On Thursdays, professional comedians point out the movie’s most obvious plot holes and most subtle Fellini homages while audiences partake in drinking games and dish their own commentary. Then on weekends, they offer brunch, along with comedy classics and marathon viewings of comedy legends.
Occupying a newly renovated facility in the historic Astoria Studio complex where filmmakers have been bringing movies to life since 1927, the AAM-accredited Museum of the Moving Image sits on the campus of one of the largest film and television production facilities on the East Coast. Established in 1981 by the Astoria Motion Picture and Television Center Foundation, the museum has been called “an amazing place” by Frommer’s, while Fodor’s says it is “twice as nice as before” its 2011 renovation.
The museum displays a collection of over 130,000 movie artifacts. More than 1,400 of those are displayed in the museum's core Behind the Screen exhibition, with objects ranging from historical cameras to makeup used on the set of Sex and the City. Along with relics, the exhibit details the filmmaking process of early pictures such as The Great Train Robbery. For an interactive look at modern-day filmmaking, guests can create their own stop-motion animations at computer-based interactive stations.
The museum's ongoing Pinewood Dialogues series gives visitors a chance to watch live interviews with top filmmakers. Past guests have included Martin Scorsese, Bill Cosby, and Rachel Weisz. When it's not chronicling filmmaking efforts, the museum annually screens more than 400 films in its new 267-seat theater and 68-seat screening room. Selections run the gamut from restored archival prints and new international releases to silent films scored with professional live music, a far better soundtrack than audience members humming their favorite movie themes at the same time.
Originally built in 1963 in a turn-of-the-century fire station, Cinema Village serves as the oldest continuously operated independent movie house in Greenwich Village. As the theater expanded and updated over the years, it showed a wide range of films, from indie sleepers to Hong Kong movies. Still, despite the constant adaptations, the small cinema has stayed true to its celluloid roots, screening a blend of both major motion pictures and independent festival fare.
From its inception in the 1980s performance-art scene in New York, the Blue Man Group’s shows have evolved from impromptu sets in Central Park to stages across the world. The eponymous blue-skinned trio, described by the Chicago Tribune as “ever-curious, ever-hopeful, ever-restless,” remains unchanged by its more than two-decade tenure, still bewildered by the telescoping tubes of PVC piping it uses as instruments and the appreciative applause of the audience. But the group's shows are nothing if not timely, deftly posing questions about technology and stardom.
The spectacle is equal parts aural and visual, with live rock bands accompanying the men as they tap out rhythms on tangled snarls of pipe and flail wobbly poles covered in neon lights. Videos provide context for the speechless drummers, as well as a constant stream of wry humor.
The Flying Karamazov Brothers explode with ramshackle percussion, frenetic footwork, and musically inspired jokery amidst myriad trademark juggling routines. The daffiness is dashed with danger as the kilt-sporting Brothers juggle an arsenal of hazardous objects in their signature act, "The Terror," while an element of impromptu excellence enters during "The Gamble," an act that involves the juggling of personal items procured from the obliging, applauding audience.
Abbey Theatre veteran Ray Yeates takes audiences on a guided tour of the Irish émigré’s psyche with an uplifting one-man performance set amid the Irish economy's stunning collapse. In this standalone sequel to his internationally produced In High Germany, acclaimed playwright Dermot Bolger reconnects audiences with Eoin, an expat back in the country of his birth after an extended stay in Germany. Armed with no more than his sharp wits and the stitching on his polo shirt, Ray Yeates convincingly transforms the intimate West Village stage into Dublin Airport for a riveting 75-minute performance. Making use of airports’ birthday-clown-like tendency to evoke existential dread, the play extracts an uplifting story of friendship and family from the midst of a late-night boarding area.
Israel Film Center’s name says it all. The establishment corrals Israeli-themed films to promote and expand the country’s presence in the world of cinema. The center’s library of feature films, short films, television shows, and documentaries gives members easy access to home screenings without requiring a working knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System. Meanwhile, the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan brings many of these to the big screen and provides educational opportunities through classes and online materials. The center also sponsors a film festival that rolls out its diverse lineup of flicks over eight days at venues throughout the city.