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


(photo by Kjerstin Rossi)

Filmmaker Rodney Evans explores his increasing blindness in Vision Portraits (photo by Kjerstin Rossi)

VISION PORTRAITS (Rodney Evans, 2019)
BAMfilm, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
October 18-20

“In a lot of ways, I feel like I’m just looking for guidance in how to be a blind artist,” filmmaker Rodney Evans says in Vision Portraits, his remarkable new documentary playing October 18-20 at BAM. Evans follows three artists as they deal with severe visual impairment but refuse to give up on their dreams as he seeks experimental treatment for his retinitis pigmentosa. Manhattan photographer John Dugdale lost most of his eyesight from CMV retinitis when he was thirty-two but is using his supposed disability to his advantage, taking stunning photos bathed in blue, inspired by the aurora borealis he sees when he closes his eyes. “Proving to myself that I could still function in a way that was not expected of a blind person was really gonna be the thing,” he says. “It’s fun to live in this bliss.” Bronx dancer Kayla Hamilton was born with no vision in one eye and developed iritis and glaucoma in the other, but she is shown working on a new piece called Nearly Sighted that incorporates the audience into her story. “How can I use my art form as a way of sharing what it is that I’m experiencing?” she asks.

(photo by Kjerstin Rossi)

Dancer Kayla Hamilton is not about to let visual impairment get in the way of her career (photo by Kjerstin Rossi)

Canadian writer Ryan Knighton lost his eyesight on his eighteenth birthday due to retinitis pigmentosa, but he teaches at a college and presents short stories about his condition at literary gatherings. “I had that moment where I had a point of view now, like, I realized blindness is a point of view on the world; it’s not something I should avoid, it’s something I should look from, and I should make it my writerly point of view,” Knighton explains. Meanwhile, Evans heads to the Restore Vision Clinic in Berlin to see if Dr. Anton Fedorov can stop or reverse his visual impairment, which is getting worse.

Vision Portraits is an intimate, honest look at eyesight and art and how people adapt to what could have been devastating situations. Evans, who wrote and directed the narrative features Brother to Brother and The Happy Sad, also includes animated segments that attempt to replicate what the subjects see, from slivers of light to star-laden alternate universes. BAM is hosting several postscreening Q&As, with Evans, moderated by Kirsten Johnson, Friday at 7:30; with Evans, moderated by Imani Barbarin, Saturday at 5:00; with Evans, moderated by Jourdain Searles, Saturday at 8:30; and with Kjerstin Rossi, Mark Tumas, Hannah Buck, and Hamilton, moderated by Charmaine Warren, Sunday at 4:30.


Yasuki Chiba

Yasuki Chiba’s Shitamachi is part of Film Forum series focusing on the popular downtown area of Tokyo

Film Forum
209 West Houston St.
Series runs October 18 - November 2

Tokyo’s downtown area known as Shitamachi, which means “low town,” has been a popular setting for movies since cinema began. Southeast of the Imperial Palace, it consists of small neighborhoods going back to the Edo period, filled with traditional Japanese culture particularly for the lower classes. You can explore its many facets in the Film Forum series “Shitamachi: Tales of Downtown Tokyo,” twenty-five films that take place in the geographical area seemingly invented for the movies. Running October 18 to November 7, the festival features a wide range of films, from Yasujirô Ozu’s Record of a Tenement Gentleman and Shôhei Imamura’s Eijanaika to Sadao Yamanaka’s Humanity and Paper Balloons and Nobuhiko Ôbayashi’s Reason, from Kenji Mizoguchi’s Street of Shame and Nami Iguchi’s The Cat Leaves Home to Takeshi Kitano’s Kikujiro and Ishirô Honda’s Godzilla. The series is copresented with the Japan Foundation and programmed by Aiko Masubuchi, who will introduce screenings of Tadashi Imai’s Still I Live On and Satsuo Yamamoto’s The Street without Sun, while Steve Sterner will play live piano accompaniment to Ozu’s Woman of Tokyo. Japanese master Akira Kurosawa was drawn to Shitamachi for several of his tales about class struggle, and Film Forum will be showing four of them, highlighted below.

Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune star in Kurosawa noir DRUNKEN ANGEL

Takashi Shimura and Toshirô Mifune star in Akira Kurosawa noir Drunken Angel

DRUNKEN ANGEL (Akira Kurosawa, 1948)
Friday, October 18, 12:30, 4:50
Saturday, October 19, 5:10, 9:40
Wednesday, October 23, 4:20, 10:15
Friday, November 1, 9:30

The first film that Akira Kurosawa had total control over, Drunken Angel tells the story of a young Yakuza member, Matsunaga (Toshirô Mifune), who shows up late one night at the office of the neighborhood doctor, Sanada (Takashi Shimura), to have a bullet removed from his hand. Sanada, an expert on tuberculosis, immediately diagnoses Matsunaga with the disease, but the gangster is too proud to admit there is anything wrong with him. Sanada sees a lot of himself in the young man, remembering a time when his life was full of choices — he could have been a gangster or a successful big-city doctor. When Okada (Reisaburo Yamamoto) returns from prison, searching for Sanada’s nurse, Miyo (Chieko Nakakita), the film turns into a classic noir, with marvelous touches of German expressionism thrown in. The terrible incidental music lapses into melodramatic mush, preventing the film from reaching its full potential greatness, but that’s just a minor quibble.


Takashi Shimura and Toshirō Mifune team up as detectives tracking a stolen gun in Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog

STRAY DOG (野良犬) (NORA INU) (Akira Kurosawa, 1949)
Friday, October 18, 2:30, 8:20
Saturday, October 19, 1:20, 7:10
Thursday, October 24, 12:30, 9:45

Akira Kurosawa’s thrilling police procedural, Stray Dog, is one of the all-time-great film noirs. When newbie detective Murakami (Toshirō Mifune) gets his Colt lifted on a trolley, he fears he’ll be fired if he does not get it back. But as he searches for the weapon, he discovers that it is being used in a series of robberies and murders — for which he feels responsible. Teamed with seasoned veteran Sato (Takashi Shimura), Murakami risks his career — and his life — as he tries desperately to track down his gun before it is used again. Kurosawa makes audiences sweat, showing postwar Japan in the midst of a brutal heat wave, with Murakami, Sato, dancer Harumi Namiki (Keiko Awaji), and others constantly mopping their brows — the heat is so palpable, you can practically see it dripping off the screen. (You’ll find yourself feeling relieved when Sato hits a button on a desk fan, causing it to turn toward his face.) In his third of sixteen films made with Kurosawa, Mifune plays Murakami with a stalwart vulnerability, working beautifully with Shimura’s cool, calm cop who has seen it all and knows how to handle just about every situation. (Shimura was another Kurosawa favorite, appearing in twenty-one of his films.)


Rookie detective Murakami (Toshirō Mifune) often finds himself in the shadows in STRAY DOG

Mifune is often seen through horizontal or vertical gates, bars, curtains, shadows, window frames, and wire, as if he’s psychologically and physically caged in by his dilemma — and as time goes on, the similarities between him and the murderer grow until they’re almost one and the same person, dealing ever-so-slightly differently with the wake of the destruction wrought on Japan in WWII. Inspired by the novels of Georges Simenon and Jules Dassin’s The Naked City, Stray Dog is a dark, intense drama shot in creepy black and white by Asakazu Nakai and featuring a jazzy soundtrack by Fumio Hayasaka that unfortunately grows melodramatic in a few key moments — and oh, if only that final scene had been left on the cutting-room floor. It also includes an early look at Japanese professional baseball. Kurosawa would soon become the most famous Japanese auteur in the world, going on to make Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, The Bad Sleep Well, The Lower Depths, and I Live in Fear in the next decade alone.

