Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dancing By Not Dancing

Prospero and the replicants. Photo: Jorg Baumann
Several shows being presented in New York this week underscore how important dancers' training is, not in the obvious sense of dance technique, but in other ways of moving and communicating.

The Tempest Replica, by Crystal Pite for her company Kidd Pivot (at the Joyce through Dec 2), is a tautly produced, highly theatrical spectacle that traces the themes of Shakespeare's work. In the first half, Prospero is surrounded by "replicas" of the main characters, automatons clad entirely in white, including fencing-like headgear. Video provides exposition and scene structure, and subtle warm-to-cool shifts in lighting set the mood in the all-white setting. In the second part, the dancers doff their white coverings and dance in street clothes, acquiring humanity and pathos. 

But their effectiveness as automatons was remarkable, robot-walking and gliding effortlessly around the stage. At times, they'd react with emotion in humanesque fashion, as in a brief romance, much to their own surprise. But it showed the power and potential for expression by these highly trained bodies, even devoid of facial expression.

At the BAM Fisher, Lucy Guerin's Untrained matches two trained dancers with two untrained guys in a series of exercises, including dance moves and phrases. Of course it's hilarious to see these endearing "untraineds" fumble through some of the harder stuff. But it's remarkable to realize how essential the function of the brain is in companion with a learned physical intelligence. It's similar to learning an instrument, it just happens to be one you live in.

And over at the Harvey, SITI Company's performing Anne Bogart's production of Trojan Women, which examines the power and powerlessness of the women of Troy. One of the primary subjects of said topic is Helen, played by longtime Martha Graham principal Katherine Crockett. Her statuesque elegance and beauty require no acting, but she also has many lines and interactions with the ensemble, which she handles skillfully. But perhaps the simple acts best express her foundation as a highly-skilled dancer: standing, walking, reclining, turning her head in profile, basically acting regal. After embodying Martha Graham's Clytemnestra, Helen's a piece of cake.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What to Read?

Have trouble figuring out what books to read, or give as gifts? I'll start listing books of note. Feel free to chime in by commenting, or email if you've read something you want to share. 

Here are a handful of new releases that have stuck in my head recently:

This Bright River, Patrick Somerville 
A hybrid personal story + thriller that kept me guessing til the end. A complete surprise as I hadn't heard it hyped. Wanted it to go on and on.

State of WonderAnn Patchett
Another unexpectedly suspenseful, exotically-set tale that raises big questions about womankind and the natural order of things. And anything Patchett writes is worth a read.

Juliet in AugustDiane Warren
Sasketchewan, horses, dust—along the lines of "exotic rural North Americana." Quietly ominous, richly descriptive, very readable. 

Buddhaland BrooklynRichard Morais
Literally about Buddhism finding a home in Bklyn, paralleling a reverend's search for inner peace. Okay, the premise is based on the cliche of "cultures clash, hilarity ensues," but it's a refreshing take on it. Plus, a slender, quick read.

From a bit earlier:

Monsters of TempletonLauren Groff
A lake monster, ancestral mysteries, New York State near Cooperstown. What's not to like? 

Open CityTeju Cole
A non-native wanders thru New York City, Brussels, and his native Nigeria visiting friends and relatives. Beautifully written and dreamlike.

Matterhorn, Karl Marlantes
I never thought I could get sucked into a novel about the Vietnam War, but this is totally engrossing and moving in a filmic way. (Remember this when it is eventually made into a film and you think, I wish I'd read the book first.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Dance: As Regular as the Seasons

Tiler Peck in Balanchine's Nutcracker. Photo: Paul Kolnik
This particular moment in the calendar year is, for a dance fan, a comfortable, cinnamon-scented one. Thanksgiving means the next-night opening of New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, by George Balanchine, with its magnificent tree, authentic-looking snow, and richly detailed party scene. It's a chance to see the varied talents and facets of the magnificent company, from Maria Kowroski as Sugarplum Fairy, cooly radiant and controlled; Tiler Peck (Dewdrop), a virtuosic jazz musician on pointe, able to bend time to her will with her crystalline technique and musical ear; Erica Pereira (Marzipan), precise and delicate; Chase Finlay and Georgina Pascoguin (Hot Chocolate) bold and alluring. And of course, the key—all the well-drilled children as party-goers, little trees, angels, and candy canes. With its lavish sets and costumes, and enduringly rich score by Tchaikovsky, it's a well-burnished holiday tradition.

