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Film and the Arts

IAAC Bring Indian Art and Theater to New York

Since 1998, the Indo-American Art Council (IAAC) has been unifying the arts of traditional, modern, and immigrant Indian culture in New York.  This March, they have two special events, Erasing Borders Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora Parts Stitches resize 2
(March 17- April 20, Crossing Arts Queens 136-17 39th Ave, Flushshing ) and Parts of Parts & Stitches (March 15-31, The Theater at 14th St Y, 334 East 14th Street, New York, NY). Erasing Borders is an innovative art exhibition that looks at where Indian-Americans are today and where they are going, and Parts of Parts is a play that looks at where they have come from and struggles that persist. The IAAC is a not-for-profit secular arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of artists of Indian origin in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. 

Parts of Parts & Stitches is set against the backdrop of a wedding on the eve of the 1947 Partition between India and Pakistan.  Two families in the Punjab region eagerly await the marriage of a loving couple, Yamuna and Jiwan, but they now must deal with the bloody conflict between Hindus and Muslims and the fall out of India without Great Britain.  Yamuna must now pull her life back together in a world torn asunder by conflict.  Performed in conjunction with Maieutic Theater Works, an award winning not-for-profit theater company, Parts of Parts is written by Riti Sachdeva directed by Cat Parker.

The Erasing Borders Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora deals with many of the issues that Indian immigrants deal with today such as   sexuality, terror, disease, the environment, racial and sectarian politics.  With over 35 participating artists, Borders combines Indian aesthetics with Western elements and utilizes a wide range of mediums.  Artists include Mustafa Faruki, Mansoora Hassan, Pritika Chowdhry, and Tara Sabharwal. This is the eighth year of the Erasing Borders show and it is free and open to the public. 

These two events are an excellent look into the world of modern and traditional Indian art, as well as a thoughtful examination of politics and conflict between cultures.

To learn more about Erasing Borders and Parts of Parts, go to

Erasing Borders Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora
March 17-April 20

Crossing Art Queens
136-17 39th Avenue (at Main Street) 
Ground Floor Flushing, NY 11354 

Parts of Parts & Stitches  
March 15-31

The Theater at 14th St Y
334 East 14th Street
New York, NY 10009

Pre-War Art Deco & Strange Sexuality at the Japan Society

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Starting on March 2nd and on the 16th, 2012, the Japan Society will feature two exhibits that, at first glance, could not be more different. But on closer examination, the two are closely and fascinatingly linked. 

Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945 (the Taisho era to early Showa era) opens March 16 and examines the period in Japanese history of rapid westernization, and yet is almost completely overlooked in the west. 

Long past the romanticized (read cliché) era of samurai and shogun, the 25 years between 1920 to 1945 is a curious sequence, situated at the advent of WWII. The ‘20s were an era of rapid change and modernization that prophesised many of the changes in Japanese society that are associated with the post-war era such as the rise of a distinct cinema, new technology, and a fear of an emerging sexuality, all of which are covered under the tidy, captivating phrase of “erotic grotesque nonsense.”

As described in the promotional materials, this exhibit showcases the “complex social and cultural tensions in Japan during the Taisho and early Showa periods through dramatically designed examples of metalwork, ceramics, lacquer, glass, furniture, jewelry, sculpture and evocative ephemera such as sheet music, posters, postcards, prints and photography.”

Beginning on March 2nd and running to 18th is a new film series -- smartly titled, Love Will Tear Us Apart.  Over 20 films from Japan and Korea, including classics like Nagisa Oshima’s In The Realm of the Senses and the US premiere of Shinya Tsukamoto’s (Tetsuo The Iron Man) latest film, KOTOKO. Koji Wakamatsu’s Petrel Hotel is also having it's US premiere.

A Japanese cult-classic and art-house favorite, In the Realm of the Senses -- based on the true story of a torrid love affair capped off with a grisly murder -- is a particularly appealing part of this festival because it takes place during the same time period covered in Deco Japan.  

 The films in the Love Will Tear Us Apart series may be hard to watch for some because they don’t shy away from such themes as sex being a prelude to violence or violence being a prelude to sex. Indeed, the time period of 1920 - 1945 was practically an orgy of art, cinema, clothes and modernization, taking place just before the maelstrom of bloodshed that became the Pacific conflict.

Both exhibitions present a glimpse of Japan that is often overlooked and present some unique aesthetic judgements. How often do you get to see kimonos and Charlie Chaplin side by side?

