Joe Thompson on Mass MoCA Expansion
Part One on Phase Three
Tom Krens, then at Williams College, initiated the idea of Mass MoCA which was all but dead when he departed for the Guggenheim. Now 26 years ago his protegee, Joe Thompson, took the next twelve years to open the doors. The Krens idea was to warehouse low maintenance collections. Thompson changed direction to initiate a kunsthalle or non collecting exhibition space. Now, in developing 120,000 square feet of new gallery space, double the present, the museum is becoming a hybrid of those different strategies.
Darren Waterston at Mass MoCA
Deconstructing Whistler's Peacock Room
For the past 18 months, while resident in the artist loft Eclipse Mill in North Adams, Darren Waterston has been working on an exacting installation based on Whistler's iconic Peacock Room. We viewed the work in progress with the artist during the intensive final phase of the exhausting project. The work is now completed and on view.
BSO Announces 2014- 2015 Season
Welcomes Andris Nelsons
The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 season shines a welcoming spotlight on Andris Nelsons as he makes hihighly anticipated debut as BSO Music Director, leading performances that feature an eclectic offering of music and an impressive lineup of guest artists, and presenting programs that illuminate touchstone moments in his life as a musician, from his youngest days as a child in Riga, to his present-day stature as one of the world’s most sought-after conductors. When Mr. Nelsons takes on the title of BSO Music Director in September 2014, at age 35, he will be the youngest conductor to hold that title with the orchestra in over 100 years. The fifteenth music director since the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s founding in 1881, Mr. Nelsons is also the first Latvian-born conductor to assume the post.
Critical Analysis of Andris Nelsons's BSO Season
Programming to Reveal the Arc of the Maestro's Musical Journay
The new music director of the Boston Symphony announced the 2014-15 season and the air was crackling with excitement. In addition to the full schedule we offer a sidebar for what this portends for the orchestra immediately and in the future. Our critic, Susan Hall, had lunch with him well before the appointment. Be still dear heart.
Third and Final Phase of Mass MoCA Buildout
Commonwealth's $25.4 Million Kickstart
With a $25.4 Million grant from the Commonwealth Mass MoCA is embarking on the third and final phase of renovation and development of its 26-building, 600,000 square foot, 16-acre factory campus. Phase III research and concept design work is complete. The project is ready to move construction projected for 2014-2016. This entails 130,000 square feet of gallery space requiring $25 million in state infrastructure grants, plus $30 million in privately raised construction investments, building maintenance reserves, and endowment funding.
First Petrof Pianojazz Festival in Prague
At Famous Jazz Dock, February 24-27, 2014
A new, young contributor to BFA, photographer and writer Ioana Taut, grew up in Romania. Her field of passion is Jazz ! Here she's reporting in word and image about a recent festival in Prague, where she's currently residing. Jazz is alive and well in Eastern European countries!
39 Steps at Annenberg Theatre
Hitchcock Meets Monty Python
The terrific comedy production “The 39 Steps”, brilliantly directed by Ken Parks; produced and presented by Coyote StageWorks, of Palm Springs, and The Norris Theatre of Palos Verdes, CA, through March 9, is often referred to as hilarious, zany, and an a inspired collision of comedy and parody at its finest. Newspaper ads often bill the show as “Hitchcock meets Monty Python” wherever it plays, and rightly so.
Not Quite April in Paris
Our correspondent is in Paris for the annual meeting of AICA (International Society of Arts Critics). Of which he is a board member. He sent links to exhibitions which he plans to check out. We appreciate being kept in the loop.
BIFF Presents A Place at the Table
Thursday, March 13 at Monument High School
THE BIFF is proud to partner with Monument Mountain Regional High School (MMRHS) to present a very special community screening of the award-winning documentary A PLACE AT THE TABLE, narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges and directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush. The BIFF and MMRHS will present a FREE community dinner followed by the screening and panel discussion on Thursday, March 13 at Monument High School.
Body & Soul at Museum of Arts and Design, NYC
New International Ceramics until March 2nd, 2014
The current exhibition at MAD, "Body & Soul," presents an international survey of artists, who feel compelled to comment on aspects of our human condition through ceramic sculptures. It is an emotional roller-coaster! - Two other major exhibitions are on view: "Fashion Jewelry, The Collection of Barbara Berger" and most astonishing, "Out of Hand, Materializing the Post Digital."
Maria Aitken To Direct Kate Burton
Nicholas Martin Withdraws from Seagull at the Huntington Theatre
Huntington Theatre Company favorite and frequent director Maria Aitken (The Cocktail Hour, Betrayal, Private Lives, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps) will return to the Huntington this spring to direct Tony Award nominee and television star Kate Burton in Anton Chekhov’s passionate classic, The Seagull. Aitken replaces Nicholas Martin who was previously slated to direct the production but has withdrawn for personal reasons.
Nikos Stage for 2014
Williamtown Theatre Festival Update
Previously Williamstown Theatre Festival released the Main Stage schedule. Now we are informed of two plays for the smaller Nikos Stage.
Izhar Patkin's Space Time Continuum
The Wandering Veil at Mass MoCA
In the vast space of Building Five, for the coming year, Mass MoCA is hosting a retrospective for the Israeli born artist Izhar Patkin. A series of rooms features Veils inspired by the poems of a collaborator, the deceased Pakistani poet, Agha Shahid Ali. The artist is challenged by solving technical problems for a variety of approaches to painting in sculpture in a range of media. Central to his practice is a commitment to modernist inspired narratives devoid of the irony of post modernism.
Israeli Izhar Patkin Debates Jewish Art
Secular Narratives When God Is Dead
During a dialogue with the artist Izhar Patkin about his Mass MoCA exhibition David Ross hit a dead end when he asked whether there is a Jewish art? At this point in post modernism, with more than a century since Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Chaim Soutine or Amedeo Modigliani, it is not a question that one would ask a Jewish American artist. But is it relevant for an Israeli Sabra?
In the Time of the Butterflies by Caridad Svich
Lyceum Space at San Diego Repertory Theatre
Playwright Caridad Svich received the Primus Award, for one of her plays at the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) conference. Her family drama and memory play “In the Time of the Butterflies” takes place in the Dominican Republic during the 1950s and 60’s under the brutal dictatorship of Generalissmo Rafael Trujillo.
Newport Jazz Festival 2014
Schedule for August 1 through 3
The Newport Jazz Festival is the most renowned of its kind. This is the lineup for the festival at Forth Adams State Park in Newport Rhode Island. Be there or be square.
