Calvin Klein Cancels Annual Bash at Cannes Film Festival

CALVIN SKIPS CANNES: Calvin Klein, which has thrown some of the splashiest events at the Cannes Film Festival in collaboration with the Independent Filmmaker Project for the past five years, is taking a pass this year. The company has decided to cancel its annual party, which over the years has honored such stars as Lupita Nyong’o, Naomi Watts, Julianne Moore, Rooney Mara, Emily Blunt, Isabelle Huppert, Mélanie Laurent, Sienna Miller and Rachel Weisz. The parties have taken place at a private villa on the French Riviera.
Last year’s event attracted such celebrities as Jake Gyllenhaal, Harvey Weinstein, Rossy de Palma, Joan Smalls and Doutzen Kroes. The party included a huge seafood buffet, a DJ set by Harley Viera-Newton and a live performance by California band Haim.
With the changing of the guard of the design team at Calvin Klein — Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli are both exiting as creative directors of women’s and men’s Collection — sources said the company decided to skip the celebration this year.
Klein confirmed that it won’t be doing an event in Cannes but still supports the IFP, which includes its sponsorship of the Gotham Awards with the presentation of the Calvin Klein Euphoria Grant to an

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Virtual Reality Movies Add Dimension to Tribeca Festival

With a helmet, anything is possible, and the Tribeca Film Festival offers a taste of the ways virtual reality can enhance the cinematic arts.
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Make Music Day festival is coming to dozens of US cities

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 35 U.S. cities will be hosting Make Music Day, a free one-day outdoor festival celebrating music and music-making.
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Live from Toronto Film Festival: Sunday Sept. 13

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The Toronto International Film Festival, in its 40th year, is, at this point, North America’s largest, sprawling across this massive city with more than 300 films vying for the attention of the public and the press.

I’ve been attending this festival since 1984 – which would seem like a lot to me, had I not been in the audience to see Barbara Kopple’s moving and uplifting new documentary, Miss Sharon Jones! As the film was introduced, the programmer doing the introduction pointed out that Kopple was one of three filmmakers with work in this festival who also had films in the very first Toronto festival: her 1976 documentary, Harlan County USA, which went on to win Kopple the first of her two Oscars.

I have fond memories of films I saw here for the first time. In that first year, for example, I caught the Coen brothers’ debut, Blood Simple, as well as Places in the Heart and Steve Martin’s All of Me.

This year’s edition will be remembered for putting both Jay Roach’s Trumbo and James Vanderbilt’s Truth in contention for the Oscar race. I saw the two films back to back on Sunday – and they are guaranteed to both grip you and infuriate you, because of the way they resonate with the political situation we find ourselves in (and to which we doomed ourselves in 2004).

Truth stars Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes, a journalist and producer for 60 Minutes who, in 2004, came across what seemed to be evidence that then-President George W. Bush, who was seeking reelection, had received preferential treatment to get into the Texas National Guard (and avoid being sent to Vietnam), then essentially skated on the last couple of years of his guard duty, again thanks to pulled strings. But Mapes was the victim of forged documents and looming deadlines; while she had the story right, she and her boss, Dan Rather (played with canny folksiness by Robert Redford), both took the fall for the doctored documents.

The Mapes story itself is more than a decade old, but the problems it represents remain fresh. While Mapes and Rather made mistakes, they were hung out to dry by both CBS (more concerned about profits than seeking the truth) and the rest of the media. CBS’ competitors seemed obsessed with bringing down CBS, rather than pursuing the substance of the story itself: that Bush, in all likelihood, had used his connections to avoid Vietnam, then used them again to skip out on a lot of duty.

As Vanderbilt’s film points out, CBS (and Viacom) were basically afraid of antagonizing the Bush White House – which used its mastery of misdirection and strong (but inaccurate) messaging. Blanchett captures the frustration of Mapes, a hard-charging journalist who finds that she’s been turned into the story, in order to discredit her efforts on the real story.

Blanchett is already being touted for an Oscar for her work in the upcoming “Carol,” but this performance – tough, smart, vulnerable — may also make her a contender. She has strong support from Redford, as well as Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss and Topher Grace, as her investigative team. Truth is a film guaranteed to reignite this controversy and, perhaps, finally bring the truth out into the open.

Jay Roach’s Trumbo is equally good at making the blood boil.


This commentary continues on my website.

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Singapore to Celebrate Golden Jubilee With New York City Festival

Singapore will celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence with a festival of events in New York City from Sept. 12 through Sept. 27 featuring visual and culinary arts, performances and musical showcases.
SG50 Celebrations, which began in Beijing in April and moved to London in June before heading to New York, will return to Singapore from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6 for the finale.
Retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, and restaurants such as Shake Shack, Lavo and The Meatball Shop, are participating in the Singapore events in Manhattan.
Bergdorf’s will feature a 16-page fashion spread in the September issue of Bergdorf Goodman Magazine in tandem with a special window display featuring Singaporean photographer John Clang’s work for two weeks. Singaporean fare will also be featured at BG Restaurant from Sept. 20 to 27.
Twenty New York restaurants, including DB Bistro Moderne, Red Farm, Market Table, The Clam and The Meatball Shop will also create Singaporean-inspired dishes and cocktails from Sept. 18 to 27. A 10-day art event led by U.S.-based Singaporeans showcasing short films, visual arts and theater will take place from Sept. 12 to 22 at La MaMa at 66 East 4th Street, The festival culminates at Madison Square Park in the Flatiron

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They Are Wearing: Edinburgh International Festival

The people of Edinburgh wore their Scottish pride in ways both traditional and eccentric as the city’s annual three-week International Festival turned its cobblestone streets into an open-air stage. There were plenty of colorful tartans amidst the theatrical finery — ranging from mismatched bohemian ensembles to vintage-inspired outfits — favored by musicians, acrobats, actors and other merrymakers. The common thread: individual expression.

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The Ashley Bouder Project Disappoints at the Joyce’s Ballet Festival

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The Ashley Bouder Project. Photo credit: Alexis Ziemsk.

The Joyce Theater has been choosing some questionable repertoire as of late.

First, the venue hosted Restless Creature and The Ashley Bouder Project in the same season, both spearheaded by New York City Ballet alumnae whose celebrity promised ticket sales, if not artistic value.

Second, and more importantly, it programmed choreographer Joshua Beamish three times in one summer, and never with success.

On August 8 and 9, The Ashley Bouder Project was invited to the Joyce as part of Ballet Festival, a two-week foray into what the 21st-century dance community can offer. The amiable man to my right explained that he was attending the entire series of six shows as an education in dance, a fact that disappoints after realizing that at least one of his experiences would probably dissuade him from ever returning to the theater.

Of course, The Ashley Bouder Project was the most popular show of the run, and people begged for seats regardless of price. Somehow, “bravos” echoed despite a banal bill filled with the kind of choreography that is pushing ballet into its grave. I’m sure that dance neophytes listened to the booming applause, stupefied. Was this the best that ballet could muster?

The hour-long performance (that felt never-ending) opened with Adriana Pierce’s Unsaid, a duet between Bouder and New York City Ballet corps newbie, Preston Chamblee. Pierce, a current dancer with Miami City Ballet, must have known Bouder when she was a student at the School of American Ballet or an apprentice with NYCB (indeed, the whole production felt like Bouder and her friends playing around at the expense of an audience). Nothing but a heartfelt favor can justify Pierce’s selection as one of three featured choreographers, as Unsaid was a clunky, inelegant pas de deux with little direction.

No drama was spared. The costumes — grey, sheer cloaks — were gaudy versions of those used in every other safe contemporary ballet, where the mood is pseudo-emotional, but no one quite knows why. The cloaks were awkwardly removed and replaced as Bouder and Chamblee messed with the sleeves to make them right-side-out after tearing them off moments before. The couple stood in stark spotlights, staring at the audience longingly. Sometimes, they tripped into each other as Chamblee spun into Bouder’s arms without control. There was so much concept, and absolutely no intention. Then, there was the fact that Chamblee could barely point his feet and in soutenu turns, his ankles were a ruler’s length apart. When the duet finally concluded, it felt like the end of winter.

The second work, In Passing, was less insulting, though it lacked organization. The short film by Andrea Schermoly included several beautiful snapshots, like when Bouder moved with abandon that you’ll never see from her at the David H. Koch Theater, where Balanchine demands structure. And so the choreography proved promising – really interesting, actually — but the video itself stumbled into clichés. Dancers lying in bed in lingerie. Dancers in a tunnel. Dancers in an empty auditorium. Dancers walking through the desert. Dancers everywhere but where they should be at a live presentation: onstage. It’s a shame that the 15-minute movie was Schermoly’s contribution to the project, as she probably could have managed a concert piece with a lot of heft.

And the grand finale: Beamish’s Rouge et Noir. The six-person disaster proved a few things — Amar Ramasar is an engaging, virile dancer who can make the most of a devastating choreographic situation. Alexa Maxwell, who joined NYCB’s corps in 2013, is unpolished but harbors great potential. And Beamish, who is part of the Joyce’s Young Leader’s Circle Committee (which may clarify the reason for so much favoritism), has choreographer’s block right now. Once again, he calls on an abstract aesthetic from modern art, with colors and shapes like Mondrian’s or (as Gia Kourlas noted) Matisse’s, but he does so with so little panache or innovation that what he concocts is truly an eyesore. He must be talented to have reached the heights he has. But at least in Rouge et Noir, he somehow takes six of the most accomplished dancers in the world and makes them look awkward, weak and amateur. My friend summed it up best with his comment: “You know the cartoons that make fun of abstract dance? Well this reminded me of those.”

If I didn’t love ballet and didn’t know what genius exists in the dance world, my trip to The Ashley Bouder Project might have been my last attempt at understanding the art form. Why would I, as a young adult trying to survive in New York City, pay for that? Why would I waste my Saturday night, waiting for ingenuity that never came? I would choose Netflix any day over suffering through a program as poorly articulated as The Ashley Bouder Project. At least then, I could find something to grapple with, a meaningfulness to explore.

The saddest part? There are incredible companies fighting for attention, and they would kill for an opportunity to perform at Ballet Festival.

Oh well. Maybe next time the Joyce will try something new.

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Victoria and Albert Museum to Host Fashion Installations During London Design Festival

DESIGNS ON LONDON: The London Design Festival will have a distinct fashion flavor, with names including Swarovski, Selfridges and Kvadrat taking part in the September showcase.
Swarovski has teamed with designer Kim Thomé on an installation called “Zotem,” which is meant to be a fusion of “totem” and “zoetrope.” The 59-foot tall monolith was created with more than 600 bespoke Swarovski crystals and will stand at the entrance of the V&A Museum. The Swarovski crystals are presented in a gridlike pattern within a matte black aluminum frame.
RELATED STORY: Swarovski’s Fashion Element >>
“The only brief I was given was that I was to use Swarovski crystals and that it would be situated in the Grand Entrance of the V&A — which was enough for me to work with,” Thomé  told WWD. “As I had no preconceived idea of what I was going to do when I was first given some sample Swarovski crystals, the project was really led by what I learnt by experimenting with the crystals and exploring the how they could be experienced differently.”
He said the inspiration behind Zotem was a response to the interior architecture of the V&A’s Grand Entrance. “I wanted to create a site-specific installation that would entice

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Essence Festival Attracts Thousands To New Orleans To Celebrate, Empower Black Lives Everywhere

NEW ORLEANS — Thousands trekked to New Orleans this July Fourth weekend to celebrate the much-anticipated 21st annual Essence Festival.

This year’s celebration by Essence, one of the leading black women’s magazines, is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to a city still making progress to restore itself from the devastation Hurricane Katrina left behind 10 years ago. More than 500,000 people attended last year’s four-day festival, and this year’s event will recognize and discuss important issues that have plagued the black community both before and since Katrina hit.

“Essence Festival is an important gathering where we show who we are as a community, not defined by what others think of us but by how we see ourselves and how we live and love,” Essence’s Editor-In-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca said on Friday. “This weekend, we’ll be bringing the love.”

Nearly 120 thought leaders, politicians and celebrities — and their fans — flocked to the Ernest N. Morial Convention center on Friday to participate in a three-day experience that promises empowering discussions on issues affecting black men, black women and their families.

