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by Jane Jansen Seymour

4 Oct 2011

The CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival continues to grow to epic proportions since its debut back in 1980. This year includes over 1,300 artist performances and dozens of cutting-edge films at 80 venues, nightclubs and theaters around New York City. Notable bands include Wild Flag, Neon Indian, Portugal. The Man., Active Child, Weekend and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. But it’s the bands you haven’t heard of that give this festival its raison d’ être.

There are also close to 70 panels, seminars and special events to keep things going around the clock. Topics include A&R, Artist Management and Publishing/Licensing as well as anything to do with social media. A CMJ Full Festival Badge costs $495 (with a CMJ Student Full Badge priced at $295) but new this year is a CMJ Show Pass for $149 which allows access to all CMJ Music Marathon Showcases and Film Festival Screenings—based on venue capacity on a first come first serve basis. For those not planning to attend, PopMatters will have a team spreading out across the city to bring the event to life online. More details at

by Stuart Henderson

23 Sep 2011

Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Sarah Gadon, Vincent Cassel
Country: Germany / Canada

David Cronenberg’s latest is a chilly study of the creative and competitive triangle between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), and the lesser-known Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightly) in the early years of the 20th century. Christopher Hampton’s cunningly constructed script—he is the man behind Dangerous Liaisons and Atonement) paints the early history of psychoanalysis as a precarious moment, a time when brave innovators faced the collective disapproval of their peers for their forays to the edges of science. In many ways, this is a film about acceptance, about fitting in, and about the ways one muct repress one’s desires in order to do so.

by Stuart Henderson

23 Sep 2011

Director: Doug Aarniokoski
Cast: Shawn Ashmore, Ashley Bell Cory Hardrict, Dominic Monaghan, Shannyn Sossamon
Country: USA

Can a cannibal ever truly be redeemed? For the answer to this Augustinian question I guess you could watch The Day, but it’s probably better to just let that be one of life’s unaswerables. This execrable film follows a group of survivors of some unnamed holocaust as they wander around and try not to get eaten by roving bands of cannibals. The plot is, basically, well, have you ever seen Night of the Living Dead? How about The Road? OK. So, add those together, and then subtract all the subtext, social commentary, scary bad guys, clever script, and character development.

by Stuart Henderson

16 Sep 2011

Director: Werner Herzog
Cast: Richard Lopez, Michael Perry, Damon Hall, Lisa Stotler-Balloun, Charles Richardson, Jason Burkett, Jared Talbert, Amanda West, Delbert Burkett, Melyssa Thompson-Burkett, Fred Allen
Country: USA

Among the most beloved art house directors working today, Werner Herzog could make a movie about just about anything and the critics would fall over themselves praising it. Perhaps this is because there is a critic-proof quality to his work, so rife it is with broken rules, oddball flights of fancy, uncompromising artistry, and downright bizarre choices.

In his documentaries especially, Herzog throws the supposed regulations out completely, ditching any pretense toward objectivity or “documentation” for a decidedly first-person perspective. He doesn’t just interview his subjects, he debates with them. He asks surprising, heavily loaded questions of them. He is full of leading suggestions—at one point in Into the Abyss he asks someone to describe a gunfight: “And you arrived at the scene. Was it mayhem?”—and seems always as though he is literally directing the documentary while he is out there documenting it. As one reporter acquaintance of mine complains: “He does everything we are taught as reporters never to do, and all these artists think he’s a genius.” Well, yes.

by Stuart Henderson

16 Sep 2011

Director: Jens Lien
Cast: Åsmund Høeg, Sven Nordin, Sonja Richter, Tony Veisle Skarpsmo, John Lydon
Country: Norway

At the public screening for this Norwegian coming of age tale, former Sex Pistol and co-star Johnny Rotten was asked to introduce the film. “You’ll really like it,” he declared. “And if you don’t, you’re fucking cunts.” Well. Glad I liked it, I guess. Sons of Norway, mockingly named after a Norwegian cultural heritage preservation society, tells the story of the role punk music and culture influenced a young boy on the cusp of his adolescence in 1978.

//Mixed media

Violin Virtuoso L. Subramaniam Mesmerizes in Rare New York Performance (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Co-presented by the World Music Institute, the 92Y hosted a rare and mesmerizing performance from India's violin virtuoso L. Subramaniam.

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