Crazy day yesterday. I waited in line for nearly two hours to buy my Tribeca Film Festival tickets. The festival takes place April 23-May 4. Tickets went on sale to American Express cardholders yesterday, they’ll go on sale to downtown residents on April 18, and on the 19th to the general public.
I always love this festival. My dad is a big film buff, a would-be filmmaker really, and he’s gone to practically every film festival in existence. But I feel like this one is kind of my own; I feel a special fondness for it since DeNiro established it in the aftermath of 9/11 in order to re-charge the lower Manhattan economy. I worked two blocks from the World Trade Center and frequently hung out in Tribeca, and it took me a long time to get over 9/11. I remember sobbing while waiting in line to see a festival movie the first year, standing on an upper floor of the Regal Battery Park Cinemas, standing by a window overlooking Ground Zero.
Anyway, this year there are two movies related to dance — I mean, there are lots of great-looking movies, but two involve dance: “Whatever Lola Wants“, a narrative about a struggling NYC dancer who follows an intriguing man to Morocco, where she becomes enthralled with belly dance; and “Gotta Dance“, a documentary about the first ever cheerleading team for seniors.
Funny, but while I was waiting in line at the festival’s new Village box office for tickets, I ran into an old friend, Claire, from my former studio, Dance Times Square. She and her friend were waiting in line to buy tickets for all of their friends and family to “Gotta Dance,” which it turns out, they are in! She also told me she’s performing in the upcoming Dance Times Square student showcase, on May 19th, and that Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis are scheduled to dance a number or two as well 😀 It’s so wonderful of them to keep performing in these student showcases and local things, since now, they obviously don’t have to.
Another movie that I’m psyched about is “Elite Squad” by a Brazilian documentarian I really like, Jose Padilha. I’d really liked his “Bus 174” about a young man from the Rio ghetto who held a busload of passengers hostage. Like the best true crime literary journalists, his films have a way of finding the larger significance of a story, bringing out the human element without resort to sensationalism, and making you feel for all people involved. This one’s about police force corruption in Rio. Padilha co-wrote with Braulio Mantovani, writer of the famous “City of God.”
Afterward, I walked around the corner to the Strand bookstore, and bought these three books. I’d gone for the new Pulitzer prize winner (the first for a Dominican author), The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, which I can’t wait to read, but ended up not wanting to spend so much money, and these, being older, were on sale. I’ve been scouring NYC bookstores for anything written by Pauline Kael for some time now, and ridiculously haven’t been able to find a thing. She’s only just about the most famous art critic ever, right?! It’s been only seven years since her death and now bookstores are no longer bothering to stock her; horrible. Anyway, at least the Strand came through. And, I also got this book by Dominick Dunne, since apparently I’m into true crime lately, and Norman Mailer’s advice to writers. I guess I’ll wait for a 30% discount Borders coupon for the Diaz.
Last, I was so famished and with all that standing in line for the movie tickets, I knew I couldn’t make it home without passing out, so I ended up at “Buono Sera” on University Place. They don’t seem to have their own website, but here’s the New York review. The maitre d looks and talks just like Vincent D’Onofrio, which was fun, and they had a great small band playing in the back, near a little screen showing filmed aerial views of various parts of Italy — very interesting idea for a restaurant, showing video clips of the homeland like that. Service was excellent; I don’t think I ever had a water glass that wasn’t filled to the brim, and when I noticed the films projected on the back wall and turned around to watch, ‘Vincent’ apparently thought I was looking for the waiter and came over, apologized, and told me he’d take my order instead! I only wish their food had been as good as their entertainment and service. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. The wine was excellent as was the panna cotta dessert. The only thing I wasn’t in love with was my main dish — the gnocchi. It was fine and everything I’d expect from a plate of potato dumplings covered with marinara sauce, but there nothing extra special about it; it was just there, unlike the panna cotta. Also the foccaccia was hard on the edges and I wasn’t in love with the dipping sauce — just a basic marinara.
Anyway, okay enough blabbering. I have to go read my books.