Takashi Shimura does a stellar job with a rare leading role in Kurosawa’s captivating melodrama IKIRU

Takashi Shimura does a stellar job with a rare leading role in Akira Kurosawa’s captivating melodrama Ikiru

IKIRU (TO LIVE) (DOOMED) (Akira Kurosawa, 1952)
Sunday, October 20, 1:20
Thursday, October 24, 4:50

In Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 gem, Ikiru, winner of a special prize at the 1954 Berlin International Film Festival, the great Takashi Shimura is outstanding as simple-minded petty bureaucrat Kanji Watanabe, a paper-pushing section chief who has not taken a day off in thirty years. But when he suddenly finds out that he is dying of stomach cancer, he finally decides that there might be more to life than he thought after meeting up with an oddball novelist (Yunosuke Ito). While his son, Mitsuo (Nobuo Kaneko), and coworkers wonder just what is going on with him — he has chosen not to tell anyone about his illness — he begins cavorting with Kimura (Shinichi Himori), a young woman filled with a zest for life. Although the plot sounds somewhat predictable, Kurosawa’s intuitive direction, a smart script (cowritten with Hideo Oguni), and a marvelously slow-paced performance by Shimura (Stray Dog, Scandal, Seven Samurai) make this one of the director’s best melodramas.

The Lower Depths is another masterful tour de force from Akira Kurosawa

The Lower Depths is another masterful tour de force from Akira Kurosawa

THE LOWER DEPTHS (DONZOKO) (Akira Kurosawa, 1957)
Saturday, November 2, 12:50, 8:40

Loosely adapted from Maxim Gorky’s social realist play, The Lower Depths is a staggering achievement, yet another masterpiece from Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa. Set in an immensely dark and dingy ramshackle skid-row tenement during the Edo period, the claustrophobic film examines the rich and the poor, gambling and prostitution, life and death, and everything in between through the eyes of impoverished characters who have nothing. The motley crew includes the suspicious landlord, Rokubei (Ganjiro Nakamura), and his much younger wife, Osugi (Isuzu Yamada); Osugi’s sister, Okayo (Kyôko Kagawa); the thief Sutekichi (Toshirō Mifune), who gets involved in a love triangle with a noir murder angle; and Kahei (Bokuzen Hidari), an elderly newcomer who might be more than just a grandfatherly observer. Despite the brutal conditions they live in, the inhabitants soldier on, some dreaming of their better past, others still hoping for a promising future. Kurosawa infuses the gripping film with a wry sense of humor, not allowing anyone to wallow away in self-pity. The play had previously been turned into a film in 1936 by Jean Renoir, starring Jean Gabin as the thief.


Kings County Distillery at the Brooklyn Navy Yard will offer tours during Open House New York weekend (photo courtesy of Kings County Distillery)

Kings County Distillery at the Brooklyn Navy Yard will offer tours during Open House New York Weekend (photo courtesy of Kings County Distillery)

Multiple venues in all five boroughs
October 18-20, free - $5

Although $5 reservations for most of the usual suspects for the seventeenth annual Open House New York Weekend are long gone, there are still plenty of opportunities to go behind the scenes at numerous unique churches, art and design studios, universities, breweries, cultural centers, and other architectural sites, particularly if you’re willing to travel away from midtown and downtown Manhattan. There are hundreds of locations that are open for free, although you might have to wait on long lines, whereas snagging a reservation at one of the below guarantees you admission. Among the classic free sites are the Actors’ Temple, the African Burial Ground National Monument, the AT&T Long Distance Building Lobby, the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Castle Williams on Governors Island, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Central Park’s Belvedere Castle, Central Synagogue, City Hall, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, FDR Four Freedoms State Park, the Federal Hall National Memorial, the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, Fort Tilden in the Rockaways, Fort Tryon Park Cottage & Heather Garden, the General Grant National Memorial, the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York — and that is only through the beginning of the alphabet. Reservation lines close soon, so you better hurry.

