To cap off its 2011–12 season, J City Theater finds comic relief in the stages of grief with its production of the biting and bittersweet British romp The Memory of Water. The female-led ensemble piece surveys eccentric sisters Mary, Teresa, and Catherine as they quibble in preparation for their mother’s funeral. Quips fly at a machine-gun clip as the estranged siblings circle around childhood memories, strained romances, and the old wounds their mother's death has opened. Trying desperately to hold the trio together with her more-developed sense of responsibility, the unhappily married Teresa finds tightly wound expression in Rosalind Ashford, whose voice and acting chops have graced countless TV programs, audiobooks, and voiceovers. J City artistic director Sandy Cockrell steps into the role of middle child Mary as she struggles with memories of the son she placed for adoption at age 14.
Tribeca Cinemas screens the latest works by renowned national and international filmmakers, but not on a new-movie-every-Friday schedule. Instead, Tribeca's two theaters hosts festivals throughout the year, including the famed Tribeca Film Festival, the Architecture & Design Film Festival, NY Television Festival, and Vision Fest. In between fests, the theater's curators stick to foreign films and repertory classics, which they screen using both digital projections and projectors for 35mm and 16mm reels. They also do private screenings and theater rentals.
But entertainment at Tribeca Cinemas isn't just limited to what's onscreen. Soirees at The Varick Room, the theater's industrial-chic event venue, run the gamut from film premieres and rehearsal dinners to lavish cocktail parties. Backed by glowing red letters that spell "LIQUORS," bartenders whip up cocktails themed around each event, while the wait-staff distributes beverages and bottle service to a soundtrack of live entertainment.
Deemed one of the year's 25 film festivals worth its entry fee, ACEFEST received more than 1,000 submissions from all over the country for 2010, and the final lineup screens a smattering of features, shorts, documentaries, animated films, and more. ACEFEST co-founders Tom O'Malley, Luke Szczygielski, and Don Lavis are college pals and cinephiles who realized that their film professors were ignoring contemporary American crème de la crème; ACEFEST corrects this imbalance with a multi-day dose of prized domestic oeuvres. Celebrate the festival's kick-off with entry to the opening-night after-party, where you can mingle with industry up-and-comers and NYC filmgoer fixtures.