Craveable - The Culture Craver Blog
The top New York City Culture of the year was “beguiling,” “brilliant,” and “quite beautiful.”
Culture Craver listed more than 11,500 New York City cultural events over the course of 2014. Now, we’ve crunched the numbers on our Culture Cravers’ reactions to the events of the past year, and we’ve discovered what theater, art, music, and film was most craved and most highly rated.
Here are our top 10 lists for New York City arts and culture of the past year. How many have you seen? And — perhaps more importantly — what are you most excited to see in 2015?
10 Most CRAVED CULTURE of 2014 (All Genres):
Here are Culture Craver's picks for the top culture of today and the week ahead in NYC. There's an abundance of amazing options at Lincoln Center this week — even more than we've picked here. So head to the Upper West Side (or to one of the many other amazing parts of the city we've featured) and enjoy some culture! Remember to CRAVE what excites you to spread word of mouth and keep track and RATE it once you've been.
FRIDAY, JULY 25
SATURDAY, JULY 26
SUNDAY, JULY 27
Summer is in full swing already in the city! With big events like Governors Ball and tha WNYC/BAM Lovefest (yes, that is what it is called), there is something for everyone this coming week.
FRIDAY, MAY 30
See early works by conceptual artist and sculptor, including his "Ba-O-Ba" and "Neon Wrapping Incandescent Series" installations.
Learn about the politics behind architecutral competitions at the Storefront for Art and Architecture.
By JULIE SHAPIRO
Special to Culture Craver
My dreams of going to Sundance Film Festival were initially dashed when I heard from a reliable source that it wasn’t worth attending without an “in.” But this year, a month before the start of the festival, a friend revealed that he was a Sundance veteran, with 18 years of “Sundances” under his belt. When he volunteered as my guide, I immediately booked the trip to Park City, Utah.
I was a bit tardy to the party, but had a great time — full of celebrity sightings, lessons about film and film festivals, networking, and, of course, movie-going.
For future first-time Sundance goers, I have written up the highlights of my experience, plus 10 tips that I learned along the way.
BEFORE YOU GO
There's a short list of movie stars who have transitioned into U.S. politics. There is an even shorter list of people who have become movie stars, gotten elected to office, and then returned to acting.
This weekend, Arnold Schwarzenegger is earning a spot on the latter (more selective) list as the former California governor returns to cinemas in Last Stand — about the leader of a drug cartel trying to escape a small-town sheriff and his bumbling staff.
“It’s nice after seven years to continue with the movie business," he told Fox News of this new (retro) phase. "I felt very passionate from the beginning when I became an actor and worked my way up to be a leading man, I was looking forward to going back.”
To reflect on Schwarzenegger's contributions — both real and fictional — we have compiled our 10 favorite pictures of his career:
1. Schwarzenegger started his career as a body builder. He became Mr. Universe at age 20. He went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times.
2. Schwarzenegger broke into acting playing Hercules in Hercules in New York, which was released in 1969.
This past year, we’ve been lucky enough to chat with artists, filmmakers, culture policymakers — and even one former mayor/movie buff. We thank them for all they’ve taught us. Here, we look back on our ten favorite interviews of the past year:
“I managed to create my own niche here, where I basically have a large following that tunes in to see where I’ve been and what I’ve done that day. It’s a lot of freedom. Every day is different. I just walk around the streets of New York, anything that catches my eye, I explore, anyone who looks interesting, I talk to. And I just document it. I feel that if there’s any reason I’ve been able to carve out my own space in photography, it’s not necessarily because of my photographic skills, even though I’ve worked hard to cultivate those. It’s the interactions that I’m having what these people, and the difficulty of approaching random strangers on the street.”
1. Synthetic Aniline Dye: It allowed the masses (and not just royalty) to wear bright colors like purple and pink. These dyes democratized bright colors. (The picture shown here, courtesy of the Museum at FIT, is an "afternoon dress" that used aniline dye to turn silk taffeta purple.)
