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


politics of food

Conference: NYIT, 1871 Broadway, $45 - $215, 8:00 am - 12:30 pm
Festival: Museum of American Finance, 48 Wall Street, $95 - $215, 6:00 - 9:00
Thursday, November 16

The Politics of Food will bring together more than 250 chefs, politicians, experts, and policy makers, examining the current state of nutrition in New York State and serving signature dishes. Held on November 16, the day begins at 8:00 in the morning at the New York Institute of Technology for a conference that includes the panel discussions “Future of food programs for NYC’s vulnerable communities,” with Barbara Turk, Donna M. Corrado, Margarette Purvis, and Joel Berg, “Legislating Nutrition and Sustainability,” with Charles Platkin, Elizabeth Balkan, Gale A. Brewer, and Kim Kessler, and “Food Dialogue with Farmers and Consumers: Common values? Common ground?” Richard Ball will deliver the keynote address, with closing remarks by Julia Turshen. The fun really begins at 6:00 at the Museum of American Finance for the Taste of Lower Manhattan Food Festival, hosted by Wylie Dufresne and boasting samples from chefs Jay Strauss, Jin Ruan, Joseph Mallol, Louis Goral, Mark Rosati, Matt Deliso, Nicolas “Nico” Abello, and Shaun Acosta and restaurants Amada, Benares, Blacktail at Pier A, Brushstroke, the Dead Rabbit, Blue Ribbon Federal Grill, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, Harry’s Cafe and Steak, Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette, Jing Fong, L’Appart, Pier A Harbor House, Shake Shack, the Tuck Room, and Westville. Tickets for the conference are $45 and the food festival $95, with various VIP incentives at higher prices.


Tony Curtis dances with glee as he readies for Nitehawks A Nite to Dismember, which includes The Manitou

Tony Curtis dances with glee as he readies for Nitehawk’s “A Nite to Dismember,” which includes The Manitou

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Saturday, October 28, $65, 12 midnight to 6:00 am

Nitehawk Cinema’s fifth annual “A Nite to Dismember” is dedicated to horror films based on novels, including several bloody-strange choices that should get your blood flowing for Halloween. Running a mere 540 minutes, “A Nite to Dismember: The Haunted Library” begins at midnight with Roger Corman’s 1964 favorite The Masque of the Red Death, starring Vincent Price and Jane Asher, based on the Edgar Allan Poe book and the Poe short story “Hop Frog.” Batting second is James Whale’s seldom-screened The Old Dark House, based on J. B. Priestley’s Benighted and boasting the spectacular cast of Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Eva Moore, Gloria Stuart, Melvyn Douglas, and Raymond Massey. Next up is Hideo Nakata’s genuinely creepy and scary 1998 game changer, Ringu, based on the Kôji Suzuki book; the flick was followed by sequels and a decent Hollywood remake, but there’s nothing like the original. In the cleanup spot is Jennifer Kent’s 2014 sleeper hit, The Babadook, about a children’s pop-up book with some downright frightening elements. The all-night scares conclude with a very odd yet inspired selection, William Girdler’s 1978 The Manitou, based on Graham Masterton’s first novel and featuring Michael Ansara, Susan Strasberg, Burgess Meredith, and Tony Curtis in a supernatural tale about a neck tumor that turns out to be the rather unhappy title character. The evening will also include a new short film, a costume contest hosted by Jameson Caskmates, FG. Freaks candy from Eugene J., David Lynch Organic Coffee, a library of horror books curated by Sam Zimmerman, Kris King, and Caryn Coleman, trivia with prizes from Shudder and Out of Print, gift bags, and a free eggs-and-tater-tots breakfast if you make it all the way through.


