Nublu Celebrates 10 Years in Clubland

Ten years in clubland is 15 in dog years and around 105 in human years. It is a magnificent achievement, and the folks at Nublu – which include one of my favorite people on this planet, Daisy Payero – are celebrating in spades, in hearts, in diamonds, and their club, which is back where it belongs. That was a run-on sentence because Nublu was forced to run on over to Hayne Southern’s Lucky Cheng’s basement space for six months while licensing issues were resolved. After nine years, somebody discovered that there was a nearby church, and that’s a no-no because we all know that churches and alcohol don’t mix. Anyway, they are back in their original abode but, alas, with only a beer, wine, and sake license. But according to everyone I speak to, they haven’t lost a beat. That beat is grounded in the unique and eclectic music they offer and, as Daisy has told me, "it’s all about the music.”

Owner Ilhan Ersahin has decided the celebration should be a month-long shebang:

"Nublu has become a cultural haven for musicians from around the world known to blend different styles from electronic, jazz, dub, to indie, Brazilian, and global beats. From small clubhouse to music powerhouse, Nublu has undoubtedly stayed humble to its roots, and there is no better way to put it than in Ilhan’s own words: "We are just playing music."

Nublu’s 10th anniversary features an incredible lineup from June 1-30, including Sun Ra Arkestra, Brazilian Girls, Wax Poetic, Jojo Mayer’s Nerve, Taylor McFerrin, and Jetlag feat. Andy Rourke from The Smiths. World0renowned DJs will also join the festivities, featuring Moby, In Flagranti, DJ Logic, Tim Sweeney, and many more."

I asked Ilhan all about it.

Nublu is back to its roots and celebrating 10 years, albeit with some slight changes including a wine/beer/sake-only bar and some menu offerings. Is it truly all about the music and can you remain profitable without a full bar?
Yes, I hope we keep the same vibe going. Great music is still always here and it’s getting better and better everyday! Many of the resident bands who have played here for years continue to rise and draw more fans, so yes, I guess you CAN say it is all about the music or rather all about art. Alcohol-wise, our bartenders have concocted a nice drink menu with sake so there is still a “cocktail” vibe at the bar, and we do have good wine and food to offer now as well.

How do you feel Nublu has impacted the New York music scene over the past 10 years?
I think Nublu has grown into something unique. It has developed into a space where the criteria is about good musicianship and personal expression, meaning that we never have cover bands or jazz acts that play standards etc. It’s all about making your own music on a high level. Over the past 10 years lots of great bands have been born here and many bands and DJs have played here and developed. Nublu has never been about being yet another place where you just do a "gig.” It’s more about developing a sound and developing a band or an idea or compositions.

I do think Nublu has had a very important role in NYC, but the interesting side of Nublu is that it has become global. You will find people from Tokyo, Paris, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, etc. that know and follow Nublu now. That following has developed a bit because of Nublu records, a bit because of the club, from our jazz festivals that we now host in some of those cities yearly, and from traveling the world playing with various Nublu bands.

You have started taking Nublu global with a club in Istanbul and jazz festivals in Sao Paulo and Paris. Tell us what the response to Nublu and its sound has been overseas. Is this the next phase for Nublu?
It has been very good and always a growing movement which is the most inspiring thing. This past February we sold 5,200 tickets for a 5-day Nublu Jazzfest in Sao Paulo where we booked some US acts and some Brazilian acts. Pretty amazing for a second-year festival in Brazil, so the interest is there for sure. More and more radio stations around the globe are also adding our tracks.

Can you share your favorite Nublu moments from the past 10 years?
There are too many! I never know where to start, and my philosophy is always that the latest is the best…. so this past Friday night was an amazing night. The vibe was so great, people looked really happy, and the bands and DJ sounded fantastic. Of course we have had our star moments, like when Gilberto Gil came in and jammed, or when Kevin Spacey or Keanu Reeves most recently came in. Flea have stopped by and hung out at the bar, and soccer star Ronaldino shows up to our Wednesday night Brazil parties.  But in general we have many, many amazing nights at Nublu and I think the main reason is that Nublu is a "destination" type of place. We don’t get too many passersby who happen to stop by; we get an audience who plan on coming to Nublu for the night to have a good time and enjoy good music.

