Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dead Men Dreaming June 18th, 10

Dead men Dreaming, normally a opening act, headlined this show at the Gramercy Theater last Friday night. It was a Cd release party that seemed at times a little out of control. DMD's vocalist Mike Triana was told to "be Cool" because last time the band graced this stage he got "tipsy" and accidentally pulled the fire alarm. Even when staying "cool" on water and beer Mike still is an amazing front man. A little off of his normal antics but still rockin with his band of talented metal-heads behind him. The back and forth of the guitars is tight even on the new songs. Out of control was the audience with drinks, crowed surfing, and some fights. Well all is fun in Rock-in-Roll. Check out DMD's new CD "Last Call' and remember when you go out to see the show keep your eyes open for crazies.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Music Art on the Streets with 60 Pianos in the Five Boroughs

New Yorkers are going to hear music everywhere they go in the next two weeks. This musical art installation through the city starts tomorrow. Other Music as Art in the city are small and easy to miss. Like the "bells" on the Herald Square yellow line platform, (Christopher Janney installed "REACH New York, An Urban Musical Instrument.") but you won't miss this. British artist Luke Jerram has given 60 Pianos to the city for public use. NYC is not the first to get this experiment. Places like London, Sydney and Sao Paulo had the first taste. This is a traveling show that gives people a way to come together on the streets. "There's going to be a huge amount of talent here," Jerram said. Is this why the Big Apple gets twice as many pianos then any other city? Where are these painted and decorated instruments going to be? Lincoln Center, Central Park's bandshell, Metropolitan Museum and 24 other Manhattan locations. Over on the other side of the east river there will be 10 in Brooklyn, 5 in Queens, and the last eight split between Staten Island and the Bronx. Each piano will be open roughly from 9AM-10PM and each has an attendant, but do they play? If you can tickle the Ivory get out and play-around. After the city is done with the show the pianos get donated to schools and hospitals. This nonprofit, Sing for Hope will take your old piano too. Whether you play or not just open your ears to hear the Art.

"REACH New York, An Urban Musical Instrument." Christopher Janney installed In 1996
Get to know all the Art in the Subway System at:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Breathless French New Wave 1960

When one thinks of New Wave men with strange hats and whips come to mind. "Whip It" was Devo's biggest hit and was a part of American New Wave. But long before this strange video the French New Wave was brought out in film. Jean-Luc Godard is one of the most recognized directors of the French wave. When he collaborated with fellow director, François Truffaut on Breathless 1960. They brought out this new style with beauty and a "Cool" all its own. "À bout de souffle" in French literally means "at breath's end." The way the characters breath seems to be connected to the meaning of the film like when Patricia "sighs", or when Michel "huffs." He has got some problems with the cops but is as cool as a cucumber, his only worry being how this American girl has him falling for her. Michel played by Jean-Paul Belmondo is Godard's homage to Humphrey Bogart, with his fedora and suit. More then that Jean-Paul hits it on the head he is the French "Bogie." He is sexy, slick and troubled. He might be nothing but trouble for Patricia who sells the New York Herald Tribune on the streets of Paris with dreams of being a journalist. This love story is played out on those streets. What a ground breaking film that it seems to be get more and more praise every year.

This film is running through June 24Th at the Film Forum --

Monday, June 14, 2010

Orchestra Sinfonica Di Roma at Carnegi Hall June 7th 2010

As the story goes...when walking down the street with his violin a man was asked: How do I get to Carnegie Hall? - Practice. Practice. Practice. This scene must happen a lot even now. For on your first trip to this world famous concert hall its easy to get lost. If you think your walking the wrong direction just ask someone that looks like they are in the know. Hopefully the answer you get is more then - Practice. Practice. Practice. Once one finds 57Th and 7Th Avenue prepare to be amazed and humbled by this turn of the century building built entirely of masonry. On June 7Th the "Hall" was host to the Debut of the Rome Symphony Orchestra. (Orchestra Sinfonica Di Roma) The program started off with Italian composer Giuseppe Martucci's Notturno, op. 70, No.1 and Tarantella, Op. 44, No. 6. Martucci was one of many in Italy that wanted to compose non-operatic Italian music. Writing most of his work for the piano to then orchestrated them latter in his life, the Tarantella No. 6 was one that he orchestrated just a year before his death. Then the lovely Soprano, Eilana Lappalainen came out with a Choir of many talented singers to sing Francis Poulenc's Gloria for Soprano, chorus and Orchestra. This was an eye opening performance with all the singers in the background and Eilana's voice reaching the molded cycling. The Conductor, Francesco La Vecchia is one of the most passionate conductors to watch on stage. The last Symphony on the program was Italian Composer Alfredo Casella's Symphony No. 3, Op. 63. This was the darkest selection of the night, very edgy with heavy bass and cello movements. The Carnegie Hall audiences are not as trained as the patrons at Lincoln Center, clapping between measures and whispering during the music, but its all about the sound that radiates around this perfect room. Most of the audience did not stay for the two encores that Francesco gave us names of in Italian, but if they did stay most would have known these short melodies.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New York Philharmonic Memorial Day Concert May 31, 2010

