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Glenn's Report For June 2013

7/12/2013

Report for The Month of June 2013

 ©GLENN LONEY 2013

 

 THIS-WAS-THE-MONTH-THAT-WAS…

 

June was not quite "bustin’-out-all-over,” as that Old-Popular-Song once had it.

 

Instead of the Corn being as High as an Elephant’s-Eye or Thigh, in Oklahoma & Kansas—thanks to what Insurance-Companies are fond of calling Acts-of-GodUnseasonal-Tornados devastated some of the Corn-Crops—if not the Elephant-Thighs

 

This Acts-of-God-Formulation may be very good for Insurers—who never like to Pay-Out, if they can help it—but it does raise a Religious-Question:

 

If all Good-Things are said to come from God—or Jehova/Jaweh, Kali, Allah, or Whatever-Name you prefer to give to your Deity—who, then, actually sends the Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Floods, Famines, & Pestilences?

 

Volcanic-Eruptions, of course, can be blamed on Mother-Nature, who no longer requires Virgin-Maidens to be thrown into the Boiling-Magma, to ensure that those at the feet of Mount-Etna, Vesuvius, Paracutin, or Mount-St-Helens won’t be burned to Crisps

 

Quite aside from Die-Hard-Republican-Climate-Change-Deniers, it seems increasingly awkward to Blame-Satan for such Horrors, Natural or Otherwise.

 

Anyway, Fair-Weather or Foul, nothing could prevent the PUBLIC-THEATRE from opening its Summer-Season of Christopher-Marlowe-Plays in the Delacorte-Theatre in Central-Park.

 

Nonetheless, the Regular-Summer-Rains suggested that it might be wiser to have Shakespeare-in-the-Ark

 

Joe Papp, where are you, now that we need you!

 

 

Are You Ready for the End-of-Times? The Man-of-Steel Certainly Is!

 

The Superman-Franchise is renewing itself—all over again, but Different-Somehow

 

Just in case Anyone forgot where Superman came from, the new Man-of-Steel-Film puts us right in the Hot-Spots on Planet-Krypton.

 

For those American-Innocents who did not grow-up on DC-Comic-Books—featuring Mild-Mannered Clark Kent & June-Allysonish Lois Lane of the Daily-Planet—the Narrative has been changed.

 

Clark no longer uses Telephone-BoothsTelephones? What were they?—to disrobe, revealing himself as Superman

 

No, Indeed!

 

There isn’t time for all that Folderol: Earth is Under-Attack from Dark-Forces from a Dying-Planet.

 

From the looks of the Filmic-Horror-Scenes, Earth is also a Dying-Planet, or soon to become one.

 

The Havoc of 9/11—given the Horrific-Devastation of an IHOP, followed by the Implosion of Major-Cities—withers, by comparison, into something like the Demolition of a 7-Eleven

 

The War-of-the Worlds Killing-Machines that invade American-Air-Space are nothing like the Flying- Monkeys of Yesteryear.

 

Nonetheless, we are treated to some Devastating-Scenes of Houses-Flying-Through-the Air, worthy of that Good-Old-Wizard-of-Oz-World.

 

For a Moment, I imagined I saw once again Margaret Hamilton frantically cycling through the Storm in all this Innovative-Computer-Generated-Turmoil.

 

But then, America’s-Favorite-Senator, James Imhofe, came swishing-by on a Broom, Witch-Hat askew…

 

Or was that Only-a-Dream?

 

Only 24-Hours-Later, I saw Brad Pitt bravely attempting to halt an International-Pestilence of Decent-People being transformed into Flesh-Eating-Zombies.

 

So much for Vegan-Diets!

 

Among the Resultant-Horrors—as Everyone-Runs-Amok—were the Trashing of Major-American-Lower-End-Supermarkets & Convenience-Facilities.

 

Was this the Film in which the IHOP was devastated? These almost Codified-Filmic-Disasters tend to blend into One-Another.

 

Can this be a Hollywood-Plot to Frighten-America into a State of Permanent-War-Against-Terror?

 

When 1984 came & went—without Orwellian-Incidents—the Ministry-of-Fear seemed only a Brit-Fantasy, to divert the Collective-UK-Mindset away from Contemporary-Problems.

 

Now, however, it seems the White-House & the National-Security-Folks may be on the verge of establishing our own Ministry-of-Fear.

 

But Who is Best-Qualified to head such an Agency?

 

How about Prof. Condoleeza Rice, she of the Smoking-Gun/Mushroom-Cloud School-of-Thought!

 

To keep the War-on-Terror alive & well—as with the Cold-War-Commie-Scares of the 1950s—as well as to keep the Super-Pentagon alive & well, we need Ongoing-Horror-Fantasies

 

Superman & Brad Pitt cannot Save-the-World-as-We-Know-It all by themselves!

 

 

 

PASSING-GLANCES AT SHOW SCENES-SEEN:

 

A Regional-Theatre-TONY for Boston’s Huntington-Theatre & a Brilliant Play-Production.

 

Out of the Blue—not to be confused with the Boston-Blue-Bloods, but still from Bean-town—early in 2013, came a handsome Press-Kit for the Huntington-Theatre, of Boston-University.

 

Thirty-Years-Ago, Your Roving Arts-Reporter used to go up to Boston about once a month, to check-out the Pre-Broadway-Tryout-Houses, like the Wilbur & the Colonial.

 

Local Not-for-Profit-Theatres were also on the Weekend-Docket, as well as Robert Brustein’s Cambridge-based ART. He founded this adventurous Company after Faculty-Enemies maneuvered him out of the Yale-School-of-Drama & the Yale-Rep, which he had also founded.

 

The Huntington-Press-Kit was not any Aimless-Mailing. No, Indeed!

 

As a FACTA Board-Member of the American-Theatre-Critics-Association, I am a Tony-Nominator for the Annual Regional-Theatre-Tony-Award.

 

There was a Time—when I was Half-the-Editorial-&-Writing-Team of Theatre-Crafts-Magazine—that I would travel around America [at my own expense] to check-out the growing Regional-Theatre-Movement.

 

So, when the Oregon-Shakespeare-Festival in Ashland was nominated for the Tony, I was one of the very few Theatre-Critics—aside from Colleagues in Seattle, Portland, & San Francisco—who had actually-seen their often Excellent-Productions.

 

But I obviously have not seen any recent Huntington-Theatre-Stagings, so the Press-Kit was to inform me of its Current-Work.

 

Looking at the other Regional-Nominees, I thought it was now Huntington’s Turn for a Tony.

 

Hey! Who would have guessed that Boston-Area-Theatres would have won Two-Tonys?

 

Not only the Huntington, but also Diane Paulus, for Pippin, which originated at ART, where she is Artistic-Director!

 

For the Record: One of the Reasons I would drive up to Boston so often was that I was writing about the Performing-Arts for The-Christian-Science-Monitor.

 

Later, my Cousin, Dr. Peter Busher, became Dean-of-Math-&-Science at Boston-University, where his Dad had been a Letterman & a Divinity-Student, rooming with Norman Vincent Peale, before that Parson famously became infatuated with Positive-Thinking

 

Unfortunately, I had a Heart-Attack at Brooklyn-College-Commencement, so I called The-Monitor to say I couldn’t leave for my usual European-Festival-Rounds.

 

Someone came down from the Mother-Church Board-of-Lectureship in Boston to tell me to sign-out of Maimonides-Hospital & get on that Plane: Our Prayers will support you!

 

I’d had Nine-EKGs, plus acute Chest-Pains, so I stayed in Brooklyn.

 

That was the End of my Monitor-Assignments. I had failed to "Demonstrate Christian-Science.”

 

But I wasn’t a Scientist: a Methodist, instead. This surprised my Boston-Editors: "But you write like a Christian-Scientist, so we thought…”

 

How does a Christian-Scientist distinctively write about the Arts, as opposed to those from other Faiths?

 

"Glenn! You are always Accurate, Truthful, & Compassionate & you come with us to the Mother-Church when you come up to Boston.”

 

Actually, I learned about Truth, Accuracy, & Compassion in Journalism-School at UC/Berkeley. Not from Mary Baker Eddy, whose Values I still Admire & Honor.

 

But it was a Bitter-Blow to be dismissed from the The-Christian-Science-Monitor…

 

So here I now was at one of the Huntington-Theatre’s Various-Venues, to see a play I’d not much liked when it was premiered in Manhattan some time ago at Playwrights-Horizons.

 

Gina Gionfriddo’s RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN  [★★★★★]

 

With the Same Stage-Director, RBB Didn’t Work in New York, But Was Sensational in Boston!

 

Before I say anything about Peter DuBois’ fascinating staging of Rapture, Blister, Burn at the Huntington-Theatre, let me here reprise my Manhattan-Review:

 

"Do You Really Want-Back the Man-Who-Got-Away? Gina Gionfriddo Offers Some Warnings!

 

"Previously, I’ve admired the dramas of Gina Gionfriddo, especially her After Ashley & Becky Shaw, both shown at the Humana-Festival in Louisville.

 

"But Rapture, Blister, Burn—shown at Playwrights-Horizons—failed to Enrapture or even raise a Blister.

 

"An Ex-Alcoholic-Housewife long-ago stole the Boyfriend of her Chum, now a Single-College-Professor. With a Very-Wise-Old-Mother

 

"Getting that Lazy-SOB back isn’t worth the Effort, as he has No-Ambition-Whatsoever.

 

"It was an Interesting-Idea to have a Feminist-Grad-Seminar with only Two-Students—fortunately, both Female—taught in the Prof’s Home

 

"Do you get MA-Credits for such Studies?

 

"Good-Cast, directed by Peter DuBois. Cleverly-designed Scooting-Settings by Alexander Dodge!

 

 

When the Lights went up on the Shingles of Dodge’s same Setting in Boston, I was astounded: "Hey! I’ve seen this play already. But I cannot recall what it was about…”

 

Well, as an OCC-Nominator & a Drama-Desk-Voter, I see from Two-to-Three-Hundred Plays, Operas, & Ballets a year, so you cannot remember Everything.

 

Seeing the Huntington-Cast, however—still staged by Peter DuBois, who is No-Relation to Blanche DuBois—was a Revelation!

 

This time—unlike the New-York-Experience—I was Blown-Away! This time, the Actors made me Care about them, unlike the Previous-Cast.

 

Especially Admirable was Shannon Esper, as Avery Willard, an Abused-Young-Baby-Sitter—who understands more about Damaged-Marriages than any of the Older-Women on-stage.

 

But, as the Oldest-Woman on-stage, Nancy E. Carroll was a wonder as Alice, the Truth-Saying Practical-Mother of the as-yet Unmarried-Feminist-Professor [Kate Shindle], who is offering the Two-Student-Seminar, in the Relative-Privacy-of-Her-Own-Home.

 

As Gwen Harper—who stole her College-Roommate’s BoyfriendAnnie McNamara was insidiously-enabling of her Pot-&-Porn-Addicted-Husband [Timothy John Smith].

 

A very Impressive-Production: All really Inhabited Their-Respective-Roles.

 

Huntington-Theatre! I Shall Return!

 

 

NC Hunter’s A PICTURE OF AUTUMN  [★★★]

 

Another Forgotten-Play at the Mint: Hunter Is No Chekhov & Winton-Manor Is No Cherry-Orchard.

 

When I was teaching US-Military-Personnel in England—way back in the Late-1950s—on Weekends, I’d take British-Rail down to London for an Orgy of West-End-Play-Going.

 

This was the Heyday of Angry-Young-Men-Playwrights. So I made a point of interviewing as many of them as I could, including Harold Pinter & John Osborne

 

I did not seek to interview Norman Charles Hunter, for I found his Genteel-Dramas about Faded-Gentility in Post-War-Britain rather Tiresome.

 

Nonetheless, I did admire most of the Stars who appeared in NC-Hunter-Epics, interviewing Dame Sybil Thorndike & Sir John Gielgud, among others of Note.

 

As A Picture of Autumn was premiered in 1951—when I was earning an MA in Oral-Interpretation at UW/Madison—I could hardly have known of it.

 

So—when I was sitting in the Intimate-Mint-Theatre, marveling at the Great-White-Staircase & the Cracked-Ornate-Overhead-Plasterwork—it came to me that this Drama of Down-at-the-Heels & Aging-Minor-Aristocracy seemed very much like a Post-World-War-II-Version of The Cherry Orchard.

