Sat

7/21

Sun

7/22

Mon

7/23

Tue

7/24

Wed

7/25

Thu

7/26

Fri

7/27

Today

Sat

7/21

Music

Brimstone & Glory   With Wordless Music Orchestra and Sonido Gallo Negro

Photo: "Brimstone & Glory"

Spare yourself a long, hot, dusty trip to the playa and see some real burning men when the Wordless Music Orchestra performs producer-composer Benh Zeitlin’s score to director Viktor Jakovleski’s 2017 documentary Brimstone & Glory. Filmed in the Mexican town of Tultepec during a week-long celebration, Brimstone focuses on a pair of elaborate annual fireworks displays that inevitably lead to injuries and worse. It also chronicles the unsafe and thoroughly unscientific production of the shells and skyrockets used in these spectacularly colorful pyrotechnic feats. Equally spectacular in its own way, vintage Mexico City psychedelic cumbia combo Sonido Gallo Negro (Black Rooster Sound) gives cha-cha-cha, porro, mambo, and danzón a sci-fi spin with surf guitars, Farfisa organ, and Theremin. Their latest album, Mambo Cósmico, offers a space-age bachelor-pad update of Sun Ra’s sonic spaceways.

Richard Gehr

Film

Dance on Camera Festival

A co-production of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Dance Films Association, this year’s festival — its namesake’s 46th — offers sixteen programs encompassing ambitious features and quirky shorts from seventeen countries. In addition to the programs at the giant Walter Reade Theater, free screenings and discussions take place in the FSLC’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater across the street. Grab an all-access pass, another discount package, or single tickets and enjoy the comfy, commercial-free cinema environs.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Film

Lois Weber Program 2

By 1916, Lois Weber was reported to be the highest-paid director in Hollywood. She would later start her own company, Lois Weber Productions, which she operated in unconventional ways: shooting on location, experimenting with form in a way most major studios did not. Her repeated thematic concerns around motherhood, marriage, the confines of femininity, even birth control (Where Are My Children?, 1916) are an inevitable result of the creative freedom she enjoyed in a time before censorship. Weber reportedly took seriously what she believed to be the power of cinema, and her films, as such, focused on heavy subject matter. But formally, too, Weber was a trailblazer: She is credited with one of the first-ever uses of split screen in cinema, in her 1913 short Suspense.

—Christina Newland

Dance

Batsheva — The Young Ensemble

Straight from a run at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts comes Batsheva — The Young Ensemble, the junior offshoot of Tel Aviv’s leading troupe Batsheva. The outfit brings with them Naharin’s Virus, a Bessie Award–winning piece by Ohad Naharin, who recently announced that he’s stepping down as the company’s director but will continue to choreograph. Adapted from Peter Handke’s play Offending the Audience, the deeply ambiguous work, which had its U.S. premiere in 2002, includes sections of Handke’s text, a huge blackboard at the back of the stage, and other deeply theatrical strategies.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Film

Alice Guy-Blaché Program

Alice Guy-Blaché was among the first filmmakers in history to complete a narrative film (1896’s La Fée aux Choux); she also maintained an East Coast–based production company, Solax, that housed a state-of-the-art facility in the early 1910s. With A Fool and His Money (1912), you can see unfold the oldest surviving film featuring an all-black cast. That same year’s Algie, the Miner appears to depict thinly veiled homosexuality with a light comedic touch. The apotheosis of this Guy-Blaché program — and the longest film, at forty minutes — is The Ocean Waif (1916), which explores female empowerment via the drama of a young woman desperate to escape her abusive stepfather. This was Guy-Blaché’s project for William Randolph Hearst’s studio, and therefore a good deal more conservative than her other pictures, but it nonetheless crackles with a tremendous performance from gorgeous lead actress Doris Kenyon.

