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


Emeka Ogboh’s “Lagos State of Mind II” is part of Africa Center celebration on Saturday (photo by Steven John Irby aka stevesweatpants, © Emeka Ogboh)

Emeka Ogboh’s “Lagos State of Mind II” is part of Africa Center celebration on Saturday (photo by Steven John Irby aka stevesweatpants, © Emeka Ogboh)

The Africa Center: Africa’s Embassy to the World
Saturday, September 20, free, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
1280 Fifth Ave. between 109th & 110th Sts.

The former Museum of African Art has gone through a dramatic transformation that will be revealed to the public on September 20 at a free festival celebrating the renamed Africa Center, also known as Africa’s Embassy to the World. As part of “its mission to become the world’s leading civic African institution . . . [the center] aims to transform the international understanding of Africa and promote direct engagement between African artists, business leaders, and civil society and their counterparts from the United States and beyond.” The museum will open permanently in late 2015, but on Saturday visitors can get a taste of what’s to come with the immersive sound-art installation “Lagos State of Mind II” by Emeka Ogboh involving a Danfo bus; the unveiling of Meschac Gaba’s hanging sculpture, “Citoyen du Monde,” in the atrium; live performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang, Chop and Quench, Mamadou Dahoue & the Ancestral Messengers Dance Company, Nkumu Isaac Katalay, and DJs Rich Medina, Underdog, and Birane; screenings of The Power of Protest Music; arts and crafts workshops; traditional storytelling; grill tastings from chef Alexander Smalls of the Harlem brasserie the Cecil; and other cultural activities. The revelry will conclude with a private-event Festival-in-Exile concert that focuses on the musical connections between America and Africa, particularly Mali, with performances by Amanar, Amkoullel, Rocky Dawuni, Salif Keïta, and Samba Touré and Vieux Farka Touré.


Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Museum of the Moving Image will be the site of a movie street fair and celebration (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Museum of the Moving Image will be part of movie street fair and celebration (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Museum of the Moving Image, 35th Ave. at 36th St.
Kaufman Astoria Studios backlot, 36th St. between 34th & 35th Aves.
Sunday, September 21, free, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

On September 21, the Museum of the Moving Image is hosting “New York on Location,” a cinematic street fair and celebration, taking visitors behind the scenes of the filmmaking process in New York City, in conjunction with Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 and Kaufman Astoria Studios. During the all-day free event, people will be invited into more than twenty working movie trailers and trucks, meet film professionals, and find out just what the best boy and key grip are responsible for. You can even eat the same catered food the stars do — and use the same bathrooms as well. (Among the other vendors will be Papaya King, Jiannetto’s, Fun Buns, Brooklyn Popcorn, and Andy’s Italian Ice & Espresso Bar.) In addition, there will be demonstrations of stunts and special effects, including high falls, weather effects, street fighting, and driving, featuring such big-time pros as Frank Alfano Jr., Chris Colombo, Chris Barnes, Tim Gallin, Tony Guida, and Chazz Menendez. As a bonus, the museum will be open for free as well, so be sure to check out such exhibitions as “Behind the Screen,” “What’s Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones,” “Plymptoons: Short Films and Drawings by Bill Plympton,” “In Memory of Astoria,” and “Lights, Camera, Astoria!”


Thousands of writers and readers will gather in Brooklyn for annual book festival on Sunday (photo courtesy of Brooklyn Book Festival)

Thousands of writers and readers will gather in Brooklyn for annual book festival on Sunday (photo courtesy of Brooklyn Book Festival)

Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza
209 Joralemon St.
Sunday, September 21, free, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Woody Allen, Isaac Asimov, Paul Auster, Margaret Wise Brown, Moss Hart, Joseph Heller, Ezra Jack Keats, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Henry Miller, S. J. Perelman, Maurice Sendak, Wendy Wasserstein, and, of course, Walt Whitman — those are only some of the many writers who were either born and/or raised in Brooklyn or spent important, formative years living in the world’s greatest borough. So it should come as no surprise that the annual Brooklyn Book Festival is a major event, with nearly one hundred talks, signings, discussions, readings, and other presentations with hundreds of authors, taking place in and around Brooklyn Borough Hall, and it’s all free. Below are only some of the many highlights. (For a list of bookend programs scheduled for September 18-22, go here.)