Friday, October 18
Justin Paul Inc, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, 9:00 am, 10:00

Big aLICe Brewing Co, Long Island City, Queens, 9:00 am, 10:30, 12:00

Kepco, Inc., Flushing, Queens, 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 3:00

Crystalyn Kae Accessories at Industry City, Industry City, Brooklyn, 9:00 am, 11:00, 1:00, 3:00

Urban Archaeology, Long Island City, Queens, 10:00 am, 11:00, 12:00

Red White and Blue Enterprises, Woodside, Queens, 10:00 am, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00

Legion Lighting & SMASH Industries, East New York, Brooklyn, 10:00 am, 11:30, 1:00, 2:30

Tech Products, Inc., Clifton, Staten Island, 10:30 am, 1:30

Wild East Brewing Company, Gowanus, Brooklyn, 11:00 am, 12:00, 2:00, 3:00

Stickbulb at RUX Studios, Long Island City, Queens, 11:00 am, 2:00, 4:00

urbangreen, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, 1:00, 2:00

Watermark Designs, East New York, Brooklyn, 1:00, 2:00

Transmitter Brewing, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute offers walking tours and site-specific art during OHNY Weekend

Saturday, October 19
Morningside Park, Morningside Heights, Manhattan, 10:00 am, 1:00, 4:00

Art and Architecture at Lehman College, the City University of New York, Jerome Park, Bronx, 10:00 am, 11:30, 1:00, 2:30

COOKFOX Architects, Columbus Circle, Manhattan, 11:00 am, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00

Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem, Manhattan, 11:00 am, 12:00, 4:00, 5:00

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, Harlem, Manhattan, 11:00 am, 1:00

Ridgewood Reservoir, Glendale, Queens, 11:00 am, 1:00

Friends Seminary, Gramercy, Manhattan, 11:00 am, 1:00, 3:00

Square Roots Urban Growers Inc, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, 11:00 am, 1:00, 3:00, 5:00

Van Cortlandt House Museum, Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, 11:30 am, 1:30, 3:00

HLW, Garment District, Manhattan, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00

Plymouth Church, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, 12:30 - 3:00

Kings County Distillery, Navy Yard, Brooklyn, 1:00 - 4:00

Chelsea District Health Center, Chelsea, Manhattan, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00

Maison, Upper East Side, Manhattan, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00

The Delson/Transitional Service for New York, Jamaica, Queens, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00

Sunday, October 20
Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, Upper Harlem, Manhattan, 10:00 am, 11:30, 1:00

Morningside Park, Morningside Heights, Manhattan, 10:00 am, 1:00, 4:00

Ridgewood Reservoir, Glendale, Queens, 11:00 am, 1:00

Friends Seminary, Gramercy, Manhattan, 11:00 am, 1:00, 3:00

Van Cortlandt House Museum, Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, 11:30 am, 1:30, 3:00

Building Energy Exchange, Civic Center, Manhattan, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00

Plymouth Church, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, 12:30 - 3:00

Kings County Distillery, Navy Yard, Brooklyn, 1:00 - 4:00

Grace Church High School, East Village, Manhattan, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30


(photo copyright Hiroshi Sugimoto / courtesy Odawara Art Foundation)

Sugimoto Bunraku Sonezaki Shinju’s The Love Suicides at Sonezaki kicks off Lincoln Center’s tenth annual White Light Festival (photo copyright Hiroshi Sugimoto / courtesy Odawara Art Foundation)

