I've always been slightly obsessed with urban exploring...especially when it's not me who's risking arrest. A few years ago, two friends did just that by paddling a rubber raft across New York's East River to North Brother Island, site of a 19th-century hospital for smallpox victims that's now overgrown with weeds. They poked around the deteriorating buildings, camped overnight, and took some great photos. No one caught them, and it sounded very cool—at least, until they broke out in rashes from poison ivy.
So I was excited to attend a screening of Undercity: Las Vegas—a short film about two urban explorers trekking through the Sin City sewer system.
The 23rd annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival kicked off Friday night with the New York premiere of journalist and first-time director Alison Klayman’s documentaryAi Weiwei: Never Sorry. Intriguing as much as it is troubling, the film—which won audiences over at Sundance this year—looks at the life of the artist and political activist who pushes China to grapple with its own social and political shortcomings, and challenges the government’s capricious, heavy-handed approach to silencing political dissent.
For the next two weeks Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater will be festival HQ, hosting a series of new films (14 New York debuts), panel discussions with experts and filmmakers, and an exhibition by South African photographer Brent Stirton, which investigates rights abuses committed against residents living near Papua New Guinea’s Porgera gold mine.
Exclusive GloboMaestro Video: Few cinemas are as iconic as the films they show, but The Paris Theatre, America's oldest continuously operated art-house cinema, is itself a celebrity. The cinema, located just a stone's throw away from The Plaza Hotel, was opened by Marlene Dietrich in 1948 and remains one of the New York's last single screen theaters. You won't catch this summer's blockbuster here (the theater shows only movies shot on film), but you'll be sure to see some of the finest independent and foreign films. While only one flick is shown each week, this cinephile wonderland never ever plays any pre-show ads.
In the May Travel + Leisure—our annual Food Issue—I take a look at the next wave of Hawaiian cuisine. This January I spent two weeks eating my way around Oahu and the Big Island, along with my wife, T+L Features Director and Food Editor Nilou Motamed. (You may know Nilou from NBC’s Today Show.) And I have to say: Hawaii, you had me at aloha. Island chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and food artisans are firing on all cylinders these days, driving a remarkably creative culinary scene—one that’s also surprisingly affordable, given the state’s reputation for high prices. You heard it here first, people: Hawaii is shaping up to be one of the hot food destinations for 2012. Book your flights now.
It’s pop-up galore these days, but this one caught our eye: From Apr. 4–17, British Airways will host FlightBA2012 in Shoreditch. The event is a culmination of last year’s airline-sponsored search to find three “Great Britons,” rising stars from different creative fields. Their mentors? Celeb chef Heston Blumenthal, YBA Tracey Emin, and actor/writer/director Richard E. Grant.
Nick Bertke is commonly known as Pogo, the Internet sensation whose music videos have garnered a cult following worldwide. He was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and now lives in Australia. As a teenager, he began taking film clips from Disney movies, spliced their sound bites into distinct melodies, and then posted the remixed product onto YouTube. At first they were taken down from the website, presumably for copyright infringement, but with their viral popularity, he was soon commissioned by Disney to make them for the company.
Now, at age 23, and after a few international tours, he is traversing the globe to work on a more personal project, called World Remix. Using film shot by his own team, he is showing us his travels with an ear for its sounds and an eye for its sights. I had the opportunity to talk with Nick about this unique career.
In theaters today, OKA! is an adaptation of the memoir of an ethnomusicologist from New Jersey, Louis Sarno, who moved to the remote forests of the Central African Republic to record the music of the Bayaka Pygmies over 20 years ago, fell in love and stayed.
Kris Marshall (Love Actually) gives a fine performance as the ethnomusicologist, but it’s the local Bayaka ensemble cast and the lush African rainforest that are worth your attention here. The plot is familiar—a capitalistic politician wants to destroy the Bayaka’s forest home to make way for a logging company’s expansion—but don’t be quick to dismiss this as another Fern Gully rip-off. The beauty of this film is in the moments that aren’t trying to move the plot along—children singing in perfect syncopated rhythm together, a group of women making music in a river using the water as their only instrument, and the documentary-worthy wildlife shots.
The Movie:War Horse, Steven Spielberg’s take on the battlefields of World War I, and The Adventures of Tintin, his second December release, based on the popular Belgian comics.
Why Go? For the director’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s acclaimed book, and the international hit play; the 3-D performance-capture Tintin was produced at Peter Jackson’s WETA Studios in New Zealand.
The Movie: David Fincher’s cinematic version of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was shot on location in Sweden and stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.
Why Go? It is the long-awaited English-language treatment of the grisly crime novel. Added value: an original score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
If you found yourself tearing up at the end of the last Harry Potter movie this summer, fear not, Muggles! For those utterly addicted to the Harry Potter universe and those who simply want to tour a piece of movie-making history, the franchise lives on. Tickets are available beginning October 13, 2011 for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London—The Making of Harry Potter, at Leavesden, opening in Spring 2012. Tack on an extra day to a London visit and bring your broomstick for this insider’s look.