What Is Beauty?

Frantic Beauty
Conceived and directed by Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya
Presented at BAM Fisher, NYC September 14-17, 2017

Frantic Beauty, the third installment of multidisciplinary artists Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya’s five-part BECOMING Series, offers up a challenging piece of experimental dance theater. Choreographed with and performed by the LEIMAY Ensemble (Masanori Sahara, Krystel Copper, Derek DiMartini, Omer Ephron, and Mario Galeano), it takes as its theme what its creators describe as "beauty, frantically calling out from its captivity." In doing so, the production seeks to unsettle the boundaries of the beautiful. Read more »

Quote of the Week: Anaïs Nin

anin.jpg

"I disregard the proportions, the measures, the tempo of the ordinary world. I refuse to live in the ordinary world as ordinary women. To enter ordinary relationships. I want ecstasy. I am a neurotic -- in the sense that I live in my world. I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself." (March 25, 1933)

Anaïs Nin (21 Feb. 1903 - 14 Jan. 1977), French-born author.

Walk on The Wilder Side

Lou Reed: A Life
Anthony DeCurtis (Little, Brown and Company)

Lou Reed has to be one of the most audacious and iconic rockers to have committed his dark muses to his music and poetry. And writer/professor Anthony DeCurtis' new must-read bio on Mr. Reed perfectily captures the ethos of this misanthropic rocker. Let's be clear, Lou's outrageous life story is truly stranger than fiction. But then again, so are many of our most celebrated artists, especially those who not only create but also live on the edge/fringe of society, pushing their artistic vision on, for the most part, a rather pedestrian audience.

From Lou's humble middle class upbringing on Long Island that included his life altering electro-shock treatments to his dying breath, his life was filled with passion and for pushing people, fans and critics alike, to explore the darker side of life, to if not "walk on the wild side" at least explore it. Make no mistake, Lou's work was groundbreaking. His art-rock band The Velvet Underground remains one of the most influential bands ever. The music is timeless, the subject matter startling and disturbing; it's easy to understand why many consider them the true purveyors of the entire alt-rock genre. Read more »

Joe Mantino's Promise: A Fable Of Lost Folk

Children of Rain - Red Corduroy (Bad Pressings)

This is a tale with two beginnings that merge revealingly. One is more than half a century old, the other only began at the start of the year. They meld on the account of a single name, or rather the mis-accounting of it, and the fact that it seemed beguiling to this writer on a late at night, nothing better to do trawl for "quality obscure" on auction sites. You are unlikely to have heard of Children Of Rain. They released one single on Dot Records in 1966, but someone at the label sent the wrong credits to the pressing plant. Although they were the first to get their hands on "Get Together," their rendition tanked, not because it was in any way inferior to the later version by The Youngbloods which became a counter-culture anthem for that turbulent decade of hope and change, and sold! sold! sold! Such is the mysticism and capriciousness of fate, and the fact the song was demoted to the flip-side of their sole release "Dawn To Dusk." It might have had a better run at success had their name been at all visible on the disc, rendered an afterthought after the their lead singer's Pam Meacham, which had been randomly elevated and wrongly spelt in the process. Hence the black hole on search engines. How it appeared was never how it was supposed to but it stands as an portent laden indication of future calamities. Having taken a chance on their eight song acetate I realized I may be buying an expensive relic of little actual worth, but I coughed up the $200 and hoped that my instincts might have unearthed a wonderful curio, and not a batch of best forgotten musings. Read more »

Show of the Week: Jen Kirkman

Comedian and author Jen Kirkman is coming to NYC with brand new comedy shows on her "All New Material, Girl" Tour at the Highline Ballroom (September 21st) in Manhattan and The Bell House (September 22nd) in Brooklyn. She'll be sharing stories and jokes you haven’t seen on her Netflix specials. And for those of you who don't know this critically-lauded writer and comedian, Jen was a long time writer and round table guest on Chelsea Lately. Regardless, she is one funny person and not to be missed. In these scary times, we can all use some belly laughs to deal with world's insanity.

 

We Hold These Words...