2. Spinning jenny: It was a multi-spool spinning frame (shown below) created in 1764, which dramatically reduced the amount of work needed to produce yarn.
4. Rubber and Plastic: Starting in the late 18th Century, designers used celluloid as a fiber that they sewed into textiles and used to create accessories like fans and hairpins. And plastics aren’t “over.” They are still having an impact on fashion design. (The dress shown below is a Yoshiki Hishinuma dress made of sheer polyester/polyurethane from 1999, courtesy of the Museum at FIT.)
5. Washing Machines: Being able to easily wash (and later dry clean) clothes changed what people were willing and able to wear.
6. Zippers: Starting in the 1930s, innovations in zipper technology allowed designers to incorporate them into fashion design. Early on, top designers — from Elsa Schiaparelli to Charles James — left zippers exposed on garments. (The picture shown here, courtesy of the Museum at FIT, is a 1955 Charles James evening dress with an exposed zipper.)
7. Synthetic Fabrics: Rayon, nylon, lycra, and their peer synthetics changed what we wear and how we wear it. Synthetics were around starting in the early 1900s but popularized in the mid-1900s. Later, they were blended with other fibers to create the blended fabrics that most of uswear every day. (Shown below is JCrew's Midnight Tweed Jacket, which is made of "Poly/acrylic/wool/rayon/nylon.")
8. Hardware: Over time, designers have started to incorporate hardware — from electrical plugs to metal studs — into their designs. For example, the exhibit contains a black leather and red plastic clutch with an electrical plug and outlet closure from the 1930s (shown below, courtesy of the Museum at FIT).
9. E-textiles: Electronic fabrics are making garments as smart as computers, smartphones, and other modern day technologies. E-textiles can answer phones, measure heart rates, react to environmental pollution, and more. One innovation in this space is the LilyPad Arduino (shown below, courtesy of the Museum at FIT), which allows people to create DIY electronic and smart clothing.
10. Communications: Innovations in communications technology have transformed the landscape of modern fashion design. Today’s designers are grappling with new realities like Twitter and Instagram, which allow people to share images from fashion shows, allowing companies to copy garments and get them to market before the original designer even starts productions on his or her designs. (The Instgram images below are some of Allure Magazine's favorites from New York Fashion Week in September.)
If you are already planning a fabulous holiday gift for your favorite culture lover (like a trip to Miami Beach for Art Basel next week, for example), stop reading! But if you’re still shopping for your favorite culture lover, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled 10 gifts perfect for New York City arts and culture lovers.
3. Museum Entry (for a year): We’re big fans of giving museum memberships as gifts. They’re great ways to support museums — and they make it OK to stop by a museum just to see the new exhibit without feeling compelled to spend the whole day seeing the entire collection. Here are links to the membership pages of some top New York City museums: MoMA (starting at $75), the Met (starting at $70), the Guggenheim (starting at $75), the Whitney (starting at $85), the Jewish Museum (starting at $75), the Frick (starting at $60), the Natural History Museum (starting at $125 for a family).
4. An Artsy Dinner: A visit to a museum would be even better (or at least more tasty) if paired with a gift of a meal at one of the beautiful restaurants located within the New York City museums. Great options include: The Modern at MoMA, Caffe Storico at the New York Historical Society, Robert at the Museum of Arts and Design, and the Garden Court Café at the Asia Society.
5. Culture Classes: Do you want to help someone you love hone his or her culture savvy? Art or art history classes might be the best gift. Consider the 92nd Street Y, which offers art, music, and dance classes, NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, which offers non-credit courses in art business, history, law, and design, or Parsons Continuing Education program, which offers courses in digital or graphic design, fashion, and more.
7. Art: White, vacant walls are no fun. Perhaps the people on your list would like to appreciate art at home. Some great web-based options for finding paintings, prints, photos, and sculptures to give include: VIP Art, artsy.net, Artspace, ColourSoup, 20x200, Artsicle, Artsumo, Society 6, Zazzle, Zatista.
