Sam Fleischner discusses the dramatic process of completing his new film Stand Clear of the Closing Doors.
Sam Fleischner’s poignant drama Stand Clear of the Closing Doors is based on actual events and won a Special Mention for its premiere at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. Shot entirely in the Rockaways over a three-week period with a crew of fifteen, the film is about Ricky (Jesus Sanchez-Velez), a 13-year-old boy on the autism spectrum who runs away when his older sister Carla (Azul Zorrilla) doesn’t pick him up from school one day. He rides the subway for an agonizing couple of days—until (the real) Super Storm Sandy intervenes. Capturing the intensity of Ricky’s experience through expert point-of-view cinematography and editing, the narrative contrasts Ricky’s quiet concentration and growing resourcefulness as he learns to fend for himself, with the emotional turmoil of his hard-working mother Mariana (Andrea Suarez Paz). The film also explores the repercussions of his disappearance on a family of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Fleischner’s unusually muted color palette, as well as subtle changes of camera focus, greatly enhance this portrayal of the special nature of autistic perception.
Brooklyn musician Ashley Paul on lyrical development, the conservatory, and the Third Stream between jazz and classical.
Line the Clouds, the latest album from Brooklyn-based musician Ashley Paul, is bewitching. It combines familiar elements (the guitar and vocals of the singer-songwriter genre and the techniques of the veteran improviser, for instance) but mixes them in such unusual ways, and takes them from such seemingly incompatible sources, that the result is a unique personal aesthetic. It could be confounding if it weren’t affective at a gut level—on repeat listens any initial strangeness gives way to reveal her intuitive sense for melody and a disarming emotional directness. Though musically inventive, the record is a humane experience filled with moments of rare grace.
When we met near her apartment in Brooklyn, Paul had just performed at the release party for Line the Clouds. Over the course of a few hours and a few beverages, we talked about topics including: playing music that doesn’t fit in, intuition, music’s slow evolution in relation to art, busking, singing, and how to disguise your nerves while playing the saxophone.
Sean Higgins So I was reading through the description for the record, and I wanted to ask you some questions about that.
Ashley Paul OK, I didn’t write that description.
SH Who did?
AP I think there are two descriptions, and all the press stuff I feel a little crazy about. But I think Eli [Keszler, Paul’s husband and head of REL records, the label that released Line the Clouds] partially wrote one of them and then someone who works with the person who is helping me out—like my publicist—wrote the other one.
Fourteen drawings from Jim Torok’s 2013 Jesus series. A painter by training, Torok’s often satirical work combines humor with a deep cynicism, tempered by a cartoon-like, storyboard aesthetic. He was featured in The Wick in BOMB 124/Summer 2013.
Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read The Loneliness of Certain American States by Catherine Lacey, selected by Jozeph Herceg.
I was one of those blue-skinned babies who look like they won’t survive ‘til dinnertime, but somehow do, and then become toddlers with the tics and nerves of a used-up veteran. Leonard said it that way. He said I looked up at him and he looked down at me and he knew and I knew and we both knew that we’d always dislike each other. I can’t disagree. My mother was such a good friend, though; so he felt he had no choice. He couldn’t possibly say no—not to a woman whose belly had watermeloned overnight.
Yes, she said, who else?
Todd Lester discusses his new personal project, Lanchonete, and the status of contemporary artist residencies.
“I’ll have glasses and red shoes. And maybe my suitcase.” That’s how I was to identify Todd Lester in a café in Edifício Copan, the symbolic building by Oscar Niemeyer in downtown São Paulo. It was a gorgeous day and the interview would be done in a hurry: Todd was leaving on the same day back to the US, after a week in the city.
Todd came to São Paulo to start the bureaucratic procedures for his personal project, Lanchonete, a five-year, site-specific artist residency project in the center of São Paulo. Lanchonete (which means “lunch counter” in Portuguese) will have a staff and operate as a business; 32 international and Brazil-wide artists-in-residence will live in a suite of adjacent apartments for periods of four months each, four at a time. It will take the form of a Brazilian non-profit, membership association, Associação Espaço Cultural Lanchonete.
Todd is the founder of freeDimensional, an organization that supports activists and artists-in-distress by providing safe haven in artist residencies. Until just a few weeks ago, he was the Executive Director of Global Arts Corps, an organization that uses theatre to advance reconciliation in societies emerging from violent conflict, a job he just quit to dedicate himself entirely to the Lanchonete project.
Lorena Vicini As a Brazilian, I was curious about the name of the project, Lanchonete. As we understand the concept in Brazil, it’s an establishment where snacks, drinks and sandwiches are sold, but in a totally different way from a deli. In a way, “lanchonete” is an old-fashioned word, going in the opposite direction of the gourmet wave. There is no line, there is no order—it’s chaotic.
Todd Lester The first time I came to Brazil, in 2005, I stayed in Praça da República, in the heart of downtown São Paulo. I saw all the lanchonetes in the neighborhood and just thought they were amazing. I chose the lanchonete as an establishment with an open front, which is disappearing nowadays. This organic and spontaneous movement is disappearing from capital cities. In the lanchonete it’s still possible to rub elbows with different kinds of people.
