Thursday, November 19, 2015

23rd Annual New York African Diaspora International Film Festival Nov 27 to Dec 13 2015

From a media release:

November 27 to December 13, 2015

Find out about the Festival here 
Find out about their South Africa focus here 
Download the complete schedule

New York, November 18, 2015 -- New York City is considered the center of independent cinema in the US. The large number of film festivals that showcase independent films from all over the world in New York City is remarkable. The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is one of those festivals.

The 23rd African Diaspora Film Festival is to be held in Manhattan, New York City from November 27 to December 13 at MIST Harlem, Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas and Teachers College, Columbia University with the presentation of more than 50 films, including 26 US and NY Premieres.

Dedicated to showcasing independent films that explore the human experience of people of color, ADIFF has enriched for many years the cultural landscape of New York City and is proud to announce, as part of its 23rd edition, a selection of films Made in New York and/or directed by New York based filmmakers.

• "The Bicycle" by James Richards is a Queens set family film that takes a child and an adult on a journey through the many worlds that make up their community thus connecting them in a way neither could have imagined.
• "Cu-Bop: Cuba -- New York Music Documentary" by Shinichi Takahashi follows the gifted young Cuban pianist Axel Tosca who lives in New York City, and performs as the leader of (U)NITY, a band which fuses Afro-Cuban culture with modern jazz and hip-hop.
• "Shelter" by Paul Bettany and starring Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie tackles drug addiction and homelessness in the streets of Manhattan.
• "The Challenger" by Kent Moran, featuring Michael Clarke Duncan in his last role,  is a boxing drama set in the Bronx.
• "Lift Every Voice" by Dallas Alexis is about a teacher who was able to get her students motivated and interested into the New York State/City High School  Regents' Exams by incorporating RAP and HIP-HOP into her lectures.

• Stanley Nelson will present his latest documentary "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" about the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party during the 1960s and beyond
• Sabrina Schmidt Gordon will present her documentary "BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez" about the legendary poet, playwright, activist and seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement (pictured right).
• Carol Bash will present her documentary "Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings The Band" about the pianist and composer who helped shape the sound of 20th century America with her innovative style.
• Jordi Torrens will present "Invisible Heroes: African American in the Spanish Civil War" which tells the remarkable story of African Americans who fought as volunteers in Spain for democracy and for civil rights that were denied to them in their own country
• Melissa Lefkowitz and Dorian Carli-Jones will present their film "China Remix" a short documentary that explores  the Chinese city Guangzhou"™s burgeoning African entertainment industry.
• Geeta Gandbhir will present her documentary "A Journey Of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers" which follows three women in an all-female, predominantly Muslim unit of police officers sent to post-earthquake Haiti as UN Peacekeepers for one year.
• James Richards, director of "The Bicycle" and Dallas Alexis, director of "Lift Every Voice" are also New York based filmmakers.

The African Diaspora International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.
  ....that showcases films about the human experience of people  of color all over the world
  ....that offers an alternative world view
  ....that enhances the cultural landscape of the USA
  ....that encourages dialog across communities
  ....that could use your support

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Recently Released: The Liquorsmiths - This Book Belongs To (Inhesion Records: August 21st 2015)

With material from a release:

Recently Released:
The Liquorsmiths - This Book Belongs To
(Inhesion Records: August 21st, 2015)

Buy the CD

The members of Liquorsmith come together in San Diego, CA, although only one is permanently based there. The others come from San Francisco and as far away as New York City. The exercise seems worth it, however, if this kind of music is the result.

This Book Belongs To is their recent release, a six-track EP. The Liquorsmiths take the familiar and laid back folk/rock vibe and add a layer of musical complexity at all levels that elevates it well above the usual fare.

It begins with Coy With Me, a rollicking track with a swingy pulse. 'Laid back' is perhaps misleading; Get Well Soon (the lead single) trips along with an upbeat energy, the lyrics treading the territory of relationships and personal affairs in the folk tradition.

Take all that I have
Give it away
Put dogs and shoes in its place
And I'll stay
Because here I have what I need...

There's a charming sincerity to Drew Thams' vocals; he plays it straight with the lyrics and it works nicely, giving his voice an expressive range.