Shakespeare & Company 2014
Programming Schedule for Summer Season
Shakespeare & Company has planned a celebratory season packed with Shakespeare, modern works, premieres and special events in honor of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Tickets for the 2014 Performance Season go on sale in Mid-February. For specific date and info please check online at: www.shakespeare.org or by calling the Box Office at (413) 637-3353, or in person at 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA.
Firehouse Café Opens in Adams
Hottest New Restaurant in the Berkshires
With a mid January launch the Firehouse Cafe is off to a hot start in sizzling downtown Adams, Mass. Word of mouth is spreading like wildfire for the new restaurant that combines great service, fine dining, and tasty food at an affordable price. It's the spark that's igniting long dormant Park Street.
A Perfect Ganesh by Terrence McNally
Coachella Valley Repertory Theater in Rancho Mirage
In the CV REP Theatre production of “A Perfect Ganesh”, written by Terrence McNally and deftly directed by theatre artistic director Ron Celona, the search by westerners for answers, is what peaked the curiosity of playwright McNally.
Kevin Burke's The Caveman in Indy
Broadway's Longest Running Solo Show
The production opens on what looks like Fred Flintstone’s living room, complete with caveman drawings on the walls. What follows is a string of observational comedy that most couples can relate to. Kevin Burke pokes fun at both sexes but never makes it feel like an attack.
Dr. Dubois and Miss Ovington at New Federal Theatre
Chalfant and Simonson Star in Clare Coss Play
The New Federal Theatre founded and directed by Woodie King, Jr. and thriving in a new alliance with the Casilllo Theatre on West 42nd Street in Manhattan, has produced an engaging and deeply moving play, Dr. Dubois and Miss Ovington. The playwright Clare Coss says it is within our power to create a just and sane world. She may be on a mission, but her new play is not at all didactic. Multi-leveled, it is the story of the founding of the NAACP, of Crisis magazine and two of the civil rights’ movements early leaders.thing over 255 chars will be deleted.
Death of a Salesman
Boston's Lyric Stage Feb. 14 to March 15
A masterpiece of American Theatre, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman will be performed by Boston's The Lyric Stage from February 14 through March 15. The production with be directed by company founder Spiro Veloudos. Ken Baltin with appear in the lead role as Willy Loman accompanied by Paula Plum as his wife Linda.
Barrington Stage Announces Season
20 Strong Years for Pittsfield Based Company
During a bone crunching cold snap the Berkshire theatre media gathered on stage for a lunch and press conference hosted by Julianne Boyd the artistic director of the now twenty-year-old Barrington Stage Company. In addition to discussing the program for the coming season Boyd confirmed that last summer's hit musical On the Town is headed for Broadway with either a summer or fall opening.
Williamstown Theatre Festival Main Stage 2014
Divas Renée Fleming and Chita Rivera to Star
For her fourth and final program at Williamstown Theatre Festival outgoing artistic director Jenny Gersten has played her aces. Actually, make that Queens. Renowned opera soprano Renée Fleming will play, guess what, an opera diva in Living on Love. Broadway favorite Chita Rivera will appear in The Visit with book by Terrence McNally; music by John Kander; and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Jessica Stone who directed during Gersten's debut WTF season returns to helm a revival of June Moon by Ring Lardner and George S. Kaufman.
New York Sojourn
Trip to NYC Yields Architecture, Art and Theatrical Joy
Invited to an architectural tour of Ground Zero, Mark Favermann and his companion Lisa went on a trip that was framed around ML King Birthday weekend to include architecture, art, theatre, good food and football playoff games. This underscores the notion that New York City is so nice it was named twice.
Williamstown Upstages Barrington Stage Company
Same Day Season Announcements
Yesterday there was a late afternoon media scramble when a Barrington Stage Company press conference announcing the 2014 season was followed within minutes by an unanticipated release by Williamstown Theatre Festival. It's taken some sorting but we now have an unusually early and clear picture of the summer season. We have a fairly complete clip and save rundown. Berkshire Theatre Group has yet to announce and WTF will soon post its program of the Nikos Stage.
Bill W. and Dr. Bob at the Soho Playhouse
An AA Meeting On Stage
AA is well established now, but when it was formed almost a century ago, it teetered and tottered into the formation of meetings and the writing of the Big Book. Some movements start with a few passionate advocates. AA was a bit different, because the founders were both alcoholics. They could find no way to stop drinking.
Ear Say: Closing Out 2013
This, Too Long Left Unsaid
2013 got a bit complicated at its end and I find myself struggling to catch up with writing of those events, sorting out the ones on which I want to comment and deciding which deserve sharing.
NEC Presents A Hard Rain's Gonnah Fall
February 18 at Boston's Jordan Hall
Join New England Conservatory's Eden MacAdam-Somer and Contemporary Improvisation department students and faculty in a concert featuring original works and recompositions that offer a kaleidoscopic perspective on protest music and social change throughout history. The concert takes place on Tuesday, February 18 at 8 p.m. in NEC's Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA. It is free and open to the public.
Satchmo at the Waldorf Opens Off -Broadway Feb 15
John Douglas Thompson Stars in Terry Teachout Play
For the first time Shakespeare & Company in partnership with Long Wharf is sending a production to New York. Satchmo at the Waldorf, starring John Douglas Thompson, a member of the S&Co theatrical family, appears as Louis Armstrong in the first play written by Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout.
Bethany at Old Globe in San Diego
Laura Marks Play Through February 23
“Bethany”, written by playwright Laura Marks and directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, is a dark, tragic-comedy that chronicles the efforts of a young single mother who has been caught up in the economic roller coaster of the housing and financial market bubbles of 2009.
Sochi 2014 Olympics Look of the Games
A Too Busy Patchwork Quilt of Ethnic Imagery
The venues at Sochi look great, but like a too sweet holiday dessert, the Sochi Winter Olympics "Look" seems to try too hard to please everyone by the way it visually frames the 2014 Winter Games. Similar to Vancouver's 2010 everything including the kitchen sink approach to branding and graphic identity, Sochi's "look" works better. Too visually and perhaps ethnically layered, the " patchwork quilt" looks best on athletes' bibs and venue interiors. Perhaps, it has something to do with the Russian Character?
