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Saturday, June 28, 2014

BAM CUP 2014

Every four years the world turns its eyes towards the World Cup as 32 nations battle it out for the title of greatest footballing (soccer) nation. Here at BAM a different competition has begun. As the premier New York venue for international artists, we decided to host our own sporting competition of sorts, the inaugural BAM Cup.

Artists and companies from around the world (and one from USA!), representing performances and films from BAM seasons past and future, are competing in a tournament that quite literally is too abstract to explain. What we can promise is that the results ALWAYS mirror those of the World Cup.

We've watched the group rounds with fervor and anticipation, and the drama has not disappointed: upsets galore, bites, and some truly stellar acting. 16 countries have emerged and the knockout rounds have begun. It’s Art vs Art, Performers vs Performers.

And here are the teams:

Friday, June 27, 2014

BAMcinemaFest 2014: Q&A with Joe Callander (Life After Death)

"As impossible to pin down as it is to stop talking about" (Moving Image Source), BAMcinemaFest alum Joe Callander's debut feature Life After Death charts the life of a directionless young Rwandan receiving aid from a charity-minded Christian couple in the US. Lacing this powerful depiction of life in Rwanda post-genocide with touches of wry comedy, Callander delivers one of the most unique and unexpected documentaries of the year. He spoke with us about his inspirations and the audacious and complicated tone of the film.

What films have served as inspiration in your work?

When I first started to really focus on making questionable life choices in pursuing documentary filmmaking back in 2008, I happened to see Jennifer Venditti's Billy the Kid. That film served as a kind of blazing beacon on a distant but not unreachable hill. It's a wonderful portrait of a character at the margins of society, which is the type of story I was trying to tell at the time. You need those films that get you thinking, "There is an audience for the type of film I want to make. I can do this. It's possible." Also, the Fishing With John TV series that aired on HBO back in the 90s affirmed for me that it's O.K. to get a little strange with documentary storytelling.

Beyond that, Burden of Dreams, American Movie, the films of Werner Herzog, and the word-movies of Mark Twain have inspired me immensely.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spike Lee—By Any Means Necessary

by Michael Koresky

Rosie Perez and Spike Lee in Do the Right Thing. Photo: Universal/Photofest

There are many ways critics, journalists, and other kinds of commentators have tended to categorize Spike Lee. He has been called the most important African-American filmmaker of our time. Or perhaps he’s the most controversial American filmmaker. Or the most political. Or, most suspiciously, the most angry. The “most” business is a most tiresome one, isn’t it? A wildly formidable, inspiringly versatile director such as Spike Lee deserves more consideration—and intense focus—than the mere hyperbole his blistering films appear to invite. By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective, co-presented by BAMcinématek and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will take place at BAM Rose Cinemas from June 29 to July 10.

Media discussion of Lee as a controversial figure has long distracted from considerations of his aesthetics. If one looks back over his career, without the pre- and mis-conceptions that have dogged him, the idea of Spike Lee as a provocateur first seems specious. From the first, he was a director with the vibrancy and gameness of a French New Waver. Nearly 30 years of increasingly prepackaged American indies have only made his black-and-white feature debut, She’s Gotta Have It (1986) seem that much more pleasurably shocking. The NYU film school graduate had already begun to make a name for himself with his hour-long Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983)—the first student film ever selected for Lincoln Center’s prestigious New Directors/New Films festival—but She’s Gotta Have It introduced him to the world, making a splash at festivals from Cannes to San Francisco (where, legendarily, premiere audiences were so blissed out by the film’s first half-hour that they didn’t budge when a neighborhood-wide blackout interrupted the film for 30 excruciating minutes).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Don Coleman is done with Robert Wilson!

by David Hsieh

Mikhail Baryshnikov, Don Coleman, Robert Wilson, and Willem Dafoe. Photo: Elena Olivo
In the busy, sometimes hectic backstage area at BAM, Don Coleman is a reassuring presence. With a full head of silver hair, metal-framed glasses, and a deliberate way of talking, he exudes calm. Although he is tall, he doesn’t tower over people. He has a resonant baritone voice, but he doesn’t shout people down. He doesn’t have to. After 18 years at BAM supervising productions, he knows how to get things done. But it’s those talents that got him into the theater world in the first place.