I confess to a fondness for a country waltz and that's delivered nicely in Iris' Song and Thief offers an interesting rhythmic complexity. In a trio, everyone needs to do time and a half or thereabouts and the bar is set high for musical chops. That's clear on Devil I Do with its hypnotic groove.

The group usually performs as a trio with frequent guest appearances by friends and family. They've been performing along the West Coast and in the folk festival circuit and have shared the stage with a variety of artists at all levels, including Mike Pope, The Marshall Tucker Band, William Walter, John C. Reilly, and many others.

It's worth a listen if only for the drumming alone. Americana is a familiar genre, sure, but the Liquorsmiths manage to mine new territory within it.

Members/Instruments: Drew Thams - Vocals / Guitar, Ryan Fischer - Keyboards / Drums / Percussion, Clayton Payne - Drums / Percussion

01 Coy With Me
02 Get Well Soon
03 Iris' Song
04 Thief
05 Devil I Do
06 Day By Day

Stay in touch:

Using an Antique Typewriter, Egg Shaker, Toy Xylophone and a beat up guitar, The Liquorsmiths perform a Tiny Desk rendition of "Coy With Me."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

International Art News: 6th Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen goes to Jennifer Tee

From a media release:

International Art News: 
6th Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen goes to Jennifer Tee
The Soul in Limbo, Jennifer Tee's first museum solo exhibition in the Netherlands.

Prize presentation and exhibition opening of The Soul in Limbo by Jennifer Tee on 22 November 2015 in the Cobra Museum of Modern Art.
Jennifer Tee meets Cobra: collaboration between the Cobra Museum and Kunstverein Amsterdam. Alongside Jennifer Tee, works from the Cobra Museum by Pierre Alechinsky, Reinhoud, Eugène Brands and Frits Lemaire will also be on view. On show in the Kunstverein Amsterdam from 27 November.

AMSTELVEEN, NL - Jennifer Tee (NL 1973) is the winner of the 6th edition of the Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen. With this award The Cobra Museum of Modern Art and the Amstelveen Municipality aim to draw attention to the values of the Cobra movement - experimental, engaged and interdisciplinary - in relation to contemporary art. Headed by Saskia van Kampen, curator at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the jury remarked, “Over many years Jennifer Tee has shown herself to be a unique multi-talent, who can throw herself into making a thought-provoking choreography with the same apparent ease as creating a huge hanging sculpture. And it is extraordinary how, no matter how multi-layered her work may be, it still remains accessible for a wide public. The jury was unanimous in its decision to award the 2015 Cobra Art Prize to the multi-disciplinary artist, Jennifer Tee.” (Jennifer Tee, Shuudan Koudou (collective action), Ether Plane / Material Diagram series 4, plate 3, 50 x 84 cm)

Jennifer Tee
Jennifer Tee's work is very diverse in form, from almost impossible to make ceramics to hand-knitted floorpieces from curved bamboo floating in fragile balance to complex performances. Collaboration with others (artists, graphic designers, choreographers) and the surroundings in which a work is created play an important role. One example is the progressive manner with which Tee investigates the changeability and complexity of constantly overlapping cultures. Her work attempts to capture and reactivate recurring themes in Western culture and art history and to permeate them with Eastern philosophy.

Exhibition: The Soul in Limbo, until 21 February 2016
The Soul in Limbo* is the first museum retrospective of Tee's work to be held in the Netherlands. Taking the themes of 'Language', 'Choreography' and ‘Occult Geometry’, the exhibition looks back on her work's development over the last 10 years and includes new pathways extending into the future. Elements from Tee's previous installations are grouped in each section and include banners, ceramic vases, spheres and masks, photography, sculpture, knitted floor pieces and diagrams. The exhibition also features material connected with her work processes and sources of inspiration.

*The title of the exhibition is taken from the statement, “I am the soul in limbo”, made by Nadja, the central character in the eponymous novel by André Breton.

Right: publication dust-jacket, The Soul in Limbo, designed by Richard Niessen, 2015.

