Just Do Art! Feb. 28, 2013

Photo by Xax Han and Andreas Thalhammer Eric Yves Garcia as Dan and former L.E.S. Tenement Museum worker H.R. Britton as Max, in Max Weissberg’s “Summertime” (debuting in the First Time Fest).

Photo by Xax Han and Andreas Thalhammer
Eric Yves Garcia as Dan and former L.E.S. Tenement Museum worker H.R. Britton as Max, in Max Weissberg’s “Summertime” (debuting in the First Time Fest).

Before heading to Los Angeles to attend film school (later honing his craft at Lenfilm Studios in St. Petersburg, Russia), Max Weissberg called the Lower East Side home while working at the L.E.S. Tenement Museum and serving as a tour guide with the East Village History Project. Now, Weissberg (a directing fellow with the American Film Institute) returns to the old neighborhood as one of 12 debut filmmakers invited to participate in the inaugural year of First Time Fest — a celebration of new cinematic voices whose grand prize winner will land a theatrical distribution deal and full international sales representation from American film distributor, Cinema Libre Studio.

Made in the Lower East Side with several actors who work at the Tenement Museum, writer/director Weissberg describes his entry (“Summertime”) as “truly a love letter to the L.E.S.” which spins a circular tale of friendship, love and sex among a group of six while dealing with local issues including “housing, the struggles facing artists and the bohemian lifestyle.” The cast and crew will be in attendance for a discussion after the screening.

In addition to the competition films, First Time Fest will present “First Exposure” — screenings of notable first-time efforts from John Huston (“The Maltese Falcon”), Todd Haynes (“Poison”) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Jack Goes Boating”) and Stanley Kubrick (“Killer’s Kiss”). “Exposure” will also include a 60th Anniversary Tribute to Morris Engel’s 1953 Coney Island-set cinema vérité classic, “The Little Fugitive.”

“Summertime” screens Sat., March 2, at 5:30pm. The First Time Fest happens March 1-4, with screenings at AMC Loews Village VII (66 Third Ave., at 11th St.). The Players (16 Gramercy Park South) will host panels and events as well as the Filmmaker and VIP Lounge. For a full schedule, tickets & info, visit firsttimefest.com. Also visit summertimefilm.com.

Westbeth Gallery brings together three gifted artists in this exhibit of paintings, wall sculptures and drawings. Marion Lane says of her creative process, “The possibilities of color, shape and line invites and delights me. It is always a new experience that I find impelling and often beautiful.” For Diana T. Soorikian, “The human body, without narrative or locale, dominates my work. I welcome the struggle between the opposites of figuration and the imperatives of paint.” Color moves Rebecca Danker into “deciding how it can be applied, and how to combine it with shapes, the resulting composition can be an abstraction, with or without figurative elements.”

Through March 10, at Westbeth Gallery (55 Bethune St., corner of Washington St.). Gallery Hours: Wed.-Sun., 1-6pm. For info, call 212-989-4650 or visit westbeth.org. Also visit marionlanestudio.com, rebeccadpaintings.com and columbia.edu/cu/arts/varchive/soorikian.

Photo courtesy of the publisher The handsomest man in the room? See, hear and (if so disposed) swoon over Michael Lydon — March 5, at Cornelia Street Café.

Photo courtesy of the publisher
The handsomest man in the room? See, hear and (if so disposed) swoon over Michael Lydon — March 5, at Cornelia Street Café.

His self-professed status as “The Handsomest Man in the World” is subject to personal taste — but there’s no disputing the imprint made by Michael Lydon over the past several decades, in the realms of music, writing and activism.

The Boston-based, jazz-loving son of a big Irish family made his debut as a music critic in college (panning an upstart group called the Beatles and directing readers to Martha and the Vandellas). After covering the civil rights movement for the Boston Globe, the young Newsweek scribe warmed up to those lovable mop-tops during their “Rubber Soul” era — then worked the circa-1967 Haight-Ashbury Fillmore/Avalon Ballroom beat, grew his hair long, quit Newsweek and co-founded Rolling Stone with a “gung-ho kid” named Jann Wenner. No moss would gather, as Lydon left after the first few issues to “join the Rolling Stones on a wild ride across America to Altamont.” That’s just the first part of his website bio, which is full of compelling pop culture anecdotes (singing in a Berkeley coffeehouse, moving to Manhattan, busking on the subway, opening for Muddy Waters and becoming a Ray Charles biographer).

Fast forward to 2013, and Kindle Singles has released an e-book of “The Rolling Stones Discover America” — an eyewitness account of that aforementioned trek with Mick and the boys. At his upcoming Cornelia Street Café gig, you’ll hear Lydon read from the book, between playing, singing and whistling his own easy-going pop-jazz tunes (with able assistance from pianist Ellen Mandel, singer Bridget Beirne and bassist Dave Hofstra). “Music’s opened me up to gorgeous sounds and challenging ideas,” says the handsome fellow. “In every note I play, I try to sum up all I’ve heard and send it back as me to anyone who’ll listen. When I get back silly grins from couples dancing to my beat and singing in on the chorus, I thank my inspirations.”

Tues., March 5, at 6pm. At the Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia St., west of Sixth Ave., off Bleecker St.). For tickets ($10), call 212-989-9319 or visit corneliastreetcafe.com. Access Lydon’s writings at franklinstpress.com, and his music at michaellydon.com.


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2 Responses to Just Do Art! Feb. 28, 2013

  1. Michael Lydon is perhaps the most entertaining and insightful reviewer/biographer out there in the quirky world of popular music. His narratives are consistently crisp, informative, and delivered with a sly sense of humor that captures the sensibilities of his subjects.

  2. On photos (like this one) everything looks perfect, even if it's unperfect…

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