Ryan Sheldon and Victor LaValle dissect the horror and humanity in LaValle’s latest book, The Devil in Silver.
Victor LaValle’s latest book, The Devil in Silver, has already been billed as a masterpiece of literary horror. The praise is well deserved, the categorization perhaps less so. It’s certainly the closest LaValle’s come to writing a work of genre fiction—The Devil in Silver follows Pepper, a “big man” who’s wrongfully admitted to a mental institution in New Hyde, Queens, as he navigates its terrifying environs and attempts to make an escape (spoiler: his chance at an expedient discharge disappears rather quickly)—but one needs look no further than the novel’s title to understand its precise vision of true “horror.” A visitor to New Hyde explains that the phrase “the devil in silver” became a dark euphemism for the silver poisoning suffered by miners in the nineteenth century, which often caused its victims to become delusional before causing their deaths. This historical referent is well chosen; throughout the novel, LaValle explores how the pressures of a flawed, oppressive system—in this case, the horribly mismanaged mental institution in which his characters find themselves—can precipitate madness. In this way, the very real horrors of medical negligence, abuse, and mental illness run parallel to legend that circulates throughout New Hyde’s inmate population, which believes that the Devil has taken up residence among them. LaValle’s treatment of systemic evils gestures toward a battery of political issues—race, immigration, and the worrisome states of our healthcare and financial systems—which beg our address on a daily basis.
LaValle’s two previous novels, The Ecstatic and Big Machine, feature fantastic elements that verge on disturbing; his brilliant debut story collection, slapboxing with jesus, does not take the supernatural as its proper subject, but charts the ways in which the ghosts of memory—fragmented recollections of childhood, litanies of nostalgia and regret—mark our pasts. In each work, LaValle’s approach to chills and psychic discomfort is never reducible to straight genre writing, and if his investigations of mental illness and personal unraveling unsettle readers, it’s because they remind us of how fragile, impressionable, and precious the human mind can be. LaValle is ever quick to converse with tropes of literary horror, and his interest in jumping the rails of conventional narrative reflects a desire to show just how easily a standard vision of reality might—and often does—collapse. In The Devil in Silver, the scope of this exploration is larger than he’s yet attempted.
Neighboring Sounds is the first feature-length work by Brazilian auteur Kleber Mendonça Filho, and like the young director’s earlier efforts, it belies a keen eye for space, framing, and environmental textures. The film is a masterwork of economy and dramatic tension: it was shot almost exclusively in the environs around Filho’s Recife apartment building (a setting that he’s also explored in his shorter works), and its momentum comes not from any grand narrative gestures, but rather from small, episodic interventions and conflicts, impeccable uses of framing and geometry, and brilliant attention to the atmospheric potential of sound.
Neighboring Sounds might be considered a work of social realism—Filho’s own description locates it in the stylistic tradition of British New Wave directors like Ken Loach—and critics and audiences alike have found it to be a remarkably accurate examination of contemporary Brazilian society. The film makes an effort to represent an entire social spectrum in the microcosm of a Recife street; its cast includes a sugar magnate, Francisco, who owns most of the real estate in the surrounding area; his grandsons, Joao and Dinho (the latter of whom has become the neighborhood’s resident thug); a working class woman, Bea, and her family; and the ranks of hired staff who serve the local families. The unsteady, often patriarchal relationships between these classes provide fecund ground for explorations of social tension, and the proper narrative of Neighboring Sounds begins with the appearance of a private security detail—headed by a man named Clodoaldo—which, after securing the tentative blessing of Francisco, installs itself in the neighborhood and begins patrolling the area. Like the rest of the community’s service class, these guards make a show of deference to the residents—gladly throwing themselves into the neighborhood’s collective employ—but in doing so, assert themselves as the custodians and protectors of the very people they claim to serve. For the Brazilian upper class, whose wealth is accompanied by unshakable paranoia and fear of criminal victimization, money can’t buy security so much as its illusion; Neighboring Sounds actively exploits the anxieties of this system, which is ultimately founded on artifice, to great effect.
As its title suggests, the film is particularly concerned with the way sound generates atmosphere. Its soundtrack is a wonder of engineering, culled from snippets of quotidian background noise: television sets, traffic, appliances, overheard arguments. In Filho’s capable hands, the sound of shattering glass or a sudden, jarring burst of radio music becomes as alarming as the most dramatic of theatrical scores.
