The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is notorious for getting it wrong, sparking yearly lists of snubees. (For starters, Sonic Youth and the Pixies have yet to be honored, though Kim Gordon’s and Kim Deal’s basses are currently displayed in the museum’s Guitar Gallery.) Of course, you can’t always get what you want– unless you’re the Rolling Stones, in which case you get a ton of display space. But you’d think the Rock Hall would at least get their shit straight with bands that have been inducted. Not so with the Ramones.
On stage at the PNC Bank Arts Center last night, Billy Corgan recalled how someone, after the previous evening’s show at Madison Square Garden, asked him why the Smashing Pumpkins were playing their special 30th anniversary show in New Jersey, of all places. He explained that it was because New Jersey knew how to rock, knew how to party, and had supported the Pumpkins early on. (They played Maxwell’s in early 1991, before their debut album, Gish, came out.) Whatever the reason, those who skipped the NYC show to see them at the amphitheater in Holmdel were treated to a lively (semi-)reunion packed with cameos.
Who doesn’t love the Film Forum? The autonomous, non-profit institution first started showing films (foreign, art house, independent, repertory) back in 1970, in a space with 50 folding chairs on the Upper West Side. It moved downtown two years later, and, after a couple of temporary homes in western Soho, settled into its current residence on Houston Street some 28 years ago. So even if you don’t make it over there as much as you’d like to anymore–those cramped seats am I right, ugh!–just the fact that it exists is enough to give you faith that NYC isn’t dead yet, right?
Well, sorry, that’s not going to cut it. Institutions, especially autonomous, non-profit ones like Film Forum, need your physical presence (and money) as well as your affection from afar. And now, thanks to a respectfully-conceived, extremely well-executed renovation of this cultural treasure–it’s been closed for construction since the spring–you can get excited again about actually going here and sitting through a two-plus-hour feature. Here are all the details on this near-miraculous, $5 million transformation:
- There’s a whole new theater, upping the Film Forum’s total screen count from three to four. And they didn’t cut into any existing theaters, or the lobby, to build it; what’s now Theater Four used to be a loading dock. The new screen will be used for movies with longer-running commitments as well as holdovers of popular titles. This fourth screen will allow the Film Forum to increase its overall number of selections each year by a third.
- The new seats–more than 500 of them, in all four theaters–are amazing! Made by Spanish design firm Figueras, they’re firm (but comfy), and much wider than their at-times-tortuous predecessors. The spacious, cushioned arm rests, too, are now places upon which you’d actually want to rest your arm. And there’s none of that fuzzy, vaguely disconcerting cloth material going on here anymore; soft, easily-cleaned vinyl is now where it’s at. Also, and crucially, the leg room in each row has been lengthened to a noticeable degree.
- Just as crucial for your viewing pleasure, each of the old theaters have been re-raked, steepening the grade of the floor to a more stadium-style seating situation. This increases the number of “good” seats in each theater by a large margin.
- There are two new additions to the lobby, most notably a 10′ x 5′ digital screen hung over the ticket-taker. This will show, among other things, silent, short, specially commissioned “lobby movies” by the likes of David Byrne and Cindy Sherman which you can watch while you wait in line for your theater to open. There’s also new carpeting, which is always nice.
- Good things that have NOT changed at the new Film Forum: the layout of the lobby, and that funky, zig-zagging standing table; the generous slate of member benefits (their subscription-based model means they never have, nor ever will, accept MoviePass); the commitment to both new and classic movies; and, perhaps most important, the popcorn.
This year’s Panorama NYC festival was watched by more than few outside its bubble this past weekend. Between the early evacuation on Friday and Janet Jackson’s quickly praised performance, folks on the “mainland” might have thought things had gotten crazy on Randall’s Island. But mostly the kids were all right. Those who were there wanted to be there and stayed chill through it all, including Lil Wayne being cancelled 20 minutes into his set time on Saturday.
Opening Tuesday, July 31 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through August 12.
Some art has sweeping sociopolitical messages, while other art serves a primarily aesthetic purpose. Neither is better or worse: sometimes you want to be provoked into thinking deeply about the world around you and sometimes you just want to be dazzled by how cool something looks. The work of mixed media artist Senem Oezdogan (presented in partnership with Uprise Art) falls more into the latter category, consisting largely of “fiber-based geometric studies” inspired by architecture, shapes, and the textures of fabrics. They’re fairly simple pieces, featuring abstract shapes and rich splashes of color, and manage to convey an alluring calmness in their playful minimalism. Rather than fixating on what message an artwork might be trying to proclaim, Oezdogan’s work invites you to merely appreciate the visuals. If it makes you feel nice, you don’t need to question it. More →
A distinguished modern art collection once hung in the cozy Greenwich Village tavern at 20 Christopher Street, above steaming bowls of 35-cent Romanian chorba stew. Romany Marie’s, which operated out of the location between 1915-1923, wasn’t plastered in paintings because its proprietor was a collector (although Marie Marchand did love art). It was simple: neighborhood artists who were strapped for cash could go there for a free meal, in exchange for artwork.
