NYC is about to become Movie Theatre Capital of the World for the public to see a movie. In addition to the soon to be reopened, renovated by Cohen Media, Quad Theater with its three screens, and the sparkling new METROGRAPH on Ludlow Street, the IFC in the Village has filed for permits to build six more screening rooms in the unused space formerly a parking lot behind their building on Cornelia Street six more screening rooms. Yes, there is the almost knee-jerk reaction of the Cornelia Street Block Association complaining aboutbuilding in what they call a residential block. I suggest the block between Bleecker and West Fourth Street is, and has been since I came to NYC, a mixed-use block with commercial business on almost every building’s first floor. Build I say. If you agree, make sure you let Community Board 2 know you sup-port the expansion of the screening rooms in the IFC theater. The Tribeca Film Festival and Cultural Circus rose above its VAXXED censorship scandal with the best programing year yet. Why VAXXED was singled out is still an open question. The documentary is now screening in select theaters including here in NYC. Robert DeNiro recanted again and said on national television that he thought the public should be able to see it and judge for themselves. I agree and did see it. I was surprised after all the angry words from people who had not seen it, that VAXXED turned out to be about a CDC high-placed whistleblower and a call for more research into a specific vaccine and its relationship to autism.
OBIT is an insider look at who writes the obits at The New York Times. While I usually have a bone to pick with the obits of people I know, after meeting the writers —all of them older, experienced journal-
ists who shared how the subjects are chosen and researched in a very time-sensitive deadline—made me realize just what a critical role they play as the keepers of the history of record in this post-modern age where history is suspect. As I walked into the theater at 3:30, I read a text that said Prince’s death had been confirmed. The obit writers’ deadline is usually 3:30 each day, but in this digital age of instant news they had a formidable task to perform. Thewriter assigned stayed.
With the world’s population growth almost out of control, smart people have begun to ask, “How will we feed all these hungry people?” Insects are suggested. YUCK! is the response most people here have to eating bugs despite how many cultures of the world include bugs in their basic diet. Most New Yorkers do not see bugs as an edible let alone delicious solution. With the attitude of a fashion and/or culinary shoot, we travel the world with two engaging, articulate and assertive people, one a chef, the other a philosophically-driven researcher hellbent on making bugs not only edible but desirable. When the lights came up, I realized that I was hungry and thought I could smell the alluring food up on the screen. I wanted to taste some bugs. I realized how much I had learned about cultures, that in fact BUGS are a stable part of their diet. Yes, I did get a taste…AH so crunchy and delicious to my taste buds.
SOUTHWEST OF SALEM is a shocking tale of four young lesbian women in San Antonio Texas who were accused of sexually molesting two children in their care under the age of 9. A sensationalized trial fueled by a homophobic media almost caused a citizen lynching riot. Sentenced to long terms, they are now out on the street having been found not guilty and seeking exoneration. An unbelievable nightmare and journey into light.
UNTOUCHABLE is a doc that asks: Are all sex crimes equal? Now hold on. The film asks, for example, should an 18-year old who has had consensual sex with a 17-year old be stigmatized in the same manner as a child rapist? An uncomfortable almost taboo question. There are over 800,000 individuals who have been convicted of a sex crime and are registered felons that are placed on a national sex offenders registry. This information is readily available on the internet. The rules and regulations make life outside prison no more bearable, and in some way less, than being incarcer-
ated. The chief person we follow is a highly successful Florida State lobbyist with a sophisticated bully personality who is on a first name basis with legislators. When he discovers that his teenage daughter has been molested, he becomes a vigilante with connections, and is hell bent on making all convicted sex offenders in and out of jail miserable. Not an easy subject. Even more difficult given the news attention span that digital and cable news has left us with today. Untouchable challenged my feelings and made me think hard about the current policy of state agencies maintaining and sharing lifelong registries. The questions of civil rights and surveillance are but two of the questions raised in this disruptive documentary.
Let’s Go To The Movies
Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg
Finally coming to theaters and not a moment too soon. If you want to understand how the political media coverage has created the tabloid sensationalism of Donald WEINER Trump, Weiner is an absolute must to watch and understand why political issues are being trumped by pop culture and TMZ-ish sensationalism. Anthony Weiner was a NYC seven-term House of Representatives member known for his strong, fiery refusal to back down on issues he believed in. He publicly castigated Republicans on their refusal to support almost anything that was proposed by the Obama administration, including health coverage for first responders to 9/11. The same Anthony Weiner, aka Carlos, sex-texted to women on the internet while married to Arab-American Huma Abedin, Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton. A dramatic story indeed. That Weiner allowed himself to be followed during his unsuccessful run for Mayor of NYC may have you wondering. We know Weiner got caught doing what millions of Americans also do on a daily basis—sex texting. No crime, no marriage vow broken. Kriegman, who at one time worked on Weiner’s staff, proposed that he and fellow filmmaker Elyse Steinberg follow and document the campaign. Weiner agreed and Weiner turns out to be the most important and insightful electoral politics documentary we have seen in the last 40 years. A public saturated in porn and Murdock-ish journalism has changed the landscape of political coverage and discourse.
Director Paddy Breathnach
After Obama went to Cuba, and America saw how beautiful Havana is and how vivid the people are, many people became curious as to what Cuban society is really like, as opposed to the voices of hate in Miami or the propaganda of the Cuban “official” newspaper Granma. Breathnach is an Irish director. After a visit to Cuba he was inspired to make this movie based on his interactions with Cubans. He used Havana and Cuban actors to tell a story that may not have been told if left to the Cuban film industry.
A young man, Jesus (Hector Medina) works as a hairdresser to older (ahem) drag queens who lipsync to the great diva ballads of Cuban music with all the angst and drama a Diva can muster. These crowd-pleasing old queens make visible a culture that Miami has attempted to both deny as well as hijack. If you have never seen a dramatic lip sync of a highly emotional song, this is your chance to see and understand the art form of drag. Men in dresses heightening in their outside way the reality of love and hearts broken are the basis of almost every good drag performance. Secretly, Jesus, who lives with his grandmother, wants to put on a dress and a wig and lipsync his heart out. But he is afraid to tell anyone. When his absentee father ( Jorge Perugorría) sees him working in the drag bar, a confrontation takes place between father and son that is the emotional center of the movie. As the two negotiate with passion the reality of their lives, the son realizes he must stop being afraid and simply find the courage to be himself. Since both Cuba and Ireland are rooted in Roman Catholic guilt and morality, regardless of whether religion is practiced, the bridge to cultural identity is clear. VIVA is a film about family, identity, the “Sing out Louise” subtextin the film is the hard struggle to root out homophobia in a Catholic values country where masculinity is defined in limited, rigid ways. The courage the young man must find within is a journey in being true to oneself. I came away thinking: why is a beautiful boy in a dress any less a man than a soccer playing lad running around a field in tight shorts? Recommended.
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