Your bi-annual "more people are riding bikes" survey results are here: according to a new Department of Transportation survey of the same major commuter points surveyed last year, bike ridership is up 14 percent city-wide, with about 19,000 cyclists passing through those points as opposed to 16,000 at the same time last year. This is not really surprising, neither is the fact that Brooklyn continues to lead the way.
While the Brooklyn Museum embraces and abandons certain controversial group exhibitions organized elsewhere, it's continuing to make the best of its location in the country's richest art community. This morning the museum announced a new year-long cycle of five ten-week exhibitions highlighting the work of emerging local artists, to launch in September with a show by Bushwick-based sculptor Kristof Wickman.
As the indefatigable James Franco is supremely qualified to teach us, there's no such thing as too much school. He'll continue to compliment his studies with guest instructorships next month when he and current collaborator filmmaker Gus Van Sant lead a free summer school program at MoMA PS1—but hurry, registration opened yesterday!
The only reason the Art Awards don't have a "Best Makeup" category, we assume, is because Cindy Sherman would win every year. And yet, despite her decades of adopting stunning, chamelonic disguises, it's taken this long for the Jersey-born, Manhattan-based artist to make good on an obvious and completely ridiculous merchandising opportunity: a line of Cindy Sherman makeup.
Forget those diamonds, sisters; Blondell is a girl’s best friend. Especially in the films she made during the Depression, when she and the country were young and brave and cracking wise, Joan Blondell comes off as the kind of loyal and level-headed, funny and fun-loving pal who can make even bad times fun, her big eyes shining and her bullshit meter clicking like a Geiger counter.
The cheery nature and bedrock reliability Blondell radiated sometimes got her miscast as a wide-eyed innocent in films like the vacuous Good Girls Go to Paris, in which she seems chagrined as the one-note title character, tossing off what feels like a half-hearted Shirley Temple impersonation. But she spent most of her onscreen time in a niche that fit her much better, playing a broad with a heart of gold. In Public Enemy, which screens this Saturday (pictured), Blondell plays the girl who marries the James Cagney’s character’s best friend, their happy relationship providing a counterpoint to Cagney’s tortured tap dances with his mistreated molls. And in Night Nurse, which screened earlier in the series, she plays a droll, eye-rolling, gum-chewing nurse who shows Barbara Stanwyck the ropes. Blondell’s B. Maloney is too cynical to object to the corruption she sees everywhere, but she’s too good a friend not to support Stanwyck when she rises up against it.
But anyway, this news has caused me to enter what is quite possibly the deepest, darkest YouTube hole I've ever encountered: all you have to do is search "120 Minutes Live," and blam, your day, weekend, month, whatever, will be shot. Below, I've handpicked 17. I hesitate to say they're my favorites just yet, 'cause I still have pages and pages and pages to sort through, but still. So good, all of them.
We always recommend Tchoup Shop, held as usual in the back garden of d.b.a. Brooklyn (113 N 7th St btwn Berry and Wythe) on Sunday from 1:30pm-4pm. This week chef Simon Glen brings back his awesome pork belly sliders, plus crawfish-leek-fontina grilled cheese sandwiches and smoked crab maque choux (a traditional braised Cajun dish made mostly with sweet corn).
Not enough crawfish? Afterwards you can walk over to the City Reliquary (370 Metropolitan Ave nr Havemeyer), which will be hosting the Summer Party Explosion from 4pm-8pm. For $7 you get a night of trivia, plus hot crawfish and cheap beer.
So, Henry, I took Cowboys and Aliens' title—a sci-fi remix of "Cowboys and Indians"—as a promise of clever colonial allegory, like an Americanized version of District 9, but it turned out to be something more muddled and, as far as I can tell, fundamentally conservative. The aliens here—a fusion of the extraterrestrials from Alien and Independence Day—are just worse versions of The White Man, right? They've come to earth to mine its gold and wipe out its human inhabitants, a threat that forges a temporary alliance between otherwise hostile communities: Native Americans, settlers and outlaws. The latter two groups are led by characters whose names could come from a Mel Brooks movie, appropriate since Cowboys and Aliens is immensely indebted to Blazing Saddles: ruthless rancher and Daniel Plainview-esque proto-capitalist Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and loner with a gun Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig). The humans forget their petty differences for a day to fight the greater foe, and pave the way for America's land-grabbing expansion. What did you make of Cowboys and Aliens' wacky Western symbolism, Henry?
