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Glenn's Report for May 2014

June 6, 2014

Glenn’s Theatre Report for The Month of May 2014

 

©GLENN LONEY 2014

 

 

THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

 

Rough-Winds do Shake the Darling-Buds-of-May…

 

So wrote the Poet, a few Centuries ago.

 

What might he have Penned, had he experience our Current-Climate-Change?

 

Pounding-Thundershowers did more than just Shake the Darling-Buds: Sheets of Driving-Rain stripped many a Flowering-Tree of its Precious-Petals.

 

Nonetheless, the Japanese-Cherry-Trees across the way in Central-Park did survive to Bloom- Bounteously.

 

A Sunny-Morning was easily Transformed—by Late-Afternoon—into a Mini-Katrina, wreaking Havoc.

 

This Weather-Uncertainty made Critic-Theatre-Going an Everyday-Adventure.

 

But there were so many Interesting-Productions opening—even after Awards-Nominations were over—that anyone really interested in American-Theatre needed to See-What’s-Out-There.

 

Eager to see what had been done to bring an Ayn-Rand-Novel to the Stage, I boarded a Fifth-Avenue MTA-Bus-M2 under Cloudy-Skies.

 

But, when I reached Eighth-Street in Greenwich-Village, to change to the M5 for Bleecker-Street & Anthem, an Epic-Storm had Struck.

 

I was Without-Umbrella, so I joined a Crowd under an Overhang, until I could Dodge-the-Deluge to get on an Uptown-Bus…

 

Anthem had closed by the time I had an Empty-Evening on the Playgoing-Calendar, so I will Never-Know how a very Minor-Rand-Novel made it to the stage.

 

If People-with-Money are so Smitten with the Writings of Ayn Rand—Not-Her-Real-Name!—why don’t the Koch-Brothers fund a Major-Revival of Ayn Rand’s Major-Drama, The Night of January 16th?

 

It’s a Courtroom-Cliff-Hanger, with a Jury impaneled from The-Audience!

 

How-About-That!

 

 

PASSING-GLANCES AT SCENES-SEEN:

 

Here are some of the Five-Star-Stagings that opened in May:

 

Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe’s HEATHERS: The Musical  [*****]

 

Robert L. Freeman & Steven Lutvak’s A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER  [*****]

 

Robert Sternin & Prudence Fraser’s UNDER MY SKIN  [*****]

 

Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s THE RIVALS  [*****]

 

Jeff Blumenkrantz’s MOVING RIGHT ALONG: The World of Jeff Blumenkrantz  [*****]

 

Anthony Giardina’s THE CITY OF CONVERSATION  [*****]

 

Terry Teachout’s SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF  [*****]

 

ISH’s Amsterdam-Inspired HYPERISH  [*****]

 

Gardner McKay’s SEA MARKS  [*****]

 

Carole J. Bruford’s SHADES OF BLUE  [*****]

 

Jon Robin Baitz’s THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE  [*****]

 

Jim Dale’s JUST JIM DALE  [*****]

 

 

May is the Month when It-All-Adds-Up!

 

Serious Drama-Critics & mere Play-Reviewers join to Vote for the Best This-or-That On or Off-Broadway.

 

But there is an Increasingly-Uncomfortable-Problem for the Tony-Awards©.

 

They have always been Limited—or Restricted—to New-Broadway-Productions.

 

But, with so many Long, Long, Long-Running Musicals, some Major-Broadway-Theatres have been Tied-Up for Years now.

 

Tony-Awards© Committee-Members cannot give Phantom an Annual-Award for Staying-Open so very Long, can they?

 

I love the Interior-Decoration of the Winter-Garden-Theatre, but I feared I’d never see it again—unless I hang-on until Age-90—because Mamma Mia! seemed Permanently-Established on a Site that was once a Horse-&-Carriage-Rental.

 

Fortunately, Audiences had been diminishing, so it was moved to a Smaller-Venue—the Broadhurst, named for Producer/Playwright George Broadhurst—to make way for Alex Timbers’ Scenery-in-Constant-Motion Rocky.

 

Once-Upon-a-Time, I was a Tony©-Voter—eagerly going over to Radio-City-Music-Hall on Tony-Awards©-Night, dressed in my Brioni-Tux, no less!—but when I began writing for publications like Other-Stages & Theatre-Week, I was No-Longer among The-Tony©-Voter-Elite.

 

Fortunately, I had been a Voting-Member of the Outer-Critics-Circle since I had first come to Manhattan—after Four-Years of Teaching-Our-Boys-Overseas—so All was Not-Lost…

 

It may be, today, difficult to imagine, but there was a Time when Broadway-Was-It!

 

Major-Critics from Major-Newspapers such as the New-York-Sun, the New-York-Herald, the New-York-Post, the New-York-Telegram, the New-York-Journal, the New-York-Tribune, the New-York-News, the New-York-World, the New-York-Times, the New-York-Herald-Tribune, the New-York-World-Journal, & the New-York-World-Journal-Tribune—the New-York-Sun, had already Set, as the Herald-Tribune was slowly-dying, eventually going to Newspaper-Heaven in Paris—would gather Once-a-Year to Choose the Best-Play.

 

That-Was-It: a Best-Play-Award…

 

Awarded by the Elitist New-York-Drama-Critics-Circle, which spurned any Critics or Reviewers who were not in the Employ of Major-Newspaper-Publishers. Or taking their Time, toiling for Henry Luce.

 

Plays—even Witty-Comedies—were a Form-of-Literature: you could even give the Very-Best-of-Them a Pulitzer-Prize, even if Audiences had Stayed-Away-in-Droves.

 

Eventually, the Drama-Critics-Circle discovered Broadway-Musicals, adding a Best-Musical-Award.

 

These two Prestigious-Awards had nothing to do with the Antoinette-Perry-Awards©, even though many Theatre-Goers had No-Idea who Antoinette-Perry might have been.

 

[For-That-Matter, who now vividly remembers George Broadhurst, John Golden, John Cort, Ethel Barrymore, Edwin Booth, David Belasco, Alfred Lunt, Lynne Fontanne, Sam Shubert, Bernie Jacobs, or even Helen Hayes?

 

[All of The-Above have Broadway-Theatres named for them.

 

[Gerry Shoenfeld—of the Shubert-Empire—even bestowed Bernie’s-Name posthumously on the Royale-Theatre, renaming the Plymouth after himself.

 

[Neil Simon is Fading-Fast & "Doc” Simon doesn’t even Own-That-Neil-Simon-Theatre.

 

[Aside from some Very-Wealthy-Friends, who now really remembers Vivian Beaumont Allen?

 

[As for Samuel J. Friedman & his Friedman-Theatre—formerly The-Biltmore-Theatre—well…

 

[Many have No-Idea who Eugene O’Neill was, as His-Major-Dramas are Never-Revived & he was Never-a-Mormon, even though The Book of Mormon is opened Eight-Times-a-Week in the Playhouse that bears His-Name.

 

[The Walter Kerr & the Brooks Atkinson are both named for Once-Famous-&-Beloved Major-Critics, who are Still-Remembered by Fellow-Critics who knew them well—including This-Scribe.

 

The Reason John Gassner, John Mason Brown, & other Non-Newspaper-Critics founded the Outer-Critics-Circle was the Sense-of-Exclusion from the Drama-Critics-Circle.

 

There was also a lurking Sense-of-Superiority, for they believed they knew More-About-Theatre than any Hired-Newspaper-Hack.

 

Oddly enough, however—like the Drama-Critics-Circle—they Initially-Ignored the Rise of Off-Broadway-Theatre.

 

When I first came to Manhattan, John Gassner kindly became My-Mentor & Substitute-Father-Figure.

 

When he had a Disastrous-Heart-Attack, he asked me to take-over his Quarterly-Review-Column in the Educational-Theatre-Journal—Yes! Theatre-Teachers all over America wanted to know what was Happening-on-Broadway!—but I included the Early-Stirrings of Off-Broadway, such as Ted Mann’s Circle-in-the-Square, way-off down in Greenwich-Village.

 

When John somewhat recovered, he reserved Broadway for himself, but let me have My-Own-Column, dedicated to Off-Broadway-Productions: Shows that he would never see, as he soon Passed-On.

 

Anyway, initially the OCC was not about Giving-Awards.

 

Its Meetings were Opinion-Sharing-Get-Togethers of Relatively-Isolated-Critics from New Jersey, Connecticut, & even Pennsylvania.

 

As well as with the Non-Mainstream-Manhattan-Based-Critics like John Gassner…

 

After I came on-board, we began giving Awards, but in a Very-Small-Way & in even Smaller-Venues, like Church-Basements.

 

Now we give the Outer-Critics-Circle-Awards in the Historic-Eugenia-Room at Sardi’s—before Showtime on Late-Thursday-Afternoons.

 

This is an Annual-Love-Fest as the Awards-Event is more like a Family-Reunion: Everyone in the Room seems to Know-&-Love Everyone-Else.

 

Well, of course, They are All-Winners. The Losers didn’t come…

 

When Costume-Designer William Ivey Long came to the Podium for his Award—only one of Many-OCC-Awards, by now—he nodded to Several-Stars whom he had dressed for the Big-Time.

 

But he promised not to write a Book-Telling-All…

 

Each of the OCC-Board-Members—who are also the Awards-Nominators—hosted a Sardi’s-Table.

 

So Little-Me was Host at Table #5, with the Fabulous Andrea Martin as Our-Star-Awards-Presenter.

 

After Andrea had presented her Quota-of-Awards, a Duty or a Pleasure that also included Presenters Terrence Mann & Billy Porter, of Kinky-Boots—she was quite Taken-by-Surprise to discover that she had to go up to the Podium again!

 

She had just Won—in a Tie with Mare Willingham of Casa-Valentina—for her Impressive-Performances in Act-One.

 

Here are the Outer-Critics-Circle-Stars!

 

[Insert List of OCC-Awards-Winners]

 

The Drama-Desk began as Weekly-Wednesday-Luncheons at Sardi’s, where Drama-Desk-Editors, Performing-Arts-Reporters, Play-Producers, Show-Publicists, & even Drama-Critics could meet to hear more about New-Shows on Broadway, often from the Playwrights, Stars, Directors, & Designers themselves.

 

Harold Pinter even was induced to explain what his Most-Recent-Play—Homecoming—actually Meant. This he never did again…

 

Peter Brook brought most of His-Cast for his Innovative-&-Avant-Garde Royal-Shakespeare-Company-Production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer-Night’s-Dream—more Free-Lunches than usual!—for which I later created the Official-RSC-Production-Book.

 

At that time, the only Award we gave was the Vernon-Rice-Award.

 

Remember Vernon Rice?

 

Grantland Rice, the Sports-Writer, is the Rice we remember.

 

Nonetheless, the Drama-Desk began to grant Annual-Awards: it Increases-Visibility.

 

Otherwise, Who among the Theatre-Going-Public would have Any-Idea Who or What the OCC or the Drama-Desk actually Is.

 

Or Why-We-Exist: Not just to Honor the "Best” or "Most-Outstanding,” but also to Talk-about-Theatre, among Ourselves.

 

Early-on, Drama-Desk-Awards-Dinners were more like the OCC’s—Family-Affairs—but, in recent years, they have Morphed into Mini-Tony©s.

 

To Be Seen on TV!

 

Here are the Drama-Desk-Stars!

 

[Insert List of Drama-Desk-Awards-Winners:]

 

 

Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe’s HEATHERS: The Musical  [*****]

 

Surviving in High-School Is Hell, Especially If You Are Not Popular, Beautiful, or a Heather…

 

Yes, Susan Stroman & Casey Nicholaw are Great-Broadway-Choreographers, but Marguerite Derricks & Andy Fickman are shining Off-Broadway with the ingenious ways they have kept their Large-Cast in Meaningful-Motion.

 

If you think-back, you may have seen the Movie, Heathers, with a Shooting-Script by Daniel Waters?

 

Don’t Worry! Murphy & O’Keefe have created a Brilliant & Biting Show about Cliques & Class-Warfare in High-School. It can Stand-Alone, with No-Reference to the Film.

 

At the Show’s Center is Veronica Sawyer [Barrett Wilbert Weed], an Attractive-Girl whose Best-Friend [Katie Ladner] is an Anxious & Overweight-Teen. She also suffers under the name of Martha Dunstock!

 

Veronica longs to belong to the Super-Snooty-&-Smartly-Costumed-Heathers, led by Heather-Chandler [Elle McLemore], who loves Mocking Geeks & Dorks, as well as all the High-School-Girls who do not Measure-Up.

 

After her Heathers-Makeover, Veronica finds that she is attracted to the Black-Coated-Romantic-Misfit, Jason "J.D.” Dean [Ryan McCartan].

 

This Dangerous-Relationship leads to Three-Deaths—including the Chief-Heather—in which JD has deeply involved Veronica.

 

JD later attaches a Ticking-Time-Bomb to their Alma-Mater, so it’s Not-Unfair to say that Heathers is a Dynamite-Show!

 

Andy Fickman is credited for Direction, with Marguerite Derricks as Choreographer, but it’s impossible to sort-out Who-Did-What because the Entire-Show seems Choreographed!

 

But it’s also a Singing-Show, with some Mordantly-Clever-Lyrics: Beautiful, Dead Girl Walking, Blue, Prom or Hell, Seventeen, & Shine a Light, among Others.

 

Unless you were sent to an Exclusive-Private-School—where Everyone is supposed to be Super—you surely will recognize all the Teen-Types in Heathers. It’s a Hoot of a Show!

 

Personal-Note: I attended Grass-Valley-High-School [CA] way back in 1941-45, but even then the Athletic-Letter-Men were Kings.

 

The Social-Queens were Self-Elected-Members of the Exclusive-Katella-Club—Katella for Katty.

 

If you were "Brainy,” No-One picked-on-you, but, By-Definition, you could not Hope to be Popular. Except at Exam-Time, or when the Jocks needed you to write Term-Papers for them.

 

The Chinese-American-Teens were Brainy, but they were treated as a Race-Apart.

 

There were no African-Americans nor any Latinos.

 

The Real-Social-Pariahs were the Teens known as "Okies” or "Arkies,” who were Depression-Era-Fugitives from Failed-Farms in Oklahoma & Arkansas.

 

Most of them looked both Shabby & Depressed. Being Snubbed by the Jocks & the Katellas did not help their Self-Esteem.

 

That was almost Seven-Decades-Ago, but we had the Same-Types as the Heathers-Teens, but we had nothing to Sing-&-Dance about.

 

Homosexuality was something No-One had even heard-of, unlike the Fag-Bashers in Heathers.

 

Heathers, in fact, closes as something close to a Celebration-of-Being-Gay…

 

 

Robert L. Freeman & Steven Lutvak’s A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER  [*****]

 

Removing Noble-Relatives from The-Line-of-Succession Is a Total-Delight: Hilarious-Deaths!

 

If you are a Theatre-Buff, by now you surely know how many Awards-Nominations Gentleman’s-Guide has received, including Eleven from OCC, the Outer-Critics-Circle, of which I am both the Historian & a Nominator.

 

But if you are a Real-Theatre-Buff, you surely will already have seen Gentleman’s-Guide, possibly a Number-of-Times?

 

My Luck, as a Nominator, is to be treated with Great-Kindness by the Press-Agents for Gentleman’s-Guide, including Handsome-Brown-Suede-Bound-Copies of both The-Script & The-Lobby-Program.

 

Also: The Hilarious-CD, with the Entire-Cast singing & dancing—but, as it is not a Video, one has to imagine the Dancing…

 

Best-of-All, I was invited to see Gentleman’s-Guide once again, but this time, Up-Front, in Aisle-Seats!

 

Initially, on my First-Viewing, I admired Jefferson Mays—who impersonates all the Dotty-Dysquiths, who are in-the-way of the Family-Outcast, Monty Navarro, from becoming an Earl, with a Family-Castle—from a Remote-Orchestra-Distance.

 

This time, up-close, I could see just How-Much-Energy is involved in his Incarnations of the Death-Doomed-Dysquiths.

 

But even More-Energy is expended by the Ingenious-Monty—a remarkable Bryce Pinkham—scheming to Eliminate-The-Dysquith-Heirs & balance Two-Love-Affairs!

 

All this Generational-Hugger-Mugger is Colorfully-Presented by a Delightful-Cast, in what looks like a Pollock’s-Toy-Theatre, sprinkled with Magic-Dust to make it Grow-Big.

 

The Performance-Style is rather like that of the Old-English-Music-Halls, but all is executed with Clockwork-Precision.

 

Darko Tresnjak, who staged, has already received Multiple-Nominations for Best-Director, but Choreographer Peggy Hickey’s Contribution should Not-Be-Overlooked!

 

 

Robert Sternin & Prudence Fraser’s UNDER MY SKIN  [*****]

 

INSTANT ANGELIC-SEX-CHANGE CHANGES EVERYTHING WITH HEALTH-CARE-INSURANCE!

 

This is the Show! Get Tickets Now! Rush Off to the Little-Shubert on West-Forty-Two!

 

This Season, I’ve seen a lot of Five-Star-Productions, but nothing quite like Under My Skin, which definitely did get Under-My-Skin!

 

Health-Care-Magnate Harrison Badish III [an hilarious Matt Walton, especially tottering in High-Heels] is killed in an Elevator-Crash—Fourteen-Floors, but forget about the Thirteenth-Floor, as No-Building-Has-One—along with his Coffee-Carrying-Office-Intern, Melody Dent [Kerry Butler, very Official, wearing Harrison’s Suit!].

 

The Apologetic-Angel [a glittering Dierdre Friel] who has come to Collect-Them agrees to Their-Frantic-Pleas to give them a New-Lease-on-Life.

