Hal & Bee

Hal & Bee
Written by Max Baker
Directed by Sarah Norris
Presented by Stable Cable Lab Co. and New Light Theater Project at 59E59, NYC
March 10-31, 2018

Hal (Jeff Hayenga), one half of the titular couple in Max Baker's unsurprisingly excellent new play Hal & Bee, is introduced flipping through cable channels while he vapes weed. Hal's wife, Bee (Candy Buckley), who has a museum job and a healthy taste for Four Roses bourbon, sees this sort of sedentary consumption (which, she notes, they pay for) as having turned their lives into "Sartre by the hour." The complacency that she criticizes, however, is disrupted by a notice that the Upper West-Side building that houses their rent-controlled apartment has been sold and they are being offered a buyout. Hal and Bee's disagreement over how to deal with this development becomes both the entry point into and flash point for other, deeper, longer-standing rifts and anxieties in their marriage and their lives. Lest this sound dire, we remind you that this is a Max Baker play: it's savagely funny as well as intellectually rich. Read more »

Single of the Week: Terry Radigan - "A Fire On One End"

Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Terry Radigan has unleashed another gem of an album and if Triple A internet & terrestrial radio has any smarts, "A Fire On One End" will go into heavy rotation immediately. It's from Ms. Radigan's forthcoming album More! She writes smart, concise songs that resonate with the listener long after the song has ended. And this song is proof -- some very fine ear-worm candy that the first time I heard it, I knew it was going on my "Dusty Faves" playlist! The video was created by the very talented duo Anana Kaye & Irakli Gabriel. Check Ms. Radigan's website for upcoming album-release shows and performances.

Quote of the Week: Eve Ensler

eve_ensler.jpg"The degree to which women hate their bodies is profoundly sad. Let's just put off our self-hatred for 10 years, take over the world, and then we can obsess again."

Eve Ensler (25 May 1953), playwright of The Vagina Monoloques.

Hear Me, Embrace Me

Written by Tessa Flannery
Directed by Rebecca Cunningham
Estrogenius Festival
Presented by Voyage Theater Company at the Kraine Theater, NYC
March 10-15, 2018

We were disappointed that we were unable to fit Tessa Flannery's intriguingly premised Tentacles into our schedule during its recent engagement at the FRIGID 2018 festival, so we were excited to learn that it would be part of the 18th annual Estrogenius festival. Estrogenius, which runs from March 8 to March 24, is a celebration of female and gender non-conforming artists, and has expanded from its origins as a short-play festival to include music, dance, short plays, comedy, burlesque, and even a walking event. (Among those events is an encore performance of FRIGID's winner of Best Solo Drama, Artemisia's Intent, reviewed here a few weeks ago.) Tentacles takes on the fraught debates around feminism, consent, porn, and fantasy -- a conversation that is itself something of a many-limbed monster -- with intelligence, humor, and nuance.

Flannery's play approaches its subject through the frame of a presentation on "Feminist Ravishment Fantasies" at an academic conference on feminist pornography. The presenter, Tessa (Tessa Flannery), draws a distinction between the terms ravishment and rape when discussing sexual fantasies, arguing that the former involves the subject being in control while the latter denotes an act of aggression. Read more »

Exploring The World of Francine Tint

Explorations: Francine Tint
Cavalier Gallery, NYC
2/28 - 3/24, 2018

Cavalier Gallery presents Explorations, a series of large-scale acrylic on canvas paintings by Francine Tint. This exhibition provides an opportunity to take notice and ask, what attributes separate the masterful from the mundane, in a city that has placed gestural abstraction on the international art map. It comes as no surprise that the artists’ temperament plays a crucial role. Francine Tint is an artist who transcends skillful manipulation of materials to disclose the reality beneath the surface of everyday things. She imbues the works with her inner being by painting at the height of her emotions, to create a revealing catalogue of impulses and feelings that connect the canvases to enduring works of authentic artists through time. Read more »

A Colourful Noir

Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing Missouri

Bleak, haunting, yet profoundly moving Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing Missouri begins with a premise that seems to promise the viewer precious little. It is a symphony of damaged souls. An elegy to small-town dysfunction, yet there is an elegance and an honesty afoot. The script is so pared down it could have been chiseled by the pen of Samuel Beckett, it certainly is possessed in part by his economy of style, leaving space for the characters to say very little, but to reveal a tremendous amount about themselves, and their tragedy laden scenarios. Read more »

Quote of the Week: Pablo Picasso

"There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun."

