DANNY SAYS (Brendan Toller, 2016)
IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. at Third St., 212-924-7771
Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway between 62nd & 63rd Sts., 212-757-2280
Opens Friday, September 30
“He’s a handmaiden to the gods. He’s been midwife to some of the most important people in music,” John Cameron Mitchell says at the beginning of Danny Says, Brendan Toller’s highly entertaining if scattershot documentary about Danny Fields. Born Daniel Henry Feinberg in Brooklyn in 1939, Fields graduated from the University of Pennsylvania when he was still a teenager, dropped out of Harvard Law School, and went on to one of the wildest careers in the music business. Attracted to both cutting-edge and celebrity culture, Fields was a DJ, a magazine editor, a record executive, a press agent, and a band manager, always doing things his way. “I always went against the grain,” he says in the film, which features family photographs, home movies (including scenes from his bar mitzvah), outstanding music clips, and new and archival interviews with Fields, a natural storyteller with a casual delivery, whether he’s talking about his sexual promiscuity, hanging out with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick at the Factory, or trying to hook up Jim Morrison and Nico. Nothing is off limits as he shares tales about going to gay bars, making “Have a Marijuana” with David Peel & the Lower East Side, developing a friendship with Linda Eastman, and playing the Ramones for Lou Reed for the first time. “He had a way with words that made you want to become part of whatever he was doing,” Peel says in the film.
Others who sing Fields’s praises are Wayne Kramer, Judy Collins, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Justin Vivian Bond, Leee Black Childers, Lenny Kaye, Jonathan Richman, Jann Wenner, and Tommy Ramone. Toller, who met Fields while finishing his 2008 debut film, I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store, made when he was twenty-one, and editors Ian Markiewicz and Timothy Sternberg have a blast with the archival concert footage, especially of the Stooges and the Ramones (who honored Fields with their song “Danny Says” on End of the Century) in their early days as well as the Velvet Underground, the Doors, the MC5, and the Modern Lovers. Playful animation by Emily Hubley, Johnny Woods, and Matt Newman accompanies several of Fields’s longer anecdotes. The narrative flow is rough, bouncing around like an album with some great songs but doesn’t quite achieve greatness itself, but it’s still a whole lotta fun. “What motivates me is to be in the right crowd,” Fields says. Seeing this film puts moviegoers in the right crowd, at least for ninety minutes. Danny Says opens September 30 at Lincoln Plaza and IFC Center; Toller will be at IFC for a Q&A with Michael Musto following the 7:15 screening Friday night.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, October 1, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum breaks out for its free October First Saturday program, “Beyond Borders.” There will be live performances by Maria Usbeck, Sol Nova, and M.A.K.U. Soundsystem; a screening of Kathleen Foster’s Profiled, followed by a talkback with Foster, Natasha Duncan, Joseph L. Graves Jr., Kristine Anderson Welch, Jill Bloomberg, and Joël Díaz; a salsa party with Balmir Latin Dance Company; pop-up gallery talks and a curator tour of the refreshed American Art galleries with Nancy Rosoff; a hands-on workshop in which participants will use the Mexican folk art technique of repujado; and a book club reading and talk by Gabby Rivera, author of Juliet Takes a Breath. In addition, you can check out such long-term installations as “Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn,” “Double Take: African Innovations,” and “The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago.” Entry to the new exhibition “Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present” requires a discounted admission fee of $10.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Ave.
Saturday, October 1, $15-$20 (children under twelve free), 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
The weather might be cooling a bit, but it’s going to remain hot, hot, hot this weekend at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s twenty-fourth annual Chile Pepper Festival. On Saturday, October 1, the BBG will celebrate all things spicy with a full slate of activities, highlighted by tastings from more than five dozen food purveyors divided into Hot Sauce Sorcery (Bacchanal Sauce, Beast Feast Maine, Black Irish Hot Sauce, Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce, Poor Devil Pepper Co., Queen Majesty Hot Sauce, more), Chile-Chocolate Debauchery (Hernán Mexican Mole, Little Bird Chocolates, Lululosophy Artisan Chocolates, MarieBelle, Raaka Chocolate, Whimsy & Spice, others), Combustible Condiments (Anarchy in a Jar, Calcutta Kitchens, Elvio’s Chimichurri, Josephine’s Feast, Mama Margarita’s Salsa, Nafi’s Hot Pepper Condiments, Pierre’s Spicy, etc.), Hi-Scoville Sweets (Brooklyn Soda Works, Bushwick Kitchen, Culture: An American Yogurt Company, La Newyorkina, Mike’s Hot Honey, OddFellows Ice Cream Co,. Spoonable), and Piquant Pickles & Such (Divine Brine, Holy Schmitt’s Homemade Horseradish, Mama O’s Premium Kimchi, Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi, North Brooklyn Farms, Pure Mountain Olive Oil, Rick’s Picks, Zia Green Chile Company). The live-music lineup begins at 10:00 with Pilette’s Ghost and continues with Dahka Band (10:45), Élage Diouf (12:15), Hazmat Modine (1:45), Aurelio (3:15), and the Lost Bayou Ramblers (4:45). Robbins & Ringold, consisting of Todd Robbins and Stephen Ringold, will serve as masters of ceremonies. There will also be a Chile Chat with Gregory Seaton at 10:30, a Hot Chiles for Cool Kids workshop in which kids can take a pepper plant home, Sahadi’s Souk, and a booth featuring Archestratus Books + Foods.
