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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.

Larry Ossei-Mensah & Glenn Kaino: A Conversation

https://www.bam.org/nextwaveart
Larry Ossei-Mensah (Left) and Glenn Kaino (Right) in front of Blue
Larry Ossei-Mensah, Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic, is guest curator of The Rudin Family Gallery at BAM Strong, BAM’s first dedicated visual art space. Larry sat down with the inaugural gallery artist, Los Angeles-born conceptual artist Glenn Kaino, to talk about the exhibition.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Darkness and Delight: The Choreography of Michael Keegan-Dolan

Photo: Marie-Laure Briane


By Susan Yung

The highest compliment to Michael Keegan-Dolan’s choreography? It makes you want to get up on stage and dance alongside his company, Teaċ Daṁsa. Its kinetic simplicity and emotional lucidity are irresistible and highly relatable. Swan Lake/Loch na hEala (Harvey Theater at BAM Strong, Oct 15—20) presents a rare chance to catch this internationally praised director/choreographer’s work stateside.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Beyond the Canon: Girlfriends + Husbands


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 Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (1978) with John Cassavetes’ Husbands (1970).

By Chloe Lizotte

At the beginning of Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (1978), Susan (Melanie Mayron) bursts into a laundromat to tell her best friend Anne (Anita Skinner) that her photographs were selected for a gallery show. Riding on Susan’s high, Anne shares her own personal news: she’s engaged to her bland suburbanite boyfriend (Bob Balaban). “How can you be sure when you’re so unsure?” Susan asks Anne, as their mundane surroundings clash with the fragility of imminent change.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Beyond the Canon: Invisible Adversaries + Invasion of the Body Snatchers


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 Valie Export’s Invisible Adversaries (1977) with Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).

By Courtney Duckworth

Women are always doppelgängers. Critic John Berger wrote that a woman is “almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself” through a prickly self-surveillance. Such double vision imbues the oeuvre of Austrian artist-agitator Valie Export—an alias she adopted to shed the encumbering surnames of father and ex-husband—who gummed up masculine voyeurism with her puckish, impertinent performances of the 1960s and ’70s. Export’s energetic experiments infuse Invisible Adversaries (1977), her debut feature, a brisk bricolage of improvised dialogue, sight gags, (re)staged performances, grainy documentary footage, and reenactments of her studio practice that together, she said, “put alternative artistic media into a discourse with conventional film.”

Monday, August 26, 2019

Beyond the Canon: Wadjda + Alice in the Cities


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 Haifaa al-Mansour’s Wadjda (2012) with Wim Wenders’ Alice in the Cities (1974).

By Simran Hans

The bicycle is Christmas tree–green and shiny, its ribbon-festooned handlebars wrapped in new-toy plastic. It is the bike of 10-year-old Wadjda’s (Waad Mohammed) daydreams, so perfect it’s as though she wished it into existence. It appears like a dream, too, seeming to cycle itself along a brick wall. The bike, it turns out, is being carried by a truck; it’s not a magic trick after all. She follows the bike to find it for sale, priced at a very real 800 riyal.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Beyond the Canon: 3 by Maya Deren + Mulholland Drive


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 three films by Maya Deren with David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001).

By Shelley Farmer

Without Maya Deren, the filmmaker widely recognized as the mother of American avant-garde cinema, there is no David Lynch. Their works overlap both thematically—in their interest in doubles, dance, and the darkness underlying the mundane—as well as in visual and formal aspects: their use of mirror imagery, negative photography, and superimposition, to their dreamlike narrative logic and pacing.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Problem-Solving Production Managers Working Behind the Scenes at the BAM Fisher

Everybooty, 2018. Photo: Santiago Felipe


By David Hsieh

The black box Fishman Space in the BAM Fisher was built to be flexible, and since it opened in 2012, artists have come up with unexpected ways to test that flexibility. There have been shows in the round, on three sides, with the audience sitting on stage, with rocking chairs as seats, and with no seats at all. In the most recent Next Wave, for instance, there were productions that made audiences see the theater in completely new ways: Michelle Dorrance’s Elemental went above audience’s heads to dance on the lighting grids; Andrew Schneider’s NERVOUS/SYSTEM turned the theater into a magic lantern with each blackout revealing a new tableau; Jesper Just’s Interpassivities made audience walk on “terra infirma” the whole time. And this Pride Weekend, it will become a nightclub with Everybooty.

So how do we bring these artists’ ceaseless creative ideas to the stage? The secret lies with our ingenious production managers/supervisors, Collins Costa and Courtney Wrenn. Here, they reveal their magic.

Beyond the Canon: Touki Bouki + Breathless

Touki Bouki (1973) + Breathless (1960)

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 Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki (1973) with Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960).

By Devika Girish

Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty is often described as an “African Godard.” His debut feature, Touki Bouki (1973), bears striking similarities to Jean-Luc Godard’s own firecracker first feature Breathless (1960). Both films center on a young couple as they swindle their way through the city with impossible, punk-ish cool; both are shot in a handheld, improvisatory style replete with jump-cuts.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Go Behind the Scenes with Two of BAM’s Most Dynamic Staff Members

Daisy Desnuda (photo by Doug Ross) and Flower Tortilla (photo by Michael Avance)

By David Hsieh

They have double identities. To BAM staff and patrons, they are Leo Paredes and Hector Rios, with the totally normal job titles of, respectively, Operations Coordinator for Education and Community Engagement and Special Events Coordinator. But to New York’s night crawlers, they are known as Daisy Desnuda, burlesque thespian, and Flower Tortilla, drag queen. But once in a while, the two lives converge. Such is the case when Flower Tortilla performs at Everybooty, BAM’s annual Pride party, joining many other New York night life glitterati in celebration of diversity and creativity. We talked to them about what it’s like pursuing two parallel career paths.