This Changes Everything: A Conversation with Naomi Klein, presented by The Nation, with Naomi Klein and Betsy Reed, Mainstage, 10:00 am

The Hilarity of Death and Deadlines, with Roz Chast and Robert Mankoff, moderated by Hillary Chute, St. Francis College Auditorium, 11:00 am

It’s the Little Things that Count, with Annie Baker, Owen Egerton, Sam Lipsyte, and Rivka Galchen, moderated by Rob Spillman, Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 12 noon

Eat Drink and Prosper, with Steve Hindy, Matt Lewis, and Renato Poliafito, moderated by Carlo Scissura, Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 1:00

Thurston Moore in Conversation with Lewis Warsh and Anne Waldman, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 2:00

Storytelling and the Black Experience, with Greg Grandin, Herb Boyd, and Ilyasah Shabazz, moderated by Marlon James, Brooklyn Historical Society Library, 2:00

Influence of the Real, with Francine Prose, Paul Auster, and Joyce Carol Oates, moderated by Hirsh Sawhney, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 3:30

Virtuosos: Comics Creators that Defy Classification, illustrated discussion with Charles Burns, Eleanor Davis, and Paul Pope, moderated by Lisa Lucas, St. Francis College Auditorium, 3:00

Comedians as Authors, with Bob Saget, John Leguizamo, and Susie Essman, moderated by Sara Benincasa, Mainstage, 4:00

Jonathan Lethem and Jules Feiffer in Conversation, moderated by Ken Chen, St. Francis College Auditorium, 4:00

A Sense of Place: Writing from Within and Without, with Joseph O’Neill, Amit Chaudhuri, and Assaf Gavron, moderated by Dave Daley, Borough Hall Media Room, 5:00

The Writer’s Life, with Salman Rushdie, Siri Hustvedt, and Catherine Lacey, moderated by Steph Opitz, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 5:00


ADVANCED STYLE (Lina Plioplyte, 2014)
City Winery
155 Varick St.
Monday, September 22, $15-$40, 8:00

Since August 2008, photographer Ari Seth Cohen has run his Advanced Style blog, focusing on the fashion trends of senior citizens in New York City. “I roam the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks,” Cohen, who grew up in San Diego, writes on his blog. “Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest. Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.” In May 2012, he released the Advanced Style book, and next up is a documentary that Cohen and Lithuanian-born director Lina Piloplyte financed via Kickstarter. On September 22, City Winery will host a celebration of the many aspects of Advanced Style, hosted by Barneys creative ambassador Simon Doonan, featuring a discussion, a slideshow of Cohen’s photographs, and an exclusive preview of the film, which follows seven fashionably eclectic New York women between the ages of sixty-two and ninety-five, with no topic off limits; the documentary opens in theaters September 26 and will be available on VOD and DVD October 7. Tickets for the City Winery event begin at $15; the $40 VIP seats earn you a gift bag complete with a DVD of the film. “The soul of Advanced Style is not bound to age, or even to style, but rather to the celebration of life,” Maira Kalman writes in the introduction to Cohen’s book. “These photos offer proof that the secret to remaining vital in our later years is to never stop being curious, never stop creating, and never stop having fun.”

TICKET GIVEAWAY: “A Celebration of Advanced Style” takes place at City Winery on September 22, and twi-ny has a pair of VIP seats to give away for free. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and all-time favorite stylish older woman to by Wednesday, September 17, at 5:00 to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; one winner will be selected at random.


Joaquin Phoenix stars in New York Film Festival Centerpiece, Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s INHERENT VICE

Joaquin Phoenix stars in New York Film Festival Centerpiece, Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s INHERENT VICE

Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway at 65th St.
Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th St. at Amsterdam Ave.
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center: Francesca Beale Theater, Howard Gilman Theater, Amphitheater, 144 West 65th St. between Broadway & Amsterdam Ave.
September 26 - October 12

Tickets are on sale for the 52nd edition of the New York Film Festival, a wide-ranging collection of film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, interactive presentations, video art, and more organized into nine different sections plus a preliminary event. It all gets under way September 19-29 with NYFF Opening Acts, fourteen early works by directors who have new films in the 2014 lineup, including Mike Leigh, Paul Thomas Anderson, Frederick Wiseman, Olivier Assayas, David Fincher, Albert Maysles, and Alan Resnais, taking place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center as well as the Maysles Cinema, Nitehawk Cinema, and UnionDocs. The festival itself, which runs September 26 through October 12, is divided into the following categories: Main Slate, Projections, Convergence, Revivals, Spotlight on Documentary, HBO Directors Dialogues, On Cinema, Special Events, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz: The Essential Iconoclast. Below are only some of the highlights; keep watching twi-ny as more highlights and select advance reviews are posted. You can also follow everything on the free NYFF app.

