missing-persons drama; conversely, it's a slowly-unfolding account of a woman traditionally ruled by logic and order, as she comes to terms with the unexpected and (initially) incomprehensible.When Claire Hunger’s husband Paul, an ornithology professor and nature-loving survivalist type, fails to return from his solo hiking trek on schedule, she doesn’t immediately panic. That emotion sets in slowly as the days turn into weeks, the police call off their fruitless search, and the couple’s young son Connor (an exceptionally poised Zev Haworth) begins to accept the inevitable—that his father probably died somewhere out in the wilderness. Even then, however, Claire refuses to believe Paul is gone and keeps going back into the woods to hunt for him. (Overcast skies and a slightly greenish palette give everything a heavy, muted tone that accentuates the sense of disquiet.) When the town's police chief mentions having interviewed a grad student with whom Paul was working on an art project, the usually unde[...]
  • Sayonara 2016! As we wait to learn and experience more of what this new 2017th year of existence has in store for all of us, one positive thing is for certain: New year = new start!And for starters, there are a few epic moments that we already know will happen in 2017. Check out three of the most amazing below. Happy new year! Alexander McQueen Biopic  Announced in late October 2016,  a biopic, based on the Alexander McQueen biography "Blood Beneath the Skin" by Andrew Wilson will start filming Spring 2017, and will hit movie theaters later the same year.Starring former "Skins" heartthrob Jack O'Connell, all of buzzy buzz surrounding this movie seem to unanimously agree that the actor closely resembles the troubled designer, who committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 40.We can't wait to see McQueen's incredible life story be brought to life. Below Alexander McQueen, left and actor Jack O'ConnellPhoto Credit: Getty Gingham, Ruffles and Wide Legs, Oh My!  Key clothing trends to expect in 2017 are ruffles, gingham, and wide legged pants — items that you might still have in your closet from seasons past, might be ready to take centerstage again. Below: London Fashion Week Looks from L-R: Toga, Peter Pilotto, House of Holland, Simone Rocha and Molly Goddard.   Photo Credit: Imaxtree/Fashionista More Over, "It" Bag, Make Way For Mini Purses When Nicolas Ghesquiere debuted an iPhone case shaped like a bag October 2016, little did we know that there was a bi[...]
  • It’s fitting that HBO is choosing to air Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey’s Every Brilliant Thing during the holiday season (starting on Monday). Their filmed version of the one-character play of the same name about depression, suicide and survival is funny, moving and heartening—appropriate viewing at a time of year when many people are not feeling their psychological best despite all the trappings of merriment. Recorded over three performances at the Barrow Street Theatre in 2015, Every Brilliant Thing stars British comedian Jonny Donahoe (best known in the UK for his comedy band Jonny and the Baptists), who co-wrote it with Duncan Macmillan.We enter the small theater-in-the-round along with the audience, as they file in and take their seats. Donahoe, a stocky, cheerful sort, distributes pieces of paper containing various phrases and instructs the recipients to yell them out at his signal. He then proceeds to tell his character’s decade-spanning life story, punctuated by the items of the show’s title. “Every Brilliant Thing” refers to an inventory of things to live for, started by Donahoe’s narrator at the age of seven when his mother first tried to kill herself. The list—which begins with “ice cream”—would become a running theme in his life, disappearing,  resurfacing, and evolving as he got older (“Hairdressers who listen to what you want”).Aside from calling out list entries, audience members are enlisted to impersonate people in the narrator’s life during cru[...]
  • Matthew Miele and Justin Bare’s documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First is an entertaining, at times astonishing, look at the career of a man who is responsible for countless iconic images from the past 50 years. In addition to a dizzying succession of photographic images, the film includes an array of testimonials from famous contemporaries and subjects in addition to family members, plus droll commentary from the 86-year-old Benson himself. Dan Rather, Carl Bernstein and Bryant Gumbel are among the journalists who weigh in on Benson and his work; Sharon Stone, Joe Namath, and (sigh) Donald J. Trump, among others, contribute anecdotes about their own experiences with the venerable photographer.One of the film’s striking motifs is Benson’s uncanny ability to be in the "right" place at the "right" time, whether in Memphis when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated or on a beach when the famously camera-shy Greta Garbo was taking a swim. Another running theme is how the charming Scot befriended almost everyone he shot, a diverse group including Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, and Mark David Chapman. His talent and tenacity resulted in a huge collection of photographs unmatched in their immediacy and intimacy, from shocking images of a dying Bobby Kennedy to dreamy photos of reclusive chess champion Bobby Fischer nuzzling a white horse.Though mainly known for shooting celebrities and political figures, Benson also traveled to places like Mogadishu, Somalia, and the [...]