Brooklyn Academy of Music: 2015 Next Wave Festival

Brooklyn Academy of MusicDiminished support for cultural institutions – from both government and private funding sources – has made it a challenge for many cultural organizations around the country to sustain their momentum and focus on producing and presenting creative work.

Through unique programs and partnerships, Bloomberg Philanthropies is helping arts and cultural organizations learn vital strategies to better manage their operations and access new funding sources.

Among the various Bloomberg Philanthropies’ initiatives and partnerships, the organization has long supported the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), a multi-arts center located in Brooklyn, New York.  For more than 150 years, BAM has been the home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas—engaging both global and local communities. With world-renowned programming in theater, dance, music, opera, film, and much more, BAM showcases the work of emerging artists and innovative modern masters.

BAM also places a special emphasis on its commitment to the community. From discounted tickets and transportation for special needs groups to opportunities for local arts organizations and businesses, BAM is committed to strengthening its various business and cultural partnerships–and the BAM Cultural District and Brooklyn overall.

BAM’s Next Wave Festival has permanently changed the artistic landscape, featuring breakout performances and landmark productions. Using a name that plays on the New Wave in French cinema, BAM president and executive producer Harvey Lichtenstein launched a series entitled “The Next Wave/New Masters” in November 1981 with four productions: three dance works, plus Philip Glass’ new opera Satyagraha. A more ambitious program followed in 1982, including a two-evening performance work by Laurie Anderson entitled United States: Parts I-IV.

Currently, BAM has announced its 2015 Next Wave Festival which showcases the very best in contemporary performance, plus artist talks, storytelling, visual art, and film.  The 2015 festival features 32 dance, music, opera, performance art, and theater engagements from Sept 16—Dec 20.

Click here for more information on the 2015 Next Wave Festival.


BAM invited Marc Maron to the Stage and it Was Amazing


Marc Maron is a comedian and host of “WTF With Marc Maron”. Maron recently catapulted into the spotlight after President Obama agreed to come to his garage where he records his popular podcast. Maron recently took the stage at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for a two-hour comedy set. The nearly 3,000 seat capacity venue was filled to see Maron’s interesting brand of comedy that combines anger and neuroses. But Maron started his set by saying, “It’s going to be hard to present myself as unhappy”.

Maron, continued his self-aware routine on his interview with the President. He was also obviously aware of the venue as well. BAM is known for hosting a wide variety of shows from plays, to concerts and even just conversations and interviews. Maron’s set was more like a physical one-man show than his normal comedy routine. Maybe this is the new Marc Maron, joyful and still hilarious.

Though the angry, neurotic comic has become cliche, Maron has never been easy to fit into a mold. His show at BAM demonstrated that his talent and success has little to do with a common comic stereotype. Many of Maron’s peers describe him as a comic’s comic which is a way of saying he is very funny and talented but doesn’t appeal to a larger audience. Whether this is the new Maron or just him on a bigger stage it seems more like America’s comic than just a comic’s comic.

The podcast is a lot like his act. It is very conversational, and his stories are told with perfect tone and cadence. The dramatics he added to the set were entirely complementary to this tone and cadence.

The appeal of Maron has been made apparent by his podcast and his show is definitely worth a few bucks. But maybe this show at BAM was too perfect, where the audience got the grit of a comic’s comic right before his rise to fame.

Robots and Actors on Stage Together At Bam


With all the news and articles about our seemingly inevitable future of robots and artificial intelligence, one of the less discussed effects future technology will have is on the arts. There has already been technology communities that have applied AI to music and created beautiful music.

This month the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) took their shot at combining technology with art, which many see as a contradiction. The show, “Robot”,  includes a melange of human and robotic movement and dance.

The show was put together by Bianca Li and included eight dancer-athletes worthy of the BAM stage. The show definitely gets all they can from these amazing dancers by focusing mostly on the beauty of human dance.

The movement on stage was accompanied by music played by robots. The instruments were moved by the dancers throughout the show. They included a set of drums, a xylophone, an automated accordion and a harpsichord.

From the musical instruments to the costumes, everything was made to look like the future as seen by people from the 60’s. The men were wearing milkmen like uniforms, while the women looked like flight attendants. This has the jarring effect of making the viewer see that we are living in the future as seen by these people. After all, the technology exists to have robots dancing alongside humans on stage in Brooklyn.

The show made sure to touch on how mechanical our lives can be. What part of that cant be automated by robots? During this, we see the actors taking time to teach these robots how to dance. The robots were tiny, adorable complements to the actors on stage.

There was no deeper meaning that was being pushed by Li, and one could see that the audience was pleased by this, the dances and the adorable robots.


Morrisey Cover Band Mexrissey At BAM


Stephen Morrissey is well known to music fans. The British rock star was the lead singer of The Smiths before venturing out on his on to considerable fame and critical acclaim.

A little less known is the eclectic band Mexrissey, a tribute band to the Smiths frontman. The band is actually amazing. Consisting of eight amazing musicians, tribute is the right word for the type of band. They are currently on an international tour and Brooklyn seems like the perfect way to kick off the United States leg.

As the line between Latin countries and the United States becomes thinner hopefully this sort of thing might become more common. Morrisey, for example, has a huge following in Mexico. Mexrissey has benefited greatly from this disappearing line between Latin and United States culture.

Mexrissey makes amazing music and their shows are full of visuals including a huge Frida Kahlo Morrisey mashup which underlines the blurred lines of two cultures. They formed the band less than a year ago, and their fandom is a tribute to how well they play.This isn’t some cover band either. There is a strong Mexican influence in their take on Morrisey’s songs. The experience of the Mexrissey show was unapologetically Mexican, loud, vibrant and full of mariachi style.

There show at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) was filled with music lovers as vibrant as the show itself. The show was not sold out but the attendees’ enthusiasm more than made up for it. They did sell out another 2,000 person venue, however, in England.

The songs are not only mariachi-infused but they are in Spanish. While this may turn off many potential attendees, it makes some of the ticket-holders even more excited because they identify more with this immigrant band.

In traditional BAM fashion, the theater was filled with an ecelectic group of old, young, white, black and any other creed you can imagine.