Dusty Wright's Culture Catch - Smart Pop Culture, Video & Audio podcasts, Written Reviews in the Arts & Entertainment http://www.culturecatch.com/node/feed en Cutting Up Space and Time http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3856 <span>Cutting Up Space and Time</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/leah-richards" lang="" about="/users/leah-richards" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Leah Richards</a></span> <span>July 10, 2019 - 13:09</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/theater" hreflang="en">Theater Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/317" hreflang="en">avant garde</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="799" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-07/decoder_photo_credit_maria_baranova.jpg?itok=3DXtAP4f" title="decoder_photo_credit_maria_baranova.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo Credit: Maria Baranova</figcaption></figure><p><i>DECODER: Ticket that Exploded</i></p> <p>Text by WIlliam S. Burroughs</p> <p>Conceived and directed by Mallory Catlett</p> <p>Presented by Restless NYC at Pioneer Works, NYC</p> <p>July 8, 2019</p> <p>In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Beat Generation artist and writer William S. Burroughs popularized the "cut-up technique," a method dating to at least the Dada movement of cutting up a text or texts and rearranging the pieces to form a new composition. Burroughs employed a "fold-in" variation (reading across two vertically folded sheets placed side by side to create a new page) for his novel <i>The Ticket that Exploded</i>, first published in 1962 and in a revised and expanded version in 1967. This story of mind control and intergalactic conflict also describes Burroughs's theories about language, technology, and the cut-up technique, and it forms part of <i>The Nova Trilogy</i>, along with <i>The Soft Machine</i> (1961, revised 1966 and 1968) and <i>Nova Express</i> (1964). With <i>DECODER: The Ticket that Exploded</i>, creator and director Mallory Catlett, in collaboration with video designer Keith Skretch, associate video designed Simon Harding, interaction designer Ryan Holsopple, and scholar Alex Wermer-Colan, Burroughs's novel is reimagined, partly through his own techniques, as a psychedelic live enactment that assembles language, imagery, and sound into an engrossing experience somewhere between theater and performance art.</p> <p>Played out in this performance on a raised stage in the cavernous interior of Pioneer Works in Red Hook, <i>DECODER </i>is brought to fractured life by collaborators and performers G. Lucas Crane and Jim Findlay. Crane, the "tape DJ" and sound artist, acts as the primary operator of the onstage audiovisual equipment -- and provides an excellent lemur call -- while Findlay handles the spoken portions of the production. The spoken elements use Burroughs's own words, and audience members can catch indications of his influence on in phrases such as "well, that's like hypnotizing chickens," borrowed from <i>The Ticket That Exploded</i> by Iggy Pop in "Lust for Life," and "heavy metal," first appearing in print in <i>The Soft Machine</i>. The cassette tape recorders that Crane so skillfully manipulates are referred to in pre-recorded dialogue early on in the show as an "externalized part of the human nervous system," and they are positioned in relation to "the Word," what it is and what can be done with and to it, not least the assertion that cut-up offers a means of being one's own agent. While there is, unsurprisingly, no conventional narrative, <i>DECODER</i> does evince a loose thematic structure, with other sections with spoken and recorded text about, for example, sexuality (at some points as "flesh addiction" and at others as a kind of literal merging of bodies), war (as, in one memorable passage, an ongoing game the only possible end to which is the atomic destruction of all the players), and questions about topics including time, self, and embodiment.</p> <p>Juxtaposition represents an important aspect of the cut-up technique, creating and influencing meaning, and the various forms of "the Word" in the production are juxtaposed not only to one another but also to sound- and image-scapes throughout. The large trapezoidal screen at the back of the stage is filled with images that range from Crane's hands as he works or his face as we hear his amplified breathing to a distorted portion of Findlay's face as he declaims from beneath a welder's mask to insects, trees, tentacles, claws, and, in a visual metaphor for the "war game," the repetitive, mechanical stacking of logs. Often, when the projected images are distorted, it is along a vertical fold, much as Burroughs recommends for pages in the fold-in technique. At times, they also resolve into unexpected forms or accrue unexpected meaning, as when, through repetitive juxtaposition, a microphone held by Mike Pence becomes associated with a masturbated phallus, an oddly posed body shows up in a wooded landscape, or the bright whiteness, which juxtaposition with the dialogue leads one initially to think might represent outer space, is eventually clarified as snow through which a lone figure walks. Crane and Findlay themselves are central elements of some striking images, their bodies silhouetted, serving as canvases for flashing lights, or badly (on purpose) lip-syncing recorded questions. Crane is extremely impressive and has an engaging presence, and it would be easy to overlook how good Findlay's performance is because of the non-traditional part, but he adds energy and nuance to his role as primary conduit of the Word, as when he touches Crane during a particular speech or in the modulation that occurs when he sets aside the novel from which he has been reading directly and his delivery becomes subtly but clearly more hesitant, immediate, and, thus, seemingly authentic.</p> <p>Late in <i>DECODER</i> is a discussion of a giant mechanical brain used by enemy forces that works through aggregating images and words and sounds like what we now call A.I. The dialogue recommends guerilla war against it, in one of a couple of times when the "you" seems to deliberately include the audience. Burroughs held that the cut-up technique can militate against the way that word and image lock us in to conventional modes and patterns of thought and perception. <i>DECODER: Ticket that Exploded </i>provides an intriguingly avant garde, visually arresting, and even at some points funny volley in this crusade against conventionality. And this is just the start: the full <i>Nova Trilogy</i> will premiere at the Chocolate Factory in Queens in 2020, to further rearrange our expectations of what theater can be. - <em>Leah Richards</em> &amp; <em>John Ziegler</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3856&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="ti_vxT3tsOl0WGqSQKRbVO0YMWfzkslQww-ZgzlmTI4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 10 Jul 2019 17:09:02 +0000 Leah Richards 3856 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3856#comments