 

Unfortunately, when they Come-Back, they’re each in the Other’s-Body…

 

Angelic-Mistake! But Who-Can-Argue-with-Heaven?

 

Harrison not only has to go out to Staten-Island—he hardly knows where Staten-Island is—to look after Melody’s Quarrelsome-Clan, but he also has to Undergo-Invasive-Gynecological-Probes for Melody’s Gut-Cramps.

 

Of course, Harrison/Melody’s Health-Insurance Doesn’t-Cover any of the Essential-Tests that reveal a Threatening-Cancer.

 

Not-To-Mention Aspects of the Operation & Subsidiary-Hospital-Costs…

 

Profit-Oriented & Shareholder-Value-Aware Harrison finally realizes that The-Company doesn’t Understand-The-First-Thing about Women’s Health-Care-Needs nor about Senior-Care.

 

So the Annual-Share-Holder-Meeting—when Melody/Harrison announces that Real-Health-Care is More-Important than Shareholder-Value—is a Shocker!

 

For a Moment, the Shares-Plummet, but soon Recover, when word gets around about the New-Improved-Coverage.

 

Along the Way, however, the Audience has been treated to some Very-Sexy-Women, in Very-Stunning-Fashions, all trying to Get-into-Harrison’s-Pants.

 

Thanks to that Errant-Angel, Melody is the Only-One to actually do that: Wearing-Them-in-The-Office!

 

Andrew Polk is hilarious in a Number-of-Roles, including the Invasive Dr. Hurtz—watch-out for his Gynecological-Probe!

 

The Ingenious-&-Ever-Changing-Setting—including the Crashed-Elevator—is the work of Stephen Dobay, with the Elegant-but-Sexy-Costumes created by Lara de Bruijn.

 

The admirable Kirsten Sanderson staged all this Fast-Paced-Health-Intrigue, but it’s Unfortunate that such a Wonderful-Show should open just AFTER all the Award-Nominations have been announced.

 

Had They been a Week or so Earlier, Their Handsome-&-Hilarious-Show would surely have Swept-All-Categories!

 

Except, of course, Solo-Performance…

 

 

James MacMillan’s "SINCE IT WAS THE DAY OF PREPARATION”  [Religious-Caution-Advised]

 

The Romans Didn’t Break Jesus’-Legs, But This May Not Be Something-To-Sing-About…

 

Somehow, for Some-Reason, I seem to have been added to St.-Bart’s-Mailing-List, for a Handsome-Card arrived in the Mail, illustrated with the Handsome-Byzantine-Basilica of Saint-Bartholomew’s Anglican/Episcopalian-Headquarters in Manhattan, on Park-Avenue, no less.

 

It urged me to Buy-Tickets—priced from $18 to $38: what is it with the "8’s”?—for the US-Premiere of James MacMillan’s "SINCE IT WAS THE DAY OF PREPARATION.”

 

MacMillan is a Scottish-Composer, who enjoyed a World-Premiere of this Choral-Work at the Edinburgh-International-Festival, where they are Eager to Showcase-Scots-Talent.

 

I looked Forward to this Event so much that I even Bought-Tickets: $15 for Seniors, but, in the event—as the Sanctuary was only Scantly-Peopled—I was seated not far from the Talented-Performers of Soli-Deo-Gloria.

 

That Latin-Moniker may seem Pretentious, but it may be meant to suggest that all the Artistic-Efforts of this Group are dedicated to the Glory-of-God-Alone…

 

Well, actually, Soli-Deo-Gloria must have borrowed St. Bart’s Chamber-Singers for this Illustrious-Occasion.

 

Among them are Amanda Sidebottom [Soprano Soloist] & Eliza Bagg [Alto Soloist].

 

One devoutly hopes that, when Ms. Bagg reaches Senior-Status, No-One calls her an "Old-Bagg.”

 

It could be said of "Since It Was the Day of Preparation” that it gives Early-Music a Bad-Name, but it is By-No-Means to be understood as Early-Music, even though it softly, slyly opens with Barely-Audible-Notes from David Walker’s Theorbo—a Medieval-Looking-Instrument, with an Elongated-Finger-Board, making it resemble an Overgrown-Lute.

 

I am almost certain that I heard David Walker & his Theorbo last June at the Boston-Early-Music-Festival, but then, who knows…

 

The Significance of MacMillan’s Title is that it is taken from The-Gospel-of-Saint-John [Revised-Standard-Version], meaning that Palestine’s Orthodox-Jews were Preparing for the Sabbath on the Next-Day—that Day, of course, was Good-Friday, but as there was No-Roman-Catholic-Church yet, No-One knew what to call it except The-Day-of-Preparation—when No-Live-Jews should be Left-Hanging-on-Crosses.

 

It was the Custom for the Roman-Soldiers—Remember! The Jews were not Christ-Killers: the Romans did that!—to Break-the-Legs of the Still-Living-Crucified to Shock-Them-Into-Death & into The-Hereafter.

 

But it had already been Prophesied that The-Messiah should never have a Bone-Broken, for some Arcane-Reason. So it was Good that the Roman-Soldiers found Jesus Already-Dead.

 

Anyway, The-Burial—following the Almost-Silent Pierced-Christ on the Theorbo—was at first Similarly-Soft, as played on the Cello, but Bass Jason Whitfield Livened-Things-Up-a-Bit.

 

In fact, Whitfield was the Most-Resonant of all the Soloists.

 

Considering the Sad-Saga the Soloists & Chorus have to Relate, it was astonishing how often The-Events were sung with such a Hushed-Softness.

 

In the Score itself, however, there were some Crashing-Crescendos & Chromatic-Arcs, subtly-surprising among More-Meandering & Gentle-Intonations.

 

The Total-Effect—excluding the Soft-Keyed-Vocals—was of an Eclectic-Plundering of Varied-Modes of Modern-Music.

 

Rather like a Painterly-Abstract-Expressionism brought-over into Musical-Composition.

 

Nonetheless, if One did not follow the Gospel-Libretto printed in the Soli-Deo-Gloria Program, he would have been Hard-Put to know What-Was-Going-On…

 

The Actual-Gospel-Text is both Poetic & Prophetic: Deeply-Moving, unless you are an Atheist or a Zoroastorian.

 

MacMillan has improved on Saint-John by interpolating some Liturgical-Latin-Texts from Easter & Pentecost.

 

Nonetheless, Handel’s Reputation for Religiously-Inspired Oratorios is still Secure.

 

But Georg Friderich Händel was from Hannover, not Scotland…

 

 

Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s THE RIVALS  [*****]

 

Dubious-Duels Averted in Fashionable 18th-Century Bath , While Lovely Lydia Languishes…

 

Jessica Love, as Sheridan’s Lydia Languish—breathtakingly-beautiful in a lavish Period-Gown & Fantastic-Hairdo—looks as though she has just stepped down from a Gainsborough-Portrait.

 

But Carol Schultz, as the Word-Mangling Mrs. Malaprop—ferociously-armored in an equally-astonishing Period-Gown, as well as a Confectionary-Wig—is, as she might well say, "the very Pineapple-of-Perfection.”

 

In fact, thanks to the Design-Skills & Ingenious-Imagination of Sam Fleming, the Entirely-Admirable-Cast of this Pearl-Theatre-Revival of The Rivals look Fabulously-&-Elegantly-Period.

 

In more than Fifty-Years of London-Theatre-Going, I have seen many Famed-British-Actors-&-Actresses—including Laurence Olivier & Maggie Smith—recreate Famous-Roles in the Comedies of Richard Brinsley Sheridan & William Wycherley.

 

The Vintage-Brits were Masters-of-Manners: They played Lydia Languish, Sir Anthony Absolute, Julia Melville, & Bob Acres with Wit-&-Elegance.

 

But the Pearl-Theatre-Ensemble—ably directed by Hal Brooks—does All-That-&-More: they do not merely Show-the-Roles; they Live-Inside-Their-Characters!

 

Poor Bob Acres—a wonderfully-comical Chris Mixon—the Genial-Country-Squire who’s come down to Bath, possibly to find a Mrs. Acres, only to find himself Trapped into Fancy-Wig-&-Waistcoat, with a possibly Fatal-Duel waiting in the Wings…

 

Also Amazing: Dan Daily as the Overbearing Sir Anthony Absolute; Brad Heberlee as the Ever-Fussing-&-Fretting Faulkland, constantly in a dither about the Possible-Infidelity of his Beloved Julia, patiently-embodied by the delightful Rachel Botchan; Sean McNall as the Troublesome-Irishman, Sir Lucius O’Trigger…

 

Although it was the Custom in Restoration-&-18th-Century British-Comedies to give Characters such Character-Indicating-Names as Absolute, Malaprop, Languish, & Acres—Bob has Lots-of-Land!—what are we to think of Fag, impersonated by Kambi Gathesha?

 

Sheridan’s Social-Satire was premiered way back in 1775: just One-Year before America declared its Independence-from-Britain, in 1776, if not from its Play-Lists & Theatrical-Conventions.

 

What is especially remarkable about The Rivals is that Pearl-Theatre-Audiences are still laughing riotously at Jokes that are now Over-Two-Centuries-Old!

 

Sheridan surely understood Something-Basic about Human-Nature, even if his Satirical-Targets were the Excessive-Sensibility & Romantic-Notions of His-Era.

 

 

Christian Rizzo’s Lyon-Opera-Ballet in ni fleurs, ni ford-mustang  [Unrate-able; Not Unbeat-able]

 

What Do All Those Glowing-Red-Slippers Scattered About the BAM-Opera-Stage Really Signify?

 

They have come all the way from Lyon—in Free-France—to perform for Three-Evenings-Only, at BAM’s Howard-Gilman-Opera-house!

 

They are, of course, the Much-Talked-About Lyon-Opera-Ballet, led by Christian Rizzo.

 

In Typical-French-Fashion—avoiding les Lettres-Capitaux as much as possible, Christian Rizzo has Christened the Ballet he brought to Brooklyn: ni fleurs, ni ford-mustang…

 

And so it is that there are Neither-Flowers nor a Ford-Mustang on-stage.

 

Instead, the Darkened-Stage seems to be Littered with Glowing-Red-High-Heeled-Slippers: possibly a Tribute to the Glass-Slipper of Massenet’s Cendrillon?

 

Or, perhaps, The-Red-Shoes?

 

Initially—aside from the Glowing-Footwear—the Stage is Empty, except for a Skeleton hanging high up in the Air, Upstage-Right.

 

Gradually, Individual-Forms slink onto the Stage, collapsing Artfully in an Arc, suggesting, perhaps, Victims of Condoleezza Rice’s Mythical-Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction?

 

Instead of Real-Music, Gerome Nox has provided an Insistent-Thumping/Thrumming, which grows Louder & Louder…

 

A Dancer who seems to be wearing an Umbrella-Like-Skirt skitters about & Other-Dancers help remove some of those Glowing-Slippers.

 

They soon return in Glittering-Black-Skin-Tight-Outfits to clean up the Stage, as that Skeleton slumps down onto the Stage-Floor.

 

Suddenly, it’s Lights-Out!

 

Some Season-Subscribers had already brushed-past me—in their Rush-to-Return-to-Manhattan—when the Ballet was only Half-Over.

 

Now, right in front of me, a Lady was pulling on her coat, preparing to leave.

 

It’s Not-Over?” I asked, incredulously. "This isn’t an Intermission?”

 

"No,” she answered. "Why did you think there would be more of This? Did you want to see More?”

 

"Not really, but I thought they might return & perform something Typically-French…”

 

"Such as?”

 

"Surrendering, yet again, to the Germans?”

 

Anyway, I had a Ticket to a Cheese-&-Wine-Reception in the Le-Percq-Space—on the Mezzanine-Level—so I thought I’d go up & receive some Cheese, Wine being Poison to Diabetics…

 

Imagine My-Surprise to see My-One-Time-Brooklyn-College-Grad-Student, BAM’s Executive-Producer, Joseph V. Melillo, embracing a Chap clad in Short-Pants & what looked like Keds, for a Photo-Op!

 

Yes, indeed! This was the Virtual-Choreographer himself, Christian Rizzo: also responsible for the Costumes, as he is Involved-in-Fashion-Design, as well as Other-Projects.

 

In a Program-Note, Rizzo explains His-Vision: "I see the Stage as a Space-of-Ritual-Passages, a Transformative-Place. I use Forms to allow Things to Emerge-on-Their-Own, rather than trying to Show-Something. Anything Visible is the Result of what is Not-Visible.”

 

Next-Question?

 

Fresno-Born Opera-Conductor Kent Nagano—recently retired as GMD for the Bavarian-State-Opera—was formerly at the Opera-de-Lyon. Could Kent have worked with Rizzo?

 

The Visit to Brooklyn of the Ballet-de-l’Opera-de-Lyon is part of DANSE: A French-American Festival of Performance & Ideas, sponsored by the Services-Culturelles of the French-Embassy…

 

 

Jeff Blumenkrantz’s MOVING RIGHT ALONG: The World of Jeff Blumenkrantz  [*****]

 

Sondheimian-Stand-Alone-Songs Brilliantly-Orchestrated into Year-of-Young-Adulthood in NYC!

 

Too Late! Too Late!

 

If you are reading this any time after 15 May 2014, you missed one of the Greatest-New-Musical-Shows in Manhattan.

 

In fact, it was premiered & performed for Four-Nights-Only up at the Manhattan-School-of-Music.

 

It wonderfully Showcased the Terrific-Talents of the Stars-of-Tomorrow—who could soon become Stars-Today, if MOVING RIGHT ALONG: The World of Jeff Blumenkrantz could be moved to Off-Broadway.

 

If you know Jeff Blumenkrantz at all, you may have seen him recently—also Off-Broadway—in Murder-for-Two, in which he hilariously played All-the-Victims.

 

But Jeff Blumenkrantz is not just an Actor—even though his Credits include 30-Rock, Law-&-Order, & Will-&-Grace—but he is also a Sondheimian-Lyricist & Composer.

 

He even won a Tony-Nomination© for his Contribution to Urban-Cowboy!

 

But Stand-Alone-Songs—be they Ballads, Narratives, Complaints, Comic, or Character—do not Make-a-Musical.

 

Fortunately, Carolyn Marlow—who is the Presiding-Genius of the American-Musical-Theatre-Program at MSM—has reworked some of Jeff’s-Best into a Musical that is Not-a-Revue, Not-Cabaret-Turns, but a Hot-New-Musical-Property that should become an Evergreen for Regional, College, & Community-Theatres.

 

Not to Overlook a Transfer to Off-Broadway…

 

The Ingenious-Format of MOVING RIGHT ALONG is the Monthly-Diary-Jottings of a Writers-Blocked-Young-Adult—who is So-Obsessed with completing Her-Novel that she has No-Time-for-Love.

 

Marlow has invented Other-Young-Adults—all more or less Interlocking in some way—who have Big-Problems-of-the-Heart and/or Serious-Issues-in-the-Head.

 

Instead of a Formulaic-Plot, Marlow has crafted a Character-Narrative-Through-Line for this Funny-Sad-Songfest.

 

Pot does not Play-a-Big-Part in this Charming-Show, but Sexual-Orientation does, now that we are in the Age-of-Gay-Marriage.

 

In fact, the Entire-Second-Act of MOVING RIGHT ALONG takes place against the Bar-Background of Fifty Shades of Gay.

 

So this is Not-a-Show for Decent, God-Fearing-Christians!

 

Nor, indeed, for Rush Limbaugh, or Cranky-Old-White-Men…

 

The Opener, Crowd-Control, is a witty-appeal to the Audience to Turn-off-Cell-Phones & Unwrap-Candies. Or Else!!!!!!!

 

So many of the Songs are So-Special that it could become Wikipedish to List-Them-All.

 

But you can Check-Out the The Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook Podcast on iTunes or on Jeff’s Own-Website.

 

Nonetheless, how about: Burning Man, Celebrate, Valentine, Just Because, Hold My Hand, All Because of You, & Breaking Even?

 

Talk about Cute! Listen to May Day! M’Aider

 

Not having Access to The-Script, I cannot demonstrate Accuracy, but I thought I heard some Dissing on the Order of: Too Dorky, Too Porky, Too Not New-Yorky

 

Or should I have heard: Too New-Yorky

 

No, that sounds Too Dorky, not at all Steve-Sondheimian!

 

The Extremely-Talented-Cast—some of the Men have Ballet-Training!—included Kendrick Pifer, Christopher Lilley, Chelsea Nectow, Kim Johansen, Jody Hinkley, Jacob Lewis Smith, Addie Hamilton, Marley Dove, Sarah Tupper Daniels, Cameron Johnson, & Piers Portfolio.

 

Doesn’t Piers Portfolio sound like a Stage-Name?

 

Hey! Piers! Can I peer into your Portfolio?

 

Didn’t John Hinkley Shoot-Someone to impress Someone named Jody?

 

Just Curious…

 

All these MSM-Music-Masters deserve to Show-Their-Moves-&-Stuff Off-Broadway: In-This-Show!

 

So, Thank-You, Carolyn Marlow & Jeff Blumenkrantz!

 

 

David Lang’s battle hymns  [***]

 

All Hands On-Deck! Including the Collegiate-Chorale—Singing on the Intrepid’s Hangar-Deck!

 

Just Imagine!

 

A New-York-Premiere on a Decommissioned-US-Navy-Aircraft-Carrier!

 

I hadn’t visited the Intrepid since the Press-Preview when it was metaphorically Re-Launched as a Hudson-River-World-War-II-Museum docked at Pier 86.

 

In fact, as the Audience for the Collegiate-Chorale’s Innovative-Concert streamed in, many stopped to inspect the interestingly-presented Exhibits.