Multiple venues at Lincoln Center
October 19 - November 24, free - $165

Lincoln Center’s multidisciplinary White Light Festival turns ten this year, and it is celebrating with another wide-ranging program of dance, theater, music, and more, running October 19 through November 24 at such venues as the Rose Theater, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, Alice Tully Hall, and the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. “The resonance of the White Light Festival has only deepened during its first decade, as we have moved into far more challenging times here and around the world,” Lincoln Center artistic director Jane Moss said in a statement. “The Festival’s central theme, namely the singular capacity of artistic expression to illuminate what is inside ourselves and connect us to others, is more relevant than ever. This tenth anniversary edition spanning disparate countries, cultures, disciplines, and genres emphasizes that the elevation of the spirit the arts inspires uniquely unites us and expands who we are.” Things get under way October 19-22 (Rose Theater, $35-$100) with Sugimoto Bunraku Sonezaki Shinju’s The Love Suicides at Sonezaki, a retelling of a long-banned tale by Chikamatsu Monzaemon using puppets, composed and directed by Seiji Tsurusawa, with choreography by Tomogoro Yamamura and video by Tabaimo and artistic director Hiroshi Sugimoto. That is followed October 23-25 by Australia ensemble Circa’s boundary-pushing En Masse (Gerald W. Lynch Theater, $25-$65), directed and designed by Yaron Lifschitz, combining acrobatics and contemporary dance with music by Klara Lewis along with Franz Schubert and Igor Stravinsky.

In Zauberland (Magic Land) (October 29-30, Gerald W. Lynch, $35-$95), soprano Julia Bullock performs Schumann’s Romantic song cycle Dichterliebe while facing haunting memories; the text is by Heinrich Heine and Martin Crimp, with Cédric Tiberghien on piano. The set for Roysten Abel’s The Manganiyar Seduction (November 6–9, Rose Theater, $55-$110) is mind-blowing, consisting of more than two dozen Manganiyar musicians in their own lighted rectangular spaces in a giant red box. Last year, Irish company Druid and cofounder Garry Hynes brought a comic Waiting for Godot to the White Light Festival; this year they’re back with a dark take on Richard III (November 7-23, Gerald W. Lynch, $35-$110) starring Aaron Monaghan, who played Estragon in 2018. Wynton Marsalis will lead The Abyssinian Mass (November 21-23, Rose Theater, $45-$165) with Chorale Le Chateau, featuring a sermon by Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III. In addition to the above, there are also several one-time-only events, listed below.

(photo by Robbie Jack)

DruidShakespeare will present Richard III at the White Light Festival November 7-23 (photo by Robbie Jack)

Thursday, October 24
Jordi Savall: Journey to the East, Alice Tully Hall, $35-$110, 7:30

Tuesday, October 29
Mahler Songs, recital by German baritone Christian Gerhahe with pianist Gerold Huber, Alice Tully Hall, $45-$90, 7:30

Thursday, November 7
Stabat Mater by James MacMillan, with Britten Sinfonia and the Sixteen, conducted by Harry Christophers, Alice Tully Hall, $50-$85, 7:30

Saturday, November 9
White Light Conversation: Let’s Talk About Religion, panel discussion with Kelly Brown Douglas, Marcelo Gleiser, James MacMillan, and Stephen Prothero, moderated by John Schaefer, Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio, free, 3:00

Sunday, November 10
Goldberg Variations, with pianist Kit Armstrong, Walter Reade Theater, $25, 11:00 am

Wednesday, November 13
Ensemble Basiani: Unifying Voices, Church of St. Mary the Virgin, $55, 7:30

Thursday, November 14
Attacca Quartet with Caroline Shaw: Words and Music, David Rubenstein Atrium, free, 7:30

Sunday, November 17
Tristan and Isolde, Act II, with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, featuring Stephen Gould as Tristan and Christine Goerke as Isolde, David Geffen Hall, $35-$105, 3:00

Thursday, November 21
Gloria, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and its Choir, conducted by harpsichordist Jonathan Cohen, featuring soprano Katherine Watson, countertenor Iestyn Davies, and soprano Rowan Pierce, Alice Tully Hall, $100, 7:30

Sunday, November 24
Los Angeles Philharmonic: Cathedral of Sound, Bruckner’s “Romantic” Symphony, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, David Geffen Hall, $35-$105, 3:00



