Twyla Moves, the documentary story of the life and career of Twyla Tharp, had its world premiere at SXSW on March 17th. Steven Cantor, Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker, crafts a piece using archival and current day footage to give us a look into the life of the acclaimed dancer, choreographer and director.
Twyla Moves opens in April, 2020 with Twyla Tharp creating a dance via zoom with four dancers in four separate locations after the pandemic necessitated quarantine. Herman Cornejo, Maria Khoreva, Benjamin Buza, and Misty Copeland all answered the challenge. As she was choreographing this dance, we are treated to the earliest film of Tharp dancing with her own voice as the narration, as well as taped interviews. Twyla Moves toggles seamlessly between the early days and the current times to show us the evolution of her dance which mixes modern dance and ballet. Although she began dancing in New York after college in 1963 – living in a Franklin Street ‘loft’ for $50 a month – it wasn’t until 1965 when she formed her first dance company that she began to get the kind of attention that would propel her to greater heights. That first company, Twyla Tharp Dance, was all women “because we didn’t want to be told what to do”.
In 1973, Robert Joffrey asked Tharp to choreograph a dance for the Joffrey Ballet and this is where the real combination of modern dance with ballet occurred. Over the ensuing decades, she would go on to choreograph more that 160 works, including Broadway shows, movies, figure skating and television specials in addition to ballets.
In a particular montage from 2020 early in the movie, the 79-year-old Tharp does warm-up exercises in preparation to dance herself. I was exhausted just watching her move. Twyla Tharp continues to have an infinite well of energy as she plots the next stop in her creative journey. As Misty Copeland said, “Even in this stage of her career and her life, she’s setting the standard for where dance is evolving to.”
I found this to be a fascinating documentary and I really enjoyed Cantor’s storytelling choice to interweave the old and new footage. I discovered that Twyla Tharp’s creativity and fearlessness have been the keys to her long career in dance. I can only hope to be like her when I grow up!
Twyla Moves is streaming on PBS until April 23, 2021 as part of the American Masters series.
If you’re into intricate storytelling that involves a technological future that doubles as a dystopian society, then MADE FOR LOVE is made for you. Lucky enough to view the first few episodes of this upcoming HBO Max gem, this shit kicked off our SXSW 2021 in some type of crazy headspace.
Imagine: A scattered, confusing beginning as a woman hoists herself out of the ground, sopping wet as she splays out on a dry, dusty desertscape. She has escaped a cluster of shiny buildings, which you can see in the background.
Cut to a different time. What looks to be routine morning escapades with the most pretentious man you know, followed by watching him swimming laps with a dolphin in his pool. The man? Byron Gogol (Billy Magnussen), the owner of a tech company that is pronounced astoundingly familiarly. His advancements in technology seem to be changing the dating landscape, on top of many other big accomplishments in his career. But his empathy, his ability to communicate healthily, is obviously insufficient. Early on, you see a crazy in his eyes that makes you feel like this escape from reality might hit a little closer to our technological home than planned.
But the entirety of that first episode is dedicated to understanding this woman. Who is she? How did she get here? Why is she subject to invasive questions by a creepy algorithm? Why is her life being determined by someone that isn’t her? Why does everything feel cold in this strange, structured world?
The first episode of MADE FOR LOVE will throw you back and forth over a short window of time, a fun way to create mystery in the storyline. I was initially drawn to view the show by the listed cast. How I Met Your Mother fans will rejoice in the knowledge that Cristin Milioti is top-billed as the protagonist, Hazel Green (a naming choice that does not entirely evade us).
And when Ray Romano is introduced as Hazel’s father in a flashback? The unexpected (and somehow necessary) marriage of two favorite moments in pop culture united to create what we are sure will be our favorite television father/daughter duo of all time.
If the last scene of that first episode is any indication, things could get even weirder, too.
Our thoughts? Don’t miss the premiere of Made For Love, April 1 on HBO Max.
Though Travis Atria has been engaged in creative endeavors for years – he is the frontman of pop-rock collective Morningbell, he co-wrote Curtis Mayfield’s official biography, and has authored other projects – his new project Atria has been gaining traction as of late. Good news, since its debut LP is set to release early next month. With the success of the project’s first two singles – “Lucky” and “Love Theme” – there seem to be nothing but blue skies ahead for this solo endeavor.
Today, we have the exclusive premiere of the third single leading into next week’s album release. “Jazz Cigarette” is a timely piece on global warming, relayed in a way that strangely calms your anxieties. While the “Temperature’s always rising / Ocean’s acidifying” (Hello, rhythmic lyricism!), he finds peace in an object. In a way, Atrias is letting us all bum a stress-reducing “Jazz Cigarette” off of him, to reduce the overwhelm of our responsibility to the planet and our future.
The accompanying video is a solid collection of city views around New York that romanticize the passing cars and gorgeous architecture. With Atrias’ soothing vocals playing over it all, it feels like a love letter to Manhattan. We dig.
Moonbrain is out Friday, April 2, on Gold Robot Records.
Oregon-based folk-pop outfit Fox and Bones have curated the cutest collection of clips to create the music video for their single “A Changing of The Guard.” A song that is upbeat in nature and encouraging, the video directly reflects that.
“We wanted to find a way to bring together all of our friends, fans, and family in a way that would be fun and socially distanced. We put out the call to submit videos holding up lyrics or acting out what the lyrics meant to them. We were overwhelmed by the inflowing of videos and the level of creativity we saw from the submissions. We’ve always felt indebted to our fans for their love and support and this video felt like a great way to give back and showcase them, all without them having to leave their homes.”
Get your daily dose of happiness below. (We all need it.)
Anie Delgado’s unique sound comes from a blend of pop influences and her Cuban roots growing up in Florida. Her new song “Dancing While The World Is On Fire” brings with it an energy all its own. Able to hold its own in a zen environment or while out dancing (or in your room dancing), the song acclimates to its surroundings, and sounds off on a topic we can all relate to after a year in a global pandemic. We are thrilled to premiere the music video for this track below, a visual that somehow speaks to our 80s, 90s, and oughts nostalgic hearts all at once while being a visual representation of hope.
Proceeds from merchandise released with “Dancing While The World Is On Fire” benefit Zero Hour, an organization bringing awareness to climate and environmental justice.
Have you ever been seeking out answers in a world that seems confusing and unreal? No? 2020 just happened to us? (We kid!) But, for real, soulful artist Gaidaa takes a pretty vulnerable look at life in the video for her latest single “Stranger,” which just debuted with The Fader. While the song’s lyrics highlight the fact that there is always an amount of uncertainty that comes with growth, the instrumentals provide a relaxing element to allow you to almost sink into the sound like a comfortable, plush, worn-in sofa. Gorgeous, vibrant colors light up an art studio/office setting, making the dim lighting almost a source of inspiration for the artist while the camera pans the room continuously.
We’re big fans of the song and its accompanying video. What do you think?
Director: Segraphy Written: Segraphy & Gaidaa AD: Johan Verhoeven Production company: Pierette Goossens Producer: Pierette Goossens Production assistent: Luuk van de Ven Edit/Grading: Johan Verhoeven DOP: Johan Verhoeven Gaffer: Quintijn Maas