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Costello's 2nd Season of Spectacle Starts Dec. 23




December 23rd at 10:00pm ET/PT "Spectacle: Elvis Costello with Levon Helm, Nick Lowe, Richard Thompson and Allen Toussaint"

Elvis Costello literally builds a band in front of the audience's eyes and ears. Joining him for this once-in-a-lifetime jam session are his former record producer, Nick Lowe, on bass; legendary New Orleans producer/pianist Allen Toussaint; U.K. guitar giant/songwriter Richard Thompson; and, from The Band, drummer Levon Helm.

Click above logo for more details.


Cole Smithey on November 29, 2009 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 20, 2009 Episode


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Cole Smithey on November 27, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ted Rall Episode 20

Cole Smithey on November 26, 2009 in Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Road

No Future
Hillcoat and Penhall Are at a Loss for Ideas
By Cole Smithey

The Road Movie Poster "The Road" is a one-note road version of "Waiting for Godot," minus Samuel Beckett's brilliant sense of existentialist humor. Based on Cormac McCarthy's 2006 novel, director John Hillcoat makes no attempt to convert screenwriter Joe Penhall's straight-line rendition into a narrative arc. It doesn't help that the characters don't have names. Viggo Mortensen plays "the Man." His 11-year-old son is "the Boy" (played blankly by Kodi Smit-McPhee). After being deserted by "the Wife" (played by Charlize Theron), Man and Boy wander a gray post-apocalyptic America where no explanation of what happed to wipe out most of the country is ever given. Determined to make it south to the ocean, our homeless duo encounter marauding gangs of murderers and cannibals. The baddies are menacing enough, but any attendant suspense is blunted by the movie's lack of narrative structure. The Man has only two bullets in his revolver, reserved for murder-suicide should the situation ever require such desperate measures. Robert Duvall plays the film's most empathetic character, a fellow traveler on the film's road to nowhere.

Of Cormac McCarthy's last six novels, three have been turned into films and another one ("Blood Meridian"--to be directed by Todd Field) is due for release in 2011. While Billy Bob Thornton's laconic directorial effort with "All the Pretty Horses" (2000) went largely unnoticed, the Coen Brothers' 2005 rendering of "No Country for Old Men" shed a different kind of light on the darkly comic filmic possibilities of McCarthy's work. The Coens transmogrified "No Country" into a film that somehow encompassed implacable greed and cruelty with a jaundiced satirical eye that pushed the audience into thinking about America's political influence on its dusty border-patrolled landscape. Indeed, satire is the very thing that's missing from John Hillcoat's prosaic treatment of what should have been an expansive commentary on America's knee-jerk consumerist culture that's driving the Industrial Revolution off a cliff and taking Mother Nature with it.

John Hillcoat struck it lucky in 2005 adapting Nick Cave's wild-and-wooly Australian western "The Proposition," by nurturing a Hitchcock-inspired sense of suspense and unpredictable violence that lent historical meaning to the material. But Hillcoat is on far less stable ground when dipping his toes into an emaciated futuristic environment.

The filmmakers treat McCarthy's multi-layered survival novel as nothing more than a handing off of generational hope into the hands of strangers that seem no more capable or trustworthy than those that came before. Certainly, Joe Penhall does a disservice to McCarthy's text by inserting flashbacks about the wife, seemingly for the purpose of adding Charlize Theron's name to the credits in the hope of attracting a wider audience. "The Road" needed a more worldly hands-on auteur like a Tarantino or a Verhoeven who could craft the script and put it on film with an overarching influence of humor and editorial meaning. If you look at a film like "Inglourious Basterds" or "Starship Troopers" you find yourself pulled into a whirlpool of narrative inertia that's entirely absent in "The Road" because the filmmakers embrace an ambivalent attitude regarding subtext. For such rich source material, the filmmakers have left out the most important ingredient: ideas.

Rated R. 113 mins. (C-) (Two Stars)

Cole Smithey on November 26, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AfriScope Happenings

Cole Smithey on November 25, 2009 in Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Elvis Costello's Top 500 Albums

Spectacle In honor of a second season of "Spectacle: Elvis Costello with..." (on IFC), I present here the master's list of his Top 500 Albums (extracted from his piece for Vanity Fair at the turn of the millennium). The equally prolific, songwriter, musicologist, composer, and collaborator returns with the most enjoyable music program I've ever seen. (Remember David Sanborn's "Night Music"?--that was okay.)

Elvis Costello is an elder statesman for music, and his easily articulated wisdom comes across with an honesty and sincerity that compensates for his daunting encyclopedic vocabulary of musical theory, styles, and performers.

There is a lot of fine music here, all of which is worth checking out. Personally, I would much rather have seen Warren Zevon albums take the place of Neil Young. I would also have liked to see some Jim Carroll, Nouvelle Vague, Ramones, Cramps and, dare I say Graham Parker and Joe Jackson. Leaving out Joe Pass with Ella is a sin. But we're all guilty of those. Here's wishing many more seasons of "Spectacle."

Here you go kiddies. Bon Appetite. Eat it up.

Elvis Costello's Top 500 Albums

In alphabetical Order:

    * Abba
           Abba Gold - 1992
    * David Ackless
           The Road To Cairo - 1968
           Subway To The Country - 1969
    * Cannonball Adderley
           The Best Of… - 1968
    * Amy Allison
           The Maudlin Years - 1996
    * Mose Alison
           The Best Of… - 1970
    * Almamegretta
           Lingo - 1998
    * Louis Armstrong
           The Complete Hot Five And Hot Seven Recordings - 2000
    * Fred Astaire
           The Astaire Recordings – 1952
    * Johann Sebastian Bach
           The Well Tempered Clavier – 1934
           The Six Cello Suites – 1936
           Six Partitas – 1984
           Mass In B Minor – 1999
    * Burt Bacharach
           The Look Of Love : The Burt Bacharach Collection – 1998
    * Chet Baker
           The Best Of Chet Baker Sings – 1989
           Broken Wing - 1978
    * The Band
           Music From Big Pink - 1968
           The Band – 1969
    * Dave Bartholemew
           The Monkey - 1985
    * Bela Bartok
           Six String Quartets – 1988
    * Cecilia Bartoli
           If You Love Me:18th Century Italian Love Songs – 1992
    * Count Basie
           The Atomic Mr Basie – 1957
    * The Beach Boys
           Pet Sounds – 1966
           Carl And The Passions – So Tough – 1972
           Holland – 1973
           Good Vibrations – 30 Years Of The Beach Boys – 1993
    * Beastie Boys
           Paul’s Boutique – 1989
    * The Beatles
           With The Beatles – 1963
           A Hard Days Night – 1964
           Help – 1965
           Rubber Soul – 1965
           Revolver – 1966
           Sgt Pepper – 1967
           Past Masters Vol. 2 – 1988
    * Beck
           Odelay
    * Bee Gees
           Best Of The Bee Gees
    * Ludwig Van Beethoven
           Otto Klemperer Live At The Concertgebouw – Symphony #9 – 1965
           Symphony #7 - 1975
           Late Quartets – 1997
           Violin Concerto – 1997
    * Derek Bell
           Derek Bell Plays With Himself - 1981
    * Tony Bennett And Bill Evans
           The Tony Bennett And Bill Evans Album – 1975
    * Alban Berg
           Violin Concerto – 1993
    * Hector Berlioz
           Damnation Of Faust – 1987
    * Agnes Barnelle
           Farther’s Lying Dead In The Ironing Board – 1995
    * Leonard Bernstein
           West Side Story – 1957
    * Chuck Berry
           Chuck Berry’s Golden Decade – 1967
    * Bjork
           Debut – 1993
           Post – 1995
    * Ruben Blades
           Buscando America – 1984
    * Bobby Blue Bland
           Two Steps From The Blues – 1961
    * Blondie
           The Best Of Blondie - 1981
    * Blur
           13 – 1999
    * Dirk Bogarde
           Lyrics For Lovers – 1960
    * David Bowie
           Hunky Dory - 1971
           Station To Station – 1976
           Low - 1977
           Heroes – 1977
    * Johannes Brahms
           Ein Deutsches Requiem – 1962
    * Johnny Bristol
           Hang On In There Baby – 1974
    * Benjamin Britten
           Serenade For Tenor, Horn And Strings – 1996
    * Charles Brown
           Driftin’ Blues: The Best Of Charles Brown – 1996
    * Clifford Brown
           Clifford Brown With Strings – 1955
    * James Brown
           Live At The Apollo – 1963
           Star Time – 1991
    * Jackson Brown
           Jackson Brown (Saturate Before Using) – 1972
    * Anton Bruckner
           Symphony #9 – 1990
    * Jeff Buckley
           Grace – 1994
    * Harold Budd & Brian Eno
           Ambient 2: The Plateaux Of Mirror – 1980
    * Buffalo Springfield
           Retrospective: The Best Of.. – 1969
    * Bulgarian State Radio & Television Choir
           Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares – 1990
    * T Bone Burnette
           Proof Through The Night – 1983
           T Bone Burnette – 1986
           The Talking Animals – 1988
    * The Byrds
           Younger Than Yesterday – 1967
           The Notorious Byrd Brothers – 1968
           Sweetheart Of The Rodeo – 1968
    * John Cale
           Music For A New Society – 1982
    * Maria Callas
           Five Heroines-Operatic Extracts – 1990
    * Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
           Trout Mask Replica - 1969
           Clear Spot – 1972
    * Hoagy Carmichael
           Hoagy Sings Carmichael – 1956
    * James Carr
           At The Dark End Of The Street – 1987
    * Johnny Cash
           The Essential Johnny Cash – 1992
    * June Carter Cash
           Press On – 1999
    * Ray Charles
           Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music – 1962
           A Life In Music – 1982
    * Chic
           Chic’s Greatest Hits – 1979
    * Frederic Chopin
           Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 – 1978
    * The Clash
           London’s Calling – 1979
           The Singles – 1991
    * Patsy Cline
           Greatest Hits – 1973
    * The Coasters
           The Ultimate Coasters – 1986
    * Leonard Cohen
           The Best Of Leonard Cohen – 1976
           More Best Of … - 1997
    * Ornette Coleman
           The Shape Of Jazz To Come – 1959
    * John Coltrane
           My Favorite Things – 1961
           The Impulse! Years – 1993
    * Ry Cooder
           Paradise And Lunch – 1974
    * Sam Cooke
           Night Beat – 1963
    * Don Covay
           Checkin’ In With Don Covay – 1989
    * Noel Coward
           The Masters Voice: His HMV Recordings – 1993
    * Bing Crosby
           His Legendary Years – 1993
    * David Crosby
           If Only I Could Remember My Name – 1971
    * Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
           Déjà Vu – 1970
    * Crowded House
           Temple Of Low Men – 1988
    * D’angelo
           Voodoo – 2000
    * Miles Davis
           Birth Of The Cool – 1956
           Miles Ahead – 1957
           Porgy And Bess – 1958
           Kind Of Blue – 1959
           Sketches Of Spain – 1960
           My Funny Valentine – 1964
           In A Silent Way – 1969
           On The Corner – 1969
    * Miles Davis And Stan Getz And Lee Konitz
           Conception – 1975
    * Claude Debussy
           Pelleas Et Melisande – 1992
           Preludes – 1994
    * Alfred Deller
           William Byrd And His Age – 1956
    * Destiny’s Child
           The Writing’s On The Wall – 1999
    * Bo Diddley
           His Best – 1997
    * Dr John
           Dr John’s Gumbo – 1972
    * Eric Dolphy
           Outward Bound – 1960
           Iron Man – 1969
    * Lee Dorsey
           Ride Your Pony - 1966
           Yes We Can – 1970
    * John Dowland
           Awake Sweet Love – 1965
           Dowland: The Collective Works – 1980
    * John Dowland And William Byrd
           Night’s Black Bird – 1989
    * Henri Dupark
           Melodies – 1971
    * Jimmy Durante
           September Song – 1963
    * Ian Dury
           New Boots And Panties – 1977
    * Dyke And The Blazers
           So Sharp – 1983
    * Bob Dylan
           Bringing It All Back Home – 1965
           Blond On Blond – 1966
           John Wesly Harding – 1968
           Planet Waves – 1974
           Blood On The Tracks – 1974
           The Basement Tapes – 1975
           Shot Of Love – 1981
           Time Out Of Mind – 1997
           Bob Dylan Live 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert – 1998
    * Edward Elgar
           Symphony #1 – 1957
           Cello Concerto – 1965
    * Duke Ellington
           Anatomy Of A Murder – 1959
           ….And His Mother Called Him Bill – 1968
           The Centennial Edition: The Complete Rca Victor Recordings – 1999
    * Duke Ellington With Charles Mingus And Max Roach
           Money Jungle – 1962
    * Eminem
           The Marshall Mathers LP – 2000
    * The Bill Evans Trio
           Waltz For Debby – 1961
    * The Gill Evens Orchestra
           Out Of The Cool – 1960
    * The Everly Brothers
           It’s Every Time – 1960
    * The Fairfield Four
           I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray – 1997
    * Marianne Faithfull
           Blazing Away – 1990
    * Georgie Fame
           Sound Venture – 1966
    * Gabriel Faure
           L’horizon Chimerique – 1999
    * Morton Filedman
          o Madame Press Died Last Week At Ninety – 1991
    * Ella Fitzgerald
          o Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook – 1956
    * Ella Fitzgerald And Louis Armstrong
