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Joe Hurley Celebrates A New CD Release

Known as one of New York's most entertaining front men, Joe Hurley returns to the city from his month-long UK tour with his latest EP, The House That Horse Built (Let The Great World Spin). He's joined onstage by 2009 National Book Award winner Colum McCann for a CD release concert at 9:30 p.m., December 8, at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater in the East Village. 

The duo collaborated on the EP, which was inspired by a chapter in McCann's new novel Let The Great World Spin, and details the wastelands and heartbreaks of a prostitute's life in 1974 New York City.

In addition to McCann co-writing the track, it also features an all-star cast of musicians, including: Tony Shanahan (Patti Smith Group), James Mastro (Ian Hunter Band), Kenny Margolis (Cracker), Matt Sweeney (Johnny Cash, Bonnie "Prince" Billy), gospel great Tami Lynn (the Rolling Stones, Dr. John, Bob Dylan), Denis Diken (The Smithereens), soul-singing film star Antonique Smith, Faith Hahn, Joe Mcginty, and six-time Grammy winning Paddy Moloney of the legendary Chieftans.

The House That Horse Built (Let The Great World Spin) is the first part of Hurley and McCann's recording project, which will ultimately see a full-length CD based on the book and will be released in spring 2010.

The EP will be available for purchase at tonight's show.

Tickets are $15 and are general admission.

More information is available at:

Joe Hurley and Band
Dec. 8, 2009
Joe's Pub
425 Lafayette Street
New York City

Selected Film Reviews From Spanish Cinema Now 09

Little Indi
directed by Marc Recha
starring Marc Soto, Sergi López, Eulalia Ramón, Eduardo Noriega
Little Indi’s an odd one. This movie begins with the kind of charming and bright animated credits that might lead us to imagine a sweet film about Spain's country folk. That's not quite what we get. Instead we're in the Catalunya countryside where times are tough.

Though the movie's pace is unhurried, everyone is quietly scrambling for whatever money they can bring in. The cops are on the take, as is the staff of the prison where the mother of our teenage hero Arnau currently resides. Arnau is played with aloofness and quiet intensity by a spectacularly gorgeous newcomer named Marc Soto. Are Spaniards the world's most beautiful men? It would seem so from the first few films in this year Spanish Cinema Now crop.

Arnau trains small birds to sing in the evidently well-known "Singing Finches of Catalunya" competition. He's good at it, too. Surrounded by a family that's only half there and that may be involved in things mildly nefarious -- Uncle (Sergi López), sister (Eulalia Ramón), brother (Eduardo Noriega) and so on -- Arnau moves between them all with deliberation and hesitation. It appears to him (and to us, in fact) that the system is raked toward the rich, so this young man is trying to raise money to pay for a lawyer to get mom out of jail. But given his nodding acquaintance with the world and how it works, he seems doomed to fail.

As co-writer (with Nadine Lamari) and director, Recha likes to show rather than tell, which is generally fine. He pace is slow; incidents build up one by one. Chief among these is the greyhound racing that involves Arnau and his uncle -- and the near-dead fox Arnau finds at the river bank and nurses back to health. The director is particularly good at capturing the sad, almost frightening sense of vulnerability that hangs over the boy, the birds, the fox. With maturity might come the realization that you cannot blame nature's creations for simply being true to what they are. Arnau is not there yet, and so he does, and with this blame and anger comes the most unsettling scene in the film.
The widescreen images are well composed and lighted (cinematography by the estimable Hélène Louvart (The Last Day, The Beaches of Agnes), and the sense of place and a time that, while it is now might just as well be eternal, is specific and real. If I am not jumping up and down in praise and pleasure, it's because nobody on view is moving that actively or positively. To call Little Indi downbeat is to be very euphemistic. But yes, it does seem like life.

Little Indi screens at the Walter Reade Theater
Saturday, December 5, at 1:30; Tuesday, December 8, at 1:30; and Wednesday, December 9, at 8:30

directed by Gabe Ibáñez
starring Elena Anaya
We know we're somewhere weird as, in the very first shot of Gabe Ibáñez's dazzling Hierro, a giant lizard crosses the road and a car zooms over it. From the looks of things, a distraught mother is driving too fast with her son beside her and very soon we are treated to one of, maybe the best, cinema car crash ever witnessed. No, it's not complete with huge explosions and muchos effectos especiales. Instead Señor Ibáñez (shown at right) simply shoots superbly, edits with such precision and uses sound for all its worth that we're there inside the car with the vulnerable pair experiencing every jolt and smash and roll that ends with -- oh, god -- a moment of such odd silence and beauty, and then...

OK: after the fact, I questioned that the smaller object would have landed prior to the larger, but maybe I don't know my math or physics. But I do know my cinema and this is superb stuff. So's the location. The director and his writers -- Javier Gullón (who wrote last years terrific El rey de la montaña) and Jesus de la Vega -- have set this tale on El Hierro Island, the southernmost point of Europe.

The film tells the story of a young marine biologist and single mother (her best friend and co-worker calls her "strange") and her son, who head off the to the island for a work project, but before they arrive -- whoops. No more plot. Find out for yourself.

