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Friday, May 29, 2015

2015 BAMcinemaFest—Note from the Curators

The End of the Tour. Photo: A24 Films

This year marks the seventh annual BAMcinemaFest as well as the second year with our current programming team. We were so proud of last year’s festival: Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, our opening night film, went all the way to the Oscars, and The Village Voice and am New York named BAMcinemaFest the Best Film Festival in New York—a huge honor in a landscape of some of the most prestigious festivals in the country. After six months of work on our seventh edition, we’re thrilled to finally share our slate of over 35 premieres, repertory rediscoveries, and special events that encompass some of the most thematically and formally daring work in contemporary American independent cinema.

For the first time ever, we have a BAMcinemaFest alumnus kicking off the festival—on June 17 in the Howard Gilman Opera House, James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now, 2013) returns for the New York premiere of The End of the Tour, a moving elegy to late literary master David Foster Wallace. Showing a returning filmmaker’s work on opening night is an exciting milestone and a testament to the festival’s growth alongside the artists we have championed. We’re pleased to have four more BAMcinemaFest alumni represented in the 2015 main slate, including Todd Rohal (The Catechism Cataclysm, 2011), Jem Cohen (Museum Hours, 2013), Sebastián Silva (Crystal Fairy, 2013), and Alex Ross Perry (The Color Wheel, 2011), the director of this year’s centerpiece, Queen of Earth.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

In Context: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet returns to BAM for its final performances June 3—6. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles, videos, and original pieces related to the show. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below, or on social media using #CedarLakeDance.

In Context: Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell!

The Red Hot Music series and the Red Bull Music Academy return to BAM with an all-star tribute to musical pioneer Arthur Russell on May 29 & 30. 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. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #ArthurRussell and #RBMANYC.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Ida Saki of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Ida Saki arrives at BAM next Wednesday, June 3 for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet's final farewell performances. We caught up with the dancer in the busy days leading up to opening night to learn more about her craft, career, and time spent with Cedar Lake.

How long have you been dancing with Cedar Lake? Who have been your favorite choreographers to work with? Do you have a favorite piece? 

I've been in Cedar Lake for three years. I've truly enjoyed every piece that I've been a part of, but probably learned the most from the work of Andonis Foniadakis. His movement opposes a lot of my natural tendencies, so I had to find ways to move that quickly while still being released and free, rather than tight.

My favorite piece, although difficult to say, would probably be Violet Kid by Hofesh Shechter. That piece is a constant challenge no matter where you're at, in terms of emotional and physical stamina. Not leaving the stage for 35 minutes and [being in] constant movement takes you through a journey that's different everyday. The most interesting part is seeing how we all respond to that challenge.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

In Context: A Human Being Died That Night

What are the limits of empathy? Can fear and compassion genuinely coexist? A Human Being Died That Night explores these grey areas (and more) when it brings the true story of South Africa's most notorious apartheid era assassin to the BAM Fisher May 29–June 21. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles, videos, and opinion pieces related to the show. For those of you who've already attended a performance, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below and by posting on social media using #AHumanBeingDiedThatNight.

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.