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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Live Twitter Q&A with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch dancers!

Eddie Martinez in "...como el musguito..." (Photo credit: Stephanie Berger)

We're so excited to announce our first ever live Twitter Q&A with the dancers from Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, in conjunction with "... como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si..." and the Pina Bausch Legacy Iconic Artist Talk. The Q&A will take place tomorrow, Thursday October 25th from 5 to 6pm.

Company members Eddie Martinez, Fernando Suels Mendoza, and Thusnelda Mercy will be on hand to answer your questions. You might recognize them from Pina, Wim Wenders' 3D film tribute to Pina Bausch.

This Week in BAM History: The 1979 BAMbustle

We don’t mean to brag, but have you noticed that it’s pretty busy around BAM lately? What with the Next Wave Festival in full swing, the Young French Cinema and IFC Sneaks series in BAMcinématek, along with various talks, visual art, and literary events—the BAM campus is bustling this October. While sometimes we think we’re busier than ever, it’s an interesting (and humbling) reminder that we’ve actually been this busy for a long time.

If we go back 33 years, to the week of October 22, 1979, we see there was plenty of activity here at BAM. The 22nd (a Monday) kicked off the opening of the two-month Musical America Festival in the Helen Carey Playhouse (now part of BAM Rose Cinemas). The festival celebrated the music of ragtime and early jazz composers, with evenings dedicated to performances of the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, and Bert Williams.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Opening Night Party for "... como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si ..."

Company members of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
 at the ...como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si... Opening Night Party. (Photo: Elena Olivo)
Last week, BAM celebrated the legacy of Pina Bausch with an opening night party surrounding "... como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si... "—the last work Pina created before her passing in 2009. This piece was inspired by Chile, its popular music, folk songs, and cultural roots which made for a festive and commemorative party!

Keep reading for highlights from the occasion and check out the full Event Album here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October at BAMcinématek: The Soundtrack

We hope you’ve been enjoying this month’s repertory programming, which so far has taken us from the grim Cold War-era espionage tales of John le Carré to raunchy apocalyptic confections like the X-rated Glen and Randa to some of the most radical entries in the LGBT film canon. The broad, international scope of the films we have in store in the coming weeks has inspired us to put together a playlist we hope will aurally reflect the variety of October at BAMcinématek. Among our selections are songs central (well, in some cases just incidental) to the films we’re playing, as well as some staff favorites that sum up the spirit of a particular series.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Schubert and Sinatra Walk Into A Bar

By Robert Jackson Wood

It’s quarter to three,
There's no one in the place ‘cept you and me
So set ‘em up Joe
I got a little story I think you oughtta know

—"One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)"

Fancy yourself at a lounge bar, five stools down from Sinatra. It’s a lonely 2:45am, the velour smells like cigarettes, and Joe, bless him, has done all he can about the draft from under the door. Someone’s already started vacuuming.

That’s the basic milieu of composer Phil Kline’s new song cycle Out Cold, at BAM with the composer’s Zippo Songs from Oct 25—27. The cycle was inspired in part by Sinatra’s collaborations with arranger Nelson Riddle in the 1950s, particularly their masterpiece (and Sinatra’s favorite album) Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely, a lushly orchestrated set of downcast ballads cataloging broken hearts and dreams.

Artist José Parlá on "Gesture Performing Dance, Dance Performing Gesture"

Photo: Michael Appleton

Listen to Brooklyn artist José Parlá discuss his mural "Gesture Performing Dance, Dance Performing Gesture," commissioned by BAM for the Fisher Building.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The International Necronautical Society

Illustration by Nathan Gelgud
“Death is a type of space, which we intend to map, enter, colonize and, eventually, inhabit.”

The International Necronautical Society was founded in August 1999 by Tom McCarthy. Simon Critchley is the organization’s chief philosopher. Tonight they join each other in conversation as part of BAM’s On Truth (And Lies) series. They’ll be talking about literature and philosophy, mostly, but with any luck they’ll cover some of the topics they’re interested in as members of the INS.

The mission of the INS is to explore the “space of death,” and to “construct a craft in which to be transported into this space.” (The INS is probably thinking figuratively when they talk about space and crafts, but we hope it means they’re building something that looks like a spaceship—the fact that they occasionally name-check sci-fi authors is encouraging.) According to their official literature, which you can view below, these “necronauts” patrol the “border zones” of death, which they refer to as a “combat zone.” Read all about electromagnetic waves, Tarkovsky, William S. Burroughs, Jean Cocteau, and Ernest Shackleton’s toes in The Mattering of Matter: Documents from the Archive of the International Necronautical Society.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brooklyn Shelf Life: Preserving Print in the Digital Age

by Cory Bracken

BAM has a new addition to the evolving façade of the Peter Jay Sharp Building at 30 Lafayette Ave, along with David Byrne’s typographic bike racks. Round the corner onto Ashland and you will be greeted by the latest BAMart: Outdoors installation, a series of three surreal sculptures by a coalition of street artists from Brooklyn’s DIY community.