 

But it was immediately clear that NC Hunter was No-Chekhov, lacking that Russki-Talent for creating Unforgettable-Characters who—even in Semi-Tragic-Circumstances—are still a bit Ridiculous, though Totally-Human.

 

The Denham-Clan have a Problem: The Historic-Manse is rotting-away & there is No-Money for Repairs.

 

There is also No-Cherry-Orchard, but the Once-Wonderful-Gardens are now Overgrown

 

Sir Charles [Jonathan Hogan] & Lady Margaret [Jill Tanner] are both Badly-Aging, verging on Senility, but their Old-Nurse [Barbara Eda-Young] is almost a Nut-Case.

 

Sir Charles’ Also-Aged-Brother, Harry Denham [George Morfogen], is apparently supposed to be an English-Stand-In for Anton Chekhov’s Garrulous-Gaev.

 

Now, I am perhaps Even-Older than some of Gus Kaikkonen’s Admirable-Cast, but I can remember way back when they were Glowingly-Young & Stage-Stars.

 

So it’s a Great-Pleasure to see them once again, although in somewhat Super-Annuated-Roles.

 

Somehow, George Morfogen always seemed to me to be a Senior long before he achieved that Status by Right-of-Seniority.

 

I kept thinking, however, that this Play is a Re-Run of Cherry Orchard, but without Chekhov’s Mordant-Sense-of-Humor to flavor the Theatrical-Experience.

 

Only when I returned Home & read the Program-Notes did I discover that, In-His-Time, NC Hunter was regarded as the English-Chekhov & that A Picture of Autumn was, indeed, a Cherry-Orchard-Clone

 

Well, what can one say about West-End-Drama-Critics of the Post-War-Era

 

 

Rod McLachlan’s GOOD TELEVISION  [★★★★★]

 

Really Good-TV Is the Reality-Kind That Jumps-Off-the-Charts, Exposing Human-Misery!

 

Rod McLachlan’s Good Television is much better than almost anything you can see on your own Home-TV these days.

 

It’s not only a very Well-Made-Play—showing how some exploitive Reality-TV-Shows are put-together—but it is also—in this dynamic Atlantic-Theatre staging, by Bob Krakower—like Reality itself, in Flesh-&-Blood-3D, with a Remarkable-Cast that make it seem that You-Are-There!

 

Connie Cuellar is a very Tightly-Wound Recovered-Alcoholic, who is producing a Reality-Show that Spotlights-Addicts, following them around, interviewing Family-Members & even Drug-Dealers, when possible, with the Payoff-Promise of a Drug-Rehab-Package worth almost a Million-Dollars.

 

The pathetic young Clemson MacAddy seems an Ideal-Subject, shaking with his Meth-Addiction, but things gradually grow Horribly-Wrong with the projected Reality-Shoot, almost also destroying Connie & her Career

 

My Heart almost broke for Connie, wonderfully realized by the remarkable Kelly McAndrew.

 

But the Reality of Connie’s own Demons wouldn’t have seemed so Vivid had it not been for the very Real-People embodied by John Magaro, Jessica Cummings, Talia Balsam, Zoe Perry, Luke Robertson, Ned Van Zandt, & Andrew Stewart-Jones.

 

Not only does Connie have to deal with Sudden-Explosions in her Targeted-Addict-Family, but she also has to Watch-Her-Back back at the LA-TV-Production-Office, where Everyone is jockeying for both Input & Power.

 

Producing a TV-Reality-Show that involves Shark-Wrestling or Survival-in-Hades would have been a Better-Call for Connie

 

Good Television is a Playwriting-Debut for Rod McLachlan, who is an Actor-Member of the Atlantic-Theatre. Not only are his Stage-Credits admirable, but he also seems to know the TV-Business from the Inside-Out.

 

As an OCC-Nominator, I nominate Rod McLachlan for the John-Gassner-Award!

 

 

Rosen, Saxe, & Moore’s VENICE  [★★★]

 

You Want a Musical about Shakespeare’s The-Moor-of-Venice? How About Verdi’s Otello?

 

Not since those Irish went wild in Lords-of-the-Dance, has there been so much Floor-Stomping as was recently on-view down at the Public-Theatre!

 

The Entire-Cast of Venice stomps & sings its Collective-Heart out in the Concerted-Effort to make Matt Sax & Eric Rosen’s Would-Be-Epic work as a Stage-Piece.

 

If you thought Venice was about the Threat to the Lagoon of Rising-Sea-Waters or all those Forty-Story-High-Cruise-Ships, Guess-Again!

 

No, Indeed.

 

Venice seems to have been inspired, not by The Merchant of Venice, but by that other Bardic-Masterpiece, The Moor of Venice

 

The Unfortunate-Lady who was Desdemona seems, somehow, to have been Transformed or Translated into Willow Turner, intensely played by Jennifer Damiano.

 

Her First-Name must have been inspired by that famed Willow-Song in Othello.

 

As for the Turner-Part, could it have been derived from Nat Turner, who led that Famous-Rebellion?

 

The Beleaguered-Citizens of Venice are, in fact, mounting a Rebellion against the Westbrook-Corporation, which now seems to Own-Venice & all its Subsidiaries

 

This Rock & Hip-Hop-Inspired-Musical is set in The-Not-Too-Distant-Future, so it’s not about Flooding-the-Lagoon

 

Or even Mooring a Moor.

 

The Book is by Eric Rosen, who also drafted the Flat-Footed-Hip-Hop-Rhyming-Lyrics with Matt Sax, who composed the Music.

 

Sax even plays the Energetic-Clown-MC, just to make sure that all the Threads of this Strange-New-Adriatic-Narrative cling to the Warp, or is it the Woof-Factor?

 

This is yet another Production of the PublicLab, which seeks to try-out New-Musicals that may have Potential for Wider-Audiences.

 

Think of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, which underwent Birthing-Pangs at the Public, before moving to Broadway.

 

Long, long before there was a PublicLab, Joe Papp was already trying-out New-Musicals, destined—as he fondly hoped—for Broadway. There was that musical-version of Two Gents of Verona, for instance…

 

Most famously, however, there was Hair.

 

The SongsAge of Aquarius & White Boys Are So Pretty, for example—excited the Young-&-Excitable, but Gerry Freedman’s staging lacked ein Gewisser-Etwas, so Tom O’Horgan was brought-in when Joe moved the show to Cheetah.

 

When it finally transferred to the Biltmore—now renovated as the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre—it was well on its way to becoming an International-Phenomenon.

 

That didn’t work-out for Andrew Jackson

 

Well, we are hearing a Lot about Corporate-Takeovers of both Schools & Cities that are not Performing-Maximally, so this show may be a Harbinger of an HG-Wellesian Shape-of-Things-To-Come.

 

Eric Rosen—For-the-Record—is the Artistic-Director of Kansas-City-Repertory. From whence Venice comes to Manhattan.

 

So, you know, it’s just like that Rodgers-&-Hammerstein Song of Yesteryear: Everything’s Up-To-Date in Kansas-City!

 

My Problem with this New-Musical is that neither the Music nor the Lyrics—forget about the Book—made me Care about the Fates of the Characters.

 

So, all that Energetic-Stomping really didn’t Generate-Empathy: only Admiration for all that Energy-Expended, in service of another PublicLab-Experiment.

 

 

Moe Angelos’ SONTAG: REBORN  [★★★]

 

Was It "Camp” of Susan Sontag To Scribble Her Every-Thought in All of Those Journals?

 

It is a Great-Burden to know that one is A-Bona-Fide-Intellectual.

 

Nonetheless, Lesser-Beings might be spared Hearing—let-alone actually Reading—all of the Late Susan Sontag’s Random-Thoughts & Meditations on her Sexuality, Great-Books-Read-&-Reread, Colleges-Attended & Taught-At, as well as her Love-Difficulties with Irene Maria Fornes

 

One of my Least-Favorite-Avant-Garde-Playwrights

 

Nonetheless, it was like Déjà-Vu all over again to hear such Names as the Black-Cat, UC/Berkeley, Allen Ginsburg, Peter Orlovsky, The-Partisan-Review, Mary McCarthy, & Commentary evoked.

 

How strange to realize that a very young—if already Dangerously-PrecociousSusan Sontag was also at Berkeley, however briefly, when I was an Undergrad. Not to neglect Pauline Kael & Joan Didion, all Slouching-Toward-Literary-Fame from an original Berkeley-Base

 

Ginsburg & Orlovsky had a Cabin above Nevada City, not far from the Loney-Farm

 

I even wrote a Report on Joe Orton for Commentary, but nary a Word for The-Partisan-Review.

 

Nonetheless, Moe Angelos’ adaptation of the Sontag-Journals-&-Notebooks, as well as her riveting Multi-Media-Performance as Sontag is a Wonder-to-Behold.

 

Nothing was said about Sontag in Sarajevo, where she thought doing some Theatre, among the Bullet-Fusillades—might be a Redemptive-Reaction to Ethnic-Hatred & Post-Yugoslav-Chaos.

 

With the increasingly-advancing Death of Bound-Books, there may soon come a Day when Sontag’s Dicta on Camp & Photography may well be forgotten by those who Live on Twitter & Facebook

 

 

Early-Music in Boston: Baroque-Opera & Other-Treats for The Music-Critics of North-America.

 

But First a Word from Emerson-College! Dorm-Hell for Seniors & Aged-Organists…

 

Anyone who endures Four-Long-Years of Dorm-Life at Boston’s Emerson-College should be Awarded a Purple-Heart, with Oak-Leaf-Clusters.

 

As the Special-Rate for Music-Critics at the Poured-Concrete-Revere-Hotel was almost $300-per-night & as I am neither Paid-nor-Thanked for what I write, I & my Web-Colleague, Scott Bennett, opted for the Less-Costly-Bunks of the Emerson-College-Dorms, filling the Little-Building—which is actually Not-So-Little.

 

It is in the Heart of what used to be Boston’s Theatre-District, though now the Colonial & the Cutler seem to be operated by Emerson-College, whose Banners are Everywhere.

 

When we arrived at the Little-Building—just across from the Boston-Common—where some very Uncommon-People were roaming-about—we had to pass-through an Electronic-Checkpoint, to reach the Second-Floor-Check-In & subsequent Room-Elevator-Checkpoint.

 

Wearing our Electronic-Checkers & Room-Keys around our Necks—on Emerson-College-Lanyards—was a bit like being Out-Patients at a Minimum-Security-Prison.

 

Once we were in our Double-Dorm-Room, we found No-Hangers in the Oak-Wardrobes, not to mention No-Hooks anywhere for Towels or Jackets.

 

Nor were there any Water-Glasses nor Waste-Baskets—nor even those very Small-Soaps you will find even at Motel-6-Overnight-Rentals

 

The Toilets & Showers were Down-the-Hall: Forget about Paper-Slippers or Bathrobes: these Spartan-Accommodations are for Students, not for Big-City-Music-Critics.

 

Torquemada—of Spanish-Inquisition-Fame—could not have devised a more Curious-Torture than spending a Night on one of the Emerson-Dorm-Mattresses

 

Not as Bad as the US-Administration War-on-Terror Water-Torture in Guantanamo—or Bradley Manning in Solitary, but nonetheless Sleep-Depriving.

 

Some Rich-Alum should contact Sleepy’s or Posture-Pedic to replace all those Mattresses.

 

As for Air-Conditioning—even though all was Cold-&-Rainy outside, in the Dorm-Room, the Temperature was Arctic.

 

Nor could it be either Adjusted or Turned-Off, as the Controls were in an Adjacent-Dorm-Room. Go Figure!

 

But the Individual-Omelets every morning were Outstanding.

 

 

Emerson began Life as the Emerson-School-of-Expression, teaching Public-Speaking & GAS-&-OIL, better-known at that time as Good-American-Speech & Oral-Interpretation-of-Literature.

 

Now it is Theatre-Rich, offers Advanced-Degrees, has Hollywood-Internships & Study-Abroad, as well as boasting Distinguished-Alums who actually work in the Entertainment-Industry!

 

Congrats, Emerson! Now Replace those Mattresses!

 

 

How Early Do You Really Want Your Music To Be Today? Feeling Medieval? Or Merely Baroque?

 

While it is admirable that the Early-Music-Folks up in Boston want to recover for Modern-Audiences, Authentic-Musical-Experiences on Authentic-Instruments, it needs to be remembered that You-Do-Not-Step-In-The-Same-River-Twice…

 

The Waters-of-Time are always flowing-onward, so how can we hope to Recreate an Authentic-Renaissance-Audience to hear these Authentic-Performances?