De Luca explained that Essence has always been a beacon for black women since it first launched 45 years ago, and the introduction of the festival in 1995 was a way to celebrate the richness of the black community as a whole. Over time, the Essence Festival has been recognized as one of the biggest and most elaborate curated festivals in the world — and this year is no different.

“Essence is more than a music festival, it’s an experience,” Marc Morial, the CEO of the National Urban League and the former mayor of New Orleans, told HuffPost. “And the serious conversations that take place are indispensable. They give people the opportunity to coalesce around important issues.”

This year, the festival is honoring a mission centered on “Peace, Purpose and Prayer,” with a series of events scheduled for Friday that aimed to bring peace through powerful dialogue, while Saturday’s events focused on purpose and Sunday on prayer. Because of this, the weekend’s lineup is filled with influential names and professional experts like Sybrina Fulton, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Steve Harvey and many more who will undoubtedly deliver on this mission.

While the Essence exhibition kicked off on Friday, the festival officially welcomed attendees on Thursday by facilitating a day of service in commemoration of this year’s 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers participated in events throughout the city that involved refurbishing and beautifying grounds, and donating books to local schools.

essence volunteer

“After Katrina, this area was in disarray, as was the Superdome; it was probably a site of one of the great failures in American history when we as a country gasped at the possibility that we can leave so many fellow citizens behind,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said on Friday. “My brothers and sisters, all of us, on the streets and under water.”

While some progress has been made throughout the city, many areas remain demolished and unrecovered from the destruction Katrina left behind. Discussions on how to bring positive change through engaging the community and rebuilding heavily damaged schools and homes are encouraged throughout the weekend.

Meanwhile, special emphasis will also be given to the Black Lives Matter movement and discussing events that have occurred in recent months that highlight racial injustice in America — and what we should do to help address it.

“Anytime we can gather in love, and in celebration, is a radical act because so often when we’re gathering, it’s a funeral or it’s an uprising, or an injustice,” director Ava DuVernay, who was among this year’s celebrity guests, told HuffPost.

“Most of the public gatherings you see are around anguish and chaos so I think the Essence Festival is really important because we’re holding hands and smiling and holding each other up and that’s crucial to show.”

Like DuVernay, many other celebrities flocked to New Orleans to support this year’s festival.

Entertainers including Erykah Badu, Common, Missy Elliott, Kendrick Lamar, Charlie Wilson, Kevin Hart and more will perform live nightly shows to celebrate their work and its power to unify.

“I love music, I love hearing about artists, and watching them perform is amazing,” Gisselle English, a 25-year-old IT specialist from Florida, told HuffPost. “I love everything that the Essence Festival has to offer here, from fashion to tips on success; it’s all extremely empowering.”

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Celebrate Love and Equality at Pride Music Festival in San Diego

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The art of change is one that occurs slowly, its early brushstrokes seemingly unclear except to the eyes of its believers. As the painting becomes more complete, a vision begins to materialize, a vision that many saw all along. When true change finally occurs, a masterpiece is unveiled. The United States of America has seen many changes over the past decade, but one of the most colorfully celebrated is the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage a constitutional right (which it always has been) nationwide.

Pride celebrations began long before this ruling and will continue on long after. However, the timing is impeccable as the pride celebrations are just a little more special this time around. San Diego Pride is proud to present Pride Music Festival, the San Diego region’s biggest and most grandiose music festival celebrating diversity and equality. This epic event will unite over 40,000 people over two days from across the nation to celebrate, rejoice, dance, and of course, share love.

In addition to being a massive city-wide party, this event also supports dozens of charitable organizations and has raised and donated over $ 2 million over the years. The surrounding neighborhoods as well as the city and county of San Diego have long supported Pride Music Festival because of its respectful and excellent reputation for safety. Among many other things, Pride Music Festival will feature an open-air art gallery, food trucks, craft beers, spirits and more than 200 exhibitor and vendor booths. There is also a VIP section available which offers a VIP entrance, restrooms, catered food, and four hosted drinks each day.

Providing the pulse of Pride Music Festival will be five electronic and live music stages sprinkled amid the lush greenery of San Diego’s Balboa Park during the weekend of July 18th-19th. The recently unveiled lineup includes current dance, pop, hip-hop, Latin and many other genres of music such as Emma Hewitt, Late Night Alumni, Mary Lambert, Ruby Rose, Pierce Fulton and Taryn Manning, just to name a few. Even Carmen Electra will be showing her support by hosting the mainstage on day 1, keeping attendees rallied.

The 2015 theme is “Liberty and Justice For All,” a true call-to-action for equality not just in the U.S., but globally. “It’s a memorable experience to unite with thousands of people, taking pride in who you are and celebrating each other,” said executive director Stephen Whitburn. “Pride Music Festival is for everyone.”

Music festivals are currently one of the strongest uniting forces in popular culture. Combining the unity of a music festival and the power of the Pride movement creates a unique and unforgettable experience that will keep this event alive for years to come. Pride Music Festival 2015 will not only be an epic party, but a beautiful moment in history shared even by those who cannot attend. It will represent a time when the voices of millions were finally heard, where full acceptance and equality are not just possible but necessary, and when an entire nation finally shares this same freedom. Under the warm San Diego sun, humans will dance and celebrate together united beneath the banner of love.

Website & Tickets: www.pridemusicfestival.org/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThePrideMusicFestival

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Decision Select Box Set (How to Be Bad and Festival of Shadows)

Decision Select Box Set (How to Be Bad and Festival of Shadows)


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Why Stop The Yulin Dog Festival?

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Glastonbury Festival: The Meeting of the Tribes

“I almost didn’t make it this year”, the younger sister of a friend told me at Glastonbury a few years ago. “It’s so expensive and I’m saving to get my buccal pads removed.” Buccal pads? “They are the bits of fat on top of your cheek bones”, she explains, pinching her attractive rosy cheeks. The time was when you would have been hard pressed to find anyone at the Glastonbury Festival planning cosmetic surgery, let alone being brave enough to admit to it. But Britain has changed and so has Glastonbury.

When I skipped school to come to Glastonbury for the first time a couple of decades back, the festival was a radical, counter-cultural event. Tickets, for those who decided not to step through the flimsy barbed wire fence, cost £17 – compared to £220 this year – and money raised went to CND. There were no Winnebagos filled with millionaire footballers, WAGs, supermodels and Conservative Party constituency chairmen dying in portaloos.

Headliners were edgy, musical outsiders rather than the likes of stadium rockers like the Rolling Stones and U2 or chart-toppers such as Beyoncé or Kanye West who will headline on the Pyramid Stage this year. Attending Glastonbury back then felt like a political statement and the only mainstream media coverage of the festival would centre on sporadic clashes between the police and traveller community. But even ’86 involved sitting around bonfires with veteran festival-goers who would bemoan the fact that Glastonbury was “not like it used to be”.

While Glastonbury has undoubtedly become more mainstream, however, it has not lost sight of its origins. Beneath the commercialisation and the hype, its political heart still beats strong.

The Glastonbury festival emerged more than four decades ago from the wider free festival movement whose philosophical roots can be traced back to a long tradition of British utopianism integrally connected to the land. Land rights and access to the land have always been an intensely political issue in Britain, reaching a climax in 18th century with the enclosure of common land under the Enclosures Act of 1761. The free festival movement of the 1970s and ’80s was founded on the principle of temporarily reclaiming patches of the countryside to create mini-collectives where normal rules and expectations would not apply.

The entry charge for the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970, headlined by Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn in Tyrannosaurus Rex, was £1. The following year, it was free. The early festivals had a loose manifesto of environmentalism and spiritual awareness-raising – the 1981 festival collecting an unprecedented £1 million for the anti-nuclear movement.

While the modern Glastonbury Festival may be surrounded by a virtually impenetrable fence and overseen by battalions of high-visibility security guards and police, it still feels remarkably free. It has retained strong links with the peace, environmental movements and campaigning organisations, eschewing virtually all corporate sponsorship.

According Rhian Lewis, WaterAid’s UK campaigns manager, the festival “provides us with a unique opportunity to publicise our work and reach out to new supporters” as evidenced by almost 18,000 signatories to a petition calling on the British Government to commit to lifting 100 million people out of water and sanitation poverty by 2015.

Graham Petersen, environmental co-ordinator of the University and College Union, has been coming to the Leftfield – an area where radical politics and music mix – since its inception in 1992. He believes that people are more receptive to new ideas at Glastonbury. “When you take people away from their hum-drum activities and put them in at festival in the middle of the countryside, their minds become more open”.

Yasmin Khan, former senior campaign co-ordinator at War on Want and regular speaker in the legendary Leftfield tent, was inspired to join War on Want when she heard one of the organisation’s speakers at Glastonbury a decade ago. “Most charities are not political. Rather than campaign for justice for the world’s poor, they focus on Band Aid solutions, like Bob Geldof and Bono before them. That is why Leftfield is so important – it’s about looking at the structural causes of poverty and inspiring people to get involved in the movement, be that by taking action against the cuts or in standing in solidarity with sweatshop workers in Bangladesh.”

Billy Bragg, who first came to Glastonbury in 1984 and now curates Leftfield, believes that in the face of the coalition Government’s unprecedented attack on public services the political side of Glastonbury is as important as it ever has been. I told him about the girl with the buccal pads and asked whether he ever despairs at how unpoliticised so many young people. “Not at all. Look at me. I wasn’t really that political until Margret Thatcher came along.”

In 2013 Michael Eavis, Glastonbury’s founder, stated that he wanted the festival to return to its political roots. He pointed out that the festival has “always been a sounding board for lots of unrest.” But while there may have been a record number of activists at that year’s festival, the most high-profile piece of political activism – an attempt by UK Uncut to stage a protest against Bono’s tax avoidance during U2’s set – was brought to an abrupt end by stewards.

Ed Gillespie, who spends much of the festival in the Green Field absolving people in the Earthly Sins Confessional Booth, believes: “Glastonbury may not be as vigorously, overtly political now as it has been in the past, but the systematic subversion that the festival subliminally disseminates is still a powerful force which is perhaps why the mainstream has worked so hard to co-opt and coerce it.” According to Gillespie, Glastonbury offers people an opportunity to express themselves freely and creatively without the constraints of societal norms. “More importantly, people are doing this together. They establish a sizeable and functioning city in a Somerset field that experiments with possibilities and asks many questions about how we really want to live.”

Throughout history, festivals have provided imaginative communal spaces for people to step outside their normal lives and their normal selves. While most festivals might not be overtly political, the process of coming together to create to a temporary society where people live and dance side-by-side is in itself both a political and politicising thing.

Glastonbury, like all festivals throughout all ages and cultures, is still about the gathering of the tribes. But the tribes of Britain are no longer Celts, druids and pagans.

Some echoes of ancient British lore may linger, but the “tribes” of modern Britain are complex, fluid and constantly shifting. Today’s Glastonbury is not the same as it used to be. But somehow the “Glastonbury spirit” endures. People of all ages and all classes from all regions of the nation gather in the lush English countryside. They live beside each other. They talk and laugh and dance together. And when they arrive home and step back into their everyday lives, they find that something within them has changed. It may be a subtle shift. It may not last forever. But whatever it is, it is something intrinsically political.

Stefan Simanowitz is a journalist. He has written on music for the Independent, the Guardian, Dazed & Confused, AnOther Magazine, Prospect etc. He runs the New Bands In Town website.

This article was first published in Tribune.

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Newport Folk Festival Celebrates 50 Years Since Bob Dylan Went Electric

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — This year’s Newport Folk Festival plans to pay tribute to the moment when Bob Dylan made rock history by going electric 50 years ago.

The festival, noted for introducing performers who later became big stars, will have a secret lineup of musicians billed as ’65 Revisited. Festival producer Jay Sweet said on Tuesday that nearly a dozen contemporary musicians are included in an “all-star lineup,” but the audience won’t know who they are until they take the stage to close the festival with a “massive” set celebrating Dylan’s 1965 performance.