Waging Heavy Music http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3855 <span>Waging Heavy Music</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>June 24, 2019 - 12:26</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lvg6VJ77oLE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I finally got around to reading Neil Young's exceptional, non-linear, 2012 autobiography <em>Waging Heavy Peace </em>and it got me thinking about his recorded output of music. Moreover, it got me thinking about the presentation of not just his catalog, but all of my favorite recorded music, and why I've fallen in love with vinyl... again. There's something organic and soothing and dynamic about music that was captured on analog equipment and released on an organic format, i.e., vinyl. Knowing how committed Neil is to presenting his music in its highest audio state -- his short-lived Pono Music player was created to share the highest-resolution digital music available any where and his commitment to release a treasure trove of material from his archives sounding as best they could is not beyond admirable. Having finished his 502 page book, and having gotten back into vinyl again, I couldn't wait to hear some of his recently released archival content in analog.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uOq93UqN9vU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Neil Young: <em>Hitchhiker</em> (Reprise)</strong></p> <p>Volume 2 of the <a href="https://www.discogs.com/label/355203-Neil-Young-Archives-Performance-Series" target="_blank">Neil Young Archives Performance Series</a> -- the Performance Series of the Neil Young Archives is composed of never before released live performances -- was originally recorded in 1976 but not released until August of 2017. It's an all acoustic album recorded live in the studio on August 11, 1976 at Indigo Studio's in Malibu, CA. The 10-track album contains some of Young's better known tunes plus two previously unreleased tracks. As was the case with most Neil's best albums, it was produced by Young's long-time studio collaborator David Briggs. This new release adds post production work by John Hanlon. He's produced his most recent works including <i>Peace Trail, Earth, </i>and<i> The Monsanto Years</i>.</p> <p>The songs were recorded in a single session and the simplicity of just Neil's voice, occasional harmonica, and acoustic guitar capture the magic that Rick Rubin displayed on his Johnny Cash sessions. Naked and vulnerable. Many of the songs would not appear on vinyl until years later. "Hitchhiker," for example, did not officially appear until 2010's <i>Le Noise </i>and naturally sounds worlds apart from the original. Moreover, the acoustic version herein of "Powderfinger" is much tamer than the Crazy Horse rocking raggedness on <em>Rust Never Sleeps</em>.</p> <p><i>Hitchhiker</i> contains two previously unreleased tracks that have remained in the vaults since '76. The epic heartfelt ballad "Hawaii" is a personal tale of loss. Followed by "Give Me Strength" a mid-tempo love song Neil use to perform live in the mid-'70s. His mournful harmonica playing add a touch of emotional poignancy to the acoustic proceedings.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ctRxe7nwsoc?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Neil Young: <em>Roxy - Tonight's The Night Liv</em>e (Reprise)</strong></p> <p>In 1973 Neil Young (guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals) along with Billy Talbot (bass), Ralph Molina (drums), Nils Lofgren (piano &amp; guitar), and Ben Keith (pedal steel &amp; slide guitar) recorded <em>Tonight's The Night</em>, an homage in sorts to losing his comrades Danny Whitten (Crazy Horse) and roadie Bruce Berry to heroin overdoses. After finishing the album (wouldn't be released for 2 more years), he decided to celebrate with a gig at the newly opened Roxy on Sunset Strip. Released in 2018 for the first time on 2-lps/3 glorious sides of vinyl, it's Neil and his Santa Monica Flyers in all of their loose and ragged glory. The playing is tight, the mood upbeat, the audience lucky to have witnessed a new set of music in its entirety with Neil at the height of his musical prowess. This album -- Volume 4 in the Performance Series -- doesn't have the heavy dark vibe of the studio release. Neil cracks jokes and asides between songs. "Welcome to Miami Beach," he states at the beginning of the set. The band adds an impromptu cover of "Roll Out The Barrel" before launching into "Mellow My Mind." "Tired Eyes" is especially poignant even after another more "welcome to Miami Beach" banter warning the audience that it is indeed "a sad song." Neil's electrical guitar playing is wonderfully mournful against Keith's pedal steel. My favorite track from <em>Tonight's The Night</em>, studio or live.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0RwB3tLQams?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Neil Young &amp; Stray Gators: <i>Tuscaloosa</i> (Reprise)</strong></p> <p>Released a few weeks ago, this is Volume 5 of the <a href="https://www.discogs.com/label/355203-Neil-Young-Archives-Performance-Series" target="_blank">Neil Young Archives Performance Series</a> and it is a must-own collection of killer tunes with his fab band the Stray Gators -- Tim Drummond on bass, Kenny Buttrey on drums, Jack Nitzche on piano, and Ben Keith on pedal steel &amp; slide guitar). This archival set was recorded in February 1973 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Besides songs from <em>Time Fade Aways</em>, the set list included five tunes from <em>Harvest,</em> the title tune from <em>After The Gold Rush,</em> and "Here We Are in the Years" from his debut <em>Neil Young</em>. According to Neil:</p> <blockquote> <p>"<em>Tuscaloosa</em> is as close as <em>Time Fades Away II</em> that we'll get."</p> </blockquote> <p>Indeed it is. There is an energy that just swings. His band swings with an ease that allows Neil to sing and play with ease and comfort, like a pair of your favorite jeans. Plus there's an edge that is missing from many of the studio versions of these tunes. Listen to that energy crackle on "New Mama" a tune from "Tonight's The Night." It's a much different vibe, too. "Don't Be Denied" closes this set and it's an extension of the band's prowess and Neil's command of his material. </p> <p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3855&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="JX5giDHduhU77gzgJcdVoWoC-AUNJwL_r1FxDlxNmgg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 24 Jun 2019 16:26:08 +0000 Dusty Wright 3855 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3855#comments Robert Kidney One-Take - "Back To Disaster" http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3854 <span>Robert Kidney One-Take - &quot;Back To Disaster&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>June 19, 2019 - 10:17</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/vidcast" hreflang="en">Vidcast</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/454" hreflang="en">blues</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KqXLecQ-YPA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Robert Kidney of <a href="http://www.numbersband.com" target="_blank">15-60-75</a> (The Numbers Band) leads The Golden Palominos in a killer version of his original song "Back To Disaster" from our Dusty Wright One-Take archives. This was recorded at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC in May 2010.