Archives for posts with tag: New York

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It’s been six years! Can you believe it?!

Justin Timberlake will be performing in his suit and tie at the Grammy Awards on February 10 and not long after that his new album, The 20/20 Experience will be released in the US on March 19.

Jean-Michael Basquiat was an expressionist in every sense of the word. Born and raised in New York, he became known for his graffiti work as the lyrical Samo. He played the clarinet in the band Gray, made films with friends in downtown Manhattan but it’s his brilliant paintings that saw him rise to international fame.

In the documentary below, Radiant Child, we get to see Basquiat paint, party long into the night with friends and hear him speak about his life in rare interview footage. His humble beginnings living on the streets of New York and meteoric rise to become one of the most distinctive painters of his generation was sadly short-lived. The radiant child never really grew up but his work lives on.

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Before Garance Doré, The Sartorialist or Jak & Jil– there was Bill Cunningham. Standing on the corner of New York’s streets capturing everyday fashion as people go by, Bill Cunningham is known as the street fashion photographer. A documentary of this very talented man was directed by Richard Press and released earlier this year. I’ve got to say, it’s prettty rare to admire a person’s character as well as their work.

Below is the preview. It’ll have it’s UK release on 9 January 2012.

Work of Art:The Next Great Artist  is my weekly recommended dose of reality television. (I very luckily did not develop a taste for Jersey Shore or X Factor). It follows the basic structure of most reality competitions: contestants face a weekly challenge, each one harder than the last, each leading to the final gigantic cash prize. It’s the modern day fairy tale.

Here, fourteen up-and-coming artists go up against each other for a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and $100, 000 cash prize. Their judges are the business, Bill Powers is co-owner of Half Gallery in New York and Jerry Saltz is the senior art critic for the New York Times. Art auctioneer Simon de Pury adds French class and world wide renown to the mix as the well-meaning mentor.

But apart from the well-placed credentials, why do I like this version of the fairy tale? It’s about the art! These artists are all talented in their own disciplines, be it photography, sculpture or film and they must produce an original piece each week inspired by anything from pop art to parkour. Yes, this show is that cool.There is a scope of interpretation that excites me- artists are encouraged to be limitless with their imagination.

You can feel arty and cultured here.

If perspective is everything, what does the Black Power Movement look like through the eyes of Swedish filmmakers? Forty year old tapes were found in a basement  and they take us back to a tumultous and exciting time in US history. Unseen footage and interviews with important figures of the time form the amazing mix that is this film.

Last Friday was the UK premiere at the Ritzy in Brixton for the The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. In the middle of all the trouble in the South, Swedish filmmakers went over to America to see what was going on. This unique viewpoint of naivety and eagerness to understand makes this film special. Coupled with Olsson’s editing, Mixtape is a stellar re-mastering of the Movement.

As the name suggests, the film moves chronologically from 1967 to 1975, highlighting how the influence of drugs, the Vietnam war and assassinations affected the movement’s progress.Olsson has gathered many greats in this story- great revolutionaries, such as Angela Davis, Harry Belafonte and Stokely Carmichael; great commentators like Erykah Badu and Abiodun Oyewole.

Amidst the nine years  of struggle, there is also a humour in this film I’ve never seen before when discussing the movement. It adds to the humanity and defiance of Davis and Stokely that they still had it in them to laugh and be hopeful in spite of their circumstances.  And hope will always be heroic.

Here’s the trailer:

The Influencers documentary has me missing New York. The number of people in a small space, the smells, the hot dogs, the music, all of it. I think there’s a trip to NY in order for next year. Til then, I’m going to watch re-runs of How To Make It in America cos they’ve got that New York vibe down pat.

Bryan Greenberg, the star of the show gives us a tour of his top 12 DVDs. He may just be a bigger fan of NY than me.