Be advised: these sculptures serve a purpose beyond their ornate and arresting strangeness. In response to the quotidian nature of newspaper boxes, SHOWPAPER proposed an ambitious project for the BAMart: Outdoors initiative called Brooklyn Shelf Life that would introduce a radical twist to periodical distribution in the BAM neighborhood. Throughout the coming year, these sculptural repositories will house a revolving series of independent print publications from Chelsea-based Printed Matter, a nonprofit dedicated to the creation and promotion of artist-made publications, as well as SHOWPAPER, a free biweekly print-only comprehensive listing of all-ages shows in New York that features full-color prints from young underground artists.

Monday, October 15, 2012

This Week in BAM History: Jerzy Grotowski, October 1969

Old, wise Grotowski

Forty-three years ago this week the course of American theater was permanently altered when Jerzy Grotowski landed in New York. For his first stateside visit, Grotowski and his Polish Laboratory Theatre presented under BAM’s auspices three of Grotowski’s most iconic productions: The Constant Prince, Akropolis, and Apocalypsis Cum Figuris (which in fact was the last piece Grotowski professionally directed, before he turned his attention to paratheatrical research). Many of the big players (and future big players) in New York’s avant-theatrical scene came out to see the enigmatic Polish genius at work, including members of the Living Theater, a young Robert Wilson, and Andre Gregory of My Dinner with Andre fame (which is the most widely circulated discussion of Grotowski’s work to date).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Harvey—House of Pain No More!

Demo time, with the lower part of the orchestra missing. Ashland Pl is below, through the door and past the dumpster. Photo: Carl Gillen
BAM audiences cherish the Harvey Theater with the possible exception of the seats, which in their 80s bench-like iteration reportedly garnered the venue the nickname "Peter Brook's House of Pain." But good news: over the summer, renovations have been underway, including new seats. BAM Capital Projects Manager Carl Gillen reports on some of the changes you'll discover beginning later this month.

After being rediscovered for Peter Brook’s Mahabharata, BAM remodeled the Harvey Theater in 1986, creating an inner lobby and reducing much of the orchestra seating by raising the stage level almost five feet and joining the leading edge of the mezzanine level to a new semicircular thrust extending out toward the audience from the proscenium. The result was the intimate and familiar space we enjoy today. The 1986 retrofit recast the space, halting much of its deterioration and recreating the rest in the likeness of the Bouffes du Nord in Paris.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Staff Pick: Political Mother

This Month's Pick: Political Mother 

Picked By: Rebecca Dragonetti, Education & Humanities Assistant

1. Why Political Mother?
I love the music they use for the promotional video. It seems like Political Mother will be a loud, abrasive show. I can’t tell if it’s going to be completely terrifying or completely enthralling. It will probably be a little of both. This is one of those Next Wave Festival shows that you see to learn something about the world. After a show like this one, I find myself reminded that the world is a hugely complicated place. On the bright side, there might be a mention of human resilience?

2. What makes it unique?
I love the way the dancers move in tight groups around the stage, completely in unison. The movements are so perfectly in sync, they look like a school of fish (in a good way).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Think Therefore I BAM: Hofesh Shechter

We kick off Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo's "I Think Therefore I BAM" interview series with Israeli, UK-based choreographer/composer Hofesh Shechter, whose first full-length work, Political Mother, opens tonight at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. He thinks, therefore he BAMs!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What’s Cooking in the Furnace?

by William Lynch

Martha Wilson. Photo: Nina Mouritzen
From October 11—13, 2012, BAM will present Brooklyn Bred, a series of programs curated by Martha Wilson featuring Coco Fusco, Jennifer Miller, and Dread Scott. Wilson operates Franklin Furnace Archive, a short walk from the BAM Fisher Building, around the corner and down Hanson Place.

Franklin Furnace, the storied former art and performance space, was created in 1976 by Wilson as a repository for artists’ books and a presentation space for other time-based media such as installation and performance art. In 1993, its artist book collection—one of the largest in the world—was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art. The loft space on Franklin Street in TriBeCa was sold in 1998 and Franklin Furnace moved to the Financial District where it remained until 2004, when it moved to Fort Greene, becoming neighbors with BAM, which is around the time I met Martha. We became instant friends.