          o The Complete Ella Fitzgerald And Louis Armstrong On Verve – 1997
    * Fleetwood Mac
           Greatest Hits – 1971
    * The Flying Burrito Brothers
           The Gilded Palace Of Sin – 1969
    * The Four Tops
           Anthology – 1974
    * Aretha Franklin
           I Never Loved A Man They Way I Loved You – 1967
           Aretha’s Gold – 1967
           Amazing Grace - 1972
    * Bill Frisell   
           Quartet – 1996
    * Fugees
           The Score – 1996
    * Funkadelic
           One Nation Under A Groove – 1978
    * Marvin Gaye
           Super Hits – 1970
           What’s Going On – 1971
           Lets Get It On – 1973
           Here My Dear – 1979
    * Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell
           Greatest Hits – 1970
    * Stan Getz
           Stan Getz Plays – 1952
    * Stan Getz And Astrid Gilberto
           Getz/Gilberto – 1963
    * Dizzy Gillespie
           Perceptions – 1961
    * Allen Ginsburg
          o The Lion For Real – 1989
    * Graham Central Station
           Release Yourself – 1974
    * Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five & The Sugar Hill Gang
           Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five Vs. The Sugar Hill Gang
    * Grateful Dead
           Workman’s Dead – 1970
           American Beauty - 1970
           Europe ’72 – 1972
           Wake Of The Flood – 1973
    * Al Green
           Call Me – 1973
           You Say It! Raw! Rare! And Unreleased!
    * Edvard Grieg
           Lieder – 1993
    * Charles Haden And Hank Jones
           Steal Away – 1995
    * Merle Haggard
           The Best Of The Best Of.. – 1972
    * George Frideric Handle
           Marian Cantatas – 1994
           Heroes – 1999
    * Tim Harden
           Tim Harden – 1966
    * Slim Harpo
           The Best Of Slim Harpo – 1997
    * Emmylou Harris
           Elite Hotel – 1976
    * Pj Harvey
           Rid Of Me – 1993
    * Coleman Hawkins
           Body And Soul – 1988
           Rainbow Mist – 1993
    * Joseph Haydn
           Complete Piano Sonatas – 1987
           String Quartets – 1990
    * Tubby Hayes
           Tubby’s Groove – 1959
    * Richard Hell And The Voidoids
           Blank Generation – 1977
    * Jimi Hendrix
           Smash Hits – 1968
           Electric Ladyland – 1968
           Live At Woodstock – 1994
    * The Heptones
           Night Fool – 1976
    * Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks
           Last Train To Hicksville.. The Home To Happy Feet – 1973
    * Lauryn Hill
           The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill – 1998
    * Johnny Hodges
           Passion Flower – 1995
    * Billy Holiday
           Lady In Satin –1958
           The Billy Holiday Story – 1972
           The Complete Decca Recordings – 1991
    * The Hollies
           The Best Of The Hollies – 1978
    * Howlin’ Wolf
           His Best – 1997
    * The Isley Brothers
           Super Hits – 1976
    * Charles Ives
           The Unanswered Question Of Orchestra – 1998
    * Jackson Five
           Greatest Hits – 1971
    * The Jam
           All Mod Cons – 1978
    * Skip James
           The Complete Early Recordings Of Skip James – 1994
    * Leos Janacek
           String Quartets – 1994
    * Jefferson Airplane
           Crown Of Creation – 1968
    * The Jesus And Mary Chain
           Psychocandy – 1985
    * Antonio Carlos  Jobim
           Jazz Masters 13 – 1995
    * Little Willie John
           Free At Last – 197
    * Robert Johnson
           Complete Recordings – 1990
    * George Jones
           Anniversary: Ten Years Of Hits – 1982
           Cup Of Loneliness: The Classic Mercury Years – 1994
    * Oum Kaltsoum
           Anthologie De La Musique Arabe, Vol 1-8 – 1989
    * The Kinks
           The Ultimate Collection – 1989
    * Rahsaan Roland Kirk
           The Infected Tear – 1968
    * Erich Korngold
           From The Operas Of Erich Korngold – 1993
    * The La’s
           The La’s – 1990
    * Peggy Lee
           Mill Peggy Lee- 1998
    * John Lennon
           Plastic Ono Band – 1970
           Imagine – 1971
           Shaved Fish – 1975
    * Alan Jay Lerner And Fredrich Lowe
           My Fair Lady – 1956
    * Jerry Lee Lewis
           Rockin’ My Life Away – 1991
    * Little Feat
           Sailin’ Shoes – 1972
           Feats Don’t Fail Me Now – 1974
    * Little Richard
           Here’s Little Richard – 1957
           The Explosive Little Richard – 1967
    * The Louvin Brothers
           When I Stop Dreaming: The Best Of The Louvin Brothers – 1995
    * The Louvin’ Spoonful
           Anthology – 1990
    * Nick Lowe
           Jesus Of Cool – 1978
           The Impossible Bird – 1994
    * Donal Lunny
           Donal Lunny – 1987
    * Loreta Lynn
           The Best Of Loretta Lynn – 1999
    * Machito And His Afro-Cubans
           Cubop City – 1992
    * Madness
           The Rise And Fall – 1982
    * Gustav Mahler
           Symphony #1 – 1968
    * The Mamas And The Papas
           A Gathering Of Flowers – 1970
    * Aimee Mann
           Whatever – 1993
    * Bob Marley And The Wailers
           African Herbsman – 1972
           Natty Dread – 1975
    * The Marvelettes
           The Return Of The Marvelettes – 1970
    * Groucho Marx
           An Evening With Groucho – 1972
    * Massive Attack
           Protection – 1994
    * Matching Mole
           Matching Mole – 1972
    * Curtis Mayfield
           The Very Best Of Curtis Mayfield – 1996
    * Curtis Mayfield And The Impressions
           The Anthology 1961 – 1977 – 1992
    * Paul Mccartney
           Mccartney – 1970
           Flaming Pie – 1997
    * Kate And Anna Mcgrrigle
          o Kate And Anna Mcgrrigle – 1975
    * Tommy Mclain
           The Essential Collection – 1997
    * The Meters
           The Best Of The Meters – 1975
    * Mina
           Gli Anni D’oro – 1984
    * Charles Mingus
           Blues And Roots – 1959
           Mingus Ah-Um – 1959
           Pre-Bird – 1960
           Mingus At Antibes - 1960
           Mingus Plays Piano - 1963
           Let My Children Hear Music – 1971
           Epiaph – 1990
    * Joni Mitchell
           Blue - 1971
           For The Roses – 1972
           Court And Spark – 1974
           The Hissing Of Summer Lawns – 1975
           Hejira – 1976
           Taming The Tiger – 1998
    * The Modern Lovers
           The Modern Lovers – 1976
    * Thelonious Monk
           Genious Of Modern Music Vol. 1 – 1951
           Brilliant Corners – 1957
           Monk’s Music – 1958
    * Bill Monroe
           The Music Of Bill Monroe – 1994
    * Claudio Monteverdi
           L’incoronazione Di Poppea – 1993
    * Moondog
           The Story Of Moondog – 1957
    * Van Morrison
           Astral Weeks – 1968
           Moondance – 1970
           His Band And Street Choir – 1970
           Veeden Fleece – 1974
    * Jelly Roll Morton
           Birth Of The Hot – 1995
    * The Mothers Of Invention
           We’re Only In It For The Money – 1968
    * The Move
           The Best Of The Move – 1974
    * Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
           Piano Concerto #20 – 1970
           Requiem – 1986
           Quartets Dedicated To Hayden – 1991
           La Clemenza Di Tito – 1993
           Le Nozze Di Figaro – 1993
    * Modest Mussorgsky
           Songs Of Dances And Death – 1995
    * Roy Nathanson
           Fire At Keaton’s Bar And Grill – 2000
    * Oliver Nelson
           The Blues And Abstract Truth – 1961
           Straight Ahead – 1961
    * Willie Nelson
           Stardust – 1978
    * Bob Neuwirth
           Back To The Front – 1988
    * Aaron Neville
           Greatest Hits – 1990
    * Randy Newman
           Randy Newman – 1968
           Sail Away 1972
           Good Old Boys – 1974
           Trouble In Paradise – 1983
    * New York Dolls
           New York Dolls – 1973
    * Nirvana
           Nevermind – 1991
    * Luigi Nono
           Fragmente-Stille An Diotima – 1983
    * NRBQ
           NRBQ – 1969
    * Laura Nyro And Labelle
           Gonna Take A Miracle – 1971
    * Roy Orbison
           The Orbison Way – 1966
    * Augustas Pablo
           El Rockers – 2000
    * Giovanni Palestrina
          o Missa Viri Galiaei – 1992
    * Charlie Parker
