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Report for January 2012

1 February 2012

GLENN LONEY'S ARTS-RAMBLES 2012.01

 

 

By GLENN LONEY

 

 

Report for The Month of January 2012

 

©GLENN LONEY 2012

 

 

THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

 

So much for New-Year’s-Resolutions!

 

Your Roving Arts-Reporter resolved to write no more than a sentence or two about the shows he sees—both On-Stage & Off: in Museums & Galleries—preferring, instead, to let Production-Photos & Images of Museum-Quality Artworks & Objects speak for themselves

 

One Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words!

 

As in: One Photo of Newt Gingrich tells you everything you need to know about The Speaker’s potential as President of the United States.

 

But, what can you do when there are so many Theatre-Productions that Astonish?

 

Frequently, however, it’s the Actors’-Performances, not the plays, that command Attention & Admiration!

 

Well, both Richard III & Wit are—each in its own way—brilliantly-crafted Scripts

 

That Christopher Marlowe fellow could really write!

 

 

PASSING-GLANCES AT SCENES-SEEN:

 

Digital & Design Wonders at Newly-Recreated New-York Historical-Society!

           

Not only is the New-York Historical-Society the oldest Museum in New York City, it also possesses some of the most important & remarkable Documents & Artifacts concerning the Life, History, & Culture of both the City & the State.

 

Previous to its recent astonishing & wonderful re-invention—thanks to Digital-Technology & Ingenious-Designers—much of this invaluable Study-Material was hidden-away in Stacks & Storage, available only On-Call in its handsome Library, with those stunning & history-rich Stained-Glass-Windows.

 

Now, when Native-New-Yorkers or Eager-Tourists enter the NYHS from its Central-Park-West façade—where a bronze Statue of Abraham Lincoln stands on the steps to greet them—they will step into a Wonder-World of actual Documents & Artifacts, marvelously enhanced by Digitial-Displays that make even more Documents & Artifacts instantly available, with fascinating explanations.

 

When you go—if you have not already made an initial-visit—look down at your Feet! Beneath them you will often find an Illuminated-Artifact-Display, sunk into the floor & lit by Con-Edison!

 

The entire interior-wall, backing the façade, is now a riot of Historic-Busts, Artifacts, & Paintings, many of which could not previously have been easily on-display.

 

On the day of the Official Press-Preview, Your Arts-Reporter had two other Press-Previews the same morning—why don’t the City’s Museums & Galleries co-ordinate these show-dates?—so I was not able to check-out the fascinating new Children’s-Museum section, the Second-Floor survey of New York’s long & complicated history, the rejuvenated Library, or the Henry Luce Study-Collection up in the Attic.

 

Going downstairs to the Children’s window into New York History, you are guarded by life-sized images of famous or generic New-Yorkers.

 

Once in the colorful new facility, you will be both confronted & delighted by all the Constructions that invite you—both Kids & Adults—to savor Metropolitan-Transit, NY Newspapers, Sports, Voting, Schooling, Government, Dutch & British Roots, Local Industries, & much, much more.

 

This is like a Disney-World version of New York’s Past…

 

Up in the Luce-CollectionHenry Luce, the Time/LIFE heir, also funded similar Study-Collections at the Met-Museum & the Brooklyn-Museum—you can find more Historic Fire-Buckets, Drums, Hats, Flags, & Bugles than could ever be shown downstairs.

 

There are also Silver, Ceramics, Tools, Crafts, Statues, Busts, Inn-Signs, Furniture, Ship-Models, Dolls, & Model-Trains: the List could be almost Endless

 

Well worth a visit for itself alone is the intriguing cinematic-presentation in the Auditorium/Theatre. As the New York Story unfolds, the screen & the film become wider & wider!

 

True, there are almost more Tourist-Destinations in Manhattan—not to overlook Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, & Staten-Island—than one could manage in a decade of visits. But a morning’s or an afternoon’s Stop-Over at the New-York Historical-Society will prove richly rewarding.

 

The NYHS makes the Museum of the City of New York seem almost like an Annex on Upper-Fifth-Avenue…

 

[Well, they never invite Your Arts-Reporter to their Press-Previews, so I have No-Idea what they are up-to.]

 

           

Our Own Grandma Moses Foremost among Outstanding Outsider-Artists at Galerie St. Etienne

           

The Galerie St. Etienne [24 W. 57th St], while it specializes in German & Austrian Expressionists—as does Ronald Lauder’s Upper-Fifth-Avenue Neue-Galerie—also is an informed-purveyor of Outsider-Art, also called Naïve, Self-Taught, or Art-Brut.

 

In its current show, The Ins & Outs of Self-Taught Art, the naïve paintings of Anna Mary Robertson are central. Better known as Grandma Moses, she was effectually discovered by Otto Kallir, founder of the Galerie St. Etienne.

 

To some, the Moses-Visions of Snow-Clad New-England-Villages may look rather like Hallmark-Card Visuals. They may, in fact, have been used as Greeting-Card images: more fun than Currier & Ives Home-for-Thanksgiving Nostalgia…

 

If you were thinking of buying a Moses-Original, you have to ask about the price. Putting it on a card beside the painting might make you faint.

 

So I asked.

 

"These are 140 & 170.”

 

I somehow knew those figures weren’t $140 & $170.

 

No, indeed. How about adding Three-Zeroes?

 

Whenever there is a new show at the Galerie, Jane Kallir writes an incisive essay on its Artists or the

State of the Art-Market in general.

 

Her current & excellent Report is titled: The Ins & Outs of Self-Taught Art: Reflections on a Shifting-Field.

 

If you aren’t able to drop-by the Galerie, to see the paintings & get your own copy of Jane’s invaluable explanations, you can read it on-line, as well as check-out the Artists & their Images!

 

Not only Grandma Moses, but also Henry Darger, John Kane, Michel Nedjar, & Josef Karl Rädler.           

 

 

Rosemary Harris Lives On The Road To Mecca, But Watch-Out for Sudafrikaanse-Dominies!

           

Rosemary Harris is radiant at the close of Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca—her character, Miss Helen, is soon going to commit suicide, but that’s not in the play…

 

Carla Gugino—who, as her much younger friend, Elsa, who has driven 800-miles from Cape Town, in response to an anguished letter from Miss Helen—has an Epiphany as well.

 

It is good to see Jim Dale back on a New York Stage—he’s been absent too long, recording Harry-Potter-Voices—as he brings a subtle, wistful element to the role of the Boer-Dominie who wants to put the aged & agitated Helen into an Old-Folks-Home.

 

Could it be that this Widowed-Parson once loved Miss Helen?

 

Unfortunately for her, all her Neighbors hate the Grotesque-Figures with which she has filled her front-yard. They want them & Miss Helen gone

 

Oddly enough—now that both Miss Helen & her Neighbors are all gone—the amazing Mermaids & other odd figures she created out of cement & wire are the only reason Tourists now flock to Karoo.

 

Including Your Arts-Reporter, who made a special trip to see them. Not long after he had been mugged at High-Noon on the High-Street of Cape Town, on his very first day in Apartheid-Free South-Africa.

 

The late, great Newsweek Drama-Critic, Jack Kroll, was an avid-admirer of the plays of Athol Fugard, a crush I did not share, although we bonded over mutual-admiration for the novels of Edith Wharton.

 

My view was that American-Liberals fought Apartheid by not eating Outspan-Oranges & by raving about Fugard’s torpid plays.