 

Which, of course, must be performed on Authentic-Instruments!

 

Years & years ago, when I was the Unpaid-CEO of AIDART—in the Attic of the ANTA-Theatre, which is now the August-Wilson-Theatre, but was, initially, the Theatre-Guild’s Guild-Theatre—I shared the Premises with Noah Greenberg, of Pro-Musica-Antigua.

 

Noah was so proud of his Authentic-Instruments—which included Serpents, Lutes, & Krumhorns—but I had to remind him that even the New-York-Philharmonic played its Scores on Authentic-Instruments, whether the Melodies & Leimotifs were Early-Music or Wagner.

 

The Philharmonic’s Violins may not then all have been Amatis, Guarnari-del-Jesu, or Strads, but they were still very Authentic. As are its Violas, Cellos, & Kettle-Drums, even today…

 

Unfortunately, the ANTA didn’t have a Stage-Doorman during the day, so anyone could sneak-in, take the Rickety-Elevator up to the Attic & walk-off with one of Noah’s Authentic-Instruments.

 

As for AIDART—which had been founded with a Ford-Foundation-Grant for a UNESCO-International-Theatre-Congress in Manhattan—some of the Tape-Recorders that we used to interview Founders of American-Regional-Theatres were also stolen.

 

AIDART was the Anagram for the ADVANCED-INSTITUTE-FOR-AMERICAN-REPERTORY-THEATRE, created to Document the Emergence of an American-Repertory-Theatre, similar to that already established in Europe.

 

But the Grant ran out & Ford didn’t renew…

 

Nonetheless, this in No-Way prevented Pro-Musica-Antigua from carrying-on: It seems there will always be Audiences for Early-Music.

 

Even if—in One-or-Two-Hundred-Years from now—the Early-Works of Alberto Ginastera & Robert Ward might also be regarded as fairly Early-American-Music

 

Up in Boston, they love Early-Music so much that they Celebrate it Every-Two-Years with a Festival.

 

That’s why the Music-Critics-of-North-America were in Boston: Every year we have a Conference in some North-American-City that has a Summer-Opera-Festival or a Bach-Week

 

Originally—as with the American-Theatre-Critics-Association—the Leading-Critic of some Major-City would get his Major-Newspaper to sponsor our Annual-Meeting.

 

Unfortunately, American-Newspapers are dying—or No-Longer feel the Need for Arts-Coverage.

 

So where now can Unemployed-Major-Critics share their possibly Unwanted-Reviews?

 

Check-Out our Website!

 

There you will find all sorts of Reactions to our Long-Weekend of Early-Music in Boston.

 

 

There Are Already Notable-Early-Music-Groups, But Are There Also Early-Music-Groupies?

 

Yes, there are! Many of them were in Boston for the Festival—either at the Revere or the Emerson-Dorms.

 

Not all of them were either Performers or Auditors.

 

The Revere-Ballroom & its Sixth-Floor were crowded with the Booths of the Makers of Early-Musical-Instruments, as well as those of the Purveyors of Sheet-Music & CDs relating to Medieval, Renaissance, & Baroque-Music.

 

Remember when there was still Sheet-Music from G. Schirmer that you could take home & play on your own Piano or Guitar?

 

Remember when most American-Homes still had Pianos, instead of iPads & Cell-Phones?

 

Nonetheless, even if Medieval-Plainchant is too much for you, Mostly-Mozart is pleasing to Most.

 

How about All-the-Telemann-You-Can-Take—or Get-a Handle-on-Handel?

 

If the Monotony of the Monody of Medieval-Music makes you Miserable, there is certainly Great-Glory in the Baroque.

 

Not least in trying your Two-Hands on the Double-Manual of a Harpsichord or drawing a Horse-Tail-Bow across the Cow-Gut-Strings of a Newly-Minted-Violin.

 

At one Booth, the Proprietor was presiding over a Pile of Wood-Blocks, with the Baroque-Outlines of a Violin drawn on some sides: Just so you’d know that they weren’t meant for Firewood.

 

As for Harpsichords, they were there by the Score: There was even a Harpsichord-Recycling-Center!

 

Imagine not having to Tune a Harpsichord in order to Play it!

 

Some Un-Ornamented-Instruments sounded Splendid, but I prefer those which have Haunting-Paintings on their Raised-Lids: nothing to do with the Music you can Make with them, however…

 

Just in case you wanted something Really-Authentic, Wolf Mozart’s Own-Violin-&-Cello were in Boston, on Loan from the Salzburg-Mozarteum!

 

 

Georg Frideric Händel’s ALMIRA  [★★★★★]

 

Only Nineteen-Years-Old, Händel Composed His First-Opera & His Score Saved His Life!

 

Daytime-Panels are obviously not as interesting as Actual-Performances, but there is always Something-To-Be-Learnt.

 

For example, did you know that Georg Frideric Handel composed his First-Opera in Hamburg, to a German-Text?

 

The Hannoverian-Handel was only 19-Years-Old, but undaunted by the Text & the Task.

 

What’s more, his Score saved his Life in an Unwanted-Duel.

 

It was folded-over in his Coat-Pocket, taking the Depth of the Sword-Thrust!

 

I already knew something about Handel in Hannover—where the Hannoverian-Kings-of-England originated: all those Georges!—as well as Handel-in-the-Strand, creating Popular-Operas for a Castrati-Mad-London-Public.

 

But now I realize I need to know more about Handel-in-Hamburg

 

Way back in the Late-17th-Century, they liked their Baroque-Operas Looong, so Almira now seems Almost-Endless.

 

This is Unfortunate, for there are many Musical-Felicities in the Score of this Formulary-Plot of Loves-&-Lovers, frustrated & reunited…

 

What’s worse—especially for the 21st-Century-Impatient-Audience—is that the Best-Visual-Effects come close to the Close, with a Magnificently-Conceived-&-Costumed Intercontinental-Masque-&-Anti-Masque.

 

Although we were all warned not to Photograph or to Videograph the Performance, a Determined-Lady in front of me was covertly-recording the Masque on her iPad.

 

Looking at the Actual-Masque & at her iPad, its Dancing-Mini-Images reminded me of Historical-Performances in Stockholm’s Historic-Drottningholm-Court-Theatre.

 

Over the years, I have visited & photographed all the surviving Court-Theatres in both Western & Eastern-Europe—as well as seeing Historic-Productions in most of them—so I was fascinated when the Curtain rose on Almira, with a wonderful-reproduction of Period-Scenery, filled with Elegant-&-Courtly-Performers, awaiting the Coronation of the young Princess Almira as Königin-von-Castilien.

 

Whoever of the Princely-Pursuers wins her Hand-&-Heart will, of course, become King-of-Castile, so this isn’t entirely about Love, but more about Power

 

Nonetheless, the Initial-Scene was rather like an Old-Master-Painting come-to-life: so, Kudos to Costume-Designer Anna Watkins & her Wigmaker, as well as to the brilliant Stage-Director & Set-Designer, Gilbert Blin.

 

Ulrike Hofbauer was an Anxious-Queen, for she was commanded by her Late-Father’s-Will to marry into the Noble-Family of his Court-Counselor, Consalvo, Prince of Segovia

 

Amanda Forsythe was Princess Edilia, her Rival-in-Love, with various Male-Wooers impersonated by Colin Balzer, Zachary Wilder, & Tyler Duncan—who proved to be the King of Mauretania, for whom the Welcoming-Masque had to be devised.

 

But you have to wait so very long for this Astounding-Event!

 

Even in Bayreuth—the Shrine of Wagnerian-Opera—they make Cuts to the Scores

 

If only for his Stage-Shenanigans as Tabarco, a Factotum/Clown, it would be enough to salute Jason McStoots. But, with a Name-like-That, who knows to what Heights he may aspire?

 

As far as I know, we have only one Authentic-European-Court-Theatre in America: it is the Asolo, way down in Ringling-Brothers-Florida. It would be wonderful to see & hear a deftly-edited Almira in the Asolo-Opera-house!

 

Robert Mealy was the Concert-Master of the Period-Orchestra.

 

Way back when, there was No-Conductor. Often, the Composer would Semi-Conduct from the Harpsichord

 

Charpentier’s LA DESCENT D’ORPHÉE AUX ENFERS & LA COURONNE DE FLEURS  [★★★★★]

 

We Do Not Get To See  Euridike Die Again, for Jean-Baptiste Lully Interrupts the Performance…

 

This was a Charming Dual-Staging, featuring the BEMF-Vocal-Ensemble , the BEMF-Chamber-Ensemble, & the BEMF-Dance-Ensemble, with Gilbert Blin’s ingenious Floral-Ring-Staging & the Musical-Direction of Paul O’Dette & Stephen Stubbs, playing Authentic-Instruments.

 

 

The Title of the 2013-BEMF-Festival was Youth: Genius-&-Folly: Discover Handel at Nineteen

 

Unfortunately, Medieval-Religious-Composers—especially in Religious-Orders—must never have been Nineteen: Always-Ageless

 

Not only is most Medieval-Music Monotonous, as well as MonophonicFugal-Polyphony comes along Later—so Rosa das Rosas: Cantigas de Santa Maria was a bit of a Slog, especially as the Songs enshrined Roman-Catholic-Myths of the BVM that even Martin Luther might have Questioned

 

As for the admirable Jordi Savall & his excellent Hespèrion XXI Ensemble, the Music of the Medieval-Ottoman-Empire, as well as the Sephardic, Greek, & Armenian Traditions is numbingly Monotonous.

 

It cannot have changed so much over the Centuries, for when I was teaching in Sa’udi-Arabia & in Athens, in the Late-1950s—it was still somewhat Monotonous.

 

But you could always offend Israelis, Greeks, Turks, & Arabs by pretending to mis-identify the Cultural-Origins of this Folkish-Music.

 

With their Armenian-Genocide, the Turks still have a Lot-to-Answer-for, but as for their Music

 

Most of the Early-Music-Events were offered in the Historic-&-Landmarked-Auditorium of the Estimable New-England-Conservatory-of-Music, whose Seating-Patterns are Dangerously-Baroque in Line-&-Form.

 

Dimly-lit, the Swooping-&-Swerving Seat-Rows could be Death-Traps for Seniors

 

But, far worse, to be kept outside in the Pouring-Rain, while someone Tuned-the-Harpsichord!

 

Once we were damply-inside the Auditorium, we found Two-Harpsichords, both of which were subsequently moved this way & that, without any Re-Tuning

 

For that matter, a Fire-Alarm at the Boston-Museum-of-Fine-Arts drove all of us Outside into more Driving-Rain, even though most Visitors had already checked their Umbrellas-&-Raincoats inside.

 

This was Mid-June—in America’s North-East: what is it that Climate-Change-Deniers don’t Get about Global-Warming?

 

 

Jenny Schwartz’ SOMEWHERE FUN  [★★★]

 

Kathleen Chalfant Again in a Hospital-Bed, But Somewhere Fun Is Not Wit… Nor Witless Either.

 

 

Will Playwright Jenny Schwartz be nominated for the John-Gassner-Award?

 

If Sheer-Length is any Criterion, Somewhere Fun could be In-the-Running, as it seems only Slightly-Shorter than Richard Wagner’s Götterdämmerung.

 

Or maybe it only Seems Over-Long?

 

At the Opening of this Articulation-Fest, Kate Mulgrew astonishes with a Rapid-Fire-Semi-Monologue, directed at an Old-Friend, long not seen.

 

This is an Exercise in Ego-Echolalia

 

[But, much, much Later, when we find Kathleen Chalfant in a Hospital-Bed, her Frantic-Monologues seem a Species of Dementia-Echolalia…]

 

A frenetic Real-Estate-Agent—operating on the Upper-East-Side—Mulgrew wants to sell the Empty-Apartment of her Friend’s Mother, who has just died.

 

The equally Frenetic-Dialogue could be called a Stream-of-Consciousness, but it’s more like a Scream-of-Sub-Consciousness, couched in the Clichés of Everyday-Life.

 

At the Close-of-the-Scene, she melts into a Silver-Puddle, leaving behind a Barren-Skull.

 

This recalls the Theatre-of-the-Absurd, of Long, Long Ago.

 

But this Odd-Drama of Disjointed-Relationships has Relevant-Apps for the Internet-Age of Hand-Held-Electronic-Devices!