 

It was Something-of-a-Stunt to stage David Lang’s battle hymns on the Intrepid’s Hangar-Deck, as the Audience—unlike its Usual-Tiered-Seating in Carnegie-Hall—was in Folding-Chairs on the Flat-Deck-Surface, with the Choristers in front of them, more Visible only when they were standing.

 

The Collegiate-Chorale’s Singing-Forces were enhanced by the Manhattan-Girls-Chorus, which was Variously-Deployed: In the Aisles, sometimes crouching, & even behind the Audience, on an Upper-Level.

 

A Production-Problem was that there had, apparently, been Insufficient-Time to Rehearse the Lighting-Cues, so Soloists sometimes were initially In-the-Dark.

 

What was Especially-Admirable in the Performance was the Clarity-of-Diction of Soloists & Choristers alike.

 

For this Audial-Felicity, Conductor James Bagwell is owed a Vote-of-Audible-Thanks.

 

There was No-Musical-Accompaniment: the Collegiate-Chorale was singing A-Cappella.

 

Only a Lone-Drummer, in that Famed-Quotation from Abraham Lincoln: As I would not be a Slave, so I would not be a Master.

 

Unfortunately, Composer/Lyricist David Lang—who favors Lower-Case, rather than Caps—chose to have the Choristers & Soloists Steven Moore, John Kawa, Melissa Kelley, & Elizabeth Smith sing those words Over & Over & Over.

 

After about a Hundred-Repetitions, I turned to a Music-Critic-Colleague to Share: I think we Got-the-Message.

 

The Musical-Settings of the Initial-Texts that inspired david lang [lower-case!] to create battle hymns are fairly effective.

 

But what are we to think of the Revised-Texts themselves?

 

All of which are printed in the program in lower-case…

 

For a father’s love—based on a Letter-in-Case-of-Death-in-Battle, written by Stephen Ballou—david lang goes Through-The-Alphabet, beginning with the letter a, so that there must be at least twenty or thirty lines beginning with and.

 

Also: lots of I, to, that, the, when, with…

 

Curiously, david lang does not use i when referring to I.

 

Even in his Rephrasings of Stephen Foster, david lang cannot resist this kind of repetitive-word-play.

 

Finally, as with presenting battle hymns on the Hangar-Deck of an Aircraft-Carrier, this seems a Bit-of-a-Stunt.

 

Nonetheless, the Collegiate-Chorale was, as always, Admirable. Especially in the Face of Invoked-Adversity!

 

But there’s some Good-News as well!

 

In the Upcoming-Season, the Chorale will present Not The Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy), based on Monty Python’s Life of Brian, as well as GF Handel’s somewhat Oratorio, Susanna, followed by Kurt Weill & Franz Werfel’s The Road of Promise.

 

Originally, this was called The Eternal Road, staged by the Legendary Max Reinhardt, in Rock-Center’s new Center-Theatre. Or was it actually in Radio-City-Music-Hall?

 

It deals with the Travails & Tragedies of the Jewish-People over the Centuries & the Millennia.

 

At the time of its Initial-Production, Max Reinhardt joked that it was odd to have Werfel concoct the Narrative, as he was a Jew who became a Catholic, owing to the Insistence of Alma Mahler Werfel.

 

Werfel’s new-found Catholic-Piety also inspired him to craft The Song of Bernadette.

 

But the Collegiate-Chorale has No-Plans to present Bernadette, even as an Oratorio…

 

 

Anthony Giardina’s THE CITY OF CONVERSATION  [*****]

 

Through Carter & Reagan & Onward to Obama—They Never Stop Talking in Georgetown…

 

Jan Maxwell is fascinating as Hester Ferris, a famed Georgetown-Hostess, at whose Dinners the Great & Influential of Washington’s Political-Society can Get-Things-Done.

 

Unfortunately for Liberal-Agendas in the Fading-Carter-Era, into Hester’s-World comes an Ambitious-Girl from America’s-Heartland, who has just completed studies at the London-School-of-Economics.

 

Kristen Bush as the Sleek, Blonde, & Very-Determined Anna Fitzgerald has also married Hester’s Not-So-Bright-Son, Colin [Michael Simpson].

 

For Anna, this was a Good-Catch—as they say—because he can help her Gain-Access to the Distinguished-Movers-&-Shakers who come to Hester’s-Soirées.

 

Unfortunately for both Hester & Liberal-Agendas, both Anna & Colin are soon involved in Defeating-Liberals-in-General & in getting the Liberally-Detested Robert-Bork into the Sacred-Society of Supreme-Court-Justices.

 

Nonetheless, Anna manages to produce a Beloved-Grandson [Luke Niehaus] for Hester, who adores him.

 

Unfortunately for Hester, both Her-Love & Her-Grandson become Pawns in a Republican-Power-Game.

 

She has just found a Dynamite-Document which—in the Right-Hands—will devastate Republican-Hopes.

 

It can also destroy Her-Son’s-Career as a Rising-Republican.

 

Unless she Tears-It-Up, she will never see Her-Grandson again

 

Great-Issues are at stake as Ronald Reagan is now in the Oval-Office, so Hester refuses & loses Her-Grandson.

 

Not to mention Her-Only-Son, who wasn’t as Bright-&-Clever as she’d hoped he’d be.

 

From 1987, this Intriguing-Drama moves onward to The-Obama-Inauguration.

 

It never, however, leaves Hester’s Lovely-Georgetown-Mansion-Chambers, designed by the Master-of-Elegant-Interiors, John Lee Beatty.

 

Unexpected-Guests are now in Hester’s Living-Room: Her Grown-Up-Grandson [Michael Simpson—again, but Now-Gay!] & his African-American-Lover [Phillip James Brannon].

 

Ronald Reagan never would have sanctioned Gay-Marriage, although he did feel sorry for Rock Hudson, when he was dying of AIDS.

 

Under Obama, was this really a Problem? Gay-Marriage, not AIDS…

 

Doug Hughes directed, with Site-Specific-Costumes by Catherine Zuber.

 

 

Terry Teachout’s SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF  [*****]

 

End of a Very-Long-Road for Louie Armstrong: All-White-Audience & Waldorf-Luxury-Suite…

 

Because the Waldorf-Hotel was already Fully-Booked, Satchmo at the Waldorf had to be presented on the Upstairs-Stage of the Westside-Theatre.

 

Nonetheless—thanks to Set-Designer Lee Savage—-Enthralled-Audiences got to see a fading & reminiscent Louie Armstrong in Dressing-Room-A of the Waldorf.

 

John Douglas Thompson is both Foul-Mouthed & Sadly-Funny, as his Louie-Looks-Back, is getting it All-On-Tape.

 

What is especially effective in his Performance is that he is able to be Louis Armstrong, not only as He-Is, on this Almost-Final-Night, but also As-He-Was.

 

But Audiences are getting Two-Characters for the Price-of-One: Thompson can, almost on the instant, become Armstrong’s Trusted-Manager—who ultimately disappoints him, owing to  Mobster-Blackmail.

 

If you go over to the Westside-Theatre to Hear about the Birth-of-Jazz from its Master, Louis Armstrong, Do-Not-Expect-Him-To-Blow-His-Horn!

 

He will Handle-It, but Not-Blow-It…

 

Satchmo at the Waldorf is Not-a-Musical.

 

Nor are you really at the Waldorf-Astoria.

 

Way over on West-43rd?

 

What did you expect…

 

At the very least, you will be Informed, but, at the very best, you should be Thrilled.

 

Thanks not only to John Douglas Thompson’s Louis Armstrong, but also to Drama-Critic Terry Teachout, who wrote this Ingenious-Monodrama, based on his Biography of Armstrong, & to Gordon Edelstein, who directed.

 

 

ISH’s Amsterdam-Inspired HYPERISH  [*****]

 

Break-Dancing, Street-Dancing, Hip-Hop, & Handsprings: Energy-Plus from Dutch-Based-Hypers!

 

The Stage-Setting is a seemingly Random-Collection of Boxes, Platforms, & Frames, Over, Under & In-Between which Four-Very-Athletic-Young-Men & Three-Blonde-Pony-Tailed-Young-Women Dance, Prance, Parade, Pronounce, & Delineate a Street-Scene-Inspired-View of Modern-Life.

 

Some Segments of Hyperish are Underlit, so you really do have to Squint to see what’s happening up on that Platform.

 

But most of the Hip-Hop & Acrobatic-Dance-Segments are Highlighted.

 

This amazing Amsterdam-Based-Collective is clearly also Inter-Racial & Inter-National & into Major-Social-&-Personal-Problems to which even Young-Audiences can relate.

 

The two Chinese-American Kids in front of me were even eager to get into the Aisles of the New-Victory-Theatre & try-out some of the Moves up on Stage.

 

Some of the Dance-Acrobatics would be Challenging even to Cirque-du-Soleil-Headliners.

 

The Seven-Hypers from Hyperish offered only Nine-Public-Performances, so there may have been some Private-Performances as well—between 12 & 18 May—but there was nothing in the New-Vic-Program about those Missing-Dates.

 

As Hyperish was supported by the Consulate-General-of-the-Netherlands—as well as by Dutch-Culture-USA & Fonds-Podium-Kunsten-NL—there must have been Other-Showings.

 

This was the US-Premiere, so Other-Kids in Other-Cities will soon be thrilled by These-Hypers.

 

Meanwhile, Young-New-Yorkers will be waiting for a Hyper-Hyperish-Return in 2015!

 

 

Anton Dudley & Stephanie DiMaggio’s 17 ORCHARD POINT  [**]

 

Michelle Pawk Storms the Stage as a Boozy-Floozy of a Long-Absent-Mother…

 

"Wasn’t that wonderful!”

 

This wasn’t really a Question, but the Older-Woman—dragging what looked like her Carry-On-Luggage—got into the Elevator down at Theatre-Row & seemed to want to Share with me.

 

We had both spent some Intermission-less-Time down at 17 Orchard Point, where Co-Author Stephanie DiMaggio was onstage as Vera, the Longtime-Manager of the Family-Apartment-House.

 

One hopes this Bizarre-Family-Drama is not Semi-Autobiographical, but if it is a Form-of-Therapy, Audiences should not be encouraged to enable such Bizarre-Performances as that of Michelle Pawk, as Lydia, Vera’s Loose-Moraled, Liquor-Loving, Party-Girl-Mother.

 

As a Longtime-Admirer of Michelle Pawk, I was both amazed & appalled at how she almost literally—but certainly figuratively—Threw-Herself into the Persona of Lydia.

 

Vera is a Plain-Looking, Catholic-Pious, Sad-Young-Woman.

 

She has arranged a Sham-Baby-Party for her Younger-Sister—who is not coming—so she can entice her Long-Gone-Mother to a kind of Reckoning.

 

In the course of a Drinking-Bout, to decide who will finally get the Family-House that Lydia has already Sold—to finance a New-Romance—some Truths-Are-Told.

 

Vera is not really Lydia’s Daughter!

 

Vera is not only Plain, disdaining Make-Up, but she also does not Drink & is Still-a-Virgin.

 

In the Last-Minutes of this Odd-Play, Vera loses her Virginity—to Leonard, down in the Cellar, whom we never see—after which, she Empties her Foster-Mother’s-Purse & is Out-the-Door, presumably to New-Adventures…

 

Stella Powell-Jones staged, leading the Creative-Team, which—in the Program—outnumbers the Two-in-the-Cast by More-Than-Twenty-Named-Credits!

 

 

Gardner McKay’s SEA MARKS  [*****]

 

I Must Go Down To The Sea Again: Irish-Fisherman Becomes Published-Poet, Loses Virginity…

 

As the Irish say, Patrick Fitzgerald—as the simple Irish-Fisherman, Colm—is a "Darlin’ Man.”

 

What’s more, Gardner McKay’s Sea Marks is a "Lovely Play.”

 

It’s also what Broadway-Producers call a "Two-Hander,” which should make it Popular beyond the Hudson, especially where there are eager Irish-American-Actors.

 

To Randy-American-Men it may seem Unbelievable that there are Middle-Aged-Irish-Male-Virgins.

 

But, if you live in an isolated Village—or on an Island—the Mating-Availability is scant, especially if you went-to-school with those Local-Girls…

 

Colm’s Heart-&-Soul seem bound-up in the Irish-Sea & Fishing-in-the-Sea, which can be a Dangerous-Calling.

 

Only when a pretty young Lady from Liverpool comes to the Festivities of Distant-Cousins does Colm begin to Ponder his Lot-in-Life.

 

He begins writing to Timothea—charmingly played by Xanthe Elbrick—describing in Simple-Images his Life on the Sea & his Encounters with Mother-Nature.

 

As with such Irish-Poets as John Millington Synge—whose Riders to the Sea is a Minor-Masterpiece—Colm is almost a Natural-Poet, using the most Elemental of Words, Phrases, & Metaphors.

 

Timothea responds & the Correspondence continues.

 

What Colm does not know & Timothea doesn’t tell him by Post, is that his Letters are Book-Worthy.

 

When Colm finally leaves his Rocky-Shores for Liverpool, he & Timothea Click.

 

He Loses-His-Virginity & discovers that he is now a Published-Poet.

 

But, as Brit-Poet John Masefield once wrote: I must go down to the Sea again…

 

Timothea, although involved in Publishing, is not really a City-Girl; not a Real-Liverpudlian.

 

She understands Colm’s Need-for-the-Sea, from which he takes His-Inspiration.

 

Being Irish-American on the Hudson—or the East-River—is, somehow, Not-Quite-the-Same…

 

Oh! Ciarán O’Reilly staged with subtle skill.

 

 

Carole J. Bruford’s SHADES OF BLUE  [*****]

 

This Lovely Lady Should Be Belting-Out-the-Blues on Broadway, Not Only in Cabaret-Venues!

 

Carole Bruford was a Stunner at Town-Hall in one of Scott Siegel’s Broadway-by-the-Year Events.

 

Now, Scott Siegel is presenting Carole in the Metropolitan-Room, not so far from Broadway, but still down on West-22nd-Street.

 

Having been Blown-Away by Carole Bruford’s fantastic Energy, Passion, & Personality in one of Scott’s Town-Hall Mini-Extravaganzas, I hastened down to the Metropolitan-Room, which is not remotely related to the Metropolitan-Opera

 

It is amazing that such a Petite-Blonde-Lady can Belt-the-Blues like the Best of the Old-Timers.

 

Carole can even give a Bluesy-Mood to Gershwin’s Summertime, as well as to House of the Rising-Sun.

 

Kurt Weill may have cut his Musical-Teeth with Bert Brecht in Weimar-Era-Berlin, but when Weill went up to Harlem to discover the True-Blues, he was able to give Langston Hughes something special for Lonely House.

 

Carole Bruford makes this Sorrowful-Song Achingly-Sad.

 

You may change your mind about Capital-Punishment if you hear Carole belt-out Send Me To the ‘Lectric-Chair.

 

She really honors Savannah’s Favorite-Son, Johnny Mercer, with her rousing rendition of Anywhere I Hang My Hat Is Home.

 

Not to overlook John Lennon & Paul McCartney, as Carol swings into Oh! Darlin!

 

How about John Legend’s Who Did That To You?—created for Quentin Tarantino’s Django-Unchained

 

George Gershwin returns with Carole’s Lament: The Man That Got Away.

 

I love Art-Deco almost as much as I love Dynamic-Vocalists, so it was a Distinct-Plus to see Carole in a glittering Art-Deco-Sheath!

 

Afterward, she told me someone said she looked like the Chrysler-Building!

 

Carole! There’s nothing like Standing-Tall when you are Electrifying-Audiences.

 

Please, Scott Siegel! Let’s get Carole J. Bruford on Broadway, preferably in a New-Show, written for her. Not Some Old-Revival…

 

 

Jon Robin Baitz’s THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE  [*****]

 

Autocratic-Jewish-Publisher Loves Rare-Books; People, Not So Much…

 

Manhattan—in 1987—is a Long-Way-Off from Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities.

 

Indeed, the Entire-Geldhart-Family of Specialty-Book-Publishers is quite different from those Republican-Fascists that Baitz eviscerated in his Palm-Springs-Saga.

 

As the irascible & autocratic Pater-Familias, John Noble is at times deliberately Ignoble in the High-Handed-Manner in which he deals with Eager-Authors & with his Three-Children, each of whom has Shares-of-Stock in the Family-Imprint.

 

As Isaac Geldhart—Money-Heart, in rough-translation—Noble systematically humiliates Martin [Daniel Eric Gold], the Son who is a Professor of Landscape-Design; Aaron [Carter Hudson], the Son who is trying to save the Firm from Bankruptcy, & Sarah [Halley Feiffer], the Performance-Art-Daughter, whom he derides as a Clown.

 

Isaac Geldhart is a Complicated, Conflicted, Self-Condemned-Man.

 

Hiding until he could escape the Nazis, Geldhart avoided Concentration-Camp-Extermination, unlike the Rest-of-His-Relatives.

 

Few in the Audiences at this Handsome-2econd-Stage-Production will have known Anyone who Survived the Nazi-Purge-of-Non-Aryans—while their Parents, Siblings, Aunties, & Cousins went to their Deaths in Dachau, Auschwitz, or Mauthhäusen.

 

But be assured that Such-Survivors—especially those who Made-New-Lives in America—lived-out those Lives with a Constant-Sense-of-Guilt that they had Escaped, perhaps by a Quirk-of-Fate, but certainly Undeservedly…

 

Isaac Geldhart is trying—in an Odd-Sense—to Assuage-His-Guilt by publishing an Endless & Sales-Ruinous-Succession of Holocaust-Memoirs & similar Jewish-Themed-Books.

 

The Time-Frame is 1987-1990—long before Amazon-Books & Kindles began to Kill-Off Publishing-in-General—but Isaac’s Judaic-Obsessions are already driving the Firm to the Edge-of-Bankruptcy. Or a Japanese-Takeover…

 

Nonetheless, Isaac Geldhart is Inflexible & Unmovable.