It also offers a shocking view of gender politics and a unique pairing of art and aesthetics that is not to be missed.

For more information, go to

Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945 
March 16- June 10

Love Will Tear Us Apart
March 2-18

The Japan Society
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017

New Dawn Day to Perform at Drinking Bone

Dawn Botti will be performing with her spectacular new band, New Dawn Day, this Friday, February 17th, at 8pm at The Drinking Bone. 

Botti gained fame as lead singer for the popular 2000’s band, Slushpuppy, a Jagermeister sponsored and endorsed band which performed countless shows, conferences, festivals, and opening sets for some of the biggest names in the music industry until the band’s break-up in 2003.

Taking a break from recording at Rivergate Studios in Nashville, TN, where she recorded with the likes of Bobby Capps of 38 Special and Chris Henderson and Greg Upchurch of 3 Doors Down and Puddle of Mudd, New Dawn Day will finally provide the answer to Nirvana and Foo Fighters alum David Grohl’s looming question: “What happened to rock music?” Botti and her bandmates have set out to prove once and for all that rock is still alive and well, continuing to thrive in a world enveloped by a false corporate reality of emotionless oversensitivity.

With a unique and unaltered voice which hasn’t been heard since the days of Pat Benatar and Joan Jett, and a sex appeal which hasn’t been seen since Stevie Nicks and Samantha Foxx, this is one show which any rock aficionado will be loathe to miss. Scheduled to perform at Millenium Music Conference Showcase and SXSW, this Friday’s show provides a rare opportunity for an intimate performance with one of the genre’s hottest up-and-coming acts.

So come to Drinking Bone this Friday and witness rock history in the making!

New Dawn Day Performs at Drinking Bone
Friday, February 17, 2012 @ 8 pm

Drinking Bone
860 N Front St 
Lemoyne, PA 17043

Musical Short Cuts: Motown and Orpheus at Carnegie; Benanti at the Allen Room

A Tribute to the Music of MotownRay Chew
February 9, 2012
Carnegie Hall, Seventh Avenue & 57th Street, New York, NY
With a show titled “A Tribute to the Music of Motown,” there’s no way anyone can’t have a good time. And the evening’s music director Ray Chew--who also holds that exalted position on TV’s smash hit “American Idol”--has chosen a superb array of performers to sing many of the tunes he loved while he worked in his grandfather’s Harlem record store. There’s Martha Reeves, Melba Moore, Dionne Warwick, Bebe Winans and Boyz II Men, along with the promise of  “very special surprise guests,” all of whom will be belting out the classics from Motown’s greatest years.

Paul Shaffer will also be on hand to, presumably, lead the house band through its paces, something that he does nightly on David Letterman’s show and at the annual Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame bash. Chew himself is looking forward to the performance: “As some might say, ‘those were the days.’ But for me, THIS is the day. And tonight is THE night.”

OrpheuThibaudets with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
February 11, 2012
Carnegie Hall, Seventh Avenue & 57th Street, New York, NY
French piano man Jean-Yves Thibaudet just came through town to play some stellar Gershwin at the New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve bash. For this concert, Thibaudet teams with trumpeter Louis Hanzlik to perform Shostakovich’s extraordinary Concerto for Piano and Trumpet, with backing from the prime (and conductor-less) ensemble Orpheus.

The remainder of the concert is a typically eclectic Orpheus mix: the curtain raiser is Michael Tippett’s barely-heard Divertimento on Sellinger’s Round, while the second half of the program comprises Arthur Honegger’s lovely Pastorale d’Ete and Tchaikovsky’s sizzling Serenade for Strings.

American Songbook: Laura Benanti
February 11, 2012
The Allen Room, Time Warner Center, New York, NY
BenantiShe won a Tony for her delectable turn as Rose Lee in Gypsy, showing that Laura Benanti can hold her own against a dominating star turn by Patti Lupone. And if the NBC drama “The Playboy Club” was cancelled after only a few episodes, it wasn’t Benanti’s fault: as the show’s singing bunny, her onstage performance was easily each episode’s highlight.

For anybody unaware, this sublime Broadway star of musicals good and bad (Into the Woods, Nine, The Sound of Music, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) is also an accomplished comedienne, as her turns in Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play and Christopher Durang’s Why Torture Is Wrong...and the People Who Have Love Them can attest. So Benanti’s “American Songbook” appearance unsurprisingly combines her singing and storytelling talents.

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