 

It also moves Backward-&-Forward in its Pixilated-Time-Line, including Forays into the Star-Studded-Cosmos.

 

The Entire-Cast is exemplary, under the Spirited-Direction of Anne Kauffman, who recently gave New-Yorkers a Desolate-Vision of Parisian Belleville.

 

On entering the Vineyard’s Sub-Basement-Theatre, I was astonished to discover a Barren-Setting—distinguished by the Tree recently seen in The Testament of Mary—with a Shop-Window filled with those Pastel-Colored-Plaster Ladurée-Macaroons.

 

The Scene was identified as being located at Madison-Avenue & East-73rd-Street, but that cannot be.

 

I live just around the block from the Parisian-Macaroons, which are to be found on Madison between East-70th & East 71st Streets

 

Could this be a Case of Poetic-License?

 

Is the Myth of Medea-&-Her-Children good for a Bedtime-Tale?

 

Was it Heraclitus who said we do not step into the Same-Stream twice?

 

Just Asking Rhetorical-Questions, suggested by Jenny Schwartz’ Verbal-Funning

 

 

Steven Levenson’s THE UNAVOIDABLE DISAPPEARANCE OF TOM DURNIN  [★★★

 

Could This Roundabout-Production Have Been Made Avoidable? More Losers & Damaged-Goods!

 

Once again, for the Umpteenth-Time this Season, we have a Revolving-Stage, thanks to the Ingenuity of Scenic-Designer Beowulf Boritt!

 

It is used in Service of telling the Story of an Abusive-&-Manipulative-Man [a frightening-performance from David Morse] who has recently been released from Prison, where he served Five-Years for a Financial-Scam that should have Put-Him-Away for Much-Longer.

 

Now, he wants to re-intrude himself into the Damaged-Lives of a Wife, Son, & Son-in-Law, wreaking Psychological-Havoc all over again…

 

This is not exactly a Modern-Version of The Lower Depths, for the Durnin-Family at least Have-Roofs-Over-Their-Heads.

 

For that matter, the Roundabout is not exactly the Moscow-Art-Theatre & we are not Russki-Elitists, who need to learn more about the Underclasses

 

Alas, the Durnin-Clan are All-Losers, with the Son, James Durnin [Christopher Denham], especially Damaged-Goods & a Liar, but not quite as Pathological as his Raging-Dad.

 

Moral & Mental-Redemption is not to be found by trying to learn how to Write-Short-Stories at a Community-College.

 

There is a Plenitude of TV-Soap-Opera-Tropes in this exercise in Domestic-Pathos, but why waste the Roundabout’s Production-Budget on These-Types?

 

Nonetheless, the Cast is generally admirable, directed by Scott Ellis—who, at least, didn’t have to deal with Trailer-Court-Lives

 

A Bernie-Madoff-Narrative would have been far more interesting: All Those Yachts!

 

 

Richard Greenberg’s FAR FROM HEAVEN  [★★★]

 

This Has Been a Big-Year for Richard-Greenberg-Scripts: He Must Have a Very-Good-Agent!

 

Actually, Richard Greenberg should not alone be blamed for this Retrograde-American-Musical.

 

It is based on a Movie-of-the-Same-Name, which, somehow, I managed to avoid.

 

Nor should Greenberg be Tarred-&-Feathered for the Predictable-Lyrics & Retro-Music, which are the Handiwork of Michael Korie & Scott Frankel, respectively.

 

The Big-Question is Why would Anyone want to turn Far From Heaven into a Musical?

 

Not even Rodgers & Hammerstein would have touched this Problematic-Social-Problem-Narrative

 

Nonetheless, this Project was Commissioned by Playwrights-Horizons-Musicals, with Financial-Subsidies from Andrew Mellon’s Ingenious-Investments & the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Charitable-Trust, among other Organ-Donors.

 

In these Earth-Shaking-Times of Legal-Gay-Marriages, the Basic-Fable of Far From Heaven must have appealed to Tim Sanford, the Artistic-Director of Playwrights-Horizons.

 

The Time is 1957—faithfully-reproduced in the Costumes of Catherine Zuber—but the Place is Hartford, CT, in-no-way-suggested by the Endlessly-Perambulating-Metal-Structures of Allen Moyer.

 

There are Two-Big-Shockers in this Fraught-Sung-Drama: The Happily-Married David Whitaker [Jake Lucas], with a Picture-Book-Family & a Successful-Business-Career, is actually a Secret-Homosexual.

 

The Other-Social-Blockbuster is that his Devoted-&-Socially-Active-Wife, Cathy [the radiant Kelli O’Hara—much-given to Bouffant-Skirts], finds Solace-&-Friendship with her Colored/Black/African-American-Gardner!

 

This threatens the Very-Fabric of Hartford-Society, so Varied-Heartbreaks are ahead…

 

Not even Sexual-Shock-Therapy is going to save the Whitaker-Marriage.

 

What could be more Awful—way back in 1957—than Criminal-Sexuality & even the suggestion of Miscegenation? Especially in Hartford, the Heartland of the American-Insurance-Industry

 

Question: In 1957, did they call Sexually-Confused-Men like David by such terms as Homos, Fags, or Gays?

 

The Physical-Aspect of Far From Heaven is fascinating. This Show really has Production-Values, not least in the Projections of Peter Nigrini.

 

Michael Greif has moved his Large-Cast [18-Equity-Members!] deftly around the Stage-Maze. No-one gets hit by the Moving-Scaffolds!

 

But Why—so Late-in-Time as 2013—should we be interested in the Problems of Cathy & David?

 

Is there Something we can Learn from their Tragic-Plight—which is really Nothing-To-Sing-About—to help us get-on with Our-Own-Lives?

 

Or does this Show merely point-out that Hartford was Not-a-Good-Place to be standing on Street-Corners, hoping to Pick-Up-Men

 

 

Neil Benjamin’s THE EXPLORER’S CLUB  [★★★★]

 

No Drinks for the Audience from the Onstage-Bar, But Lots of Farcical-British-Twits…

 

First-off, this often Hilarious-Show lacks the Farcical-Skills of the Estimable-Cast of that re-imagined the venerable Jules-Verne-Fantasy, Around the World in Eighty-Days, now playing over on West-45th-Street.

 

Instead, the Cast prefers to Play being British-Twits, indicating in every bit of Stage-Business that they are Being-Funny.

 

Initially, staring at the remarkably Old-Curiosity-Shop-Collection of Hunter/Gatherer-Oddments on stage, I feared that Donyale Werle’s Stunning-Setting would be the Best-Event of the Entire-Evening.

 

If you remember Werle’s Antiques-Overkill from Bloody, Bloody, Andrew Jackson, you have some idea of what’s onstage down in the Sub-Basement of the old Shrine-Temple, over on West-55th-Street.

 

The Explorers-Bar is a kind of Shrine in itself, but it makes possible the Best-Running-Sight-Gag of the Show: A Blue-Man—a Native of a Just-Discovered-Primitive-Society, but not one of the Blue-Man-Groupies, however—zooms Drinks across the Bar with a Ferocity-&-Velocity that makes it a Dive-to-the-Floor-Tactic to catch the Cocktails before they Implode.

 

This is not the Manhattan-Version of the Explorers’-Club, where things have recently been much, much tamer.

 

No, this is Imperial-Victorian-England, officially-outraged that the Blue-Man has swatted Queen Victoria, who was not only Not-Amused, but ready to annihilate the Blue-Man’s-Homeland.

 

The Discoverer of that Unknown-Country & the Blue-Man—whom she has named Luigi—is Phyllida Spotte-Hume [a Feminine-British-Twit-Type, played ably by Jennifer Westfeldt].

 

She seeks Membership—on the basis of her Discoveries—in the All-Male-Explorers-Club.

 

This is Blocked by a Religion-Spouting Senior-Member [John McMartin, of Follies Fame], who is convinced that the Irish are the Lost-Jewish-Tribe-of-Dan—leading to Riots in the Streets outside the Club.

 

We also get a Last-Minute-Appearance of a Dalai-Lama-Like-Lama, [Lorenzo Pisoni, of Pickle-Family-Circus-Fame] outraged that a Twit-Explorer has left him stranded on his Sacred-Mountain, onto which, apparently, the Twit has pissed…

 

Well, you get the General-Idea of this Fake-Farce, but it’s really so funny that it’s Well-Worth-a-Visit.

 

Marc Bruni’s MTC-Production could even Transfer from Not-for-Profit-Status to Commercial-Off-Broadway-Heaven

 

 

Bronson Howard’s THE HENRIETTA  [★★★★★]

 

Brilliant Revival of 19th-Century Comedy-Melodrama—with a Satirical-Edge: Wall-Street Exposed!

 

If you really wanted to see a Definitive-British-Twit, you just missed your chance at the Metropolitan-Theatre, where The Henrietta has just closed.

 

The Short-Statured but entirely British-Twitish Chuck Bradley embodies the Twit-Essence as Lord Arthur Trelawney. He does this—not by Clowning, nor Indicating—but by Inhabiting-the-Role as though he really were Lord Arthur!

 

An Added-Dividend is the New-Yorkish-Idea of British-Twitishness, embodied in Lord Arthur’s Manhattan-Brother-in-Law, Bertie van Alstyne [the hilariously & Stylishly-Idiotic Blaine Smith].

 

In its Basic-Structure, Bronson Howard’s The Henrietta is a Formulaic-19th-Century-British/American-Comedy-Melodrama, complete with Frustrated-Young-&-Older-Lovers, Mixed-Up-Letters, a Cleverly-Camouflaged-Villain, a Wronged-Woman, & a Happy-Ending.

 

But it is much more than that: It is also a knowing Socio-Economic-Satire of Wall-Street & High-Society, in the Era of the Robber-Barons.

 

This was the Gilded-Age that Mark Twain so brilliantly skewered. Bronson Howard was not far behind…

 

As so many successful Comedy-Melodramas of that Era were Played-in-Rep & Toured-Extensively, the Playwrights had to deal with a Formulaic-Cast-of-Characters whose Roles could easily be assigned to Actors & Actresses of the Companies, whose Specialties were Innocent Young-Lovers, Fussy Old-Maids, Comic-Ethnics: like Stage-Irishmen or Chinese-Laundrymen, & Scheming-Villains, who were rather like those Bass-Baritone Opera-Villains.

 

The Wonder of Howard’s ingenious Henrietta is that he makes the Standard-Stage-Stereotypes more than Cardboard-Cutouts.

 

The Modern-Wonder, however, is that Director Alex Roe has encouraged his Exemplary-Cast to discover an Inner-Human-Truth in their Outward-Social-Roles, which even in Bronson Howard’s own Time were often Studied-&-Effortful, in order for Real-New-Yorkers to Fit-Into the Roles that Wealth & Society had assigned them.

 

As the Man-Who-Owns-Wall-Street, Nicholas van Alstyne, the admirable Michael Durkin was in his element, making & destroying Fortunes, as the Stock-Ticker-Tape tapped-out its Fateful-Quotations.

 

Van Alstyne—obviously of Old-Dutch-Ancestry—is being opposed in his Scheme to make Many-Millions off the Henrietta-Mining-&-Railroad-Venture.

 

But, unbeknownst to him, his Secret-Opponent is his own Son, Nicholas van Alstyne, Jr [Michael Hardart], who seeks to destroy his Own-Father & displace him on the Street.

 

Matters are deliberately complicated—by the Playwright—when Various-Characters think that the Henrietta referred-to, variously, is a Race-Horse, a Sexy-Entertainer, Hettie Green, the so-called Witch-of-Wall-Street, & Van Alstyne’s complex Scheme, which is not a Scam.

 

You may well have already seen some members of Alex Roe’s Metropolitan-Theater-Ensemble elsewhere in Manhattan: in fact, Melody Bates, who plays Rose van Alstyne, also plays the Metropolitan-Opera

 

For some reason, Roe favors the –er version of Theatre, but that is, essentially, a Kraut-Spelling, rather than the Eloquent & Glorious TheatRE of French-Tradition

 

But, whichever way Roe spells it, his Period-Theatre-Productions are among the Best to be seen anywhere in New York, although they are achieved with a Bare-Bones-Budget.

 

The Handsome-Costumes look like they have Cost-a-Fortune, but the TDF-Costume-Collection came to the Rescue.

