Film Review “The Witch”


Directed by:
Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 33 mins
A24
Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s the 1630’s in Puritan New England, and we’ve just watched a family leave the safe confines of their settlement to go out on their own. It’s unsettling. It’s unsafe. And it’s just the beginning.

The Witch, Robert Eggers’s first feature film premiered to much acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and after having seen the film, it’s no surprise. Eggers has managed to create a fresh film in an often-described, stale genre. We follow Thomasin, a teenage girl masterfully played by Anya Taylor-Joy, as her family leaves the community under the threat of church banishment to settle on their own in a remote patch of land. That just happens to be next to an imposingly dark, tall forest. When the family infant is stolen right from under Thomasin’s nose in the most terrifying game of peekaboo that you’ll ever see, we watch as a family based on faith and loyalty unravels. Possession, accusations, suspicions, and paranoia mount as things continue to go from bad to worse for the family. Oh, and did I mention there’s a witch in the woods?

Eggers got his start doing production design and that background influence is strong in the film. The color work is deliberate. Just as the lives of the characters are bleak and their faith restrictive, so too is the landscape Eggers has placed them in. It’s gray, dull, and repetitive; so much so that when we do encounter the witch, we are almost relieved, as she comes with color in her scenes. What at first feels like a breath of fresh air in the barren landscape soon encircles us with a feeling of dread. These vibrant colors do not belong in this world. This type of unease is helped along by the superbly discordant score, which both pulls us in and jars us away throughout the film. The actors do an expert job playing a family on the verge of destruction, walking that fine line between rationality and unsteadiness. The camera work keeps you on the edge of your seat- never have I been so terrified of a goat before.

Watching The Witch is a study in psychological stress. It’s slow-paced and deliberate, and it leaves you with the feeling that you’ve seen something that you weren’t supposed to. The fact that the film is largely based off of historically real accounts of events of that time period only adds to this overwhelming feeling of unrest. This is not the film to see if you are looking for a “jumpy” horror film, but if you are looking for something that will get under your skin and will still have you thinking about it days later, The Witch is for you.

The Witch opens on Friday February 19th

Creator & Stars of Adult Swim’s “Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter” Speak at NYCC

Written & photographed by Elizabeth Phillips

On Monday, December 7th, Adult Swim will premiere a new live-action mini-series called Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter. The show will air for five consecutive nights, ending Friday, December 11th. The story follows Neon Joe, a mysterious man with a talent for hunting werewolves. Set in the pretend town of Garrity, Vermont, the town finds itself in trouble after a round of werewolf attacks and calls on Neon Joe for help.

At the 2015 New York City Comic Con, Media Mikes was able to sit down with lead actor and creator, Jon Glaser (Girls, Parks and Recreation), as well as several other cast members from the show, including Scott Adsit (30 Rock, Big Hero Six), Stephanie March (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit), Steve Little (Eastbound & Down), and Steve Cirbus (Delocated), to discuss the upcoming series.

Elizabeth Phillips: How did the idea for this show come about?

GLASER:
I was a guest on Jimmy Fallon to talk about my previous show, Delocated. I took some clothes that I owned- I did a neon yellow hoodie, a knit hat from american apparel, and these Coors Light sweatpants, and I paired them arbitrarily and just went on the show, and I said “I’m really sad that Delocated is done, but I’m excited about my next project. It’s called Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, and I’m dressed as the character right now. That’s really all we have at the moment, but we’re excited to figure it out.” It was one hundred percent a joke. It was not real. I mean, I treated it like it was a real thing, but I thought it was obvious it was a joke. There was no ideas. It wasn’t a passion project- it was just coming from this arbitrary joke, and Adult Swim said, “Why don’t you write a pilot of it?” I love that that’s where this show came from. It’s one of the things that I’m most excited about. There was no attempt to do anything but make a dumb joke on a talk show, and now it’s turned into this, which i think is super cool.”

EP: Is there anything else like this on television?

