A VIDEO INSTALLATION BY ROBERTA FRIEDMAN + DANIEL LOEWENTHAL
Baryshnikov Arts Center, Studios 4A + 4B
450 West 37th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
December 11-15, free, times vary
In 1977, avant-garde composer John Cage published the graphic score 49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs: For Performer(s) or Listener(s) or Record Maker(s), a map of forty-nine triangles marking locations in New York City where people were encouraged to go to experience, take part in, or record the natural, everyday sounds there. The score also offered the following enticement: “Transcriptions may be made for other cities (or places) by assembling through chance observations a list of 147 addresses and then, also through chance operations, arranging these in 49 groups of three.” Experimental filmmaker Roberta Friedman and documentarian Daniel Loewenthal have done just that to create the video installation Cosmopolis: 49 Waltzes for the World, on view December 11-15 at Baryshnikov Arts Center. Friedman and Loewenthal visited such cities as Cairo, Beijing, Graz, Detroit, and New York, filming street scenes, capturing pure, unadulterated human life, then bringing them all together in an installation designed for BAC by Andrew Matusik that immerses the viewer into multiple cultures, sort of a day in the life of the world. Also on display will be Friedman and Loewenthal’s 49 Waltzes for the Gated City, 49 Waltzes for Graz, 49 Waltzes for the Motor City, the work-in-progress 49 Waltzes for Al-Qahira, and the original 49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs. Admission is free, and no advance reservations are required.
109 East 42nd St. at Lexington Ave.
February 7-9, adults $55 - $195 (through January 17)
When we were mere lads, we got our post-breakup, pre-iTunes Beatles fix by checking out Beatlemania on Broadway, seeing Paul McCartney and Wings at Madison Square Garden, and going to a Beatles Fest convention on Long Island, where we finally got to watch Magical Mystery Tour and went home with all kinds of little trinkets; we still have that Shea Stadium Beatles coin that nearly bankrupted us at six bucks. The elephant in the room back then was the constant speculation of a possible Beatles reunion, with all four Moptops still alive and well. But that all came to a startling end thirty-three years ago today, when John Lennon was assassinated at the age of forty. George Harrison’s death at the age of fifty-eight on November 29, 2001, closed another chapter in the continuing Fab Four saga. Paul and Ringo are still around, touring, making records, and playing new and old songs, but it will never be the same. Even Shea Stadium, where the Beatles played on August 15, 1964, is gone.
But the memories will come flooding back February 7-9 when the Fest for Beatles Fans, which began in 1974, takes place at the Grand Hyatt, held in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival at JFK airport on February 7, 1964, and what might be the most famous half-hour rock concert in history. (The Fest will actually be in Chicago August 15-17, then move on to Los Angeles October 10-12, cities that actually got two shows back in 1964.) The three-day Manhattan party will feature dozens of special guests giving talks, signing memorabilia, presenting videos and art exhibitions, participating in panel discussions, and playing live sets. Among those confirmed are Peter & Gordon’s Peter Asher; photographers Bob Gruen, Allen Tannenbaum, and Rob Shanahan; “Breakfast with the Beatles” DJ Ken Dashow; Beatles scholar Martin Lewis, who will serve as MC; newscaster Larry Kane; producer Mark Hudson; animator Ron Campbell; and lots of authors, historians, and cover bands. Performers include Chad & Jeremy, Billy J. Kramer, the Smithereens (re-creating the Beatles’ February 11, 1964, concert at the Washington Coliseum), and Donovan, who will also give a meditation lecture. There will be a Beatles marketplace, screenings of the documentary Good Ol’ Freda (with Freda Kelly), an auction, a dance party, costume and trivia contests, a parade, a walking tour, a tribute to the late Sid Bernstein, and much more. Ticket prices through January 17 range from $55 for Friday night to $79 for Saturday or Sunday to $195 for an all-access three-day pass; children six to sixteen are half price and those five and under free.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, December 7, free, 5:00 - 11:00 (some events require free tickets distributed in advance at the Visitor Center)
The December edition of the Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturdays program takes a look at Brooklyn-based Kenyan visual artist Wangechi Mutu in conjunction with the midcareer survey “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey.” The evening will include a curator talk by Saisha Grayson on the Mutu show, an arts workshop demonstrating how to make Mutu-inspired collages, pop-up gallery talks, an artist talk by Nigerian-born Njideka Akunyili, a screening of Arthur Jafa and Kahlil Joseph’s 2013 documentary Dreams Are Colder Than Death about being black in America, live music by Pegasus Warning and Rebellum, a spoken-word performance by Saul Williams, and book club readings by Kiini Ibura Salaam and Bridgett M. Davis, followed by a discussion examining their work in the context of Mutu’s art, moderated by Tayari Jones and presented by Bold as Love magazine. In addition, the galleries will be open late, giving visitors plenty of opportunity to check out “War / Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath,” “Twice Militant: Lorraine Hansberry’s Letters to ‘The Ladder,’” “Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt,” “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas,” “Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn,” “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” and other exhibits.
