Tag Archives: television

Minimalist music makes mark at Noguchi’s Bang on a Can Series this Sunday

| rmackay@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of Florent Ghys

In the early 1900s, a group of American composers started experimenting with the basic formula of rhythm + pitch = music, hoping that simple sounds would produce beautiful outcomes. They wrote notes that repeated in a steady, hypnotic rhythm and pitch so that any unexpected notes would jolt the listeners. Minimalism was born.

Fast forward to today, and Florent Ghys is blending minimalism with pop music, sampled speech and humor. His work, described by Time Out New York as a “thrilling breed of post-minimalist chamber music,” has appeared on movie soundtracks, in Broadway shows and even computer applications.

The native of France is currently promoting his new solo album, “Télévision,” which he recorded in the bathroom of a New Hampshire art colony and his bedroom in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. With a video accompanying each piece, he explores classical forms, musique concrète, sampling and sci-fi. He also mixes alto double bass with applause, bass drum, editing, guitar, hair dryers, hand claps, hi-hat, Max programming, mouth hi-hat, piano, shakers, snare, solfège, video, voice and weather reports.

This Sunday, July 12, Ghys will present tunes from his new album at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City as part of the fifth annual Bang on a Can Music Series.

On August 9, Noguchi’s series will continue with JG Thirlwell, a composer/producer/performer who also works under the pseudonyms Baby Zizanie, Foetus, Hydroze Plus, Manorexia, Steroid Maximus and Wiseblood. He will present works for a string quartet.

On September 13, Ashley Bathgate will play the hypnotic, hour-long work “Stories for Ocean Shells” by Australian new music composer Kate Moore.


Behind-the-scenes look at LIC TV and film prop company

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Located inside a three-floor, 91,000-square-foot Long Island City warehouse lies a world only seen in movies or television.

Eclectic/Encore Props Inc. is one of the largest prop rental companies on the East Coast. It made the western Queens neighborhood its home about two years ago after moving from Manhattan, where it was founded and was housed for over three decades.

The company was started by Suri Bieler, who began her career as a prop person in theater. She decided she wanted to have a steady business rather than work as a freelancer, so she looked into prop renting.

She then realized that renting props did not work for theater because of various reasons such as no known end date for shows and even a superstition about renting props among the theater community. So instead, Bieler decided to go into renting for television and film, and with only $175 she began Eclectic.

“I realized I had to get huge overnight. Just because you have a name for a company doesn’t mean people want to use it,” she said.

A few years later she approached the owners of another prop company named Encore, which at the time was celebrating its 100th anniversary, and she purchased Encore, bringing along all of its props.

Since then Eclectic/Encore Props Inc. has grown into offering millions of items, big or small, that have been used in television shows, movies, off-Broadway shows and at parties.

“People don’t really think that a prop company exists,” Bieler said. “If it’s filming in New York we’re probably renting to them.”

As you walk through the building, located at 47-51 33rd St., you’ll find props organized in different sections based on themes and uses. There is a section for almost every region of the world such as Africa and Asia; there are categories for different kinds of television sets ranging from modern to vintage ones; and there’s a room dedicated entirely to toys from different time periods.

Almost every wall throughout the warehouse has paintings or different art pieces that can be rented, and there are also binders scattered throughout to help visitors get more detailed looks into various items, which are all individually bar-coded.

Eclectic/Encore Props Inc. offers items from large furniture pieces to even the smallest details that can be found in movies or shows such as small picture frames, vanity items such as perfume bottles or men’s shaving sets, and even paper that is thrown in drawers.

Bieler’s husband is responsible for the “free-flowing layout” of the facility and is also the owner and creator of “Monsterpalooza -The Art of Monsters,” a convention in Burbank, California, that promotes the artists who make the monsters in film.

“[I enjoy] just being able to help customers find all the pieces they are looking for and creating that world they want us to believe when we go to the movies because I do believe,” she said. “There’s a history they are trying to present. All the details of a life go into decorating for film, television, and even Broadway.”

The company also offers rooms for rent and recently opened up a studio available for photographers.

Some shows which the company has rented out props to include “Girls,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” “Sex and the City,” “The Good Wife” and “The Sopranos.”

Eclectic/Encore Props Inc. has also provided props for big motion pictures such as “A Beautiful Mind,” “Big,” “Carlito’s Way,” “Ghostbusters,” “I am Legend,” “Mr. Deeds,” “National Treasure,” “Night at the Museum,” the “Spider-Man” trilogy and “The Devil Wears Prada.”

“A business like this is never finishes. It’s always growing. It’s always a lot of fun,” Bieler said. “It’s an interesting way of collecting. I’m very lucky I made a business out of it.”

People can find every item available for rent at the warehouse on the company’s website and Bieler hopes to one day make the warehouse open to tours where visitors will be able to get an idea of the history of particular items and also who has rented them in the past.

Eclectic/Encore Props Inc. is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information visit www.eclecticprops.com, or follow on Instagram.


LIC’s Silvercup Studios to expand into Bronx next year

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

With the film and television industry continuing to grow in the Big Apple, the city’s leading independent film and television production studio is making sure to keep up with the demand.

Silvercup Studios, located at 42-22 22nd St. in Long Island City, announced Monday it will be expanding into the Bronx with a $35 million project that will turn a modern warehouse into a 115,000-square-foot full-service production facility called Silvercup North.

The new building, located at 295 Locust Ave., will be Silvercup Studios’ third location and is expected to be completed by June 2016.

“For more than 30 years, Silvercup Studios has been an integral part of New York’s film and television production industry, which has never been more active that it is today,” said Alan Suna, Silvercup CEO. “The Bronx is undergoing a tremendous revitalization right now. We’re excited to expand our studios here as the industry continues to grow and to bring with it high-quality production jobs and the resulting benefits from having this production work remain in New York.”

Silvercup North will feature four production studios with 50-foot-high ceilings – the highest of any film or television production studio in the city. There will also be on-site shops, offices and other support space needed.

The $35 million project is also expected to bring about 80 to 100 construction jobs, along with later providing about 400 production industry jobs.

“The film and television industries have historically offered good jobs with pathways to success for New Yorkers, and the expansion of this thriving industry will be hugely meaningful for Bronxites,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The new facility is close by to several major expressways, the RFK (Triborough) Bridge and the 6 line.

“With additional studio space, more television shows and feature films that may have been filmed elsewhere can now take advantage of all the benefits of filming in New York,” said Stuart Suna, president of Silvercup Studios. “The central location and nearby access to highways and public transportation, as well as the incredible soaring ceilings at this Locust Avenue location will surely be a draw for producers. The height and size of these new sound stages will allow us to attract television and feature film work to New York that we have heretofore not been able to accommodate at our other facilities.”


‘The Blacklist’ films in Glendale

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Eric Liebowitz/NBC

Glendale is making a television cameo yet again, as another series films in the community.

The acclaimed NBC series “The Blacklist,” starring James Spader, filmed three scenes on Cooper Avenue on Monday.

The first two scenes took place near Cooper Avenue between 83rd Street and 80th Street between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The third scene was filming at 82-10 Cooper Ave. from 2 to 10 p.m.

On Tuesday, the production company will be filming a controlled vehicle explosion between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the vicinity of Cooper Avenue and 74th Street.


NYC’s Filming Boom

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Silvercup sign

Bollywood produces the most movies in the world. Hollywood is known as the planet’s entertainment capital. But there is a sleeping giant in the entertainment industry — New York City.

Being the biggest city in the world, New York was the setting of a multitude of shows, but not their home: Seinfeld, Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond all shot 3,000 miles away from where they were located. Even now How I Met Your Mother, Mad Men and CSI: New York film in California.

But within the last decade, there has been a New York renaissance in production not seen in a century.

The television boom over the past 10 years has seen the number of series filmed here more than triple. Twenty-three series filmed in New York City throughout the 2011-12 television season, including, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife and Law & Order: SVU.

Besides the shows that film in NYC exclusively, more than 100 television shows and movies have used the beautiful backdrop of New York City over the past year and the city revels in a entertainment production revival.

“With our beautiful city, talented workforce and the assistance offered by our ‘Made in NY’ program, New York City has surpassed all previous records for film and television production,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

New York is now becoming a first choice when deciding where to film, according to insiders, and at the center of the record boom is western Queens’ Silvercup Studios and

Kaufman Astoria Studios and Brooklyn’s Steiner Studios.

Kaufman originally opened in 1920 as Astoria Studios, and quickly became the mecca of the silent film era. Upon America’s entrance into World War II, the studio was taken over by the U.S. Signal Corps. and became known as the Army Pictorial Center where armed forces training films were shot.

The building eventually fell into disuse and disrepair until 1977’s production of The Wiz featuring Michael Jackson. It was fully renovated and revived in 1980 after the sale of the lot to George S. Kaufman. Since its rebirth, some of the biggest stars have passed through the studios doors. Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Big Bird have called Kaufman Astoria Studio home, while Glengarry Glen Ross, Scent of a Woman and The Cosby Show were filmed there.

Out of a former flour silo rose the next great NYC studio, Silvercup Studios. The Long Island City studio opened in 1983 and quickly established itself as the largest independent, full-service film and television production facility in the Northeast. It has shot such classics as When Harry Met Sally, The Sopranos and City Hall. Currently, the stars of Gossip Girl, 30 Rock and Person of Interest call it home.
The “largest and most sophisticated studio complex outside of Hollywood,” Steiner Studios opened in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2004. It has played host to Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie. The studio’s lot has been used by Sex and the City, American Gangster and Spiderman 3.

The shows may use the studios to shoot much of the show, but filming in the city allows them to use it as a backdrop whenever they see fit. And it’s not just a quick exterior establishing shot of NYC, You no longer have to watch a “New York” show like Seinfeld and see the characters walk down the same fake city street in every episode. Instead, you have Alec Baldwin in Rockefeller Center, or Blake Lively in Central Park, or Zach Galifianakis exploring Manhattan, it gives the show an authenticity that is impossible to reproduce on a set.

Seeing the characters outside a pizzeria that you’ve gone into, brings realism to the show. It’s not Central Perk on Friends, it’s New Roma Pizza on How to Make It in America.
New York isn’t resting on its record breaking laurels, either.

“New York City is a television town, and we’re thrilled that we broke records for television production in 2011,” said Office of Media & Entertainment commissioner Katherine Oliver. “The mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment is committed to working hard to make sure that the industry continues to grow and expand in 2012.”
And it’s not just the sheer number of shows being produced, it’s good television. Last year, city productions earned 110 Emmy nominations, winning 23 awards.
It’s exciting to recognize the locales used during the shows, but even more exciting could be recognizing yourself or one of your friends in the background. In 2011, more than 11,000 extras were hired on the television shows shot in the city.

So, with the productions multiplying exponentially, it may be only a matter of time before you find yourself watching yourself on the screen.