The New York Philharmonic Played the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue on last day of May. This Memorial Day Concert is free every year and has been something people line up for for over 19 years. Alan Gilbert a native New Yorker took the helm of the New York Philharmonic as Music Director in September 2009. This was his first time conducting at the beautiful Cathedral Church of St. John that was made when New York was first becoming a "melting pot." This was to be a "house of prayer for all nations," and was made in 1887 when Bishop Henry Codman Potter called for a cathedral to rival St. Patrick's Cathedral on east side of Fifth Avenue in midtown. This year's program opened with Aaron Copland's Fanfare for The Common Man. This was written in 1942 and become Copland's best known work. Next on the program was two symphonies Haydn's Symphony No. 49, La passione, and Schubert's Symphony in B minor, Unfinished. The second Symphony, the "unfinished" was found 40 years after Schuberts death in a desk drawer. This piece was dark and moving and was received by the standing room crowed with a hush and whisper. Then Beethoven, they always save Beethoven for last, maybe because the weight of his music follows you as you walk down the street. On this night The New York Philharmonic played the Egmont Overture, written for a play that at its heart is about political liberation. This was one concert of many that we as New yorkers can enjoy for free.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Solitary Man With Michael Douglas

Solitary Man is the new movie directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien that stars Michael Douglas and co-stars Danny DeVito, Susan Sarandon and Mary-Louise Parker.
Brian Koppelman and David Levien collaborated on film before including last years “The Girlfriend Experience.” "Girlfriend" might have given them New York fever because this film is all about making it and breaking it in the Big Apple. Douglas plays a big TV car dealer who throws it all away, but why? Why does he choose to chase girls and give out sleazy honest advice? Being over fifty must be hard. This is a great role for Douglas, he alone would make the movie. But some familiar co-stars make this "Solitary Man" much, much more.

Girlfriend Experience Review

Harry Brown with Michael Caine

Vigilante movies leave one with fulfillment of some kind. Think Taxi Driver, Boondock Saints, Rolling Thunder. Most vigilante's are the little guy that gets up and kicks ass for what he believes is right, or sticks up against what he believes is wrong. In this thriller from Britain, Michael Caine is Harry Brown. An old man with a mission. This marine that fought in Northern Ireland, takes on the thugs in Elephant and Castle housing estate, a ghetto of London. This film proves again that violence in the first ten minutes makes for a good movie.(Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs) The fact that everybody loves Michael Caine means everybody in the audience wants him to succeed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This film adaptation of Stieg Larsson first novel of the "Millennium" trilogy, is the highest grossing Swedish film in history. Stieg Larsson died suddenly in 2004 and left behind three unpublished novels. These books have made a world of fans. This is a story of a strange computer hacker played by Noomi Rapace, who is helping disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Mikael Blomkvist) look for a murder inside a dysfunctional family. Harriet Vanger disappeared more then 40 years ago and everyone in the family is a suspect. Even with all the ghost in the closet's of this wealthy estate in England, most of the films graphic violence has to do with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's background. A film like this is hard to talk of without taking away from the viewing experience, so just go out and see it before the remake comes out.