CABARET CINEMA: THE CONGRESS (Ari Folman, 2013)
Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th St. at Seventh Ave.
Friday, September 30, $10, 9:30
Writer-director Ari Folman imagines a sad but visually dazzling future in the spectacular fantasy The Congress. Inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s 1971 short novel The Futurological Congress, the film follows Robin Wright playing a fictionalized version of herself, an idealistic actress about to turn forty-five who has let her career come second to raising her two children, daughter Sarah (Sami Gayle) and, primarily, son Aaron (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is slowly losing the ability to see and hear. Wright’s longtime agent, Al (Harvey Keitel), has a last-chance opportunity for her: Jeff Green (Danny Huston), the head of Miramount, wants to scan her body and emotions so the studio can manipulate her digital likeness into any role while keeping her ageless. They don’t want the modern-day Robin Wright but the young, beautiful star of The Princess Bride, State of Grace, and Forrest Gump. The only catch is that in exchange for a substantial lump-sum payment, the real Wright will never be allowed to act again, in any capacity. With no other options, she reluctantly takes the deal. Twenty years later, invited to speak at the Futurological Congress, she enters a whole new realm, a fully animated world where men, women, and children live out their entertainment fantasies. Shocked by what she is experiencing, Wright meets up with Dylan Truliner (Jon Hamm), who has been animating her digital version for years, as a revolution threatens; meanwhile, Green has another offer for her, even more frightening than the first.
The Congress is a stunning look at America’s obsession with celebrity culture and pharmaceutical release amid continuing technological advancements in which avatars can replace real people and computers can do all the work. The animated scenes, consisting of sixty thousand drawings made in eight countries, are mind-blowing, referencing the history of cartoons, from early Max Fleischer gems through Warner Bros. classics as well as nods to Disney, Pixar, Who’s Afraid of Roger Rabbit, and even Richard Linklater’s rotoscoped Waking Life; Folman also pays homage, directly and indirectly, to James Cameron and Stanley Kubrick. (The central part of the cartoon scenes were actually filmed live first, then animated based on the footage; be on the lookout for cameos by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Frida Kahlo, and dozens of other familiar faces.) Wright gives one of her best performances playing a modified version of herself, maintaining a calm, cool demeanor even as things threaten to completely break down around her. Paul Giamatti does a fine turn as her son’s concerned doctor, and Huston has a ball chewing the colorful scenery as the greedy, nasty studio head (as well as numerous other authority figures). The film also plays off itself in wonderful ways; the fictionalized Wright is at first against being scanned and used in science-fiction films, but the real Wright, of course, has agreed to be turned into a cartoon character in a science-fiction film. The story does get confusing in the second half, threatening to lose its thread as it goes all over the place, but Folman, whose previous film was the Oscar-nominated Waltz with Bashir, manages to bring it all together by the end, led by the stalwart Wright. Named Best European Animated Feature at the European Film Awards, The Congress is an eye-popping, soul-searching, hallucinogenic warning of what just might be awaiting all of us. It’s screening September 30 at 9:30 at the Rubin Museum, concluding the three-part Cabaret Cinema series “Consciousness Hacking: Mind-Expanding Film Experiences,” in which Consciousness Hacking founder Mikey Siegel and Consciousness Hacking NYC cofounder Dr. Christopher Kelley investigate “the three principal dimensions of consciousness hacking: 1) Contemplation, 2) Psychedelic Journey, and 3) Technological Innovation.” Dr. Kelley will host the screening, joined by special guests.
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center,
Bruno Walter Auditorium, Alice Tully Hall
West 65th St. between Broadway & Amsterdam Ave.