Paper Clip is a weekly compilation of online articles, artifacts and other—old, new, and sometimes BOMB-related.
How the films in BAM’s TransCultural Express: American and Russian Arts Today shed light on the similarity between Siberia and Brooklyn.
On one of the first hot days of summer, I sank into an armchair in the swanky Soho House screening room. Beside me was an Upper East Side type with big gold earrings, slicked-back gray hair, and massive sunglasses. The women of the West Village, overdressed as always but more naked than usual, were strolling down the street outside; I propped my feet up on an ottoman and watched a Belarusian peasant dig his own grave. The film was In the Fog, Sergei Loznitsa’s rather heavy-handed morality tale about World War II partisans and collaborators. (Spoiler alert: collaborators will be punished.)
Andrew Sean Greer on time travel and the living of life in his new novel The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.
As a longtime reader of Andrew Sean Greer’s work, when I heard of a new book that was featured around a female protagonist, I jumped at the opportunity to interview him. As a fan of The Adventures of Max Tivoli and Story of a Marriage, books I always recommend to other readers, I longed for the beauty and lyricism of his writing.
Andrew Sean Greer’s new book, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, is a book which appears to be about time travel but is centered around the yearning for the unknown, about the love of siblings, and about the struggles of everyday decisions. Greta Wells lives in Manhattan in the late 1980s but due to her electro-shock therapy for her depression, she time travels back to 1941 and 1918. What is most striking about these time periods is how certain we are that we are traveling with Greta on this journey through the layers of New York City and through the layers of herself.
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells is also a love-letter to a life worth living and to the fabulous city of New York. I very often thought of Michael Cunningham’s opening sections of, The Hours: “It’s the city’s crush and heave that move you; its intricacy; its endless life . . . you find it impossible not to believe that it has always been a city; that if you dug beneath it you would find the ruins of another, older city, and then another and another.” Greta believes in the many lives of New York City, as should you.
Leah Umansky This is now your second book that plays with time (the first being one of my favorites, Max Tivoli). Where do you think your fascination with time stems from?
Andrew Sean Greer It’s a good question, because I’ve often been asked about a fascination with “history,” which isn’t true. My fascination is, as you say, with time. I am the kind of person who can barely stand still as I’m so anxious to fill every minute with something memorable; I am driven by a fear of minutes passing through my fingers. And yet, as a novelist sitting still is precisely what is called for. Luckily, writing is one of the few things in life that feeds on the passage of time and replaces the missing hours with pages, stories, ideas. I think Max Tivoli was my way of dealing with the disappearance of my youth, a time in which I hardly ever felt young. And this book is dealing with middle age and the lives one did not choose to live. The magical elements of both are just devices for me to get to the questions that haunt me.
Adrienne Antonson on designing smocks, making sculptures out of human hair and the problems of sustainable design.
Artist and designer Adrienne Antonson’s fashion label STATE caught my eye with its liberally pocketed garments, quality fabrics, and minimalist aesthetic. They aren’t clothes just to suit one’s lifestyle, but the kind of clothes that inspire a new lifestyle while wearing them. Coming from an art gallery in Charleston and an alpaca farm off the coast of Seattle, Adrienne’s garments and accessories are durable yet delicate and ethically sourced and her insect sculptures crafted of human hair are currently touring in Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. I caught up with Adrienne in her new studio space in Gowanus to discuss sustainable designing, hair as a medium, and being stranded on a deserted island.
Effie Bowen What’s new?
Adrienne Antonson I’m exhausted but I’m really exhilarated—I think that’s just how it is in New York. No one comes here to coast. You come here to grind.
EB I’m happy to be meeting you here in your new studio.
Eight young artists, curators, writers and art historians tell BOMB their top picks at this year’s BOS, May 31–June 2, 2013.
To know thyself is one of the world’s oldest maxims, one that has been adopted for various ends over the centuries—by Socrates, Shakespeare, Freud, and Dr. Phil, among countless others. At Momenta Art, artist Chloë Bass investigates what self-recognition entails as a process and a practice via the installation of her long-term research project. Since 2011, Bass, who originally trained in theater, has been operating as the Bureau of Self-Recognition, conducting a series of exercises on herself as well as other individuals and groups that are aimed toward inner awareness and empowerment.
The results of these exercises are displayed throughout the gallery as video interviews, photographic archives, and re-staged environments, along with a small library of reading material (highlighting works such as Henri Bergon’s philosophical treatise Creative Evolution and Georges Perec’s novel Life: A User’s Manual) and several designated spaces where audience members can participate in their own processes of self-realization. One such exercise invited visitors to write what they do every day and post it to a collective bulletin board: most submissions were unapologetically banal (sleeping, breathing and scratching were popular responses), but the cumulative effect is surprisingly strong in its everydayness. A refreshing alternative to the neo-modernist abstract painting and sculpture that dominates much of Bushwick Open Studios, Bass’ installation highlights individual experience on a level that vacillates between conceptual art and common actions—with unexpectedly engaging results.