The Monuments Men
WWII Saga That Saved Western Cultural Icons
The Monuments Men is a American-German war film based on the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel. The film follows the story of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, an Allied group, tasked with saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler during World War II. It focuses on a squad comprised of seven museum directors, curators, and art historians who with limited resources enter Germany with the Allied forces during the closing stages of World War II to rescue artworks plundered by the Nazis. It is a terrific story.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Under Riccardo Muti
Musical Messages Delivered with Passionate Panache
This evening introduced spaghetti-Western composer Ennio Morricone. Often nominated for an Academy Award, he finally won one for lifetime achievement. Clint Eastwood translated his acceptance speech live. Before Muti began to conduct Morricone’s tribute to 9/11, Maestro Muti pointed out that this music has a message. The piece begins with a poem by the South African Richard Moore Rive. Ora Jones beautifully articulated the rainbow of our world, where words are neither white nor black. “Where the rainbow ends, there’s going to be a place…where we can sing together, a sad song. “
Beautiful—The Carole King Musical
From Brooklyn to Broadway
Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, currently at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Broadway, is another prime example where song and dance, beautifully delivered by a talented cast and crew, trumps the storyline. Carole King attended James Madison High School in Brooklyn, the same one that I attended. Carole Klein as she was known in those years belonged to Gamma Phi the same sorority as my sister Annette.
2014 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival
Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29
The 37th annual Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, one of the most celebrated and longest running jazz events in the world, will be held on Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This year's festival headliners include Earth, Wind & Fire, Trombone Shorty, Terence Blanchard, Dave Holland Prism, Patti Austin, Jon Batiste & Stay Human, Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, Quinn Sullivan, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Newport Jazz Festival®: Now 60, among others.
Aliens Arrive at Symphony Hall in Chicago
City on High Alert, but Children Entranced
Aliens from Planet X landed in Chicago on the stage of Symphony Hall at approximately 11 am on Saturday, February 8th. Quickly word spread that a Martian cylinder had landed in Chicago. Orson Welles broadcast an earlier Martian arrival. While the city’s panicked citizens fled town through fat puffs of snowflakes falling over Michigan Drive, many young people embraced the two ETs on stage, who were unable to speak an earthly language, but gestured in a language of signs.
Steel Magnolias Blooms in Indy
Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre to Feb. 22
There are no secrets in a beauty parlor where women and their beauticians dish the dirt. Steel Magnolias is best know for the Academy Award winning 1989 film. It was a stage play before that. In a lively and absorbing production it is being staged in Indianapolis at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre through February 22. If your favorite emotion is, in Truvy’s words, “laughter through tears,” you’ll be right at home.
Witness Uganda Compelling Entertainment
A Musical Journey of Personal Discovery
When Griffin, a young New York City actor, volunteers for a project in Uganda, he finds himself on a journey that will change his life forever. Inspired by a true story, this rousing new musical is energetically staged by Tony Award-winning director and A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus. The show exposes the challenges confronted by idealistic American aid workers and the complex realities of trying to change the world while changing themselves more. A great entertainment perhaps destined for a long run on Broadway.
Hannah Höch at London's Whitechapel Gallery
Pioneer Dadaist of 1920s Berlin
Using the technique of collage Hannah Hoch was one of the most inventive artists of the absurdist Dada movement in Germany during the 1920s. Her work is being surveyed at London's Whitechapel Gallery. She was condemned by the Nazis and included in Entartete Kunst an exhibition of Degenerate Art.
Reading of St. Germain Play at MCLA
Dancing Lessons and Q&A on March 8
Mark St. Germain is developing a two person play Dancing Lessons to premiere this summer at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield. It entails a brilliant professor with Aspberger's a form of Autism. He seeks dancing lessons from a resident in his New York apartment building leading to a poignant and humorous relationship. There will be a Q&A following a reading at MCLA on March 8.
The How and The Why by Sarah Treem
No Answers, Only Questions at Chicago's Timeline
Sarah Treem contributed to Netflix's brilliant House of Cards and works also on HBO series. But she comes from a live theatre background. This is made clear in her intoxicating new play.
New York Sojourn II & III
Two Great Nights at the Theatre and Two Great Museums
Visiting new York City means seeing great theatre. Mark Favermann and his companion Lisa saw Pinter's No Man's Land with Sirs Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart and the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder with the versatile Jefferson Mays. These shows are two of the 2013-14 Broadway season highlights in the Big Apple. And NYC also means visiting great museums. Two that were visited were MoMA and the Morgan Library.
Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall
With Guest Conductor Bernard Haitink in a Ravel Program
In celebration of his 85th birthday Bernard Haitink has arranged several New York concerts as a guest conductor. We covered his Carnegie Hall appearance in an all Ravel program leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its Tanglewood Chorus.
Amanda Forsythe Keeps The Garland Fresh
Boston Baroque Presents Rameau's Rarity.
Jean-Philippe Rameau's one-act opera "La Guirlande" might seem to be a frivolous pastoral, but he brings it to life with rich and subtly detailed music. The afternoon belonged to Amanda Forsythe. She is as fine an actress as singer, imbuing everything with the force of life. Where other singers make you aware of the effort expended to hit high notes (or low), Forsythe makes it all sound easy. She moves without break through the vocal registers that loom as roadblocks to other singers.
Eagle Columnist John Seven Boycotts Artistic Creeps
Separating Individuals from their Accomplishments
Dishing the dirt on celebrities has become a billion dollar industry for muckraking supermarket tabloids, talk radio, and TV entertainment and gossip shows. But we were shocked and distressed when Berkshire Eagle columnist John Seven unloaded a mud slinging screed against Woody Allen and other "artistic creeps." Seven seems surprised and offended to realize that great artists are not always great people. Duh.
The 64th Berlinale Set New Records
Film Festival reigned February 6-16
The 64th Berlinale just closed after eleven days, while 400 films from around the world were viewed by 330.000 Berliners and international visitors. The talk of the city while it lasted!
Death of A Salesman Brilliant At Lyric Stage
A Stirring Tragic Story of Life Unfulfilled
Considered one of the greatest American drama's of the 20th Century, since it was first performed in 1949, Death of a Salesman has been recognized as an iconic event of the American theatre. The aging, failing and delusional Willy Loman makes his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine. Playwright Arthur Miller redefined the tragic hero as a man whose dreams are both insupportably grand and pathetically insubstantial. Boston's Lyric Stage Company brilliantly portrays this epic statement of promise and loss and the American Dream unfulfilled.
