As citizens of NYC (and the globe) struggle to find a groove of normalcy in the Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place reality, it is not just isolated walks in the park that will help to get us through with our sanity intact, but also home delivery — specifically home delivery of food and booze. Here in Manhattan, filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s branded spirit Singani 63 (also known as the national drink of Bolivia) and NYC cocktail den The Garret have teamed up to comfort you. Next time you place a Seamless order, take note that The Garrett is offering 750ml (approximately 25 ounces) “Staff Support” bottled cocktails available for Delivery throughout Manhattan. All proceeds will benefit the bar’s out-of-work staff. The Garret also offers lunch and dinner menu items.
In addition to the Singani 63 bottled cocktail, The Garret offers a ready-to-sip Old Fashioned, Negroni, Donkey Horse, Margarita and other favorites. Each of the eight available cocktails, priced at $50 per bottle, simply need to be poured over ice and are ready to serve. The featured Singani 63 “Staff Support” Bottled Cocktail is a take on the classic Vesper Rouge, containing Singani 63, Gin, and Lillet Rouge (a lightly spiced, bitter aperitif wine). Order now via Seamless! Cheers!
In 1965, Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker released his enduring documentary, Don’t Look Back, which follows a young Bob Dylan emerging into worldwide prominence as the singer/songwriter of his generation. Maybe you weren’t born yet, but I was. In celebration of the 50-year anniversary of this now-legendary film – one which brings together an already iconic artist and a filmmaker who was in the process of revolutionizing the documentary, Morrison Hotel Gallery is currently hosting Don’t Look Back, a collection of photos taken of Dylan by Pennebaker during filming.
The show is thoughtfully curated and produced by industry vet Joseph Baldassare – in conjunction with MHG – and has the distinction of being the first gallery exhibit of Pennebaker’s work.
The show features original movie posters and 18 choice image stills from the film, printed from the enhanced negative. Pennebaker, now 90 years of age, was at the opening reception and he looked great. To this day, he remains a vital cultural force. He recently screened his newest documentary, Unlocking The Cage, at The Sundance Film Festival, which will air on HBO later this year
Bob Dylan with Singer/Songwriter Donovan
Pennebaker (Far Left) with Gallery Owners Peter Blachley (to his Right) and Henry Diltz (Center) and Fans
Says Baldassare about the show, “This exhibition at Morrison Hotel Gallery is a celebration of the artistry of both D.A Pennebaker and Bob Dylan – two pioneers that have shaped the way we see, hear and think.”
D.A. Pennebaker’s Photos from Bob Dylan, Don’t Look Back, will be on Exhibit Through June 14th, 2016 at Morrison Hotel Gallery, Located at 116 Prince Street in SoHo, NYC.
ANARCHIST: Israeli Drone Video Signal, 2016, by Laura Poitras (All Photos By Gail)
Laura Poitras wants you to know that you are under surveillance at all times. At all times. The artist, journalist and documentary filmmaker, who won the 2015 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award for Citizenfour, the story of Edward Snowden and the NSA Spying Scandal, has her first solo museum show opening at the Whitney Museum on Friday, February 5th, and it is an immersive, installation-based exhibit unlike anything I’ve seen previously. The show’s title, Astro Noise, refers to the faint background disturbance of thermal radiation left over from the Big Bang, which is also the name that Edward Snowden gave to an encrypted file containing evidence of mass surveillance by the NSA that he shared with Poitras in 2013.
Selections from the ANARCHIST Series of Drone and Satellite Surveillance Images (Pigmented Inkjet Prints Mounted on Aluminum)
As you move from one gallery to the next, Astro Noise may elicit reactions that vary between enlightening, sobering and extremely personally horrifying, but I doubt you will leave it feeling unchanged. Her work starkly documents the complex realities of the post-9/11 world, focusing on US polices concerning indefinite detention, pre-emptive war, targeted killing, torture and mass surveillance. The “War on Terror” as these strategies are collectively known, is obscured from many Americans’ daily lives, but Poitras has worked to document its complexities, primarily through her celebrated 9/11 Trilogy of feature-length documentary films.
Photo Still from O’Say Can You See
The first darkened gallery off the exhibit’s entryway features O’Say Can You See, a double video projection on a two-sided screen. The first side presents a visually seductive short film depicting slow-motion shots of people gazing at the unseen remains of the World Trade Center in the days following the 9/11 attacks.
Photo Still from O’Say Can You See
Photo Still from O’Say Can You See
In the same gallery, the backside of that screen shows grainy U.S. Military footage of the interrogation of two prisoners in Afghanistan, taking place during the same post-9/11 time period. This footage was so disturbing, I had to leave the room after a few minutes.
