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Glenn's November 2012 Report

December 1, 2012

Report for The Month of November 2012

 

©GLENN LONEY 2012

 

 

THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

 

What—in God’s-Name—Are We To Do about Acts-of-God? Will NYC Survive Another Hurricane?

 

November dawned—if the Sun could actually be seen through all the Storm-Clouds—with much of Lower-Manhattan Underwater & Without-Power

 

Forget about Impending-Jihadist-Attacks on Goldman-Sachs!

 

The Question is: Does Mayor Bloomberg have a Plan for keeping New-York functioning when either Nature or Religious-Crazies run wild?

 

Judging from the Multiple-Disasters resulting from Hurricane-Sandy, there seems to be No-Effective-Plan.

 

Not only were Millions—possibly even Billions—lost from the Massive-Flooding & Power-Failures below 42nd-Street, but the Village-Hallowe’en-Parade & the NY-Marathon had to be cancelled!

 

Both Subway & Under-River-Tunnels were flooded.

 

Bridges were closed

 

Decent God-Fearing, Tax-Paying, Broadway-Show-Ticket-Holders over in New-Jersey weren’t able to drive-in to see Phantom or even Jersey-Boys

 

On Long-Island, there was No-Gasoline, so Gadabouts had to Stay-Home!

 

LaGuardia-Airport looked like the Open-Seas.

 

But there was at least One-Plus from all this God-Ordained-Disaster—that neither the Angel-Moroni nor Mitt Romney could have averted—which was that Everyone could Ride-Free on MTA-City-Buses!

 

This was because all the Metro-Card-Machines were in [temporarily-flooded] Subway-Stations, instead of being installed at Major-Bus-Stops & even inside the Buses, as they are in Most-Major-Metropolitan-Cities around the World.

 

So, it is devoutly-to-be-hoped that the Mayor will include easily-available Metro-Card-Machines in his New & Improved Master-Disaster-Plan for New-York-City.

 

Nor should any Medic undertake Open-Heart-Surgery when Con-Edison & In-House-Generators have failed.

 

What about 80-Year-Old-Single-Women, living on the 30th-Floor of Buildings in which the Elevators have failed & the Toilets cannot be flushed?

 

It used to be said—borrowing from TS Eliot—that April is the Cruelest-Month.

 

Now, November seems a better Match: Sandy may have wiped-out Indian-Summer

 

 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012, Was Election-Day: If You Think Hurricane-Sandy was Traumatic

 

Well, it’s All-Over but the Appointment of Mitt Romney as US-Ambassador to Vatican-City

 

President Obama needs to Reach-Out to the Losers: to help close their largely Self-Inflicted-Wounds.

 

Considering how adamant Leading-Republicans have been about Deregulation & getting Government Off-Our-Backs & Out-of-Our-Lives, it was bitterly-ironic how eager they were for Government to Stop-Voter-Fraud

 

This was not something that could have been achieved through Faith-Based-Charities or School-Vouchers.

 

Although this Demand for Government-Intervention was transparently-designed to Prevent Certain-Minorities from Voting at all, it did not Succeed.

 

So we will now have Four-More-Years—not of FDR, alas!—of trying to Repair-the-Damage created by Eight-Years in the Bushes

 

Nonetheless, we should Shed-a-Tear for all those Romney-Campaign-Workers who had their Credit-Cards cut-off the minute Mitt realized he had not Won-the-Olympic-Gold-in-Politics.

 

How about those 172-Private-Jets that flew into Boston/Logan, to Celebrate the Resounding-Republican-Victory, complete with Mitt-Fireworks in Boston-Harbor?

 

Another Instance of: Don’t Count Your Plots Before They Are Hatched?

 

 

Whatever Became of Armistice-Day? Veterans’-Day Suggests Our Wars Will Never Stop, Already.

 

After The-Great-War, on every 11th-of-November, we celebrated Armistice-Day, marking the Conclusion of Hostilities between the Allies & the Central-Powers, or The Huns, as some preferred to call them.

 

We wore Orange "Buddy-Poppies,” to recall those who had fallen in Flanders-Fields.

 

In Flanders-Fields, where Poppies grow/Amid the Crosses, row on row…

 

To remember those who had fallen during The-War-Between-the-States we had "Decoration-

Day,” which we used to Decorate-the-Graves of both the Blue [North, or Union] & the Gray [South, or Secessionist].

 

As Memories of our very own Civil-War receded, this was transmuted into Memorial-Day.

 

But this Veteran’s-Day-2012 in Manhattan was largely an occasion to block-off Traffic from 42nd-Street to 57th-Street. Not much of a Turn-Out

 

All the Vets from World-War-I must, by now, have gone off to that Great-Flanders-Field in the Skies?

 

 

Another Thanksgiving-Day—But Still an Unlucky-Day for Big-Breasted-Turkeys, Nationwide…

 

As is Customary, the President again Pardoned a Pre-Selected-Lucky-Turkey.

 

But there were No-Indications that either He or Hillary would pardon Turkey, if it fails to Support-Israel in its Desperate-Fight-To-Survive on New-Settlement-Lands, in what had once been the British-Mandate for Palestine

 

The New Yorker, however, showed a Herd of Suited-Elephants gathered round a Festive-Thanksgiving-Table, but in the center was not a Stuffed-Turkey but a Stuffed-Black-Crow!

 

So, were Mitt & Ann & Karl Rove eating Humble-Pie, made with Crow?

 

Are there any Racist-Implications in the fact that the Crow was Black?

 

The Annual-Macy*s-Thanksgiving-Day-Parade was seen by Millions, but Macy*s was unfortunately unable to fill all its Cartoon-Balloons with Hot-Air from Capitol-Hill.

 

 

PASSING-GLANCES AT SCENES-SEEN:

 

 

Ayad Akhtar’s DISGRACED  [****]

 

Can a Decent, Hard-Working American-Lawyer of Pakistani-Descent Really Assimilate?

           

The Apparent-Answer—in Ayad Akhtar’s troubling new drama at the Claire-Tow—is No.

 

Even marrying an attractive, blonde, & talented White-Artist-Wife—who is fascinated with Islamic-Geometrics—isn’t going to Save-Him-from-Disgrace.

 

In one sense, Amir [the excellent Aasif Mandvi] is His-Own-Worst-Enemy—especially when his Rage at the Injustice-of-it-All wrecks Everything for him—but his False-Friends are also No-Help.

 

But what could he have expected, working for a Jewish-American Legal-Firm?

 

How could he have believed he would be given Preferment-for-Partner, when he had unwisely—at the behest of an Islamist-Nephew—appeared with an Imam, suspected of Terrorism?

 

As has been resoundingly-demonstrated—ever since Waves of Immigrant-Ost-Jüden surged over Lower-Manhattan & BrooklynJews can certainly Assimilate & Prosper.

 

Some can even enjoy Dual-CitizenshipUS & Israeli—without any fear of Terrorist-Profiling by the FBI & the CIA.

 

Unfortunately—as this difficult-drama suggests—American-Muslims are almost automatically Under-Suspicion.

 

Israelis did not Blow-Up the Twin-Towers, although they have enough Nuclear-War-Heads to Total the Middle-East

 

 

Neither Snow nor Sleet nor Hurricane-Sandy Kept Fine-Print-Dealers from the Armory-Show!

 

I was going to stay-at-home rather than Slog over to the Park-Avenue-Armory.

 

With all those Videos of LaGuardia & Newark Under-Water, I feared that International-Fine-Print-Dealers from both San Rafael & Dublin wouldn’t be able to Fly-in-on-Time.

 

Not-to-Worry: most of the Old-Favorites were on-hand, many with exciting new Print-Images & Stylistic-Tics.

 

Rather than reprise all the Names of the Dealers with the Most-Interesting-Offerings, why not Log-On?

 

Try PrintFair.com or contact Sanford L. Smith Associates, who manage this & other fascinating shows.

 

It was good to say Hello to Jane Kallir, of Galerie-St.-Etienne, who has just launched her new book on Egon Schiele.

 

I was also impressed with the Booth of Daniela Laube Fine Art, crowded with excellent & rare Medieval-Woodcuts & handsome Engravings by the likes of Al Dürer & Etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

 

When I was teaching in Europe—in the Wake of World-War-II—there were some astonishing Medieval & Renaissance "Finds” to be unearthed in Trödel-Handlungen & Junk-Shops.

 

I bought Piranesi’s Cloaca-Maxima—from the Veduti-di-Roma—for about $10, but the Second-Hand-Dealer thought he was selling me the Oak-Frame.

 

He had No-Idea about the Value of the Etching

 

 

Speaking of Value: The Catalogues created by Phillips de Pury—on Park-Avenue—are themselves Works-of-Art, wonderfully Designed!

 

Some of the Color-Reproductions—shown in Enlargements of Major-Details, as well as in Fold-Outs—look More-Striking than the Actual-Artworks on the Phillips de Pury Walls!

 

 

Charlie Strouse, Tommy Meehan, & Marty Charnin’s ANNIE  [****]

           

In the Wake of Hurricane-Sandy, Here Comes Annie’s-Sandy: Arf, Arf!

           

Leapin’-Lizards, Sandy!

 

We don’t actually get to see very much of Little-Orphan-Annie’s Beloved-Dog, Sandy, in the current-revival of "The Musical Annie©” at the Palace-Theatre.

 

But Anyone who is lucky-enough to get a Ticket to this Handsome-Show can rejoice in the Hilarious-Performance of Katie Finneran, as the Tipsy-Orphanage-Keeper, Miss Hannigan.

 

As Daddy-Warbucks, Anthony Warlow, is also Outstanding!

 

Just Imagine! All those Billions, but Daddy has never married!

 

Are Money & Power better than Sex?

 

Perhaps the Most-Imaginative-Element in this Obviously-Expensive Production is the Scenic-Design of David Korins, colorfully-aided by the Lighting-Design of Donald Holder.

 

Not only do Washed-Whites fly high in the sky over Manhattan-Slums, but the City’s Starkly-Silhouetted-Bridges also keep Taking-Off-Aloft

 

The many Sumptuous-Chambers of Daddy Warbucks’ Fabulous-Mansion are Hinged-like-a-Book, so, as Annie goes from room-to-room, she could be Turning-the-Pages of Her-Wonderful-New-Life.

 

Unfortunately, Annie is a show with really only One-Good-Song—which is Frequently-Reprised

 

Oddly enough, Tomorrow was actually written for Flowers for Algernon, but Charles Strouse borrowed-it-back from the Play’s-Publisher, Chris Sergel.

 

Although even the President-of-the-United-States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, learns to sing Tomorrow Loud-&-Strong—along with the very Large-&-Talented-Cast—it is unfortunate that the Current President-of-the-United-States hasn’t really mastered that Haunting-Tune.

 

But then, he’s not in a Broadway-Musical: Neither Phantom nor Wicked!

 

Considering the Human-Disaster that was The-Great-Depression—as depicted here in Old-Newsreels & other Depression-Era-Footage—there is a Certain-Bitter-Relevance in bringing Annie back-to-life at this Distraught-Time.

 

Where are our New-Deals? Are Bailouts only for "Bankstas” & "Fraudstas”?

 

Where is our WPA? Where is our CCC? Where is our Interstate-Highway-Program?

 

But there is a Real-Problem with Meehan’s Dated-Insider-Book: Who was Bernard Baruch?

 

Who was Frances Perkins? Who was Harold Ickes?

 

Who now cares?

 

Unfortunately, despite the cleverness of having Daddy’s Crystal-Chandelier descend & unfold to become a Glittering-Crystal-Christmas-Tree—more impressive, in its way, than the Lincoln-Center Balanchine-Nutcracker-Xmas-Tree—with Christmas comes Chaos.

 

The Remainder of the Show looks like a Choreographic-Free-for-All.

