Just Do Art: The Film and Dance Edition

Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s comedy “Potato Potahto” screens Oct. 21 at the Chelsea Film Festival. Photo courtesy the filmmakers.

THE FIFTH CHELSEA FILM FESTIVAL | We’ve always lauded the Chelsea Film Festival’s dedication to emerging talent, marginalized voices and social justice — now, with the annual fall event occurring for the first time during a Trump administration, its mission (“give voice to the unheard”) seems more vital than ever. Founders Sonia Jean-Baptiste and Ingrid Jean-Baptiste have retained the four-day festival’s signature content: short and feature-length narrative and documentary films, Q&A sessions, and industry mixers — but they’ve also added a Climate Change Day (Oct. 22, 12-4pm) dedicated to issues including mindful consumerism, reducing waste on film sets, and factory farming. Also new to the festival, a Virtual Reality Competition will showcase works made by women, people of color, and LGBTQs. As for the films (72 shorts and 15 features), selections include Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s redemption tale “Mukoku,” in which a washed up drunk (once a skilled swordsman) meets and mentors a high schools student with “a natural high ability in Kendo and fond of rap music.” Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s comedy “Potato Potahto” has divorced couple Tony and Lulu still living together, each hiring attractive younger people for help around the house (with the added benefit of making their live-in ex jealous). Closing the festival, director Fisher Stevens collaborates with Leonardo DiCaprio for the climate change documentary “Before the Flood,” a call for swift action as species disappear and ecosystems change.

Thurs., Oct. 19 through Sun., Oct. 22. Screenings take place at AMC Loews 34th St. (312 W. 34th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) and venues within the Fashion Institute of Technology (227 W. 27 St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Tickets to individual screenings are $13, with several festival pass options available. For the full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit chelseafilm.org. Social media: #CFFNY2017.

Hear stories from Chinatown residents during an immersive dance performance tour. “Sit, Eat and Chew” happens Oct. 21 and 22. Photo by Mei-Yin Ng.

SIT, EAT AND CHEW: A GUIDED TOUR OF DANCE PERFORMANCES | Growing up in 1970s Klang, Malaysia as the daughter of that port town’s first film projector and, later, camcorder owner, Mei-Yin Ng put herself on a steady diet of American musicals and, later, Merce Cunningham’s work via videotape. Since arriving in NYC on a one-way flight, the director and choreographer has been exploring the nexus of technology and the human body at a number of unconventional venues (including a hotel room and a fish market). Her current project provides food for thought by taking its audience on an immersive guided tour that goes beyond the Chinatown most of us know — restaurants and shops — to share the stories of its longtime residents. “Sit, Eat and Chew” features her six-member dance troupe in collaboration with local troupes from the community. At various locations throughout Chinatown, the ensemble uses words and movement in performances based on interviews, research, and personal anecdotes drawn from community storytelling workshops.

On Sat., Oct. 21 & Sun., Oct. 22 at 2pm, 2:45pm and 3:30pm (each tour approx. 100 minutes). Meet at MOCA, the Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre St., btw. Howard & Grand Sts.). Tickets, which include admission to the museum, are $25 general, $15 for students, seniors & MOCA members, $10 for Chinatown residents. To order, click here. For MOCA info, visit mocanyc.org. For artist info, visit MeiBeWhatever.com.

 

—BY SCOTT STIFFLER

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