Dylan first appeared at Newport as a guest of Joan Baez in 1963. His three-song electric set two years later — including “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Maggie’s Farm” — is widely viewed as one of the most pivotal moments in rock ‘n’ roll history. It marked Dylan’s break with the folk movement and spurred others to go electric as well.

The Fender Stratocaster guitar Dylan played in the performance sold at auction in 2013 for nearly $ 1 million, the highest price paid for a guitar at auction.

Dylan is not playing at this year’s festival, although Sweet said he’s invited to play every year. If there’s any year Dylan wouldn’t come, it’s Sweet’s guess it would probably be this one.

“Having him back would be the least Newport way to celebrate it,” he said.

Dylan last played Newport in 2002.

“Trying to recreate that moment is a fool’s errand,” Sweet said. “We’re about the future, not about reliving the past.”

But Sweet said without that moment, when Dylan struck out a new path for music, the Newport Folk Festival probably would not be celebrating its 56th anniversary this year.

“Every once in a while, you have to acknowledge, that allowed us to be here,” he said.

The festival runs July 24-26. Tickets are sold out for the last two days, but a few are available for the first day. Other headliners include Roger Waters and The Decemberists.

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Wave Gothic Festival Storms Into Germany

You’ve goth to see this.

Around 20,000 people trudged into Leipzig, Germany, this weekend for the annual Wave Gothic festival, according to the Associated Press.

The first Wave Gothic festival took place in 1992 with around 10 bands, the Orlando Sentinel reports. But the four-day event now includes more than 100 acts.

Take a look at some of the participants from this year and years past.

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Toploader confirmed for Feel Good Festival

Pop rock band Toploader are the first act confirmed on the bill for Rochdale Feel Good Festival this summer. With a string of top 20 singles
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Here Are All The Winners Of This Year’s Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, France (AP) — The 68th Cannes Film Festival was brought to a surprising close Sunday with Jacques Audiard’s Sri Lankan refugee drama taking the festival’s coveted top honor, the Palme d’Or.

The choice of “Dheepan,” as selected by a jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen, left some critics scratching their heads. While the dapper French filmmaker has drawn widespread acclaim for films such as “A Prophet” and “Rust and Bone,” some critics were disappointed by the thriller climax of Audiard’s film. “Dheepan” is about a trio of Sri Lankans who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country and are settled in a violent housing project outside Paris. “This isn’t a jury of film critics,” Joel Coen told reporters after the awards ceremony, alongside fellow jurors like Guillermo del Toro and Jake Gyllenhaal. “This is a jury of artists who are looking at the work.”

The win for “Dheepan” comes at a time when Europe is particularly attuned to the experience of immigrants, following the recent deaths of hundreds crossing the Mediterranean, seeking Italian shores. Jury members, though, said “Dheepan” was chosen for its overall strength as a film, rather than any topicality.

“We all thought it was a very beautiful movie,” said Ethan Coen, calling the decision “swift.” ”Everyone had some high level of excitement and enthusiasm for it.”

Audiard, springing to the podium at the Palais des Festivals, accepted the award with warm gratitude, bowing to the jury. He was joined by the makeshift parents of his film: Kalieaswari Srinivasan and Antonythasan Jesuthasan, who himself was Tamil Tiger child soldier before finding political asylum in France.

“To receive a prize from the Coen brothers is exceptional,” said Audiard, who added that only receiving one from the Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, the Belgian filmmaking siblings, could equal it.

The runner-up prize, the Grand Prix, went to “Son of Saul,” a grim Holocaust drama by first-time Hungarian director László Nemes. Some expected Nemes’ horrifying plunge into the life of an Auschwitz worker to take the top award, but it’s been 26 years since a debut film (Steven Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape”) was given the Palme.

English actress Sienna Miller and Canadian actor Xavier Dolan, both jury members, sounded especially moved by “Son of Saul.” Miller called it “breathtaking” and an extraordinary accomplishment for a first-time filmmaker.

“Europe is still haunted by the destruction of the European Jews,” said Nemes. “That’s something that lives with us.”

Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the masterful 68-year-old Taiwanese filmmaker, won best director for his first feature in eight years: “The Assassin,” a lushly painterly martial arts drama.

The best actress prize was split but not the way some expected. It was given to both Rooney Mara, half of the romantic pair of Todd Haynes’ ’50s lesbian drama “Carol,” and Emmanuelle Bercot, the French star of the roller coaster marriage drama “My King.” (Bercot also directed the festival opener, “Standing Tall,” about a delinquent teenager.) Any split was presumed to go to Mara and her “Carol” co-star, Cate Blanchett.

Best actor was awarded to Vincent Lindon, the veteran French actor of Stéphane Brizé’s “The Measure of a Man.” He plays a man struggling to make a living after a long period of unemployment. The visibly moved Lindon won over some big-name competition, including Michael Caine, the star of Paolo Sorrentino’s unrewarded “Youth,” a wry, melancholy portrait of old age.

Lindon’s award added to a banner year at Cannes for France, which had five films out of the 19 in competition and went home with three awards.

Yorgos Lanthimos, a Greek filmmaker working in English for the first time, took the jury prize for his “The Lobster,” a deadpan dystopian comedy, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, about a near-future where unmarried singles are turned into the animal of their choice.

“Chronic,” an understated drama about a home-care nurse (Tim Roth) for the terminally ill, took best screenplay for Mexican writer-director Michel Franco. Franco and Roth met three years ago when Roth, serving on a Cannes jury, helped award Franco the Un Certain Regard prize. “It’s a Cannes story,” said Franco.

The Camera d’Or, Cannes award for best first feature film, went to “La Tierra Y la Sombra.” César Augusto Acevedo’s debut, which played in the Critics Week section, is about an old farmer returning home to tend to his gravely ill son.

The Coens themselves took the Palme in 1991 for “Barton Fink.” The last two Cannes winners have been three-hour art-house epics: the glacial Turkish drama “Winter Sleep,” chosen last year by Jane Campion’s jury, and “Blue is the Warmest Color,” as picked by Steven Spielberg’s jury.

This year’s competition slate left some critics calling it a so-so year for Cannes. Some of the films that drew the biggest raves (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Pixar’s “Inside Out”) played out of competition, while some in it (like Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees”) drew loud boos.

The festival was dominated by discussion about gender equality with many — from Blanchett to Jane Fonda — speaking about female opportunity in the movie business. “You hope it’s not just the year,” said Blanchett of the attention to women in film. “It’s not some sort of fashionable moment.” An honorary Palme d’Or was also given to French filmmaker Agnes Varda, the first woman to receive one and only the fourth director after Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood and Bernardo Bertolucci.

But the festival was overrun by an unlikely scandal when several women were turned away from the formal premiere of Todd Haynes’ “Carol” for wearing flat shoes, rather than high heels. The festival insisted it was the mistake of overzealous security guards and not part of Cannes’ notoriously strict dress code.

The festival, as it often is, was dominated by the unexpected, even on its last night. Nothing was more unforeseen — not even the Palme for “Dheepan” — than John C. Reilly, a co-star of “The Lobster” and another competition entry, “Tale of Tales,” took the stage to sing “Just a Gigolo” in a bright white suit.

___

AP’s Thomas Adamson contributed to this report.

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This Music Festival Knows It Can’t Stop People From Doing Drugs, So It’s Trying To Keep Them Safe Instead

The upcoming Lightning in a Bottle Music Festival, which starts Thursday in Bradley, California, is a drug-free event. But rather than pretend this label and any effort to enforce it will create a drug-repellant force field around the festival, organizers say they’re preparing for the inevitable: They know some drugs will find their way through security and into people’s bodies, so they’re offering a host of resources to help minimize the potential negative effects on users.

As part of this effort, Lightning in a Bottle and its coordinators at the Do Lab are partnering with two groups, DanceSafe — a health organization that focuses on harm reduction and education at music festivals and nightlife venues — and the Zendo Project — a program sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies that offers help to anyone going through a difficult experience while on psychedelic drugs.

Part of DanceSafe’s operation involves providing a judgment-free space to proactively address drug dangers before they emerge. The group believes educating people about potential problem signs associated with recreational drug use — often simple things like heat stroke, dehydration and even hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition brought on by drinking too much water — will help users seek treatment earlier rather than later. DanceSafe also offers condoms, earplugs, free water and an open line of communication to anyone who wants to talk about how they can make sure their good time doesn’t become a bad time.

Meanwhile, the Zendo Project offers what Stefanie Jones, nightlife community engagement manager for Drug Policy Alliance, a progressive nonprofit that advocates for drug policy reform, referred to as “mental health services” for people on psychedelic drugs. Anyone who may find themselves confused, upset, uncomfortable or in need of help anywhere else along their psychedelic trip can turn to one of the project’s trained therapists.

DanceSafe has also made a name for itself by offering on-site drug checking, which tells users which substances they actually have and how to use them responsibly. Jones told The Huffington Post that these services will not be available at Lightning in a Bottle due to concerns that organizers could be prosecuted under a federal law that prohibits the “maintaining of a drug-involved premise.”

Music festivals have attracted scrutiny in recent years following a spate of drug overdoses and drug-related deaths. With the growth of cheaper and ever-changing synthetic substances, the music festival drug market — where baggies of different colored powders and pills are often passed between strangers in porta-potties — is only getting harder and more risky to navigate.

Last year, a documentary filmmaker followed a group that offered drug testing services at popular festivals and found that 100 percent of the people who came to them thinking they had MDMA, also called “molly” or “ecstasy,” actually had bath salts, a term that has come to refer to any of a number of popular synthetic drugs. They also found examples of drugs being cut with powerful or dangerous adulterants that would almost certainly change a user’s predicted experience.

While these trends are frightening, they don’t mean fewer people are experimenting with drugs at festivals. This has led to some differing opinions on how to approach the problem.

In New York, the popular electronic music festival Electric Zoo rebooted in 2014, a year after two drug-related deaths made national headlines and forced the event to shut down a day early. Hoping to avoid another death or PR disaster, organizers opted for an enforcement-first approach. Here’s how Billboard described the scene:

In an effort to prevent against casualties, the festival has overcorrected and made widely known its use of high-tech cameras, drug-sniffing dogs and ramped-up security. The substance checkpoints are more thorough, requiring attendees to remove shoes, and cops — both in uniform and undercover — seemed to almost outnumber the fans.

Festival-goers were also required to watch an anti-drug PSA before attending, and organizers dispatched a group of medical students called “Zookeepers” to help with any emerging issues.

In past years, Lightning in a Bottle has also been targeted by intense drug enforcement activity. In 2013, when the event was held in Temecula, California, undercover officers arrested 58 people for drug-related offenses. Many of the suspects claimed they were coerced into selling drugs and accused officers of calling them “hippies” and “brain-dead retards.”

Organizers at Lightning in a Bottle have limited control over how law enforcement chooses to get involved with their event, but they are being more vocal than in years past about their harm-reduction policies.

While DanceSafe has been present at Lightning in a Bottle since 2013 and the Zendo Project joined last year, the festival is making a greater effort this time around to let attendees know that these services are available. They’ve built a “harm reduction” section into the festival’s official code of conduct and, according to DPA, will link to the page in a newsletter they send to attendees. The Zendo Project has also scheduled a basic training on Friday to tell attendees about its services.

After the festival ends, organizers will coordinate with Mutual Aid Response Services, a risk management consulting company, to evaluate the effectiveness of the services and the efforts to promote them, and to determine ways to better integrate these approaches into future events.

Harm reduction is one of many issues being championed by Lightning in a Bottle, which, according to its website, include encouraging people to think hard about whether they should wear a Native American headdress to the festival. To anyone coming from Coachella, the answer is no.

Jones said Lightning in a Bottle is one of the first festivals to get on board with DPA’s push to encourage groups to take more pragmatic approaches to drug use. A guide released by the group lays out the essential considerations and strategies for anyone planning a large-scale event.

And while Jones admitted there is still work to do to break the stigma surrounding drug use — including allowing for on-site drug checking so people can make sure they’re not about to eat rat poison — she praised Lightning in a Bottle for taking such an open and comprehensive stance to harm reduction.

“What they’re doing is a heroic,” Jones said. “They’re making every effort in a tough environment to keep their attendees safe.”