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Kleber Mendonça Filho via Skype. I count myself lucky in this respect; he was at a dinner party in Amsterdam, having only just screened the Neighboring Sounds at Film Festival Locarno in Switzerland. Despite the frenzy of distraction and activity around him, Filho spoke at length about the writing of the film, the importance of shooting ugly architecture, Brazilian social hierarchies, and of course, the art of composing a natural soundtrack.
Blues Control curates an odyssey through avant-garde landscapes of film and classical composition—with a brief digression into street performance.
Over the last five years, psychedelic duo Blues Control has honed a sound that defies neat categorization. Drawing on a marriage of styles—avant-garde, ambient, psychedelia, lo-fi, classic rock, and New Age—their music often takes on the character of collage; as they craft their songs, guitarist Russ Waterhouse and keyboardist Lea Cho carefully arrange, integrate, and layer sonic textures without homogenizing them. Valley Tangents, the band’s latest record and first release on Drag City, represents a fulfillment of the expansive promise of their earlier efforts—it showcases all the enthusiasm for exploring and synthesizing varied musical approaches that fans have come to expect of their tracks. Yet this record finds Blues Control in command of an even more mature understanding of how to assemble and sculpt intricate, challenging, and multifarious soundscapes—in short, a cooler and steadier compositional hand.
They’ve displayed this same eclectic sensibility in making the following video selections. Their mixtape juxtaposes the street gymnastics of recent collaborator Allstar the MTA Mime with the experimental films of Joseph Cornell, and includes a fantastic assortment of deep cuts from foreign avant-garde composers. I recently spoke to the band about the origins of Blues Control, their working process, the recent move to Drag City, leaving New York, and the enigmatic star of “Love’s a Rondo.”
Ryan Sheldon So, how did you get started with Blues Control?
Lea Cho Our first project was a New Age band called Watersports, which we started in 2003. The influences for that band were kraut, New Age, synth, and electro-acoustic music, and environmental field recordings. At some point—probably while drinking—we started a running joke that we had a piano rock band on the side called Blues Control. We were listening to a lot of blues, psych, and classic rock around this time, especially Polish psych CDs we found in Greenpoint.
By their own accounts, Graham Lambkin and C. Spencer Yeh are not musicians in any traditional sense. Yeh explicitly rejects the designation, and explains his creative activity as “work[ing] with music.” Lambkin, founder of the avant-garde band The Shadow Ring, is yet more severe and precise in his self-description, eschewing even the general label of music in favor of the medium-specific “sound.” Neither Lambkin nor Yeh is particularly intrigued by the idea of craftsmanship, and both make a point of prioritizing sonic experimentation first and foremost. To call their more recent work “music making” would in fact be somewhat misleading; it’s equally appropriate to say that they deconstruct music by attacking and interrogating its architecture—collapsing its constituent elements, challenging established modes of performance, and layering distorted, poetic intonations over broken sonic landscapes.
Yeh and Lambkin will perform together at the New Museum on Friday at 7 PM. Given their shared penchant for actively engaging creative limitations—in Yeh’s case, for example, by playing the violin with two bows—and confining themselves to expressly experimental and inquisitive modes of composition, the collaboration should prove fascinating to watch. Call it what you might—performance art, sonic architecture, even avant-garde music—but taxonomy is hardly at issue when discussing artists whose work is preoccupied only with limitations of creative substance—the means by which sounds can be collaged, examined, and reorganized. Lambkin has said, “You should be able to make a decent record with a rubber band and a cardboard box just as easily as a string quartet or whatever you’ve got. You should set yourself those limitations and not be afraid.” I wouldn’t rule it out, and I would be very afraid—this performance promises to challenge its audience to approach and appreciate sound in radically exciting new ways.
For the nostalgic: check out Yeh’s Japanese noise primer at Rhizome.
The most comprehensive intelligence you’ll receive on this weekend’s happenings.
Socrates Sculpture Park is throwing a nighttime party called Park Side of the Moon in celebration of 25 years of giant sculpture, multi-media installation, public art! The evening begins with a pig roast dinner and continues on with a nightful of music, dancing, and strange and fun activities in the dark. Don’t miss performances and video by Jacolby Satterwhite, music by AndrewAndrew, and an exhibition on view with artists Natalie Jeremijenko, Mary Miss, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and George Trakas.
The Guggenheim’s Rineke Djikstra retrospective opens to the public today!
Poets House commences its 2012 Showcase with a marathon reading by an extensive cast of talented poets, including Rowan Ricardo Philips, Cathy Park Hong, Eileen Myles, Thom Donovan, John Yau, and BOMB’s Senior Editor Mónica de la Torre.