Roman Polanski's - Ghost Writer

In this political thriller an unnamed journalist (Ewan McGregor) gets a job to good to be true, both in the script and in real life. In the script he gets a lot of money to finish a book that's half written. On the set he gets to work with another world famous director, Roman Polanski. "He drives you quite hard …he pushes you quite hard, Roman …and you're called upon to look for great detail [and] look for the truth of a scene. He doesn't worry about how long a scene is. He just wants you to move from point to point as honestly as possible and find the fine details that make something very realistic." This film adapted from the novel by Robert Harris, has a lot to do with reality. The story of a former British prime minister named Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) who went from acting to politics, is more about how politics can change the world. Adam has hit a scandal just as his second ghost writer starts his task, an autobiography. Adams wife, Ruth is played Olivia Williams and Kim Cattrall plays his slick tough assent. This cat and mouse game is full of stylish lines and sophisticated camera shots, but there is more to the story then the telling. One can not help but see the similarity between this plot and Tony Blair's relationship with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Halliburton. Shot in Germany because Polanski can't use US locations. This film is about how political leaders are closer to each other then the public thinks.

Noah Baumbach’s - Greenberg

This films starting credits show a close up of young Florence Marr (Greta Gerwig) talking to herself and other cars while driving. She lives and works in the hills of LA. In Comes Roger (Ben Stiller) her boss's brother. He is here to Watch the house while the family fly off to Vietnam. Roger is a New Yorker that happens to be from LA. He can not drive and seems to be just more trouble for Florence. He is home to build his brothers dog a doghouse. For someone that is "trying to do nothing right now" the dog house seems like a hurdle. Stiller plays a bumbling narcissist in his 40's that just happened to spend some time in the mental hospital. Coming in from the east like he has just been bumming around New York without ever growing up. When his old band mates and ex girlfriends all have grown into awkward adults, but at least they are adults. What about Roger? He spends his time writing letters to company's for offenses that most would overlook. As he gets closer to Florence aging seems like it might matter, if anything matters. Florence gets to know just what Roger means by “Hurt people hurt people.” All in all this film is a kind of wondering love story with two "Hurt people."

Tim Burton’s - Alice in Wonderland

Director Tim Burton likes the strange and unusual. He likes to take people to other worlds, places where the unreal can happen..but can he take you down the rabbit hole? In this version of Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is taking a trip into a land where rabbits carry watches and roses are painted red. With Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, this tale is vary strange indeed. Burton can feel proud to have made a film that can be compared to the cartoon. That has great scenes with the Tweedle brother's, Dee and Dum, a vary convincing caterpilar, and does not forget every-ones favorite the crazy cheshire cat. With only one scene at the end, some kind of hatter dance, that seems hokey and out of place. It could have been almost perfect..well at least it was really cool. The only snag was the 3D. Anyone that went to the IMAX without the 3D scored, everyone that picked 3D lost. Yes, they lost great vibrant color, and some parts that where sent into blurry messes. This movie was not filmed in 3D and is more proof that movies converted to that medium are not as good as the original 2D.

Pearl Jam Msg May 20th & 21st

Pearl Jam is one of the best bands to come out of the USA. Some feel that they are the best live band in the world. This two night stand at the Garden helped prove that maybe those people are right. These shows sold out almost immediately. New York has been waiting for Eddie Vedder and his pals to get there butts up here since they played in Philly to close the spectrum earlier this year. "Sold out" at the garden is 500 seats shy of 20,000. So to sell out the garden means that kids still love Peal Jam, and Pearl Jam like to spread the love around by having up and coming bands open for them. On Thursday night it was the Black Keys and then Friday was Band of Horses. In New York Friday is one of the busiest days in the city. All the hustle and Bustle of getting out of work and grabbing something to eat makes it hard to make it to the garden on time. Missing the open act sometimes is unavoidable. Lucky for New Yorkers that missed out these two bands are playing NYC this summer. The Black keys are going to be at Summer Stage July 27Th, and 28Th. Both shows are sold out but that does not mean that one can't get in. If not just hang in the park where you can hear the whole thing. The Band of Horses get to play The Williamsburg Waterfront on June 20Th. Some Pearl Jam shows are for the hard core fans. The setlist for Friday shows that this was one of those shows. Playing everything but the kitchen sink, Vedder showed the packed house how he can fade back and forth from the tight band formation to mesmerizing front man. This back and forth with the fast and slow that grunge is known for is what makes this band one of the best. The shining moment being when Bridwell from Band of Horses came out to sing "Hunger Strike" with Eddie. "Hunger Strike" is the third song from that far away album "Temple of the Dog" Bridwell played the part of Chris Cornell and hit the mark with his wailing vocals. Next time these guys announce a tour get you tickets and prepare to Jam.