Thirty years ago Wild Style gave a world stage to New York City’s burgeoning hip hop culture while deftly skating the chasm between its subject — young graffiti writers, break dancers, MCs and DJs making something from nothing — and the Manhattan elite that had begun to take notice. So much has happened since. Hip hop would soon bypass the cultural elite with no regard to established rules of etiquette and make its appeal direct to youth worldwide. The graffiti styles documented in Wild Style inspired a generation of street artists who have now thoroughly infiltrated the overground art world. Stateside, hip hop eventually surpassed country as the number one music-of-choice for working and middle class America, and continues to thrive in the post-record sales music business. And though the Manhattan elite has to some extent re-established its dominance as an arbiter of culture, young hip hop artists from the Bronx to Meridian still insist on ignoring its conventions. NYC Parks SummerStage is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Wild Style Monday with a free outdoor screening at the East River Bandshell with live performances by Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Grand Wizard Theodore, the Cold Crush Brothers and Rodney C, and appearances by director Charlie Ahearn and stars Fab 5 Freddy, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones and Patti Astor.

Thirty years ago Wild Style gave a world stage to New York City’s burgeoning hip hop culture while deftly skating the chasm between its subject — young graffiti writers, break dancers, MCs and DJs making something from nothing — and the Manhattan elite that had begun to take notice. So much has happened since. Hip hop would soon bypass the cultural elite with no regard to established rules of etiquette and make its appeal direct to youth worldwide. The graffiti styles documented in Wild Style inspired a generation of street artists who have now thoroughly infiltrated the overground art world. Stateside, hip hop eventually surpassed country as the number one music-of-choice for working and middle class America, and continues to thrive in the post-record sales music business. And though the Manhattan elite has to some extent re-established its dominance as an arbiter of culture, young hip hop artists from the Bronx to Meridian still insist on ignoring its conventions. NYC Parks SummerStage is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Wild Style Monday with a free outdoor screening at the East River Bandshell with live performances by Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Grand Wizard Theodore, the Cold Crush Brothers and Rodney C, and appearances by director Charlie Ahearn and stars Fab 5 Freddy, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones and Patti Astor.


SHOREDITCH, LONDON

London circa 1927 — a personal study of Claude Friese-Greene, the inventor of the Friese-Greene Colour Process, and of “a shy wendy” as well.


The grand old families of Long Island — the Buchanans of ‘East Egg’ — and their disdain for the flamboyant nouveau riche of ‘West Egg’ are the kingpin of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. As you’ll know if you’ve read the book, or if you see the Baz Luhrmann adaptation — for which he wrote the screenplay in a loft suite at Ace Hotel New York — premiering today, West Egg’s prince of thieves is represented by the Prohibition-era rumrunner with an inferiority complex and a broken heart of gold, Jay Gatsby. Why would generations of Americans below tycoon-status be so drawn to a story in some ways so remote from their own lives, dealing as it does with an obtuse schism between rival factions of the over-privileged? Likely, it’s due to Jay Gatsby’s humble origins, and the shame he felt about them, coupled with his unrequited love — both of which make him universally relatable. He’s a prototype for the conflicted American social climber, most eloquently expressed today in hip hop. We don’t begrudge him his excess because he feels like one of our own. And none of it — the fancy cars, the lavish parties, the jazz orchestras imported from Harlem — can salve the wounded soul of this striver anyway. His hopeless inner struggle humanizes him. Even after the robber barons of the Jazz Age drove the country off a cliff there was still a place in America’s heart for Jay Gatsby.
The Gatsbys and Buchanans of today’s West and East Egg are less nuanced. The rumrunner tycoons are all gone. They’ve been replaced by investment banks that bundle predatory loans and sell them to your grandparents’ pension funds, then short sell against those same loans, to make a killing when families get foreclosed on in Jamaica, Queens or Cleveland, Ohio, and your grandparents lose their life savings. You know the story well — its choose-your-own-misadventure variations are nearly endless.
In our Gilded Age, if you’re more than a few rungs up, there’s little or no social consequence for ethically dubious schemes, as there was for poor Gatsby’s rumrunning. When a Gatsby of 2013 gets busted, he settles for pennies on the dollar and celebrates by treating himself to a Picasso. Our East and West Eggers’ soirées still depend upon the fruits of creative labor. Without artists, the party would be a drag. Even acute protestations end up on the penthouse walls.
As Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby hits screens today, we’ll face an invitation to inquire into how history repeats itself — how are tensions between landed gentry and lottery winners, between philanthropists and studio-squatters, between the desire to be an object of envy and the deep human need to struggle toward our fantasies, ideals and visions — how are these the sheer force by which a developed and developing world orbits? We’re human, imperfect, compassionate, greedy, and full of yearning. It looks good on the big screen — it’s fucking beautiful. Good sugar with a bit of vinegar between the lines of the great American novel.