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3854&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="zfRmC-gnyg6yGCW3wl5hDJbViDAceg5ht--ZHQnrZhw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 19 Jun 2019 14:17:09 +0000 Dusty Wright 3854 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3854#comments What's That Sound? http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3853 <span>What&#039;s That Sound?</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>June 13, 2019 - 13:52</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/399" hreflang="en">documentary</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QRVFBQHBUls?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Singer-songwriter &amp; executive producer Jakob Dylan (The Wallflowers) and director &amp; former label man Andrew Slater have crafted a loving homage to one of my favorite era's of music. The physical area of Los Angeles known as Laurel Canyon became the epicenter of folk-rock aka the "California Sound" and was home to some of the best and biggest recording acts of the mid-'60s. The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas &amp; The Papas, Arthur Lee's Love (conspicuously missing from the film), it was quite the scene. In fact, many point to Roger McGuinn and The Byrds for ushering in the genre, though The Beatles (George Harrison) used 12-string guitars on the mid-'60s tunes. Regardless, McGuinn took Bob Dylan's epic folk tale "Mr. Tamborine Man" and with his trusty 3-pickup Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar out front and center there was no looking back. That clean jingle jangle sound would become a cornerstone of folk-rock forever. According to Slater:</p> <blockquote> <p>"The thread for the film is really more about the echo than it is about the Canyon -- the echo of these artists' ideas, and how their own creativity reverberated between the houses in the Canyon, and ultimately across to England where it changes the course of the Beatles."</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://www.echointhecanyon.com" target="_blank"><em>Echo in the Canyon</em></a> contains candid conversations and performances with Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, David Crosby, John Sebastian, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Michelle Phillips, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, and Roger McGuinn as well as contemporary musicians they influenced such as Tom Petty (in his very last film interview), Cat Power, Beck, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, and Regina Spektor. Framed by an <em>Echo</em> concert that Jakob organized in 2015 with many of the contemporary musicians mentioned above, much of the performance footage from that concert is interspersed throughout the doc. While offering proof of the timeless staying power of those tunes -- though I prefer the originals -- Laurel Canyon's musical heritage continues to reverberate today! You can sort out movie tickets <a href="https://www.echointhecanyon.com" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3853&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="AMeu2sBpP5dvQB81Pbg_zlhPaEGOIaObcq4weFDFbxk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 13 Jun 2019 17:52:17 +0000 Dusty Wright 3853 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3853#comments Kosher Lesbians, Sad Hasidim, and Ethiopians in Love http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3852 <span>Kosher Lesbians, Sad Hasidim, and Ethiopians in Love</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>June 11, 2019 - 16:20</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/801" hreflang="en">Film Festival</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p>You might not know it but you've just missed out on the seventh year of the Israel Film Center Festival. The Center's goal obviously is to promote Israeli films year-round, showcasing offerings both new and some not so new. Based at the Marlene Meyerson JCC on Manhattan's Upper West Side, there's also a streaming site, so even if you're living in Omaha, you don't have to lack in <i>gefiltered </i>culture.</p> <p>(And if you <i>are</i> in Omaha, immediately catch up on Haim Tabakman's tale of Orthodox men in love, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwBaS6m3q5c" target="_blank"><i>Eyes Wide Open</i></a><i> </i>(2008); the wry comedy TV series<a href="https://vimeo.com/49752186" target="_blank"> <i>Arab Labor</i></a>; and Amos Gitai’s riveting look at the plight of Orthodox Jewish women forced into and out of marriage, <a href="https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x32fuqe" target="_blank"><i>Kadosh</i></a><i> </i>(1999).)</p> <p>As for the IFC screenings this year, imploding universes with engaging dramatis personae, most of whom were bathed in a sort of existentialist miserabilism, were showcased.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="782" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/red_cow_photo_1.jpeg?itok=r4vduII9" title="red_cow_photo_1.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Avigayil Koevary as Benny in Tisivia Barkai Yacov's Red Cow.</figcaption></figure><p>In Tisivia Barkai Yacov’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAwwes0Tank&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank"><i>Red Cow</i></a><i>, </i>17-year-old Benny (Avigayil Koevary) with her ginger locks is not unlike the holier-than-holy calf that her devout, widowed father, Yehoshua (Gal Toren), has recently discovered. This is a special find because a rare red heifer is used for sacrifices in a ritual that is believed to usher in a new age for Jews. (Check out the Book of Numbers.)</p> <p>While the calf is isolated within a wire fence  --  it’ll be slaughtered in two years  -- Benny is penned in by her right-wing, pro-settler dad's extreme religiosity and by his involvement in the politics of East Jerusalem. Yehoshua and his followers clearly have no qualms about killing a few souls, whether Muslim or pro-peace Israeli, if it comes to that:</p> <blockquote> <p>"We need to get up on the rooftops with guns and refuse to be evacuated. . . . Israel is a Jewish state."</p> </blockquote> <p>In response, Benny admits, "Sometimes I feel like a complete gentile." She's not a happy camper, not until the lovely Yael enters her life and sets her body on "fire." They kiss . . .  they make love . . .  they are discovered by Dad. "You disgust me," he notes.</p> <p>What are Benny’s options? Not many.