“The drama coach in my high school in Albuquerque, NM was eager to have a big guy with a voice that can project for stage presence,” he recalled in a recent interview at the Howard Gilman Opera House. He liked it enough to study theater at University of Texas in Austin but soon found out there were others who were better at acting. So he switched to the design and technical side. After retiring from the Marines in Vietnam, he was “trying to make up my mind what my life was going to be.” With the help of the GI Bill and a scholarship, he was able to attend New York University's theater master’s program.

Unbeknownst to him then, another theater-loving UT-Austin alum had also moved to New York. Robert Wilson, who had quit studying business administration, was starting to make a name in the downtown art world. Their paths would eventually cross when Don joined the BAM production team in 1996. In 2000, he took on his first Wilson show—The Dream Play. Wilson was an established international artist by then. He had also acquired a reputation, which, according to Don, was of someone “who’s very definite about what he wanted and could give you a very hard time if he didn’t get it.” He added, “I know a lot of directors and artists are like that. I found that a lot of times when someone has a reputation of being difficult, the way to solve that problem is by giving them exactly what they want.”

BAMcinemaFest 2014: Q&A with Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn (L for Leisure)

Filmmaking duo Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn's second narrative feature follows a group of friends as they jet-set from one international locale to another on various breaks from grad school. Set in the early '90s and shot on 16mm film, L for Leisure is a throwback celebration of vacation at its laziest and sunniest. We checked in with Lev and Whitney to learn more about the four-year process of making the film, its incredible original soundtrack (released on cassette, in true '90s form), and their own vacations.

What are some creative and logistical challenges you faced while working on L for Leisure?

In planning L for Leisure we tried to design a film that would take advantage of our extremely limited means. We knew it would take a very long time to make, and we knew working with friends and lots of non-actors meant that we couldn’t expect everyone to make it to every shoot—let alone keep their haircuts consistent for years. Locations fell through, new ones (like Iceland) suddenly became parts of the film. L for Leisure almost describes the shape of all the surprises and setbacks we ran into. And it’s cool. We couldn’t have possibly planned for the movie to develop the way it did.

BAMcinemaFest 2014: Q&A with Jason Giamprieto (Whiffed Out)

by Nathan Gelgud

Jason Giampietro and I are old pals: we met over a decade ago through a mutual friend, and we hit it off when we started talking about filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder because he had a VHS of In a Year of 13 Moons on his coffee table. We stayed friends through a shared love of movies and the New York Knicks.

This is the second year in a row that BAMcinemaFest has featured a short by Giampietro. Last year we screened The Sun Thief, in which I had a very small part. (Watch it here.) Whiffed Out is a funny short movie about a guy who gets stuck watching a bike for his neighbor, who never returns to take it off his hands. Giampietro follows the bike as it changes hands and a small group of East Village eccentrics clash over its true ownership. It’s a great snapshot of a downtown New York summer and the few people left over from the bygone era of the neighborhood’s edgy glory.

I interviewed Giampietro through an on-line chat. After telling me a funny story about having seen Knicks owner James Dolan leaving Lincoln Center the night before (Giampietro shouted at him to do fans a favor and sell the team), we talked about his new short, other good bike movies, and Warren Oates.

Nathan Gelgud: For the purposes of this chat, I was thinking about other bike movies. And of course the big one, Bicycle Thief.

Jason Giampietro: Yes, there was also the Dardenne brothers movie, The Kid with a Bike. And Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Three Times. The first shot in that is a long shot of a guy riding a bike. What other bike movies are there?

NG: It’s not really a bike movie, but there's Mars Blackmon in She's Gotta Have It.