I will say that the FSLC program notes got it wrong: No "wave" of anything "goes missing" on Hierro. Only two. However, the two are vital to those who miss them. The filmmakers sustain their 90 minutes extremely well; while they serve up only a touch of blood and corpse-gore, there's plenty of surprise, shock, suspense and other things we enjoy with our mysteries. The water motif is ever-present, with a bird motif not far behind; both are used with great imagination & feeling in the film's real and in its dreamlike moments.
I do wish the moviemakers had thought a bit harder about one particular plot point: the dog. It is present so often until the one scene in which it absolutely must be there. And, then? What's up, boys -- did someone drop the ball? Otherwise, their movie is a treat, and so is Elena Anaya, the very thin but voluptuous leading lady who is also a fine actress. I'm primed for whatever these guys cook up next. I should also mention that the crack cinematography and editing are by Alejandro Martínez and Enrique Garcia respectively.

Hierro screens at the Walter Reade Theater
Friday, December 4, at 4:30 and Sunday, December 6, at 5:10

For more info go to:

Patti Smith Rocks at Art Basel Miami Beach

Robert Miller Gallery presents at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009 (Dec. 3 – 6, 2009) Patti Smith: Homage, a thematic exhibition of poet/rocker Patti Smith's work and that of her creative heroes: Diane Arbus, Constantin Brâncuşi, Victor Hugo, Lee Krasner, Robert Mapplethorpe, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, and Cy Twombly. Smith has been represented by the gallery since 1978.

An artist, poet, performer and cultural icon, Smith’s passionate engagement with the world has led her to diverse forms of expression. Whether in images, words, or music, her works remain intricately connected, despite the diversity of forms.  Her subjects and themes are simultaneously, or by turns, political, spiritual and metaphysical. Smith’s oeuvre encompasses irreverence and solemnity, defiance and tenderness, the elegiac and the celebratory, constantly returning to homage to her creative heroes. This booth seeks to engage with this important theme in her work and will include a large selection of Smith’s drawings and photographs.

In 2008, Smith was the subject of Patti Smith Land 250 at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporaine, Paris, and Written Portrait - Patti Smith at Artium Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Strange Messenger: The Work of Patti Smith, a 300-work retrospective, was organized by The Andy Warhol Museum in 2005 and traveled to numerous venues including the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and the Museum Boijsman Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Eki, Kyoto; Haus der Kunst, Munich; the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and the Pompidou Center in Paris.

Smith’s latest book, Just Kids, a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies, is scheduled to be released in January 2010 by Harper Collins.

Her 1975 album Horses, established Smith as one of most original and important musical artists of her generation and was followed by nine releases, including Radio Ethiopia; Easter; Dream of Life; Gone Again; and Trampin'.

Patti Smith: Dream of Life, a documentary film by fashion photographer and filmmaker Steven Sebring, was released by Palm Pictures in September of 2008 and will receive its television premiere on the PBS series P.O.V. on December 30, 2009. A collaborative project with Steven Sebring entitled Objects of Life will open at Robert Miller Gallery on January 6, 2010 soon after the film airs.

Also on view will be an important early painting by Jackson Pollock, Naked Man (ca, 1938-41), photographs by the poet and artist Victor Hugo, pastels by Joan Mitchell, photographs by Brâncuşi, two important paintings by Lee Krasner, and a set of Cy Twombly’s iconic Roman Notes (1970). Two double portraits by Diane Arbus, another influence, are of figures that Smith has referenced in her art and are taken in Arbus’ classic style. Finally, the booth will also include a selection of important early works and later portraits by Robert Mapplethorpe, Smith’s longtime friend and collaborator.

Patti Smith: Homage
a thematic exhibition of poet/rocker Patti Smith
Robert Miller Gallery

Art Basel Miami Beach 2009

December 3 – 6, 2009
Booth BO3

Faces of Tsai Ming-Liang

AsiaSociety is proud to present Faces of Tsai Ming-Liang, a series of of Tsai’s best earlier films, plus a preview screening of Tsai’s newest film, at 725 Park Avenue at 70thStreet, NYC, from November 13 to 21, 2009. Highlighting the presentation is a conversation with director Tsai Ming-Liang along with actor Lee Kang-Sheng, who has appeared in every single Tsai film.

Employing little dialogue and minimalist long takes, often made up of static medium to long shots, Tsai creates what Asia Society’s Senior Program Officer La Frances Hui calls “an oppressive silence calling for the viewers to slowly observe and experience the psychological states of the characters. He maps out an emotional universe that is deeply felt and shared.”

The series begins with screening of Rebels of the Neon God, the director’s first feature film. Rebels introduces us to the recurring character Xiao Kang, played by Lee Kang-Sheng.

The centerpiece film is a preview screening of Face, about a Taiwanese director who makes a film based on the myth of Salomé at the Louvre. Language barriers and the sudden news of the passing of the filmmaker’s mother in Taipei threaten the completion of the film. The all star ensemble cast includes Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jeanne Moreau, Fanny Ardant, Lee Kang-Sheng and supermodel Laetitia Casta.

Following the screening will be the conversation with Tsai Ming-Liang and actor Lee Kang-Sheng.

The other films to be shown are Vive L’Amour, in which three characters cross paths in a vacant Taipei apartment without ever really connecting; The Hole, about the days before the new millennium, as Taipe is plagued by an endemic that causes people to behave like cockroaches; and the poignant What Time Is It There?, about a watch vendor who sells a watch to a young woman as she leaves for Paris, compelling him to set every clock he sees to Paris time.

For more information, please call (212) 517-ASIA
 or visit

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