 

I must admit I am Extra-Partial to Roe, his Company, & the Metropolitan-Theater, because they mounted such an Excellent-Production of my own Edition of Edith Wharton’s long lost House of Mirth.

 

It was—after a Detroit-Tryout & some Script-Doctoring by Clyde Fitch, the Man-off-the-Hour, co-authoring with Wharton—a Dismal-Flop, almost immediately Closing.

 

So Wharton never published it, nor copyrighted it.

 

My Good-Luck—after much Sleuthing—was to discover the Detroit & the Manhattan Scripts, conflating them.

 

This was published by Associated-University-Presses, though I’ve never seen a Penny in Royalties.

 

Now, I’m hoping Alex Roe might stage one of my Pioneer-Dramas of the Golden-West: Plays written about Gold-Rush-Days in the Mines, in Sacramento, & in San Francisco by Men who were actually there at that most Exciting-of-Times

 

 

John Guare’s THREE KINDS OF EXILE  [Not-Seen, So No-Rating]

 

John Guare in a Drama Written by Himself: Imagine Neil Simon in Such a Fix!

 

Not-to-Worry: Neither Neil Simon nor Tennessee Williams were available to Understudy Playwright John Guare when Your Roving-Arts-Reporter got the Call not to come to the Atlantic-Theatre, as Someone in the Cast was Indisposed.

 

Had this Un-Named-Person been any less a Personage than John Guare, I cannot imagine why it could not have Proceeded.

 

As it was what they are fond of calling a Limited-Run, no Replacement-Evenings were available.

 

I was sorry to miss it, for I still recall John Guare as a Fledgling-Playwright, with his charming Avant-Garde-Drama, To Wally Pantoni, We Leave a Credenza

 

Win a Few, Lose a Few!

 

 

James Joyce’s [adapted] GIBRALTAR  [★★★★★]

 

A New Look at Ulysses: Molly Bloom Was Born on The-Rock-of-Gibraltar, Hence the New-Title…

 

Patrick Fitzgerald—who both Created this Compelling-Adaptation & now Performs it with Manic-Intensity—is no Traditional-Stage-Irishman.

 

As Leopold Bloom—with more than a Whiff of James Joyce, the Narrator, a Citizen, & the Nameless-One, he is Superb.

 

He would have been an Admirable-Addition to the Company of the Abbey-Theatre, in the Good-Old-Days of Lady Gregory, WB Yeats, & Sean O’Casey!

 

But this new version of the Long-Banned-Novel wouldn’t really work as a Monologue. It is infinitely-enhanced by the Molly Bloom of Cara Seymour—who also plays a Multiplicity-of-Roles, including Blazes Boylan.

 

The Time is 16 June 1904 & The Place is, of course, Dublin. Not Gibraltar

 

Thanks to the staging of Terry Kinney & the Multi-Valenced-Setting of Sarah Bacon, You-Are-There!

 

You even get to see Leopold Bloom on the Crapper

 

When I first went to Dublin, in 1957—to look for the Irish-Roots of the Loney-Clan: My Grandfather was born somewhere in Ireland, in 1832—after finding a Loney-Family-Heraldic-Crest in Dublin-Castle, I rushed-off to the Abbey-Theatre to see Augusta, Lady Gregory’s The Rising of the Moon.

 

The Erse-Accents were so Thick, you could have Cut-Them-with-a-Knife.

 

Ambling-around Dublin-Town, I came upon a Bronze-Statue of James Joyce, jauntily-leaning on his Cane: It was, as I recall, titled: The Prick with a Stick.

 

Another Bronze-Figuration was a Woman, pushing a Cart: Molly Malone, The Tart with a Cart.

 

On a Large-Rock in a Central-Park, lay a Languid-Bronze of Oscar Wilde: The Fag on the Crag.

 

Ah, those Dubliners

 

 

Neil LaBute’s REASONS TO BE HAPPY  [★★★]

 

A Man Who Cannot Make Up His Mind—Not Willing To Commit: Selfish, Selfish, Selfish!

 

Audiences down at the shabby old Lucile-Lortel-Theatre are immediately assaulted by a Sound-Barrier of Extra-Amplified-Rock—or whatever they are calling this kind of Inner-Ear-Destroying-Music now.

 

Blazing-&-Blinking-Lights also aggressively assault as Scenes change from Outside to Inside what seems to be the Staff-Kitchen of what may be a Minimum-Security-Manufacturing-Facility.

 

This is Neil-Patel’s Scenic-Environment for Neil LaBute’s Reasons To Be Happy, which LaBute personally directed, so there could be No-Mistaking of His-Intentions.

 

His Title, however, must be Satiric/Ironic for Anti-Hero-Greg [the somewhat baffled Josh Hamilton] cannot Make-a-Commitment to either of Two-Young-Women, who would be Glad-To-Have-Him.

 

Sleeping with Security-Officer-Carly [a lovely, vulnerable Leslie Bibb], he has somehow managed to Make-Her-Pregnant, but he is not really ready to become a Father, let alone a Husband.

 

He might Learn-To-Love-Her, but that would take Some-Effort that he, apparently, is not willing to make…

 

This State-of-Affairs has angered the feisty Steph [Jenna Fischer], not only because Carly was her Best-Friend & Greg didn’t tell her he was "seeing” Carly, but also because she has always had a Letch for Greg, even though she married the Anger-Management-Issues-Jock, Kent [a hilarious Fred Weller] by whom she has had an Offspring.

 

Confronted by a kind of Judgment-of-Paris-Choice between the Two-Women, Greg decides he has to be Good-To-Himself, so he is jumping-ship & going-off to New-York-City, to teach in a Montessori-School & Find-Himself!

 

Curiously, just a few hours before witnessing this Pressure-Cooker of a Play, I was having a Discussion with a Concerned-Individual about the American-Passion-for-Being-Happy.

 

I pointed out that those Flag-Waving-Patriots—who thought they had been Guaranteed-Happiness by the Founding-Fathers—had misread Our-Historic-Documents.

 

The Formulation I remembered was something about Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit-of-Happiness.

 

Tom Jefferson never suggested what Happiness might be, or that we would, any of us, ever actually Catch-It

 

 

Thomas Lanier Williams’ THE TWO-CHARACTER PLAY  [Performances-Cancelled]

 

We ran out of Evenings on which we might have been able to see Amanda Plummer in T. Wms’ 2-Character-Play.

 

There are Annual-Festivals beckoning in Western-Europe, so we cannot any longer wait-around for an Evening on which either Amanda or her Fictive-Brother, Brad Dourif, are OK & ready to Play.

 

In this Two-Handed-Drama, Plummer & Dourif are a Sister & Brother, abandoned on the Road by their Troupe.

 

In this New-Staging at New-World-Stages, they are said to "unite their white-hot talents,” in what has been described as a "highly anticipated production.”

 

You may remember Amanda in Agnes of God? Or perhaps you remember that her Mom was Tammy Grimes?

 

Years & years ago, I got to interview Brad Dourif in my West-42nd-Street CUNY-Office because he was appearing in When Ya Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?

 

At least I think that was the Play’s Title

 

Sorry to miss You-Guys!

 

The Play-Promo-Material warns: "Reality & Reason Have Left the Building.”

 

That could also be said of the US-Capitol-Building

 

 

Chris Marlowe or Bill Shakespeare’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS  [★★★★]

 

Considering Climate-Change, How About Shakespeare-in-the-Ark, Not Rained-Out in the Park?

 

Finally—even though the Threatening-Skies had not cleared & after several Cancellations—it was possible to savor Shakespeare-in-the-Park, if not Marlowe-in-the-Meadow.

 

Dan Sullivan’s pert & provocative Jitterbug-Jukebox evocation of Renaissance-Ephesus recalled, in a Retro-Way, such Up-dates of The Comedy of Errors as The Boys from Syracuse.

 

John Lee Beatty provided Three-Revolving-Locational-Periaktoi on the Outdoor-Delacorte-Stage.

 

Most amusing was the Departure-Board for the Adirondack-Bus-line, featuring such Classical-Destinations as Rome, Troy, Ithaca, & Schenectady.

 

Toni-Leslie James’ colorful Period-Costumes brought back memories of the Andrews-Sisters.

 

Mimi Lieber wonderfully recreated the Jitterbug-Mania of Yesteryear.

 

The Wonder of this Aggressive-Production was the Energy—even Ferocity—with which The Bard’s Lines were so clearly-articulated & delivered.

 

As is Customary, the Two-Dromios & the Twin-Antipholuses were Double-Cast: Jesse Tyler Ferguson took the Thwaking-Beatings meant for Two-Men, from his Two-Overbearing-Masters, played by Hamish Linklater, stylishly-clad in Summer-White.

 

The Ephesus-Born-&-Bred Female-Foils for the Anti-Twins were vigorously-played by the Blonde-Wigged Emily Bergl [Adriana] & Heidi Schreck [Luciana].

 

The Wigs & Hair-Design were the handiwork of Robert-Charles Vallance

 

 

 

MORE PASSING-GLANCES AT THE MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, & SPECIAL EVENTS

 

 

More Broken-Records at Christie’s Auction-House: $21-Million-Plus for Latin-American-Art!

The End-of-May, it may be said, went Out-Like-a-Banksta, as Bidders-Worldwide fought to be the New-Owners of Old-Art.

 

Well, maybe not all that Old, for Fernando Botero’s immense Bronze-Sculpture of immensely-fat Dancers was made or founded at the Foundry in AD 2000.

 

Someone who must have been overwhelmed to see this Dancing-Couple towering outside Christie’s Rock-Center-Domain bid $1,143,750 for the privilege of Removing-Them & finding some Distant-Acreage on which to set-them-down.

 

You wouldn’t want anything this Monumental—if not Monstrous—in your Living-Room, would you?

 

[Famed-Comedian Bert Lahr’s son, John Lahr, wrote the Definitive-Book on Botero…]

 

Surprisingly, such Prized-Painters as Leonora Carrington & Coronel—among Others-of-Note represented in this Amazing-Auction—were not among the Record-Breakers.

 

Both Matta & Rufino Tamayo were among the Top-Ten, but Matta’s Yennes fetched only $435,750. Tamayo’s Sonriente en rosa was bought for $375,750.

 

At the Top of the Latino-Ten—or Diez, if you prefer—was Brazil’s Candido Portinari, whose Meninos saltando pipas set a World-Record for his work at $1,443,750.

 

Actually—although it may sound like some Boys are Playing-the-Pipes—these are Latin-Lads flying Kites!

 

These often-challenging Latin-American-Sales recall the Bygone-Years when my friend, Carol Miller de Gonzales came to Manhattan every Autumn & Spring to see one of her Esculturas go on the Block.

 

Those were the days when Lisa Phillips was the Latino-Auction-Curator, at Sotheby’s-Park-Bernet—as it then was—before she went down to the New-Museum & Curatorial-Fame

 

I then found it Odd that Carol’s Works were always described as from "An Important Collection,” or some such Formula, because they actually came directly from Carol’s Villa in Pedregal, Mexico DF.

 

The Purpose of this Minor-Deception, Carol explained, was to Establish-a-Current-Price for her Sculptures!

 

Before Carol was de Gonzales, she was Señora Fausto Zapata.

 

Yes! Those Zapatas!

 

When he was Mexico’s Ambassador to Beijing, he invited me to come for a Visit & report on what I’d seen.

 

But I was Too-Busy correcting Papers & grading Midterms at Brooklyn-College

 

Why did that seem so important then? China under Mao would have been so much more interesting…

 

Sensation on Sunset! Mrs. Sidney Sheldon’s Doll-Collection Up-for-Auction at Bonhams-LA!

 

Mrs. Sidney Sheldon Once Again on My Radar-Screen! How About a Rudolph-Valentino-Doll?

 

Some seasons ago, I received an Aggrieved-E-Mail from Mrs. Sidney Sheldon, a Celebrity-Wife I did not know even existed.

 

She identified herself as being the Spouse of the 1947-Academy-Award-Winner Sidney Sheldon, who also wrote The Other Side of Midnight—the Number-One Best-Seller of 1973—as well as being the Talent who created The Patty Duke Show & I Dream of Jeannie.

 

Mrs. Sidney was writing on-behalf of the Children of Don Sewall, Founder of the Denver-Theatre-Center & Fiscal-Savior of the Denver-Post.

 

I knew about Don from the Old-Days-on-Broadway, when he was a Major-Producer, so we always had a lot to talk about when I went out to Denver for the New-Play-Summit.