CIRBUS: I don’t think there’s anything else like it on TV. Neon Joe is a werewolf hunter that wears neon, so that werewolves know where he is. He’s not afraid of the werewolves. He comes into a situation- in this world, nobody believes in werewolves. It’s not like we have werewolves running around. He shows up, and he says, “Hey, guess what, small-town USA? You have a werewolf, and I get rid of them.”

ADSIT: I trusted all the creative minds behind it, and I also love Adult Swim. The people in charge there really see the people who create shows as artists and let them do their art. They think of these creators as auteurs who are allowed to express themselves. That’s unique.

EP: What is the balance between the wackiness and seriousness in the show?

MARCH: I feel our characters take themselves very seriously. I don’t think anybody was winking to camera or goofing off. We were all playing different people, and we were really committed to being those people. I haven’t often had an opportunity to work on something that is so wacky and so fun and so loose- almost never actually, so I couldn’t not do it. It was too good an opportunity. I certainly had a good time doing it!

CIRBUS: I think what makes the humor in John’s work and the collaboration of Glaser with PFFR is that it’s always rooted in some sort of truth. The humor is born out of fairly non-sensical human situations moving to a very terrifying situation, or conversely a very human situation that just goes sour for whatever reason, and that strikes a chord, a funny chord.

LITTLE: I feel like it’s played real, just, you know, there’s werewolves. I mean I’m sure there’s a guy that wears neon somewhere in some bad neighborhood because he’s not scared, and that’s Neon Joe- just not in the world of werewolves or bed and breakfasts.”

Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter will air Monday, December 7th through Friday, December 11th on Adult Swim.

A Look at BookCon 2015

On May 30th and 31st, the Javits Center opened its doors to the 2015 BookCon. This event, described by its organizers as a place “where storytelling and pop culture collide,” saw both an increase in attendance and size this year. With author and celebrity Q&A’s, panels, autographing areas, meet and greets, interactive events and quizzes, and special screenings, BookCon had something for everyone this year. Many publishing tables offered free posters, postcards, tote bags, and books to attendees, while a booth downstairs offered many of the invited guests’ books for sale. While there were a few organizational issues, most of the attendees had nothing but praise for the event and cited huge organizational and regulatory improvements to last year’s BookCon, including the popular wristband policy that ReedPop affected with its most recent New York City Comic Con. While the event boasted a wide range of book genres represented, it definitely felt as if the young adult crowd was the most prevalent, especially with the many Youtubers in attendance this year. Next year, the event will be moving to Chicago and will take place on May 14th. Below are some snapshots from the event.

Randall Wallace Talks About “Living the Braveheart Life”

Randall Wallace may not be a man you know by name, but you most definitely know his work. A prolific screenwriter, director, producer, and songwriter, he is most well known for writing the films Braveheart, The Man in the Iron Mask, Pearl Harbor, and Heaven is for Real. His Braveheart screenplay garnered him a Writers Guild of America Award and both a Golden Globe nomination and Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. In addition to writing, he is also the producer behind films such as We Were Soldiers, as well as being the director of Secretariat and Heaven is for Real, among others. I was lucky enough to sit down with Mr. Wallace to discuss the release of his upcoming book: Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart. The book itself is an interesting read, as it is both biographical and motivational, asking readers to ask themselves what it is they are willing to die for. Readers will learn the story behind the story of the Braveheart script, while learning about the man who wrote it.

You’ve written in quite a few different mediums- songs, books, screenplays- how does your writing process differ between them?

“I think about that a lot, and I never have a consistent answer. I think that everything that’s true is complicated. Everything that’s true has a paradox about it. You’re trying to find the most simple way to say something and finding that simplicity is what’s difficult. There has to be a great deal of courage to start the writing journey. Writing is an act of faith.”

You write a lot of stories of these epic adventures where the everyman steps up to become the hero. With that in mind, do you ever see your own story being turned into any sort of film in the future?

