Showing posts with label documentaries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label documentaries. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Prime cut: Documentary offers a day in the life of Michael Saviello, longtime manager of the iconic Astor Place Hairstylists

Nicolas Heller has been getting his hair cut at Astor Place Hairstylists since he was a kid.

Heller, a filmmaker (aka New York Nico), had never talked with Michael Saviello, better known as Big Mike, the shop's manager for nearly 40 years. About a year ago, Heller used the restroom there, and spotted Big Mike in the storage area — painting.

"I had to hear what his deal was after that," Heller says with a laugh.

The end result is "Big Mike Takes Lunch,” Heller's documentary that captures a day in the life of the longtime manager at Astor Place Hairstylists, which opened in 1947 at 2 Astor Place at Broadway. For the past year, Big Mike has spent his lunch break painting, an activity that he hasn’t done since high school.

Per the documentary's description: "Follow Mike as he takes you on a journey through his shop full of characters and the storage unit he’s turned into his personal art studio."

In conjunction with the screening of the film, Big Mike will be having his first-ever art show at Astor Place Hairstylists on Saturday night at 8:30. RSVP to if you want to attend.

Meanwhile, Heller shared a copy of the 12-minute film here for EVG readers...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Meet the Man in the Van

You may recall reading about Jimmy Tarangelo back in March. For the past eight years, he has lived with his four dogs in a 20-foot-long Boise Cascade Aristocrat (with a Ford Econoline for storage) over on a street in the West Village...

Now, Brooklyn-based filmmaker Sean P. Dunne has put together a fascinating six-minute documentary on Tarangelo.

Man In Van from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

For further reading:

Mobile Home (New York magazine)

The Aristocrat: The Mystery of the West Village Camper (Scouting New York)

Van man sleeps in park (New York Post)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

NYC "remains a hotbed for con artists (whether small-time hustlers or real estate developers) and more importantly, fresh ideas"

Noelia Santos caught "Blank City" Saturday night at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's how Santos describes the documentary by Celine Danhier for MovieMaker Magazine: "It is an enjoyable chronicle of the giddy, nihilistic moviemaking style that emerged alongside the No Wave music scene of late 1970s/early 1980s in New York."

Here's more from the article by Santos:

Some of the best quotes she gets come from today’s well-known indie actors and directors who emerged from or alongside the downtown New York art scene of the late '70s-early ‘80s . . . like Jim Jarmusch, whose early films like 'Permanent Vacation' and 'Stranger Than Paradise' featured his friends hanging out in their run-down apartments and walking the streets of the then-dilapidated Lower East Side. Instead of lamenting the co-option of downtown DIY culture into mainstream condo living, he notes that 'New York was always about trade, commerce and thievery' — and that it remains a hotbed for con artists (whether small-time hustlers or real estate developers) and more importantly, fresh ideas.

In talking with several of these moviemakers afterwards, it seemed the freshness still hasn’t worn off. Michael Oblowitz (1983’s King Blank) is still making movies. Nick Zedd is now painting and getting into fashion design. But some, like James Chance, are probably simply inspiring others to be themselves.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coming soon to the Tribeca Film Festival

Two documentaries worth noting (among others) ...

Here's how "Blank City" is described in the Tribeca Film Festival program by Cara Cusumano:

New York City in the late 1970s. Underground filmmakers collaborated with experimental musicians and vanguard performance artists, all on a shoestring budget, to create the most daring work of their generation. In stark contrast to the poverty and crime that seemed rampant in the economically struggling city, a community of aggressive, confrontational, vibrant artists flourished: hole-in-the-wall screening rooms abounded, manifestos circulated, and Jim Jarmusch, Nick Zedd, and Amos Poe debuted early works to an audience of their peers. These short-lived but profoundly influential movements dubbed themselves "No Wave Cinema" and "Cinema of Transgression."

Director Celine Danhier brings energy and style to her encyclopedic documentary on the figures and history of this rich but gritty era. Blank City includes compelling interviews with such luminaries as Jarmusch, Zedd, Poe, John Waters, Steve Buscemi, Lydia Lunch, Lizzie Borden, Eric Mitchell, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Bette Gordon, Glenn O'Brien, John Lurie, and anyone who was anyone in the late-'70s East Village art scene. Ample film clips from seminal works bring to life a time and a place lost to gentrification and commercialization in the '80s, but that lives on in a still-thriving tradition of avant-garde art.