Who: Ed Kranepool, Art Shamsky, Ron Swoboda
What: Fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Mets’ 1969 world championship
Where: Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, 516-572-4111
When: Wednesday, October 16, $50-$100, 7:00
Why: Something remarkable shocked the world in the summer and fall of 1969. No, I’m not talking about the lunar landing or Woodstock but something even more amazing: The New York Mets made a seemingly impossible run in August and September to capture the National League pennant and go on to the World Series, where, on October 16, they won Game Five to defeat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles and become world champions. On Wednesday, October 16, three of the Amazin’s improbable stars, Art Shamsky, Ed Kranepool, and Ron Swoboda, will be in the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s Dome Theater in Garden City to talk about that unlikely victory by a group of misfits based in Queens. General admission is $50; VIP entry of $100 comes with up-front seating and a photo and autograph session.


(photo by Heidrun Lohr)

The Second Woman repeats the same scene from John Cassavetes’s Opening Night one hundred times (photo by Heidrun Lohr)

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Peter Jay Sharp Building, 230 Lafayette Ave.
BAM Fisher, Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Pl.
October 15 - December 15

Like myriad loyal BAMgoers, I look forward every year to the announcement of the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which has been presenting cutting-edge, experimental, and innovative dance, music, film, theater, opera, and hard-to-categorize multidisciplinary performances from around the world for nearly forty years. We eagerly scour the schedule to see when our longtime BAM favorites will be returning, scanning for such beloved names and companies as Robert Wilson, Sasha Waltz, Grupo Corpo, Batsheva, Philip Glass, Sankai Juku, Ivo van Hove, Mark Morris, Théâtre de la Ville, William Kentridge, Laurie Anderson, and the incomparable Pina Bausch, programmed by masterful executive producer Joe Melillo since 1999.

But this year’s lineup features nary a single familiar name, including that of Melillo, who retired after the Winter/Spring season. For his debut Next Wave Festival, new artistic director David Binder has opted to include a roster of performers all making their BAM debuts as well. But don’t be scared off by the lack of recognition. There was a time when no one in New York had ever seen Pina Bausch, Sankai Juku, Batsheva, Sasha Waltz, et al. And by its very nature, the Next Wave is all about the future of performance, delivered to an eager and intrepid audience open to anything and everything.

(photo by Ernesto Galan)

Dead Centre’s Hamnet tells the story of Shakespeare’s son (photo by Ernesto Galan)

“In programming my first season at BAM, I was inspired by the genesis of Next Wave and the groundbreaking work of my predecessors, Harvey Lichtenstein and Joe Melillo,” Binder said in a statement. “Next Wave is a place to see, share, and celebrate the most exciting new ideas in theater, music, dance, and, especially, the unclassifiable adventures. We’ve invited a slate of artists who have never performed at BAM. Each and every one of them is making a BAM debut, with artistic work that’s surprising and resonant. I’m excited to launch this season and to build BAM’s next chapter
with you.”

The 2019 Next Wave roster is an impressive one, kicking off October 15-20 with Michael Keegan-Dolan and Teaċ Daṁsa’s Swan Lake / Loch na hEala, about a young girl sexually assaulted by a priest. In The Second Woman, Alia Shawkat performs the same scene from John Cassavetes’s Opening Night one hundred times with one hundred different men over the course of twenty-four consecutive hours. Christiane Jatahy’s What if they went to Moscow? explores film and theater in a retelling of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters that takes place concurrently onstage at the BAM Fisher and onscreen at BAM Rose Cinemas, the audiences switching places as the performance repeats. In Dante or Die’s User Not Found, audience members sit in a café at the Greene Grape Annex on Fulton St., following the exploits of a man a few tables away. Dimitris Papaioannou breaks boundaries as he explores human existence in The Great Tamer. And Glenn Kaino’s When a Pot Finds Its Purpose will be the inaugural free exhibition at the new Rudin Family Gallery at BAM Strong.

