: a view into nycb : ballet 422 :

Justin Peck in BALLET 422, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Justin Peck in BALLET 422, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

I have been much anticipating the arrival of the documentary film, Ballet 422, by Magnolia Pictures. The film brings together so much of what I love — the arts, ballet (New York City Ballet in particular), Lincoln Center — do I really need to go on?

The film loosely chronicles the creative process for New York City Ballet’s 422 piece, choreographed by the 25 year old Corp de Ballet member, Justin Peck. I say “loosely” since the film takes an artistic route with focus on cinematography and voyeurism over a pure documentary approach.

As we literally walk through the corridors of Justin Peck’s life, we get a glimpse into a world not usually accessible from the seats of David H. Koch theater.  There are vignettes into Justin Peck’s creative process, rehearsals with Principal dancers, consultations with costume design and lighting, pep talks with the orchestra, dress rehearsals, and of course, the piece de resistance — when it all comes together for opening night.

Ballet 422 captured my attention from beginning to end with its seeming simplicity and perfected beauty, which appropriately reflects the spirit of the New York City Ballet. Through the film, I developed a stronger appreciation for the work of the Balanchine grounded troupe and their innovation and modernization of the ballet art form. I came to understand the complexity of what looks in performances to be effortless — fabric selection, the dye process to get the colors “just right”, the thought behind each twirl and the related movement of the fabric, the attention to detail in each hand movement and jump — the effort that goes into it is incredibly impressive.

The film also focuses on humility, with Peck going from proud choreography to Corps de Ballet member in the same evening. While we never truly get to know any of the dancers or even Peck, for that matter, we really aren’t meant to. Ballet 422 is a quiet peak into a world that evokes curiosity and admiration and I was happy to have a view.

Ballet 422 is playing in New York City at Film Society of Lincoln Center (Feb. 6 – Feb. 19) and Landmark Sunshine (now – Feb. 19).

: rock n’ roll relics pays tribute to johnny thunders with custom limited edition thunders rock guitar and iconic mick rock photograph:

Our friends at Rock N’ Roll Relics, a San Francisco based custom guitar company started in 2005 by owner and master builder, Billy Rowe, has teamed up with famous iconic rock photographer, Mick Rock, for a special edition guitar and photograph tribute to Johnny Thunders.  Rock N’ Roll Relics will build the tribute guitar pictured in the photograph below taken in 1980 by Mick Rock at Great Gildersleeves club on the Bowery about a block from CBGB’s, NYC.  This same image of Johnny Thunders, signed by Mick Rock in a 20 x 24 format, will be part of the limited edition guitar and photograph package for sale and available to 25 guitar players, collectors, and fans of the great Johnny Thunders. For more information, visit, www.rocknrollrelics.net





: netflix it: frances ha :

Frances-Ha-Poster  I haven’t written a post in awhile, but this weekend I watched a film on Netflix that reminded me of why I started this blog and I was inspired to start-up again.

Frances Ha captures in black and white the realities of life in New York City for twenty-somethings with an air of nostalgia mixed with an understanding of the essence of what makes growing up beautiful.

Like many others in its genre, the film tells the tale of a struggling dancer, Frances  (Greta Gerwig), whose dream is simple: to become a member of a respected dance company and to hold on tightly to her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner), and their life of adventure.

The film moves through a sequence of simple daily occurrences that artfully depict the complexities of growing up. Frances is stuck in a world where she cherishes her freedom, but is unable to pay her rent and unwilling to become an adult. Contrasted with Sophie, her wild best friend, whose job in publishing and Wall Street boyfriend quickly steer her into the world of moving for love, taking care of aging relatives, and getting married. Exploring the lives of these two characters, the effects of stagnating in one’s youth become painfully clear, as does the understanding of why we must constantly move forward.

This movie is a must see that will resonate with not just young New Yorkers, but with anyone that has learned what it means to truly become an adult.

: alvin ailey american dance theater : episodes :

If you spent any time in NYC during this past holiday session, you definitely saw on every street corner, bus, and subway, ads for Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theater season. Prompted by years of urging from family and friends alike, I went to see it in December. The show I attended had three performances, all beautifully choreographed, but only one stood out to me as captivating. For both its story, dance, and music, “Episodes” by Ulysses Dove was what made the show worth it for me. This interpretation of the conflict of mind and heart that arises from love relationships was compounded by enthralling music, lighting, and athleticism. See below for a taste of the show:

: the strokes are back : one way trigger : free download :

I literally listened to the Strokes last album this week and commented to myself on how brilliant it was and how I wish they would’ve stayed together. While I don’t recall an official “break-up” announcement from the quintet, rumors were flying and many of the members had gone off on side projects. Today, Nylon Magazine made my day by announcing the release of the band’s new single, “One Way Trigger.” While the music takes the cake over the lyrics (sorry, Jules), it is still a solid showing in the rockers’ signature style. Best of all, you can download it for free on their official website: http://www.thestrokes.com. Happy listening.

: song of the day : ellie goulding : lights :

Last week I did something that I rarely do anymore, I listened to the radio. Not satellite, but good ole fashioned real FM. Between the familiar voice of Elvis Duran (a radio staple since as long as I can remember) and odd public service announcements, I heard a song that I recognized, but that I hadn’t ever really paid much attention to, “Lights,” by Ellie Goulding. Giving it a full listen, I realized how infectious it was when I found myself still listening to it non-stop on Spotify over the next three days. Not only that, but I was listening to loads of Ellie Goulding songs that I never realized were Ellie Goulding, because let’s be honest, who the heck is Ellie Goulding? Sure she’s everywhere these days, but I was not connecting the dots. I’m glad I finally did, because between “Lights”, “Starry Eyed,” and “Anything Could Happen,” I found myself drawn to the beats and lyrics belted out by this vocalist who can do Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kylie Minogue just as well as she can Adele. Here’s “Lights” a little Monday pick-me-up that may just stay with you for the rest of the week.

: book it : unorthodox : deborah feldman :

I grew up in a town with a large Hasidic community. We lived side by side, yet I knew very little about their world. Kept separate from secular schools and interactions, the insular culture was a mystery; so when I heard about “Unorthodox” by Deborah Feldman, I had to read it.

The memoir chronicles the author’s life from childhood through a rocky marriage, the birth of a child, and her eventual separation from her community. Not unlike the Amish, or other conservatively devout cultures, the Hasidic world that Deborah experienced kept its practices close to the vest, regulated childhood education, and used the fear of God as a means to promote devotion.

While this book merely reflects one woman’s experience and not that of an entire community, it opens the door to a world that many outsiders know little about. For example, Feldman describes how female education is relegated to prayer and a few hours of secular studies.  At a recent in person appearance I attended, she noted that her teachers told her and her classmates not to absorb any of the secular education that was mandated.The thought process was that women need to be focused on bearing children and running a household and anything that distracts from these tasks were unnecessary disruptions. In a world where your life revolves around men and children, is there really time for such things as deconstructing the meaning of a Jane Austen novel or learning about the basic anatomy of a human being? Deborah Feldman would probably say, there has to be.

Feldman sought sanctuary at the New York Public Library. Teaching herself English and learning about worlds a hundred years apart from her own, but somewhat culturally similar. In these books, Feldman saw herself in the present and who she could be in the future. She saw a world full of possibility and did not let herself settle for her pre-determined path.

Feldman’s memoir tells the courageous story of her journey to find herself against all odds, to fight for the life she believed in, and to make peace with her decisions along the way. The book closes at the commencement of her new life, which left me with many questions about how she moved forward in such a bold manner. Doing some research on the author, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she is currently working on a follow-up memoir that relays her more recent experiences of assimilation to non-Hasidic society. Stay tuned!

Click here for a list of in person appearances.

: brooklyn flea : record fair : saturday, october 6th :

For all you vinyl heads out there check out Brooklyn Flea’s twice annual Records Fair happening today.  Per the website, here are the dets.:

Brooklyn Flea Record Fair
Saturday, October 6, 11am-6pm
Inside Smorgasburg, 27 North 6th St. (btw. Kent Ave. + East River)

Amish Records
Captured Tracks
Coop 87 Records
DJ Moosaka
Doug Mosurock
Eat Records
Ghostly International
Goodnight Records
Halcyon The Shop
John Allen
Kanine Records
Knitting Factory/Partisan/Young One Records
Matador Records
Matt Radune
Merge Records
Mexican Summer/Software/Kemado
Minimal Wave Records
Mondo Kims
Other Music
Raelian Raecords
Record Grouch
Robert Schaad
Sacred Bones
Secretly Canadian/Dead Oceans/Jajaguwar
Sepiatone Records
Siltbreeze & Friends (feat. Tom Lax and Jesper Eklow)
Treehouse & Friends (feat. Kris Chen, Piotr Orlov, Joesph Patel & Hua Hsu)
True Panther
Unbreakable Records
Warp Records
XL Recordings


Merge Records: Merge Records slipmat debut, and early sales of Daphni – JIAOLONG ( release date is October 16th)!

Warp Records: Out of print Warp lps, limited edition Warp tee shirt, & :Limited Edition Brian Eno Small Craft on a Milk Sea box (full description here – http://brian-eno.net/small-craft-on-a-milk-sea/)

Minimal Wave Records: early sales of Deux – Golden Dreams EP, Sympathy Nervous – Plastic Love LP, Ohama – The Potato Farm Tapes LP, and Das Ding – H.S.T.A. LP (repress)- All not released until October 9th!

Kanine Records: Grizzly Bear Horn Of Plenty LP vinyl reissue (not out until January!), Beach Day Walking The Streets 7″ new single on colored vinyl (limited to 300 copies), Bleeding Rainbow 7″ singles series all on colored vinyl (limited to 300 copies), and new tee shirts from Kanine Records, Eternal Summers, Bleeding Rainbow, Beach Day.

Ghostly International: early sales of HTRK / Tropic of Cancer Part Time Punks Radio Sessions 12″ Out officially October 30th!

Captured Tracks: Limited Edition Soft Metals LP – only 15 copies remaining!

Knitting Factory Records: Fela Kuti – The Complete Works Box Set, Fela Kuti – Vinyl Box Set 2 Curated by Ginger Baker

Amish Records: Limited edition Required Wreckers series including releases from Son of Earth, Ensemble Economique, Ben Vida/Keith Fullerton Whitman, Mike Shiflet/Pete Swanson, and Gregg Kowalsky with Jozef Van Wissem


Siltbreeze & Friends, Feat. Tom Lax (Siltbreeze) & Jesper Eklow (Endless Boogie): DIY, KBD, NDW, RIO, Acid Archives, Post Punk, Jazz, Folk, Psych. Maybe even some Chain Gang.

Robert Schaad, Collector : early electronic/synth, soundtrack, psych, minimal wave-ish, prog and more.

Matt Radune, DJ: 3 decades of 12″ DJ records and Technics 1200s and/or other turntables for sale

Coop 87 Records: extreme markdown/blowout sale on used LPs and 12″s

Treehouse & Friends Feat. Kris Chen (XL Recordings), Piotr Orlov, Joseph Patel, Hua Hsu: soul, 90s rap, dance singles, Iron Maiden 12”s, Musica Populera Brasileira, soul and funk 45s.

Sepiatone Records: 1950s-70s rock, new wave, alternative, goth, industrial, jazz, soundtracks and country

Record Grouch: low and high end punk, prog, psych, experimental, and even some Dad Rock, to fill those gaps in your collection.

Doug Mosurock, Collector: Rock, psych, jazz, experimental, indie, punk, soul, dance music, compilations and more. 7″s and LPs/12″s, maybe even cassettes. Lots of it, too, from cheapies to collectibles.

Mondo Kim’s: used, out of print, 45″s, LPs and DVDs and some recent Psych and International LP reissues and lots of dub 45″s and LPs.

: five seconds to twin shadow :

George Lewis Jr., better know these days as Twin Shadow is one of many recent artists full on 80s nostalgia trying to recreate the essence of new wave glamor. My first encounter with Twin Shadow was courtesy of my ever-surprising iTunes library that had the song “Slow” tucked away in its trenches. Taking a break from my go to playlists, I went for random rotations and stumbled upon George’s vocals. An ever-80s fan, I was immediately hooked to the synth, deep vocals, and hypnotic ambiance created by the music and lyrics. I went on to explore Twin Shadow via Spotify and got hooked on the vibe. Is this new music? Technically yes, creatively, no. Is Twin Shadow here for the long haul? Probably not. Will you guiltily enjoy every minute of your Deloriane journey back in time with George’s new album,Confess?Yes. Bottom line, the 80s have been done. Many times over. But those of us who loved the decade will never turn away the opportunity to relive it and we are willing to accept any artists willing to risk their street cred to recreate it.

Today’s song of the day is “Five Seconds” by Twin Shadow. A very catchy tune that takes five seconds to get to your heart. Check it out below.