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Tuesday, January 27 | Workers Film and Photo League + Busby Berkeley at Light Industry

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What’s Showing Today? Tuesday, January 27
Click venue names for ticket info & directions

Featured Screening: Workers Film and Photo League + Busby Berkeley at Light Industry. Post by Dana Reinoos:

Gold Diggers of 1933 begins in true extravagant Busby Berkeley style: a troupe of scantily-clad women, costumes made of strategically placed coins, led by Ginger Rogers (still in her pre-code sasspot persona), singing “We’re In the Money” while stepping in and out of complex formations. It is truly one of the highlights of early Hollywood musicals—there’s a section where Rogers sings the song in Pig Latin, and it’s filmed in a disorienting close-up that wouldn’t be out of place in a Lynchian nightmare sequence. But as the audience is dazzled by the Hollywood spectacular, the Great Depression comes charging in, literally; the show within the movie is raided by the sheriff’s office, who repossess the sets because there are unpaid pills. So quickly—and so cleverly!—the Hollywood fantasy bubble is popped, and reality sets back in.

Gold Diggers is a fascinating study in contrasts, as the leading ladies (Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, and Rogers, all playing wonderfully to type) are all glamour on stage, but have to steal milk from their neighbors for breakfast. Even the show within the film is a light, airy musical with puppy love numbers from Dick Powell and Keeler, but ends with the German Expressionist number “Remember My Forgotten Man,” belted out by Blondell, about how society has forgotten and disposed of veterans. Even the romantic farce of the middle part of the film, where the women put on each other’s identities in order to bag themselves rich husbands, is a romantic fantasy with hard, truthful edges.

To that end, Light Industry is pairing the film with four short films shot between 1931 and 1932 by the Film and Photo League, a leftist group with the mission of recording the strikes and protests in the wake of the Great Depression. These films document the brutality, force, and despair that working class people met due to the economic crisis. The cold, hard reality of American life revealed in these short films parallels the actresses’ struggles in the film, and hit home the meaning of “Remember My Forgotten Man.”

Gold Diggers of 1933 includes some of the best acting and musical numbers of the studio musicals at the time (and the costumes!). But the characters never forget that it’s hard times everywhere, and they don’t let the audience get away with pure escapism, either. It’s a beautiful whirlwind of frothy spectacle and cold hard truth. —Dana Reinoos

Film Forum and Light Industry are confirmed open today. Closings noted below.

Today

Orson Welles 100 at Film Forum
Series Details

  • Prince of Foxes (Henry King). Details. 2-for-1 admission. 35mm. 1949. 103 min. 3:00 and 7:30 pm.
  • The Black Rose (Henry Hathaway). Details. 2-for-1 admission. DCP. 1950. 115 min. 12:40, 5:10 and 9:35.

The Eccentrics of French Comedy at French Institute Alliance Française
Series Details

  • Favorites of the Moon (Otar Iosseliani). Details. Introduced at 7:30 pm by Phillip Lopate. DCP. 1985. 104 min. 4:00 and 7:30 pm.

New York Jewish Film Festival 2015 at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • Let’s Go! (Michael Verhoeven). Details. Q&A with Michael Verhoeven. 2014. 90 min. 1:00 pm.
  • Angels of Revolution (Alexey Fedorchenko). Details. 2014. 113 min. 3:30 pm, 9:00 pm.
  • Artist Focus: Keren Cytter. Details. Keren Cytter in attendance. Multimedia. 90 min. 6:15 pm.

MoMA Presents: Rowland V. Lee’s I Am Suzanne! at MoMA
Series Details

  • I Am Suzanne! Details. 1933. 100 min. 4:00 pm.

MoMA Presents: Mati Diop’s A Thousand Suns and Djbril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki at MoMA
Series Details

  • A Thousand Suns with Atlantiques. Details. 2013/2009. Introduced by Mati Diop. 60 min. 6:30 pm.

