The Green Building
452 Union St. at Bond St.
Tuesday, April 29, $55-$80, 5:30 – 9:00
In November 2012, Josh Ozersky wrote an article in the New York Observer tearing apart Brooklyn as a culinary destination. “Brooklyn, taken as a restaurant city, sucks,” he wrote in “The Truth about Brooklyn’s Overhyped, Undercooked Restaurant Scene.” Whether you agreed with Ozersky or not back then, you can judge for yourself on April 29 at the fourth annual Tasting Brooklyn gastronomic festival, taking place at the Green Building in Carroll Gardens. The evening will feature food and drink from some of the borough’s best and brightest, with tasty delights from 1 Knickerbocker, Benchmark, Dinosaur BBQ, Dosa Royale, El Born, Falansai, Hunter’s, Luke’s Lobster, Martha, Palo Santo, Taco Santo, Tchoup Shop, St. Austere, the Pines, Zona Rosa, Robicelli’s, Baked, Fabipops, and even sponsor Fairway, all competing for the Best Dish prize. Liquid libations will be provided courtesy of Alice’s Arbor, Brooklyn Oenology, Cacao Prieto, Huckleberry Bar, Lavender Lake, Owney’s Rum, Sixpoint Beer, White Pike, and Widow Jane, with the aptly named DJ Nutritious spinning tunes. Tickets are on sale now and range from $55 for a two-and-a-half-hour feeding frenzy to $80 for VIP admission, which includes an extra hour of eating as well as a VIP gift bag.
Anspacher Theater at the Public Theater
425 Lafayette St. below Astor Pl.
Through March 23, $40-$80
There’s a brief synopsis in the program of the Public Theater’s new presentation of Antony and Cleopatra, but that won’t help you make sense of this ill-conceived production. A collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Ohio State University and Miami’s GableStage, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s adaptation moves the tale of romance and power to eighteenth-century Saint Domingue, the Caribbean colony that would soon become Haiti, although you wouldn’t know it from Tom Piper’s set, mostly a bare stage with a series of Roman columns that block at least part of the action from nearly everyone in the audience. At the back of the stage, a small pool reflects light onto a sky-blue wall, while above a four-piece band contributes Haitian music. Jonathan Cake (Medea, Cymbeline) as Mark Antony and Joaquina Kalukango (Hurt Village, Godspell) as Cleopatra lack any chemistry as he attempts to maintain his alliance with Octavius Caesar (Samuel Collings adding Napoleonic touches) by marrying Caesar’s sister, Octavia (Charise Castro-Smith), which angers Cleopatra, her maidservants, Iras (Castro-Smith) and Charmian (Sarah Niles), and her eunuch soothsayer (Chivas Michael). But when Antony returns to Cleopatra, trying to have it both ways, yet more battles await, both personal and political. Public Theater artist in residence McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays), who is credited as director and editor, drains the story of any passion, moving along the plot in a tedious, procedural manner, with Chukwudi Iwuji, the standout performer in the show, playing the narrator as well as Enobarbus. Bringing together a cast of actors from the United States and the U.K. portraying characters from Rome and the French Caribbean leads to further confusion as different accents fly off in all directions, leaving the audience to wonder just what it’s all about.
Northern Irish singer-songwriter Steafán Hanvey was born in 1972, right in the midst of the Troubles. Both of his parents were musicians; his father, Bobbie, was a photojournalist and radio host as well. On his second album, last winter’s Nuclear Family, the follow-up to his 2006 debut with his band, the Honeymoon Junkies, Hanvey, “a man whose bad dreams have already come true,” explores the complications of relationships on such songs as “Secrets and Lies,” “Marta’s Always Coming Home,” “Darling Please,” and “Leaving What You Know.” He has combined his past with the present in his deeply personal and political traveling show, “Look Behind You! A Father and Son’s Impressions of the Troubles in Northern Ireland through Photograph and Song,” which is profiled by NPR in the above video. On March 8, Hanvey will be giving a rare solo performance for “Belfast Rocks the Craic” at Mercury Lounge, part of the sixteenth annual Craic Fest; Duke Special and Rams’ Pocket Radio are also on the bill.