JG: Yeah, he appears with the bike in Nora Darling’s apartment, and I was thinking about that—if she would have been worried that his bike would be filthy. I think that’s my favorite Spike movie because it's got an openness to all the characters. Except maybe the actor guy.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Baryshnikov and Dafoe Make It Physical

by Susan Yung

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe. Photo: Lucie Jansch

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe take the BAM Opera House stage in The Old Woman, directed by Robert Wilson, but they followed paths miles apart. One is among the finest ballet dancers in history and now runs Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC), supporting and presenting new performing artists. The other began as a trouper in experimental theater and has acquired a lengthy film CV stuffed with outsized characters, villains, and Jesus.

Yet here they are in kabukian makeup and windswept coifs in The Old Woman, by absurdist Russian writer Daniil Kharms. It helps that the men are comparable in size—one easily, if briefly, could be mistaken for the other. They speak plenty (Baryshnikov in his native Russian, at times) and even sing, but an underlying commonality is both actors' ability to communicate nonverbally. (They speak about the play here.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

BAMcinemaFest 2014: Q&A with Tony Gerber (The Notorious Mr. Bout)

To US law enforcers, Viktor Bout is an arms smuggler with intent to harm US military personnel. To his family and friends, he is a hard-working businessman trying to provide for his family in post-Communist Russia. To movie audiences worldwide, he is the rumored real-life inspiration for Nicholas Cage's character in Lord of War. To skeptics, he is the scapegoat of an overzealous, over-reaching fight against terrorism in the post-911 United States.

To present these complicated and contradictory viewpoints, directors Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin sorted through hundreds of hours of home videos that Viktor Bout enthusiastically shot throughout his peripatetic life, and intercut them with interviews conducted with journalists, attorneys, and investigators to make the documentary The Notorious Mr. Bout, which has its New York premiere at BAMcinemaFest this Wednesday. We spoke to Tony Gerber about the film and the festival.        

What films have served as inspiration in your work?

Carol Reed's The Third Man and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation.

In Context: The Old Woman

The Old Woman, Robert Wilson's surreal, vaudevillian adaptation of the titular short story by Russian writer Daniil Kharms, comes to BAM from June 22—29. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of articles, videos, and original blog pieces related to the show. For those of you who've already seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

BAMcinemaFest 2014: Q&A with Young Jean Lee (Here Come the Girls)

The New York Times has dubbed her “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation.” Of course, that was before she recorded an album of original songs (with guest appearances by Laurie Anderson, Kathleen Hanna, and David Byrne) or started in on what seems to be the first of a few film experiments. Award-winning playwright Young Jean Lee is bringing her short Here Come the Girls to BAM Rose Cinemas this Monday, and we caught up with her after a European tour to talk about it.

You've said that you start a play by asking, "What's the last thing in the world I'd ever want to make?" Does the same apply to your non-theater work?

Not really, although the two films I've made so far both play around with the idea of doing things "wrong" in a way that is similar to my theater work. Here Come the Girls was commissioned by the performance group Findlay/Sandsmark as part of their project, "biograph- last year was pretty//shitty." Joe was the star of their show, so I wrote a script in which I was making a documentary about him without regard for any kind of filmmaker boundaries or decency. My second short, A Meaning Full Life, was written by a 15-year-old high school kid from the Bronx. His teacher, a friend of mine, sent me the script and I immediately fell in love with it because it was so over-the-top in its earnestness. As it was written to be a play, it was extremely uncinematic, in addition to being full of grammatical mistakes, and we shot and edited it to make it even less cinematic, without fixing or changing anything in the text, and trying to keep all the emotional honesty. The result is pretty riveting so far (we're in the middle of editing it).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Graphic Details: A Visual Identity for BAMcinemaFest 2014

by Katie Positerry

BAMcinemaFest kicked off this week with Boyhood at the BAM Harvey Theater. To celebrate the festival, the BAM design team pulled back the curtain to reveal some of the thought process behind the visual identity of this year's festival.