Written, spoken and sung language make up a recurring theme in much of Tee's work. The language-based performances in particular are a key part of her oeuvre. Tee's interest in written language has led to research into Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese calligraphy - both forms in which texts and symbols show an affinity with choreography. The performances have gone on to develop more and more into remarkably devised choreographies. Three of these performances and choreographies will be carried out during the exhibition. Left: Jennifer Tee, Star Crossed, performance for the exhibition Nether Land, Shanghai Expo, China, 2010 © Photo by Peter Cox

Exhibition: Jennifer Tee meets Cobra
Simultaneously with the exhibition in Amstelveen, there will be a show of works at the Kunstverein in Amsterdam chosen by Jennifer Tee and Maxime Kopsa (Kunstverein) from the Cobra Museum collection. Works by Pierre Alechinsky, Reinhoud, Eugène Brands and Frits Lemaire will be displayed along with a work by Tee. 27 November – 2 January 2016

Publication: The Soul in Limbo
The Soul in Limbo is a monograph compiled by Jennifer Tee in collaboration with Hilde de Bruijn. Some of the images have never before been published. Articles by Zoë Gray (Senior Curator, Wiels, Brussel), Maxine Kopsa (director, Kunstverein, Amsterdam) and Monica Szewczyk (co-curator, Documenta 14) interpret Tee's work. The Soul in Limbo was designed by Richard Niessen and published by Roma Publications. The book presentation will be held on Sunday, 29 November (during the Amsterdam Art Weekend) from 12:00 in the Kunstverein at 132 Gerard Doustraat, Amsterdam. (Right: Jennifer Tee left: Heart Ferment, ceramic urn filled with crystals and spices, 2014 right: Star-Crossed, Witte de With, Expo 2010,Shanghai)

Previous winners of the Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen:
Joost Conijn 2005; Johannes Schwartz 2007; Gijs Frieling 2009; Nathaniel Mellors 2011; Metahaven 2014

The Cobra Art Prize jury consisted of Saskia van Kampen-Prein (curator, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, chair), Roos Gortzak (director, De Vleeshal, Middelburg), Domeniek Ruyters (chief editor, MetropolisM) and Katja Weitering (artistic director, Cobra Museum). The Cobra Art Prize committee members are Marieke Sanders-ten Holte, Mels Crouwel, Eelco Dijk and Els Ottenhof. The publication was made possible through support by Galerie Fons Welters, the Mondriaan Fund, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, and the Tijl Fund. With special thanks to Zwaan Printmedia.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Canada’s luxury travel expert Tamara Moore stars in Après Ski on SliceTM Premiere episode November 17 2015

From a media release:

Canada’s luxury lifestyle and travel expert 
Tamara Moore stars in new series Après Ski on SliceTM
Premiere episode to air November 17, 2015

Escape the winter blues with exceptional trips from Ascent Behave

• Check out a preview of episode #1 here

TORONTO, ON – Tamara Moore, owner and president of Ascent Behave, is a top luxury lifestyle and travel expert who offers luxe-getaway seekers premiere vacations and travel services. With more than 15 years working with Hollywood elite, Moore has garnered a reputation as one of the country’s leading authorities in luxury travel.

This Canadian travel maven and TV personality is also starring in Après Ski, a new docu-series premiering Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 11pm EST/8pm PST on SliceTM. Set in Whistler, British Columbia, the show centers around Canadian hospitality mogul Joey Gibbons’ travel concierge business Gibbons Life, Moore the CEO of Gibbons Life and their dynamic team members who work to orchestrate unforgettable experiences for clients – and who will do anything to make it big in the travel concierge business.

“I have always had a great passion for discovering the world and providing people with unforgettable experiences,” said Moore. “There are so many beautiful and interesting places to visit and I help to ensure my clients go to the most luxurious spots with incredible service, food and atmosphere.”

Based in Toronto and founded in 2010, luxury lifestyle/travel concierge company Ascent Behave offers an unparalleled ability to create bespoke experiences through its unique partner properties, brand partnerships and celebrity access to provide superior experiences for its affluent clientele.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Indie Rock Review: Andy Evans - Miracle (Independent - January 26, 2016)

With material from a release:

Indie Rock Review:
Andy Evans - Miracle
(Independent - January 26, 2016)

Miracle is the first solo release for Texas based songwriter, guitarist and singer Andy Evans. It's a  interesting album with a musical depth beyond that of your typical singer/songwriter.

