Friday, March 10, 2006

Spring Break



Don’t laugh, but I moved 10,000 miles from Calcutta to Buffalo because I thought it was a suburb of New York City. (They’re awful close on the world map.) But considering I live in New York State, I should be taking way better advantage of my proximity to the Big Apple. Instead, I only go there once every few years. So, I hereby resolve that every spring break, when my students fly off to warmer climes, I shall go spend a week in NYC. Beginning this year. Which means next week.

A few things I’m looking forward to doing on this trip:

I’m taking my iBook with me, and Filmbrain has tipped me off to a wi-fi spot a block away from my B&B in Brooklyn, so time permitting, I hope to resurface here at some point. If you have suggestions for arts events happening in NYC next week, please feel free to comment or email. Stay warm, peoples.

66 Comments:

Blogger girish said...

Darren has a great post that you should read. And he concludes it by asking for your choices for a "Calls To Conscience And Action" film festival.

My only regret about the New York trip is that Darren won't be able to make it. We had been planning to rendezvous there. Next year perhaps...

March 10, 2006 12:23 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Oh, btw, I'm not leaving till Monday morning...

Dave Kehr on Hoberman's article on The New World.

March 10, 2006 12:31 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Vanity Fair writer James Wolcott discovers...Filmbrain.

March 10, 2006 12:39 AM  
Anonymous Aaron Hillis said...

Are you a fan of The Silver Jews? Over a decade later, they're playing their first tour EVER and will be making a NYC stop on Friday the 17th. If it's sold out (which is entirely possible), you can get on my shoulders with an oversized raincoat and we'll sneak in on my ticket Little Rascals style.

When Filmbrain told me about the Wolcott thing, my first reaction: he has a blog?!

March 10, 2006 12:42 AM  
Blogger David Lowery said...

You should take a second trip in early June, which is when I'll be heading up to NYC to do some sound work on new film. You can come sit in in on the mix!

I've got about 700 words to go on this paper, and I'll officially be on spring break myself...

March 10, 2006 12:48 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Aaron, Unfortunately I don't know the Silver Jews' music. I think Luna once covered a song by them called "Random Rules".
And I've heard it said that Wolcott's blog is really popular and widely read...

David, I won't be teaching in June, so that sounds very tempting....What are you writing your paper on?

March 10, 2006 1:00 AM  
Anonymous Aaron Hillis said...

Yes, you're right about that Luna cover! How disheartening that we now have to wait for a reunion tour to see those guys together again...

And I'm sure Wolcott's site gets stellar traffic, I'm just more oblivious to blog happenings than I'd care to be. (Someday soon, I'll even get around to posting something besides a Friday quiz.) Maybe it's because he's just not my flavor, I'd gladly take one of you over nine dozen Wolcott clones any day.

March 10, 2006 1:52 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Wow. I just follow Wolcott's other link to some really nasty dirt on Robert Altman.

Sounds like a great trip, girish!

March 10, 2006 2:51 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah, David's begun his spring break, and hit the road on a film festival trip.

March 10, 2006 7:54 AM  
Blogger girish said...

MZS's post plus a collection of links on The Sopranos.

March 10, 2006 7:58 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Aaron, I mentioned Wolcott's popularity because I think that with this post he might have turned Filmbrain on to a bunch of new (non-film) bloggers/readers. Which is great.

Brian, I don't quite know what to make of the Altman dirt. Frankly, I can see many of those Altman actions as defensible. His ultimate loyalty is to the art and not to pleasing his actors! But that's just me in Altman defense mode...

March 10, 2006 8:07 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Did someone say June? :) That's Human Rights Watch, 6/8-22. Come on, Darren, there's one sure venue for a call to action and conscience!