The grand old families of Long Island — the Buchanans of ‘East Egg’  and their disdain for the flamboyant nouveau riche of ‘West Egg’ are the kingpin of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. As you’ll know if you’ve read the book, or if you see the Baz Luhrmann adaptation — for which he wrote the screenplay in a loft suite at Ace Hotel New York — premiering today, West Egg’s prince of thieves is represented by the Prohibition-era rumrunner with an inferiority complex and a broken heart of gold, Jay Gatsby. Why would generations of Americans below tycoon-status be so drawn to a story in some ways so remote from their own lives, dealing as it does with an obtuse schism between rival factions of the over-privileged? Likely, it’s due to Jay Gatsby’s humble origins, and the shame he felt about them, coupled with his unrequited love  both of which make him universally relatable. He’s a prototype for the conflicted American social climber, most eloquently expressed today in hip hop. We don’t begrudge him his excess because he feels like one of our own. And none of it — the fancy cars, the lavish parties, the jazz orchestras imported from Harlem — can salve the wounded soul of this striver anyway. His hopeless inner struggle humanizes him. Even after the robber barons of the Jazz Age drove the country off a cliff there was still a place in America’s heart for Jay Gatsby.

The Gatsbys and Buchanans of today’s West and East Egg are less nuanced. The rumrunner tycoons are all gone. They’ve been replaced by investment banks that bundle predatory loans and sell them to your grandparents’ pension funds, then short sell against those same loans, to make a killing when families get foreclosed on in Jamaica, Queens or Cleveland, Ohio, and your grandparents lose their life savings. You know the story well  its choose-your-own-misadventure variations are nearly endless.

In our Gilded Age, if you’re more than a few rungs up, there’s little or no social consequence for ethically dubious schemes, as there was for poor Gatsby’s rumrunning. When a Gatsby of 2013 gets busted, he settles for pennies on the dollar and celebrates by treating himself to a Picasso. Our East and West Eggers’ soirées still depend upon the fruits of creative labor. Without artists, the party would be a drag. Even acute protestations end up on the penthouse walls.

As Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby hits screens today, we’ll face an invitation to inquire into how history repeats itself  how are tensions between landed gentry and lottery winners, between philanthropists and studio-squatters, between the desire to be an object of envy and the deep human need to struggle toward our fantasies, ideals and visions  how are these the sheer force by which a developed and developing world orbits? We’re human, imperfect, compassionate, greedy, and full of yearning. It looks good on the big screen  it’s fucking beautiful. Good sugar with a bit of vinegar between the lines of the great American novel.


Every Woody Allen stammer from every Woody Allen movie.


Some fake ass propaganda shit. We know how it’s done.

Make your own kinda music and submit it to the 2013 Cha Cha Lounge Independent Skateboard Film Festival in LA. Created by and for skateboarders, the festival aims to shine a light on some of skateboarding’s under-appreciated talent by recognizing the best independent filmmakers and skaters. New work is being considered for categories including Best Short and Long Form, Best Single Skater and Best Film Wildcard.

