Fall Travel 2015: Nine Top Reasons to Love The Lafayette Art & Wine Festival 2015, California’s East Bay’s Favorite End of Summer Party

Award-Winning Art, Wine and Music Festival: 2 Days, 4 Live Stages, 21 Cover Bands, 260+ Artist Booths, KidZone, Great Food – and arguably the largest selection of Wine, Beer and Ale of any San Francisco Bay Area Festival.

Lafayette Art & Wine Festival 2015 is Sept 19 & 20Lafayette Art & Wine Festival 2015 Graphic

Lafayette Art & Wine Festival 2015 is Sept 19 & 20Lafayette Art & Wine Festival 2015 Graphic

The annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival, now in its 20th year, a thriving as a growing regional event, attracts nearly four-times the town’s 24,000-resident population during the Festival weekend each September and is consistently voted by readers of Diablo Magazine as, “Best of the East Bay.” The Lafayette Art & Wine Festival is an annual event that promotes Lafayette’s Downtown and raises money for local education, the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and other local non-profit organizations. The event is produced by the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Lafayette and Eckerstrom Productions.large-2015 Lafayette AWM Festival logo

The 2015 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival will be held on Saturday, September 19 (10am-7pm) and Sunday, September 20 (10am-6pm) in Lafayette, CA.

Here are 9 top reasons why the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival is the East Bay’s best end of summer party:

1. Location: The Festival is held in the heart of beautiful downtown Lafayette, just steps from the Lafayette BART station, near bike trails (complimentary valet bike parking provided), 2 blocks off Hwy 24, and an easy walk/shuttle from complimentary Festival parking.2015-Lafayette-Art-Wine-Festival-Map

2. Continuous Music & Dancing – with no cover charge: 2 Days. 4 Stages. Room to dance to familiar tunes played by 21 of the Bay Area’s best headliner cover bands. The 2015 line-up is particularly strong and includes The Sun Kings, Foreverland, Stu Allen & Mars Hotel, David Martin’s House Party, Aja Vu, Stealin’ Chicago, ZEBOP!, The Spazmatics, Juice, The Big Jangle, East Bay Mudd, Bay Bridge Beat, David Crimmen, Echo Trail, Other People’s Money, Evolution, Bob Athayde & Friends, Spinout, and more. View the 2015 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival entertainment schedule at www.lafayettefestival.com/music

New for 2015: To help celebrate the Festival’s 20th anniversary, Whole Foods is sponsoring family-friendly activities at the Premium Wine Area from 10am to noon both Saturday and Sunday. A “sock hop” follows from noon to 1:30pm, with live ’50s music provided by Spinout on Saturday and Dave Crimmen on Sunday.

3. Unique Wine & Beer Offerings at The Party Within The Party: Popular wines, beers and ales are served throughout the Festival footprint, but the real action for connoisseurs happens in the Premium Wine & Craft Beer Pavilion, where there are selections of high-end wines and craft beer that most people never get a chance to taste, including wines from the backyard vineyards of Lamorinda Wine Growers Association members.

4. Delicious Food: Choice is everywhere, including Lafayette’s restaurant row fare. More than 25 of Lafayette’s top restaurants are in the Festival’s footprint, plus there are dozens of other food vendors and Food Trucks that offer everything from hickory smoked pulled pork tacos to crab cakes.

5. Original Fine Arts & Crafts: People from all over the Bay Area come to shop at the Festival’s 260+ local and regional artists’ booths, including the “Local Artists Alley,” which showcases Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda fine artists, who are members of the Lafayette Gallery and Lamorinda Arts Alliance.

7. Family & Dog Friendly: People move to Lafayette for the family friendly lifestyle, so it’s no surprise that this is a family friendly festival, starting with a large KidZone and Kids’ Stage. There is also plenty for family dogs to see and smell, as well as easy access to Festival water bowls.

