Tribeca Film Festival launches

April 21, 2009
Tribeca 2009

Tribeca 2009

Today I woke up early, left the bike at home and hopped onto the C train to Chambers Street in TriBeCa, Manhattan. (BBC said it would rain as hard as yesterday – actually, didn’t happen).

Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman and Spike Lee were in attendance, but there were no doughnuts… (When I picked up my press pass last week there were Snapples all over the shop and Dunkin’ Doughnuts. I thought yanks loved that shit.)

Jane Rosenthal – the real brains behind the fest – was the most eloquent, as indeed was the statuesque blue-blazered Uma Thurman. De Niro looked distinctly uncomfortable, despite this being his seventh year promoting film downtown. When some French journo asked him why he had launched Tribeca in Dohar and if it was to counter negative images of Arabs after 9/11, De Niro stepped up to the mic and just blanked.

‘Err, I don’t know’ he blustered before looking to Jane Rosenthal for help. I can’t even remember what she said, probably something about fostering international relations or something.

A slight bit of controversy came via a question from a cool dude from the Globe and Mail. ‘Can you categorically confirm that Tribeca is not moving to the Fall to bring it online with the festival year?’ (This question followed Spike Lee saying that the reason he had never exhibited in Tribeca was cos he never had a film ready, unlike with Cannes, Venice or Toronto).

Jane Rosenthal said: ‘I cannot categorically confirm what I’m having for lunch today. I have heard the same rumours that you guys have heard and I can’t say anymore.’

She was right squirmy!



Festival jury announced; the 32 jurors include Uma Thurman, Meg Ryan, Morgan Spurlock, James Franco, Todd Haynes, Bradley Cooper, Melissa Leo, Parker Posey, Adrien Brody and Rachel Maddow

Tribeca Film Festival co-founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal kicked off the eighth annual Tribeca Film Festival today at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in lower Manhattan. De Niro and Rosenthal were joined by Uma Thurman, who will serve as a juror for the World Narrative competition and who announced her fellow 2009 Festival jurors, Spike Lee, who directed two films featured in this year’s Festival, and Rich Lehrfeld, VP, Global Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing for American Express, the founding sponsor of the Festival.

The 2009 Tribeca Film Festival will run from April 22 – May 3 and will include 85 features and 46 short films representing 36 different countries. The film slate, chosen from 4,720 submissions, features 45 world premieres, 5 international premieres, 15 North American premieres, 3 U.S. premieres and 12 New York premieres. In addition to the film line-up, there will also be an array of panel discussions, valuable networking opportunities for filmmakers and the industry, gala premieres of highly anticipated new studio releases – including Sony Pictures Classics’ Whatever Works and Fox Searchlight Pictures’ My Life in Ruins – and a number of free, community events, including the Tribeca Drive-In, the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day and the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair.

“At its core, our Festival has always been about great films; but it has also been about community and renewal. These themes were resonant right after we founded the Festival after 9/11, as well as in the years that followed and especially now – at a time of such uncertainty for so many people struggling with the global economic crisis. In good times and bad, people love to go to the movies, and we are thrilled to be here once again to present 12 days of films and events that will appeal to the industry and the general public alike. Whether you’re an accomplished filmmaker or just need a way to escape everyday life for a few hours, there’s something for you at Tribeca,” said Rosenthal.

“It’s great to see how much the Festival has grown since we began in 2002 and how it has impacted the neighborhood,” said De Niro. “We invite everyone to come to Tribeca to enjoy all that our Festival has to offer – from great films to industry gatherings to free community events.”

“Year after year, the Tribeca Film Festival brings a vibrant energy to New York City and excitement to filmmakers, film fans, and merchants in the local communities,” said Rich Lehrfeld, VP, Global Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing, American Express. “American Express is proud to continue our support of the Festival as we have since its inception, driving business to local merchants, celebrating filmmakers and the art of storytelling, and creating unforgettable experiences for our Cardmembers.”

“I want to thank American Express, our founding partner, who was with us from the very beginning when we set out to drive business, energy and excitement downtown post-9/11. They have offered unwavering support of that original mission and of the art of filmmaking and storytelling in a most powerful way,” added Rosenthal, who also noted, “We are grateful to all our partners and corporate sponsors – returning and new – who make our programming possible.”

“I’m so proud of the films we are showing this year, from the heaviest hitting documentary to the lightest comedy, there is something for everyone. I can’t wait for to share the films with our audience,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Jurors for the competitive categories were announced by Academy Award-nominated actress Uma Thurman.

