CINÉSALON: ADIEU PHILIPPINE (Jacques Rozier, 1962)
French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Tuesday, October 25, $14, 4:00 & 7:30
FIAF’s two-month CinéSalon series “Beyond the Ingénue” comes to a close October 25 with one of the lesser-known French New Wave classics, Jacques Rozier’s shamefully seldom screened Adieu Philippine. Rozier’s first film is a freewheeling adventure as Michel (Jean-Claude Aimini), a young man working in a television studio, cavorts with a pair of eighteen-year-old best friends, Juliette (Stefania Sabatini) and Liliane (Yveline Céry), while waiting to be called up to serve in the Algerian War. Rozier opens the film by taking viewers into the studio, where they are shooting a lively jazz performance by French violinist Maxim Saury and his band, the bouncy rhythm meeting the behind-the-scenes chaos. Pretending to be more important than he really is, Michel invites Juliette and Liliane to come in, and soon the trio is hitting cafés and nightclubs, camping on the beach, and trying to hook up with would-be filmmaker Pachala (Vittorio Caprioli). But what started out as fun gets somewhat more serious as jealousy creeps in and the war intervenes.
Adieu Philippine is an exhilarating tale of teenage freedom, of youth taking advantage of all life has to offer no matter one’s circumstance, fighting off ennui with a mad desire to just have fun. Rozier, who wrote the screenplay with Michèle O’Glor, allowed the cast of mostly nonprofessional actors to improvise and dubbed in dialogue later, resulting in less-than-stellar syncing that took two years in postproduction but thankfully gets lost in all the wild abandon. In his debut feature, cinematographer René Mathelin (Pardon Mon Affaire, The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe) shoots guerrilla-style in black-and-white, a kind of cinéma vérité in which passersby and people in the background often look at the camera, wondering what is going on. Adieu Philippine shares a soul and spirit with the early work of such auteurs as Jean-Luc Godard (1960’s Breathless), a friend and supporter of Rozier’s; American-born French photographer and documentarian William Klein (1958’s Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?), and François Truffaut, whose similarly themed Jules et Jim was also released in 1962, but Adieu Philippine has a charm all its own. Rozier, who turns ninety on November 10, would make only a handful of other features, including 1985’s Maine-Ocean and 2001’s Martingale. A new 35mm print of Adieu Philippine is being shown at FIAF on October 25 at 4:00 and 7:30; the later screening will be introduced by New York Review of Books editor Madeleine Schwartz.
Who: Tara Deal
What: Reading and book signing
Where: Sideshow Gallery, 319 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn
When: Tuesday, October 25, free with advance RSVP (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 23, 6:30
Why: New York City-based writer Tara Deal will be at Williamsburg’s Sideshow Gallery on October 25 for a reading and signing of her latest book, That Night Alive. Winner of the 2016 Novella Prize from Miami University Press, the novella mixes fiction and memoir, poetry and prose as a crypto-reporter goes back in time, from her last day alive on earth. Deal, who was born in Georgia and raised in South Carolina, has previously written the novella Palms Are Not Trees After All, and her short stories and poems can be found in numerous publications. In conjunction with Causey Contemporary, the gallery is currently showing “Persons of Interest,” featuring new portraits by painter, printmaker, costume designer, and voodoo doll maker Carri Skoczek, who explains in her artist statement, “My work has been an exploration in expressing female sexuality and allure as a vehicle of power.”
It takes a while for Company XIV’s latest decadent Baroque burlesque extravaganza, Paris!, to get cooking, but once it does, it quickly goes from hot, hot, hot to sizzling. Troupe founder and director Austin McCormick, who has previously reimagined such fairy-tales as Cinderella, Pinocchio, and Snow White, revisits the myth of Paris and the golden apple, which Company XIV first tackled in its streamlined 2012 dance-theater-opera, Judge Me Paris. The company goes all out this time in its temporary new space, the Irondale Center in Fort Greene, which they have outfitted in Louis XIV grandeur, with ornate red velvet couches and chairs, numerous chandeliers, and costumed greeters welcoming you to the festivities. Before the show starts, you can walk around the main floor and the balcony, where some of the performers are getting ready and the heady enticements begin. The first act is surprisingly ordinary for Company XIV, offering little that is new as the emcee, the half-man, half-woman Zeus/Fifi (Charlotte Bydwell), introduces the story, in which the mortal shepherd Paris (Jakob Karr) must decide which of three goddesses — Venus (Storm Marrero), Pallas Athena (Marcy Richardson), or Juno (Randall Scotting) — deserves the golden apple. “My lovely goddesses! Your time has come,” Zeus announces. “Tighten your corsets, stuff your bustiers, dot your moles, and present your most delicious selves to our virginal judge. His ears are half-open, his eyes are half-closed, and his skin is untouched. . . . This young man wants much and it’s yours to give.” There’s a beautiful duet by Paris and Mercury (Todd Hanebrink) and a rather naughty sheep orgy, but things really start to hit their stride in the second act, as soprano Richardson dazzles the audience with unique versions of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and Adele’s “Skyfall” and performing breathtaking feats on the pole. Countertenor Scotting scores big with two songs by Handel and Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man,” a very funny gender-twisting spoof. In the short third act, Marrero brings the house down with stirring renditions of Daughter’s “Youth” and Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” as Paris makes his choice.
Over the last few years, while searching for a permanent home, Company XIV has performed at such venues as the Minetta Lane Theatre, 428 Lafayette St. across from the Public, and the 303 Bond Street Theatre in an abandoned warehouse in Brooklyn; they have found quite a treasure in the Irondale Center, formerly the auditorium of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, which they have outfitted in regal splendor. Throughout the tale, the ensemble of Nicole von Arx, Nicholas Katen, Mark Osmundsen, Cara Seymour, and Taner Van Kuren, wearing various body-revealing get-ups courtesy of the endlessly inventive Zane Pihlstrom, who also designed the set, dances in ever-changing configurations, mixing comic bits into their sexy numbers and occasionally making their way through the audience, where the patrons can order drinks and snacks all night long. (The actors also provide entertainment during the two intermissions, including a lovely flute and cello duet and a playful pregnancy vignette.) The relatively inconsequential text is by Jeff Takacs (with contributions from Bydwell), with fanciful lighting by Jeanette Yew. The emcee is repetitive and takes up too much time, but the rest of the characters excel as they go from group can-cans to intimate solos, duets, and trios. Director and choreographer McCormick limits the complex acrobatic elements of the troupe, focusing more on dance and song, like Martha Graham gone wild, and it works well here, after a slow start. Paris! runs through November 12 — tickets begin at $25 and go up to $525 for those VIPs who want to party like it’s 1699 — and will be followed by Company XIV’s annual holiday favorite, Nutcracker Rouge.
Who: Peter Kwong, Liz Moy, Margaret Lee, Juan Puntes, Betty Yu, Julien Terrell
What: Town hall discussion about gentrification and the arts in Chinatown
Where: Artists Space Books & Talks, 55 Walker St.
When: Saturday, October 22, free, 7:00
Why: A group of gallery owners and local activists will be gathering on October 22 at Artist Space on Walker St. for the special panel discussion “Chinatown Is Not for Sale,” in which they will delve into the following issue: “There are currently over one hundred galleries occupying Chinatown, Two Bridges, and the Lower East Side. Can a neighborhood be both a holdout to gentrification and the new art enclave??” Sponsored by Artists Space, Chinatown Art Brigade, and Decolonize This Place, the town hall discussion features Peter Kwong, Liz Moy, Margaret Lee, Juan Puntes, Betty Yu, and moderator Julien Terrell examining the changes downtown, most of which have taken place in the last three years as rents rise and art galleries, luxury housing, and hotels move in. The event is the second in Chinatown Art Brigade’s series of public conversations that began in July with “Chinatown: New York’s Newest Gallery Scene?”
Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
261 West 47th St. between Broadway & Eighth Aves.
Tuesday - Sunday through December 11, $70-$150
Simon Stephens’s Heisenberg, which transferred to Broadway last month shortly after his extraordinary The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ended a two-year run at the Ethel Barrymore, might reference the quantum theory uncertainty principle that proves the impossibility of precisely measuring position and momentum at the same time, but there’s no uncertainty that the British playwright is an exceptional storyteller bursting with both position and momentum. Stephens’s Tony-winning adaptation of Mark Haddon’s children’s book was turned into a multimedia marvel by Marianne Elliott. Heisenberg explores some of the same territory, the nature of establishing connections and communication between people, but could not otherwise be more different; it’s a spare, minimal tale directed with a graceful simplicity by Mark Brokaw (The Lyons, After Miss Julie). Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt are magnetic as Georgie Burns and Alex Priest, respectively, two loners who meet one afternoon in a London tube station. Georgie is a forty-two-year-old fast-talking American with a tenuous grasp on the truth, while Alex is a seventy-five-year-old Irish butcher who just wants to be left alone. As the play opens, she kisses the back of his neck, mistaking him for someone else, then starts babbling to him. “Why are you talking to me?” he asks sternly. “I’m sorry. I’m really weird. I know. You don’t need to tell me. I’ll go,” she replies. But she can’t leave; she is drawn to him, sharing intimate details of her life that might or might not be true. When she shows up at his shop five days later, tracking him down through Google, he coldly declares, “My privacy has been violated.” She responds, “‘Violated’ is a bit strong. ‘Violated’ is a bit hyperbolic.” “Nice word,” he says. “Thank you. Ha. ‘Nice word.’ Patronizing fucker,” she answers. As these two extremely particular and rather odd strangers get to know each other, they attempt to fill in the missing parts of their lives.
The awe-inspiring technology behind Curious Incident is completely absent in Heisenberg, a streamlined production that relies on basic, almost workshoplike elements. Mark Wendland’s (Next to Normal, The Merchant of Venice) sparse stage features two chairs and two tables that the actors occasionally move around as the scenes change; there is a riser of seats behind the stage, placing the characters in the middle of the audience. Despite the show’s title, Stephens’s script does not delve deeply into physics, although at one point Georgie explains, “If you watch something closely enough you realize you have no possible way of telling where it’s going or how fast it’s getting there. Did you know that? That’s actually the truth. That’s actually scientifically been proven as the truth. By scientists. They all got together and they completely agreed on that. If you pay attention to where it’s going or how fast it’s moving, you stop watching it properly.” Those words also apply to how one can experience theater, including this Manhattan Theatre Club production. There’s no need to pay special attention to where this charming two-actor character sketch is going, or how fast it will get there; just watch it properly, immersed in the moment and the flow, in the lightning-quick pace and dizzying spectacle of Parker’s (Proof, Weeds) splendidly quirky performance or the subtle, sly, sublimely powerful work of Oregon Shakespeare Festival veteran Arndt (The Ballad of Soapy Smith, Basic Instinct) as he almost imperceptibly builds the quietly heartbreaking figure of Alex. “You need to follow it. The melody,” Alex tells Georgie when teaching her how to listen to a Bach sonata. “Try to predict what will happen to it next. It will completely take you by surprise.” The same can be said for this beautifully constructed show.
Who: Iggy Pop, Jeremy Deller, Tom Healy
What: Thursday Nights Brooklyn Talks discussion
Where: Brooklyn Museum, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St., 212-864-5400
When: Thursday, November 3, $40-$85, 7:00
Why: On February 21, twenty-one artists gathered at the New York Academy of Art, participating in a special life-drawing class led by Michael Grimaldi. The model that Sunday afternoon was Muskegon native James Newell Osterberg Jr., better known as punk icon Iggy Pop. The artists, ranging in age from nineteen to eighty, were selected by Jeremy Deller and Brooklyn Museum vice director Sharon Matt Atkins. “For me it makes perfect sense for Iggy Pop to be the subject of a life class; his body is central to an understanding of rock music and its place within American culture,” Deller explains on his website. “His body has witnessed much and should be documented.” The resulting exhibition, “Iggy Pop Life Class by Jeremy Deller,” featuring nudes from the class as well as selections from the Brooklyn Museum collection, will open on the fifth floor of the museum on November 4 and run through March 26. On Thursday, November 3, Iggy and Deller will be at the museum for a discussion about art, music, and nudity, moderated by writer and educator Tom Healy. Tickets are $40 for general admission, $65 with a copy of the catalog, and $85 with a copy of the catalog signed by Pop and Deller. Pop was also recently at the New York Film Festival, chatting up the Jim Jarmusch documentary Gimme Danger; the film, which documents the history of Iggy and the Stooges, opens October 28 at IFC Center.