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Friday, May 11, 2018

King Lear Community Chorus

Photo: Richard Termine


For last month's production of King Lear, members of the Royal Shakespeare Company traveled from London to perform at the BAM Harvey Theater. But many of the actors in the run came from just a train ride away—all non-speaking roles were cast locally via an open call to the BAM community and were filled by writers, students, BAM ushers, actors, and folks who hadn't performed in front of an audience in decades. We caught up with the members of the Community Chorus during the final week of the run to learn more about their experiences, backstage secrets, and which Lear characters they identify with most.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Beyond the Canon—The Watermelon Woman + Imitation of Life

The Watermelon Woman, courtesy of First Run Features; Imitation of Life, courtesy of Universal Pictures
It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is a monthly series that seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion. This month’s double feature pairs Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman (1996) with John M. Stahl’s Imitation of Life (1934).

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Behind the Scenes—Gina Dyches Superstar!

Gina Dyches (front row, 3rd from right) with most of the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar
Live in Concert
. Photo courtesy the artist.
By David Hsieh

Gina Dyches is a special events coordinator at BAM and an accomplished violinist freelancing around New York City. What do the two jobs have in common? They both require “great organizational skills,” according to Gina. What about another? “They are the coolest!” A case in point: at BAM, she is helping to plan a gala honoring Jeremy Irons and Darren Aronofsky, but as a violinist, she played in one of the biggest TV events of the year—Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, which aired on Easter night on NBC. 

Playing a rock musical broadcast live on network television is not what Gina had dreamed of when she picked up a violin as a shy fourth grader in a Phoenix suburb public school. Nor was living in New York and working at one of the premier contemporary performing art presenters in the world! Gina tells us how she got here.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

In Context: Long Day's Journey Into Night



Sir Richard Eyre directs Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville in Eugene O’Neill’s devastating Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork about love, illness, and addiction. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #LongDaysJourneyIntoNight.

Friday, May 4, 2018

A Different Picture: Women Filmmakers in the New Hollywood Era

This month we're paying tribute to the true revolutionaries of the celebrated New Hollywood: the trailblazing women filmmakers who defied historic inequity to bring their stories to the screen.

Illustrator Nathan Gelgud highlights some of the filmmakers featured in A Different Picture: Women Filmmakers in the New Hollywood Era, 1967—1980 (through May 20 at BAM Rose Cinemas) below.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

What's BMAP?

Photo by Mikal Amin Lee
By Christian Barclay

BAM Education connects learning with creativity, engaging imagination by encouraging self-expression through in- and after-school programs for students and teachers; workshops; and offerings for audiences of all ages. In a continuing effort to develop arts-based, justice-oriented programs that promote engagement and empowerment for young people, BAM Education created the Black Male Achievement Program (BMAP) in 2013. The program, largely funded by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, was inspired by classroom discussions on media literacy, black male identity, and cultural representation.

BMAP functions as a co-teaching model, with two teaching artists working collaboratively in a classroom. During these twice-weekly sessions, the students develop writing, performance, and critical media literacy skills by mining popular cultural texts. In their studies of cultural representations––and misrepresentations––they begin to develop their own view on black masculinity. “This communication is the primary vehicle for critical investigations of the world we live in,” says Marcus Small, a current BMAP teaching artist. “It’s rare that males of color are able to engage in this dialogue absent of tension, danger, and unhealthy consequences.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Manville + Irons

Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
By Harry Haun

In 1941, for their 12th wedding anniversary, Eugene O’Neill gave his wife Carlotta a gift that’s kept on giving—more to the world than to the wife: a quasi-autobiographical “play of old sorrow, written in tears and blood.” When Long Day’s Journey Into Night was publicly unwrapped at last on Broadway in 1956, it won the playwright—posthumously—his fourth Pulitzer Prize (more than anyone else) and his first Tony.

Generally regarded as O’Neill’s masterpiece, the drama has been consistently performed throughout the world. Two years ago, while Gabriel Byrne and a Tony-winning Jessica Lange were charging away on all cylinders in the play’s sixth Broadway production, director Richard Eyre was jump-starting a Bristol Old Vic edition in England with Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville. The trio recently reactivated that version on the West End at London’s Wyndham’s Theater and will be bringing it to the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater May 8—27.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Abdullah Ibrahim: An Illustrated Epistle for a Jazz Apostle



This week, we celebrate the Jazz Epistles—South Africa’s near-mythic bebop band—with two electrifying evenings of music co-presented by the World Music Institute. Each night, superstar pianist Abdullah Ibrahim will be joined on stage by his band, Ekaya, and special guests to play in honor of the revolutionary group he helped form, and in memory of the late great trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who recently passed away. 

The Jazz Epistles were South Africa’s first black jazz band, pioneering a new musical form influenced by bebop and traditional South African music. Inspired by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the troupe formed when the Dollar Brand Trio from Cape Town––including pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (“Dollar Brand”), bassist Johnny Gertze, and drummer Makaya Ntshoko––combined talents with alto saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi, the late Masekela, and trombonist Jonas Gwangwa. Their first and only album, 1959's Jazz Epistle, Verse 1 brought them international acclaim. However, following the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre and the increasing oppression of the apartheid government (which included the prohibition of jazz music), the band was forced to disband as its members emigrated to Europe and North America. Two of them, Ibrahim and Masekela, would go on to become jazz stars in their own right.

In this series of illustrations, artist Nathan Gelgud pays homage to the Jazz Epistles pioneering bebop spirit.

In Context: The Jazz Epistles



Superstar pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, a revered figure in jazz for over six decades, comes to BAM for two nights only to commemorate the short-lived, near-mythical South African group the Jazz Epistles. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #JazzEpistles.

Friday, April 13, 2018

BAMcinématek's Beyond the Canon—One False Move + Touch of Evil

One False Move, courtesy Sony Pictures; Touch of Evil, courtesy Universal Pictures
It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. This monthly series seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion.

This month’s double feature pairs Carl Franklin’s brilliant One False Move with Orson Welles’ classic Touch of Evil. Both films exemplify the film noir genre while also investigating interracial relationships on both an intimate and community-wide scale. Guest writer Michael Boyce Gillespie examines the genre and how it relates to, and was born out of, boundary crossing.

By Michael Boyce Gillespie

Film noir remains one of the richest and most difficult film categories to quantify. In More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts, James Naremore addresses the lack of a definitive consensus surrounding its origins and status as genre. He suggests that this indeterminacy represents a need to rethink noir and the idea of genre more broadly: “If we want to understand [film noir], or make sense of genres or art historical categories in general, we need to recognize that film noir belongs to the history of ideas as much as to the history of cinema; it has less to do with a group of artifacts than with a discourse—a loose, evolving system of arguments and readings, helping to shape commercial strategies and aesthetic ideologies.” To place Orson Welles’ A Touch of Evil (1958) and Carl Franklin’s One False Move (1992) together is to recognize the crucial ways that borders and crossings constitute a central concern of film noir as the history of an idea. Both screen at BAMcinématek on April 21.