Best of Spectacle Part 2 at Spectacle
Series Details

  • Anna (Pierre Koralnik). Details. Digital video. 1967. 85 min. 7:30 pm.
  • The Snow Woman (Tokuzô Tanaka). Details. Digital video. 1968. 79 min. 10:00 pm.

Gold Diggers of 1933 (Mervyn LeRoy) with Workers Film and Photo League at Light Industry. Details. 16mm. 7:30 pm.

Ongoing

Mommy (Xavier Dolan) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. DCP. 2014. 139 min. 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 9:20 pm.
Salvation Army (Abdellah Taïa) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. DCP. 2013. 81 min. 2:45 pm, 4:45 pm, 7:00 pm, 9:15 pm.

Galleries

Museums

Chelsea

Downtown

Brooklyn

  • “Tongue Stones” at Pioneer Works. Work by David Horvitz, Soda_Jerk, Joachim Koester, Elise Rasmussen, and Julia Weist. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes March 8.
  • “Respond” at Smack Mellon, 92 Plymouth Street. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes February 22.
  • Zach Nader “channel surf” at Microscope Gallery, 1329 Willoughby Avenue, #2B, Bushwick. Open Thursday-Monday, 1:00 to 6:00 pm. Closes February 16.
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Wednesday, January 28 | The Woman on the Beach at MoMA

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What’s Showing Today? Wednesday, January 28
Click venue names for ticket info & directions

Featured Screening: The Woman on the Beach at MoMA

Listings in progress. To receive each post as a daily email the moment it’s complete, sign up for Screen Slate Daily, and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Today

French Classics of the 1930s-40s at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • The Story of a Cheat (Sacha Guitry). Details. 35mm. 1936. 81 min. 7:00 pm.
  • Une si jolie petite plage (Yves Allégret). Details. 35mm. 1948. 91 min. 9:15 pm.

Orson Welles 100 at Film Forum
Series Details

  • Mr. Arkadin (Confidential Report) plus Orson Welles In Spain. Details. 35mm. 1955. 109 min. 2:30, 4:40, 7:00 and 9:20 pm.
  • It’s All True (Richard Wilson, Myron Meisel & Bill Krohn). Details. 35mm. 1993. 87 min. 12:40 pm.

New York Jewish Film Festival 2015 at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • The Mystery of Happiness (Daniel Burman). Details. 2014. 92 min. 1:00 pm.
  • Natan (David Cairns & Paul Duane). Details. Q&A with David Cairns at both screenings. 2013. 67 min. 3:15 pm, 8:45 pm.

Acteurism: Joan Bennett at MoMA
Series Details

  • The Woman on the Beach (Jean Renoir). Details. 1947. 71 min. 1:30 pm.

MoMA Presents: Rowland V. Lee’s I Am Suzanne! at MoMA
Series Details

  • I Am Suzanne! Details. 1933. 100 min. 7:00 pm.

MoMA Presents: Agnès Troublé’s My Name Is Hmmm… at MoMA
Series Details

  • My Name Is Hmmm… Details. 2013. 121 min. 7:30 pm.

Best of Spectacle Part 2 at Spectacle
Series Details

  • The Year of the Cannibals (Liliana Cavani). Details. Digital video. 1969. 95 min. 7:30 pm.
  • The Devil Queen (Antonio Carlos da Fontoura). Details. Digital video. 1974. 99 min. 7:30 pm.

Ongoing

Mommy (Xavier Dolan) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. DCP. 2014. 139 min. 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 9:20 pm.
Salvation Army (Abdellah Taïa) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. DCP. 2013. 81 min. 2:45 pm, 4:45 pm, 7:00 pm, 9:15 pm.