Berkshire Theatre Group 2014 Season
Programming from Pittsfield to Stockbridge
"For our 86th Summer Season, we are producing a full schedule of musicals, plays, and special theatrical performances for another wonderful summer in the Berkshires with a splendid cast and crew of talented artists from across the nation,” said Kate Maguire. "Six extraordinary plays: The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful, Benefactors, Design for Living, A Hatful of Rain, including two world premieres: Cedars and POE and two wonderful musicals: A Little Night Musicand Seussical highlight our schedule and make for an enjoyable mix of masterful and provocative classics and contemporary works. A special week-long performance of A Lover's Talespotlighting the works of Giuseppe Verdi, Charles Ludlam and Alexandre Dumas and performances by our summer apprentices, our 86th season will be memorable and entertaining for all.”
Michael Fabiano Wins Beverly Sills Award
The Young Tenor Captured Our Attention Immediately
The Sills Award honoring and supporting up and coming opera singers is one of the most prestigious. This year the Award was given o Michael Fabiano, a wonderfully gifted young singer.
Private Lives at Shakespeare & Company
Having a Laugh in the Dead of Winter
There isn't a lot of depth and substance to Noel Coward's classic 1930 comedy Private Lives. Under artistic director Tony Simotes the game actors of Shakespeare & Company are striving to create an upbeat hilarious production. Through March 30 theatre is alive and well in Lenox as we wait for signs of Spring.
WAM Theatre Announces 2014 Season
Focus on Women and Girls
WAM Theatre’s Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven announces highlights of the 2014 season. The Berkshire-based professional theatre company will celebrate its fifth anniversary with plays readings, special events, panel discussions, and educational programs that focus on women artists and stories of women
The Who & The What by Ayad Ahktar
World Premiere at La Jolla Playhouse
In the world premiere of “The Who & The What,”, at The La Jolla Playhouse through March 9, playwright Ayad Ahktar boldly goes where few Muslim writer’s (except for Salmon Rushdie) have gone before – to the heart of religion – to the family.
Alec Baldwin Cries No Mas
Why He Vants to Be Alone
For decades actor Alec Baldwin has opted to duke it out with paparazzis and the gossip media. Now like Roberto Duran tossing in the towel stating "No Mas" Baldwin, in a screed in New York Magazine titled "I Give Up," is withdrawing from public life. For celebrities of his stature, who have tried it in the past, this is more easily said than done. As Martha and the Vandellas sang "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide."
Christopher Durang Comedy at Mark Taper Forum
Vanya and Sonia Masha and Spike
Christopher Durang, freely borrows characters and plot-lines from Chekhov’s plays, then cleverly remixes and reinserts them into his highly entertaining comedy tale with the result being it’s one of the best ensemble casts to tread LA theatre boards in quite awhile. At Mark Taper Forum through March 9.
Ernest Thompson’s On Golden Pond
St. Joseph’s Players of Yucca Valley
A great deal of the credit for this “family values” production of the bullet-proof On Golden Pond being as successful as it is belongs to Desert Theatre League (DTL) award winning director Rebecca Havely, whose sharp eye filled the stage with props, emotions, and action with tender loving care.
Malcolm Rogers Retires from the MFA
More Autocrat than Aristocrat
By just two years over Perry T. Rathbone, at 19, the British born Malcolm Rogers is leaving the Museum of Fine Arts as its longest running, most successful and controversial director. From top to bottom he reformed, renovated and rebuilt ever aspect of the museum. Along the way playing a hardball game of croquet worthy of the Queen of Hearts.
Student Opera Offers Deep Satisfactions
Boston's Opera Stars of Tomorrow
In Boston, the two music conservatories and the Boston University Opera Institute offer a mix of warhorses and rarities with young singers variously ready for the next step. Often student performances are frustratingly uneven with various degrees of accomplishment on display, but sometimes they come together with well-balanced casts, offering the experience of professional opera at a quarter the price.
Rusalka Re-Imagined in Chicago
Ana Maria Martinez Captivates as Rusalka
In the front row of the Civic Opera House, Renée Fleming sat watching an enchanting water nymph take on the role which has been Fleming's signature for decades. The audience fell for Ana Maria Martinez from her first notes and throughout the challenging first Act. What would Fleming make of the performance?
Malcolm Rogers Another Opinion
Defending Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood
David Bonetti started a career as an art critic writing for the Boston Phoenix and Art New England. He moved on to write for daily papers in San Francisco and St. Louis. Now retired from covering fine arts he has returned to Boston. For the past few years he has covered opera for Berkshire Fine Arts with the occasional art piece. In response to our coverage of the retirement of MFA director, Malcolm Rogers, in a letter to the editor he offered a different take. We post it as an op ed piece.
Malcolm Rogers Resignation Sidebar
Transition of Perry T. Rathbone to Merrill Reuppel
The MFA today has been totally rebuilt and defined by Malcolm Rogers. He is resigning after 19 years of dramatic and event brutal change. Part of that transformation is a not so benign neglect of more than a century of institutional and cultural history. The story of the resignation of Rogers was written under pressure of deadline. Since then further research has clarified points raised in the article. More will follow.
Art Publisher Steve Zevitas Sounds Off
Venting a Jerry Maguire Moment
Steve Zevitas is a Boston gallerist and publisher of the juried magazine New American Painting. Like many in the art world he is constantly on the go making the rounds of biennials and art fairs. Normally he is level headed and reasonable focusing on the artists he publishes and promotes. But he recently vented in a piece in the Huffington Post. He's mad as hell and ain't gonnah take it anymore.
Liza Minnelli Trashed by John Seven in the Eagle
Pissed that She Didn’t Wear Panties at the Oscars
Eagle eyed columnist, John Seven, observed that 67-year-old Liza Minnelli didn't wear panties under her blue pantsuit at the Oscars. Seems he never thought much of her anyway. Her mother, Judy Garland, makes him break out in hives. Stating that he never watches the Oscars or even knows what films are nominated he wrote about it anyway. This from the columnist who urges readers to boycott artistic creeps like Woody Allen. It must have sent him to the emergency room that Cate Blanchett won an Oscar for one of Woody's films.
La Biennale de Montréal,
Defining Its Mission
The mission of La Biennale de Montréal is to foster, support, interpret and disseminate the latest visual arts practices, while raising the international profile of Montréal as a destination of choice for contemporary art. Building on this mission, Uniform has drawn inspiration from the organization’s artistic vision—conveyed by four key terms: experimentation, agility, rigour and openness—to develop the graphic identity of La Biennale de Montréal.
Now Dig This at Williams College
Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980
In 2011-2012 The Getty Foundation sponsored Pacific Standard Time which involved 60 cultural institutions in Southern California. The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles presented "Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980." The exhibition, which was awarded Best Thematic Exhibit Nationally for 2012 by the International Asssociation of Art Critics (AICA), is on view at the Williams College Museum of Art through December 1.