“For me, and for people everywhere who love film, Tribeca has become a major event to which we all look forward with anticipation. And as a New Yorker, it’s been wonderful to see the impact the festival has had on the City. This year is especially exciting because I get to be a part of it as a juror. I look forward to watching some incredible films,” said Thurman.

Following is a list of the 2009 Festival jurors and their respective categories: It


Allergies? Aww, honey!

April 16, 2009

Beer and sexy American freedom, or something

Today I headed to Kensington/Ditmas Park to Vox Pops on Cortelyou Rd.

The lefty cafe had a huge sign on the door saying that the US government has shut the place down because it failed to renew its permit. Nevertheless, while the vegan-friendly cafe is unable to sell shit, it is open as a ‘community space’, so I pitched up with Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay and a pack of non-dairy choc chip cookies purchased from the hippy store across the street.

Remembering what a friend had told me over frozen margaritas on the L.E.S on  Monday about local honey beating local allergies, I also purchased some Vermont Honey from the hippy store. (Vermont was as local as I could get) and some homeopathic pills.

My first foray into homeopathy – I have to melt two green-ass pills (where’s the vivid pink? What do I have that goes with murky sea-green?) under my tongue and think positively. And spoon honey into my mouth. Could be worse I guess…

Progress to follow….

Cough Cool

April 16, 2009
Nature coming achoo

Naure coming achoo

Itchy eyes, tickly throat, sniffly nose, moaning – the inescapable sights ‘n’ sounds of New York in Spring, for both natives and n00bs.

When we previously used to head for a picnic in London Fields or (Hyde Park when I lived in Notting Hill), my lunch date(s) would inevitably discuss the merits of clarityn and how pissed off they were that they’d forgotten their pill that morning.

Blah, blah, blah. I thought. And to my shame, said so. But of course, it took a six-hour flight and the mere breath of an April morning in Brooklyn to get me blocked-up and hack-coughing.

I tried a few generic Loratadine pills (Walgreens’ Wal-itin Non-Drowsy) but, no dice. I headed out to the MET Supermarket on Fulton St and I purchased my first pack of Benadryl .

Beautiful Benadryl – have you SEEN that colour? That hawt  pink matches my nails and my bike and reflect off its components. But sadly, it didn’t do shit, apart from give me a damn headache.

PS. I am this person now

Pretty, but apparently innocuousFYI: Histamine is a substance produced by the body as part of its defence mechanisms. It is stored in ‘mast’ cells. When the body reacts to a foreign substance, the mast cells stimulated by the allergen release their stores of histamine.

The histamine then binds to its H1 receptors, causing a chain reaction that results in the release of other chemicals that add to the allergic response.

All this results in the symptoms of an allergic reaction: inflammation of the nose, eyes, skin or airways and itchy watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion.

(N.B: Just typing that made me sneeze)

Now single, she moves abroad

April 6, 2009

In New York it is raining. When I left London last week, it was hot. And since London tends to be the world’s poor aunt weather-wise, I thought: well, if it’s hot in hackney it’s gonna be boiling in Brooklyn. (What? You don’t think alliteratively?)

It is not. (Hot, I mean.) Had to take the bus to W’berg this morning (apparently new york types don’t take the bus, preferring to switch up their subway trains ad nauseum because ‘in America buses are for crackheads.’).

Bus was just me and a coupla Hasidim with plastic macs for their fuzzy hats. Now that’s a look the Sartorialist is yet to pick up on.

I am in the Brooklyn Film Fest offices on S 4 street, super near the W’berg Bridge. Last time I was here I stayed with Sebastian Isler, of the Hungry March band – a New York Street band featured in Shortbus – in S. 8 street so I know the area a bit.

It’s just a walk away from the Bedford Avenue hipster strip and a looong stroll away from Manhattan’s Lower East Side. I haven’t made it to the LES yet, but I really love it there.

I go to Katz‘s to vicariously eat a sandwich (I no eat meat) and instead I sniff and buy over-priced Black Cherry Soda. Anyway, not this time I haven’t.

But hey..if it stops raining…

Welcome to America

April 6, 2009

I am in New York – working at the Brooklyn International Film Festival in Williamsburg.

‘Til I get deported…

I had used a pic of a guy in

I’ve been in town since Wednesday and have had some mad (and bad) luck.

Luckily I have landed on my feet and am staying for free at some couch surfing hosts’ house. I came to Brooklyn last in Feb where I met a bunch of great people, so I’m kinda set up for my time here.