Galleries

Museums

Chelsea

Downtown

Brooklyn

  • “Tongue Stones” at Pioneer Works. Work by David Horvitz, Soda_Jerk, Joachim Koester, Elise Rasmussen, and Julia Weist. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes March 8.
  • “Respond” at Smack Mellon, 92 Plymouth Street. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes February 22.
  • Zach Nader “channel surf” at Microscope Gallery, 1329 Willoughby Avenue, #2B, Bushwick. Open Thursday-Monday, 1:00 to 6:00 pm. Closes February 16.
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Monday, January 26 | Hôtel du Nord at Anthology Film Archives

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What’s Showing Today? Monday, January 26
Click venue names for ticket info & directions

Featured Screening: Hôtel du Nord at Anthology Film Archives. Post by Cosmo Bjorkenheim:

Marcel Carné‘s Hôtel du Nord (1939) is, among other things, a compendium of theories of love. At the heart of it are two couples: Renée and Pierre (Annabella and Jean-Pierre Aumont), and Raymonde and Monsieur Edmund (frequent Carné collaborator Arletty and Louis Jouvet). The former make a suicide pact that Pierre tragically botches, winding up on the lam in the 10th arrondissement and eventually in jail. The latter are a sneering pair of underworld-weary hustlers who barely manage to tolerate one another. Love fails in some forms and is rediscovered in others, but ultimately the narrative circle closes with the young lovers reunited and Edmund dead by his own will.

Renée and Pierre have a strange notion of freedom. Out there, beyond life, “We’ll be free. There’ll be no one there but us.” They’ve tried everything to be able to live together, but the world is against them. Where the film starts—with the pair having already made their decision to die together—is where the doomed couple in Nicholas Ray’s They Live by Night might have ended up if the cops hadn’t gunned him down first. All the forces of the world are aligned to prevent their happiness, and so love demands an ultimate gesture of synchronized sacrifice. There’s an age-old aporia at the center of their decision: life offers them nothing but restriction; their happiness is obstructed at every turn by a web of social and economic forces beyond their power; the chains of their fate are unbreakable. What they conceive of as freedom is the opposite of all this, the total disappearance of all these obstacles. Their love is nihilistic, otherworldly, Buddhistic.

After Renée survives her suicide, the love affair she develops with Edmund is once again anchored to a fantasy of escape, this time to Port Said, another mythical beyond. She goes into the same kind of glassy-eyed reverie when talking about the Mediterranean town as she did when rhapsodizing to Pierre about death. Among Renée’s other suitors in her post-Pierre doldrums is a young worker who frequents the hotel’s bar. He can’t understand what kind of man would rather die with her than live with her, declaring “True love is like cash—you have to save it,” to which Renée tearfully replies, “No, love is not like that. Love is something else entirely.” The love she had with Pierre turns out to have been an ecstatic, mystical kind of love, a love beyond economy, something to be squandered rather than measured and hoarded. That kind of economic love is all too vulgar for Renée, all too finite. This is why she has to translate her impending escape to Port Said into a total departure, into a dream of self-annihilation.

There are existential themes. In Raymonde and Edmund’s first exchange, the latter complains about the dreariness of their shared routine: “This life is not an existence.” “Yeah? Well, this existence isn’t much of a life,” Raymonde retorts. Edmund ranks ‘life’ below ‘existence,’ suggesting that ‘life’ for him means mere biological life, bare life, whereas ‘existence’ means something more like Heidegger’s Dasein, human existence. For Raymonde the hierarchy of the two terms is the inverse: ‘existence’ is the bare, impoverished condition, and ‘life’ is closer to the Greek bíos, a life endowed with form, an intentional, fashioned life.

There are also traces of a philosophy of cinema. Renée says, “Life should be like the theater. When the play is over, someone should come tell you, ‘It’s finished, get out.'” (Although she’s talking about a playhouse, she might as well be talking about a movie theater.) Life should be more cinematic—maybe not in the sense of ‘more dramatic’ or ‘more stimulating,’ but in the sense that it should have a coherent narrative form. Maybe there’s a cinematic approach to mortality: just as we know a film must end, we know we must die. It’s not a question of ‘if’ but of ‘how?’ It’s not tragic for a movie to end—it just needs to have a good ending. In an earlier exchange between Renée and Raymonde, ‘cinema’ seems to stand in for diversion in general, or maybe even for one’s sole purpose in life, an obsession that anchors our existence to a routine. Raymonde asks Renée if she’s going to visit Pierre in jail again. Renée says, “No, why?” and Raymonde responds, “It’s Sunday. Everybody needs their cinema” (“A chacun son cinéma“).