Last spring, married multimedia artists Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin staged “A Marriage: 1 (Suburbia)” at HERE downtown, delving into the American Dream in the twenty-first century through language, video, sculpture, literature, cut maps, and live performance. “Even growing up in a hyperliberal place,” Jake told twi-ny last spring, “I had a sense of gay people as being abnormal – a deviance from the norm that are tolerated because Berkeleyites are tolerant and open-minded people, but still a group of people who are in some way going to have to live on the outside of mainstream society. As many things about gay culture have been accepted into the mainstream since we were kids, now that set of aspirations that were traditionally exclusively for heterosexuals, aspirations towards suburbia, the nuclear family, and all of that – are on the table.” The third part of Nick and Jake’s continuing series heads out west for “A Marriage: 2 (West-er),” running at the Invisible Dog in Brooklyn through April 12. In the show, they reference Scottish adventurer Sir William Drummond Stuart, Hollywood hunk John Wayne, and partners Robert Campbell and William Sublette as they investigate homosexuality and social mores across the vast frontier. Their preparation took them to such states as Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado as they incorporated their own relationship into the narrative as well. The exhibit will be open Thursdays through Saturdays from 1:00 to 7:00 and Sundays till 5:00, with daily durational actions in addition to artist talks on March 25 and April 8 at 6:00. The opening reception takes place March 8 from 6:00 to 10:00, while closing day, April 12, will feature a live spray performance.
In November 1959, Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) and Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) brutally murdered a Kansas family. After reading a small piece about the killings in the New York Times, New Yorker writer Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) sets out with his research assistant, Harper “Nell” Lee (Catherine Keener), to cover the story from a unique angle, which soon becomes the workings of the classic nonfiction novel In Cold Blood. Capote tells police chief Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper) right off the bat that he cares only about the story, not what happens to the killers, which does not endear him to the local force. But when the murderers are captured, Capote begins a dangerous relationship with Smith, who comes to think of the writer as a true friend, while Capote gets caught up deeper than he ever thought possible. Based on the exhaustive biography by Gerald Clarke, Capote is a slow-moving character study featuring excellent acting and some interesting surprises, even for those who thought they knew a lot about the party-loving chronicler of high society and high living. Hoffman, who just died from a drug overdose, earned an Oscar for portraying the socialite author, who was played the following year by Toby Jones in Douglas McGrath’s Infamous, which was based on a book by George Plimpton. Capote, which was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Bennett Miller), Best Supporting Actress (Keener), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Dan Futterman), is screening for free on March 8 at 2:00 at the NYPL’s recently renovated St. Agnes branch on the Upper West Side in a special tribute to Hoffman, a native New Yorker who left us well before his time, playing a longtime New Yorker who also died too young.
Minetta Lane Theatre
18 Minetta Lane between MacDougal St. & Sixth Ave.
Extended through April 6, $65-$85
The theater community has learned to expect the unexpected from British playwright Caryl Churchill, whose cutting-edge works have been showing up without warning in the in-boxes of artistic directors and company producers for decades. The seventy-five-year-old writer of such award-winning plays as Cloud Nine, Top Girls, and Serious Money redefines live storytelling yet again with her latest, Love and Information, just extended through April 6 at the Minetta Lane. The New York Theatre Workshop production is a series of snapshots relating the state of the world today, examined through the gathering, processing, and utilization of information among married couples, lovers, family members, professional colleagues, and best friends. The 110-minute intermissionless play consists of seven thematic sections, each one made up of funny, poignant, abstract, surreal, visceral, and potently recognizable vignettes that last between five seconds and five minutes; although the script gives them such mostly one-word titles as “Lab,” “Message,” “Secret,” “Torture,” “Irrational,” “Dream,” and “Recluse,” they are not identified onstage or in the program notes. The short dialogues take place in a white cube with a grid of some twenty-five thousand squares on five sides (calling to mind a human brain), opening only to the audience. In between each of the fifty-seven bits, in which fifteen actors portray one hundred different characters, the stage goes completely dark, bordered by a row of very bright lights around the edge, as the performers change costumes at lightning speed and the sets, which usually include a single element, from a chair or a bed to a table or a couch, are magically switched. It’s a kind of short attention span theater that evokes a more serious, though still playful, Laugh-In and Robot Chicken as the skits just keep on coming, seamlessly directed by longtime Churchill cohort James Macdonald, separated by the pitch-black accompanied by sounds, from familiar tunes to random found noises, that further one of the central themes, memory.