</p> <p>Well acted and helmed, the power of this troubled coming-out story stems mainly from its setting and its contemporariness. <i>Red Calf'</i>s a fine addition to the growing genre of kosher lesbianism that includes Avi Nesher's <i>The Secrets </i>(2007) and Sebastián Lelio’s <i>Disobedience </i>(2017).</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="442" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/redemption_photo_3.png?itok=zzA4gZER" title="redemption_photo_3.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>The men in the band reunite in Redemption.</figcaption></figure><p>Co-directed and co-written by Joseph Madmony and Boaz Yehonatan Yacov, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H09i0IFqCo&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank"><i>Redemption </i></a>could also have been titled <i>The Book of Job</i>. Yet another devoutly religious dad with a daughter to raise holds center stage here.</p> <p>Fifteen years ago, Menachem (Moshe Folkenflik) was a singer of a semi-well-known band, but he gave up music to study the Torah. That didn't work out too well so now he works in a small grocery store, sticking the prices on you name it. No wonder he's walks about depressed. To top matters off, his wife has died from cancer and his 6-year-old child, Geula (a terrific Emily Granin), is now suffering from the Big C and needs experimental, costly treatments that he can't afford.</p> <p>What's a guy to do? Why not go to a matchmaker to get a wife and then talk his former band members to reunite and play at weddings so he can make a living? The matchmaking doesn't exactly go so well because such a catch Menachem isn't, but the band does get together and surprisingly they are quite good. Only at these musical moments do you see how charismatic this man once was; otherwise, you might mistake him for a basset hound. Even his best friend Avi calls him "a regular stick in the mud."</p> <p>Happily, not to spoil it for you, Menachem winds up better off than Job, but still <i>Redemption</i> and <i>Red Cow</i> are not exactly advertisements for becoming a highly religious Jew. This might be one suspects because very few Israeli directors or screenwriters are of the Orthodox persuasion. Now if God had only given Moses a camera and some film, who knows?</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="639" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/fig_tree_photo_2.png?itok=61JDoMbc" title="fig_tree_photo_2.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Trying to keep love alive in Aalam-Warqe Davidian's Fig Tree.</figcaption></figure><p>The best feature though, and possibly one of the better films of the year, is Aalam-Warqe Davidian's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjJdxqUO7O4&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank"><i>Fig Tree</i></a><i>. </i>Here Betalehem Asmamawe, as a 16-year-old Mina, a young Jewish, impoverished Ethiopian girl stuck in the war-torn Ethiopia of 1989, gives a startling, vulnerable performance. She rummages through her soul to unearth a Juliet who must guard her Romeo, Eli (Yohanes Muse), from being torn away from her.</p> <p>As the film instructs during its opening footage, "In the midst of the civil war, young men are hunted down and forced to join the army of tyrant Mengistu Haile Mariam." Mina sees her male peers pulled out of classrooms and kidnapped off the unpaved streets of Addis Ababa. Her own brother has already lost his arm in this conflict.</p> <p>One mother notes of her son: "I wish I could put him back in my womb."</p> <p>To survive, Eli hides in a fig tree. Mina visits him daily, supplying food and company, and although they have not yet made love, the couple’s dancing hormones have found more childish outlets to express themselves.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Mina's grandmother is going black market to get the proper papers for the family to emigrate to Israel. If she succeeds, will Eli get to go, too? Or will he be lost to quirks of his country's history?</p> <blockquote> <p>"Life is hell, but we have to beat hell, don't we?" it is stated.</p> </blockquote> <p>Masterful cinematography by Daniel Miller and a sterling cast help recreate Davidian's childhood memories, having emigrated at age eleven near the end of the war herself. So with an unforgettable finale and all that has come before, one can only pray that <i>Fig Tree </i>garners the international attention it richly deserves.</p> <p>For more information on Israeli film and the Center's offerings. Check out: <a href="http://www.israelfilmcenter.org/" target="_blank">http://www.israelfilmcenter.org/</a></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3852&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="VwYQmc_K20K58YCruqb7JFnEXTpR41qCMbSPxjp2EC4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 11 Jun 2019 20:20:53 +0000 Brandon Judell 3852 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3852#comments One for All http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3851 <span>One for All</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/leah-richards" lang="" about="/users/leah-richards" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Leah Richards</a></span> <span>June 10, 2019 - 09:16</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/theater" hreflang="en">Theater Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/88" hreflang="en">off broadway</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/3m_1941_photo_credit_clintonbphotography.jpg?itok=Rv6ISZp8" title="3m_1941_photo_credit_clintonbphotography.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo Credit: Clinton B Photograhpy</figcaption></figure><p><i>Three Musketeers 1941</i></p> <p>Written by Megan Monaghan Rivas</p> <p>Co-directed by Michole Biancosino and Andrew William Smith</p> <p>Presented by Project Y Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres, NYC</p> <p>June 5-29th, 2019</p> <p>Alexandre Dumas's 1844 <i>The Three Musketeers</i>, while a romantic novel of adventure, also includes critique of political corruption and abuses, as well as military violence between Protestants and Catholics. In <i>Three Musketeers 1941</i>, a world premiere commissioned for the fourth annual Project Y Women in Theatre Festival (the full program of shows for the WIT Festival can be found on Project Y Theatre's website), playwright Megan Monaghan Rivas transplants elements of Dumas's text to occupied Paris during World War II for a tightly written and skillfully staged thriller.