 

"Jack! When Apartheid is over at last, Athol Fugard will have lost his Big-Topic!”

 

That largely proved to be true, but his Post-Apartheid The Captain’s Tiger—young Fugard on a tramp-ship in the Indian-Ocean—was something Special.

 

Gordon Edelstein staged, in Michael Yeargan’s haunted setting.

           

 

George Washington Crosses the Delware Once Again in Met’s New American-Wing!

                       

"Sit down, General! You’re rocking the boat!”

 

In the choppy winter-waters of the Delaware-River, George Washington would never have made it across to Battle the British, had he been monumentally-poised, standing-up in front of that small boat for his Picture-Moment

 

But Emanuel Leutze knew what he was doing when he painted Washington Crossing the Delaware, now newly restored & installed in the Place of Honor in the newly renovated & enhanced American-Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

The entire Second-Floor is bulging & surging—blindingly-white—with 26 Chambers of American Art & History: Sculpture, Furniture, Paintings, Inn-Signs, Symbols, Flags

 

In the Chamber of The American West [1860-1920] there are more Frederick Remington bronzes than you may have thought possible.

 

But there’s an entire room of John Singleton Copley, while Winslow Homer & Thomas Eakins have to share a room. If not a bed

 

For Feminists, there’s the Images of Women Gallery! Oddly enough, African-Americans don’t have their very own Room, but the Civil War Era does fill-in some parts of that Narrative.

 

Then there are those fascinating Period-Rooms! People actually slept in beds like that?

 

There are also some intriguing Period-Rooms on the first-floor, along with the current Duncan Phyfe show & that impressive Frank Lloyd Wright Room, saved from destruction.

 

Down-under is another Treasure: the John Vanderlyn Panorama of Versailles & its Formal-Gardens.

 

In the 19th Century, Panoramas were a very popular form of Entertainment & Education. You could travel abroad, without the expense & difficulty of Passports, Boarding-Passes, & Customs-Inspections. Not to mention finding a Decent-Hotel

 

Viewing Vanderlyn’s Versailles, you would have mounted some stairs into a Painted-Surround that would put you in the very Center of the Gardens, looking all around you at the Immense-Façade of he Palace & the Trees, Fountains, & Flowers.

 

Unfortunately at the Met, the Panorama had to be installed in an oval-space, with doors at each oval-apex. The Original would not have been so-pierced.

 

Most Panoramas were lit from above, as often as possible with Natural-Light. There are some still surviving in Europe that have been either preserved or restored as they once were, two centuries ago.

 

Some take you to a Celebrated Building or Scene, but some help you relive a Great-Battle or an Historic-Signing.

 

In Cairo, there’s an impressive Panorama which celebrates the Victory of the Egyptian-Forces over the Israelis. That one was very short-lived

 

 

On Auction at Christie’s: Fugitive Treasures from the American-Wing?

           

Strolling through Christie’s Auction-Rooms the day after visiting the Met’s American-Wing, Your Arts-Reporter was amazed to find Historic Paintings, Sculptures, Grandfather-Clocks, & Furniture that looked like Overflow from the Met.

 

If you are already a New-Yorker, or a Tourist, a visit to Christie’s—when an Auction is forthcoming: otherwise, there may be little on-view—is always an inexpensive-way to imagine being either a Major-Collector or a Met-Curator!

 

Nonetheless, you could not have competed with the "Private-Collector” who bid $3.4 Million for a rare John Townsend Chippendale-Document-Cabinet

 

Also on-view were the great volumes of John James Audubon’s Birds of America that once belonged to the Duke of Portland. [Not that City in Oregon: The Portland-Dukes were Cavendishes!]

 

The Plates—435 of them, hand-colored-engravings, on double-elephant-folios—were preserved in four handsome volumes

 

Even the specially-constructed Slip-Case for these immense books of Colored-Plates stood tall: three-feet at least …

 

In the Auction-Event, the Volumes & the Case sold for a Record-Breaking 7.9 Million Dollars!

 

So, even in these times of Receding-Recession, someone has Geld enough to buy some Old-Books

 

Christie’s is located in the Heart of Rock-Center, at 20 Rockefeller Plaza—49th Street, between Fifth & Sixth-Avenues. Contact: www.christies.com.

           

 

Free Ai Wei Wei in Bregenz Last Summer, But Now He’s On-Display Near Frank Ghery…

           

Way out on West 19th Street—almost on the West-Side-Highway, near the High-Rise, across from Chelsea-Piers, & around the corner from Frank Ghery’s Barry-Diller Fantasy-Office-BldgCommunist-China’s Foremost-Artist, Ai Wei Wei, had some artworks on display at the Chambers-Gallery.

 

Your Roving Arts-Reporter took his RedThe East Is Red!Free Ai Wei Wei Bag, from Kunsthaus-Bregenz, where, last summer, that Slogan was up in lights atop the Glass-House Art-Museum, looking out toward Lake-Constance.

 

The Gallerist informed me that they’d had the same Red-Bag in Berlin, where a gaggle of Ai Wei Wei-Admirers had posed for a Group-Photo, brandishing their Bags.

 

On-View was Ai Wei Wei’s rather uninspiring screen of Appearances of Crosses, along with works by other Chinese-Artists.

 

My favorite was Ding Yi’s Morning in Shanghai, painted in bold oranges, yellows, & browns on Corrugated-Cardboard, with very large corrugations.

 

Ai Wei Wei‘s Sunflower-Seeds are also on-view elsewhere in Manhattan. These are actually Ceramic-Sunflower-Seeds! Ai Wei Wei doesn’t make them himself, of course.

 

Like Jeff Koons, he hires professional Crafts-People—or Artisans—to make Actual his Visions & Imaginings.

 

What makes these Identical-Seeds special is the form or shape of the Container in which he chooses to display them…

 

           

Shuffling-Through The Picture-Box Yields Nostalgia, But Not Powerful Plot-Inspirations.

           

Well, OK, looking at old Family-Photos stashed away in The Picture-Box can provoke a certain amount of Nostalgia. If you can still recognize who those people are. Or were

 

But it hasn’t provided Playwright Cate Ryan with much real substance for her play about a Black-Family having to sell their lovely Florida-Home to an obvious White-Racist [Malachy Cleary], who also has Issues with his aggrieved-wife [Marisa Redanty].

 

Nonetheless, it’s good to see the Negro-Ensemble-Company producing again, even if they are a Long-Way-Off from Big-Daddy, Douglas Turner Ward & his Co-Founder, Bobby Hooks.

 

Also: great to see Arthur French & Elain Graham on-stage once again, although their roles do not do their talents justice.

 

Charles Weldon staged, with the Picture-Box central…

 

 

Sparse Pickings in Contemporary-Art at Phillips de Pury: Haring, Rauschenberg, etc.

           

Unlike many Auctions at Phillips de Pury [450 Park Avenue] there weren’t so many Important-Works on display recently.

 

But you might have bid on a Keith Haring Pop Shop Quad, estimated between $7,000 & $9,000.

 

Or you could have had an Andy Warhol silk-screen of a Benevolent-Bovine, titled Cow.

 

Also on-offer: Damien Hirst—the richest Con-Artist in History, Roy Lichtenstein, John

Baldessari, Tom Otterness, & Tom Wesselman

           

           

At Stanford, Be Careful With Whom You Room: Outside People May Prove a Problem!

           

In Zayd Dorhn’s new drama of Life in the Fast-Lane in Modern-Beijing, a Fast-Talking Young Chinese Macher [Nelson Lee] is thanking his former Stanford-Roommate, Malcolm [Matt Dellapina], for looking-out for him on Campus & in Palo Alto by setting-him-up with both a Job & a Mistress [Xiao Mei].

 

They fall in love, or at least Malcolm does. She wants to get out of China & into America.

 

Malcolm is an insecure Jewish-Nerd, so, when his friend warns-him-off, he takes-off for Hoboken, leaving her stranded & forlorn, with her Visa-ed Passport & a nice new Traveling-Outfit.

 

Naïve Chinese-Farmers & their children—who are either forced off their Tenant-Acres or hope for Better-Things in the Big-City—need to beware of Smart-Guys who promise to find a place for them in Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong

 

Evan Cabnet directed this handsomely-designed production at the Vineyard, for Naked-Angels.

 

           

Stage-Stars’ Fashionable Costumes & Hats Excited the Matinée-Ladies: Play-Pictorial at Bard.

           

Time was when the Matinée-Ladies were almost more interested in the Fashions they saw on-stage than they were in their Favorite Female-Stars.

 

This was the case on both sides of the Atlantic, both in London & in New York.

 

In fact, such popular theatre-magazines as The Dramatic Mirror, Play-Pictorial, or The Stage always included pages on new fashions in Gowns, Shoes, & Hats, as well as other Accessories.

 

Your Arts-Reporter acquired a complete run of Play-Pictorial, ending in the early 1930s, when Fashion-Consciousness seemed to have waned. Or the International-Depression dampened interest in buying Trendy-Clothing.

 

Play-Pictorial was a Monthly that was made-up of the Lobby-Programs of major West-End Plays & Musicals. But each Program had a section on Ladies’-Fashions.

 

Now, at the Bard Grad School Gallery, Michelle Majer has built upon her work with a student-seminar to document this Fascination with Fashion.

 

But she has done this only by focusing on the careers of three once-famous Ladies of the Stage: Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, & Billie Burke.

 

This is a small-scale show, so there probably wouldn’t have been room to include such other Stage-Luminaries as the beloved Maude Adams, everyone’s Peter Pan.

 

Titled Staging Fashion, 1880-1920, the show includes photos, texts, & programs, plus actual fashions & accessories to make that Vanished-World come to life.

 

Who now remembers Hading or Elsie?

 

The beautiful & glamorous Billie Burke—who famously married Follies-Impresario Flo Ziegfeld—is surely remembered, at least by Judy Garland Fans, as Glenda-the-Good in The Wizard of Oz

 

This show closes 8 April 2012 & the Bard Gallery is at 18 West 86th Street. Phone: 212-501-3078. Also: www.bgc.bard.edu.

 

           

Dropping-by Bonhams’ To Check on Forthcoming Auction-Treasures…

           

Not only does Bonham’s—founded 1793, in London—have Auction-Rooms in Hong-Kong, France, & Monaco, it is also the only Major Auction-house with Salesrooms on both Coasts of the United-States!

 

Some time ago, it digested the West-Coast’s Butterfield’s into its System, so you can bid for Good-Stuff in both SF & LA.

 

In mid-January, Bonham’s offered at auction in Manhattan "Fine American & European Furniture & Decorative-Arts.”

 

As at the Christie’s sale, some of these pieces would not have been out-of-place in the Met’s New American-Wing Galleries.

 

The next day, Maritime-Paintings & more Decorative-Arts went on the auction-block. It’s curious how many of these Ship-Portraits seem to be on the market now.

 

Not only Schooners & Clipper-Ships, but also the occasional River-Boat! Even impressive Ocean-Liners.

 

If you can’t afford to maintain a Yacht, you might be able to have a handsome painting of one. Just dust the picture-rail occasionally…

 

Also in January, Bonham’s auctioned-off some gleaming Motorcycles in Las-Vegas, with some stunning Motorcars offered a few days later in Scottsdale, AZ.

 

           

Close Up Space: Literary-Editor & English-Prof from Hell: Bad Dad’s Daughter Speaks Russian…

           

If you are a Best-Selling-Author—writing for what is often mis-called a Popular-Audience—you certainly do not want Paul [David Hyde Pierce] editing your latest Manuscript.

 

["You wiped your pencil all over my paper!”]

 

For Vanessa Finn Adams [Rosie Perez], his niggling-corrections are both annoying & unnecessary.

 

He is also so remote that he doesn’t seem to see that she could like him. If he gave her a chance

 

He is—as imagined by Dramatist Molly Smith Metzler—a fuss-budget, sour-puss, old fuddy-duddy, who thinks Editing is all about Commas, Semi-Colons, & Colons.

 

What he really needs is a High-Colonic

 

Not only is he obtuse to the Point-of-Rudeness with others, he has also seriously neglected his bright young daughter Harper [Colby Minifie], whom he thinks of as Unmanageable.

 

But they are both grieving for the loss of a Wife & a Mother, neither handling things very well.

 

Harper not only chooses to speak only Russian to her Dad, but she also Trashes his Office, leaving an Empty-Space to Close-Up.

 

The play’s title, Close Up Space, suggests not only a gap in the middle of a word, but also a gap in Fatherly-Feeling

 

Michael Chernus is amusing as a Hippie-Left-Over who seems to be Paul’s Factotum & Part-time-Conscience.

 

           

Rembrandt & Friends at the Morgan: Bold-Strokes in Vivid Centuries-Old Inks!

           

Some old Manuscripts, Drawings, & even early Printed-Books have deteriorated not because they were left out in the sun or otherwise abused. No, the acids in the Antique-Inks used to create them have eaten through the paper on which they were written, drawn, or printed.

 

That’s certainly not a problem with the powerful & occasionally placid views of Lowlands-Life in the Dutch Golden-Age that are now on-view at the Morgan Library & Museum.

 

These are priceless sketches & drawings from the Clement C. Moore Collection, assembled only over the last two decades & show together for the first time in a public-exhibition.

 

But there are not only Dutch-Windmills & ramshackle Farm-Buildings, but also impressive visions of Scenes & Characters from the Bible. Not to overlook some charming drawings of animals & birds…

 

Rembrandt certainly had a bold & forceful hand when he was capturing a vision in his head. If there were harmful acids in his vivid brown inks, they haven’t damaged the hand-made paper.

 

At the Morgan, the show is called Rembrandt’s World, so it also features impressive works by his students, friends, & colleagues: Ferdinand Bol, Abraham Bloemaert, Jan van Goyen, & Aelbert Cuyp.

           

There are still lots of Windmills in Holland, but they aren’t quite so quaint as a few now on-view. This interesting exploration of a Vanished-Age—some ninety drawings!—will close on 29 April 2012.

 

 

Weegee Lenses Murder + Historic Magnum-Contact-Sheets at International Photography Show.

           

Sprays of Water are gushing-up from Manhattan Fire-Trucks onto the flaming Seventh-Story of an old office-building, with Water-Proofed Firemen on each floor-level of the Fire-Escapes.

 

But what makes this WeeGee Tabloid-Photo of yet another New York City Disaster especially Ironic—even Schadenfreudally-Amusing—is the large sign just below the fire-area: SIMPLY ADD BOILING WATER

 

Working the Night-Beat, covering Murders, Car-Crashes, Police Round-ups, Tenement-Fires—WeeGee made a name for himself, during the Depression-Years & World-War II, with his on-the-spot black-&-white photos of Epic-Accidents, Spontaneous-Disasters, Human-Misery & Deliberate-Depravity.