(photo by Justin Jones)

Dante or Die’s User Not Found takes place in the Greene Grape Annex on Fulton St. (photo by Justin Jones)

The 2019 Next Wave Festival also includes Bruno Beltrão/Grupo de Rua’s Inoah, Dumbworld’s free outdoor art piece He Did What?, Selina Thompson’s free interactive installation Race Cards, Dead Centre’s Hamnet, Marlene Monteiro Freitas’s Bacchae: Prelude to a Purge, Untitled Projects/Unicorn Theatre, UK’s The End of Eddy, Peeping Tom’s 32 rue Vandenbranden, Fuel/National Theatre/Leeds Playhouse’s Barber Shop Chronicles, Kyle Marshall Choreography’s A.D. & Colored, Kate McIntosh’s In Many Hands, and Meow Meow’s A Very Meow Meow Holiday Show. Still worried about unfamiliarity? If you’ve been to BAM before, you should be ready, willing, and able to be surprised, and if you’ve never been to BAM, you should be preparing to make your debut.


The Booksellers

Rare-book dealers such as Adam Weinberger scour through private homes to find buried treasure in The Booksellers

THE BOOKSELLERS (D. W. Young, 2019)
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65th St. between Broadway & Amsterdam Ave.
Monday, October 7, Francesca Beale Theater, 6:00
Wednesday, October 9, Howard Gilman Theater, 8:30
Festival runs September 27 - October 13

“There’s so much more to a book than just the reading,” Maurice Sendak is quoted as saying in D. W. Young’s wonderfully literate documentary The Booksellers, screening at the New York Film Festival on October 7 and 9. I have to admit to being a little biased, as I work in the children’s book industry in another part of my life, and I serve as the managing editor on Sendak’s old and newly discovered works. The film follows the exploits of a group of dedicated bibliophiles who treasure books as unique works of art, buying, selling, and collecting them not merely for the money but for the thrill of it. “The relationship of the individual to the book is very much like a love affair,” Americana collector Michael Zinman explains.

Sisters Adina Cohen, Judith Lowry and Naomi Hample, owners of the Argosy Book Store, at the store on East 59th Street in Manhattan

Sisters Adina Cohen, Judith Lowry, and Naomi Hample of Argosy Book Store keep the family legacy alive

In the film, which features narration by executive producer Parker Posey, Young visits the Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory and speaks with a wide range of intellectual characters, including author and cultural commentator Fran Lebowitz, who relates her experiences in rare-book stores; bestselling writer Susan Orlean, who discusses her archives; leather-bound connoisseur Bibi Mohamed of Imperial Fine Books, who talks about going to her first estate sale; late-twentieth-century specialist Arthur Fournier; Nicholas D. Lowry and Stephen Massey of Antiques Roadshow, the latter of whom was the auctioneer for the most expensive book ever sold, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Hammer codex; sci-fi expert and author Henry Wessells; Justin Schiller, who worked with Sendak and other children’s book authors; Rebecca Romney of Pawn Stars; Jim Cummins, who owns some four hundred thousand books; Erik DuRon and Jess Kuronen of Left Bank Books; Nancy Bass Wyden of the Strand; and Adina Cohen, Naomi Hample, and Judith Lowry, the three sisters who own the Argosy Book Store, continuing the family legacy.

But times have changed, for both good and bad. Dealer Dave Bergman complains, “The internet has killed the hunt,” comparing the excitement of live auctions and the detective-like chase for a title to the boredom of automated online searches and bidding. However, diversity is on the rise, as explored with Kevin Young of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Caroline Schimmel, a leading collector of books by women; and hip-hop archivist and curator Syreeta Gates. “I think the death of the book is highly overrated,” Heather O’Donnell of Honey and Wax Booksellers declares. From her mouth. . . . The Booksellers, which is worth seeing solely for Antiques Roadshow appraiser and Swann Auction Galleries president Nicholas D. Lowry’s fab mustache, is screening October 7 at 6:00 and October 9 at 8:30, followed by Q&As with D. W. Young and producers Judith Mizrachy and Dan Wechsler.