The tone is set from the very first vignette, in which a man is begging a woman to tell her a secret she is hiding from him. “Please please tell me,” he implores. “I’ll never tell, no matter what,” she responds, but eventually she whispers it in his ear so the audience can’t hear it. “Now what?” he repeats several times, a question that not only leads to the rest of the play but gets right to the point of what people do with information — first they want it, then they’re not always sure what to do with it. Later, a woman gets technical with her partner, saying, “What sex evolved to do is get information from two sets of genes so you get offspring that’s not identical to you. . . . So sex essentially is information.” He replies, “You don’t think that while we’re doing it, do you?” to which she says, “It doesn’t hurt to know it. Information and love.” Churchill and the immensely talented cast, which includes standout performances by Karen Kandel, John Procaccino, Kellie Overbey, Phillip James Brannon, Zoë Winters, and Randy Danson, take on science, religion, emotions, fanaticism, censorship, mathematics, pain, technology, and human relationships of all sorts in clever ways, constantly surprising the audience with each new piece, although the show is probably too long by about twenty minutes, but that’s only a minor quibble. In one of the longer sketches, a man and a woman are on a picnic date, and she describes in graphic detail how her job involves cutting the head off a chicken and slicing its brain for study, a worthy metaphor for what Churchill is doing on multiple levels with Love and Information.
VIOLENT SATURDAY (Richard Fleischer, 1955)
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave. at Second St.
Saturday, March 8, 9:00, and Thursday, March 13, 7:00
Series runs March 7-17
It’s been a half dozen years since the Film Society of Lincoln Center paid tribute to director Richard Fleischer with a Spotlight at its annual Film Comment Selects series (including screenings of 10 Rillington Place and Mandingo) and Film Forum presented a brand-new 35mm print of Fleischer’s 1955 CinemaScope noir flick Violent Saturday for a special one-week run. So it’s time for another look at the Brooklyn-born director who also made such diverse films as Doctor Dolittle, Fantastic Voyage, Compulsion, and Soylent Green (as well as The Jazz Singer remake with Neil Diamond and Amityville 3-D) and whose father was Max Fleischer and uncle was Dave Fleischer, the two men behind the early Popeye and Betty Boop movies. Critics Nick Pinkerton and Nicolas Rapold of Overdue have joined forces with Anthology Film Archives for an eleven-day festival of nine of Fleischer’s lesser-known works that show off his wide range.
On March 8 and 13, the 35mm print of Violent Saturday will be screened; “Fleischer, an ace with the long frame,” Pinkerton wrote in his 2008 Village Voice review, “composes scrolling studies in horizontality, grabbing one of the most ravishing train shots in cinema.” All is not as it seems in the small town of Bradenville, Arizona. The mousy librarian (Sylvia Sidney) is stealing to pay off her debts, the married bank manager (Tommy Noonan) walks his dog late at night so he can peep on a hot-to-trot single woman (Virginia Leth), the mine boss’s son (Richard Egan) is a drunk who suspects his ritzy wife (Margaret Hayes) of cheating on him with a country-club playboy (Brad Dexter), an Amish family (led by Ernest Borgnine!) that lives nearby tries to keep to themselves, and a young boy (Billy Chapin) is embarrassed that his father (Victor Mature) worked in the copper mines instead of becoming a war hero like his best friend’s dad. But when three bank robbers (Stephen McNally, J. Carrol Naish, and Lee Marvin, puffing on an inhaler like Frank Booth in Blue Velvet) come to town to rid the safe of all its cash, all hell soon breaks loose and things do indeed get rather violent. In Violent Saturday, Fleischer reveals the subtle underbelly of a postwar America undergoing radical change while still standing by its old values, at least on the surface. And it’s great seeing Borgnine and Marvin together, in lovely CinemaScope; twelve years later they would reunite for Robert Aldrich’s classic WWII flick, The Dirty Dozen. “Overdue: Richard Fleischer” runs March 7-17 and also includes Trapped, Armed Car Robbery, Barabbas, See No Evil, The New Centurions, Conan the Destroyer, The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.