—Christina Newland

Performance

Boylesque Bullfight

For ten years, Austin McCormick’s peripatetic baroque-burlesque ensemble Company XIV has mounted stunning, raunchy versions of popular fairy tales and Petipa ballets. This summer, it offers an ingenious original piece, Boylesque Bullfight, in its own Brooklyn cabaret space. Eight shapely men, attired in little more than jeweled codpieces, corsets, and horned helmets, bring us a jaw-dropping version of Munro Leaf’s 1936 nursery story of Ferdinand, the bull who never learned to fight. The action comes ornamented with soprano Marcy Richardson singing arias from Bizet’s Carmen and a delightful playlist including Tom Waits, Yma Sumac, Gloria Gaynor, and tango tunes. A man-size honeybee rocks point shoes; the very talented performers work out on poles, spiral in Spanish dance styles with lace mantillas and fans, and climax, under a rain of glitter, in a kick-line wearing fake breasts. A blast for all is just about guaranteed.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Film

The Spook Who Sat by the Door

This 1973 adaptation of Sam Greenlee’s novel (co-scripted by the author) is a martini-dry political fable, in which the first-ever black CIA agent abruptly quits and uses his acquired knowledge to plan and build a large-scale, anti-authoritarian insurrection. Crisply directed by TV veteran Ivan Dixon, and edited by Michael Kahn, who would go on to be Spielberg’s cutter of forty years, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is a superb example of having one’s cake and eating it, as it indulges the perspectives of the outsider and the insider as one. Blissfully divested of the kind of equivocation that kneecaps some of our contemporary discourse, the movie bears the thrills usually associated with banned art, making no bones about advocating for direct action. If it’s a fantasy, it’s in the same family as The Red Shoes, which still inspires people to strap on ballet slippers.

—Jaime N. Christley

Sun

7/22

Film

Dance on Camera Festival

Photo: Still from "American Tap" courtesy of Mark Wilkinson

A co-production of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Dance Films Association, this year’s festival — its namesake’s 46th — offers sixteen programs encompassing ambitious features and quirky shorts from seventeen countries. In addition to the programs at the giant Walter Reade Theater, free screenings and discussions take place in the FSLC’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater across the street. Grab an all-access pass, another discount package, or single tickets and enjoy the comfy, commercial-free cinema environs.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Theater

Peter Pan

In 1950, a production of Peter Pan — using the J.M. Barrie text, but tricked out with eight Leonard Bernstein songs and a buzzy, jazzy score — sprinkled its fairy dust on Broadway. It had its ups (critical acclaim and more than 300 performances); it had its downs (Bernstein seems to have hated it, nobody remembers it, and it sank beneath the waves like a croc with a concrete tail). And yet for five decades it’s been almost completely forgotten. The Bard SummerScape mission includes rescuing such odd objets and putting them in glamorous high-end vitrines. Director Christopher Alden’s production — impressive and assured and not always pleasant — gives Pan the Germanic theater treatment, setting it under harsh fluorescent lights and a haze of intentional bad feeling.

Helen Shaw

Dance

Batsheva — The Young Ensemble

Straight from a run at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts comes Batsheva — The Young Ensemble, the junior offshoot of Tel Aviv’s leading troupe Batsheva. The outfit brings with them Naharin’s Virus, a Bessie Award–winning piece by Ohad Naharin, who recently announced that he’s stepping down as the company’s director but will continue to choreograph. Adapted from Peter Handke’s play Offending the Audience, the deeply ambiguous work, which had its U.S. premiere in 2002, includes sections of Handke’s text, a huge blackboard at the back of the stage, and other deeply theatrical strategies.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Film

Toward a Common Tenderness

Kaori Oda’s Toward a Common Tenderness would feel right at home alongside Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson. Oda uses the lens and memory of her DSLR to journey backward through time, inspecting her use of the camera as both an aggressor and a tool of understanding. Whether revisiting her first short, Thus a Noise Speaks, a vessel for coming out to her mother; her time as a foreigner in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the tutelage of Béla Tarr; or the various films she’s made in the interim (Aragane captures the daily lives of Bosnian coal miners), Oda investigates the ethics and impulses behind her desire — and occasional lack thereof — to document life on a cinematic canvas. She stares her subjects in the face once more, revisiting old footage and stills of labor and poverty while questioning her choices as a filmmaker. She’s unable to move forward until she confronts her decisions, as if deconstructing not only the craft behind cinema, but the existential drive underlying art itself. We document in order to be remembered.

—Siddhant Adlakha

Film

The Spook Who Sat by the Door

This 1973 adaptation of Sam Greenlee’s novel (co-scripted by the author) is a martini-dry political fable, in which the first-ever black CIA agent abruptly quits and uses his acquired knowledge to plan and build a large-scale, anti-authoritarian insurrection. Crisply directed by TV veteran Ivan Dixon, and edited by Michael Kahn, who would go on to be Spielberg’s cutter of forty years, The Spook Who Sat by the Door is a superb example of having one’s cake and eating it, as it indulges the perspectives of the outsider and the insider as one. Blissfully divested of the kind of equivocation that kneecaps some of our contemporary discourse, the movie bears the thrills usually associated with banned art, making no bones about advocating for direct action. If it’s a fantasy, it’s in the same family as The Red Shoes, which still inspires people to strap on ballet slippers.