Linda Celeste Sims, Rachel McLaren, and Alicia Graf Mack. Photo: Andrew Eccles
Beginning Nov 28, Alvin Ailey takes up residence at City Center for the month of December, as usual—always a joyful, invigorating thought. It seems as woven into the fabric of the city's holiday calendar as NYCB's Nut, and now ABT's Nutcracker by Ratmansky at BAM. This year at AAADT, the repertory consists of, appropriately, ever more dances by Artistic Director Robert Battle (four) including a new production of Strange Humors, and what feels like an organic winnowing of dances by Mr. Ailey, including Memoria, Night Creature, Streams, the iron-clad Revelations, plus excerpt medleys of his works called Ailey Classics

Other highlights include a world premiere by Kyle Abraham, who blends styles to make his own voice; Jiri Kylian's Petite Mort; From Before by Garth Fagan; and a new production of Ronald Brown's Grace, which remains one of the gems of Ailey's rep. Speaking of: the inimitable, elegant Renee Robinson, who created the central role in Grace, is retiring after a remarkable career, and will be celebrated on Dec 9 at 7:30, as well as by leading all performances of Revelations for the first two weeks of the season. Another retirement of note: Executive Director Sharon Gersten Luckman retires after this season and will be feted on Dec 4; that program includes Ohad Naharin's Minus 16. As long-time Ailey faces move on, the company's performance schedule remains steadfast. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Beatrix Potter at the Morgan

Letter to Eric Moore, August 12, 1892
Beatrix Potter's books are so ubiquitous that they were simply part of growing up, alongside Dr. Seuss, at least for me. But there was something precious about my Potter books—their small size, textured dark blue covers, etching-like text imprinted on the covers. (That said, this is what I remember, not necessarily how they actually were. But it's the impression I'm talking about here!) They felt like little heirlooms, versus the cheap, glossy Seuss books with their bright colors, cheap paper, and bizarre characters.

Oh hai. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
The Morgan's show, Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters, on view through January 27, details how Potter developed her now-canonical tales in letters to the children of her former governess—she didn't know what to say to the kids, so she told stories. The show supports my recollections about the illustrations being finely detailed, accurate renditions of animal rather than cartoonish or anthropomorphic interpretations. Okay, so they wore little jackets and bonnets and stuff... but even those didn't look entirely comfortable, instead recalling toddlers dressed up for church in their stiff Sunday best. (There is one slightly disturbing divergence: the bunnies' leather shoe-shod feet are tiny.) But Potter was a bit of a pioneer, working primarily in the late 19th century and early 20th. She produced "merch," like greeting cards, early in her career, and pursued her uncompromising vision with focus that could not have been simple for a woman then.

She could paint plants, too. And kitties. Fawe Park
The Morgan show highlights her illustrated letters, beautiful artifacts that showed how integrated art and text were to Potter. The delicacy, and verismo, of her renditions of animals laced throughout missives to, in particular, children she knew. How lucky they were to be acquainted with Potter, and to receive such gem-like gifts that for her were merely her means of expression, like talking is for most. The Morgan revives such revered childhood companions as Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten, and Jeremy Fisher. You might be surprised at how evocative these drawings and artifacts are, as was I.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Giving Thanks—Sports Edition

Before all the year-end lists start popping up, here are some notes on 2012 in sports thus far.

The Mets
Dickey, scaling great heights of all kinds.

  • RA Dickey won the 2012 Cy Young! An epic year for an everyman, climbing Kilimanjaro, publishing a well-written and honest memoir, and being the highlight of a drab Mets' second half after a promising first half of the season.
  • The Mets finished ahead of the Marlins. Like I said, ain't much to brag about Mets-wise, but seeing José Reyes bid farewell to Queens and head for the bright, shiny carnivalesque Marlins Stadium with freakin' FISH TANKS as backstops was sad, not gonna lie. No one more fun to watch play, and his spirit is so winning. But the Marlins imploded, far more quickly than I could have expected, and the team was hastily disassembled via a big trade with Toronto. Now Reyes will be in a different dome, in a cold climate, with turf, and far away from his native tongue. Still, some sadistically pleasant Schadenfreude in all that, even if I do wish happiness for Reyes.
  • David Wright managed to hit .306, five points above his career average, after decimating the first half of the season despite a broken finger. He remains the backbone of the team, its veritable captain.
  • The commentating team of Gary, Keith, Ron, and Kevin. Gary's got a cello of a voice, is incredibly smart and level headed, and he's a huge fan. Keith, among my all-time favorite players, speaks from authority, and is hilarious and frank, especially about his eating habits.

