THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF SOCIETY BLUES
622 DeGraw St. between Third & Fourth Aves.
Saturday, April 19, $10, 8:00
Brooklyn musician Jeremiah Lockwood has kept his feet wet with a steadily evolving cortege of musical projects over the past decade. Besides leading his acclaimed band the Sway Machinery, he’s embarked on adventures exploring musical forms from Mali and other parts of North Africa while integrating his upbringing, which was steeped in the nigunim of Jewish cantorial music. Lockwood got his start, though, playing in the New York City subways alongside his mentor, the Piedmont blues guitarist Carolina Slim. After meeting the musician as a fourteen-year-old, Lockwood took lessons from him, and what began as an apprenticeship seemingly dreamed up by a jaded screenwriter — the young white teen learning the ropes from the older African American traditionalist — evolved into a vital musical partnership. As Lockwood grew as a musician, the two accompanied each other for more than a decade, playing house parties, street fairs, and throughout the city’s transit system.
Born Elijah Staley, Slim hailed from South Carolina and made his home in New York for decades, teaching, composing, and performing in the venerable Piedmont style of blues that stretches back to the early twentieth century and counts such artists as Blind Willie McTell and the Rev. Gary Davis among its progenitors. Carolina Slim passed away this February at the age of eighty-seven, and, along with several other local musicians whom the older guitarist befriended and mentored, Lockwood has arranged a concert celebrating his career and life to be held at Brooklyn’s Littlefield venue. Under the banner of the Fraternal Order of Society Blues, the performers, including jazz percussionist Ricky Gordon, Brotherhood of the Jug’s Ernesto Gomez, and Slim friend Chris Cook, will be gathering for “A Tribute to the Late Great Carolina Slim” on April 19. Lockwood is calling the memorial a “séance of the spirits of American music”; the night should be filled with plentiful memories and great music paying respect to a true character in the long blues tradition.
Saturday, April 19
On April 19, music on vinyl will be celebrated at the eighth annual Record Store Day, when purveyors of music around the world will be selling seven-, ten-, and twelve-inch discs that have either been created exclusively for RSD, are special limited runs of previously available material, or are releasing that day. Participating stores in New York City include Rock and Soul Records, Permanent Records, Academy Records, Second Hand Rose Music, Captured Tracks, Rockit Scientist Records, Kim’s Video & Music, Disc-O-Rama, Turntable Lab, A-1, Good Records, Other Music, Record Runner, In Living Stereo, Downtown Music Gallery, Rebel Rebel, Generation Records, Rough Trade, Bleecker Street Records, and Village Music World. Not all releases are available at all locations, so you might want to call ahead to find out if a particular store has just what you’re looking for. The full list includes hundreds of singles, EPs, and LPs from multiple genres; below are some of our favorites.
Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin: Songs from Common Ground
The Animals: The Animals EP
Sam Cooke: Ain’t That Good News
Cut Copy: “In These Arms of Love” / “Like Any Other Day”
Deerhoof & Ceramic Dog: Deerhoof / Ceramic Dog split
Jerry Garcia: Garcia
Green Day: Demolicious
Gil Scott-Heron: Nothing New
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth
Joy Division: An Ideal for Living
The Julie Ruin: “Brightside” / “In the Picture”
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard: “Days and Nights” / “Here’s What We Have”
The Last Internationale: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Indian Blood
Man Man: The Man in Turban with Blue Face
Nirvana: “Pennyroyal Tea” / “I Hate Myself and Want to Die”
The Pogues: Live with Joe Strummer
Public Enemy: Evil Empire of Everything
The Ramones: Meltdown with the Ramones
R.E.M.: Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions
School of Seven Bells: Put Your Sad Down
Ronnie Spector and the E Street Band: “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” / “Baby Please Don’t Go”
Bruce Springsteen: American Beauty
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction
Tame Impala: Live Versions
Xiu Xiu: Unclouded Sky
Frank Zappa: “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” / “Down in De Dew
New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery at Prince St.
Second & fourth floors: Wednesday - Sunday through April 20, $16
Thursday, April 17, 11:00 am - 9:00 pm: one-day exhibition of new sculptures, 231 Bowery, free
April 23-27, “Draftsmen’s Congress” disassembled and distributed to public for free
The work of Polish artist Paweł Althamer is very much about collaboration, cooperation, and community, fostering a positive sense of togetherness and sharing without getting treacly. As his first U.S. museum retrospective, “Paweł Althamer: The Neighbors,” winds down at the New Museum, Althamer still has a few surprises in store, as he says in the exhibition catalog, “to share the experience of what we are doing — to see people doing one thing together. . . . The idea is to switch the rules of the game a little so that everybody is included.” Since the show opened back in February, museum visitors and local organizations have been contributing in its evolution, painting on the walls and floors in the participatory, palimpsestual “Draftsmen’s Congress.” The painting will come to a stop on Easter Sunday, but that’s not the end of the piece; from April 23 to 27, the work will be disassembled, cut into pieces, and handed out to visitors free of charge, furthering Althamer’s democratization not only of the creation of art but of its ownership. On April 17, Althamer, whom Joanna Mytkowska’s catalog essay calls “The People’s Artist,” has collaborated with Dogon sculptor Youssouf Dara, the Bowery Mission, and other neighbors for a free one-day exhibition that will be held in the New Museum’s next-door space at 231 Bowery. (Dara’s work can also be seen in the museum’s window display.)
