Hank’s Recommendations 04/09/13

hank_paperTHE OTHER SON — A Jewish family in Jerusalem and a Palestinian one in the West Bank discover their teenage sons have been switched at birth. The revelation leaves torment and shock in its wake, and then a reassessment of values, identity and filial loyalty as all are forced to adapt to the new “family” situation. The switched Jewish son, who was about to be inducted into the Israeli Defense Force until his Arab derivation becomes known, says to his Rabbi, “I’ll have to swap my kipa for a suicide bomb. Am I still Jewish?” Answers the Rabbi: “Great challenges are for great men. God loves men as a father loves his son.”

Indeed planted like a bomb in their midst, the revelation offers a weird and dire situation—the distraught men in the family wanting to forget or ignore; the wives wanting to understand and, tentatively, hopefully, embrace—until you realize, in fact, it can potentially be a totally acceptable and indeed normal situation.

This film is a retelling of the patriarchal story of Isaac and Ishmael—the two sons of Abraham who, because of filial contention, were separated by God to go their own way and found the two separate but semitic Jewish and Arab peoples. As with that tale, it is also a gripping and realistically rendered metaphor for reconciliation: the family’s’ other son is also their very own.

Says one son to the “other”: “You have my life, don’t mess it up.”

Watch the trailer for “The Other Son”:

Music: Anne Marie Menta Band on Thurs., Apr. 11, at 8 PM

Anne_Marie_Menta_Band_BV_010512The Anne Marie Menta Band performs in the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Apr. 11. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover charge is $5.

Anne Marie Menta hails from New Haven, CT., where she has been a long time favorite singer/songwriter. She comes from a family of three brothers, where playing and listening to music was their great passion. Her musical credits include fronting various rock & roll, folk, and country bands as a singer/guitarist, including The Wanderers, Sugar Moon, Sky Riders, and Rodeo Radio. In the mid 90s, she decided to concentrate on her own original music, and those tunes of hers that she “snuck” into her cover band repertoire now became her main focus. But, the country, folk, and pop music that she loved continued to be an influence in her writing.

Anne Marie’s first two CDs of original music, “Untried & True” and “When the Love Ran Deep” were released in 1999 and 2004 to enthusiastic reviews and gained airplay throughout New England acoustic music programs. Her third CD, “Seven Secrets,” was released in late November 2009 and continues her lyrical and melodic style of songwriting, as well as collaborations with her producer and fellow songwriter and instrumentalist, Dick Neal. She has been a featured performer at the Eli Whitney Folk Festival in New Haven, CT. and opened for artists such as Richard Shindell, The Kennedys, and Eddie from Ohio. She was a finalist in the 2004 South Florida Folk Festival Singer/Songwriter competition, and a showcase artist at NERFA (New England Regional Folk Alliance.)

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Apr. 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ESTHER GOLTON

• Monday, Apr. 22. FILM SCREENING FOR “WHAT WOULD YOU DO?” SERIES: “WALK ON WATER”

• Wednesday, Apr. 24. SINGER-SONGWRITER: HENRY SIDLE

• Thursday, Apr. 25. JAZZ: THE NICK Di MARIA QUARTET

• Sunday, May 5. FILM SCREENING & DISCUSSION: “ALL ME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WINFRED REMBERT”

• Wednesday, May 8. INDIE ROCK: POOLS ARE NICE, BUCK McGRANE

• Thursday, June 6. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

Hank’s Recommendations 04/02/13

hank_paperWHAT SUSHI MEANS

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI — ….as, indeed, so many of us do. But Jiro’s dreams will touch many of us deeply who do not dream of crustaceans and finny friends of the deep finding their way to our palate’s and brain’s nerve centers.

This is an umami of a documentary.

Filmed in Tokyo, the city most populous with sushi provenders, restaurants and bars, this is the story of 85-year-old Jiro who, after 70 years as a sushi purveyor, still awakens many nights from a dream of sushi with an idea for his restaurant: a ten seat sushi bar that has repeatedly been granted three Michelin stars.

Jiro’s sushi bar does not serve drinks or appetizers or entrees—only sushi, which, for him, should be no aftermath and for which there can be no prelude. Giving his ten customers the same attention that he gives to his sushi, if he notices a person at the bar who is left-handed, that is where Jiro will place that customer’s next sushi—by his left hand.

His tasting menu, which varies each day according to what’s fresh and best at each day’s market, is like a three-part concerto: an ebb and flow of light and heavy fish (some cooked, some raw) the catch of the day and what’s seasonal. The final course, a cleansing egg sushi, alone took an apprentice two years to learn how to make at the feet (or hands) of Jiro. His two sons, bearers of his legacy, have received the hardest apprenticeship of all so that one day they can have their own sushi bars.

If you are a sushi maven this film will make you want to immediately go out and get sushi (the very best at hand). The images are aesthetically and appetizingly ravishing. But the film is more: It is also about learning a task and making a life; about the meaning of dedication and the never-ending scale of improvement; of working 75 years and trying to be better every day yet never attaining the pinnacle of perfection which lies ever ahead. It is about family and hardship and the difference among generations; about kids then and kids now; about work that is motivated by pride and accomplishment rather than money and time off. It is about posterity and conservation as opposed to short-term greed, about fish stock depletions in an age of the ubiquity of sushi—conveyer belt and supermarket and do-it-yourself sushi—where global net fishing and bottom trawlers indiscriminately take young fish along with the mature. A tuna takes ten years to grow to its100 kilogram maturity. Learning to make sushi takes a lifetime.

