Category archives: NYC

  • It’s a great time of year for New York's documentary lovers, as the nation’s largest nonfiction film festival comes to town. The eighth edition of DOC NYC runs November 9 –16 with screenings and panels taking place at the IFC Center, SVA Theater and Cinepolis Chelsea. Among the fest’s 250 films and events are 11 feature-length works, from already released films such as Agnès Varda’s acclaimed Faces, Places to films making their world premieres, including Sam Pollard’s Maynard, a portrait of Atlanta’s first black mayor, and Julia Bacha’s Naila and The Uprising, about a Palestinian woman in Gaza who must make an impossible choice between love, family and freedom.Among the festival’s 18 categories are two competition sections: Viewfinders, for distinct directorial visions, and Metropolis, dedicated to stories set in NYC. More than 350 filmmakers and special guests (often film subjects) will be in attendance for Q&As after most screenings and for DOC NYC PRO panels, including Steve Madden (for Maddman), Dan Rather (for Fail State) and Susan Sarandon (for Soufra).Opening the festival is Greg Barker’s The Final Year, which follows key members of outgoing President Barack Obama’s administration; closing it is Lili Fini Zanuck’s Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, about the life and career of the legendary guitarist. In between are docs of all sizes and shapes including centerpiece film Far from the Tree, Rachel Dretzin’s world premiere adaptation of Andrew Solomon’s book,[...]
  • For music aficionados and the real heads that check out a lot of live shows, you know when you're in the presence of exceptional musicians, singer/songwriters. Where Mumford and Sons have in some respects brought a new wave of progressive folk music to the forefront of popularity, I can't say the results have led to many high quality bands.  When I received an invite to check out the band Twain, I was a bit reluctant about attending, but after listening to some of their stuff I was ready to go.On this night, they were playing the opening set, but it was obvious that the early crowd was gathered to see Twain, and by the end of the night it was clear they were worthy of the top billing for this show.With 8pm fast approaching, the level of excitement was building as eager fans edged closer to the stage, and with their new album Rare Feeling dropping on October 20th, this would be the first opportunity for many to experience the new stuff live.  As they got into their first song, the thing that initially caught my attention was the depth and warmth of their sound, and as their set progressed I heard glimpses of everything from Neil Young, The Doors and even The Grateful Dead.This is the kind of music that grows on you, and as you continue to listen to Mt. Davidson (lead singer/songwriter) and the band perform, you're soon captivated both musically and lyrically. Though many of the songs deal with serious subject matter, there's an undeniable sense of enthusiasm in[...]
  • The second film from Swedish director Kasper Collin, I Called Him Morgan is an evocative, beautifully filmed documentary of a remarkable life cut short and a remarkably fertile period in New York City’s jazz scene. In February 1972, acclaimed 33-year-old trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot to death by his common-law wife Helen in an East Village club. The murder shocked all who knew the couple, including Morgan’s fans and fellow musicians, many of whom tried to make sense of the tragedy afterwards.Using interviews; gorgeous, iconic, black and white still photos; archival film clips, and moody reenactments—all underscored by a fabulous soundtrack—Collin constructs compelling portraits of both Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen, making their way in New York City’s hopping jazz scene from the late 1950s through the early '70s. The story slowly builds up to that fateful night, providing details that many have apparently pondered for years. In doing so, Collin gives us a glimpse of the great talent possessed by Morgan, along with poignant memories of the people who nurtured and appreciated it. With its potent music, atmospheric footage of vintage NYC and artfully abstract recreations, the film also gives us a palpable sense of time and place.Collin's main resource is an interview that Helen gave to radio host and jazz scholar Larry Reni Thomas in 1996, a month before she passed away. This fortuitous conversation came about when Thomas was teaching adult education a[...]
  • 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[...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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[...]
  • Documentary lovers, take note! The seventh edition of DOC NYC, America’s largest nonfiction film festival, begins this week, with screenings at Manhattan's IFC Center, SVA Theatre and Cinepolis Chelsea. The 2016 festival, which runs from Thursday, Nov. 10, to Thursday, Nov. 17, boasts over 250 films and events overall, including 110 feature-length documentaries. Included are 18 world premieres and 19 U.S. premieres, with more than 300 filmmakers and special guests on hand to present and discuss their films. Notable documentarians will be honored at the Visionaries Tribute Awards on Nov. 10, including Jonathan Demme and Stanley Nelson, who are receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards.Opening Night film will be Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, directed by Matt Tyrnauer, about writer and activist Jane Jacobs and her fight against NYC’s most ruthless power broker, Robert Moses. Closing Night film will be Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, directed by John Scheinfeld. In between the two is a dazzling variety of docs divided into several categories: Viewfinders Competition (directorial visions), Metropolis Competition (NYC), American Perspectives, International Perspectives, Fight the Power (activism), Jock Docs (sports), Sonic Cinema (music), Modern Family (unconventional clans), Wild Life (animals), Docs Redux (classics), Art & Design (artists), Behind the Scenes (filmmaking), DOC NYC U (student work), Shorts, plus two new sections, True Crime and Science Nonf[...]