In addition, the second floor of “The Neighbors” will remain on view through April 20, where museumgoers can walk among dozens of Althamer’s “Venetians,” gray, life-size steel-and-plastic skeletal sculptures of strangers he encountered in the Italian city and made face casts of, with a specific focus on those who often find themselves excluded or marginalized in one way or another. “It’s about being with them and identifying with them,” Althamer tells cocurator Massimiliano Gioni in the catalog. “People are generally scared of outsiders, but if we can confront and then lose our fear, it’s fantastic.” It’s no accident that the figures, which have gathered around eight video screens showing Althamer’s “So-Called Waves and Other Phenomena of the Mind,” in which he films himself in various altered mental states, have an alienlike quality. (The third floor, which closed April 13, featured many sculptural portraits, which he refers to as “totems,” of the artist himself and members of his family, as well as the miniature landscape “Mezalia” and an accompanying film.) Social collaboration is at the heart of Althamer’s practice, and that extends even to museum admission, as visitors can get in free if they bring a new or gently used men’s coat, which will be donated to the Bowery Mission.
POINT BLANK (John Boorman, 1967)
MoMA Film, Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
April 16-18, 1:30
Tickets: $12, in person only, may be applied to museum admission within thirty days, same-day screenings free with museum admission, available at Film and Media Desk beginning at 9:30 am
John Boorman’s Point Blank is an oxymoronic psychedelic film noir, a violent psychological thriller about a determined man dead set on vengeance. Lee Marvin — on quite a hot streak following Cat Ballou, Ship of Fools, The Professionals, and The Dirty Dozen — stars as the one-named Walker, a sincere, old-fashioned man who is double-crossed by his wife, Lynne (Sharon Acker), and friend, Mal Reese (John Vernon, in his film debut), when a deal goes bad on Alcatraz. Searching for Reese, Walker hooks up with Lynne’s sister, Chris (Angie Dickinson), a sexy femme fatale who owns a hot club in the Bay Area. As Walker makes his way up the criminal organization ladder in his quest to get the $93,000 he’s owed, he leaves behind a bloody trail that keeps getting messier and messier. Adapted by Alexander Jacobs and David and Rafe Newhouse from Donald Westlake’s first Parker novel, The Hunter, Boorman’s film is like the antihero Walker himself, purposefully out of time and place. Walker is essentially an anachronism as he makes his way through Point Blank, evoking John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards in John Ford’s classic Western The Searchers. The Summer of Love seems to have had no effect on Walker, who still primarily dresses in dull colors — until Chris brings out the color in him, particularly in one memorable scene in which they both are wearing bright yellow and spy on Reese’s hideaway through a yellow telescope. Film noir is by definition set in a black-and-white world, but Walker can’t hide from the old ways anymore, as he shows when groovy colored lights flash on him in Chris’s club.
Although it was only Boorman’s (Deliverance, Hope and Glory) second film, Marvin gave him final cut, resulting in a wild, unusual ride further enhanced by Henry Berman’s machine-gun editing. The solid supporting cast includes Keenan Wynn, Carroll O’Connor, Lloyd Bochner, and James B. Sikking, with music by Johnny Mandel. The first film to be partially filmed on Alcatraz, Point Blank is a gritty crime procedural that has long been underrated and is more than worthy of another visit. Westlake’s book has also been the basis of Ringo Lam’s Full Contact with Chow Yun-fat, Brian Helgeland’s Payback with Mel Gibson, and Taylor Hackford’s Parker with Jason Statham. Point Blank is screening April 16-18 at 1:30 as part of MoMA’s ongoing series “An Auteurist History of Film,” which continues April 23-25 with Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour and April 30 - May 2 with Milos Forman’s The Firemen’s Ball.