—Jaime N. Christley

Performance

Boylesque Bullfight

For ten years, Austin McCormick’s peripatetic baroque-burlesque ensemble Company XIV has mounted stunning, raunchy versions of popular fairy tales and Petipa ballets. This summer, it offers an ingenious original piece, Boylesque Bullfight, in its own Brooklyn cabaret space. Eight shapely men, attired in little more than jeweled codpieces, corsets, and horned helmets, bring us a jaw-dropping version of Munro Leaf’s 1936 nursery story of Ferdinand, the bull who never learned to fight. The action comes ornamented with soprano Marcy Richardson singing arias from Bizet’s Carmen and a delightful playlist including Tom Waits, Yma Sumac, Gloria Gaynor, and tango tunes. A man-size honeybee rocks point shoes; the very talented performers work out on poles, spiral in Spanish dance styles with lace mantillas and fans, and climax, under a rain of glitter, in a kick-line wearing fake breasts. A blast for all is just about guaranteed.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Mon

7/23

Film

The Living Idol

Photo: Cohen Film Collection

An uncredited repurposing of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, with the action shifted to the pre-Columbian archeological sites at the Mexican pyramids, the sixth of six films by the preternaturally sophisticated and erudite American writer-director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Moon and Sixpence) suffers from most of the usual balderdash that hindered CinemaScope travelogue pictures of every stripe. There are one or two unproven young actors; camera placement certainty reset to zero thanks to the new formats; and a vague malaise in the production’s unity that executives sought to resolve with barrels of cash. (The more things change, etc.) All five of Lewin’s other movies are stronger by orders of magnitude, but The Living Idol, which Lewin scripted from his own novel, is every bit their equal for mystery and learned solidity. Very much worth your while.

—Jaime N. Christley

Film

Dance on Camera Festival

A co-production of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Dance Films Association, this year’s festival — its namesake’s 46th — offers sixteen programs encompassing ambitious features and quirky shorts from seventeen countries. In addition to the programs at the giant Walter Reade Theater, free screenings and discussions take place in the FSLC’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater across the street. Grab an all-access pass, another discount package, or single tickets and enjoy the comfy, commercial-free cinema environs.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Tue

7/24

Film

McCabe and Mrs. Miller

Photo: Photofest

Robert Altman’s languid western McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) forsakes the gunfire and action theatrics typical of the genre in favor of somber grappling with the economics of the American Dream. Altman understood that constructing the West meant building it from the ground up, and with that came the mundane problems of the everyday. McCabe and Mrs. Miller finds its poetry in the quotidian images of Altman and the late cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond; shot with snowy, stately elegance and loaded with unspeakably beautiful images, the town that John McCabe (Warren Beatty) and others are constructing appears at once organic and otherworldly. It feels like it is being raised, heroically, up from the earth itself, and the workers expect their fair share and a chance to thrive for their hard labor. They achieve these things for some time, but, as in most every story about capitalism, there’s always a bigger predator waiting and willing to swallow up anything meeker in hopes of more power and capital. Altman’s West looks at the smaller man and how he tries to survive in spite of this harsh knowledge.

Willow Maclay

Film

Dance on Camera Festival

A co-production of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Dance Films Association, this year’s festival — its namesake’s 46th — offers sixteen programs encompassing ambitious features and quirky shorts from seventeen countries. In addition to the programs at the giant Walter Reade Theater, free screenings and discussions take place in the FSLC’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center Amphitheater across the street. Grab an all-access pass, another discount package, or single tickets and enjoy the comfy, commercial-free cinema environs.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Film

The Living Idol

An uncredited repurposing of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, with the action shifted to the pre-Columbian archeological sites at the Mexican pyramids, the sixth of six films by the preternaturally sophisticated and erudite American writer-director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Moon and Sixpence) suffers from most of the usual balderdash that hindered CinemaScope travelogue pictures of every stripe. There are one or two unproven young actors; camera placement certainty reset to zero thanks to the new formats; and a vague malaise in the production’s unity that executives sought to resolve with barrels of cash. (The more things change, etc.) All five of Lewin’s other movies are stronger by orders of magnitude, but The Living Idol, which Lewin scripted from his own novel, is every bit their equal for mystery and learned solidity. Very much worth your while.