A mother (Essie Davis) and her young son (Noah Wiseman) must get past terrible tragedy in The Babadook

THE BABADOOK (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

A sleeper hit at Sundance that was named Best First Film of 2014 by the New York Film Critics Circle, The Babadook is a frightening tale of a mother and her young son — and a suspicious, scary character called the Babadook — trapped in a terrifying situation. Expanded from her 2005 ten-minute short, Monster, writer-director Jennifer Kent’s debut feature focuses on the relationship between single mom Amelia (Essie Davis), who works as a nursing home aide, and her seemingly uncontrollable six-year-old son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who is constantly getting into trouble because he’s more than just a little strange. Sam was born the same day his father, Oskar (Ben Winspear), died, killed in a car accident while rushing Amelia to the hospital to give birth, resulting in Amelia harboring a deep resentment toward the boy, one that she is afraid to acknowledge. Meanwhile, Sam walks around with home-made weapons to protect his mother from a presence he says haunts them. One night Amelia reads Sam a book that suddenly appeared on the shelf, an odd pop-up book called Mister Babadook that threatens her. She tries to throw it away, but as Sam and the book keep reminding her, “You can’t get rid of the Babadook.” Soon the Babadook appears to take physical form, and Amelia must face her deepest, darkest fears if she wants she and Sam to survive.

Writer-director Jennifer Kent brings out classic horror tropes in her feature debut, the sleeper hit THE BABADOOK

Writer-director Jennifer Kent explores classic horror tropes in her feature debut, the sleeper hit The Babadook

The Babadook began life as a demonic children’s book designed by illustrator Alex Juhasz specifically for the film — and one that was available in a limited edition, although you might want to think twice before inviting the twisted tome into your house. The gripping film, shot by Polish cinematographer Radek Ladczuk in subdued German expressionist tones of black, gray, and white with bursts of other colors, evokes such classic horror fare as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, where place plays such a key role in the terror. The Babadook itself is a kind of warped combination of the villains from F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Hideo Nakata’s Ringu. Kent, a former actress who studied at Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art with Davis, lets further influences show in the late-night television Amelia is obsessed with, which includes films by early French wizard Georges Méliès. But the real fear comes from something that many parents experience but are too ashamed or embarrassed to admit: that they might not actually love their child, despite trying their best to do so. At its tender heart, The Babadook is a story of a mother and son who must go through a kind of hell if they are going to get past the awful way they were brought together.


fears and beers

Brooklyn Brewery
79 North Eleventh St. between Berry & Wythe Sts.
Thursday, October 19, $20, 7:30 - 10:00

The Young Professionals Council of EcoHealth Alliance has a unique way to get people to listen to “freaky facts on diseases”: Offer unlimited beer while they carry out their mission as “a global environmental health nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health from the emergence of disease.” On October 19, Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg is hosting “Fears and Beers,” an evening of discussion and demonstrations about how diseases spread and how new technology can stop them, led by ecologist and evolutionary biologist Dr. Kevin Olival and senior research scientist Dr. Noam Ross. Beer might not quite be the universal panacea, but it should sure help as you find out about all these medical ailments — and how they are being dealt with.


pickle day

Orchard St. between Houston & Delancey Sts.
Sunday, October 15, free, 12 noon - 5:00 pm

“A naughty pickle is how I’d best describe myself. I think fun and laughter is the whole point of life,” Olivier Award-winning actress Celia Imrie told Woman & Home in 2009. Indeed, pickles are all about fun and laughter, which should be available in abundance at the annual Lower East Side Pickle Day, being held Sunday on Orchard St. between Houston and Delancey. Among those participating in the festivities, which include food, fashion, and family-friendly games and activities, are pickled purveyors Guss’ Pickles, Pickle Me Pete, Backyard Brine, Grillo’s Pickles, Crisp Pickles, Messy Brine, the Pickle Guys, Rick’s Picks, Horman’s Best Pickles, Adamah Farm, Brooklyn Brine, MacDonald Farms, Epic Pickles, Brine Brothers, City Saucery, Brooklyn Whatever, Kilhaney’s Pickles, Anomaly Season, and Pickals Foundation in addition to Melt Bakery, Saxelby Cheesemongers, Sweet Buttons Desserts, the Meatball Shop, Shi Eurasia, Macaron Parlour, the SKINny Bar & Lounge, Georgia’s BBQ, Pop Karma, and Roni-Sue’s Chocolates. There will also be live music and a home pickling contest. Pickles have a long affiliation with the Lower East Side, and the annual Pickle Day only adds to that pickled history.


