Temperatures approaching 90 degrees couldn’t keep kids and parents from flocking to yesterday’s Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair. Thousands turned out to enjoy the festivities, which ranged from the universally fun zeppole-eating and BMX-stunt-watching to kid-centric activities such as storming a gargantuan cardboard castle, making kites and cavorting on a bouncy Coca-Cola polar bear (kind of like a bouncy castle, only shaped like the aforementioned beast instead).
The event, which took over Greenwich Street between Chambers and Harrison (as well as all the side streets) from 10 AM to 6 PM, capped 10 days of movies and free events that comprised the ninth annual Tribeca Film Fest.
The extravaganza kicked off with a live performance by the cast of the Broadway musical Wicked at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and only got wicked better from there. As part of ESPN Sports Day, BMX daredevil Dave Voelker was on hand with his crew of bike-riding pros to put on an aerial stunt display the likes of which had never been seen in Lower Manhattan. “Oohs” were followed by “aahs” … and questions along the lines of, “Mommy, can Daddy show me how to do that on my Schwinn?” Let’s hope he didn’t try.
Children also lined up to grab some air of their own on the numerous bouncy castles strategically positioned on just about ever side street. One was a regular old castle, another was ESPN-themed, and still another took the shape of the iconic(?) Coca-Cola polar bear.
As if that weren’t enough, there was also a Chinese parade, ESPN-sponsored games such as free-throw shooting and tee-ball, face-painting, a puppet show, and enough junk food being consumed to make all the dentists in the area smile wide. Heck, Mr. Met and his entourage were even wandering around, much to the delight of children and female Mets fanatics.
As a nice reward for parents, the festival got an adult-friendly boost at 3 PM, when Mike D of the Beastie Boys led an epic guitar jam at the Church Street School for Music and Art. All in all, it was a beast of a time.
One of the great things about the Tribeca Film Festival is that most of the movies in the lineup aren’t bloated studio blockbusters with millions of dollars of marketing budget to burn (tough break, Michael Bay). They’re smaller independent films that rely on word of mouth and dedicated tub-thumping stars to get the buzz going, which ultimately results in cool events where said tub-thumping stars mingle with the public and promote the everliving crap out of their movie.
That’s exactly what happened at the Apple Store in SoHo last night, as recognizable actors Oliver Platt (A Time to Kill), Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie) and acclaimed writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money) gathered to chat about their new flick, Please Give, as part of TFF’s “Meet the Filmmakers” series.
Not every kid grows up to confront the incarnation of his childhood nightmares — but that’s exactly what I got to do at this Friday’s Tribeca Film Festival Drive-In screening of the 1988 Tom Hanks classic, Big. You see, I was on tap to interview Zoltar (for the uninitiated, he’s the card-dispensing, wish-granting carnival mannequin from the film). And my memories of the guy were that he was trapped in a box (possibly because he was too dangerous to unleash on the public), had scary red eyes, and his mouth opened with a frightening breathing sound as he silently demanded you make your wish for a quarter. That’s pretty scary stuff for a 7-year-old kid to witness! Continue reading Hitting It Off ‘Big’-Time With Zoltar→
Everything I knew about growing up I learned from watching Big in the ’80s. I wish I were kidding. I’m actually quite serious. Let’s review the lessons shall we?
1. Growing up ain’t everything it’s cracked up to be.
2. Be careful what you wish for.
3. You can always go back to being a kid — if you really want to.
So there’s no way I was going to miss watching Big on the big screen for the second night of Tribeca Film Festival’s Drive-In. Having grown up in the neighborhood, I only wish I could have seen the film this way the first time around… And did I mention Zoltar would be making an appearance? Continue reading A ‘Big’ Tribeca Drive-In With Gary Ross→
People love salsa — and not because it’s a delicious condiment, and not because it’s a fun word to say (though it really is). No, at last night’s Tribeca Film Festival world premiere of the documentary El Espiritu de la Salsa (The Spirit of Salsa), it was abundantly clear that New Yorkers love themselves some salsa music and, more importantly, some salsa dancing. Big time.
The film — about a Harlem-based salsa instructor named Tomas Guerrero who prepares a rabble group of dancing novices for a public performance — opened a series of Tribeca Film Fest “Drive-In” movies being shown Thursday, April 22, through Saturday, April 24, on a behemoth outdoor screen at the World Financial Center plaza (Big screens tonight and The Birth of Big Air tomorrow night). And the pre-screening atmosphere was electric … one might even say spicy.
I’d like to preface this by saying that I’m not a film critic, so I won’t be commenting on how great the shot compositions were, or how they used this or that documentary technique really well.Â What I can comment on, however, is how inspirational El Espiritu de la Salsa was.Â This is one of those movies that can totally change your life if you just let it.
New York can be a lonely place, especially for new comers, professionals with long work hours and dangerous jobs, and people who are newly single.Â The towering skyscrapers cast a feeling of gloom and doom over the city, and unless you know where to look, it can be hard to find those patches of sunlight.Â This documentary follows New Yorkers from all walks of life as they come up to Harlem to find that sunlight at Tomas Guerrero’s Santo Rico Dance School.
Everyone is there for a different reason: a newly retired couple is looking to spice up their lives; a pastry chef seeks her next adventure; a newly single equities trader wants to learn how to be alone in the city after a three year relationship.Â Whatever problems these strangers are going through, they all hope the same thing-that salsa dancing will be the answer.
Slowly but surely, the spirit does its magic.Â You can tell just by watching them on their journey just how empowering salsa can be.Â There is something about the Latin music and the sultry moves that, according to one of the dancers, Jessica, allows girls to be sexy in an appropriate setting and manner.Â It also gave the men a way to be strong and manly, yet passionate at the same time.Â Sitting there in the audience amidst the cat calling and good cheer, you couldn’t help but smile at their transformations and tap your feet along to the music.
No matter who you are, there will be somebody in this documentary that you can relate to.Â And who knows, maybe one of them will inspire you to take up salsa classes or your own personal adventure.Â Tomas Guerrero ends the movie by claiming that he can teach anyone to salsa.Â My only question, where can I sign up?
What do Shrek, Robert De Niro and Beastie Boys band member Mike D have in common? They’re all descending upon Lower Manhattan this week to celebrate the ninth birthday of the Tribeca Film Festival, running April 21 to May 2.
The 2010 fest, which kicks off tonight at the Ziegfeld Theater with the star-studded red-carpet premiere of Shrek Forever After, has come a long way since its inaugural run in 2002. Back then, with Tribeca still trying to shake off the sorrow and dust of the unimaginable tragedy of Sept. 11, acting legend and Tribeca resident Bobby De Niro, his producing partner Jane Rosenthal and her husband Craig Hatkoff banded together to found the annual celebration of film, music and culture with one ambitious goal in mind: rejuvenate the neighborhood economically, culturally, spiritually.
Their gambit seems to have succeeded. What began as a modest forum for the work of indie filmmakers and documentarians has blossomed into one of the premier film fests in America, attracting tiny independent movies and gargantuan blockbusters alike. But, more importantly, the festival coaxes visitors to Tribeca, once again a vibrant community bursting with beautiful parks, exceptional restaurants and a bounty of things to do.