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Friday, February 14, 2020

Never Records Artist Spotlight: ĀJŌ

Photo credit: Ted Riederer

Never Records is an exhibit and installation at The Rudin Family Gallery at BAM Strong that brings together artists and admirers of the arts. Musicians, spoken word artists, and others with something to share via an audio medium have three hours to record with New York-based conceptual artist and musician Ted Riederer, who created the exhibit, and will leave with a freshly cut vinyl record and a digital file of their music. Visitors to the project, which is in its tenth year, can browse vinyl recordings from Liverpool, Derry (Ireland), London, Lisbon, New Orleans, Victoria, Texas, Amman, and now Brooklyn!

ĀJŌ, a Brooklyn-based singer songwriter who has been performing her quirky brand of R&B and hip hop songs around New York City for nearly a decade, and who I first met when we were both undergraduate students at Columbia University, recorded at Never Records on Feb 9. Before her session, I spoke to her about her music and why she’s looking forward to performing at Never Records.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Morality in Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck

Parasite (2019)
By David Hsieh

Income inequality is often framed as a political and social issue in the United States. But can it be a moral issue? Two very different works—Bong Joon-Hos’ Parasite, currently screening in black and white at BAM Rose Cinemas, and Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck, which BAM audiences can see on February 6 in The Met: Live in HD series—suggest so. [Editor's note: Spoilers follow]

Beyond the Canon: The Hitch-Hiker + Badlands

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 Ida Lupino's The Hitch-Hiker (1953) with Terrence Malick's Badlands (1973).

By Dana Reinoos

By age 29, Ida Lupino had already acted in more than 40 films, and was fed up. Born in London into the Lupino theatrical family, she made her film debut at age 14, eventually rising from Hollywood bit player to, in her own words, “the poor man’s Bette Davis.” While her collaborations with directors like Cecil B. DeMille, Raoul Walsh, and Michael Curtiz earned her critical acclaim and legions of fans, Lupino often clashed with Warners Brothers boss Jack Warner, refusing to take “undignified” roles and chafing at unwanted script revisions. Her contentious relationship with Warner resulted in multiple suspensions and eventually, in 1947, Lupino left the studio.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Conversation Between Medea Writer/Director Simon Stone and Producer David Lan

David Lan: Simon, why choose this very old play about things that happened very long ago?

Simon Stone: Because what happens in the play keeps happening. The curse of our humanity is that we keep making the same mistakes. We try to escape this destiny, to learn from history, yet there’s a resurgence of these themes, these acts as though there were some kind of cosmic karma. We do these plays because, unfortunately, women still kill their children—infrequently and far less often than men—but it happens, and despite the fact that there’s this ancient story of Medea as a warning.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Matthew Lopez on The Inheritance and BAM

There's a reason there's more than one reference to BAM in playwright and screenwriter Matthew Lopez's four-time Olivier Award-winning play The Inheritance, which reimagines E.M. Forster's Howards End in present-day New York's gay community and is currently running on Broadway: Lopez himself is a member of the BAM Young Producers, a community of BAM supporters in their 20s, 30s and early 40s shaping the future of the arts in Brooklyn. Fellow Young Producer Liz Denys recently sat down with Lopez to talk about his work, his personal connection to BAM, and how he felt about last year's Next Wave.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

In Context: Medea

Photo: Caitlin Cronenberg
In visionary writer-director Simon Stone’s powerful contemporary rewrite, Euripides’ controversial icon is reborn. Transposing the devastation of Greek tragedy to a modern American home with a husband and wife in the tumultuous throes of an unraveling marriage, Stone’s stripped-bare staging throws the couple’s every raw emotion into stark relief, from jealousy to passion, humor to despair.

After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media! (Use #Medea and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.)

Program Notes

Medea (PDF)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

A New Year Message From Katy Clark, President of BAM

The paradox of uncertain times is that they can also yield great ideas and new alliances. At BAM, 2019 was a year in which we charted new territory and saw our institution thrive.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The 40 Most Unforgettable BAM Moments of 2019, According to BAM Staff

Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Before the curtain falls on a truly remarkable year of heartwarming, surprising, shocking, breathtaking, hilarious, or otherwise unforgettable moments and milestones here at BAM, we asked our fellow staff members to take a look back and share some of their favorites. Were you here for any of these, or do you have your own? Share them with us, and please join or support us in making BAM a home for adventurous art, audiences, and ideas in 2020!

Monday, December 30, 2019

24 Hours with Alia Shawkat

Photo: NayMarie
By Alexandra Biss

“The walls feel a little tight today,” remarked Alia Shawkat’s 62nd scene partner in The Second Woman. “Tell me about it,” she replies without missing a beat. This was about hour 17 of the 24 Alia (and I) spent in the Fishman Space of the BAM Fisher. For all but 15 minutes every two hours, Alia was in a small mesh room set with a table, chairs, stereo, and bar cart. While we could see in, she couldn’t really see out. The walls of her world were defined by the repetition of a short scene with different, mostly male-presenting non-actor scene partners. They have a drink, she asks for reassurance, she throws noodles at him, they dance, she asks him to leave. In between each scene, Alia would get down on her hands and knees to clean up the just-thrown noodles, and reset. Set and reset. Nearly 100 times. The walls of my world from 5pm Friday to 5pm Saturday—watching the world in the box—felt more than a little tight, until they suddenly expanded in new ways.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Holidays at BAM: Cabaret and Beyond

Note: BAM's new Artistic Director David Binder chose A Very Meow Meow Holiday Show to kick off an annual holiday block. Check out the seasonal photos after the jump from the BAM Hamm Archives.

Meow Meow. Photo: Magnus Hastings
By Sally Ollove
with contributions by John Jarboe

“What is cabaret?”

Thank you for asking! Cabaret is a musical by Kander and Ebb that once starred Liza Minnelli. It’s a kind of table. It’s a brand of cracker that 70s suburbanites served at key parties. It’s an indulgence, a secret, a cult, a radical experiment in community building, a trust exercise between performer and audience. An ephemeral queering of traditional performance modes. It’s an artform whose audience is living and getting younger.

Even as audiences get younger, the world around them seems to be collapsing. I used to think of cabaret as a place of beginnings, but more and more I see it as a place of endings or, really, of post-endings. Post-narrative, post-theatrical, post-pretension, post-perfection. At its most basic level, cabaret is a performer sitting metaphorically (or literally) in your lap sharing their virtuosity, vulnerability, and some laughs. Cabaret began on the site of the failed Paris Commune uprising and has a history of flourishing as people who don’t fit into the mainstream struggle: in post WWI Germany, in Harlem during the Renaissance, in Midtown during McCarthyism, and downtown post 9/11. As Brecht, a hanger-on of the Weimar cabaret scene, said: “In the dark times. Will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.” When everything else has fallen away, we’ll still be huddling around a piano with someone to help us laugh through tears and sing songs that touch us in deep and unknowable ways.