Ecstatic Summer, a concert series that carries on the spirit of the Kaufman Center’s Ecstatic Music Festival, begins today with performances by Roomful of Teeth, featuring tUnE-yArDs’s Merrill Garbus and electronic composer and New Amsterdam co-director William Brittelle, and Yehudim, the brainchild of Ecstatic Music Festival founder (and New Amsterdam co-head) Judd Greenstein. The event is presented in conjunction with the River to River Festival, and will take place at World Financial Center Plaza.
The Spy Music Festival, organized by Brooklyn-based experimental label Northern Spy, begins its second annual run this weekend. Tonight, Issue Project Room will host the Rhys Chatham Guitar Trio, Neptune, and Extra Life. Stay tuned to the BOMB Alert for more Festival highlights.
At long last, MoMA unveils Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan. One of the summer’s most eagerly awaited museum exhibitions, this retrospective—organized in collaboration with the Museo Reina Sofía and the Tate Modern—surveys the career of the Arte Povera hero in its entirety.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is now playing in select theaters in New York. Wind down a busy weekend with this imaginative film about a young girl and her father, living in Louisiana’s southernmost region, The Bathtub.
We’ve got limitless energy and run on nothing but culture.
Catch two remarkable photography exhibitions at Hous Projects. Radically different but equally fascinating works by Scott Davis and Tara Bogart are currently on view at this SoHo gallery.
FringeNYC (or The New York International Fringe Festival) commences its 16th run today, offering a VAST array of performances and shows produced by over 200 artistic groups, which will place over the course of the next two weeks in venues all over the city, plus more!
Following on the heels of last week’s Wild Flag show, Celebrate Brooklyn brings you an eminently danceable evening of music: Frankie Rose, Little Dragon, and Voices of Black will play the Prospect Park Bandshell for free. Doors open at 6 PM.
Burn the midnight oil at a late screening of cult favorite Fantastic Planet at Nitehawk Cinema. This presentation of Rene Laloux’s hallucinatory classic will be enhanced by live musical support from Morricone Youth.
The New Museum screens Andy Warhol’s 1966 exploration of the JFK assassination, Since, which uses a variety of collagist techniques to achieve a nonlinear reconstruction of the historical narrative and interrogate our relationship to modern media forms.
If Warholian cinema proves a bit too heady for your Saturday night appetite, consider revisiting Paul Verhoeven’s original Total Recall, currently running at Film Forum.
Catch Almayer’s Folly, Chantal Akerman’s latest picture—and her first in seven years—at Anthology Film Archives.
Today’s your last chance to see sculptor Rachel Kneebone’s homage to Auguste Rodin, Regarding Rodin, which leaves the Broolyn Museum at 6 PM. Equal parts curation, tribute, and reinvention, Kneebone’s project places eight original pieces alongside fifteen of Rodin’s most notable works.
Set your sights on Harlem and make use of the Studio Museum’s Target Free Sundays program. Who, What, Wear, an exploration of the evolution of style conducted through a survey of the museum’s permanent collection, closes today—don’t miss this opportunity to see works by Malick Sidibe and Kehinde Wiley, on the cheap, no less!
BOMBlog tells you how to stay cool under fire before and after Independence Day.
McNally Jackson Books and New Directions present an evening with Hungarian author Laszlo Krasznahorkai at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. The author will read from his most recently translated novel, Satantango—the basis for the epic Béla Tarr film of the same name—before discussing the work with James Wood of The New Yorker.
The Clocktower Gallery is currently displaying a slew of exciting exhibitions, including Prisoner Fantasies: Photos from the Inside, a collaborative mixed-media project produced entirely through the creative efforts of prison inmates.
The Stone hosts sound experimentalists and composers Rob Mazurek and Angelica Sanchez as part of the Spy Music Festival. Mazurek and Sanchez take the stage at 8 PM; Darius Jones, Shahzad Ismaily, and Ryan Sawyer will perform as a trio afterwards.
As long as you have access to a clear vantage overlooking the Hudson River, you should have no trouble enjoying the annual Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show! Alternatively, you might head to one of these specifically selected viewing locations.
Pothole, curated by sculptor Huma Bhabha, completes its run at Salon 94 on Friday. Pothole is intended as a paean to artistic camaraderie and friendship, and features work by Julie Mehretu, Joe Bradley, and Dana Schutz, among others. Don’t miss it!