 

WeeGee: Murder Is My Business—just one of the new shows at the International Center of Photography—draws upon the impressive WeeGee Archives preserved at the ICP.

 

Not only are there the Actual-Photos, but also the Tabloid-Front-Pages, featuring WeeGee‘s Lens-Scoops. Plus Period-Magazines & Film-clips.

 

The ICP-Curators have even re-created part of WeeGee’s Studio. As well as his Photo-League 1941 photo-show: Murder Is My Business.

 

For those who—like Your Roving Arts-Reporter—can remember those daring-days of Yesteryear when the House Un-American Activities-Committee [HUAC] & Senator Joseph McCarthy were fighting The Red-Menace, you will immediately realize that WeeGee may have been a "Fellow-Traveler,” for not only was he involved with the Commie-Tainted Photo-League, but he also was the most famed photographer for the ill-fated Liberal-Newspaper, PM. It came out in the PM, not in the AM

 

If  you want to walk in WeeGee’s Footsteps, there are even some ICP Walking-Tours: Times-Square, The Bowery, Chinatown, Lower-Manhattan, & The Lower-East-Side.

 

No tours of the Upper-East-Side. Not WeeGee’s Beat

 

You’ve surely heard of the Magnum-Opus, or Great-Work?

 

Well, Magnum, that world-famed group of Famous-Photographers—has just issued a Great & Heavy Book: Magnum Contact Sheets.

 

Not only are heavy copies of that book on display at ICP, but so are some of the Historically-Important Contact-Sheets made of Major-Events from the Depression-Years into the Present!

 

Curator Kristin Lubben has not only edited the new Book—a Keeper, for sure, now that Print-Photos & very soon, Print-Books, are Dead in the Water, thanks to Digital-Photography—she has also mounted this impressive-exhibition, choosing a selection of the book’s 139 Contact-Sheets.

 

Also on-View: Grey Villet’s photos for a LIFE magazine feature on the legally-banned Inter-Racial-Marriage of Richard & Mildred Loving. They were aptly-named, as is the show: The Loving Story.

           

They took their Battle all the way to the US Supreme-Court, which overturned all State-Statutes forbidding Misegenation!

 

Perspectives 2012 features new work by Chien-Chi Chang, Greg Girard, & Anna Shteynshleyger.

 

[This unusual-spelling could be transliterated as Steinschlager, which could mean a worker in a Rock-Quarry or a Sculptor preparing a Stone-Block for finer things…]

 

 

Armory’s Winter Antiques Show Echoes Met-Museum’s American-Wing Treasures.

           

Not only could you have bought some Museum-Quality Americana at Christie’s this past month, you could also have done that at the annual Winter-Antiques-Show at the Park-Avenue-Armory!

 

With the added-advantage of not having to bid against one of those One-Percenters who can afford to keep pushing the Final-Sale-Price up into the Stratosphere: $7.9 Million for four books of Audubon-Plates?

 

Of course, many of the Galleries with Booths in the show do not limit themselves to American Arts &

Crafts. Pace Primitive specializes in African & Oceanic-Arts: How about a Yoruba-Mask? Or some Ibeji-Twins?

 

One of Your Art-Reporter’s favorites in the show was "Willie” Howard’s Pictographic-Plantation-Desk. At least it’s attributed to Howard, who was a Slave on Kirkwood-Plantation in Mississippi.

 

Its front fold-down desk-writing-panel is decorated with Scissors & other objects from Howard’s life on the Plantation.

 

Galleries represented were not from the New-York-Area alone: Other States were present as well, not to overlook some important European-Galleries.

 

Aronson of Amsterdam seized my attention with its Dutch-Delftware-Cows.

 

These smiling, flower-spattered Bovines are small but charming. They also date from the Mid-18th-Century, so there aren’t too many of them around anymore.

 

Their Floral-Decorations recall those put round the necks of the Sacrificial-Bull or Cow in the annual Butcher’s-Guild-Parade, in Honor of St. Luke, the Butchers’ Patron-Saint.

 

After the Parade, the Butchers got to eat the meat. Not all of it: some went to the Church & to the Poor of Delft.

 

[Your Roving Arts-Reporter once had Cousins in DelftDordrecht, as well—but never saw Flower-Laden-Bulls or any of these wonderful small ceramics there.]

 

If you missed-out on the Duke of Portland’s Audubon-Folios at Christie’s, you could have bought one or all of the 12 Audubon Birds of America on-offer from Arader-Galleries.

 

If Pennsylvania-Rifles are your Passion, you could have acquired one or more from Joe Kindig Antiques. People don’t shoot those Rifles the way they used-to…

 

At the Moderne-Gallery, you might have purchased George Nakashima’s Conoid-End-Table. As Editor-Founder of The Art-Deco News & its successor, The Modernist, I have a weakness for Moderne.

 

Years ago, I could have bought a table from George Nakashima, as my Cousin, Theron Zimmerman, was Pastor of the Moravian-Church in Doylestown & we’d go over to George’s Studio near New-Hope, when I drove down from Manhattan.

 

George would have given me a Special-Price, but I had no room for more furniture in a tiny Brooklyn-Heights apartment

 

But I once did buy an 18th-Century French-Desk that wasn’t fine enough for the Winter-Antiques-Show. It has an iron-band on one fractured-leg, as well as a crack across its surface.

 

Apparently, when Heirless-Trustees of the East-Side-Settlement-House—which is the beneficiary of the WAS—passed-on, their no-longer-needed Historic-Furniture, Carpets, Silver, Crystal, China, Documents, & Objects-d’Art used to go into storage up in the Bronx, to await the next Armory-Sale.

 

A Daughter-of-The-American-Revolution & a Christian-Scientist, as well, told me I could drive my Blue-Beetle-VW up to the Storage-Facility & buy the Damaged-Desk for only $300.

 

The Reason? Her daughter, Jill, had married a former Overseas-Student of mine, Phil, who was running the long-gone Marboro-Bookstore on Eighth-Street down in Greenwich-Village.

 

They loved the desk, but they Had No Money. So I would buy it for them: when they had saved-up $300, they’d pay me for it.

 

Unfortunately, before that could happen, Phil deserted Jill for an Older-Woman, who already had kids of her own…

 

Oh, up in the Bronx at the Storage place, I was able to buy for only a dollar each Documents signed by Queen Victoria & Abraham Lincoln.

 

These I gave to the now-defunct American-Victorian-Museum in Nevada-City, California. I have no Idea of who has them now…

 

 

Kevin Spacey Astonishes in Richard III at BAM: A Bum-Back & a Bum-Leg Don’t Deter Him…

 

Kevin Spacey! Are you ready to receive your Tony© as Best-Actor this season?

 

Even though you are all the way across the East-River at the Brooklyn Academy of Music?

 

Not on Broadway

 

As with so many recent Shakespeare-Stagings, Director Sam Mendes has chosen to make Richard III Contemporary. Perhaps echoing Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus?

 

History tells us—or was it specifically Holinshead’s Chronicles?—that it was Fatal to be related to the Duke of Gloucester, called Richard Crookback.

 

[Actually, Richard was born in Scarborough, which is a Long-Way-Off from Gloucestershire…]

 

This is a Supercharged-Production, with Spacey a Human-Dynamo, challenging the rest of the Cast to match his Energy-Levels.

 

The swift-moving events are immensely aided by Tom Piper’s spare forced-perspective setting, with Catherine Zuber’s costumes also elegantly Lean & Mean.

 

There is an Outstanding-Cast, including Maureen Anderman as Duchess of York,  Haydn Gwynne as the distraught Queen Elizabeth, & Gemma Jones as the Ghostly-Figure of the Curse-Flinging Queen Margaret.

 

This splendid production comes to BAM from London’s historic Old Vic, for which Kevin Spacey took responsibility when no Brit with Managerial-Talents could make it work anymore.

 

Spacey is rather like those magnificent Actor-Managers who once dominated the British-Stage.

 

David Garrick, anyone!

           

 

Master Scroll-Painter Fu Baoshi Survives Two Revolutions:

Down with Pu-Yi, Down with Chiang Kai-shek, Onward with Chairman Mao & Cultural-Revolution!           

 

Considering how savagely Chinese-Scholars & Intellectuals were treated—especially by the Red-Guards—during Chairman Mao’s so-called Cultural-Revolution, it is remarkable that the honored artist Fu Baoshi was not only able to continue painting those traditional brushwork Scrolls of Soaring

Chinese Mountains in the mists of morn & Masses of Water falling great distances, while also becoming one of Mao Zedong’s favorite artists.

 

That he was frequently inspired by the Poems of Chairman Mao & the ancient Glories of the almost-mythical Chinese-Landscape certainly were in his favor.

 

He also learned to infuse his scenes with blushes of Red, or even the occasional Red-Flag, certainly echoing Mao’s Diktat: The East is Red!

 

So adept was he that he was selected to paint the great Landscape-Panorama for the Great Hall of the People in Beijing: Such is the Beauty of our Rivers & Mountains.

 

Although Soviet-Realism was also invoked under Mao, Fu Baoshi never had to follow this unrewarding Socialist-Path.

 

What he did do—to fuel his inspiration—was to paint while inebriated!

 

Fu Baoshi was born under the brief reign of the Last-Emperor, Pu Yi. He grew up in the Chinese-Republic of Chaing Kai-Shek.

 

He survived the Japanese-Invasion & Occupation, which ended only in 1945.

 

Then came The Long March, followed by The Great Leap Forward

 

Although Fu Baoshi is little known abroad, he is almost revered in Modern-China.

 

The new show at the Met-Museum [closing 15 April 2012] includes some 70 paintings & 20 seals that have never before been seen outside China.

 

This exhibition also features the Draft he made for that Great-Hall-Panorama!

 

[It’s worth noting the rapid increase in exhibitions featuring Modern-Chinese-Artists, some of whom are a Long-Way-Off from Socialist-Realism or even Naturalism.

 

[Ai Wei Wei seems to be Everywhere, but many other names are now earning attention.]

 

 

Outsider-Art & Effortful-Amateurs at Metropolitan-Pavilion: How About Tramp-Art?

           

Not only was Outsider-Art eminently on-view at the recent NYC Metro Show, but there were also Paintings & Sculptures & Artifacts that would not have been out-of-place in the Met-Museum’s new American-Wing-Galleries.

 

January seems to have been The Month of Americana, both for Outsiders & Insiders.

 

In addition to the often-fascinating Works & Wares on-display in the many booths, there were also talks about Artists, Subjects, & Styles.

 

Jane Kallir, of Galerie St. Etienne, discussed Collecting Works by Self-Taught-Artists. If you missed this—or any of the other talks—you can read them all on-line at metroshownyc.com.

 

Even more trendy are those Pixilated black-&-white Squares in the Show-Catalogue that enable your QR-Reader on your Smart-Phone to summon all them up for you…

 

Your Roving Arts-Reporter stopped-by a number of Booths featuring arresting Objects, so I ended-up with a fistful of Gallery-Cards.

 

Steven S. Powers features Snuffboxes, as well as Native-American & Colonial Folk-Art. Gemini-Antiques has some great pressed-tin Toys & cast-iron Banks.

 

Here’s a card from Bill Siegal’s Santa Fé gallery. There’s one from the Cavin-Morris Gallery

 

This ModVic Steampunk-Design card must be from those folks who have all those Trendy Skateboards, with the stunning designs.

 

Not for the first time have I been delightfully taken-aback by the intricacies & complexities of what is called Tramp-Art.

 

These richly-chocolately-hued Frames, Clocks, & Boxes—built-up from tiny notch-carved-segments of Cigar-Box or Packing-Crate woods—are remarkable artworks, almost Altars, in their Originality.

 

I stopped to chat with Clifford A. Wallach, at his Tramp-Art-crammed booth—where he was happy to sign copies of his new book, A Legacy in Tramp-Art.

 

I told him that, during The Great Depression, my Uncle John Hughes came out from Jobless-Ohio to sponge-off the Relatives for weeks & months. When he finished a box of smelly Cigars, he’d carve a Brooch for some Cousin or Auntie.

 

John wasn’t really a Tramp. He was Family

 

Wallach agreed that Itinerant-Artist might be a more accurate moniker for these Artists of Cigar-Box-Segments. They came, they smoked, they carved, & then, they Moved-On.

 

These odd creations, Wallach suggests, are like "Men’s Quilt-Making.”

 

THE MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING seems to be Everywhere: not only at the Metro-Pavilion. Check-it-out at www.musevery.com.

 

 

Outsider-Art & Self-Taught Artists at the Outsider-Art-Fair down on West-34!

 

This annual Sanford Smith-organized show used to be on-view down in the Puck-Building, just below Houston.

 

The Space was terrible, so it’s been moved to a Modern, Non-Landmarked Building on West 34th that’s crammed with Design-Shops & Galleries for the Trade.

 

The 2012 Edition—the 20th-Anniversary—of this always-intriguing show featured many of the same Galleries that have shown in the Past.

 

Even some of the more outstanding or outrageous Paintings & Constructions look very much like those shown last year & before…

 

Here are some of the Galleries with really interesting works on-offer: Lindsay Gallery, Marion Harris, Galerie-Bonheur, Grey-Carter, Andrew Edlin, Tanner-Hill, Red-Truck, Packer-Schopf, & Make-Skateboards!

 

Your Roving Arts-Reporter made some Digital INFOTOGRAPHY™ shots for this Report.

 

So, instead of using words to describe the most amazing of the works on-sale, how about some Digitals?

 

Not quite the same as Digitalis

 

New this year was Lausanne’s Collection de l’Art Brut. Great Posters!

 

[Lausanne was where my Passport was stolen some ten years ago, but I don’t blame Brut-Artists…]

           

Outsider-Art seemed to be Everywhere in Manhattan this January. Even out on the Piers!

 

 

Roy Arias Sponsors International Theatre Fest, But Match Doesn’t Strike a Light…

           

Off-off-Broadway—actually on West 43rd Street, across from 2econd-Stage—Producer Roy Arias has, this season, launched what he is pleased to call: The First Times Square International Theatre Festival.

 

[In Journalism 1-A at UC/Berkeley, we were taught that you never call anything The First, as you do not know, at that time, if there will ever be a Second, but do give Arias credit for hoping…]

 

There were some 16 productions from which one could choose. Some Native [not Amer-Ind, but domestic] & some from Abroad, including The Ukraine, Spain—where the Rain falls mainly on the Plain, & Cuba.

 

Your Arts-Reporter witnessed a show called Match. This was confected by László Kocsis, a Hungarian now working in Deutschland.