  • We recently caught up with Brooklyn based band Slothrust, who are releasing their long awaited third album, Everyone Else on Dangerbird Records October 28th.1)   Are you native New Yorker's or transplants?Will and I are from Boston and Kyle is from New Jersey.2)   How would you describe your sound?Blues / jazz influenced rock music with a lot of dynamics and time signature changes ;)3)   How has the crowd responded to the new music from Everyone Else?Crowds we have performed to have responded really positively to the new music. We are very excited to tour and share it with more people.4)   Was there a particular story you wanted to tell or message you wanted to send with Everyone Else?There is not one story in particular that I am trying to tell with this record. Thematically, it deals a lot with water and dreams. I like thinking about different states of consciousness and things infinitely larger than the self.5)   What do you enjoy most about touring and performing live?I like seeing new cities and the exchange of energy that happens between performers and difference audiences.6)   Tell me about your creative process. Do you work remotely or do you go off to the woods to write together as a group?It's a combination of a lot of things. Generally songs come to me in pieces and we go about executing them in a variety of ways. In the past there hasn't been a particular formula for us.7)   Where do you find your inspiration[...]
  • New York Fashion Week officially ended today.If you've been following any news from this week's past events:*You would know that Hood By Air made weird fashion magic with PornHub**Kayne West's Yeezy Show was considered a hot mess***Fashion insider Eva Chen was everywhere you wish you were.Former editor-in-chief for Lucky Magazine, Chen is Instagram's head of fashion partnerships, as well as CEO of Trend Micro. (She's also my hero)Over 600,000 fans keep track of the fashion maven via IG. And if you are an Instagram stalker like me, you'd know that she's pregnant with her second child to Tom Bannister, and loves to show off  her shoes from the backseat of car services. I especially love her #ootd shots, featuring designer Rosetta Getty and Tanya Taylor.Chen is also a brilliant digital strategist. In an interview with Business of Fashion, Chen lays out five basic principles for clothing brands big and small.Paraphrased from Business of Fashion:Seek real conversational engagement online. "It's not a numbers game," Chen says. "You can have millions of followers, but more important is whether people are commenting and tagging their friends. That means you’ve created something that people are talking about and that’s what makes a good post." Possess a strong visual identity. "ust as when you pick up a magazine, whether it’s Self Service or Vogue, and you could remove the title from the cover, but you would still know which magazine it was j[...]
  • Designers, looking for ways to connect your brand with clients? Master class is in session, y'all! Brand activation is the go-to marketing strategy for spurring direct consumer engagement via an event, campaign, or experience."Brand activation is not just about gaining affinity -- it's about inspiring consumers to act," says Amanda Hansen for Ad Age. A brand must present a flawless, harmonious, and fluid union of all available communication vehicles in a creative platform in order to activate consumer interest.And it would appear that the women's e-commerce website Revolve Clothing are the experts at brand activation, and they have the ad-dollars to prove it!Even their macaron game is on point. They work with celebrities, jetsetters, model, style influencers in order to create an overall exciting and enticing image in order to drive consumers to their e-commerce checkout line. And this past month, the brand invested in a 6,636 square foot Hamptons beach rental that costs about a $37,500 a month to rent.For the stunt, Revolve hosted tastemakers, including pay-for-play bloggers who boast a following of over 1 million on Instagram like Natasha Oakley (1.8 million), Danielle Bernstein (1.5 million), Chiara Ferragni (6.3 million), Eleanor Calder (3 million), Kristina Bazan (2.4 million), Negin Mirsalehi (3.2 million) and Camila Coutinho (1.9 million), according to Fashionista.Revolve covered all of the bloggers' travel expenses, appearance fees, and[...]
  • With the weather forecast calling for temperatures in the upper 90's on Friday, we did our best to prepare for an all day event in the sweltering NYC summer heat.  But upon entering the venue, it was clear that the organizers of the Panorama Festival planned appropriately for our day.  With many free water kiosks, tents and air conditioned art & music areas, it was easy to cool down if you were feeling overwhelmed by the oppressive heat.And although it's not so easy to get to Randall's Island, our timing was very good, and as we walked in Here We Go Magic was just starting to play in the huge tent to the north side of the venue.  I was happy to finally here the band live. Some years ago I interviewed Luke Temple, but lost touch with the band's more recent happenings.  They had a decent crowd for the early part of the day, and although they apologized for some technical difficulties, we were impressed with their set.As we made our way over to the main stage, we could hear Algier's set was already in full swing.  Algier's set was only 30 minutes, but their powerful, dark soulful sound was evident throughout.  While listening we were able to cool down over at the American Express spot.  We snapped together some complimentary sunglasses and enjoyed some refreshments for a bit before heading back to the pavilion to hear Preservation Hall Jazz Band. A rather large, enthusiastic crowd was now gathered and grooving to some of the best New Orleans style jazz you can fi[...]