If you’re still mourning the loss of Leonard Cohen last month, this may help: Film Forum is screening Tony Palmer’s classic documentary Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire for two weeks starting January 18. A lovely antidote to all those “Hallelujah” covers, the doc follows Cohen on a month-long tour of Europe in the spring of 1972, after his salad days in New York City. While it starts off with the obligatory footage of the band boarding planes and signing autographs (Cohen was already a big deal at the time, having released his first three albums), it soon takes a far more pensive turn.
Arts + Culture
Sure, you could spend your New Year’s Eve in a confessional, but that would be a sin. Instead, why not head over to The Stone and kiss this miserable year goodbye with some real legends of downtown avant-garde.
When the Public Theater announced that musician/producer extraordinaire Nile Rodgers would grace its stage in January, we knew our fingers would be on the trigger the second tickets went on sale (which, by the way, is today, December 22, at 2pm). But things just got a whole lot more interesting: On Tuesday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that Rodgers will be inducted during a ceremony at the Barclays Center in April.
How many times have you passed a city trash can overflowing with coffee cups and thought to yourself, “Damn, do the Olsen twins live around here?” Even in Greenpoint, where trash bins have been replaced by Big Belly solar compactors, you’ll often see the green beasts serving as unwitting Starbucks counters. What’s it going to take to end the scourge of empty cups? Does Camelbak need to come up with a coffee version, so baristas can pipe the brown stuff straight into our backpacks? Should we all start snorting caffeine in powder form?
The Perfect Play
Wednesday, December 21 at JACK, 7 pm: $15
Not much seems perfect in 2016, especially in these last few moments. However, at Clinton Hill art space JACK, experimental performance ensemble Banana Bag and Bodice will summon a crop of luminaries of the downtown theater and performance world in a grand attempt at perfection. If a pursuit of flawlessness makes your eyes roll into oblivion, let me clarify that what these folks are actually doing is staging their fourth annual adults-only musical weirdo version of the classic Nativity story. You know, the perfect child, the virgin birth, etc.? Perfect. There’s certainly a lot to unpack here. Particularly the virgin birth– I still have a lot of questions about that. But I trust that this merry gang of creators, who have also dreamt up concoctions like a Beowulf musical and an experimental piece on political prisoners scored by a soundscape of found objects like fishbowls and license plates, will do the whole thing justice. After the formal show, stick around for drinks and “special Christmas musical maneuverings.”
While you’re giving everyone gift subscriptions to Vanity Fair in the name of Donald Trump, you might want to check out a magazine that launched just a few days ago. It’s called DRØME (Scandinavian-stlye slashed Os are totally trending) and it has already hipped us to a short film featuring Eric Wareheim as a mutant Haribo bear.
Two long-standing annual fundraisers make for a constellation of downtown superstars; this year’s lineups are impressive as ever.
New Year’s Day Marathon at The Poetry Project
January 1, 3pm to January 2, 2am, at The Poetry Project, 131 E 10th St, tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
The venerable Poetry Project is celebrating 50 years at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. As recounted in a history of the intellectual incubator in this week’s Village Voice, the Project has hosted the likes of William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Spalding Gray, Jim Carroll, Robert Lowell, Patti Smith, and countless others. The 43rd installment of its annual marathon will feature living legends Penny Arcade, Justin Vivian Bond, Grace Dunham (yes, Lena’s sis), Jonas Mekas, Thurston Moore and his Sonic Youth bandmate Lee Ranaldo, Eileen Myles, Elliott Sharp, Lynne Tillman, Anne Waldman, and some 140 others. This is the only reason to work off that New Year’s hangover in a church.
Wednesday, December 7 at Vox Bizarre, 8 pm: FREE
Vox Bizarre is a new Ridgewood-based “store and workshop” pop-up devised by four design labels: Casey Caldwell, TILLYandWILLIAM, Claire Fleury, and LACTIC. Aside from all creating unconventional and intriguing attire and accessories, the common thread that unites these labels is that they are interested in shedding binary gender classifications within fashion and developing pieces that are inclusive to all body types. In addition to selling their wares, they’ve planned a variety of community-based events, such as performances, workshops, photoshoots, and more.
You don’t have to reach all the way back to the days of David Mancuso for some epic downtown loft parties. Seven years ago, over the course of 50 successive Fridays, artist and designer Ryan McGinness held a series of legendary fetes in his Chinatown studio. Each had a separate theme, starting in July of 2009 with White Trash BBQ (kegs, sparklers, wet t-shirts) and ending in June of 2010 with a Talent Show (magic, dancing, and unicorns).
It cost a hefty $180,000 to restore the Astor Place cube, but you can have one of your own for just $30,000. Yes, it’s an original. But before you get too excited: it’s tiny. Up for grabs on eBay right now is a miniature version of Tony Rosenthal’s Alamo, created by the sculptor himself in 2007. It stands just 21” inches tall— but, hey, you can spin it. For that kind of money, one would hope so.
While some would rather #Netflixandchill, there are ways to go out and experience film that stretch above and beyond your typical movie theater or home viewing experience. Some will even “immerse” you in your favorite film, or at least they will try.
“I don’t want to have to deal with blonde Kardashians for the next four years,” Kim Gordon told us last night at a book signing in Miami. “The Kardashians were annoying enough and now the blonde version is upon us.”
Even in the midst of this post-election anxiety, the former Sonic Youther has been busy as ever. Just a couple of months after releasing her first solo song, she played a Nov. 12 show at National Sawdust with her current project, Body/Head, to celebrate their new live EP, No Waves. Then she jetted down to South Beach, where she has a short in Art Basel’s film program. Add to all that, the book signing last night at the The Miami Beach Edition, an intimate rosé-and-canapés affair in a bungalow by the hotel’s pool.