In a final meta-cinematic moment, the film ends with an act of blatant self-promotion. Renée and Pierre, reunited, are sitting on a bench by the canal. Renée observes, “The sun is rising” (“Le jour se lève“)—the title of Carné’s next film! —Cosmo Bjorkenheim

Today

French Classics of the 1930s-40s at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • Une si jolie petite plage (Yves Allégret). Details. 35mm. 1948. 91 min. 7:00 pm.
  • Hôtel du Nord (Marcel Carné). Details. 35mm. 1939. 100 min. 9:00 pm.

Orson Welles 100 at Film Forum
Series Details

  • Othello. Details. DCP. 1952. 91 min. 2:40, 12:30, 2:20, 4:10, 6:00 and 10:15 pm.
  • Chimes at Midnight. Details. DCP. 1965. 115 min. 8:00 pm.

New York Jewish Film Festival 2015 at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • The House on 92nd Street (Henry Hathaway). Details. 35mm. 1945. 88 min. 6:00 pm.

MoMA Presents: Mati Diop’s A Thousand Suns and Djbril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki at MoMA
Series Details

  • A Thousand Suns with Atlantiques. Details. 2013/2009. Introduced by Mati Diop. 60 min. 4:00 pm.

MoMA Presents: Rowland V. Lee’s I Am Suzanne! at MoMA
Series Details

  • I Am Suzanne! Details. 1933. 100 min. 7:00 pm.

Best of Spectacle Part 2 at Spectacle
Series Details

  • The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (Kazu Hara). Details. Digital video. 1988. 122 min. 7:30 pm.
  • Women in Revolt (Paul Morrissey). Details. Digital video. 1971. 97 min. 10:00 pm.

Viewing Party: Alice Guy at Microscope Gallery. Details. 7:30 pm. Postponed!

Ongoing

Mommy (Xavier Dolan) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. DCP. 2014. 139 min. 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 9:20 pm.
Salvation Army (Abdellah Taïa) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. DCP. 2013. 81 min. 2:45 pm, 4:45 pm, 7:00 pm, 9:15 pm.

Galleries

Museums

Chelsea

Downtown

Brooklyn

  • “Tongue Stones” at Pioneer Works. Work by David Horvitz, Soda_Jerk, Joachim Koester, Elise Rasmussen, and Julia Weist. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes March 8.
  • “Respond” at Smack Mellon, 92 Plymouth Street. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes February 22.
  • Zach Nader “channel surf” at Microscope Gallery, 1329 Willoughby Avenue, #2B, Bushwick. Open Thursday-Monday, 1:00 to 6:00 pm. Closes February 16.
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Sunday, January 25 | Touki Bouki at MoMA

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What’s Showing Today? Sunday, January 25
Click venue names for ticket info & directions

Featured Screening: Touki Bouki at MoMA. Post by Cosmo Bjorkenheim:

To complement a weeklong run of two recent films by Mati Diop, MoMA is screening her uncle Djibril Diop Mambety‘s anti-colonial post-Nouvelle Vague crime romp, Touki Bouki. Counted among the most important works of West-African cinema, along with those of fellow-Senegalese Ousmane Sembène and Mali’s Souleymane Cissé, Touki Bouki is a formally adventurous take-down of the futile dreams of wealth and refinement that French colonialism never tired of imposing on the populations of its outre-merterritories. Through associative montage, layered narrative temporalities, and a thoroughly liberated use of sound, Mambéty has crafted an enigmatic yet jaunty picaresque that takes us from the slums around Dakar to its European-capital-simulating center.

