This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart mix fact and fiction in Olivier Assayas’s CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA

French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Tuesday, October 6, $14, 4:00 & 7:30 (later screening introduced by Florence Colombani)
Series continues through October 27

The related concepts of time and reality wind through Olivier Assayas’s beautifully poetic, melancholy Clouds of Sils Maria much like actual snakelike clouds slither through the twisting Maloja Pass in the Swiss Alps, as life imitates art and vice versa. Juliette Binoche stars as Maria Enders, a famous French actress who is on her way to Zurich to accept an award for her mentor, playwright Wilhelm Melchior, who eschews such mundane ceremonies. But while en route, Maria and her personal assistant, the extremely attentive and capable Valentine (Kristen Stewart), learn that Wilhelm has suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, and Maria considers turning back, especially when she later finds out that Henryk Wald (Hanns Zischler), an old nemesis, will be there to pay homage to Wilhelm as well, but she decides to go ahead after all. At a cocktail party, Maria meets with hot director Klaus Diesterweg (Lars Eidinger), who is preparing a new stage production of Wilhelm and Maria’s first big hit, The Maloja Snake, but this time Maria would play Helena, an older woman obsessed with ambitious eighteen-year-old Sigrid, the role she originally performed twenty years earlier, to great acclaim. Klaus is planning to cast Lindsay Lohan-like troublemaking star and walking tabloid headline Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz) as Sigrid, which does not thrill Maria as her past and present meld together in an almost dreamlike narrative punctuated by the music of Handel and cinematographer Yorick Le Saux’s gorgeous shots of vast mountain landscapes.


Valentine (Kristen Stewart) and Maria (Juliette Binoche) go in search of the Maloja Snake in the Swiss Alps

Clouds of Sils Maria resonates on many levels, both inside and outside of the main plot and the film itself. Assayas (Irma Vep, Demonlover) cowrote André Téchiné’s 1983 film, Rendez-Vous, which was Binoche’s breakthrough; Assayas and Binoche wouldn’t work together again until his 2008 film Summer Hours, similar to the relationship between Wilhelm and Maria. Meanwhile, the story of the play-within-the-film is echoed by the relationship between Maria and Valentine, who are having trouble separating the personal from the professional. It is often difficult to know when the two women are practicing lines and when they are talking about their “real” lives. Binoche (Blue, Caché) is simply extraordinary as Maria, a distressed and anxious woman who is suddenly facing getting older somewhat sooner than expected, while Stewart (The Twilight Saga, On the Road) became the first American woman to win a French César, for Best Supporting Actress, for her sensitive portrayal of Valentine, a strong-willed young woman who might or might not be holding something back. The scenes between the two are riveting as they venture in and out of the reality of the film, their onscreen chemistry building and building till it’s at last ready to ignite. Art, life, cinema, theater, fiction, and reality all come together in Clouds of Sils Maria, as Maria, Assayas, and Binoche take stock of where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going. The film is screening at 4:00 and 7:30 on October 6 in FIAF’s CinéSalon series “Theater & Cinema”; the later show will be introduced by Florence Colombani. The Tuesday festival continues through October 27 with such other stage-related dramas as Arnaud Desplechin’s Esther Kahn, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Games of Love and Chance, and François Truffaut’s The Last Metro.


new york super week 1

Multiple locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan
October 5-12, free - $249

Fretting because you didn’t get your New York Comic-Con tickets in time and it’s completely sold out now? The vast popularity of NYCC has led to New York Super Week, with related special events beginning on Monday and running for eight days. There are more than eighty panels, concerts, trivia contests, movie screenings, comedy shows, social media parties, and other geek gatherings, with appearances by the likes of Kevin Smith, Masashi Kishimoto, Seth Green, Janeane Garofalo, Kristian Nairn, Finn Jones, Danny Fingeroth, Justin Guarini, Larry Fessenden, and John Hodgman. Below are only some of the many highlights.

