5 things to do this weekend
“Oh, that Mitzi! a doctor (Maurice Chevalier) sings in Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 musical, “An Hour With You,” in reference to his wife’s (Geneviève Tobin) attractive friend. The film screens Friday, February 15 as part of the Museum of Modern Art series Checkers, Janes, Dolls and Canaries, which runs until February 19. The event is dedicated to Mitzi, her fellow vampires and other self-confident female characters of the early 1930s, before the production code barred American films. Specifically, the program sheds light on the actresses who played them – stars like Tobin, Bebe Daniels and Helen Twelvetrees, who didn’t endure as household names.
Guest programmer, vintage film maven Farran Smith Nehme, selected features in part for their rarity. Many — like the deliciously saucy golf game “Follow Thru” (February 11), featuring course greens and actress Nancy Carroll’s red hair in two-tone Technicolor — aren’t streaming or DVD. Others are often only seen in shoddy versions, like “Reaching for the Moon,” on Mondays and February 13, with a Douglas Fairbanks speaking as the Daniels-loving financier just before the stock market crash of 1929. MoMA favorite “Her Man,” starring Twelvetrees, will screen Sundays and Feb. 17.
A pioneer gets his due
From 1990 to 1994, Tim Fielder taught illustration at The children’s art carnival, an organization founded in 1969 to provide arts and educational programs for young children in Harlem. Around the same time, he was working as a comic book artist at Marvel, where his desire to advance the aesthetic of Afrofuturism was often frustrated by public reluctance to embrace it.
Today, the popularity of Afrofuturism is on the rise, especially in the realm of comic books and graphic novels (including Fielder’s own ” Infinite “, which was published last year). And the Children’s Art Carnival honors Fielder’s career with the retrospective “Black Metropolis: 30 Years of Afrofuturism, Comics, Music, Animation, Decapitated Chickens, Heroes, Villains, and Negroes.”
The exhibit features approximately 100 illustrations and animations by Fielder. Together they offer an ideal in which blacks of the past, present and the future can be whatever they want to be. It is visible from Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. until March 31. Free entry.
Movies, friends and fun
At a time when even going to school can be complicated, family trips to distant lands can seem out of the question. But one organization schedules international flights – fancy, that is – from its headquarters and your own home.
It’s the Brooklyn Academy of Musicwhose BAMkids Film Festival starts this weekend, in person and virtually. Taking place on Saturday and Sunday at the academy (a full program is on its website) and online from Saturday to February 13, this year’s edition features 69 short films, as well as related activities, such as a performance of the comedy-theatre troupe Parallel output and a streaming concert by Divi Roxx Kids.
The festival, which includes works from 27 countries, is aimed at ages 3 to 11, but due to vaccination requirements, only children 5 years and older can attend in person. (Families wishing to access both on-site and online events must purchase admission separately. In-person tickets are $9-$14 per program; pay-what-you-wish streaming tickets are at least $5 $ for individual programs and $30 for a full-festival pass.)
Expect both silly (animal astronauts) and serious (bullying) cinematic subject matter, and characters ranging from mini Martians threatened by monsters to pillows downloading the dreams they absorb.
“Cosmic Music” and more
Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane hasn’t released a new album since 2012’s murky and enchanting “Spirit Fiction,” but every once in a while he pops up with a live performance around New York, often with a new band or idea. Hop on those odds, if you can.
Five movies to watch this winter
This week, Coltrane is briefly in residence at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side, performing a different set of music each night Thursday through Saturday. Starting at 7:30 p.m. on night 1, he will play back to back duo sets: one with pianist James Carney, the other with drummer Allan Mednard. (A single ticket covers both sets.) On Friday at the same time, he will present a new combo, the Freedom Triojoined by young musicians Nick Jozwiak, a bassist, and Savannah Harris, a drummer.
Closing the weekend, Saturday at 8 p.m., Coltrane will make its debut “Cosmic Music: A Contemporary Exploration of the Music of John and Alice Coltrane”, a complete program dedicated to the immortal career of his parents. Thursday and Friday performances are at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre, and Saturday’s show is at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre; tickets range from $30 to $50 and are available at symphonyspace.org.
Jordan Carlos likes to challenge people: With “Can we talk about it?” an ongoing series of shorts airing during the AMC Networks Movie Show, he speaks with a myriad of personalities about the problematic aspects of classic movies. And with “Are you still doing stand-up, Jordan?” — his current show, which he created with black audiences in mind — he takes on the conventional wisdom of what he calls “New York’s neoliberal brunch set.” He will perform it at Union Hall on Sunday at 8 p.m. and on February 26 at 7 p.m.as well as in Caveat the February 16.
If you’re still not ready for in-person gatherings, you can enjoy a podcast marathon “Keith and the Girl” on the show Youtube channel. Keith Malley and Chemda Khalili started the show from their apartment in Queens 17 years ago and will celebrate its anniversary with a free 24-hour livestream. Among the 80 guests on the program are the actors Tim Dillon, jimmy pardo, Lucie Pohl and Laurie Kilmartin. The marathon starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday.