The Deuce. The new season of HBO’s acclaimed series is back for its second season. It jumps ahead to 1978, where punk, porn and disco are in full swing – and business is booming. Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal) stars, produces and directs adult films, but is looking to elevate the medium. Vincent (James Franco) is now running Club 366, a mob-backed club, while his girlfriend Abby (Margarita Levieva) brings a punk rock aesthetic to the High Hat and dives into activism. Frankie (James Franco) is still finding ways to pay off his gambling debts, while Lori (Emily Meade), also an adult film actress tries to finally break free from her pimp, C.C (Gary Carr). Meanwhile, Officer Alston (Lawrence Gillard, Jr), finally receives word on how the Mayor plans to rid the NYPD of corruption – and clean up The Deuce. As it did in Season 1, the show captures the flow, feel and the nuances of the period, with killer performances once again from Gyllenhaal, Franco and the entire cast. A must watch show for the fall season. Season 2 of The Deuce premieres this Sunday at 9pm Eastern on HBO. You can also go to www.hbo.com for more information.
Kusama-Infinity: The Life And Art Of Yayoi Kusama. Before she became the top-selling female graphic artist in the world, Yayoi Kusama was rejected by her family and not taken seriously within the art community. This new documentary from Heather Lenz shows how Kusama overcame these terrible odds and how her exhibits – including the ‘Infinity Mirrored Rooms’ – has been seen by record crowds sold out worldwide. Lena takes us back to Kusama’s formative years – first in Japan, then later in New York City – and how American Abstract Impressionism, the avant garde/pop art scene and the hipple counterculture played her a huge part in her artistic developement. The film also deals with how Kusama had to battle through racism, sexism and mental illness to reach the top of the art world mountain. We also get to see Kusama’s incredible work output in the worlds of sculpture, fashion and literature – which hasn’t slowed down even though she’s now approaching 90 years old. It’s a moving salute to an unstoppable creative force. Kusama-Infinity: The Life And Art Of Yayoi Kusama opens in select theaters on September 7th. You can also go to www.kusamamovie.com for more information.
Kidding. Jim Carrey returns to series television to star in this new series produced and directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind). Carey plays Jeff Piccirillo, aka Jeff Pickles, the long time host of the successful PBS series, Mr Pickles Puppet Time. He’s anchored behind the scenes by his father Seb (Frank Langella), who produces the show, and his sister Deirdre (Catherine Keener) who is the head puppeteer. While the show is still doing well, Jeff’s personal life is in free fall: He’s still reeling from the death of his son Phil; he’s separated from his wife Jill (Judy Greer) and his other son Will (Cole Allen) has lost respect for him and is developing the rebellious streak of his late brother. When a show devoted to how to talk to your kids about death is shelved, it puts Jeff on the fast track to what could be either his salvation or self destruction. Walking a fine line between drama and dark comedy, Gondry has once again created a world that glimmers with all of the pleasantries of suburbia but underneath has dark and twisted secrets. Carrey puts in his best work in years as a man who’s trying to bring more of Jeff Piccirillo to the surface only to greeted by a world who only wants Mr Pickles. He’s an optimist in an increasingly cruel and cold world and Carrey perfectly conveys the conflict. Langella and Keener are also in fine form as Jeff’s family/co-workers nursing their own personal struggles even as they try to keep this mini empire going. Straddling the line between drama and comedy, it’s a show that will certainly spark plenty of conversations. Kidding premieres Sunday at 10pm Eastern on Showtime. You can also go to www.sho.com for more information.
Music From Big Pink – The 50th Anniversary by The Band. Released in the summer of 1968, the debut album by The Band startled audiences with their back to basics mix of blues, country, folk, R&B and soul. It ran a direct counter to the psychedelic sounds that dominated at the time, causing many musicians – including George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Roger Waters – to rethink their approach to songwriting and presentation. Within a year of its release, ‘The Weight’, the lead single from Big Pink, also had hit cover versions by Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross & The Supremes & The Temptations, and Jackie DeShannon, making the song an instant classic. To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of its release, the album will be reissued with a new stereo mix by Bob Clearmountain, outtakes, alternate recordings and an acappella version of ‘I Shall Be Released’ that will give you chills. The Super Deluxe Edition will include double LP vinyl, a high res surround mix on Blu Ray, a 7” inch single of ‘The Weight’ with ‘I Shall Be Released’ as the B-side and a hardback book fearturing an essay by David Fricke and photos by Elliot Landy. It’s a fitting look back at one of the greatest debut albums of all time. The 50th Anniversary edition of Music From Big Pink by The Band is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers.
New York City. The Art Of The Score. With the right score, an average film will become great and make a great film a classic. The New York Philharmonic will present a series that will show how two scores – past and present times helped enrich the project. On September 12th and 13th, they will perform the score to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-winning film There Will Be Blood as the film is projected on a giant screen, along with its composer, Jonny Greenwood. Then on September 14th and 15th, they will perform all of the classical favorites that were used in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as, again, the landmark sci-fi classic is being shown on a giant screen. Whether you are a classical music fan or a cinemaphile, this series gives you more than the best of both worlds. Go to www.nyphil.org for tickets and more information.
New York City. Art In The Open: 50 Years Of Public Art In New York. In 1968, The Public Art Fund was formed to bring an artist’s vision and talents into public realm. Since then, the Public Art Fund has used some of the city’s greatest spaces to feature one of a kind works by some of the world’s greatest artists. To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, The Museum Of The City Of New York will present a new exhibit featuring the organization’s best pieces. It will feature renderings, models, photographs, and video footage tracing the evolution of public artworks by such artists as Red Grooms, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Kara Walker. Whether it was meant to beautify, stimulate conversation and even outrage, this series will show how The Public Art Fund has been a key component in keeping New York City at the forefront of the art world. A much deserved victory lap. Art In The Open: 50 Years Of Public Art In New York will be at The Museum Of The City Of New York through September 23rd. You can also go to www.mcny.org for tickets and more information.
New York City. Hip Hop On Film. As hip hop celebrates its 45th Anniversary, Film Forum will present a month plus long retrospective that shows how the medium’s formative years translated onto the big screen. The series will include Krush Groove (featuring Run-DMC and Sheila E), Beat Street, Wild Style, Style Wars, and Stations Of The Elevated. Several of the directors will be on hand to do introductions and post-screening Q&As to tell how they captured a movement that went from local sensation to a global phenomenon. A must see series for true hip hop heads. Hip Hop On Film will be at Film Forum September 12th through October 20th. You can also go to www.filmforum.org for tickets, compelte schedule and more information.