 

Don’s Life-Long-Love was the Actress Eugenia Rawls—there’s a Eugenia-Room at Sardi’s & an impressive Painting of her in the Denver-Center.

 

In my Denver-Report, I mentioned that a Glamorous-Local-Lady was looking-after the Aging-Don, telling me she was both His-Daughter & His-Mother, as his Kids, out in California, weren’t around to take care of him in the way he deserved.

 

Mrs. Sidney wrote from Santa-Barbara to let me know how Outraged Don’s Children were about what I had written in Arts-Rambles.

 

Now, the End-Has-Come, in a sense, as the Fabulous-Doll-Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Sidney Sheldon is going for Auction at Bonhams—on Sunset-Boulevard—in LA.

 

Now you may not think of a Real-Macho-Guy like Sidney Sheldon being a Doll-Collector, so it’s very likely that Mrs. Alexandra Sheldon suckered-him-into the Collecting-Gig.

 

Over the Decades, the Collection grew: 450 of the Dolls will be on-Auction on 24 June 2013!

 

The Sheldonian-Collection "graced their Paul R. Williams-Designed Holmby-Hills-Estate.”

 

Now, Holmby-Hills is Kilometers-Distant from Santa-Barbara, but Mission-Santa-Barbara may be only Spiritual-Seconds away from LaLaLand…

 

Among the Costly-Poppets on-offer are some Lenci-Dolls, including a Rudolph-Valentino-Portrait-Doll, based on his Image in Son of the Sheik.

 

Queen Elena-of-Savoy & Josephine Baker were also Great-Collectors of Lenci-Masterpieces.

 

So, if you bid on one of the Sheldon-Dolls, you know you are in Good-Company!

 

How about a Lenci-Portrait of Madama-Butterfly or Madame-de-Pompadour?

 

Bulletin Just-In from the LA-Sale!

 

No Overall-Totals reported, but someone paid $2,750 for a Doll-Set of Snow-White & the Seven-Dwarfs.

 

That’s Eight-Dolls for about $344 each!

 

A Lenci-Doll from 1930, impersonating a Fascist-Youth, sold for $3,125.

 

No Mention was made of the Valentino-Doll, however…

 

Bonhams’ next Doll-Auction will take place in December, at Bonhams-Oxford!

 

Meanwhile, back at Bonhams-on-Madison, a Holy-Bible—inscribed by Albert Einstein & his wife, as a Gift to Harriett Hamilton—was sold for $68,500.

 

In his Inscription to HH, he noted that the Bible is an Inexhaustible-Source of Wisdom & Solace.

 

God, Moses, & Jesus ought to be grateful for this Endorsement

 

 

Israeli-Pride-Day-Parade on Fifth-Avenue Blocks the M1, M2, M3, M4 & M72 at 72nd-Street…

 

Why does almost every Ethnic or National-Pride-Parade have to be on Fifth-Avenue?

 

What’s more, running Uptown, even though the Traffic always goes One-Way the Other-Way?

 

Why can’t some of these Constant-Weekend-Destroying-Parades be held over in New-Jersey?

 

For that Matter, wouldn’t it Make-More-Sense to encourage Israelis to March back in Tel-Aviv?

 

It must Cost-a-Fortune to fly them in from Jerusalem & the Golan-Heights?

 

Although Israel is often characterized as "The Only-Democracy in the Middle-East,” while I was watching the Parade, I was disappointed not to see a Contingent of Palestinian-Arabs from the Occupied-Territories, marching along as well.

 

Even Second-Class-CitizensArabs born in Israel—deserve some kind of Attention in a Democracy

 

 

Le Corbusier at MoMA: An Architectural-Life’s-Work on Parade—with Models-Galore!

 

What an Amazing-Sense of Déjà-Vu up on MoMA’s Sixth-Floor!

 

All those Wonderful-Architectural-Models of Built & Un-Built-Projects of Le Corbusier, more familiarly-known as Le-Corbu

 

Eagerly photographing each one of the Models from Different-Angles for the Arts-ArchiveFifty-Years-from-Now, they should be Of-Interest—I realized I’d photographed a number of them before!

 

So they must have been On-Tour long ago. Was it in Vienna or San Francisco that I first saw them?

 

At MAK or at SFMoMA

 

This All-Encompassing-Le-Corbusier-Exhibition is a Definite-Block-Buster: Every Sketch, every Jotting, every Plan, every Elevation, every Cross-Section seems to be On-View, with Paintings, Videos & Photos as well.

 

Born Charles-Édouard Jenneret, he grew up in a French-Swiss-Town of Watchmakers. His Parents hoped he would become an Engraver-of-Watchcases.

 

Well, that didn’t Work-Out, but the World—both East & West—has benefitted from a Change-of-Plans.

 

Speaking of Plans, Le Corbusier was a Genius in City-Planning, as well as in devising Layouts for Building-Complexes.

 

Noted for his fascination with Raw, Rough Concrete-Structures, Le-Corbu got to use a lot of Cement in his Designs for Chandigarh, a New-Regional-Capital in Indian-Punjab.

 

My first Definitive-Experience of Le Corbusier’s Concrete-Architecture was his Super-Modernist-Chapel, Nôtre-Dame-en-Haut, built on a hill in Ronchamp in Eastern-France.

 

Shortly after the Chapel’s Dedication, I invited my Secretary, Madeleine, to drive down with me from Verdun—where I was Teaching-Our-Troops—to Have-a-Look.

 

I was especially impressed by the Stained-Glass-Windows he had devised.

 

Notably one for the BVM, that had a Bold-Black-Written-Inscription: Marie qui brille comme le Soleil…

 

Madeleine looked around & sniffed: I could never Pray in a Place-Like-This!

 

Well, what can you say about a Sorbonne-Educated French-Woman who lived in the Actual-Fortified-Walls of Verdun, designed by Vauban, the Royal-Architect?

 

Yes! There were Small-Apartments built into the Verdun-Walls, initially for Watchmen on the City-Gates

 

 

At Christie’s, Two-Million-Dollars for an Egyptian-Bronze-Cat—But No Kitty-Litter…

 

This Astonishing-Sale established "a World-Auction-Record for an Egyptian-Cat,” in the words of G. Max Bernheimer, of Christie’s.

 

But this wasn’t just any old Egyptian-Cat, the kind of Battered-Feline that you might find hanging around the Suq in Cairo.

 

No, Indeed!

 

This wonderfully sleek & smug Ikon-of-Catness dates from the Ptolemaic-Period.

 

Who knows? Cleopatra—the last of the Ptolemies—might well have stroked this Cat, while thinking of Clawing at Marc Antony, for not being Attentive-Enough

 

The Sale-Price was over Thirteen-Times the Low-Bid-Estimate. Will that 13x prove Lucky or Unlucky for the new Cat-Owner?

 

A Roman-Marble-Sculpture of Cupid-&-Psyche was sold for almost Half-a-Million, but Roman-Sculptors churned these things out by the Score. Just another bit of Décor for a Senator’s-Garden.

 

A magnificent Illyrian-Helmet—Greek & Bronze—was acquired for less than Half-a-Million, but it was clearly more useful to a Soldier than a Sculpture would have been to a Non-Combatant-Senator.

 

 

Ship-Ahoy! Set Sail for Bonhams Fine-Maritime-Paintings & Full-Speed-Ahead!

 

If you love Full-Rigged-Ships, Naval-Engagements, or are just crazy about Yachting, you missed-out by not being at Bonhams for its Sale of Maritime-Paintings.

 

None of these was in the Million-Dollar-Christie’s-Category, but the Lengthy-Titles of the Paintings almost made up for what they lacked in Sale-Power.

 

How about $68,500 for The Goelet-Prize for Sloop-Yachts, with Grace in the Lead

 

Then there was Shipping in Palermo off the Mediterranean. But even longer was The SS-City-of-Berlin outward-bound, passing Cape-Pine-Lighthouse.

 

The most unusual Items in the Sale, however, were not Paintings, but Carved-Wooden-Ship-Models.

 

They were not Models of Wooden-Ships, but of British-Warships, created by the Japanese in World-War-II, to aid the Emperor’s-Warriors to recognize & destroy His-Majesty’s-Fleet.

 

 

Even in Death, Richard Artschwager Is Still with The Whitney-Museum-of-American-Art!

 

Luckily, Richard Artschwager was able to see his Final-Retrospective at the Madison-Avenue-Whitney-Venue before he Definitively-Died this year.

 

He was also able to complete his Quirky-Designs for Four-Distinctive-Elevators for the New-Whitney, down on the Flood-Plain at Gansevoort-&-Washington.

 

The Under-Construction-Whitney is a Renzo-Piano-Commission, but there will be no Pianos in the Artschwager-Elevators. They are titled Six-in-Four.

 

Instead, they will feature his Favorite-Things-&-Themes: Door, Window, Table, Basket, Mirror, & Rug.

 

He was also Very-Big with Exclamation-Points

 

In the Evenings, when the Museum is Chiuso, all Four will be parked in a Row, in an Exposed-Art-Installation on the Glass-Walled Ground-Floor, for all to see.

 

Come Hell or High-Water, that is, as no one needs another Hurricane-Sandy flooding the Waterfront

 

Those who thought that the Madison-Avenue-Landmark Marcel-Breuer-Building was big enough for the Whitney-Collections may not have realized that the Whitney has the Largest-Collection of Artschwager-Artworks of any Museum in the World!

 

 

Amazements at the Park-Avenue-Armory: Do Your Really Want To See Snow-White Get Raped?

 

There may well be—if Defense-Secretary Chuck Hagel gets to see Paul McCarthy’s XXX-Rated-Art-Installation at the Park-Avenue-Armory—an Administrative-Decision not only to Close-Guantanamo, but also to restore the 69th-Regiment’s Armory to its Original-Military-Function: Training-Professional-Killers!

 

Now, inside the Cavernous-Armory-Drill-Hall, you can wander in a Monstrous-Magic-Forest, in which are Reproductions of Paul McCarthy’s Childhood-Home.

 

Peeking through Tiny-Windows, you can see Scenes of the Utmost-Depravity & Sloppy-Housekeeping.

 

Aside from Rapaciously-Violated-Stuffed-Corpses, one of the most Shocking-Images is what may well be a Model of PaulNaked & On-All-Fours—with a Broomstick rammed up his Arse & emerging out of his Mouth!

 

As WS is a Multi-Media-Installation, turning the Historic-Grimm-Fable upside-down, Snow-White may get raped by more than all those Seven-Dwarfs

 

In side-aisle Mini-Movie-Theatres, there are Specific-Sexual-Acts depicted, often starring a Clothed or Naked Paul McCarthy. As well as Paid-Professional-Models!

 

These Terminal-Excitements are Forbidden for those of Seventeen-Years-or-Less

 

At each End of the Wade-Thompson-Drill-Hall are Armory-Spanning-Movie-Screens, with Lubricious-&-Orgiastic-Scenes, often starring Paul McCarthy.

 

The Artistic-Aim of this Astonishing-Exhibition is to: …immerse Visitors in a Chaotic-Fantasy-World of Decadence-&-Depravity.

 

Quite a Contrast to the Daily-Life outside on Park-Avenue, or at nearby Hunter-College

 

Who at Hunter could have realized that the Traditional-Narrative of Snow-White could …devolve into a raunchy & at times Violent-Bacchanal.

Who, indeed!

 

But Leave the Kids at Home

 

Preferably Not at the Childhood-Home of Paul McCarthy!

 

Here are the Last-Three-Lines—not to be confused with The-Seven-Last-Words-from-The-Cross!—from Paul McCarthy‘s 2013-Poem:

 

The obsession

The self

Masturbation

 

Well, There You Have It!

 

In the Historic-Tiffany-Designed-Rooms of the Armory, you can see Models of the Malignant-Magic-Forest & the Childhood-Home of Paul McCarthy!

 

In the requisite Souvenir-Shop, you can buy Boxed-Editions of Walt-Disney’s-Snow-White.

 

I asked the Attendants if they also offered Paul-McCarthy-Autographed Leak-Proof-Seven-Dwarf-Condoms

 

No Such Luck!

 

 

Triple-Play at the Met: Bronze-Boxer, Sculptor Ken Price, & Five-Centuries of Decorative-Arts!

 

The Boxer: An Ancient Masterpiece…

 

You may think that Roller-Derbies can turn Violent, but what about Boxing for a Roman-Emperor?