Friday, September 26
Main Slate Opening Night World Premiere: Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014), 6:00, 9:00, 9:15

Saturday, September 27
NYFF52 Revivals: Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984), 2:30

NYFF52 Convergence: A Brief History of Transmedia Worlds with Henry Jenkins, Keynote Address, 3:00

NYFF52 Convergence: Immigrant Nation (Theo Rigby, 2014), installation and interactive presentation, free, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 1:00 – 7:00

Saturday, September 27, 9:00, and Wednesday, October 1, 9:00
Main Slate: Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014) in 3-D

Sunday, September 28
NYFF52 Convergence: Futurestates (ITVS, 2014), interactive presentation, 6:00

Monday, September 29
HBO Directors Dialogue: Mathieu Amalric, The Blue Room, 6:00

Tuesday, September 30, 6:00, and Wednesday, October 1, 9:00
NYFF52 Spotlight on Documentary: The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014), companion piece to The Act of Killing

Tuesday, September 30, 6:00, and Wednesday, October 8, 9:00
Main Slate: U.S. premiere of Hill of Freedom (Hong Sang-soo, 2014), Main Slate

Christopher Guest will be at the New York Film Festival for the thirtieth anniversary screening of Rob Reiner’s THIS IS SPINAL TAP

Christopher Guest will be at the New York Film Festival for the thirtieth anniversary screening of Rob Reiner’s THIS IS SPINAL TAP

Thursday, October 2, 6:00, and Friday, October 3, 9:00
Main Slate: U.S. premiere of Pasolini (Abel Ferrara, 2014)

Saturday, October 4
NYFF52 Projections: Sauerbruch Hutton Architects (Harun Farocki, 2013), 1:00

Main Slate Centerpiece World Premiere: Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014), 5:30, 5:45, 9:00, 9:15

Sunday, October 5
NYFF52 On Cinema: Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice, 12:30

HBO Directors Dialogue: Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner, 2:30

NYFF52 Spotlight on Documentary: National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman, 2014), 4:00

Tuesday, October 7
NYFF52 Retrospective – Joseph L. Mankiewicz: The Essential Iconoclast: 5 Fingers (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1952), 8:30

Wednesday, October 8
NYFF52 Special Events: 30th Anniversary Screening of This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984), followed by a Q&A with Christopher Guest, 9:00

Friday, October 10
NYFF52 Revivals: Hiroshima Mon Amour (Alain Resnais, 1959), 6:00

Saturday, October 11
Main Slate Closing Night: Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2014), 6:00, 9:15

Monday, October 13
NYFF52 Retrospective – Joseph L. Mankiewicz: The Essential Iconoclast: Cleopatra (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1963), 1:30


The Life-Size Mousetrap is an annual tradition at Maker Maire (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The Life-Size Mousetrap is an annual tradition at Maker Maire (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St., Flushing Meadows Corona Park
September 20-21, $17.50-$32.50 per day, weekend pass $30-$60

Now in its fifth year, World Maker Faire New York is an event that should be on your annual radar, regardless of your age, whether or not you have kids, and no matter how much you know (or care) about modern technology. Held at the New York Hall of Science, the two-day fair celebrates “invention, creativity, and resourcefulness,” as more than seven hundred makers will display their cutting-edge work in such areas as 3D imaging and printing (we first saw 3D printing there, four years before its current popularity), electric vehicles, robotics, wearables, drones, kinetic art, open source hardware, gaming, and circuit bending — and boy, do the makers love talking about their projects, so ask away. The self-described “part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new” takes place over a huge expanse outside and inside the Hall of Science; in the surrounding grounds, visitors can watch the always awesome giant Coke Zero and Mentos Fountains, check out the Life-Size Mousetrap, participate in the Power Racing Series, and, inside and out, see such speakers as FIRST founder Dean Kamen, Arduino Project cofounder Massimo Banzi, Moog synthesizer cocreator Herb Deutsch, and Science Bob Pflugfelder from The Jimmy Kimmel Show. Below are only some of the highlights of this crazy, fun, and, yes, highly educational party. (Maker Week kicks off September 15 with a free screening (with advance RSVP) of the new documentary Maker: The Movie at Microsoft’s offices, followed September 17-18 by MakerCon at the New York Hall of Science.)