8. Budget Friendly: This event is a fundraiser that supports the Lafayette Chamber’s many programs, Lafayette Partners in Education (“LPIE”), and other local non-profits, but attendees don’t have to spend. The Festival Experience offers many things that are free — admission (including access to music stages), parking, easy shuttle service from Festival Parking, and secure bike valet.

9. Extend the Family Fun – New for 2015: The Lafayette Police Department is hosting a new Police Motorcycle Competition in the South BART parking lot during Festival weekend. Free to attend, the event offers individual and team motorcycle events to watch both Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 5pm. For complete Lafayette Art & Wine Festival details, go to www.lafayettefestival.com. Continue reading

Elton John AIDS Foundation, LALIQUE and Paddle8 announce ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE Collection

A NEW PROJECT TO HELP RAISE CRITICAL FUNDS FOR THE GLOBAL FIGHT TO END AIDS

The Elton John AIDS Foundation, LALIQUE (one of the world’s best-known manufacturers of crystal), and Paddle8, the premier online auction house, has unveiled the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE, a collection of seven exceptional crystal sculptures, four of which will be auctioned off and sold to raise critical funds to fight the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Sir Elton John announcingthe ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE, a collection of seven exceptional crystal sculptures, four of which will be auctioned off and sold to raise critical funds to fight the global HIV/AIDS epidemic (Phot o Credit: Gilles Pernet)

Sir Elton John announcing the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE, a collection of seven exceptional crystal sculptures, four of which will be auctioned off and sold to raise critical funds to fight the global HIV/AIDS epidemic (Photo Credit: Gilles Pernet)

For me, this partnership with Lalique clearly demonstrates the company’s deep commitment to its role as a global corporate citizen,” said Sir Elton John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Lalique and Paddle8 to raise funds that will support important projects in the fight against AIDS in the Americas and in the Caribbean.”
Elton-John-gravure-zoom-BD-copyright-Gilles-Pernet (1)

At the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), the belief is that AIDS can be beaten and they act on that belief by raising funds for effective programs and policies, and also by speaking out with honesty and compassion about the realities of people’s lives. Sir Elton John created EJAF over twenty years ago, first in the United States in 1992 and then in the United Kingdom in 1993. Through hard work and with the help of our network of kind, amazing, creative, and generous friends and supporters, the two foundations together have raised more than $321 million over the past two decades to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS. The U.S. foundation focuses its efforts on programs in the United States, the Americas, and the Caribbean, while the U.K. foundation funds HIV-related work in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Clear Crystal Heart,  limited edition of 999 pieces

Clear Crystal Heart from the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE collection, limited edition of 999 pieces ($1,200) Image provided by Lalique

Red Crystal Heart, limited edition of 499 pieces

Red Crystal Heart from the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE collection, limited edition of 499 pieces ($1,800) Image provided by Lalique

r Crystal Angel, limited edition of 999 pieces $1,800)

Clear Crystal Angel from the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE collection, limited edition of 999 pieces $1,800) Image provided by Lalique

Three pieces from the MUSIC IS LOVE collection will be available for purchase starting September 10, 2015 (See above), at LALIQUE boutiques nationwide and select retailers. These pieces include the Crystal Angel, limited to 999 worldwide ($1,800), the RED CRYSTAL HEART, limited to 499 worldwide ($1,800) and the CLEAR CRYSTAL HEART, limited to 999 worldwide ($1,200). 10% of the proceeds will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Angel Cire Perdue in Clear and Red Crystal, unique piece

Angel Cire Perdue in Clear and Red Crystal, unique piece from the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE collection, will be auctioned off by Paddle8 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation‘s annual ACADEMY AWARDS VIEWING PARTY on February 28, 2016. (Image provided by Lalique)

Unique Piece: Red Crystal Heart and Platinum Enamel

Unique Piece: Red Crystal Heart and Platinum Enamel from the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE collection will be auctioned off by Paddle8 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation‘s annual ACADEMY AWARDS VIEWING PARTY on February 28, 2016. (Image provided by Lalique)