Monday, October 5
Celebrity Karaoke: An Epic Evening with the Stars, with Deborah Cox, Justin Guarini, Tony Vincent, and Alex Brightman, Hard Rock Café, $25-$40, 7:00

Playing a Superhero: Privilege or Curse?, with Mark Editz, author of How to Be a Superhero, the Learning and Media Center at the DiMenna Center, $8, 7:15

Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Attack of the Khan, with DJ Benhameen, Tatiana King Jones, Jean Grae, Pharoahe Monch, and Quelle Chris, Benzaquen Hall at the DiMenna Center, 410, 7:15

Tuesday, October 6
The Best American Comics 2015, with Bill Kartalopoulus, the Strand, free with suggested purchase of book or $15 gift card, 7:00

Running Late with Scott Rogowsky: Brooklyn’s Live Late Night Comedy Talk Show, with Horatio Sanz, Impractical Jokers “Sal” Vulcano & Brian “Q” Quinn, Budd Mishkin, Dale Seever, and Here We Go Magic, Littlefield, $10-$20, 9:00

Wednesday, October 7
Comics and Jews: Panel and Auction, with Danny Fingeroth, Paul Levitz, Arie Kaplan, and Paul Kupperberg, hosted by Karen Green, Center for Jewish History, $10, 6:30

Meet the Creator of Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto, discussion, Q&A, and signing with Masashi Kushimoto, Apple Store SoHo, free, 7:00

new york super week 2

Thursday, October 8
Robot Chicken Season 8 Party, with Seth Green and Matt Senreich, Brooklyn Bowl, free with RSVP, 6:00 – 10:00

Uptown Showdown: Superheroes vs. Villains, with Janeane Garofalo, Travon Free, Jessica Delfino, Michael Hartney, Nick Turner, and Joe Garden, Symphony Space, $15, 8:00

Twentieth anniversary screening of Habit (Larry Fessenden, 1985), with Larry Fessenden and cast members in person, part of weeklong thirtieth anniversary celebration of Glass Eye Pix, IFC Center, $14, 9:00

Friday, October 9
A Night of Ice and Fire, Featuring Kristian Nairn, Finn Jones, and More, Hard Rock Café, $45, 8:00

The Thrilling Adventure Hour Presents: POW! Sparks Nevada Live, with Marc Evan Jackson, Mark Gagliardi, Hal Lublin, Janet Varney, Scott Adsit, and special guests, Littlefield, $15-$50, 10:00

Saturday, October 10
Hollywood Babble On Live! with Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith, Hammerstein Ballroom, $20-$60, 7:30

Comic Con Vixens II, with Topher Bousquet, Hazel Honeysuckle, Dangrrr Doll, Bastard Keith, Tiger Bay, Rosey la Rouge, Puss N’ Boots, and Lux La Croix, Hard Rock Café, $25-$75, 10:00

Sunday, October 11
PressPlayNYC, with Christian Leave, Tina Woods, Sigh Mike, Drew Phillips, Joey Kidney, Taylor Baxter, Chase Goehring, Alex Reininga, Pierson Oglesby, Tyler White, Dakota Brooks, Wes Finn, Chris O’Flyng, Cody Ryle, and Steffan Argus, Hammerstein Ballroom, $35-$249, 12 noon – 6:00 pm

We Got This Live! with Mark Gagliardi, Hal Lublin, John Hodgman, and Carter Parton Rogers, (le) poisson rouge, $15, 8:00

Monday, October 12
New York premiere of Wagakkiband Concert Movie (avex music creative, 2014), IFC Center, $14, 7:30