 

Aaron—who is desperately trying to Save-the-Firm by publishing Titles that the Public will actually Want-to-Buy—is treated like a Book-Keeper. Not only that: Isacc frequently calls Aaron a Book-Keeper, in front of his Despairing-Brother & Sister.

 

But Isaac is an Equal-Opportunity-Insulter: Martin is frequently a "Gardner,” although Isaac knows perfectly well what his Actual-Profession is, frequently reminding Martin who paid for his College-Education.

 

Amid the Towering-Bookshelves of the Impressive-Office—handsomely-designed by Anita Louizos–Isaac revels in his Self-Righteousness & in his Very-Expensive-Shoes.

 

Might this be another form of Guilt-Displacement?

 

Isaac has all these Hand-Made-Shoes, while Post-War-Photographs of Piles-of-Confiscated-Shoes were all the Visible-Testimonies that remained of Proscribed-Jews, who were shortly thereafter Incinerated-in-the-Ovens…

 

Three Years after the Office-Confrontation, an Aged, Still-Irascible, & Angrily-Forgetful Isaac is at-home in his Lavish-Gramercy-Park-Apartment: Snow is softly-falling outside the Tall-Windows.

 

He is visited by an African-American Professional-Woman who has come to Evaluate both Isaac & His-Situation: Aaron is concerned & an angry Martin is just in the Next-Room.

 

Isaac at one point begins to believe that Ms. Hackett [Charlayne Woodward] has come to buy Rare-Books.

 

He shows her some of His-Treasures, including a very rare Picture-Postcard, painted by a very young Adolf Hitler, when he was in Vienna, trying unsuccessfully to be admitted to the Kunst-Akademie.

 

It is obliquely-evident that Isaac is trying, in this Odd-Way, to Understand Who-Hitler-Was & Why the Holocaust could have been Generated by such a Sensitive-Young-Artist.

 

Marge Hacket has her Own-Problems.

 

Her Late-Husband was a Borough-President, who stole Millions-in-Office & committed Suicide on a Long-Island-Highway.

 

This recalls the Tragic-Trajectory of Donald Mannes, the Late-Queens-Borough-President: a True-Story, alas…

 

The Lights-Die on Isaac’s Gramercy-Park-Rare-Books-Lair, leaving Geldhart-Family-Problems somewhat Unresolved.

 

Will Isaac take Marge out to Dinner, as he suggests?

 

Trip Cullman staged, with Dialect-Coaching by Stephen Gabis.

 

 

BAM & Brooklyn’s DANCE-AFRICA-FESTIVAL  [*****]

 

African-American Street-Fair Outside; Dynamic-Drumming & Floor-Stomping-Dancing Inside!

 

Baba Chuck Davis welcomed One-&-All to the 37th-Annual Dance-Africa-Festival over in Brooklyn, with a sprawling Street-Fair outside the BAM-Opera-House on Lafayette & oozing into all the Side-Streets.

 

As always, Tribute was paid to those who have gone on to join The-Ancestors.

 

This Year-of-2014 evoked Memorials for Baba Bill Grant, Baba Amiri Baraka—once known as the Dissident-Playwright, Leroi Jones, & Tata Nelson Mandela.

 

Even African-Slaves—who died over Two-Centuries ago—were honored in-absentia at the Long-Forgotten-African-Burial-Ground in Lower-Manhattan.

 

Baba Chuck Davis put the Overflow-Audience at-ease, inviting them to the Grande-Bantaba, or Great-Dancing-Ground.

 

Drums were soon Pounding, with Feet rhythmically Stomping on the Bantaba, as the Groupe-Bakomanga, from Madagascar, showed Native-New-Yorkers such Traditional-Dances as the Famadihana & the Sakalava.

 

In Colorful-Costumes, the Malagasys danced as though Possessed.

 

This shouldn’t have been surprising for the Sakalava Explores-the-Experience of being Possessed-by-Magic!

 

Also stirring up a Dance-Tempest on stage were the Asase-Yaa African-American Dance-Theatre from Brooklyn, the AACC-Dance-&-Drum-Company from Buffalo, & BAM’s own Restoration-Dance-Africa-Ensemble.

 

Not only the Opera-House, but also the new BAM-Fisher-Theatre & even the nearby Mark-Morris-Dance-Center were pressed into Special-Event-Service.

 

Although BAM—under the Initial-Leadership of Harvey Lichtenstein—has tended to Program High-Profile International-Productions, often at Broadway-Prices, it has never forgotten that its Near-Neighbors are largely African-American.

 

That is why Harvey Lichtenstein was always insistent that Festivals such as Dance-Africa should also be an Important-Aspect of BAM’s Community-Programming.

 

Dance-Africa is always a Resounding & Refreshing-Change from a Japanese Macbeth, a Restoration-Revival, or a Baroque-Opera.

 

Way back in the 1970s, when Air-Afrique invited me to get-acquainted with West-African-Arts & Artists—in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Dahomey, & Côte-Ivoire—I experienced almost an Entire-Month of such High-Powered Tribal-&-Traditional Drumming-&-Dancing as Baba Chuck Davis & Dance-Africa crammed into One-Sunday-Afternoon.

 

My Photo-Reportage, A West-African Arts-Safari, will soon be On-Line on the Glenn-Loney-Bookshelf of ArtsArchive.com.

 

 

Gene Ionesco’s THE KILLER  [***]

 

Waiting-To-Die, Waiting-To-Die, Waiting-To-Die: Will This Absurdist-Marathon Ever End?

 

The Killer, according to the Playbill©-Program—was "Written by” Eugene Ionesco & "Translated by” Michael Feingold.

 

The Hero—or Anti-Hero, if you prefer—is Ionesco’s Everyman, Berenger.

 

You may remember him from Rhinoceros?

 

Everyone was Going-Crazy, turning into Rhinocerii, but Berenger resolved to remain a Human, even as his Beloved-Daisy was beginning to Eat-the-Flowers at their Restaurant-Table.

 

As The Killer opens, Berenger [an ever-credulous Goof, played by Michael Shannon] is being shown-around The-Radiant-City by The Architect [coolly-mimed by Robert Stanton].

 

Before Ionesco drafted this drama, Le Corbusier had designed a "Radiant-City” in Marseilles, which even now is desperately in need of an Architectural-Make-Over.

 

In Ionesco’s Absurdist-World, this Radiant-City is Perfect in every way: a Manufactured-Paradise.

 

It is also at The-End-of-All-Bus-Lines, for some Arcane-Reason.

 

But there’s a Big-Problem, as Berenger discovers when a Rock drops down from Overhead.

 

A Killer has penetrated this Paradise. No-One is Safe, except, apparently, The Architect.

 

Anyway, Moving-On: Berenger has returned to Grimy-Reality to Enlist-the-Aid of his Spooky-Friend, Edward [Paul Sparks], to track-down The Killer.

 

Along their way, they encounter a Fascist-Street-Rally, led by Ma Piper [the always fascinating Kristine Nielsen], whose Symbol is a White-Goose. She soon hopes to have Her-Followers doing The-Goose-Step, with Free-Soup-for-All!

 

This Interlude is right out of George Orwell’s 1984, but No-Matter, as the Play is something of a Socio-Politico-Philosophical-Catch-All.

 

Inventively-staged by Darko Tresnjak—who has justly been winning Major-Awards for his staging of Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder & who also Heads the Hartford-Stage—The Killer, nonetheless, goes on far too long.

 

Translator Michael Feingold has expressed surprise that The Killer has "so rarely been produced in America—and virtually never, since its original staging in New York.”

 

There’s a Very-Good-Reason for that Seeming-Neglect.

 

Ionescu has Made-His-Point long before the Two-Intermission-Evening is Over…

 

Program-Materials point-out Ionescu’s Fear-of-Death-&-Dying.

 

He was not, as the Poet has said: "…half-in-love with Easeful-Death.”

 

But it was not the Romanian-Playwright—living in Paris & writing in French—who labeled his works as Absurdist-Plays.

 

That was the Brit-Critic, Martin Esslin, who coined the Term to label a Swath of Then-Contemporary-Dramatists, including Edward Albee.

 

 

Jim Dale’s JUST JIM DALE  [*****]

 

Who Is Better-Qualified To Impersonate Jim Dale, If Not The-Man-Himself? Harry Potter, Maybe?

 

If you remember Jim Dale on Broadway as Phineas Taylor Barnum, you surely saw a Top-Notch-Performer—with a Variety-of-Skills, including Tight-Rope-Walking!

 

What’s Amazing is that Jim is still at the Top-of-His-Form, even though he Googles or Wikipedias at 78-Years.

 

His new One-Man-Show recaps all the Wonder-Years, including those spent Touring-British-Music-Halls.

 

So it’s hardly surprising that this charming Song-&-Dance-Man can still Warble-a-Lyric & Twinkle-His-Toes.

 

Indeed, some of the Lyrics in Just Jim Dale were written by the Man-Himself.

 

How about Georgy Girl

 

Becoming a Pop-Star—as well as a Pop-Songwriter—prepared Jim for Yeoman-Comedy in Fourteen of the famed Carry-On films.

 

But there was Life after Barnum & other Stage-Triumphs: All the Harry-Potter-Voices in all Seven of those Harry-Potter Audio-Books!

 

That Monumental-Challenge led Jim to earning his First-Entry in the Guinness-Book-of-World-Records.

 

He created 134-Different-Voices for Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix.

 

Different-Voices?

 

That’s what it says in the Playbill©…

 

Well, they’d have to be Different, wouldn’t they? All-the-Same doesn’t win Guinness-Records.

 

But just look what Jim did next!

 

He-Topped-Himself with 147-Different-Voices in Harry Potter & the Deathly-Hallows.

 

That was Jim’s Second-Guinness-World-Record.

 

The Third-Record—you’ve surely heard of Broken-Records: not Shattered-Shellac—was recorded because Jim Dale occupied the First-Six-Places in the Top-Ten-Audio-Books in America & Canada.

 

All very well, as the English are fond of saying, but those of us who were Too-Lazy to actually read J.K. Rowling’s Literary-Goldmine didn’t get to See-Jim-Perform-Live.

 

Full-Disclosure: I had already heard some of Jim’s rib-tickling Hilarious-Stories, long before His Winning-Show came to Roundabout’s Laura-Pels-Theatre.

 

Years & Years Ago, Jim was a Star in the Young-Vic-Ensemble, which took its name from the Old-Vic, which was then the Home of the new National-Theatre, before its Solid-Concrete-Thames-Side-Complex was completed.

 

The Young-Vic-Ensemble had been invited to the Holland-Festival, at which I was a Summer-Regular, reporting for Various-Journals.

 

I loved their Show, so the Press-Chief set-up a Pub-Lunch with Jim & we kind of Bonded.

 

He was so Talented & so Outgoing: I was immediately charmed.

 

Jim Dale is also a Great-Interview: You could write pages just retelling his Stories & Tales.

 

I was then also an Edinburgh-Festival-Regular, so imagine my surprise, not so long after, to find Jim playing Autolycus, one of Shakespeare’s most Mendacious-Clowns.

 

This was in a Hyper-Innovative-Staging that Frank Dunlop devised in an Edinburgh-Skating-Rink.

 

But the Greatest-Triumph of the Young-Vic-Ensemble was Frank’s Outrageous-Reworking of Molière’s Les fourberies de Scapin.

 

Frank renamed this French-Farce somewhat Englished as Scapino!

 

Harvey Lichtenstein brought it over from London for Adventurous-Audiences at BAM—the Brooklyn-Academy-of-Music.

 

This was More-Than-OK as it had a lot of Song-&-Dance in it, including Jim leaping over the tops of Orchestra-Seats to be Right-in-Your-Face.

 

Scapino was so popular it had to be moved over to Manhattan.

 

College & Community-Theatres wanted to stage the Young-Vic-Version—Not the one Molière wrote…

 

Because I already knew both Jim Dale & Frank Dunlop—having also recently created the Official Royal-Shakespeare-Company Production-Book of the Peter Brook Production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—the same Publisher commissioned me to do the same for the Dale/Dunlop Scapino.

 

More Great-Interviews with Jim followed, plus Demonstrations of how Jim made all those Stage-Tricks really work.

 

If you Google Scapino, there may still be some copies of The Frank Dunlop Young Vic Production of Scapino! floating around out there…

 

I haven’t seen a Royalty-Check in some Seasons, so the Publisher’s-Stock may have been exhausted.

 

This Blue-Covered-Paperback has a Title-Extension: …a Long-Way-Off from Molière, by Frank Dunlop & Jim Dale—the Authorized-Acting-Edition.

 

It was published way back in MCMLXXV, by the Dramatic-Publishing-Company.

 

The Company-Name didn’t mean that there was a lot of Drama up in Wilton [CT] in the Local-Office, but only that Publisher Chris Sergel specialized in producing Acting-Versions of recently popular Plays produced On & Off-Broadway.

 

Thanks to Larry Olivier—who was the Chief-Honcho at the National-Theatre, still at the Old-Vic—Jim was cast in The National Health, which could make Tea-Party-Republican Death-Panels look sick.

 

If you had been taken to Emergency when Jim was On-Duty, you could have Died-from-Laughing!

 

I wish I could have done a Production-Book for The National Health, but the celebrated New-Yorker Drama-Critic, Kenneth Tynan, had just become Sir Larry’s—or Lord Olivier’s, if you prefer—Dramaturg & Right-Hand.

 

Interviewing Tynan, I had—on several occasions—brought him to the Point-of-Stuttering, which was Embarrassing to us both.

 

Ken did not like to be Challenged…

 

But Jim was always a Sweetheart-Interview!

 

He’s also a Barrel-of-Fun at the Laura-Pels-Theatre, so Go-See-Jim!

 

Scapino! is a Roundabout-Theatre-Production, so Jim Dale is an Old-Hand at the Roundabout, having already appeared in their Memorable-Stagings of Privates on Parade, Joe Egg, The Threepenny Opera, & The Road to Mecca.

 

 

RAMBLES ROUND MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, INSTALLATIONS, & AUCTIONS—

 

New-Book-in-Town: The Supermodel & the Brillo-Box—Secrets of the Auction-Business!

 

The Global-Art-Market in 2012 generated $42-Billion in Sales.

 

That Staggering-Sum doesn’t mean that all those Art-Sales were from Painter-to-Patron or from Sculptor-to-Major-Museum.

 

As for Performance-Art, how can you Sell-It, Buy-It, & Preserve-It?

 

Deep-Freeze the Performers?

 

Author & Art-Market-Critic Don Thompson notes that the $42-Billion is about the GDP of Yemen or Ethiopia.

 

Just across the Arabian-Peninsula from Yemen, in the Arab-Emirates, however, there is Money-To-Burn.

 

Well, it is, after all, Oil-Money, so it may be Especially-Inflammable…

 

Big-Money-Winners at Christie’s & Sotheby’s Auction-Sales often are bound for New-Museums in Qatar & Abu-Dhabi.

 

More often, an Auctioned-Art-Work will end-up locked-up "in a Warehouse in New Jersey,” where No-One can see it.

 

It may well have been Bought-by-a-Banker or by a Ruble-Rich-Russian-Oligarch—who is just Stock-Piling it, hoping for an Increase-in-Value.

 

This is why Your Roving-Arts-Reporter so often Photographs the Paintings, Sculptures, Sketches, Posters, Objects-d’Art, Vintage-Photos, & "Important-Furniture” on-offer at Christie’s.

 

You would never have been invited to see that Million-Dollar-Manet in the Lavish-Mansion of its Previous-Owner.

 

Nor will Vlad Putin’s Best-Friend go over to New Jersey with the Storage-Keys to show it to you.

 

Gilded-Age-Plutocrats may have had Mansions full of Old-Masters, but they often—like Morgan & Lehman—founded Museums to show their Treasures to the Public.

 

That doesn’t happen much anymore.

 

Almost alone among Major-Collectors at Home & Abroad is Alice Walton—the Wal-Mart-Heiress—who has actually Founded a Museum to share her American-Artworks with the Paying-Public.

 

That’s why Your Roving-Arts-Reporter & INFOTOGRAPHY™ Arts-Archive-Photographer went down to Crystal-Bridges to See & Photograph the Extensive-Collection.

 

The Current-Auction-Fevers are largely fueled by "Caucasian & Chinese Men vying for Dominance.”

 

Women are "Entirely-Excluded.”

 

But this is Not-Entirely-True, for the Sheika-of-Qatar is one of the Biggest-Buyers of Major-Modern-Masterpieces.

 

Even with Ever-Rising-Museum-Admission-Prices, few American or European-Musea can compete with Deep-Pocketed-Bankers, CEOs, & Oligarchs for Major-Prizes.

 

Edvard Münch’s The Scream was sold, in fact, to Leon Black, of Apollo-Global-Management.

 

Whatever his Apollo-Group may Manage, Black was able to Out-Bid Everyone-Else: Sold! $119.9-Million!

 

That would have bought Edvard Münch enough Norwegian-Dried-Fish to Last-him-a-Lifetime!

 

Were Manet, Monet, & Renoir alive today, how could they share in the Multi-Millions their Artworks now command?

 

No-Way, José…

 

Even though Millions are being Bid for the Artistic-Achievements of the likes of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, & Murakami—all of whose "Artworks” are, in a very real sense, "Factory-Made”—there may be some satisfaction in knowing that the Captains-of-Industry are Getting-What-They-Deserve.

 

It has been said that Koons & Hirst "…whose work routinely sells for Stupid-Amounts-of-Money, are Adolescent-Pranksters, responsible for some of the Least-Interesting-Art ever made.”

 

 

At Christie’s Auction-House:

 

Whoever Thought American-Art Was Inferior To That of European-Modern-Masters?

That Cliché Is Shattered at Christie’s: $64-Million-Total Realized in 22 May 2014 Auction!

 

Forget all those Scoffers who dismissed Norman Rockwell as merely an Illustrator.

 

Rockwell’s The Rookie (Red-Sox Locker-Room) was bought for $22,565,000 by a Private-US-Collector!

 

Rockwell didn’t do so well with his Patriotic-Pageantry: Spirit of America. It brought only $1,085,000…

 

Not far behind Rockwell’s Best-Bid was Thomas Moran, with his Victorian-Vision of The Grand-Canyon of the Colorado, which sold for $12,485,000.

 

Edward Hopper’s Coast-Guard Boat 1—not as compelling as Hopper’s Night-Owls in a Café—nonetheless was purchased for $1,745,000.

 

Also Sea-Related was Stuart Davis’ Anchors, which sold for $1,805,000.

 

From Edgar Bronfman’s Estate came Milton Avery’s The Mandolin-Player, sold for $1,445,000.

 

Edgar’s Heirs could buy a lot of Mandolin-Picks with that cash, while knocking-back some Shots-of-Seagrams, the Family-Franchise.

 

 

Suggested Bidding for Composition-TSF Set Between $1-1.5-Million: Dollars, Not Pesos!

 

Latin-American-Art, over the years, has Become-Very-Big with International-Collectors.

 

So Christie’s Spring-Auction—on 28 May—has excited a lot of Pre-Sale-Interest.

 

Among the Usual-Suspects will be Fernando Botero, Wilfredo Lam, Jésus Rafael-Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diaz, Beatriz Milhazes, & Rufino Tamayo, with his Iconic Mujer con sandia.

 

But Joaquín Torres-García may be the Star, with his Composition-TSF expected to Make-at-Least-a-Million.

 

 

Month-of-May Proves Month of Million-Dollar-Plus-Plus-Plus Auction-Sales at Christie’s!

 

It was hoped that the Impressionist & Modern-Art May-Auctions at Christie’s would break the Four-Hundred-Million-Dollar-Mark, but in Early-May, the First-Report was of only $285.9-Million…

 

Soon after, however, came a Report of Sales-Totals of $325,845,625, but that was only for the Period 6-7 May.

 

 

Hopes-Were-High for Evening-Sale of Post-War-&-Contemporary-Art on 13 May:

"In the Region of $500-Million…” So Here Are Some-Results of Sales of Modern-Masters!

 

Some Even-More-Important-Auctions were to Follow: How much would be bid for that Silver-Monster-Vintage-Railroad-Train, with Tanker-Cars for Jim-Beam-Bourbon?

 

This was another of those Jeff-Koons-Specials, with a Marvelous-Silver-Catalog that was produced Only-for-Potential-Bidders, so there are no Collector-Copies available for Love-or-Money.

 

Jeff Koons’ Early-Signature-Sculpture of Two-Basketballs-Suspended-in-a-Tank-of-Water was also Up-for-Auction. But not in the Same-Sale…

 

Here are some Representative-Winning-Bids—just in case you have a Monet, Manet, or Modigliani at home that you’d like to send to Christie’s for Auction, to Pay for the Kids-College:

 

Claude Monet: Nymphéas [Oil-on-Canvas] sold for $27,045,000.

 

Pablo Picasso: Portrait de femme (Dora Maar) [Oil-on-Panel] sold for $22,565,000.

 

Amadeo Modigliani: Jeune homme roux assis [Oil-on-Canvas] sold for $17,637,000.

 

Wassily Kandinsky: Strandszene [Oil-on-Board] sold for $17,189,000.

 

Joan Miró: Le serpent à coquelicots traînant sur un champ de violettes people par des lézards en deuil [Oil-&-Mixed-Media-on-Board] sold for $12,485,000.

 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Jeune filles jouant au Volant [Oil-on-Canvas] sold for $11,365,000.

 

Well, You Get-the-Idea…

 

 

"Important-Silver” Brings Christie’s Consigners Nearly $2.5-Million, Minus Fees & Charges…

 

If you are Crazy about the Sea & the Ships that Sail upon it, then you might well have envied the Collector who snapped-up The Good-Ship St. Andrew for a mere $533,000.

 

This is an Historic-Evocation, in Sterling-Silver, of a British-Three-Master—under Full-Sail—though it would surely have Sunk, had Omar Ramsden made it Full-Scale…

 

Paul Revere’s Silver-Quart-Cann [sic] was sold for an even $100,000.

 

 

Treasures of American-Heiress Huguette Clark on the Block on 18 June:

$Ten-Million-Estimate for an Old-Fiddle, Found in a Family-Closet…

 

Good that Someone found that Old-Violin in a Closet in the Clark’s Fifth-Avenue-Apartment!

 

It was, in fact, the famous Kreutzer-Stradivari, which Huguette Clark’s Parents, Senator & Mrs. William A. Clark, had bought for their Teen-Age-Daughter to play.

 

Whether the Young Huguette played Beethoven’s Kreutzer-Sonata on it is not now known, but surely she must have.

 

This Major-Sale will include Gilded-Age Interior-Furnishings, as well as Major-Paintings by William Merritt Chase & John Singer Sargent.

 

The Clark-Fortune had come out of the ground, literally, as it was founded on Copper-Mines.

 

The Clarks were famed for their Formal-Dinners & Elegant-Life-Style, so Tiffany & Cartier Treasures will abound.

 

 

LIMITLESS: Iconic Photographs from National-Geographic/Editor’s-Choice

 

The National-Geographic-Magazine has, apparently, a Limitless-Archive of Famous-Photos, many Lensed by "Renowned Award-Winning-Photographers.”

 

From 12-27 May, Christie’s was privileged to offer On-Line-Bidders some Seventy-Lots, chosen by the National-Geographic Senior-Editor, Elizabeth Krist.

 

Bids began at $400 [cheap at that price] & Photos will be accompanied by a Certificate-of-Authenticity!

 

 

At Bonhams Auction-House:

 

Audrey Hepburn’s Designer Chapeaux Are Prized "Entertainment-Memorabilia” Collector-Items!

 

Bonhams-Los-Angeles celebrated Audrey Hepburn’s Birthday by Auctioning-Off her Givenchy-Headgear, worn for her Cover-Portrait-Photo on the November-1964-Issue of Vogue.

 

A Phone-Bidder "took-home” this Handsome Jade-Green-Velvet-Hat for $46,250.

 

Hepburn’s Hat from Funny-Face sold in 2013 for $87,500.

 

Entertainment-Memorabilia—including Iconic-Rock-&-Roll-Posters—do very well at Bonhams-LA, which is currently Accepting-Consignments for its Second-Auction in Partnership with Ted Turner’s Classic-Movies, titled: "There’s No Place Like Hollywood.”

 

With Flagships in London, Manhattan, & Los Angeles, Bonhams styles itself as "The Third-Largest International Fine-Art Auction-House.”

 

One presumes the Rankings must go like this: Christie’s, Sothebys, Bonhams, Phillips…

 

 

American-Art On-View & On-Sale: 21 May Auction Featured Frieske, Bierstadt, Sargent, & Catlin.

 

If you’ve never heard of the American-Painter Frederick Carl Frieske, look him up in Wikipedia

 

He had a house in Giverney, near that of Claude Monet. It was in his Giverny-Garden that he painted The Garden Chair, which recently sold at Bonham’s for $962,000.

 

Not quite a Christie’s-Million, but still…

 

Western-American-Painter George Catlin’s Blackfoot-Indian-Group brought $338,000.

 

Catlin traveled with Lewis-&-Clark on that Famous-Expedition, depicting the Lives-&-Customs of more than Fifty-Indian-Tribes.

 

That was Long-Before the US-Treaty-Breakers put them in "Reservations.”

 

Albert Bierstadt—famed for his Breathtaking-Western-Landscapes—was represented by Brook in the Woods, a tranquil Woodland-Scene that looked nothing remotely like Yosemite-Falls.

 

Nonetheless, it fetched $146,500.

 

Famed American-Sculptors were also represented: The 19th-Century’s Hiram Powers, with Ginevra.

 

The 20th-Century’s Art-Deco-Master, Paul Manship, figuratively won $60,000 for his Briseis.

 

What would Rockefeller-Center look like without all those Paul-Manship-Bronzes?

 

 

Bonhams Stages The Story of the 20th-Century: Important Documents & Photos in June-Auction.

 

If you have $20,000 to $30,000 to spare—after Mortgage-Payments—you might want to bid for Robert Frost’s Autograph-Manuscript of Gold for Christmas.

 

Frost’s The Road Not Taken, The Hired-Man, or Mending-Wall are not On-Offer…

 

But there will be many Famous-Faces & Autographs available.

 

How about a Personally-Inscribed Photo of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy?

 

This Kennedy-Keepsake was once the Valued-Treasure of NATO-Commander General Lauris Norstadt, whom President Kennedy describes as a "Distinguished American Soldier.”

 

My own Kennedy-Autographed-Photo is, however, not yet Up-for-Auction.

 

A Cover-Letter from JFK’s Personal-Secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, assures me that "…he is most grateful for your confidence and support.”

 

Not only that: Ms. Lincoln also "extends the President’s every good wish.”

 

When I used to go down to Georgetown once a month, in the Good-Old-Days, I stayed with the Dean of Georgetown-University’s School of Foreign-Service.

 

The Dean lived just across the street from Senator Jack Kennedy & his Lovely-Wife, Jackie, whom we often saw departing for some Elegant-Reception or Dinner or Whatever.

 

Did you know that Lincoln’s Personal-Secretary was a Kennedy?

 

An Interesting-Happenstance: Lincoln-Kennedy; Kennedy-Lincoln…

 

 

At Sotheby’s Auction-House:

 

Looking-Forward To Evening-Auction of Contemporary-Art on 30 June 2014 in London!

 

Christie’s! Eat Your Heart Out!

 

Your Jeff-Koons-Aquarium has only Two-Spaulding-Basketballs in it…

 

Over at Sotheby’s—on Far-Distant York-Avenue—their Jeff-Koons-Aquarium contains Three-Spaulding-Basketballs!

 

You Must, by now, Understand that Multi-Millionaire-Art-Creator Jeff Koons does not actually Make much of the Signature-Artwork that is marketed under His-Name.

 

No, indeed! He hires Talented-Artisans to do that.

 

Jeff Koons is the Idea-Man: he Gets-the-Concept, even, perhaps, Sketching-Outlines of what the Finished-Product should look like.

 

So, those Ubiquitous-Trademark-Balloon-Dogs were not Fabricated by Jeff.

 

The Koons-Basketballs are almost an Afterthought, standing in the Entry-Hall leading to a Full-Sotheby-Floor of Contemporary-Art.

 

Much of this is as "Important” as anything Christie’s has had to offer in Recent-Auctions.

 

Sotheby’s also has the Advantage of having More-Spacious-Space in which to show its Sale-Headliners.

 

As Sotheby’s Contemporary-Art-Auction is to be an "End-of-Monther” in London in June, it is Thoughtful that Sotheby’s has brought these Modern-Astonishments across the Atlantic for American-Bidders to Have-a-Look.

 

Suggested Starting-Bids for Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on Light Ground) range from $25,000,000 to $35,000,000.

 

This is Not-Unusual for Bacons, especially now that he is Dead & cannot make More of these.

 

Nonetheless, had I been George Dyer, looking at the Studies for the First-Time, I’d have Called-My-Doctor immediately. Or Cancelled-the-Portrait?

 

Here’s an Elemental-Andy-Warhol: Dollar-Sign (Yellow).

 

The Actual-Dollar-Sign is Slightly-Slanted & a Somewhat-Scumbled-Black. The Ground is Yellow…

 

Suggested Starting-Bids range from $5,060,000 to $6,750,000.

 

Obviously, this won’t do Andy any good, for He-Is-Also-Dead.

 

When I was writing for Andy in Inter/View, he never paid me more than $25. I should have kept those Autographed-Warhol-Checks…

 

Andy may Fare-Better with his Nine Multicolored Marilyns (Reversal Series), for the Suggested-Starting-Bids range from $6,750,000 to $10,130,000.

 

How about a Square of Painted-Panel that is Nothing-But-Blue all over?

 

This has Suggested-Starting-Bids ranging from $4,220,000 to $5,910,000.

 

Its Title is Untitled Blue Monochrome.

 

Aha! But it is an Yves Klein!

 

A White-Canvas with a Trademark-Downward-Central-Slash has Suggested-Starting-Bids ranging from $3,710,000 to $5,060,000.

 

Its Title is Concetto Spaziale, Attesa…

 

On its Verso, Lucio Fontana has inscribed: Dovrei andare a Parigi con Crippa.

 

Was he taking the Baby along to Paris?

 

 

Not-for-Auction: Selling-Exhibitions at Sotheby’s include Vasarely, Dubuffet, & Guiness-Jewelry.

 

In a Darkened-Room, the Geometric-Optical-Tricks of Viktor Vasarely gleam Fluorescently.

 

In another Chamber—cleverly decorated with Signature-Visual-References—a Festival of Jean Dubuffet’s Quirky-Canvases & Contorted-Sculptures merrily Cavort, awaiting Deep-Pursed Art-Collectors.

 

For these, you do not Bid. You Pay-the-Price, although That may be Negotiable.

 

As for the Guinness-Jewelry, it is not fashioned by any of the Guinness-Brewing-Heirs, but is, instead, presented by the Louisa-Guinness-Gallery.

 

Among the Expensive-Oddments are Cufflinks, Rings, & Earrings by Anish Kapoor.

 

Also: Handsome Bracelets, Necklaces, Cufflinks, & Earrings by Claude LaLanne, as well as Bracelets, Chokers, Cufflinks, Rings, & Earrings by Sophia Vari.

 

 

Art-Fairs in Mid-Town: Three on One-May-Weekend, Plus Frieze on Randall’s-Island…

 

Whose Dumb-Idea was it to schedule Three-Major-Art-Fairs in Manhattan on One-Weekend?

 

Not only was it Exhaustive to try to Run-Hither-&-Thither to have a Really-Close-Look at all the Dealer-Booths-&-Wares in Several-Sites, but it was occasionally-unsettling to see the Same-Artists on-view in Several-Booths: Déjà-Vu & then some…

 

But it wasn’t just about Artworks—Mainstream & Outsider—but also about Architecture-&-Design: Interior, Exterior, Urban, Industrial, Landscape, even Digital!

 

From 9 to 20 May 2014, NYC X DESIGN was Celebrated-Citywide.

 

When the Weather is slowly improving in May, wouldn’t it make More-Sense to schedule the new Downtown-Fair, Pulse, & Outsider-Art on Three-Different-Weekends?

 

If Dealers are hoping to Make-Sales—rather than offer a Museum-Experience for Weekenders—obviously Not-So-Many-Purses are going to spring-open on Only-One-Weekend.

 

Something-to-Remember: Once-Upon-a-Time, it made Serious-Sense for an Arts-Reporter to provide Word-Pictures of the Art-on-Offer.

 

Now, Thanks to the Miracle-of-The-Internet, every Arts-Fair & every Dealer & every Gallery has its own Illustrated-Website.

 

That means, of course, that even Potential-Purchasers & Itinerant-Arts-Reporters could save Shoe-Leather by staying at home with iPhones, iPads, or Historic-Laptops!

 

 

Downtown-Fair in the Lex-Avenue 69th-Regiment-Armory:

 

No, No, No! This is Not the Park-Avenue-Armory!

 

That Landmarked-Fortress is now more a Performing-Arts-Center & Weekend-Dealer-Haven than an Active-Military-Outpost.

 

The Lexington-Avenue 69th-Regiment-Armory is still the Original-Bastion of "The-Fighting-69th,” with Military-Vehicles parked outside & Camouflage-Clad-Sergeants at-the-ready inside.

 

But this Armory has a Tradition-of-Sharing with the Arts, as it was The-Site of that shocking Armory-Show-of-1923, the Arts-Outrage that introduced many Manhattan-Collectors to the Horrors-of-Modern-Art, on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

The newly-inaugurated Downtown-Fair makes Good-Use of the Drill-Floor-Space, but it is not as Spacious as the Wade-Thompson-Drill-Hall over on Park.

 

That is All-to-the-Good, for, when you enter, it doesn’t look like it’s going to Take-All-Day to Make-the-Rounds of all the Dealer-Booths.

 

Here are some of the Dealers whose Offerings were Impressive:

 

The Danese/Corey-Gallery was showing Deborah Butterfield’s "not-yet-titled” Bronze-Horse-Made-of-Branch-Fragments.

 

Another one of these Butterfield-Skeleton-Horses is in the Stanford-University-Art-Gallery…

 

From the United-Kingdom came Archeus/Post-Modern, showing the late Ruth Osawa’s "Untitled.”

 

But they also had David Hockney, Lucian Freud, & Agnes Martin on-offer.

 

Actually, Osawa’s Signature-Sculptures—a Selection of which were recently on-view at Christie’s, on the 20th-Floor of the Simon-Schuster-Bldg—defy Simple-Titles.

 

The One on-offer is described thusly: "Hanging Single-Lobed Five-Layer Continuous-Form-Within-a-Form.”

 

Contessa-Gallery was showing Street-Art by Thierry Guetta, "now known as Mr. Brainwash.”

 

The Cynthia-Corbett-Gallery was presenting ar.chi.tec.ton.ic, featuring Andy Buress & Tom Leighton.

 

If you needed another Calder, Sandy was on-display, as were Keith Haring & Andy Warhol.

 

In Fifty-Years, will there still be Enough-Warhols to Go-Around?

 

The Warhol-Foundation is selling-off lots of Archival-Stuff, including Andy’s Old-Polaroids…

 

 

Outsider-Art-Fair at Center 548—Almost at the Chelsea-Piers:

 

OK, already!

