Monthly Archives: February 2016

Hastings-on-Hudson movie director Mark Osborne’s princely labor of love 

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If you think animated movies are just for kids, think again and be sure to check out “The Little Prince,” a beautifully animated retelling of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved illustrated novella, brought to the silver screen by “Kung Fu Panda” director Mark Osborne.

Osborne, who lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, may have made his mark in Hollywood with the Jack Black-voiced panda in 2008, but he’s deeply devoted to his latest project, which hits theaters March 18 after a special preview event at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York, on Sunday, March 6.

He tells me that he’s eager to make sure adults see the film, which took him 5 1/2 years to make, because it’s for them as well as their children and grandchildren.
“I think people will be surprised at how much this movie is like the book,” he tells me. “It’s designed to be for the child that we all once were — or currently are … No matter how grown-up you are, you were a child once. And you can’t erase that, no matter how much you want to get away from that.”

Osborne spend some time talking to me about the project — a family affair that involved at one time or another his wife, Kim, and their children, Maddie and Riley — the other day.

Go here to read the interview on lohud.com, or pick up a copy of The Journal News on Wednesday. 
 

 

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2 classic Feelies albums to be reissued in March

The Feelies' "Only Life" and "Time for a Witness" will be rereleased on the Bar/None label on March 11. (The Feelies/Facebook)

The Feelies’ “Only Life” and “Time for a Witness” will be rereleased on the Bar/None label on March 11. (The Feelies/Facebook)

It’s been a long time coming, but the third and fourth albums from New Jersey indie rockers The Feelies are finally getting  proper reissues, complete with liner notes and bonus material.

“Only Life” (1988) and “Time for a Witness” (1991) are scheduled to drop on the Bar/None label — which released the band’s latest album, “Here Before” (2011) — on March 4. The Haledon, New Jersey, -based band — comprising Glenn Mercer, Bill Million, Stanley Demeski, Brenda Sauter, and Dave Weckerman — made the date official in post on Facebook over the weekend.

Just to make it official, these 2 LP’s will be re-issued by Bar/None 3/11/16. And there will be bonus tracks included with each.

Posted by The Feelies on Saturday, February 20, 2016

“Only Life” was reissued in 2008 by Water Records through Universal Music Special Products, without bonus tracks or the band’s involvement. As far as I know, this is the first reissue for “Time for a Witness” and hasn’t been widely available for years.

The two albums, originally issued on A&M, complete the band’s classic catalogue, joining the 2009 rereleases of the band’s first and second albums, “Crazy Rhythms” (1980) and “The Good Earth” (1986).

The albums will include bonus material — none of it from the original sessions, according to the band — and new liner notes. “The Ice Storm” author Rick Moody wrote them for “Only Life” and Michael Azerrad (“Our Band Could Be Your Life”) handled the “Time for a Witness”  notes.

The reissues are available for preorder from Bar/None now. Go here for ordering information.

 

Big day coming for Jennifer O’Connor

Jennifer O'Connor

Jennifer O’Connor

Jennifer O’Connor, the singer-songwriter and proprietor of The Kiam Records Shop in Nyack, New York, has a spectacular new album, “Surface Noise,” coming out next Friday, March 4.

That’s the same day she makes her debut at the Tarrytown Music Hall as she enters the home stretch of her tour with bad-ass indie singer-songwriter Neko Case.

I wrote about O’Connor’s album early in February, calling it “the best new album I’ve heard so far” this year. A month — and many other new albums — later and my feelings haven’t changed. It’s a great album that shows off an artist who has grown and developed a richer, more nuanced sound.

O’Connor hits Tarrytown with Case at 8 p.m. Friday, March 4. A few tickets remain in the side orchestra sections at $48, and about 100 balcony tickets are still available at $38. Go here to get your tickets online. It’s a great way to give O’Connor a nice Lower Hudson Valley welcome-home, and to experience a great show. (If you can’t make it to Tarrytown, you have a chance to check out O’Connor’s full set during her official record-release show at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge on Monday, March 7, with wife Amy Bezunartea opening. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. Go here for tickets, which are $12 in advance.)

Christopher Vaughan of The Journal News/lohud.com, sat down with O’Connor recently to talk about her big day. Go here to read his interview.

 

 

Last-minute music: Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers play in Westchester County tonight

Amy Helm

Amy Helm

If you’re looking for a great musical experience close to home on Saturday night, be sure to check out Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers in the Hudson Valley town of Irvington.

Tickets are still available for the artists who’s forging her own musical path while keeping the legacy and spirit of her father, the late Levon Helm, alive.

You may know Helm as a member of the indie supergroup Ollabelle, or as a member of her dad’s band. But now she’s out touring behind her first solo about, “Didn’t It Rain” – an excellent debut.

You can get a taste of what she’s doing from her latest video, a satisfying cover of Sam Cooke’s “Good News.”

I had a chance to speak with Amy awhile back. GO HERE to read that interview.

Then grab yourself some tickets and head to Irvington.