—Jaime N. Christley

Wed

7/25

Film

Mabel Normand Program

Photo: Still from "Mabel's Blunder" (1914) / Kino Lorber

During the early-Hollywood era, slapstick comedy and western two-reelers were the genres du jour, each allowing for the affordable recycling of sets, props, and costumes — not to mention talent. Chief among those talents was Mabel Normand, Mack Sennett’s slapstick queen. She was a beloved star, sometimes regarded as the female Chaplin for her pratfalling charms. Normand was fiercely independent and notoriously foulmouthed, a hard-living flapper girl whose reputation would later take a serious dive when she was (most believe falsely) implicated in the 1922 murder of William Desmond Taylor. At BAM, a series of films where the comedian directed herself will be screening — including one in which she appears alongside the fledgling Chaplin, entitled Caught in a Cabaret (1914).

—Christina Newland

TV

Castle Rock

From producer J.J. Abrams and Your Scary-Time TV Dad Stephen King comes this spooky-scary show set in one of the author’s beloved terrifying fictional Maine towns. Essentially, the place is possessed by a dark spirit — à la the ship in Event Horizon, the scariest fucking movie in the world. At least outside of Return to Oz and The Care Bears Movie. The only hope for any of these people is to move the fuck out of their town but they never will and so they’re all destined to live in fear and die horrific deaths. I don’t know; the times might be too dark for this show right now, seeing as how the president and his party are trying to Event Horizon us all. But maybe you like to go darker to get to the light. You gotta do you.

Laura Beck

Film

The Living Idol

An uncredited repurposing of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, with the action shifted to the pre-Columbian archeological sites at the Mexican pyramids, the sixth of six films by the preternaturally sophisticated and erudite American writer-director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Moon and Sixpence) suffers from most of the usual balderdash that hindered CinemaScope travelogue pictures of every stripe. There are one or two unproven young actors; camera placement certainty reset to zero thanks to the new formats; and a vague malaise in the production’s unity that executives sought to resolve with barrels of cash. (The more things change, etc.) All five of Lewin’s other movies are stronger by orders of magnitude, but The Living Idol, which Lewin scripted from his own novel, is every bit their equal for mystery and learned solidity. Very much worth your while.

—Jaime N. Christley

Film

Kushina, what will you be

The winner of the Japan Cuts Award at this year’s Osaka Film Festival, Moët Hayami’s poetic debut is an intimate story of mothers and daughters whose future rests on a knife-edge. Hayami’s vivid tale is set in an isolationist village of aging women escaping the sorrows of modernity. That is, except for preteen Kushina (Ikumi Satake), who was born in the forested community and has never ventured beyond its surrounding rivers. Kushina’s only connection to the outside world is her mother’s Walkman. Everything changes when detached anthropologist Soko (Yayoi Inamoto) and her male assistant, Keita (Suguru Onuma), stumble upon the arresting haven, bringing with them both curiosity and complications. Soko grows fond of Kushina, shedding her clinical approach and discovering the beauty at the core of her field. But the male presence Soko brings intrudes upon this separatist paradise, crafted carefully over decades, thus locking Kushina’s mother, Kagu (Tomona Hirota), and grandmother, Onikuma (Miyuki Ono), the community’s matriarch, in a riveting generational debate over the girl’s future.

—Siddhant Adlakha

Thu

7/26

Music

Daniel Norgren

Photo: Anders Engstrom

Swedish folk progressive Daniel Norgren has parlayed his idiosyncratic version of Americana into serious European box office. Where Kerosene Dreams, his 2007 debut, sounded like a young man’s reinterpretation of Tom Waits, his most recent album, The Green Stone, is all moody vibrations sometimes reminiscent of Daniel Lanois and Bon Iver. Norgren does a lot of things well. Accompanied by bassist Anders Grahn and drummer Erik Berntsson, he plays traditional Swedish folk on accordion, croons romantic folk songs over melancholy drones, and bashes out distorted blues solos on electric guitar. Norgren’s reserved affect — he manages himself from the tiny rural town where he resides with his family — and obvious affection for our nation’s glorious folk tradition makes him just about as compelling a singer-songwriter as you’d want to hear. This Is the Kit, a/k/a the esoterically inclined singer-songwriter Kate Stables, opens.