In six short years, BAMcinemaFest has grown into one of the primary New York springboards for emerging filmmakers. It introduced New York audiences to Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, and many others—films that have gone on to win international acclaim and make waves both in and beyond the indie film scene.

The identity for this year’s BAMcinemaFest was inspired by this—a festival of emerging voices in American independent cinema. The design features typography that quite literally emerges—whether from the printed page or on screen.

BAM Illustrated: Daniil Kharms' "The Old Woman" (Part 2)

Robert Wilson's The Old Woman opens this Sunday. It's inspired by the writings of Daniil Kharms, and I've adapted one of Kharms' stories into a comic. (The story is also called "The Old Woman," but the Wilson production is not based solely on this story.) This is Part 2. Start with Part 1 here.

BAMcinemaFest 2014: Q&A with Amanda Rose Wilder (Approaching the Elephant)

Filmmaker Amanda Rose Wilder’s first feature is already drawing comparisons with Truffaut’s Wild Child for its shimmering black-and-white images and raw portrayal of kid culture. A documentary seven years in the making about the Teddy McArdle Free School in New Jersey, Approaching the Elephant has launched both Wilder’s career and her relationship with one of the film’s main characters, Alex Khost. We talked a bit about both.

What films have served as inspiration for your work?

The Dardennes' Le Fils. All Maysles and Wiseman films. Babenco’s Pixote.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

White Wave Premieres Eternal NOW at the Fisher

Dumbo-based company White Wave Dance presents the world premiere of Eternal NOW at the BAM Fisher this week (Jun 19—21). The company was one of 10 Brooklyn-based organizations that participated in the BAM/DeVos Institute of Arts Management Professional Development Program.

White Wave and its home base, the John Ryan Theater, were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, but with support from the dance community and friends, the company was able to bring to fruition this new work. In addition to choreographing and running her company, Young Soon Kim curates the annual winter CoolNY festival which showcases rising dancemakers.

BAMcinemaFest 2014: Q&A with Bingham Bryant & Kyle Molzan (For the Plasma)

Grafting sci-fi mystique and lo-fi melancholia into one surprisingly intimate drama is no mean feat. But filmmakers Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan have done just that, creating a gorgeously shot 16mm feature that’s getting its world premiere at BAMcinemaFest. We chatted briefly with the directors of For the Plasma to get a glimpse at their process.

For the Plasma. Courtesy the filmmakers

What films have served as inspiration in your work?

Bingham Bryant: Innumerable inspirations, but three models: Raúl Ruiz’s The Territory, Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s Charisma, and Ermanno Olmi’s The Scavengers. Very different films that have their individual significance to us, but all ones that move modernism out of the cities and into settings usually monopolized by naturalism.

Kyle Molzan: I think of Eric Rohmer's La Collectionneuse, Raúl Ruiz's The Territory, and Susumu Hani's A Tale of Africa. The ambiance of the conspiracy plot was definitely indebted to Ruiz's movie. In terms of framing and color we were indebted to Nestor Almendros, and Eric Rohmer's patient explanations felt right as well. A Tale of Africa is a film built out of the accumulation of beautiful things, and I think Tom Lloyd’s role in our film has some similarities to Jimmy Stewart’s in Hani's film.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Daniil Kharms' Shimmering World

by Jess Goldschmidt

Willem Dafoe and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Photo: Lucie Jansch

Now, one day, a man went to work, and on the way he met another man, who, having bought a loaf of Polish bread, was heading back home where he came from.

And that’s it, more or less.

That’s the story “The Meeting” by Daniil Kharms. In its entirety.

It was translated by Matevei Yankelevich in his collection of Kharms’ work, Today I Wrote Nothing, which includes the novella “The Old Woman,” a stage version of Darryl Pinckney’s adaptation, directed by Robert Wilson and featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, comes to the Howard Gilman Opera House from June 22—29. And it is by no means anomalous in the oeuvre of this Russian provocateur, a startling scion of the country’s literary avant-garde who starved to death in a Leningrad prison’s psychiatric ward in 1942 at the age of 36.