As part of the Lincoln Center Festival, the renowned Druid Theater Company opens DruidMurphy, a cyclical production comprising three works by major Irish playwright Tom Murphy. Murphy is one of Ireland’s most acclaimed dramatists, and Druid’s sprawling triptych—Conversations on a Homecoming, Famine, and A Whistle in the Dark—should prove to be one of the summer season’s most riveting theatrical experiences.
Head to BAM to catch Czech New Wave classic Daisies.
285 Kent puts on an unreasonably energetic electronic showcase tonight, headlined by juke veteran DJ Rashad. Brave the heat and test your footwork against the frenetic beats of the legendary Chicago producer.
At a loss for things to do? Your search ends here.
It’s time to get yourself educated. The renowned Brooklyn Institute for Social Research launches another round of classes this week, including seminars on Freud and Film and Philosophy.
The ever-fascinating journal The Coffin Factory hosts What’s a Writer?, a panel discussion on contemporary writing, at the New York Public Library. Authors Bonnie Nadzam, John Reed, and Jacques Strauss will speak about the writing life of today.
Matthew Akers, director of Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, will entertain questions about the making of the documentary prior to its 7:50 showing at the Film Forum. For more on Marina Abramović, click here.
Head over to the Canal Park Playhouse for the final installment of the Back Room Reading Series with MOMENTum The evening will feature a wide range of musical, storytelling, and theatrical talent, plus more, with performers Cynthia Hopkins, Victoria Libertore, Karen Docc, Jill Stoddard, Reeva Wartel and Joe Roland.
Brooklyn’s own Northside Festival kicks off Thursday night with performances by artists as diverse as ?uestlove, the GZA, Daughn Gibson, and Cold Cave. Independent film screenings and entrepreneurial events will also take place throughout Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
We shall guide you, weary traveler. Here’s your complete itinerary for this weekend.
Joshua Cohen reads from his collection of novellas, Four New Messages, at 192 Books at 7 PM. Four New Messages won’t be available for purchase until August 7, but you can read an excerpt from “Sent” by purchasing a copy of BOMB Issue 120 or subscribing.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, which chronicles the political and artistic practices of renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, opens today at the IFC Center.
As part of its Ghost in the Machine show, the New Museum presents an evening of against-the-grain musical performance with the alternative hip hop group Antipop Consortium.
Joe Klamar’s Olympic Portraits opens today at The Powerhouse Arena. The exhibition, designed to coincide with the 2012 Olympics in London, features intimate portraits of world-class athletes shot at this year’s Olympic Committee’s Media Summit in Dallas, TX.
Acquaint yourself with the often overlooked craft of glass art at GlassLab, a program organized by the Corning Museum of Glass and Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. GlassLab, which departs Governor’s Island on July 29, hosts live creative demonstrations by contemporary glassblowers and graphic designers.
Catch Korean director Seung-Jun Yi’s touching new documentary, Planet of Snail, at Film Forum.
Didn’t spring for Catalpa tickets? Get your musical fill on the cheap instead! Head uptown to Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield for a free daytime show featuring Texas bluesman Gary Clark Jr. and GIVERS.
Caveman, Skaters, and The Denzels will play Brooklyn Bowl later this evening; all you need to do to gain admission is RSVP before midnight on Friday.
Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000, MoMA’s examination of themes of childhood in modernist design, opens today. Your ticket will also earn you free entry to MoMA PS1, the museum’s Long Island City counterpart, which is currently displaying work by Lara Favaretto, Esther Kläs, and James Turrell, among others.
Anthology Film Archives screens Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s latest documentary effort, Abendland. This massively ambitious and exhaustive study chronicles the phenomena of technological progress, infatuation, and sprawl in today’s Europe.
Icy electronic duo Zambri plays for free tonight at the Ace Hotel.
Ryan Sheldon on Marco Roth’s memoir The Scientists: A Family Romance.
Ever since its inception in 2004, the journal n+1 has demonstrated a strong interest in the state of contemporary secondary education. Its relationship to the academy has been—and continues to be—something of a fraught romance: the majority of its staff and writers cut their undergraduate teeth at Ivy League schools and have devoted a great deal of critical energy to scrutinizing, unpacking, and perhaps undoing the influence of the educations they received at these vaunted sites of American intellectual production. Described by Marco Roth in his beautifully sharp memoir, The Scientists: A Family Romance, as “a way to channel [his] demons of negativity into a critique,” this reflexive approach has given n+1 a unique position in contemporary letters. The journal is insistently aware of its academic pedigree and heritage, and has managed to make a brand from its preoccupation with academic institutional systems of power.
