MoMA Film, Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
August 29 – September 10
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
MoMA kicks off its two-week Ingrid Bergman retrospective on August 29, the hundredth anniversary of the birth of one of cinema’s most genuine movie stars, by showing her most famous work, Casablanca, along with her theatrical grand finale, Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, introduced by two of her children, Pia Lindström and Isabella Rossellini. As it turned out, she died on her birthday at the age of sixty-seven, so it’s also the thirty-third anniversary of her death in 1982 from breast cancer. The fourteen-film survey, several of which were specially chosen by Lindström, Isabella Rossellini, and Ingrid’s other daughter, Ingrid Rossellini, includes such other classic favorites as Gaslight, Notorious, Intermezzo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Bells of St. Mary’s as well as such lesser-known fare as Fear, Paris Does Strange Things, Stromboli, and the short comedy We, the Women: Ingrid Bergman. Each of the three daughters will be back at MoMA individually to introduce select screenings August 30-31 and September 1 and 8-9.
Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal
89 East 42nd St. at Vanderbilt Ave.
August 24-28, free, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm & 4:00 - 7:00
For the second August in a row, Grand Central Terminal’s classy Vanderbilt Hall is getting a makeover, being transformed into an indoor public picnic space August 24-28, with tables covered in gingham cloth, an AstroTurf floor, prizes and giveaways, and food from many of the restaurants that are located throughout GCT. “Life’s a Picnic in Grand Central” will also feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and live performances. You can bring your own lunch or pick up specials from a rotating lineup of GCT eateries, including Café Spice, Ceriello Fine Foods, Café Grumpy, Jacques Torres Ice Cream, Financier Patisserie, Junior’s Bakery, Magnolia Bakery, Neuhaus Belgian Chocolate, Zaro’s Bakery, Manhattan Chili Co., Li-Lac Chocolates, Manhattan Chili Co., Shiro of Japan, and Murray’s Cheese. Below is the lineup of special events.
Monday, August 24
Live Food Demonstrations: The Bar Burger by Chef Cenobio Canalizo of Michael Jordan’s, sushi rolling by Chef Hiro Isikawa of Shiro of Japan, mozzarella making with Dan Belmont of Murray’s Cheese, and cupcake decorating by Amy Tamulonis from Magnolia Bakery, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater presents “Echoes of Etta: A Tribute to Etta James,” featuring William Blake & Michael Thomas Murray, 4:30 - 6:30
Tuesday, August 25
Broadway Hour featuring live performance and more from the Broadway musical Wicked, 12:30
Music Under New York: Robert Anderson Jazz Trio, 4:00 - 7:00
Wednesday, August 26
Big Apple Circus presents Peety the Clown’s Yo-Yos & Stuff Show, 12 noon – 2:00 pm
Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater presents Danny Lipsitz and His Brass Tacks, 4:00 – 7:00
Thursday, August 27
Broadway Hour featuring musical performances from the Broadway musicals On the Town and Finding Neverland, 12:30 – 1:30
Music Under New York: Receta Secreta, 4:00 – 7:00
Friday, August 28
Broadway Hour: musical performances from Chicago, Something Rotten! and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, 12:30 – 1:30
Brooklyn Academy of Music
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave.
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St.
BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Pl.
September 16 – December 20, $20-$135
Every fall, we practically move into BAM for its annual Next Wave Festival, three months of exciting, challenging, and cutting-edge dance, music, theater, and other arts. And this year is no exception, with a roster of events that has us salivating. The star attraction is Ivo van Hove’s Antigone, a multimedia adaptation of Sophokles’s classic Greek tragedy in a new colloquial translation by Anne Carson and featuring Oscar winner Juliette Binoche in the title role. Other theater highlights are Stan Douglas and Chris Haddock’s multimedia stage noir, Helen Lawrence; Carl Hancock Rux’s The Exalted, about German-Jewish writer and art historian Carl Einstein, genocide, and genealogy, directed by Anne Bogart and with live music by Theo Bleckman; Royal Shakespeare Company actor Paterson Joseph portraying Charles “Sancho” Ignatius in the one-man show Sancho: An Act of Remembrance; and John Jahnke and Hotel Savant’s Alas, the Nymphs, a modern reimagination of the story of Greek mythological figure Hylas.
The dance lineup at the 2015 Next Wave Festival is extraordinary as always, led by the return of German choreographer Sasha Waltz with Continu, a wild piece of dance theater set to Edgard Varèse’s “Arcana,” and Japanese Butoh troupe Sankai Juku’s Umusuna: Memories Before History, Ushio Amagatsu’s meditative exploration of history through fire, water, air, and earth. The season also includes Finnish choreographer Kenneth Kvarnström’s experimental Tape, the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan’s Rice, U-Theatre’s Beyond Time, Souleymane Badolo’s Yimbégré, Urban Bush Women’s Walking with ’Trane, Mark Morris’s annual holiday favorite The Hard Nut, and Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto in David Michalek’s Hagoromo, with choreography by David Neumann, puppetry by Chris M. Green, and Nathan Davis’s score performed live by the International Contemporary Ensemble.