Then there's “Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB" directed by 34-Mandy Stein. (She's the daughter of Sire Records honcho Seymour Stein.) You may read the description of it here.

Danhier and Stein are interviewed in this week's Downtown Express. Stein adheres to a familiar philosophy:

After CBGB’s closed, the space remained empty for a year before John Varvatos moved in with a men’s apparel shop in 2008. He preserved as much of the original club as possible, with walls covered in graffiti and flyers, and rock memorabilia all around. “Thank GOD for John it’s not a Duane Reade,” Stein says.

Meanwhile, Danhier, who grew up in Paris and first saw New York watching "After Hours," had this to say:

In Danhier’s view, the East Village today is, “Construction, construction, construction. It feels strange because a lot of the new constructions don’t seem to fit with the landscape. I do think it’s very tame now. That feeling of being on the edge of something is gone. But, then you find other parts of New York to go to — areas of Brooklyn or a new place in Manhattan will open up — and you’ll feel that energy once again. It just is always shifting around,” she says.

Tix for the festival go on sale Monday ... though downtown residents can buy their tix starting Sunday...(They went on sale for AmEx holders Tuesday...) The TFF runs April 22 through what seems like November. (OK, OK -- May 3)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"After watching all three films, New York just looks like the craziest place on Earth"

We've talked before about the work of photographer/filmmaker Richard Sandler. He has made several documentaries, including Brave New York, which chronicles the East Village from 1988-2003. Then there's Sway, which is 14 years of camcorder-recorded subway rides that have been edited together. These two films -- along with Subway to the Former East Village -- are being released on Brink DVD today.

Mike Everleth reviews the package in Bad Lit:

After watching all three films, New York just looks like the craziest place on Earth, which, for some including myself and obviously for Sandler, makes it just about the most beautiful place on Earth. There’s one touching scene in Sway when Sandler talks with an elderly gentleman about how great NYC is. The old man can’t find anything to love about it while Sandler gushes about the amazing parade of life that passes by everyday. And thank God Sandler was there with a camera to catch it all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

No word on Cloverfield 2, though

At least three pictures at this year’s Toronto Film Festival "take an unusually deep look at the city as it roiled its way through the messy, magnificent, slightly mad 1970s." (New York Times via Gawker)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why the Village East Cinemas will be showing documentaries all this week

The Post explains:

It used to be that movies in the documentary category had to play for at least three consecutive days in 12 different cities, sometimes resulting in token showings at off hours in the hinterlands.
But now, to be nominated for an Oscar for a full-feature documentary, the films have to play at least twice a day for seven consecutive days in both Manhattan and Los Angeles before the end of August.
That's why the city is overstuffed with documentary screenings this week, with a dozen flicks opening here to make the cut.
The Village East Theater at Second Avenue and East 12th Street is offering two showings a day of the documentaries "Loot," "Fuel," "Crossing Borders," "An Omar Broadway Film," "War Games," "The Choir," "No Subtitles Necessary: Laslo and Vilmos," "The Dalai Lama Film" and "Blessed is the Match."

Beats Indiana Jones on all the screens.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Reminder tonight!: Richard Sandler

Two documentaries by Richard Sandler, Brave New York and Sway, are playing tonight in the community garden at Sixth Street and Avenue B. (Brave New York chronicles the East Village from 1988-2003.)

Previously on EV Grieve:
Richard Sandler's New York City

[Image: Richard Sandler, 1982]

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tonight: Captured at Webster Hall

[Image by Clayton Patterson]

Clayton Patterson is the artist and documentarian who has been chronicling the changes in the Lower East Side since he first set up shop here in the early 1980s. Some of his 100,000 photos and 10,000 hours worth of footage went into Captured, which plays tonight at Webster Hall.

Here's a trailer for the film:

Also, Patterson, who grew up in Canada, was featured in yesterday's Toronto Globe and Mail.

Patterson never had much trouble gaining access to the sort of people who might normally be suspicious of a camera in their midst - drug dealers and users, gang members, others on the margins of society - in part because he shoots without judgment. But Captured shows that newcomers to the neighbourhood -- like developers putting up $3-million condos on the Bowery -- are suspicious of his camera.

Previously on EV Grieve:
When I go out my door now, I don’t see anyone I know. I see the loss of a community.”