DID YOU READ

“Bill Cunningham New York,” Reviewed

“Bill Cunningham New York,” Reviewed (photo)

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Bill Cunningham is an unlikely subject for a documentary since like most photographers, he’d much rather be doing the documenting. As a staple of the Sunday New York Times Style section, Cunningham has been responsible for illustrating society high and low with the “Evening Hours” and “On the Street” columns that cover the entire strata of fashion in the city. And beyond the fact that it apparently took director Richard Press a decade to convince the notoriously private Cunningham to serve as the basis for a film, while the city and its denizens have changed dramatically in the half-century Cunningham has taken pictures, the photographer has not.

Outfitted in the same blue jacket he picked up decades ago and on his 29th Schwinn bike (since he’s had 28 stolen from him over the years), Cunningham glides effortlessly down 5th Avenue from his apartment right above Carnegie Hall, forsaking the luxury of the people he photographs for a complete dedication to chronicling what they wear. He won’t drink at the parties, the bed in his cramped apartment is merely an inconvenience on his way to voluminous file cabinets, and he hardly takes notice of cabs that threaten to hit him in the street as he snaps pictures with one hand on his camera and another on a handlebar. Such commitment has earned him the respect and time of the likes of Anna Wintour and the late Brooke Astor, who make rare on-camera appearances to attest to Cunningham’s discrete charms, though it has left him without much of a life to call his own.

“Bill Cunningham New York” makes few judgments in this regard, ultimately bringing up the photographer’s lack of any real relationships aside from the one to his camera as something other than a quirky character trait near the end of the film. It’s that reticence both of the subject and filmmaker Richard Press of delving much deeper that keeps it mostly on the surface, but then again, that’s the most accurate way to approach Cunningham, who at one point sees a throng of paparazzi around Catherine Deneuve and asks why anyone cares about anything but what she wears. Fortunately for Press, Cunningham is naturally charismatic, an ease with people that’s likely come with decades of asking them to take their picture, and has some endemic drama with the impending eviction from his Carnegie Hall perch, of which only he and the nonagenarian artist Editta Sherman still pay a rent-controlled $530 a month.

One might think the main appeal of “Bill Cunningham New York” would be the hook of a survivor story since Cunningham’s immediately distinguishing trait is that he’s still taking photographs well into his eighties, capturing the trends that dictate the style of generations well behind him. However, it’s the single-mindedness of Cunningham about his work that is so infectious as well as so strange, given that he prides himself on blending into a crowd when he prizes those who stand out more than all else. Though it might’ve been against his own wishes, it’s something of a privilege for the rest of us that he’s been allowed to stand out with his own film since the only thing more fleeting these days than the fashion Cunningham has illustrated in the pages of the Times is the passion he holds for his craft.

“Bill Cunningham New York” is now open in New York and Los Angeles.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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