August 09, 2010

Plus, the city of Metz takes on Paris, war film Lebanon puts The Hurt Locker to shame, and the Dia Art Institute opens an unconventional space

Sympathy for the Devil
In this collection of short stories the reader gets to enjoy what the literary world has offered concerning the always-fascinating topic of the devil.  The anthology, collected expertly by science fiction and fantasy writer Tim Pratt (Hart & Boot & Other Stories), offers us classics like Dante Alighieri’s horrifying descriptions of Satan in Canto XXXIV of his Inferno and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s portrait of Satanic Cults in “€œYoung Goodman Brown.”€  The book also contains work by contemporary masters Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, and Holly Black. Overall it is a tremendous anthology concerning everyone’s favorite incarnation of evil in all of his best depictions

2010 Rolling Road Show, August 8 – 27
In this traveling cinematic road show, cinephiles and passive moviegoers alike get to enjoy quintessential American cinema in the very backdrops and locations that propelled those films to their place as part of Americana. Catch Quentin Tarantino’s criminally underrated Jackie Brown at Los Angeles”€™ Del Amo Fashion Mall or Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront projected outdoors on Hoboken’s Pier A Park.  If you cannot make it to those screenings, be sure to not miss the last leg of the tour in which Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal Godfather: Part II will be projected on a rooftop in Manhattan’s Little Italy.  

Dumpster Pools New York City, August 7, 14, 21
The name leaves very little to the imagination and initially there is very little that sounds appealing about taking a refreshing summer swim in what used to be an industrial dumpster, but before you dismiss this free chance to cool off, know that the location for these unfortunately named pools will be in the heart of Park Avenue.  Designer David Belt, who gained recognition last year for introducing the pools to Brooklyn, says that it is high time that Park Avenue offered something other than shopping; clearly he was not kidding.

100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park
An unparalleled gesture by the Indianapolis Museum of Art to demonstrate the unique relationship between contemporary sculpture and the natural world; 100 Acres has site specific works that correspond and explore their individual natural surroundings. According to the museum’s curator Lisa Freeman, the park is a response to what she calls “€œPlop Art”€ (the somewhat arbitrary nature of most art parks in which sculpture is haphazardly placed throughout a designated area). Atelier Van Lieshout, Andrea Zittel, and Alfredo Jaar are among the first eight to be commissioned for the park.  

The City of Metz
Often scoffed at by most who inhabit those regions in France close to Paris, France’s eastern most city is proving that it has a lot more to offer.  It was only in May 2010 when Le Centre Pompidou opened a Metz branch in the city’s amphitheater quarter.  The branch was designed by Jean de Gastines and Shigeru Ban, an American educated Japanese architect with a knack for making a lot out of very little”€”as evidenced by a museum he created from 156 shipping containers.  Along with the strikingly beautiful museum, the city also plays host to the second largest flea market in France and is home to a varied culinary heritage thanks to a third of its population descending from Italians and because of its close proximity to Germany.  Parisians take note; Metz is now a city of praise.

British Dorms, through September
Get to stay in the dormitories of those famous English universities that have always been part of that idealized notion of what academia is, or more importantly, what it used to be, because, lets be honest, many of us never got to experience the massive gothic dining rooms that look more like cathedrals than they do cafeterias and the precisely manicured lawns that only England can get right. Today this is easier than ever thanks to England’s most famous campuses offering their dormitories during vacation months for prices as low as £45 (roughly $67) a night.  There are more than two-dozen universities in twenty cities that offer up their dormitories. Many of the colleges even include use of their facilities in the nightly price.  Relive your college years in the atmosphere that you knew you deserved.    

After winning the Golden Lion in the 2009 Venice International Film Festival, former Israeli soldier turned director Samuel Maoz’s suffocating war film Lebanon, has been garnering critics”€™ attentions the world over.  Set during the opening strikes of the Lebanon war, the film takes place almost entirely within the cramped confines of a decrepit old tank as the tank and its fresh-faced crew ascend on the Lebanese border.  The film is seen mostly through the tank’s view finder as we see the protagonist struggle with whether or not he can perform the duties assigned to him”€”wielding the enormous cannon atop the tank. With such a constricting mis-en-scene, it is no surprise that the film is supposed to make The Hurt Locker seem like the stuff of children.

Cinémathèque Française
Arguably one of the most important film archives in the world, the idea for which originated with Henri Langlois, the world famous French film archivist and historian.  During the 1930s he was among the first to recognize film as an art form whose early days needed to be preserved.  Later during the 1940s and 50s the center became a place to congregate and study film for those young film makers who would ultimately go on to become the most beloved and respected movement in French, and arguably all of film history, la Nouvelle Vague.  Fast forward to today and one can see this collection in its new location: a Frank Gehry designed building on the rue de Bercy.  The building not only houses one of the greatest anthologies in film history, but is also home to the Bibliothèque du Film, which recently merged with the Cinémathèque. While there are no screenings in its four theaters until the August 25 retrospective of German born Jewish American director Ernst Lubitsch, it is still a Mecca that needs to be visited by any self-proclaimed cinephile. 

Dia : Beacon, Beacon, New York
In 2003 the Dia Art Foundation, a guiding voice in contemporary art since its founding in 1974, opened the doors to Dia: Beacon, a space dedicated to bringing artist’s visions that might otherwise be on too vast a scale to exist in a conventional art space.  Located in Beacon, New York, the space was once a Nabisco box printing facility.  The building provides an ideal space for viewing thanks to its large expanses between support columns and 34,000 square feet of skylights.  Currently on display is Imi Knoebel’s first prolonged engagement with vivid colors, a work by Zoe Leonard that is comprised of an arrangement of postcards from the 1900s to the 1950s, and a drawing series by Sol LeWitt.  On August 28 there will be a gallery talk by curator Tobi Maier on the Knoebel’s work.    

Super Sad True Love Story
After much critical respect following the releases of his first two novels, The Russian Debutant and Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart presents us with his third novel: Super Sad True Love Story, set in a near future where Arcade Fire is considered retro and everyone is connected by an umbilical chord to their äppärätät, a future device whose ancestor is the iPhone. The book moves briskly through a tumultuous backdrop consisting of bi-partisan politics that have the nation in a state of dystopia. If this sounds too gloomy for an August read, think again, Shteyngart has a gift for inserting comedic absurdity into even the most dire situations.


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!