 

As for the Kids in my row, they looked Blank when Harpo Marx was mentioned—obviously with the Intent to Get-a-Laugh from those in the Audience who remember the Marx-Brothers.

 

So, is the Next-Step to revive that Musical about Perle Mesta, the Hostess-with-the-Mostest?

 

But, hey! Miss Hannigan is Right!

 

Why would Anyone want to be an Orphan?

 

Oh oh! I almost forgot…

 

I guess I was going to think about it Tomorrow?

 

Lilla Crawford energetically-impersonated Annie, although the Relentless-Miking of the Performance made it difficult to judge the Real-Quality of her Voice.

 

           

Tony Chekhov’s IVANOV  [*****]

 

Director Austin Pendleton Does It Again—With Ethan Hawke & an All-Star-Cast at CSC…

           

Austin Pendleton is in danger of becoming The-Director for Chekhov!

 

The Productions that he has devised down at the CSC—on East-13th-Street—have all been both memorable & affecting: Uncle Vanya & Three Sisters.

 

Perhaps because of Hurricane-Sandy, he added to his Laurels in early November, when he brilliantly-replaced the admirable—even venerableLouis Zorich, in the Pivotal-Role of Lebedev, whose Headstrong-Daughter, Sasha [a intense Juliet Rylance], is determined to throw her Life away on the Essentially-Pitiful but Heedlessly-Cruel Ivanov.

 

How Ethan Hawke can find energy enough to throw himself into the Heart & Soul of Ivanov Multiple-Times a week is amazing.

 

Ivanov ends by shooting himself with the Pistol that he’s been waving about, both in Threat & in Jest, in previous scenes.

 

Country-Doctor Anton Chekhov famously found many of the Pathetic & Deluded-Characters that he both Observed & Treated on Russian-Landed-Estatesdistant from the Sophisticated-Society of Moscow & Petersburg—ironically Amusing.

 

Ivanov has many Elements-of-Comedy & the Ridiculous—exposed in Daily-Life among all Social-Levels of Tsarist-Russia—but it may also be regarded as a Tragicomedy

 

Perhaps that’s why Chekhov’s Vanya—written well-after Ivanov—cannot kill his Enemy, or even finish-off himself: such Gestures are both Futile & Comically-Grotesque.

 

As are the Lives, Hopes, & Fears of many of Chekhov’s Characters

 

Some of whom are here played with insight & fierce-concentration by such Talents as Roberta Maxwell, George Morfogen, Joely Richardson, & Jonathan Marc Sherman—a Chekhovian-Country-Doctor.

 

Santo Loquasto has created a Nobly-Corniced-Façade that is both a bit of Russian-Neo-Classic & Southern-Plantation, serving both as an Entrance & as a Bookcase.

 

Maybe the CSC can save this Set-Element for another Cherry Orchard, so Gaev will really have a Noble-Bookcase worth Apostrophizing!

 

Yes, Marco Piemontese’s Period-Costumes were an Art-Historian’s Delight & Keith Parham’s Lighting cleverly played with Light & Shadow

 

But Carol Rocamora’s idiomatic new Translation of Ivanov was a Revelation!

 

Perhaps I should reveal that Carol is not only an Admired-Academic, but also a Member of The-Outer-Critics-Circle, of which I happen to be The-Historian.

 

Bravo! Carol!

 

But also Bravos & Bravi for Austin Pendleton & his Remarkable-Cast!

 

           

James McManus’ BLOOD BROTHERS  [**]

 

What-the-Fuck! There’s These Fuckin’ Puppets & These Fuckin’ Blood-Brothers, Crazy-Fuckers!

           

Holy-Shit!

 

Have we returned to Naturalism, giving-up on Realism & certainly on Poetry?

 

Are the Fuckin’-Three-Parentless-Blood-Brothers, sealing Their-Fuckin’-Bond with Their-Own-Fuckin’-Blood, dumped into the Fuckin’-Boiling-Potatoes, the Fuckin’-Wave-of the-Fuckin’-Future in Fuckin’-American-Playwriting?

 

Just askin’…

 

Although the Predominantly-Young-&-Handsomely-Dressed-Audience—at the World-Premiere of Blood Brothers—frequently erupted with Throaty-Laughter at the Drug-Sogged-Lives of at least Two of the Clueless-Brothers & every Utterance of Fuck or Shit elicited at least some Giggles, the Humor eluded Your-Aged-Arts-Critic.

 

Unfortunately for Enjoyment of Contemporary-American-Theatre—which now seems focused on the Most-Utterly-Lost of the Losers—My Worldview was formed by Sophocles, Shakespeare/Marlowe, Sheridan, Ibsen, & Chekhov.

 

Can you imagine: We gotta’ cut down these Fuckin’-Cherry-Trees!

 

Shit! Smash this Goddam-Fuckin’-Glass-Menagerie! Laura, Blow-out your Fuckin’-Candles!

 

Motherfucker! These Fuckin’-Witches of Fuckin’-Salem are real Cocksuckin’-Fuckin’-Bitches!

 

So, OK, the Steel-Mills in & around Pittsburg are closed-down. Have been for a Long-Time

 

So what’s the Fuckin’-Deal about throwing the Fuckin’-Metaphoric-&-Bunraku-Puppet-Assisted-Spotlight on Fuckin’-Misery in Fuckin’-Donora?

 

Not only because I’m not used to hearing a lot of "Bad-Language,” in the service of bringing The-Human-Tragedy to the American-Stage, but also because I know Nothing about Cooking-Crystal-Meth, I was baffled by some of the Stage-Activity.

 

I do know something about Crystal-Chandeliers, as well as a bit about Crystal-Bridges, the new
Walton-Spawned-Americana-Museum down in Fuckin’-Bentonville, in Fuckin’-Arkansas, but Fuckin’-Crystal-Meth?

 

A Fuckin’-Mystery!

 

Nonetheless, the Cast was generally Good-to-Excellent, with an Especial-Nod to Beth Wittig as the Drugged-Object-of-Desire to Two of the Blood-Brothers.

 

As Fly, Zack Griffiths had to take-off his Shirt or Jacket a Lot.

 

His Hairy-Muscular-Defined-Torso is a Natural for Raging-Stallion or Hot-House

 

But that’s Not what this Fuckin’-Play is supposed to be about, is it?

 

Just askin’…

 

 

Three Chaffers & a Cragin’s SON OF A GUN  [***]

 

Country-&-Western Makes a Kind of Dysfunctional-Comeback Down on Theatre-Row…

           

Hey! I grew-up on The-Grand-Ol’-Opry…

 

Among My-Favorites were Loretta Lynn & Crystal Gale, as well as Roy Acuff & The Smokey-Mountain-Boys & Cousin Minnie-Pearl.

 

But I’m at-a-loss to judge the Intended-Performances of the Epically-Dysfunctional-Khrusty-Family-Singers.

 

Are they really Any-Good, or are they just slogging-on in their old VW-Van, because Pa Khrusty is a Megalomanical-Drunk?

 

What about the Cowboy-Jesus?

 

When we first see him—dressed in White-Cowboy-Drag & a Touch-of-Glitter—he looks like the MC of The-Son-of-a-Gun-Show.

 

But he’s only an Avatar of a kind of Evangelical-Holy-Relic, an odd Statue of Cowboy-Jesus. Who seems to be the Spiritual-Center of every Khrusty-Performance

 

On entering the Beckett-Theatre, one was confronted by a Massive-Musical-Set-Up on the Open-Stage.

 

Was this going to be another Rock-of-Ages?

 

Or were the Khrusty-Family going to be just like The Shaggs? Who actually had some Good-Songs

 

This "New-Musical” was gradually-developed—under the Aegis of the Drama-League—from down at Joe’s-Pub up to the O’Neill-Center in Waterford, CT.

 

Along the way, didn’t Anyone think to say that the Book was Too-Long & Too-Convoluted?

 

That—in-performance—it seemed as if they were Making-It-Up-as-They-Sang-Along?

 

That Pa Khrusty really was a Terrible-Old-Drunk & a Bad-Father

 

Some Empathy should have been generated, but that didn’t really Happen.

 

As the Show rattled-on—with some Prop-Blips—it promised to be as Long as Parsifal.

 

Nonetheless, the Cast was Attractive, Musical, & Hard-Working.

 

But the Khrusty-Family-Singers were in No-Danger of being transferred from Theatre-Row up to the Beacon-Theatre, to follow the Allman-Brothers

 

Maybe they could have used Cousin Minnie-Pearl as a Back-Up?

 

 

Beatrix Potter at the Morgan: How About Getting a Letter with Peter Rabbit Looking Out at You!

 

That nice Victorian-Lady with the Rabbit-on-a-Leash is the somewhat-shy Beatrix Potter, who wrote Letters to "Real-Children,” illustrated with her very own Drawings of such now-famous Characters as Peter Rabbit & Squirrel Nutkin.

 

Potter had no-thought of publishing these Charming-Missives, but, somehow, they made it into Print, making Peter & Potter world-famous.

 

In addition to the Twenty-Picture-Letters in this delightful show at the Morgan, there are also Peter-Rabbit & Co. Stuffed-Animals on display.

 

Beatrix Potter wasn’t just an Animal-Admirer: she was also a talented Illustrator of other imagery, such as a Horrifying-Tarantula, dominating one wall…

 

Get to know both Peter & Beatrix better at the Morgan: Family-Photos & More!

 

Also On-View at the Morgan:

 

The Holy Family with the Young Saint John-the-Baptist is on-loan from the Walters-Art-Museum in Baltimore, now on-view in the small Thaw-Space, as the Centerpiece of FANTASY & INVENTION: Rosso Fiorentino & 16th-Century Florentine-Drawing.

 

The Painting—one of only three Fiorentinos in the USA—was executed circa 1520, but Fiorentino’s Drawings are also enhanced by the works of such Flowering-Florentines as Andrea del Sarto & Fra Bartolommeo

 

 

August Strindberg’s THE STRONGER & CASPER’S FAT TUESDAY  [n/a]

           

New August-Strindberg-Repertory-Company Dedicated To Less-Well-Known-Plays…

           

Hurricane Sandy delayed the Festive-Opening of The Strindberg-Rep’s Double-Bill of The Stronger & Casper’s Fat Tuesday.

 

Created by Robert Greer & Peter Hodges—formerly PhD-Candidates at the CUNY-Graduate-Center—the Strindberg-Rep is dedicated to producing the Less-Well-Known of August Strindberg’s Dramas.

 

They have a Long-Road ahead of them, for there are a number of Strindberg-Plays that are virtually-unknown at all in the US.

 

For that matter, they are not all that often mounted in Stockholm, although I did see an impressive Erik XIV at Dramaten, the Royal-Dramatic-Theatre, years & years ago.

 

When was the last time you saw a Professional-Production of Queen Christina?

 

Possibly, Strindberg’s Miss Julie & The Dance of Death are the best-known & most-often-produced of the Strindberg-Canon.

 

Many many years ago, Sir Laurence Olivier gave a Definitive-Dancing-Performance in this harrowing Domestic–Drama. It was even recycled at Yale-Rep as Play, Strindberg, performed in a Boxing-Ring

 

All my Theatre-History-Reference-Books are in Bedbug-Storage, so I cannot list for you all of the Lesser-Known-Strindbergs here, but they must be On-Line, somewhere in the Ether

 

There is a Reason that they are Lesser-Known—even in Sweden—in that they are not-on-a-par with the works of Ibsen, in Neighboring-Norway, nor with Anton Chekhov, in Far-Off-Russia.

 

Nonetheless, in the Late-19th-Century, with the Rise of Naturalism, Symbolism, & Realism, National-Pride virtually demanded that some Writer step-forward to represent his Country with Provocative-Modern-Dramas.

 

In Sweden, this Talent was August Strindberg.

