07/29/15 2:35pm


Roja (1992)
Directed by Mani Ratnam
In this epic Indian musical melodrama (whose score was composed by A.R. Rahman), a young Tamil woman named Roja (Madhoo) unexpectedly marries her sister’s suitor (Arvind Swamy), falls in love, and strives to save his life from Kashmiri extremists. “In troubled areas there had been more than a few kidnappings of civilians and engineers who were visiting for work,” says Ratnam, who will attend the Museum of the Moving Image screening of Roja, and the weekend’s subsequent screenings of his other films. “In one instance, the wife of an abducted engineer made a public appeal through the newspapers for his militant captors to release him. Her letter was Roja’s seed. I also drew upon a famous old Indian folk tale called Satyavani Savitri in which a saint’s wife pleads with the Lord of Death for her husband’s life. There was strangely a great emotional similarity between the condition of Savitri and that of the engineer’s wife, a connection out of which Roja grew. I do not have a predetermined workflow. My scripts and films tend to flow out of the things that hold my focus at that particular phase of my life. In that sense, Roja proved integral to my work throughout the 1990s.” Aaron Cutler (July 31, 7pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s Ratnam retrospective)

07/29/15 1:47pm
Photos by Tyler Koslow.

Photos by Tyler Koslow.

“Do you know how embarrassing it is to be this emotional in front of people?” asked Thomas Arsenault from the stage. Mouthing along to his every personal detail, the people didn’t seem to. And bounding happily by himself under psychedelic stained-glass lights, behind an electronic rig and in front of a sold-out crowd at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right Monday night, he really didn’t seem so bashful about it. It was the record release show for Seraph, the Canadian producer’s first full-length record as Mas Ysa, and a moment he’d been been building to for years. (more…)

07/29/15 1:23pm
Photograph by Paul D'Agostino.

Photograph by Paul D’Agostino.

To visit Surface Support, a group exhibition of a meta-mixed-media sort currently on view at Signal Gallery (through August 9th), is to enter a large, mostly dark room, and to be greeted by a rather aesthetically fragmented suite of objects whose carnivalesque cacophonies—visual as well as acoustic—seem to share the common function of shooing you away. Which is to say, they don’t really greet you. Which is to suggest, they don’t really need you. Which might make you wonder if you, the viewer, have been rendered, by the context and content of an art exhibit, quite nearly if not completely beside the point. To wit, it’s a wonderful feeling. (more…)

07/29/15 12:30pm
Behind these doors lies a beer-lover's paradise.

Behind these doors lies a beer-lover’s paradise.

We have a great deal of hometown affection for The Grand Prospect Hall, having grown up with their spectacularly awkward commercials (see below). In fact, we totally support the owners’ bid to overtake Jay and Bey, as the King and Queen of Brooklyn, or Taylor Swift, as the Global Welcome Ambassadors of NYC. But in truth, we only recently had occasion to step foot inside The GPH’s hallowed, gold-plated walls (for Park Slope’s A Taste of Fifth) being that neither we, nor any of our friends, ever thought twice about actually getting married in the place—can you just imagine your grandma posing for pictures, against a hazardously low railing overhanging the BQE? (more…)

07/29/15 11:05am
photo by Stan Barouh

photo by Stan Barouh

The Potomac Theatre Project has made a specialty of doing productions of plays by the under-seen British playwright Howard Barker in recent years, with actress Jan Maxwell often taking the lead. Maxwell did Barker’s Scenes from an Execution for PTP in 2008, and now they are doing a revival of it that Maxwell has said might be her theater swan song—but hopefully that’s just discouraged talk of the moment for her. Anyone viewing her spectacular performance in this first-rate-in-all-respects production would have to say to Maxwell, “Please don’t leave us yet!”

Maxwell plays Galactia, a painter in 16th century Venice who has been given a commission to create a large canvas celebrating a naval victory at sea, the Battle of Lepanto. Galactia is one of those people whose brain is always working much faster and quicker than everyone else around her. She doesn’t care about her appearance, she sits in a distinctly unladylike squat; she is sensual and demanding, and she is determined at all times to tell the truth as she sees it. (more…)

07/29/15 10:18am

Bananarama in their 1983 video for “Cruel Summer”

In case you haven’t noticed, an “extremely dangerous” heatwave has descended upon New York City. If you’re having trouble dealing with these record-breaking temperatures, London pop trio Bananarama has some tips in their epic music video for “Cruel Summer,” shot in Brooklyn in July and August of 1983: Dance down the street in overalls and combat boots and pretend you’re in The Dukes of Hazzard and throw bananas at the cops who start chasing you, and your cruel summer will turn into a hit song! (more…)

07/29/15 9:13am
Illustration by Aaron Meshon

Illustration by Aaron Meshon

Recently, Thrillist published its guide to neighborhoods across the nation titled “The Brooklyn of Every State.” Now, in theory, we like this idea. Really, we do. Call us biased, but we think Brooklyn is a very special place that totally should be celebrated. Also, we are definitely guilty of Googling “the Bushwick of LA” when we were looking for a place to go out in LA recently, so, like, we get it. However, where this piece becomes total crap is in its definition of Brooklyn:

Though pockets of it are still holding strong, most of Brooklyn has been swept by a sea of trilby-wearing millennials with waxed beards, who just wanna give back to the neighborhood with an artisanal dog treat shop, you know? But the New York borough is far from the only gentrified hotspot in America. We rounded up the most Brooklyn ‘hood in every single state, based on metrics including trendy restaurants, “craft” cocktail bars, bike friendliness, and, of course, urban expansion. By the time you finish reading the list, they probably won’t be cool anymore, so hurry up


07/29/15 9:10am
Photo Mike Gillman, Courtesy of Showtime

Photo Mike Gillman, Courtesy of Showtime

Listen to Me Marlon
Directed by Stevan Riley
Opens July 29 at Film Forum

Sometimes a documentary’s greatness stems not solely from the construction and care of its maker, from his or her meticulous attention to detail and sensitivity in framing a human subject, but also from the extraordinary circumstances of its creation. Listen to Me Marlon is exactly this sort of film. It uses a specific and rare kind of document—Marlon Brando’s personal, never-before-heard audio-cassette recordings—to craft a deeply moving video essay, creating the impression that the actor is speaking from beyond the grave. Furthering that impression is the film’s use of a 1980s software Brando invested in, which renders a crude, ghostly model of Brando’s face algorithmically animated to the words from his recordings.