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Newlyweds Nikki Reed And Ian Somerhalder Are Beyond Glamorous At The Cannes Film Festival

Newlyweds Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder were the picture of grace and glamour on Wednesday as they walked the red carpet at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival.

The couple showed up for the premiere of “Youth” and Reed dazzled in a midnight blue, backless gown by Azzaro, while Somerhalder looked dapper in a black tux. The couple tied the knot last month, and are clearly still in the honeymoon phase.

nikki reed ian

nikki reed ian

nikki reed

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The Madeira Film Festival: Cinema Paraíso

The international film scene is dotted with a series of spectacular events — from the glitz of Cannes to the slopes of Sundance to Toronto and Tribeca — to more intimate festivals everywhere from Sarajevo to Missoula, Montana.

The Madeira Film Festival is one of the scene’s hidden gems. The festival on the Portuguese Island of Madeira, which just completed its 4th edition from April 27th to May 3rd, offered a celebration of all that is best in cinema in a setting that can only be described as paradise — or paraíso in Portuguese.

Dedicated to the preservation of the Madeira’s indigenous Laurisilva forest, the festival highlighted 17 feature films and 39 shorts from across the globe — all accompanied by glass after glass of the island’s namesake Madeira wine. (Madeira wine actually has strong roots in America; the Founding Fathers had a particular affinity for it, even using it to toast the Declaration of Independence.)

A non-competitive event, where each entrant receives an award dedicated to their role in preserving Madeira’s forest, the festival showcases a series of mostly independent films that focus on nature. As the festival founder Aitken Pearson said, “it’s not merely about the premier of the latest film — it’s a celebration of nature.”

Madeira itself offers the perfect setting. A lush, 309 square-mile island off the west coast of Africa first colonized by the Portuguese in 1419, the landscape resembles a seeming hybrid of the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia.

Verdant hills — many of them dotted with terraces for growing citrus, mangoes, bananas, and other tropical fruit — rise up from the ocean to a height of up to 6,106 feet at Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on Madeira and the third highest in Portugal. The hills are sometimes shrouded in clouds rolling in from the ocean. From the peaks themselves, you are often above the clouds.

Madeira’s Laurisilva forest is itself spectacular and unique. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the forest is the largest surviving area of the previously widespread laurel forests, which covered much of Europe in prehistoric times. Its trees are a captivating collection of shapes and sizes — as if Dr. Seuss had been inspired to sketch a landscape by the ancient spirits that many believe still inhabit the trees.

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The island’s natural wonders make for a film festival that not only showcases amazing art, but is also a destination for artists looking to enjoy the outdoors. Films ran from 2pm to 11pm most nights, with morning excursions arranged for participants including off-road adventures, canyoneering down a river valley, and sailing around the island in search of dolphins.

Madeira’s main city, Funchal, where a majority of the island’s nearly 300,000 residents and 1.5 million annual visitors base themselves, is both quaint and cosmopolitan. With neighborhoods dotted by red-tiled roofs extending up the hillsides, bougainvillea in full bloom, and world-class cuisine, Funchal is reminiscent of a Portuguese Monte Carlo– complete with an old-world casino– only at a fraction of the cost. (A multi-course feast, complete with soup, salad, skewered meat or fish, side dishes, and an array of wines, can cost as little as 15 Euro at many restaurants in town).

The festival itself is set in two venues: the Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias, Funchal’s main theater, built in 1888; and Belmond Reid’s Palace Hotel, an old-world resort first built in 1891 that has hosted everyone from Winston Churchill to Roger Moore to George Bernard Shaw. Reflecting Madeira’s longstanding relationship with the English — the Anglo-Portuguese alliance is the oldest one in the world — the hotel has a distinct British feel. Imagine the Grand Budapest Hotel, if it was still in peak form and geared towards a clientele speaking Queen’s: afternoon tea is still an honored tradition.

The hotel has also served as temporary home to an array of notable guests, including a number of deposed leaders who used it as their home in exile, including Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Karl von Habsburg.

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Opening night at the festival set the stage for what was to be an entertaining week. A cocktail reception at Reid’s featuring, of course, Madeira wine and other regional specialties soon gave way to a parade of antique cars. The parade was led by two traditional Madeiran riders on horseback to honor the festival’s first feature film, Of Horses and Men by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson.

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The movie was an absolute masterpiece. Set in rural Iceland, it tells the intertwined story of humans and horses struggling to survive in a harsh environment. The film is above all a love story between its two main human characters, a man and a woman on adjoining farms. But it intersperses all the drama of rural life: prying and sometimes feuding neighbors, alcoholism, sexual intrigue — and that’s just among the people. Much of the film is seen through the eyes of horses, their own experiences reflecting that of the human characters.

Erlingsson was in attendance and spoke afterwards to a rapturous audience of how as a native of Reykjavik, his summers in what he called Iceland’s “brutal” interior had a tremendous impact on his art and view of nature and humankind.

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The opening film laid the groundwork for a spectacular week of cinema.

One of my favorite screenings was of Garnet’s Gold by British documentarian Ed Perkins. From the two-time Academy Award winning producer of Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire, Garnet’s Gold follows Garnet Frost, an extraordinary man on a quixotic adventure in search of hidden treasure, in what amounts to a belated rite of passage to rediscover the meaning of his life.

It is a sublimely beautiful and moving film that was recently screened by the BBC, and is currently screening in film festivals around the world. Perkins and Frost were both in attendance at Madeira, where it received rave reviews. Perkins commented, “it has been an enormous privilege to screen our film at the wonderful Madeira Film Festival. I always saw Garnet’s story as a mirror into which we see our own hopes and dreams and fears projected, and it is very humbling that the film appears to be resonating so strongly with people.”

Another favorite of mine was Beneath Water, a short drama/fantasy film by 20-year-old British director, writer, and producer Charlie Manton. Starring British actress Louisa Connolly-Burnham and American actress Miranda Wilson, the story takes place on the one year anniversary of a traumatic event and focuses on a mother and daughter’s struggle to move on. The film is set in Missouri, and is a memorable exploration of a family overcoming tragedy.

The festival not only featured great films, but tremendous artists in other media as well. American singer Natalie Gelman did a series of acoustic performances throughout the festival. Both sunny and soulful, Gelman sang a series of original songs, many of which are sure to become classics. She also sang a medley of covers such as a version of “One Fine Day” that was more tragic and moving than earlier versions by the Chiffons, Carole King, or Natalie Merchant. Her original song “Some People” ought to generate its own slew of covers. It is a classic in the making, capturing the essence of America and the globe’s current “Gilded Age”, with its chorus that “some people are so poor…all they have is money”.

Gelman herself was touched by the festival, saying, “this is a film festival to go to if you want to be inspired. I have been to some of the largest film festivals like Sundance and Tribeca and I’ve been to quite a few small town film festivals – the Madeira Film Festival has the best of both worlds. Loads of talent like those larger festivals with the community and camaraderie of something you would find in a small town. “

Another spectacular performance came from Ballet Teatro Paz, a contemporary dance company from the Azores, Portugal’s other Atlantic archipelago. They performed their piece “Trees Die Standing”, choreographed by Milagres Paz. A haunting dance set to classical music, the piece is, according to the dance company, “based on the parallel between the physical death of trees and the spiritual death of Man.”

With only four years under its belt, the festival is aiming to move to the next level. Next year’s festival will be dedicated not only to the preservation of the forest but to that of the ocean as well.

“My original vision for the Madeira Film Festival was that it would serve as a platform for independent filmmakers to share their work in a most conducive setting,” festival founder Aitken said.

“Four years later I realize that the Madeira Film Festival is actually a reward for independent artists by virtue of an enjoyable, fun and to a degree luxurious week on Madeira where they can forge personal and business relationships very easily. We anticipate to further enhance the festival by inviting up to 100 industry delegates each year during the event to participate in a glamorous networking soiree, capitalizing on the merits the Madeira Film Festival has created and grown into.”

Ari Ratner is an independent writer based in Washington, DC. Arranged by the Madeira Film Festival, he received highly discounted airfare to travel from Boston to Madeira on Sata International, a Portuguese airline and festival sponsor, as well as accommodations from Belmont Reid’s Palace Hotel, another festival sponsor. Follow him on Twitter @amratner.

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The 4th Annual Infrasound Music Festival in Black River Falls, Wisconsin

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Beautiful souls swinging their tangled tendrils, orbs of fire tracing invisible geometry, rumbling bass that vibrates your innards, Palo Santo arousing olfactory bliss, and artists caressing canvases with their paintbrushes. This imagery evokes a sense of home within me, a familiarity even if its in an unfamiliar place.

This is the world of the music festival. A place where people come to gather, grow, share, love, give, play, watch, listen and learn. The festival paradigm is unified but also diverse. There is a similarity shared by all festivals which is what creates its growing community. However, each festival offers its own distinct flavor which is what keeps this community diverse.

Infrasound represents a new style in music festivals based on sound system culture and intelligent dance music. A refreshing change from the usual predictable lineup and crowd. – Taylor Winum, co-founder of Infrasound Music Festival.

These idyllic festivals are popping up all over the world, even in unlikely, but not unbelievable, locales. The 4th annual Infrasound Festival will be held on May 28th-31st of 2015 on a pristine lake in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Like many of the world’s greatest music festivals, Infrasound humbly began in 2010 as a warehouse party in downtown Minneapolis. The first official Infrasound Festival took place in Houston, Minnesota in 2012 and then moved to Black River Falls in 2013, where it has a found its home. The founders of this Midwestern festival are Alex Heiligman, David Liberman, and Taylor Winum, whose entire lives are focused on bringing good music to the U.S. The Infrasound family also hosts Infrasound Equinox, another diverse event which is held during the autumnal equinox in September at the same venue.

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With a lineup decorated by superheroes of the electronic underground, festival patrons from all over the country rushed to purchase their tickets. The lineup includes Tipper, The Opiuo Band, Benga, Ott, Bluetech, Thriftworks, Russ Liquid, Mr Bill, Mumukshu, Perkulat0r, AtYyA, and many more. Android Jones will be providing Tipper’s kaleidoscopic visuals, a combination that is sure to send you to another dimension. Set amidst an oxygen-rich forest and beneath a delicious looking Milky Way, the venue and the event exist in perfect symbiosis. Festival-goers may enjoy a cool dip into liquid or watch the sunrise paint the glassy water in hues of pink, orange, peach and yellow during Tipper’s lakeside set.

2015 has brought Infrasound Music Festival an enormous amount of attention, so much so in fact, that the event is almost sold out. Online ticket sales have ended, however there is still hope for those who have not yet purchased their festival passes. The founders have decided to use an application process for the remaining tickets. The application aims to ensure that those who are most passionate and supportive of Infrasound and the intimate culture of the festival will get one of these final tickets. The application process will begin on Saturday, May 9th at 2 pm CST and conclude on Friday, May 15th at 11:59 pm CST. Everyone who submits an application will receive a response between May 19th and May 21st.

Infrasound grew out of my boredom with most festivals and shows all over the country and I wanted to create something different. It’s been crazy to watch it grow from a warehouse party into a sold out festival. – Alex Heiligman, co-founder of Infrasound Music Festival

With yet another mystical, magical, and majestic music festival to add to the bucket list, Infrasound promises to be the destination for those who seek the unique. With lakeside sunrise sets, all the fresh air you can breathe, and a community of respectful, creative, inspiring, imaginative and kind human beings, Infrasound Music Festival is not to be missed. The prefix infra- means “below” and infrasound means frequencies that are below the human spectrum of audibility. To be below the sound means to immerse yourself deep within its vibrations and drench yourself in the liquid sound waves of bass music. Together at Infrasound we will dance upon the Earth, above judgement, and below the sound.

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Website: http://infrasoundfestival.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/infrasoundfest

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Don’t Miss Provincetown’s Film Festival, An Unofficially Queer Cultural Event By The Beach

Unassuming is the name of the game in P-town, a quirky beach community at the tip of Cape Cod. But the Provincetown International Film Festival, now in its 17th year, consistently delivers one of the finest cultural events in the region. As always, a delightfully queer lineup underscores the outstanding selection of narrative features, documentaries and shorts.