“I don’t know. (laughs) Robert Redford is a little old to play me now. Honestly, I think it would be a hard story to tell. I know it because I try to tell it in some ways in this book. I have three sons, and I wonder at times what their perception of me is because in some ways, their’s is the only one I care about. Everybody else’s opinion of me is whatever it is, but their’s matters, and it matters not so much in what it says about me, but what it says about them. You know, to them, I might sit down and scribble away on a piece of paper and get paid for it, but behind that there are the thousand rejections and nights of despair. I want you to know that I was as much alive when no one knew who I was as I am now. I hesitated about writing this book because really Braveheart is the story, and in movies, maybe you don’t need to see behind the curtain- why would you want to? In a certain way, I think my life is a movie- it’s called Braveheart, it’s called Pearl Harbor. In a way, I can express more of the truth of whatever is me through that stories that move me.”

What’s next for you? Are there any projects you can share?

“I’ve got a new project that is about military working dogs- the SEAL team dogs. The dogs are warriors too, and the interplay between not just human and canine but the sense that we all want to find what is essential in ourselves so that we can make contact with it. In Heaven is for Real, it was a really a deep exploration into spirit and faith. Now I want to do something that’s gritty.”

Randall Wallace’s Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart is available for pre-order now and will go on sale September 8, 2015.

New York Comic Con 2014 “The Following” Panel

On Sunday, October 12th, Marcos Siega, Kevin Bacon, and Shawn Ashmore took to the Empire Stage at New York Comic Con to discuss their show The Following. Slim on specifics, the actors and director didn’t give too much of the new season away to fans, instead opting for vague descriptions of possible upcoming plot points. With Lily Gray’s plotline officially wrapped up and Joe Carroll in prison, it’s a new dawn for The Following, allowing a new set of events to start and creating a good entry point for new viewers.

In the teaser that was shown, Bacon’s character Ryan has a new love in his life, an ER doctor, as does his niece Max, but don’t worry Following fans. Shortly after setting this idyllic scene, a cocktail waiter was shown coming towards Ryan with a knife- perhaps setting us up for a new slew of bad guys?

After the teaser and discussion, the floor was opened up to questions from the fans. One woman asked Bacon and Ashmore for tips on working in the FBI; they laughingly replied, “Don’t do anything we do.”

Check out the slideshow below for more pictures of The Following Panel at New York Comic Con. Season 3 begins January 20th.


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New York Comic Con 2014 “Adult Swim Panel Block”

Three shows were represented at this year’s Adult Swim Panel Block on Friday, October 10th at New York Comic Con. Starting things off was a panel for the upcoming The Jack and Triumph Show, which features Jack McBrayer and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (voiced by Robert Smigel). The show will be a sitcom with a live studio audience that includes a combination of scripted comedy and improvisation. Audience members were treated to some clips from the show, featuring guest stars Joy Fatone from NSYNC and film critic Leonard Maltin. Also present on the panel was Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, who fans may recognize from a 2002 viral video shown on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. The panel ended on a sadder note with Smigel showing a SNL sketch in remembrance of Jan Hooks, a personal friend of his.

The next panel to take the stage was for the animated show Rick and Morty. Last year delegated to one of the smaller rooms, this year the panel was excited to take the main stage. The group, consisting of Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell, and Sarah Chalke, brought an animatic mashup full of Rick’s newest catchphrases from the upcoming Season 2. Panel members promoted the Season 1 DVD, available now, as well as the upcoming comic book spin-off, written by Zac Gorman and published by Oni Press. They then delighted audience members with an improvised family breakfast scene in character.

