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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
The latest tune from young rock up-and-comers StarBenders is proof that if you put your mind to writing a song about sex, you'll probably succeed.

On their Tumblr page, up-and-coming rockers StarBenders describe their sound as akin to “Iggy Pop playing 7 minutes in heaven with Katy Perry.” It’s a bold and playful declaration, one that’s befitting of the group’s youthful presence. However, the Iggy Pop comparison also hints at the punk edge that rears its head throughout the otherwise thoroughly poppy songs StarBenders play. “Touch”, a tune from their forthcoming self-titled EP, is an ideal representation of the band’s style.


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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
In concert with the Asia Society, Lincoln Center held the world premiere of 'Song of the Jasmine', a collaboration between the Ragamala Dance group and jazz musician Rudresh Mahanthappa.

Lincoln Center is host to so many great shows that even on the same night you may find yourself conflicted over what to see. While I chose to see the world premiere of the ‘Song of the Jasmine’ dance as part of the ‘Out of Doors’ series, that meant I had to miss Tift Merritt performing in-doors for the ‘Americanafest’ series. But I had seen Merritt recently with Andrew Bird and she will surely be back around again so I chose to see the dance—though I had to catch a couple of her songs at the beginning.


The turnout for the dance performances was impressive as the Asia Society also shared word of the event. The first performance, done by the Chinese American Arts Council Dancers and called ‘From Chinatown with Love’, featured vivid colors and costumes as well as the dancers incorporating accessories like fans or spears. In stark contrast was the Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers and their performance of ‘Be/Longing 2’. The dancers wore comfortable, loose athletic attire that didn’t pull attention away from their dramatic motions.


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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
Is two-thirds of a decent Sin City sequel enough? After nine years of waiting, almost.

They say you can’t capture lightning in a bottle, that a once novel paired with a fresh concept can’t be reused to the same stunning effect a second time around. This is the main critique of sequels, in fact. Whatever made the original hit movie a cultural phenomenon cannot be rediscovered and maintained over a follow-up (or franchise).


So when Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller decided to wait nine long years to revisit their visionary Sin City, many wondered if the near-decade away from their pioneering digital neo-noir would result in something dull and derivative. The answer, luckily, is “No!” Is it as good as the first groundbreaking film? Well…


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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
This is a horribly unfunny comedy by someone celebrated for reinventing the TV drama.

Success in one medium doesn’t guarantee success in another. Great actors often struggle when they try to be musicians, while gifted artists aren’t quiet as aesthetically pleasing when attempting to perform. There’s even inner-format faults as well. An award winning TV scribe usually can translate their talent to the big screen.


They are the rarities, however. Typically, greatness in one place doesn’t translate across. Such is the case with Mad Men‘s Matthew Weiner’s so-called “comedy” Are You Here. Instead of showing the same sharp sensibility that made said AMC hit, we get a decidedly lifeless laugher.


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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
Gonna drive past the Stop 'n' Shop with the Modern Lovers' masterpiece on. Roadrunner once. Roadrunner twice. I'm in love with rock 'n' roll, and I'll be out all night. From 1976 (but recorded in '71 and '72), this week's Counterbalance is a cult classic.

Klinger: Of all the characters we’ve encountered during the course of our Counterbalance excursion, few are as singularly odd as Jonathan Richman, lead singer of the Modern Lovers. Part incurable romantic, part frustrated outsider, Richman wrote an album of songs that were occasionally edifying and occasionally unnerving, but always brutally honest. His band played with an aggression that was right in line with the burgeoning punk/New Wave scene (future Cars drummer David Robinson and Talking Head Jerry Harrison are heard here), and at one point the group was signed to Warner Brothers. And then Richman turned his back on everything.


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