Ryan Sheldon sits down with filmmaker Heidi Ewing to discuss Detroit, the national crisis, and visions of hope in her recent documentary Detropia, made in collaboration with Rachel Grady and Craig Atkinson.
Detropia does not fall neatly into the rubric of documentary cinema. It’s as quiet and patient as it is incisive, and despite its political attentions—the film does not simply scrutinize the sphere of municipal governance, but touches on international networks of politics and economy—never feels argumentative or ideologically overweight. For filmmakers Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (the duo behind the documentary outfit Loki Films), the act of commentary is best left to the subjects of the documentary themselves.
In the city of Detroit, Grady and Ewing found a chorus. Detropia effortlessly cuts across demographic, occupational, and social divisions: it presents the accounts of union workers alongside those of struggling entrepreneurs and upstart artists. The Detroit Opera House, whose continued operation is contingent on the success of local industry, finds a ghostly antecedent in the city’s derelict Cadillac plant. The hopeful picture offered by would-be gentrifiers is tempered by the flinty pragmatism of metal scavengers and the skepticism of longtime Detroiters. In every facet of the cityscape, Detropia locates alternating currents of grave concern and pride: the complex, fraught, but occasionally affectionate relationship between a city in crisis and the populace that makes its home there.
Grady and Ewing’s restraint testifies to a greater understanding of the nature of the city’s current predicament: namely, that everyone—from service workers to union leaders to the mayor—is hard up and short on means to effect serious change. Detropia makes no bones about the instability of its setting, and its foremost priority is not to point fingers but to draw much-needed awareness to the bitter realities of post-industrial decline.
Cinematographer Craig Atkinson, who coproduced the film, locates an incredibly rich tapestry of light, colors, and textures in this declining urban landscape. Through his lens, the landscape of Detroit describes an urban vision of the sublime, one which is both beautiful and terrible: an unlikely marriage of rusting, gutted industrial skeletons; glowing fires; abandoned, almost lunar streets that shimmer in near-darkness, touched by the faint light of the streetlamps that still operate; and, most shockingly, the profusion of green vegetation which has literally taken root in the city’s vast tracts of vacated spaces and abandoned structures. Detropia works to illuminate this character, and in doing so, reveals great naturalistic and human depths of place. It’s a film of great urgency—visual, social, political—and a warning bell for the future of American industry that should not be ignored.
Ryan Sheldon discusses the eclectic range of reggae films presented in BAMcinématek’s Do the Reggae series.
BAMcinématek’s Do the Reggae film series, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Jamaican independence from British rule, examines the storied and often-overlooked genre that developed in tandem with the rise of reggae music in the early seventies. The works presented in Do the Reggae describe a unique style of filmmaking with merits all its own. Perry Henzel’s The Harder They Come, which featured an up and coming Jimmy Cliff as its leading man, is likely the most recognizable feature of the series, and its celebrity testifies to the historical impact of reggae cinema: the folk saga of Ivanhoe Martin was largely responsible for exposing American audiences to the Reggae sound, and primed its listenership to engage the rhythms of now-titanic figures like Bob Marley.
Rockers, a 1978 film directed by Ted Bafaloukos, is perhaps the next-best known of Do the Reggae’s selections. Bafaloukos pays homage to The Bicycle Thief, centering the spare plot of Rockers on the struggles of Jamaican drummer Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace to find gigs and hustle records, purchase a motorcycle, and, after losing his newly-acquired bike at the hands of mafia-backed thieves, to exact revenge on the materialistic predators who populate the upper echelons of Jamaican society. In keeping with the film’s modest folk narrative, Bafaloukos’s directorial approach is close and unadorned, at times even observational. The director has acknowledged the project’s documentary origins, and while although Rockers clearly metamorphosed into a fully-fledged feature film during the course of its realization, it’s apparent that Bafaloukos made every effort to craft the film using only those resources he found closest at hand on location: Rockers grounds its cinematography in a raw and luxurious collage of Jamaica’s lush tropical scenery and ambling mountain roads; its characters are real local musicians whose screen presences in the film involve little proper acting or artifice. Finally there is the movie’s natural soundtrack, a constant wash of reggae that is omnipresent but never overbearing. The music does not overshadow the film’s narrative so much as enhance its mimetic quality. Horsemouth aims to support himself through the lightning-quick production and sale of reggae records, and keeps spiritually afloat through joyous and constant engagement with the music he loves; so too reggae serves Bafaloukos as the lifeblood of the film, an essential backdrop that concretely situates the audience in Horsemouth’s world.
BOMBlog is the only guru you’ll need this weekend!
Check out Caroline Martel’s interactive installation at the Museum of the Moving Image, entitled INDUSTRY/CINEMA, which presents an alternate version of film’s history from 1903-1991, placing well-known films alongside their lesser-known counterparts.
Boom Collective brings you Destroyer at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple.
Head over to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe for Shameless: Pride Week, a spectacular line-up of queer women writers, including Laurie Weeks and more, gathered in one place and curated by author Melissa Febos, to give readings of poetry, prose, and film.
Kumare, Vikram Gandhi’s immersive, mischievous documentary-style exploration of American infatuation with yogic spiritual practices opens today at the IFC Center. Gandhi will speak before the 6:25 and 8:20 PM showings.
As part of the City Parks Foundation’s annual SummerStage concert series, hip-hop luminaries Brand Nubian will play a free show in Red Hook Park at 7 PM. Game Rebellion will provide opening support.
The Whitney will devote its third floor to the multivalent work of Sharon Hayes. This sprawling survey of Hayes’s investigations of “speech acts,” entitled There’s So Much I Want to Say to You, was conceived and constructed with particular attention to the spatial qualities of the museum’s third floor galleries.
Dance your night away at the Brooklyn Museum, whose Audiophile program will feature performances by locally-based acts Small Black and Lemonade. Admission to the event is free with a museum ticket.
Here are your instructions. Don’t disappoint us—we’re watching you.
The Brooklyn Museum opens a retrospective of the chimerical sculpture of Jean-Michel Othoniel, entitled My Way. The exhibition surveys the artist’s development and experimentation with a variety of movements, including Arte Povera, Surrealism, and Minimalism. While you’re at the Museum, check out Ulrike Muller’s Raw/Cooked, a collaborative investigation of queer identity which the Brooklyn-based artist performed by collecting drawings from almost one hundred other artists and feminists and juxtaposing them with articles from the Museum’s permanent collection.
Creative Time launches its first ever Sandcastle Competition! Hang out with artists on the beach, including, Ricci Albenda, Jen Catron & Paul Outlaw, Jen DeNike, William Lamson, Marie Lorenz, Mary Mattingly, Ryan McNamara, Kenya (Robinson), Dustin Yellin, and others, as they tap into their ancient sand skills, long-forgotten since childhood (or not). Prizes, snacks, refreshments, and an after party on the boardwalk will follow the competition, with music supplied by DJ iDEATH.
As a preview to the opening of the new BAM Fisher, singer Samita Sinha will perform Asterisms, an exploration of traditional North Indian music with a contemporary, electronic twist. She will be accompanied by musicians Julia Ulehla, Dave Sharma, and Aram Bajakian.
Come celebrate the 8th annual Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival, hosted by Greenlight Bookstore. This free outdoor event will feature readings from young student writers as well as three prominent literary figures, Jessica Hagedorn, Tayari Jones, and Earl Lovelace. There will be a party at Greenlight following the reading.
Journey uptown for Harlem Day, a block party of epic proportions! The celebration, which runs from 12 to 7 PM, includes musical performances, street vendors, and a wide variety of other activities.
Get off your couch and go for gold this weekend! We’ve got a program of Olympian proportions to keep you active and entertained.
Head upstate for Pork and Poetry at the Mt. Tremper Arts Summer Festival in Mount Tremper, NY. There will be a pork roast dinner, a small press gathering, and a poetry reading featuring Joe Fletcher, Paul Legault, Bianca Stone, and Ana Božičević.
The Wassaic Project’s Annual Summer Festival is happening this weekend! This amazing event, free and open to the public, features the exhibition Return from Rattlesnake Mountain, which incorporates artwork, performance, music, and film presentations by over 100 artists, including Man Bartlett, Breanne Trammell, Ghost of a Dream, Max Bode, The Stepkids, Chrome Canyon, The Suzan, and many more!
Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell with Wild Flag, Ted Leo, and Mission of Burma. Admission to the event is free, so you can rest assured that the draw will be huge; get there promptly at 6 PM to secure yourself a spot.
Dreams of a Life, Carol Morley’s chilling, imaginative documentary about the three-year gap between the death of Joyce Vincent and the discovery of her body in a lonely London apartment, opens today at IFC Center.
Anthology Film Archives hosts a benefit for the Millenium Film Workshop, featuring a performance of Ken and Flo Jacob’s TIME SQUARED—a promising combination of movement, light, projection, and propellers. The film The Green Wave will be screened after the performance.