Speaking of proximity to NYC, one of the reasons I wanted to work at NASA-Goddard was that growing up, I used to see the Goddard satellite office, Goddard Institute for Space Sciences signage from the World Trade Center (it moved uptown after 9/11), so I figured, cool...work for NASA and stay in New York City. Oh well, so close and yet... :(

March 10, 2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Acquarello--Yeah, you're definitely closer to NYC than I am. It's like Toronto for me--I can do an impulse trip there but NYC needs lots of planning in advance, finding a dog-sitter, etc.

Just wanted to remind folks that the Korean cinema thread is still active, and Adam Hartzell just left a nice & long comment.

March 10, 2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

I'm posting this here so that New Yorkers can work together to make some good restaurant suggestions for Girish:

South Indian food: I haven't been there yet, but I hear the best sit down South Indian (in Manhattan, at least) is Saravanaas (NYCNosh write-up here).

For North Indian/Bangladeshi one must go to Spicy Mina in Queens (represent!), which is *right* on the corner of the 65th St. G/R/V stop in Woodside. (Google 'Spicy Mina' and 'Chowhound' to see the level of devotion...) Two other Queens subcontinental gastro-masterpieces are Tangra Masala (Indian-style Chinese food, amazing; the chicken momos are dumplings for the gods; they've opened up a second Queens branch I hear) and (this is by reputation only, I haven't been there) the Hindu temple in Flushing. Um, anyway, food is one of the two or three main reasons why I live in Queens ...

March 10, 2006 11:35 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Zach, this is mouth-wateringly awesome. Thank you.
I'm South Indian and it's so hard to find South Indian food here in the States (at least outside of cities like NYC). When I first moved to the States, I remember making weekend road trips with fellow Indian students (also afflicted with massive Indian-food-withdrawal) to Queens or to Devon (in Chicago) or Toronto, for the food alone. We'd all cram into one motel room for the weekend (we were of course student-poor), and do nothing but eat all weekend, get back to the motel room and, bug-eyed, watch MTV (we'd never seen anything like it before) and then we'd go out and eat again...

March 10, 2006 1:38 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Oh and I'll be seeking out North Indian food too. I only mentioned South Indian coz it's more scarce...

March 10, 2006 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

It turns out that my airfare is non-refundable and non-transferrable, so I'll likely end up rescheduling my trip. June sounds good to me. It'll all depend on how well my job interview went today (I think it went really well). If I start a new job, I'll have to start saving up vacation days for the second week in September. ;)

March 10, 2006 1:44 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Check out Michael Guillen: he's been blogging like crazy.

March 10, 2006 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Ah, New York -- there are few better places to spend a week's vacation. Girish, are you much of a museum goer? Any intentions to see stop at any of NYC's museums? I haven't been to New York since before the new MoMA opened, but I'm hoping to visit it at some point (although the $20 entry fee is almost enough to boycott the place on principle alone).

March 10, 2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael--I'm a nutso museum-goer.
The last time I went to New York (2 years back, I think), I spent one entire day per museum, at five of them: MoMA, Met, Guggenheim, Whitney and Frick.
With my little pocket notebook/sketchbook and everything. It was fiendishly hard but I rationed myself to just one film (Le Samourai at Walter Reade) and one live music show (jazz pianist Renee Rosnes at the Vanguard) and spent the rest of the time art-gawking. Fun.

March 10, 2006 1:55 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Darren, you're right about the second week of September. My whole year pivots around it, every time.

March 10, 2006 1:57 PM  
Blogger Michael Kerpan said...

The new MOMA is very very nice -- we got in cheap because my wife is a member of an organization for museum professionals. ;~}

When we were in NYC for a week (in early September), we also got to the Brooklyn Museum (quite a lot of nice stuff) and saw what little was on display at the Guggenheim (it was getting ready for some big exhibit on Russian art -- and was mostly inaccessible).

March 10, 2006 2:23 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Dave Kehr's response to MZS re: The New World.

March 10, 2006 2:28 PM  
Blogger girish said...

And Dave was responding to MZS's comments on his (Dave's) previous post.