The New York Giants

  • Current swoon aside, they unexpectedly won the Superbowl and started off this season impressively. Good thing they piled up a good record because they're gonna need it.
  • They're becoming known for making kings of prior plebes, like Victor Cruz and Andre Brown. 
  • They tend to keep their mouths shut and keep their egos tamped down, although the Jets make this look like a snap. Thanks, Jets.


  • Ugh, do I have to talk about it? The upside of monumental sports icon Lance Armstrong getting taken down is that some serious soul-searching is underway in this sport that demands superhuman performances. The tumbling house of cards also shows how pervasive doping has been, putting Armstrong's travesties in perspective. Still, it hurts.
  • One of the most un-steroidal looking riders, Bradley Wiggins, won the Tour de France this year. Literally a stick figure, with a Monty Pythonesque head, he brought some groundedness back to this beautiful, sometimes terrible sport.
  • The emergence of a new generation, including Yanks Teejay Van Garderen and Tyler Farrar, and Slovakian Peter Sagan, respectively sunny, unlucky, and terrifying.

Formula One
The podium at Austin. Yeehaw!

  • The new Austin, TX race was a huge success, and the championship will be decided at the season finale next weekend in Brazil. Plus, Texas does have a sense of humor: the podium hats were ten-gallon Stetsons. The downside: Rick Perry is still governor there.
  • Ferrari did not suck this season! Alonso drove the bejeezus out of his car (he's currently 2nd in the championship race with a chance to win) which actually turned out better than forecast at the season's start. And Massa keeps his job, despite being consistently behind Alonso, although he improved as the races accrued.
  • Lewis Hamilton never looked happier than on the top step of the podium at Austin, winning perhaps his final race with McLaren before moving on to Mercedes next season. Not an easy guy to like, snapping at his team over the radio, but seriously talented. And his teammate Jenson Button was competitive all year in his super smooth, charming way.
  • Mark Webber kept up with his jackrabbit teammate and championship leader, Sebastian Vettel. One of the veterans of the sport, Weber has been emerging as a strong voice and conscience of the sport.
  • The rebirth of Kimi Raikonnen, whose churlishness on his radio only seems to make people like him more, in contrast to Hammie. His motto, "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing" was imprinted on t-shirts. Awesome. Plus, he actually contended, and won a race. Unbelievable, given Lotus' situation.
  • I have to admit, I'm not a big NBA fan, but the sheer energy and buzz around the Nets' relocation to the BK (my place of work) is pretty exciting. Now if I could just figure out who Deron and Brook are...
  • And yet, the ancient, currently despicable Knicks (if only for not resigning Jeremy Lin) are atop the league. Sports: ya never know.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saltimbanques Inspire Picasso and Lubovitch

Picasso's Les Saltimbanques, 1905
What inspires an artist to create a new work, especially after 44 years of making dances? Lar Lubovitch found inspiration in Picasso's painting of a circus troupe, Les Saltimbanques, paired with Debussy's String Quartet in G Minor performed live by the Bryant Park Quartet. The result—Transparent Things, which premiered in the company's run at Florence Gould Hall on November 14—fits snugly within Lubovitch's oeuvre of lushly romantic, lyrical dances. Also on the gala bill were his sharper, frenetic 2011 work, Crisis Variations, featuring the dynamic Katarzyna Skarpetowska, and the aromatic Little Rhapsodies, a virtuosic 2007 male trio.