 

Aside from the Screenplays of Ingmar Bergman, how many Famous-Swedish-Playwrights can you name? [Ten-Points on the Final-Exam!]

 

Years & years ago—when Your Roving-Arts-Reporter went to Stockholm, Uppsala, Malmø, Lund, Kalmar, & Dalarna every summer—there used to be a University-Sponsored Strindberg-Festival staged below the High-Castle: The Keys to the Kingdom—A Revelation!

 

Down on Bond-Street—in The Stronger—the Rant of Ms. X [strongly played by Dina Rosenmeier] has been moved from Scandinavia to Christmas-Eve, last year in New-York-City.

 

This is Translator/Director Robert Greer’s choice, as well as changing the Female-Receptor of Ms. X’s-Grievances from her Female-Rival to a Man!

 

Apparently, this caused a Frisson last summer in Stockholm, when Greer staged Viveca Lindfors in the role of Ms. X. Down on Bond-Street, it passed without a Murmur…

 

[Ms. Linfors was once married to the Late-Playwright, George Tabori. Their Actor-Son, Kristofer Tabori, used to be seen on Off-Broadway-Stages. Where is he now?]

 

The Second-Half of the Strindberg-Bill was a conflation of Scripts, dealing with a North-European Puppet-Show, wherein Punch becomes Casper.

 

This takes place in the Graveyard of the German-Church in Stockholm’s Gamla-Stan, or Old-Town.

 

Various Traditional-Characters emerge from a Large-Touring-Trunk & do their Stock-Stuff. With Slapsticks

 

To someone just in off Bond-Street—to take refuge from the Aftermath of Hurricane-Sandy—this could have been somewhat baffling.

 

Especially if he or she had never before seen a real Punch-&-Judy-Show.

 

As for the charming-animations of the Pink-Pig-Ballet’s Piglets, this Coupling-of-Dance with Punch would have been more immediately-understandable to anyone who has ever seen the Summer-Shows in Copenhagen’s Tivoli-Gardens Pantomime-Theatre.

 

Or in Stockholm’s Deer-Garden—or Djurgården

 

Casper was written in 1900 & first-performed in 1901.

 

Ingmar Bergman mounted a Student-Production sometime in the 1950s

 

So, the Bond-Street-Mounting must be a Manhattan-First?

 

Jonathan Slaff’s Informational-Press-Release quotes Robert Greer: I want the audience to laugh their heads off & go out wondering about these things.

 

Actually, there was Someone in the Stands who was constantly Laughing-Like-a-Jackal, causing those in front to Look-Around & Wonder

 

Dr. Peter Hodges—who also made the Commedia-Masks—is the Producer of the Strindberg-Rep.

 

Because I was one of his PhD-Dissertation-Advisors on his interesting examination of the Frustrated-Career of the virtually-unknown Playwright Sadakichi Hartmann, I must recuse myself as a Drama-Critic, preferring, rather, only to Report-&-Comment.

 

This also applies to the Dedicated-Contributions of Robert Greer, the Strindberg-Rep’s Artistic-Director.

 

Both Greer & Hodges began producing Plays at the CUNY-Grad-Center, later moving down to Woodie King’s New-Federal-Theatre.

 

During our Semester-Long Seminar-Study of the Career-of-Peter-Brook at the Grad-Center, Greer was of inestimable-assistance, especially in Programming all of Peter Brook’s Films for our Class.

 

           

Richard Nelson’s SORRY  [***]

 

The Third in Nelson’s "Apple-Trilogy” Presents Family-Political-Discussion on Election-Morn.

           

Playwright/Director Richard Nelson—a Longtime-Favorite at the Public-Theatre—has created a Family-Drama that might have a Short-Shelf-Life, as it is set in the Early-Morning of Obama-Election-Day

 

Fortunately, it does not Forecast how that Event will come-out, but it does remind us how President Pierce’s son died—decapitated in a Freak-Train-Accident.

 

Speaking of Heads, the Sisters & Brother of the Apple-Family, of Rhinebeck, NY, have a Problem with Uncle Benjamin, who is sinking into Dementia.

 

Should his Devoted-Daughter, Barbara, continue to look-after-him at-home. Or should he be in-a-Home?

 

Nelson lives & writes in Rhinebeck, so he may well know a Family rather like the Apples.

 

Although I have Great-Admiration for the Talents of Jay O.Sanders, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, J. Smith Cameron, & Jon Devries—how Old he has become!—initially, I was not exactly On-the-Edge-of-My-Seat, waiting to find-out How-All-This-Will-End.

 

Obama had already been Re-Elected on the night I saw the Apples at-table, so that wasn’t the Cliff-Hanger

 

Over the Past-Two-Weeks, most of the New-Dramas I’ve seen have been about Dysfunctional-Families, often from what used to be called The-Lower-Depths—with Language to match…

 

It took me a while to appreciate what the Apples are going-through with Uncle Ben & that we should thank Richard Nelson for allowing us to listen-in-on a Decent-Loving-Family, trying to Do-the–Right-Thing.

 

Anyone who has ever had to Make-a-Tough-Decision about an Alzheimer’s-Afflicted-Parent will know what is at Stake

 

The Last of the Apple-Trilogy is titled Sorry. That’s a Word often used by Brother Richard: "I’m sorry!”

 

           

Aurelian Bory’s SANS OBJET  [*****]

 

Watch-Out! There’s an Intelligent & Self-Willed-Robot Under That Immense Silver-Sheet!

           

In the dim light on the stage of BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera-house, a Mountain of Silver-Mylar seemed to be breathing & surging, showing at times what seemed to be Primitive-Faces, which then abruptly-dissolved…

 

When the Wraps were finally off, the Team-of-OliviersOlivier Alenda & Olivier Boyer—had to deal with a Giant-Electronic-Robot with a Mind-of-Its-Own.

 

At one point, it looked like it might Eat-Them-Alive, but it certainly Carried-Them-Aloft!

 

Wow! What a Show!

 

This could be a Broadway-Winner—with the right kind of Advance-Promo—but you would need an immense Silver-Cloth for each performance, because, at the close, it is completely Punctured so that Mysterious-Lights can shine through…

 

Alors! C’est des Françaises…

 

 

The French Take-Over the Park-Avenue-Armory for The Salon: Art & Design!

 

Sanford Smith’s annual Modernism Art-Purchase-Fair at the Park Avenue-Armory has been transmuted into The Salon, for the first time involving France’s Syndicat-Nationale-des-Antiquaires, with 22-Dealers fresh from the Paris-Biennale.

 

Modernism was defined by Smith as the Period from 1860-1960, but that always seemed Pushing-the-Envelope backwards, to certify a Century-of-Modernism.

 

Unless, of course, you can find some essential Art-Nouveau as early as 1860 & the Era of Emperor Napoleon III

 

As the Editor/Creator/Author of The Art-Deco News, Your Roving Arts-Reporter finally tired of Deco & replaced this Quarterly with Modernism.

 

But that was years ago, when I was neither Paid nor Thanked for my efforts on behalf of the Art-Deco-Society-of-New-York.

 

So I still view Modernism as growing out of Arts-&-Crafts, as well as Art-Nouveau & Jugendstil

 

What was most impressive about the Salon-Show at the Armory was the profusion of White-Walled-Booths, featuring arrays of Modernist-Furniture, Lighting-Fixtures, Objects-d’Art, Sculpture, Paintings, Works-on-Paper, Posters, & Tschotsckes—some of which approached Kitschiness.

 

Despite the French-Accent to the show, American-Modern-Masters were also on-view.

 

What would we do without the unique Studio-Furniture of George Nakashima, Wharton Escherick, & Wendell Castle?

 

But, as a Friend & Collector of the Wood-Creations of the late Sam Maloof, I missed seeing a Maloof-Rocker or two…

 

Yes, there were the Obligatory-Asian-Artifacts, as well as African-Masks & Cult-Objects, but this Sales-Generating-Exhibition wasn’t all that Modern.

 

In fact, my Favorite-Booth was that of De Jonckheere, dealers in tableaux-de-maîtres-anciens.

 

When I first glimpsed what looked like small Knock-Offs of famed Brueghel-Paintings in Vienna’s Kunsthistoricsches-Museum, I thought they might be some kind of Andy-Warhol-Caricatures.

 

But NO! They were the Real-Thing! But Small-Studies for much bigger Major-Flemish-Scenes by the Master!

 

The De Jonckheere Catalogue is a real Keeper!

 

You might want to check-out their Website: www.dejonckheere-gallery.com.

 

Founded in Brussels, there are now De Jonckheere Galleries in Paris & Genf.

 

 

Andy-Warhol-Artifacts Cram Christie’s-Galleries, Plus Big-Bucks for Impressionism & Modernism.

 

The Andy-Warhol-Foundation for the Visual-Arts is apparently emptying its Archives.

 

There is said to be a Seven-Year-Agreement with Christie’s-Auction-House to make even Andy’s Old-Polaroids available to Insatiable-Collectors!

 

This year’s Warhol-Collection overflows the 20th-floor of the Simon-Schuster-Building, adjacent to Christie’s.

 

But in the Actual-Galleries there is Andy’s very large 3-D canvas of Statue-of-Liberty-Multiples, as well as some large 3-D-Blow-Ups of Andy & Friends at the Factory & elsewhere.

 

Not only are there several Handsome-Catalogues for The-Statue-of-Liberty & Andy-Warhol-at-Christies, you also get free 3-D-Spectacles for viewing these Historic-Artifacts!

 

For that matter, Christie’s also provides a Handsome Separate-Catalogue for the Sale of The Douglas S. Cramer Collection, as well as a smaller Keepsake, memorializing the Sale of just Two Georgia O’Keeffe Canvases!

 

But what are we to think of the Sales-Results for two auctions of Impressionist & Modern Art?

 

Is the One-Percent letting their possibly Ill-Gotten-Riches Trickle-Down to Small-Businesses & the Homeless?

 

How about $23-Million-Plus for Wasilly Kandinsky’s oil-on-card, mounted on canvas: Studie für Improvisation 8?

 

This is a World-Record for Kandinsky, who once was keeping-house with Gabriel Münter in Bavarian-Murnau. Locals called their Cottage the Rus-Haus

 

Claude Monet’s Nymphéas fetched a fetching $43,762,500, while a Miró was bought for nearly $14-Million, just a bit more than the $12-Million-plus bid for a Brancusi-Plaster, titled Une muse.

 

Pablo Picasso’s Buste de femme emptied someone’s Wallet of $13-Million.

 

With that kind of Money, you could repair some of the Damage from Hurricane-Sandy

 

Pablo Picasso’s Tête de femme was sold for only $5-Million, but then there are So-Very-Many-Picassos available out-there: More than twenty or thirty for Every-Multi-Billionaire-Oligarch!

 

Andy Warhol made a lot of Silk-Screens—with help from Factory-Denizens—but Picasso made all those Artworks by himself, except for the Actual-Founding of his Bronzes. For those, he had some Help.

 

Talk About Tax-Cuts-for-The-Rich! Sales-Totals at Christies for the Warhol-Week: $525-Million…

 

Andy Warhol’s 3-D Statue-of-Liberty—including 3-D-Glasses—won $43.7-Million!

 

Totals from the Warhol-Archives-Sales were $100.1-Million, including those Polaroids.

 

Two Untitled Artworks were bought for Millions as well. Franz Kline’s Untitled fetched $40.4-Million, while Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled brought $26.4-Million.

 

Jeff Koons’ colorful stainless-steel Tulips—shown in a Pond outside Christie’s—was purchased for $33.6-Million, the Pond-Frame included.

 

When you get it home to Moscow, Comrade Oligarch, Just-Add-Water

 

One of Josef Albers’ Square-PaintingsHomage to the Square—was bought for $2,210,500.

