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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Whenever I Hear a Remix I Think of Healing

By Theodore Kerr

A one-of-a-kind force in New York City’s legendary downtown music scene of the 1970s and 80s, Arthur Russell left behind a beguiling, ahead-of-its-time body of work spanning from avant-garde classical to hypnotic minimalist disco to haunting, plaintive folk. For Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell!, playing the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on May 29 & 30, the Red Hot Organization in partnership with Red Bull Music Academy has assembled an eclectic lineup of intrepid musicians—including Cults, Devonté Hynes, Sam Amidon, Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters, and more—to breathe new life into Russell’s spellbinding compositions.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Arthur Russell's New York—An Instagram Tour by Devonté Hynes

Musical pioneer Arthur Russell was born 64 years ago today. In honor of his birthday, and in anticipation of next week's Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell! concert, Devonté Hynes—who has a wealth of musical knowledge, and will be performing in the show—gave us a virtual tour of some of Russell's old haunts on Instagram, and with it, a true education in all things Arthur Russell. We've included the photos and videos below, along with some to dive even deeper.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In Context: DanceAfrica 2015

America’s largest festival of African dance returns to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House and beyond this weekend from May 22–25. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles, videos, and original blog pieces related to the show. For those of you who've already attended an event, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below and by posting on social media using #DanceAfrica. Ago? Amée!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Meet a BAM Member: Rachel Sanders

Today we launched the new BAM Membership, a totally revamped member program that combines stage and screen benefits, and with it, our member profile series. From different zip codes, boroughs, and backgrounds, our members gather around a commitment to adventurous performance—and we're proud to know them.

This month, we become acquainted with Rachel Sanders, an editor for BuzzFeed Life who feels strongly positive about big dogs, pie, and scripted television. Follow her on Twitter @rachelysanders, and learn more about her art habits below.

Member since: 
December 2013.

Where are you from? What neighborhood do you live in now?
I'm from Pittsford, NY (a suburb of Rochester) and live in Prospect Heights.

If you had to describe BAM to someone who had never heard of us using only metaphors that involve dessert, what would you say? 
You know how, on a hot day, you sometimes realize you really NEED ice cream, stat? And there's one of those kind of sad-looking frozen yogurt trucks with little pictures of fruit on it, right on the corner, and you could do that! But what you REALLY want is a big, beautiful Mr. Softee twist cone covered in rainbow sprinkles, and you will happily walk an extra 4 blocks to get it. Well, anyway, sometimes that happens to me. And (in case it wasn't clear) when I want to see a movie or anything else, BAM is Mr. Softee.

If the world was ending and you could only save one artist you've seen at BAM, who would it be and why? 
I don't want anyone to feel slighted here, but I think for RIGHT NOW I'd go with Hannibal Buress, because a) he's still alive and b) he's saying some funny things that everyone else who's alive should probably pay attention to.

How do you plan on indulging your art habit with the new BAM Membership? 
I've recently learned to love seeing movies alone (less awkward waiting in the lobby, simplified popcorn politics!) and when I do that, I almost always do it at BAM. I'm also hoping to re-activate my dormant theater subscription this year because it feels good for me, in the same way that I imagine the yoga I don't do would feel.

Indulge your art habit with the new BAM Membership and enjoy half off stages and screens.

Already a member? We want to see you and your new card! Post a photo on Instagram or Twitter and tell us how you plan on indulging your #arthabit. Interested in being profiled on the blog? Send us an email!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

David Byrne Raises Flags

Art Direction & Design by Doyle Partners; photo by Julieta Cervantes
By Jane Jansen Seymour

David Byrne fans know to expect the unexpected. Over the years, this former frontman of the seminal rock band Talking Heads has enjoyed an extensive solo career, indulging in his passion for world music, brass orchestras, and countless collaborations with artists of all genres. He has not shied from expressing his artistic vision on film (beginning with True Stories) along with soundtracks, including Grammy-winning music for the movie The Last Emperor. He has also branched into writing, most recently about his love of bicycling (Bicycle Diaries) in print, plus an interactive e-book explaining his view of How Music Works.