</p> <p>Rivas's Musketeers are an all-woman cell of the French Resistance, all of whom are known only by codenames so that if any one of them is captured by the Nazis or their French collaborators, she cannot give up her fellows. Porthos (Kate Margalite) has an exceptional memory and hails from a family of coal miners; Aramis (Ashley Bufkin) and her family are Communists -- whom, she points out, were the first group to resist -- and she is the group's only mother; Athos (Ella Dershowitz) is a former law student; and Planchet (Christina Liang) is the cell’s 16 year-old courier, who uses her bicycle to the cell's advantage. The four are overseen by Madame Treville (Joleen Wilkinson), a Latin teacher, and have been publishing coded messages from the radio in a newsletter. As the play opens, Mme. Treville has invited a fifth young woman, D'Artagnan (Essence Stiggers), a farmgirl whose mother she knew as a child, to join the cell, an addition which Aramis is extremely reluctant to accept. The cell has been assigned to help a British agent, codenamed Buckingham, to escape Paris, but arrayed against them are collaborators police Inspector Richelieu (Zack Calhoon) and Lieutenant Rochefort (Javan Nelson), who support plans to make Paris "clean" by shipping its Jewish population to Germany. Richelieu accepts the proposition of a British woman known only as Milady (Helen Farmer) of her aid in exchange for German citizenship and transport to Berlin, which she believes will be the "only" city in the coming German supremacy. Compromised codes and a pair of arrests mean trouble for the quintet and their mentor, and courage and commitments are tested on the way to an explosive climax.</p> <p>The production creates a palpable sense of constant tension, danger, and surveillance, as soldiers or police patrol the stage with flashlights and historically accurate radio broadcasts mark the time with threats of retributive executions for attacks against the Germans. A curtain of chains along two sides of the stage space are simultaneously functional and symbolic, and excellent sound and lighting design, by Yiran Zhang and Hallie Zieselman, respectively, help both to set the atmosphere and drive the action. Wilkinson imbues Mme. Treville with a necessary stature and gravity, and Farmer is excellent as an equally glamorous and dangerous Milady, investing the character's dissimulations with just the right amount of believability: a scene between the two women just after they meet for the first time is stirringly tense. Calhoon expertly underplays Richelieu's villainy, and Margalite and Bufkin also distinguish themselves amidst a strong cast.</p> <p><i>Three Musketeers 1941 </i>wraps its big-picture questions -- If you could be disappeared at any time, what would you do until then? How much are you willing to risk to be part of something larger? --in exciting espionage action. While one could interpret moments like an officer randomly checking bags or themes like what women can accomplish when they work together for a cause as commentary on our current sociopolitical situation, the play is not primarily concerned with allegorizing. The play's central position, articulated by Athos, that collective action should be used to help others rather than to harm one's enemies (the women of the cell, contra Milady, are pointedly murder-averse) is anyway relatively timeless, and it delivers -- or rather, dead drops -- this message in a suspenseful and entertaining package. - <em>Leah Richards</em> &amp; <em>John Ziegler</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3851&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="nBfgUJcSBOv0J4vrY49C1RBJU41DxCSJ9DMUbDTBZAM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 10 Jun 2019 13:16:56 +0000 Leah Richards 3851 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3851#comments George Meet John Paul http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3850 <span>George Meet John Paul</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/529" lang="" about="/user/529" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bradley Rubenstein</a></span> <span>June 9, 2019 - 14:36</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/498" hreflang="en">interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p><em>A conversation between George Lloyd and John Paul, (MFA Yale 1969) Concerning Knox Martin's show at Hollis Taggart Gallery, June 3, 2019.</em></p> <p><strong>John Paul: </strong>When Gabriela Ryan asked me to write something about Knox's recent show at Hollis Taggart Gallery, I was watching a tv program about Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley. I let the picture run through our conversation, fascinated by the timeline of the legendary frontier showman and his shooting starlet.  I felt no distracting contradiction. For us, the life and times of Cody are less legendary than the era of our painting heroes -- those decades in an emptier and less crowded New York when DeKooning, Gorky, Kline, Ilya Bolotowsky and Knox Martin were staking a claim for a viable language in painting. We can add many others -- fanning out into New England and Maine. Will Barnet, Jack Tworkov, Hans Hoffman, even Provincetown's Edwin Dickinson. Knox’s involvement in the New York School of painting is well documented. He was friends with DeKooning and Kline (although not with Gorky personally). Knox was also happy to know his Washington Heights neighbor Elias Goldberg (AKA the Pissarro of Washington Heights) and is deeply moved by these physically modest works in oil and watercolor -- in ways that derive from Cezanne. Knox has no prejudice about size in art.</p> <p><strong>George Llyod:</strong> I write at a disadvantage, unable to view these pictures in person. Nevertheless, I'll do my best based on the exhibit catalog and images available online.</p> <p><strong>JP:</strong> You are the right person to handle the challenge. There aren't many others in our class who kept up  drawing in structures as you have. You also inherited a deep respect for architecture and concept drawing from your father. To continue, the show at Hollis Taggart is aptly titled <em>Radical Structures</em>. The analysis and underlying geometry in art is a Knox Martin phenomenon. No one else was discussing art on this level, or working on it openly.</p> <p><strong>GL: </strong>That's right. In our drawing class Knox would take out a big reproduction of a Franz Hals and trace the linear structure. Some of the students would doze off, but for me it was an eye-opener.</p> <p><strong>JP:</strong> Just recently, Knox, his daughter Olivia, and another friend, were at the Met Breuer for the show "Unfinished." There was an El Greco and other old masters, but the big occasion was Titian's "The Flaying Of Marsyas." Knox took out  his laser pen light and rapidly traced for us, the subtle underlying geometry, the circulating activation of form.</p> <p>Given that the viewer's need to wander and be directed, Titian knew how to create an experience using the myth as a point of departure. The act of composition can bring an acute and sometimes unnerving realization on other levels of perception, on the empathy level. Anyway, Knox's clear and unrestrained voice, and the light pen tracings on the sixteenth century surface, created havoc in the museum. Guards and eventually the head curator had to shut down this wonderful moment -- but it was too late: the mission was already accomplished.