           The Complete Studio Sessions – 1978
    * Van Dyke Parks
           Discover America – 1972
    * Gram Parsons
           Gp – 1973
           Grievous Angel – 1974
    * Ann Peebles
           I Can’t Stand The Rain – 1974
    * Dan Penn
           Nobody’s Fool – 1973
    * Dan Penn And Spooner Oldham
           Moments From This Theater – 1999
    * Sam Phillips
           Martinis And Bikinis – 1994
    * The Pogues
           Rum, Sodomy And The Lash – 1985
    * Dulce Pontes
           Caminhos – 1998
    * Iggy Pop
           The Idiot – 1977
           Lust For Life – 1977
    * Portishead
           Dummy – 1994
           Portishead – 1997
    * Francis Poulenc
           Melodies – 1950
    * Bud Powell
           The Best Of Bud Powell – 1994
    * Elvis Presley
           The Sun Sessions – 1976
           The Memphis Album – 1987
    * Prentenders
           Pretenders – 1980
           The Singles – 1987
    * Prince
           Around The World In A Day – 1985
           Parade – 1986
           Sign Of The Times – 1987
    * John Prine
           John Prine – 1972
    * Sergey Prokofiev
           Romeo And Juliet – 1998
    * Pulp
           Different Class – 1995
    * Henry Purcell
           Dido And Aeneas – 1993
           Fantasias & In Nominees – 1995
    * Radiohead
           The Bends – 1995
          oO.K. Computer 1997
    * Bonnie Raitt
           Give It Up – 1972
    * Otis Redding
           The Very Best Of Otis Redding – 1992
    * Jimmy Reed
           The Best Of Jimmy Reed – 1962
    * Lou Reed
           Berlin – 1973
    * R.E.M.
           Reckoning – 1984
           Green – 1988
    * The Replacements
           All Shook Down – 1990
    * Marc Ribot
           Marc Robot Y Los Cubanos Postizos – 1998
    * Charlie Rich
           Feel Like Going Home: The Essential Charlie Rich – 1997
    * Jeannie Robertson
           The Queen Among The Heather – 1998
    * Smokey Robinson And The Miracles
           The Anthology – 1973
    * The Rolling Stones
           Aftermath – 1966
           Between The Buttons – 1967
           Let It Bleed – 1969
           Some Girls – 1978
    * Sonny Rollins
           Saxophone Colossus – 1964
    * Diana Ross And The Supremes
           The Ultimate Collection – 1997
    * Gioacchino Rossini
           Rossini Arias – 1989
    * Otis Rush
           His Cobra Recordings – 1989
    * George Russell
           The Jazz Workshop – 1956
    * Salt ‘N Pepa
           The Best Of Salt ‘N Pepa – 1999
    * Sam And Dave
           The Best Of Sam And Dave – 1969
    * Franz Schubert
           B-Flat Major Piano Sonata – 1971
           F-Sharp Minor Piano Sonata – 1993
           Winterreise – 1996
           Lieder – 1997
    * Jimmy Scott
           Heaven - 1996
    * Raymond Scott
           Reckless Nights And Turkish Twilights – 1992
           Manhattan Research Inc. – 2000
    * Andress Segovia
           Andress Segovia And His Contemporaries Vol 6. – 1999
    * The Sex Pistols
           Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols – 1977
    * Ron Sexsmith
           Ron Sexsmith – 1995
    * Dmitry Shostakovich
           Cello Concerto #1 – 1959
           The String Quartets – 1991
           24 Preludes And Fugues – 1995
           Shostakovich Plays Shostakovich, Cello Sonata – 1998
           Symphony #14 – 2000
    * Paul Simon
           Paul Simon – 1972
           There Goes Rhymin’ Simon – 1973
    * Simon And Garfunkel
           Bookends – 1968
    * Nina Simone
           The Best Of Nina Simone – 1969
    * Frank Sinatra
           In The Wee Small Hours – 1955
           Songs For Swingin’ Lovers – 1956
           Only The Lonely – 1958
           No One Cares – 1959
           Live In Paris – 1962
    * Frank Sinatra And Antono Carlos Jobim
           Frank Sinatra And Antono Carlos Jobim – 1967
    * Percy Sledge
           When A Man Loves A Woman – 1967
    * Sly And The Family Stone
           Anthology – 1981
    * The Small Faces
           The Immediate Years – 1995
    * Elliott Smith
           Xo – 1998
    * The Smiths
           The Smiths – 1984
    * Son Volt
           Trace – 1995
    * The Specials
           The Specials – 1979
    * Phil Spector
           Back To Mono – 1991
    * The Spinners
           The Best Of The Spinners – 1978
    * Dusty Springfield
           Dusty In Memphis – 1969
           Greatest Hits – 1979
    * Bruce Springsteen
           The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle – 1973
           The River – 1980
           Tunnel Of Love – 1987
           The Ghost Of Tom Joad – 1995
    * Squeeze
           East Side Story – 1981
    * The Stanley Brothers
           The Complete Colombia Stanley Brothers – 1996
    * Steely Dan
           Countdown To Ecstasy – 1973
    * Rod Stewart
           The Mercury Anthology – 1992
    * Richard Strauss
           Der Rosenkavalier – 1934
           Four Last Songs – 1996
    * Igor Stravinsky
           L’histoire Du Soldat – 1938
           Le Sacre Du Printemps – 1958
           Igor Stravinsky Edition – 1963
    * The Stylistics
           The Best Of The Stylistics – 1975
    * June Tabor
           Abyssinians – 1983
    * Howard Tate
           Get It While You Can – 1967
    * Art Tatum
           20th Century Piano Genius – 1992
    * Johnnie Taylor
           Raw Blues – 1968
    * Television
           Marquee Moon – 1977
    * The Temptations
           Anthology – 1973
    * Joe Tex
           The Best Of Joe Tex – 1965
    * Them
           The Story Of Them – 1997
    * Irma Thomas
           Ruler Of Hearts – 1989
    * Richard And Linda Thompson
           I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight – 1974
    * Henry Theradgill
           Easley Slip Into Another World – 1987
    * T.L.C.
           Fanmail – 1999
    * Mel Torme
           Easy To Remember – 1979
    * A Tribe Called Quest
           Anthology – 1999
    * Tricky
           Maxinquaye – 1995
    * Lennie Tristano
           The New Tristano – 1960
    * Big Joe Turner
           The Very Best Of Big Joe Turner – 1998
    * U2
           The Unforgettable Fire - 1984
           Achtung Baby – 1991
           Pop – 1997
    * The Undertones
           The Undertones – 1980
    * Velvet Underground
           The Velvet Underground And Nico – 1966
    * The Verve
           Urban Hymns – 1997
    * Anne Sofie Von Otter
           Wings In The Night – 1996
    * Richard Wagner
           Tristan And Isolde – 1952
           Der Ring Des Nibelungen – 1983
    * Porter Wagner And Dolly Parton
           The Right Combination: Burning The Midnight Oil – 1972
    * Tom Waits
           Swardfishtrombones – 1983
           Rain Dogs – 1985
           Frank’s Wild Years – 1987
           Bone Machine – 1992
           Mule Variations – 1999
    * Scott Walker
           Tilt – 1995
    * Dionne Warwick
           The Windows Of The World – 1968
    * Muddy Waters
           More Real Folk Blues – 1967
    * Doc Watson
           The Essential Doc Watson – 1973
    * Anton Webern
          Complete Works
     *Kurt Weill
           O Moon Of Alabama
    * Kenny Wheeler With Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell And Dave Holland
           Angel Song – 1997
    * The Who
           My Generation – 1965
           Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy – 1971
    * Hank Williams
           40 Greatest Hits – 1978
    * Lucinda Williams
          o Car Wheels On Gravel Drive – 1998
    * Snny Boy Williamson
           The Best Of   Sonny Boy Williamson – 1986
    * Jesse Winchester
           Jesse Winchester – 1970
    * Wings
           Band On The Run – 1973
    * Hugo Wolf
           Lieder – 2000
    * Bobby Womack
           The Best Of Bobby Womack – 1992
    * Stevie Wonder
           Talking Book – 1972
           Innervisions – 1973
           Fulfillingness’ First Finale – 1974
    * Betty Wright
           The Best Of Betty Wright – 1992
    * Robert Wyatt
           Mid-Eighties – 1993
    * Lester Young
           Ultimate Lester Young – 1998
    * Neil Young
           Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – 1969
           After The Goldrush – 1970
           Time Fades Away – 1973
           On The Beach – 1974
           Freedom – 1989
           Ragged Glory – 1990
    * Zamballarana
           Zamballarana – 1997