Finally, Robot Chicken, or the annual meeting of the silly hats club, took to the stage. This panel is always a favorite among fans, and this year did not disappoint. Moderated by Adult Swim Vice President Keith Crofford, the panel included co-creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, actors Clare Grant, Breckin Meyer, and Macaulay Culkin, and producer John Harvatine IV. Things started off with a segment from Season 7’s “Chipotle Miserables.” A few announcements followed including the release date of the Robot Chicken: Christmas Specials DVD on November 18th and the release of “The Lots of Holidays But Don’t Worry Christmas Is Still in there So Get The Stick Out of Your Ass Fox News Special” on December 7th, before the floor was opened up to the fan Q&A. This year’s fan portion of the panel produced the annual sexy pose request, as well as the return of Emmett, the fan with whom Meyer had a rivalry with at last year’s NYCC panel. A trailer for Clare Grant’s new pilot the Team Unicorn Saturday Action Fun Hour! was also shown.

Click through our slideshow below for more moments from The Adult Swim Panels at New York Comic Con 2014!


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New York Comic Con 2014 – Andrea Romano & Greg Cipes Panel


On Friday, October 10th, the voice directing legend Andrea Romano took to the stage at New York Comic Con to discuss her illustrious career and her advice to aspiring voice actors. The eight-time Emmy Award winning director was joined by Greg Cipes, the voice of Beast Boy in Teen Titans and Michelangelo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tv series, who stopped by the panel to discuss working in the animation voice over industry.

Romano, herself once a struggling actress, got her start in the industry while working as an assistant to voice agent Don Pitts. From there she went on to work at the Hanna-Barbera, the studio known for Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons, while freelancing with Disney television animation on shows such as Bonkers, DuckTales, and Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers. She now works as a freelance voice director, and her filmography is extensive, including Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, The Boondocks, Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, and Tiny Toon Adventures. In general, she is working on at least five projects at a time, once even juggling eleven projects all at the same time.

Nicknamed “Velvet Hammer” by the actors she works with, Romano calls making a comfortable environment for the talent to feel safe to create and work as one of her biggest goals when working on a show. She emphasized the importance of taking acting classes before trying to make a start in the realm of voice acting, saying that creating an emotional and believable character goes far beyond just being able to do a voice. Romano is generally regarded as one of the most iconic voice directors and voice casting directors working in the animation world today and is known for giving many actors’ their first big breaks. Greg Cipes, whose very first professional audition was in front of Romano for the role of Teen Titans’s Beast Boy, said “I was green…Andrea fought for me. I got the role.”

New York Comic Con 2014 – Broad City Panel


Appearing before a packed room at New York Comic Con on Friday, October 10, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson declined the use of a traditional introduction and danced their way on stage to Missy Elliot’s iconic song “Work It.” Fans of their Broad City show cheered and danced along with them as they took the stage. Once at the microphone, the women seemed shocked at the large crowd, some of whom had queued up an hour before the actual start of the panel, remarking that they had never imagined any of this when they had started their show, originally a web series, in 2009.

The Broad City web series began on YouTube in 2009 and achieved an almost cult-like status before being discovered by Amy Poehler, who transitioned the show into a 30-minute televised format. Poehler is now an executive producer on the Comedy Central show, which wrapped its first season in March. About the move to television, Jacobson said, “(Comedy Central) never made it feel corporate. It still feels like we’re making a web series. Not for the web, but it’s still so DIY and everyone is so collaborative.” Glazer and Jacobson both have strong comedy backgrounds; they met doing improv and are Upright Citizen Brigade alums. The first season of the show was nominated for Best Comedy Series at the 2014 Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and both Glazer and Jacobson were on the 2014 Variety’s Power of Women: New York Impact List.

The panel was moderated by fellow comedian Nicole Drespel, who also appears on the show. A sneak preview of Season 2 was shown, which further explored Abbi’s obsession with the store Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Jacobson and Glazer then did live commentary for the Season 1 episode “Fattest Asses,” before the floor was opened up to questions from the fans. Questions ranged from their ideal guest stars- living or dead (Lucille Ball and Clive Owen for Glazer; Richard Jenkins, Frances McDormand, and Idris Elba for Jacobson), to advice on how to break into the comedy world. When asked how much of their characters were actually based on themselves, Glazer replied, “It’s like 15% of ourselves, blown up to the full 100. It’s like my f—ing nuttiest and Abbi’s f—ing craziest.” One fan thanked Glazer on behalf of her friend for being the first tv character she felt comfortable identifying with, calling the women feminist heroes.