The Bigger They Art
In the art world too often bigger is assumed to be better. Or, when the work is small in scale, like a Paul Klee retrospective at Tate Modern, there is a daunting indigestible glut of images. Following a recent tour of Chelsea galleries we came away pondering how much size matters.
The Dawn of Egyptian Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Through August 5
Beyond King Tut and Cleopatra most folks know little or nothing about the thirty dynasties and 3000 years of Ancient Egyptian Art. The Met's special exhibition The Dawn of Egyptian Art provides a tantalizing encounter with the esoteric era prior to and during the founding dynasties.
Bradley Cooper's Elephant Man
Broadway for the Fall 2014
During a film premiere in Bradley Cooper was heard to say “We’re going to try to do it on Broadway next fall. We’re going to try to nail it down and do a limited run.” That was told to someone who told someone. It went viral on Facebook. That was originally slated for 2013. Now it has been moved forward to Fall 2014. The play was produced by Williamstown Theatre Festival under artistic director Jenny Gersten who has resigned but has programmed the 2014 season.
Yvonne Andersen on The Sun Gallery
Figurative Expressionism in Provincetown in the 1950s.
From 1955 to 1959 the artist Yvonne Andersen and her late husband, the poet Dominic Falcone, operated the legendary Sun Gallery in Provincetown. In one week shows over five seasons, with a combination of group, one man and two man shows they displayed work by about 100 artists. A selection of whom formed the nucleus of the figurative expressionist movement. This summer the Provincetown Art Association and Museum will focus on this activity in Pioneers of Provincetown curated by Adam Zucker. This is part one of a dialogue about that era.
The Art of Scent, 1889 - 2012
New York’s Museum of Arts and Design
Perfumes, fragrances and scents are everywhere in our lives - natural and artificial ones! The Museum of Arts and Design in New York challenges the American public for the first time to recognize creators and creations: Fragrances - as artists and 'Olfactory Art.' The Art of Scent exhibition presents convincingly developments of the last 125 years in the perfume industry, and fragrances that had the most impact over time.
Longterm Impact of Monsanto's Roundup Seeds
Supreme Court Screws American Farmers
Our science correspondent and organic farmer Jimmy Midnight explores in detail why our food ain't what it used to be. He states that. As a farmer myself, I would not use glyphosate, or plant any (Monsanto) Roundup Ready seeds, because I presume they’re not safe to use, eat, or feed. If it’s perfectly safe to eat or feed, why does it suddenly become dangerous in the hands of the world’s small-time agricultural operators? On May 13 The Supreme Court upheld the copyright of Monsanto against a farmer planting cheap, second generation seed purchased from a grain elevator.
EarSay-Emma Jane & Christopher Crosby Morris
Another Best of 2012 and an Echoing Refrain from Decades Past.
In this posting the pairing may seem unlikely at first. One artist is male, a senior citizen, an experienced artist with a well developed aesthetic while the other is female with the 21st century making up the majority of her life, little experience in comparison yet an aesthetic that while still evolving is already firmly anchored in the soul of a visionary artist.
Ear Say: John Fullbright and Ewan McLennan
Amazing Things Are Happening in Our World.
The two artists whose recordings I comment on below are interesting in their comparisons and their contrasts. Both cds garnered considerable praise and attention in 2012. Oklahoma’s John Fullbright and his release were nominated for a Grammy, and Ewan McLennan’s was one of those selected in the UK’s best of the year lists.
Joe Turner's Come and Gone at Mark Taper Forum
John Douglas Thompson Soars in August Wilson's Play
John Douglas Thompson got stood up on a date to see Joe Turner's Come and Gone at Yale Rep. It inspired him to give up a life in business to pursue what has evolved as a remarkable career in theatre. Berkshire audiences are familiar with his performances at Shakespeare & Company including last season's Satchmo at the Waldorf. He returns to the S&Co. this summer paired with Olympia Dukakis in Mother Courage, In LA, as Jack Lyons reports, he finally gets to play the August Wilson role that first inspired him.
EarSay: Iris Dement and Nora Jane Struthers
Iris Live at Bull Run and Nora Jane's New CD
Although I did not know it was she or even know of her, I first heard the voice of Iris Dement while watching the final episode of Northern Exposure on July 26th, 1995.It was several years before I heard that voice again. In a live performance at Bull Run in Shirley I noted that while her vocal instrument has neither great range nor exceptional clarity, it does, however, embody a tapestry of tones that are conduits for a greater variety of passions and emotions than any other voice I know.
Anselm Kiefer at Mass MoCA for 15 Years
Building Developed with Hall Art Foundation
In collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation a building dedicated to works by the German artist, Anselm Kiefer, will be on view at Mass MoCA for the next 15 years. Combined with the 25 year agreement for the Sol LeWitt building this greatly enhances the museum as America's foremost destination for contemporary art.
Yvonne Andersen Sun Gallery Co-Founder
Recalling Film and Animation Programming in Provincetown
As research for “Pioneers from Provincetown: The Roots of Figurative Expressionism” an exhibition focused on the emergence of a largely misunderstood movement in the 1950s we interviewed Sun Gallery co-founder Yvonne Andersen. In response to our coverage she has sent additional notes of great historical interest.
Barrington Stage Jumps Gun on 2014 Season
Kiss Me Kate and St. Germain's Dancing Lessons
Barrington Stage Company announces two productions for the theater’s 20th Anniversary Season - Kiss Me, Kate the musical comedy masterpiece by composer Cole Porter and authors Sam and Bella Spewack and the world premiere romantic comedy Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain. The new play was well received during a staged reading over the holiday weekend.
Body & Soul at Museum of Arts and Design
A Dialogue with Curator Wendy Tarlow Kaplan
The Museum of Arts and Design in New York City through March 2 is exhibiting Body & Soul: New International Ceramics. The medium has been used by artists to express a wide range of charged social issues including identity, sexuality, bullying, abuse, violence, rebellion and despair. Recently we discussed the project with Wendy Tarlow Kaplan who co curated the exhibition with Martin S. Kaplan and Laurent de Verneuil.
The Roads of North America, Part Three
A Drive South from the Berkshires to Georgia – 2013
Part Three you wonder? It's our second road trip which we chronicled in daily entries, noting all roads by numbers. And what an adventure! The stops in this report include days in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC.
The Roads of North America, Part Four
From DC to Georgia and Home
When we started planning a trip south, Savannah, Georgia, was the first location that came to mind. Actually, John Berendt’s novel, 'In the Garden of Good and Evil,' triggered our thoughts and imagination. We wanted to explore Old Savannah, as he had portrayed it. Other stops along the way fell into place after that.