WEEKEND CLASSICS: TROUBLE IN PARADISE (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
April 18-20, 11:00 am
Series continues through May 4
“Beginnings are always difficult,” suave thief Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) says at the beginning of Trouble in Paradise, but it’s not difficult at all to fall in love with the beginning, middle, and end of Ernst Lubitsch’s wonderful pre-Code romantic comedy. It’s love at first heist for Gaston and Lily (Miriam Hopkins) as they try to outsteal each other on a moonlit night in Venice. Soon they are teaming up to fleece perfume heir Madame Mariette Colet (Kay Francis) of money and jewels as the wealthy socialite takes a liking to Gaston despite her being relentlessly pursued by the hapless François Filiba (Edward Everett Horton) and the stiff Major (Charles Ruggles). Displaying what became known as the Lubitsch Touch, the Berlin-born director has a field day with risqué sexual innuendo, particularly in the early scene when Gaston and Lily first meet (oh, that garter!) and later as Madame Colet’s affection for Gaston grows, along with Lily’s jealousy. Loosely based on the 1931 play The Honest Finder by Aladár László, which was inspired by the true story of Romanian con man George Manolescu, the 1932 film remained out of circulation for decades during the Hays Code, and it’s easy to see why. Trouble in Paradise is screening April 18-20 at 11:00 am as part of the IFC Center series “American Hustlers: Grifters, Swindlers, Scammers & Cheats” series, which continues April 25-27 with Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve before concluding May 2-4 with Stephen Frears’s The Grifters.
SWEETGRASS (Lucien Castaing-Taylor, 2009)
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
Francesca Beale Theater, 144 West 65th St. at Amsterdam Ave.
Thursday, April 17, 6:30
Festival runs April 11-26
Husband-and-wife filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash follow a flock of sheep herded by a family of Norwegian-American cowboys on their last sojourns through the public lands of Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness in the gorgeously photographed, surprisingly intimate, and sometimes very funny documentary Sweetgrass. In 2001, Castaing-Taylor, director of the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard, and Barbash, a curator of Visual Anthropology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum, found out about the Allestad ranch, an old-fashioned, Old West group of sheepherders who still did everything by hand, including leading hundreds of sheep on a 150-mile journey into the mountains for summer pasture with only a few dogs and horses. Director Castaing-Taylor uses no voice-over narration or intertitles, instead inviting the viewer to join in the story as if in the middle of the action, offering no judgments or additional information. The film begins with shearing and feeding, then birthing and mothering, before heading out on the long, sometimes treacherous trail, especially at night, when bears and wolves sneak around, looking for food. Slowly the focus switches to the men themselves, primarily an old-time singing grizzled ranch hand and a cursing, complaining cowboy. Castaing-Taylor and Barbash spent three years with the sheepherders and in the surrounding areas, amassing more than two hundred hours of footage and making to date nine films out of their experiences, mostly shorter works to be displayed in gallery installations or for anthropological reasons; Sweetgrass is the only one that has been released theatrically, offering a fascinating look at something that is destined to soon be gone forever. Sweetgrass is screening April 17 at 6:30 in the Focus on the Sensory Ethnography Lab section of the Film Society of Lincoln Center series “Art of the Real,” held in conjunction with the Whitney Biennial, and will be followed by a Q&A with Barbash. The inaugural festival runs April 11-26, featuring more than three dozen works that push the boundaries of documentary film.
NITEHAWK BRUNCH SCREENINGS: THE ART OF THE STEAL (Don Argott, 2009)
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Saturday, April 19, 12 noon
Director Don Argott details a very different kind of art theft in the gripping documentary The Art of the Steal. But in this case, it’s not a famous painting that disappears from a museum in the middle of the night but an entire collection, as well as a man’s legacy, absconded with in full view of the art world. In 1922, Dr. Albert C. Barnes established the Barnes Foundation, displaying his remarkable collection of post-Impressionism art in an arboretum in Merion, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. His goal was to share his magnificent works — including a stunning array of paintings by Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Seurat, and Van Gogh — with bona fide art lovers and students, setting up a school and denying access to the general public, the mass media, and the rich and powerful. He adamantly refused to let any single piece ever be loaned, sold, or moved, outlining the demand very specifically in his will. After his death in 1951, Violette de Mazia continued to carry out his wishes as the Arboretum School expanded, but when she died in 1988, the trust was put in the hands of small Lincoln University and suddenly the Barnes Foundation, which had treasured its privacy, was put into play as politicians, charities, collectors such as the Annenbergs, the press, and the public at large descended on the Barnes like vultures, everyone wanting a piece of the action. Argott follows the money with archival footage and photographs and new interviews with many of those involved on both sides of the caper — although several of the more prominent “thieves” refused to participate. The Art of the Steal is a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of the ritzy art world, a must-see for art lovers who get to peek behind the scenes of a multibillion-dollar heist going on in plain sight. The Art of the Steal is being shown April 19 at noon, preceded by the frieze magazine video Audience Appreciation, as part of two Nitehawk Cinema series, “Art Seen” and “Brunch Screenings.” “Art Seen” returns May 5 with Jamie Shovlin’s Rough Cut, while “Nitehawk Brunch Screenings” continues April 26-27 with the Coen brothers’ unstoppable The Big Lebowski.