Sunday, December 7, 2014

Joseph Silovsky’s “Send for the Million Men" at HERE Theater, NYC, Dec. 2014

"A brilliant and refreshing exploration of the vagaries of memory, the machinations of a government terrified of dissent, a stolen bicycle, mind blowing puppets, props, gizmos and in the middle of it all, many, many different views of two Italian immigrants with very clearly stated political ideals."   - KC

The Here Theater.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Theater/Opera: Isango Ensemble performs Mozart's "The Magic Flute"

New Vic Theater, NYC, on 11/1/14

Isango Ensemblefrom Cape Town, South Africa
From the townships of South Africa, Isango Ensemble bursts onto the stage in an inspired reimagining of Mozart's masterpiece opera THE MAGIC FLUTE: Impempe yomlingo. Sung in English by an ensemble of more than two dozen vibrant voices, classic arias are enlivened with exhilarating orchestrations of merry marimbas and powerful percussion. Winner of an Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival (Young Vic, London) and a Globes de Cristal for Best Opera (Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), this fresh, fearless and fantastical production, co-produced by Eric Abraham and the Young Vic, brims with dazzling drama, crisp comedy and the sublime joy of finding true love.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Theater: "Rabbit Hole" By David Lindsay-Abaire, Juilliard School, NYC

Directed by Rebecca Guy

David Lindsay-Abaire was a student in The Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program when co-director Marsha Norman urged him, “write about the thing that frightens you most.” Recalling this advice years later as a new father, he sat down and wrote Rabbit Hole. This deeply affecting play about a couple grappling with the loss of their young child is suffused with empathy and, surprisingly, with humor. Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony nominee for Best Play.

2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival at AMNH

 The Last Patrol

Sebastian Junger
2014 | 86 Minutes

Whether fighting or documenting the realities on the ground as a journalist, how does the context of war transform a person’s identity? What happens to that identity when soldiers return home? Sebastian Junger, war journalist and author of The Perfect Storm, explores these questions on a soul-searching journey with three comrades-in-arms. Junger, joined by Brendan O’Bryne and Dave Roels, protagonists of the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Restrepo, and combat journalist Guillermo Cervera walk along railroad tracks from Washington, D.C. to Pennsylvania. They move with a purposeful invisibility designed to echo the isolation felt by many who return from war. The men live outdoors and discuss the transition from soldier to civilian. With the backdrop of a varied United States revealed by the path of the tracks—ghettos and wealthy suburbs, heavy industry and farm country—the juxtaposition of scenery and conversations uncover diverse and conflicting American perceptions of war and what it means for veterans to come home.

 28 Up South Africa

Angus Gibson and Jemma Jupp
2013 | 144 minutes | South Africa
U.S. Premiere | Directors in Attendance

Patterned on the acclaimed British documentary project, this South African documentary series follows a group of people filmed first at age seven and then subsequently every seven years. The work offers a diversity of personal stories which collectively create a unique portrait of the social, cultural, and political history of a country. This fourth installment of the South African series, directed by Angus Gibson,the Oscar nominated director of Mandela and Yizo Yizo, captures a group of 28-year-olds, first filmed as children living under apartheid, whose lives reflect the dizzying and complex layers of change their nation has undergone in the two decades since the repressive system’s fall.  

 Dr. Sarmast’s Music School

Polly Watkins and Beth Frey
2012 | 97 minutes | Australia, Afghanistan
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance

Is there a place for art in a conflict zone? Dr. Sarmast’s Music School tells the remarkable story of Afghanistan’s first National Institute of Music (ANIM), established during a creative vacuum in 2009, eight years after the Taliban was toppled from power. In a country where no orchestra was capable of playing the national anthem, the road is long and bumpy, but over two years ANIM and its implacable leader Ahmad Sarmast chip away at their dream of a safe space filled with fine instruments and aspiring musicians. Occasional interjections by choppers overhead serve as a reminder that this newfound creativity must be nurtured with great care, as the school’s 150 pupils persevere and—through music—find their lives transformed.