Pablo Picasso (25 Oct. 1881 - 8 April 1973), Spanish painter and sculptor.

Dusty Wright - "Weather This Storm"

As the storms subside... for survivors everywhere, here's the video collaboration of visual artist Ashley G. Garner with Dusty Wright. 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 StolarRead more »

Oscar Time!

Ken's new hardcover book The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth (Bloomsbury Publishing) will be released on September 25, 2018. In the interim, please order his previous book, the very astute Kvetch as Kvetch Can.

Platonov Lives!

Written by Anton Chekhov; translated and adapted by Laura Wickens Directed by Jessica Burr Presented by Blessed Unrest at the New Ohio Theatre, NYC
February 17-March 11, 2018

At some time between 1878 and 1881, when he was between the ages of 18 and 21, Anton Chekhov wrote a four-act play that was subsequently rejected without being performed. The fair copy was destroyed by the author, and only the discovery of a copy, with no title page, in 1920, sixteen years after Chekhov's death, saved the work from vanishing from literary history. This play was published 1923 and has enjoyed a fairly rich stage history for a piece that is early, considered unfinished, untitled, and unwieldy -- it would run at least 5 hours in uncut form (and you thought Hamlet was long!). It has been adapted numerous times under various titles since its 1954 premiere in Sweden, including a four-hour version that played in 1997 at the Maly Theatre in St. Petersburg, the venue for which Chekhov originally wrote it. Now, NYC's Blessed Unrest adds to that tradition an immersive new 90-minute adaptation by Laura Wickens, Platonov, or A Play with No Name, to the New Ohio Theatre. Read more »

Single of the Week: Peter Astor - "Water Tower"

You may or may not know Pete Astor, a British songwriter and solo artist, but you probably know him from for his work with UK-based bands The Loft, The Weather Prophets, The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound. On the above video he steps out from behind his professor's lectern at the University of Westminster to share some whimsy about water towers. It's an incredibly infectious piece of rootsy folk-rock ear candy from his newly released third solo effort One for the Ghost (Tapete Records). Well played, Professor Astor, well played. peace, Dusty

2018 FRIGID Festival, Part 2!

Welcome to our second pair of reviews from the 2018 FRIGID Festival. Every year at this time, FRIGID brings a host of indie plays to the Kraine Theater and UNDER St. Mark's in New York City's East VIllage. The productions are limited to an hour, all proceeds from ticket sales go directly to the artists, and audiences can vote for their favorite show online. The FRIGID website also information on the 25 other plays that we were unable to discuss here, from a solo show about polyamory to a show about the contemporary reappearance of five-time early twentieth-century Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs. The festival winds down the first weekend in March, so don't get caught out in the cold! (Or in the unseasonable warmth -- it's hard to predict these days.) Read more »

Quote of the Week: Mark Twain


"The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn't indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn't detect." Joan of Arc

Mark Twain (30 Nov. 1835 - 21 April 1910), prolific author and beloved American humorist.

Wild Honey Orchestra: Buffalo Springfield tribute

Wild Honey Orchestra: Buffalo Springfield tribute
Alex Theatre, Glendale CA
February 17, 2018

The Wild Honey Foundation started putting on themed benefit concerts a quarter century ago and was revived a few years back, now benefitting the Autism Think Tank. A collection of superb Los Angeles-based musicians with extensive résumés comes together, led by guitarist Rob Laufer (Johnny Cash, George Martin, Cheap Trick, etc.) as The Wild Honey Orchestra to back special guest stars (many, but not all, also L.A.-based) and augment existing bands, this year performing songs of Buffalo Springfield, the band that shot Stephen Stills, Neil Young, and Richie Furay (Poco, Souther-Hillman-Furay Band) -- along with bassist Bruce Palmer (later Jim Messina) and drummer Dewey Martin -- to fame in the late '60s. Read more »

2018 FRIGID Festival

The annual FRIGID Festival has once again made its welcome return to New York City's East VIllage. Split between the Kraine Theater and UNDER St. Mark's, FRIGID features indie plays of no more than an hour, and all proceeds from ticket sales go directly to the artists. The productions are nothing if not wide-ranging, from solo shows dealing with addiction to a dark rom-com played out against the zombie apocalypse to a feminist exploration of tentacle erotica. While we will be discussing only a regrettably small fraction of what FRIGID has to offer (a pair of plays here and another pair in a post to follow), information on the 29 plays and something like 150 total individual performances can be found on FRIGID New York's website: http://www.horsetrade.info/frigid-festival-df84. Read more »

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