THE ROOF GARDEN COMMISSION
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
Daily through October 31, recommended admission $12-$25
MetFridays: Friday, October 28, 6:30
Don’t let Halloween pass by without a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In her Guardian nomination for 2016 Visionary, British artist Cornelia Parker hinted at her upcoming Met Roof Garden commission, saying, “I always think of New York as Europe on steroids, so I’m celebrating American culture, but through European eyes. I’ll make something that adds to the view.” Her site-specific installation went up in April, and it will remain as a temporary addition to the view of the New York City skyline visible from the roof through, appropriately enough, Halloween. “Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)” is a multilayered construction that melds fiction with reality, a soothing work that is just the right amount of twisted. Using materials obtained from a dismantled Dutch red barn in Schoharie in Upstate New York, Parker has re-created the facade of the creepy Victorian house from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, where Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) lived with his mother. The Psycho house, which itself was just a facade on a Hollywood studio set, was inspired by Edward Hopper’s “House by the Railroad,” so Parker, who was raised on a farm in rural Cheshire, where there were black barns, is referencing American pop culture, art history, and her own personal story. She’s also combining a kind of good and evil duality; barn raisings, for example, are a joyous community event, while the Psycho house evokes gloom and doom, murder and madness.
As if revealing the twenty-eight-foot-tall work’s inner psyche, Parker keeps the back open so visitors can see the scaffolding and heavy water tanks that keep the facade from collapsing, which relates to her new artist book, Verso, in which she explores the front and back of button holes. “Transitional Object” is named for the medical term for a security blanket, an item that brings children comfort as they grow up and spend less time with their mother — except maybe for Norman Bates, who created a rather unique transitional object for himself. The structure blends in well with the city skyline, which features many a building that just might be haunted, while also offering fun-house-style reflections in the Met’s mirrored wall by the rooftop bar. Parker, who has previously placed Tilda Swinton in a glass case at the Serpentine Gallery for “The Maybe” and blew up a garden shed for “Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View,” will be at the Met on October 28 at 6:30 to talk about the project as part of the MetFridays presentation “Artists on Artworks — Cornelia Parker,” which is free with museum admission and is first-come, first-served; stickers will be handed out twenty minutes before the event. For more Halloween joy, MetLiveArts is screening the Peanuts holiday classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on October 29 at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, with live music by Rob Schwimmer and his ensemble, followed by costume parades.
JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (Takashi Shimizu, 2002)
BAMcinématek, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
Thursday, October 27, 9:30
“Black cats feature in the mythology of many cultures, and superstitions about them are still familiar to most of us in modern times. They are a prime example of the contrariness of many of our superstitious beliefs; some swear they’re lucky, others see them as a sign of certain doom,” Chloe Rodes writes in Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book of Old-Fashioned Superstitions. BAMcinématek certainly had the latter in mind when it programmed its Halloween series “13 Cats,” a baker’s dozen of feline horror stories running through November 3 at BAM Rose Cinemas. The frightfest kicked off October 21-23 with the Hayao Miyzazaki favorite Kiki’s Delivery Service and also includes the Nobuhiko Obayashi cult classic Hausu, Roger Corman’s The Tomb of Ligeia, David Lowell Rich’s Eye of the Cat, Kaneto Shindô’s Kuroneko, and both Jacques Tourneur’s and Paul Schrader’s Cat People. On October 27, Takashi Shimizu’s Ju-On: The Grudge will cross movie fans’ path in Brooklyn. After making two Ju-Ons for Japanese video, Shimizu wrote and directed this feature-length haunted-house movie that he later also turned into an American version starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. A terrifying ghost (Takaka Fuji) who emits bizarre sounds keeps killing just about anyone who enters her suburban home, where a husband murdered his wife and their black cat, and their young son went missing. But don’t worry; the white-faced kid (Yuya Ozeki) continually shows up in the strangest of places, as does a very creepy woman. (Don’t look under the sheets.) The more Rika (Megumi Okina) gets involved, the spookier things get. And poor Izumi (Misa Uehara) and Hitomi (Misaki Itô). You’re likely to have trouble falling asleep after watching this truly scary, extremely confusing film, which Shimizu was afraid would be too laughable.