You had to relocate Nublu to a temporary space back in fall 2011… Did the six months in a strange place result in losing an audience or have you gained new faces?
Nublu has always been upside down and turned around. I think being on Avenue C and basically being in Manhattan and having live music and DJs every single night, and basically not advertising anywhere, has always made nights very random. There are always new faces mixed with old faces around here so that hasn’t changed a bit.

On the things to list for all you party people, I can’t recommend a soiree more strongly than New York Night Train’s bash at Home Sweet Home  tonight called “Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down.” Jonathan Toubin spins 45s and bringing you tracks you can’t hear anyplace else. It is the rarest of rare music. We’re not talking B-sides; we’re talking e,d,g- sides. A cool, cool crowd gets down and dirty and totally sexy in this basement that I absolutely love.

Also on the check-it-out front is Bantam, 17 Stanton, which has opened its backyard in time to catch the outdoor craze, which has revelers on roofs, by pools, and on curbs. I DJd there last night with Kelle Calco and these great guys Sonic Relief. It was splendid.

‘Side by Side’ Director Chris Kenneally On the Evolution of Digital Cinema

“It’s just a great combination of so many different art forms: there’s writing and storytelling, there’s the acting and performance, there’s visual art and creation and lighting, there’s also movement and choreography, and music and sound design,” says Chris Kenneally, director of the documentary Side by Side, when asked what it is he loves so much about movies. “It’s something people have a chance to watch together or by themselves. It relates to you on so many different levels.” Since films were first projected and screened, the standard format for cinema has been celluloid. However, as digital technology continues to advance and change the cinematic convention, the debate rages on about which form holds more value in today’s world. In 2009, Slumdog Millionare won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, the first to receive the award for a film almost entirely shot on digital, illuminating digital cinema and making it more widely accepted alternative to film.

After working on the film Henry’s Crime together, Kenneally and Keanu Reeves decided to go on their own journey to explore the debate further, showing how digital is changing the future of cinema—with the help of such acclaimed icons as David Lynch, Lars von Trier, and Martin Scorsese, brilliant cinematographers like Anthony Dod Mantle, and legendary editors like Walter Merch. Incredibly composed and thought provoking, Side by Side is essential viewing whether you’re a cinephile who worships the art of film or a just looking for a peek into the world behind the silver screen. We chatted with Kenneally to gain insight into his experience shooting the doc, the desire to shed light on the unrecognized, and where he believes digital cinema is taking us.

Did you have a list of people you knew you wanted to speak with?
Yeah, we slowly formed what was called The Hitlist, and we had all the names of people we really wanted to talk to and started figuring out how to connect them. Also, the more people we spoke to, they would lead us in different directions and give us new names, and no one was at a loss. So we ended up interviewing about 140 people; I think 70 of which made it into the final cut of the doc.

Did having Keanu Reeves attached to the project make it easier to steal time with certain people?
Oh, of course. It would have been a much different call if it had been, like, “Hi, Martin Scorsese, this is Chris Kenneally.” It probably wouldn’t have happened, but having Keanu definitely made a difference, especially with people like the Wachowskis who haven’t done an interview in about ten years. And I’m sure, no doubt, that’s because of their friendship and respect for Keanu. Christopher Nolan was really difficult to reach just because he was so busy; he definitely had a strong opinion and wanted to express it but didn’t have the time, so Keanu actually wrote him a letter and mailed it snail mail to him, and I guess he was impressed by that and agreed to do an interview.

Were you surprised by speaking to anyone and what they had to say, or did your perception of their own work change?
Definitely. Again, the Wachowskis came from a point of view that was different from everybody else’s. Some people were on this side or that side or understood both, but some of the things that Lana, especially, said, made a lot of sense and [were things] I haven’t heard before. In the beginning, I was more surprised because I thought the older, more experienced cinematographers would be very pro-film and the younger people would be more accepting of digital, but it actually didn’t work out that way at all. It didn’t break down across age or experience or gender or anything. It was just more the individual people’s personalities and how they live life. Like Walter Merch always likes to be on the cutting edge of technology, and Joel Schumacher is someone who, just because of things that have happened in his life, doesn’t look back and is always looking to the new thing.