 

Kocsis calls his troupe the Human Natural Theatre.

 

This name sounds suspiciously like that of the NYC-Soho-Denizens who call themselves The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma. A title stolen or borrowed from Kafka

 

Some seasons ago, the Nature-Theatre won a major Award & a big Check from the Young Directors’ Project at the Salzburg-Festival.

 

Their show was concocted from Telephone-Conversations: they called-up people to ask them what they remembered about the play, Romeo & Juliet. Go Figure…

 

Nonetheless, they successfully schlepped this show all around Europe, complete with that Monster-Check!

 

On the basis of what I saw, I’m not sure Match will win at Salzburg. What’s the Hungarian for Amateur-Theatre?

 

Although the Cast is German-Heavy, there are also other Naming-Areas represented. How about Orestis Mourtzis, Sebin Yenigün, Justus Maas, Mabel Galai, & Mo Ahmadi?

 

But I rather like Zoë Schreckenberg as a Stage-Name: Mountain of Horrors, or Shreks

 

One scene involved the American-Moon-Landing.

 

Each Astronaut’s Oxygen-Mask was connected to the Rump of the man in front of him.

 

Does this tell us anything about what Europeans think about our Space-Program?

 

Just asking…

 

 

In Russian Transport, Lad Drives Under-Age "Models” from JFK, Working for Russki-Mafia-Uncle.

           

There was almost as much Russian being spoken in the audience as on the stage when Erika Sheffer’s new Russian Transport took to the Area-Freeways.

 

The lady next to Your Arts-Reporter informed me that this was Ms. Sheffer’s first play!

 

Not only did she use a lot of Russian, but there were plentiful exclamations of Bullshit, Fucking, & similar Non-Slavic-Locutions. Which suggests that all those transplanted Russkis over in Brighton-Beach are assimilating very rapidly.

 

Janeane Garofalo plays Diana, the Mater-Familias, who is not only foul-mouthed but also a Control-Freak, to the immense annoyance of her son & her daughter—who wants to spend an educational-summer in Florence.

 

Dad runs a Car-Service, with his son helping-out.

 

But everyone has been waiting breathlessly for the arrival of Diana’s Brother from Russia.

 

Well, he’s not really such a Nice-Guy, even though he has Muscles & Ink

 

If you saw The New Group’s previous production, Burning—with all kinds of Sex on display—there is a Dicey-Moment here as well…

 

The estimable Scott Elliott staged a cast including Daniel Oreskes, Morgan Spector, Sarah Steele, & Raviv Ullman.

 

The complicated double-level setting was the design of Derek McLane.

 

 

Cynthia Nixon Shaves Her Head for Wit, But the Brain Is Still Sharp

           

My guess is that Cynthia Nixon should join Kevin Spacey at the Tony© Awards-Ceremony when they celebrate the Best Actor & Best Actress!

 

Nixon is simply splendid as a Crusty Prof of Eng-Lit, specializing in the Poems of John Donne.

 

Death, Be Not Proud! I’m giving you a C+!

 

As Vivian Bearing, PhD, Nixon is dying of Ovarian-Cancer, though it seems it’s the Chemotherapy that’s going to kill her first.

 

Margaret Edson’s play is a Marvel & Nixon is positively Nixonian in it…

 

We know at the outset that Vivian is soon going to die. But how will she deal with that?

 

Fortunately, MTC’s venerable director, Lynne Meadow, has chosen a cast that includes Michael Countryman, Suzanne Bertish, & Greg Keller.

 

 

Why Didn’t Martin Luther King Create Porgy & Bess: Who’s This White-Guy, Anyway?

           

There has long been anguish & even anger among some irritable African-Americans that two Jewish-Guys, George & Ira Gershwin, created the Demi-Opera, Porgy & Bess.

 

Well, folks, William Grant Still had other things to compose…

 

As for would-be African-American-Operas, the earliest effort was Scott Joplin’s Ragtime-Inflected Tremonisha. Charming, but not a Major-Work…

 

Nobody complained when Charleston’s own DuBose Heyward wrote the original story about Porgy, who was a real Charlestonian. Yes, there was & is a Catfish-Row

 

Preparing to adapt the Dorothy & DuBose Heyward Theatre-Guild-Drama for the Musical-Stage, George Gershwin actually went offshore of Charleston to study the Gullah-Dialect on an island where it had survived intact.

 

Your Roving Arts-Reporter can share these tidbits because he made a Major-Presentation—with Slides—abut the genesis of Porgy & Bess for the Opera-Workshop of the Bregenz-Festival the second time it staged this fascinating work on the great Lake-Stage on Lake-Constance.

 

[Soon, when all the Six-Decades of my Interviews, Critiques, & Reports are on-line, interested Internet-Surfers will be able to find my reports on both Bregenz Porgys.

 

[The first production, staged by the Met-Opera’s Nathaniel Merrill, had the largest Catfish-Row in the world, designed by Robert O’Hearn.

 

[The most recent Iteration, staged by the late Götz Friedrich, took place under an earthquake-shattered Elevated-Freeway, inspired by photos of the Loma-Prieta-Earthquake in California. A Long-Way-Off from Charleston…]

 

The new production—which has come to Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre from ART—has been shortened by the Adapters, Susan-Lori Parks & Diedre Murray.

 

Nonetheless, the Full-Title is THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY & BESS. The Gershwin-Works that remain in the show are "licensed by the Gershwin Family.”

 

Some Critic-Scholars have complained that the Buzzard song has been left-out. Frankly, the show works better when it is not as long as Opera-Companies like to make it.

 

The current production has plenty of Plot & Pathos, lots of energetic Dancing & lusty Singing, plus enough wonderful George Gershwin Melodies & Ira Gershwin Lyrics to satisfy the most demanding Broadway-Musical-Fan.

 

What’s more, all the voices are outstanding, especially the Porgy of Norm Lewis—often wonderfully nuanced, the much-abused Bess of Audra McDonald, the Clara of Nikki Renée Daniels, the Serena of Bryonha Marie Parham, & the Crown of Phillip Boykin.

 

David Alan Grier’s Sportin’ Life—always a strong contrast to the rather simple Local-Folks on Catfish-Row—is a sneaky, snappy-dressing, smooth Operator.

 

But some Porgy-Experts have compared him somewhat slightingly to previous Purveyors of Happy-Dust.

 

This really isn’t fair, as most of the Enthusiastic-Audiences at the Richard-Rodgers won’t have seen every Porgy-Production in the last two decades. He is just fine in this bustling-framing of Porgy’s sad tale.

 

The original/actual Porgy drove around Charleston in a Goat-Cart.

 

In some stagings, he’s been seen driving off to New York in his Cart to find Bess.

 

It never looked like the Goat would make it up to the North-Carolina-Border, let alone all the way to Harlem.

 

But the last song Porgy sings as he leaves Catfish-Row tells us he’s on his way to that Heavenly-Land.

 

Which surely wasn’t Harlem, even in the putative 1930’s of this fable…

 

[If there were to be a Special Tony© Award for Most-Convincing-Counterfeiting of a Crippled-Left-Leg, it could well be a Tie between Kevin Spacey, as King Richard III, & Norm Lewis, as Porgy.

 

[It must be Hell to lope about the stage, dragging a Game-Leg around. At least Kevin Spacey doesn’t have to sing as well as emote…]

 

Diane Paulus directed this Porgy-Edition. She is the Artistic-Director of the American Repertory Theatre—founded by Robert Brustein, when they more or less tired of him at The Yale School of Drama.

