James Franco’s Latest Artwork Debuts At New Museum Saturday

Artworks by James Franco

Here’s the latest twist in actor James Franco’s always evolving artistic endeavors: switchblade manufacture. According to Gothamist, Franco will be at the New Museum Saturday evening to debut a line of knives inscribed with the name of his late friend, Brad Renfro, who died from a heroine overdose in 2008.

The event is hosted by THE THING Quarterly, an arts publication that collaborated with the actor to produce the switchblades (you can purchase one of the weapons, signed by Franco, at THE THING’s website for $850 dollars a piece). The evening will also reportedly feature a screening of Brad Renfro Forever, a short film Franco created in his friend’s memory, a conversation between Franco and photographer Laurel Nakadate and an appearance from psychic Gemma Deller.

Unfortunately for fans drawn to that quirky mix, admission for the general public seems unlikely.  Gothamist reports the event is RSVP only.


James Franco Summons Tennessee Williams at Abrons Today; Second Show Added!

Word just came from the Abrons Arts Center that they’ve added a second afternoon show today of “Three Performances in Search of Tennessee.” The project (part of the Performa 11 festival) features James Franco and Laurel Nakadate.  As you may have heard, the show is a bit unusual. Here’s the blurb from the Abrons event calendar:

(The project is) based around Tennessee Williams’ famous play The Glass Menagerie (1944). In part one, Franco and Nakadate will lead a séance in the Elysée Hotel in New York City, in the room in which Tennessee Williams died. With an invited group of participants, the artists will communicate with Tennessee Williams through an Ouija board and receive instructions from the author’s spirit. The group will pass his message on to the audience members, who will participate in the piece by following the spirit’s instructions. In part two, female actresses of all types will audition in front of a live audience for the part of Laura in The Glass Menagerie. In the tradition of karaoke, Laura’s lines will run along the bottom of a video-projection of Franco playing the “Gentleman Caller” as the actresses act out the given scene. A second audition for male actors will make up the final part of the project; this will be a live audition for actors wishing to play the role of Tom in The Glass Menagerie, all delivering the same monologue from the play. As with the women auditioning for Laura, Nakadate and Franco will intervene as “directors” as the actors’ attempt to inhabit the role. Three Performances in Search of Tennessee will be broadcast on the Internet.

The second performance begins at 1:45 p.m. Run don’t walk to the box office, 466 Grand Street.

Kenny Moscot: Embracing L.E.S. Roots is Good Business

Kenny Moscot

Kenny Moscot remembers spending summers on the Lower East Side when he was a kid, hanging out in the family store and picking up a few life lessons along the way. These days he’s doing a bit more than “hanging out.”  Along with his older brother Harvey, Kenny has successfully transformed eyewear institution Sol Moscot from a “mom and pop” store into an internationally revered brand.

Recently, I spoke with Kenny about the changes the family business has undergone in the past century (particularly in the last few years) and about Moscot’s deep neighborhood roots.

There’s always a lot of talk about the death of old-style retail businesses on the LES.   Notably, Moscot has not only endured in this community, they have embraced the company’s humble beginnings on the Lower East Side as a way of distinguishing their products worldwide.