100 Boston Artists by Chawky Frenn
New Book Follows 100 Boston Painters
The figurative artist, Chawky Frenn, has followed 100 Boston Painters with 100 Boston Artists. The books are handsomely designed and printed with superb reproductions. Although he consulted with many experts in the field he made the final selections. This has resulted in an eccentric and uneven overview with a mix of major and minor artists. One of the strong points of the second volume is a fresh and insightful critical essay by Debbie Hagan the former editor of Art New England.
Calatrava's Costly Sculpture As Architecture
A Starchitect Whose Legacy Is Being Questioned
In the last few decades, Spanish-born Santiago Calatrava (b.1951), a visionary architect, structural engineer and sculptor has risen to be a world renown star. His graceful, soaring and visually impressive bridges, transportation centers and cultural institutions are futuristically iconic. However, many of his prominent projects, though often quite startlingly beautiful, have been greatly criticized for functional flaws, detail mistakes, construction delays and huge cost overruns. His constant involvement in massive law suits is now diminishing his legacy.
EarSay: Reflections on Habits of Bass Players
Anne Hills' The Things I Notice Now
Earlier this spring I spent a few hours with Tom Paxton hashing over old memories, talking a bit about how singer-songwriters changed the face of what we once called folk music.
EarSay On Stage
Sidi Touré, Beggar's Ride and The Boxcar Lillies
An old friend of mine once noted, “You can always tell who in an audience was at a Pete Seeger concert for the first time.” “You can?” I queried. “Sure,” she said. “They are the ones who look annoyed when other audience members start to sing along with Pete.”
Uzbekistan: Part Three
Khiva and Fergana Valley
Khiva is the most remote and intact medieval town in Central Asia. Passing through the gates of the crenelated clay walls offers a journey back in time. The fertile Fergana Valley, home to 1/3 of the population, harbors the towns of Margilon, Rishtan and Kokand, each famed for an ancient craft or historic monument.
Ear Say: Those Harmonizing Ladies II
The Sweetback Sisters, The Boxcar Lilies, The Carper Family
I am attracted to any group, male, female or mixed that effectively use vocal harmonies. Only rarely in my limited attempts to sing along with others have I found myself able to find that sweet harmonizing position. I have great respect for those who seem to effortlessly slip in and out of it.
The Zen of Watching Westerns
When Contemplating Art Just Ain't Enough
Artist and theorist Martin Mugar is taking a break from his usual beat to explore the philosophical nuances and cult implications of watching Westerns. The discourse ranges from Hopalong Cassidy, to the Marklborough Man as a hacking and coughing paradigm of manhood, and the ultra vi of Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. Here he gets his kicks on Route 66. With a left turn through Monument Valley.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Best Play in London’s West End Reopensin June
With rave reviews and multiple awards, including seven Oliviers (the British equivalenbt of Tonys), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime may be the most original, galvanic and influential play of this century on either side of the pond. The only real question is when this magnificent production, the hottest ticket in London, will make its way to Broadway. Until then hop a plane.
Kissing the Bleepin’ Blarney Stone
Blessed With the Gift of Gab
When visiting Ireland it's obligatory to Kiss the Blarney Stone. Which I managed in my own fashion. The Castle is a dump. Better to be a peasant in a cottage with a turf fire than a lord living in that damp pile of stone.
Ana Mendieta at London's Hayward Gallery
Outstanding Among Feminist Museum Exhibitions
For a variety of social and political motivations the majority of modern and contemporary museum level exhibitions we viewed recently in Dulin and London featured feminist reclamation projects for women artists of varying degrees of obscurity. Of these the large restrospective of work by the Cuban artist Ana Mendieta at Hayward Gallery required no PC underpinnings. Her work clobbered us with its primal power and originality.
2014 Whitney Biennial
Museum Announces Participating Artists
Yet again controversy surrounds who's in and who's out with the release of the list of artists selected for the 2014 Whitney Biennial. To stir the pot this time three outside curators will be given one floor each of the museum. With no compromises that will ensure the individual taste of the designated curators. The museum's curators will advise on the installations.
Irish Comfort Food
They say that a seven course gourmet Irish meal consists of a six pack and baked potato. Imagine then our surprise to discover traditional Irish food in cozy Dublin pubs. Washed down, of course, with a fresh pint of Guinness.
Trinity College and the Book of Kells
Viewing Ireland's National Treasures
During the 1979 traveling exhibition Treasures of Early Irish Art I first viewed the Book of Kells. Given the long line of visitors it proved to be a brief encounter. That also was the case during a recent visit to the Old Library of Trinty College in Dublin. It was an absorbing and enchanting experience of the essence of Irish heritage.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art
Dublin’s 17th Century Former Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Relaunching after renovations the Irish Museum of Modern Art presented two special exhiitions- Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray (9 August 1878 – 31 October 1976) the Irish born furniture designer, and architect and Leonora Carrington (6 April 1917 – 25 May 2011) a British-born–Mexican artist, surrealist painter and novelist. Her mother was Irish.
Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Through April 6
Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through April 6 is the most compelling and insightful contemporary exhibition currently on view in New York museums. Unquestionably some of the most important work of the past few years has been created by Chinese artists. There are 70 works on view by 35 artists in this fascinating exhibition.
Rethinking Stones an Exhibition and Video Project
Inspired by a 2000 Visit to Neolitihic Avebury in the U.K.
Inspired by recent visits to neolithic sites in Ireland, and memories of Stonehenge some years ago, we reconnected with the artist Jane Hudson about an exhibition we worked on together. The project Stones in the gallery of the New England School of Art & Design was stunning and deeply complex. This is a dialogue about that work and the ancient sites which inspired the exhibition.
Jacob's Pillow 2014
Schedule for Summer Season
The 82nd Festival season will feature more than 52 companies performing on three stages: the historic Ted Shawn Theatre; the intimate Doris Duke Theatre; and the open-air Henry J. Leir Stage, home to the Pillow’s free Inside/Out Performance Series, which served more than 21,000 community members last season. More than 350 free and ticketed dance performances, talks, tours, exhibits, films, classes, and community events will be offered June 14-August 24, 2014.
Belgian Film The Broken Circle Breakdown
Oscar Contender for Best Foreign Landuage Film
“Broken Circle Breakdown”, masterly and sensitively directed by Felix Van Groeningen, from a script written with Carl Joos, is a story that resonates with audiences in a bitter/sweet way. Potent forces and emotions are unleashed in this film concerning the healing power of the grieving process, the role of guilt in personal relationships, the part played by unconditional love, and the reality and finality of death.