Saturday, September 20
Game of Drones Aerial Sports League, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm

Frank Story, with Jon Ronson, cowriter of Frank and keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Band, NYSCI Auditorium, 12:30

Re-creating Historic Coney Island, One Layer at a Time, with Fred Kahl, the Great Fredini, NYSCI Auditorium, 5:30

Saturday, September 20, and Sunday, September 21
Inventing a Better Mousetrap, with Alan Rothschild, including presentation of original patent models from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Saturday at 11:30 at the Make: DIY Stage and Sunday at 11:00 in the NYSCI Auditorium and 3:00 at the Make: DIY Stage

Life-Size Mousetrap, Saturday and Sunday at 11:30, 12:30, 2:30, and 5:30

Coke Zero & Mentos Fountains, Saturday at 1:00 & 4:00, Sunday at 4:00

Making Movies: Behind-the-Scenes with Print the Legend, new Netflix documentary, Saturday at 4:00, Make: Live Stage, Sunday at 5:00, Make: DIY Stage

Arduino + LEGO Mindstorm Robotics — Get Started! with Matthew Beckler and Adam Wolf, Maker Shed “Get Making” Stage, Saturday at 4:30 and Sunday at 3:00

Sunday, September 21
Being Human in a Digital World: Lessons from the Intersections of Technology and Culture, with Genevieve Bell, director of user experience research in Intel Labs, NYSCI Auditorium, 1:00

Makers @ MIT: Admitting & Empowering Technically Creative Students, with Chris Peterson of MIT Admissions, NYSCI Auditorium, 3:30

How and Why You Should Hack Your Brain, with Nathan Whitmore, Make: Electronics Stage, 4:30



Legendary puppeteer Li Tien-lu helps tell his own story in Hou Hsiao-hsien masterpiece

Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria
Saturday, September 13, free with museum admission, 7:00
Series runs September 12 - October 17

Taiwanese New Wave auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien’s masterpiece, The Puppetmaster, is a beautifully poetic exploration of the art of storytelling. The second film of his history trilogy, coming between 1989’s A City of Sadness and 1995’s Good Men, Good Women, the 1993 work employs three unique methods as it traces the life and career of puppeteer Li Tien-lu from 1909 to 1945, during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Episodes from Li’s life are re-created, beginning even before his birth, as his father sacrifices his family name and takes his wife’s instead at the request of her clan, with the modern-day Li adding voice-over narration. (The film is based on Li’s memoirs.) Hou also uses Peking opera, theater, and puppet shows to demonstrate Li’s skill and to place the film in artistic and historical context. And the eighty-four-year-old Li, who had already been in three of Hou’s films, appears onscreen several times, right on the set, adding an intimate, personal touch to the proceedings. Hou and cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bin often let the camera remain still for long periods of time, allowing viewers to decide where to look and what to focus on, as if they were watching a live performance. The film features stunning art direction by Chang Hung and Lu Ming-jin and a lovely traditional score by Chen Ming-chang; the stellar cast includes Lin Chung and Lim Giong as Li, Tsai Chen-nan as his father, Yang Li-yin as his stepmother, Liou Hung as his grandfather, Bai Ming Hwa as his grandmother, and Vicky Wei as Lei Tzu.


THE PUPPETMASTER includes several glorious puppet shows

The Puppetmaster is about memory and the interpretation of history, but mostly it’s very much a work about control, from the way Li’s father is dominated by his in-laws to the Japanese officers who rule over the community and even the content of Li’s puppet shows. In the first puppet show, before the opening credits are over, three figures are involved in a scene when suddenly the middle puppet is raised above the others, the arm of the puppeteer visible. In the next show, Hou first zeroes in on the ornate box-stage itself before cutting to a side view, revealing the puppeteer behind the scenes; it is not only a tribute to his subject but also a reminder that the audience, both onscreen and watching the film, is in the hands of a genuine master. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, The Puppetmaster is screening September 13 at 7:00 as part of the Museum of the Moving Image series “Also like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien” and will be introduced by J. Hoberman. (The series takes its name from a Li quote in The Puppetmaster.) The opening weekend of the festival also includes Hou’s debut feature, Cute Girl, Assayas’s HHH: A Portrait of Hou Hsiao-hsien, the sensational Flowers of Shanghai, the coming-of-age tale A Summer at Grandpa’s, 1981’s Cheerful Wind, and the love-story trilogy Three Times.