The Constitution
Written by Mickaël de Oliveira, translated by Maria Inês Marques
Directed by Jill DeArmon
Presented by FRIGID NY @ Horse Trade and Saudade Theatre at UNDER St. Marks
August 31-September 10, 2017

Making its American premiere after originally opening in Lisbon at the National Theatre D. Maria II in 2016 under the direction of its author, Mickaël de Oliveira, The Constitution marks the first production of Saudade Theatre, an organization dedicated to introducing Portuguese theater to an American audience. While saudade refers to a profound nostalgia or melancholic longing for something or someone absent, the company's challenging debut play represents the product of addition rather than absence: in Saudade's words, a "meeting between an European aesthetic and the American theatre culture." With The Constitution, this cross-cultural conjunction produces complex results from a simple premise. Read more »

Dusty Wright - "Weather This Storm"

Here's a new video collaboration with visual artist Ashley G. Garner. It was co-directed by Ms. Garner & Dusty Wright and produced by Dusty Wright for PetRock, Inc. The song was produced by d. Bindi, mixed by David Lee, and mastered by Alan Douches for West West Side Music. Recorded by Gio Loria at Black Volt Studio, LA & Straus Park Studio, NYC. Co-vocals by Jay Stolar.  Read more »

Quote of the Week: Walter Becker

"My primary influences were the best jazz players from the '50s and '60s and later some of the pop people from the same time period along with the better of the well known blues musicians."

Walter Becker (20 February 1950 - 2 September 2017) American musician, songwriter, and record producer. He was best known as the co-founder of the American rock band Steely Dan. RIP, Walter.

Just Call Me, Al!

Friends Call Me Albert
Written by Zachary Desmond
Directed by Ryan Emmons
Presented by No. 11 Productions at Access Theater, NYC
August 23-September 10, 2017

The same day that we saw Friends Call Me Albert, Zachary Desmond's world premiere "bio-epic" of Albert Einstein, Gizmodo headlined a post about a new paper arguing that quantum entanglement is an inevitable feature of any fundamental physical theory, "Scientists Finally Prove Strange Quantum Physics Idea Einstein Hated." While the Gizmodo piece itself describes entanglement as "what allows particles that have once interacted to share a connection regardless of the separation between them," it also quotes Einstein's derisive description of it as "'spooky action at a distance.'" A century after his general theory of relativity was published and more than half a century after his death, Einstein remains, at least in the popular imagination, the central point of reference for modern physics. Desmond's play too takes this towering figure as its center, but it also illuminates an important woman historically obscured by the tower's shadow. Read more »

Yes, You Again... And Again... And Again

 

Weeks before it closes, I got a chance to catch up with Groundhog Day, The Musical.

[I'm tempted to simply repeat the above sentence 28 times but will fight the urge!] Read more »

Bass of Bizarre

Primus
Marymoor Park, Redmond, OR
August 15, 2017

Over 25 years after setting sail on the Seas of Cheese, Primus continues to navigate uncharted, musical waters, over running so many younger vessels in a music scene progressively stagnating in the doldrums. This is an act that continues to play music because they love to and it shows. Read more »

From Warm To Cool

Anselm Kiefer: Transition From Warm to Cool 
Gagosian Gallery, NYC
Thru Septemer 1, 2017

An older creative man who finds energy in their work from having a new young love in his life can represent a wonderful coda. In 1857 when Dickens was 45 years old, he fell in love with the 18-year old actresses Ellen Ternan, a passion that lasted the rest of his life. In 1917 the composer Janacek met Kamila Stösslová, 38 years his junior, who inspired a host of new works. A young woman's sexual ecstasy is the central theme of a suite of new pieces by Anselm Kiefer at Gagosian on 21st Street in Chelsea, up until September 1st. Read more »

Oh, What A Lucky Man...

When the New York Times gushes that a movie is "ridiculously entertaining" the expectations for that movie go through the roof. Few if any films can live up to that kind of over-the-top hype. Read more »

Who Am I?

Aliens Coming: The Musical
Written by Joe Kelly
Directed by Griffin Osborne
Presented by Ashcat Productions at The People's Improv Theater, NYC
August 17-September 18, 2017

To open Aliens Coming: The Musical, the disembodied head of an alien computer (Misha Brooks) provides one interpretive lens for the interspecies comedy to follow: high school students represent a microcosm of human beings' grievous overestimation of their own individual importance in the universe. Even before the titular extraterrestrials in Joe Kelly's play arrive, the particular place in the universe occupied by Clementine Tweedy (Alice Kors) is in a state of transition, placing her relationship with lifelong BFF Brandi Boudoir (Maia Scalia) into conflict with her recent integration into a crew of art kids (Rebecca Lampiasi, Ashley Hutchinson, and Tessa Stokes) led by Brooklyn (Ariana Raygoza), who signal their cool by pairing dresses with sneakers and cigarettes. Read more »

Rally Round The War Film, Lads

Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan's first act -- at 20 minutes -- depicts some of the most realistic and harrowing war footage in all of movie making. Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk takes that feat and turns it into two hours of equally harrowing, white-knuckle horror. Read more »

Syndicate content