Photo Still from Bed Down Location
The next gallery features an immersive video installation called Bed Down Location, where the visitor can lay back on a carpeted platform (very comfy!) and gaze up at a ceiling projection of the skies where drone wars are conducted. The title of the work refers to the military term denoting where a targeted person sleeps, which is fucked up! If the exhibit is crowded when you visit, it will be worth your time to wait until a space on the platform opens up, so you can flat-back it for the 15 minutes or so that the video plays, because it is pretty crazy. I took a video, but it did not come out.
From Bed Down Location you will enter the L-shaped corridor of Disposition Matrix. The walls of the corridor are lined with window-like slits, each of which you can peer into to see that it contains a video or classified document. See examples below.
2002 Memorandum from George Tenet, then Director of the CIA, on increasing the agency’s cooperation and information sharing with the NSA.
Animated Close Ups of Intercepted Signals Collected Through ANARCHIST, a classified program run by UK Intelligence.
Line drawing by an NSA employee explaining an Internet surveillance method called “Shaping.”
Infrared Footage of AT&T Building, Downtown NYC.
There was a lot worse stuff than the above, some of which I could not even look at.
Exit the Disposition Matrix and get a face-full of Last Seen, a live-feed infrared video of everyone currently in the Bed Down Location gallery. SURPRISE!
November 20, 2004 (2016); Black and White Transparencies in Light Boxes, accompanied by Digital Color Video, and Sound Narration
In 2006, Poitras was placed on a secret Government Watch List; consequently, while traveling she has been detained and interrogated more than fifty times. In the installation entitled November 20, 2004, Poitras retraces the events that lead to her being placed on that list, evoking the hidden surveillance she has experienced.
November 20, 2004 Video
Laura Poitras addressed the press at the the exhibit preview held on February 3rd. She seems really cool, and I have deep respect for her work.
Laura Poitras’ Astro Noise Will be on Exhibit From February 5th Through May 1st, 2016 at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Located at 99 Gansevoort Street in NYC. This Exhibit is Not Appropriate for Children Under 15.
Astro Noise Souvenir Postcard Available in the Gift Shop!
There aren’t many topics in the realm of food, cooking and nutrition that are as hot right now as that of organic foods. While some might think that organic food is an adult interest, the truth is that feeding babies and children organically grown food is absolutely vital for the health of a growing young brain and body.
At a fantastic cocktail party and reception hosted by Colicchio and Sons Restaurant (owned by celebrity Chef and Top Chef judge and host, Tom Colicchio) I was introduced to the excellent work of Happy Family Organic Foods and the company’s dynamic founder and CEO Shazi Visram. Visram is perhaps best known for creating HappyBaby, the first premium baby brand to enter the market in five small stores in New York City. Today, it is the leading premium brand of baby and toddler meals in the US – sold in over 13,000 stores and featuring nine different lines of delicious, organic foods focused on the optimal nutrition of infants and children.
To that end, she has created Happy TV, an engaging online webseries that debuted just last week. Visram offers that she “created Happy TV to showcase and share insights from the innovators and thought leaders behind the brands that are making mindful choices to support the health of local communities and the planet.” After the cocktail party, we were invited to participate in the filming of a segment of Happy TV, which was very fun. In a relaxed conversational setting, Shazi and Tom discussed a variety of nutrition-related topics including hunger in America, school lunch programs, cooking with a farm to table approach and the importance of feeding children organic food.
Shazi and Tom answered questions from the intimate audience and Colicchio also spoke about his wife, filmmaker Lori Silverbush’s new documentary, A Place At The Table (formerly entitled Finding North). That is a film I definitely want to see when it shows in New York.
Watch the first episode of Happy TV at This Link and find out more about Happy Family Organic Foods by clicking Here.
Yesterday’s sudden news that director/screenwriter John Hughes had passed away from a heart attack at age 59 shocked and saddened me. I was already in my twenties when Hughes’ films – my favorites being the brilliant and hilarious Sixteen Candles, and the staggering work of genius that is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – were exploding all over the universe and creating pop culture memes and buzz phrases that we still perpetuate today. While I loved and was highly entertained by his movies, they didn’t have the life-changing effect on me that many of his films had on teenagers. Just a glance at the countless comments flooding my Face Book news feed since last evening say that much. I think that the pop-culture paradigm shift initiated by Hughes is perhaps best illustrated in this touching and uniquely personal remembrance, Sincerely, John Hughes by Alison Byrne Fields from her blog, We’ll Know When We Get There. Please have some tissues handy. I would like to close this post with one of my favorite lines from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Cameron is so uptight, if you shoved a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you would have a diamond.” Farewell John Hughes, rest in peace.