Trey McIntyre Project Farewell Performances
Jacob's Pillow June 25-29
This June, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival will host the final farewell performances of Trey McIntyre Project as a full-time dance company. Following its six-show engagement in the Ted Shawn Theatre, June 25-29, the company will broaden its focus to include other new artistic projects.
London’s Serpentine Galleries
Arte Povere’s Marisa Merz and Argentine Adrian Villar Rojas
A bit of a hike from London's Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington is the entrance to Kensington Gardens in Hyde Park. In 1970 a tea pavilion in the park became the renowned Serpentine Gallery. This past year another small building within walking distance became Serpentine Sackler with an attached cafe designed by Zaha Hadid. In November we view exhibitons by the Arte Povere artist Marisa Merz and works in clay be the Argentinian sculptor Adrian Villar Rojas.
Good and Bad News for London’s Dog Production
Broadway Confirmed for Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Following repairs to the Apollo Theatre, where the roof collapsed injuring 80 in December the production of the hit The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was scheduled to reopen on January 13. Now that's not going to happen. The show will reopen with a new cast next door at the Gielgud Theatre in June. The good new is that the National Theatre has confirmed that the sensational drama will open on Broadway in October.
Documentary of Gypsies or The Travelers
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker
Documentary filmmaker Danis Tanovic spent just $50,000 to create the documentary on the itinerat Roma people commonly know as Gypsies. He has produced a compelling film mainly using non-actors to tell the story of one Bosnian Roma family.
Palestinian Film Omar
A Violent and Graphic Look at West Bank
As in all spy thrillers, it’s a difficult world where one is trying to tell the good guys from the bad guys. It’s a story of counter-intelligence agents (the Israeli’s) trying to be a step ahead of the local Al-Aqsa Brigade, in the West Bank, and in this case, three radicalized young Palestinian men: Tarek (Iyad Hoorani) Amjad (Samer Bisharat) and Omar (Adam Bakri) who grew up together as boyhood friends.
Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Moby Dick's New England Legacy
In the 19th century the whaling industry, as chronicled in Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick, thrived in Nantucket. The community declined after the 1850s, first through competiton from New Bedford and access to railroads, then through the introduction of cheaper keroscene lamps. Long languishing as a ghosttown it has been revived as a super expensive time capsule of historic architecture and culture. The island swells to some 50,000 inhabitants during the summer season.
Oscar Race 2014
Overall a Very Good Year
The front runners with most nominations this year are for American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street and Twelve Years a Slave. With a divided pack there is bound to be diversity when the awards are handed out on Oscar night. We have an overview of what proved to a year of numerous fine films and performances.
Julianne Boyd Discusses Barrington’s Season
From High Drama to Three Musicals
Now in its 20th year Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass has earned a reputation as one of the nation's finest regional theatre companies. During a recent press conference artistic director, Julianne Boyd, discussed the upcoming season.
Invasion of Privacy at Dezart Performs
Larry Parr's Comedy/ Drama in Palm Springs
“Invasion of Privacy” director Judith Chapman asks the audience in her program remarks to take a step back in time to the 1940’s. That was a time when a woman lawyer was a novelty in the South, and man’s moonshine was nobody’s business, and that an “invasion of privacy” lawsuit was something of a brand new issue, which eventually, became a popular reason for going to court.
The Gonzo Chronicles
Arthur Yanoff Recalls Coffee Corner
Arthur Yanoff has had a one man show at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and was named Jewish Artist of the Year. A couple of years ago he and photographer Kay Canavino collaborated on a Melville project for the Ralph Brill Gallery and the author's former home Arrowhead in Pittsfield. We met recently to discuss Boston's Coffee Corner and its rarely documented hipster legacy which was a spawning ground for gonzo.
Gonzo Chronicles Two
Arthur Yanoff Hipster and Jewish Artist of the Year
Looking Berkshire hipster and artist Arthur Yanoff in the eye the rabbi told him "Once a Lubavitcher always a Lubavitcher." In part two we move from Coffee Corner to crits with Clement Greenberg and raising dogs in the country. Along the way Yanoff was celebrated as Jewish Artist of the Year. For which he had to rent a tux in Great Borington. Or something like that in no particular order.
Ai Weiwei a Smash in Miami
Florida Protest Artist Destroys Priceless Vase
As an act of protest the renowned dissident Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, famously was photographed deliberately dropping and destroying a priceless Han Dynasty vase. Now it appears that in protest an artist has dropped an ancient vessel, painted over by Weiwei, that was included in his traveling exhibition. We explore the many layers of irony that tracks vandalism mimicking the creative destruction of Weiwei. Yet again imitation, however criminal, is the sincerest form of flattery.
Barber of Seville at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Rob Ashford Makes a 198-Year -Old Opera Fresh
Anthony Freud, the non pareil general manager of opera, brought Rob Ashford to the Lyric to mount his first opera. The Tony and Emmy award winning choreographer and director does a brilliant job by honoring the form of Beaumarchais and Rossini.
The Winter's Tale at Old Globe
First Production by Artistic Director Barry Edelstein
San Diego's renowned Old Globe’s new Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, wanted his favorite Shakespeare play, “The Winter’s Tale” to be his first directorial production – and he wanted to present it inside, in the Globe’s venerable and famous 75 year-old theatre.
Neil Diamond: Solitary Man
Film by BBC-TV Production Team
“Neil Diamond: Solitary Man” chronicles Diamond’s early years growing up in Brooklyn and his initiation into the world of songwriters working in the famous Brill Building, in New York City in the fifties. He wrote songs for others, but always harbored a desire to become a performer of his own songs.
24th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival
Shoes Written and Directed by Ukrainian-born Costa Fam
The story of the film “Shoes” is cleverly told without dialogue or seeing the faces of the actors. This unique film approach immediately engages the viewer; drawing them deeper into the story that director Costa Fam wants to tell. “Shoes” is a powerful, yet tenderly crafted movie, that traces a pair of red shoes from their purchase by a young woman just beginning to enjoy the pleasures and dreams that life has to offer.
It Happened in Saint-Tropez
French Film Directed by Daniele Thompson
“It Happened in Saint-Tropez” is gorgeously photographed by Jean-Marc Fabre along with a stunning production design by Michele Abbe-Vannier. The film is easy on the eyes, and is well acted. It’s a light, frothy, tasty French pastry of a movie that produces chuckles and laughs all the while being entertaining in the process. And there isn’t a calorie in sight. Enjoy!