The film follows Anta and Mory (Mareme Niang and Magaye Niang, the subject of A Thousand Suns), a couple of hippy-marginals who make their living by hustling and whose dissolute life-paths incur the resentment of their families. They’re marginal even with regard to the margin: they reject the pitiful ways of earning one’s keep left to the inhabitants of the Medina (the “native quarter”) and decide to fake it ‘til they make it, to steal and cheat their way to the appearance of success. For them, Senegal is an obstacle to happiness, empty and unworthy of care. The colony is nothing, while the true life to which they are entitled awaits them on the other side of the Mediterranean. “[They] do not dream of building castles in Africa; they dream of finding some sort of Atlantis overseas,” Mambéty said in a 1998 interview. This attitude is a result of one of the most violent and insidious operations of colonialism: the de-valuation of the colony to the level of a perpetually inadequate imitation of the metropolis.

One of the most striking features of Touki Bouki is its colors (thanks, no doubt, to the abundant beneficence of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation). In the opening sequence, the credits roll over a tranquil image of a young boy herding water buffalo down a country road, accompanied by the playful sounds of indigenous flutes. Then, an abrupt cut to the same buffalo in a slaughterhouse. The flutes are gone, replaced by the naked sounds of chains and frightened animals. A buffalo is wrestled to the ground and its throat is slit (neither swiftly nor gracefully). The images of its hot blood rushing out and its legs twitching are out of focus, possibly mimicking the perception of slaughterhouse employees accustomed to such brutal visions. The motif of animal sacrifice recurs, as when Mory’s persecution at the hands of sexist student revolutionaries is intercut with images of villagers slaughtering a goat, its blood spurting onto a bright yellow piece of scrap metal. And plastic has never been as beautiful as when the shantytown’s women flock to the communal water line with buckets in half a dozen bright colors, the refracted sunlight dancing through the translucent plastic as the pails bob up and down on the women’s heads.

We see several signifiers of industrial capitalism dotting the landscape—from Mobil oil tanks to enormous Renault ads—but the chief object of Mambéty’s scorn are those Senegalese who enthusiastically welcome all attempts to “improve relations” with the former imperialist powers. This critique is reiterated in Ousmane Sembène’s searing Xala (1975), in which it’s no longer the old colonial rulers that make life miserable for the Senegalese, but the new class of indigenous administrators and bureaucrats. In Touki Bouki, this trend is represented by Charlie, a frivolous homosexual whose gigolo house guests wear white Jackie Onassis shades and drink fruity cocktails by the pool outside his Italian-style mansion. After Mory steals Charlie’s entire wardrobe to look successful, Charlie calls the prefecture and asks for all the top-ranking police officials by name until—in a semio-Hitchcockian cameo—he reaches Inspector Mambéty, who apologizes for not coming to Charlie’s most recent party and promises to take care of his problem. The symbiosis of coercive state power and the hegemonic power of Senegal’s nouveaux-richesis stripped of its garish silk robes.

Although Mambéty once proclaimed, “I do not refuse the word ‘didactic’,”Touki Bouki is anything but. Unlike Sembène’s social realist apologues, Touki Bouki‘s nightmarish vision of colonial humiliation and the impossible dream of escaping it lacks programmatic conclusions while abounding in ambiguous figures. For example, a French intellectual on a cruise ship criticizes the neocolonialists while dismissing African art as “a joke made up by journalists in need of copy.” And what are we to make of the light-skinned wild man who appears toward the end of the film and steals Mory’s motorcycle? Is he a remnant of a mythical past, a state of nature ruled by the clash of naked appetites? Is he supposed to demonstrate that even we white Europeans—with all our pretensions of superiority—are descended from savages? That Africa is the cradle of mankind? His encounter with the hybrid ox-skull motorcycle—itself a symbol of the clash of native ‘barbarism’ and technological civilization—ends badly. His corpse is scraped off the road by paramedics and unceremoniously whisked off to allow traffic flows to renormalize, a fine example of that negligent attitude toward death that the West has cultivated for so long. —Cosmo Bjorkenheim

Today

French Classics of the 1930s-40s at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • Marius (Alexander Korda). Details. 35mm. 1931. 125 min. 3:00 pm.
  • Fanny (Marc Allégret). Details. 35mm. 1932. 121 min. 5:45 pm.
  • César (Marcel Pagnol). Details. 35mm. 1936. 123 min. 8:30 pm.