Leg lines a-resonating. Photo: Rose Eichenbaum
Attila Joey Csiki, as the lead tumbler in Transparent Things, wears the money-shot costume—a pastel hued, diamond-print, well-fitting tunic, created by Reed Barthelme. Portrayed as a bit of an outsider, Csiki gamboled with the ensemble and then danced alone in a melancholic funk. The troupe included two couples: Skarpetowska with Reed Luplau, and Clifton Brown with Laura Rutledge, along with Brian McGinnis. Lubovitch works with a complete stage picture in mind—curving legs aloft resonate between pairs, or the group snaps, seemingly spontaneously, into one of his signature tableaux.

Attila Joey Csiki wearing The Costume. Photo: Steven Schreiber
The costumes were obviously key, patterned directly after the color schemes laid out by Picasso. But the gap between the resulting designs for the men and the women were like day and night. It seems that all of Barthelme's energy went toward the mens' tunics (other than Brown's white leotard and high-waisted grey pants that were somehow unflattering to this most Apollonian of dancers). The women, Rutledge in particular, looked like someone had grabbed the lost and found box and pulled out whatever would remotely fit, at least within Picasso's palette.

It's not news, but Lubovitch attracts first-rate dancers. Brown, long a star with Ailey, here favors the subdued facet of his onstage persona and melts into the ensemble even as he inevitably does a lion's share of lifting and guy stuff. Luplau's dancing, particularly his allegro passages in Rhapsodies, reminds me a little of the effervescence and precision of Sean Curran in his prime, no small task. And Skarpetowska, against the odds in this troupe of male peacocks (that's a compliment), has become a  locus, with her completely fearless approach, both emotionally and physically.

Toward the end, the dancers crawled among the string quartets' legs and instruments, underscoring the pleasures of having live music (although some technical problems with mic noise were a distraction). It felt like the end but wasn't. That came when the troupe formed a line, arms linked behind backs, and collectively descended into splits, a final reminder of the nature of these troubadors.

Music—a cool stream of water amid hermetic dioramas

The Hilliard Ensemble, showing versatility as movers. Photo: Mario Del Curto
In I went to the house but did not enter, Heiner Goebbel's music-theater work in the White Light Festival, originally produced by Théâtre Vidy de Lausanne, the four singers of the Hilliard Ensemble appear trapped—nearly static figures frozen in three hermetically sealed diorama-like settings. In the first act, to a faint dripping sound, the members of the renowned Hilliard Ensemble—David James, Rogers Covey-Crump, Steven Harrold and Gordon Jones—are dressed in trench coats. They pack up the furnishings of a stuffy parlor, dismantling the curtains and vacuuming the rug before rolling it up, in advance of singing Goebbel's musical setting of TS Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. They then do it all in reverse, replacing the furnishings at a glacial pace. The vocal section evokes liturgical songs—repeating tones in close intervals, with one line shifting a half-step. It's glorious sound amid mundanity, tedium, and the implications of a life-changing event, whether it be simply changing locations or the possibility of death—or the reverse. 

The changes of the elaborate sets in the Rose Theater proved to be the most action-packed sequences, performed by the stagehands in near darkness with the curtain raised. The second setting is the front of a house, complete with clay tiled roof, gutters, a dumpster out back, and venetian or vertical blinds that open to reveal the house's occupants in three apartments, plus a workshop hidden behind a garage door. The men alternate sung lines by Maurice Blanchot about life and death as birds chirp and airplanes and police sirens pass by. A stark, leafless tree's shadow is cast on the house. Again, the banal is elevated to the universal through song.

Before the next set change, the singers gather around a bicycle like spies exchanging information and sing a lovely song setting of Kafka text, with the refrain of "I don't know" in close, shaded harmonies, ending with a big verbal wink: "It's a wonder we don't burst into song." Touché.

The third set seems to be one corner of a rose-wallpapered hotel room, complete with an oversized bed, a thermostat, and a cheap tv. Beckett is the source for the text, phrases like pretzel nuggets popped into one's mouth—salty, crunchy, nearly meaningless. The men wander in the room; one turns on the thermostat, which hums. They gaze out the tall windows which let sharp light into the dark room. They set up a slide projector and screen, showing nostalgic images of family vacations. The final image gives hope: instead of a still image, it is a film of a stream which burbles and glitters—like music, a source of life amid the stasis of a man-made world.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Notebook Roundup: Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Drawing Center

