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Leslie Thornton April 3-May 8 at BAM The incredible Leslie Thornton makes films and videos of electric energy. A work like Another Worldy (1999) actively animates the past through the use of archival footage, in its case an eclectic ensemble of older cinematic dance scenes reedited in tune with East German techno. A film like Jennifer, Where Are You? (1981) disquietingly deploys footage shot closer to the time of its making as it presents a little...
Strange Victory (1948) Directed by Leo Hurwitz BAM kicks off its admirable tribute to leftist intellectual periodical Evergreen Review with this film that actually predates the Review (founded 1957), though it was produced by founder Barney Rosset of Grove Press. The film and Evergreen also share the same basic populist, anti-racist spirit. Strange Victory is a heady and passionate hybrid that is equal parts essay, narrative, documentary and propaganda. The Williamsburg-born Hurwitz, a blacklistee whose...
Migrating Forms March 4-10 at BAM Returning for its 7th annual festival, Migrating Forms takes a slightly different tack this year, aiming for depth over breadth by showing multiple works from the artists and collectives within each program of shorter works, as well as multiple features from single directors. It’s a welcome change for the New York festival environment—where work tangential to what might have once been termed the "avant-garde" often winds up slotted into eclectic...
What the fuck is pop music? More than any other year, 2015 forced us to grapple with what we mean by the term. Do we mean the word's historical roots in "popular," as one radio DJ helpfully mansplained to me on the phone a couple weeks ago? Do we mean the way these songs sound--big, glittery, sharp, packed with the youthful approximations of exultation and wonder? Or do we mean celebrities superpowers, artists whose...

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