The panel wrapped up with a clip from the companion web series to the tv show, Hack Into Broad City, and audience members were treated to free tee-shirts and stickers from the Comedy Central staff.

The second season of Broad City will premiere this January.

New York Comic Con 2014 – Cosplay Favorites

New York Comic Con finished up this year with a bang, bringing in a record number of guests. The convention, taking place from October 9-12, was held once again at the Javits Center in New York City. The event was filled with its usual fare- panels, screenings, sneak peeks, vendors, exhibitors, artists, freebies, autographs, and special guests- but also included several new features this year, including a stricter harassment policy (“Cosplay is not Consent”), which allowed guests to report incidents through the NYCC app on their phones. Also, a new main stage clearing procedure seemed to work rather well, cutting back on line waiting times and seemingly spreading out the larger panels throughout the entire weekend. The addition of a NYCC Eastern Championship of Cosplay also brought in crowds, filling the main stage on Saturday night.

This is New York Comic Con’s ninth year and its largest yet. Run by the exhibitor Reed Pop, 151,000 tickets were sold, up from the 133,000 that it boasted last year, and out-topping San Diego’s attendance of 130,000. Thursday, originally reserved for press, VIP, and four-day pass holders only, was broadened into a full day of programming, which helped the increase in numbers. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was the appearance of George Clooney, who visited the main stage during Disney’s Tomorrowland panel, saying, “It is not lost on me that I’m spending my honeymoon at Comic Con.”

Here are some of our cosplay favorites from New York Comic Con 2014:


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New York Comic Con 2014 – “Bob’s Burgers” Panel Coverage

The Bob’s Burgers panel, comprised of Loren Bouchard (show creator), Bobby Tisdale (voice of Zeke), Kristen Schaal (voice of Louise), John Roberts (voice of Linda), Larry Murphy (voice of Teddy), Eugene Mirman (voice of Gene), and H. Jon Benjamin (voice of Bob), took the main stage at New York Comic Con this past Thursday, October 9th. Although Dan Mintz (voice of Tina) was not among them, a larger-than-life Tina Belcher, joined the panel, sitting on the side during the discussion.

The audience was shown three clips of the new season. In one, Linda dyes her hair blonde, while in another Bob partakes in a life-drawing class, where he is forced to draw Edith, a character that was seen in the previous “Art Crawl” episode. The last clip had Gene, Tina, and Louise visiting an upscale grocer on a quest to buy black garlic. In addition to these sneak peeks, audience members were also treated to some key news announcements (tracks are being prepared for an upcoming show soundtrack and there will be a Christmas special where viewers will meet Bob’s father for the first time), before the panel continued with a fan Q&A, where many of the questioners came prepared in Bob’s Burger character costumes.

One fan asked, “As actors and performers who have very unique voices, how do you bring subtlety to your characters?” Kristen Schaal remarked, “Definitely the scenes. I took a college course on subtlety and it cost me $500,000. Totally worth it.” Loren Bouchard also shared some anecdotes with fans, saying that in his original meeting with the Fox network, he pitched the show as a “Family that runs a restaurant, and they’re cannibals,” believing that he needed to make the show edgy in some way-to which the Fox executive replied, “What if they’re not cannibals?”

The Emmy-awarded Bob’s Burgers entered its 5th season on October 5, 2014, and judging from the response at this year’s New York Comic Con, fans can’t wait to see what happens next.

