Friday, November 14, 2008

Angelique Live... around the corner

Amazing New York moment: played for a sabar class the other night at Djoniba in Union Square with a bunch of Senegalese guys as I often do when I'm in town and can get over there. One particular badass dropped in for a few minutes, played his ass off, and left. I wondered why he ran out, but things are mercurial over there so I didn't think much about it. I saw him at the end of class downstairs and it turned out he was playing around the corner with Angelique Kidjo at a $15,000 couch-kinda furniture store called ABC Furniture. She was playing for a donor's private party. They were already playing so my friend couldn't spirit us in, but another friend randomly showed up just as Sara and I were going to leave who happened to be on the list for the night. He got us in and there we were, listening to Angelique in a fancy furniture store with 200 or so ritzie folks, eating tuna tartare hors d'oeuvres... Only in NYC?

RIP Miriam Makeba and Mitch Mitchell

The world lost two great artists this week, Miriam Makeba

and Mitch Mitchell.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Prime Time

Watched the fourth season of Prime Suspect this weekend. Couple 2-hour episodes. Synopses here for anyone not up on the excellent British police drama. Go Helen Mirren! Mirren has said in interviews that her character Detective Chief Superintendent Jane Tennyson is not someone she particularly would like to pal around with, but you've got to give it to Tennyson, she gets results. She's job-obsessed, relationship-challenged, and so good at what she does that her superiors can't help but promote her after each success, despite their usual efforts to stymie her investigations. Each season is 2-4 two hour episodes, and bravo again to British television for their quality-over-quantity paradigm that seems to escape most American television programs.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Two Elders, Playing

This isn't a photo from last night, but its pretty much how things looked at night 3 of the second run of Cecil Taylor and Tony Oxley Duo at the Village Vanguard. I sat right up near Tony's drums during the first night, and amazingly enough had a hard time hearing Cecil! Never had that happen before. Due to a modest turnout the club let first set customers stay for the second, which was great. I sat in the back of the room at the bar, and the balance was much better. Bravo to Cecil for the rhapsodic moments that populated both sets. And bravo to Oxley for never being swept under the carpet by Taylor. He more than held his own, and while the music wasn't life-changing, it was definitely life-affirming.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ashes of Time Redux!!!!

If ever there was a film that NEEDED to be seen on the biggest screen possible, this is it. The same over-indulgence that you'll find in Wong Kar-Wai's head-scratching narrative and saccharine score is also his greatest asset visually. I blogged about another visual stunner recently, The Fall. But I unfortunately saw that one on the small screen. It held up though I knew it would have been infinitely better on the big screen. Not sure "...Redux" would work on the small screen at all. The colors, the long, luscious lingering shots... it was like watching a 10,000 photograph slide show. I felt like a deer who found the headlights and refused to budge. FWIW, Wai keeps it to an (admirably) brisk 90 minutes. See it in a theater. Trust me.