Unique Piece: Clear Crystal Heart and Gold Enamel

Unique Piece: Clear Crystal Heart and Gold Enamel from the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE collection will be auctioned off by Paddle8 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation‘s annual ACADEMY AWARDS VIEWING PARTY on February 28, 2016. (Image provided by Lalique)

Clear Crystal Angel, unique piece with gold stamping

Clear Crystal Standing Angel with gold stamping from the ELTON JOHN MUSIC IS LOVE FOR LALIQUE collection will be auctioned off by Paddle8 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation‘s annual ACADEMY AWARDS VIEWING PARTY on February 28, 2016. (Image provided by Lalique)

The masterpiece of the collection, the unique ANGEL CIRE PERDUE (see above) in clear and red crystal, together with three additional unique special editions of the STANDING ANGEL and HEART (see above), will be auctioned off by Paddle8 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation‘s annual ACADEMY AWARDS VIEWING PARTY on February 28, 2016. These special pieces will be available online in the weeks leading up to the live auction and accessible via Paddle8.com and Paddle8’s free iPhone app, which is used by Paddle8’s global community of 500,000 collectors. Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes will also serve as live auctioneer for the third consecutive year at the viewing party. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Continue reading

Architect David Adjaye Awarded 2016 Eugene Mcdermott Award In The Arts At MIT

Award Includes $100K Prize, Artist Residency, Gala And Four Public Programs At MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announce that architect David Adjaye OBE is the recipient of the 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. The $100K prize awarded at a gala in his honor also includes an artist residency at MIT in spring 2016, during which Adjaye will participate in four public programs. These events will include panels and symposia focused on the future of the museum, library and campus, as well as a keynote lecture about his own body of work.

David Adjaye Awarded the 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT

David Adjaye Awarded the 2016 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT was established in 1974 by the Council for the Arts at MIT to recognize innovative talents in any arts discipline and offers its recipient a $100,000 cash prize and a campus residency. The selection process reflects MIT’s commitment to risk taking, problem solving, and the idea of connecting creative minds across disciplines. The Award honors Eugene McDermott, cofounder of Texas Instruments and long-time friend and benefactor of MIT.

Upon receiving the news, Mr. Adjaye’s remarked, “In my career I have sought to cross creative platforms, to collaborate with artists and designers from different disciplines and to focus on the creative discourse surrounding the act of making things. I believe it is this dialogue – the cultural intersection – that moves us forward, generates new possibilities and creates greatness. The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT has long stood for exactly this principle, and it for this reason I am both supremely honoured and supremely humbled to be named as this year’s recipient.

David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. He founded Adjaye Associates in 2000 and immediately won several prestigious commissions. In Oslo he designed the NOBEL PEACE CENTRE in the shell of a disused railway station (completed in 2005). In London his design for the WHITECHAPEL IDEA STORE pioneered a new approach to the provision of imagesinformation services (2005). Later projects in London included the STEPHEN LAWRENCE CENTRE, with teaching and community spaces (2007), RIVINGTON PLACE, an exhibition venue and resource centre (2007), and the BERNIE GRANT CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS (2007).

Adjaye Associates now has offices in London, New York, and Accra and is working throughout the world. In the United States, Adjaye is the designer of a new home for the MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART in Denver (2007), two public libraries in Washington DC (2012), the SUGAR HILL low income housing development in Harlem (2014) and the redesigned ETHELBERT COOPER GALLERY OF AFRICAN & AFRICAN AMERICAN ART at Harvard’s HUTCHINS CENTER (2014). Adjaye Associates’ largest completed project to date is the £160 million MOSCOW SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT SKOLKOVO (2010).

