“This is a sexy, desperate program,” Rooftop Films host Mark Elijah Rosenberg said by way of introducing the evening’s theme: The Pursuit of Love. While opening night had been a bit on the chilly side, last Friday’s event seemed to mark the season’s official foray into summer.
On the roof at the New Design High School (photo Irwin Seow)
But before the shorts began, Widowspeak took the stage for a short set. Having missed their recent performance at Glasslands, I was thankful for another opportunity to see the Brooklyn band play. I’ve been listening to their single (as of yet the only thing they’ve officially released) on repeat.
Sometimes, new bands you love recorded let you down. Widowspeak does not fall into this category. From their first song, I was hooked, but it took me a minute to figure out why the music seemed to resonate with me so deeply. Then it hit me. “Oh man! The singer from Widowspeak is totally adorable and sounds like Hope Sandoval!” I eagerly texted a friend. With her long flowing floral skirt, soothing voice, and seductive sideways glances, singer Molly Hamilton exuded just the right combination of innocence and sexiness. Consider me a fan.
Widowspeak (photo Nicholas Gazin)
Closing with Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” (tag line “I’ll never fall in love”) turned out to be the perfect segue to the shorts.
Each year’s romantic shorts program is one of my favorite Rooftop Films events. This year, the theme made it even more fun. From a town full of headless villagers to a bizarre underwater manifestation, the shorts revealed that love is just as twisted as it is rewarding.
Rooftop Films – Old American Can Factory – July 2nd
A lot of summer festivals rely on bands who have already proven themselves and are perhaps already past their peak. Rooftop Films has a knack for picking up Brooklyn indie acts on the rise.
Last Friday marked my second time seeing the duo Bow Ribbons. The first time was at the small DIY Brooklyn venue Shea Stadium last April with High Places. From the first few notes uttered by “Bow,” I was intrigued and curious to see more. After seeing them perform a second time, I admit I’m still not sure if Bow’s dramatic stage presence and deep, (often painfully) husky voice is an act or if she is truly moved by the music they make. I can definitely see why they might grate on some peoples’ nerves. Their music is quite a shtick.
But then for better or worse, part of me wonders what good music is if it’s universally liked. Shouldn’t it be challenging? Should some people balk at the sound? Or have I just been tainted by my work with Brooklyn Vegan and all the haters who love to defend the crap and rail against bands that actually put in the time and effort in the studio and out (think Grizzly Bear and The National).
Again, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Bow Ribbons, but I do think that their moody music somewhat fit the ghostly post-industrial landscape depicted in the evenings’ shorts… even if Bow Ribbons is a band the probably thrives more in small, intimate settings instead of on a rooftop full of 9-5′ers who sadly come more for the view and the booze than the main events.
Of course, the music was not the only thing that interested me about the evening. I simply couldn’t resist to see how Werner Herzog would voice a plastic bag as it blew around, wandering the world in search of its maker.
Rooftop Films is only getting warmed up. Visit their site for more info on upcoming events.
"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."
- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being