The music program features one of the most unusual works, Kid Koala’s adaptation of his graphic novel Nufonia Must Fall, about a robot in love with an office mate, for which Kid Koala will be joined by the Afiara Quartet. In All Vows, cellist Maya Beiser teams up with bassist Jherek Bischoff, drummer Zachary Alford, and filmmaker Bill Morrison. Timur and the Dime Museum say a glam farewell to the environment in Collapse. In Real Enemies, Darcy James Argue and his Secret Society big band join forces with filmmaker Peter Nigrini, writer-director Isaac Butler, and designer Maruti Evans to delve into American conspiracy theories. South African genius William Kentridge is back at BAM with the multimedia opera Refuse the Hour, a companion piece to his immersive “Refusal of Time” installation recently acquired by the Met. Drummer Jim White and Sasha Waltz & Guests dancer Claudia de Serpa Soares perform on one side of a two-way mirror in More up a tree. And Steppenwolf cofounder Terry Kinney turns Portland indie group Other Lives’ stage show into a multimedia experience. Tickets are going fast — Miranda July’s participatory New Society is already sold out, as is Théâtre de l’Atelier’s Savannah Bay, both of which take place at the small BAM Fisher, where all tickets are always a mere $25 — so don’t hesitate if you want to catch some of these fab presentations.
209 West Houston St.
In such films as Memento, Inception, and Interstellar, British-American writer-director Christopher Nolan has shown a flair for unusual storytelling devices and complex narratives. “I decided to structure my story in such a way as to emphasize the audience’s incomplete understanding of each new scene as it is first presented,” he said about his debut feature, 1998’s Following, and a similar aesthetic can be applied to the works of the Quay Brothers. Pennsylvania-born, England-based twins Stephen and Timothy Quay have been making complex narratives for three dozen years, short films and feature-length tales that push the boundaries of storytelling conventions. In hypnotic films such as In Absentia, The Comb (From the Museums of Sleep), and their universally acclaimed masterpiece, Street of Crocodiles, they use fragile dolls and puppets, psychologically tantalizing Expressionistic imagery, and experimental music to draw viewers into their Gothic, industrial, dreamlike fantasy world. In fall 2009, their mind-blowing sets were on display in the exhibit “Dormitorium: Film Décors by the Quay Brothers” at Parsons the New School for Design, and the brothers were justly celebrated in the wide-ranging 2012-13 MoMA retrospective “Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets.” Now they have joined forces with Nolan for a special traveling program that debuts August 19-25 at Film Forum, consisting of the abovementioned three shorts, all restored in 35MM, and the world premiere of Nolan’s documentary about the brothers, simply titled Quay.
The meditative, mesmerizing In Absentia, dedicated to a woman “who lived and wrote to her husband from an asylum,” boasts a gorgeous minimalist score by Karlheinz Stockhausen. The Comb (From the Museums of Sleep) is a fabulously layered film that switches back and forth between color and black and white, live action and stop-motion animation, as a woman has a remarkable dream. And Street of Crocodiles is an award-winning adaptation of Bruno Schulz’s story told the Quay way, with eerie dolls and puppets, ominous screws, and various machine parts come to life. In the three works, light, shadow, and repetitive movement create a dark but compelling mood while providing no easy answers for what is actually occurring onscreen. “That’s the question nobody’s ever asked us: ‘What are you doing?!’ or ‘What are you doing to us?’” Stephen and Timothy told Senses of Cinema in a 2001 interview. Thus, it is no surprise that some of the their major influences are Franz Kafka, Jan Švankmajer, and Leoš Janáček. Nolan and the brothers, who look rather amazing at the age of sixty-eight, will be at Film Forum on August 19 for Q&As after the 7:00 & 9:30 screenings, and the Quays will be back August 20-22 to talk about their work at the 7:00 show each night. In addition to making astonishing, hallucinatory films, they are fun to listen to, so don’t miss this opportunity that we cannot recommend highly enough.
“This climb has seen more attempts and more failures than any route in the Himalaya,” Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer says near the beginning of Meru, which follows two recent tries to make it to the Shark’s Fin summit atop Mount Meru in India. “It’s the headwaters of the Ganges River, one of the most sacred rivers on earth, the center of the universe. It’s this weird nexus that is the point where heaven and earth and hell all come together.” In 2008, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk sought to be the first climbers ever to reach the top of the mountain, which features a 1,500-foot nearly sheer blade of granite at its apex. Scaling Mount Meru is more than just an extreme sport; it’s a passion and an obsession, and a supremely dangerous one at that. The film documents the two climbs as well as an extreme skiing photo shoot, and each time the men set out on a journey, they know that there is a chance that they might not make it back to their loved ones. Ozturk faces even more daunting odds; he attempts a second climb after a serious head injury with aftereffects that could kill him. But the trio is determined to go where no one has gone before, even as the stakes increase and their prospects for success dim considerably. “Meru is not just hard; it’s hard in this really complicated way,” Krakauer adds. “You can’t just be a good ice climber. You can’t just be good at altitude. You can’t just be a good rock climber. . . . It’s defeated so many good climbers and maybe will defeat everybody for all time. That, to a certain kind of mind-set, is an irresistible appeal.” In addition to carrying two hundred pounds of gear on their back, Chin, who is also a professional photographer, and Ozturk have small cameras, deatiling the treacherous trip up the twenty-one-thousand-foot-high mountain. The film is filled with gorgeous shots of the mountain and the surrounding area, but it is a beauty fraught with danger. Codirectors Chin and his wife, E. Chai Vasarhelyi (Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love, Touba), include commentary by the three alpinists, some of their relatives, Krakauer, and big mountain snowboarding legend Jeremy Jones, which emphasizes the tremendous peril involved in the climb. “I often ask myself: Where do you draw the line between following your heart and your responsibility to others?” Chin explains in his director’s statement, and the film does an excellent job of examining that critical point, especially as potential death surrounds them. Winner of the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Meru is a tense, tantalizing look at humanity’s never-ending desire to go beyond all limits to bond with, and conquer, nature and its elements, no matter the risks. Meru opens August 14 at the Angelika, with Chin and Vasarhelyi participating in Q&As following the 5:00 and 7:20 shows on Friday and Chin by himself on August 19 at 7:20.