Podcast: The Best Movies at the Venice Film Festival

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Courtesy of Millennium Films
Al Pacino in Barry Levinson's The Humbling, which showed at the Venice Film Festival.
The Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek, just back from the Venice Film Festival, discuss the stand-out movies she saw on this week's episode, and the duo also makes room for Tim Sutton's Memphis, which showed last year at the festival and is now in theaters now.

Back in New York, Alan praises the warm Dolphin Tale 2 and The Drop. Finally, Village Voice art critic R.C. Baker joins to talk about an exhibit at New York's Museum of the Moving Image, which ties very closely the movies -- the Looney Tunes cartoons that used to play before Warners Brothers pictures. The works of animator Chuck Jones are on display at the museum through January 19, 2015.

See also: Stephanie Zacharek's reviews from the Venice Film Festival

Can You Name NYC'S Best Cheap Thrill?

Categories: Best of NYC

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"New york times square-terabass" by Terabass - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
A photobomber's paradise.
Is it peeping into the windows of The Standard hotel from The High Line? How about photobombing tourists in Times Square? Let us know your decision in that and 89 other categories of great importance in the Village Voice's annual Best of NYC® readers' poll.

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This Mobile App Replaces Subway Station Ads with Digital Art

Categories: Art

The MTA makes more than a $100 million every year selling space to advertisers. What they are really selling, of course, is you: your time waiting for the train, contemplating the void and/or silently criticizing the Photoshop skill of the poor soul tasked with fitting all 16 Expendables 3 stars onto one poster.

What if I told you you never had to look at that Expendables 3 poster ever again? Is that something you might like? There is a new app called NO AD--it's like AdBlocker, but for your commute instead of your computer. It is free, and available now for Apple and Android phones.

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NYPD Watchdog Chair Says Chokehold Report Will Be 'Troubling'

Categories: Eric Garner, NYPD

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Source: CCRB Video
The Civilian Complaint Review Board is preparing to release a "troubling" chokehold report.
The new chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the agency charged with reviewing citizen allegations of misconduct against the NYPD, said last night that a forthcoming study would reveal "troubling" findings about the alleged use of chokeholds by police officers in the city.

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Times Square Performers Say New License Law Would Violate Their Civil Liberties

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Image via Facebook
Council Member King poses with a group of performers after the press conference Monday.
In the past few years, there have been several unfortunate, highly-publicized incidents in Times Square involving pervy, anti-Semitic Elmos and pugnacious, cop-punching Spidermen. But a new union representing Times Square costumed performers says a proposed law introduced by City Council Member Andy King yesterday -- which would require performers to be licensed and fingerprinted, and would create fines and jail time if they don't comply -- goes much too far.

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'I Want People to Be in a State of Moral Struggle': Q&A With Against Football Author

Categories: Football

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"The point of this book isn't to shit on your happiness," author Steve Almond insists in Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto. Football, after all, has given America much happiness, and Almond spends 170-plus pages detailing all that is wrong with the sport. But it is not a blind critique. Almond is a football fan himself, emotionally invested in the Oakland Raiders since childhood. And in his book, which hit shelves last week, he explores the moral quandary that football fans face as research continues to reveal the sport's damaging long-terms effects on the brains of its players.

Almond, who will speak at the Strand on Monday, recently discussed with the Voice his thoughts on America's relationship with football and what he hopes readers take from the book.

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NYFW: Inside Karen Walker's Secret Garden

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Nikkitha Bakshani
Karen Walker
Gardens have been a popular theme this Fashion Week, but Karen Walker's models are not in the expected garden party dress code. Her models wear dungarees, pinafores and potter's jackets; gingham and pictures of burning gazebos; denim and suede. Self-described as "high casual," the brand eschews pretentiousness -- the Karen Walker girl knows how to wrestle with her plants, not just look pretty amongst them.

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Charles Barron Wins Inez Barron's Former State Assembly Seat, Completing Swap

Categories: Brooklyn, Politics

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Christopher Farber
Last year, 60th District State Assemblywomen Inez Barron vacated her seat after winning the election for the 42nd District city council seat. Her husband, Charles Barron, had held that seat for 12 years, and he had termed-out.

On Tuesday, Charles Barron won the election for the state assembly seat Inez Barron had vacated. The couple pulled off the seat swap.

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Andrew Cuomo Wins Democratic Primary, Defeating Challenger Zephyr Teachout [Updated]

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Image via Twitter
Andrew Cuomo voting at the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco this morning.
In a tighter-than-expected race, Governor Andrew Cuomo has defeated his long-shot Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout. With 41 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press is declaring the governor the victor. His pick for lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, has also defeated Teachout's running mate, Tim Wu. Although the results are still coming in, Teachout and Wu did far better than expected; Teachout looks to have pulled around 35.5 percent of the vote to Cuomo's 60. Wu did slightly better, 39 percent to Hochul's 60. The third gubernatorial candidate in the running, comedian Randy Credico, came away with about 4 percent of the vote.

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Confusing Mailers Almost Make It Look Like the New Yorker and the Times Endorsed Cuomo

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Image via Rebecca Mead on Twitter
It's Primary Day, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has emerged at long last from hibernation. The governor is facing off in today's Democratic primaries against Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham law professor who, though she has a very slim chance at victory, has still given Cuomo a surprisingly uncomfortable few months. In the last week, the governor has finally begun actively campaigning, appearing in the last couple days at a rally in Times Square and at the Labor Day parade with Kathy Hochul, his pick for lieutenant governor, where they awkwardly tried to avoid making eye contact with Teachout or her running mate, Tim Wu, who were cheerily and persistently trying to introduce themselves, even as one of the governor's aides threw himself in their path, human shield-style. (After a video of the incident was widely circulated, Cuomo told a group of reporters the incident had been misinterpreted: "I never saw her.")

