War Horse, Lear, and Henry IV — from stage to screen

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The Dipson Theatres chain regularly show opera and theatrical events on the big screens at the Amherst Theatre or the Eastern Hills Mall, and a few that are certainly of note are screening in the months to come:

War Horse (March 16, Amherst Theatre)

I must admit, I was not inordinately impressed with Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, a film that seemed far too syrupy to make any kind of lasting impact. But I have long heard that the stage production is a stunner, especially its use of life-sized puppets. It played Shea’s Performing Arts Center not too long ago, but for those who missed it (like me), here is an opportunity to see it live … so to speak.

King Lear (May 25, Amherst Theatre)

Lear is one of my Shakespeare favorites, but I have never seen it live. What makes this National Theatre production especially interesting is its director: Sam Mendes. I am dying to see what the director of Skyfall has brought to the table.

Henry IV: Part 1 (June 5, Amherst Theatre); Henry IV: Part 2 (July 10, Amherst Theatre)

I don’t think I could ever tire of Falstaff portrayals, and this one, by actor Antony Sher, is said to be marvelous.

The Cocktail Revolution Doc “Hey Bartender” Comes to Buffalo

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It seems like just about every week there is a screening of some kind in Buffalo that deserves special attention. This Saturday comes one some of my Buffalo Spree friends may find particularly interesting: the documentary “Hey Bartender.”

This look at the cocktail revolution has drawn mixed reviews since debuting at SXSW; the Hollywood Reporter says it “isn’t the cocktail doc enthusiasts are waiting for,” while the AV Club was a bit more positive, describing it as “an enthusiastic showcase for the many men and women responsible for the burgeoning cocktail revolution going on in metropolises around the world.”

Here’s a brief description from the film’s Facebook page:

“‘Hey Bartender’ tells the story of how the renaissance of the bartender comes to be in the era of the craft cocktail. The documentary focuses on two bartenders trying to achieve their dreams through the world of bartending. After being injured a Marine turns his goals to becoming a rock star bartender at the best cocktail bar in the world. A former bank executive who bought the corner bar in his hometown struggles to keep it afloat in a community that no longer values a place where everyone knows your name. Featuring the most famous bartenders in the world along with unprecedented access to the most exclusive bars in New York City and commentary from Graydon Carter, Danny Meyer and Amy Sacco.”

The New York Daily News ran a nice feature about the film; here’s an excerpt:

“The documentary is an ode to the cocktail culture that has swept the Big Apple in the past decade, but as much as the film details the surging trend of hipster, bow-tied barkeeps, it reminds viewers that these alcohol aficionados are actually returning the city’s drinking scene to its homespun roots. ‘Hey Bartender’ follows the rise of now iconic watering holes like Milk and Honey, PDT and Flatiron Lounge, and how their artisanal recipes became part of our national drinking culture for the first time since Prohibition. ‘The story had not made it out of its own community,’ says director Douglas Tirola. ‘A manual laborer will shower after work. A Wall Street banker will shower before work. Bartenders are one of the few professions that shower both before and after work. That’s what makes them special.’”

The film is showing this Saturday, June 15, at 8 p.m. at the Amherst Dipson Theater.

And if you never got around to Buffalo Spree’s February cocktails issue, catch up on the stories here.

 

Poster courtesy of 4th Row Films