Ode to Street Hassle, a new exhibition curated by Chris Hosea, opens at Bronx Art Space. The show includes works by artists Zoe Leonard, Kimi Hodges, Myles Paige, Kim Bennett, Amy Touchette, and Julia Elsas.
Much-lauded Barcelona producer John Talabot and wunderkind beat-smith Jamie xx play Le Poisson Rouge tonight.
Scope the New Museum’s ambitious interrogation of our fraught and changing relationship with technology, Ghosts in the Machine. The show, which sprawls across three gallery spaces, explores a variety of artistic media, disciplines, and theoretical contexts.
The third session of the Boffo Art Camp at Fire Island Pines has commenced! This iteration of the camp, which offers a variety of participatory events ranging from film screenings to cooking classes to various arts & crafts, features work by artists Ryan McNamara, Steven Ladd, and Marcelo Krasilcic. Head over this evening to cool off at the Pool Party Benefit, hosted by Brent Sikkema and Cay Sophie Rabinowitz.
Those looking to cast three sheets to the wind (or put four on the floor?) would do well to trek out to Williamsburg Park for the Mad Decent Block Party, which brings you performances by Major Lazer, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, and Lunice, among others. Get your hype on!
Alex Ross Perry talks about literary impulses and social engagement in his first two feature films, Impolex and The Color Wheel.
Alex Ross Perry broke into the world of independent cinema in 2009 with Impolex, a feature length film loosely inspired by Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. The thematic and narrative parallels between the works are apparent enough: Impolex follows a protagonist named Tyrone S. as he attempts to track down rockets in a forest and mentally unspools in the process. But the film quickly distinguishes itself from Pynchon’s infamously complex novel, which, as Perry has observed, is by its structural and compositional nature somewhat ill-suited to conventional filmic adaptation. Inventive, hallucinatory, and beautiful in its own right, Impolex invites its audience to tread through the woods alongside Tyrone and indulge in the absurdity of his quest before diverging into more serious emotional territory. Its dénouement—an emotionally tense scene that crescendos in a long, affecting monologue—rivets the viewer on its own terms, and by the film’s conclusion, we get the impression that whatever debt Impolex owes to Gravity’s Rainbow has been paid back in full.
This result is true to Perry’s filmmaking process which seeks, on one level, to explore the complex, “un-adaptable” territory of literature in a cinematic vernacular based on personal relationships to the texts. The director’s latest film, The Color Wheel, represents his effort to reckon with the comedic American portraits and taut sexual frustration typically found in the fiction of Philip Roth. The Color Wheel examines the lives of two disagreeable twenty-something siblings, J.R. and Colin (played by Carlen Altman and Perry, respectively), in details that are by turns excruciating and hilarious. J.R. quickly enlists Colin’s assistance in moving some things out of the home of her former boyfriend and college professor, Neil, and the pair embarks on a long, hilarious and torturous journey through the vacant Americana of the Northeast—which, thanks to the masterful camerawork of Sean Price Williams, assumes the visual quality of a raw, grainy, black and white fever dream.
For most of the film, the plot remains somewhat spare; Colin and J.R. make slow headway on their journey, and spend the bulk of their time bickering, sniping at each other, and fumbling to articulate vague explanations of themselves to one another.
All the goods you need to tuck into this weekend: macadamia nut brittle, apple pie, and John Cage.
Abrons Arts Center presents Macadamia Nut Brittle, a play by Stefano Ricci and Gianni Forte that is based on text by Dennis Cooper. Macadamia Nut Brittle is part of the Queer New York International Arts Festival (June 7-15), aimed at opening dialogue around the meaning of “queer” in the arts world.
. . . As Apple Pie, a new exhibition opens at the Whitney, presenting various works that explore notions of national identity, showcasing a rotating cast of artists, including William N. Copley, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton, Willard Midgette, LeRoy Neiman, Joseph Pennell, Charles Ray, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Stow Wengenroth.
The Brooklyn Museum hosts Panel Discussion: Keith Haring’s Artistic Language, featuring panelists Dr. Robert Farris Thompson, John Ahearn, Eric Haze, and Dr. Marin Irvine, who will explore the work of Haring as it has evolved over time.
LITTER: A Queer Reading Series presents a reading with author Michael Cunningham and poet CA Conrad. Cunningham is slated to read from a work-in-progress, while Conrad will read from his new book of poetry, A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon.
Don’t fall prey to money worries—we’ll tell you how to occupy yourself on the cheap.