2014 Olympics’ Road to Sochi hits Times Square in NYC

Nearly one hundred days ago, New York City hosted the Road to Sochi, an event celebrating the lead up to the 22nd Winter Olympics. The event, held in Times Square, boasted several activities that fans could take part in, including an autograph signing with some members of the US team, a small luge run, and numerous trivia and sport simulations. In an area best known for its throngs of tourists, Olympic fans could even watch live sport demonstrations, including hockey, curling, skiing, and snowboarding down a ramp placed right in the middle of the square.

Now, the world looks towards the beginning of the Winter Olympics- this year taking place in Sochi, Russia. The first events (Ladiesʼ Moguls Qualification in Freestyle Skiing, Team Pairs Short Program and Team Mensʼ Short Program in Figure Skating, and Mensʼ and Ladiesʼ Slopestyle Qualification in Snowboarding) will begin Thursday, February 6th. The Olympic Opening Ceremony will take place the following day, on Friday, in the brand new Fisht Stadium in Sochiʼs Olympic Park.

This Winter Olympics has seemed plagued with numerous concerns from environmental standards and potential terrorist threats to budgeting questions, lodging, and construction problems. These issues are all more than enough for one country to handle, and thatʼs not even taking into account the questions of human and animal rights violations, as well as Russiaʼs continued targeting and attacks on the LGBT community. President Obama will not be attending the Games, instead sending an Olympic delegation that is set to include three openly gay athletes. But in a lead up to the Olympics that has seen its share of controversies and concerns, the United States will place its hopes of success in its 230 athletes. 98 gold medals will be given out between February 6-23, which will include twelve new events, many previously seen in the X Games, in the hopes that their addition will add something new and fresh to the Games. Seven countries will be sending athletes to a Winter Olympics for the first time.

The United States is expected to fare well, being among the projected top countries along with Norway, Germany, and Canada. The 2014 Sochi Olympics will be shown on NBC.

New York Comic Con Fan Photos

New York Comic Con took over the Javits Center in midtown last weekend. Of course it had amazing panels and merchandise booths but the show floor wouldn’t be the same without the tons of costumed fans that flooded in. We’ve highlighted some of our favorites from the floor in the following photosets:

Marvel Universe
DC Universe
“They’ve Got Red on Them”
Random Faves

Photography by: Elizabeth Phillips

Make sure to follow our Media Mikes on Tumblr for further NYCC (and more) photo updates!

Theatre Review “The Accomplice: The Village” New York City

I glance up and down the street surreptitiously, hoping that we haven’t been followed. My group is huddled behind me; they’re counting on me. Taking a deep breath, I duck inside the storefront and grab the hairspray bottle, before sprinting back outside to the rest of the group. We quickly walk the rest of the way down the road, trying our best to blend in with the NYC crowd.

I think I may have just gotten away with it.

My heist isn’t actually a heist at all, of course. It’s part of Accomplice: The Village- a show that is part theatre and part game; a bit of drama and a bit of spy-thriller; a walking tour and an escapade into the interactive theatre genre.

The day started out normally enough. I met up with a group of people in the West Village at a pre-determined destination that was told to me only one day prior. The group was a nice mix of local New York residents and tourists, and our tour guide began leading us through the streets, pointing out landmarks as we went along. Soon though, our placid tour group was involved in an epic mystery, with us needing to solve clues to get to the next step. Suddenly, we had a mission and a lively cast of characters (played by talented actors), answering our questions and perpetuating the story. Somehow, we had become accomplices.

The Accomplice operates two shows out of New York City- The Village, which runs through Greenwich Village, and New York, which runs through the downtown area. The show is currently in its ninth season and is the creation of Betsy and Tom Salamon. It runs approximately two and a half hours, and during that time participants will mostly be walking. Groups are limited to ten people, and the show operates rain or shine, running from late March to early November. Tickets are $65 and include drinks.

