Category Archives: Movies

Remember Fab 5 Freddy?

Are the hip hop pioneer and one-of-a-kind filmmaker Jonathan Demme planning to work together again?

It was cool enough that Jonathan Demme was at the “Something Wild” screening at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday night.

I got to meet him as he strode out of the theater for a chat with someone 15 minutes before the movie started.

But his companion was someone just as exciting: Fab 5 Freddy, the hip hop legend and visual artist.

Demme stopped to say hello and introduced Freddy to my friend and me. At that point, my friend said his day was made, even before the screening and the live performance by The Feelies.

I regret not getting a photo of the momentous occasion, but I just wasn’t prepared to see Demme at that moment, let alone Freddy — pioneering “Yo! MTV Raps” veejay and star of the classic hip hop movie, “Wild Style,” the 1983 release written and directed by Charlie Ahearn. (If you’ve never seen it, or haven’t seen it in a while, it’s worth checking out. It’s readily available on streaming Netflix)

Here’s a classic clip from the movie, with Grandmaster Flash spinning while Freddy’s character, Phade, looks on.

Why was Freddy meeting up with Demme? I didn’t ask. But the two have a history. Demme has cast Freddy as himself in his 2008 release “Rachel Getting Married” and as a political pundit in ‘The Manchurian Candidate” (2004).

Stay tuned.

Exclusive Interview: The Feelies’ Glenn Mercer and director Jonathan Demme talk about ‘Something Wild’

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild."

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild.”

Glenn Mercer of The Feelies and director Jonathan Demme did me the honor of talking to me about the special bond between the band and the filmmaker ahead of Sunday’s special screening of Demme’s cult classic movie “Something Wild,” which features The Feelies as a high school reunion band. Please tap or click here to READ THE INTERVIEW on

Here’s how it’s promoted on the front page of the Thursday edition of  The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y.:



Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

The movie is being screened at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday as part of “Something Wild: The Films of Jonathan Demme,” a festival honoring the Rockland County-based director at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y.

The Sunday show is going to be extra special, though, because The Feelies,  a band that’s a special favorite of Demme’s, will be playing a set after the movie. It should be a wild evening.

Tickets for the special Sunday show are  $30 for nonmembers, and are available online here.  More information and directions to the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville, tap or click here.


The Feelies perform on the silver screen and live in Westchester County

The Feeles perform as The Willies in Jonathan Demme's 1986 movie "Something Wild."

The Feelies perform as The Willies in Jonathan Demme’s 1986 movie “Something Wild.”

Music and film fans will get a rare opportunity to see some time travel at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday, June 1, when The Feelies take the stage.

The band is booked at the celebrated film center as part of “Something Wild: The Films of Jonathan Demme,” a festival that runs through June 11 to celebrate the director (and longtime Feelies fan) of “Something Wild,” “Stop Making Sense,” “Storefront Hitchcock,” “Rachel Getting Married,” “Philadelphia,” and many, many more.

The Feelies are taking the stage after a screening of Demme’s dark 1986 romcom (did that conflation even exist back then?) “Something Wild.” The truly wacky movie about two good-hearted, but not exactly honest, people (Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels) searching for truth and love, features The Feelies (playing The Willies in the movie), along with a superbly curated soundtrack of pop songs from the era. Continue reading

Dave Van Ronk gets his long overdue time in the spotlight

Terri Thal and Dave Van Ronk at their home at 190 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, in August 1963 (Photo by Ann Charters, courtesy Terri Thal)

Terri Thal and Dave Van Ronk at their home at 190 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, in August 1963 (Photo by Ann Charters, courtesy Terri Thal)

Moviemakers Joel and Ethan Coen have gone to great lengths to let us know that their new movie, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” is not about Greenwich Village folksinger Dave Van Ronk.

The movie, which has been making the rounds of film festivals throughout the year and started playing in major cities a couple of weeks ago, opens nationwide  this Friday.

LEARN MORE about the real Dave Van Ronk

Terri Thal (© Martus Granirer 2013)

Terri Thal (© Martus Granirer 2013)

Check out the interview with Terri Thal I wrote for The Journal News.  Thal, a Rockland County woman who was married to him during the period covered in the film, and don’t miss her first-person account for the Village Voice.  And read Van Ronk’s memoir, “The Mayor of MacDougal Street.”