Head over to the Abrons Arts Center once more for an homage to filmmaker and 20th-century cultural icon Jack Smith, whose well-known film Jungle Island was inspired by the star of Cobra Woman, Maria Montez, also known as The Queen of Technicolor.
Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest film, Alps, opens today at Cinema Village.
The River to River Festival is determined to keep you musically sated and financially secure. Whet your appetite for Saturday’s 4Knots extravaganza with a free show at 7 PM this evening—Fiery Furnaces member Eleanor Friedberger and Brooklyn locals Ex Cops take the stage at Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport; electronic duo Zambri supports.
The Dixon Place Theater hosts D’FunQT, a solo stand-up show by comedian and performance artist D’Lo, which presents the artist’s experiences growing up in an immigrant household and explores queer identity through equal measures of humor and poignancy. D’FunQT is presented in conjunction with New York’s HOT! Festival, which continues all through July.
Bushwick’s newest music venue and beer garden, The Well, a companion establishment to the yet-unfinished concert space The Wick, inaugurates its performance stage with Whippin’ Work, a marathon musical event starring Dipset lead rapper Cam’ron.
Alternatively, keep it thrifty and venture back down to South Street Seaport for the Village Voice’s 4Knots Music Festival, which brings you free sets by Archers of Loaf, Crocodiles, The Drums, Nick Waterhouse, and a slew of other talented artists.
Join poet and artist Jon Cotner for We’re Floating, an interactive poetry walk through Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City designed to generate dialogue and give participants a novel way of experiencing art: while in motion.
Second to last day of Spy Music Festival: catch Thurston Moore & Lauren Connors and Blood Trio at The Stone.
Film Forum offers a Hitchcock double feature today and tomorrow—for the price of admission, catch Shadow of a Doubt and Saboteur back-to-back.
And last but not least of the Spy Music Festival: The Magik Markers, as well at Haunted House and Chicago Underground Duo at Roulette.
Just a heads up for Monday so you can start pre-gaming NOW: BOMB will be hosting our summer launch party and talent show at BookCourt in celebration of the release of the newest issue!
We want to see you move! This weekend’s chock full of high energy activities.
Curbs and Stoops, in collaboration with Rhythmology, present their first pop-up art exhibition, featuring Mexican-American painter and installation artist Francisco Moreno. Moreno’s solo show, Las Noticias, explores issues of assimilation and immersion in the terms of the immigrant’s experience entering into American culture. The opening reception will be held today from 6 to 10 PM.
Familiarize yourself with the photographic medium of the future past! The New Museum’s revisitation of the holographic technology, Pictures from the Moon: Artists’ Holograms 1969-2008, features works by James Turrell, Ed Ruscha, Eric Orr, Louise Bourgeois, and Bruce Nauman.
Head uptown, and fast—Sgrafo vs. Fat Lava, a retrospective look at German ceramic sculpture, leaves Alex Zachary Peter Currie Gallery tomorrow.
The Second Annual New York City Poetry Festival begins today!
Get yourself hot and bothered at Warm Up, MoMA PS1’s weekly concert series. This Saturday’s program, which features sets from Le1f, MikeQ, and Sepalcure, among others, will keep you dancing hard all day long.
As part of its Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Anthology Film Archives presents a screening of Our Daily Bread, cinematographer Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s uncompromising examination of the processes by which common foods are produced. Geyrhalter’s marriage of documentary austerity and electrifying visuals promises to be a fascinating viewing experience.
SURPRISE!!! Kick off your Saturday at this performance project, retrospective, and zine release party at Booklyn Artists Alliance. The programming details of the event are appropriately mysterious, but you can expect to encounter work by Angelo Zwicky, Aaron Anderson, Gabe Dikel, and Keith Mendak. Two new issues of SURPRISE!!! will be up for grabs as well. Don’t miss this!
Venture out to the Museum of the Moving Image for a matinee showing of technicolor classic The Red Shoes.
That Sinking Sense of Wonder completes its run at Williamsburg gallery SOUTHFIRST with a closing reading entitled “Spiral Interpretation.” The event will feature stylistically diverse contributions from poets Thom Donovan, Brenda Iijima, Elaine Kahn, Eliza Swann, and Nicole Wallace and Denise Levertov.
Le Poisson Rouge hosts acclaimed punks Iceage and the ever-fascinating Dirty Beaches. Submerge yourself in Huang’s haunting, chilly soundscapes before exploding with the Danish young guns as they close out the night. Supporters RØSENKØPF and Martial Canterel will whet your palate.