I don’t know about you, but galas are not an everyday thing around these parts– the closest this reporter’s been to a real black-tie-and-gown affair was high school prom, which didn’t even really happen because my date got arrested. So needless to say, when I was somehow allowed to crash the Anthology Film Archives gala –a fancy fundraising party and art auction held last week to raise cash for the theater’s expansion– I was just slightly out of my realm. It was made all the more surreal by a performance from Patti Smith, and seeing people like John Waters, Zosia Mamet, and Zac Posen’s eyebrows all in one room.
Dirty Little Billy Thursday March 9, 9:30 pm at Nitehawk: $16
Legends and lore of the Old West have been distorted so horrendously for modern entertainment purposes that what most people know about Billy the Kid they’ve learned from The Wild Wild West (arguably Will Smith’s greatest cinematic/symphonic achievement ever) and a National Geographic Channel reenactment where the infamous, down-n’dirty, sharp-shootin’ gunslinger is portrayed by a male-frickin’-model.
At first it was sort of sad that for this year’s rendition, Spring/Break Art Show had traded its eccentric, labyrinthine location inside a disused section of the historic James A. Farley Post Office in Chelsea for an actual office space. But when the elevator doors opened on the 23rd floor of the Condé Nast building in Midtown, the switch-up immediately made so much sense–because, let’s be real, an artist-led hostile takeover of corporate America is exactly what we need right now (even it it’s just for a few days).
Eames Armstrong, The New York Review of Cocksucking, Scant, Brandon Lopez, Lacanthrope, Sapphogeist Monday March 6, 8 pm at Alphaville: $10
Is life even real anymore? Well, considering that we, fine people of this once and forever great city, now have a band named The New York Review of Cocksuckingto call our very own, it’s hard to believe that reality right now is indeed real. How could it be? Especially when the official soundtrack to our lives, at least for a moment– jazzily improvised by none other than the duo Michael Foster and Richard Kamerman (who have done the right thing in choosing a moniker that sounds like a James Franco-produced lit mag)– is a truly alien form of avant-garde freakwave. Lend your ears to their looping tape noise (disintegration incarnate) and saxophone sounds easily mistook for the pleasure wales of fornicating dolphins, and discover that the finite world is overrated.
K: A Film About Prostitution Thursday March 14, 10 pm and Wednesday March 29, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5
“K” is just one film screening as part of Spectacle’s month of March series, Tricks of the Trade: True/False Portraits of Sex Work, which features four separate, cross-cultural, semi-fictional, but mostly very real portrayals of sex work. Shot in Budapest in 1989 by director György Dobra, the doc captures the world’s oldest profession– prostituáltakról in Hungarian (try saying that one ten times fast)– at a time of turmoil, when Communist Party-controlled governments and institutions across the Eastern Bloc were collapsing. Hungarians found themselves in an especially bizarre position because things in their country at least… were fairly calm during the transition to democracy.
PC Worship’s new album Buried Wish, out now from Northern Spy records (Image courtesy of Northern Spy).
Phrases like “hard to pin down” and “defies easy categorization” get thrown around way too much, but PC Worship truly has a chameleonic presence. Northern Spy, which last week put out the band’s new album Buried Wish, describes it as a “dedication to categorical ambiguity.” Their free-flowing ways consist of improvisational live sets, an ever-rotating cast of musicians, homemade instruments (like frontman Justin Frye’s “Shitar”), and a hazy sort of eclecticism that brings tape loops, sludge rock, and free jazz together with so-called “Eastern” rhythms and avant-Americana.
School Night! with Active Bird Community, Mannequin Pussy, GTY, In India Monday February 27, 8 pm at Baby’s All Right: FREE with RSVP
LA is invading Brooklyn with an installment of School Night!, a weekday showcase featuring cool bands and presumably some awkward schoolgirl attire, put on by Chris Douridas of LA’s coolest college radio station KCRW.
RSVP and get in the door free before 9:30 pm. After that you’re on your own– even so, the show will only put you out $5. Brooklyn Brewery has volunteered to play the coolest lunch lady ever and hand out free beer, which you too can partake in as long as you can get your butt in the door between 7 pm and 8 pm.
Don’t get too excited. Up close and personal with a soil sample from McCarren Park (Photo: Jamie Cone, 2015)
Hey, I hate to be the one to tell you, but this fancy schmancy Spring weather? Yeah, it’s a total tease. Like, check back in 24 hours and you’ll see what I mean. Still, nothing should stop you from getting started on your backyard or finding out how to get involved in your community garden. Well, except for frost. Yeah, come to think of it frost will pretty much kill the fruits of your backbreaking horticultural efforts no matter what. Besides, according to Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) there’s one thing you absolutely must figure out before you plop down any seedlings: Do you know what’s in your soil?
“Everybody should be testing their soil before they garden,” said Allison Currier, an organizer at NAG. “North Brooklyn especially. That’s because if you’re a resident of Greenpoint or Williamsburg, in all likelihood you’ve got some lead on your hands.