           

 

From William Christie & Enchanted-Island at the Met to Baroque-Opera at Juilliard’s Tully-Hall.

           

Considering the Vocal, Orchestral, & Visual-Splendors William Christie has invoked with the stunning Period-Productions of his Les Arts Florissants, Your Arts-Reporter thought—in advance of actually seeing him on the Podium—Magisterial might be the right word to use to describe his conducting the bright young Juilliard-Orchestra.

 

While Christie is most certainly a Master of the Baroque, especially of Baroque-Operas, working with the young instrumentalists, he showed a great affection & understanding for both the works he was conducting, as well as for the making them live in performance, coaxing the best from his effectively "Baroque-Orchestra.”

 

Katherine Whyte was the excellent soloist in the "Excerpts” Christie had chosen from Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. Notable: Ye gentle spirits of the Air.

 

After the Interval in Alice Tully Hall, we all metaphorically crossed the English-Channel to join Jean Philippe Rameau for tasty morsels of his Les fêtes d’Hébé.

 

These Fêtes were vocally-illuminated by Raquel González & Lilla Heinrich Szász.

 

A splendid evening, even without the splendid Baroque-Costumes & Decors of Les Arts Florissants

 

 

Look Back in Anger Revived, But Young Brits Have More Cause for Anger Now Than Then…

           

One of the first Theatre-Experiences Your Roving Arts-Reporter had in London was not in the trendy West-End, but on Sloane-Square, where George Devine had given the Royal-Court-Theatre a new life, launching what were soon called "Kitchen-Sink” dramas.

 

The year was 1956 & I had just come to Europe from California to teach our Occupation-Forces for the University of Maryland.

 

On my first visit to London—mainly to find Distant-Relatives: my Grandmother’s First-Cousin, George Cornwallis West, had married Jennie Jerome, Lord Randolph’s widow, so he was Winston Churchill’s detested Step-father—I made a point of seeing shows at the Old Vic—long before Kevin Spacey took it over, Her Majesty’s, The Criterion, Wyndhams, & all the other Name-Brands near Leicester-Square & Piccadilly-Circus.

 

But there was to be a Premiere way over at the Royal-Court, where George Bernard Shaw’s new plays had been unveiled on Special-Sundays—by Subscription—when he could not get a show mounted in the West-End.

 

This was called Look Back in Anger, by a testy young playwright named John Osborne.

 

Indeed, John was so purposefully difficult that I decided not to interview him about His Anger or that of his Anti-Hero, Jimmy Porter

 

In fact, some seasons much later, when John’s A Bond Honoured was playing in-tandem with my friend Peter Shaffer’s play, Black Comedy, at the Old Vic, Peter & I had to hide-out in the Bar—John’s show was on first—so he wouldn’t see us & raise a rumpus that Peter Shaffer was seeing his play free.

 

In the event, there were no seats at all for the second-half of this double-bill, so Peter & I had to stand in the back of the Royal-Circle. The house darkened, but the curtain didn’t go up & didn’t go up…

 

Then some black-clad Equerries scurried by us, making way for Princess Margaret, followed at the requisite three-paces by her then-Consort, Anthony Armstrong-Jones.

 

It was Margaret’s Birthday & she had just come from being Honoured by the Mayor of the City of London.

 

Peter bowed & kissed her hand, followed by a bit of chit-chat. Then she progressed to the Royal-Box, as Peter shook Tony Armstrong-Jones’ hand & chatted briefly.

 

Then, Peter’s Play began…

 

Later, Peter said: "I didn’t dare present you to Princess Margaret. I never know with You-Yanks if you are going to bow or to curtsy.

 

"If you violated Protocol, she’d never speak to me again. The Queen, on the other hand, loves Yanks & would have been glad to shake your hand. But Margaret is very much No. Two & very much stands on Ceremony…”

 

Well, Look Back in Anger—in its dated-period-way—is also rather noisily, even violently, about Class.

 

Way back then—much, much later, as well—it was still about Class.

 

Jimmy Porter [Matthew Rhys] has, somewhat deliberately, married above his Class.

 

He seems to be getting-even with the System by treating his long-suffering but loving young wife, Alison [Sarah Goldberg], like—as the Brits now say—like Shite.

 

But then, he seems equally rude to his flat-sharing buddy, Cliff Lewis [Adam Driver], & to Alison’s friend, Helena [Charlotte Parry].

 

Having shared Flats in London—not in the Midlands, where Jimmy & Alison are living & partly-living, in TS Eliot’s phrase—I vividly remembered those Sunday, Bloody Sundays, when, after Church there was absolutely Nothing To Do but read The Times & The Observer.

 

Theatre-performances were forbidden!

 

Way back in 1956, I wondered why Jimmy didn’t seem to have a Day-Job. There was Work, if you were willing to do it…

 

As John Osborne imagined him, Jimmy’s Life-Purpose seemed to scoff & rage & play his horn.

 

Did Roundabout revive this Kitchen-Sinker because of the Recent-Urban-Riots in England?

 

Now, there is considerably less Work than there was then.

 

But we are here in Manhattan & they are Over-There

 

One used to say—of Super-Lavish-Productions—that No-Expense-Has-Been-Spared.

 

At the romantic Laura Pels Theatre—in the bustling Harold & Mimi Steinberg Theatre-Center—almost every expense—except Actor-Salaries—has been spared.

 

The drama takes place in front of a Grey-Drop that pushes everything into about four-feet from the stage-edge.

 

So, like those Medieval Mystery-Plays, that were played in narrow Medieval-Streets, this Look Back is also played in Linearity.

 

Think about it: The Mysteries were already Looking-Back to Centuries-Long-Past: On the Cross, did Jesus Look Back in Anger?

 

The Mystery is why did Roundabout revive this play? Why not Osborne’s Inadmissible-Evidence, or, even better, The Entertainer?

 

Even Osborne’s East of Suez might have something relevant to say to our War-Hungry Pentagon-Generals

 

Sam Gold staged.

 

           

Thundering-Thunderbirds Take Over New-City: Impressive Amer-Ind Dances & Rituals.

           

Once again, it was inspiring to see members of various Native-American-Tribes working & performing together to present a thoughtful sampling of the Dances & Rituals of Indians from the Great-Plains, the Northwest-Coast, the Iroquois, & the Southwest, at Crystal Field’s Theatre for the New City.

 

It’s not just that the handsome & varied Costumes & Head-dresses themselves seem of Museum-Quality, but it’s even more exciting to see them In-Motion on these intrepid members of the Thunderbird-American-Indian-Dancers.

 

The hordes of herds of Buffalo on the Plains are long-gone, but the Buffalo-Dance has been preserved.

 

From Alaska, comes the Caribou-Dance. From Mexico, come some charming folk-tales…

 

Louis Mofsie—who is both Hopi & Winnebago—was the thoughtful, be-feathered MC-in-Chief.

 

The Thunderbirds not only sell Native-Crafts & Jewelry, but they also offer Lessons in Native-

American-Dancing.

 

There’s even going to be a Dance-Social at the National Museum of the American-Indian on 21 April, down at One Bowling Green. That’s the monumental old Customs-House that was…

 

Because Crystal Field’s New-City Heating-Plant is almost defunct, we were urged to Sign a Petition to Albany to provide some State-Funding to fix it.