 

And so it goes…

 

           

Michael John LaChiusa’s GIANT  [****]

 

Oil-Gushers Engulf Texas-Grazing-Lands in Lush-Musical-Panorama of Edna Ferber’s Novel…

           

This may well be the Musical-You-Have-Been-Waiting-For!

 

Not only are there Lilting-Melodies & Haunting-Lyrics that both Reveal-Character & Advance-the-Narrative, but this Magical-Production is Scenically one of the most Artful & Impressive ever.

 

Bryan d’Arcy James is both Dynamic & Single-Minded as the Stolid-Texas-Rancher who is determined to continue raising Cattle on his Thousands-of-Acres, while all around him are sprouting Hundreds-of-Oil-Derricks

 

Kate Baldwin is fascinating as the Cultivated-Young-Lady from "The-East,” who loves Bick Benedict but who has a Hard-Life in the Strange-Wide-Wide-World that is Texas.

 

Stunning-Staging by Michal Greif, with Folk-Inflected-Choreography by Alex Sanchez

 

Allen Moyer’s ingenious Scenic-Evocations are immensely-aided by the Subtle-Lighting of Kenneth Posner.

 

But the Suffering-Humanity of the Texans & the Native-Mexicans—wonderfully embodied by the Brilliant-Cast—is what makes this Marvelous-Musical really Sing!

 

If there is a Problem with Sybille Pearson’s Book, it is that it tries to Pan too Panoramically over the Long-Years this Tale has to Tell.

 

To move to Broadway—as it surely Must!—its Three-Hours needs to be reduced a bit, with the Sacrifice of some Wonderfully-Set-Scenes.

 

Each is, in itself, a Mini-Drama, & Composer Michael John LaChiusa certainly won’t want to give up Any of them.

 

           

Kev & Wil B’s BLACK VIOLIN  [*****]

 

A Thousand-Points-of-Light as Audience-Members Cell-Photograph Kev & Wil & Magic-Violins!

           

Never have so many Cell-Phones & iPads been glowing-in-the-dark of a Broadway-Theatre!

 

Ushers were almost unable to enforce Compliance with the No-Photo/No-Recording-Command.

 

Kev & Wil are so dynamic as Performers—both On & Off-Strings that they had the Capacity-Audience at the New-Victory waving a Forest-of-Arms, Chanting, Singing, Surging, & Clapping, while Kevin Marcus & Wilner Baptiste were Jivin’, Jazzin’, Jamin’ & Improvin’.

 

This is a Show that could have a Good-Run On or Off-Broadway.

 

It’s certainly more Audience-Interactive than any of those Juke-Box-Musicals

 

How about Rockin’ to Bach?

 

 

Forget Pearl-Harbor! Celebrate the Post-War-Transformation of Tokyo as an Avant-Garde-Nexus!

 

During World-War-II, many Americans were looking-forward to Hanging the Emperor-Hirohito for Japan’s Imperialistic-Attacks on Pearl-Harbor & elsewhere in the Pacific-Theatre.

 

Admiral Tojo was, in fact, Totaled.

 

But General Douglas MacArthur protected the Emperor, realizing how Central he was to the Recovery of Japan & its People.

 

Not only did Japan recover from the Devastations-of-War—the Horrors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki!—it recreated itself as a Peace-Loving & Industrially-Prosperous Modern-Nation.

 

This was made possible partly by American-Assistance & the American-Examples offered by the US-Occupation-Forces, which remained in Japan until at least 1952.

 

The new Show at MoMA—Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde—demonstrates how new & emerging Japanese-Artists helped transform Tokyo into a Center of Avant-Garde-Cutting-Edge-Art-Making.

 

There are more than 200 Art-Works in this handsome exhibition.

 

Although Japan & Things-Japanese are the Core-Subject-Matter of many of the Paintings, Sculptures, Photos, Drawings, & Art-Installations, a number of the Works do suggest some Cross-Pollination with
Avant-Garde-Trends in the United-States.

 

What used to be called Orientalism by some Conservative-Western-Art-Lovers—besotted by Traditional-Japanese-Styles-&-Subjects—can hardly be detected in most of the Art on-view.

 

Considering Tokyo’s Burgeoning-Population & limited Land-Area, new developments in Architecture & City-Planning are an important element of this show:

 

Look for Metabolism… Think Kenzo Tange

 

This Intriguing-Show must close on 25 February 2013, but there will always be some Murakami-Curiosities on-hand in Manhattan…

 

 

Out of the Ashcan & Onto Museum-Walls: George Bellows, Graduate of the Ashcan-School…

 

If you have a Donald-Trumpian-Lust for Prize-Fighting, you are probably already familiar with George

Bellows’ Stag at Sharkey’s?

 

Way-back-when, in Manhattan, you had to belong to a Fight-Club to watch two men pound & pummel each other for the enjoyment of the Swells & the Toffs: Modern Gladiators, but with none of the Imperial-Pomp & certainly No-Colosseum

 

But Bellows didn’t just paint Ordinary-People or New-York-Scenes: He was also a Portraitist of Distinction.

 

In fact, the Range of the new George Bellows exhibition at the Met-Museum is amazing, but a lot of it is also a Visual-History of a Manhattan that has vanished.

 

This show must close right after Valentine’s-Day—on 18 February 2013—so do not delay…

 

 

Concealed-Compartments? Roentgen Desks & Cabinets Are Crammed With Trick-Drawers…

 

Not only are the various gleaming Desks, Tables, Cabinets, & Clocks made by the Roentgen-Family of Artists-in-Wood wonderfully-inlaid with magnificent Designs & Scenes, but many of them are also ingenious-examples of Trick-Furniture.

 

The title of the Met’s new show is: EXTRAVAGANT INVENTIONS: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens.

 

You didn’t have to be a Prince to commission a Desk or a Bookcase from the Roentgens, but you certainly needed a Princely-Purse to pay for it.

 

Father Abraham Roentgen was a member of the severe Protestant Moravian-Brotherhood, but he had a Genius for Designing & Manufacturing richly-inlaid & elaborately-decorated Furniture.

 

His son, David Roentgen, was also a Genius at organizing & marketing, recruiting brilliant Artists & Artisans from all over Europe to create Magnificent-Works that commanded Top-Prices from King Louis XVI & Empress Catherine the Great—who became the Roentgen’s Greatest-Patron.

 

Some Great-Cabinets even have Carillons & Music-Boxes. As well as all those Trick-Drawers

 

One of the Desks has its Hind-Side exposed, so you can see the System of Cords-&-Weights that make it possible for Secret-Drawers to Pop-Open

 

Then there’s the Automaton of Marie-Antoinette, seating at her Pianoforte.

 

Marie-Antoinette is still playing at the Met!

 

Unfortunately, she Lost-Her-Head in the French-Revolution—which also destroyed the Markets for the Princely-Furniture of the Roentgens.

 

Fortunately, many of their most important Creations survived, although some were broken-up for their Decorative-Elements.

 

They began making Baroque-Pieces, but transformed their Designs into the newly-fashionable Neo-Classicism.

 

The Bust of Benjamin Franklin that rests proudly on a Plinth—or is it a Pedestal?—is not a Left-Over from some other show.

 

Our First-Electrician was also a Deviser of Intricate-Mechanisms, including the Glass-Harmonica.

 

This fascinating & extensive exhibition must close on 27 January 2013—unless Mayan-Calendar-Prophecies have intervened in the meantime…

 

[This Collection of Ornate & Mysterious-Furniture so fascinated Your Roving Arts-Correspondent—who had already in the same Press-Preview-Crowded-Morning seen Avant-Garde-Tokyo at MoMA & George Bellows at the Met—that there was No-Time-Left to cross Central-Park to see GLOBAL-KITCHEN: Food, Nature, Culture at the American-Museum of Natural-History.

 

[What a Loss! This Press-Op sounded like there might have been some Actual-Food to sample…]

 

           

Tommy Meehan & Chris Curtis’ CHAPLIN  [*****]

 

Formerly Known as Limelight, the Non-Silent Chaplin-Bio Clocks-in at Two-Hours-&-a-Half…

           

Who now remembers Peggy Larue Satterlee?

 

Peggy was a pretty girl from Weimar, near my Home-Town in the California-Sierras.

 

She went to Hollywood, in search of Fame & Fortune, but—about the time that Joan Barry was charging Charlie Chaplin with a Paternity-Suit—she gained a Momentary-Fame by also accusing the Little-Tramp of Fooling-Around with her.

 

This was an Era in which Movie-Fans were obsessed with the Sex-Lives of the Hollywood-Stars.

 

Errol Flynn was also in Trouble: Starlets came forward. It was said that he’d even been in bed with Tyrone Power!

 

No-one ever said that about Charlie Chaplin!

 

That’s fortunate, because Chaplin: The Musical is already so crammed with Incidents & Personalities from Chaplin’s long & occasionally-tormented Career, that the new Broadway-Hit would be even longer.

 

After Chaplin’s Three-WivesMildred Harris, Lita Grey, & Paulette Goddard—we get Wife #4, Playwright Eugene O’Neill’s feisty-daughter, Oona [the charming Erin Mackey].

 

Book-Authors Tommy Meehan & Chris Curtis—who also composed the admirable Score—have refrained from bringing-on-stage some of the Famous-Children of that Union: Geraldine & Michael Chaplin.

 

What is so amazing about the Chaplin-Production—aside from the Absolutely-Brilliant-Performance of Rob McClure as Chaplin—is the way in which Director/Choreographer Warren Carlyle has been able to keep all those Characters, Events, & even Defeats in Motion & in Balance.

 

In keeping with the Black-&-White Silent-Film-Tradition in which Chaplin made his name—or, rather, the Name of the Little-Tramp—the entire Production is designed in Black-&-White.

 

Awards-Nominations for Set-Designer Beowulf Boritt, Lighting-Designer Ken Billington, &

Costume-Designers [the late] Martin Pakledinaz & Amy Clark!

 

Charlie is always haunted by the Memory & the Actuality of his Beautiful-Mother, Hannah Chaplin [the haunting Christiane Noll], a Music-Hall-Entertainer who Lost-It in a Fog-of-Confusion.

 

But when Charlie decides to Silence the Already-Silent Little-Tramp, replacing him with The Great Dictator, in which a little Jewish-Barber impersonates Der Führer, Adolf Hitler, & sends a Message-of-Hope to the World, his Troubles begin.

 

Not the Paternity-Suits, but Accusations from the Self-Promoting Hedda Hopper [the excellent Jenn Colella] that this British-Citizen—who has made Millions in Hollywood, but never sought American-Citizenship—is an Apologist for Stalin & a Supporter-of-Communism!

 

Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux is not mentioned by name, but it’s made clear that Chaplin’s Career in American-Film is definitively over.

 

With Oona—now disowned by Gene O’Neill—he retires to Switzerland, where they raise Eight-Chaplins.

 

[Sometime after his Burial, his Corpse is Stolen, taken Hostage, but that’s beyond the purview of this Lively, Fascinating Musical.]

 

[Did you know that Broadway Producer/Director Multi-Tony-Winner Hal Prince married a Chaplin? His son, Charlie Prince, is thus the Great-Grandson of the Little-Tramp…]

 

           

Eve Ensler’s EMOTIONAL CREATURE  [***]

 

Beyond The-Vagina-Monologues: There’s Also the Problem of Female-Circumcision!

           

Your Roving Arts-Reporter is really Not-Qualified to comment on such subjects as Vaginas & Clitorises, as he has only seen Pictures of these Elements of the Female-Anatomy.

 

In Childhood, I was taught that No-One who is at all a Decent-God-Fearing-Christian is the least bit interested in What’s-Down-There!

 

Eve Ensler’s new show—most of it also Monologues—purports to be about "The Secret Life of Girls Around the World.”

 

Yes, Girls & Women are very-badly-treated by Men in many parts of the World.