In fact the gesture of “The Meeting” is central to Kharms’ entire aesthetic: a drastic interruption, a boldfaced parody of plot, character development, and pretty much all the business-as-usual trappings of literature itself. And while many readers and critics have classified Kharms’ absurdism as a response to the Soviet era in which he lived and wrote, the truth is he was an outlier long before Stalin came to power. As writer George Saunders put it in a lovely 2007 essay on the author, “weirdness this deep seems more likely to stem from an aesthetic crisis than a political one.”

BAMcinemaFest: Q&A with Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (Ellie Lumme)

Described by director-editor-cinematographer Ignatiy Vishnevetsky as a "supernatural genre piece with all the supernatural parts removed," the 40-minute mind-bender Ellie Lumme follows its twentysomething heroine as she struggles to fend off the advances of an overbearing man. Made on a shoestring budget, the film announces Russian-born Chicago resident Vishnevetsky—who, at the age of 24, was the youngest host on Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies—as a bold new voice in independent cinema.

Ellie Lumme. Courtesy the filmmaker
What films have served as inspiration in your work?

Going in, I thought of Ellie Lumme as a ‘30s movie in digital drag. That certainly informed the blocking and the camera movements. Our main lens—the “Frankenstein”—had a cheap adapter screwed on the front to create a softer image with more aberrations and an oilier texture. The movie I thought of the most was a Pre-Code flick called Her Man, directed by Tay Garnett in 1930. It stars Helen Twelvetrees as a Havana bar girl (read: hooker) who wants to escape her knife-throwing pimp and run off with a sailor. Garnett isn’t a big name nowadays (he’s best known for directing the 1946 version of The Postman Always Rings Twice), but he does some really striking stuff with off-screen action and choreographed camera movements in Her Man. Plus, it’s got a great sense of gauzy, scuzzy atmosphere.

BAMcinemaFest: Q&A with Tim Sutton (Memphis)

BAMcinemaFest alum and Brooklyn resident Tim Sutton returns to the festival with a stunning portrait of Memphis and its mythology, developed through the Venice Biennale Cinema College lab program. Starring the underground singer-songwriter Willis Earl Beal in a role with semi-autobiographical elements, Memphis showcases Sutton’s unique visual style and immersive approach to filmmaking. We were thrilled to speak with him again about his work.

What drew you to choosing Memphis as the heart of your film?

To me, Memphis is a place quite literally on the edge of the world, the creator and possessor of its own myth and folklore. It is both extremely rich and stunningly poor, both cursed and blessed—with the history of many kings but, at the same time, has grass growing up through the cracks in the sidewalk on the edge of town. The place is named for an ancient Egyptian city and remains, today, both ghost town and vortex of spirituality and creativity. That's what I wanted to ruminate on and further illustrate—to explore a place that feels like a forgotten Eden, not some tourist’s idea of blues, but real blues. I think in many ways it takes someone from the outside to know how to do that. A fresh eye. Not a stranger's take on it, but a humble observation of all the glory and loneliness that the city has acquired over all these years.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BAM Illustrated: Daniil Kharms’ “The Old Woman”

Robert Wilson's new production The Old Woman, based on the absurd, surreal, dark, and funny writings of Daniil Kharms, opens at BAM this Sunday, June 22. Below we offer a comic adaptation of Kharms’ story "The Old Woman." The performance takes the name of the story as its title, but is based on Kharms’ writings as a whole, so we don’t think we’re spoiling anything by telling the original story.

This is Part One. Part Two will be posted later this week.

The Road to BAMcinemaFest: A Conversation with the Curators

With the sixth annual BAMcinemaFest ready to launch tomorrow, we sat down with the team behind this year's program to discuss the changing face of the festival, the landscape of American independent cinema, and Brooklyn as a destination for filmgoers.