March 10, 2006 3:40 PM  
Blogger girish said...

And here's the MZS post with links to all his other posts about The New World.
I think we (pretty much) have it (sorta) covered (for now).

March 10, 2006 3:47 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Zach's definitely in the right vicinity, that's the Little India district (a.k.a Curry Hill). I haven't been to that one in particular, but I can recommend Copper Chimney and Vatan from the same area. My palate isn't attuned enough to know if it's authentic though; but the spices are complex and the heat index is right. :)

March 10, 2006 3:49 PM  
Blogger Michael Kerpan said...

If you are in the need of snackish sort of a meal, and (in the spirit of the prior thread) feel like having some Korean food, I recommend:

Mandoo Bar
2 W. 32nd St. (At Fifth Ave.) and 71 University Place (brand new).

http://www.mandoobar.com/

March 10, 2006 4:03 PM  
Blogger Campaspe said...

I absolutely loved the Sarah Bernhardt exhibit at the Jewish Museum on upper Fifth. But then, I am a Sarah fan from way back, when my mother kept comparing me to her and I said, "Who?" It is a small exhibit, but I think you would be quite interested in the Bernhardt films they have playing in a video bank against the wall. There's about six or seven. They are antiques, of course, but you do get a sense of her allure and at times you also see gestures and expressions a modern audience can appreciate, too. If you are in the neighborhood, pounce.

March 10, 2006 4:24 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

You know, I would love to have one of my trips to New York that doesn't involve day-long shouting sessions between bankers, traders, investors, lawyers, accountants and other overpaid lunatics. I never get enough time to watch the movies I want to see, either. Time in New York dribbles away into endless meetings and drinking alcohol after the meetings to remove meeting poison from my brain.

March 10, 2006 6:04 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks for the restaurant tips. It'll be convenient to have the links right here, so I can jump on the blog when I get hungry...!
The Bernhardt exhibit sounds great; I've never seen any of her films.

March 11, 2006 9:04 AM  
Blogger girish said...

David Hudson of Greencine is at SXSW.

March 11, 2006 9:20 AM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Good God, but Hudson makes those films sound excellent.

Adding to the ever-lengthening list...

March 11, 2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Hallo girish, recommend you see The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros at New Directors if it's still showing. Not a bad introduction to Filipino films, though I do post on a_film_by some titles available on Netflix (and, presumably, in general).

And for a fairly unique experience in New York food, try out Peter Luger's in Brooklyn. Steaks, huge slabs of em.

March 11, 2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey, Noel--Thanks for commenting, and for your suggestions.
Wanted to say that I really admire and enjoy your writing. Like your 10 Best Bollywood films list, which Zach turned me on to. I sent it to my parents in India, who loved it.
Congrats on the book, and the Rotterdam festival program you curated based on it.
A request: if you have a link handy for that a_film_by post on Filipino cinema, could you post the link here? It'd be a good resource for all of us to see/have.
I checked, and unfortunately, Maximo Oliveros won't be playing when I'm there.
I think the only Filipino film I've seen is Lino Brocka's Insiang (loved it). I'd like to see more.

[Also check out Noel's blog--there's a link on my blogroll].

March 11, 2006 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

I just found out that Maximo Oliveros has a U.S. distributor, a small company called Film Movement. I was hoping for a bigger company like Strand, but at least this means that more people can see the film that Noel, Daryl and I have written about.

March 11, 2006 3:02 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Say Hi to Little Italy for me G. The last time we were in NYC was during the Summer Solstice and at 10:00 at night, with the tables out in the street and white chistmas lights dangling across the buildigs, we we're eating some very fine Italian cuisine with a bottle of chianti; heaven on earth. This after a long day looking at art and before a night of jazz.

March 11, 2006 4:49 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Brian. Sounds like a great day you had there...

Part 4 of Dennis Cozzalio's Altman tribute.

March 12, 2006 8:10 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Mubarak has some screen grabs to illustrate the camera's eroticization of Silvana Mangano in Riso Amaro. (I'd never heard of this film.)

March 12, 2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger girish said...

MZS on the late Garrett Scott, who made Occupation: Dreamland.

March 12, 2006 11:09 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Chuck on Julie Gustafson's Desire.

March 12, 2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger girish said...

I've been reading (or should I say jumping around in) Martha Nochimson's interesting book on David Lynch. Here she is in an interview, talking about the TV show Moonlighting.

March 12, 2006 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Bitter Rice was one of the first films I rented from NicheFlix. I had read about it, but I can't even remember it being shown in any revival theaters during my eight years in NYC.

March 12, 2006 11:42 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah, didn't realize that was the translation, Peter.
I thought it was something like Love That Rice!, which this South Indian can totally relate to.

March 12, 2006 1:26 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Love That Rice!

Bwahahaha!

March 12, 2006 1:40 PM  
Blogger girish said...

I know this sounds crazy but us South Indians have been known to eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
When my parents were visiting, I tried to convince them to switch to brown rice but it didn't take, especially after a lifetime of white rice.

March 12, 2006 1:50 PM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Heh! I actually could have taken more stills, but I didn't for fear of being called a pervert or something. :) The film is currently being discussed at Coordinated Viewing.

Girish, your trip sounds absolutely great!

March 12, 2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger girish said...

The fearsomely prolific MZS: Five Johhny Depp performances.

March 12, 2006 2:17 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Loved those stills, Mubarak; wish there were more! :-)
That's not pervy, that's scholarly!
Thanks for the link.

March 12, 2006 2:19 PM  
Anonymous The Pop View said...

Read about visiting Manhattan from the point-of-view of two English tourists, from today's Washington Post.

Oh, and you should go to St. Mark's Place in the Village

March 12, 2006 4:38 PM  
Blogger Flickhead said...

Pop View:

Is 80 St. Marks still in operation?

March 12, 2006 5:29 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Is 80s St. Marks still there? That' a good question. They have wonderful programming of classic Hollywood and foreign films, if I remember right. But those small theaters are a dying breed.

Oh, and on food--John's Pizzeria in the Village is pretty good; Carnegie Deli has terrific pastrami sandwiches, Second Avenue Deli has formidable chopped liver and chicken soup with kerplach, and Ess-a-Bagel on 20th and 1st Ave. (if it's still there) has good bagels in the morning, always hot.

Some good Filipino films recently available on Netflix (and I assume on DVD in general) are to be found here:

http://journals.aol.com/noelbotevera/MyJournal/entries/992

A quickie intro to Philippine cinema and where to find some films (the links may be outdated) can be found here:

http://journals.aol.com/noelbotevera/MyJournal/entries/543

And my book (if y'don't mind my plugging it) can be ordered here:

http://www.bigomagazine.com/theshop/books/NVcritic.html

March 13, 2006 12:51 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Forgot to say--how in the world did you manage to see Insiang? On a New York trip, maybe?

And I'm floored that Zach would like my Bollywood article enough to recommend it; I'm pretty much a dilletante when it comes to Indian cinema.

And on the book--thanks! You seem to have linked it already.

Looking at my comment, and apparently I didn't do the links right. Let me try again:

Filipino films newly available on Netflix

Intro to Philippine Cinema (links may not be updated)

March 13, 2006 1:03 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks for the links, y'all.
Noel, I saw Insiang at the Toronto Film Fest about six years ago in a tribute to programmer David Overbey, who apparently was the among the first to "discover" for North America the films of Asian directors like Brocka and Hou Hsiao-Hsien, and show them here for the first time. (He died of AIDS in the early 90s).
And I think your Bollywood article is anything but dilettantish!
Thanks again for the movie and food suggestions.

March 13, 2006 4:23 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Jim on Edna O'Brien, JLG and Roy Haynes.