Current high profile architectural projects include $360 million THE SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE on the National Mall in Washington, DC, the Alara concept store in Lagos, the AISHTI FOUNDATION ARTS AND RETAIL CENTRE in Beirut, a new headquarters building for the INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION in Dakar, the new home for The Studio Museum in Harlem, the CENTER FOR ART AND CULTURE at Colgate University, and a condominium development for FOUR SEASONS in Washington, DC.

Adjaye recently collaborated with Okwui Enwezor on the design of the 56TH VENICE ART BIENNALE (2015). Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye, a comprehensive retrospective exhibition, was held at Haus der Kunst in Munich and is at the Art Institute of Chicago September 19, 2015–January 3, 2016.

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT celebrates individuals whose artistic trajectory reveals that they will achieve the highest distinction in their fields and continue to produce inspiring work for many years to come. The $100,000 prize represents an investment in the recipient’s future creative work, rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement. The official announcement will be made at the Council for the Arts at MIT’s 43rd annual meeting at MIT on October 30, 2015 and Mr. Adjaye will be presented with the award at a gala in his honor on March 29, 2016. Continue reading

Royal Sonesta Houston Hotel Showcases Boutique Food And Beverage Producers From Around The State With New Texas Flavor Value-Add Room Package Plus Weekday Lobby Sampling Program

Under the direction of Executive Chef Peter Laufer and Director of Food & Beverage Peter Schreurs, the food and beverage program at the recently-renovated Royal Sonesta Houston has established itself as a champion of regionally sourced fare that showcase the best of boutique purveyors from around Texas. This is not only evident at TableOne (www.44steaks.com/44-steaks-at-table-one/),the hotel’s acclaimed chef’s table experience, but also at ARA Restaurant, Axis Lounge and Launch grab-and-go café, as well as during the myriad of high profile weddings and special events that utilize the property’s 50,000 square feet of premier function space.

 Executive Chef Peter Laufer, Royal Sonesta Houston

Executive Chef Peter Laufer, Royal Sonesta Houston

The 485-room Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston is an AAA Four-Diamond-rated, full-service hotel located in the heart of the Galleria area, an upscale business, shopping, dining and entertainment district in Uptown. The modern, 23-story property, which was recently re-imagined through a painstaking, nearly $30-million renovation, offers 50,000 square feet of function space, several dining options, a swimming pool and 24-hour fitness facility. Steps away from The Galleria Mall and Post Oak Boulevard, it is also situated in close proximity to downtown, Highland Village, Memorial Park, Greenway Plaza, the museum and theater districts and Texas Medical Center.

Royal Sonesta Houston - Axis lounge

Royal Sonesta Houston – Axis lounge

Table

TableOne (www.44steaks.com/44-steaks-at-table-one/),the hotel’s acclaimed chef’s table experience

The efforts of the “Two Peters” reflects the city’s increasingly sophisticated palate as it continues to heat up its culinary and cocktail scene, earning kudos from around the world for the quality and diversity of its offerings. As the Royal Sonesta Houston moves towards fall, a stronger emphasis is being placed on sharing the bounty of the state with its guests in a more interactive manner. A focal point of this direction is the new TEXAS FLAVOR program, which encompasses the unveiling of a dedicated overnight package and the formal rollout of a weekday, early evening sampling that completed a successful test run this summer.

Club Lounge Happy Hour at the Royal Sonesta Houston Club Lounge

Club Lounge Happy Hour at the Royal Sonesta Houston Club Lounge

For a limited time and based on availability, guests can enjoy a delectable adventure for two with the first edition of the hotel’s value-added TEXAS FLAVOR package with rates starting at $189 per room, per night. In addition to luxurious overnight accommodations with late checkout in the heart of the city and minutes from an array of top drinking and dining destinations, participants will receive a welcome amenity featuring a TEXAS CHEDDAR SAMPLER and AZTEC HONEY paired with bottles of Houston-based LEPRECHAUN PREMIUM HARD CIDER (www.leprechauncider.com/), plus tour and sampling tokens for nearby KARBACH BREWING CO. (www.karbachbrewing.com/) and YELLOW ROSE DISTILLING (www.yellowrosedistilling.com/), home of the first legal distillery in the city limits. Valid for Thursday through Saturday night stays, TEXAS FLAVOR also treats with a breakfast buffet at ARA Restaurant and complimentary self-parking for one vehicle. (Rate code: TEXAS.)1095_07_RSH