Thomas Balmès
2013 | 80 minutes | France, Finland, Bhutan
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance

Happiness traces the arc of progress that began in 1999 in Bhutan when King Jigme Wangchuck approved the use of television and the internet throughout the largely undeveloped nation. Director Thomas Balmès (Babies, 2010) begins filming at the end of the process in Laya, the last of Bhutan’s villages to be enveloped by roads, electricity, and cable television, as an 8-year-old monk watches the upheaval and longs for a TV set of his own. As the boy embarks on a three-day journey to the bustling capital of Thimphu, the passing countryside reveals the seismic technological shift that has taken place, its layers increasingly intense as the city nears. The cars, colorful lights of clubs, and countless other elements of modern life that the boy encounters for the first time punctuate the stark difference between a more isolated past and the future that is about to eclipse it.


José Cohen and Lorenzo Hagerman
2013 | 82 Mins | Mexico
US Premiere | Directors in Attendance

Access to potable water is not a luxury but an essential human right. In the largest city in the Americas, though, Mexico City’s 22 million residents are faced with myriad geographical, economic and political obstacles to a consistent water source. H2O MX investigates the daily issues that the megalopolis faces, from dangerous detergent buildup in the clouds to farmers in Mezquital living off wastewater irrigation to Chalco citizens fending off perennial floods. It’s an unsettling but beautiful watch, and a persuasive one, reminding us that sustainabilityis more than just a buzzword—it’s a philosophy deeply linked to social justice in an urban setting. The film will leave any urban-dweller wondering how a place so massive and unwieldy can find a way to be sustainable.


Nina Maria Paschalidou
2013 | 57 min | Greece, U.A.E., Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria
US Premiere

In the last decade, Turkish soap operas have taken the Middle East by storm, becoming one of the country’s greatest economic exports and inspiring cultural shifts across the region. Strong female characters and taboo-shattering plotlines have yielded sharp criticism in some circles, but the resounding response has been an embrace of the stories and characters that transcends religion and politics. Cities used as locations have become tourist attractions, characters’ names have become increasingly common for newborns, and—most remarkably—the region has seen a spike in divorce in the wake of a few highly publicized television divorces initiated by self-actualized women. Kismet offers a behind-the-scenes look at this phenomenon, with unprecedented access to the industry’s key directors, screenwriters, and stars. The film is interspersed with sociological commentary and the personal stories of women who followed in the footsteps of their heroines to fight for their rights.

 The Venice Syndrome

Andreas Pichler
2013 | 80 minutes | Germany, Italy
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance

The well-documented reality that Venice is sinking into the sea has an equally unsettling parallel: it is drowning in tourists—21 million of them per year at last count. Twenty years ago 125,000 people lived there, but the permanent population is now less than half that, and by some estimates actual Venetians will have disappeared completely by 2030. Those who remain are living in a very different place from the Venice of romantic imagination: today, Venice is a city defined almost wholly by its subculture of tourist industries, by oblivious daytrippers, by the massive cruise ships that darken its port and dwarf its crumbling but still-glittering palaces. This film documents the decline of a once-great bastion of culture with nuance and compassion, giving the enduring denizens of the city a voice. The result is daunting, but alive with humor and compassion.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Film: Mauvais Sang

Director: Leos Carax
Starring: Denis Levant

(From web site:

1986) Did Michel Piccoli and Hans Meyer's partner jump or was he pushed? Either way, the American Lady wants her money in two weeks. To pull a new job, they'll need partner's son Denis Lavant, busy now dumping Julie Delpy and reinventing alienation - and then he meets Piccoli's 30-years-younger girlfriend Juliette Binoche. Carax's deliriously intense mix of New Wave style with full-blown French Romanticism, its dazzling colors keyed to a retina-searing red. Approx. 105 min. DCP.