Fabulous Beast. Clockwise from top left: Eithne Ní Chatháin, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Emmanual Obeya, Ino Riga. Photo: Ros Kavanagh
  • From Ireland, NY debut in Lincoln Center's White Light Festival, performance at Lynch Theater (John Jay College), seen on Nov 10
  • Directed and choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan who also just directed/choreographed Julius Caesar for English National Opera
  • Title means "to trace or etch," after music director Liam Ó Maonlaí's album from 2005 (he is also a member of the band Hothouse Flowers)
  • Eight dancers, half women, of widely varying nationality; all dance very differently
  • Standouts: Louise Mochia, velvety and fluid; Emmanual Obeya, irrepressibly exuberant
  • Four musicians playing an array of traditional instruments including uilleann pipes (like bagpipes) and a small harp
  • Folk music and dance performance made up of a string of traditional songs ranging from melancholic instrumental, a cappella ballads, to rousing ensemble numbers, most featuring Ó Maonlaí, who demonstrated his certified rock-star cred 
  • Akin structurally to the format of a flamenco performance, where the dance and music are equally important and either can take center stage
  • Usually, the music would begin and the dancers filter on one by one to join in
  • The repeating refrains in the music paralleled in the dancers' simple, repeating phrases done barefoot or in street shoes
  • Movement is unmannered, not based on any sort of classical vocabulary; not ballet nor traditional Irish step dancing
  • At times feels more related to some African forms that emanate from the torso, firmly grounded feet, with lyrical movement pulling the extremities diametrically
  • The costumes—unique green patterned dresses and white shirts, trousers and suspenders—were held hostage in a container during Hurricane Sandy, released in time only for the last couple shows
  • A wonderful performance that connected the performers and audience in a festive communal celebration

Guillermo Kuitca, Diario (3 Dec 2007-1 July 2008). Mixed media on canvas. Courtesy the artist and Sperone Westwater, New York
  • Reopened after renovation doubling exhibition space
  • Main gallery: Guillermo Kuitca: Diarios—a series of canvases that the Argentinian stretched on a table and marked on over time
    • The results are more time-based than formal, echoing journal-keeping
    • Some compositions cohere better than others, at least in the context of a pristine gallery setting
  • Back gallery: José Antonio Suárez Londoño's The Yearbooks, notebooks he has drawn in daily since 1997, resonates perfectly with Kuitca's "exploded journals"
    • Fascinating minutiae and pockets of thought recorded
  • New "Lab" exhibition space downstairs, connected by two different, nifty staircases
    • Compact show of a variety of certificates of authenticity, a necessary evil in the art world
    • Humorous, wry, ironic, or simply serious
  • These shows run through Dec 9 at 35 Wooster St

Friday, November 9, 2012

Morphoses—Pontus Lidberg Glides from Stage to Screen

Jens Weber, Pontus Lidberg, Gabrielle Lamb, and Wendy Whelan (in film). Photo by Christopher Duggan
Morphoses* is at the Joyce performing Within (Labyrinth Within) through Nov 11. The hour-long work is half live performance, half film, with connecting sequences in both realms. These segues sometimes show the live dancers reflected in an on-screen mirror, and other times as echoed images—a bit confusing, conceptually, but visually captivating. And that becomes a minor problem, the domination of the filmed image projected on a large screen. It unintentionally diminishes the live performance, not terribly unlike how screens of all sizes—from tiny phones to big flatscreen tvs—relentlessly demand our attention. All of it is done to David Lang's darkly flavored, sub rosa score.

The dancers (on Nov 7, Gabrielle Lamb, Laura Mead, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Jens Weber, and Lidberg) are all superb. They skillfully interpret Lidberg's style, which favors floor work and a muscular taming of gravity. In an opening live solo that repeats in a sequence filmed in the woods, Lidberg freezes in a plank position, then flips instantly onto his back, going from complete control to helplessness. Legs plant firmly while the upper body releases lyrically. It's grounded in balletic structure but, in socks or bare feet, more fluid and organic. 