Diplomats Baron Connector

The 485-room Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston is an AAA Four-Diamond-rated, full-service hotel located in the heart of the Galleria area, an upscale business, shopping, dining and entertainment district in Uptown.

Monday through Thursday from 5 until 6 pm hotel patrons are invited to gather in the lobby and Axis Lounge for an opportunity to meet a variety of tastemakers, ranging from cookbook authors to producers, and partake in complimentary, chef-prepared bites, utilizing regionally-sourced ingredients, and homegrown sips, spanning the spectrum of Texas’s top brewers, distillers and winemakers. For more information on upcoming menus and visits, including cookbook author Erin Hicks (www.erinhickscooks.com/).

Reservations are available by calling 617.315.9100; toll free at 800.SONESTA or online at Sonesta.com.

New York Fashion Week to Feature Phone Charging Stations by ChargeItSpot

With increasing data speeds and phone usage outpacing almost every mobile devices’ power supply, consumers are increasingly faced with the inconvenience and anxiety of dying phone batteries, often at the most inconvenient times. In response to this growing power consumption, ChargeItSpot, LLC. developed a charging station that enables consumers to recharge mobile devices for free at retail locations near them.

Following the immense popularity of their phone charging stations last July at New York Fashion Week: Men’s, ChargeItSpot has been tapped again to help attendees of the 2015 New York Fashion Week stay charged for the big event. The phone charging kiosks will once again be sponsored by Fashion GPS, the fashion industry’s go-to source for samples, invitations and schedules since 2006. ChargeItSpot cell phone charging stations provide a dependable charge for your phone no matter when or where your battery runs low.

ChargeItSpot Logo

ChargeItSpot Logo

The four phone charging stations will be present during the entire duration of New York Fashion Week (September 10-17, 2015) and will be located both in the lobby area and backstage at the Skylight at Moynihan Station in the historic James A. Farley Post Office on West 33rd Street in Manhattan.

As an added bonus, two additional charging stations sponsored by Bloomingdale’s will be set up at their outdoor pop-up lounge entitled “The Vanity Bar” located directly outside of Moynihan Station from September 10-14. The kiosks are complimentary, completely secure and compatible with Android, iPhone (iOS) and BlackBerry.ChargeItSpot

Designed by Brooklyn-based SONIC Design, the kiosks are centrally monitored and controlled with an interactive touch screen that allows customers to open and lock one of the 8 charging bays compatible with 95% of all mobile phones. Multi-colored LED lights changing from green to blue indicate that a bay is in use. Upon first use, users will be prompted to download a mobile app which in the future will alert them to nearby ChargeItSpots when their phone batteries run low. This application will also enable retail partners to offer local deals and advertise to nearby consumers with low phone batteries and gain insight from data on cross-store shopping behavior. The device is a plug-and-play, self-service kiosk. With a footprint of roughly one square foot, it only requires an electrical outlet to be up and running. Sixteen minutes of charging replenishes 20% of the battery, or 96 minutes of talk time.

Fashion GPS has their pulse on the latest fashion technology and we’re thrilled that they’ve asked us to power up this year’s Fashion Week in New York,” says ChargeItSpot Founder/CEO Doug Baldasare. “With so many people taking pictures and videos of the fashion shows all day, it would be a complete nightmare if their phone battery died! Our charging kiosks will ensure that bloggers, press and other attendees can safely power up in between shows.

