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Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Academy of Music’

David Lynch, Hiding in Plain Sight

April 30, 2014 | by

The filmmaker comes to BAM.


Lynch in 2007. Photo: Thiaggo Piccoli, via Wikimedia Commons

What, in retrospect, did we hope to hear from David Lynch last night? In “a rare public appearance,” the filmmaker appeared in conversation with Paul Holdengräber at BAM, to a sold-out crowd. The people were there. Lynch was there. And so … now what?

It wasn’t as if we expected to walk out with David Lynch decoder rings, finally capable, having listened to him, of educing his films’ meaning. Much of their joy derives from their refusal to cohere. Nor could we reasonably hope to reconcile the work with the man—the gap between the Missoula-born Eagle Scout and the psychosexual Grand Guignol of, say, Blue Velvet has always been pretty difficult to bridge. That’s all part of the Lynch magic, and you can hardly expect a guy to declaim upon the essence of his magic.

So why were we there, then? Did we simply want to see him bodily, to confirm the corporeal existence of a man whose work sometimes seems—extraterrestrial? Sure. But we also presumed we would learn something, anything, about him. Something new, something that qualified as insight: something that might make the whole Lynchian gestalt that much less opaque.

Such was not the case. Read More »


Instead of the Cross, the Albatross

November 27, 2013 | by


We love the Poetry Foundation’s Record-a-Poem project, in which users are encouraged to read aloud their favorite verses using SoundCloud. Now, in conjunction with its upcoming performance of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, BAM is partnering with the program, collecting recorded interpretations of a segment of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem; they will ultimately edit and compile the audio into a crowd-sourced animated video featuring as many voices as possible. The deadline is December 1, so take a few moments out of your holiday weekend to be part of something cool! Find the excerpt below, and see full details here.

From Part II of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was wither’d at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

Read the whole poem here.



A Letter from Gary Shteyngart’s Dog

November 9, 2012 | by

The following letter was sent by Gary Shteyngart’s dog to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Dear BAM,

Last night, while my favorite human Gary Shteyngart was dripping gherkin juice and pickled cod balls onto his green polyester shirt, I noticed a tear trickling down his face. I peered over his slumped shoulder and saw on the interwebs that in a couple weeks, some famous people are gathering at BAM to make fun of him. Not only that, you monsters are actually selling tickets to the public for this public humiliation of my friend. BAM staffers, I say to you: this small, furry excuse of a human being already suffers terrible asthma, an overabundance of gnarled body hair, and bouts of midnight gas. He has trouble buttoning his own shirts, doesn’t own a comb, and bribes his own MFA students to write his books. His hardship started years ago, first as a young Russian émigré tortured at Hebrew School, when he arrived in America speaking no English with a mere two shirts and a bear coat, and then again at New York City’s Stuyvesant High School, when his fellow immigrant teens would sabotage his Bunsen burner to get ahead. He struggled to make money in his 20s by writing grants for programs like “Torah Tots,” attempting to secure foundation money for the important purpose of introducing 3-year-olds to the murders and rapes of the Old Testament. In short I say to you, hasn’t Gary suffered enough? Why must you persecute him more? And also will this be live streamed on the web, so I can watch from the comforts of my luxury dog crate?


Felix the Dachshund


Win Tickets to BAM’s Artist Talk!

October 4, 2011 | by

In The Speaker’s Progress, part of the 2011 Next Wave Festival, Sulayman Al-Bassam presents the final installment of a trilogy that reinterprets Shakespeare within the context of the modern Middle East. On Friday, the director talks about the Bard and the current political situation with Robyn Creswell, Arabic translator and Paris Review poetry editor.

To win tickets to this Artist Talk, simply e-mail the subject line “BAM” to The first two readers to respond are on their way to Fort Greene! (Two tickets per winner.)

“Shakespeare in the Middle East”
Hillman Attic Studio, Brooklyn Academy of Music
Friday, October 7 at 6 P.M.
$10; $5 for Friends of BAM


Staff Picks: Anne Roiphe, Fanny Howe, Now’ruz

March 18, 2011 | by

Katie and Anne Roiphe.

Two nights ago, in one long fit of insomnia, I read Anne Roiphe’s memoir of midcentury Paris Review shenanigans, Art and Madness. —Lorin Stein

At night, I have been switching between Fanny Howe’s new collection of poems, Come and See, and David Orr’s Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry. Howe is plainspoken, serious, visionary; Orr is companionable, smart, fun. Last night I dreamed they were having a conversation, but this morning I can’t remember what either one said. —Robyn Creswell

I liked Charlotte Silver’s Modern Love essay from a few weeks ago, about a young couple obsessed with the romantic rituals from the fifties. —Thessaly La Force

This week is Now’ruz, the Iranian New Year, and I’ll be celebrating on Sunday by trying to synchronize a tricontinental diasporic Skype chat with relatives and friends. For now, the least heart-breaking way into Iranian culture is the cooking, and there’s no better introduction to that than Margaret Shaida’s classic, The Legendary Cuisine of Persia. Of course, on the day itself, I wouldn’t dream of eating anything other than the customary sabzi polo mahi, but I’ve always been drawn to Shaida’s description of the koofteh Tabrizi, an immense meat dumpling that encases an entire stuffed chicken. Before the advent of the food processor, “considerable strength and stamina were required to pound the ingredients together into an adhesive mixture. One lady from Tabriz told me to knead the mixture until my arms fell out.” —Jonathan Gharraie

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Foreign Idiot

March 10, 2011 | by

Geoffrey Rush as Aksentii Poprishchin. Photograph by Stephanie Berger.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, the British psychoanalyst and writer Adam Phillips delivered a talk at the Brooklyn Academy of Music titled “Acting Madness.” The event was being held in conjunction with BAM’s spring season, which features three plays about madness: David Holman’s adaptation of Gogol’s “Diary of a Madman”; Macbeth; and King Lear. In a row with plenty of other seats, a young man with a wispy beard and glasses took the place directly next to mine. He was wearing, I noticed at once, a Paris Review T-shirt. My mind leaped as though a starter pistol had been fired. It was all so obvious: The Paris Review had sent this person to check up on me.

In his essay “First Hates,” from On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored, Phillips usefully glosses paranoia as the refusal to be left out. That is, much worse than the fear that everyone is talking about you is the fear that no one is talking about you. As the gentleman in question and I waited in silence, I performed a little Phillips-inspired self-analysis. Either The Paris Review had sent this man here to stalk me, and he was announcing his intentions with his T-shirt, or he was a Phillips enthusiast and also a reader of The Paris Review—even my paranoiac fantasy had to concede this as a likely demographic crossover. Embarrassed, I meditated, very briefly, on my own unimportance. The Paris Review would survive with or without my post. This unimportance was a fact I was going to have to live with, because living without it—believing that this man had donned an official T-shirt in order to more conspicuously surveil my blogging—was crazy.

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