Pontus Lidberg in the film, Labyrinth Within. Photo: Martin Nisser
Several engaging duets lead up to the main feature, the film from 2010, Labyrinth Within, featuring a romantic triangle between Wendy Whelan, Giovanni Bucchieri as her husband, and her paramour Lidberg, who directed and choreographed. Martin Nisser directed the photography, with art direction by Magdalena Walz, both of which are first-rate.  The settings alternate between the woods, a beach, the husband's office, the couple's house (a stripped-down, wooden facsimile of Versailles, near Stockholm), and the connecting streets. The pale, silvery Northern European light evokes the that in the films of Lidberg's fellow Swede, Ingmar Bergman. 

Whelan's very different relationships with her tightly wound husband and Lidberg are told only through movement. These passages blend seamlessly with functional actions to create a unique form of storytelling devoid of language. It is somewhat reminiscent of the structure of Matthew Bourne's work, particularly Play Without Words, which hews more along the basic form of a musical theater performance, in part because he creates full-length works. But Lidberg has an appealing signature choreographic style, a sharp eye, and the skills for working in different media—all reasons to keep watching him closely.

* My original opening follows, but its mere existence prompted me to move it to footnote status. Next time, maybe it will disappear: 
It may never be possible to mention Morphoses without recounting its initially triumphant, often frenetic  history. To summarize: founded by Christopher Wheeldon as a vehicle for his and other choreographers' repertory, which it performed for a couple seasons before Wheeldon departed. ED Lourdes Lopez established the position of resident artistic director—first Luca Vegetti, then Pontus Lidberg. Now that Lopez has become artistic director of Miami City Ballet, Morphoses, such as it is, has followed her there. As she said recently, it may become the experimental arm of MCB. There are worse fates for such an initially ambitious collective and who knows—maybe it will finally get the institutional support that has been so elusive. But it won't be a revolutionary major independent ballet company. 
In many ways it fulfills some of the mandates that many new companies promise, and perhaps these innovations could only have been possible given the company's brief, tortured history. Wipe clean the slate and start again, especially if the results are as intriguing as Within.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A little closer to The Day After Tomorrow

Not just yet, but The Day After Tomorrow. 20th Century Fox.
Superstorm Sandy provided an unexpected respite from culture, and a stark reminder of the ever-worsening consequences of global warming. For years, New York City has been one of Hollywood's favorite disaster targets, with its signature Statue of Liberty providing a concise visual and sociological metaphor for aspirational America, and its skyscrapers a symbol of the capitalist firmament, either economically competitive or demonic.

BK/Battery Tunnel this past week. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty
Though it wasn't quite as bad as as the scary scenes from The Day After Tomorrow (with Jake Gyllenhaal) in which the main branch of the New York Public Library is flooded and a cruise ship navigates by on a flooded Fifth Avenue, some of the shots of Battery Park City and the new South Street subway entrance completely inundated show that that end-of-the-world scenario is actually terrifyingly imaginable.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes. 20th Century Fox.
Of course the iconic image of the Statue of Liberty is from Planet of the Apes, where Lady Liberty stands as a proud, defiant symbol of the US/humankind's resilience. (Or, if you're a half-empty kinda person, the demise.)

Storm Sandy was one time when Manhattan actually was not physically connected with the rest of the country, even if culturally it often isn't. Floods took care of the tunnels, and hurricane winds meant the only remaining route—the bridges—were off limits. Long Island, also disconnected; Staten Island too. Not as final as the outcome of Will Smith's I Am Legend, but at least for a few days, the same effect.

Will Smith is Legend, but not in the BK. Still, his office has a great view. Warner Bros.
And despite the many powerless days in lower Manhattan, where at night Broadway was so dark you couldn't see the potholes you were about to step into, there was little crime, due to the constant police presence, and probably also because it was so difficult to get around, so no need for a companion German Shepherd for protection.

I have no doubt that in the future, filmmakers will be inspired to use Barclays Center as a new NY icon, hopefully involving ETs and mothership landing sites. It will also be ripe with potential for mocking Brooklyn as the epicenter of all that is hip, and the inherent halflife of trends—rising and waning.

After nearly a week, we have power back, but still no subway trains rumble directly under lower Broadway, although they're gradually returning to cross-river service. It's been a harsh warning of things to come, things that filmmakers have long imagined on our behalf. If only we—they—used their  resources and brainpower to be proactive about innovations related to our built world, rather than tearing it down, since politicians are ignoring it.

How about it, filmmakers?