 

In many cases, however, this often Sex-Oriented-Mistreatment or Masculine-Tyranny is Religiously-Ordained, Traditional, & Routine.

 

Nonetheless, Ensler’s Six-Talented-Monologists manage to show how they can also Enjoy-Life, even under Oppression or Scorn from Other-Girls!

 

Shawn Sagady’s colorful Projections on a curving Back-Screen are often arresting & memorable.

 

Jo Bonney directed the Girls—who seem to represent Types—with verve & vigor.

 

           

Daniele Finzi Pasca’s DONKA: A LETTER TO CHEKHOV  [****]

 

The Postman Always Rings Twice, But Tony Chekhov Is Dead, With No-Known-Address…

           

Donka was inspired by the 150th-Anniversary of Anton Chekhov, who was born in 1860 & died in 1904, so this must be a Birth-Anniversary.

 

Europeans love to celebrate Death-Anniversaries as well, so it’s important to keep track of Dates.

 

Watching the Dazzling-Acrobatics, the Miraculous-Videopticals, the Ice-Juggling, the Haunting-Dance-of-SilhouettesBlack-Giants & Black-Bedsteads against a Vivid-Red-Full-Stage-Scrim, I was suddenly seized with the Sensation that I had seen this Fascinating-Show before: Perhaps at the Edinburgh-Festival?

 

But No! This remarkable Invention of Daniele Finzi Pasca was devised in Mother-Russia, in Moscow, where Chekhov’s [Tragi-] Comedies were definitively-staged at the Moscow-Art-Theatre.

 

Chekhov’s own Letters & Diary-Jottings inspired the Varied & Electic-Mixture of Circus-Arts & Skills, as well as Music, Song, & Movement that electrify Donka.

 

Among the many Astonishments are the Ice-Objects: a Chandelier whose Great-Crystal-Rings are dashed-to-pieces on the stage-floor, as well as Crystal-Platters & a myriad of Small-Balls, juggled & then smashed.

 

Performers visit with the Audience in a comical but charming Broken-English, but some Folkish-Songs seem distinctly Slavic.

 

My Sense of Déjà-vu must have been triggered by the fact that I’ve seen Pasca’s Genius in action in other Cirque-style shows, such as the Cirque-Éloise, which featured, if I recall correctly, Charlie Chaplin’s Daughter, Geraldine

 

Daniele Finzi Pasca is always ably-supported by the Genius of Maria Bonzanigo, who created the Music & the Choreography, among other production-attributes.

 

Creative-Direction is credited to Antonio Vergamini, but then he had Eight-Remarkable-Talents with which to work: Trapeze-Artists, Jugglers, Clowns

 

Had Daniele Finzi Pasca sent a Letter to Chekhov at the Spa in Badenweiler—where he was under Treatment for TB—it might have come-back, marked Return-To-Sender, in German, of course.

 

Chekhov’s Last-Words in Badenweiler were: Ich Sterbe…

 

I’m dying…

 

And so it goes…

 

           

Joshua Elias Harmon’s BAD JEWS  [***]

 

Sitting Shiva with a Shiksa? At Least There’s a "Riv-Vu” from the Bathroom!

           

It was Friday-Evening. Our Press-Tickets were nowhere to be found.

 

We couldn’t call anyone as all the Good-Jews were in Temple

 

Fortunately, the Box-Office-Lady relented & found Tix for us, so we could find out what Bad Jews may be like. I thought, maybe, like Goldman-Sachs?

 

Formerly, I thought Linda Lavin—embodying Nicky Silver’s Vision—was the Definitive Jewess-from-Hell.

 

Now, however, thanks to Joshua Harmon’s ironic-drama & the impassioned-portrayal of the indomitable Tracee Chimo as Daphna Feygenbaum, there is another Candidate!

 

Chimo offers a kind of Chimotherapy, but the Entire-Cast—directed by Daniel Aukin—is outstanding.

 

But there is This-Problem

 

Beloved Grandfather has died & Grandson Liam [Michael Zegen] did not make it to the Funeral!

 

Worse yet, he was in Aspen with the Bubble-Headed-Blonde-Shiska [Molly Ranson] he plans to marry!

 

They arrive late in the cramped Studio-Apartment owned by His-Parents, for Overflow.

 

Daphna is determined that she should have the Sacred-Gold-Hebrew-Letter her Grandfather kept Under-His-Tongue in the Nazi-Death-Camp, to keep the Gestapo from taking it away.

 

But Liam already has it: his Mother got it from the Dying-Grandfather & sent it to Aspen via FedEx.

 

He proposes to his Beloved-Melody—an Opera-Major who wretchedly sings Gershwin’s Summertime, to calm them all—& also proposes to put the Sacred-Gold-Letter around her neck.

 

At which Daphna goes berserk, attacking the alarmed Melody.

 

Daphna has a Variety-of-Problems, including gaining Possession of the Golden-Letter.

 

She has Been-To-Israel, where she was presumably Invaded by an Israeli-Soldier.

 

Sheldon Adelson—that Major-Mitt-Backer—has been making Free-Trips to Israel possible for Young-American-Jews, so they can discover that You Cannot Live a Fully-Jewish-Life outside Israel.

 

Surely, Adelson is not a Bad-Jew?

 

Apparently, Daphne has embraced His Vision.

 

Liam’s Younger-Brother, Jonah [Philip Ettinger], who seems a bit Slow & is trapped between the Warring-Cousins—has honored his Grandfather by having his Concentration-Camp-Number tattooed on his Arm.

 

Not really Bad-Jews—just Confused

 

           

Ivo van Hove’s Modernised Shakespeare/Marlowe ROMAN TRAGEDIES  [****]

 

Interviewing the Defeated-Volscian-General on the 10-O’Clock-News! Cleo Dies On-Camera!

           

Amsterdam’s Gift-to-World-Theatre—the No-Holds-Barred Ivo-van-Hove—had this Great-Idea for the Holland-Festival, way back in 2007.

 

To emphasize the Political-Content of Shakespeare/Marlowe’s Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, & Antony & Cleopatra, why not run them one-after-another—without Intermission—with the Audience free to get up on the Stage & mingle with the Rulers-of-the-World?

 

This has been so Crowd-Pleasing that the Toneelgroep-Amsterdam has been schlepping this Production to Major-Festivals & Venues such as Brooklyn’s BAM.

 

The Stage looks like an Over-Furnished-Lobby of a Taj-Hotel, but it also has a Lot of Wide-Screen-Monitors, so you can see Things that have happened in the Past, as well as what’s now happening before Your-Very-Eyes!

 

The Vast-Balcony & the Mega-Mezzanine of the Howard-Gilman-Opera-House were empty.

 

Everyone was in the Unticketed-Orchestra, encouraged to Change-Seats & join Roman-Generals & Cleopatra up on the stage.

 

Although Frieda Pittoors’ furious & dominating Volumnia—the Doting-Patrician-Roman-Mother who helps her Anti-Hero-Son, Coriolanus, [Gijs Scholten van Aschat], destroy himself—was even more Impressive on the Big-Screen than just seated on a Sofa.

 

But it was a bit Odd to see the Roman-Senators raging at each other from what looked to be UN-Security-Council-Desks

 

The Audience was warned-in-advance that the Noise of the War-Sequences would be deafening. It was…

 

To emphasize the Topicality of Antony’s Defeat at the Battle-of-Actium—among other Disasters-of-War—a Red-Zipper ran beneath the Immense-Screen that hung over the Stage.

 

So we were able to Read the Latest-Body-Count from Israel’s-Attacks-on-Gaza, but, unfortunately, not Mitt Romney’s Retirement-Plans

 

The Historic-Texts were somewhat adapted, as Christopher Marlowe—or his Beard, Wm. Shakespeare—had never had to write Stuff for Late-Night-News-Broadcasts.

 

Coriolanus—seldom performed even in the Best-of-Times—ran some 89-Minutes, followed by 187-Minutes of Julius Caesar, followed by a Scenery-Change, with Antony & Cleopatra—seldom performed even in the Worst-of-Times—beginning at 197-Minutes & ending with the Asp-Bite at 340-Minutes.

 

For a Grand-Total of 5-Hours & 44-Minutes!

 

The Dutch-Cast was excellent, but it would have been All-Dutch-to-Me, were it not for the Ubiquitous-Super-Titles.

 

Having just seen Antony & Cleopatra in Oberammergau this past summer—played on the Actual-Stage of the Oberammergau-Passion-Play—I must note that None of the Three-Roman-Tragedies is well-served by Ivo van Hove’s Stunt-Staging.

 

           

Bruce Graham’s THE OUTGOING TIDE  [*****]

 

Is Life-Worth-Living When You Have Lost Your Marbles & Your Memory? Not On-Golden-Pond

           

The raging Gunner of the remarkable Peter Strauss is Losing-It!

 

He doesn’t even recognize his own son, Jack [Ian Lithgow], who he has insisted must come to the Chesapeake-Bay-Cottage where he & his Long-Suffering-Wife, Peg [the Sunset-Radiant Michael Learned] are in-retirement before his Admission into a Senior-Facility.

 

Gunner hates not being In-Control & he also hates the Idea of wearing an Adult-Diaper.

 

Peg dearly loves Gunner, but she can no longer Cope

 

His Fond-Idea, however, is to topple out of his boat in the Evening-Sunset, so the Value of His-Insurance will be doubled by his "Accidental-Death.”

 

But he needs the Pious-Roman-Catholic-Peg to give him Her-Blessing.

 

Will Peg be able to Let-Go?

 

As a Devout-Catholic, she risks Hellfire if she permits Gunner’s Potential-Defrauding of the Insurance-Company.

 

Their Son consoles her with the Thought that, once in Hell, she will be surrounded by Pedophile-Priests!

 

This was a very Powerful-Performance & also a Very-Disturbing-Experience for those of us in the Audience who have had Beloved-Parents pass-over into Senility before they Definitively-Passed-Over

 

Indeed, some Members of the Audience looked just a Step away from an Assisted-Care-Senior-Home.

 

Bud Martin staged this Excellent-Trio, in an often-amusing play that is Far-Beyond On-Golden-Pond.

 

 

Celebrating Aromas at MAD: The Art of Scent—1889-2012

 

It may be a bit amusing to say that This-Show-Smells, but, actually, it is the Viewers who will smell the Twelve-European-Perfumes—not On-Display but On-Spray—at the Museum of Art & Design!

 

Estée Lauder deserves Credit for helping this Unusual-Olfactory-Exhibition to come into being, but, alas, none of Her-USA-Devised-Scents made-the-cut…

 

The Original-Blenders seem to be mostly French, but No-Americans are among them in this show.

 

Unfortunately, Your Roving Arts-Correspondent cannot provide you here with Photos of actual Whiffs of Chanel No. 5, L’Interdit, or Pleasures—which was lent by Lauder.

 

The Exhibition-Space—designed by Famous-Designers Diller Scofidio+ Renfro—is a Long-White-Room, with what look like small Urinals along the walls. These are the Founts where you can sniff the Aromas!

 

There’s also an Adjacent-Chamber where you can Dip-a-Stick into Glass-Vessels of Perfumes!

 

What goes into Blending-New-Perfumes is not really a Photographic-Friendly-Process.

 

The Art-of-Olfactory-Inventions needs Words—not Sniffs or Smells—to describe how Blending works.

 

But, if you think you can learn everything you need to know from the Handsome-Catalogue, guess again!

 

The Big-White-Book will cost $250—but it’s not a Real-Book!

 

MAD’s Heather Barrett showed me the Mock-Up, but—before she opened it—I asked if there would be any of those Sniff-Strips you find in Vanity-Fair?

 

Even Better! It contains Twelve-Vials of the Actual-Perfumes on-display!

 

This Fragrant-Show—curated by Chandler Burr—will be Sniff-Ready until 24 February 2013.