The charging stations, dubbed “the single best innovation of NYFW: Men” by The New York Times Style editor Stuart Emmrich, helped over 1,500 Fashion Week attendees recharge their phones during the course of the 4-day event last July. “Our team had a blast at Men’s Fashion Week,” says Jeffrey Bergeland, Director of Client Success at ChargeItSpot. “We can’t wait to hit the tents again this week!”

Fashion GPS’s Product Marketing Manager Lauren Kaiser echoes the excitement: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with ChargeItSpot for NYFW and provide the fashion industry with an infusion of technology during the shows.
ChargeItSpot is a Philadelphia-based phone charging provider for retail stores, restaurants, hospitals, casinos and other public venues. Since launching three years ago out of the
Wharton Business School Incubator, the startup has successfully partnered with 15+ national brands – including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman – across 11 states. For more information about ChargeItSpot, visit ChargeItSpot.com or visit the ChargeItSpot Blog. For a full list of charging station locations, download the ChargeItSpot app.

World Renowned Soundsuit Artist Nick Cave “Blankets” Shreveport, Louisiana

The Shreveport Regional Arts Council and Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau announce details of Cave’s eight-month artist-in-residency program in Shreveport

Louisiana is no stranger to the colorful and the outrageous, whether it is embodied by the celebration of Mardi Gras or the spicy local cuisine. It’s no wonder that Soundsuit artist Nick Cave thinks the northwest corner of this flamboyant state is the perfect place to bring his elaborate, symbolic and engaging art.

Nick Cave refers to himself as “an artist with a responsibility.” His work is grounded in civic consciousness. His Soundsuit art is exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of Modern Art, Crystal Bridges Museum, the Trapholt Museum in Denmark and he works around the world in London, Paris, China, Jerusalem and Australia. His current exhibition, “Here Hear” at the Cranbrook Museum near Detroit, is creating social change as Detroit discovers Detroit.

But why Shreveport, and why now?

I like the neighborhood in which I will work in Shreveport,” said Mr. Cave. “It’s a nine-block area called Shreveport Common that is completely uncommon because of its amazing quirks and diversity. My work here will be like nothing I’ve ever done, a brand new idea. It will be about change and about being proactive. I hope that it will be the mortar that unifies this neighborhood and that helps the rest of the world recognize who is here and see how we value and recognize that they matter.

Shreveport Common was named the 2015 National Development Council’s #1 Community Development Project in the Nation. Cave is coming to Shreveport Common as an artist-in-residency with The Shreveport Regional Arts Council to work with residents in the care of social service organizations within Shreveport Common. Over an eight-month period, Mr. Cave will work alongside local artists, choreographers, dancers, musicians, spoken word artists and filmmakers to engage the social service residents to weave and construct elaborately beaded blankets that symbolize their “hidden stories,” the ones seldom heard in our nation’s disenfranchised communities.

Mr. Cave’s work in Shreveport will culminate with a performance at the Shreveport Memorial Municipal Auditorium on Sunday, March 20, 2016.

People throughout the Shreveport community will be encouraged to take part in the Nick Cave experience by participating in fun, public “Bead-a-Thons” to help string beads for blankets to be used in the March 20 performance. They will also have the opportunity to spontaneously experience Nick Cave “INvasions” on Shreveport street corners and at local landmarks. These INvasions are often a part of the Nick Cave “Soundsuit” experience and have been performed in locations including Grand Central Station, Detroit and Denver.

Mr. Cave’s Artist-in-Residency program in Shreveport and the finale performance are funded, in part, through a grant award from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.

To find out more about #NickCaveBlanketsShreveport, the local artists with whom he will work and the Shreveport Common social organizations that he will impact, visit the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s website at http://www.shrevearts.org.

SundanceNow Doc Club Presents The “LAURIE Anderson Collection”

SundanceNow Doc Club, the advertising-free boutique SVOD service dedicated solely to documentaries, announced today that artist and filmmaker Laurie Anderson – whose new feature documentary Heart Of A Dog is premiering this week at the Toronto International Film Festival – has guest curated a collection for Doc Club entitled the “Laurie Anderson Collection.” The collection is available to stream now, only at DocClub.com.