Brought my bike here with BA (you can take one piece of ‘sporting equipment’) and my roomy built it up. The lockring slipped during the re-build so I headed to AFFINITY cycles on Grand to get that tightened and now my fixed is fixed!

So, sun was out in force on Sunday. Too wary to ride all the way to Astoria, Queens, I took a mammoth subway ride from downtown Brooklyn to Broadway, Astoria. Me and my old room-mate from Hackney, E. London went to get our nails done (me – hot pink, with the first letter of my first name in white. Her pale sun-goes-down orange) and Red Velvet cupcakes. (Of course).

When that was done, we headed home early as she had to cook for her keep in Greenpoint and I had a date with my bike. (By the by, bike is hot pink to match nails. Or is it vice versa?)

Weather was still super hot. (Short shorts hot)

Me and the roomy headed up to Bedford Ave towards to W’Burg Bridge to find my office. Nice ride there, no probs. The way back was a different story.

We were riding down Franklyn (I think) on the outskirts of BedStuy.

We were going slow and calm, as we have been all weekend cos otherwise I get freaked out by NY traffic, when this cop truck appeared – going the WRONG way down a one way street and on the side of us bicycles.

My roomy hopped up on the curb and I followed him slowly, kind of unsure my tyres would make it up there. Second tyres hit sidewalk the cop car goes: ‘put your bikes up against the fence and stand still’.

We had no idea why. We had just jumped onto the pavement to avoid being run over. Anyway, they asked for our IDs – I didn’t have one me, prompting the response: ‘You’re riding round the projects with no ID? You’s get shot or knocked down, to us you’s just another Jane Doe‘.

I had to bit my lip and stop myself excitedly adding: ‘Like in The Wire??’

But I certainly didn’t say ‘sorry, officer’.

Seriously, they just wanted to fuck wit’ us. They could see we were on the road and that we moved onto the pavement to get out their way, about to rejoin the road once they got the fuck out of the bike path.

They ran our names through the files and obviously found that we have no record. We’re nice kids with flash bikes enjoying a warm night. Like we have records. Set on giving us one, they issued us with a summons and a court date.

I will be in court in New York at 2pm on 10th June. Cop was like: ‘I know this is your first offence but this is a quality of life issues, there;s nothing I can do, I got orders. You now have a summons. I’m sure the judge will throw it out of court’.

You’re sure s/he’ll throw it out of court? THEN WHY DO WE HAVE TO GO?

If I get convicted or whatever I won’t be let back in the country and may even get deported then and there.


Welcome to America.

PS. I had used a pic of a guy in handcuffs above, crediting the photographer, but received the following comment:

‘YOu thanks jsdart for use of photos-
Your are welcome-but you do not have my permission to use my all rights reserved copyright marked images with paying me 25 dollars- the fee I charge to anyone who wants to use my images for web use.
I’m giving you 24 hours to remvoeremove photo other wise-please pay my fee of $25 to juliedermasnky@yahoo- on paypal on line-that is my paypal account.
I turn over all unauthorized use of my work to a collection agency if I get no response.
Julie Dermansky’

So no pic now.

Ooops; I forgot to blog, my bad.

November 26, 2008
MILk - Sean Penn as the Milk Man

MILk - Sean Penn as the Milk Man

Argh; I haven’t written anything for the longest time.

It is an annoying irony of blogging – and diaries in general – that the more you do, the less time you have to document it.

I have been busy every single night this week – and actually was double booked for tonight – so freaked out and stayed at home. (Well, kinda – I visited an old friend and went to Pogo for a Punk burger.)

Yesterday I saw Lemon Tree, the uber-PC Israeli film that launched the UK Jewish film festival here last week and on Monday I saw Gus Van Sant’s MILK. MILK is awesome; so fucking ripe what with all this Prop 8 bullshit.

MILK - getting the campaign started

MILK - getting the campaign started

Sean Penn is totally great in it; and I hate Penn as much as anyone else with a sense of humour. But, then again, he did made Vedder-fest, Into The Wild and he and I seem to love Emile Hirsch (now that’s a decent German name) as much as each other so I guess I was starting to give the guy another go.
But, seriously, he’s wonderful as Harvey Milk – totally charming, cute, passionate, dedicated to his righteous cause.

Old skool womens Mag

Women's Mags; they'll make you fat and lonely

Spare Rib - awesome!

Spare Rib - awesome!