The festival kicks off on June 17 with writer-director Leslye Headland’s “Sleeping with Other People,” exploring the complexities of monogamy. From James Franco, “I Am Michael,” the dramatization of a buzzy 2011 New York Times article about gay activist Michael Glatze, closes out the week on June 21.

“The independent filmmaking community continues to produce remarkably high quality work, here and abroad, and our feature lineup is a testament to that!” said Connie White, artistic director of PIFF. “We are thrilled to welcome these new films and filmmakers to Provincetown in June, and we know that filmgoers will be engaged and entertained by these adventurous, thought-provoking and accomplished films.”

The lineup for PIFF 2015:

Opening Night Selection
“Sleeping with Other People” — directed by Leslye Headland
sleeping with other people

Closing Night Selection
“I Am Michael” — directed by Justin Kelly
i am michael

Spotlight Selections
“The End of the Tour” — directed by James Ponsoldt
the end of the tour

“Grandma” — directed by Paul Weitz

“Tab Hunter Confidential” — directed by Jeffrey Schwartz

Narrative Features
“99 Homes” — directed by Ramin Bahrani

“Beatbox” — directed by Andrew Dresher

“Breathe” — directed by Mélanie Laurent

“Fresno” — directed by Jamie Babbit

“Funny Bunny” — directed by Alison Bagnall

“Learning to Drive” — directed by Isabel Coixet

“A Little Chaos” — directed by Alan Rickman

“Meet Me In Montenegro” — directed by Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen

“Nasty Baby” – directed by Sebastián Silva

“The New Girlfriend” — directed by François Ozon

“People, Places, Things” — directed by James C. Strouse

“Radiator” — directed by Tom Browne

“The Second Mother” — directed by Anna Muylaert

“Shaun the Sheep” — directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak

The Stanford Prison Experiment” — directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez

“The Summer of Sangaile” — directed by Alanté Kavaïté

“Tangerine” — directed by Sean Baker

“Ten Thousand Saints” — directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini

“Those People” — directed by Joey Kuhn

“Tired Moonlight” — directed by Britni West

“Wildlike” — directed by Frank Hall Green

“Yosemite” — directed by Gabrielle Demeestere

Documentary Features
“Alentejo, Alentejo” — directed by Sérgio Tréfaut

“The Armor of Light” — directed by Abigail E. Disney

“Best of Enemies” — directed by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville

“The Birth of Saké” — directed by Erik Shirai

“Call Me Lucky” — directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

“City of Gold” — directed by Laura Gabbert

“Clambake” — directed by Andrea Meyerson

“Danny Says” — directed by Brendan Toller

“Do I Sound Gay?” — directed by David Thorpe

“Harry & Snowman” — directed by Ron Davis

“In My Father’s House” — directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg

“Larry Kramer In Love with Anger” — directed by Jean Carlomusto

“Listen to Me Marlon” — directed by Stevan Riley

Live From New York!” — directed by Bao Nguyen

“Love Between the Covers” — directed by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt

“Out to Win” — directed by Malcolm Ingram

“Outermost Radio” — directed by Alan Chebot

“Packed In a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson” — directed by Michelle Boyaner

“Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict” — directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

“The State of Marriage” — directed by Jeffrey Kaufman

“The Wolfpack” — directed by Crystal Moselle

The 17th annual Provincetown International Film Festival takes place June 17-21 in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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Margiela Documentary to Be Shown at Tribeca Festival

Yoox Group has produced a documentary on the designer Martin Margiela which is being shown in the Narrative/Documentary category at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Called “The Artist is Absent,” the documentary, which was filmed by American writer and director Alison Chernick, explores the creative path of the Belgian designer, one of the most mysterious personalities in the fashion industry. The documentary includes interviews with fashion figures such as Raf Simons and Jean-Paul Gaultier.

“Thanks to Yoox Group, millions of people in the world will have the chance to know the creativity and genius of Martin Margiela, one of the most innovative personalities of the last century,” Chernick said. “I’m proud to have collaborated with Yoox Group, which produced the documentary and made this nomination possible.”

The documentary’s trailer was launched on the Yoox Group’s Web sites, – yoox.com, thecorner.com and shoescribe.com, – on Monday, while the full version will be available online from April 27, after the Tribeca Film Festival’s awards ceremony.

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9 Tidbits From George Lucas’ Chat With Stephen Colbert At The Tribeca Film Festival

The chance to see George Lucas discuss his career ranked fairly high in our Tribeca Film Festival priorities, especially with Stephen Colbert conducting the interview. Apparently we weren’t alone: The festival sold out one of its largest flagship auditoriums for Friday’s hour-long panel, part of the Tribeca Talks series, and spectators lined up with posters and DVDs for the “Star Wars” overlord to autograph. Inside, it took no time at all to realize there is very little the 70-year-old Lucas hasn’t already been asked about his well-documented career.

Even an adept moderator (and “Star Wars” obsessive) like Colbert couldn’t squeeze out many fresh tidbits from the talkative director, though he did display his signature wit throughout, particularly when Lucas sneezed and Colbert responded by saying, “May The Force be with you.” These guys! So silly!

But even the nerdiest of “Star Wars” fans can stand to revisit morsels about the iconic franchise — and hey, maybe there’s even something in here that you didn’t already know. Here are nine quickies from Friday’s conversation:

1. George Lucas is not a fan of being a celebrity. He’s happy to wear sneakers and avoid Hollywood galas, which has prompted some in the industry to liken him to the reclusive Howard Hughes.

2. There’s at least one downside to directing “Star Wars.” “The one thing I regret about doing ‘Star Wars’ is I never got to see it,” Lucas said when asked whether he’s anticipating “The Force Awakens,” which opens in December. “I never got that thrill.”

3. “American Graffiti” started as a dare from Francis Ford Coppola. The duo became pals after Lucas won a scholarship in film school that allowed him to work on a Warner Bros. project of his choosing. He selected “Finian’s Rainbow,” Coppola’s 1968 musical starring Fred Astaire and Petula Clark. (Coppola was 29 when “Rainbow” opened; Lucas was 24.)

In 1969, the directors opened their own studio, American Zoetrope, which released Lucas’ infamous 1971 sci-fi flop “THX 1138.” (It was a joint venture with Warner Bros., which “told Francis Ford Coppola and me, ‘We want our money back,'” Lucas said. In order to pay off that $ 350,000, Coppola made a little film called “The Godfather.”) Coppola then told Lucas to lay off the experimental “robot” stuff, daring him to write a comedy instead. Confident he could do it, Lucas channeled his California youth to write “American Graffiti,” which went on to earn five Oscar nominations and become 1973’s third-highest grossing movie across North America.

4. Lucas is fully aware of what you think about his most recent “Star Wars” scripts. “I’m notorious for wooden dialogue,” Lucas said, presumably referring to criticism that defined the franchise’s second trilogy. Frankly, he doesn’t care, largely because dialogue, in his mind, is secondary to visuals and sound. In keeping, he considers “Star Wars” a silent film that generates meaning from its movement. “You could be 2 years old and not understand what anyone’s saying, but still understand the movie,” he said.

5. The only one of Lucas’ director friends who supported “Star Wars” was Steven Spielberg. Lucas’ posse includes Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese, but Spielberg was the only one who said “Star Wars” would be a hit after Lucas screened it for his buddies. De Palma, who released “Carrie” a year before 1977’s “A New Hope” opened, instead asked, “What the hell is The Force?”

6. Lucas learned of the “Star Wars” momentum from a news report. Alan Ladd Jr. was the producer who gave “Star Wars” the green light, and he remained Lucas’ only supporter when 20th Century Fox wanted to nix production due to escalating budgets and location snafus. Lucas insisted Ladd wait a few weeks after “A New Hope” opened to gauge its performance, once the movie could transcend the fanatics who will show up for any sci-fi flick. A week after the movie hit theaters, Lucas was on vacation in Hawaii when he saw a CBS news story showcasing the fandom that had already erupted — it was then that he grasped its proliferating impact.

7. But Lucas never wanted to make Hollywood blockbusters. He was interested in experimental films, à la “THX 1138.” Today, he says he’s retired and tinkering around with the type of movies that studios didn’t want him to make. “They’ll probably never get released,” he joked. “I’m just screwing around in my garage.” He can afford to screw around because he worked to secure “Star Wars” sequel rights from 20th Century Fox after “A New Hope” became a hit. “That’s how I got to be rich,” he said, smiling.

8. As of Friday, Lucas hadn’t seen the latest “Force Awakens” trailer. And he has no idea what the new movie is about, despite receiving a “creative consultant” credit. (He didn’t watch the first teaser until almost two months after it debuted.) “I’m excited, I have no idea what they’re doing,” he said. The original, however, remains a family saga — his intent was to make a movie about “the father, the children, the grandchildren.”

9. Lucas thinks Colbert should replace Jon Stewart. “Don’t you think the perfect choice to replace that Jon Stewart fella would have been you? And now you’re working at ‘Late Show,’ where nobody sees you,” Lucas quipped, to which Colbert responded by saying that he was previously on at 11:30 p.m. and will now be on at 11:35. He never wanted to take Stewart’s gig because he would forever live “underneath his shadow.”

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IWC Schaffhausen to Sponsor Tribeca Film Festival Again

MOVIE TIME: IWC Schaffhausen and the Tribeca Film Festival are going for the complete hat trick. For the third year, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer has signed on as the official “festival-time” partner of the New York-based film festival, which runs from April 15 to 26. To mark the partnership, IWC has created a one-of-a-kind timepiece, called the Portofino Monopusher Edition “Tribeca Film Festival 2015.” The watch features a white gold case set against a slate-colored dial, with bordeaux colored subdials inspired by Hollywood’s red carpet. The casebook of the piece features the logo of the Tribeca Film Festival, as well. The one-off piece will be auctioned off through Christie’s, in an online-only auction taking place from April 1 to 10, with all proceeds going to the Tribeca Film Institute, the festival’s nonprofit affiliate. “The Tribeca Film Institute has proved year in and year out to be one of the world’s premier charitable organizations when it comes to nurturing and elevating young filmmakers,” said Georges Kern, chief executive officer of IWC. The winner of the auction will also receive VIP access to the festival itself, as well as an invitation to the annual “For The Love of Cinema” dinner, hosted

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Ultra Music Festival 2015: The People And Outfits We Loved (NSFW PHOTOS)

Crazy outfits, neon, and a definite excess of exposed skin are staples of the 3-day electronic music rager down in Miami.

It’s the 17th year of the Ultra Music Festival which has attracted the high profile talents of Tiesto, Avicii, Alesso, Nicky Romero, Paul Van Dyk, Bassnectar, David Guetta, and Skrillex. Up-and-comers like Goldfish, Kygo, and Klingade are set to take over the scene and hypnotize the crowd with their melodic beats and cascading sounds of pianos, saxophones and xylophones.

The entire gamet of the electronic dance music genre is covered, from trance to dubstep, tropical house to deep house, trap to techno. With such an impressive lineup and range of artists, EDM and festival fans flock to Miami’s Bayfront Park for the 3-day festival that attracts over 150,000 people with crunchy beats, mind-numbing light shows and non-stop dancing.

Fashion standards for the weekend include crazy wigs and edible jewelry, and attracts more neon than a 711 sign does to a fly. Some of our favorites include the iconic Nintendo characters of Mario & Luigi, a cat on a moped, and lots of national pride.

Check it out:


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SXSW Video – Movie Review: The Boy (2015) – Film Festival Video HD

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Miley Cyrus Enters Bondage-Themed Video In Porn Festival

Miley Cyrus has entered one of her music videos in a porn festival.

The New York Post reports that the 21-year-old singer submitted her bondage-themed video for “Tongue Tied” in the first-ever NYC Porn Film Festival.

Directed by mixed-media artist and filmmaker Quentin Jones, Cyrus first released the video last May. It played as an intro to Cyrus’ show before she took the stage during her Bangerz tour last year.

The two-minute clip features a nearly nude Cyrus smearing herself with black oil as she writhes to the music, but festival-goers will see an extended cut that runs nearly twice as long as the original video, this according to the listing on the festival’s website.