Who: Orlando Ferrand, Sabine Heinlein, Vasyl Makhno, Elyssa Goodman, and Oriana Leckert
What: Miss Manhattan and Brooklyn Spaces Present: To the 5 Boroughs
Where: Niagara Bar, 112 Ave. A at Seventh St., 212-420-9517
When: Monday, October 5, free, 7:45
Why: Taking its name from the 2004 Beastie Boys album To the 5 Boroughs, which features such tracks as “Ch-Check It Out,” “Shazam!,” and “An Open Letter to NYC,” To the 5 Boroughs is a free evening of nonfiction readings, hosted by Elyssa Goodman of Miss Manhattan and Oriana Leckert of Brooklyn Spaces, who has been lured across the East River for this event. The three readers are Orlando Ferrand (Apologia: Cuban Childhood in My Backpack, Citywalker), Sabine Heinlein (Among Murderers: Life After Prison), and Vasyl Makhno (Winter Letters, The Gertrude Stein Memorial Cultural and Recreation Park). Why should you go? Because as the Beasties famously declared in “An Open Letter to NYC,” “Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten / From the Battery to the top of Manhattan / Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin / Black, White, New York, you make it happen.”



Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke star in New York-set romantic comedy MAGGIE’S PLAN

Film Society of Lincoln Center
Sunday, October 4, 9:30, and Monday, October 5, 6:00, $25, Alice Tully Hall
Sunday, October 11, 3:00, $20, Walter Reade Theater
New York Film Festival runs through October 11

Rebecca Miller channels her inner Woody Allen and Noah Baumbach with the bittersweet romantic comedy Maggie’s Plan, making its U.S. premiere at the fifty-third New York Film Festival. Greta Gerwig is at her loopy best as Maggie, a thirtysomething college arts administrator who, after failing to maintain any relationship for more than six months, decides to become a single mother by impregnating herself with the sperm of an old classmate, Guy (Travis Fimmel), a Brooklyn hipster trying to become a pickle mogul. (He works for the real Brooklyn Brine Co.) Maggie’s married best buds, former boyfriend Tony (Bill Hader) and Felicia (Maya Rudolph), who have just had a baby themselves, debate her decision, but she is determined to forge ahead. As she prepares for the artificial insemination, which she is performing herself, she grows close with older New School adjunct professor John (Ethan Hawke), a ficto-crypto-anthropologist working on his novel. John has two kids of his own but is feeling overwhelmed by his wife, Georgette (Julianne Moore), a wickedly ambitious educator who has just been offered a lofty position at Columbia. Soon Maggie, John, and Georgette are in the midst of a complicated love triangle that is at times as frustrating to watch as it is endearing.

Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore play a married couple whose relationship is on thin ice in MAGGIE’S PLAN

Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore play a married couple whose relationship is on thin ice in MAGGIE’S PLAN

Miller, the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller, is a novelist and writer-director who has previously made such films as The Ballad of Jack and Rose, which starred her husband, Daniel Day-Lewis, and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Inspired by an unpublished novel by Karen Rinaldi, Maggie’s Plan is likely to be Miller’s most popular film, despite the clichéd setup that threatens to be annoyingly obvious and mundane but usually manages to bring out something fresh and charming. The tale evokes such films as Allen’s Manhattan and Baumbach’s Frances Ha, with mumblecore breakout star Gerwig (Nights and Weekends, Hannah Takes the Stairs) again playing a quirky character who seems to live in her own candy-colored fantasy land. Miller even uses cinematographer Sam Levy, who photographed such other Gerwig films as Frances Ha and Mistress America, to shoot Maggie’s Plan. Hawke is in good form as a man caught between two worlds, Hader and Rudolph provide cynical comic relief, and it’s impossible to take your eyes off Gerwig, who once again displays her mesmerizing natural talent, but Moore nearly steals the show as the sensationally dressed and coiffed Georgette, an unrelenting force with a to-die-for Danish-Teutonic accent and an attitude to boot. Maggie’s Plan is screening twice at Alice Tully Hall, first on October 4 at 9:30 with Miller, Gerwig, Moore, Hawke, Rudolph, and Fimmel in person, followed on October 5 at 6:00 with Miller present to talk about the film. In addition, an encore screening has been added on October 11 at 3:00.