Luca Veggettis Left-Right-Left will make its North American premiere at Japan Society October 13-14 as part of NOH NOW series

Luca Veggetti’s Left-Right-Left will make its North American premiere at Japan Society October 13-14 as part of “NOH-NOW” series

Japan Society
333 East 47th St. at First Ave.
Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14, $35, 7:30

In May 2014, Italian director and choreographer Luca Veggetti brought Project IX — Pléïades to Japan Society, a graceful collaboration with Japanese percussionist Kuniko Kato and Japanese dancer Megumi Nakamura that was the finale of the sixtieth anniversary season of the institution’s performing arts program. Veggetti and Nakamura are now back for the North American premiere of Left-Right-Left, part of Japan Society’s 110th anniversary and the series “NOH-NOW,” which blends the traditional Japanese musical drama with contemporary styles. The work, commissioned by Japan Society and Yokohama Noh Theater, is conceived, directed, and choreographed by Veggetti, with the esteemed author and scholar Dr. Donald Keene of the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture serving as project advisor and text translator. The three-part piece is inspired by the ancient play Okina, a sacred ritual about peace, prosperity, and safety. It will be performed by butoh dancer Akira Kasai, contemporary dancer Nakamura, and butoh-trained dancer Yukio Suzuki, with music director Genjiro Okura on noh small hand drum and Rokurobyoe Fujita on noh fue. Child noh actor Rinzo Nagayama will recites the new English translation of passages from Okina and another popular traditional noh play, Hagoromo, about a celestial feather robe. The lighting is by Clifton Taylor, with costumes by Mitsushi Yanaihara. “Noh has very precise patterns in the space that the performers follow,” Veggetti says in a promotional interview, explaining that his goal was “to use this archaic blueprint form and infuse it with different choreographic ideas, with that to find a language that is somehow organic.” Left-Right-Left, or “sa-yu-sa” in Japanese, will be at Japan Society on October 13, followed by a Meet-the-Artists Reception, and October 14, followed by an artist Q&A. In addition, Okura, Grand Master of the Okura School of kotsuzumi, will lead a noh music workshop on October 14 at 10:30 am ($45). “NOH-NOW” continues November 3-5 with the world premiere of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Rikyu-Enoura, December 7-9 with Leon Ingulsrud’s adaptation of Yukio Mishima’s Hanjo, and January 11-14 with Satoshi Miyagi’s Mugen Noh Othello.



The Brooklyn Hangar
2 52nd St., Sunset Park
Saturday, September 9, $60 (two for $100), 1:00 - 9:00

You can celebrate Octoberfest a little early at the Brooklyn Hangar on September 9, when an excellent lineup of music joins an all-day beer tasting for OctFest. More than forty breweries are participating in the event, including Radeberger, Kona, Oskar Blues, Blue Point, 4 Hands, Rogue, Stony Creek, Braven, Citizen Cider, Shmaltz, ABK, Lord Hobo, and Alphabet City, offering unlimited craft beer. Considering the bands that are scheduled to play, the $60 ticket is one of the best deals in town — and a pair goes for $100. On the impressive bill are Guided by Voices, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Kilo Kish, Okkervil River, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and the Sadies. The event is sponsored by October magazine, which “aims to capture the spirit, ambition, and wort-soaked labor of the gambrinus pursuit — the making and drinking of the good life.”


(photo by KSharkeyMiller)

Jonah Bokaer concludes Cooper Hewitt series on August 24 with The Disappearance Portraits (photo by KSharkeyMiller)

Who: Jonah Bokaer
What: The Disappearance Portraits
Where: Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 90th St. between Madison & Fifth Aves.
When: Thursday, August 24, $13-$15, 6:00
Why: The summer Thursdays Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt series concludes August 24 with American choreographer and visual artist Jonah Bokaer’s The Disappearance Portraits, taking place in the Smithsonian Design Museum’s Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden. Bokaer, whose previous works include Eclipse, Triple Echo, Rules of the Game and Neither, will be performing to original music by Soundwalk Collective. The site-specific live installation was inspired by research Bokaer conducted into his family history and the Mediterranean migration crisis.