</p> <p><strong>GL:</strong> The impression I have from <em>Rubber Soul [diptych 1963]</em>  is one of bright and buoyant forms, gliding  effortlessly across the viewer's field of vision. The effect is analogous to that of a summer's day, or maybe  that of a day dream in fortuitous conjunction with delectable sensations of color and surface. In contrast to some of his more Minimalist contemporaries who applied paint to canvas in a more mechanical and less nuanced fashion, Knox does not shirk from indulgence in the more sensual possibilities inherent in the paint medium. So while on one level, Knox may seem to pull out all the stops, on another he works within a very limited set of strictures, employing classic oppositions like arcs and straight lines, circles and squares .</p> <p><strong>JP: </strong>There are these tilted and interrupted patterns of dots, that intersect, compete for the foreground then recede to an unseen periphery. He references Islamic and Persian art -- and pattern that predates by centuries the Op Art of the sixties.                                             </p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="907" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/rubber_soul.jpg?itok=0JgDb6bE" title="rubber_soul.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Rubber Soul [diptych 1963]</figcaption></figure><p><strong>GL: </strong>I would be remiss not to reference the critical role of movement and gesture in these pictures. In <em>She [1963-5 ]</em>, a sense of high drama is provoked by the playful actions of shapes and forms upon each other in a matrix  of  shallow depth. Historical antecedent here would be early 20<sup>th</sup> century Synthetic Cubist collage. Another essential component of Knox's painting process might well be referred to as "Body English." In this way, the presence of the "Hero Shape Shifter" that Knox would frequently refer to in his classroom lectures in New Haven is never far away. For Knox, it would seem that a sense of the lurking presence of the man who made them would be critical to the effect of his pictures upon the viewer who encounters them.</p> <p><strong>JP:  </strong>The sense of affirmation, exploded by DeKooning and Picasso, and the concealment power of Matisse  (alive and kicking in those days, but in very different ways) is inescapable. Let's not forget that the painter as well as the painting in this show had an extraordinary physicality and confidence. Then Knox was doing many things of personal interest: martial arts, sculpture, magic, dagger throwing, and piloting a small plane. Artist friends would talk of his exploits, but that was beside the point. He was his own man in art. Seeing these paintings in a retrospective show, from his and our youth, revives those memories. And he is still making powerful things happen on the canvas.</p> <p><strong>GL:</strong> The years just after World War 2, when Knox studied at the League with Will Barnet, would have  coincided with Will's <em>Indian Space</em> period. Not a big stretch to find a parallel between the flat patterned  surfaces of Will's <em>Indian Space</em> pictures and the kind of surface arabesques which are so characteristic of  Knox .</p> <p><strong>JP: </strong>I'm glad you mentioned the shape-juxtaposing clarity of Barnet. Will spoke about the excitement of designing a plan for the painting to contain itself, to reinforce the picture narrative with an underlying structure. Not just an expedient, but a solution to a puzzle, a personal icon perhaps. Not letting everything drift or leak out the edges.</p> <p><strong>BL:</strong> It would also be relevant to note that Will Barnet, who was born near to Boston in 1911, was a lifelong  admirer of the great mural cycle by Puvis de Chavannes which had been installed in the grand staircase of the Boston Public Library just a decade or so prior to Will's birth. In Barnet's opinion, which I had directly from him, Puvis was a proto-Modern. According to Will, the French muralist's deep respect for the wall surfaces which his paintings occupied was directly related to Modernist notions about flatness and the integrity of the picture surface.</p> <p>That Puvis was a Symbolist and a painter of dreams might well serve to open up another path not only to Barnet's <em>Indian Space</em> pictures but also to Knox, who was never one to refrain from poetic allusion in his painting. Modernist concerns for material values and a consequent reverence for the painting as a physical object in and of itself did not, for Knox, ever present a barrier to dreaming. Even in a painting as ostensibly reduced to abstraction as <em>SHE</em>, it is the female figure which is found to be the pivot of inspiration for the artist in question.</p> <p><strong>JP: </strong>In this show the elegant weights and balances of the paint bodies remind us of his physical daring and audacity. But getting back to Yale in the sixties -- looking back on Knox's drawing class, when we were students, Knox was more than a responsible teacher: he was a lightning rod of empowerment. His drawing classes in the Yale program were listed in the curriculum with action-inspiring titles: Super Creator 1 and 2. We were learning to find ways to achieve "activation." Drawing needed to be tensed and interactive in its parts like a perpetual motion machine. I know I simplify, and axioms are useless without demonstration. But without Knox in my history, much of the excellent education I had in art academies would fade, or worse, stumble in repetition of a format. His knowledge of art history, literature, philosophy, religions, astronomy and the natural universe sustained our encounters with the blank page, the empty white canvas.</p> <p><strong>GL:</strong> And for Knox it could be a white page of paper or a city wall! The same thing.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1720" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/houston_street.png?itok=Qwfs5y5l" title="houston_street.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Woman With Bicycle, Mural on Houston Street, NYC</figcaption></figure><p><strong>JP:</strong> Yes, Knox also painted major public murals. I especially marvelled at the <em>Venus</em> mural on West Street and the <em>Woman With Bicycle (above) </em>on Houston Street. They were fixtures of my adopted city. I would look up at these on a daily basis. In recent years we have discussed murals, when I was licensed to paint outdoor ads and murals. He told me those walls existed for him as works in themselves: not as publicity to promote his status in the art world. Richard Haas, the architect, made many forgettable outdoor walls. They were academic.  Knox's walls were fun and came out of a virile sense of humor. I miss seeing them up there.