 

Google MAD’s Website

 

           

Charles Morey’s FIGARO  [****]

 

Karl Rove & The Koch-Brothers! Watch-Out for Figaro! He Has-Your-Number!

           

Just in case you may have thought that Drama-Classics have really Nothing-To-Say to Us-Moderns, Charles Morey’s reworking of The Marriage of Figaro is a Fusillade aimed at the Rich-&-Privileged of both Pre-Revolutionary-France & The-USA-Today.

 

Of course, there is a Basic-Difference, in that Figaro is trapped in an Essentially-Feudal-Society, in which the Droit-de-Seigneur still had some force.

 

That is: the Lord-of-the-Manor—or Estate—had the Medieval-Right to enjoy the First-Fruits of a Servant-Bride’s-Virginity before her Servant-Husband could make love to her…

 

So the Plot-Mechanics of Seville’s soon-to–be-married Barber are largely concerned with Sexual-Intrigues.

 

Not the kind of Activities you can easily imagine Karl Rove or the Kochs—or even Mitt Romney—to be eagerly pursuing.

 

Karl Rove deflowering a Hard-Working Union-Member’s Wife-to-be? Not Bloody-likely…

 

Nonetheless, what Figaro has to say about the Powers-of-the-PrivilegedMoney, Lands, & Social-Station all inherited—versus the Native-Cunning of the Under-Class still has Relevance.

 

One does imagine, however, that the Koch-Brothers are more interested in Fracking than in Fucking.

 

As for Karl Rove, what could be more Powerfully-Aphrodisiac than Tons of Super-PAC-Money?

 

Poor Figaro: he only wants some small bags of Dower-Money. What more could a Foundling expect?

 

Neo-Classical-Playwrights favored Five-Acts, but Morey has considerably-abridged the Original-Text of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais.

 

All to the Good! The Comedic-Action moves briskly-along, thanks to both the New-Text & the Stage-Direction of Hal Brooks.

 

The Obvious-Star of this Nouveau-Figaro is the Pearl-Theatre’s Handsome-Young-Leading-Man, Sean McNall.

 

But he is ably-assisted by Pearl-Theatre-Stalwarts such as Jolly Abraham, Dan Daily, Joey Parsons, Chris Mixon, & Robin Leslie Brown.

 

The Problem with Ensemble-Casting, just as it was years ago when Chris Martin & Karen Sunde founded the CSC—or Classic-Stage-Company, down on East-Thirteenth—is that you cannot Ideally-Cast from the Vast-Pool of Excellent-Actors in the Metropolitan-Area.

 

Chris & Karen often starred themselves

 

Nonetheless, the Pearl-Ensemble does very well, materially-aided by the Lavish-Period-Costumes of Barbara A. Bell.

 

Count Almaviva’s Multi-Flounced-Coat is a Wonder!

 

Oddly enough, the Women’s-Costumes are not nearly as Handsome or as Rich-in-Materials

 

The Vibrantly-Colored Multi-Purpose-Settings of Jo Winiarski are also valuable in Heating-Up the Stage-Temperature & moving the Action along.

 

The Mozart-Da-Ponte-Musical-Version of Figaros-Hochzeit has Four-Acts & plays over Four-Hours, so Pearl-Audiences can be grateful to Morey for his Abbreviations.

 

Nonetheless, when I did Figaro-Comes-To-Flatbush years & years ago at Brooklyn-College—with a $5,000-Grant from the Services-Culturelles-Françaises, for a New-Translation—I was adamant that Marcelline’s oft-elided Complaint about the Treatment-of-Women be given Full-Voice.

 

Even though Figaro’s Marriage to Suzanne—not-consummated on-stage in this production—takes place on a Country-Estate outside Seville, in the Late-18th-Century, Figaro’s Comments about the Rich, with sly-suggestions about Then & Now, still have some Relevance.

 

Karl Rove may not have inherited Great-Wealth, but the Koch Brothers certainly did…

 

Even Mitt Romney was not a Self-Made-Man: why would any of these One-Percenters want to take credit for something so-poorly-fashioned?

 

Although Beaumarchais’ Figaro may have been a Harbinger of the French-RevolutionKing Louis XVI initially forbade performances & the Habsburg-Emperor in Vienna was wary of the Mozart-Opera as well—Morey’s New-Version is not likely to rally Occupy-Wall-Street to another Storming-of-the-Bastille.

 

Hey! Did you know that Beaumarchais was a Gun-Runner for the American-Revolution?

 

Oh! The Handsome-Program for the Pearl’s Figaro is a Keeper! Lots of Good-Information!

 

You can now find the Pearl—which long, long ago used to be over on East-Eighth-Street, in the East-Village—down near the Hudson-River on very West-42nd-Street, in what used to be the Peter J. Sharp Theatre of the Signature-Theatre, which is now just up-the-street, with Three-New-Stages.

 

           

Christopher Durang’s VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE  [****]

 

Instead of Going-Off-To-Moscow, Chris Durang Takes Us to Bucks-County!

           

If you do not know the Collected-Works of Anton Chekhov—as well as The-Oresteia-Trilogy—you may miss a lot of the Fun in Christopher Durang’s Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike.

 

Long-Lapsed Roman-Catholic Bad-Boy Durang has made a Career out of mocking Sacred-Beliefs & Hallowed-Texts.

 

Even those of the Country-Doctor who wrote The Seagull, The Three Sisters, & Uncle Vanya

 

Durang has comically-conflated those Three-Masterpieces, with a rather small-stand of Cherry-Trees & the Doom-Foreseeing-Cassandra—borrowed from Agamemnon, but herself borrowing from Shakespeare, warning of the Ides-of-March, although it seems to be Autumn in Bucks-County, the nominal-site of this Grad-Seminar-Dram-Lit-Farce.

 

But even if you do not have a Yale-Drama-School-Pedigree & must necessarily miss many of the Literary-In-Jokes, V-S-M-S is so riotously-funny that you will still have a Fabulous-Time in the Mitzi-E-Newhouse-Theatre in Lincoln-Center—which is possibly-named for a Leading-Character in that Daniel-Day-Lewis-Movie!

 

Good-Parody should still be amusing, even if you do not know the Original-Target of the Spoof

 

But how could Satirist Durang & Director Nick Martin miss, with a Cast including an Over-the-Top Sigourney Weaver, a Batty Kristine Nielsen/Maggie Smith, & David Hyde Pierce, who plays a Gay but Sad Suburban-Vanya.

 

How is it possible to be both Gay & Sad?

 

The Spike in the Title does not refer to any Known-Chekhov-Character.

 

Instead, he is the Momentary-Cougar-Love of Weaver’s Five-Times-Married-Masha, who nonetheless has a Fabulous-Career as a Performing-Artist.

 

As Spike, Billy Magnussen has Fabulous-Six-Pack-Abs that he can ripple with the Best-of-Them.

 

Although there are sometimes Hints of Joe Orton in Durang’s eviscerations of Polite-Society, there’s not a Trace of Oscar Wilde nor of Noël Coward.

 

Still, wouldn’t it be Fun to be in Moscow with The-Three-Sisters, as imagined by either Wilde or Coward?

 

Vanya’s attempt to write a better—but still Avant-Garde-Drama—than that of Konstantin, in The Seagull, is painful, rather than amusing.

 

How can Nina really inhabit the Role of a Molecule?

 

It’s all very well to make fun of Drama-Classics, but there’s a Crying-Need for Durang to return to the Convent-of-Sister-Mary-Ignatius.

 

There is so much Religious-Superstition out there—some of it informing Our-Laws—that only the Artful-Mockery of a Jesuit-Trained Altar-Boy can do Justice to Priestly-Pedophilia

 

Dante was not shy about consigning Cardinals & Popes to Hell, so why not A-Divine-Durang-Comedy-of-Eros—set in Boys-Town?

 

Why not a Frontal-Attack on some Cherished-Rituals?

 

How about The-Feast-of-the-Circumcision: it sounds like a very meager Meal.

 

But then there’s the Miracle of the Loaves-&-Fishes, in which Five-Loaves & Five-Fishes fed Five-Thousand!

 

How many Pious-Catholics can One-Foreskin actually feed?

 

If Sister-Mary-Ignatius cannot tell us, then, perhaps, Christopher Durang can imagine the resolution of this Holy-Mystery

 

           

August Wilson’s THE PIANO-LESSON  [*****]

 

Don’t Touch that Old-Upright-Piano! It’s Not Only Haunted, But It’s Also a History-Lesson!

           

August Wilson’s brilliant Piano-Lesson is, in essence, almost another Judgment-of-Solomon.

 

There’s No-Baby to divide, but, instead, a Richly-Carved-Upright-Piano, that is both Haunted & a Family-History, dating from the Days of Black-Slavery in the American-South.

 

This Piano, which can Play-Itself, when it is in-the-mood, is the Inheritance of both the wounded & protective Berniece—a wonderfully-resolute Roslyn Ruff—& her Over-the-Top & Out-of-Control Bother, Boy Willie—the dynamic & explosive Brandon J. Dirden.

 

With his feckless & boyish-buddy, Lymon—the charming Jason DirdenBoy Willie has driven a large but dying Truck, loaded with Watermelons, up from Georgia, hoping to Make-a-Killing, so he can buy some Land-Down-Home.

 

But it won’t be enough, so he wants to sell the Family-Piano to secure that Acreage.

 

Over Berniece’s Dead-Body?

 

Not-exactly. But, at times, she seems ready to Total Boy Willie, if he as much as touches that Hallowed & Haunted-Instrument.

 

The Lesson that not only Boy Willie learns from that Carved-Piano is not How-To-Play-It, but that Family-History is not to be denied nor forgotten

 

The Entire-Cast is brilliant: James A. Williams, Alexis Holt, Eric Lenox Abrams, Chuck Cooper, & Mandi Masden.

 

The Entire-Production is so enthralling that it should have an Extended-Run, even if Signature has to delay the next show planned for the Irene-Diamond-Theatre-Space.

 

Who was Irene Diamond, anyway?

 

The imposing Rafters-Exposed & Floor-boards-Open-Ended Setting of Michael Carnahan is a Show-in-itself, not easy to move to the August-Wilson-Theatre, on Broadway, which already has its own Long-Run.

 

Perhaps it’s time again to revive all the Wilson-Cycle of Black-Folks in Pittsburgh’s Hill-District?

 

Ruben Santiago-Hudson has created such a vibrant-staging that he might well Take-on-the Project?

 

 

Linda Christian Sells for Half-a-Million-Dollars: Formerly "Lost” Diego Rivera Portrait at Christie’s!

 

That Huge-Fat-Bronze-Horse—standing outside Christie’s Auction-House in Rock-Center—sold for almost a Million-Dollars: $938,500, to be exact…

 

This Morbidly-Obese-Steed was, of course, the Work of Fernando Botero, who favors Fat-Folks for his Paintings & Sculptures.

 

His fat Nun-Eating-an-Apple fetched $602,500.

 

The two Latin-American-Sales at Christie’s totaled $17.9-Million.

 

Diego Rivera’s Mad-Eyed Linda Christian was won for $575,500.

 

There was no Matching-Portrait on-sale of her husband, Tyrone Power, though they did once have Matching-Nude-Statues of themselves in their Rear-Garden

 

Other Distinguished-Latino-Artists with works up for Auction included Matta, Wilfredo Lam, Rufino Tamayo, Francisco Zuñiga, & Tomás Sánchez, whose Buscador de paiasajes was bought for $626,500.

 

Sánchez specializes in large-scale paintings of Dense-Green-Forests—plus Lakes or Rivers—in the Hearts of which can often be found a small Male-Figure, almost overwhelmed by Nature.

 

           

Kathie-Lee Gifford & Friends’ SCANDALOUS: The Life & Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson  [***]

 

Who Knew That Kathie-Lee Had Musical-Comedy-Know-How? Sinners & Singers Rejoice!