Cole Smithey on November 18, 2009 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

24th ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL

CELEBRATING THE INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS OF

ISRAELI CINEMA

Jaffa 2

 

December 5, Thru December 13, 2009 At SVA Theatre (23rd & 8th)

 

Opening Night Honors Presented To

 

ELLIOTT GOULD – 2009 IFF Lifetime Achievement Award

PAUL SCHRADER – 2009 IFF Achievement in Film Award

DON KRIM – 2009 IFF Visionary Award

 

Israeli Box Office Smash

A MATTER OF SIZE: Opening Night Film

Nominated For 14 Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy)

 

(November 12, 2009, NYC) --The 24th Israel Film Festival, the largest showcase of Israeli films in the United States will open on Saturday, December 5, 2009 and continue through December 13 at the SVA Theater (333 W. 23rd St.).

 Opening night will find celebrated actor Elliott Gould on hand to receive the 2009 IFF Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his tremendous achievements and body of work.  This Academy Award® Nominee has over 200 film and television credits to his name, and is easily recognizable the world over.  He recently returned from Israel and is a strong supporter of Israeli Cinema and its filmmakers.  The Israel Film Festival is proud to honor him.  Also that evening, acclaimed Writer/Director Paul Schrader will be honored with the 2009 IFF Achievement in Cinema Award.  Paul Schrader (whose most recent release, Adam Resurrected, will receive a special presentation at the 2009 IFF), began his career as a critic, and quickly segued into writing then directing.  His films as a writer and/or director include Taxi Driver, Blue Collar, Raging Bull, Cat People, Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters, The Mosquito Coast, City Hall, American Gigolo, Patty Hearst, Auto Focus, Affliction and The Walker among more than 30 well known and successful titles.  Also receiving an IFF honor that night will be Donald Krim, President of Kino International, a leading independent distribution company. Krim will receive the 2009 IFF Visionary Award for his leadership and vision as a critical force to the showcasing of Israeli cinema in the United States.  For twenty years Kino has been at the forefront of presenting the best of new Israeli cinema starting with Renen Schorr’s evocative Late Summer Blues and including Amos Gitai’s Kadosh and Kippur, Cannes Camera d’Or winner Or, Joseph Cedar’s Academy Award® nominated Beaufort and this year’s submission from Israel to the Academy Awards®, and Cannes Camera d’Or Special Mention, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s Ajami. The Israel Film Festival is honored to recognize Donald Krim.

 The Opening Night film will be the highly praised Israeli release, A MATTER OF SIZE, a touching, light-hearted comedy about a group of four ‘very’ overweight friends in the Israeli city of Ramle who decide to start a sumo wrestling club and escape from the dictatorship of diets espoused by their weight-loss group decide to pursue a sport where their size is an asset.  In the process they all experience a ‘coming out’ of a different kind – learning to accept themselves both in life and love.  A MATTER OF SIZE, directed by Sharon Maymon & Erez Tadmor, was nominated for 14 Israeli Academy “Ofir” awards in 2009.  Erez Tadmor will be in town to attend the Opening Night of the 2009 Israel Film Festival.

 The 24th Israel Film Festival will present over 28 Israeli features, documentaries, and award-winning student shorts, ranging from cinéma vérité and comedies to thought-provoking, powerful dramas and documentaries.  More than 15 Israeli filmmakers are expected to attend and participate in the event.

The annual Panavision Audience Choice Award for Best Israeli Feature Film will be presented at the IFF’s Closing Night presentation.  The award carries a state-of-the-art Panavision package worth over $60,000 for the director and producer to use toward their next film shot in Israel.

Under the expert supervision of Founder/Executive Director Meir Fenigstein, The Israel Film Festival is presented by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., in association with the Consulate General of Israel in New York. The Festival has been responsible for introducing Israeli life and culture to American audiences through the powerful medium of film, providing a comprehensive intercultural exchange and has brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the United States to share their art. Through the years, more than 900,000 filmgoers across the country have experienced the best of Israeli cinema by viewing more than 800 feature films, documentaries, television dramas, short films and student shorts.


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The Festival is the only film festival that will visit three American cities - Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

 

FEATURE FILMS:

ADAM RESURRECTED (Israel / 2008 – Special Presentation), Dir: Paul Schrader, starring Jeff Goldblum and Aylet Zurer.  Former Berlin magician Adam Stein is an enthralling, enigmatic patient at an Israeli rehabilitation outpost for Holocaust survivors. Stein veers from brilliance to eroticism, horror and madness, with flashbacks to the demoralization he endured under Commandant Klein in the Stellring death camp. Stein appears to have everyone stymied and overawed, but an unusual new patient seems to have the magnetic power to break him free of the grip of his relentless torment. Q&A with Producer: Ehud Bleiberg

BRURIAH (Israel / 2008 / East Coast Premiere), Dir: Avraham Kushnir.  Bruriah struggles with a childhood trauma: a life of excommunication which was forced on her following the publication of her father’s book. Bruriah goes in search of the only surviving copy of the book. Her husband sees her quest as a threat to the way of life that he has created for his family. But Bruriah is unwilling to give up, and the search for the book becomes a crusade during which she faces the compromises she has made in her life, her desires, and her limitations.  Special Guest: Avraham Kushnir.

 FOR MY FATHER (Israel / 2008 / East Coast Premiere), Dir: Dror Zahavi.  Terek, a young Palestinian on a suicide mission in Tel Aviv, is given a second chance when the fuse on his explosive vest fails to detonate. Forced to spend the weekend in Tel Aviv awaiting its repair, Terek befriends several Israelis, including the beautiful Keren, who has cut off contact with her Orthodox family and upbringing. With nothing to lose, Terek and Keren open up to one another, and an unlikely love blooms between two isolated and damaged individuals, raised to be enemies.