Fantasy Grandma Jane B will be joined by FG Myrtle J  and lots of other pickle lovers at annual celebration on the Lower East Side

Fantasy Grandma Jane B will be joined by FG Myrtle J and lots of other pickle lovers at annual celebration on the Lower East Side

Orchard St. between Houston & Delancey Sts.
Sunday, October 4, free, 12 noon - 5:00 pm

Ambrose Bierce once said that life is “a spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay.” That quote takes on a whole new meaning at the annual Lower East Side Pickle Day, being held on Sunday, October 4, on Orchard St. The afternoon festivities will include a Pickle Relay Race, the always popular Pickle Toss, the Pickle Pooch Parade and Contest, a Home Pickling Contest, Pin the Pickle (we’re not sure what on), a Brine Dunk Tank, bocce, face painting, a Pickle Photo Booth, and lots of pickle merch. The303 at Louie & Chan is presenting live performances by Kristin Lush at 12 noon, PJ at 1:00, SR Serge at 2:00, Nikodemus at 3:00, and Gil K at 4:00. Among the participating eateries are Melt Bakery, Georgia’s BBQ, Russ and Daughters, Sweet Buttons, Kapowski’s, Shi Eurasia, the Meatball Shop, Mission Cantina, Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya, Langos Truck, Khao Man Gai NY, and Pop Karma, as well as eighteen pickle vendors, from Brooklyn Brine, McClure’s, Doctor Pickle, and Pickle Me Pete to Rick’s Picks, Adamah, Divine Brine, and, of course, Guss’. Pickles have a long affiliation with the Lower East Side, and the annual Pickle Day only adds to that pickled history.


taste of battery park

Brookfield Place
200 Vesey St. across West St.
Sunday, October 4, $25 in advance, $35 day of event, 12 noon - 3:00 pm

Big changes have been taking place down at Brookfield Place and Battery Park, so they have joined up to celebrate their growing culinary community with Taste of Battery Park, a benefit fundraiser for PS89, also known as Liberty School. From 12 noon to 3:00, people can wander around the waterfront marina at Brookfield Place and sample signature dishes from seventeen local eateries: Le District, Parm, Dos Toros Taqueria, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Tartinery, Northern Tiger, El Vez, Shake Shack, North End Grill, Financier Patisserie, Harry’s Italian, Atrio, P.J. Clarke’s, François Payard Bakery, Blue Smoke, Le Pain Quotidien, and Sprinkles. A $25 advance ticket gets you five tastings. (The tickets go up to $35 if purchased on Sunday.) There will also be a raffle, a Kids Corner with family friendly activities, and live music by PS89 students at 1:00 and TriBattery Pops at 2:00.


A TOUCH OF ZEN is a trippy journey toward enlightenment

King Hu’s A TOUCH OF ZEN is a trippy journey toward enlightenment

Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway
Monday, October 5, 9:00
Festival runs through October 11

Watching King Hu’s 1969 wuxia classic, A Touch of Zen, brings us back to the days of couching out with Kung Fu Theater on rainy Saturday afternoons. The highly influential three-hour epic features an impossible-to-figure-out plot, a goofy romance, wicked-cool weaponry, an awesome Buddhist monk, a bloody massacre, and action scenes that clearly involve the overuse of trampolines. Still, it’s great fun, even if it is way too long. (The film, which was initially shown in two parts, earned a special technical prize at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival.) Shih Jun stars as Ku Shen Chai, a local calligrapher and scholar who is extremely curious when the mysterious Ouyang Nin (Tin Peng) suddenly show up in town. It turns out that Ouyang is after Miss Yang (Hsu Feng) to exact “justice” for the corrupt Eunuch Wei, who is out to kill her entire family. Hu (Come Drink with Me, Dragon Gate Inn) fills the film with long, poetic establishing shots of fields and the fort, using herky-jerky camera movements (that might or might not have been done on purpose) and throwing in an ultra-trippy psychedelic mountain scene that is about as 1960s as it gets. A Touch of Zen is ostensibly about Ku’s journey toward enlightenment, but it’s also about so much more, although we’re not completely sure what that is. The film is screening on October 5 at 9:00 as part of the fifty-third New York Film Festival’s Revivals sidebar, which continues through October 11 with Akira Kurosawa’s Ran and Manoel de Oliveira’s Visit, or Memories and Confessions.