Stay warm this winter with some hot local events, from an unmissable North American anime premiere, a documentary on one of Japan’s hottest acts, and concerts featuring some of the biggest names in electronic music, taiko, and indie rock.
This month’s highlights include:
Friday, Feb. 27, 8:30 p.m.
When Marnie Was There
DGA Theatre, 110 West 57th Street
This North American premiere kicks off this year’s New York International Children’s Film Festival! The newest feature from Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli is a sweeping story of friendship, mystery, and discovery that delivers stirring emotions and breathtaking animation as only Ghibli can. When shy, artistic Anna moves to the seaside to live with her aunt and uncle, she stumbles upon an old mansion surrounded by marshes, and the mysterious young girl, Marnie, who lives there. The two girls instantly form a unique connection and friendship that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. As the days go by, a nearly magnetic pull draws Anna back to the Marsh House again and again, and she begins to piece together the truth surrounding her strange new friend. Based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson, and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arriety), When Marnie Was There has been described as “Ghibli Gothic,” with its moonlit seascapes, glowing orchestral score, and powerful dramatic portrayals that build to a stormy climax. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Sunday, March 1, 3:00 p.m.
Over the L’arc~en~Ciel: Documentary Films “World Tour 2012~”
Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue
This new documentary follows a legendary rock band who never fear to take challenges on the international stage, when they have already reigned over the domestic music scene. L’Arc-en-Ciel, after celebrating their 20th anniversary, embarked on a massive world tour that no other Japanese rock band had ever done before. From March 3rd to May 31st, 2012, L’Arc-en-Ciel’s 14-city world tour hit Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Taipei, New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, Yokohama, Osaka, Tokyo, and Honolulu with a total attendance of 450,000 people. The band became the first solo Japanese act ever to perform at Madison Square Garden. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Monday, March 9, 7:30 p.m.
Play Reading Series: Dancing with the Bird
Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street
$12, $9 Japan Society members
With her hair stuck in a fan nearly eight feet in the air, a young woman finds herself in a most peculiar predicament when a man appears to have come to her rescue. This Hitchcock-esque cliffhanger is written by Kishida Kunio Award-winning playwright/director Seiji Nozoe, whose plays weave unusual but convincing realities as backdrops to his amusing explorations of the inner self. New York-based director, actor and filmmaker James Yaegashi translates the play and leads a cast of American actors in this minimalist three-person play that unleashes a world of emotion. Playwright Nozoe joins in a post-performance conversation with the audience.
Monday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Chihiro Yamanaka Trio
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 10 Columbus Circle
$25, $15 students
Renowned Japanese pianist Chihiro Yamanaka is one of her native country’s most popular. Luckily for us, she recently moved to New York City. She’s especially well-known for leading trios, and with Jazz at Lincoln Center favorite Yasushi Nakamura on bass and rising star Kush Abadey on drums, this group stands up to those high expectations. On top of virtuosic, light-speed chops, Yamanaka has an irresistible bounce to her playing and writing.
Friday, March 13, 9:00 p.m.
Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street
A Grammy-nominated international producer and DJ who averages over 250 tour dates per year, Steve Aoki’s latest studio album, Neon Future I, is a utopian environment that showcases the relationship between humans and technology. The album’s first visual offering: “Rage the Night Away” featuring Waka Flocka Flame, made its debut across multiple MTV formats. Directed by previous Aoki collaborator Gille Klabin (“Singularity”), the scene is set in a futuristic city where Aoki and Waka offer a third dimensional experience for those looking to “rage the night away,” which is sure to be on the agenda for this hotly anticipated return to NYC.
March 13-June 7
Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection
Japan Society Gallery, 333 East 47th Street
$12, $10 students/seniors, free for Japan Society members, children under 16, and all patrons on Friday nights, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Since arriving in Japan aboard Japanese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures from China in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art. Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection illustrates the depth of this mutual attraction by mining the wealth of bravura depictions of cats to be found in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo period (1615-1867). The exhibition is divided into five sections: Cats and People, Cats as People, Cats versus People, Cats Transformed and Cats, and Play. 90 ukiyo-e prints in the exhibition are on loan from the esteemed Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation whose holdings are revered in Japan. Select prints, paintings, sculptures, and other works borrowed from U.S. collections complement these prints, making the exhibition over 120 artworks that take viewers on a wild ride through Japan’s love affair with our feline friends.
Wednesday, March 18
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue
A three-time Independent Spirit Award-nominated film, this darkly comedic odyssey stars Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel, Pacific Rim) as Kumiko, a frustrated office lady whose imagination transcends the confines of her mundane life. Kumiko becomes obsessed with a mysterious, battered VHS tape of a popular film she’s mistaken for a documentary, fixating on a scene where a suitcase of stolen cash is buried in the desolate, frozen landscape of North Dakota. Believing this treasure to be real, she leaves behind Tokyo and her beloved rabbit Bunzo to recover it…and finds herself on a dangerous adventure unlike anything she’s seen in the movies.
March 19-21, 7:30 p.m.
Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue (Brooklyn)
From out of the darkness comes a low rumble, a crack of thunder. Floating orbs of light reveal a serpent coiling and uncoiling, its scales glinting in sinuous beauty. Drawing on the images, sounds, and techniques of ancient Japanese ritual, taiko drum ensemble Kodo melds rigor with grace in this extraordinary new work. Led by artistic director Tamasaburo Bando, Kabuki theater giant and a national treasure of Japan, the troupe showcases its legendary drumming alongside virtuosic dance and instrumental performance.
Tuesday, March 24, 8:00 p.m.
Japan Nite 2015
Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Avenue (Brooklyn)
$12 advance, $15 day of show
The coolest Japanese indie rock, punk and obscure culture extravaganza in the world, Japan Nite is an annual showcase of Japanese bands at SXSW in Austin, which has introduced over 100 bands to the world from 1996 to present. Following SXSW, the tour visits the Eastern United States, which includes New York, Chicago, Columbus and Athens, then moves west to Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. This year’s lineup includes TsuShiMaMire, QUORUM, The fin., Zarigani$, and BO-PEEP.
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