Get your reels turning and send your film in by April 24. Screenings and awards run May 28-30 at the Cha Cha Lounge in Los Angeles, and online.


BROOKLYN CASTLE

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We’re proud to have sponsored a screening of the fantastic documentary Brooklyn Castle for afterschool students at St. Nicks Alliance in Williamsburg. The film is nominated for an NAACP Image Award at tonight’s awards show, and it’ll be available on iTunes February 5. If you yourself haven’t yet seen the film, find a way to do so — and contact them about sponsoring more kids from public schools to attend screenings at independent theaters around Manhattan and surrounding boroughs.

Though she’s getting ready to give birth to a chess champ herself, director Katie DellaMaggiore answered some questions for us — including a couple from the St. Nicks crew themselves.

Were you an avid chess fan prior to filming, and if not, are you one now? And! Did you ever play against any of the students from IS318?

I wasn’t a chess player before we made the film and I still don’t consider myself a chess player after finishing the film either. My husband still enjoys kicking my butt every opportunity he gets. And I’m proud to say I finally got the nerve to play my first game against one of the kids recently. It was against Pobo, and he said I actually didn’t play so bad – so I’m pretty proud of that!

What moved you to make this film?

In 2007, I read a NYT article about Shawn Martinez, a talented chess player at Murrow High School in Midwood, Brooklyn, a neighborhood just a few minutes from where I grew up. I did some digging and found out that the feeder junior high school to Murrow was I.S. 318 and that not only had they won more national chess championships than any junior high school ever, but they were basically breaking down all the tired, negative stereotypes associated with inner city public schools. I was intrigued by the idea that the story defied expectations — people don’t expect a Title I school (more than 60% of the students are from low income households) in Brooklyn to have the number one chess team in the nation.

What was it like getting to know these kids? Do you still see each other? 

In documenting the lives of our subjects trust was always our number one priority — we think the kids know they can come to us if they ever need advice or have a problem and that they can really trust us. We’re also always trying to find opportunities for them to prosper from the movie. Last summer Pobo got to speak at an afterschool conference on Capitol Hill. He did a stellar job, of course. We were able to connect Rochelle with an awesome summer job at a top law firm this summer. After four years of working on this film we’ve become a Brooklyn Castle family and we’ll likely be in each other’s lives for a long time.

Do you have plans to do any sort of follow-up documentary in a decade or two? How can we stay apprised of these kids’ lives and growth?

No plans for that yet, but it would be interesting to see something like that for sure. I mean, Pobo will most certainly be president one day, don’t you agree? We haven’t seen the last of him. He’s got a twitter account @pobama318 for anyone in need of a political advisor. Rochelle is off to Stanford, where she received a full scholarship. We’re invested in their success and we know that people that see the film feel the same way too, so we’ll keep you apprised.

What resources do you recommend to parents with kids in public school who would like to initiate this kind of program at their own school?

I.S. 318’s chess teacher Elizabeth Vicary has shared a guide for getting a chess program started in your school on our websiteThe Afterschool Alliance also has a ton of great resources on how to start an afterschool program. If you need help finding a volunteer you can reach out to two great organizations: Citizens in Schools and Community in Schools.

What’s next for you?

I’m about to have a baby, our first, any day now.  Ask me in six months.  Seriously though, we have a bunch of ideas cooking. Scott Rudin acquired the rights to remake the film into a Hollywood feature, so Brooklyn Castle could be coming again to a theater near you. Albeit, ‘based on a true story’…







Stills from Multiple Visions (The Crazy Machine), one of our favorite entries at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival. Director Emilio Maillé looks back at the hypnotic legacy left behind by master cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa. Amid a montage of Figueroa’s most unforgettable images, some of the world’s most prominent cinematographers including Darius Khondji, Javier Aguirresarobe, Janusz Kasminski and Raoul Coutard discuss the continuing impact of his striking chiaroscuros from Mexican cinema’s Golden Age on the art of film today. This is the last weekend for the fest — come get your fix of international cinema while you can and stop by and see us at Afterfest, grab a cocktail, talk some Truffaut and do a cannonball into the pool. You can even score some tickets to a screening plus some wholesome vittles and wellness treatments at the Feel Good Spa when you get a room. ¡Viva Cinéma!