 

The Bronze Boxer-at-Rest—now briefly at the Met-Museum, on Loan from Rome’s Museo-Nazionale-Romana at the Palazzo-Massimo-alla-Terme—shows a Seasoned-Pugilist.

 

This Magnificent-Seated-Figure—reminiscent of Rodin’s Thinker, in his Pose—was dug-up in 1885, on the Quirinal-Hill, near the Baths-of-Constantine.

 

Say what  you like about their Bloody-Gladiatorial-Contests, the Ancient-Romans were, nonetheless, a Well-Washed-Polis.

 

This Antique-Pugilist bears all the Scars of his Many-Matches, cast in Bronze in the Hellenistic-Period, 323-31 BC.

 

He was no Gladiator. His Winning or Losing was not followed by Thumbs-Up or Thumbs-Down

 

But this Boxer may have been a Silent-Healer, for his Hands & Right-Foot are worn with Rubbing by those who may have sought Cures.

 

The Boxer is accompanied & explained by a Free-Brochure—which opens-up to reveal a Handsome-Poster of the Man-Himself!

 

After 15 July 2013, however, he has to fly back to Rome, to take up Immobile-Residence in the Museo-Nazionale-Romano, at the Palazzo-Massimo-alle-Terme

 

 

Let’s Hear It for Ken Price, Maker of Colorful-Blobs!

 

Actually, the Recently-Deceased LA-Artist-in-Clay, Ken Price, didn’t begin with Blob-Like-Forms.

 

Initially, Price was fascinated with Egg-Forms, following those Peek-a-Boo-Portal-Sculptures with Cup-Forms.

 

Some of his Cups he transformed into Snail-Ornamented Mini-Chalices.

 

But his Big-Break-Through was with his Abstract-Geometric-Sculptures, which to some may look like Multi-Colored-Blobs, even though they have such Titillating-Titles as Balls Congo & Hunchback of Venice.

 

These are Labor-Intensive, for they may have as many as 70-Layers-of-Paint on the Basic-Clay-Form, sanded to uncover each Stratum-of-Color.

 

These Creations have been described as "…haunting, subtly-erotic Sculptures,” as well as "…lyrical Composition[s] of Colors, held together in a Layered-Arrangement that is unmistakably Anthropomorphic.”

 

No wonder that the distinguished LA-Based-Architect, Frank O. Gehry, is a Great-Fan of Price’s not-yet Priceless-Work, having arranged this Exhibition, which originated at—where else!—the LA-County-Museum-of-Art!

 

 

Down into the Met-Vaults for Some Centuries-Old Furniture-Designs & Room-Interiors…

 

After seeing Michelangelo’s Designs for Decorative-Details at the Boston-Museum-of-Fine-Arts, it seemed a Bonus-Pendant to study the many Handsome-Designs—as well as Actual-Period-Furniture—now on-display at the Met.

 

These cover some Five-Centuries-of-Taste—even though some may be Distasteful to Moderns who resent the Former-Privileges of the Fashion-Elite of Former-Times.

 

If you prefer an Artsy Arts-&-Crafts-Cabinet, there is a Handsome-Example on-display.

 

It’s not all Go-for-Baroque

 

This Show is also a Good-Excuse to get some Excellent-Drawings out of the Met’s Filing-Cabinets

 

 

Celebrating Children’s-Books at the NYPL’s Steven-Schwarzman-Marble-Palace…

 

See Dick Run! See Jane Stand! See Spot Sniff!

 

Yes, yes, yes! One of the Original Dick-&-Jane Books is now on-view in the NYPL’s Gottesman-Hall.

 

In fact, just about every Famous-Children’s-Book you can think of is in this Ingeniously-Designed-Show.

 

This is called The ABC Of It: Why Children’s Books Matter.

 

The already Grand-Gottesman-Space is even enlarged for Exhibition-Purposes by creating a Bookish-Maze to wander through as New-Yorkers rediscover Childhood-Favorites.

 

Here’s an Umbrella that was used in the Movie of Mary Poppins. There’s a Bed, under which Kids once read Forbidden-Books at Forbidden-Hours of the Night

 

Here are the Favorite-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Children, reminding us also of The House of Seven-Gables & the fact that Hawthorne’s Salem-Ancestor was the Hanging-Judge in the infamous Witchcraft-Trials.

 

You love Maurice Sendak? Well, there’s a Sendak Where-the-Wild-Things-Are-Wall.

 

There’s even an Alice-in-Wonderland-Wall, with an Alice whose Neck goes up & down.

 

Yes, there’s also a White-Rabbit, with a Rabbit-Hole

 

How about Original-Illustrations for The Wizard of Oz!

 

Harry Potter? Yes, indeed! Raggedy-Anne? Little Orphan-Annie?

 

Pooh, Eyeore, & Piglet? Here are the actual Stuffed-Animals of Christopher Milne, whose Dad wrote all those Pooh-Books for him!

 

But this Show is not all about American-&-Brit-Books for White-Guys’-Kids.

 

It spans Years & Continents: Other Lands, Other Languages, Other Cultures, Other Images, Other Tales

 

Among my own Childhood-Favorites were the Horatio-Alger-Books & GA Henty’s Adventure-Tales.

 

I looked everywhere for the Bobbsey-Twins & The Five-Little-Peppers & How-They-Grew, but I must have missed them in this Cornucopia of Image-&-Print.

 

Did I also pass by Rebecca of Sunnybrook-Farm & Anne of Green-Gables?

 

What temporarily shattered me was that I once owned Mint-Copies of many of these Famous-Titles.

 

My Father was Manager & Chief-Herdsman for the Barnegat-Golden-Guernsey-Dairies, sited in California, in the Sierra-Foothills, funded by the Granddaughter of the Painter, George Inness I, of the Hudson-River-School.

 

Jessie Juliet Inness-Ellsworth-Cox—whose Family owned the Century-Publishing-Company—had taken a fancy to the Herdsman’s-Little-Boy, so I was given a Small-Fortune in Vintage-Children’s-Books.

 

She also gave me a Complete-Run of St. Nicholas, the wonderful Children’s-Magazine, published by Century. You could read about Hans Brincker & the Silver-Skates—by Mary Mapes Dodge, as well as admire the remarkable Illustrations by NC Wyeth & Howard Pyle.

 

But I had only an Orange-Crate for my Clothes & Treasures. No Bookshelves at all…

 

So I cut-up all the St.-Nicholas-Issues, saving only the Howard Pyle & NY Wyeth Pictures

 

Well, it was the Great-Depression. There was No-Money around. Who knew these Books-&-Magazines would someday be Keepsakes?

 

In any case, my Mother was generally opposed to my Reading: Take your nose out of that Book! You’ll go Blind!

 

 

Federico Garcia Lorca: Back Tomorrow, Poet in New York…

 

This is a fascinating Small-Scale-Exploration of Garcia-Lorca’s brief Love-Affair with Manhattan.

 

It includes not only Letters, Journal-Entries, Manuscripts, & Photos, but also some Surrealist-Sketches he made, reminiscent of the work of his friends, Salvador Dali & Joan Miró.

 

The Playwright-Poet—who left us the Modern-Classic Blood-Wedding—might have become a Powerful-Painter as well as a Doomed-Poet, had he lived…

 

Unfortunately, Lorca was on the Wrong-Side in the Spanish-Civil-War, so he was Murdered by the Goons of Francisco Franco.

 

Not so much for his Poetry, as for his being a Maricón

 

 

Let’s Try Another Alteration on that Print-Plate: Mary Cassatt at Work in Paris…

 

In the Late-19th-Century, many American-Artists went off to Paris, not only to shake-off some of their American-Provincialism, but also to Ape the Academicians or to consort with Avant-Gardistes.

 

Mary Cassatt found a Soul-Mate in Edgar Degas, who well-understood what she was trying to achieve in Color & Form with her oft-revised Images, often of Mothers-with-Babes.

 

Although her Series-of-Revisions were recently on-view in a Library-Spanning Third-Floor-Corridor—not-so-easy to find & now, in any case, gone back into Storage—this Long-March of Parisian-Images was more effective than had the Various-Versions of Plates been displayed in Individual-Rooms.

 

Garcia-Lorca never got back to New York, but Cassatt stayed in Paris

 

 

William Shakespeare: From Stratford-Upon-Avon to the NYPL—But Only for a Day…

 

The Invitation features the Droeshout-Engraving of The Bard, with Photos of New-Place & the Astor-Tilden-Lennox-Library paired below.

 

The Lecture—which I missed—was given by Robert Armitage, Humanities-Bibliographer, of the General-Research-Division of the NYPL.

 

As the Original-Stacks—which support the Magnificent-Reading-Room—are about to be Gutted, so the NYPL can be more Neighborhood-Book-Borrowing-Friendly, it may well be that The Humanities—already disappearing from Major-Employment-Oriented University-Curricula—may also be Under-Siege at the NYPL

 

Many years ago, Marchette Chute wrote her Best-Selling-Book about Wm-Shakespeare-of-Stratford entirely-based on her Research at the NYPL.

 

She didn’t have to go off to Stratford at all, which is just as well, as there’s very little Authentic-Documentation available in The-Putative-Bardic-Birthplace.

 

In the Late-1950s, one could still make Graphite-Rubbings of Shakespeare’s Tomb-Inscription, but the Vicar wanted to charge me 2/6 for Admission to the Parish-Church.

 

I thought this Outrageous, but Local-Friends loaned me an Anglican-Prayer-book, telling me to tell him that I wished to Worship in those Sacred-Precincts—as well as doing a bit of Rubbing….

 

But, what if Chris Marlowe was the onlie-begetter of those Dramas, Histories, & Comedies?

 

Where is He buried?

 

Perhaps Robert Armitage has the Answers?

 

 

Edward Armitage, RA, at Hirschl-&-Adler: Where Are My Ancestor’s Crimean-War-Corpses?

 

Recently, my Armitage-Cousin, Jill Armitage—of Adam’s-Well-North, Forge-Lane, West-Peckham, near Maidstone, Kent—wrote to alert me that a large Charcoal-Sketch by Edward Armitage, RA [Royal-Academy] was up-for-sale at the Manhattan-Gallery of Hirschl-&-Adler.

 

They used to be around the corner from me, on East-70th-Street, near the Frick, but they moved to the Crown-Building on Fifth-Avenue, so I stopped stopping-by to see what H&A had on-view…

 

From Jill’s Info-Packed-Letter, I mistakenly thought that the Armitage-Sketch would be one of those made in the Crimea—in the aftermath of a Savage-Battle—by Edward Armitage, one of the 19th-Centrury’s First-on-the-Scene-Artists.

 

The title of the most grisly of these Crimean-Armitage-Sketchs is: After the Battle of Inckerman.

 

For those who do not have a Text-Book-Knowledge of the Crimean-War [1854-56], it took place in the Ukraine, involving the Brits, French, & Turks, against the Russians.

 

Think of the Epically-Futile Charge-of-the-Light-Brigade

 

Good for Heroic-Movies, but very bad for the Horses who were Slaughtered there.

 

Currently, the Met-Museum in Manhattan is featuring Exhibitions on Photography in the Civil-War—just emerging as a Media-Means of bringing the War-Between-the-States to the Home-Front.

 

As for Photographing the Crimean-War, Roger Fenton was there with his Bulky-Cameras & Glass-Plates, long before Matthew Brady documented the Civil-War photographically…

 

Armitage was also on the Crimean-Battlefields—as a kind of Artist-Journalist—in 1855. Many of his Battlefield-Sketches were reproduced back home in the Illustrated-London-News.

 

The actual Charcoal-Rendering of the Rotting-Corpses of Russian-Soldiers—depicted in After the Battle of Inckerman—remained in the Armitage-Family for many, many years, but Cousin Jill writes that they finally sold it, for it was "simply too gruesome to live with.”

 

I thought that this was the Sketch I’d find at Hirschl-&-Adler, but No.

 

What H&A have on-offer is Armitage’s Charcoal-Cartoon for the still-extant Mural made for the Chicago-Board-of-Trade after Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow kicked-over that Fatal-Lantern.

 

Both Jill & I know this Lunette-Image: In Memory of the Great Fire at Chicago, from a very large book of Engravings of Armitage-Masterworks, two of which were in the Possession of my Great-Aunt Margaret Armitage Dangerfield.