8. A Season of Theater: This can be a tough gift (in our opinion) because you don’t know what you’re buying in advance. That said, if you know that someone loves a particular company, this might be a welcome gift. Options worth considering include Roundabout (starting at $219), The Public Theater (starting at $55 for access and other perks), Signature Theatre (starting at $100 for four shows), Manhattan Theatre Club (starting at $192 for three shows), and The New Group (starting at $130 for three shows).
9. Broadway Tickets: Who wouldn’t want tickets to a Broadway show? The best show depends on who’s receiving the tickets, but here are a few new(ish) and upcoming shows you might consider for the people you love:
Annie (The spunky Depression-era orphan we all know and love is back on Broadway.)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (See Scarlett Johansson as Maggie in Tennessee Williams’ classic. Previews start December 18.)
Cinderella (Cinderella is coming to Broadway for the first time ever. Previews begin on January 25.)
Dead Accounts (Among other pluses, Theresa Rebeck’s new comedy lets audience members see everyone’s favorite newly divorced actress — Katie Holmes — on stage.)
Glengarry Glen Ross (David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, with Al Pacino, runs through December 30, 2012.)
Grace (This play — with Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon and Edward Asner — runs through January 6, 2013.)
Kinky Boots (It’s about a guy trying to turn around a shoe factory — with new songs by Cyndi Lauper! Previews start on March 3.)
Matilda (This musical based on the Roald Dahl book about a girl with magical powers is coming to New York City from London’s West End. Previews begin March 4, 2013.)
Newsies (This musical about a dancing band of teenaged newsboys got great reviews.)
Nice Work if You Can Get It (You can see singing, dancing, and Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara.)
Once (This show won the Tony for Best Musical this year. It’s a must see.)
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (This musical comedy received excellent reviews. It runs through February 10)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (This Edward Albee classic received great reviews. It runs through February 24.)
10. For the Artsy Tech Geek On Your List: The best technology gift for culture lovers might be a new tablet. It is good for everything — from discovering arts and culture to watching movies to creating your own works. David Pogue wrote a handy guide this week to help you decide. If the person you’re shopping for is geekier (or already equipped with the latest iPad), you should consider buying them some 3D printing magic at Shapeways so he or she can create something in three dimensions.
Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that you should tell the culture lovers you love about Culture Craver. It’s what we think about all day and dream about all night — so we are biased — but we’re pretty sure NYC culture lovers will love it (and it’s free).
As Thanksgiving approaches, we highlight 10 “Thank You” lessons embedded in some of our favorite movies of the year.
1. The Hunger Games: We are thankful for our democracy — even if it’s imperfect — and for our freedom.
2. Lincoln: We are thankful for leaders who recognize that what’s right isn’t popular, but that rightness isn’t a popularity contest.
3. Skyfall: We are thankful for brave people who use brains and booby traps to protect the rest of us.
4. Breaking Dawn - Part 2: We are thankful for family and for unlikely alliances. They can make all the difference when European vampires come calling.
5. Brave: We are thankful for parents who trust us to make our own decisions.
6. Footnote: We are thankful for the success of the people we love (the alternative, depicted in this film, would make Thanksgiving dinner impossible).
7. Searching for Sugar Man: We are thankful for lucky coincidences; they give us hope that while we might feel unexceptional, we might actually be rock stars.
8. Moonrise Kingdom: We are thankful for people who take the time to write letters (and e-mails) because words can create and transform relationships.
9. Looper: We are thankful that time moves predictably forward, even if we sometimes wish we could slow it down or turn it around.
10. The Lorax: We are thankful for nature — and for the people who care about Truffula Trees and other parts of the world around them.
This week has made it clear that running for president doesn't make a candidate too good for coaching. On the contrary — these guys need help! So, Culture Craver has compiled a list of 10 lessons that real-life politicians could learn from their on-screen peers.