JAFFA (Israel / 2009), Dir: Keren Yedaya, brings forth the dramatic story of Mali, who lives with her family in Jaffa, and works with her brother and father at the family owned car repair shop. Mali falls in love with Tauffik, a mechanic in the garage. Despite underlying racism and jealousy that surrounds them, their love affair grows. When Mali finds out she is pregnant, the couple decides to run away and get married abroad. On the morning of the flight, a tragic event reshapes this couple's future.

KIROT (Israel / 2009 / US Premiere), Dir: Danny Lerner.  Galia (Olga Kurylenko) longs to escape her life as a Tel Aviv sex worker and reunite with the young daughter she left behind in Ukraine. With the promise of cash and the return of her passport, she is enlisted to commit murders for Tel Aviv heavies Ronnie and Michel. Across the hall lives Elinor (Ninet Tayeb), a grocery-store clerk and battered wife who dreams of fleeing her abusive husband. The two forge a friendship when Elinor tries to teach Galia to curse in Hebrew.  For a few precious hours, the two women forget their exploiters.  Special Guest: Ehud Bleiberg, Producer

MRS. MOSCOWITZ & THE CATS (Israel / 2009 / US Premiere), Dir: Jorge Gurvich.  When Yolanda Moscowitz (Rita Zohar), a retired teacher, wakes up in a hospital geriatric ward, she is convinced there must be some mistake. She wants to go home immediately. But the titanium plate in her hip confines her to a wheelchair and to a lengthy convalescence. Nonetheless, Yolanda discovers a new life: she develops a close relationship with Allegra, the solitary woman with whom she shares a room; she confronts Rosie, the head nurse; and when she meets Shaul (Moni Moshonov), a former soccer player, emotions surface that she thought had vanished from her life for good. Like a young woman in love, she does anything to captivate the charming Shaul. When the time comes for her to return home, it’s the last thing she wants to do. However, she has no choice and is forced to return to her life of loneliness, with its TV game shows and the cats that wail under her window all night long. Just as she’s about to renounce her possessions for the friendship of a caregiver, there’s a knock at her door….

SEVEN DAYS (Israel / 2008), Dir: Ronit Elkabetz & Shlomi Elkabetz.  The Ohayon’s, seven brothers and two sisters, loose their brother Moris. They are forced to spend seven days of mourning together, unable to leave the house, each one holding a grudge against the others. The film describes the breakdown of the expanded family for personal independence, through the story of each of them, as well as their story as a group. Special Guest: Shlomi Elkabetz.

 SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN (Israel / 2008 / New York Premiere), Dir: Omri Givon.  For a year, Galia has tended to her own injuries as well as her boyfriend’s. The event that left him in a coma and her back badly scarred is a blur. Getting on the Jerusalem bus… the explosion… waking up in the hospital… most of Galia’s recollections come from the reports of others. But when he finally passes away, never having awoken, Galia realizes that in order to move forward, she must reconstruct this mysterious past and, in particular, that one horrific day. Special Guest: Omri Givon.

 ZRUBAVEL (Israel / 2008 / New York Premiere), Dir: Shmuel Beru.  Itzhak’s family emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel and now makes their home in a poor neighborhood, full of crime and drugs.  Gita, Itzhak's grandfather, successfully protects and unites the whole family, but a surprising chain of events undermines Gita's control over his family. The conflict is ignited by the clash of generations, specifically between the Ethiopian customs cherished by Gita and his wife and the younger generation's desire to assimilate with Israeli culture. Special Guest: Shmuel Beru.

DOCUMENTARY

ACHZIV (Israel / 2009), Dir: Etty Wieseltier.  Documents the unique story of Eli Avivi, President of “Achziv Land,” from the time of the War of Independence when Eli appropriated a deserted Arab village called A’Ziv. He declared the village as the Independent State of Achziv and up until the present day has remained the colorful and independent ruler of his land despite the authority’s perpetual attempts to close him down.

A HISTORY OF ISRAELI CINEMA (Israel/France / 2009 / US Premiere), Dir: Raphael Nadjari, investigates more than 70 years of Israeli cinema. The journey begins with the Zionist propaganda of the 30s, 40s, and 50s, establishing Jewish life in Palestine on film. The 60s introduced the fiction era, influenced by European and American cinema. In the late 60s and 70s, Israeli cinema tried to form its unique and local identity, when directors, born and raised in Israel, appeared onstage. During the 80s, Israeli cinema became an important means of political expression. In the 90s and the 2000s, we start hearing a diversity of voices, representing the different cultures forming Israeli society, and the filmmakers begin searching for individual poetic expression. The film includes interviews with filmmakers and researchers from different eras. A must see for those wanting a comprehensive knowledge of Israeli Cinema! (Presented in two parts).

 A LEGEND IN THE DUNES (Israel/France / 2009 / East Coast Premiere), Dir: Ya’akov Gross.  In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Tel Aviv, Ya’akov Gross presents a new documentary that follows the development of the building of the new city across from the ancient city of Yaffo. Its founders, builders and bohemia who settled there installed a new spirit in the awakening Land of Israel, in times when it was hard to believe the Zionist dream would be fulfilled. Special Guest: Ya’akov Gross.

 THE GREEN DUMPSTER MYSTERY (Israel / 2008 / East Coast Premiere), Dir: Tal Haim Yoffe.  Traveling on his scooter through south Tel Aviv, film-maker Tal Haim Yoffe noticed an old photograph and some documents inside a green dumpster. This was the beginning of an investigation that slowly unwound a tragic family history beginning in Lodz, and transverses a Siberian Gulag, a Samarkand sugar plant, a kibbutz in Frankfurt, a deserted Arab building in Jaffa, and an absentee IDF soldier somewhere in the sands of the Sinai Peninsula. Just an anonymous family, but a typical Israeli one.  Special Guest: Tal Haim Yoffe.

THE MYSTERY OF ARIS SAN (Israel / 2009 / East Coast Premiere), Dir: Dani Dotan & Dalia Mevorach.  A journey into the mysterious life of Aris San, the Greek singer who became a megastar in Israel, close friend of generals and politicians, until rumors spread that he was a spy. Aris left for New York and opened a night club where Hollywood stars, politicians, and Mafiosos mingled. His friends included Anthony Quinn, Telly Savalas, Harry Belafonte, as well as the Gallo crime family. His meteoric rise ended with a drug addiction, jail and a mysterious disappearance in Budapest.

 QUEEN KHANTARISHA (Israel / 2009 / US Premiere), Dir: Israela Shaer-Meoded, presents two Israeli-Yemenite women writers in their sixties: A songwriter and lyricist of love, who also stands behind some of the hottest hits that resonate in Yemeni clubs and weddings, and a Jerusalem-born poet and writer, whose writing, touching on demons, madness, rape, and rebellion, has garnered her community’s denunciation. The film explores the personal costs of straddling the ambitions of creative expression and the restraints of conservative communities requiring subservience.

