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Monday, November 18, 2019

The Barber Shop as a Sacred Space

Photo: Marc Brenner
By Matthew Allen

One of the bastions of unfiltered African-American discourse—the barber shop—is the setting for a Next Wave show. When contemplating where a Black man can have a safe space to express his feelings and engage in unbridled debate and dialogue, a business where one gets haircuts may be the last place that comes to mind, but it’s true. Making its New York debut on December 3 at the Harvey Theater at BAM Strong, Barber Shop Chronicles (Fuel/National Theatre/Leeds Playhouse) finds six cities throughout the African Diaspora united by two commonalities—getting a fresh trim and speaking your mind.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Future Unknown: A Conversation with Brett Story

Photo courtesy of Grasshopper Film 
By Lindsay Brayton

Brett Story is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based in Toronto. The Hottest August is her third documentary feature and screens exclusively at BAM Nov 15—27.

Beyond the Canon: In the Cut + Klute

It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is a monthly series that seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion. This month’s double feature pairs Jane Campion’s In the Cut (2003) with Alan J. Pakula’s Klute (1971).

By Caden Mark Gardner

At the 70th Cannes Film Festival in 2017, directors of past Palme d’Or winners were invited back to celebrate the Festival’s history. At the center of one photo for this occasion was Jane Campion surrounded by an overwhelmingly male swath of contemporaries—a damning visual of the festival’s historic gender inequality. Sharing the top prize for The Piano in 1993 with Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), Campion remains the only female director to win the award. The Piano went on to achieve world cinema renown, winning three Oscars, and reaping $140 million in global box office. That type of success is seldom replicated. Since The Piano, Campion’s works have been predominantly female-focused and specifically concerned with portraying femininity in relation to toxic masculinity and patriarchy, an impulse most recently realized in her limited run series Top of the Lake (2013—17).

Monday, November 11, 2019

“Poke fun in a way that makes you feel optimistic”: A Conversation with Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman, Marie-Laure de Noailles in Her Paris Salon, 2019, courtesy of the artist and Julie Saul Projects 
By Loney Abrams

Illustrator, author, and beloved BAM artist Maira Kalman generously partnered with Julie Saul Projects and BAM to release a new edition to benefit BAM’s artistic and educational programs; it’s available online through Artspace. Signed and numbered by the artist, the print was produced in an edition size of 75. Artspace’s Loney Abrams sat down with Maira Kalman to discuss Kalman’s most fascinating multi-disciplinary projects, where she finds inspiration, and her newest BAM benefit edition. Condensed highlights from their conversation are shared below.

Monday, November 4, 2019

What’s in a Name: When Eddy Became Édouard Louis

Photo: Sarah Walker

By Violaine Huisman

Édouard Louis was sitting very straight, looking deliberately into the interviewer’s eyes. I was sitting next to him, on the other side of a two-tone couch—part grey, part red. We were on the set of La Grande Librairie, a talk show about books, broadcast live in hundreds of thousands of French homes weekly.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Nudity and the Work of Dimitris Papaioannou

By Jess Barbagallo

Dimitris Papaioannou—creator of The Great Tamer and other works of virtuosic dance-theater spectacle since 1986— employs nudity in his live performances. Among other things. His stagecraft, in the lineage of Pina Bausch and Robert Wilson, could be described as anthropomorphic; he treats his sets like bodies too. Ideal in their beauty and mutant in their potential, his floors are always gamely ready to be stripped. They keep coming undone, erupting in raised anomalies designed to unmoor his dancers. I don’t normally conceive of stages as flesh, yet all metaphors point in this direction.

Friday, October 25, 2019

RIOPOP: An Inoah-Inspired Playlist

Inoah, a gravity-defying work from the mind of Brazilian choreographer Bruno Beltrão, comes to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House Oct 31—Nov 2. His company, Grupo de Rua, was founded in Niteroi, a municipality of the bustling state of Rio de Janeiro. With a mix of street style, athletic hip-hop, and weightless physicality, they express the energy of this region in a 50-minute, heart-stopping experiment. Before immersing yourself in this intoxicating, urban work, prep your mind and soul with the sounds of Rio de Janeiro!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Fantástico! Your Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Playing Like a Brazilian in NYC Before and After Inoah

Beginning October 31, the dancers of Grupo de Rua make their BAM debut at the Howard Gilman Opera House with their gravity-defying work Inoah. The group hails from Rio de Janeiro and was co-founded by Bessie Award-winner Bruno Beltrão, who the The Guardian (UK) calls “one of the most intelligently creative choreographers.” He, along with the 10 male dancers of his company, spent six months together in the countryside outside Rio de Janeiro developing the stunning choreography of Inoah. The result is a visceral display of tension and release that expresses a unique, contemporary Brazilian perspective. The experience doesn’t have to begin and end with the performance, however. Here’s how to celebrate Brazilian culture all week long right here in NYC.

Friday, October 18, 2019

A Preview of the 2019 BAMkids Movie Matinee and Music Series

By Sam Polcer

Our BAMkids programming, which inspires young audiences with a delightful and diverse lineup of concerts, workshops, movie matinees, and live performances for kids ages 2—11, begins October 20 and runs through December 7. We spoke with Steven McIntosh, the lead curator and BAM’s Director of Family Programs, about what he’s looking forward to this season.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Plotting a Journey Through Race and Time: Programming Garrett Bradley’s America

By Ashley Clark

At some point, most film programmers working in theatrical exhibition will be confronted with a
question: what, exactly, to do with a film of unconventional length? It’s hard to give a concrete answer. At BAM, we’re proud to showcase short films at our annual BAMcinemaFest. We’ll sometimes slot a short or mid-length film alongside a feature, or include multi-artist shorts programs in our curated series. We might also dedicate an evening to celebrate the short- and mid-length work of a single filmmaker, as we’ve done recently with brilliant artists like Sky Hopinka, Ephraim Asili, and Kevin Jerome Everson⁠.