NEW SOUNDS FROM IRAN
Asia Society, Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium
725 Park Ave. at 70th St.
Saturday, December 7, $30, 8:00 (free preshow lecture at 7:00)
Asia Society will conclude its New Sounds from Iran series on December 7 at 8:00 with “Sound: The Encounter, New Music from Iran and Syria.” Held in conjunction with the Aga Khan Music Initiative and the exhibition “Iran Modern,” which comprises more than one hundred works from twenty-six artists dating from the three decades prior to the 1979 revolution, “Sound” features new compositions and arrangements from Iranian musician and dancer Saied Shanbezadeh (on ney-ban, neyjoti, boogh horns, and voice) and Syrian performer Basel Rajoub (on sax and duclar), joined by Saied’s son Naghib on tombak/zarb and darbuka and Kenan Adnawi on oud. Part of Asia Society’s continuing Creative Voices of Muslim Asia program, the evening will be preceded by a free lecture by Dartmouth music professor Theodore Levin at 7:00.
NITEHAWK BRUNCH SCREENINGS: McCABE & MRS. MILLER (Robert Altman, 1971)
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, $16, 11:30 am
Robert Altman’s self-described “anti-Western” starts off gently enough, as John McCabe (Warren Beatty) rides slowly into a dark, dank northwestern town in 1902, Leonard Cohen’s “The Stranger Song” playing over the opening credits. But Altman (M*A*S*H, Nashville) is merely setting the stage for what is to come, the electric combination of Julie Christie and Beatty as two businesspeople building a new town in the Old West. Beatty plays gentleman gambler John McCabe, who is soon joined by madam Constance Miller (Christie) in running the local brothel, and pretty much the town itself, which catches the eye of a mining company that decides it wants in on the action, something McCabe and Mrs. Miller are not about to let happen, at least not without one helluva fight. Filmed mostly in sequential order, McCabe & Mrs. Miller unfolds like an epic poem, thanks to Altman and cowriter Brian McKay’s imaginative and unpredictable script, based on Edmund Naughton’s 1959 novel, McCabe, and Vilmos Zsigmond’s gorgeous cinematography. The film is visually spectacular, as Altman cuts from the dreamlike red velvet interiors of Mrs. Miller’s brothel to the expansive land outside, bathed in the beautiful yet ominous falling snow. The Oscar-nominated Christie and Beatty do the love-hate thing to perfection, something they would duplicate in 1975 when they teamed up in Hal Ashby’s Shampoo and again in 1978 in Beatty’s Heaven Can Wait. A clear influence on such Clint Eastwood gems as High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider, McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a marvelous picture that ranks right up there with the best Westerns — “anti-“ or otherwise — ever made. The stellar cast also includes Rene Auberjonois, Michael Murphy, Bert Remsen, Shelley Duvall, Keith Carradine, William Devane, and John Schuck, with Cohen contributing several more songs to the soundtrack. And the ending — well, it’s one of cinema’s most unforgettable finales. McCabe & Mrs. Miller is screening December 7 & 8 at 11:30 am as part of Nitehawk Cinema’s “Country Brunchin’” series and will be preceded by a live performance by Brooklyn’s own Birdhive Boys Bluegrass Band.