Crisscrossing creative outlets, Byrne has turned spaces into instruments (Playing the Building, an installation at New York’s Battery Maritime Museum) and incorporated dance movement in his last world tour supporting the album of songs written with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. His concept album with Fat Boy Slim chronicling the life of Imelda Marcos, Here Lies Love, evolved into an award-winning theatrical production. Byrne’s recent ties with BAM include performing in a tribute to William Onyeabor, and designing witty alphabet-based bike racks for BAM.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cedar Lake—Sexy, smart & cool

Rain Dogs. Photo: Ally Duffey
By Susan Reiter

It’s been a busy year between BAM engagements for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, which returns to the Howard Gilman Opera House with two programs June 3—6. Following its inaugural BAM season, which marked this energetic, distinctively edgy troupe’s 10th anniversary, Cedar Lake introduced a new choreographic initiative, Cedar Lab, which culminated in performances of five new works created by company members.

The company toured to Germany last fall, and then debuted in Australia and New Zealand. In February, they presented a full-company installation, with live music, conceived/directed by Artistic Director Alexandra Damiani. This month they perform in Boston and then return to BAM, where the repertory includes world and New York premieres.

Particularly intriguing is My Generation, by Richard Siegal—an American based in Europe whose work has had few chances to be seen in New York in recent years. Cedar Lake’s mission has been to introduce New York audiences to dances by cutting-edge choreographers who often have busy careers in other parts of the world, but whose work is less known in these parts.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

DanceAfrica Spotlight: Balé Folclórico da Bahia

Photo: Wendell Wagner
Become immersed in the enthralling culture of Brazil when Balé Folclórico da Bahia makes its BAM debut as part of DanceAfrica 2015: Brazilian rhythms. African roots. Performances take place on Memorial Day weekend, a DanceAfrica tradition, May 22—25 at the Howard Gilman Opera House.

Balé Folclórico da Bahia, based in Salvador in the northern state of Bahia, is the only professional folk dance company in Brazil. It was founded in 1988 by Walson Botelho and Ninho Reis, and is now under the artistic direction of José Carlos Arandiba. Its dancers, musicians, and singers perform a unique blend of dance theater drawing from Bahian folkloric traditions, including Carnival celebrations, samba, capoiera, and slave dances.

Friday, May 1, 2015

In Context: RadioLoveFest

WNYC is back on stage at BAM for year two of RadioLoveFest, a multi-day festival running May 5—10. Context is everything, so get even closer to your favorites with this curated selection of related articles, interviews, and videos. For those of you who've already attended an event, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below and by posting on social media using #RadioLoveFest.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

About the Other Night: The Karen Gala

Photo: Kristine Bumphrey, Starpix
Oh what a night!

You don’t celebrate 36 years and a leader like Karen Brooks Hopkins with just any old party. You do it with dinner in a greenhouse, a champagne boat ride under the Brooklyn Bridge, a massive light show for all of Fort Greene, late night hot dog vendors, and a 2am dance off. And that’s not even including the main highlights of the night (Steve Reich! Mavis Staples! Rufus & Martha Wainwright! Illstyle & Peace Productions! Paul Simon! Laurie Anderson! The BAM Karen!). To paraphrase the guest of honor’s signature expression, the Karen Gala wasn’t a party, it was a crusade.

Duggal Greenhouse. Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

BAM Illustrated: A Karen Brooks Hopkins timeline

BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins retires this summer after 36 years of service. Her career and many achievements would be impossible to condense into a simple timeline, but we've done our best to include some highlights, key moments, and KBH favorites the following illustration by Nathan Gelgud.

We realize this is a tad hard to read—click here (or on the image) for a larger version ...or swing by the Peter Jay Sharp Building to see the much bigger original version hanging in our third floor hallway.