March 13, 2006 4:29 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Speaking of the Philippines, if you're in the Union Square area for book shopping (like Strand), it's well worth checking out Elvie's Turo-Turo restaurant (here's an article with a picture of the storefront for reference). I'm partial to the kare-kare (ox tail in a kind of peanut sauce, but complex) and lechon (polynesian style roast pig), but the empanadas and Pansit are good too. Filipino flan is jigglier and not as firm as Spanish flan, but not bad. Halo-halo for dessert is pretty good, it's like Malaysian Ice Kachang, but with more sweet beans and creamier.

March 13, 2006 9:44 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Good Kare-kare has oxtails, chunks of pork, boiled pork skin, fat, eggplant, string beans, banana hearts (wow, I wonder if New York has banana hearts), and is eaten with a pungent shrimp paste over boiled rice. Halo-halo is perfect on a hot day. If they have Bicolano cooking, I'd recommend Bicol Express, which is pork and peppers in coconut milk, or sisig, which is pig head meat fried till crispy, Of course there are many variations to the dishes I mentioned.

Overby's one of the programmers into Philippine cinema; Tony Rayns dabbled in it too (he promoted Raymond Red, and lately Mario O'Hara) for the Vancouver film festival. I admire Overby's consistency in putting at least four or five Filipino films in Toronto year after year, but I do also like Rayn's choosier programming--maybe one or two Filipino films for Vancouver, but they're really good stuff.

March 13, 2006 2:53 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Acquarello & Noel--You're a couple of no-nonsense gourmets.
Great tips; thank you.

I owe Filmbrain one; make that two. He recommended a good B&B (in Cobble Hill), and also a wi-fi cafe with good food around the corner, which is where I am. Shall rendezvous with him in a couple of hours.
Weather was bad, and the plane was several hours late. Missed the Emmanuelle Devos film at Walter Reade. Drat.

March 13, 2006 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

I met an Italian actress today. Now I have to see if her films are DVD.

March 13, 2006 9:42 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Girish, I hope you have a wonderful Spring Break in New York!! It sounds like you have an exciting itinerary lined up filmwise, foodwise, artwise!! I look forward to your reports back.

March 14, 2006 11:56 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

She looks gorgeous. Italian women are something else. The festival staff in Udine's Far East Film Festival, for one, are consistently lookers. Same with Rotterdam.

March 14, 2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Attention all hunters and collectors: DVD sale at Amazon.UK. 40 and 60 percent discounts! I limited myself to three films, but there is some classic stuff that has yet to be available in Region 1.

March 15, 2006 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

At the Sarasota Film Festival - Mary by Abel Ferrera, A Prairie Home Companion, a new film by Chabrol, a Werner Herzog's retrospective, Spirit of the Beehive and more.

March 15, 2006 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Filmbrain said...

Florida gets Mary before New York?!? This will not do!

As for the Amazon.uk sale -- check out the main DVD page. There's a section called "Best of Eastern Cinema", and the featured film is Memoirs of a Geisha. Ah...the Brits.

March 15, 2006 9:46 AM  
Blogger girish said...

So I'm assuming this is the first American screening of the Ferrara...
I saw it in Toronto but didn't quite know what to make of it. But in the light of the Ferraras I've been seeing recently, I suspect I would take to it much more on a second viewing. Here's hoping for distribution...

March 15, 2006 10:33 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

That Herzog retro is exactly what I wish was showing at the SFIFF to accompany Herzog's director award. At least we're getting the Wild Blue Yonder and an in-person interview.

March 15, 2006 2:30 PM  
Anonymous The Pop View said...

Forgot to say, if you're in the Village, you should eat at Mercadito. There's one location in the East Village and one in the West Village. The best spproach is to order multiple varieties of the quacamole, multiples of the civeche and multiple varieties of the little tacos. If you have 3-4 people, it becomes tapas style -- a little of each.

March 18, 2006 11:37 AM  

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