Every year since 1981, a group of musicians has gotten together to pay tribute to John Lennon, who was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of the Dakota on December 8, 1980. A proponent of peace and love in his life and career, Lennon was only forty years old at the time of his death and had just released his first album in five years, Double Fantasy, with his wife, Yoko Ono. On Friday, December 6, the thirty-third annual John Lennon tribute will be held at Symphony Space, featuring performances by Steve Earle, Raul Malo, Joan Osborne, Teddy Thompson, Dana Fuchs, Bettye LaVette, Dan Bern, Toshi Reagon, Rich Pagano, the Buffers, and Joe Raiola, the MAD magazine senior editor who created the tribute. The event is presented by Music Without Borders and Theatre Within, an organization dedicated to supporting the performing arts. A portion of the proceeds from the concert will go to Spirit Foundations, a nonprofit that was founded by John and Yoko in 1978 to help “charitable and humanitarian causes around the world.”
In the digital age, is it easier or harder to wipe out the past and reinvent oneself than it was when music was primarily heard on records and the radio? One band that appears to be doing just that is Faulkner. “A change may be just around the corner,” the Venice, California, band recently tweeted. The four-piece, which was not named after the Nobel Prize–winning southern author of The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying but was given its name by an Egyptian shaman, is preparing its debut full-length, Street Axioms, working with producers Mark Needham and JP Bowersock. According to the band’s Facebook page, the group was founded in 2013, while the (of course) unofficial Wikipedia page claims they started in 2012. Meanwhile, an April 2010 profile on the band in USC’s Daily Trojan begins, appropriately enough, “Faulkner is a band that is just as eccentric as its namesake.” (Another site dates their beginnings to 2007.) The USC article also says that the band has released five music videos, but the only one that is currently easily accessible online is 2012’s “Triumph of the Underdogs,” which garnered 1.55 million hits last year and on which the band declares, “Changes are coming.” It’s also difficult to find out much information about Faulkner’s Global Ambition EP, which consists of “California Skies,” “Soul Black Absentee,” “I Did It on My Terms,” “Triumph of the Underdogs,” and the title track and can be heard on Artists First Music. Oddly, since we’ve been inquiring into the band’s history, various links to videos and songs have been taken down or no longer work. It’s most likely tied to the departure last year of lead guitarist and vocalist Brennan McGuire, who left the band because of a family emergency that affected his ability to travel on a regular basis. “It does not surprise me in the least that the band now appears to have ‘formed’ in 2013,” McGuire confirmed via e-mail, “as we had done this after each of the first three incarnations of the band Lucas [Asher] and I started in 2008.” McGuire, who is now back with Hooville Homebrew, was replaced by Eric Scullin. (You can see McGuire with Faulkner in this video interview for Sunset Sessions.) E-mails to the current edition of Faulkner have gone unanswered as of press time. Conspiracy? Coincidence? In the end, perhaps it really doesn’t matter as much as the music itself, and that’s something you can check out when Faulkner — singer, rhythm guitarist, and lyricist Asher, singer, lead guitarist, and producer Scullin, bassist and arranger Dimitri Farougias, and drummer Christian Hogan — makes its New York City debut with two shows this week, at the Bowery Electric on December 3 with Roto’s Magic Act, Merrily and the Poison Orchard, and Louise Aubrie and at Mercury Lounge on December 4 with HITS and Chainwave. “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimension” is another recent Faulkner tweet. So who cares about the past?