Participants: Gabriele Caroti (Director of BAMcinématek), Nellie Killian and David Reilly (Programmers), Ryan Werner (Programmer at Large)

How do you think the landscape of independent film has changed since BAMcinemaFest began in 2009?

Gabriele: I think the change has less to do with the films being made than with the state of exhibition. Six years doesn’t feel like a long time, but the rise of streaming has had a huge influence on the way people experience cinema.

David: It makes the experience of seeing a film premiere on the big screen, in a sold out house, feel even more unique and valuable. For so many films that end up with a VOD-only release, there is very little opportunity for audiences to see them on the big screen, the way they were meant to be seen. We’re excited to have so many films in the festival that don’t yet have distribution or may go the non-theatrical route, as this may be New Yorkers' only opportunity to see them in a theatrical setting.

Ryan: Because the cost of production is so much lower now, the independent film landscape can be kind of a mixed bag because you get so many movies being made, including a lot of movies that aren’t very good. But now people can also make very personal films without feeling they have to appeal to a wide audience.

Nellie: It's not only cheaper to make a film, but also because of the Internet, filmmakers can make something with full confidence that at least some people will see it, without fear that there won't be anybody there to unspool the reels. The means exist to get the film out there, it’s just about cultivating an audience.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Next Wave's 45 Flavors

by Susan Yung

Ivy Baldwin Dance in Oxbow. Photo: Andy Romer

Think of BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival’s 45 productions as you might Baskin-Robbins’ 31 flavors. There’s something for every taste, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine savoring everything, at least all at once. Here’s an approach to the festival that might help in parsing just what you want to see this Next Wave, and what flavors might be the most satisfying to you.

In September, we celebrate the recording label Nonesuch’s 50 years with a deep, diverse lineup of 14 programs, bookended upfront by a reunion of seismic proportions—Philip Glass and Steve Reich with their ensembles, on one stage—and at the end of the month, a true rock star, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. In between, you’ll find the varied sounds of Brad Mehldau and Chris Thile; Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish; John Adams, Alarm Will Sound; Youssou N’Dour; Carolina Chocolate Drops; Rhiannon Giddens; Devendra Banhart, Sam Beam of Iron and Wine, and Stephin Merritt; Kronos Quartet with Natalie Merchant, Giddens, Sam Amidon, and Olivia Chaney; Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet in Landfall; Rokia Traoré, Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté; Tweedy, and Caetano Veloso. Seek out new sounds, choose your current favorite artists, or better yet, both.

Let’s look at the 12 shows in the BAM Fisher’s Fishman Space, the newest venue, which has acquired a big fanbase for its infinite flexibility and intimate size. Three lauded choreographers present new works, each with a unique approach: Jodi Melnick’s Moment Marigold has music by Steven Reker; Ivy Baldwin’s Oxbow includes a sculptural set by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen Nguyen; and The Wanderer by Jessica Lang uses Schubert’s lieder.

Friday, June 13, 2014

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Cedar Lake costume designer Nancy Haeyung Bae

by Raphaele de Boisblanc

Grace Engine. Photo: Julieta Cervantes
In conjunction with Cedar Lake's 10th Anniversary Celebration (BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, through Jun 14), we reached out to designer Nancy Haeyung Bae for insights on creating costumes for the company. Nancy is a New York native and was educated at the Parsons School of Design. She is the co-founder of the brand aulle and has designed for Theory, Gap, and Isabel Toledo, among others.

How did you meet Cedar Lake's (former) artistic director, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, and what led you to work for the company?

I met Swan over 15 years ago at Alvin Ailey. Swan hired me to create costumes for a piece performed by the Ailey students at that time. We continued to work together on full-length installations and programs after he joined Cedar Lake. Swan's artistic vision has always been an inspiration to me. It involves a creative process that begins from an organic place; emotion, movement, sound and light—a different place to start when compared to retail product design. The talent at Cedar Lake collaborates on bringing innovative ideas to the table. I'm just happy to be a part of their process.