It was interesting to see someone like David Fincher or Robert Rodriguez, who are so adamant about pushing things forward and keeping things fresh, and then someone like Scorsese who is open to things but has been around long enough to understand why it’s so important to keep film alive.
The whole thing was just an amazing experience. We traveled all over the world and got to sit down and take time and hear thoughts from people who have been my heroes for a long time. Same with Keanu. I remember we were about to go in and interview David Lynch and we were standing outside his place and I was like, “Holy crap, this is crazy! What’s going to happen?” And I look over at Keanu and he turns to me and is like, “Holy crap! This is crazy!” He was nervous, too, which made me feel better.

I liked how a lot of the older editors, who you’d think would want to hold onto the old methods because it was such a process and a labor of love—like how Anne V. Coates said she didn’t really even know what a computer was before and she thought a mouse was something that ran across the floor—but they enjoy this new way of doing things because it does make their jobs easier.
It’s so inspiring meeting someone like her who has edited Lawrence of Arabia but is also cutting Steven Soderbergh movies. She’s a creative person, a creative storyteller. The true artists, I think, are really going to be able to take whatever tool is there and make something interesting with it.

Did you want the film to sort of shed light on people that had gone unnoticed, like the cinematographers or the colorists?
Definitely. Keanu and I discussed that, too. We had great, famous people that have been interviewed before, but we didn’t want to just make it this parade of celebrities; we wanted to shine a light on the other people that actually are involved with creating the image that we see in the theaters who don’t get the recognition from audiences.

It also helps you grasp why this discussion is so important, because it’s not only important to the director. It makes such a difference to those people, if not more so.
A lot of people don’t know about that part of the process necessarily, so hopefully that’s interesting for them and shines a light on these people.

I liked hearing the DPs talk about how, with film, they were so in control of everything because they were the ones who could see what was shot through the lens and everyone would have to wait for dailies the next day. Now they’ve lost some of that power.
That’s one of the big impacts. Something that I found really interesting was who controls the look of the image now; that role is no longer the exclusive territory of the DP. It’s kind of getting encroached upon by a lot of other people just because digital material is so easy to manipulate and is available for everybody to see and put their fingerprint on it. But the DPs definitely try to see that whole image process through to the end, and I think it’s important that they do.

You talk a lot about the importance of Dogme 95 in terms of digital filmmaking.
Sony made these cameras and then people like Anthony Dod Mantle used them to create cinema, and it was unusual because you had no other way of showing a movie except on 35mm at the time, so they had to figure out all these ways to get digital material over to film at the end. In small movies like Chuck and Buck, it didn’t look great, and it didn’t until they came up with the digital cameras that could shoot at the same frame-rate as the film was projected. And that was Anthony Dod Mantle and Danny Boyle used on 28 Days Later, so that was a big moment. But now, they’re projecting digitally and it’s not so difficult.

In the beginning, a lot of people were using digital because it was all they could afford, but now it’s became just the conventional way of doing things.
There are kind of two paths into it, and one of them was the indie path because it was inexpensive and easy to use. Then there was also the kind of visual effects path that George Lucas and those guys used because they were already getting into the digital world in post-production to create visual effects and make spaceships and all that kind of thing. It made sense for them to just capture digitally as well and be right in that world right off that bat.

With digital it’s easier for people to make films, so there’s so much more work turning out. But with all that work, there’s still a ton of good and a ton of bad.
I have strong feelings about it. There’s more opportunity for people; you don’t have to live in New York or L.A., you don’t have to have gone to film school, or have to have a lot of money; all you have to have is a digital camera and a computer to make something and share it with the world. And the argument that there’s so much stuff out there that’s it’s impossible to filter through—I don’t really buy that. There’s more ways to communicate over the internet and figure out what you really like and listen to other people and find things you wouldn’t have known about in the past. In the past there were only a hand-full of critics, and if your tastes didn’t line up with that person’s, then you were out of luck. Now you can find these little subcultures and things online and can point you in the direction of things that you probably will enjoy or may not have heard of.