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Stills from Multiple Visions (The Crazy Machine), one of our favorite entries at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival. Director Emilio Maillé looks back at the hypnotic legacy left behind by master cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa. Amid a montage of Figueroa’s most unforgettable images, some of the world’s most prominent cinematographers including Darius Khondji, Javier Aguirresarobe, Janusz Kasminski and Raoul Coutard discuss the continuing impact of his striking chiaroscuros from Mexican cinema’s Golden Age on the art of film today. This is the last weekend for the fest — come get your fix of international cinema while you can and stop by and see us at Afterfest, grab a cocktail, talk some Truffaut and do a cannonball into the pool. You can even score some tickets to a screening plus some wholesome vittles and wellness treatments at the Feel Good Spa when you get a room. ¡Viva Cinéma!






Pages of Florencio Zavala's sketchbook — Flo's teaching an illustration workshop this weekend at Summer School starting today, our semi-biannual art-making-while-imbibing situation at Ace Palm Springs. School Night Los Angeles is bringing down a bunch of great people to give workshops by the pool. All of this is going down during AfterFest, our concomitant nightly fête running throughout the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Making things is really fun, and so is watching things — it all begins this evening. Let us join together in holy lounging.

Pages of Florencio Zavala's sketchbook — Flo's teaching an illustration workshop this weekend at Summer School starting today, our semi-biannual art-making-while-imbibing situation at Ace Palm Springs. School Night Los Angeles is bringing down a bunch of great people to give workshops by the pool. All of this is going down during AfterFest, our concomitant nightly fête running throughout the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Making things is really fun, and so is watching things — it all begins this evening. Let us join together in holy lounging.








Stills from Blancanieves, a silent, monochromatic re-invention of the Grimm fairytale Snow White by director Pablo Berger. The film is set in 1920s Spain and brings to life a gored matador, a wicked nurse, a band of dwarves and a phosphorescent poisonous apple. Blancanieves breaks its mesmerizing message in a champagne bottle over the hull of the Palm Springs International Film Festival tomorrow at the festival’s opening night. Standby tickets are available at the door only. Join us afterward for Afterfest — running throughout the festival — where you can catch late night festivities, good food and some tipsy armchair film criticism by the hot tub. We still have some rooms open this weekend, and you can try your hand at winning two nights from Kiehl’s — who are also working with us to support the Desert AIDS Project during the festival — at Ace Palm Springs if you enter by noon PST Thursday. ¡Olé!

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Stills from Blancanieves, a silent, monochromatic re-invention of the Grimm fairytale Snow White by director Pablo Berger. The film is set in 1920s Spain and brings to life a gored matador, a wicked nurse, a band of dwarves and a phosphorescent poisonous apple. Blancanieves breaks its mesmerizing message in a champagne bottle over the hull of the Palm Springs International Film Festival tomorrow at the festival’s opening night. Standby tickets are available at the door only. Join us afterward for Afterfest — running throughout the festival — where you can catch late night festivities, good food and some tipsy armchair film criticism by the hot tub. We still have some rooms open this weekend, and you can try your hand at winning two nights from Kiehl’s — who are also working with us to support the Desert AIDS Project during the festival — at Ace Palm Springs if you enter by noon PST Thursday. ¡Olé!


A tour of Chris Rubino's studio in Brooklyn from Love Kills Demons, a twelve-part film portrait by Jim Helton. Chris is an Ace NYC artist — he was there right at the start making huge canvases for some rooms that still count among our favorites. He is an artist with a sacred air about him — at once passionate and cynical about beauty, he is pretty beautiful himself. You can see more about him from the early days of our blog.


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