1. On Pragmatism: “I don’t get political points for being an idealist. I have to do the best I can with what I have.”
— Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) in The Dark Knight
2. On Action: War is young men dying and old men talking. You know this. Ignore the politics.
— Odysseus in Troy
3. On Campaign Finance: “I, um, whurr, whuh, hey, fellas, that's ... you're being a little extreme, I feel. Why don't, why don't, why don't we just try to influence their political process with campaign contributions?”
— Z (Woody Allen) in Antz
4. On the Political Establishment: “I'm fed up with party politics, tired of the whole Republicans versus Democrats thing. Because there's no real difference; they're all Mr. Potato-Head candidates. Basically, the operative word is party. Behind closed doors, they just have a good time.”
— Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams) in Man of the Year
5. On Political Power: “Power is not a toy we give to good children. It is a weapon. And the strong man takes it and uses it.”
— President Art Hockstader (Lee Tracy) in The Best Man
6. On Political Will: “We have everything, save perhaps political will. But in America, I believe political will is a renewable resource.”
— Al Gore, playing himself in AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH
7. On Political Feelings: “Always remember: others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”
— Richard Nixon (Anthony Hopkins) in Nixon
8. On Idealism: “To find something, anything, a great truth or a lost pair of glasses, you must first believe there would be some advantage in finding it. I found something a long time ago, and have held on to it for grim death ever since. I owe my success in life to it; it put me where I am today. This principle: what you don't know, won't hurt you. They called it idealism in a book I read.”
— Jack Burden (Jude Law) in All the Kings Men
9. On Alacrity: “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”
— Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean (Robert De Niro) in Wag the Dog
10. On Optimism: “There's been abroad in this land in recent months a whisper that we have somehow lost our greatness, that we do not have the strength to win without war the struggles for liberty throughout the world. This is slander, because our country is strong, strong enough to be a peacemaker. It is proud, proud enough to be patient. The whisperers and the detractors, the violent men are wrong. We will remain strong and proud, peaceful and patient, and we will see a day when on this earth all men will walk out of the long tunnels of tyranny into the bright sunshine of freedom.”
— President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) in Seven Days in May
With another school year upon us, Culture Craver has created a list of ten cinematic back-to-school lessons for students. (If you never thought popular teen dramas and comedies held important life lessons, read on...) We hope that this year is the most successful year yet for students in New York City — and beyond!
1. TWILIGHT Lesson: Going to a new school in a new town can open mysterious, exciting doors. You never know where your very own Edward might be lurking!
2. MEAN GIRLS Lesson: If you're a math geek, embrace it! The Mathlete uniforms might lack style, but, in the end, you'll be happier with a math medal hanging around your neck than with a Spring Fling crown on your head.
3. EASY A Lesson: Telling a lie is often easier than dealing with the aftermath. And back-to-school fashions will never include Scarlet Letters.
4. ELECTION Lesson: It's just high school — but that doesn't mean the competition won't be ruthless. The Tracy Flicks are conniving, vicious, and irrepressible; plan accordingly.
5. HARRY POTTER Lesson: Genes and circumstances can only take you so far in school. Friends and smart thinking are critical — and being the principal's favorite never hurts.
7. CLUELESS Lesson: Spending high school perfecting your debate skills might be more productive than doing fashion makeovers, partying in the Valley, and falling in and out of love.
8. SIXTEEN CANDLES Lesson: Sometimes high school dreams (and high school crushes) can be realized. To speed their arrival, beware of foreign exchange students, keep your underwear away from nerds, and don't get too upset if your family forgets your birthday.
9. SCHOOL OF ROCK Lesson: You might have been kicked out of your band, you might be sleeping on a friend's couch, but your dreams of winning Battle of the Bands might not be dead. Being open to new ideas and new ways of doing things can lead to rewarding opportunities for students and teachers alike.
