I went to the IFC Center to see Phoenix. It’s a German film that reminded me of that French oldie, Diabolique. Phoenix has a perfect noir setting: postwar Germany. The Jews who survived the death camps eye their German neighbors suspiciously and the Gentiles reek with guilt. The plot isn’t plausible, but Kurt Weill’s and Ogden Nash’s Speak Low is as haunting as ever. Originally, the IFG was the Waverley, well known and well regarded for funky films. It was the first movie house to show midnight screenings and audience participation of The Rocky Horror Show. Once an independent movie house, iit’s now owned by AMC networks.
Speaking of movie houses, have I told you about Portland, Oregon’s The Living Room? It’s the sort of theatre where they show arty flicks like Phoenix plus, and it’s a big plus, serve food and drinks to you while you’re watching the movie. There’s the Bagdad in Hawthorne. It’s a movie palace of old: miles of red carpet, Aladdin and His Lamp stairways and decor. Food and drink are also served. You will never find Phoenix at the Baghdad, but you will find Mission: Impossible.
Fat Afro Latin Jazz Cats. How’s that for a name? It’s the pre-professional youth orchestra of the nonprofit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. It’s sensational. The musicians are dazzling and so young. Not one member is over eighteen, but they play like seasoned professionals. They were trained by Arturo O’Farrell, Jim Seeley, and Zack O’Farrell. In Brooklyn, Sunday afternoon they performed at the Emmanuel Baptist Church Jazz Vespers.