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Early-Summer Spike in Gun Violence Followed by Safest August in 20 Years

Categories: Crime

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Joe Lhota via YouTube
Joe Lhota was wrong.
There was a moment back in June when CompStat computers kept spitting out calculations that showed gun violence on the rise and, gradually, a dark, sinking thought settled over the city: What if Joe Lhota was right and the streets of New York would be bathed in blood before summer was over? What if we chose...poorly?

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Alt-Cabaret Provocateur Bridget Everett Is the Most Exciting Performer in New York City

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All photos by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice.
Everett describes her rapport with Joe's Pub audiences as "fucking 200 people, and we're going to have coffee in the morning!"
"Hit the track!" Bridget Everett growls as she lowers herself to the lip of the Joe's Pub stage, lifting the hem of her flowing silver gown to flash the sold-out crowd in time to the slinky r&b beat.

"Short one, long one, doesn't matter/Just suck on that bean, watch it get fatter/You've had a bad day, you're feeling like shit/You want to beat something up? Beat up this clit/Here's the combination to my lovely lady locker/She'll pop in your mouth like Orville Redenbacher."

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NYFW: Newcomer Daniel Silverstain Channels Brazilian Futurism

Categories: Fashion Week

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All photos by Nikkitha Bakshani
Daniel Silverstain models.
Daniel Silverstain's atelier is in a nondescript midtown building near the Fashion Institute of Technology. Disgruntled office workers waited alongside photographers, bloggers and stylists as the event staff scrolled through the guest list on their iPads. "Just let them up first," one of them told the other through gritted teeth, as more people filled the vestibule, including the designer's grandparents. This was the Israeli designer's first New York Fashion Week show.

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Brownsville's Mo Better Jaguars Open Pop Warner Season With Dominant Win

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Albert Samaha
After weeks of tackling drills and wind sprints, the season has finally begun.
Last year was a lean one for the Mo Better Jaguars Pop Warner program of Brownsville, Brooklyn. As we chronicled in a November feature story, the 2013 season was the first time none of the program's teams made the playoffs. But while it was a down year, it did not lack flashes of hope.

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Public Housing Rapidly Deteriorating, But Better Than Tenements of Yore, Stringer Says

Categories: Housing

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Jacob Riis
A still from Jacob Riis' How the Other Half Lives
Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report of the city's public housing conditions on Monday. The good news? "Nearly 125 years after Jacob Riis published How the Other Half Lives, exposing conditions in New York City's crowded tenement buildings, the state of the city's housing stock has dramatically improved."

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South Brooklyn Politicians Argue Over Bizarre Flyer Depicting Latino Reverend Erick Salgado As Palestinian

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Screenshot via.
Reverend Salgado yells at Assemblyman Cymbrowitz from across the street.
Things are getting surprisingly heated in Sheepshead Bay, a sleepy, elderly, primarily Russian and Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in South Brooklyn, where two Democrats facing off in tomorrow's primary are accusing each other of fun things like racism, anti-Israel sentiment and "trivializing the Holocaust."

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Obama Punts on Immigration, and Rightbloggers Can't Run It Back

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[Roy Edroso dissects the right-wing blogosphere in this weekly feature]

Last week President Obama, who had been threatening to issue a new executive order on immigration, suddenly backed off, saying he'd revisit the subject after the elections.

This seems transparently political to us and everyone else -- and on Meet the Press on Sunday, Obama sort of admitted it was. But is it good politics -- that is, helpful at the polls? From the reaction of rightbloggers, we can see a case for it.


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Venice Update: Ethan Hawke's Good Kill Is an Intimate War on Terror Drama

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Photo by Lorey Sebastian
Ethan Hawke in Good Kill.
Today is my last day in Venice, which always makes me blue. Yesterday morning, on the way to my final screening, a tourist with an Eastern European accent I couldn't quite identify stopped me a block or so from the sad and shuttered Hotel des Bains and asked me if it was open. "I have seen it in the Visconti film," he said, referring to the 1971 adaptation of Death in Venice, "and was hoping to go inside." When I told him that the hotel had been closed for several years now, and that the proposed construction to turn this grand old building into luxury condominiums had stalled out, he looked as forlorn as the building itself does. "I had hoped they'd turned it into a museum," he said.

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NYFW: Australian to Amish with Catherine Litke, Thaddeus O'Neil and Mark & Estel

Categories: Fashion Week

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All photos by Heather Baysa
Litke models
It's that time again: when ragweed allergens and cakey runway makeup wage an unsightly war for possession of your face.

New York Fashion Week began on Wednesday and if any theme has emerged so far, it's "get out of New York."

True -- Gotham compiles every culture, and so our own can never really be defined. Maybe that's why so many designers' SS15 collections seem structured around a niche aesthetic.

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Staten Island Teachers Furious Their Union Didn't Want Them to Wear NYPD Shirts to the First Day of School

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Image via Facebook
A group of teachers, reportedly from P.S. 220 in Queens, posted photos of themselves in NYPD shirts.
A group of public school teachers in Staten Island planned to wear T-shirts supporting the New York Police Department to the first day of school yesterday, but most backed off after warnings from their union, the United Federation of Teachers. The Staten Island Advance reports that more than 600 shirts reading "New York's Brightest Supports New York's Finest #ThankYouNYPD" were purchased from a specialty T-shirt printing company in Staten Island earlier this month. A group of teachers, pictured above, reportedly from P.S. 220 in Queens, posted photos of themselves in NYPD shirts in an apparent act of solidarity, although it's not clear if they actually wore them to class.

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