Yes, Llewyn Davis, as played wonderfully by actor and talented singer Oscar Isaac, affects a Van Ronk look of sorts with his facial hair. And yes, many people, me included, took to calling the flick in early days the “Dave Van Ronk movie.” (That probably was before it had gotten a formal title.) Continue reading

Take a trip through time in Greenwich Village tonight

New documentary explores the rich history of the fabulous Greenwich Village folk music scene

Rockland County resident Terri Thal and other people in the film to appear for panel discussion at tonight’s 7:25 screening at Manhattan’s IFC Center

Happy New Year. We’ve been meaning to write, but we’ve been busy. But today we have some news we just had to share.

The documentary “Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation” has been quietly making the rounds of film festivals. Some of you probably have heard some word-of-mouth, got a chance to catch it at DOC NYC 2012 or at least have seen the trailer.

Terri Thal, right, with singer Terre Roche at the 2010 Gerdes Folk City Reunion. (Photos 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Terri Thal, right, with singer Terre Roche at the 2010 Gerdes Folk City Reunion. (Photos © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

We’ve only seen the trailer. It’s hard to tell from the clips alone how well the feature-length film really tells the fascinating story of the unique cultural, political and geographical elements nurtured so much talent. But the rare footage and new interviews — among the subjects are Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Chapin, Lucy and Carly Simon, Oscar Brand, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ian Tyson, Eric Andersen, Israel Horovitz, Jose Feliciano, Kenny White, Sonny Ochs, Sylvia Tyson, Pete FornataleHappy Traum and John Sebastian —  alone are surely worth the price of admission to anyone who’s interested in the time and place.

Sylvia Tyson at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

Sylvia Tyson at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

The film has begun a six-screenings-a-day run through next Thursday, Jan. 24, at IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street in Manhattan. Click here for schedule, ticketing and information about the theater. Tickets are $13.50 for adults, $9.50 for children and senior citizens, and $8.50 for IFC Center members.

But tonight only, at the 7:25 screening, some of the people you’ll see on screen

Happy Traum at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

Happy Traum at the 2010 Folk City Reunion.

will appear in person to participate in a panel discussion. Musicians Traum, Doug Yeager and David Amram and radio personality Brand are scheduled to appear.

Terri Thal —  known in Rockland County as a longtime defender and protector of history and the environment as an officer  of the West Branch Conservation Association — who played an integral, nonperforming, role in the fertile musical scene.

New Music Bake Sale: Music, Conversation, Beer and, yes, actual baked goods!

Arturo en el Barco's Bake Sale table featured cupcakes and particularly tasty flan de queso. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

The 2nd Annual New Music Bake Sale took over the decrepitly beautiful Irondale Center’s space in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on Saturday, Sept. 25 for more than six hours.

The concept was pretty simple: Bring together a bunch of people who make new music — performers, producers, record companies and the like — in a place where they can make music, talk about music, drink beer and sell sweet and savory baked goods to raise money for their efforts.

Kathleen Supové at her Bake Sale table.

We don’t know how successful the financial part of the evening was, but the place was constantly full of people and activity throughout the event. We sampled the food, beer and music and found it excellent — especially the Sixpoint Sweet Action!

Many of our favorite New Music folks were there throughout the evening, including, but hardly limited to, Todd Reynolds, Matt Marks, Mellissa Hughes, Courtney Orlando, Ken Thomson, Jessica Schmitz, Ted Hearne, David T. Little, Steven Swartz, Glenn Cornett, Franz Nicolay, Caleb Burhans, Kathleen Supové and Oscar Bettison.

Todd Reynolds and Ken Thomson perform Ken's "Storm Drain."

We can hardly wait for next year’s event.

But enough words. Let’s get to the images. Click through to the jump for more photos. Continue reading

Vetiver rocks out at Solid Sound Festival

Vetiver played a short but solid set this afternoon, under beautiful blue skies at the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA in the Berkshires city of North Adams, Mass.