In many ways a precursor to Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Spirited Away, the magical My Neighbor Totoro is a fantastical trip down the rabbit hole, a wondrous journey through the sheer glee and universal fears of childhood. With their mother, Yasuko (voiced by Lea Salonga), suffering from an extended illness in the hospital, Satsuki (Dakota Fanning) and her younger sister, Mei (Elle Fanning), move to a new house in a rural farming community with their father, anthropology professor Tatsuo Kusakabe (Tim Daly). Kanta (Paul Butcher), a shy boy who lives nearby, tells them the house is haunted, and indeed the two girls come upon a flurry of black soot sprites scurrying about. Mei also soon discovers a family of totoros, supposedly fictional characters from her storybooks, living in the forest, protected by a giant camphor tree. When the girls fear their mother has taken a turn for the worse, Mei runs off on her own, and it is up to Satsuki to find her. Working with art director Kazuo Oga, Miyazaki paints My Neighbor Totoro with rich, glorious skies and lush greenery, honoring the beauty and power of nature both visually as well as in the narrative. The scene in which Satsuki and Mei huddle with Totoro (Frank Welker) at a bus stop in a rainstorm is a treasure. (And just wait till you see Catbus’s glowing eyes.) The movie also celebrates the sense of freedom and adventure that comes with being a child, without helicopter parents and myriad rules suffocating them at home and school. (Note: BAM will be screening the English-language version in the “13 Cats” series.)
CINÉSALON: ADIEU PHILIPPINE (Jacques Rozier, 1962)
French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Tuesday, October 25, $14, 4:00 & 7:30
FIAF’s two-month CinéSalon series “Beyond the Ingénue” comes to a close October 25 with one of the lesser-known French New Wave classics, Jacques Rozier’s shamefully seldom screened Adieu Philippine. Rozier’s first film is a freewheeling adventure as Michel (Jean-Claude Aimini), a young man working in a television studio, cavorts with a pair of eighteen-year-old best friends, Juliette (Stefania Sabatini) and Liliane (Yveline Céry), while waiting to be called up to serve in the Algerian War. Rozier opens the film by taking viewers into the studio, where they are shooting a lively jazz performance by French violinist Maxim Saury and his band, the bouncy rhythm meeting the behind-the-scenes chaos. Pretending to be more important than he really is, Michel invites Juliette and Liliane to come in, and soon the trio is hitting cafés and nightclubs, camping on the beach, and trying to hook up with would-be filmmaker Pachala (Vittorio Caprioli). But what started out as fun gets somewhat more serious as jealousy creeps in and the war intervenes.
Adieu Philippine is an exhilarating tale of teenage freedom, of youth taking advantage of all life has to offer no matter one’s circumstance, fighting off ennui with a mad desire to just have fun. Rozier, who wrote the screenplay with Michèle O’Glor, allowed the cast of mostly nonprofessional actors to improvise and dubbed in dialogue later, resulting in less-than-stellar syncing that took two years in postproduction but thankfully gets lost in all the wild abandon. In his debut feature, cinematographer René Mathelin (Pardon Mon Affaire, The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe) shoots guerrilla-style in black-and-white, a kind of cinéma vérité in which passersby and people in the background often look at the camera, wondering what is going on. Adieu Philippine shares a soul and spirit with the early work of such auteurs as Jean-Luc Godard (1960’s Breathless), a friend and supporter of Rozier’s; American-born French photographer and documentarian William Klein (1958’s Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?), and François Truffaut, whose similarly themed Jules et Jim was also released in 1962, but Adieu Philippine has a charm all its own. Rozier, who turns ninety on November 10, would make only a handful of other features, including 1985’s Maine-Ocean and 2001’s Martingale. A new 35mm print of Adieu Philippine is being shown at FIAF on October 25 at 4:00 and 7:30; the later screening will be introduced by New York Review of Books editor Madeleine Schwartz.
Who: Tara Deal
What: Reading and book signing
Where: Sideshow Gallery, 319 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn
When: Tuesday, October 25, free with advance RSVP (email@example.com) by October 23, 6:30
Why: New York City-based writer Tara Deal will be at Williamsburg’s Sideshow Gallery on October 25 for a reading and signing of her latest book, That Night Alive. Winner of the 2016 Novella Prize from Miami University Press, the novella mixes fiction and memoir, poetry and prose as a crypto-reporter goes back in time, from her last day alive on earth. Deal, who was born in Georgia and raised in South Carolina, has previously written the novella Palms Are Not Trees After All, and her short stories and poems can be found in numerous publications. In conjunction with Causey Contemporary, the gallery is currently showing “Persons of Interest,” featuring new portraits by painter, printmaker, costume designer, and voodoo doll maker Carri Skoczek, who explains in her artist statement, “My work has been an exploration in expressing female sexuality and allure as a vehicle of power.”