“It’s a pop take on S&M,” festival founder Simon Leahy told the Post. “[Cyrus is] starting to become more of a contemporary artist.”

The NYC Porn Film Festival runs from Feb. 27 to March 1 in Bushwick, and also features a screening of former reality star Tila Tequila’s award-winning video from Vivid Entertainment, “Tila Tequila: Backdoored & Squirting.”

Watch the shorter version of Cyrus’ video below. (Sensitive audiences will want to avoid watching at work.)


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Rosie O’Donnell Takes on Brian Williams at the Athena Film Festival

The irrepressible Rosie O’Donnell could not help herself. Coaxed to do stand up on the not funny subject of her heart attack by HBO’s Sheila Nevins, the television star created a routine that is more than the heartfelt in its title, “Rosie O’Donnell: A Heartfelt Standup,” it’s a PSA for women, a wake-up call to the astonishing fact that the leading killer of women is not breast or ovarian cancer, but heart disease. After a special screening at the Athena Film Festival, a panel of doctors weighed in on heart health for women offering tips for prevention. O’Donnell created a mantra for detection, HEPPP: Hot, exhausted, pain, pale, puke, which she made into an infectious ditty. When someone in the audience told her own heart story, O’Donnell strained to find a place for H, an added symptom of heartburn.

Rosie being Rosie, she could not help herself. Topical, she took swipes as Brian Williams. “Oh yeah, and I wrote and directed A League of their Own. Oops, I forgot, I only acted in that movie,” she quipped. Though she says she is leaving The View because of her health, Rosie seems in top form, casting a roving eye on the young women filmmakers in the crowd. “Ooh, did you feel something? I felt it. You may be my next wife.”

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.
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Karl Lagerfeld Tapped for Hyères Festival

The designer is to handle artistic direction, with Chanel studio head Virginie Viard as president of the fashion jury.

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They Are Wearing: Sundance Film Festival

On the streets of Park City.

Skinny jeans or leather leggings and slim sweaters, topped by puffy parkas, fur jackets, or tailored wool coats once again ruled on Main Street.

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Black Films Are Buzzing At This Year’s Sundance Festival

Every year the Sundance Film Festival premieres some of the best independent black films around, and it looks as if 2015 will be no different. Viola Davis, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rick Famuyiwa, Zoë Kravitz and Stanley Nelson are just a few of the black actors and filmmakers attending the festival in Park City, Utah, from Jan. 22 to Feb. 1. Sundance was where films like Fruitvale Station and directors like Ava DuVernay won big before going on to garner even more acclaim. This year, early buzz for many of the films is extremely positive.
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Black Films Are Buzzing At This Year’s Sundance Festival

Every year the Sundance Film Festival premieres some of the best independent black films around, and it looks as if 2015 will be no different. Viola Davis, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rick Famuyiwa, Zoë Kravitz and Stanley Nelson are just a few of the black actors and filmmakers attending the festival in Park City, Utah, from Jan. 22 to Feb. 1. Sundance was where films like Fruitvale Station and directors like Ava DuVernay won big before going on to garner even more acclaim. This year, early buzz for many of the films is extremely positive.
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Music Festival Style – Life is Beautiful preview – Zappos Rockit Shop Ep19

Comment to tell us who rocked it best!

You’ve rocked out to Katy Perry at Coachella, built a bonfire at Bonaroo, and gone crazy for Kanye at Lollapalooza.. but be sure to check out the new kid on the festival circuit – Life is Beautiful. Why? For starters, Life is Beautiful happens in Las Vegas so whatever happens there stays there – need we say more??

Rockit Shop host Canaan Rubin is festival regular and will teach you how to look cool as a cucumber in the festival heat. Canaan has packed this special episode of Rockit Shop episode with the coolest festival fashion whether you’re lucky enough to score a ticket to Life is Beautiful, or just want to look like you got lucky.

Brands featured in this episode:
Ray-Ban
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G-Star
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Stuart Weitzman
Will Leather Goods
BCBG Maxazria
Volcom
Lacoste

Rockit Shop is presented by Zappos (http://zapwow.me/pf3C) where you can shop all the brands you saw here today, as well as all the latest trends in fashion. Zappos carries everything you need from shoes and clothing to hats, accessories, beauty, and more!

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Life is Beautiful Music Festival Fashion, Vintage Style & Hippie Chic- Rockit Shop Ep 20

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At the Life is Beautiful music festival in sunny Las Vegas, NV, Canaan Rubin discovered just how beautiful life can be when you’re free to wear what you want – or wear not too much of anything at all! Welcome to the most “hippie dippie gypsy” episode of Rockit Shop yet!

Warning: Canaan Rubin is turned into a hippie dippie gypsy in this episode and crowned “Flower Canaan” – don’t say we didn’t warn you..

Rockit Shop is presented by Zappos (http://zapwow.me/pf3C) where you can shop all the looks you saw here today, and you can find all your favorite skate, surf, snow, and street wear brands in one place. Zappos carries everything you need from shoes and clothing to hats, accessories, beauty, and more!

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New York Film Festival 2014 #2: Ethan Hawke’s Sweet Debut, the Dardennes’ Latest & More

THE 52ND NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL

THE LOOK OF SILENCE *** 1/2
SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION ***
EDEN ** 1/2
TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT ** 1/2

The official launch for the New York Film Festival begins on September 26 with the world premiere of David Fincher’s Gone Girl. They’re in luck; the early reviews are raves. And the critic screenings are in overdrive with three or four movies playing during the day for over a week now. So there’s a lot to catch up on and a lot to see. Here are two very good documentaries and two dramas. Only one may be truly great at first blush but they’re all worthwhile in one way or another.

THE LOOK OF SILENCE *** 1/2

Director Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-nominated film The Act Of Killing is one of the brashest, strangest, downright surreal films of recent years. It looks at the bizarre and unsettling facts of Indonesia, where under cover of the fight against communism a massive genocide took place in the 1960s. The people who committed it are still in power, still living among the survivors of the people they brutally slaughtered. The PBS series POV is airing the film on October 6 and it’s not to be missed. What makes the film so strange? Well, Oppenheimer met with the people who committed these crimes against humanity and somehow got them to reenact their murderous actions…in the style of various movie genres. This doesn’t begin to accurately capture the rare mood of the film, which is funny and horrifying. It’s no surprise that Errol Morris and Werner Herzog championed it; they love breaking the rules in their documentaries as well.

Now comes a companion piece, The Look Of Silence. It is in many ways the polar opposite of the first. No gimmicks, no tricks, no high concept framing to coax people into documenting their own crimes. It simply shows the brother of one man who was slaughtered quietly talking to and sometimes confronting the many, many people in power who are responsible for murder.

2014-09-24-still1290x163.jpg

One of my (many) pet peeves is describing this actor or that director as “brave.” There’s nothing brave about playing a part on stage or in a movie, no matter how audacious. Save “brave” for people who genuinely risk their lives for others, like cops and firemen and soldiers and the like. But genuine courage is the only way to describe the father who takes center stage in this work. Oppenheimer’s earlier film documented who killed his brother and how. In this movie, the man literally risks his life to confront the people — including an uncle — who did this.

The title comes from the way he can ask a question and then simply sit and stare as their absurd, insulting, petty, dismissive or disingenuous answers fall to the ground, unworthy of comment. Some crumple under his quiet bearing of witness; others literally threaten his life. A young woman hears her elderly father describe drinking the blood of the people he slaughtered (in order to not go crazy, others explain, in a superstitious response to the evil they were perpetrating). She begs forgiveness. Others stonily refuse to admit the obvious. It’s an unnerving, potent, remarkable work.

And it’s no joke: many of the technical credits on the film say simply Anonymous, a potent reminder of how very dangerous this truly brave act was. It’s not just a brave act; it’s also a genuine work of art. Surely at the beginning of every audience Q&A, at every press conference, the first question will be: has this man been killed? One of the best films of the year, The Look Of Silence is a startlingly different but just as potent companion piece to one of the best documentaries in a long time.

Here’s the trailer for The Art Of Killing, which airs on PBS October 6.

SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION ***

Ethan Hawke is becoming rather annoying. He’s been an acclaimed actor on stage and screen for many years. He’s written novels. Then he took up journalism and delivered a great profile of Kris Kristofferson for Rolling Stone. Now he’s starring in Boyhood, one of the most acclaimed films of the year and a genuine indie hit. To top it off, he’s making his debut as a documentary filmmaker with this sweet valentine to Seymour Bernstein, a beloved music teacher.

2014-09-24-SeymourIntroductiondocmaintstr1a.jpg

They met at a dinner party a few years ago with Hawke immediately opening up about his almost crippling stage fright and self-doubts about whether what he did had any worth. Bernstein was an ideal sounding board: he’d quit his brilliant public career as a pianist and devoted himself to teaching and composing.

Bernstein’s philosophy is that practice of any craft, any talent, makes you better at your craft and better as a person. He turned his back on the treadmill of fame and perhaps feels it’s mostly destructive. But fear is ok, even essential. Doubt is ok. And the doing of it, the working at your talent is essential. So indeed, is creating and not just recreating. (A pianist who plays a piece by Bach is “recreating.” A pianist who composes his own work is “creating.” One is not worthier than the other but Bernstein feels strongly that artists should create.

Hawke, as a writer and director and producer sometimes beleaguered for having the temerity to do so (much like james Franco is today) surely was sympathetic to this. Plus Bernstein was so delightful, so full of life, so happy in his calling as a teacher. Why didn’t someone make a movie about him? Why indeed?

So Hawke did. The film is quietly bold. It’s a profile of Bernstein. But it also documents his philosophy of life and Hawke’s struggles are a modest subplot. This makes it a little shaggy, especially when it climaxes with what should be the cheap sentimentality of a public performance: Bernstein gives a benefit concert for the theater company Hawke helped found. But this becomes the film’s masterstroke since Hawke intercuts footage of Bernstein practicing the piece and performing the piece, symbolizing the man’s approach to life with one bold stroke.

Not since To Be And To Have has a teacher been shown in such a disarming way; you want to immediately sit in on one of Bernstein’s classes. Or at least buy some of his music. (A brief search turned up nothing officially in print.) Hopefully a soundtrack won’t be far behind this charming work.

EDEN ** 1/2

Film festivals can play a vital role for some filmmakers. They may not achieve international success at first. But a festival that believes in a talent can keep championing their work, telling critics to pay attention. I was not enamored with Mia Hansen-Love’s debut Father Of My Children. So I skipped her similar seeming second feature. But here she is again with a new movie. It’s radically different in nature from her earlier work and the buzz is good so here I am.

Indeed, Eden is very different from her small scale dramas, though it surely is linked in theme and other subtler ways. On the surface, it’s about raves and DJs, tracing the career of one talented young artist from fan to deejay to a name big enough to travel the world a bit and rub shoulders with the likes of Daft Punk. it’s not about fame and disillusionment, however. This isn’t the life of an artist, as such. Eden rather interestingly shows passion — in this case, for garage music — turning into a job. And a young man slowly realizes that the joy of his youth isn’t going to be enough to sustain him for the rest of his life. What next?

It roams over many years but has a light touch. Since the film isn’t truly interested in deejays as an art form, we don’t spend much time at all learning how they do what they do, to say the least. Our hero Paul (the handsome Felix de Givry) is seen more often being hapless in love than working at his craft. (Seymour would have something to say about that.) The rave scenes are pretty but never quite get under your skin; you can see people reacting to the music and the deejays dancing in ecstasy but it’s all at a slight remove. Perhaps because they know eventually the party will end.

That remove is probably the film’s biggest strength. They’re not making a grand statement about raves, how even the most rebellious art forms become co-opted. They’re not examining the scourge of drugs. They’re not romanticizing or criticizing youthful passion. Eden simply watches life happen; it just so happens that in this case life is often at a rave or disco.

The result is certainly meandering. And surely it’s not a good thing that after more than two hours of film time and years of story we barely have a sense of Paul’s relationship with his artistic partner in deejaying. But de Givry is very compelling, along with Roman Kolinka as an artist friend, and something here has stayed with me a little. Hansen-Love isn’t there yet. But the faith shown in her by festivals like NYFF might pay off yet.