Concert Review: Marina and The Diamonds – Rumsey Playfield, NYC

Marina and The Diamonds
The Lonely Hearts Club Tour
May 29th, 2013
Rumsey Playfield, New York City

On May 29th, Marina And The Diamonds took the stage at the Rumsey Playfield in New York City for the last stop on The Lonely Hearts Club Tour. Fans got there early, and by 5:00pm, the line to get into the venue was already reaching across Central Park. The concert was opened by Charli XCX, writer of the hit summer song, Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” When Marina finally took the stage, the sun had set, the crowd was ready, and the cheer was exuberant as she stepped out wearing a 1950’s-inspired pink dress and wedding veil.

The Welsh singer-songwriter, Marina, is mainly known for her electro-pop music with catchy lyrics and a kitsch-with-an-edge personal style. Fans refer to themselves as diamonds, and her lyrics often bank on offbeat humor and alter-egos to tell the stories of different characters. The set list was comprised of a nice mix of songs from both her debut album “The Family Jewels” (2010) and her more recent release, “Electra Heart” (2012).

Each song and each costume change throughout the concert seemed to depict a new character. The common thread throughout? Love.

And nowhere was the theme more present than when she took to the stage for the encore, solo- just her at her piano. Directly addressing the audience, she broke out in tears several times while talking about her struggles as an artist and what the fans meant to her. “Last year, I was like, I really enjoy doing Electra Heart, but I always felt like- oh, there were so many things wrong and, like, you know, people hated me or like, I’m definitely a glass half empty girl. But since the beginning of this year, I actually haven’t been, and I’ve done this Lonely Hearts Club Tour, and I’ve enjoyed it so much. It’s because of you guys. Of course, you know, I’d like to be a good artist, but it’s the fan base who spreads the word, and I’m not a hits artist. Obviously, I’ve had singles, but I know that you’re an album crowd. This is the end of Electra Hearts, but I have the feeling we’re going to stick together for a long time.”

You know what they say, Marina. Diamonds are forever.

Event Review “The Rain Room” at The Museum of Modern Art

Rain Room
The Museum of Modern Art
May 12–July 28, 2013

The line stretches through the lot and down the sidewalk, and it’s moving at a snail’s pace. As the hours go by and tempers rise, people begin to question if this is all worth it.

And then you walk inside.

And directly into a dream.

The first thing you sense when you finally enter the darkened space, is the sound. It’s the sound of falling water, and as you turn the corner, you are met with an arresting sight: a darkened room, lit with only a spotlight, and a large block of rain falling from the ceiling. The guard nods at you, and you slowly approach it, your nose now picking up on the smell of water. You tentatively reach a hand into the falling droplets, expecting to be drenched in seconds, and instead feel…nothing. There’s a dry area surrounding your outstretched hand- a type of force field that is keeping it dry. As you make a slow wave, the dry area follows you. You take a deep breath and step fully into the room. Miraculously, no water touches you, and you start to feel a sense of joy and of play. You can control the rain!

Rain Room (2012) is rAndom International’s installation art piece currently on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the MoMA PS1 Exhibition (EXPO 1: New York). It is, in the simplest of terms, a literal room of rain. Hundreds of gallons of water are cycled through the room per minute, and 3D tracking cameras line the space, sensing its occupants and their movements, and repel the water from releasing up above them. It is best to move at a moderate pace- too fast, and the sensors are unable to keep up, and you will get wet. rAndom International’s founders, Stuart Wood, Florian Ortkrass, and Hannes Koch, have been reticent in revealing the specifics of how it all works, allowing it to continue to be a fantasy and mystery to those who experience it.

Perhaps the best thing about Rain Room is the audience interaction component. Every person will experience the room in their own way and will become part of an unexpected show of immersive meteorology, so the room is always changing. It challenges participants to go against their ingrained responses while experientially engaging four senses at the same time. There’s a feeling of romance, delight, and contemplation at being able to literally control the water falling around you.

Rain Room is located in the lot space directly next to the MoMA and is included in the regular ticket price. It is open daily during normal museum hours. Entry is limited to only ten people at a time. The exhibit runs until July 28th.