It takes a while for Company XIV’s latest decadent Baroque burlesque extravaganza, Paris!, to get cooking, but once it does, it quickly goes from hot, hot, hot to sizzling. Troupe founder and director Austin McCormick, who has previously reimagined such fairy-tales as Cinderella, Pinocchio, and Snow White, revisits the myth of Paris and the golden apple, which Company XIV first tackled in its streamlined 2012 dance-theater-opera, Judge Me Paris. The company goes all out this time in its temporary new space, the Irondale Center in Fort Greene, which they have outfitted in Louis XIV grandeur, with ornate red velvet couches and chairs, numerous chandeliers, and costumed greeters welcoming you to the festivities. Before the show starts, you can walk around the main floor and the balcony, where some of the performers are getting ready and the heady enticements begin. The first act is surprisingly ordinary for Company XIV, offering little that is new as the emcee, the half-man, half-woman Zeus/Fifi (Charlotte Bydwell), introduces the story, in which the mortal shepherd Paris (Jakob Karr) must decide which of three goddesses — Venus (Storm Marrero), Pallas Athena (Marcy Richardson), or Juno (Randall Scotting) — deserves the golden apple. “My lovely goddesses! Your time has come,” Zeus announces. “Tighten your corsets, stuff your bustiers, dot your moles, and present your most delicious selves to our virginal judge. His ears are half-open, his eyes are half-closed, and his skin is untouched. . . . This young man wants much and it’s yours to give.” There’s a beautiful duet by Paris and Mercury (Todd Hanebrink) and a rather naughty sheep orgy, but things really start to hit their stride in the second act, as soprano Richardson dazzles the audience with unique versions of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and Adele’s “Skyfall” and performing breathtaking feats on the pole. Countertenor Scotting scores big with two songs by Handel and Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man,” a very funny gender-twisting spoof. In the short third act, Marrero brings the house down with stirring renditions of Daughter’s “Youth” and Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” as Paris makes his choice.
Over the last few years, while searching for a permanent home, Company XIV has performed at such venues as the Minetta Lane Theatre, 428 Lafayette St. across from the Public, and the 303 Bond Street Theatre in an abandoned warehouse in Brooklyn; they have found quite a treasure in the Irondale Center, formerly the auditorium of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, which they have outfitted in regal splendor. Throughout the tale, the ensemble of Nicole von Arx, Nicholas Katen, Mark Osmundsen, Cara Seymour, and Taner Van Kuren, wearing various body-revealing get-ups courtesy of the endlessly inventive Zane Pihlstrom, who also designed the set, dances in ever-changing configurations, mixing comic bits into their sexy numbers and occasionally making their way through the audience, where the patrons can order drinks and snacks all night long. (The actors also provide entertainment during the two intermissions, including a lovely flute and cello duet and a playful pregnancy vignette.) The relatively inconsequential text is by Jeff Takacs (with contributions from Bydwell), with fanciful lighting by Jeanette Yew. The emcee is repetitive and takes up too much time, but the rest of the characters excel as they go from group can-cans to intimate solos, duets, and trios. Director and choreographer McCormick limits the complex acrobatic elements of the troupe, focusing more on dance and song, like Martha Graham gone wild, and it works well here, after a slow start. Paris! runs through November 12 — tickets begin at $25 and go up to $525 for those VIPs who want to party like it’s 1699 — and will be followed by Company XIV’s annual holiday favorite, Nutcracker Rouge.
Who: Peter Kwong, Liz Moy, Margaret Lee, Juan Puntes, Betty Yu, Julien Terrell
What: Town hall discussion about gentrification and the arts in Chinatown
Where: Artists Space Books & Talks, 55 Walker St.
When: Saturday, October 22, free, 7:00
Why: A group of gallery owners and local activists will be gathering on October 22 at Artist Space on Walker St. for the special panel discussion “Chinatown Is Not for Sale,” in which they will delve into the following issue: “There are currently over one hundred galleries occupying Chinatown, Two Bridges, and the Lower East Side. Can a neighborhood be both a holdout to gentrification and the new art enclave??” Sponsored by Artists Space, Chinatown Art Brigade, and Decolonize This Place, the town hall discussion features Peter Kwong, Liz Moy, Margaret Lee, Juan Puntes, Betty Yu, and moderator Julien Terrell examining the changes downtown, most of which have taken place in the last three years as rents rise and art galleries, luxury housing, and hotels move in. The event is the second in Chinatown Art Brigade’s series of public conversations that began in July with “Chinatown: New York’s Newest Gallery Scene?”