Archive for BAM

DJ Spooky and…I moved

Posted in art, Music with tags , , , , , , on January 16, 2010 by thebrooklynsocialite

Well, friends I’ve been a little busy. I moved to Ft Greene, so it looks like the Brooklyn Socialite just got a little bit more central (and high-class). The transition was crazy, it involved movers and me breaking my little back, oh(!) it was exhausting, it’s taken a while to recover, but I think I’m getting there. I have still been voraciously consuming culture, that has not changed and there is much to be discussed. I really can’t imagine where to begin.

Hmmm, just before my blogging blackout, I saw DJ Spooky’s Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica at BAM (my new neighbor). Ah, it was so good, just my speed, with text and film projections, symphony live mixed-by Mr.Spooky and an interrogation of borders, neutrality and environmental preservation, the event was twisted good. He straight-up went to Antarctica and recorded the sounds of ice in preparation for this event.  I also learned that DJ Spooky aka That subliminal kid Paul D. Miller is a pretty legit working artist, am I the last to know?  I knew I was impressed when I saw him at Southpaw in like 2006 with Don Letts (that’s reggae god to you), he had some crazy projections going and a well-tailored set, but that was nothing compared with the BAM show. Here is a teaser of Spooky’s Antarctica project.

I have so much more to say but one thing at a time…

Culture Clash: Our City Dreams, Beirut, the Third Mind

Posted in art, film, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

I have been overwhelmingly silent lately on the blog front. It’s not that I haven’t been going out, I have. It is just that I have been overwhelmed by stimuli, potential topics, definite un-topics and when I’ve tried to sit down and review I found that the reasons were wrong.

So how about a fresh start in this fresh weather. Digest style: I want to give some shout outs to the culture I’ve been sampling lately.  I saw a great film, truly beautiful, at the Film Forum, called Our City Dreams. It tracks 5 female artists, through a year or so in their lives , recording each artists relationship with the city. The director, Chiara Clemente, profiles Kiki Smith, Swoon, Ghada Amer, Nancy Spero and Marina Abramovic. A jazz soundtrack supports the film and the cinematography is infectious, it reminded me of super 8, rainy, home video.  Although each artist is in a different stage of their life and career, all seem to be at a stage where they are receiving lots of props.  Swoon goes from street art to a show at Deitch to having work at MOMA, while Marina Abramovic has a major retrospective at the Guggenheim. Ghada Amer is probably the most interesting character to watch. As she hand stitches and weaves large canvases, she tells us that she was very depressed before she became an artist. It saved her life. Kiki Smith, the daughter of a successful artist also recalls that she started to work only in her late 20s after her father died. She couldn’t take herself seriously as an artist until then. Abramovic  details her fascinating performance art-making practices. They involve starvation, cold and self-injury.

A few days after the film,  I found myself at the Guggenheim myself for the opening of The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia. Go see it and tell me what you think! I am not so sure myself. I enjoyed seeing an annotated manuscript page from The Waste Land and some of Ginsberg’s old photos, not to mention a few beautiful Asia inspired paintings by American Artists. My friend however, thought that discussion around cultural appropriation was dangerously absent from the exhibition.

Well, speaking of un-apologetic cultural appropriation, it’s on to Beirut. I have to say that the concert at BAM on Friday night was not only beautiful, but it was also lovely, harmonic, poetic, inspiring. If I could have removed most of the shouting hipster audience from the scene it would have been even better, but hey the band themselves are hipster-esqe so not all Williamsburg-dwellers are bad. The crew of young guys, headed by a 22 year old Angel in plaid, are a band that sounds consistently like gypsy music to me, yet def. delves into brit-pop, french chanteuse  and Indigenous sounds that span multiple continents. I’m not a hater, and I won’t bag them for sounding like pretty Americans, who’ve spent some time camping in Bulgaria.  I love their music and have to take the culture clashing for what it is.

-Robyn. Brooklyn Socialite in residence again.

Trouble the Water Tonight at BAM

Posted in film, Guide to What's Good, People of Color with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

I can’t rave about Trouble the Water enough. I have been on the journey with this film for several months. From the time that I first saw it until now, interviewing the filmmakers somewhere in between, writing an article about them and the film…let’s just say I am on the boat for the long haul with this one.

If you are in the New York City area, come to one of my favorite gem spots, The Brooklyn Academy of Music for either the 4:30, 6:50 or 9:30 screening.

This is what NY Mag and BAM have to say about the film:

Trouble the Water is ineradicably moving.” —New York Magazine

“Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, this astonishingly powerful documentary takes you inside Hurricane Katrina in a way never before seen on screen. Brooklyn-based filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal tell the story of an aspiring rap artist and her husband, trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, who survive the storm and then seize a chance for a new beginning” BAM website

This is the beginning of what I said about it:

The human spirit, all toughness aside could not withstand this movie without tears of empathy, regret, boiling anger, growing conviction and then the commitment to respond. This feeling of good will, fueled by a desire to help, is something that filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal consistently refer to as what motivated them to bring their cameras to the gold coast and begin what would become, Trouble the Water. Long time collaborators with Michael Moore,  they experienced a similar impetus towards action after 9/11. Turning their cameras outwards towards their own Brooklyn neighborhood, they made a compelling short about the backlash of racism and unjust deportations which affected many Muslims at the time.  More

See it for the first time, see it again. Then talk about it with your friends, send me comments, see Spike Lee’s Katrina doco, remember that New Orleans is still in crisis.

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