Desire Will Set You Free Friday February 24 (7:30 pm), Saturday February 25 (5 pm), and Sunday February 26 (7:30 pm) at Spectacle: $5 (probz best to buy in advance)
Because it’s shot in the sort of bold, hyper-real HD-quality style that’s available to even low-budget filmmakers now, Desire Will Set You Free already feels too real from the POV of click-play. Which is funny, because filmmaker Yony Leyser (who stars as Ezra, an American expat) is celebrating the freewheeling, anything-goes Berlin of the twenty-teens (aka now), a place where weirdos, freaks, and artists can live out their fantasies, especially the sexy ones, which is all about negating the supposedly fixed norms of society and transgressing life as it was handed to us. Even the title, “Lust Macht Frei” in German, is the opposite of the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei,” which appeared sometimes welded into iron gates at the entry point to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.
Berlin has been the place for your coolest friends to flock to over the last several years, and if you haven’t made the trip, “Desire” is definitely a great way to get acquainted with the city’s “hedonistic queer underground,” as Spectacle writes, and its nonstop, freaky deaky nightlife. The theater is hosting three screenings that serve as the film’s New York City premiere, and judging by the sparkly cast (Dev Hynes, Peaches, and Nina Hagen, among others), the promised “Q&A with special guests” is probably gonna be pretty great.
This 1979 sci-fi-tinged horror film is a Cronenberg classic, and Anthology is screening it this weekend as part of its Canadian classics series, Gimme Shelter: Hollywood North.In part,The Brood is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the filmmaker’s own “body horror” sub-genre obsession– blood, guts,– but the film puts even more weight on what’s in some ways a much spooky psycho-thriller-style of horror storytelling that recalls The Shining (and, sure, stylistically the two movies feel cut from the same cloth too).
At the center of the film is a woman, Samantha Eggar, who is deemed psychologically unstable and pursues experimental treatment by a doctor who believes that dramatic physical changes in the body’s chemistry can eradicate mental illness. Meanwhile, Eggar’s ex-husband steps in to take care of their daughter, and promptly pursues full custody. She might be far away, geographically and mentally, but Eggar knows what’s up, and her treatment has the terrifying consequence of enabling her to undertake “the spawning of a brood of murderous mutant children who act on [her] rages.”
Cronenberg wasn’t just guessing, either– he was actually in the middle of his own messy divorce and custody battle when the film was under development. Anthology writes that the director has called The Brood “my version of Kramer vs Kramer, while noting that that film’s ‘happy ending’ was a million miles away” from his own take on the process of unraveling a marriage.
Hey! The Oscars are coming up. I bet you, like myself, could care less. Like, really, why would anyone wanna spend their Sunday evening (Friday February 26 at 5:30 PST) watching a bloated film industry hand out a bunch of little gold alien man statues to a film literally called La La Land in an awkward display of “Hey! Look at us! Seriously, we aren’t racist”? The award ceremony (and really, any mainstream award ceremony) has so little to do with our day-to-day lives that it’s barely worth kvetching about. And yet here we are…
Thankfully, the Metrograph has put together an alternative program hosted by TVTV, a “guerrilla video”-making collective that got its start in San Fransisco way back in 1972,”– like, long before it was full of the dregs of humanity (i.e. tech bros). Consisting of tape from the 1976 award ceremonies, when Lily Tomlin was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her roll in Nashville, TVTV put together this
“close-up look at Hollywood’s annual awards ceremony that mixes intimate behind-the-scenes views with deadpan comedy, featuring [Tomlin] as a mousy homemaker watching the Oscars in her suburban home.”
Getting a haircut is never as simple as it sounds, especially in this city. You’re gonna need some help, unless you have one or more of the following: a) extremely liberal views on what counts as presentable b) a steady pair of hands, and c) tremendous flexibility á la the double-jointed faction of showtime kids. Good luck with that whole finding-a-stylist thing, by the way. If you’re searching within a two-mile radius of Greenpoint alone Yelp turns up 218 hair salons. On top of that, professional hair choppin’ is a fiercely competitive scene, and yet salons still manage to be painfully expensive and, in some cases, rather uncomfortable.
Naomi Punk, PC Worship, Maria Chavez Tuesday February 21, 7 pm to 11 pm at the Park Church Co-Op: $12
If this one’s news to you, throw down your laptop (yeah, like, on the ground), pick up your feet and hurry get a move on– this one starts, like, now.
Attraction numero uno is an Olympia-based band called Naomi Punk, returning from a bitty recording hiatus, presumably with an album in the works. And their name doth not betray– Punk’s stripped-down, dusty-beer-can styling tacks a refreshingly chill vibe over garage-rock tradition, which can often veer toward needless broey BS. In other words, these cats put some much-needed “punk” in garage punk.
Harlan County, U.S.A. Friday February 17 through Wednesday February 22 at The Metrograph: $15
Lately we’e seen some pretty intense and protracted protest movements fighting it out against the seemingly impossible-to-topple Powers That Be, and in some cases actually succeeding in their effort (or lasting much longer than anyone could have guessed).
Flashback to 1974, Southeastern Kentucky: a group of coalminers and their families organized against the Eastover Coal Company– one of those Coal Country corporate machines that own whole towns and everything in it. If you want to hear more about what it was like to be a director embedded in such a massive strike, be sure to go tonight at 7 pm for a special Q+A with the filmmaker Barbara Kopple. Because this film takes place in Appalachia, it would be absolutely criminal to proceed without a banjo, so the night includes a live performance by Appalachian musician Jack Morris, whose father David Morris was featured in the film’s soundtrack.