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First of all I’d like to remind you that I’ve posted some excellent events for tonight, including the event I’ll be attending- the Raspberry Brothers’ Top Gun show. If you come out be sure to introduce yourself to the ringleader (Jerm) and tell him you found out about them through TheBigRedApple; he’ll point you my way and possibly buy you a beer after the show.

Tomorrow night please join me in petitioning the weather gods for sunshine (rain dance anyone?). If it doesn’t rain you can partake of a free open bar on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel, courtesy of Citybartenders.com. Here’s the invite; be sure to RSVP!

The New York City Opera will be performing outside Friday and Saturday nights (cross your fingers). Friday night is La Navarraise:

Massenet’s rarely performed La Navarraise is a turbulent love story unfolding against the backdrop of civil war in Spain.  This work, which is often compared to Leoncavallo’s Cavalleria rusticana, showcases Massenet at his lyrical best.  La Navarraise is set in two short acts with an intermezzo for a total running time of 50 minutes.

and Saturday is

a concert program of beloved arias, duets and overtures that have become part of American popular culture.  Featuring popular melodies from Puccini, Rossini and Verdi.

Hearing these performers sing outdoors is a unique and powerful experience; don’t miss this chance for free opera!

La Navarraise

La Navarraise

This is the last weekend to see Paved Paradise Redux: The Art of Joni Mitchell at The Abrons Arts Center Henry Street Settlement. John Kelly’s interpretation of Joni Mitchell is both “haunting and hilarious.” This is the sort of tribute that is worth seeing on its own merits.

Paved Paradise Redux The Art of Joni Mitchell

Paved Paradise Redux The Art of Joni Mitchell

This is also the last weekend to see a dance performance in a public bathroom. Yes, I said a dance performance in a public bathroom. Only in New York, right? Well, Dark Horse/Black Forest is certainly an interesting piece and it’s performed in the lobby bathroom of the Gershwin Hotel.

It’s an intense love story presented in the most intimate of spaces: the bathroom. It’s dance. It’s art. It’s interior design.

Dark Horse/Black Forest

Dark Horse/Black Forest

On Saturday there are a number of great events to choose from. B is a fan of Dr. Dog, who is performing at the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! summer concert series. Check out this video for a taste of their brand of psychedelic madness:

If that’s not your thing you may want to check out What’s On Your Plate?, an outdoor screening/foodie event that’s part of the BAMcinemaFEST:

You’ve read Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and you try to buy local and organic produce at your neighborhood farmer’s market. But do you really know how what you’re eating ended up on your table? Through the eyes of two intelligent and inquisitive eleven-year-old girls from New York City, we follow the many paths, the conflicting economics, and the disparate decision makers who all play a part in what we eat. Ideal for families to watch together, the film presents a variety of perspectives on how food reaches our urban community and its associated challenges. An introduction by the filmmakers will precede the screening. Presented in conjunction with The Afro-Punk Festival.

ALSO on Saturday you have another chance to see Black Taxi, performing this time at Pianos (G and I will be there!). I’ve written about them before; check out this post to see a video of their single ‘Wanted.’

On Sunday there’s a fantastic foodie event- The Unfancy Food Show. Brooklyn Based has all the details; let me just say this will be finger lickin’ good!

Unfancy Food Show

Sunday is your last chance to see acrobats on a boat! The Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge have earned well-deserved praise for this unique entertainment venture; check it out!

circus

Also on Sunday, there are 4 programs of short films screening at the BAM Rose Cinema; I’m particularly drawn to the animated shorts.

BAM Animated Shorts Program

BAM Animated Shorts Program

Have a great weekend and stay tuned for additions!

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To view this post at its new location click HERE!

I have been meaning to tell you all about the Media That Matters Film Festival for some time; I went to see the premier a couple of weeks ago with K and we were both very impressed with a number of the short films. The films showcase important social issues and are designed to raise awareness; the site can then direct you to charities that work to combat the issues being addressed.

I can’t seem to embed the videos here but they are all available to watch on the festival website.

K and I particularly liked The Next Wave, directed and produced by Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger, which tells the story of the Carteret islanders. Their island homes are being flooded due to climate change and they will soon be forced to relocate to the mainland, losing much of their culture in the process. The colors are startling and the film is beautiful as well as compelling. What was most interesting to both of us was that the issue of Global Warming, though at the heart of the film, was never directly mentioned. You were left with a much deeper understanding of the impact that it’s already having without the distraction of innumerable statistics.