 THE "SHAKSHUKA" SYSTEM (Israel / 2009 / East Coast Premiere), Dir: Ilan Aboody.  The film, nominated for a documentary ‘Ofir’ Award, describes Aboody and journalist Miki Rosenthal’s efforts toward acquiring a deep understanding of the complex connection between capital and government in Israel. They story focuses on one of the strongest families in the Israeli economy – the Ofer family. While making the film, they discover that there are taboo topics and the journalist's investigation becomes a personal quest for him, as he understands that making the film would also take a very heavy personal toll. Special Guest: Miki Rozental.

 TALE OF NICOLAI (Israel / 2008 / NY Premiere), Dir: David Ofek.  The collapse of Communism puts Nicolai, like thousands of other Romanians, out of work. He leaves his family to earn money in Israel. After three years as a “guest worker,” tired of giving most of his pay to his employer, Nicolai becomes an “illegal.” Caught and sent to prison, his life takes an abrupt turn. Noted documentarian David Ofek (The Hebrew Lesson, 2007 Festival) uses subtle irony to raise questions about who belongs in an increasingly diverse Israel.

 VOICE OF JERUSALEM (Israel / 2009 / US Premiere), Dir: Ofer Naim.  Those who remember Jerusalem in its splendor have called it the city of gold. It is a city known for its glorious past but bleak future. Thirty six years after the film I Am A Jerusalemite, Yehoram Gaon sets off to find the Jerusalem he left behind. What happened to “Jerusalem of Gold”? Which of the three religions should have the right to control Jerusalem? Maybe this all stems from the "Jerusalem Syndrome" that causes one to lose touch with reality. Have the leaders of Israel and Jerusalem suffered from this syndrome as well? This film attempts to answer many of these questions, talking to a number of the city's residents and through the many songs sung longingly about this city, over time.

THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD (Israel / 2009 / US Premiere), Dir: Regev Contes.  Three divorced middle aged men work together in a small, failing insurance agency, located in the rented apartment of the manager. Although they are highly intelligent, have a sense of humor, and well educated, they have absolutely no idea about running a business, and their company is continually on the verge of bankruptcy. The film documents the attempts of the manager's son, (Contes), to join this motley crew at the onset of the recession, and save his father's collapsing firm. Special Guest: Regev Contes

 All films are in Hebrew with English subtitles unless otherwise noted.  Films and schedule subject to change.

Sponsors of the 24th Israel Film Festival include: Government of Israel, El-Al, Clear Channel, HBO, The Hollywood Reporter, Carmel6, Nu Image, Millennium Films, The Leroy and Shoshana Schecter Family Foundation, New York Post, JDate, Triangle, Israel Lottery Council for the Arts, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Israel Film Fund, and other corporations, organizations and individuals.

Tickets for the 24th Israel Film Festival are General Admission: $14; Opening Night Gala (including reception, Awards presentation & film) $100; Seniors, Students, Children & Weekday Matinees (before 6pm) $11; All Access Single Pass (good for any festival screening except Opening Night screening and reception) $250 – limited availability.  Tickets on sale after November 23.  Passes and Sponsorhips on sale now.  For all program, ticket and/or sponsorship information regarding the 24th Israel Film Festival, December 5, 2009 through December 13 at the SVA Theater (333 W. 23 St.), please visit www.israelfilmfestival.com or call 1-877-966-5566.

 Besides honoring Elliott Gould, Paul Schrader and Don Krim of Kino (who, as you know has released a slew of award-winning Israeli films), this year’s edition is a great showcase for the Israeli Academy Awards, with 6 out of 10 features either winning or being nominated for "Ophirs". Plus there are 10 documentaries. Here are some highlights:

A MATTER OF SIZE (Sharon Maymon & Erez Tadmor), the Opening Night film on Israeli sumo wrestlers (!) was at Tribeca this year and was nominated for 14 Ophirs (winning 3, including Best Actress). The Weinsteins bought the remake rights and it has a 2010 release through Menemsha Films.

JAFFA (Keren Yedaya, director of OR, MY TREASURE) premiered at a Cannes Special Screening this year, and lead Dana Ivgy (also in OR) whose performance as a Jewish woman falling in love with an Arab mechanic, garnered her a nomination for Best Actress at the Israeli Academy Awards

THE SEVEN DAYS (Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz), the 2nd feature directed by actress Ronit Elkabetz (LATE MARRIAGE, THE BAND'S VISIT) alongside her brother was nominated for 13 Israeli Academy Awards in 08, and won Best Israeli Feature at the Jerusalem Film Festival as well as Best Actress for Hana Azoulay-Hasfari.

FOR MY FATHER (Dror Zahavi) is the story of a Palestinian suicide bomber befriending an Orthodox Jew, was nominated for 7 Israeli Academy Awards and was a selection at the Hamptons. Released by Film Movement.

Doc highlights:

A HISTORY OF ISRAELI CINEMA (Raphael Nadjari) the definitive history (so far) in two parts (totaling 207 mins)

THE GREEN DUMPSTER MYSTERY (Tal Haim Yoffe) was at IDFA and Palm Springs follows the director unraveling the story of an anonymous family which starts in Lodz Poland and ends in Jaffa.

TALE OF NIKOLAI & THE LAW OF RETURN (David Ofek) by noted documentarian Ofek ( THE HEBREW LESSON) questions  Israeli identity as it follows a Romanian-born Jew who comes to Israel to earn money as a guest worker.

Cole Smithey on November 17, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS ON SCREEN AND STAGE


 


 

"TENNESSEE WILLIAMS ON SCREEN AND STAGE"

A CONVERSATION WITH ELLEN BURSTYN,  BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD,  JODIE MARKELL,  ELAINE STRITCH,  AND ELI WALLACH

MODERATED BY CHARLES ISHERWOOD AT THE TIMES CENTER ON DECEMBER 9, 2009


Museum of the Moving Image also to co-present “Tennessee Williams on Film”
retrospective at the IFC Center


Museum of the Moving Image will present an all-star panel discussion and a two-weekend film series exploring the legacy of Tennessee Williams, one of the most important and influential playwrights of the 20th century. The panel discussion, “Tennessee Williams on Screen and Stage,” at The Times Center on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, will include Ellen Burstyn and Bryce Dallas Howard, stars of the new film The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond from an original rediscovered screenplay by Tennessee Williams; Jodie Markell, director of the film; and legendary actors Elaine Stritch (“The Lighter Side of Tennessee Williams”) and Eli Wallach (Baby Doll). The discussion will be moderated by Charles Isherwood, theater critic for The New York Times.

“Tennessee Williams on Film,” a series co-presented by the Museum and IFC Center, will take place on weekends from December 5 through 13. Films include The Glass Menagerie; Suddenly, Last Summer; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; and The Fugitive Kind. All films screen at IFC Center. The series was programmed by David Schwartz, the Museum’s chief curator and IFC Center’s John Vanco, vice-president and general manager, and Harris Dew, director of programs and promotions. A related exhibition of Tennessee Williams movie posters will be on display in December in the Posteritati at IFC Center gallery, in the theater’s second floor lobby.

“It is very exciting to have a new film, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, based on a never-produced Tennessee Williams screenplay,” said David Schwartz. “Bryce Dallas Howard’s performance adds a new character to Williams’s pantheon of richly drawn, archetypal heroines. This panel discussion offers a great opportunity to look at Williams’s enduring legacy, and examine what keeps him such a vital presence. His plays are revived constantly, and his work has inspired a number of great films.