 

Who is the Official-Dealer in Henry-Darger-Artworks?

 

The American-Folk-Art-Museum—whose Award-Winning-Ex-Home is now being destroyed by MoMA, so they can Accommodate-More-Crowds—used to display an Amazing-Array of Darger’s Odd-Writings & Long-Watercolor-Panels of those Little-Girls-with-Penises.

 

But Bits & Pieces of Darger-Works now turn-up in various Dealer-Booths.

 

When I saw those Inscribed-Skulls, I was interested to discover that they were being shown by Galerie-Toxic, which is at-home in Lux-City, Luxembourg.

 

But what hath Edward Deeds gone & done with all those Pencil-Sketches on Note-Pad-Forms from State-Hospital-No.-3?

 

Hirschl-&-Adler were showing a Remarkable-Range of Images made by this Obsesed-Man—who spent much of his Life in a Madhouse, although it was an Ingeniously-Designed-Insane-Asylum.

 

George Widener’s Visions are also Astonishing. Consider his Time-Lapse, from Ricco-Maresca.

 

Art-Brut was brought from Swiss-Lausanne by Galerie-du-Marché.

 

Traditional-Americana was represented by Just-Folk, from Summerland, CA, which is only Six-Miles-South of Santa-Barbara.

 

Possibly because I once used to live on Emerson-Street in Berkeley, I am partial to The-Ames-Gallery, located over on Cedar-Street.

 

More than that, however, I admire their Offerings of the Visionary AG Rizzoli & Alex Maldonado.

 

But they also have some of Jim Bauer’s Tiny-Metal-Sculptures, made of Common-Oddments. His Elephant has a Shower-Nozzle for his Trunk.

 

They have some Tramp-Art, as well as the Vintage-Visions of Esther Hammerman.

 

Gray Carter/Objects of Art—from McLean, VA, Home to the CIA—offered a Handsome-Brochure, even if one was not Acquiring-Outsider-Art.

 

Fascinatingly-Complex was Stephanie Lucas’ Masse, but the Fantasy-Medieval-Castle of Julian Nemethy was almost Otherworldly, with the Germanic-Title of Zwingen-Burg.

 

Although Jane Kallir, at Galerie-St-Etienne, specializes in Austrian & German Expressionists, she also has some Unsettling-Images made by Madmen, notably Adolf Wölfli.

 

Grandma Moses was her Father’s-Discovery, having made Anna Mary Robertson certainly one of America’s Most-Famous-Outsiders, but Kallir also has some Henry-Darger-Watercolors.

 

At Marion Harris’ Booth, one could savor the Paperback-Title of a Modern-Shakespeare-Edition: A LOAD OF FUSS ABOUT FUCK ALL.

 

 

Pulse-Contemporary-Art-Fair, at The Metropolitan-Pavilion:

 

From the Official-Press-Release, it appears that Pulse is not only concerned with Providing-a-Platform for Emerging-Galleries & Artists, but it also—at its Art-Fairs in both Manhattan & Miami—wants Visitors to have a Dynamic-Experience.

 

Pulse has Artist, Dealer, & Curator Panels, as well as a Pulse-Prize.

 

Among Previous-Pulse-Prize-Winners are: Cristina De Middel, Marjolijn De Wit, Sigrid Viir, & Duke Riley.

 

One of My-Very-Favorite-Galleries is Waterhouse-&-Dodd, with Showplaces in both London & Manhattan.

 

I’ve actually never been to either Gallery, but I have come to admire their Showmanship, at various Art-Fairs, with the Handsomely-Printed-Catalogues-&-Brochures they produce.

 

If you can get your hands on the Jean-François Rauzier Hyperphotos-Catalogue, Never-Let-It-Go!

 

His Visions of Layered-Images are Astounding: Vestibule, for example, is no Mere-Corridor.

 

Instead, it is a Multi-Level Grand-Barok-Treppenhaus, with Vista-upon-Vista of Great-Windows, White-Columns, & White-Marble-Stairs, studded with Baroque-Statues & Side-Staircases!

 

Photo-Shop Gone Crazy!

 

For his Super-Crowded-Vision of Manhattan, Jean-François Rauzier seems to have photographed each Historic-Building—as well as anything in-between—separately, then pasted them together, so Distinctly does Each-Structure-Stand-Out.

 

Made in New York is a Series-of-Brownstones-&-Apartment-Buildings with Prominent-Fire-Escapes shrouding their Façades.

 

On some of those Fire-Escapes are standing such Notables as Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mel Brooks, Al Pacino, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, & James Gandolfini.

 

A Grand-Baroque-Library—such as one might find in Vienna in the Hofburg—is transformed by Jean-François Rauzier into Endlessly-Rising-Shelves-of-Books.

 

This Vision he calls Longue-Histoire

 

Look! Look at all those Empty-Folding-Chairs, standing in that Meadow, looking outward toward that Big-Steaming-Tower!

 

Look! Look at all those Empty-Folding-Chairs, standing in near a Sand-Trap in Smooth-Mowed-Greensward on a Tree-Lined-Golf-Course!

 

Look! Look at all those Empty-Folding-Chairs, standing on an Auto-Free-Elevated-Autobahn, somewhere in Europe…

 

These are the Enigmatic-Images of Art-Photographer Aleix Plademunt, who calls them Espectadores.

 

Aleix is represented by galerieolivierwaltman, of 74, rue mazarine, in Paris, France…

 

But Waltman-Ortega can also be found in Miami!

 

Why Oh, Why Oh is that Girl up on a branch of that Furiously-Red-Tree crying so Hopelessly?

 

Perhaps only Armando Marino—the Responsible-Artist—can tell you.

 

After checking-out Armando Marino at Pulse, see more of his Artwork at Gallery Thomas Jaeckel in Manhattan.

 

For Something-Entirely-Different, how about Travis Somerville’s Collage of an 1864 Harper’s-Weekly Cover featuring an Engraving of General Sheridan, joined by a grinning Col. Harlan Sanders, seated on the ground, with a Big-Bucket of Kentucky-Fried-Chicken [Original-Recipe] on his Lap.

 

Plus a Negro-Lad, behind Sheridan, with his Hand-Raised. Does he want to Leave-the-Tent?

 

Somerville’s American-Rhetoric—represented by Beta-Pictoris, of Birmingham, AL—functions as Anti-Nostalgia, or so Travis Somerville is said to Believe.

 

But Anti-Nostalgia will only work for you if you spend some time actually Looking-At-It…

 

Check-Out Zadok Gallery way down in Miami, FL!

 

One of My-Favorites in Manhattan—also on-view at Pulse—is Davidson-Contemporary, on Fifth-Avenue, close to Prada & Abercrombie-&-Fitch.

 

Keep Your Finger on Pulse!

 

 

At the Brooklyn-Museum-of-Art:

 

AI WEI WEI: According to What?

 

[Closing 10 August 2014]

 

The Big-Thing about Communist/Capitalist-China’s Arts-Bad-Boy Ai Wei Wei is not so much that he was Imprisoned-&-Interrogated by the Chinese-Thought-Police—Effectual-Inheritors of the Thought-of-Chairman-Mao—along with having his Studio-Destroyed-by-Bulldozers, even though his Birds-Nest-Design of the Signature-Stadium of the International-Olympic-Games in Beijing was Admired-World-Wide, but that his Signature-Art-Works seem to be Everywhere-on-Exhibition…

 

Or can it be that I seem to be Following the International-Tour of According-to-What?

 

I first saw & photographed Ai Wei Wei’s Moon-Chest—a Pristine-Row of Wooden-Boxes, with Two-Viewing-Holes each—in Kunsthaus-Bregenz, during the Bregenz-Festival several seasons ago.

 

Also On-View were his Map-of-China & China-Log, both made from Tieli-Wood, taken from Dismantled-Temples of the Quing-Dynasty.

 

Chairman Mao—who would certainly Be-Appalled to see what Modern-China-Has-Become: Towering-Skyscrapers in Downtown-Shanghai; Bullet-Trains; Cross-Country-Freeways—wanted to Destroy-All Evidence of Ancient-Religious-Traditions.

 

So there was a Surplus of Temple-Wood-Elements for Ai Wei Wei to work-with.

 

Missing from the Brooklyn-Museum-Show is the remarkable Wooden-Replica of Modern-Beijing & Wooden-Designs for the Olympic-Stadium.

 

From that Bregenz-Show, I still have my Red-Bag, bearing the Legend: Free Ai Wei Wei!

 

At that time, Ai Wei Wei was still In-Custody.

 

At the Brooklyn-Museum, there are Six-Huge-Rectangular-Boxes, together labeled S. A. C. R. E. D.

 

If you get up on Foot-Rest & peer-down into a Rectangular-Window in the Top of any Box, you will see Models of Ai Wei Wei in Prison: Eating, Being-Interrogated, &&&&

 

The Problem for Ai Wei Wei seems to be that he Uses-Art to Criticize the Post-Maoist-Government in Beijing.

 

Being Photographed dropping a Han-Dynasty-Urn so that it will Break-into-Many-Shards might have, in fact, Delighted-Chairman-Mao, a Break with Tradition-&-The-Past!

 

But to fill an Entire-Gallery with Hundreds-of-Pounds of Straightened-Rebar is a Direct-Challenge to a Provincial-Government that could Allow-the-Use of Defective-Materials in Public-Schools, causing the Deaths of Scores-of-School-Children.

 

These Varied-Lengths of Cement-Reinforcement-Steel have been supposedly Straightened from the Crumpled-Condition in which they were found when a School-Collapsed…

 

New to me at the Brooklyn-Museum was that Ceiling-Snake that is symbolically-composed of Dead-School-Children’s Back-Packs.

 

But these look so Bright-Shiny-New that they were surely not Recovered from the Dead-Bodies?

 

Previously seen at the Met-Museum—but now over in Brooklyn—is Ai Wei Wei’s Coca-Cola Vase.

 

Ai Wei Wei has slyly painted the Coca-Cola-Logo on the side of a Neolithic-Chinese-Vase, circa. 5,000-3,000 BCE. [As in: Before-Christian-Era, which doesn’t sound at all Maoist!]

 

Yes, there are all those Porcelain-Crabs on the floor of the Brooklyn-Museum, not to Overlook the Two-Bowls-of-Pearls, or the Sad-Possessions of Dispossessed-Woman-Advocate for Sex-Workers.

 

What we do not have over at the Brooklyn-Museum are those Million-Porcelain-Sunflower-Seeds that Ai Wei Wei made for the Tate-Modern in London!

 

What we do have are all those Massed-Bicycles, now on-view in the Atrium of the Brooklyn-Museum—but not as many as were shown Outside the Hirschhorn-Museum in Washington, DC.

 

Nor do we see, over in Brooklyn, the Hundred-Antique-Chinese-Chairs Ai Wei Wei contributed to one of those Documenta-Exhibitions in Kassel.

 

You could be forgiven—after seeing this Extensive-Exhibition—for thinking that Ai Wei Wei has a Genius for Self-Promotion…

 

 

CHICAGO IN L. A.: Judy Chicago’s Early-Work, 1963-74

 

[Closing 10 August 2014]

 

Judy was born in Chicago as Judith Cohen, but she removed herself to the West-Coast & was part of all that Art-Ferment in the Sixties.

 

She is now Seventy-Five-Years-Old & the Brooklyn-Museum is celebrating that Anniversary with Examples of Her-Early-Work, a lot of which seems to be concerned with Pastel-Colors & Color-Charts.

 

Some of the Artifacts on-view are Plastic—that is to say that they are Three-Dimensional—in the Manner of those Three-Inverted-V-Shapes which are, in fact, Latex-Paint on Canvas-Covered-Plywood!

 

My Favorite among Judy’s varied & often Somewhat-Centrifugal-Paintings—how about: Through the Flower, Queen Victoria, or Female-Rejection-Drawing?—is that Majestic-Icon called Heaven Is for White-Men-Only.

 

But, like Carl Orff with Carmina-Burana, Judy Chicago will probably be Best-Remembered for her Triangular-Dinner-Party, with Bizarre-Vagina-Like-Ceramic-Table-Settings for Famous-Women through History.

 

This is Permanently-Installed in the Feminist-Dedicated-Sackler-Galleries of the Brooklyn-Museum!

 

 

SWOON: Submerged-Motherlands

 

[Closing 10 August 2014]

 

When you next visit the Fifth-Floor-Atrium of the Brooklyn-Museum, you may well be Astounded at what Swoon has constructed in that Lofty-Domed-Space!

 

Central is a Towering-Fantasy-Tree—an Immense-Fairy-Like-Fantasy-Redwood-Giant—flanked by what seem to be a Beached-Boat & a Battered-Platform, both Loaded-with-Stuff.

 

They looked Vaguely-Familiar—I was certain I’d seen them somewhere else—but they were Initially-Constructed to Sail-Down the Grand-Canal in Venice: Swimming-Cities of the Serenissima was the Title Swoon assigned to this Uninvited-Entry in the 2009-Venice-Biennale.

 

The Two-Odd-Crafts are largely composed of New-York-City-Garbage, which Swoon somehow transported to Slovenia, where a Crew-of-Thirty helped her sail them to Venice, collecting more Oddments along the Waterways…

 

Swoon’s Epic-Tree rises to the 72-Foot-Summit of the Atrium-Dome, but its Entrancing-Lacy-Lightness is achieved with Swoon’s Signature-Cut-Paper-Foliage, much of which is also splayed around the Atrium-Floor, along with some Super-Large-People-Images.

 

You have to See-for-Yourself Submerged-Motherlands to have Some-Sense of what Swoon is Up-To…

 

Hurricane-Sandy is evoked, with New-York-City as one of Two-Submerged-Motherlands.

 

The Other is called Doggerland, Swoon’s Name for the Long-Vanished-Landmass that once connected Britain to The-Continent.

 

This almost Mythical-Land-Link was destroyed by a Tsunami some Eight-Thousand-Years-Ago.

 

At least that’s the Environmental-Agency that Swoon swears made Doggerland Go-To-the-Dogs, figuratively-speaking…

 

As you may well understand—even before Actually-Seeing Submerged-Motherlands—Swoon is Environmentally-Aware & really worried about People & Climate-Change.

 

The Video showing how Swoon & her Co-Workers Spray-Painted the Atrium & otherwise Transformed it, is an Artwork in itself!

 

Swoon is a "Brooklyn-Artist” but Swoon is Not-Her-Real-Name.

 

She was Born & possibly Christened as Caledonia Dance Curry.

 

 

At the CUNY-Grad-Center’s James-Gallery:

 

A Story of Two-Museums: An Ethnographic-Exhibition

 

[Closing 7 June 2014]

 

The Visual-&-Narrative-Link between the Museum-of-Jurassic-Technology in Los Angeles [CA] & the Museum-of-American-Art in Berlin [DE] is that they are both—in a Certain-Sense—Museums about Museums & Collections.

 

The altogether-remarkable Museum-of-Jurassic-Technology seems like a Renaissance-Cabinet-of-Wonders, but on a Larger-Scale than that Wunder-Kammer still maintained in Salzburg-Cathedral, the Odd-Collections of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg, who still believed in Unicorns & Mermaids…

 

At least they still have some Unicorn-Horns on-display…

 

I have never visited the Museum-of-Jurassic-Technology in Los Angeles, but they seem to have Loaned CUNY the Most-Representative of their Treasures: Well Worth a Visit, if not to LA, at least to CUNY!

 

As for the Museum-of-American-Art—founded in 2004, to inform Berliners about the Burgeoning-Art-Scene across the Atlantic—I have visited it but did not realize how many Documenta-Catalogs they have to Share-Abroad.

 

Documenta takes place in Kassel, every so often, & it was there that I first saw all those Ancient-Chinese-Chairs that were the Artwork shown by China’s Ai Wei Wei!

 

Anyway, you do not have to go to Berlin to know about Modern-American-Art, but it might be interesting to see how Berliners are looking at us!

 

 

At the Frick-Collection:

 

The Poetry of Parmigianino’s "Schiava-Turca”

 

[Closing 20 July 2014]

 

Parma is famed for its Parma-Ham & its Parmesan-Cheese—not to Overlook its Fabled-Charterhouse: Stendahl’s Chartreuse-di-Parme—but it also has a Famous-Son, the Renaissance-Painter, Parmigianino.

 

The Occasion for Excitement at the Frick is the Loan from the Galleria-Nazionale-di-Parma of Parmigianino’s Enigmatic-Portrait of the so-called "Schiava-Turca,” or "Turkish-Slave.”

 

Because Parmigianino’s Unknown-Sitter seems to be wearing a Turban, it was long ago wrongly-assumed that this was possibly a Portrait of a Female-Slave, perhaps even an Unfortunate confined in a Turkish-Harem?

 

But just One-Look at the Lavish-Gown, the Elaborately-Ostrich-Feathered-Fan & the Richly-Jeweled-Headgear should have suggested that this Enigmatically-Smiling-Lady was Never-a-Slave, Turkish or Otherwise.

 

While her Mysterious-Smile is hardly Mona-Lisa-Quality, over time Experts have speculated about Who—among Parmigianino’s Female-Acquaintances—might have been His-Sitter.

 

Now, Aimee Ng surveys all the Speculations in a Handsome-Exhibition-Catalogue: The Poetry of Parmigianino’s "Schiava-Turca,” published by the Frick.

 

So that this will not seem like a One-Portrait-Show, "Schiava-Turca,” is Metaphorically-Escorted by Parmigianino’s Portrait of a Man, as well as by two of the Frick’s own Titians: Portrait of a Man in a Red Cap & Pietro Aretino.

 

For Good-Measure, the Frick’s Handsome-Treasure, Portrait of Lodovico Capponi, by Agnolo Bronzino, has also been Hung in the Oval-Gallery.