The other film we were both especially drawn to was Why Do White People Have Black Spots?, directed by Anya Kandel. The film is simply an interview with a group of young people in Ghana; their questions about Western Society are part of an ongoing dialogue between youth around the world. Some of the questions, like the title question, were funny, while others, such as “why are you rich and we’re poor?” were more focused on the larger disparities. K and I both felt that hearing a variety of questions coming from children was significantly closer to real communication than our diplomats tend to get.

Please check out the films and consider giving a donation to help the efforts of the wonderful people who are working to save the world (it’s splendid that they’re out there as not all of us are of their ilk).

NOTE: The Big Red Apple is now TheBigRedApple.net

To view this post at its new location click HERE!

Are you overwhelmed by the possibilities for this weekend? No? Well, I have EVEN MORE to share with you!

Tonight is opening night for Rooftop Films! If you don’t know about them they are my favorite summer film series; they screen “new, original, independent films you won’t see anywhere else, in the company of your community, our community, and the New York City night. ” Tonight’s performance is at 350 Grand Street @ Essex- the Essex Street Academy. The roof has been decorated by the students with amazing graffiti art, which makes for the perfect backdrop to a program of short films, preceded by live music from Cymbals Eat Guitars.

Rooftop Films at the Essex Street Academy 2008

Rooftop Films at the Essex Street Academy 2008

On Saturday you can observe the spectacle of the biggest Dance Parade of the summer (don’t quote me on that but it’s pretty frickin big). Starting at 28th St. at 1pm the parade will “boogie down Broadway” ending at Tompkins Square Park.

dance

Sunday you have two chances to see Enlighten UP! a documentary by filmmaker Kate Churchill that follows a yoga newbie as he searches for a transformative experience. As a yoga newbie myself I can attest to the difficulty of finding a niche within the yoga culture. The New York Times says the film “explores its subject with a light touch and welcome sense of humor.” Check out the trailer:

Have an excellent weekend and please read yesterday’s post and Tuesday’s post for other weekend events!

NOTE: The Big Red Apple is now TheBigRedApple.net

To view this post at its new location click HERE!

I just got home, having called it a night a bit early given my growing sleep deficit. Friday night was fantastic! K and I  had a reservation at Satsko but when we got there we discovered (through some surreptitious glancing around the streamers/curtains) that it was frighteningly empty. No decent place should be that empty on a Friday night so we wandered down to Spitzers instead. Of course we had to wait for 45 minutes but we munched on truffle mac and cheese and drank Tanqueray and tonic and all was well. K and I both have a real thing for truffles. I kind of want them on everything… they’re actually a good reason to sell your soul to corporate America- more money means more truffles (and shoes). After a vastly satisfying meal we walked down the street to The Slipper Room to enjoy the aforementioned Hot Box Burlesque. We were pleased to partake of acts featuring Bunny Love, Bambi, Peekaboo Pointe, Queen Laquifa and Tigger.  This was an excellent representation of burlesque. I was very pleased because K and I had three burlesque virgins with us. There was comedy, there were absurd costumes, there were dollar bills all over and there was a drag queen. Perhaps the most exciting performer ‘sang’ the national anthem with her thighs. Yes. She put the microphone between her thighs and scrunched them to play the national anthem.

Singing with her thighs

Singing with her thighs

It was  pretty incredible and I will admit to being jealous of this talent. In fact by the end of most burlesque shows I tend to  feel compelled to perform burlesque. It’s not that I would feel uncomfortable with the nudity, what holds me back is really my lack of dancing skills and comic timing. Sigh…

Friday night finished up with my first bar brawl. This must have been in the wee hours of Saturday morning, there had been a good deal of drinking, dancing and burlesque and some short dweeby looking guy pushed K and she pushed back and then he really pushed her hard, almost knocking her off her pretty little heels. Then I was trying to beat him up and his tall, comparatively sober, friend was holding me back and it all could have gotten quite ugly (trust you me I would have won) but luckily the sober friend dragged the dweeb outside and K and I were able to feel triumphant.