For more detailed synopsis:

Film: The Dog


On August 22, 1972, John Wojtowicz attempted to hold up a Chase Manhattan branch in Brooklyn. He went in with two accomplices, one of whom lost his nerve and walked away. Wojtowicz's objective was to pay for a sex change for his wife, a transvestite named Ernie. The robbery devolved into a 14-hour standoff that magnetized the attention of the neighborhood and then of the entire city, ended tragically for Wojtowicz's remaining cohort, and landed him in prison for six years. Sound familiar? It should if you're a movie fan. But if you thought that the events depicted in Dog Day Afternoon were crazy, wait until you see Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren's portrait of the real motor-mouthed, uncorked Wojtowicz. Every side of the story behind the real robbery is about four times crazier, and the larger story of Wojtowicz's life is hilarious, hair-raising, and giddily profane, all at once. A Drafthouse Films release.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Theater: The Opponent at 59E59, NYC

A young boxer returns to visit his former coach on the day when a life changing match is scheduled. This is the story of the physical and mental games embraced by young and old when engaged in boxing as a sport, a career, and a compulsion. The result, on stage, is poignant, extremely real and tragic.

In the end, you want to say "but that's not what life is really like; people make choices and can always change their life path." But the common thread for both young and old is an addiction: to the gamble of becoming famous, to the stupor of avoiding the pain in one's own body, to avoidance of meaningful attachments to a wife and child. This story is about more than winning and losing: it is about those deep and meaningful elements of being human that become lost, regardless of the outcome of the match. The boxer eventually recognizes the damage that they are capable of, to both themselves and their opponent.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Film: Bethlehem

Will you like it when you walk out of this film? Perhaps not.

Will you remember this film? Probably forever.

The main characters are warmly treated and beautifully acted; the cinematography is intense and exciting. It is the story of an Israeli police spy and a Palestinian boy who are both friends and enemies.

The final film credits are fully detailed in both Hebrew and Arabic -- suggesting the delicate balance which the film successfully strikes in telling an intimate story of friendship and conflict between political foes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Theater: Hi, Hitler

Description found online:

Hi Hitler, the title of this one-woman play is misleading. It’s not really about Hitler, the Holocaust or any of that. Instead, it’s an autobiographical work of a young German woman who is born into a “circus” and tries to run away to suburban respectability. She doesn’t really succeed, and winds up starting a circus of her own. And it’s hilarious.

Lucie Pohl (pronounced Lutzee Pole) was born in Hamburg, Germany, into a family of German artists and intellectuals. Her father, Klaus Pohl, is a German playwright, actor and director. Her mother, Sanda Weigla, is Romanian with Jewish roots and is the niece of Berthold Brecht as well as a professional singer. She has aunts, uncles and cousins who are also artists of one sort or another.

(continued at

Theater: Driving with the Parking Break Up

Two solo performances featuring the actors' own original scripts. Beautifully done. We saw this show at 59E59 in NYC on July 11, 2014.

The description below was found online:,0,7796050.story
Casey Dressler, also of Fort Lauderdale, is taking her one-act to Scotland as half of a pairing (the other work is by Miami-born-but-living-in-Los-Angeles Luis Sosa) under the umbrella title “Driving With the Parking Brake Up.”
“When we first met at New World [School of the Arts], we didn’t like each other,” says Dressler, recalling when she and Sosa were freshmen. “Then, we had to do crew hours in the costume shop, and then we fell in love. We’ve been best friends ever since. We’re like brother and sister. We talk every day.”
They always wanted to do a show together. The two decided that Sosa’s one-man-show about a gay Cuban dealing with his family and self-acceptance, titled “Mangos & Rice,” fit nicely with Dressler’s one-woman-show, “The Wedding Warrior,” about her work as a wedding planner in the Keys
“That title, ‘Driving With the Parking Brake On,’ speaks to both of our shows,” Dressler explains. “That’s the perfect metaphor for both of us. We would totally drive for an hour and then realize we have the parking brake on, because both of us have our heads up our asses. We’re both dreamers, and have our heads in the clouds sometimes. Luis’ story is a lot about his own life and his family and the struggle he has gone through. It’s very comedic, but it’s his personal story. My story is very much the same … a moment in my life where, if I think about it in retrospect, was a big growing time for me and dealing with a lot of difficulties, as well.”
Sosa and Dressler will also perform “Driving With the Parking Brake On” July 11-13 in New York during the East to Edinburgh Festival, a showcase of all the entries from the United States going to Edinburgh, at the 59E59 Theaters on the Upper East Side. Go to 59E59.orgfor more information.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Theater: The Mysteries (at The Flea Theater)