This film is both a lesson in life and in making a life; it is an exemplum, a cautionary tale and, above all, it is a joy.

Music: The Haven String Quartet with Sambeleza play Thurs., Apr. 4, at 8 PM

The Haven String Quartet joins Sambeleza, one of New Haven’s finest jazz and Brazilian music ensembles, for an evening of Brazilian Bossa Nova music at the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Apr. 4. Admission is $5 and the music starts at 8 PM.

The string quartet arrangements (created by Sambeleza bassist Jeff Fuller) include several well-known songs by Tom Jobim (including “Desafinado,” “Girl From Ipanema,” “One Note Samba,” “Corcovado” and more) as well as works by composers Ivan Lins, Janet de Almeida and Haroldo Barbosa.

As the permanent quartet-in-residence of Music Haven, the Haven String Quartet’s mission is to integrate music and creative endeavor into community life. The quartet provides access to free music education and world-class chamber music performances to residents in New Haven’s most underserved neighborhoods. In conjunction with these activities, the Haven String Quartet actively performs in other communities, providing engaging performances in traditional concert halls and reaching new audiences in non-classical venues.

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Each quartet member is an exemplary performer who also enjoys the work of a teaching artist. They have graduated from such institutions as Yale University, Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, Rice University, and Longy School of Music, and enjoy successful careers as performers and teachers.

Yaira Matyakubova and Tine Lee Hadari are the Quartet’s resident violinists. Colin Benn and Matt Beckmann, respectively, are resident violist and resident cellist for the Haven String Quartet.

The musicians of Sambeleza are outstanding U. S. and Brazilian interpreters of the great songs of the bossa nova and samba traditions, as well as outstanding jazz artists in their own right. Sambeleza derives its name from two words: samba, the national dance of Brasil, and beleza, Portuguese for “beauty.” The Sambeleza lineup for this show is Isabella Mendes (piano, vocals), Jeff Fuller (bass, vocals) and Joe Carter (violão).

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UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, Apr. 10. BLUEGRASS: RAGWEED

• Thursday, Apr. 11. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Wednesday, Apr. 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ESTHER GOLTON

• Monday, Apr. 22. FILM SCREENING FOR “WHAT WOULD YOU DO?” SERIES: “WALK ON WATER”

• Thursday, Apr. 25. JAZZ: THE NICK Di MARIA QUARTET

• Sunday, May 5. FILM SCREENING & DISCUSSION: “ALL ME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WINFRED REMBERT”

• Wednesday, May 8. INDIE ROCK: POOLS ARE NICE, BUCK McGRANE

Music: Indie rock and folk with Lys Guillorn Band Wed., Apr. 3, at 8 PM

The Lys Guillorn Band plays the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Apr. 3. The cover charge is $5 and the music starts at 8 PM.

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Lys Guillorn is a singer/songwriter of the same musical school as Laura Veirs and Kristin Hersh, with a little Emmylou Harris thrown in: dreamy, lyric-driven, melodically interesting, and indefinable.  She makes “oddly uplifting, folk, blues, country-infused, acoustic semi-electric psychedelic dark pop music.” (Geraint Jones, Comes With a Smile, UK). In recent years, Guillorn has released a full-length CD, an EP, and a collection of compilation tracks on her own Little Cowgirl Records. She is working on her second full-length CD of original material. At the Best Video Performance Space on April 3, she will perform with her full band.

Vincent Bator profiled Guillorn in the Hartford Indie Music Examiner last April, writing:

Labeling the 38-year old Guillorn’s musical style is too confining and counter-intuitive, but a starting point is her reverence for distinctly American music. Neither a straight-ahead purist nor a campy reinterpreter of the country and folk classics she’s obviously influenced by, Guillorn’s voice is authentic, stark and refreshing…

While she’s invariably compared to artists like Laura Veirs, Emmylou Harris and Kristen Hersh, it’s not a stretch to add Lisa Germano and Lucinda Williams to the list of comparisons. There’s an element of subtle experimentalism in both her songcraft and recordings; like Germano’s, and a subtext of world-weariness in her vocals similar to Williams’. On the surface, the songs’ arrangements seem conventional, but below it, odd tunings and bits of sound collage-y stuff give texture and true artistry to the tunes. Guillorn’s voice is at times restrained, hushed and ragged — no histronics here.

Guillorn was interviewed for Chip’s Unnamed Local Band show and played one of her songs. Watch:

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, Apr. 4. CLASSICAL/BRAZILIAN: HAVEN STRING QUARTET with SAMBELEZA

• Wednesday, Apr. 10. BLUEGRASS: RAGWEED

• Thursday, Apr. 11. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Wednesday, Apr. 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ESTHER GOLTON

• Monday, Apr. 22. FILM SCREENING FOR “WHAT WOULD YOU DO?” SERIES: “WALK ON WATER”

• Thursday, Apr. 25. JAZZ: THE NICK Di MARIA QUARTET

• Sunday, May 5. FILM SCREENING & DISCUSSION: “ALL ME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WINFRED REMBERT”

• Wednesday, May 8. INDIE ROCK: POOLS ARE NICE, BUCK McGRANE