In a series of posts, Midnites for Maniacs curator-host and Academy of Art film-history teacher Jesse Hawthorne Ficks reports on the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
This was my 22nd consecutive Sundance Film Festival (which is well over half of my life), and I found myself more excited than ever to pack in as many films as humanly possible in seven days. Thirty-seven programs were achieved, and mind you: the trick is not to fall asleep, which so often happens at press screenings, resulting in many critics hypocritically denouncing whatever film they slept through.
Oddly enough, two of the biggest world premieres of the festival, Lee Toland Krieger's Celeste and Jesse Forever and Josh Radnor's Liberal Arts both explore the lives of thirtysomething men named Jesse who "have a lot of potential" but for some reason just aren't making the most of their lives.
Art Basel is not the only show in Miami's town this weekend. In addition to every gallery, boutique, and busy streetcorner hosting its own opening of varying degrees of importance, there are approximately 2,100 smaller art fairs going on (give or take). One of these is SCOPE, which I heard about first because urban art trendsetter SF gallery White Walls was trucking some canvases of ABOVE's stenciled hip-hop dancers-- and street artist ROA's drawings of animals in capitivity, etched on wooden crates -- down to show. (CORRECTION: ROA's publicist has informed us that his installation is not wood etchings. His mediums are enamel, charcoal, China ink, aerosol and acrylic on found wood....no crates.)
But to get into SCOPE, I first had to make it past the Alpine climber. Read more »
SUPER EGO It was one of those nightlife experiences so magical it turned anthropological, so dreamlike it felt familiar — a long-awaited re-encounter, a foretold déjà vu, a pre-jà vu, if you will. (And I just know you will.) The dust-soaked Spanish heat, the rustle of pleated lace, the handclaps, the catcalls, the foot-stomps. Ancient, Roma-derived acoustic rhythms knotted together in the windowless tavern's charged air, its tiled, yellowed interior crowded with dark oak tables and heavily varnished paintings — and more than a few heavily varnished patrons, besides.Read more »
All I did was program in the coordinates of a wall my friend was painting in the midst of Miami's mega Art Basel weekend and all of a sudden I'm in mural heaven. Going traffic snail-slow down the Wynwood neighborhood's Second Avenue (at one time a Puerto Rican enclave, now a place where corner restaurants are popping up with floor-length windows that display spindly humanoid statues clad in multi-colored sweater), all I could see were flood light-illuminated muralists in the finishing stages of turning the street into the most painted lane I've ever seen. Read more »
APPETITE Ireland is a green land of rolling hills, sheep, and craggy coastline, to be sure. The people enchanted even more: a generous, welcoming, hilarious lot. One of my favorite people in recent Ireland travels was Liam O'Leary, distillery operations manager at New Midleton Distillery in County Cork, near the southern coast of Ireland.Read more »
TRAVEL TALES Earlier this year, a wave of revolution swept the Arab world: Tunisia and Egypt deposed their dictators through popular protest, almost all of it nonviolent and nonsectarian, with similar uprisings — many still in progress — in pretty much every other country with a substantial Arab population. Democracy was the stated goal of many of these upheavals, and a newly technologized pan-Arab youth movement was leading the way to freedom via Facebook and Twitter, using social networking to undermine long-entrenched authoritarianism.Read more »
I couldn't take my eyes off it. It was gorgeous: a two-way protected bicycle lane. It went the length of Figueroa Alcorta Avenue, a wide, tree-covered boulevard that traverses Buenos Aires' central neighborhoods. And people were riding bikes on it — cruisers and those funky low-riding foldable bikes. It was a totally different but super-familiar scene. I had to join.Read more »