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3850&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="sp-g5nZYsDg0Pxei6aKhnaQUZp5sg3VZjr9qdmRCLzA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 09 Jun 2019 18:36:18 +0000 Bradley Rubenstein 3850 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3850#comments Song of the Week: "Corner Painter" http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3849 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Corner Painter&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>June 7, 2019 - 13:46</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/629" hreflang="en">prog rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OrmUwo1Y_SU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld is out on <a href="https://talwilkenfeld.com/" target="_blank">tour</a> in support of her latest album, <em>Love Remains</em>. Last week, I caught her live at Brooklyn Bowl where she held court with aplomb. This is my favorite track from her new 10 tune effort. On this version she's joined but yet another guitar virtuoso Blake Mills. When's she not leading her own project, she's toured with guitar maestro Jeff Beck, Prince, Herbie Hancock, and Mick Jagger. In fact, Mr. Beck grabbed her when she was in her early twenties. Regardless, her extraordinary chops compliment extraordinary git players like Beck, Prince, and Mr. Mills. This song has a prog-meets-grunge quality -- think King Crimson -- but heavier like Soundgarden. Truly infectious tune as the video will demonstrate. Catch her tour today. And pick up her new album on vinyl. It's killer.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3849&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="2Dt6_1nytRXczLog0PnbUtAbRGZ3HXLioXTub9QEfK4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 07 Jun 2019 17:46:23 +0000 Dusty Wright 3849 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3849#comments Stephen Take A Bow http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3848 <span>Stephen Take A Bow</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>June 4, 2019 - 16:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/51" hreflang="en">alt rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Tbbs9QijFmk?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Morrissey <em>California Son</em> (BMG)</p> <p>Morrissey's new opus is effectively his <em>Pin-Ups</em> album with a twist, twelve covers, all American, Joni Mitchell being the Canadian exception who we'll naturalize for the sake of a good conceit. It hopefully means he will pay a further lip service with another album of well-chosen English delights. This is a rare confection and something of an audio treat. He is in excellent voice, a sympathetic interpreter of the work of others and the selection bears evidence of the wide variety of his taste and personal listenings. Understated when necessary, but never lacking in dynamism, he saunters along with some well known old friends whilst introducing the odd obscurity along the way.</p> <p>The opening track is a blistering take on Jobriath's "Morning Starship" a song whose dramatic impact betrays with utter certainty the inherent song-craft of the sole American contender to '70s Bowie's and his glittering crown. Sadly the much maligned leper boy of glam is not above ground for his belated close-up, he died from AIDS related complications in the Chelsea Hotel in 1983. Unfettered homophobia was an accepted stance amongst the bearded music scribes of the time, Jobriath was mocked, but Morrissey rids the song of his shrillness and it packs an assured punch as an introduction to both Jobriath's talent, and Morrissey's recent endeavors. It is also an act of genuine creative kindness to someone who saw little of that attribute in his time. It weaves all power chords and harpsichord into an anthem for a alien</p> <p>There is a haunting element to Joni Mitchell's "Don't Interrupt The Sorrow" as though Miss Mitchell is the spectre in the studio, the ghost in the machine, It slinks and shimmers with guitars, sax and light percussive licks, all coated via a tastefully flowing vocal. There is sunshine aplenty in this rendition, just as there is a strangely 'Game Of Thrones' dirge-like melancholy to Dylan's "Only A Pawn In The Game" that suggests the late Kirsty MaColl without ever descending to the cartoon Irish-ness of The Pogues. A dark but driven rendition that neatly slides into an almost laconic version of Buffy Saint Marie's "Suffer The Little Children," but with an undercurrent of jolly menace that you could line dance to if such a mood hit you.</p> <p>"Days Of Decision" breathes a spectral life into the words of Phil Ochs. I'd never noticed before, but there is a real similarity in timbre to Morrissey's more pathos-laced vocals to the the late protest singer's delivery. It is a song that still has tremendous relevance in the modern age, and stands supreme as a timely retelling. There is a total Chris Isaak fluidity on Roy Orbison's "It's Over" that reveals just how fine a crooner Morrissey can be with something of a David Lynchian gloominess that steers well clear of Orbison's gothic drama. "Wedding Bell Blues" ups the tempo once more with a vocal shared with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. It veers dangerously closely to cabaret rendition that could do with some of the strident oomph of Laura Nyro's original, or the 5th Dimensions's, who effectively made it their own.</p> <p>"Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets" redresses the balance to a pace of greater sure-footedness. A fab vocal that should be on repeat play on the juke-box in some lost beatnik dive, it is a Dionne Warwick original, a revelation and a wonderful song. The same sadly can't be said of "Lady Willpower." Stripped of the overwhelming drama of Gary Puckett's almost histrionic original it sounds rather plodding and resides as an unusual inclusion when there was so much else to choose from. A Nico song perhaps? Carly Simon's "When You Close Your Eyes" picks up the gothic threads that run through the album's eclectic proceedings, a lilting melancholy ballad effortlessly delivered.</p> <p>The utter jaw dropping chill factor on the album is the taken up Tim Hardin's "Lenny's Tune" that gathers all the wistful sadness and longing implicit in the lyric and lays it, almost forensically, bare. Piano driven this lament to Lenny Bruce smoulders and flows in and out like a dying tide. One junkie's sorrow for a fellow addict, "I have lost a friend and I don't know why / But never again will we get together to die." Hardin himself later overdosed aged 39, his death eclipsed by the shooting of John Lennon.</p> <blockquote> <p>"And why after every last shot was there always another?" </p> </blockquote> <p>Morrissey's voice is heart-felt and ghosts the pathos and wrings out all the sadness implicit in the song. A sterling effort that alone would justify the price on the cover.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SUClJY0QVPo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Proceedings close with an sweep of dynamic genius. Melanie's piece of outsider folk whimsy "Some Say I Got Devil" long entombed on the B side of "Brand New Key" it is turned into an industrial goth opera. Think Scott Walker in tandem with Ministry. If you are going to cover a song this how it ought to be done. Take it elsewhere and re-chisel it to within an inch of it's life. The perfect take and an inspiring conclusion</p> <p>Reviews of this album have been somewhat muted in response to Morrissey's recent continued contrarian posturing, which is a tremendous shame. Quentin Crisp, that other great English contradiction once advised "Neither confirm nor deny" and Morrissey was for years an artful exponent of that edict. Ambiguity was part of his armour of attractiveness. These days he seems to have confirmed a little more than he ought and in the process has quite needlessly offended and alienated many of his fans. He states it is about freedom of speech and by all means say what you wish and believe what you will, but remember it is a two way street. Disagreement means dialogue, though certain of his aired opinions rest with little grace in the sentiments implicit in the collective sensibilities he has gathered together here. </p> <p>And therein lies a contradiction of actuality and good grace that momentarily clouds the reception of an illuminating and rewarding achievement.