 

One of the better-known Images is of an Aged, Gouty King Henry VIII, his bad-leg up on a cushion, as Catherine Howard & Catherine Parr stand behind him. He didn’t Behead these Surviving-Ladies

 

As I was only a Collateral-Relative-by-Marriage, neither of these Books passed on to me.

 

But Hirschl-&-Adler does, in fact, have the Chicago-Fire-Cartoon for Sale: Priced at $30,000.

 

What’s more, they now have—in the Crown-Building—much larger Gallery-Space, filled with Artworks, Old & New. There’s a handsome Portrait by George Bellows.

 

There are some Odd-Drawings by an Outsider-Artist who made them in a Madhouse.

 

But the current Centerpiece-Exhibition is of the Glowing-Floral-Watercolors of the gifted Susan Van Campen.

 

They are Amazing: although painted in 2-D, they have the effect of Flowers in 3-D

 

 

The Oldest-Library in New-York-City Shows Its Rarities in Extraordinary-Gifts.

 

No, the New-York-Public-Library is not the Oldest-Library in NYC. It was, in fact, compounded out of the previous Astor, Tilden, & Lennox-Libraries.

 

Originally, the Astor-Library was down on Astor-Place & its Stony-Exterior & Post-Victorian-Interiors now serve the New-York-Public-Theatre.

 

The Tilden-Library was on Gramercy-Park-South, in the Stately-Mansion of Gov. Samuel J. Tilden, who was once Almost-President-of-the-United-States

 

Today, the Mansion is now home to the National-Arts-Club, next-door to Edwin Booth’s famed Players, but the NAT has a Better-Chef. Also, Art-Exhibits!

 

The Lennox-Library was once—many, many years ago—across the street from where I live, but Henry Clay Frick had it demolished so he could construct his Remarkable-Mansion for his even more Remarkable-Art-Collection.

 

There is still the Mechanics-Library, last time I checked, but The-New-York-Society-Library is definitely the Oldest-Surviving-NYC-Library, founded in 1754.

 

Who knows: perhaps Martha Washington borrowed a Book when Our-Nation’s-Capital was located in Manhattan?

 

You can see some of the Rare-Books donated over the years [from 1754 to 2012] by Reader-Members, although the Show is not in the Original-Premises. Rather, it’s at 53 East 79th-Street.

 

Not only is this Exhibition free, but you are also welcome to visit the Library for Research & Recreational-Reading.

 

If you want to Borrow-Books & become part of the NYSL-Family, you are welcome to become a Member. Check-out the Details online: www.nysoclib.org

 

 

Bulletin from Ben Katchor! When You Are on Ben’s E-Mail-List, You Never Know What’s Next…

 

Hey! Did you know that Satirical-Cartoonist Ben Katchor gave the Same-Lecture twice in June?

 

The first-time was in Belgian-Bruxelles at the ESA-Saint-Luc.

 

The deuxième-repétition was in Paris at the Librarie-La-Friche!

 

This is, in effect, an Illustrated-Lecture, based on his Graphic-Novel: The-Cardboard-Valise.

 

Ben has chosen to title his Little-Talk: Nation-Building in Outer-Canthus.

 

The Phrase, Nation-Building, sounds as if Ben is Making-Fun of Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, & Don Rumsfeld’s heart-felt Efforts to Nation-Build in Iraq

 

En-française, Ben’s Revelations are known as L’édification de la nation au Canthus-extérieur.

 

His Cartoon-Novel, on the Other-Hand, is called: L’odyssée d’une valise en carton.

 

Ben even reproduces—in his E -Mail-Mass-Mailing—some of the Enthusiastic-Effusions of his Francophone-Admirers:

 

Eternal errant de la littérature graphique, narrateur aux improbables langages et aux us & coutumes les plus incongrues…

 

Well, you get the Pensée. If not the Idée-Fixe

 

 

Let’s Hear It for Contemporary-Canopic-Jars! Forget about the Pharaohs…

 

Actually, in Ancient-Egypt, Canopic-Jars were not used for transporting Pharaonic-Canopies into the Afterworld, as far into the Cosmos as the Constellation-of-Orion.

 

No. They were used for Preserving the Heart, Liver, Bladder, Spleen, Appendix, & other Internal-Organs of Dead-Pharaohs, whose Mortal-Remains were Mummified separately.

 

Apparently, once in the Miasmas-of-Orion, these Vital-Organs—now Totally-Inert—could be re-inserted into the Regal-Mummy

 

Don’t Make-Fun of the Ancient-Egyptians!

 

Look what Christians are willing to Believe: that quite Ordinary—even BoringPeople will Live-Forever!

 

Fortunately, there were no Nile-Toxic-Guts inside William Morris’ Sable Antelope Canopic-Jar, which sold recently at Bonhams for $290,500.

 

In fact, Morris’ stunning Four-Foot-High-Example of Contemporary-Studio-Glass is a Thing-of-Beauty, topped with Antlers!

 

What’s more, it was Hand-Blown, not made by Windy-Robots

 

 

Laying-Down the Law: Alma Law’s Amazing-Archive of Russian-Theatre-Incunabula at Bonhams!

 

As the Major-Portion of the recent Auction of Russian-Literature-&-Works-on-Paper, Alma Law’s endless boxes of 20th-Century Russian-Theatre-Materials should provide the Winning-Bidder with Endless-Fascination—provided He or She can read Russian

 

Most important among these Avant-Garde-Treasures—before Stalin denounced Suprematism, in favor of Socialist-Realism—are Publications, Photos, & Posters relating to the Doomed-Career of Vsesvolod Meyerhold, one of the Giants-of-Modern-Theatre.

 

Unfortunately for Meyerhold, he had not read his Karl Marx carefully enough: The "Dictatorship-of-the-Proletariat” really did not allow for any Innovative-Individual-Expression.

 

Mme. Meyerhold was murdered in their Moscow-Apartment & he was tried & executed as a Spy, in the Early-1940s.

 

In the Late-1950s, he was Pardoned, but, as he was already Dead, that didn’t do him Much-Good, personally

 

As Alma Law was a Theatre-Colleague at the CUNY-Graduate-Center, I was a bit surprised that her Entire-Archive was not Donated-Entire or purchased for our University-Library.

 

My Professional-Relations with Alma were not always Cordial.

 

Although she made frequent trips to the Soviet-Union, beginning in the Early-1970s, I had already been reporting from Warsaw-Pact-Nations on the Performing-Arts since the Late-1950s

 

This was thanks to my Initial-Reportages for the Christian-Science-Monitor & Academic-Journals.

 

But when I organized a 42ndStreet-CUNY-Mall-Exhibition of Theatre-Posters from the Baltic-RepublicsLatvia, Estonia, & LithuaniaAlma intervened, insisting that some of Her-Own-Posters be included & that she should write the Wall-Texts.

 

The same thing happened when I organized a Mall-Show of Polish-Theatre-&-Circus-Posters, many of which had been given me by the Actual-Artists.

 

The Camel-Back-Breaking-Straw was Alma’s insistence that my 1987-Report on Communist-Oriented-Theatre in East-Germany could not be published in CUNY’s SEEP-Journal.

 

This was an Anagram for Soviet & East-European-Performance.

 

Alma insisted that East-Germany wasn’t really in Eastern-Europe, which certainly surprised all the Theatre-Professionals I’d interviewed…

 

More Items from the Alma-Law-Archive will be auctioned at Bonhams at the end of the year.

 

 

More Broken-Records at Christie’s! Tiffany-Lamp-Shades Always Popular!

 

Combined Auction-Results from Sales of Masterworks-by-Tiffany-Studios & 20th-Century-Decorative-Arts achieved over Ten-Million-Dollars!

 

A Tiffany-Snowball-Table-Lamp sold for almost Half-a-Million!

 

Moving backward in Decorative-Eras, The Connoisseur’s-Eye-Collection harvested $6.5-Million.

 

The Huntington-Library—in San Marino—must be in need of Cash, for it offered a pair of Italian-Bronze-Busts of the Emperor Hadrian & the Capitoline-Venus for sale: They brought $387,750.

 

If you were thinking of leaving your Collection of Michelangelo-Drawings to the Huntington, think again.

 

Send them to Christie’s, on Your-Own-Behalf

 

How about an 18th-Century White-Marble-Group of The Triumph of Truth Over Calumny?

 

The Winner paid $195,750 for it, triumphing over Lower-Bids!

 

But if it’s Baroque-&-Rococo that drive you Mad with Ecstasy & Desire-to-Acquire, the Arthur-&-Charlotte-Vershbow-Collection should have drawn you to Christie’s at Rock-Center.

 

This was the Third-Part of Their-Sale, featuring Rare-Books, Engravings, & Works-on-Paper, which don’t take up as much Living-Space as Rococo-Commodes.

 

Sales-Totals: $3.5-Million

 

In the Christie’s Sale of Fine-Books & Manuscripts, an Autograph-Letter from George Washington—dated Mount Vernon, 1788—fetched nearly $1.5-Million.

 

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a Letter to James Russell Lowell, in 1842, but it was only worth $147,750 to its Purchaser.

 

What would an Avid-Collector pay for an Original-Draft of Poe’s The Raven?

 

Surely you can find-out on-line?

 

 

At the Met-Museum: Run-of-the-Mill Photographs from 1969 to Now: Everyday-Epiphanies

 

These Generally-Lackluster-Photos are supposed to represent Daily-Life Since 1969.

 

God! How Boring American-Life seems to have been…

 

In General

 

Nonetheless, some Favored-Photographers are on-view: Nan Goldin, Gabriel Orozco, David Salle, Robert Smithson, & William Wegman.

 

 

Ancient-Persian-Epiphanies: The Cyrus-Cylinder & the Rise-&-Fall of Dynasties…

 

Down at the Morgan-Library, you can see some small but handsome Persian-Cylinder-Seals.

 

Now, up at the Met-Museum, you can see a much larger Cylinder-Seal: the Cyrus-Cylinder.

 

If they’d let you remove this large Baked-Clay-Object from its Glass-Case & you had an immense pad of Damp-Clay, you could roll the Cylinder across it, making an Impression.

 

But, if you cannot read Cuneiform, you are out-of-luck…

 

The Achaemenid-Emperor, Cyrus-the-Great, didn’t even need to read Cuneiform for he had Minions who could do that for him.

 

Cyrus also didn’t have to Roll his Scrolling-Cylinder in mucky Clay, for it was intended instead as a Foundation-Element in the Walls-of-Babylon.

 

We don’t get to see the Famed Hanging-Gardens-of-Babylon at the Met, but we do see Two of the colorful Glazed-Ceramic-Brick-Lions that once graced the Entries into that Fabled-City.

 

The Cyrus-Cylinder is on Loan from the British-Museum, which has a Hoard of Babylonian-Antiquities.

 

But then, so does the Bode-Museum in Berlin & the Brooklyn-Museum, just across the East-River

 

The Big-Thing about bringing the Cyrus-Cylinder to the Met-Museum is that it reminds us that King-Cyrus freed the Jews from their Babylonian-Captivity, allowing them to return to Jerusalem & to build the Second-Temple!

 

At that time, there were no Palestinian-Arabs to worry about…

 

The Cyrus-Cylinder also reminds us that Cyrus was famously Religiously-Tolerant, understanding that this would provide Administrative, Economic, Social, & Cultural-Stability for his Expanding-Empire.

 

Before Iran was Iran, Persia had seen Millennia-of-Dynasties, Rising-&-Falling

 

Think of Darius-the-Great! Recall Xerxes: there’s even an Opera by Handel about this King!

 

When I was teaching in Sa’udi-Arabia, the American/Aramco-Colony went off to Persepolis for Easter.

 

Cyrus, Darius, & Xerxes were nominal Ahuramazda-Worshippers, but, being so famously Religiously-Tolerant, they might not have minded some US-Catholics & Protestants on their Territory.

 

No Jews—American or otherwise—were allowed in Sa’udi-Arabia at that time, so the Aramco-Delegation was entirely Christian.

 

I did not go.

 

Not only was I grading Mid-Term-Exams, but I was also so Poorly-Paid by the University-of-Maryland-Overseas that I couldn’t afford the Trip

 

Much, much later, when Peter Brook did Orghast-at-Persepolis—when I might have been able to Photograph the Mountain-Side-Tombs of Xerxes & Darius—I wasn’t even invited.

 

Nonetheless, thanks to later Interviews-&-Interactions with Peter, I was able to publish Peter Brook: From Oxford to Orghast

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