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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In Context: Almadraba




Spanish guitarist and composer Oscar Peñas blends together jazz and classical music in the world premiere of Almadraba, an ode to the sustainable Andalusian fishing tradition of the bluefin tuna. Like Andalusia itself, a melange of Moorish and Romanesque influences, Peñas melds together these two genres along with the influence of Cuban, South American, and Spanish music to tell the grand tale of this age-old ecological technique. To give you further insight into the production, we’ve compiled resources below and after you’ve attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #almadraba.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Never Stop Dreaming: Q&A with JACK &'s Cornell Alston

By Charity Coleman

How can internal life be rebuilt after trauma? This Next Wave Festival, theater artist Kaneza Schaal joins forces with actor Cornell Alston and artist Christopher Myers to consider reentry into society after prison in JACK &. Learn more about Alston's journey to the stage below and be sure to catch him in the BAM Fisher October 17—20.

Photo: Christopher Myers

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

José Andrés’ recipe for comfort in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

By Vilina Phan

José Andrés knows food. Just look at the multi-hyphenate's accolades from Michelin stars to James Beard awards. But his latest efforts haven’t been in a traditional kitchen—instead, they have been focused on Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Just a few days after the devastation in 2017 he traveled to the island and started cooking—but not just any dish, he wanted the food to remain familiar and local, and so he prepared traditional foods like sancocho, arroz de tripleta, and paella as a way to provide comfort.

Courtesy of World Central Kitchen

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Say It Loud: Cinema in the Age of Black Power, 1966—1981

By Ashley Clark

Wattstax (1973) courtesy of Columbia Pictures/Photofest
Rebellion, radical politics, boundary-pushing art, controversy, and boundless creativity: the age of Black Power had it all, and more. This expansive film series, presented in conjunction with Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (opening Sep 14), features a kaleidoscopic international banquet of features and shorts produced in this revolutionary climate by some of the era’s most incendiary talents. Confrontational, experimental, and ripe for (re)discovery, these films powerfully evoke their own time and unarguably speak to today’s climate, where black activists challenging widespread racial injustice find themselves targeted by a right-wing authoritarian administration.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Behind the scenes—Howard Tynes, Security of a different stripe

By David Hsieh

Security guards often wear dark suits, conservative ties, and dark sunglasses. But that’s not Howard Tynes’ style. A BAM security guard for the past 10 years, he is known—especially to Fisher building audiences—for his distinctive and nifty garb: freshly pressed suits in all colors and materials, and always with bowties and pocket squares. Anyone who has seen him would not be surprised to learn that he had a career in fashion. More unexpected is his career on the baseball field. Howard Tynes tells us how his three passions intersect.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Women at Work: Radical Creativity

From August 10—16, BAMcinématek invites audiences to celebrate creative expression with “Women at Work: Radical Creativity”—the second installment of an ongoing film series dedicated to highlighting the complex subject of women’s work from a variety of perspectives. Following “Women at Work: Labor Activism” (March 2018), “Radical Creativity”—organized by guest curator Dessane Lopez Cassell—foregrounds the intellectual labor of women artists, activists, and thinkers.

Photo: Courtesy of Reelside Productions 

by Dessane Lopez Cassell

Often undervalued, or altogether overlooked, the contributions of women have had a profound and continuous effect on our cultural and political landscape, drastically shaping not only the way we visualize our world, but also the ways in which we experience it as citizens. “Radical Creativity” highlights the persistent efforts and agency of women in shaping culture, critical thought, and the governing of their own communities.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Beyond the Canon—Set It Off + Dog Day Afternoon

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 F. Gary Gray’s Set It Off (1996) with Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon (1975) on Sat, Aug 4.




By Fanta Sylla

Has there ever been a right reason to rob a bank? Ever since its genesis, the heist genre—dated almost universally by film theorists and academics to 1950 with the release of John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle—has attempted to answer that morally thorny question. One could also advance that the genre’s persistence and enduring relevance has provided another answer: there has never been a right reason to rob a bank, but the act of theft can make for films of great beauty. Ultimately, the whys have never really mattered, it’s always been about the hows.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

2018 Next Wave Preview—Stories = Life

The Good Swimmer. Photo: James Matthew Daniel
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” —Joan Didion, The White Album

One of the hallmarks of the Next Wave Festival, now in its 35th year, is blurring lines between traditional arts. And the shows comprising the 2018 Next Wave (Oct 3—Dec 23) test the elasticity of genre definitions more than ever, in the final Next Wave Festival curated by outgoing executive producer Joseph V. Melillo. The 27 events, while each unique, all tell a story or reflect some aspect of being human in the world today, sometimes through an ancient filter, and other times using modern technology (or both).

Monday, July 9, 2018

Beyond the Canon—Girlfight + Raging Bull


Girlfight courtesy of Screen Gems/Photofest; Raging Bull courtesy of United Artists/Photofest

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 on July 21 pairs Karyn Kusama’s Girlfight (2000, 110min) with Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980, 129min).

By Monica Castillo

If weighing in for a cinematic showdown, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980) and Karyn Kusama’s Girlfight (2000) would be seen as radically different contenders. Visually, the films are like oil and water. Scorsese mythologized his star boxer’s legacy on black-and-white film—even the blood and sweat pouring down his character’s face look painterly. His is an epic story of a man’s fall from grace. In contrast, Girlfight doubles down on the grimy sheen of a boxing gym. No corner looks like it’s ever been mopped. The walls are punched in or collapsing. The place surely has a caked-in stench of sweat and moldy gym equipment. The film’s color scheme looks as worn and neglected as the gym. Girlfight is the story of a fighter’s journey up the ranks to an uncertain future.

Kusama’s electric debut stars Michelle Rodriguez as Diana Guzman, a scrappy high school girl in Brooklyn whose fists are ready to punch out the anger she doesn’t speak aloud. Her father pays for her brother to box but forbids Diana from pursuing the masculine sport. Hard-headed and determined to put her temper to good use, she pursues boxing despite the sexist assumptions from the men around her.

Monday, July 2, 2018

BAMcinématek and The Racial Imaginary Institute: On Whiteness

Steve Martin and Richard Ward in The Jerk (1979), courtesy of Universal Pictures/Photofest
by Ashley Clark

“If whiteness gains currency by being unnoticed,” writes academic Sara Ahmed, “then what does it mean to notice whiteness?” The series On Whiteness (July 11—19)—a collaboration between BAMcinématek and Claudia Rankine’s The Racial Imaginary Institute—attempts to wrestle with this knotty question. Comprising works that address issues of ethnic identity, assimilation, racial grievance, passing, and privilege, this collection of films—augmented by talks and guest introductions—invites audiences to consider how whiteness has been deliberately and subconsciously constructed, ignored, and challenged in the history of American film.

The series begins in the heart of Hollywood’s dream factory with Julie Dash’s beguiling, World War II-era Illusions (1982), about an African-American movie studio executive passing as white, and the black singer she hires to dub the voice of a white actress. A profound deconstruction of Hollywood’s power to shape racial mythologies, Illusions screens with the acerbically funny short Free, White and 21 (1980), in which artist Howardena Pindell assumes the identity of a blonde white woman to discuss the racism she experiences as a black woman. Elia Kazan’s Pinky (1949), meanwhile, is one of Hollywood’s earliest attempts to grapple openly with racism. It’s a fascinating melodrama in which a light-skinned black woman (Jeanne Crain, complicatedly, a white actress) passing as white tempts crisis by falling in love with a white doctor.