Martha is an artist and a smartly-dressed and coiffed woman with an asymmetrical gray hairdo that usually sports a shock of bright red; she wears the most fascinating outfits and eyeglasses, making herself a style icon of the avant-garde. I caught up with Martha electronically recently and was able to ask her about her work in preparation for the programs at the BAM Fisher Building.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rhinoceros Opening Night Party

The opening of Rhinoceros was followed by an opening night party with company members and BAM Patrons (Photo: Elena Olivo)
Last Thursday night Théâtre de la Ville of Paris' production of Rhinoceros opened for a three-night run at BAM. After the performance, patrons at the Supporter level and above were invited to attend a party in the Lepercq Space, joined by director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota and the Company. The play's writer, Eugène Ionesco, who passed away in 1994, was well represented by his daughter, Marie-France Ionesco. Despite grey skies, guests were in high spirits after the production, and the night was yet another success in the 30th Next Wave Festival.

Read on for more highlights from the event and for a full Event Album click here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hofesh Shechter's Political Mother: Take No Prisoners

Photo: Gabriele Zucca
Hofesh Shechter's Political Mother (Oct 11—13) is the Israeli-born, British-based choreographer's longest work thus far, at 70 minutes. It is a full expression of two of the artist's particular skills—obviously, movement making, but also as a trained percussionist and composer. Shechter has called it "a big celebration of lights, of movement, of music."

If you're a BAM regular, you've probably experienced a work of dance theater that connects with your body, your brain, and your neural synapses in equal measure. These might include any of Pina Bausch's pieces (coincidentally, "... como el musguito ..." opens on Oct 18), Ohad Naharin's engrossing dances for Batsheva Dance Company (where Shechter danced), and Sasha Waltz's poetic and spectacular movement dramas.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

BAM Scene: 30 Next Wave Gala

Sir Patrick Stewart, Sunny Ozell, and Wynton Marsalis at the 30 Next Wave Gala dinner (Photo: Elena Olivo)
Last week, BAM and Garth Fagan Dance came together to celebrate two cultural milestones: the 30th edition of the BAM Next Wave Festival and the 40th anniversary of Garth Fagan Dance. The evening also included a cocktail reception hosted by the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund where we unveiled a new three-year partnership: TransCultural Express: American and Russian Arts Today which promotes cultural exchange between American and Russian artists and audiences. The gala attracted a range of prominent cultural figures including Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson, Sir Patrick Stewart, Philip Glass, Anna Kendrick, and of course the night's featured jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis. 

Read on for highlights from the event including some of our favorite photos.
Full Event Albums can be found here and here.

Ionesco's Rhinoceros—Ungulates in the House

Photo: Jean-Louis Fernandez
by Rob Weinert-Kendt

In 1938, the 29-year-old Romanian writer Eugène Ionesco had his last conversation with his father, a government lawyer with whom relations were already strained. As is often the case, their personal differences only sharpened their political disagreements. And given the cataclysmic conflict toward which Europe was headed by the late 1930s, disagreements about politics had real consequences.

“He believed in the State, no matter what it represented,” Ionesco later recalled of his father. “I did not like authority. I detested the State. In short, at the end of our meals together, we were at sword’s point with each other. At one time in the past he had called me a Bolshevik; this time he called me someone who sided with the Jews. I remember the last sentence I ever said to him: ‘It is better to be on the side of the Jews than to be a stupid idiot!’”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The BAM Fisher Files: Steven Cosson

Steven Cosson is a co-writer and director of Paris Commune, which runs from October 4—7 at the BAM Fisher. 

Our Show: This theatrical event revives the radical cabaret of 19th-century Paris to tell the story of the Paris Commune, a spontaneous popular uprising of working-class Parisians in 1871. Arguably the first socialist revolution in Europe, the Paris Commune was an anarchic festival of the underclass. While the Commune was violently defeated, its legacy inspired a century of revolution and change.

Sights and Sounds:
The music ranges from raucous popular songs to opera, from rude and hilarious satires of the Emperor to the future communist anthem “The Internationale,” written by Commune leader Eugène Pottier, and Communard Jean-Baptiste Clément’s “Cherries of Spring,” which became the anthem of May’68. All songs speak directly to the events of the Commune using a variety of narrative and visual techniques to tell the story, such as a Can-Can that charts the history of France in two minutes.