Events July 30, 2010 By Matthew Chokshi

"Colony" Film Still, courtesy of Fastnet Films.

Colony Film Still. Photography by Ross McDonnell courtesy of Fastnet Films.

docuweek title DocuWeek
The International Documentary Association presents the 14th annual DocuWeek. Audiences in New York and Los Angeles have the opportunity to view some of this year’s best independent non-fiction short and feature length documentary films. DocuWeek takes place July 30-August 19 at New York’s IFC center and Los Angeles’ Arclight Hollywood.
     IDA is a nonprofit membership organization that supports documentary filmmakers throughout the world by promoting an increase in public awareness of documentary film form as well as expanding filmmakers’ opportunities and access to aid for production, distribution and exposure. IDA’s DocuWeek helps these select films meet Academy Award consideration by providing a week-long public theatrical exhibition in both New York and Los Angeles, the Academy’s minimum requirement for a film to be considered for an award.
     Since DocuWeek’s premiere in 1997, the showcase has qualified more than 160 short and feature films for Academy consideration, and produced seventeen Oscar nominations. This year’s lineup includes twenty-two films by filmmakers from around the world spotlighting a wide range of topics.

For a full list of films as well as showtimes in both Los Angeles and New York, visit The International Documentary Association.


Books July 30, 2010 By Alex Shephard

Cover courtesy of Random House Publishing

Cover courtesy of Random House Publishing

garys title Super Sad True Love Story
For as long as I’ve been aware that something called literature existed, people have been lamenting its demise. In Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart’s new novel published this week by Random House, literature has already died what was, apparently, a rather quiet and unnoticed death. And, while the decline of print is one of the many subtly interwoven themes of the novel, I’ve never felt more hopeful about the future of literature than I did when I finished this book; the medium is safe, as long as novels like Super Sad True Love Story are being written.
     Set somewhere in what is often ominously and lazily referred to as the not-too-distant-future — which, of course, means that its true subject is the present — Super Sad True Love Story tracks the romance between Lenny Abramov and Eunice Park. The former is a middle-aged, balding depressive who is likely the last person on Earth who still owns, and for that matter reads, books. The latter is a 24-four-year-old recent graduate of Elderbird College (with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness), who is remarkably cute, often cruel, and ultimately sympathetic. Both are the children of immigrants, desperate to fulfill their parents expectations and desperate to overcome the insecurities that are the scars of their upbringing.

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Art, Design, Events July 29, 2010 By Nalina Moses

Masdar Development, city plan. Foster + Partners.  2007; expected completion 2018. Rendering: Foster + Partners. Images courtesy of Cooper Hewitt. (Click images to enlarge)

Masdar Development, city plan. Foster + Partners. 2007; expected completion 2018. Rendering: Foster + Partners. All images courtesy of Cooper Hewitt.
(Click images to enlarge)

whydesignow Why design now?
The vibrant collection of objects on display now through January 10 at Why Design Now?, the Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Triennial, answers that question quite simply. Design matters because absolutely everything in our environment, from our eating utensils to the cities we live in, is designed, and the materials and methods with which they’re produced have a powerful impact on our culture and the environment.
     Appropriately, the curators have included objects of every scale. The show includes drinking glasses with grip-like profiles to aid those with limited manual abilities, and renderings for Masdar, a new remote desert city in Abu Dhabi that will be the world’s first isolated, self-sustaining, zero-energy community.
     The exhibit projects a curious ambivalence about technology. Some of the high-tech artifacts included, like the iPod, the Kindle, and twitter, have already become seemlessly embedded in our lives. They’re advanced, but commonplace. Other high-tech objects seem to belong to a distant, Jetsons-like future. There’s a giant, rotating dish-shaped solar collector with gleaming mirrored facets, and plans for a communal electric car system that would allow city-dwellers to borrow and deposit vehicles at designated stops.

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Fashion July 29, 2010 By Eugene Rabkin

Photography by Bryan Ziegle

Photography by Bryan Ziegle

ragandbonetitle1 Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone, the hip American clothier, was founded in Kentucky in 2002, at the beginning of the premium denim craze. The idea was simple, to make great jeans. The business took off quickly and in several years the company went from a manufacturer of good denim to a full-fledged clothing company with fashion shows on the New York calendar. Fast-forward to today and the company is going back to basics — pun intended. Rag & Bone recently introduced three new women’s lines, JEAN, SHIRT, and KNIT, that, according the press release, are supposed to “constitute the foundation of every modern girl’s wardrobe”.
    Last Friday, the new duds got a New York home of their own. The prime real estate on the corner of E. Houston and Elizabeth used to house Café Colonial, somewhat of a neighborhood landmark. Rag & Bone paid homage to the former tenant both implicitly — by keeping the original tile floors — and explicitly — by writing a love note on the side of the building. Inside, the no-frills wood and metal décor is in tune with the no-nonsense offerings. The modern girl gets three types of jeans (made in the USA), seven different tops (from the oxford to the shirt-dress), and several t-shirts. There is also an adjacent shoe store that houses footwear and accessories from the main line.

Rag & Bone, 73 East Houston St. New York, NY.

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Music July 28, 2010 By Benjamin Gold

filler128 Best Coast: Crazy for You

Mexican Summer

Mexican Summer

bestcoast title Best Coast: Crazy for You
Last summer, like the scattered showers that unpredictably color a July afternoon, Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno, better known as Best Coast, drizzled a handful of noisy love songs upon the Internet — each one adding a few minutes to the season’s soundtrack. The songs were lo-fi and reverbed to the point of distortion but, with Cosentino’s disarmingly sweet voice, proved to be an essential summer combination. Nevertheless, with every addictive melody chugging along at a similar mid-tempo, repeat plays made overdose inevitable.
     The songwriting on Crazy for You, Best Coast’s full-length debut, is more diverse and assertive than on the band’s early singles, making those songs sound like rough demos of half-baked ideas. The noise here has been turned down, morphed into a vibrant haze that surrounds and buoys Cosentino’s voice in a real ’60s-girl-group style. Songs wobble between the Jesus-and-Mary-Chain drum-n-fuzz of “Honey” to the up-tempo indie-pop of “The End” — and though there’s still plenty of reverb, it sounds like Cosentino’s the one controlling it, not the other way around. Even when she’s saying nothing at all, just oohing along with the music, it’s still great to hear her sing.

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Buy this at iTunes.

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Images from indieScreen

Images from indieScreen

indiescreen title indieScreen
Williamsburg, Brooklyn may be practically synonymous with twenty-first century so-called hipster culture, but despite its artistic reputation the neighborhood has yet to add an independent movie house to its roster of concert venues, bars, and restaurants. The recently-opened indieScreen aims to fill this void, as well as to add something new to the plethora of local eateries with its in-house restaurant and bar.
      The 93-seat theater eschews trendy interiors for understated design. Co-owned by Marco Ursino, the founder of the Brooklyn International Film Festival, the theater hosted this year’s festival in June and will also house July’s Flick Film Fest. The eclecticism of indieScreen’s staunchly non-mainstream movie line-up is reflected in its multicultural menu: tapas, paninis, and sashimi are available in the restaurant or theater area, courtesy of restaurant owner Anna Pozzi-Popermhem.
     According to indieScreen, the space is also “available to festivals, organizations, individual artists, and curators for private screenings, concerts, power point presentations, seminars, and lectures.” A far cry from the seemingly endless stream of commercial theaters throughout the city, indieScreen provides a multipurpose venue to enliven the ever-changing cultural landscape of the neighborhood it inhabits.

indieScreen is located at 285 Kent Ave. at S. 2nd St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. To be invited to the theater’s opening night (date TBA), email ee@indieScreen.com.

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Music July 27, 2010 By Areti Sakellaris

filler127 Mountain Man: Made the Harbor

Partisan Records

Partisan Records

mountainman title Mountain Man: Made the Harbor
Less is more — so much more when in the hands of Mountain Man. Made the Harbor, the debut by this Vermont-based trio of women, is a musical meditation harking back to pastoral scenes and folksy tunes of a passing America. Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Randall Meath produce spartan instrumentation and rapturous vocals that are brimming with an unassuming charm. The effect makes for a daringly beautiful release. Far beyond gimmicky or complicated messages, Made the Harbor manages to be organic, earnest, and competent. The stately, “Dog Songs”, blends to the soulful, “How I’m Doin”, and then to the rapturous “Honeybee”, as the doleful notes of a singularly plucked acoustic guitar complement the bountiful, uplifting harmonies. On the road with the likes of The Low Anthem and Deer Tick, the ladies of Mountain Man will perform at the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival, August 13-15, before joining Sigur Ros’ Jonsi in Europe and North America this fall. These siren songs promise unexpected glories once reserved for a choir of angels.

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Buy this at iTunes. After the jump, check out a performance of “Honeybee” overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Fashion July 26, 2010 By Editors
Architecture, Books July 23, 2010 By Nalina Moses

Azkoitia Municipal Library, Gipuzcoa, Spain, 2007.  Estudio Beldarrain.  Facade built from railroad ties. All images courtesy of W.W. Norton. (Click images to enlarge)

Azkoitia Municipal Library, Gipuzcoa, Spain, 2007. Estudio Beldarrain.
Facade built from railroad ties.
All images courtesy of W.W. Norton. (Click images to enlarge)

rematerial title Rematerial
Short of building nothing new at all, the most environmentally-conscious strategy toward construction is to build with what materials are at hand. This reduces the extent of mining and foresting, the energy required for fabrication, and the emissions associated with shipping.
     One powerful and increasingly popular approach is to build with waste materials. This can be implemented at different scales, by powdering demolished concrete blocks to use in a new mix, building a house on an old foundation, or reinvigorating an abandoned site like Governor’s Island. Alejandro Bahamon and Maria Camila Sanjines have compiled some of the more promising waste-capturing projects in an inspiring new book, Rematerial: From Waste to Architecture.
     The projects have a distinct aesthetic, one that values the patina of weathered and marred materials over refined geometries and gleaming surfaces.  A small library in Spain, whose walls are constructed from stacked railroad ties, has a rough, mottled appearance. A house addition in The Hague, with a facade of tread-worn tires, has a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max look.

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Art, Events July 23, 2010 By Nika Knight

filler29 INTERWOVEN

Photography courtesy of Interwoven

Photography courtesy of Interwoven

filler29 INTERWOVENinterwoven title2 INTERWOVEN
Coinciding with the Capital Fringe Festival 2010, INTERWOVEN kicks off tonight at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the Danish Embassy and DC’s NPR affiliate, the two-night event will push the boundaries of both textile and performance art through a melding of the two.
     INTERWOVEN will feature the first-ever American appearance by designers and artists Henrik Vibskov and Andreas Emenius, whose previous work, The Fringe Project, explored the nature of physical surfaces and movement, all through fringes. The pair claimed their inspiration came after watching the film Solaris and “staring at a New Years Eve party hat”. Additionally, avant-garde fashion label threeASFOUR will perform, as will fashion designer Peggy Noland. Screenings by artists such as Hrafnhildur Arnardottir, a.k.a. SHOPLIFTER — who is perhaps most widely known for being the mind behind the cover image of Björk’s 2004 album, Medulla — will most definitely be highlights.

INTERWOVEN: Evenings in Performance will be at the Textile Museum, 2320 S Street, NW Washington, DC on July 23 & 24, from 8 to 10 p.m.

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