10. STAND AND DELIVER Lesson: Set the bar high and kids will work hard to jump over it — even if that means learning calculus.
Twilight: Daily Beast
Mean Girls: HotFlick
Easy A: Just Jared
Election: The Dukes Playground
Harry Potter: Just Jared
Bring it On: Geekscape
Clueless: The It Girl
Sixteen Candles: Loveitor
School of Rock: themoviedb
Stand and Deliver: Fanpop
We are sure that the conventions in Tampa and Charlotte will satisfy most Americans’ political cravings these next few weeks. But we know you’re out there — the true political junkie whose political appetites cannot be satisfied by the conventions' candidates and talking heads alone. For you, we have compiled a top ten list of our favorite films focused on U.S. politics and political issues. Please let us know if your favorite is missing. There were SO many to choose from that we neglected favorites including Dave, The American President, Milk, and Thank You For Smoking. We might need to expand beyond 10...
Director Oliver Stone dared to chronicle George “Dubya," (played by Josh Brolin,) in 2008, while George W. Bush was still in office. Brolin delivers an exceptional, if overly sympathetic, view of the former president from the college parties to the Republican Party.
Also by Oliver Stone, JFK explores the events leading up to and following the assassination of the 35th president through the eyes of a New Orleans district attorney (played by Kevin Costner).
Nixon is a biographical film focused on the life and politics of Richard Nixon (who is played by Anthony Hopkins). It’s one of many movies focused on the controversial 37th president — and it’s the third film directed by Oliver Stone to make it onto this list.
This satire is inspired by the life and politics of Bill and Hillary Clinton. It offers laughs, cringes, and insights into the workings of American politics.
6. Inside Job
This opinionated documentary analyzes the 2008 financial crisis — arguably the most relevant issue for the upcoming presidential election.
5. Food Inc.
Robert Kenner’s film exposes how lobbies and politicians have their hands in America's food — exploring modern agriculture and slaughterhouse practices to show how food and politics are inextricably linked.
George Clooney directed, co-wrote, and starred in this film about the broadcast journalist who worked to bring down Red Scare Senator Joseph McCarthy.
This political thriller chronicles the Washington Post’s famous investigation into the Watergate scandal, giving audiences a dose of history and a reminder of the power of the press.
Another Watergate-era story, this film is based on a series of interviews between British Journalist David Frost and the disgraced President Richard Nixon. It was an excellent play on Broadway before Ron Howard turned it into a great film.
This classic comedy satirizes the trigger-happy politicians of the Cold War.
Today would be celebrated suspense filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s 113th birthday. We’re celebrating with a list of our favorite Hitchcock films.
1. The 39 Steps (1935)
2. Rebecca (1940)
3. Suspicion (1941)
4. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
5. Spellbound (1945)
6. Notorious (1946)
7. To Catch a Thief (1955)
9. North by Northwest (1959)
10. Psycho (1960)
10. ALMOST FAMOUS
A High schooler (Patrick Fugit) gets the opportunity to write for Rolling Stone Magazine, follows a rock band on its concert tour, and falls for a groupie (Kate Hudson).
A family sets out on a road trip so that young Olive (Abigail Breslin) will be able to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty competition. On the way Olive — and her family — grow up.
Outspoken Marjane grows up in Iran — first under the Shah and then under Islamic leadership — and accepts neither government. When her defiance becomes dangerous, her parents send her to study in Europe, where she must adjust to a new culture and disappointing surroundings. As Marji grows, she struggles to determine where she belongs.
7. BILLY ELLIOT
Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell) finds solace in ballet, despite his socially conservative family’s horror at his learning to dance instead of box.
Scout (Mary Badham) and Jem (Phillip Alford) lose their naiveté and become aware of the severe prejudices around them as they watch their lawyer father (Gregory Peck) defend a black man wrongfully accused of rape.
Juno (Ellen Page) decides to give her unborn child up for adoption. As she unconventionally goes through this process, she learns some realities of the world and of the people around her.
Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) gives us a lesson on how to live freely long before the existence of “YOLO.”
3. TOY STORY 3
Woody (Tom Hanks) and the gang of toys cope with rejection by their former playmate and a move into a ruthless nursery. Many of the original Toy Story movie's biggest fans were leaving for college just as Andy (John Morris) was growing up and leaving for college for the first time.
Toto (Jaques Perrin), now a famous filmmaker, returns to his Sicilian village following the death of Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), his childhood mentor and cinema projectionist. Through flashbacks, we see young Toto (Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi) develop his love and talent for film and his relationship with Alfredo.
Jim Stark (James Dean) is the quintessential lost adolescent. He moves to LA, where he struggles with bullies, his parents, and a lost sense of self, but finds solace in Judy (Natalie Wood), who empathizes with his woes.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: http://gunwel.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/ferris.jpg
Rebel Without a Cause: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2523699200/tt0048545
From an author who writes his perfect girlfriend and wills her into existence his to a couple divorcing but remaining best friends, this is the summer of odd and dysfunctional relationships. In honor of this Friday’s opening of CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER and last week’s RUBY SPARKS we’re looking at movies we love with relationship dynamics from wacky to detrimental. You might not crave the relationships depicted in these films, but they’re all totally craveable!
10. I AM LOVE
Emma (Tilda Swinton) is a married mother of three. Her affair with her son’s friend and business partner leads to serious family drama. Italian writer and director Luca Guadagnino uses tangled and unconventional relationship dynamics to draw a picture of what may be going on behind the immaculate facade of the Italian bourgeoisie.
Following an obvious recipe for relationship disaster, Tom, a hopeless romantic played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, falls for Summer, a flake who doesn’t believe in love. As Summer strings Tom along, audiences get some good laughs … and a 95 minute reminder about when it’s time to move on.
Poor Cher (Alicia Silverstone) spends her days helping her high school teachers and friends find love — but she hits plenty of relationship roadblocks. In the end, she falls for her ex-step brother. Is a relationship with a one-time family member ideal? We won’t judge — but we have always been curious as to why this 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma has the heroine fall in love with her ex-step brother (as opposed to a family friend like Emma’s Mr. Knightley).
Their relationship ends so badly that Joel (Jim Carey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) decide to erase each other from their memories.
The trailer looked all lovey-dovey, but this film is actually a dark portrait of the deteriorated relationship between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams).
5. JANE EYRE
There have been several film adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, but this recent version did a spectacular job of reminding audiences how damaging and tragic a secret can be to a relationship.
In typical Coen Brothers fashion, this movie is full of twists and ambiguity. Divorce lawyer Miles Massey (George Clooney) helps his philandering client Rex Rexroth (Edward Herrmann) leave his wife, the gold-digging Marylin (Catherine Zeta-Jones), with nothing — other than a craving for revenge. The ensuing story of weddings, love, plotting, and a hit man, teeter between strange and savage.
Confused reality, confused feelings, and confused insecurities pervade this surreal film set in Paris that features a young man who has trouble keeping up with his feelings and separating what’s real from what’s imaginary.
2. THE GRADUATE
Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson: for giving us a film that will be ever remembered for its multiple dysfunctional relationships. Between Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross), there are plenty of examples of dysfunctional, disturbing, and volatile.
1. ANNIE HALL
Woody Allen had to be somewhere on this list, and this classic takes the cake with the destructively dysfunctional relationship he constructs between Alvy Singer (played by Allen) and Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). With obsession, neuroses, and on-and-off romance, this movie is a good reminder of the pitfalls of love — and of all the other love lessons Woody Allen has taught us over the years.
500 Days of Summer: http://singlegirlsurvival.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/500_days_of_summer.jpg
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: http://toirock.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/joel-and-clem.jpg
The Science of Sleep: http://i2.listal.com/image/1985035/936full-the-science-of-sleep-screenshot.jpg