SundanceNow Doc Club is the only member-based, advertising-free streaming video service dedicated solely to documentaries. It takes the experience of the independent video store digital, providing a destination for consumers who are overwhelmed by content and are looking for a more tailored approach to streaming video. Overseen by resident curator Thom Powers (DOC NYC, Toronto International Film Festival), Doc Club films are handpicked by experts (including programmers from the Sundance Institute) and guest curators like Ira Glass, Susan Sarandon and Dan Savage.

Doc Club satisfies all types of documentary enthusiasts, providing access to classics and hard-to-find documentaries as well as many of the most exciting documentaries of the last decade. Membership benefits include special screenings, free movie tickets, events with filmmakers and behind-the-scenes looks at film festivals. Recent releases include the exclusive digital premiere of the Sundance Hit a Gay Girl In Damascus: The Amina Profile, the seminal true crime Docuseries the Staircase and a collection of favorites guest curated by the minds behind Documentary Now! Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers and Bill Hader.

On the importance of documentaries, Anderson said: “Documentaries for me are maps of other worlds, places I couldn’t have imagined. I am happiest when I am suddenly in a place I don’t recognize at all.  Something I don’t quite understand at first is going on there. These places look real enough to be actual places but because they are often mixtures of memory, facts and ideas they sometimes look more like dreamscapes. The films I have chosen for this small collection are all about places and they raise big questions having to do with wonder, memory, maps and reality. All of them play with disorientation and although the people who move through them are real enough it is the places themselves that have the real magic for me.”

The six films featured in the collection, alongside Anderson’s personal notes on each of her selections, are:

5 BROKEN CAMERAS (2012)

Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary, the critically-acclaimed 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s deeply personal, first-hand account of life and non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village surrounded by Israeli settlements. As the years pass in front of the camera of a Palestinian farmer, we witness his son grow from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him with the astute powers of perception that only children possess.

Here is the desert between Palestine and Israel. Huge housing developments oddly called settlements rise up out of the desert like mirages as the borders are constantly redrawn with cranes, barbed wire, concrete walls and shipping containers.

Emad the cameraman cannot stop shooting no matter what his friends and family say. His father has leaped onto the police van that is taking his son to prison, Emad films. The Israeli settlers furiously attack him threatening to break his head. Emad shoots. His friends are shot and killed. Emad is there. Filming. Bullets fracture the camera’s body. Blood splatters on the lens. After five cameras break he is still filming. This film is endurance and rage. The most powerful image is ancient olive trees that have been set afire, their leaves waving and their bark snapping as black plumes of smoke rise in the desert.

BALLETS RUSSES (2005)

Unearthing a treasure trove of archival footage, filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have fashioned a dazzling and entrancing ode to the revolutionary 20th-century dance troupes that performed under the Ballets Russes banner. Directed with consummate invention and infused with juicy anecdotal interviews from many of the companies’ glamorous stars, Ballets Russes treats audiences to a rare glimpse of the remarkable dancers, choreographers, composers and designers who transformed the face of dance.

The film recreates the remembered world of ballet from the 30s and 40s with its ‘baby ballerinas’ (the precocious pre-teen etoiles), battling impresarios and fabulous costumes. Fast forward to the stars decades later still with the best posture, grace and remarkable composure as they reminisce and recreate their most famous moves intercut with footage from their days as stars.  But it is the ancient stages with their backstage intrigue, footlights scandals and sets that are invoked.  For the dancers who performed on them, getting back onto these stages and recreating the magic that happened on them animates them.

CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (2010)

Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, a breathtaking new 3D documentary from the incomparable Werner Herzog (Encounters At The End Of The World, Grizzly Man) follows an exclusive expedition into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most ancient visual art known to have been created by man. A hit at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams is an unforgettable cinematic experience that provides a unique glimpse of pristine artwork dating back to human hands over 30,000 years ago — almost twice as old as any previous discovery.

Herzog’s softly persistent voice lures you into the cave where the oldest cave drawings in the world have been hidden for tens of thousands of years. Exquisitely drawn horses heads are painted onto the soft overhangs.  One of the drawings, Herzog informs us, was drawn over by another later artist. The gap between the drawings was 5,000 years. We are locked in history and they were not he tells us. The eerie wonderland is mapped by digital imagery using millions of reference points creating one of the most beautiful three-dimensional maps I have ever seen. Herzog as the guide is reassuring unsettling and yet another story.”

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (2012)

Banksy‘s story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results. Billed as ‘the world’s first street art disaster movie‘ the film contains exclusive footage of Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous graffiti artists at work.

Careening on skateboards through the streets of Paris New York and LA with cans of spray, slathering glue onto posters and sticking them on buildings before the cops arrive, this film is a high speed chase through dark streets as they get tagged with graffiti. Meanwhile we get to meet the obsessive French film maker, the artist Shephard Fairey and Banksy who turns the tables on the whole thing. The spirit of the genius creator of Dismaland, the pop up dystopian Disneyworld in the UK infuses the film. Hilarious. Great beats!

MY WINNIPEG (2008)

Visionary Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin pays tribute to his beloved hometown with this self-described “docu-fantasia” that is equal parts transcendental rumination, historical chronicle, and personal portrait. In the first segment, Maddin’s camera drifts dreamlike through crowded trains as a floating kielbasa hangs from the ceiling and the director/narrator ponders just why the city boasts the most sleepwalkers per capita of any major international city. Later, the viewer is treated to images of numerous historical monuments in the city as they learn about such key historical events as the Winnipeg General Strike, the defeat of the Winnipeg Jets, and even the Golden Boy pageant scandal and a racetrack tragedy that found numerous horses sent to an icy death. As the third and final segment gets underway, the director draws inspiration from filmmaker William Castle to present pivotal — and often traumatic — events from his childhood that left an indelible mark while simultaneously serving to mold his unique vision of his beloved Winnipeg.

 

The town of Winnipeg is ruled by the narrator’s tough-as-a-turkey white-haired mother who looms in windows. The filmmaker has hired actors to recreate the scenes of his childhood. But the actors don’t learn their lines and the sets are flimsy flats. It’s the rotting hockey rink, the pungent beauty parlor, the bleak snow driven streets and crumbling railroad tracks that are the most poignant. Punctuated by silent film (tragedy!) texts and frames filled with snow flakes that look like sparks, the film also stars the corpse of his father who is stored in the living room. “We’re always lost,” says the narrator who is shown on a train hurtling through the film unable to wake up. But then again Winnipeg has the highest number of sleepwalkers in the world.

THE UNMISTAKEN CHILD (2009)

Young monk Tenzin Zopa has spent most of his life studying at the feet of the esteemed Geshe Lama Konchog. When the older man dies after a long, influential life, Tenzin is assigned to find his teacher’s reincarnated soul. Tenzin journeys throughout Nepal, from one small village to another, in search of the child in whom Konchog’s spirit has come to reside. This documentary from Nati Baratz charts Tenzin’s arduous, emotional quest, a task that will be judged a success or failure by the Dalai Lama himself.

 

A monk looks for the incarnation of his beloved teacher and travels through a world of mountains, deep valleys, swirling smoke, and whirling prayer wheels. Guided by the clues- the direction of the smoke of the the cremated body and the phantom footprint in the ashes of the remains of his teacher- the monk meets dozens of small boys and gives them tests to determine if they could be his teacher ‘I cannot trust my feelings,’ he says. But instinct draws him to a small boy. Doubt and love animate this search. The map is made of karma. “

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