Erm, what else have I done? Oh yes – Saturday I went to the Woman’s Library in Whitechapel as my friend had put my name down for the Study Day about woman’s magazine through the ages.

It was SO great to be in an academic setting, talking seriously about pop culture. I miss that! And, the best thing? All the ‘old women’ and Sue O’Sullivan (co-editor of Spare Rib 1979 to 1984).

Seriously, I’m 24, and I was like, the youngest. I was so enthused to see and meet these retired women who although over 60, were lecturers, private tutors or studying themselves.

Every coffee break (NB – good biscuits) saw me meet another amazing woman, inlcuding a member of DIVA’s editorial team (deffo below 60) and a cognitive therapist (over 60.)



I was also introduced to NOVA magazine – old issues of which look totally cutting edge even today.

Anyway, more about that later – I’m going to watch Gregg Araki‘s TOTALLY FUCKED UP now and I can’t wait – even though it’s really bed time…

Totally Fucked UP - Pecadillo Pictures

Totally Fucked UP - Pecadillo Pictures

DA! squat, Upper Grovesnor Street

November 12, 2008

On Friday the papers went nuts for the new Da! squat in Upper Grovesnor Street, W1.

The dichotomy of the location, plus the media-friendliness of the squatters was a hack’s dream. And the new Michelin-starred restaurant Corrigan‘s Mayfair across the road made it all the more perfect.

While TV chef Richard Corrigan has been quoted saying he was outraged at the DA group’s new home, on Friday night his restaurant had actually placed a table for two outside for DA’s ‘spokeswoman’, Stephanie Smith to dine.

Stephanie Smith lets us in
When I cycled up the house that evening, the squat sounded like it was screaming as all the alarms had suddenly gone off all at once. I saw the Corrigan’s ‘reserved’ outside table and witnessed a stressed-out Stephanie say: “look, I haven’t got time for your fucking souffle, I’m sorry!” as she dealt with the party, the alarms and the invitation to Michelin-starred dinner.

Bloody hell – this is going to be good I thought. We met one guy we kinda knew, Joel, who greeted us almost equally as stressed as Stephanie. He, like many of the collective inside, was grumbling because of all the press covergae their party had had. It was on the homepage of the Guardian and front page of the Evening Standard and got spreads in the Daily Mail and the Mail On Sunday.

Stephanie and silver bird

Stephanie and silver bird

Anyway, I can’t remember exactly how many floors there wer – say five? – but it was amazing to get a peek round the listed-building. There’s rumours that the house is owned by a Middle Eastern royal family, but because no one can get hold of those that manage the leasehold, Delta Land (registered in the British Virgin Islands), no one can check to be sure. Boy are they going to be in for a shock when they pick up a paper.

The party, however, was really very staid considering all the press attention it got. We were knackered so didn’t stay after midnight (when it was predicted to really take off), but did see bits and bobs of art going on in all the rooms. All the windows had projections, which lit the house up from Corrigan’s opposite.

Class War Bonfire

November 9, 2008

On 5th November, it was obviously Bonfire Night.

We may no longer live in Hackney but knew we weren’t going to miss out on Class War’s infamously fantastic London Fields Bonfire.

We were very excited thanks to this video:

But when got there there were police everywhere. They’d confiscated firewood, saying that if you lit your own firewood it was ‘criminal damage’ and if you took firewood out it was ‘theft‘.

We gathered around the Pub On The Park, feeling somewhat intimidated by the two CCTV/riot vans and the police lined up outside them.

They tried to bar us from using one entrance into the (public) park, but people just used another.

While the rozzas had snatched most people’s fireworks, some smart revellers had distributed them around the park. So, whenever the police got close and a scuffle between them and the anarcho-types, the smart folk would set off a firework.

Class War Bonfire 2008

Class War Bonfire 2008

Not wanting to get nicked (although I thought: that’ll get me out of going to work in the morning), I kept to the sidelines (which was becoming increasingly tough as the riot police were penning us in a circle). The sidelines tended to be where the smart folk where lighting their fires so I kept having near misses. Just about kept my eyebrows though. And eventually I learned to listen out for ‘ watch out to your left, mate‘.

When innocent folk are scrabbling with the police just for the right to hold a sparkler on bonfire night, you can’t help feeling fucking elated when an ‘illegal’ firework pops off right above their heads, even if does singe you on the way up.

Whenever a firework broke through some people would yell ‘Class war!’ but to little avail.