What did you take away from the whole process of doing this?
I guess the biggest thing is that I know that there are people out there—DPs and other people in the industry—that care so much about how images and the movies look. No one’s just phoning it in saying, “This is the new technology, we’re just going to use this and not care about it.” They spend so much time and have so many discussions amongst themselves about how to make sure this new tool represents the art that they want to create and look the way they imagined when they hit theaters. I found that really inspiring. All the effort and talent these guys put into it is not going away just because the technology is changing.

Keanu Reeves Set for Directorial Debut

Keanu Reeves, man of frowns, hasn’t made a movie in a while. Has post-Matrix life mellowed out the Canadian actor? Well, maybe. Deadline reports that Keanu is gearing up to make his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi, which will be distributed by Universal Studios. Reeves is now 47 (wow!), and it’s the perfect time for a career shift, at least until The Matrix prequels get greenlit.

Tai Chi will be an action drama set in modern Beijing about "the spiritual journey of a young martial artist whose skills create both vast opportunities and painful choices." So, like every other kung-fu movie. Which is not a bad thing! Kung-fu movies are great, if you have friends and sometimes like to drink before you go to the theater.

More seriously, it’ll be a great bridge between his Asian heritage and Western audiences. The lead role will be played by Tiger Chen, and Keanu will co-star in some unspecified role. Filming starts in February, so get excited for a trailer sometime in the next 9-to-36 months.

Afternoon Links: Keanu Reeves Does A Nice Thing, Entire Lindsay Lohan Playboy Spread Leaks

● Keanu Reeves is so casual in the way he offers his subway seat to a woman, you might almost believe he’s a nice guy. [BuzzFeed]

● Brett Easton Ellis says that if they really must go through with that American Psycho remake, they’ll have to cast Kardashian clan member Scott Disick. Or maybe Miles Fisher. Otherwise the whole thing is a no go. [Vulture]

● Better safe than sorry, Rick Ross has traded out a duffle bag boy for a med kit carrier. [TMZ]

● Snake, meet tail: things got real weird last night when Occupy Wall Street protesters found themselves #moccupy-ing Law and Order: SVU‘s Occupy Wall Street set, staged with stunning accuracy just a few blocks north of the Zuccoti Park. [Mother Jones]

● There’s reason to believe that the new year might bring a new album from Jay-Z, a new album from Kanye, and a Watch the Throne sequel. "You know, we’re really in a great place creatively," Jay-Z told MTV, speaking for the two. "We really found our zone.” [NahRight]

● Author and object of internet obsession, Tao Lin, was caught standing close to musician and object of internet obsession, Lana Del Ray. [HRO]

● "Am I biting you?" Rihanna asks the nice lady fitting her for a grill. "I’m used to it," responds the nice lady being bitten by Rihanna. [TheHairpin]

● They’re all here now: Lindsay Lohan in Playboy, the full spread. (NSFW) [ONTD]

Links: Penelope Cruz Ready for ‘Sex’, Keanu Reeves Not the Father

● The eldest Jackson, Rebbie, is not too keen on Joe Jackson pushing MJ’s kids into a new reality show, saying that Michael “would spin in his grave” at the idea. [FoxNews] ● Penelope Cruz will play a supporting role in the Sex and the City sequel; she’ll be a sharp-dressed banker who gets up close and personal with Mr. Big. [People] ● The Child Labor Coalition would like to have a word with Pamela Anderson after she was seen at the Hollywood Style Awards with a child trailing behind her carrying her train. [theSuperficial]

● Perma-bachelor George Clooney says he has plans to adopt, but he’s going for Brad Pitt’s kids — “I owe him a few!” [JustJared] ● Keanu Reeves is not the father of any of Karen Sala’s children. Sala wanted major bank, claiming that the actor was the father of at least one of them. [TMZ] ● Chris Pine will follow in the footsteps of Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, and Ben Affleck by taking over the Jack Ryan franchise. [OKMag]