(photos above are from the NYTimes review:

Kent and I were thrilled to see this 4.5 hours of theater (adding another 1 hour for intermissions) at the Flea Theater yesterday.  It is rambunctious, loud, in-your-face, epic scale drama and action. Written by 48 playwrights, the show is performed by a cast of 48 with a choir of another 20 - all packed into a little red box of a stage surrounding the audience 360 degrees. It was entirely thrilling and exhilarating.

Our favorite writers and most memorable sections:
Dael Orlandersmith Song of the Trimorph (Lucifer’s Lament)
Liz Duffy Adams Falling for You
Johnna Adams           God’s Rules
Jordan Harrison The Annunciation
Chris Dimond          The Slaughter of the Innocents

Max Posner          The Woman Taken in Adultery
Amy Freed          The Raising of Lazarus

Don Nguyen          The Death of Christ
Billy Porter/Kirsten Greenidge Ascension
Meghan Kennedy The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene
Lillian Groag          The Death of Mary
Najla Said          The Assumption of Mary
Michael Mitnick The Last Judgment
José Rivera          Sermon of The Senses

The program:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Theater: Blink (Brits Off-Broadway Series at 59E59)

Soho Theatre, London and nabokov present presents
Directed By JOE MURPHY

Excerpt from the NYTimes review:

The play, part of the Brits Off Broadway festival at the 59E59 Theaters, introduces Jonah and Sophie through direct address to the audience. Jonah describes being raised on a farm in central England that was a religious commune, with his father in charge. His mother, he says, died when he was 15 but left him the means to escape and a letter encouraging him to do so.  
 And thus the awkward country boy ended up in London, renting a room from Sophie. She too tells of losing a parent, her beloved father, who had raised her after her mother left when she was 2. And she too is an odd duck. How odd? She anonymously sends Jonah a video monitor. When he turns it on, he can see her, though he does not realize that she is his landlord (the rental having been arranged through an agency) and that she lives upstairs.  -

Film: Sacro GRA (New Italian Cinema)

From the web:


The first documentary to win the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, the latest from Gianfranco Rosi (El Sicario, Room 164 and Below Sea Level), reveals the sheer diversity of life bubbling around the margins of Rome’s Grande Raccordo Anulare, the 43.5-mile highway that encircles the city, the longest in all of Italy. The absorbing and often moving individual portraits that emerge—an ambulance driver caring for his ailing mother, a scientist studying palm trees ravaged by beetles, an eel fisherman nostalgic for old traditions—give visibility and a human face to the places Sacro GRA drivers pass through but never see, while exposing the city’s striking contradictions. Inspired in part by Italo Calvino’s novelInvisible Cities, Rosi’s captivating chorale plunges the viewer into this paradoxical reality, allowing us a more direct, even sensorial experience of life in the shadow of progress.

Film: Quiet Bliss (New Italian Cinema)

From the web:


Three generations of women seek refuge in their family’s Salento olive grove after their small textile business collapses in Winspeare’s warm and vibrant drama. Against the backdrop of a radiant southern Italian landscape, Winspeare’s characters—serene Salvatrice (Anna Boccadamo), hardened Adele (Celeste Casciaro), loudmouthed Ina (Laura Licchetta), and aspiring thespian Maria Conchetta (Barbara De Matteis)—revive their lives in the wake of economic catastrophe. Turning to a back-to-basics existence as a means of healing the wounds wrought by the recession, they undergo transformations that the director renders with equal parts pathos, insight, and humor.