Lary 7 at Anthology Film Archives
Series Details

  • Not Junk Yet: The Art of Lary 7 (Danielle de Picciott0). Details. 2014. 90 min. 5:30 pm.
  • Lary 7: Single Frame. Details. 8:00 pm.

Film Forum Jr. at Film Forum
Series Details

  • The 7th Voyage (Nathan Juran). Details. DCP. 1958. 88 min. 11:00 am.

Orson Welles 100 at Film Forum
Series Details

  • It’s All True (Richard Wilson, Myron Meisel & Bill Krohn). Details. 35mm. 1993. 87 min. 12:50 pm.
  • Othello. Details. DCP. 1952. 91 min. 2:40, 7:00 and 9:00 pm.
  • Macbeth (Original release version). Details. 35mm. 1948. 89 min. 4:30 pm.

New York Jewish Film Festival 2015 at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Series Details

  • Cry of the City (Robert Siodmak). Details. DCP. 1948. 95 min. 1:00 pm.
  • The Outrageous Sophie Tucker (William Gazecki). Details. Q&A with William Gazecki and producers Susan and Lloyd Ecker. 2014. 96 min. 6:00 pm.
  • The Birdcage (Mike Nichols). Details. 35mm. 1996. 117 min. 8:45 pm.

Weekend Classics at IFC Center
Series Details

  • The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey). Details. 35mm. 1937. 91 min. 11:00 am.

Raoul Peck: Après the Earthquake at Maysles Documentary Center

  • Profit and Nothing But!. Details. Q&A with Darrick Hamilton and Michelle Materre. 2001. 52 min. 4:00 pm.
  • Lumumba: The Death of a Prophet. Details. Q&A with Michelle Materre and Shola Lynch. 1992. 69 min. 6:30 pm.

MoMA Presents: Mati Diop’s A Thousand Suns and Djbril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki at MoMA
Series Details

  • Touki Bouki. Details. 1973. 88 min. 2:00 pm.
  • A Thousand Suns with Atlantiques. Details. 2013/2009. Introduced by Mati Diop. 60 min. 4:30 pm.

Julianne Moore at Museum of the Moving Image
Series Details

  • Safe (Todd Haynes). Details. 35mm. 1995. 119 min. 3:00 pm.
  • Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes). Details. 35mm. 2002. 107 min. 6:00 pm.

Best of Spectacle Part 2 at Spectacle
Series Details

  • The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (Kazu Hara). Details. Digital video. 1988. 122 min. 5:00 pm.
  • Three Lives (Kate Millett). Details. 1971. 70 min. 7:30 pm.

Speakeasy Cinema: Lisa Collins at Torn Page. Details. Guest chooses unannounced movie for presentation. Opening music byJim Coleman and Kirsten McCord. 7:30 pm.

Ongoing

Mommy (Xavier Dolan) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. DCP. 2014. 139 min. 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 9:20 pm.
Salvation Army (Abdellah Taïa) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. DCP. 2013. 81 min. 2:45 pm, 4:45 pm, 7:00 pm, 9:15 pm.

Galleries

Museums

Chelsea

Downtown

Brooklyn

  • “Tongue Stones” at Pioneer Works. Work by David Horvitz, Soda_Jerk, Joachim Koester, Elise Rasmussen, and Julia Weist. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes March 8.
  • “Respond” at Smack Mellon, 92 Plymouth Street. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes February 22.
  • Zach Nader “channel surf” at Microscope Gallery, 1329 Willoughby Avenue, #2B, Bushwick. Open Thursday-Monday, 1:00 to 6:00 pm. Closes February 16.