Sunday, December 27, 2009

Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca at Lucille Lortel Theatre

Madrid’s Noche Flamenca is recognized as the most authentic flamenco touring ensemble and likes to call New York City home in the winter months. We are lucky to get a chance to see these emotional performances at the Lucille Lortel Theatre this year. Noche Flamenca celebrates the essence, purity and integrity of traditional flamenco. Flamenco is made up of three elements cante (song), Baile (dance), and Toque (guitar). Some say song is the heart of flamenco, but most people recognize it because of the Dance that uses the arms and elbows with rhythmic stomping of the feet. In Spain flamenco came from a blending of the local customs with Arabic and Gypsy Cultures. This song and dance where a tradition during the retaking of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors that took over 800 years in the Middle Ages. Then in the Golden Age of Flamenco this art went from groups in town squares to public performances in cafés cantantes. This is when the Guitar players supporting the dancers became more and more prevalent. The first guitars are thought to have originated in Spain in the 15Th century. With so much history one can see why this is not like any other art form. In this dance company you get a true communal spirit with the singers, dancers and musicians. Noche Flamenca has been the passion of Artistic Director Martín Santangelo and wife Soledad Barrio since 1993. When Soledad Barrio takes the stage its such an emotional experience. She is considered one of the greatest performers of her time. Soledad Barrio has won awards from over 12 different countries for her excellence in dance. The singing is so heart felt along with the beautiful strumming of the guitars and the expressive Dance, it's just so moving. Everyone in New York has only till January 16 catch the world renowned Noche Flamenca.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Third Man

One of classic film noir's undisputed masterpieces has a week long run at the Film Forum. So now through to the 29Th is your chance to see the 1949 British black and white film The Third Man. This is the 60Th anniversary and the Forum has a new 35mm print. This copy is of the British release and begins with the voice of director Carol Reed, describing post-war Vienna from the point of view of a racketeer. Unlike the US release that has eleven minutes cut off and has a different voice over. "I never knew the old Vienna..." starts off the fast paced clips of the city devastated and recovering from the Second World War. This is a city divided, split into five zones. One international zone and four separate zones each representing one of the victorious Allies. This is a city at start of the Cold War where the black market is king and racketeering is a way of life. In comes the American pulp author Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) looking for his old friend that sent him a plain ticket and a job offer. This "friend" is Harry Lime played by the legendary Orson Welles. On arrival Martins discovers that Lime has been recently killed by a truck accident. Martins get in town just in time for the funeral and finds strange things when talking to Harry's friends and enemies. This starts Martins off on a goose chase to find out what happened in Limes last moments. Everyone that was at the scene knew Lime and had the same two man story. This seemed strange so Martins so he takes a offer to stay in town and do a lecture on writing so he can look around. Limes porter that saw more then he should have reviles that there was a third man. Maybe Anna (Alida Valli), Lime's actress girlfriend can be of some help. She is one of the only people that cared for the off the wall Lime. With no subtitle's you understand just as much as Martins does as he searches for the truth. Unusual camera angles, seedy locations, and dark atmosphere make this film unlike any other. Reed used tricks that added to the feel of the film. Water was used to make light reflect off the cobbled streets, dark shadows where used to hide and show plot points and a musical score played by completely on the zither made everything seem suspenseful and strange. Not that some humor was not slipped in. "You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."added in the script by Welles. Then Welles latter said "When the picture came out, the Swiss very nicely pointed out to me that they've never made any cuckoo clocks." This got 100% on the tomatometer on . So get down to the Film Forum on Houston just west of 6th Ave and enjoy one of the best films of all time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

STEVE KIMOCK & CRAZY ENGINE Late Night Dec. 04, 09

Stave Kimock gave New York two chances to see him late night with Crazy Engine. This engine runs smooth with his son John Kimock on drums and Melvin Seals with his legendary Hammond B3. The old keyboard sounds great when Stave uses his own vintage analog equipment. With them is cello player from NYC's indie music scene named Trevor Exter. If that is not crazy enough Bobby Vega was a guest for these two dates. You could have seen them twice and get two completely different experiences. The second show was at BB Kings which is a ideal place to see a show and have drinks. When the Kimocks come back to the big city go out and check them out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Road

This is a epic story that is at its root a great post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi scenario. After a mysterious end of days the world becomes day to day test for survival. This journey through a barren landscape heads south in hope of finding warmer winters. The travelers are one a man with memories of a world gone forever, and the other a boy that is a spitting image of his mother who knows nothing but this grim reality. Wandering down the road is as dangerous as it is necessary. Is life worth living when all it consist of is trying to scavenge for food and hide from the bad guys. Hard to stay in the present when some relics of the old world bring back flashes of yesterday, and you have to jerk awake everyday from dreams in color. Must keep going, must keep checking stuff out, must be weary of anyone on the road. Filmed in parts of the America like New Orleans, Mount St. Helens, and run-down parts of Pittsburgh its easy to see how close we could be getting to a much harder existence. In this even lonely wanderer's like Robert Duvall realize "there were signs" that this was coming.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lars von Trier's Antichrist

This film starts off with a slow motion black and white sex scene between an unnamed couple. The graphic sex is not what brothers you about this film, its the violence. In Hack-'em-up horror movies the grotesque violence seems fake due to lack in plot and character development. The violence in this film seems all two real. This Suspense Thriller has a intense duologue and a creepy vibe. This husband and wife are trying to work through the grief from losing a child. When a film has such a serious approach and only two roles it has to have superior acting. That this film has Willem Dafoe in one role says a lot. What Charlotte Gainsbourg has done with this part won her Best Actress at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where some critics had a negative view on the explicit sexual violence. This was written and directed by Lars von Trier, who had wanted to do a horror film for some time. In this we get slow and socking visuals coupled with emotional heartbreak that lead to terrifying occurrences.

Rock 'n' Roll Alert: Tom Pettys Live Anthology Box Set

Tom Petty one of Americas favorite southern boys has done it again. He has answered the question, How do you come out with a new box set of old stuff? He has done this by making a four disc box set of live music. Its is set up with the early years 76' -81', on disc one including everything from "American Girl," to "Refugee." Then the second disc is 82' to 87' with hits like "Don't Come Around Here No More," and "You Got Lucky." Disc three has the video songs "Free Fallin," and "Learning to Fly." Plus much more of Pettys work like "I Won't Back Down" and "Into the Great Wide Open." With so many great songs its hard to believe Tom can add more but he has. The forth disc is all B-sides that where only released in Europe, so there are "new" to the US. Within these tracks are some interesting covers, one is Van Morrison's tune "I'm Tired Joey Boy," another is Charlie Rich's hit "Lonely Weekend." Through it all the Heartbreakers are right there behind him. This set was going to be just two discs but then it exploded into four and we can be thankful for that.