Class War Bonfire 2008

Class War Bonfire 2008

At the start there musta been around 200 people, but as it became increaisnlgy obvious that the police would rather pepper spray people than let them start a fire, the crowd dispersed. By 10pm, standing around near the undercover cops was getting a bit boring, but then one police dude said ‘time to go,the park it closing.’

Of course there are no gates and the park is actually a public right of way, but the police weren’t interested in the facts. So anyway, since they told us to leave, we had to stay.

And we did that for a bit. But then it got cold and all bu the hardcore had dispersed to we went to our friends’ nearby squat where we had flapjack and beer. He and his housemates are getting evicted at the end of the month, which is sad – their space is lovely. (And warm!)

But really, what I wanted to express was my disappointment in the ‘anarchist movement’. It seriously was farcical. Yes, there were (marginally) more anarcho-types than police, but as I said before people would yell ‘class war!’ to no response. Factions (of like, two) would start singing songs, and stop after a line or two because no one was joining in.

If we were in some tiny Welsh village, I woulda been stoked at the crowd. But this is fucking London. This is the annual bonfire of Class War! And it was more like a Monty Python sketch. One woman yelled the standard ‘class war!’ and some one else replied ‘yer what?’ and I burst out laughing. It was just ridiculous.

Now, I’m no paid-up Class War member but why weren’t there more people at the non-bonfire?

It was quite unsettling. When political stuff goes wrong, as invariably it does, you always think : oh well, I won’t protest, there’s class war and the committed anarchists who’ll do it for me. But nope. Turns out everyone was thinking the same thing. ….

Macroprosopus Dancehall Band at the ICA

November 6, 2008

There I was, transcribing an interview, when my hubby comes back all outta breath from Brick Lane Bike Polo.

I’m going to see Juliana do some art tonight, Mikey says she’s going to cover herself in microphones and roll around on the ground.”

I look up from the bed from which I have been slobbing out in all day, dressed in squat clothes I stole from our old house in Notting Hill.

Juliana is the brains behind Thing (see below), so there was no way I was gonna miss out on tonight’s event.

Julianas most amazing thing (2004)

Juliana's most amazing 'thing' (2004)

Well, get me on the guestlist,” I said. “I am coming to that.”

A few phone calls and a plate of reheated vegan chilli later, and we were riding across the river to my fave London venue, the ICA.

We got there just before eight only to find Juliana stressed out before the show. ‘I don’t know if we can get you in, but we’ll try,‘ she says, explaining that tonight she will not be covering herself in mics, but, in fact,using kitchen cutlery and a cheese grater to add to the ambiance. As you do.

She is part of the group of around 30 women who’s visceral noise was to close the ICA’s six-month long Nought To Sixty exhibition.

Plan B‘s Frances Morgan and Leopard Leg founder, (I think) Maya-Victoria Kjellstrand orchestrated the thing, which was meant to resemble the noise of animals swarming using the vocal power and techy noodling of a lot of impassioned women.

It really was a lot better than I’m describing.

Think Leopard Leg (if you saw them) meets the neo-tribal sounds of Gang Gang Dance without any of the pretensions. Oh and this. It was droning, grungey, hypnotic and visceral. Awesome. I wanna be in the band!

From what I heard, the 8pm performance was 10 mins shorter than the 10pm performance, but they both turned out pretty good. We didn’t have tix for the earlier show, even though we had arrived on time for it, so we sat around drinking free beer in the foyer until they let us in the darkened room.

Some pics:

The band

The band



Juliana Cerqueria Leite and other band members

Juliana Cerqueria Leite and other band members

Buck Launch Party: It starts here!

November 6, 2008
Bucks fashion team parties hard

Buck's fashion team parties hard

Buck magazine is finally on sale now.

Having pushed staid men’s monthly, Arena out of the bigger Tesco shops, the magazine run by Steve Doyle who has no previous publishing experience but a whole lot of love and clearly quite some cash, is ready to take over the world!

Bucks first issue, November 2008

Buck's first issue, November 2008

On Wednesday, I went to the multi-floored House of St Barnabas-in-Soho, on Greek street for the launch party. Orange-haired French hairdresser to the stars, Charlie Le Mindu (check out his website – it’s awesome!) held a short-lived pop-up salon.

The light was bad so he decided not to cut or shave but style, which was good enough for his clients.

See below for his re-styling of Sonya’s fiery barnet.

When Charlie met Sonia

When Charlie met Sonya

It’s great to see that in a climate that has seen monthly glossies drained of advertising money even pre-recession, that a former finance dude who just loves Japanese and good food is determined to make a new monthly work.

Good luck Buck!