From an avant garde intro, the CD launches into Lesson Learned, a track that showcases Andy's vocals with acoustic guitar and piano to back it up. His voice is rich with a nice edge at the lower end of his range that suits the philosophical lyrics,

You live and you learn
You see the advice of wiser ones
Cause ou might fall and you might get burned
Just chalk it up as a lesson learned

Overall, the album focuses on Andy's warm voice and accomplished musical chops in a laid back, folk/country/rock mode with the help of equally accomplished back-up musicians. Rhythmic variations add texture and a lot of interest. Production by Nick Jay offers a nice full sound.

Each track offers something new stylistically. Shape of Love features horns in a swingy country rock vibe with a New Orleans flair and interesting rhythmic complexity. Judas takes a step both back and forward into a spacey Seventies rock mode. Wish She Was Mine is slower and soulful, complete with a fat B3 and slide guitar to add to the sense of emotion.

Make It is a highlight, with its spooky retro rock riffs and a perfect adaptation of his vocals to an edgy, distorted sound. Miracle, the first single and title track, is another highlight with it strong, jazzy rhythmic pulse and danceable grooves.

Andy has been active for many years on the local music scene in central Texas, playing guitar, singing and building a following as the front man of the blues/rock outfit Andy Evans & The Brotherhood. He has played shows with Brandon and Sam Riggs and has frequently collaborated with North Texas singing/songwriting fixture Clayton Landua of Six Market Blvd.

Now firmly established in Austin, Texas, Andy Evans is currently putting together a series of live shows in support of this first release.

Track Listing: 
1. Intro; 2. Miracle; 3. 45; 4. Lesson Learned; 5. Shape Of Love; 6. Judas; 7. I wish She Was Mine; 8. Elemental; 9. Make It


Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale November 17 2015 to January 3 2016 in Toronto

From a media release:

Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale
with Taylor Dayne
Winter Garden Theatre • 189 Yonge Street

Get tickets

TORONTO - DEE SNIDER’S ROCK & ROLL CHRISTMAS TALE tells the story of Däisy Cütter, a heavy metal bar band looking to make it big even though the 80s are LONG over. This year, these four guys are ready to take the ultimate step and, in mythic rock tradition, sell their souls to the devil in exchange for success beyond their wildest metal dreams! But every time they try to seal the infernal pact, their head-banging anthems turn into warm-hearted carols. Soon these rockers are forced to realize their dreams of stardom are no match for the Christmas spirit.

Dee Snider, lead singer of Twisted Sister, has created and stars in a VERY funny, VERY rocking and (sshhh!) VERY sweet new holiday musical, guaranteed to rock your whole family’s holiday and twist your Christmas.

Facebook: DeeSniderXmas
Twitter: @DSXMAS

Monday, November 9, 2015

Travel News: Air Canada Makes Up with Musicians

Travel News:
Air Canada Revises Policy on Musical Instruments

Tales of musicians, their travels and their instruments don't always have a happy ending, sad to say. Air Canada has been on the receiving end of a number of high profile complaints including Hamilton musician Stephen Fearing (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings) and his 2014 Twitter war over a lost (temporarily, luckily) guitar and Bryan Adams' recent inquiries over black magic marker on his guitar last summer.

Still, it looks like the airline is getting the message and recently came out with revised guidelines for instruments.

You can view the full guidelines here.

The important points are as follows:

• Instruments that otherwise meet the guidelines for carry-on luggage can be brought in the cabin and stored in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.
• String instruments (e.g. guitars, violins and violas) can be carried on board - even if their dimensions slightly exceed the carry-on size limits.
• The airline now offers a 50% discount off any fare, including the lowest available one, to customers who would like to purchase a seat to accommodate their musical instrument in the same cabin that they are booked in.
• If you’re traveling with a musical instrument as carry-on, you will now be invited to board the plane during pre-boarding in advance of general boarding so you’ll have a little more time to store your precious possession in an overhead bin close to your seat. If you need help with this, a flight attendants will be happy to assist.

This looks to be one of the more liberal policies anywhere in the world. In contrast, US carriers were only just mandated to allow musicians to carry smaller instruments - including guitars - in the cabin as checked luggage. Qantas doesn't allow any guitars in the cabin and beware of Lufthansa, where musical instruments need pre-registration and where extra fees apply.

A parody of the bad old days - But those days are over musical friends!