What were the unique challenges of designing costumes for Crystal Pite's Grace Engine? What do you most like about them?

Crystal Pite is an extraordinary visionary who saw Grace Engine being performed in fully tailored suits. Each suit was designed with the dancer in mind, having marked details and style lines different from one another. The unique challenge was to maintain a contemporary fit, which required meticulous attention to angles and seams that provided maximum rotation and movement. The fabrics were all non-stretch wools, so we spent a good deal of time engineering and perfecting patterns to work back to the performance. I worked with the talented wardrobe team at Cedar Lake throughout the development using new techniques; the experience was educational and exciting. I was very pleased with the end result.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Nickemil Concepcion of Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet celebrates its tenth anniversary next week with a BAM debut. We caught up with Nick Concepcion, who's been with the company since the beginning, to talk travel tips, risk, and ritual.

1. You’ve been in Cedar Lake from the beginning. Who have been your favorite choreographers to work with? Do you have a favorite piece?

Yes, I've been with the company since the beginning (2003) and have had the privilege to work with so many talented choreographers. It's difficult to just pick one, as they all challenge me in different ways and have molded me into the dancer I've become today mentally, physically, and historically. One of my favorites is Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue by Crystal Pite*, who is now the company's associate choreographer. I am really looking forward to working with her again.

*Pite’s Grace Engine will be performed in Program C on June 14

2. Cedar Lake tours a lot. How do you stay healthy while traveling? Do you have tips for other dancers who tour?  

A little over a year ago I quit drinking alcohol which has made quite a difference in my overall energy and versatility. Hydrating is key to staying fit on these tours which can be very demanding on the body. 

3. Of all the places you’ve traveled to with Cedar Lake, which is your favorite?

By far it would be Israel! However, I'm really looking forward to going to Australia next season.

Friday, June 6, 2014

In Context: RadioLoveFest

RadioLoveFest is at BAM from June 4—8. Context is everything, so get even closer to all things WNYC with this curated selection of articles, videos, and original blog pieces related to the show. For those of you who've already seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

DanceAfrica Street Style: A Recap

The annual DanceAfrica Bazaar marks the beginning of summer for us here at BAM. More than just a shopping and food-lover's paradise, the three day street fair is a veritable source of inspiration when it comes to fashion, and a preview of what everyone will be rocking over the next few months.

Street photographers and Instagrammers captured the many gorgeous looks and faces that came to BAM over Memorial Day Weekend, and here are just a few of our favorites, culled from Instagram (you can peruse thousands more here). Feel free to share links to your photos in the comments!

Designer Wunmi in one of her fabulous dresses (read our interview with her here):

About Last Night: RadioLoveFest Opening Night Party

RadioLab host Jad Abumrad speaks with fans at the RadioLoveFest opening night party.
Wednesday night's RadioLab performance marked the opening of the inaugural RadioLoveFest at BAM. And while Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich were discussing lies onstage in front of a sold-out audience, the Lepercq space was abuzz with preparations for the afterparty.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In Context: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet performs at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House from June 11—14. Context is everything, so get even closer to the nimble dancers, their repertoire, and more with this curated selection of articles, videos, and original blog pieces related to the show. For those of you who've already seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cedar Lake Videopalooza

by Susan Yung

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is celebrating 10 years! See previews of the works comprising three programs at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (June 11 to 14) in these clips, which show the range of choreography by some of the world's hottest dancemakers and the dancers' virtuosity and full throttle approach.

Orbo Novo by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
This evening-length work, inspired by Jill Bolte Taylor's memoir on having a stroke, is a search for the perfect balance between the left and right sides of the brain, an attempt at untangling the future and the past. Cedar Lake has made some fun travel vlogs; this one focuses on performances of Orbo Novo in Germany, with insights on the work by performers.