Ticket 2 Bollywood

T2B Postcard%20500 Ticket 2 Bollywood

When I first heard about Ticket 2 Bollywood: Beyond the Song and Dance, a weekend conference taking place in NYC next month (at $300 per person), and which is advertised as including the participation of Zoya Akhtar, Imtiaz Ali and Madhur Bhandarkar in a series of panels and classes about the “new” Hindi film biz over the course of two days, my first thought was “Ya, sure.”

I pictured past advents I’d been to that had touted the participation of X or Y actor, and after hoards of fans were assembled, said celeb was wafted by the squealing crowds the way a saint’s relic gets zipped past the faithful before any of the unwashed can put a hand on it, and then it’s gone.

But no, upon further inquiry, I was assured that this will indeed be a serious endeavor, and yes, all three of the big-name directors and screenplay writer Anuraadha Tewari will hunker down for the duration and actively participate in the full programme of panels and individual sessions.  Knowing that, my interest is certainly piqued, especially to hear what Zoya Akhtar has to say.

So, here are the details:

Dates:  October 6 & 7 2012

Location:   Dream Downtown hotel on West 16th Street

Main participants:

Madhur Bhandarkar: National Award-winner for Best Director for Traffic Signal and director of National Award-winning movies Chandni Bar, Page 3, and Fashion. At the end of September, Bhandarkar is releasing the much-discussed movie, Heroine.

Imtiaz Ali: Nominated for Best Director for recent super hit Rockstar and 2007’s Jab We Met. Ali also directed Love Aaj Kal and Socha Na Tha. Most recently, Ali wrote the script for Cocktail.

Zoya Akhtar: FilmFare Award for Best Director for Zindagi Na Milege Dobara. Also directed Luck by Chance and writer of soon-to-be-released Taalash.

Anuraadha Tewari: script writer of Fashion, Jail, and soon-to-be-released Heroine.

To register, go here.

Opening tonight: Hard Times

Hard%20Times%20poster%202 Opening tonight: Hard Times

Am very excited and curious to see (and hear) the musical drama Hard Times, which opens tonight at The Cell theater on West 23rd Street in New York.

It’s set in the Five Points area of Manhattan in July 1863.  The location will ring a bell if you’ve seen Gangs of New York  or are currently watching the BBC’s Copper, and takes place during the course of one day in the life of Stephen Foster.

The play’s author is Larry Kirwan, founding member and front man of Black 47.  Here’s how he describes the time and place in which Hard Times is set:

“In July 1863 the Civil War was raging, Gettysburg had just been won, and yet there was major discontent in New York City over the recently enacted Draft, particularly among the teeming Irish immigrant population.  This was compounded by President Lincoln’s perceived change in war policy from defense of the union to emancipation of the slaves – the fear being that thousands of newly freed African-Americans would flood the already saturated labor market.

The discontent boiled over on July 13th and forever changed the city, particularly the notorious Five Points area where up until then African-Americans and Irish cohabited peacefully, sometimes in marital relationships.  Foster lived in the Five Points, famous for its tolerance, loose behavior, music and dancing (Tap evolved there from the fusion of Irish step-dancing and African-American shuffle).

When the smoke cleared from three days of rioting people retreated to the safety of their own ethnic groups; the United States set out on its hundred year path of segregation and racial divide, and Stephen Foster wrote some of his most heartfelt and personal songs, including Beautiful Dreamer, before his penniless death six months later.”

Hard Times will be performed at The Cell, 338 W. 23rd St., NYC from Sept. 13-30th as part of the First Irish Theatre Festival.