 

For the Record: Parmigianino’s Real-Name was Francesco Mazzola [1503-1540: Not a Long-Lifespan], but his Parmesan-Dimunitive followed him everywhere.

 

In fact, Very-Soon, all the way to San Francisco, where "Schiava-Turca” will be shown at the Palace-of-the-Legion-of-Honor in Lincoln-Park.

 

Aimee Ng’s Study of this Portrait is fascinating: Who Could This Woman Have Been?

 

What is the Significance of that Winged-White-Horse [Pegasus?] in the glowing Golden-Sunburst on Her-Costly-Turban?

 

For-That-Matter: Is there some Hidden-Significance in the Official-Name of the Loaning-Museum?

 

Look-at-It-Closely: Galleria-Nazionale…

 

Remember Benito Mussolini: Il-Duce?

 

Remember how Italy was allied with those National-Socialist-Germans above the Alps?

 

How About Galleria-NAZIonale

 

Just Asking.

 

Oh: Ordinarily, the Frick’s haunting St. Francis in the Desert, by Giovanni Bellini, would be flanked by the Two-Titians now in the Oval-Gallery.

 

Replacing them are two Renaissance-Visions of St. Jerome in the Wilderness: one by Fra Bartolommeo; the other, by Benvenutro Tisi, but both On-Loan from the Alana-Collection.

 

 

ENGLIGHTENMENT & BEAUTY: Sculptures by Houdon & Clodion

 

[From 1 April 2014 to 5 April 2015]

 

Considering that the much-vaunted 18th-Century French-Enlightenment culminated in the French-Revolution of 1789—with the Beheading even of some Enlightened-Aristocrats & the Smashing of the Stained-Glass-Windows of Chartres-Cathedral—it is amazing that both Famed-French-Sculptors, Houdon & Clodion, survived that Terminal-Turbulence.

 

Even More-Amazing about their Personal-&-Artistic-Survival is the Fact that they served Noble-Patrons—not Revolting-Peasants—basing their Remarkable-Portrait-Busts & Terra-Cotta-Figures on Classic-Models studied in Rome, where they had both won the Prix-de-Rome.

 

The Frick doesn’t own that Famous-Houdon-Bust-of-Ben-Franklin, but its Elegant-Houdon-Sculptural-Image of La Comtesse du Cayla—carved more than a Decade before Marie Antoinette Lost-Her-Head—is a Study-in-Stone, so-to-speak.

 

Clodion—whose Real-Name was Claude Michel—may be seen as the Lesser of the Two, but the Elegance of his Terra-Cottas, such as The Three Graces is Classic-Roman indeed.

 

Both Clodion’s & Houdon’s Works in the Frick-Collection will be on-view in the Now-Enclosed-Portico of the Frick-Mansion on Fifth-Avenue, but they will rotate, joined by Loans from Private-Collections.

 

 

At the Grolier-Club Galleries:

 

THE POWER OF WORDS & IMAGES IN A WORLD AT WAR

 

[Closing 2 August 2014]

 

Anyone who lived through World-War-II—sometimes called the Second-World-War—will surely be deeply affected by this wide-ranging Exhibition of Posters, Photos, Propaganda, Newspapers, Telegrams & other Important-Artifacts of a World-at-War.

 

It comes to the Grolier from the Museum-of-World-War-II in Boston, founded by Grolier-Member Kenneth W. Rendell.

 

Not only are such American-Patriotic-Posters as that Buy-War-Bonds—with Uncle-Sam up in the Clouds, clutching a Billowing-American-Flag—boldly displayed, but also Calls-To-Arms from the Nazi & Japanese-Enemies.

 

Adolf Hitler’s attempts to influence All-Aspects of German-Life—including his Attacks on Degenerate-Art—are documented, helping to explain why he could rally the Deutsches-Volk to fight for Domination-of-Europe.

 

Some Anne Frank Artifacts recall the Holocaust, but there are also Japanese-Patriotic-Banners & the Teletype of FDR’s "Day of Infamy” Speech.

 

There’s even a Movie-Poster for Casablanca, which was released just before the US-Invasion of North-Africa…

 

For those who were born long after the Japanese-Bombed-Pearl-Harbor [Sunday, December-Seventh, a Date that will Live in Infamy], this is also an Important-Exhibition, not only to Learn-About-Our-Past, but also to help avoid World-War-III, which some Angry-Old-White-Men think we need to Launch, to prove that we are Still-Exceptional.

 

These Words-&-Images help the Grolier-Club mark the 75th-Anniversary of the Outbreak-of-World-War-II.

 

The Public is Welcome & the Exhibition is Free: Mon—Sat, 10am—5pm.

 

 

At the Lever-House Art-Collection:

 

URS FISCHER

 

[Closing 30 May 2014]

 

Amazing!

 

You can not only Look-At these Three-Dimensional-Photo-Models of Common-Objects—mounted on Mirror-Boxes—but you can also See-Through-Their-Joints to Park-Avenue just outside the Lever-Gallery.

 

Urs Fischer was born in Zurich, but that did not stop him from settling in New York.

 

In this Show, he has sprinkled some 26-Mirror-Boxes—with Five-Digitally-Photographed-Visible-Sides of such Objects as a Banana, a Pencil, a Camera, a Clothes-Pin, & a Twenty-Dollar-Bill, Much-Enlarged—around the Rigid-Architectural-Space of the Gallery.

 

These Wonderful-Mirror-Boxes have Titles such as Erica, Cecille, & Brenda.

 

Oh, Don’t Ask Why…

 

Just Go!

 

Nota-Bene: Outside the Lever-Galley, there is an Open-Courtyard where you can Sit, Read, Snack, or Whatever.

 

There is also usually some kind of Sculpture on-view in the Open.

 

Once-Upon-a-Time, this Object was a Pregnant-Woman, with her Mid-Section Partially-Dissected.

 

Currently, the Open-Space is dominated by a Giant-Bronzed-Rat, modeled on those Inflatable-Gray-Rats you can see around the City, in front of Work-Sites that are not employing the Union-Workers whose Blown-Up-Rats those are…

 

Intimidation by Rodent-Power!

 

 

At The Lincoln-Center Library of Performing-Arts:

 

LAUNCHPAD FOR THE AMERICAN-THEATRE: The O’Neill Since 1964

 

[Closing 16 September 2014]

 

Eugene O’Neill has been Dead for a very long time, but His-Ghost-Goes-Marching-On!

 

Seldom does Broadway do him the Honor of a Revival of, say, Mourning Becomes Electra.

 

It’s also been a Long-Time since Broadway has seen O’Neill’s Biographical-Epic, Long Day’s Journey into Night.

 

But the Actual-House that inspired that Powerful-Family-Drama is up in Waterford, CT.

 

It was & is an Inspiration to all the Theatre-Greats & Theatre-Hopefuls who trek up to Waterford every Summer to Learn & Share at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre-Center.

 

The Center was founded—with a generous Land-Grant from the City-of-Waterford—by Producer George C. White, who had an Epic-Vision of what might be achieved on what has now become Sacred-Ground.

 

When I first was summoned up to the O’Neill, I was asked to write about the Varied-Activities & Workshops, especially about the Play-Readings, in which Broadway-Talents were trying-out New-Scripts which might make their way down to Broadway.

 

In the Event, almost Anything that was selected for Readings or Rehearsals at the O’Neill was subsequently produced in Manhattan, more often Off-Broadway, but often with the same Actors who had tried them out at the O’Neill.

 

Over time, these are some of the Important-Organizations that were Birthed at the O’Neill-Center: the National Theatre of the Deaf, the National Critics Institute, the National Theatre Institute, the National Music-Theatre-Conference, the Cabaret & Performance Conference, & the National Puppetry Conference.

 

Yes, Gene! Even Puppets came up to Waterford!

 

Even though you wrote No-Puppet-Plays for them…

 

No! No! That’s not Quite-Right: I did once see a Puppet-Performance of O’Neill’s Emperor Jones.

 

Almost Everyone who is Anyone in American-Theatre—with some Foreign-Theatre-Guests as well—has been up to the O’Neill-Center, even as a Beginner or a Tony-Winner©.

 

Broadway-Designer David Hayes founded the National Theatre of the Deaf, which was an Amazing-Undertaking.

 

Because I’d previously written about David’s Design-Work, he asked me to keep Critical-Tabs on his Kids.

 

More important for me, however, was the Founding of the National Critics Institute, where Established-Critics would critique the Novice-Notices of Critic-Hopefuls, reviewing some of the Day’s Play-Readings or Rehearsals.

 

Ernie Schier, Master-Critic of the Philadelphia-Inquirer, was eventually in-charge.

 

For some Strange-Reason, Ernie thought I could provide a Cultural-Dimension to the Program, so I was periodically invited to come up to the O’Neill & give a Culture-Lecture on some Subject of Universal-Interest or Speculation that had Nothing at all to do with Theatre in particular.

 

My dear friend & Critic-Colleague, Dan Sullivan, was later in-charge of the National Critics Institute, where he said he’d learned how to be a Critic "on-the-hoof.”

 

Dan was First-String-Drama-Critic for the LA-Times, for which he’d made me a New-York-Stringer.

 

Thanks to those Initial-Critics-Workshops, a Powerhouse-Group of Drama-Critics from around the Nation formed ACTA—the American-Theatre-Critics-Association—of which I’m a Longtime-Member.

 

I’m also on the Board of FACTA—the ACTA-Foundation—for which I hope soon to establish a Glenn-Loney-Charitable-Trust-Award for Theatre-Designers.

 

Our Founders even recorded their Early-Impressions of the O’Neill-Center & its work in Under the Copper-Beech—the Last-Copies of which were finally distributed at our Annual-Conference down in Louisville at the Humana-Festival…

 

Now, my old friend & Playwright/Critic-Colleague, Jeff Sweet, has written a book about the Whole-Works up at the O’Neill, Puppets & All…

 

Jeff has titled his Extensive-Report: The O’Neill: The Transformation of the Modern American Theatre.

 

Yes: that is exactly what happened up at the O’Neill: it changed the way we Write-Plays, the way we Act-in-Plays, the way we Direct-Plays, the way we Design-Plays, the way we Produce-Plays, the way we Review-Plays, even the way Puppets-Play…

 

Fortunately, the Publication of Jeff Sweet’s Admirable-Book coincides with the Opening of the Admirable-Exhibition at the Lincoln-Center-Library–for-the-Performing-Arts: Launchpad of the American-Theatre: The O’Neill Since 1964.

 

With Posters, Photos, Printed-Reviews, Portraits, Production-Scenes, & even Puppets, everything is Covered in this Admirably-Designed-Presentation.

 

What is Not-Included is what it was like—when at the O’Neill—to Bunk in a Dorm of the Connecticut-College-for-Women.

 

They had Co-Educational-Showers!

 

Even Gene O’Neill might have been a bit Non-Plussed at the sight of Naked-Coeds so early in the Morning…

 

 

At The Met—The Metropolitan-Museum-of-Art:

 

GOYA & THE ALTAMIRA-FAMILY

 

The Count-of-Altamira was a Director of El-Banco-de-España, so he obviously could afford to engage Francisco Goya-y-Lucientes to paint some Family-Portraits.

 

Somehow, the Met, over the years, managed to acquire Two-of-Them.

 

One is the so-called "Red-Boy,” Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga.

 

The Other—from the Met’s Robert-Lehman-Collection—is a Portrait of Manuel’s Mother & Sister, La Condesa de Altamira y la sua Hija, Maria Agustina.

 

Goya’s Portrait of Le Conde himself still belongs to El-Banco, which has generously—but temporarily—lent it to the Met.

 

From an Anonymous-Private-Collection comes another Goya-Altamira-Portrait: Manuel Osorio’s Brother, Vincente Joaquin de Toledo.

 

A Fifth-Altamira-Portrait comes from the Cleveland-Museum-of-Art: This is Juan Maria Osorio, but he was portrayed in paint by one of Goya’s Pupils, Agustin Esteve.

 

Seeing these Goyas en-suite was rather like seeing a similar Goya-Family-Portrait-Gallery at Madrid’s Prado recently.

 

 

CHARLES JAMES: Beyond Fashion

 

[Closing 10 August 2014]

 

The Glory-Days of Lavish-High-Society-Balls may be over in Manhattan, but the Met’s Costume-Institute—now renamed in Honor of Anna Wintour—has temporarily brought them back with its Elegant-Parade of Charles James’ High-Fashion-Gowns.

 

In Honor of this Exhibition, New-York-Magazine has just published Photo-Portraits of some of Manhattan’s Surviving Grandes-Dames, including Gloria Vanderbilt, who still looks Fabulous at Ninety!

 

Owing to the Complicated-Set-Up of the Great-Tent over the Main-Steps of the Met-Museum, Entry there was Not-Possible, so a Breach was made in the Complicated-Street-Lane-Swallowing-Set-Up for the David-H.-Koch-Memorial-Fountains-&-Plazas, soon to open, running-along the Classical-Façade of the Metropolitan-Museum-of-Art.

 

Our Tiny-Tunnel-Entry was Blocked to the Press until Exactly-Twelve-O’Clock-High, so the Long-Queue of Arts-Reporters must have missed the Earlier-Official-Ribbon-Cutting for the New-Anna-Wintour-Costume-Center.

 

It was Rumored—along the Press-Waiting-Line—that Michelle Obama had come up from DC to cut the Ribbon.

 

But when we were finally allowed to Shuffle-on-in, there was No-Trace of the First-Lady-of-the-Nation, nor of that Devil-Wears-Prada-Lady…

 

There was, however, a Problem with this Exhibition.

 

Half of it is in the Downstairs-Cellar of the Costume-Institute, barely Illuminated in the Otherwise-Stygian-Darkness that has come to be the Vision-Defying-Hallmark of Costume-Shows.

 

To view the Other-Half, one has to trudge through the Egyptian-Galleries, temporarily Denuded of all those Glass-Showcases so Costume-Institute-Gala-Guests could freely Promenade To & Fro, between the Polar-Points of the Charles-James-Fashions.

 

In the Central-Atrium-Court of the Met-Museum a Huge-Bulging-Floral-Dress-Form was being stuffed with Thousands-of-Orange-Yellow-Roses, their Lives-Cut-Short for this Show.

 

Carpets were also being cut for all the Floors-&-Halls, so the Feet-of-the-Rich would not have to touch the Actual-Terrazzo or Marble-Chips-Composites.

 

When One finally passed through the Greek-Antiquities, another Stygian-Chamber was awaiting, filled with more Charles-James-Fashions, Sparely-Illuminated, but Crowded with Press-Photographers & Ink-Stained-Scribes—Leaking-Ballpoints?—bumping into One-Another in the Semi-Darkness.

 

Actually, making Notes on a Paper-Pad is now Passé, as iPads & iPhones are The-Thing.

 

But What-Is-It with these Costume-Institute-Shows that they have to be Shown-in-Shadows?

 

This worked rather well—even Dramatically—for Alexander MacQueen, who committed Suicide before he could see his Met-Show.

 

But it did not exactly Illuminate-Punk-Fashion the following Season.

 

Are the Silks, Satins, & Rayons of the Gowns of Charles James so Sensitive-to-Light that they cannot have some Soft-Spotlights on them, so One can clearly see how the Magic-Works.

 

Well, it’s not exactly Magic with Charles James.

 

James was, if anything, a Scientist, an Engineer when he Constructed a New Gown.

 

Unlike some Designers-of-High-Fashion, who Drape-Fabrics on Dress-Dummies or Live-Models to decide how to Cut, Fold, Pleat, Seam, or Stitch the High-Priced-Yardage into Fabulous-Fashions, Charles James Design-Engineered his Gowns.

 

There are Actual-Design-Process-Models, as well as Intriguing-Videos, that show How-He-Did-It.

 

It has been said that James considered himself an Artist, with a Sculptor’s-Eye & a Scientist’s-Logic.

 

That’s It!

 

Almost all of the James-Gowns on-view Look-Like-Sculptures!

 

Thee are some 65 of them to Visually-Savor, if not Emotionally-Devour.

 

The new Anna-Wintour-Costume-Center now has a Lizzie-&-Jonathan-Tisch-Gallery, as well as the Carl-&-Iris-Barrel-Apfel-Gallery, in which James’ Scrapbooks & Sketches are on-view.

 

Among the Classic-Gowns on display are James’ Butterfly, Tree, Clover-Leaf, & Swan.

 

Charles James was Not-Obsessed with Ball-Gowns; he also designed Clothes for Day-Wear.

 

But Both were influenced by his attention to: Spirals-&-Wraps, Drapes-&-Folds, Platonic-Form, & Anatomical-Cut—which suggests that the Resultant-Gown or Suit ought to suit the Body for which it had been designed.

 

That Impressive-Rose-Studded-Dress-Form in the Atrium was the Design-Inspiration of Raul Avila & it surely must have impressed The-Gala-Chair, Aerin Lauder, as well as Co-Chairs Bradley Cooper, Oscar de la Renta, Sarah Jessica Parker, Anna Wintour, & Lizzie & Jonathan Tisch.

 

If you have a Gallery named for you, Feeding you is the Least the Met can do to Show-Its-Gratitude!

 

 

THE PRE-RAPHAELITE LEGACY: British Art & Design

 

[Closing 26 October 2014]

 

What did it Mean for a Trio of British-Artists to become Pre-Raphaelites?

 

What was so Wrong about the way Raphael Painted—or with His-Subject-Matter?

 

Effectually, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, & William Morris were turning their Metaphoric-Backs on the Staid, Stolid, & Stifling Academic-Art that ruled in Britain.

 

They were seeking a kind of Freedom of Line & Imagination that they believed they had Rediscovered in the Artists of the Italian-Renaissance.