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3848&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="m2khDI5hdqwN9jGM4s1cOqJY9n8FwJTTCTJ2jeNsuLE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 04 Jun 2019 20:40:25 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3848 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3848#comments The Princely Crown http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3847 <span>The Princely Crown</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/168" lang="" about="/user/168" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Jay Reisberg</a></span> <span>May 30, 2019 - 13:30</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/148" hreflang="en">Cabaret</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-right"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="640" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-05/steve_rosss_photo_credit_to_stacy_sullivan.jpeg?itok=3gdml1Jl" title="steve_rosss_photo_credit_to_stacy_sullivan.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="457" /></article><figcaption>photo credit: STACY SULLIVAN</figcaption></figure><p>Steve Ross</p> <p><i>Gotta Have Hart and Hammerstein</i></p> <p>Birdland Jazz Club, New York</p> <p>May 6, 2019</p> <p>This performance by the man known as <i>The Crown Prince</i> of New York Cabaret was simply superb from start to finish! The evening went by so swiftly that I was surprised at its   conclusion, that I had been seated for an hour and twenty minutes. Steve Ross, with the relaxed warmth and presence that only a truly seasoned performer possesses, regaled the packed house with twenty-nine songs affirming not only the brilliance of lyricists, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein, but Ross’ own total mastery of skillfully nuanced song interpretation both as a singer and pianist.</p> <p>At one point, Ross suggested that if Hart and Hammerstein were poets, that Hart could be called an "urban" poet whereas Hammerstein could be called a "pastoral" poet. This notion was abundantly clarified, as Mr. Ross presented a broad selection of lyrics written these two titans of both theater and film musicals, emphasizing their differences and convergences.</p> <p>In addition, Ross doesn't just sit at the piano and sing song after song. He introduces each with words about context and history--and this allows the New York cabaret audience, (who have heard many of these songs repeatedly) to hear them anew. This renewed listening is amplified by Ross' thoughtfully composed harmonic settings, coupled with his powerfully understated way with the lyrics.</p> <p>As Ross made clear, Larry Hart could indeed be heavy, even hardboiled with his humor, as with "He and She" from <i>The Boys from Syracuse</i>, which tells of an evolving, or rather, undulating unconventional couple. Hammerstein, on the other hand, was much softer--yes, and even poetic regarding male-female doings (as with "The Folks Who Live on the Hill" from the Paramount 1927 film, <i>High, Wide and Handsome</i>)<i>. </i>Yet Hart would hit the poignant note in his own way with a song like "My Romance" from the 1935 Broadway show, <i>Jumbo</i>; "Isn't it Romantic" from the 1931 film <em>Love Me Tonight</em>, which makes appearances in even the most contemporary of films. Hammerstein wasn't big on broad humor, but Hart could go wild with it as in "The Roxy Music Hall" from Broadway's 1938 production of <i>I Married an Angel.</i></p> <p>Ross pointed out that when it comes to love songs, Hart, being renowned for his personal miseries, could be considered at his best with songs of "failed love," such as "Glad to Be Unhappy" from 1936's <i>On Your Toes</i>, and the sad "Nobody’s Heart" from the 1942 Broadway musical <i>By Jupiter.</i> Yet Hart could go decidedly on the upswing with a rousing song like "With a Song in My Heart" from 1929's <i>Spring is Here</i>.</p> <p>Both Hart and Hammerstein's output was staggeringly enormous. Ross astutely selected songs which represented the range of their huge catalogues as much as could possibly be included in an hour plus show. In a presentation that featured one standout song after another, there are several songs which bear special mention. I particularly enjoyed a medley of Hart's songs about New York which included:<br /> Manhattan" from <i>The Garrick Gaieties</i> (1925), "Way Out West on West End Avenue" from <i>Babes in Arm</i>s (1937), and "Gotta Get Back to New York" from the film <i>Hallelujah! I'm a Bum</i> (1933), in which Al Jolson gave his only understated (and "watchable") film performance. Also outstanding was Ross' coupling of two Hammerstein's songs: "Make Believe" from <i>Show Boat </i>(1927) and "I Have Dreamed" from <i>The King and I </i>(1951). With the coupling of these two songs, Ross showed a meaningful expansion in Hammerstein's lyrical approach to "dreaming" nearly twenty-five years apart. In addition, Ross sang "To Keep My Love Alive" from <i>A Connecticut Yankee </i>(1943). I had only been familiar with Ella Fitzgerald's version from her album <i>The Rodgers and Hart Songbook, </i>in which she sang an abbreviated set of lyrics -- so it was a pleasure hearing the complete and humorously gruesome words.</p> <p>Again, I want to emphasize that Steve Ross, throughout his entire performance, brought something new to each and every song. Lovers of the American song book like me are prone to find the way does this to be intriguing, magical, and compelling. Moreover, he accomplishes this without having to indulge anything akin to updating any of the songs he presented. He presents them with the timber of the times in which they were created. Yet, he managed to leave the listener with the experience that they are hearing the songs with fresh ears.</p> <p>I've attended a half dozen performances of Steve Ross, and each was a revelation. For those with an interest in the art of popular song performance and who admire discernment with a flair in the songs selected, Steve Ross is a "must see" experience.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3847&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="g2YZ_WK3mDn4-e5LvxcQWpD3alVSXR67pImd22Mnk4Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 30 May 2019 17:30:05 +0000 Jay Reisberg 3847 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3847#comments