September 30 - October 16
The fifty-fourth New York Film Festival gets under way on September 30 with Ava DuVernay’s 13th, kicking off more than two weeks of screenings and special events at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The centerpiece selection is Mike Mills’s 20th Century Woman, with James Gray’s The Lost City of Z closing things on October 15. Divided into Main Slate, Convergence, Explorations, Projections, Retrospectives, Revivals, and Spotlight on Documentary, this year’s lineup also features works by Paul Verhoeven, Bertrand Tavernier, Gianfranco Rosi, Bill Morrison, Cristian Mungiu, Ken Loach, Errol Morris, Pedro Almodóvar, Kenneth Lonergan, Jim Jarmusch, Olivier Assayas, Cristi Puiu, Kenneth Lonergan, Eugène Green, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Douglas Gordon, and Hong Sang-soo, most of whom will be on hand for Q&As following select screenings. “A Brief Journey through French Cinema” includes films by Bertrand Tavernier, Robert Bresson, Jacques Becker, Julien Duvivier, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Jean Renoir, while a tribute to Henry Hathaway boasts a dozen movies, from Garden of Evil and Kiss of Death to Niagara and Rawhide. Among this year’s Revivals are Gillo Pontecorvo’s restored The Battle of Algiers, Bresson’s L’argent, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment, and Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks. Below is a list of one highlight per day; keep checking twi-ny for reviews and further information.
Saturday, October 1
Sunday, October 16
Lives in Transit video installation by Global Lives Project, free, Furman Gallery, Walter Reade Theater
Saturday, October 1
Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Jim Jarmusch and Iggy Pop, Alice Tully Hall, $25, 9:15
Sunday, October 2
Meet the Makers: Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things, with Lance Weller and Nick Fortugno, Howard Gilman Theater, free, 1:00
Wednesday, October 3
“The Psychology of Storytelling: Lindsay Doran,” with Oscar-nominated producer and studio executive Lindsay Doran, Howard Gilman Theater, 6:45
Tuesday, October 4
Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Bill Morrison, Francesca Beale Theater, $15, 9:00
Wednesday, October 5
Film Comment Live: A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Terence Davies, Cynthia Nixon, and Sol Papadopoulos, Walter Reade Theater, 6:00
Thursday, October 6
The Death of Louis XIV (Albert Serra, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Albert Serra and Jean-Pierre Léaud, Alice Tully Hall, $20, 6:00
Friday, October 7
Harlan County USA, (Barbara Kopple, 1976), followed by a Q&A with Barbara Kopple, Walter Reade Theater, $15, 6:00
Saturday, October 8
Projections Program 2: Beyond Landscape, short films followed by Q&As with directors Rosa Barba, Tomonari Nishikawa, Sky Hopinka, and Brigid McCaffrey, Howard Gilman Theater, $15, 5:15
Sunday, October 9
Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan (Linda Saffire & Adam Schlesinger, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Wendy Whelan, Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger, and other crew members, Walter Reade Theater, 3:30
Monday, October 10
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (Alexis Bloom & Fisher Stevens, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Carrie Fisher, Alexis Bloom, and Fisher Stevens, Alice Tully Hall, $20, 6:00
Tuesday, October 11
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea (Dash Shaw, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Dash Shaw, Howard Gilman Theater, $20, 6:00
Wednesday, October 12
Spotlight on Documentary: The Cinema Travellers (Shirley Abraham & Amit Madheshiya, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, Francesca Beale Theater, $15, 9:00
Thursday, October 13
HBO Directors Dialogues: Paul Verhoeven discussing Elle, Elinor Bunin Munroe amphitheater, free, 7:00
Friday, October 14
Explorations: Everything Else (Natalia Almada, 2016), followed by a Q&A with producer Daniela Alatorre, Walter Reade Theater, $15, 4:00
Saturday, October 15
Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert, Alice Tully Hall, 3:00
CINÉSALON: WATER LILIES (NAISSANCE DES PIEUVRES) (Céline Sciamma, 2007)
French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Tuesday, September 27, $14, 4:00 & 7:30
Series continues Tuesdays through October 25
This past spring, the FIAF CinéSalon series “EDM Anthems: French Touch on Film” concluded with Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood, an award-winning coming-of-age drama about a sixteen-year-old girl who is trying to find a workable path to a worthwhile adulthood but is continually thwarted by socioeconomic and cultural issues. The 2014 film stars Karidja Touré, who was nominated for a César for Most Promising Actress. On September 27, Sciamma’s first feature, Water Lilies, another poignant and provocative coming-of-age drama, will be shown in the FIAF CinéSalon series “Beyond the Ingénue.” The 2007 film stars Adèle Haenel and Pauline Acquart, both of whom earned nominations as Most Promising Actress, along with a Best Debut nod for Sciamma. Mousy Marie (Acquart) wants to become part of her school’s synchronized swimming team, so she cozies up to squad captain Floriane (Haenel), who has a reputation as a rather loose girl. Marie’s best friend, Anne (Louise Blachère), dreams of having her first kiss with the hunky François (Warren Jacquin), a swimmer who is dating Floriane. Marie is caught in the middle, especially as she develops feelings of her own for Floriane.