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT ** 1/2

The new film by the Dardenne brothers is a disappointment. So often, their movies rank among the best of the year and have for nearly 20 years. They’ve made seven feature films beginning in 1996 and five of them have been great, often really great. Only The Silence of Lorna from 2008 felt like a genuine misfire, with its hokey plot contrivance. They got back on track with 2011’s The Kid With A Bike, a movie that seemed to push their signature style into modest new territory with good effect.

Two Days, One Night however is a noble failure, a step backward as it seems to recapitulate what they’ve done before with more elan. Still, it’s a timely tale with a strong hook and their fans will surely not feel they’ve wasted their time by checking it out. Marion Cotillard stars as a woman who has fallen into a serious depression and is now recovered. Or is that recovering? We stay right on top with Sandra as her story quickly reveals itself. She’s been on leave from work but the owner of the company forced her coworkers to vote: did they want Sandra to get her job back or receive their annual bonus. The company couldn’t afford to do both. After a vote heavily weighted against Sandra, the owner is forced to agree to a new vote. Sandra has the weekend to go visit each of her 16 coworkers and plead for her job… and in the process ask them to give up a 1000 euro bonus.

Two Days, One Night has the usual immediacy of a Dardenne film, movies where the camera is usually perched on the shoulder of the protagonist and never leaves their side. But this film soon feels too episodic, too neatly structured in a way. Each coworker has their own psychodrama on display: one is worried about voting against what the owners want because he’s on a limited contract, another has been wracked with guilt over voting against Sandra and begs her forgiveness, yet another has a troubled marriage, many try to avoid her and of course they can all use (sometimes desperately) that 1000 euros.

Quickly, the meetings between Sandra and her coworkers become too schematic. A happy scene of acceptance is invariably followed by one of rejection or indifference; if one features a poor family, another is sure to feature a family using the bonus for luxuries like a back porch and so on.

Some late twists feel cheap and should have bigger ramifications; others give the tale a much-needed substance. No movie by the Dardennes could be without worth and Cotillard is always a pleasure to watch. But this is a minor entry in their filmography and hopefully just a stumble on the way to the next great work by one of the most talented duos in movie history.

MOVIES I’VE SEEN SO FAR IN 2014 (not a good year for movie-going for me)
All ratings out of four stars.

1. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) **
2. 20 Feet From Stardom **
3. The Wolf Of Wall Street ** 1/2
4. In The House (Ozon) ***
5. Laurence Anyways *** 1/2
6. The Angels’ Share ***
7. Philomena **
8. Mad Love (1935 w Peter Lorre) *
9. Women In The Wind (1939 w Kay Francis) **
10. The Hunt *** 1/2
11. Happy People: A Year In The Taiga ***
12. The Painting ** 1/2
13. The Spectacular Now *** 1/2
14. Dallas Buyers Club * 1/2
15. Blue Jasmine ** 1/2
16. The Story Of The Last Chrysanthemum (1939) ***
17. The Harvey Girls (1946) * 1/2
18. Cairo Station (1958) *** 1/2
19. Hannah Arendt * 1/2
20. The Act Of Killing *** 1/2
21. To The Wonder ***/
22. No ***
23. American Hustle **
24. Stories We Tell ***
25. Only God Forgives ***
26. Computer Chess ** 1/2
27. The Past ***
28. Captain America: The Winter Soldier ***
29. Blue Ruin ***
30. X-Men: Days Of Future Past **
31. Snowpiercer ** 1/2
32. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes *** /
33. Vicious (UK TV series) **
34. Endeavour Series Two ** 1/2
35. The Fault In Our Stars * 1/2
36. Escape In The Fog, dir Budd Boetticher (1945) **
37. Guardians of the Galaxy ** 1/2
38. Magic In The Moonlight **
39. Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971) *
40. ’71 ***
41. George Gently Series 1 (UK TV show) *** 1/2
42. The Look Of Silence *** 1/2
43. Seymour: An Introduction ***
44. Eden ** 1/2
45. Two Days, One Night ** 1/2

_____________

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the founder and CEO of the forthcoming website BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. It’s like a fall book preview or holiday gift guide — but every week in every category. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day and features top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website and his daily blog. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Note: Michael Giltz is provided with free access to press screenings with the understanding that he will be writing a review.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Live from the Toronto Film Festival: Tuesday, Sept. 9

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When I started attending the Toronto International Film Festival in 1984, no one had yet thought to position this festival as an awards-season launchpad. While there were a handful of big studio movies from Hollywood (filling a gala slot each night) in Toronto each year, the majority of what was shown was undiscovered territory.

Which is what I value most about the film festival experience in general: the chance it offers to discover a film, a filmmaker, an actor – the operative word being discover. That’s less and less of a factor at this particular festival these days; instead, it seems stacked with pre-sold titles.

Not pre-sold in the sense that they’re based on familiar work (remakes, comic-book movies, sequels). Rather, because awards pundits are clocking these things all year ’round, there are few surprises in the awards race, come year’s end. Films like The Theory of Everything (about Stephen Hawking) and The Imitation Game (about Alan Turing) arrive at this festival with anticipation racing and awards’ buzz already in high gear.

Still, there remain opportunities to walk into a movie knowing virtually nothing about it. That happened four times to me on Tuesday, although none provided the chance to have the hair-raising sensation of realizing you’re seeing something new and great.

Indeed, two of them failed to pass the 15-minute test. My first film of the day, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, starred Al Pacino as a lonely, aging locksmith in a small Texas town. When nothing happened in the first 20 minutes – beyond an extended look at one of Mr. Manglehorn’s typical days – I exercised my option and bolted, to catch an early show of The Theory of Everything.

My fifth film of the day provoked a similar response: Shelter, directed by Paul Bettany, stars Bettany’s wife, Jennifer Connelly, and the reliable Anthony Mackie. It’s a film about a romance among the homeless in New York. Sorry, no sale. And so, on to the bigger titles.

The Theory of Everything is directed by James Marsh and stars Eddie Redmayne as Hawking. The film starts with Hawking as a an able-bodied graduate student at Cambridge, who meets the girl of his dreams (Felicity Jones) and marries her, despite his diagnosis of a neuromuscular disease very near to ALS. He has, he is told, two years to live – which doesn’t give him much time to finish that unified-field theory before he loses the ability to communicate (and then breathe).

This is, of course, the story of the triumph of the will and the intellect over the weakening flesh. It’s also about an actor’s ability to transform himself into a motionless heap of a man in a wheelchair without losing the ability to communicate his feelings. The movie goes nowhere you don’t expect, but Redmayne and Jones give the kind of performances which (rightly or wrongly) serve as award-nomination magnets.

Acting-wise, I was much more impressed with Jake Gyllenhaal in Dan Gilroy’s energetically twisted Nightcrawler. A small-time thief with a gift for insistently ingratiating gab that can be deceptively malign, his character is a sociopath who stumbles on to the perfect career: trolling the police scanner at night to find accidents and crime he can videotape and sell to local TV.

Before long, his relentlessness and complete lack of empathy turn him into a star shooter, who can name his own price at the bargain-basement local-news program he sells to (and can even lure the news director, played by Rene Russo, into a relationship). Gyllenhaal’s cheeks are sunken, his hair lank, his eyes burning with a strange feverishness that always seems just an inch from violence. Gilroy’s script gives him a series of motor-mouthed but highly formal speeches. He spews Gilroy’s dialogue with an urgency – and a cunning – that makes him impossible to take your eyes off in a movie that grabs you and never lets you go.

This review continues on my website.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Turns Out Booking R. Kelly To Play Your Music Festival Is Bad For Business

An Ohio music festival has found itself in a difficult position on the heels of its booking of controversial R&B singer R. Kelly as one of its headliners.

The Fashion Meets Music Festival, slated for Aug. 29-31 in Columbus, Ohio, has run into a number of troubles since they announced last month that Kelly would be playing their inaugural fest alongside jam band O.A.R. and Destiny’s Child alum Michelle Williams, among others.

Since then, two Ohio-based bands — Damn the Witch Siren and Saintseneca — have dropped out of the lineup since Kelly’s booking was made public and Sunday Columbus Alive reported that radio station WCBE 90.5 FM has withdrawn from sponsoring the festival, also due to Kelly’s participation in the event.

As WBEZ’s Jim DeRogatis notes, ticket sales for the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s performance at the festival — which start at $ 58.50 plus fees — also appear to be selling very slowly.

The pushback stems from Kelly’s past allegations of child pornography and sexual assault, a story DeRogatis helped break and Jessica Hopper detailed in a viral news story for the Village Voice in December 2013.

“We feel [R. Kelly’s] selection as a performer ignores his very serious allegations of sexual violence and assault,” Saintseneca said in a statement explaining their decision. “We feel it is an affront to all survivors, who are already often overlooked and forgotten in our society.” The band plans to host an alternative concert benefiting victims of sexual assault.

In response to the criticism, Fashion Meets Music Festival co-founder Bret Adams defended the booking to Columbus Alive, noting that Kelly was acquitted of the allegations in 2008, saying, “we’re not the morality police.”

Kelly also headlined the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago last year, a booking DeRogatis lashed out against but which was not met by any bands or sponsors dropping out from the event. Kelly also played the Bonnaroo and Coachella festivals in 2013.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Coachella + Festival Fashion- Zappos Style Flash on Fox5 MORE

Coachella may be over, but festival fashion is here all summer! See looks by Free People, Betsey Johnson, French Connection, Jessica Simpson, Billabong, and more!

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First Nighter: A Gotta-See Alan Ayckbourn Festival

The big fact about 75-year-old Alan Ayckbourn is that he’s written 78–count ’em, 78–plays during his long career, including two, actually three, receiving world premieres these weeks at 59E59 Theaters. It’s what you might call an Alan Ayckbourn mini-festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first production.

Looked at another way, you could say he has so many works available either for premieres or revivals that at almost any time an Ayckbourn fan or Ayckbourn newbie might be able to encounter a new or old Ayckbourn work. Right now in London, for instance, his A Small Family Business is on view. The latter will be broadcast in internationally HD on June 12 (check NTLive.com for more details).

The first of the 59E59 three, all directed by Ayckbourn, is the world premiere of Arrivals & Departures. I can’t say that of the nearly four score Ayckbourn plays, it’s the darkest, but that’s only because I haven’t seen them all.

I can say that by the final fade-out this new one is extremely dark, even though it starts out light as a July day. Captain Quentin Sexton (Bill Champion), an Army officer running a sting set up to ensnare a suspected terrorist, is drilling a group of actors meant to be ordinary people milling at a train station. They’re all comically hopeless at their assigned tasks.

Into their midst come Barry Hawkins (Kim Wall), a traffic warden present because he can identity the suspect, and Esmé “Ez” Swain (Elizabeth Boag), a 23-year-old soldier sent to protect Hawkins. It’s their two stories Ayckbourn wants to tell as they more or less interact with each other. So he includes intermittent flashbacks to their earlier lives while they wait for the entrapment charade to swing into motion.

Barry, a gabby and seemingly cheerful chap, tries to chat up Ez, who’s proud of her career but preoccupied by a troubled private life. As Sexton and troupe swirl around them, so do their disturbing memories, and the more their memories accumulate–hers throughout the first act, his throughout the second–the unhappier they’re revealed to be. Moreover, there’s the threat of worse to come when the suspect known as Cerastes (Ben Porter) finally arrives.

Through the years, Ayckbourn, often called on these shores the British Neil Simon, has been of two minds about people’s natures. Here, however, he’s ready to declare himself an out-and-out pessimist. It’s a sometimes funny but ultimately bleak view, maximized by Ayckbourn’s direction as well as by the superb performance from Wall, Boag and the rest of the Ayckbourn-savvy troupe.
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In a note about Time of My Life, a 1992 play having its New York premiere, Ayckbourn mentions, as he has before, his debt to J. B. Priestley, who loved to fool around with time in his works and perhaps most effectively in the only occasionally revived these days, Time and the Conways.

As his title hints, Ayckbourn has his way with time throughout this exercise, and again refuses to report that time is being easy on humankind whether past, present or future, certainly not where Gerry Stratton (Russell Dixon), a successful builder whose company is verging on financial difficulties, and his wife Laura (Sarah Parks) are concerned.