IF YOU GO

What: Amy Helm & the Handsome Strangers in concert

When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20

Where: Irvington Town Hall Theater, 85 Main St., Irvington, New York

Tickets: $28, $20. GO HERE to buy online.

Surreal ‘City of Glass’ leaps from novel to New York stage

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Playwright Edward Einhorn, left, and novelist Paul Auster on the set for “City of Glass” at the New Ohio Theatre. (Photo by Gil Sperling)

If playwright Edward Einhorn hadn’t been able to think like a gumshoe, he never would have gotten permission to make a theater adaptation of Brooklyn novelist Paul Auster‘s “City of Glass” — one of the best, and most surreal, detective-style novels of the last half century.

But luck and persistence were on the 45-year-old Einhorn’s side, who used his amateur detective skills to put himself and his idea in front of the 69-year-old author.

“I sought out Paul,” he tells Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? in an exclusive telephone interview.

“I found out where he was going to be and I approached him about doing it. To my pleasure he was interested and very responsive. … I figured I would talk to him for a minute or two and just introduce the idea. I wasn’t going to take up too much of his time. But he actually pursued it with a lot more questions and we talked about it longer than expected.

“He seemed very open to the idea.”

“City of Glass,” published in 1986, was the first of three short novels in Auster’s “New York Trilogy.” It tells a surreal story of Daniel Quinn, a writer, who gets a call from someone who thinks he’s a private detective named Paul Auster. The chance call launches a surreal, only-in-New-York narrative that raises questions about sanity, identity, and reality.

It was an instant cult hit and catapulted Auster into literary superstardom at age 39.

Video and ticket discount code after the jump.

0c3bd712-2080-4b39-9585-b594aa2a0459 Continue reading

Glenn Kotche revisited: Spectaculs in concert with So Percussion

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Glenn Kotche

I have to confess that Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche‘s forays into New Music were beginning to rub me the wrong way.

Maybe it was the Delta faucet commercial that set me on edge. I can’t say for sure.

But it had begun to feel to me that he was trying far too hard to prove that he’s not just the drummer in one of the world’s best rock bands. He seemed to be crying out to be taken seriously as a percussionist with depth and breadth as well as great rock chops.

His most recent serious album, “Adventureland” (Cantaloupe Music, 2014), is well done and pleasant, but for some reason it never really grabbed me. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.

When I got the opportunity to attend a concert on Saturday in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall the featured some of his work,  I decided to open my ears again.

I’m glad I did. Kotche’s work was a big part of what made the evening a spectacular musical event.

The evening opened with some older work — four selections from his 2011 Drumkit Quartets — performed by So Percussion (Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting) alone.

So  Percussion clearly had an enormous amount of fun with the compositions. All of them featured a wide array of drums and myriad other percussion. The first, “Drumkit Quartet #50 (Leffinge, Chicago), kicked off with each member of the ensemble playing a hand-cranked siren, while the third, “Drumkit Quartet #51 (Tokyo, Brisbane, Berlin),” featured Japanese rock band Cibo Matto‘s Yuka Honda (who is married to Wilco guitarist Nels Cline) reciting haiku.

It’s no surprise that So  Percussion knew the pieces well, as the ensemble has recorded a “Drumkit Quartets” album due out Feb. 26 on Cantaloupe.

Kotche joined the ensemble for the world premiere of “Migrations,” a Carnegie Hall commission, that testified dramatically to Kotche’s admiration for minimalist composer Steve Reich with rhythms playfully produced on marimbas struck with fingertips and combs.

A hard-driving “Drumkit Quartet #1,” featuring a strobe-like animated film by Patrick Burns, closed the Kotche section of the show in memorable fashion.

The evening also featured a short piece by composer Steven Mackey, “Before It Is Time,” sung by Shara Worden, a performer and composer who works in rock and New Music like Kotche. (She performs in the rock world as My Brightest Diamond), in its New York premiere.

A 45-minute Worden song cycle, “Timeline” — commissioned jointly by Carnegie Hall and the University of Texas at Austin — closed out the evening. Worden sang and, at times played the guitar, a distracting move that took the focus off of the rhythms and interesting tonal qualities of the percussion, which included a mean steel drum number played by Quillen.

 

In performance now: Colman Domingo’s warmhearted ‘Dot’

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Colman Domingo, the theatrical triple threat (actor on stage, film, and TV, playwright, and director) and someone from whom I’ve always been able to count on getting a hug since the day we met in 2007 during the Public Theater run of “Passing Strange,”is at it again.

His latest play, “Dot,” had its first performance Thursday night at Manhattan’s Vineyard Theatre  a place that’s shown him a lot of love over the years.

The “Fear the Walking Dead” star’s heartwarming autobiographical “A Boy and His Soul” had a good run there in 2009, and he appeared there in the off-Broadway premiere of “The Scottsboro Boys” the following year before he went to Broadway with the show. (His second play, “Wild With Happy,” was presented at the Public Theater.) Continue reading