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Organ Virtuoso Booker T. Jones Played A Retrospective in City Winery and is On Stage At Lincoln Center July 12th

Preview/Review by Brad Balfour & Bruce Alexander
Photo Above: Bruce Alexander

Lincoln Center Presents
Summer for the City Social Dance
The Stax Academy Rhythm Section
Plus a Special Appearance by Booker T. Jones
Wednesday, July 12
7 pm
The Josie Robertson Plaza

Booker T. Jones in Conversation: A Career Retrospective
David Rubenstein Atrium
Wednesday, July 12
5 pm

Booker T. Jones
April 15th, 2023
8 pm
City Winery Main Venue

The legendary organist Booker T. Jones and his current band performed an amazing gig at The City Winery to celebrate his groundbreaking 1962Green Onions” recording. The pop hit was not only unique for being an instrumental but one based on riff heard through Jones’ articulation of the Hammond organ keyboards.

Over 60 years ago, Jones had started playing with his famous group, Booker T. and The MGs, which included guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald Duck Dunn and drummer Al Jackson. Jones had kept The MGs going until bass player Donald Duck Dunn passed away. Drummer Al Jackson died way back in 1975 and guitar player Steve Cropper retired. 

Jones opened his set with “Soul Dressing,” followed by other classics like “Summertime” and “Hip Hugger.” His new killer band now features Vernon “Ice" Black on guitar, Darin Gray on drums and Melvin Brannon on bass. Besides playing the keys, Jones also came out to play several songs on guitar. In addition, it featured a fantastic young female singer who came out on stage to do a killer version of “Respect” , almost stealing the show from him.

He talked about playing with the late soul legend singer Bill Withers and then proceeded to perform “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Jones then went into a groovy tune called “Melting Pot” followed by “Soul Limbo” and “Time Is Time.” That composition had been created for a film score for the movie ” Up Tight.” Booker came back to finish the night with “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and “Everything is Everything.”

Of course the Grammy winner played “Green Onions” and proved to be as great as he had been back then when he had this hit. City Winery was packed and Booker T. Jones delivered.

Since Booker T has not lost his magic touch, audiences are clamoring to see him. That’s now possible this Wednesday, July 12th. First, at 5 pm, there will be “Booker T. Jones: A Career Retrospective” — and he will be in conversation with Memphis-based DJ Jared “Jay B.” Boyd as they kick off a Southern soul evening.

Then at 7pm, The Stax Academy Rhythm Section will play at The Dance Floor in the Josie Robertson Plaza — which features an appearance by this Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Booker T. Jones— for a Memphis- style Southern soul party.

And it’s all Free!

East Village Zine Fair: Xeroxed Punk


Fire up your Risograph printer and make sure you got plenty of staples, because the East Village Zine Fair is coming to town. Running July 8th to 9th at Performance Space New York (150 First Ave, 4th Floor), this is the third installment of the Zine Fair which celebrates zine-makers, independent publishers, and the East Village’s history of DIY culture past and present.

Attending exhibitors include:

  • ‘cademy
  • @nd
  • ABC No Rio Zine Library
  • Ada Z Shen
  • Alexander Laird/Frog Farm
  • Anti-Eviction Mapping Project
  • Allied Productions, Inc. / Le Petit Versailles
  • Desert Island
  • Disengineering Society
  • Dizzy Books
  • EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop
  • Endless Editions
  • Falgoush
  • FalseHazard
  • First Street Garden
  • Friend of a Friend
  • Fugitive Materials
  • GenderFail
  • Heather Benjamin
  • Random Man Editions
  • Raw Meat
  • Research and Destroy New York City
  • Roundtable
  • Secret Riso Club

And many more.

For those of you with your own self-published zine but were unable to get a table at the show, 8-Ball will have a Drop-Off Table where anyone can sell their zines. You can drop off a stack of up to 6 zines, of which 8-Ball will sell 5 and keep 1 to be entered into their archive/library. Zines are a pocket-sized window into the avant-garde, the progressive, and savage creativity fostered by New York’s long history of arts and punk culture colliding.

To learn more, go to:

East Village Zine Fair
July 8 - 9, 2023

Performance Space New York
150 First Ave
New York, NY 10009


Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2023

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2023
Through March 12, 2023
Film at Lincoln Center, New York, NY
Of the 21 films in this year’s annual slate of new French films—I managed to catch a baker’s dozen—several were nominated for the Cesar Awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars), and at last weekend’s ceremony a couple features actually won some of the biggest prizes. Here are reviews of 10 Rendez-Vous selections.
Revoir Paris
Revoir Paris (Music Box Films; opens June 23), Alice Winocour’s latest psychological study of individuals under duress, alternates between perceptive and cursory as it follows Mia, a Russian translator who survives a horrific mass shooting in a  Parisian café and tries to deal with its disastrous emotional and physical aftermath. As Mia, Virginie Efira won the best actress Cesar for her devastating performance, which goes a long way toward making the film seem more penetrating than it is. 
Other People's Children
Efira performs a similar miracle in Other People’s Children (Music Box Films, opens April 21) as Rachel, a schoolteacher without her own children who loves her boyfriend Ali’s young daughter Leila as if she was her own—until his ex-wife initiates a reunion that might squeeze Rachel out of their lives altogether. Rebecca Zlotowski’s delicate writing and directing provide Efira with an another showcase for her emotionally shattering acting; ideally, she should have won the Cesar for both of her draining portrayals.
The Night of the 12th
The big Cesar winner, The Night of the 12th, Dominick Moll’s absorbing police procedural, captured six awards, including best film, director and screenplay. Beginning as an investigation into a young woman who is gruesomely burned to death after leaving a friend’s house one night, it soon morphs into something completely different—the case is never solved but Moll damningly shows how misogyny permeates every facet of French society; even the magistrate who takes over the case after several years (played the excellent and long-missed Anouk Grinberg) cannot force the issue to her eternal regret.
Brother and Sister
After his disappointing last feature, Deception—a wan Philip Roth adaptation wasting both Denis Podalydès and Léa Seydoux—director Arnaud Despleschin returns with a much more characteristic drama, Brother and Sister, with Melvil Poupaud and Juliette Binoche as siblings who fell out years ago and who must try to navigate the broken shards of their dead relationship after their parents are in a horrible car accident. Despleschin dives headlong into these characters’ careening emotions with his usual encompassing sympathy and occasional bemusement, complemented by the harrowingly real performances by Poupaud and Binoche.
Smoking Causes Coughing
Quentin Dupieux is a taste I’ve never acquired, but his latest, Smoking Causes Coughing (Magnolia Pictures, opens March 31), while as absurd as his other forays into weird horror and silly genre-bashing, wears its absurdism far more entertainingly than his earlier forays into goofy nastiness. A quintet of superheroes must attend a retreat to fix their bad group dynamic, which leads to a series of moronic campfire tales that Dupieux chronicles with off-kilter amusement. Of course, having a great cast—Adèle Exarchopoulos, Vincent Lacoste, Gilles Lellouche, and especially Anaïs Demoustier—doesn’t hurt.
Diary of a Fleeting Affair
Another director whose reputation is vastly overinflated is Emmanuel Mouret, whose Diary of a Fleeting Affair is a third-rate romantic comedy aspiring to be second-rate. Two people meet and decide to be friends with benefits: until she finds love with another woman and he—already married, with children—can’t handle it. It all comes off as rather regressive and tired, something that even Woody Allen (whom Mouret desperately wants to be) would leave in a bottom drawer. Vincent Macaigne and Sandrine Kiberlain, able actors both, have never been more irritating.
The Origin of Evil
In Sébastien Marnier’s The Origin of Evil, a working-class ex-con, Stéphane, introduces herself to Serge, a wealthy patriarch, as his long-lost daughter—they tentatively bond but his wife and grown children suspect her motives because they don’t want to give up the gravy train. Maurnier’s solid direction makes his film nastily enjoyable, but even Laure Calamy’s persuasive and sympathetic Stéphane is unable to keep it from being familiar and predictable.
The Green Perfume
Similarly, Nicolas Pariser’s The Green Perfume starts out slyly when actor Martin begins investigating the mysterious death of a colleague who collapses onstage during a performance. But as he gets into the weeds—helped by Claire, an implausibly energetic author who drops everything to join him—the film starts spinning its wheels for the rest of its running time. Vincent Lacoste and Sandrine Kiberlain keep our interest as long as they can, but even they eventually lose out.
Forever Young
Forever Young is Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s autobiographical drama about her memories of being in the class of the iconoclastic director and acting teacher Patrice Chéreau—who made a provocative Wagner Ring cycle and films like Queen Margot—in all its emotional exhaustion and ultimately artistic triumph. With a magnetic Nadia Tereszkiewicz as Tedeschi’s stand-in, who goes from wide-eyed naiveté to bruised but resourceful actress, Forever Young is as alternately brilliant and exasperating as the celebrated Chéreau, played smartly by Louis Garrel, was.
Winter Boy
Finally, Christoph Honoré’s messy Winter Boy, which was also based on his own experience, features a sensitive Paul Kircher as a teenager grasping at dealing with his father’s death that may not have been an accident. Although Honoré is unable to completely avoid sentimentality, the scenes between Kircher and an equally compelling Juliette Binoche are vividly authentic.

Big Hair, Big Waves, Big Lives at DOC NYC 2022

Casa Susanna

New York’s biggest documentary film festival, DOC NYC, returns once again. Held throughout the city, DOC NYC runs November 9th to the 27th and also screens films online. The festival showcases feature length and short documentaries from around the world and all walks of life with more than 200 films and events.

The festival opens with Theater of Thought, from the legendary director Werner Herzog. Interviewing various scientists and specialists, Herzog delves into the world neuroscience and its implications on technology, human rights law, philosophy and more. Herzog will also be receiving DOC NYC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Making its USA premiere is Maya and the Wave, from director Stephanie Johnes, which follows Brazilian big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira as she navigates the perils of mother nature and a male dominated sport. The first screening will be followed by a Q&A with Stephanie Johnes and Maya Gabeira.

In Who Is Stan Smith?, director Danny Lee looks at the life of Tennis and sneaker icon, Stan Smith. With archival footage and interview, this documentary looks at the man, the humanitarian, and the fashion icon that is Stan Smith.

Casa Susanna from director Sébastien Lifshitz recounts how aLatino broadcaster and his wig-making wife created a cross-dresser’s haven in the Catskills during the 1950s and 60s.

To learn more, go to:

November  9 - 27, 2022

Multiple locations in NYC and Online


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