It’s hard to reconcile our current image of Danny Elfman as the composer of the scores for Beetlejuice, Alice in Wonderland et cetera with the Danny Elfman of yesteryear. As the lead weirdo in the proudly juvenile neo-cabaret act The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, Elfman’s schtick used to be quite, uh, different. Elfman, his brother Richard and his bandmates made Forbidden Zone to try to encapsulate what their act, which features characters in blackface and cannibalized elements of vaudeville (“Your buns smell like lox, honey, I can smell them from here.”), was all about. Today, it’s a time capsule of that long-ago time when it was very hip to be deeply confusing.
But maybe this opportunism can serve as the raw materials for something a bit more spontaneous than a staid adaptation; it certainly has the cast for it, with Harrison Ford rumbling back to life, Daniel Craig taking a side-trip from Bond, and Sam Rockwell dancing (I assume; it will be kind of a ripoff if he's not [In that case there's always the Golden Globe-winning fan-made YouTube video Sam Rockwell: Dancing Machine -Ed.]). Jon Favreau directs; his Iron Man movies didn't have much visual pizzazz, but he shows excellent rapport with his actors, which is what ought to count here. Fingers crossed.
In La Plage, a lively animated short drawn in pretty pastels, a lovely summer beach is ruined by an invasion of loud, fat, chain-smoking, beached-fish-tormenting, butt-scratching boors—until a giant hand descends on the sand and shovels them into a mammoth catbox pooper scooper. That one-joke plot makes La Plage less subtle and/or ambitious than most of its companions at this year’s Animation Block Party, but nearly all share its wry take on stupid human tricks—and its empathy for the non-human animals who put up with us.
Last night was pretty much the platonic ideal of Summerscreen: The weather was perfect, with a cool breeze blowing consistently throughout the evening's events; there was what seemed like an inordinate amount of dogs, and my 15-month-old daughter was intent on hanging out with every single one of them; the beer and food were, as always, totally delicious; the movie, Ferris Beuller's Day Off, had a very large crowd in unusually high spirits, and then there was the music: Your Youth got things started with their summery, hook-laden pop, followed by Twin Sister, who are gearing up for a busy few months, with their Domino Records debut, In Heaven, hitting shelves on September 27th. We were treated to a handful of new songs, including the immensely enjoyable, seven-minute "Spain," which our own Sydney Brownstone was kind enough to film for us. And in addition to all that, there was the actual big-screen debut of the video for Twin Sister's "Bad Street," which everyone's saying debuted on the internet this morning. Watch it (again) below.
"Our customer’s habits have made it clear they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business," the postal service declares on its website. "More and more of them are choosing to conduct their postal business online, on their smart phone and at their shopping destinations. And that means the need for us to maintain nearly 32,000 retail offices has diminished."
A lawyer for the hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in May said Wednesday that taped conversations, two of them made a day after the encounter, prove that his client had no intention of exploiting the charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn to make money.
In fact, instead of saying that she could get money from DSK by exploiting a rape accusation, she was merely explaining to the man she was talking to who the guy was who raped her. Just an honest mistake, no doubt! Good thing they have these tapes, now they'll definitely find her innocent. Oh wait, Ms. Diallo ISN'T THE DEFENDANT IN THIS CASE.
Remember how Brooklyn-based street artist and sculptor Leon Reid IV had planned to hang shopping bags on the George Washington statue on the south side of Union Square as part of Art In Odd Places' festival this October? Well, the New York City Parks Department doesn't think it's such a hot idea, and has denied Reid's proposal for the statue dress-up.
This viral video (embedded below) having something to do with "the NYU Reality Show" and this Kickstarter project for a short film about root beer purports to pertain to the prevalence of hipsters on college campuses, but was filmed here in DUMBO where there is not a single college campus.
Forgive me for being an entire two days late with this one—I wasn't planning on posting about it, since it was obviously one of those Pitchfork exclusive things that I tend to ignore out of principle and bitterness, but it's a really cool video for one of my favorite songs of the year, off what I'm now remembering is one of my favorite albums of the year. Watch if you haven't, and then buy if you haven't, please. Really great sounding pressing, too.
Of the last two cyclists we heard about who complained after their life was endangered by an NYPD officer, one was chased and arrested, and the other had a gun pulled on him, so really, 37-year-old animator Stephen Mann was pretty lucky when, after getting doored by a cop near Grand Central earlier this month, he was merely accused of being on drugs and treated without a hint of Courtesy, Professionalism or Respect.