Saturday, February 28, 2009
I Served the King of England, a movie carried on the diminutive shoulders of its Baryshnikov junior-looking star Ivan Barnev through beautiful 20-40s Prague and environs. Sweet, absurdist little movie from 60s new wave Czech director Jiri Winzel. Bordered on offensive later in the film, but whimsy and naivete carried it through. Rotten Tomatoes reviews here.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
NY Time review of the incredible book Segu by Maryse Conde here. Just started it yesterday and am totally engrossed. My friend Adam hipped me to it. Danny Dawson, a professor at Columbia and an incredible resource of all things African and diaspora-related, hipped him to it. Glad to have it passed down the chain! I've never come across this kind of historical fiction that deals with 18th/19th century West Africa so thoroughly and so poetically. The best news of all; there's a sequel after I get through these five hundred pages. Best reading of the year so far.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Been making my way through Richard Price's engrossing "Lush Life" of late. Interesting sort of non-book review here. "I’ve always been interested in when the hyphen disappears — you know, actor-waiter, cabdriver-writer — and you have to settle for who you are,” Price says. His protagonist Eric Cash is not so much a hero or anti-hero; he lives the 20something-30something hyphenated, floundering existence Price alludes to above. Price evokes in loving and disenchanted detail the vastly changed Lower East Side of New York with investigative obsession. The linked review above asks if any other middle-aged white man can convincingly write in the dialect spoken in the projects - the PJ's as they're referred to here. Price's Wire screenwriting colleague George Pelecanos is the only other one I've come across. If anyone knows of someone else who can, please let me know. In the meantime, check both of these writers out.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Third in a series of quick posts about informative podcasts. Bill Moyers has been doing it to us in our ear holes, as it were, for a very long time. His gentle southern lilt is endearing, his humanism is for real, and his pointed questions are definitely in the same echelon as Warren Alney, who I blogged about recently.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Press release here:
Harris Eisenstadt At Brooklyn’s Ibeam In March
Drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt will be in residence at Brooklyn’s Ibeam Music Studio every Saturday night in March.
This series of four concerts will feature the first-ever performances of his new nonet, Harris Eisenstadt’s Woodblock Prints, featuring Mike McGinnis (clarinet), Jason Mears (alto saxophone), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Mark Taylor (French horn), Brian Drye (trombone), Jose Davila (tuba), Jonathan Goldberger (electric guitar) and Garth Stevenson (bass).
The group’s music is inspired by depictions of nature found in Japanese woodblock prints, an ancient form of relief printing created from intricately carved wood.
“Eisenstadt is strong proof that jazz is still young and growing,” declared L.A. Weekly’s Greg Burk. Critics have called him “a rising presence as a composer of note” (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), “vital and increasingly influential” (Glenn Astarita, jazzreview.com) and “one of the most creative and skilled musician/composers incorporating traditional material to create new and vital improvised music” (Robert Iannapollo, AllAboutJazz-New York).
The Village Voice’s Jim Macnie adds, “He’s perpetually building new ensembles to suit the variety of music he hears in his head—that’s what composers do.”
One of only a handful of drummers equally well-known for his work as a composer, Eisenstadt is among the most versatile and prolific musicians of his generation. His eclectic resume includes studies with some of the most respected names in both improvised music and West African drumming, and performances in genres ranging from film and theater to poetry and dance to contemporary classical and opera.
Most active in jazz and improvised music, as both an in-demand sideman and a bandleader, he has performed all over the globe, earned commissions from organizations such as Meet The Composer and the American Composers Forum, and appeared on more than 35 recordings over the past decade. His latest, Guewel (Clean Feed, 2008), was named one of the year’s best in publications such as AllAboutJazz.com, Time Out New York and the Village Voice.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The short press release here:
Improvised Communications is pleased to announce it has been retained by drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt as his media contact and to promote various upcoming projects in 2009, including the March debut of his newest ensemble, Woodblock Prints, at Brooklyn’s Ibeam Music Studio.
Eisenstadt, a Toronto native currently based in Brooklyn, is known as “one of the most creative and skilled musician/composers incorporating traditional material to create new and vital improvised music” (Robert Iannapollo, AllAboutJazz-New York).
He has performed around the world, earned numerous accolades and commissions for work in a wide variety of musical genres, and appeared on more than 35 recordings. His latest release as a leader, Guewel (Clean Feed, 2008), was named one of the year’s best in publications such as AllAboutJazz.com, Time Out New York and the Village Voice.