It’s not like you need a reason to hit the beach, but these two festivals offer extra incentive.
New York Women’s Surf Film Festival
July 27-29 at Rockaway Beach Surf Club (302 Beach 87th St.) and Rockaway Beach Bakery (87-10 Rockaway Beach Blvd.) in Rockaway Beach.
Surf’s up, dudettes! This popular fest celebrating women wave-riders enters its sixth year with free screenings, photo exhibits, and more. Among the films that’ll be screened in the groovy backyard of the Rockaway Beach Surf Club are a documentary about Brianna Cope, who became a competitive surfer despite a deformed hand, and Katie Walsh’s doc about star surfer Coco Ho. Walsh will be on hand to answer questions, as will Tiffany Manchester, author of Surfer Girls Kick Ass, and Fiona Mullen, whose surf photos will be on display. On Saturday from 1pm to 6pm, there’ll be a market at Rockaway Beach Bakery, with surf goods for sale, a complimentary beauty bar, and drinks, food, and music.
Coney Island Music Festival
Aug. 4, 1pm, at Surf and Stillwell Avenues, Coney Island.
Coney Island is no stranger to epic free music fests like Siren Festival and the Burger Beach Bash. This year, the Coney Island Music Festival carries the torch and returns for its second installment. Among the artists gracing the two stages–one outside of Nathan’s Famous and the other at the Coney Art Walls– is Shannon Shaw, who released a solo album last month (her fantastic, doowop-infused band Shannon and the Clams will be playing at Panorama on July 27 and Rough Trade on July 28.) Another festival fixture, Queens crooner Juan Wauters, will also be playing, as will Mac DeMarco openers The Garden. Headlining is (Sandy) Alex G, whose Elliott Smith-esque tunes have been described as “inventive guitar pop at its best, full of surreal storytelling and addictive melodies.” After his set, the party continues at the Coney Art Walls until 10pm.
And don’t forget… Rockaway’s Beach Flix series brings movie screenings straight to the sand. Next up on the inflatable big screen: Caddyshack on July 25, The Secret Life of Pets on Aug. 21, and Rogue One on Aug. 24. Follow the Rockaway Civic Association for exact showtimes, locations, and more announcements.
The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret
Thursday, July 19 at Bizarre Bushwick, 10 pm: $10 suggested donation
Even though your parents probably told you otherwise, it can be fun to sin. Someone who knows that well is Vic Sin, a dance, drag, and burlesque performer who produces The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret every month at Bizarre, which is hosted by drag performer (and leader of the inimitable queer drag and burlesque collective Beefsquad) Lee VaLone. It also happens to be Lee’s birthday, so you know the show will be extra special. Helping celebrate (and sin) will be the stacked lineup of C’Etait BonTemps, Angelica Sundae, Devo Monique, Dynasty, Laé D. Boi, Mini Horrorwitz, Nyx Nocturne, and Theydy Bedbug. More →
yes no maybe
Opening Tuesday, July 17 at Flowers Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 24.
Thanks to social media, the word “algorithm” is no longer something only mentioned in math class. I’d say for better or for worse, but we all know that people typically invoke talks of The Algorithm when they are complaining about the latest way it’s seeming to screw them over. A new group exhibition at Chelsea’s Flowers Gallery, which takes its title from the mathematical theory of probability, asks five artists to create works using their own algorithmic processes. This may sound intimidating until you realize an algorithm isn’t much more than a purposeful pattern that repeats over time, which is something done in art often. The artists of yes no maybe (all prolific and regarded in their respective fields) take their algorithmic inspiration from topics as varied as geometric microscopic organisms, Berlin’s Tempelhof airport, jazz music, and hypercubes. At the opening, there will be a panel discussion with Beryl Korot, Manfred Mohr and Judith Stenneken, moderated by Zabet Patterson, a professor and writer who focuses on how contemporary art and computing interact. More →
Picasso’s green period ain’t over yet. A 10-foot-tall sculpture of the Spanish artist cutting grass was supposed to be taken down this week, but the massive tribute to the striped one just got a four-week extension.