 

Your Roving Arts-Reporter thought Gov. Andrew Cuomo could harness some of that Hot-Air up in Albany & send it down to First-Avenue…

 

Not to overlook Making-It-Up to all the American-Indians—not just for the Buffalo we slaughtered, but also for all that Land we Took—by giving back to them both Oklahoma & Nebraska

 

 

Cultured-Pearl of a Play at the Pearl: GBS’s The Philanderer: Lessons To Be Learnt!

           

As is now usual with productions of Classic & Modern-Revivals at the Pearl-Theatre, the new staging of The Philanderer is very handsomely-mounted & very energetically-played.

 

In fact, there is almost Too-Much-Energy on-stage as the Tempestuous Julia Craven [Karron Graves] throws-fits, sulks, rages, swoons, & generally Tears a Passion to a Tatters, trying to prevent her Lover/Admirer Leonard Charteris [Brad Cover] from marrying the level-headed Widow Grace Tranfield [Rachel Botchan].

 

Bernard Shaw wrote this comedy—his second drama—way back in 1893, but the Lord-Chamberlain’s-Office wouldn’t license it for performance until 1902.

 

Nora had slammed that Famous-Door on Torwald, forever changing the way Women, Wives, & Mothers thought about themselves & their previously Ordained-Roles in Society.

           

London was in the grips of Ibsenism. Of which Shaw was the Principle-Proponent.

 

Two scenes of The Philanderer even take place in The Ibsen Club, where "Manly” Men & Fluttering-Females are not Welcome.

 

All this Fuss must have seemed Very-Important—even Threatening to some Traditionalists—at that time, but, now, it is rather like a Cultural-Seminar come-to-life.

 

Oddly enough, the most astonishing moments in the production were the swiftly-swivelling Stage-Set-Panels—created by Designer Jo Winiarski—suggestively changing the Scenes almost instantly.

 

GBS, whose Loves & Affairs didn’t really seem to include the woman he married, Charlotte Shaw, modeled Charteris on himself, a charming Intellectual, who fancies himself irresistible to women.

 

A little of This goes a Long-Way, but plays were longer then…

 

Dominic Cuskern plays Grace’s father, who is A Drama-Critic. So was Shaw, but he seems to have admired himself more as a Lothario, fighting-off Importunate-Females.

 

Also on-hand are Dan Daily, Chris Mixon, & Shalita Grant—who really takes her Ibsenism seriously.

 

Gus Kaikkonen staged, but he may need a Lexicon. His Director’s-Note notes that: London was in the throws of Ibsenism…

 

Surely he means Throes, not Throws?

 

 

STARS IN THEIR CROWNS:

 

This Month’s Rational-Ratings—

 

Athol Fugard’s THE ROAD TO MECCA  [★★★]

 

Cate Ryan’s THE PICTURE BOX  [★★]

 

Zayd Dorhn’s OUTSIDE PEOPLE  [★★★]

 

Molly Smith Metzler’s CLOSE UP SPACE  [★★★]

 

Chris Marlowe’s, Wm. Shakespeare’s or Anonymous’ RICHARD III  [★★★★★]

 

László Kocsis’ MATCH  [★★]

 

Erika Sheffer’s RUSSIAN TRANSPORT  [★★★]

 

Margaret Edson’s WIT  [★★★★★]

 

George Gershwin’s [Revamped] PORGY & BESS  [★★★★]

 

John Osborne’s LOOK BACK IN ANGER  [★★★]

 

George Bernard Shaw’s THE PHILANDERER  [★★★]

 

 

Arts-Rambles News & Notes:

 

FANTASTIC RECORDS & MILESTONES BROKEN & PASSED

BY LLOYD WEBBER’S FANTASTIC PHANTOM OF THE OPERA…

 

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera—directed by Harold Prince & produced by Cameron Mackintosh & The Really Useful Company—will yet again make Theater-History, when it celebrates its 10,000th Performance on Saturday, 11 February 2012, at 2pm, a Feat achieved by no other Broadway-Show.

 

This Milestone is just down the road from the Musical-Phenomenon’s celebration of its equally unprecedented 24th-Anniversary on Thursday, 26 January 2012, at the Majestic-Theatre [247 West 44th Street].  The Historic 10,000th Performance will benefit The-Actors-Fund.

 

The Phantom of the Opera became the Longest-Running-Show in Broadway-History on 9 January 2006, with its 7,486th Performance—surpassing the previous Record-Holder, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, also produced by Cam Mackintosh, who named his Production-Company after his Swiss-Army-Knife: Something really useful…

 

Incredibly, since breaking that Record, Phantom has played both an additional 6 years & 2,500 Performances—which by itself would be a Smash-Hit-Run for a Broadway-Musical.

 

Entering its 25th-Year on 26 January, the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera remains a Box-Office-Champ and continues to play with No-End-in-Sight

 

On Broadway, since its debut on 26 January 1988, Phantom has grossed $845 Million, making it the Highest-Grossing-Show in Broadway-History.

 

Earlier this month [January, that is], the production shattered the House-Record at The Majestic by having its Best-Weekly-Gross in its entire 24-year-history.

 

For the week ending 1 January 2012, the production grossed a phenomenal $1,460,005.59 for 8-performances.

 

Total-Attendance is over 14.7 Million. [But not in just that week…]

 

Its International-Success—equally staggering—is represented by Total-Worldwide-Grosses estimated at over $5.6 Billion.

 

This Colossal-Figure makes Phantom the Most-Successful-Entertainment-Venture of all time, with revenues higher than any Film or Stage-Play in History, including Titanic & Star-Wars & far-surpassing the World’s-Highest-Grossing-Film Avatar [at a mere $2.7 Billion].

 

Worldwide, over 65,000 performances have been seen by 130 Million People in 27 countries & 145 cities, in 13 languages.

 

The Flagship-London-Production—which opened in 1986 at Her-Majesty’s-Theatre—celebrated 25 years in October 2011. [Your Roving Arts-Reporter was on-hand for that Opening!]

 

There are currently 6 Productions around the world: London, New-York, Budapest (Hungary), Kyoto (Japan), Johannesberg (South-Africa) & a revised production in Las-Vegas at The-Venetian.

 

[The Phantom Press-Release brackets the Names of the Nations in which Andrew, Lord Somethingorother’s Fantastic-Musical is playing, but is it really necessary to identify Budapest as being in Hungary? Where else would you expect to find Budapest? Ireland? Isn’t that the place where Kyoto is located? Just asking…]

 

In March 2012, Cameron Mackintosh’s All-New-Production of The Phantom of the Opera will launch a UK-National-Tour.

 

The show has won more than 60 Major-Theater-Awards, including 7 1988 Tony© Awards—including Best-Musical—& three Olivier-Awards in the West-End. [Not to be confused with Manhattan’s West-End-Avenue…]

 

The Original-Cast-Recording—with over 40 Million-Copies sold Worldwide—is the Best-Selling Cast-Recording of all time.

 

In September 2010, Student-Productions of Phantom of the Opera started being licensed through R&H-Theatricals. The Show has so far been performed at hundreds of High-Schools & Colleges across the US & in Canada.

 

[Eat Your Hearts Out, Wicked & Hairspray!]

 

[R&H stands for Rodgers & Hammerstein, who obviously represent more Composers & Lyricists than Dick & Oscar. Is that why The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess is now at the Richard-Rodgers-Theatre?]

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