Film: The Fifth Wheel (New Italian Cinema)

From the web:


Veronesi’s irresistible romantic comedy takes a journey through pivotal events in four decades of recent Italian history, as seen through the lens of Ernesto Fioretti’s unexceptional life. Played with charm and a disarming sense of humor by Elio Germano, Ernesto is a good-hearted, honest middle-class guy who struggles to keep up with changes and is always a step behind. His father disparaged Ernesto by likening him to the “fifth wheel of the wagon,” and his aspirations and involvement through the rise and fall of Socialism and the Berlusconi era are accordingly modest. But his protagonist’s apparent simplicity is precisely one of the strengths of this Tuscan director’s fifteenth feature, which opened the Rome Film Festival last year to great acclaim. Rich in emotions, its ups and downs coinciding with those of the country, Ernesto’s life serves as the perfect platform for abundant laughter and tears.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Theater: Playing with Grownups

‘Playing With Grown Ups’ by Hannah Patterson at 59E59, May 2014

Reviewed in the NYTimes:

What happens when a career-minded married woman approaching age 40 has a child even though she's still not ready?  Joanna is suffering in her personal way, but it raises the question whether any successful career-oriented person can adapt well or easily to the waning of their career as they make the shift to having children.

Beautifully written and acted.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Theater: The Heir Apparent

(from the web site:
Adapted from the play by JEAN-FRANÇOIS REGNARD
Directed by JOHN RANDO
Actors: Paxton Whitehead, Claire Karpen, Carson Elrod, Dave Quay, and Amelia Pedlow

From the ever-antic pen of David Ives (VENUS IN FUR and THE SCHOOL FOR LIES) comes his latest laugh fest based on Jean-François Regnard‘s comic masterpiece. Meet young Eraste. He has it all: good looks, a beautiful fiancée, and a huge inheritance from an ancient uncle. There’s just one little problem: the uncle won’t die and he’s bequeathed his entire fortune to a distant relative. Oh, and did we mention the uncle also intends to marry Eraste’s fiancée? What’s a fine 18th-century fellow to do? What else but enlist the aid of his resourceful servant, Crispin, who could “out-Figaro” Figaro.

Reviewed by the NYTimes:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Film: The Lunchbox

The Lunchbox (Dabba)

‎1hr 44min‎‎ - Rated PG‎‎ - Romance/Drama‎
Director: Ritesh Batra - Cast: Irrfan KhanNimrat KaurDenzil SmithBharati Achrekar,Nawazuddin Siddiqui
A mistaken delivery in Mumbai's famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an old man in the dusk of his life as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox. In the big city of Mumbai, that crushes dreams and recycles them every day, both characters find a dream to hold on to. Ila begins a fantastical affair with a mystery suitor, pouring her heart into cooking meals for him. Saajan looks forward to lunch box deliveries from a mystery woman every day. As the lunchbox goes back and forth, this fantasy becomes so elaborate that it threatens to overwhelm their reality. The film is the story of the life we dream of versus the life we live in, and of the courage it takes to turn our fantasies into reality.

Film: Ida

(From the Film Forum web site:
Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
In the early ‘60s, before taking her vows at the convent, a young novice travels to Warsaw to visit her aunt, her only living relative. Revelations about Ida’s past throw her future into turmoil. Both witty and serious, IDA is as moving as it is entertaining in its layered take on human nature.

Presented with generous support from the Joan S. Constantiner Fund for Jewish and Holocaust Film.

In Polish with English subtitles • Music Box Films



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Film: CUFF screens "All That Glitters"

All That Glitters

The den mother of a male drag queen must fend off a violent intruder to protect herself and the ones she loves.
Director: Saro Varjabedian
Writer: Demond Robertson 
Producer: Demond Robertson

Director of Photography: Andres Karu
Editor: Lashawn McGhee
Cast: Nikkole Salea, Terren Wooten Clarke, Joshua Warr, Phillip Theodore PaschalTotal Running: 16 Min
Capture Format: HD/ Sony F3
(from the web site:

Film: CUFF (Columbia University Film Festival) screens "Smut"

From the web site:


On a class field trip to the landfill, two boys make a startling discovery that draws them toward adulthood.
Director: Tom Sveen
Writer: Tom Sveen
Producers: John Wakayama Carey, Sarah Dorman
Executive Producers: Constance Hofland, Craig Johnson
Director of Photography: John Wakayama Carey
Editor: Matt Strickland, Tom Sveen
Production Design: Taisa Rodrigues
Cast: Case Prime, Jack Hatzimemos, Leslie Lynn Meeker

Total Running: 10 Min
Capture Format: Super 16mm

Theater: Harry Melling in "Peddling" at 59E59, May 2014

(photo credit:  on Twitter)

For the review in the NYTimes:

Film: Bicycling with Molière

This description is from the Film Forum web site (


 A warm, funny, literate comedy in which two French actors portray two French actors, friends at odds with one another in every possible way, except their love of Molière’s The Misanthrope.

Lambert Wilson (OF GODS AND MEN) plays Gauthier, tall, handsome, and the beneficiary of a leading role in a ridiculous soap opera as a beloved cosmetic surgeon who “saves lives.” Fabrice Luchini (who previously worked with Le Guay in WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR) as Serge has met with much less success, becoming a middle-aged curmudgeon who has renounced the stage to live on the glorious île de Ré, off France’s Atlantic coast. Gauthier arrives on Serge’s turf to try to convince his pal (Luchini, in real life, a Molière expert) to return to Paris to play opposite him in a new production. When not arguing or rehearsing scenes while biking, they consider their options as personified by a local porn actress and an attractive Italian divorcée, as well as the lure of island real estate.


Music: Room Full of Teeth at Brooklyn's Galapagos

It was a joy for us to hear our son Elliot Cole's "hanuman" performed by Room Full of Teeth on Sunday May 4th, 2014. Here is the solo demo version:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Film: La Libertad

A young man has left his mother and his home to try to make money in the forest.
Is he liberated from his childhood life?
Has he forfeited his liberty by becoming a manual laborer, cutting trees in the forest from morning til night?

Or perhaps the title "La Libertad" does not refer to the young man at all?

I think that the title refers to the wild, unexpected, excitingly disruptive 60 seconds in the middle of the film when the camera operator takes a walk. His subject has gone inside the tent to rest during his mid-day break. Without a subject, the camera is liberated and becomes a character in the movie, walking briskly through the lush foliage, looking about freely. After that moment, the remainder of the movie has an invisible main character: the camera. The movie changes from being a "documentary" to being a film about the viewer's awareness of the camera in any movie making endeavor.  -dp

From the web site: Lincoln Film Society, Art of the Real series, 2014


Alonso’s landmark feature debut, based on months of closely observing its subject’s routines, follows a day in the life of Misael, a young woodcutter in the Argentinean pampas. Using long takes that are at once uninflected and hyper-attentive, La Libertad chronicles the stark facts and repetitive actions of Misael’s largely solitary existence: he searches for trees and chops wood, pauses to defecate or eat, prepares and transports the logs for sale, returns to his camp to build a fire and cook his dinner. The title crystallizes a question about this man’s life: is the cyclical daily grind a burden or a kind of freedom? Or does the title refer to Alonso’s conception of an anti-dramatic, materialist cinema, absolutely in-the-moment and liberated from the traditional confines of fiction and documentary? “An account of everyday work that transforms the banal into poetry, maybe even myth,” James Quandt wrote of La Libertad, named one of the top 10 films of the past decade in Cinema Scope magazine. Print courtesy of the Harvard Film Archive.

Theater: A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity, and Clean

The Traverse Theatre Company, Edinburgh, presented a double bill: A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity by Douglas Maxwell; and Clean by Sabrina Mahfouz. Directed by Orla O'Loughlin. April 2-27, 2014 at 59E59, NYC.

Reviewed in the NYTimes:

Theater: The Great Immensity at the Public Theater, April 2014

Photo: NYTimes

Written and directed by Steve Cosson
Performed by The Civilians

Humans are hard to organize and they resist changing their collective behavior. The play "The Great Immensity" asks us to imagine if countries and people could galvanize and mobilize around the world's climate summits if it was understood that the consequence of unchecked climate change was the extinction of the most "charismatic megafauna" on earth.

Ingeniously written and executed, with elaborate visual media, powerful voices and lightning quick costume changes. The cast was fabulous! And the play hit its heart-wrenching target.  -dp 

Read the review in the NYTimes:

Saturday, March 29, 2014