The French title of Water Lilies is Naissance des Pieuvres, which translates as Birth of the Octopuses, referencing the eight interweaving arms of the four main characters as well as the synchronized swimming team itself. The film is a bold and honest look at young love, teen angst, and body image. While Floriane flaunts her alluring figure, Marie is small and flat-chested, and Anne is big-boned and fleshy, with large breasts that she desperately wants François to see. Writer-director Sciamma creates uniquely believable and intimately touching scenes that reveal the different problems the protagonists face as regular teenagers who might not quite be ready for what they are getting themselves involved in. As with Girlhood and Sciamma’s other full-length feature, 2011’s Tomboy, the cinematography, which goes from underwater shots to long, shadowy hallways, is by Crystel Fournier, with music by Para One, aka electronica maestro Jean-Baptiste de Laubier. Winner of the Louis Delluc Prize for Best First Film, Water Lilies is screening September 27 at 4:00 and 7:30; the later show will be introduced by Columbia French literature professor Elisabeth Ladenson. “Beyond the Ingénue” continues Tuesday nights through October 25 with such other films as Éric Rohmer’s Pauline at the Beach, Patricia Mazuy’s The King’s Daughters, and Jacques Rozier’s Adieu Philippine.
Multiple community gardens on the Lower East Side
Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25, free
More than fifty community gardens on the Lower East Side are participating in the fifth annual LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens) Harvest Festival, a weekend of free special events, including music, dance, film screenings, walking tours, workshops, art, poetry, karaoke, meditation, and more. Below are only some of the recommended events for Saturday and Sunday; there are also activities at the M’Finda Kalunga Garden, Fireman’s Garden, Liz Christy Garden, Secret Garden, El Sol Brillante, Doroty Strelsin Suffolk St. Garden, East Side Outside Garden, Umbrella House Rooftop Garden, Creative Little Garden, Lower East Side People Care Garden, Kenkeleba House Garden, Children’s Magical Garden, Green Oasis, Elizabeth St. Garden, Toyota Children’s Garden, Sam & Sadie Koenig Garden, and many others. The festival is a great way to become familiar with and support these small gems that can be found all over the Lower East Side.
Saturday, September 24
Permaculture tour with Ross Martin and Marga Snyder, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 12 noon
Live music with Elizabeth Ruf, Ben Cauley, Avon Faire, Tammy Faye Starlight, Witch Camp with Amber Martin & Nath-Ann Carrera, Salley May, and Val Kinzler, DeColores Garden, East Eighth St. between Aves. B & C, 1:00 – 5:00
Guided meditation, with Matthew Caban and Jaquay Saintil, the Lower East Side People Care Garden, Rutgers St. between Henry and Madison Sts., 2:00
Collaborative poetry workshop with Rhoma Mostel, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 3:00
“The Bride” performance piece by Theresa Byrnes, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 4:00
Dance performance with Heidi Henderson and students from Connecticut College, Kizuna Dance, John Gutierrez, Sheep Meadow Dance Theater, Rina Espiritu, Lauren Kravitz, and Shantel Prado, Cornfield Dance, Rod Rodgers Teen Dancers, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 4:00
Dimensions of Ecology panel discussion, with Stuart Losee, Felicia Young, Anna Fitzgerald, and Chloe Rosetti, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 5:00
Sunday, September 25
Pysanky workshop: How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs, with Anna Sawaryn, 6B Garden, Ave. B at Sixth St., 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
“Garbagia Island” Creatures Performance and Fashion Show, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 1:00
Vangeline Theater’s “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee,” contemporary Butoh dance, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 2:00
“Garden to Table Nutrition,” with Vanessa Berenstein, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 3:00
Fountain installation: “Jeux d’Eaux” by Nicholas Vargelis, Le Petit Versailles, Second St. between Aves. B & C, 4:00
Laughter Yoga, with Sara Jones, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 5:00
Photography show: George Hirose’s “Midnight in the Garden,” Campos Garden, Twelfth St. between Aves. B & C, 6:30
Dance party with Ray Santiago Band, Campos Garden, Twelfth St. between Aves. B & C, 7:30-9:30