Richard Gehr

Film

The Living Idol

An uncredited repurposing of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People, with the action shifted to the pre-Columbian archeological sites at the Mexican pyramids, the sixth of six films by the preternaturally sophisticated and erudite American writer-director Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Moon and Sixpence) suffers from most of the usual balderdash that hindered CinemaScope travelogue pictures of every stripe. There are one or two unproven young actors; camera placement certainty reset to zero thanks to the new formats; and a vague malaise in the production’s unity that executives sought to resolve with barrels of cash. (The more things change, etc.) All five of Lewin’s other movies are stronger by orders of magnitude, but The Living Idol, which Lewin scripted from his own novel, is every bit their equal for mystery and learned solidity. Very much worth your while.

—Jaime N. Christley

Fri

7/27

Music

Tinariwen + Cheick Hamala Diabate

Photo: Tinariwen / Marie Planeille

Some forty years since their founding, the transcendent West African desert blues collective Tinariwen stir, in their LPs and concert performances, the heat and haze and sweeping expansiveness of the Sahara. Driven by traditional Tuareg melodies and percussion, and the barbed lead guitar lines of Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, the band is entrancing, meditative even, as it rocks, and while the lyrics (on 2017’s Elwan) bemoan a world gone mad. Don’t miss this if you still love guitars but haven’t been turned on in a while by what’s coming out of them stateside.

Alan Scherstuhl

Film

The Strange Case of Angelica

In 1964, long before his final, prevailing period of critical acclaim, the Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira made a scrappy, impatient short film called A Caça (The Hunt), in which two boys on a rural jaunt fall into quicksand, ultimately jeopardizing even their rescuers. Attentive fans of Oliveira will note that, for a director whose films might, to the casual observer, seem entombed in soft arthouse finery, his characters are always falling into one abyss or another. This was never more true than in this 2010 masterpiece, in which provincial photographer Isaac (Ricardo Trêpa) falls in love with the dead girl he’s been commissioned to photograph for the bereaved family. At once an immersive and serene fable set in a small town in the bucolic Douro Valley, The Strange Case of Angelica radiates with immediacy even as the photographer submits to the irresistible pull of his own private quagmire.

—Jaime N. Christley

Music

Hal Willner’s Amarcord Nino Rota

Nino Rota was as indispensable to director Federico Fellini as Bernard Hermann was to Alfred Hitchcock. Few have honored that relationship so memorably as young producer Hal Willner, whose radical 1980 jazz-pop reimagining of the Italian composer’s music, Amarcord Nino Rota, marked the first in a long series of Willner tributes focusing on inspired one-off collaborations. The man behind the curtain has enlisted trumpeter-arranger Steven Bernstein to direct a remarkable convocation featuring keyboardists Karen Mantler and Steve Weisberg, vocalists Joseph Arthur and Jennifer Charles, and too many other great musicians to mention — although Douglas Wieselman (woodwinds), Marty Ehrlich (flute), Marika Hughes (cello), and Gary Lucas (guitar) loom large among them. They’ll play the whimsical and carnivalesque Amarcord Nino Rota in its entirety after delving into Rota’s music for the first two Godfather films.

Richard Gehr

Performance

Boylesque Bullfight

For ten years, Austin McCormick’s peripatetic baroque-burlesque ensemble Company XIV has mounted stunning, raunchy versions of popular fairy tales and Petipa ballets. This summer, it offers an ingenious original piece, Boylesque Bullfight, in its own Brooklyn cabaret space. Eight shapely men, attired in little more than jeweled codpieces, corsets, and horned helmets, bring us a jaw-dropping version of Munro Leaf’s 1936 nursery story of Ferdinand, the bull who never learned to fight. The action comes ornamented with soprano Marcy Richardson singing arias from Bizet’s Carmen and a delightful playlist including Tom Waits, Yma Sumac, Gloria Gaynor, and tango tunes. A man-size honeybee rocks point shoes; the very talented performers work out on poles, spiral in Spanish dance styles with lace mantillas and fans, and climax, under a rain of glitter, in a kick-line wearing fake breasts. A blast for all is just about guaranteed.

Elizabeth Zimmer