           

What Won-My-Heart about the Bio-Musical about Evangelist-Aimee was its Fabulous Art-Deco-Settings, the Confections of Designer Walt Spangler.

 

Almost a Century ago, I created, edited, & wrote The Art-Deco News, so I am a bit of an Expert on 1920s & 1930s Art-Deco

 

Of course, Aimee’s Angelus-Temple in LA, didn’t look quite like its Stage-Incarnation, but the Period-Costumes of Gregory A. Poplyk certainly helped sustain the Art-Deco-Illusion.

 

When you hear the name Kathie-Lee Gifford, you probably do not immediately think of her as in the same class as Oscar Hammerstein II.

 

Or even his Protégé/Prodigy, Steve Sondheim

 

Nonetheless, Kathie-Lee has written the Book, the Lyrics, & some "Additional-Music” for Scandalous, now at the Neil-Simon-Theatre—formerly the Alvin.

 

Some of her Lyrics are, in fact, interesting, even amusing, with some of the Songs depending on Chromatic-Ascensions, which might instead be the Inspiration of Co-Composers David Pomeranz & David Friedman.

 

As with the Musical about Charlie Chaplin—also on Broadway now—there is always a Danger in attempting to put almost an Entire-Life on-stage, All-Singing, All-Dancing.

 

Aimee Semple McPherson was a Fascinating-Phenomenon, one about which I’d often hear, growing-up in California, among Religious-Fanatics.

 

I do wish I’d been able to see one of her Five-a-Sunday Religious-Perfomances in the Angelus-Temple, but we were not only forbidden to travel farther South than San Francisco, but also not to Heed the Radio-Voice of "That-Woman.”

 

As Aimee, Carolee Carmello is both Fabulous & Hard-Working—with so much Biographical-Detail & Titillating-Scandal to cover.

 

Charlie Chaplin even appears in this show—but not the same Chaplin who’s elsewhere on Broadway—but so does William Randolph Hearst, played & sung by Joseph Dellger.

 

Chaplin’s Newspaper-Nemesis is Hedda Hopper, but Louella Parsons does the Hatchet-Work for Willie Hearst in this show.

 

It was Good to see George Hearn—once a Broadway-Musical-Star—as Aimee’s Birth-Father & also as Brother-Bob

 

The Art-Deco was glamorous, but the Backdrop for Growing-Up-on-the-Farm was a Miscalculation.

 

It seemed intended to suggest the Wild-Skies of the Mid-West-Paintings of John Steuart Curry, if not Thomas Hart Benton.

 

Unfortunately one of the Colored-Clouds looked very much like a Dead-Pink-Rabbit

 

David Armstrong staged the Busy-Cast, with Dances by Lorin Latarro—one of which looked like a Steal from Newsies, as Lovable-Irish-Lads-&-Lassies cavorted in an infectious but totally Narrative-Unnecessary Jig.

 

Despite the Scandal that brought Aimee into Court—in danger of Prison—all turned-out very well for

Aimee & the Angelus-Temple, still in business today, under a Different-Name.

 

In fact, after Charges were Dismissed—owing to Blackmail-Threats to Wm. R. Hearst & a Phony-Pious-LA-Bible-Thumper—the remainder of Scandalous seemed an Extended-Commercial for Aimee & Her-Ministry

 

Nonetheless, The Entire-Cast worked very hard!

 

 

Colorful-Canvasses Now On-View at the Met-Museum: MATISSE: In Search of True Painting…

 

Beware the Ides-of-March!

 

The admirable new Matisse-Show at the Met must end on 17 March 2013, which is just two days after the Ides but is also St.-Paddy’s-Day.

 

The Odd-Title of this Exhibition suggests that there is also such a Thing as False-Painting.

 

But that’s not really the Meaning at all: Matisse was developing as a Painter—inspired by such French-Talents as Cézanne & Signacexperimenting with Form, Color, Light, even Brush-Strokes

 

This amazing show—which has dragooned Major-Matisse-Canvases from International-Museums—puts Pairs, Trios, & Series of Images together, to demonstrate how he developed not only his Essential-Image, but also his way of rendering it.

 

Fortunately, unlike some Mono-Chromists who followed him, Matisse was in love with Light & Color, so this is one of the Most-Colorful-Shows the Met has had recently: "49 vibrantly-colored-canvases,” according to the Met’s Press-Release.

 

Although that Andy-Warhol-Catch-All was pretty Colorful, as well…

 

 

African-Masks Again! Modernists & Primitives: AFRICAN-ART: New York & The Avant-Garde.

 

What would Brancusi have done without the Inspiration of Primitive-African-Masks?

 

But the Real-Question is: Why are Brancusi & Picasso invoked, when the Title of this small-scale Show is NY & The Avant-Garde?

 

It is by now so-well-known that African-Primitive-Masks & Carvings inspired Pablo Picasso & other Artists working in Paris between World-Wars that there have been more-than-sufficient Exhibitions with Primitive-Artworks next to Picasso-Artworks

 

Can it be that the Met’s Curators—in invoking the Frenchified-Term Avant-Garde—are really referring to the Parisian-Avant-Garde, not its Manhattan-Follow-Up?

 

If so, then the inclusion of Two-Americans, Charles Sheeler & Alfred Stieglitz, in the Celestial-Company of Picasso, Picabia, Matisse, Brancusi, & Diego Rivera—who, though just across the Border, could be called a Meso-American, rather than a Real-American—may be justified.

 

Not that Met-Visitors haven’t seen such Masks & Carvings before, in the Standing-Exhibition-Cases in that Great-Hall that takes care of All-the-Primitives & enshrines the Memory of the Late Michael Rockefeller, whom some say was eaten by some of the Oceanic-Primitives he met when he went on one of his Collecting-Expeditions

 

           

Theresa Rebeck’s DEAD ACCOUNTS  [****]

 

Piles of Pizza-Boxes & $27-Million Lifted from Dead-Accounts: Norbert Leo Butz Is Over-the-Top!

           

Theresa Rebeck’s Monetary-Marital-Farce is not just another one of those Dysfunctional-Family-Dramas that have recently infested Manhattan’s Stages.

 

No Indeed!

 

It can be, for many, a Laff-Riot!

 

Here’s the wonderful Jane Houdyshell—as the Cincinnati-based Mater-Familias—babbling away like a Character out of Chekhov, with Nobody listening to her, just as she talks-over-them.

 

Who knew that being trapped in a Scientology-Marriage would prepare one to be a Charming-Comedienne like Katie Holmes, who is delightful as Sister to The-Bank-Account-Thief?

 

How Norbert Leo Butz can continue to Rage-&-Rant through Eight-Performances-a-Week & not have Cardiac-Arrest remains-to-be-seen.

 

As Jack, he has, thus far, made Two-Big-Mistakes—aside from Ordering all those Pizzas, with Individual-Salads for each Box, as well as Cups & Cups of Ice-Cream-Treats

 

As a Born-&-Bred Son-of-Cincinnatus, he made the Mistake of Falling-in-Love with a High-Maintenance-Upper-Class-Manhattan-White-Shoe-Wasp-Girl.

 

Her World—which is really the World of Her Wall-Street-Banker-Father—doesn’t really mesh with the Mid-Western-Manner.

 

Jack’s Second-Mistake was—as a Cubicle-Confined-Banker, placed by her Father—to have gradually-transferred Millions-of-Dollars out of the Dead-Accounts of Dead-Depositors, Money that has never been claimed by Anyone

 

Oddly enough, the Jilted-Jenny—the Meryl-Streep-Like-Elegant Judy Greer—has pursued Jack to his Mother’s-Cincinnati-Kitchen, where, it develops, she Still-Loves-Him.

 

But she would like Half of that $27,000,000…

 

Josh Hamilton is cute as Phil, who has never asked Katie Holmes out since she turned-him-down in High-School.

 

Well, actually, she’s called Barbara in Theresa Rebeck’s Fun-Play.

 

Staged by the redoubtable & resourceful Jack O’Brien!

 

           

Joseph Robinette & Jean Shepherd’s A CHRISTMAS STORY  [****]

 

Taps Are Tops for Tiny-Tots: The Kids Are Just Great Way-Out in Indiana, w/Dan Luria Narrating!

           

If you loved lovable old Dan Luria as the Green-Bay-Packer’s Coach, you may well find him even More-Lovable in A Christmas Story: The Musical, which—along with Elf: The Musical—has this season replaced that Old-Xmas-Chestnut, A Christmas Carol: The Usually-Non-Musical.

 

Just Think how lucky Israelis are at this Time-of-Year:

 

Neither Charles Dickens nor Jean Shepherd wrote a Holiday-Masterpiece about The-Maccabees & Their-Miraculous-Menorah!

 

The Best-Thing about this Limited-Run-Holiday-Fun at the Lunt-Fontanne is its Wonderful All-Dancing, All-Singing Kids!

 

Especially Johnny Rabe & Zac Ballard, who are the Lucky-Kids who have a Caring-Mother [Erin Dilly] & a Swearing-Father [John Bolton], as well as Non-Unionized Public-School-Teacher [Caroline O’Connor], who can Parse-a-Sentence & Dance-Up-a-Storm.

 

This once was a Movie-of-the-Same-Name, ©1983 Turner Entertainment Co., distributed by Warner Bros., with Permission-to-Produce this Bus-&-Truck-Production from—among Others—Dalfie Entertainment, Inc.

 

[Just so you know Who-Owns-the-Rights, in case you made an Illegal-Video during your visit to the Lunt-Fontanne. Oh, who was Lunt-Fontanne anyway? One of those Hyphenated-Brits?]

 

The Major-Dramatic-Question in this Lively-Show is: Will Ralphie get the Red-Ryder-BB-Gun he so desires?

 

But the Real-Interest is in all those Hilariously-Costumed Kiddie-Dance-Sequences, choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with John Rando directing…

 

 

Ruth & Augustus Goetz’s Adaptation of Henry James’s Washington-Square: THE HEIRESS  [*****]

 

Cruelty, Taught by a Master: Fortune-Hunter, Beware of Painfully-Plain—But Rich—Miss Sloper!

 

The Agonies & Insecurities that bedevil Miss Catherine Sloper—both despised & dominated by her Forbidding-Doctor-Father—are tremulously-evoked in the changing Facial-Expressions of the remarkable Jessica Chastain.

 

But David Strathairn, magisterially Playing-Doctor, is Too-Dedicated to the Memory of his Dead-Wife—to whom her Desperate-Daughter cannot compare—to realize how he is condemning Catherine to a Life of Wealthy-Spinsterhood.

 

Nonetheless—thanks to the Design-Genius of Derek McLane—she will spend her long, long Loveless-Years in a Splendid-Mansion on Washington-Square.

 

The Year of Novelist Henry James’ Dramatic-Action is 1850, but a Century-Later, NYU will surely turn this Handsome-Interior into the Reception-Room for French-Studies

 

But, way back in the Wake of the California-Gold-Rush—to which Catherine’s fickle Fortune-Hunter, Morris Townsend, flees—Miss Sloper is kept-company by Aunt Penniman, a fluttery clucking Judith Ivey, desperate to find Borrowed-Romance with the Possible-Elopement of her Niece & the Feckless-Morris, played fecklessly by Dan Stevens.

 

Moisés Kaufman staged magisterially, greatly aided by the Lavish-Period-Costumes of Albert Wolsky & the Subtle-Gas-Lighting of David Lander.

 

Henry James might well have approved of this Handsome-Production, for, like Catherine Sloper, he Never-Married

 

But James didn’t live on Washington-Square.

 

He preferred Ex-Pat-Baronial-Digs in England—where he could write his Baroquely-Verbose & Epically-Boring Society-Novels in Virtual-Obscurity.

 

 

American-Masterworks in the Bohemian-National-Home, Near the New Second-Ave-Subway…

 

If you wanted to see Authentic-American-Masterworks this past November, you did not have to rush-off to the Park-Avenue-Armory or to saunter-over to Christie’s for the next American-Auction.

 

You could see a Festival-of-WyethsNathaniel Conyers, Andrew, & Jamie—at the Annual American-Art-Fair, over at the Bohemian-National-Hall, very near the Epic-Second-Avenue-Subway-Tunneling.

 

Unfortunately, there was only a Four-Day Window-of-Opportunity, but the Fair does have a Website, so you can check-out the Dealers with the Most-Important-Treasures

 

Because my Dad was once Manager of a Pure-Bred-Guernsey-Dairy in the California-Sierras—largely bankrolled by the Inheritance of Jessie Juliet Innes-Cox—I commented to one Dealer: "You don’t see many George Inness Hudson-River Paintings around anymore.”

 

He laughed: "You are looking at one right now!”

 

So I was! But it was by George Inness, Sr, not George Innes II, Jessie’s Father.

 

"Inness Junior wasn’t very good,” the Dealer told me.

 

But I had grown-up with a Print of No. 2’s Home of the Heron in my Bedroom: What did I know?

 

Nonetheless, I know enough to recognize Important-American-Paintings when I see them.

 

What’s more, they won’t cost you the Millions you will have to pay at Auction at Christie’s

 

Some of the Famous-Names on Paper or on Canvas: Milton Avery, Robert Henri, William Glackens, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sergeant, Everett Shinn, Paul Cadmus, Jasper Cropsey, John Henry Twatchman, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley, Sandy Calder, Romare Bearden, John Marin, Arthur Dove, Max Weber, Thomas Moran, & Albert Bierstadt, who seems to have Painted-the-East, as well as the Far-West…

 

But don’t overlook such American-Masters of Trompe-l’Oeil as William Harnett & John F. Peto.

 

Who now remembers Alfred Frankenstein’s Masterwork on Harnett & Peto: After the Hunt, named after that fascinating canvas in San Francisco’s MH DeYoung-Museum?

 

I do not forget for I almost grew-up with After the Hunt, as well as having Frankenstein as an Art-History-Prof at UC/Berkeley.

 

Last Spring, Your Roving Arts-Correspondent visited the Crystal-Bridges-Museum-of-American-Art, down in Bentonville, the Wal-Mart-Waltons’ Arkansas-Home-Town.

 

My Guess was that Alice Walton’s Agents had raided the Storage of every Major-American-Museum, in order to fill the Walton-Walls with American-Masterpieces on such short notice.

 

Well not quite. Over 100-American-Artworks were sold in 2007 to Crystal-Bridges by New York’s Oldest-Art-Gallery, established in 1852: Driscoll Babcock Galleries.

 

They were well-represented at the Bohemian-Hall!

 

Now, all they need to do to top that Bentonville-Achievement would be to sell some Really-Good-American-Works to Bohemia, the Homeland of Dr. Antonin Dvorak, who earned his Musical-Spurs right here in America!

 

 

More Records Broken at Christie’s Auction-House: Edward Hopper Sold for $9.5-Million On-Line!

 

Ed Hopper’s Autumn on Cape-Cod, bought for $9,602,500—by Anoymous—now holds the World-Record for an Item sold On-Line at any International-Auction-House!

 

Hopper’s Barn at Essex didn’t do badly either: $1,762,500

 

This modest painting was also bid-on by Anonymous, who also paid $2,210,500 for Sun Water Maine, a small canvas by Georgia O’Keeffe.

 

Perhaps there is more than one Bidder who prefers to be Anonymous?

 

Thomas Sully’s handsome 1841-Portrait of General George Washington was bought for $1,082,500.

 

This was a "US Private” bid, but Crystal-Bridges-Museum-of-American-Art doesn’t seem a Likely-Bidder as they already have a Profusion of Colonial-Americana, including Our-First-President.

 

Other American-Artists breaking the Million-Dollar-Barrier in this sale were Maxfield Parrish, Charles Burchfield, Stuart Davis, & Martin Johnson Heade, with his small but striking Hummingbird Perches on the Orchid-Plant.

 

So, if you have any Forgotten-Parrishes or Neglected-Burchfields in your Attic, you may want to Phone Christie’s

 

 

Food Over-the-Ages & Around-the-World: But No Ethnic-Eats Mornings: Global-Kitchen at AMNH.

 

You will need a Ticket to get into OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN: Food, Nature, & Culture, partly to avoid Overcrowding & partly to Limit-the-Lines to get Tastings of Exotic-Foods in a Real-State-of-the-Art-Kitchen, presided over by Three-Friendly-Lady-Chefs.

 

But there’s No-Free-Food in the Morning.

 

Only around & after Lunchtime

 

The Graphic-Design & Visual-Content of this fascinating show at the American-Museum [closing 11 August 2013, the Mayan-Calendar permitting] are remarkable.

 

How about a Reconstruction of an Ancient-Aztec-Marketplace?

 

Or the Tent of Kublai-Khan, followed by a Peek into Jane Austen’s Sitting-Room?

 

This Show provides an Intersection of Food, Nature, Culture, Health, & History.

 

That’s Five-Roads, however, so look-out for an occasional Bumper-Bender!

 

There’s World-Wide-Hunger, as well as Morbid-Obesity, not confined to the USA.

 

The Global-Kitchen explores Growing, Transporting, Cooking, Eating, Tasting, & Celebrating-Food!

 

Food! Food! Glorious-Food!

 

Wasn’t that a Song in a Charles-Dickens-Inspired-Musical?

 

You will see Hydroponic-Farming, or growing Crops in Water, rather than in Soil.

 

You can Smell such Aromas as Garlic—but not necessarily on Anyone’s Breath: You press a button & voilà! Garlic, Cinnamon, Cloves, Lemon-Essence!

 

Worried about Genetically-Engineered-Corn? Discover the Dangers & the Benefits.

 

To find out about Tickets & Hours, go online at www.amnh.org, where you may be able to Paste-Your-Photos on Instagram, with #CelebrateFood.

 

           

Bogart & Clarke’s THE TROJAN WOMEN (After Euripides)  [****]

 

Was This The Face That Launched A-Thousand-Ships? Katherine Crockett as Helen:

Oh! Helen! Make Me Immortal with a Kiss… But Call the Fire-Department for Burning-Troy!

           

As Greek-Tragedies go, this Anne-Bogart-Updating of Euripides’ Trojan-Women was a bit Talky & could have used some Dionysiac-Choric-Dancing to Good-Effect

 

Nonetheless, Irish-Poetess Jocelyn Clarke has provided Bogart’s SITI-Ensemble with a pared-down-version of Euripides’ 415-BC Not-So-Cathartic-Tragedy which confronted Hero & Victory-Loving Athenian-Audiences with the Depths-of-Despair of the Surviving-Royal-Women of Defeated-&-Destroyed-Troy.

 

This Drama was hardly calculated to win the Annual-Dionysia-Playwriting-Prize for Euripides. He was fond of rubbing Raw-Nerves even Rawer

 

Euripides seemed to favor Abused-Women over Attic-Men.

 

In reducing Euripides’ Original-Cast of Trojan-Women to FourHecuba, Andromache, Kassandra, & Helen, who isn’t really a Trojan-Woman, as she was Helen-of-Sparta, the Abducted-Wife of King-Menelaus, for whom this Disastrous-Ten-Year’s-War has been begun—Clarke & Bogart have sought to focus Audience-Attention, without turning the Evening into an Orgy of Loud-Lamentations.

 

Unfortunately, that is how it sounds.

 

The Men in the Cast tend to be More-Interesting, especially The-God-Poseidon, to Whom the Topless-Towers-of-Illium have stood in Tribute, until the Greeks finally brought them toppling-down…

 

Then there’s the Gelded-Priest of the Goddess-Cybele—as Hamlet says: "What’s he to Hecuba?”

 

This Tormented-Agony-Festival began Life out on the Pacific-Coast, in the Getty-Villa, where the J.-Paul-Getty-Strongbox may be pried-open in the Name of Culture & Adventure.

 

Nonetheless, Anne Bogart’s SITI-Adventures are always sought-after. She & SITI have done outstanding-work at the Humana-Festival in Louisville.

 

How about Joseph Cornell & his Wunderkammer-Boxes, in Hotel-Cassiopeia?

 

           

David Henry Huang’s GOLDEN CHILD  [****]

 

Abandoning The-Ancestors for Christianity: The Golden-Child Made the Passage—Some Did Not.

           

If you are Adopted—having No-Idea who your Birth-Parents were—Ancestor-Worship would be rather difficult.

 

In David Henry Huang’s absorbing new drama, Golden Child, everyone seems to know all too well whose Ancestors are whose, needing constantly to be propitiated: Burning-Money would be a Good-Move

 

The Problem in the Disciplined & Traditional Home-Compound of Fujian-Businessman Eng Tieng-Bin—a very effective Greg Watanabe—is that, among other things, he has Three-Wives, with First-Wife, to whom he was effectively-married before either of them was born, now has taken to the Opium-Pipe to ease her Sorrows.

 

Saving his Village by marketing with White-Men in Manila, he has come to know a Welsh-Parson [Matthew Maher], who leads him to the Altar-of-Christianity & most of His Family as well.

 

But taking the Wine-&-Wafer mean leaving the Old-Order behind.

 

The Ancestors fight-back: they can be seen by those who both believe & fear them.

 

Golden Child is a Touching-Drama & a Beautiful-Production: Acted with both Restraint & Passion, it has been subtley-staged by Leigh Silverman, & handsomely-designed by Neil Patel [Setting], Anita Yavich [Costuming], & Matt Frey [Lighting].

 

Hwang’s Drama is, itself, a kind of Ancestor-Worship: recovering the Pre-Christian & Pre-Westernized-Past, with the Framing-Device of recording Golden-Child Eng Ahn’s ancient Memories on a Tape-Recorder. Annie Q is a wonderful Child, but her Memory still seems very good in Advanced-Age.

 

This is such Moving-&-Haunting-Production—both Visually-&-Spiritually—that its Run should be extended so more people can savor its Humanity

 

Although many Chinese left the Ancestors behind to become Christians, curiously, in America there was a Christian-Sect that preserved a kind of Ancestor-Worship.

 

If you decide to become a Mormon—in Jesus-Christ-Church-of-Latter-Day-Saints—you will have to go through the Temple for all your Non-LDS-Forebears, or they won’t be with you through Eternity.

 

Can you imagine spending Eternity with your Relatives?

 

Forever & ever & ever, Amen, World-without-End…

 

Or, maybe, Hell is already Packed with Relatives?

 

 

Arts-Rambles News & Notes:

 

"Mad” King Ludwig II of Bavaria Will Be Back in Richard Wagner’s Wahnfried-Villa This Summer!

 

Thanks to the New York Times Bureau in Berlin, Arts-Rambles has just received a Press-Bulletin from the Haus-der-Bayerischen-Geschichte, which mounts interesting Themed-Exhibitions in less-well-known Bavarian-Towns-&-Cities, both to stimulate Tourism & to showcase Bavarian-History.

 

Home of the Annual-Bayreuth-Festival of the Major-Operas of Richard Wagner, Bayreuth is hardly Unknown.

 

But many Wagner-Lovers may not know how much The Master owed to the besotted Love-&-Patronage of King Ludwig for Opera-Premiers & the Founding-of-the-Festival.

 

On-view from the Festival-Opening, 25 July 2013, until 29 September 2013, the show is titled: Götterdämmerung—König Ludwig und seine Zeit.

 

Drowning in Lake-Starnberg was, in fact, a kind of Twilight-of-the-Gods for the Unfortunate-Monarch, who built all those wonderful Fairytale-Castles: Linderhof, Herren-Chiemsee, Neu-Schwanstein

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