This morning I had to be up at an ungodly hour to meet my grandmother for brunch at Petite Abeille. It’s a marvelous little Belgian place near Union Sq. but I’ll admit brioche french toast was not quite what I wanted first thing this morning. My grandmother is a fantastic woman and a true New Yorker. We go to the opera and the ballet together and visit all the museums and do a great deal of shopping and brunching. She spoils me dreadfully. This morning she bought me lots of pretty things. She has stellar taste and I would be at a loss without her. We trooped up to Lincoln Center in time for our matinée at The New York City Ballet. This afternoon they did a program of three short ballets:

Stravinsky Violin Concerto

Stravinsky Violin Concerto/Choreography by Balanchine

Stravinsky Violin Concerto/Choreography by Balanchine

La Valse; my grandmother paticularly enjoyed this one because she’s been watching Philip Neal perform since the start of his career and she still thinks he’s “very handsome.”

La Valse/Ravel and Balanchine

La Valse/Ravel and Balanchine

And finally, West Side Story, which was interesting in this context because only some scenes were performed and the singing wasn’t always coming from the dancer playing the character, and the dancing is a bit different because the dancers are trained in ballet. On the whole it was not my favorite rendition of West Side Story but I did love their version of the dance where Tony and Maria meet. I was just bummed that they didn’t have the ‘I just met a girl named Maria’ song; I used to sing that in the shower all the time when I was about 12.

West Side Story/Bernstein and Robbins

West Side Story/Bernstein and Robbins

According to Playbill the revival of West Side Story will be opening on Broadway quite soon. Apparently the Puerto Rican characters will be speaking/singing in Spanish.

The production “will introduce the unprecedented element of selectively weaving Spanish throughout both the book and songs,” according to a July 16 announcement.

Laurents, who earned solid reviews (and a 2008 Tony nomination) for staging the current Broadway run of Gypsy, stated, “This show will be radically different from any other production of West Side Story ever done. The musical theatre and cultural conventions of 1957 made it next to impossible for the characters to have authenticity. Every member of both gangs was always a potential killer even then. Now they actually will be. Only Tony and Maria try to live in a different world…”

West Side Story has music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Laurents. The staging will retain the original choreography of late director Jerome Robbins, who conceived the project by using Romeo and Juliet as inspiration. As previously announced, the Robbins choreography will be restaged by Tony Award nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life).

I’m not sure how I feel about this innovation but I’m curious enough that I will probably try to find cheap tickets, or at the very least monitor the reviews. We really haven’t had much beyond revivals and Disney shows on Bway lately, which seems really unfortunate since I’m sure there are a lot of creative new projects that just aren’t getting funding. If ‘Cars’ becomes a Broadway musical I may have to set up a picket line.

Tonight I went with a few friends to see all the Oscar nominated short films at the IFC Center. First were the live action shorts:

  • Auf Der Strecke (On The Line): A bit disturbing, rather unsatisfactory ending, very little smiling.
  • Manon on the Asphalt: I am too much of a francophile to not have LOVED this. It’s tragic but so sensuous; I love the close-ups of her hair, the leaves above her, the dreamy way her thoughts travel amongst the people who are important to her. It’s a splendid death scene.
  • New Boy: There are Irish accents and a very charming teacher and a whole group of bright eyed children who learn to be friends with the new boy; I hope this one wins simply because it’s optimistic.
  • The Pig: This is sort of a comedy about two men who are in the hospital and a painting of a pig.
  • Spielzeugland (Toyland): I cried hysterically through most of this. It’s about the Holocaust. There are too many movies out right now about the Holocaust.

After a brief interlude, and the purchasing of popcorn, we sat through the animated shorts:

  • La Maison en Petits Cubes: We travel through the past by going further down in a house that has been built up over time as water levels have risen (environmental msg? not sure).
  • Lavatory/Love story: Too cute. Way too cute.
  • Oktopodi: Two octopuses are in love and rescue one another from various dangerous situations.
  • Presto: If you’ve seen WallE you’ve seen this one- magician vs. his rabbit.
  • This Way Up: Hard to describe, involves undertakers, clowns in hell and some other trippy trippy stuff.

There were definitely others that we saw today that weren’t actually nominated but I’ll admit that they’ve all blended a bit in my mind at this point. I have been told that all of the nominated shorts can be seen through iTunes and I highly recommend that you check them out at some point before the Oscars; it’s very fun to know what’s happening in those categories.

Tomorrow I am going to try to make myself get some work done but I will post about any particularly exciting events happening this week!

Past Shenanigans

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