 

Led by Rossetti, who was a Poet as well as a Painter, this New-Movement led to a Remarkable-Revolution in Painting, Sculpture, & Design—including Interior-Design, with William Morris’ wonderfully Intricate-Wallpapers, as well as Stained-Glass, Table-Ware, Textiles, & Furniture.

 

Not to Overlook the Pre-Raphaelite-Designs of Kelmscott-Press Printed-Books.

 

There was more than a Whiff-of-Medievalism in the Pre-Raphaelite-Painters, but they certainly knew how to Romanticize their Images-of-Beautiful-Women.

 

This is a Small-Scale-Show—in the Met’s Lehman-Wing—but all of the Met-Museum-Artifacts are Artfully-Precious.

 

There is also a Complementary-Exhibition of actual Italian-Renaissance-Drawings, downstairs in the Lehman-Wing.

 

It’s worth noting that the Wallpapers of William Morris have really never gone Out-of-Fashion & are still Marketed today.

 

Not only that: The Design-Styles of the Pre-Raphaelites were the British-Equivalent of French Art-Nouveau & German/Austrian Jugendstil.

 

Strange as it may seem, an Original-Edward-Burne-Jones-Outline-Drawing, for a Large-Stained-Glass-Window, was once on-view in the American-Victorian-Museum in Nevada-City, California!

 

The Museum is Long-Gone, as are its Teddy-Bear-Founders & the Burne-Jones, as well.

 

Not to forget the Pre-Raphaelite-Artifacts I gave to the Museum, as well as that Great-Yellow-Wax-Seal of the Young-Victoria, on Horseback on one side, but Enthroned on the Verso.

 

The Lesson-of-This, I guess, is that you should Leave-Stuff-to-the-Met, not to some Cockamamie-Museum out in the High-Sierra-Gold-Country…

 

 

LOST-KINGDOMS: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast-Asia…

 

[Closing 27 July 2014]

 

Fortunately for the Development of Hindu-Buddhist-Art in Southeast-Asia in the First-Millennium, there were then No-Christian-Missionaries on the Ground.

 

Otherwise, we might have Images of the Christ with a Long-Elephant-Trunk, a kind of Jesus-Ganesha.

 

Instead of a Hindu-Goddess with Eight-Arms, perhaps these Imaginary-Missionaries would have encouraged an Eight-Armed-Virgin-Mary, with Eight-Swords—instead of Seven—plunged into Her Sacred-Heart?

 

The All-Too-Familiar Christian-Iconography, however, cannot compete with the Stone-God-Wonders now on-display at the Met in Lost Kingdoms.

 

For Roman-Catholics, it’s hard enough to keep All-the-Saints sorted-out—especially as New-Saints are now frequently-added to the Devotional-List—but what a Quandry it must have occasioned for a Devout-Hindu-Worshiper, to decide to which God, Goddess, or Aspect-of-a-God-Head to make Sacrifices & Offer-Prayers.

 

The Impressively-Installed Met-God-Show features some 160 Sculptures—No Painted-Images—from Hindu-&-Buddhist-Temples & Royal-Palaces, ranging from very small Bronzes to Immense-Stone-Slabs.

 

Some are National-Treasures, loaned by Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, & Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

 

To install some of these Heavyweight-Gods, the Met must have had to have the Loan of a Crane to get them into Place.

 

A few of the God-Figures are so sleek & slim & unadorned with Additional-Arms that they seem almost Pharaonic.

 

Could Early-Egyptian-Art-Influences have penetrated into Asia?

 

 

At The Morgan Library & Museum:

 

GATSBY TO GARP: Modern-Masterpieces from the Carter-Burden-Collection

 

[Closing 7 September 2014]

 

OK! So it was Dumb of me to have removed that Dust-Jacket from my copy of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye…

 

It was even Dumber not to have kept my First-Edition of Catcher in the Rye, even without that Eminently-Collectible Dust-Jacket.

 

Over at the Park-Avenue-Armory—at every Antique-Book-Show—I marvel at the Prices set for a Pristine-Copy of Catcher in the Rye, necessarily with that Eminently-Collectible Dust-Jacket.

 

Just Imagine! Here’s a Copy of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, with an Inscription to his Son inside!

 

Well, maybe the Kid needed the Cash. Or he was Never-Right with his Cranky-Dad?

 

So, do not throw out that First-Edition of Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop that your Old-Lesbian-Aunt so treasured.

 

His Manhattan-Eminence, the Late Carter Burden [d. 1996], sometime City-Councilman, had the First-Edition-Virus in a Very-Virulent-Form.

 

Carter Burden paid Top-Dollar for thousands of First-Editions of Twentieth-Century-American-Books.

 

Preferably with Personal-Inscriptions & Authors’ Annotations…

 

Corrected-Galley-Proofs & Manuscripts were also Prized.

 

Fortunately for the Morgan-Library, after Burden’s Sudden-Death, his Family—did this include Amanda Burden, also recently in the City-Employ?—gave the Library-Museum some Twelve-Thousand of his First-Editions.

 

Here is Allen Ginsberg; here Ezra Pound, here Sylvia Plath, here Henry James, here John Steinbeck; here Ernie Hemingway, here Philip Roth, here Scott Fitzgerald, here Gertrude Stein, here Toni Morrison, Jack Kerouac, here Langston Hughes, here Tennessee Williams, here William Faulkner, here John Updike, & here John Irving—hence the Garp in the Show’s Title.

 

These Bibliophiliac-Treasures range from the Magisterial Henry James—an American who chose to live in England, to the Lost-Generation, the Harlem Renaissance, & The Beats.

 

Looking at some of these Dust-Jacketed-First-Editions, I realized—not without some Pangs-of-Regret—that I once had also owned them, with Dust-Jackets-Intact.

 

But No-Personal-Inscriptions…

 

Occasionally, I’d see Allen Ginsberg at the Sugar-Bowl, when we were both Professors at Brooklyn-College.

 

But I never thought to bring along my First-Edition of Howl, to have Allen Inscribe-It.

 

I did have Personally-Inscribed First-Editions of some of Joe Orton’s Plays, because we were Pen-Pals.

 

But those are now in the Berg-Manuscript-Collection of the New-York-Public-Library.

 

And Joe was, after all, a Dissident-Brit, not a Collectible-American-Author…

 

 

A DIALOGUE WITH NATURE: Romantic Landscapes from Britain & Germany

 

[Closing 7 September 2014]

 

These are perhaps Minor-Masterpieces, even though they are only Small-Scaled Drawings, Watercolors, & Oil-Sketches of various European-Landscape-Vistas.

 

If they are not, in fact, generally-viewed as Masterpieces, certainly most of the Artists whose works are on-view at the Morgan are Acknowledged-Masters of the Romantic-Era.

 

Some, like Caspar David Friedrich’s Landscape on Rügen, with Shepherd & Flocks, are almost Photographic in their Representations of Nature.

 

I once made a point of going to the Island-of-Rügen to check-out the Scenes Caspar David Friedrich had used in his Drawings & Paintings.

 

Much more Fantasy-Enhanced are the Romantic-Views of Joseph Mallord William Turner, famed for his Burning of the Houses-of-Parliament, sketched virtually on-site during the Conflagration.

 

But here are no Great-Thames-River-Visions.

 

Instead, On Lake Lucerne & Turner’s Lake-View of the City-of-Lucerne, with its famed Dance-of-Death-Bridge, crossing the Lake, have a Dream-Like-Quality.

 

For me, however, any Sighting of that Totentanz-Brücke reminds me unpleasantly of that Almost-Fatal-Day beside Lake-Lucerne, when I was preparing to photograph the Dance-of-Death-Bridge & Fell-Over-Backward.

 

Having previously Fallen-Forward-on-My-Head—after Photographing the Golden-Gate-Bridge in San Francisco—which led to Eight-Holes in My-Head to Drain the Still-Leaking-Blood under My-Skull, this was Not-Helpful.

 

I doubt I shall ever see Luzern again, although they continue to send me Press-Invites to the Annual Lucerne-Festival…

 

When the Berlin-Wall was still standing, the Best of Caspar David Friedrich was in the Staatmuseum in Weimar, in the Heart of the DDR.

 

I told the Show-Curator that I’d been able to get a General-Press-Visa—from the Polizei-Präsident of East-Berlin—that permitted me to rove around the German-Democratic-Republic, especially checking-out the Friedrichs-in-Weimar.

 

Goethe ran the Court-Theatre there. Schiller could be seen on a Clear-Day.

 

But you don’t have to go to either Lucerne or Weimar to appreciate the Romantic-Visions of Artists like Carl Philipp Fohr, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Girtin, John Robert Cozens, Johann Georg Wagner, & Samuel Palmer, whose Oak-Tree & Beech, Lullingstone-Park is Magnificent.

 

You may well think of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy as a Dead-German-Composer—famed for his Wedding-March—but here’s his Sketch of an Open-Window, from his Sketchbook of 1837-39…

 

This interesting Window-View is on loan from London’s Courtald-Gallery, as are some of the Other-Impressive-Landscapes.

 

 

MIRACLES IN MINIATURE: The Art of the Master of Claude de France

 

[Closing 14 September 2014]

 

The Actual-Name of the Master-Illuminator who created the two tiny Prayer-Books for Queen Claude of France—now on Darkened-Display at the Morgan—is Unknown.

 

Or: Unbekannt, as the Germans are fond of saying…

 

Nonetheless, this Unknown-Master must have had Very-Good-Eyesight, for the Fanatically-Detailed-Miniatures he painted for Queen Claude are bound in Very-Tiny-Books, measuring 2-Inches by 2½-Inches.

 

Queen Claude must have also had Very-Good-Eyesight—or a Very-Powerful-Magnifying-Glass?

 

One of the Prayer-Books is what is known as a Book-of-Hours, indicating the Proper-Prayers for Each-Hour of a Royal-Roman-Catholic’s Praying-Day.

 

After the Official-Press-Tour, I suggested to the Curatorial-Expert—the estimable Roger Wieck—that Queen Claude might have been Regally-Angry when the Master delivered her Devotional-Aid:

 

"Look here! I commissioned you to Illuminate for me a Book-of-Hours.

 

"But what have you done? This is so small, I’d call it a Book-of-Minutes!”

 

To which the Curator-Wieck genially replied: "How about a Book-of-Seconds?”

 

So I shared with him a Verse-Fragment from the English-Poet, Edith Sitwell: "When Great Queen Claude was dead/They buried her deep in the Potting-Shed…”

 

He had never heard this Claudian-Reference, but he did share with me that Queen Claude was a Great-Lover of Gardens & Gardening!

 

Does Anyone know where Queen Claude is actually Buried?

 

Tours? Lyon? Rheims? Paris?

 

In this Tiny-Exhibition—in the Tiny-Clare-Eddy-Thaw-Gallery—there is a Touch-Screen, so you can Digitally-Leaf-Through the Birth, Life, & Death of Jesus-Christ, without having to put on Cotton-Gloves & a Face-Mask.

 

In fact, there is Much now at the Morgan that you can Access literally On-Line…

 

 

Rembrandt Now On-Line at the Morgan: Study His Etchings in the Privacy-of-Your-Own-Home!

 

Both Museum-Directors & Curators try to restrict Access to Rare Sketches, Engravings, & Etchings by the Old-Masters.

 

Exposure to any kind of Light can be Harmful, not to mention the Dangers involved in Handling such Treasures.

 

Oddly enough, when I first went to the Albertina in Vienna, after World-War-II, I asked to see Albrecht Dürer’s Original-Sketch of that Famous-Rabbit.

 

I was given a pair of Cotton-Gloves; the Acid-Free-Manuscript-Box was brought from the Archives, & There-It-Was: Dürer’s-Rabbit!

 

In my Very-Own-Almost-Shaking-Hands…

 

Well, That was Then & This is Now.

 

Even a few years ago, Morgan-Curators & Archivists would have to have a Very-Good-Reason to let me look at a Rembrandt-Etching.

 

Now, I can go on-line & look at the Morgan’s Entire-Collection of Rembrandt-Etchings!

 

Even with a Zoom-Feature, so you can study Details—that formerly would only have been revealed by a Magnifying-Glass…

 

Five-Hundred Music-Manuscripts are already available On-Line, including Autograph-Scores by Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, & Bach.

 

In Progress is the Digitizing of the Morgan’s Unparalleled-Collection of almost Twelve-Thousand-Drawings.

 

Visit the Morgan at: www.themorgan.org

 

Of course, the Morgan’s Entire-Staff hopes you will also come In-Person to look at its Handsomely-Installed Special-Exhibitions: See the actual First-Edition of The Great Gatsby!

 

Not a Digitized-Version!

 

 

At MAD—The Museum of Arts & Design:

 

MULTIPLE EXPOSURES: Jewelry & Photography

 

[Closing 14 September 2014]

 

Looking at the Necklaces, Brooches, Rings, & Bracelets that feature some Form-of-Photography as Part of the Artists’ Design-Concept, it would seem that Neither the Photographs Nor the Jewelry complement each other strikingly-enough to pursue this Newly-Opened-Avenue down All-Four-Lanes.

 

All-Too-Often, Small-Photos—especially on Necklaces—are almost Impossible-to-Decipher, seeming only a Design-Conceit, like a Fleck-of-Decoration.

 

Nonetheless, that has not deterred such Artists as Gabriela Sánchez y Sánchez de la Barquera, Otto Künzli, Kiff Slemmons, Wafaa Bilal, Sooyeon Kim, Iris Nieuwenburg, & Bettina Speckner from Giving-This-a-Try, especially in this Digital-Age, when we are freed from the Tyranny-of-Kodachrome.

 

Oh, Kodachromes, Tintypes, & even Daguerreotypes are Not-Neglected, but the Onslaught-of-Selfies, as well as Internet-Available-Images—give New-Meaning to Social, Political, & Cultural-Issues.

 

Or so say this Show’s Spokespersons…

 

Also, International-Jewelry-Artists are exploring Changing-Concepts of Beauty & the Human-Body, probing Perceptions of Memory & Desire, as well as Questioning the Broader-Relation of Jewelry to Society & Personal-Identity.

 

Do You Really Need a Nipple-Ring with Your-Photo on it?

 

 

At New-York Historical-Society:

 

HOMEFRONT & BATTLEFIELD: Quilts & Context in the Civil-War

 

[Closing 24 August 2014]

 

Some collect First-Editions.

 

Others collect Antique-Quilts—Individuals, Families, & Museums.

 

This is Historically-Fortunate for the Current-Exhibition at the New-York Historical-Society, for the Amazing-Quilts on-display all have a Story-to-Tell: about the Civil-War, its Causes, & its Aftermath.

 

Consider the Quilt made with Uniform-Cloth from a Zouave-Union-Uniform from the Schuylkill-Armory in Philadelphia.

 

It features Patriotic, Military, & Zouave-Images on a field of slanted slashes of Uniform-Cloth.

 

It was probably made for a Zouave, returning from The-War-Between-the-States, as the Johnny-Rebels called this National-Conflagration.

 

Although Union-Soldiers, the Zouaves were not Boys-in-Blue, as were the Mass of Union-Soldiery.

 

Oddly enough, their Distinctive-Dress made them look a bit like Turkish-Waiters.

 

There are a number of Outstanding-Quilts in this Civil-War-Context, including Luncinda Ward Honstain’s "Reconciliation-Quilt,” which is composed of 84-Squares depicting Freed-Slaves, People finally at Peace, & even Jeff Davis, Ex-President of the Confederacy.

 

Every Quilt has a Story, but the Most-Plain-&-Pitiable of all was made by Two-Slave-Women who probably had No-Access to really Good-Cloth.

 

In a very real Sense, this Show is not only about War, but also about Cloth, Fabric, Manufactured-Textiles: Wool was challenging Cotton in the Markets…

 

Northerners didn’t need Slaves or Plantations to grow Sheep & Shear-Them.

 

Flags & Banners made of Cloth—as well as actual Uniforms & Civilian-Clothing—add Visual-Interest & Historical-Context to this fascinating & ingeniously-installed Exhibition.

 

 

At The Park-Avenue-Armory:

 

SPRING MASTERS NEW YORK

 

[From 1-4 May 2014]

 

And now for Something-Entirely-Different!

 

Most Dealer-Shows at the 69th-Regiment Park-Avenue-Armory have Sedate-Rows of Dealer-Booths, side-by-side, with as many as Four-Two-Sided-Rows in the Central-Space of the Wade-Thompson-Drill-Hall.

 

This is, of course, Confining & almost Ghetto-Like…

 

For the Entirely-New Spring-Masters: Art & Design, Antiquity Through the 20th-Century, Architect/Designer Rafael Viñoly has re-imagined the Vast-Space with a Series of Interlocking-Hexagonal-Booths that Open-Out the Space in ways previously Unimaginable.

 

As One entered this Treasure-Rich-Show, the Glittering-Chandeliers & Ornate-Period-Mirrors of Ronald Phillips LTD made it seem like an Entry into a Period-Palace-of-Wonders!

 

What’s more, Rafael Viñoly’s Ingenious-Design made it possible to Walk-Through the Open-Booths, from One-Treasure-House to Another.

 

Instead of Walking-Past what might be considered Tight-Packed-Rows of Push-Carts, but without the Wheels…

 

Some real Museum-Quality-Antiques & Old-Master-Paintings were On-Display.

 

One wondered what Baroque-Basilica had been Plundered to make available such a Handsome-Selection of Religious-Statuary: Jesus! Jesus & Mary!

 

Both Continental & American Dealers were represented, including Moeller Fine Art, Waterhouse & Dodd, Primavera Gallery, Leo Kaplan, Hollis Taggart, David Findlay, jr.

 

Click on the Sprigng-Masters-Website for some Photo-Views of the Rafael-Viñoly-Hexagonals, as well as some Outstanding-Artworks:

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