Three of the panelists for the December 9th discussion are associated with The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. The film, directed by Jodie Markell, stars Bryce Dallas Howard as Fisher Stevens, a rebellious young heiress who flouts the conventions of proper Southern society by asking the impoverished but handsome son of her father’s caretaker, Jimmy (Chris Evans), to be her social escort. This purely business arrangement becomes complicated when Fisher falls in love with Jimmy. Academy Award-winner Ellen Burstyn, known for her portrayal of strong and complex women, also co-stars. The film will be released in theaters by Paladin in late December.

“As a girl growing up in Memphis Tennessee,” says Markell, ”I felt a deep affinity for Williams's sensitive characters as they search for something authentic in a harsh world. He takes a humanitarian approach to his characters. He doesn’t judge them. He makes you understand them even amidst the unusual, mysterious world they inhabit. Williams's world is ephemeral and haunted. He once said that everything he ever wrote was about loss. I wanted to bring WIlliams's visually poetic world to the screen with as much vibrancy, immediacy, and authenticity as I could achieve in the hopes of inspiring a new audience to re-discover this great American original voice.”

The veteran stage and screen performers Elaine Stritch and Eli Wallach complete the December 9 panel. A Tony and Emmy Award-winner, Stritch recently appeared in the role of Amanda in Tennessee Williams’s “The Pretty Trap,” in an evening called “The Lighter Side of Tennessee Williams,” at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. By the time Eli Wallach made his film debut in Tennessee Williams’s Baby Doll (1954), directed by Elia Kazan, he had already established himself on the New York stage in two Williams’s plays: “The Rose Tattoo,” for which he won a Tony Award, and “Camino Real.”

The Museum’s panel discussion and retrospective join a nationwide celebration of Tennessee Williams: the induction of Williams into the Poets’ Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (November 5), the acclaimed Australian production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” starring Cate Blanchett and directed by Liv Ullmann at BAM (November 27-December 20), a retrospective of classic Williams teleplays and a conversation with Liv Ullmann at The Paley Center in New York (December 9-27), and a film retrospective at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles (December 9).


Program Schedule


Wednesday, December 9, 7:00 p.m.
“Tennessee Williams on Screen and Stage”
A Conversation with Ellen Burstyn, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jodie Markell, Elaine Stritch, and Eli Wallach, moderated by Charles Isherwood, The New York Times 
At The Times Center, 242 West 41 Street, Manhattan.

An all-star panel of actors and directors will talk about the enduring legacy of Tennessee Williams, who was among the most important and influential playwrights of the 20th century. The upcoming movie The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, the directorial debut of actress Jodie Markell, is based on a rediscovered screenplay by Williams. Markell and two of the film’s stars, Ellen Burstyn and Bryce Dallas Howard, will be on the panel, along with the legendary Elaine Stritch, who recently presented an evening “The Lighter Side of Tennessee Williams,” and the equally legendary Eli Wallach, who made his memorable screen debut in Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll. Charles Isherwood, theater critic for The New York Times, will moderate the program. The evening will include scenes from films including A Streetcar Named Desire, Baby Doll, and The Fugitive Kind, and an exclusive look at scenes from The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.

Tickets: $25, $15 for Museum members. Tickets may be ordered online at http://movingimage.us or 718.784.4520.


Tennessee Williams on Film, December 5–13, 2009
At IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West 3 Street, Manhattan. More information at 212.924.7771 or ifccenter.com.


Saturday, December 5, 11:00 a.m.
The Glass Menagerie
1950, 107 mins. Warner Bros. Directed by Irving Rapper. With Jane Wyman, Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy, Gertrude Lawrence. An outstanding ensemble cast stars in the first screen adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play. The Glass Menagerie is generally regarded to be one of Williams’s masterpieces, and also one of his most autobiographical plays.


Sunday, December 6, 11:00 a.m.
Suddenly, Last Summer
1959, 114 mins. Columbia. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. With Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift. Hepburn is an aristocratic Southern matriarch, Taylor her allegedly insane niece, and Clift is the neurosurgeon caught in the middle, in one of Williams’s most gothic plays, adapted for the screen by Gore Vidal. The larger-than-life characters and cast are brilliantly managed by All About Eve director Joseph Mankiewicz. 


Saturday, December 12, 11:00 a.m.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
1958, 108 mins. MGM. Directed by Richard Brooks. With Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives. Paul Newman had his first big screen success, and earned one of the film’s seven Oscar nominations, and Burl Ives gives an unforgettable performance as Big Daddy, the dying plantation owner whose anticipated estate sparks discord in his deeply dysfunctional family.


Sunday, December 13, 11:00 a.m.
The Fugitive Kind
1960, 119 mins. United Artists. Directed by Sidney Lumet. With Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward, Maureen Stapleton. Brando plays a dangerous drifter, Valentine “Snakeskin” Xavier who wanders into a Mississippi town whose inhabitants include an alcoholic played by Joanne Woodward, an unhappily married woman played by Anna Magnani in one of her earthiest performances, and an avant-garde artist played by Maureen Stapleton.

About Museum of the Moving Image
Founded in 1981, Museum of the Moving Image is the only institution in the United States that deals comprehensively with the art, technology and social impact of film, television and digital media. It houses the nation’s largest collection of moving image artifacts; screens hundreds of films annually; and offers education programs to thousands of New York City students and teachers. Its exhibitions—including the core exhibition, Behind the Screen—are noted for their integration of material objects, computer-based interactive experiences, and audiovisual presentations.

A major expansion and renovation of the Museum’s facility is currently underway. Designed by architect Thomas Leeser, the project will double the size of the building, completely redesign the first floor and add a new theater, new galleries and an education center. When completed in the fall of 2010, the new Museum building will be ideal for showcasing the moving image in all its forms, ensuring the Museum's place—creatively, intellectually, and physically—as one of the great moving-image institutions of the world.

Museum of the Moving Image is grateful for the generous support of numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Museum receives vital annual funding from the City of New York through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Additional government support for operations is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Natural Heritage Trust (administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation). The Museum occupies a building owned by the City of New York. 

Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35 Avenue (between 36 and 37 Streets), Astoria, NY 11106
Recorded Information Line: 718.784.0077
Website: http://movingimage.us

Cole Smithey on November 16, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Broken Embraces

Broken Embraces Pedro Almodovar does an end-run around his own checkered career with an oddly constructed but nevertheless stylish genre blender colored with self-referential narrative splashes that fail to create a sufficiently clear vision. Famous for finding his stories and developing them as he works, Almodovar only half-articulates this film's idea's about passion, fidelity, jealousy, and the filmmaking process. Lluis Homar plays director-turned-screenwriter Harry Caine--formerly "Mateo Blanco," before a car crash that has robbed him of his vision while dating an actress (Penelope Cruz) behind her director-boyfriend's back. Almodovar takes liberties by setting Cruz's character Lena in "Chicks and Suitcases," a film-within-the-film loosely drawn from his 1988 "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." During these over-prioritized scenes of situation comedy the audience is left to ponder the ineffectiveness of the film's thematic emphasis on the significance of editing. There might very well have been a good movie lurking between Almodovar's final cut and the cutting-room floor, but what we see here is a flawed sampler of comedy, noir, melodrama, and luscious compositions.
Rated R. 128 mins. (B-) (Three Stars)

Cole Smithey on November 15, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack