Friday, September 4, 2015

These days, we need some (funny) standup people! Free!

Need a laugh or two...or three?

OMG, why wouldn't you?

Free Standup Festival 2015
September 5-11

Various locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens--from The Knitting Factory to Creek and the Cave

Co-producers Joe Gerics and Andrew Bayroff promise "some of the top comics seen on Late Night with David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, and much more!"

And did I mention that it's all free?

Check out the full calendar of events here.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Let's go see some the movies!

Maria Kochetkova dances as Juliet
in San Francisco Ballet's Romeo & Juliet
Photo ©Erik Tomasson

Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance (GAD) series launches September 24 with San Francisco Ballet's production of Romeo & Juliet by the company's artistic director and principal choreographer, Helgi Tomasson.

Maria Kochetkova (Juliet)
Davit Karapetyan (Romeo)
Pascal Molat (Mercutio)
Joseph Walsh (Benvolio)
Luke Ingham (Tybalt)

"LIVE with Kelly and Michael" stars Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan are the hosts of the new cinema series, Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance, which brings spectacular dance performances by four of America’s leading dance companies to more than 600 movie theaters throughout the US--including 22 in the New York metro area--in fall and winter of 2015.

Upcoming screenings include works by Alvin Ailey, Wayne McGregor and Ronald K. Brown.

Tickets for Romeo & Juliet and all Lincoln Center at the Movies screenings are available at and at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participating box offices are subject to change).

For more information visit

Pinel and Long: Choreography and the Goldilocks Principle

A moment from Nocturne by Alexandra Pinel
(photo: Brian Austin)

Choreography can tell too little. Or it can tell too much. A show of works by Alexandra Pinel and Vanessa Long, last night at Dixon Place, left me feeling like Goldilocks looking for something that's just right.

Pinel's four light-footed dancers squiggle across Allison Ball's video backdrop of animated contours which, in the dance's opening passage, resemble nestled, mute-colored lines of a topographic map. The dancers, themselves, could be abstracted features of a shifting landscape--arching away from the floor or rolling across it, skittering sideways or twirling. There's a toggling of outlandishness--in gait, in intensity--and fashion runway coolness, giving this work some quirky interest at the outset. You do wonder what comes next.

Pinel's strength appears to lie in her easy musicality, but Nocturne's techno beat landscape fails to inspire dance ideas with roots and development. Ideas arise--have the four women face one another in a close, dynamic and then looser circle; have dancers, for some reason, make slurping sounds when they lunge or extend; pose them face down with their butts wiggling for a second before they drum their fingertips into the floor. Stringing together these momentary bits sheds no light on the purpose of the work as a whole. An unclear, awkward ending does not help.

If I read the program right, Long's work is named for her company, Vanessa Long Dance Company LLC. As such, it's fair to think of it as a calling card. And, as such, it represents its eleven-member cast extremely well--in particular, Justin Heim, a standout as sharp as one of those hypodermic needles used as a prop in the piece. But, really, all of the dancers are in good form--brave and on target--in this demanding piece.

VLDCLLC--forgive the acronym--has much on its agenda. The choreographer's skills at gestural drama--literal, often cartoonish, sometimes feverishly so--make Long's ideas quite evident, delivered with no measure of subtlety. Let's check them off: We spend too much time looking at our electronic devices. We don't spend enough time looking at one another. We are busy, hectic urbanites. We are too competitive, in a soul-gutting rat race of winners and losers. We are driving ourselves crazy and drugging ourselves to death. We are in an emergency and woefully unprepared, groping around in the dark with only LED tea lights to decorate Apocalypse.

Long's capability and drive are undeniable, but we probably don't need a dramatic dance to illustrate these observations, at least not to this degree.

Closed. For information on the upcoming fall season at Dixon Place, click here.

Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Delancey Streets), Manhattan

Barbara Brecht-Schall, 84

Barbara Brecht-Schall, Guardian of Father’s Plays, Dies at 84
by Bruce Weber, The New York Times, September 2, 2015

Dean Jones, 84

Dean Jones, Star of Disney’s ‘The Love Bug,’ Dies at 84
by Mike Flaherty, The New York Times, September 2, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Isadora and more: Jucovy takes her visions to LI

Beth Jucovy (left) and Adrienne Ramm
in Morning Star
(photo courtesy of Beth Jucovy)

Beth Jucovy's Dance Visions NY--a contemporary troupe devoted to the choreography of Isadora Duncan--will present a series of free shows this fall at several Long Island locations. The program includes the full Duncan repertory to the 2nd act of Orfeo ed Euridice as well as Jucovy's new Through the Portals and works from repertory.

Oct. 11, 2pm:

West Hempstead Library
500 Hempstead Avenue, West Hempstead 

Oct. 16, 7:30pm:

East Meadow Library
1886 Front Street, East Meadow

Nov. 1, 1:30pm:

Universalist Unitarian Congregation Shelter Rock
48 Shelter Rock Rd, Manhasset

Dec. 6, 2:30pm:

Bryant Library
2 Papermill Road, Roslyn

Click here to learn more about this troupe and its upcoming projects.

Blondell Cummings, 70

Blondell Cummings, Dancer of Life’s Everyday Details, Dies at 70
by Margalit Fox, The New York Times, September 1, 2015

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