In the present, it’s Laura’s birthday, and she, Gerry, their sons Glyn (Richard Stacey) and Adam (James Powell), Glyn’s wife Stephanie (Emily Pithon) and Adam’s new girlfriend Maureen (Rachel Caffrey), a hairdresser, have gathered at the family’s favorite restaurant.

Their table for six–where waiters (all played by Ben Porter) manfully serve–is placed upstage on Jan Bee Brown’s simple set. Downstage at the audience’s right is a table for two where Adam and Maureen sit in that same restaurant at intervals and encounter that same array of waiters. There, they relive in reverse their meeting and eventual engagement. Downstage at the audience’s left is a table for two where Glyn and Stephanie repair at other intervals. There, they etch their rocky relationship as it unfolds in the couple of years following Laura’s upstage birthday dinner.

Ayckbourn’s interest, as it usually is, runs to the particulars of a family’s dysfunction. Gerry and Laura have lost sight of their mutual love. Gerry favors Glyn, who holds down a job in the Stratton business, but he doesn’t begin to understand Adam, who can’t find a career but is currently publishing an arts newsletter.

Laura sees possibilities in Adam but has never liked Glyn or Stephanie. Nonetheless she’s worked to reunite them after a fling Glyn had. Neither does Laura take a shine to Maureen, whom she immediately and incorrectly labels an alcoholic.

The boys have their own misgivings, Glyn about remaining monogamous and Adam about what he wants to make of himself. Stephanie is the one always trying to keep things running smoothly, while Maureen is aware she doesn’t know how to present herself. She also doesn’t see the way to overcome her taste for garish apparel.

Ayckbourn’s great gift, on display throughout Time of My Life, is his keen ear and eye for how people behave under stress. Furthermore, he implies that stress is the only condition under which people ever get to behave. When he’s at work, as he is yet again here with his expert actors, he makes his argument absolutely convincing.
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When Ayckbourn noticed he was bringing 11 actors on this fun jaunt, he also realized that while all of them appear in Arrivals & Departures, only seven are needed for Time of My Life. To deal fairly with the unused four, he decided to write something for them. He tossed off Farcicals, which is made up of two one-acts–Chloe With Love and The Kidderminster Affair–involving the same four characters.

Note that when Ayckbourn tosses something like these off in (rumor has it) a week, it can be the theatrical equivalent of blowing a couple of many-colored feathers in the air and watching them float until they safely hit ground.

In both Chloe With Love and The Kidderminster Affair, good-looking lawn-mower expert (don’t ask, just enjoy) Teddy (Bill Champion) and plain and worried wife Lottie (Sarah Stanley) are best friends with down-to-earth car salesman Reggie (Kim Wall) and attractive wife Penny (Elizabeth Boag). They decorate, often hilariously, the plays in the Reggie-Penny backyard first and then in the Teddy-Lottie backyard.

To get them flustered over their marriages and possible infidelities and to rustle up his own brand of non-stop hilarity, Ayckbourn borrows from odds and ends of Cosi Fan Tutte, The Guardsman, Harold Pinter’s The Lovers and No Sex Please, We’re British. Yet again, his deft, not to say, farcical direction of his actors is top-drawer.

Incidentally, I’ve reviewed the three evenings (or matinees) in the order I attended them. They don’t have to be seen in that order. If Farcicals–wherein Ayckbourn implies that hope lies in humor–comes last, it can be regarded as a lively coda. If it’s seen first, it’s a tasty appetizer. If it’s seen in the middle, it’s a palate refreshing sorbet. The real point is to see a master at work in all three.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Kristen Stewart Opts For Sequin Pants Instead Of A Gown At Cannes Film Festival

Kristen Stewart decided to try out a different kind of look for the premiere of “Clouds of Sils Maria” at the Cannes Film Festival on May 23.

The 24-year-old actress, who stars in the film alongside Juliette Binoche and Chloe Grace Moretz, looked très chic in a Chanel couture two-piece jumpsuit, which she paired with nude heels. Stewart styled her orange locks in loose waves and rocked smokey eye makeup.

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“I dress really practically, so when I do red carpet things, I like to go extreme on the other side of it,” Stewart recently told PopSugar of her beauty routine. “I really like working with people who love what they do and are a bit more bold. If you’re going to do that job, it’s always more interesting to find artists and not people who just want to get it done. It can be fun to find different aspects of myself, since it’s not usually what I do.”
Style – The Huffington Post
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Derek Jarman Remembered: Will You Dance With Me? at London’s BFI LGBT Film Festival

There would have to be something miraculous about a new film by gay, British art-house director and artist Derek Jarman, but that’s exactly what London’s BFI Flare LGBT Film Festival offered last weekend. Jarman, who died 20 years ago, put together a VHS tape following people in a nightclub back in September 1984. Released for the first time as Will You Dance With Me?, the footage was to help fellow director Ron Peck with the casting and styling of his feature film Empire State, which eventually came into being, though without Jarman’s brilliant touch, three years later.

Watching 78 minutes of roving camera shot across a tiny dance floor and among the characters crowding around the bar of Benjy’s in Mile End, East London, may not sound like your idea of an evening’s entertainment, but think again. Remember, this is Derek Jarman behind the camera. He was a cinematic genius, a visual poet who could make spilt beer brooding.

Anyone who remembers the ’80s in Britain will recognize the scene: the carpeted floor, the dingy plush booths, the long pool of light that is the bar, the tininess of if all — everything, in fact, suggestive of someone’s front-room conversion rather than the cavernous, multilevel dance halls of later eras. This is the local disco with its twice-a-week gay nights, a place as thrilling and scary as any back alley for a 20-year-old out to hook up and pick up. Gay bars and pubs still blacked out their windows then, and no one really wanted to be seen entering or exiting. Within is a world of satin prints, cotton jumpers, ass-hugging slacks, New Romantic quiffs, perms, and lining the pints of beer up at the bar — paradise, in other words. My own personal paradise was The Coven in Oxford, where town met gown on a dance floor that was overcrowded with half a dozen people on it. There was the promise of sex, waking up in a strange bedroom, bussing home with Oxford’s commuters in last night’s underwear, a not-so-guilty secret, feeling special at last rather than feeling like a freak, knowing that you’re not alone.

The initial impression in the first few moments of Will You Dance With Me? is not exactly nostalgia but a sort of synesthetic sense memory of poppers, Stella Artois and Eau Sauvage. But if that was all it had to offer, it wouldn’t be worth more than five minutes of your time. Jarman cannot help but weave a plot from his material, following one dancer after another, ranging back to the bar to inspect the profile of a drag queen or zooming across the club to eavesdrop on a pretty boy blue and his older companion. The camera becomes a prowler, apparently omnivorous but actually on the hunt for something particular, something it will know when it sees it. There is wry humor here; quixotic dance routines elicited applause from the cinema audience. And the soundtrack was that of my early 20s: Sister Sledge, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Evelyn Thomas, the anvil beat of a generation’s heart, worth issuing on its own.

At last Jarman’s video narrator finds what he’s looking for, a handsome young man, chiseled, sensitive, though paradoxically a bit rough around the edges. “Will you dance with me?” he asks, giving the film’s producers their title. “In a minute,” the boy diffidently replies, as though turning down the likes of Derek Jarman were a nightly occurrence.

And the last 15 minutes or so of the film become a paean to this youth, or perhaps to youth itself. When he asks him to dance to camera, under the lights the young man’s face has an almost unbearably sad beauty to it, fragile and vulnerable — and we’re reminded that HIV/AIDS was already the uninvited guest at the party. How many there that night in 1984 would not see their 30s or 40s? Jarman himself only had 10 years left to live.

Phillip Williamson was the young man, and he went on to star in Jarman’s exquisite distillation of Shakespeare’s sonnets, The Angelic Conversation. Benjy’s was never used in the film, and the innovative handheld camerawork remained on a shelf for 30 years. Of course, the whole thing was set up, and that is the artistry of it, for the film feels like a video montage of an average night out. Although fashions may have changed (thankfully), and although the settings may have become slicker, the essential butterflies in the belly are still the same for today’s clubbers, which makes the movie universal.

Will You Dance With Me? is a worthy addition to Jarman’s stable, a splendid, romantic, heady, scrappy, noisy, artful hymn to a moment-in-time gay scene that is also for all time.

While there’s talk of a general release, Will You Dance With Me? will be at a film festival near you soon.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Live from the Dubai International Film Festival: Wednesday, Dec. 11

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Another strong day at the Dubai International Film Festival kicked off for me with a morning press screening of a film I tried to see at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival this past summer – but was denied because of a breakdown in the subtitle technology.

Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox has toured the film festival circuit since then and will open in February 2014 in the U.S. It’s a soulful, thought-provoking tale featuring two central performances that can’t help but stir you.

Nimrat Kaur plays Ila, a Mumbai housewife who dutifully cooks her husband a lavish, multicourse lunch, which she packs in a metal tiffin box. Then a courier picks it up and delivers it by train to the office where her husband works.

(The film’s opening is a brief but fascinating short-course in an incredibly complex lumch-delivery system in Mumbai that somehow seems to work, despite what seems like a dependence on old technology and systems.)

But on this day, her careful preparation of curry, rice and more goes astray – and lands on the desk of a soon-to-retire insurance-claims examiner, Saajan, played by the amazing Irrfan Khan (best known to American audiences for his work in The Namesake, Slumdog Millionaire” and Life of Pi). He’d contracted with a diner near his apartment for lunch for years – but this food was significantly better. So he eats it all.

Which surprises Ila because, apparently, her husband never sends the used lunchbox back looking as though it’s been licked clean, the way Saajan did. She puts a note in with the chapatti bread the next day – and Saajan responds. Before long, they’ve struck up a correspondence, which deepens into an epistolary relationship, though they’ve never met.

The film is a marvel of understatement and intelligence, exploring the loneliness and regret two people are able to express to each other, perhaps because they are strangers. The correspondence changes their outlook, makes them a little more aware of their regrets – and of what they can do to get rid of those regrets and make a fresh start. As one character notes, “Sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right station.” These character studies make The Lunchbox a movie to be keenly anticipated by American audiences.

Louise Archambault’s Gabrielle” had the potential to be something cloying and awful, given its focus on a mentally challenged couple, their romance and the objections of the young man’s mother. Archambault cast Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, a young woman with Williams’ syndrome, in the title role – and she delivers a real performance (as does actor Alexandre Landry, as Martin, the young man she’s in love with).

This commentary continues on my website.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Live from the Dubai International Film Festival: Monday, Dec. 9

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How bad can a film-festival day be when you see four movies – and only one of them is terrible? And the best one is the last one of the day?

That was my Monday at the Dubai International Film Festival.

The best film of the day was a joint production from Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and the USA: Traitors, a film by American filmmaker Sean Gullette (who was the star of Darren Aronofsky’s breakthrough debut, Pi).

Starring newcomer Chaimae Ben Acha as a would-be punk-rocker in Tangier named Malika, the film starts with her meeting with a producer, who tells Malika she likes her songs on the rough demo she sent her. So she’s willing to produce a real demo for Malika and her band, Traitors, and try to get them signed.

One catch: Malika has to come up with the money for the recording studio time, a fairly princely sum for an unemployed singer. “I’m a producer, not an ATM,” the producer notes.

Desperate, Malika takes a job that will earn her all the cash – but which could cost her more. She agrees to help a drug smuggler by driving an SUV into the mountains, where the car’s cavities will be filled with drugs. Then she and another young woman, Amal (Soufia Issami), will drive it back to Tangiers – through the various drug-interdiction roadblocks along the way. But the farther into the job Malika gets, the less she wants to do it.

There are not a lot of actual incidents in the film: no chases or shootouts. Yet Gullette creates real tension, through silences, quiet encounters with the drug lord and the extremely expressive face of Ben Acha. She looks like a cross between Rashida Jones and a young Joan Jett and has the tough swagger of Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books. Issami also brings a blend of the callous and the vulnerable as her new acquaintance and partner in crime. It’s a strong, gripping film from start to finish.

This commentary continues on my website.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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