Polish Artist Konrad Smolenski
Caused Buzz at 2013 Venice Biennale
It would be funny to say that Konrad Smolenski is someone you will soon have heard of. Already a pretty big deal throughout Europe, he had the honor of representing Poland at the Venice Biennale this year and made quite the lasting impression.
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
35th Annual Festival June 26 to July 6
This summer marks the 35th annual Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. There are many highlights with international artists slated to perform. It's worth planning for for the trip north to hear Diana Ross, Keith Jarrett, Bobby McFerrin, Ginger Baker, Rufus Wainwright and the music of Frank Zappa.
Ghost the Musical in Indy
Broadway Across America Comes to Town
The latest in a string of movies turned musicals is Ghost the Musical. A Broadway Across America show based on the 1990 film of the same name, the production follows in the footsteps of The Wedding Singer, Grease, Once, Newsies, Sister Act, Flashdance and a few notable others, fleshing out the story from the movie with musical numbers. This popular trend works well with some movies, but feels forced with others; unfortunately Ghost is one of those others.
The Glass House: Philip Johnson's Masterpiece
From Its Inception A 20th Century Architectural Icon
Conceptualized in 1945 and completed in 1949, architect Philip Johnson's Glass House almost immediately became a 20th Century architecture icon. Used by Johnson as a weekend retreat for 58 years, it is now shared with the public as part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is a pilgrimage mecca for architecture buffs to see the eccentric outer structures and contemporary art collection of Johnson and his longtime partner art curator/critic David Whitney. This is a visually-compelling experience of an architectural masterpiece.
Rita Coolidge Discusses Her Cherokee Heritage
Part One of a Dialogue with the Renowned Singer
Prior to a Christmas gig at the Clark Art Institute on Friday, November 30 we spoke at length by phone from her home north of San Diego. Now a grandmother of three by a daughter with former husband, Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson, we delved deeply into her Cherokee heritage. That led to rewarding collaborations exploring Native music with Robbie Robertson. This is part one of a dialogue.
Two Time Grammy Winner Rita Coolidge
Delta Lady on Surviving Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Growing up the daughter of a Baptist preacher in Tennessee, as a kid, Rita Collidge listed to R&B broadcast by WLAC out of Gallatin.Hearing Little Richard for the first time she was shaking all over. After Florida State and a year in Memphis she drove to California with Leon Russell in his Thunderbird. She recorded with Delaney and Bonnie before heading out solo which she has been doing ever since. There was a stint as a duo with Kris Kristofferson the father of her daughter. Then the epic tour of Mad Dogs and Englishmen with Joe Cocker who remains a close friend. Through it all she remained level headed while true to her faith and values.
Rita Coolidge at the Clark
Heart Warming Holiday Concert
Last night at the Clark Art Institute in ever sense there were chestnuts roasting on the fire as Rita Coolidge, backed by the Williamstown Gospel Choir, delivered a heart warming program of Christmas music. Between songs she chatted intimately with the audience sharing insights to her Cherokee heritage, comments about her one and only ex husband, Kris Kristofferson, and life on the road. The set of carols was peppered with top forty hits gleaned from two Grammy awards and a life on the road that started on tour with Delaney and Bonnie in the early 1970s.
The Good Lovelies CD
Live At The Revolution
Live At Revolution is the best CD that The Good Lovelies have yet produced. It satisfies completely. If it does not win industry notice, nominations and awards I will be amazed.
The Eccentric Barnes Foundation
Following Litigation Relocated to Philadelphia
After lengthy law suits breaking the iron clad will of Dr. Albert Barnes, his foundation relocated from its inaccessible suburban home in Marion to downtown Philadelphia in 2012. In 1992, The Barnes Foundation received court approval to send 80 works on tour to generate funds for needed renovations. The Foundation continued to struggle financially, hampered by poor management for a time, the isolation of its location, and local restrictions on parking which reduced the number of visitors. From its inception, the Barnes Foundation has been the focus of ridicule and controversy. Today the collection of 2,500 works is valued at between 20 and 30 billion dollars.
Il Pane Degliangeli, Offering of the Angels: Paintings and Tapestries of the Uffizi Gallery
On View at Savannah’s Telfair Museums Through March 31
The venerable Ufizzi Museum in Florence has tarnished its reputation by packaging works from storage and sending them to four out of the mainstream American museums. We viewed the final destination of the revenue generating tour at the Jepson Center for the Arts in Savannah, Georgia.
British Rocker Alvin Lee Dead at 68
Inspired Birth of Gonzo Journalism
A 1970 concert at Harvard Stadium by Ten Years After inspired the first published use of the word gonzo. We recall the birth of Gonzo Journalism on the occasion of the passing of British rock star Alvin Lee at 68.
Ai Weiwei: According to What?
Traveling Exhibition Tours Five Museums
We visited Ai Weiwei: According to What? at the Hirshhorn in DC mid February. The five museum tour or work by the dissident, iconoclast Chinese artist will be on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Art from April 5 through July 28. Ai who remains under house arrest in China is one of the world's most influential and controversial artists.
ArtsEmerson Announces 2013-2014 Program
Fourth Season Starts September 17
ArtsEmerson announces the first half of its fourth theatre season, beginning in the fall of 2013. This announcement covers productions into January of 2014, with more winter/spring productions to be announced later. Tickets for these productions go on sale to ArtsEmerson members on April 12, and to the general public on May 3.
Provincetown's Legendary Sun Gallery
Yvonne Andersen Part Two
After leaving Provincetown and Sun Gallery its co founder Yvonne Andersen acquired a global reputation as a pioneer of teaching video animation to children. This led to a position at the Rhode Island School of Design where she taught for 23 year with nine of them as department chair. Partnering with Red Grooms she was acknowledged in a recent Pace Gallery exhibition for creating one of the first Happenings in Provincetown.
EarSay: Catching up on the CD Backlog
Old Town School of Folk, Kirsty McGee, Karine Polwart and Maeve Gilchrist
These cds have become embarrassments sitting on my “To be reviewed” shelf and staring at me with accusatory intensity. So, I made a pledge to devote myself over the next month or so of clearing up the backlog and every other installment will be dedicated to bring these gems, (and make no mistake these are gems not castaways) to your attention.
EarSay: A Plea for Diction, Plus
CDs by Darlingside, Alistair Olgivy, Joe Johnson
When I write anything, be it an email or an installment in this series, my primary purpose is, as I presume is that of most writers, to clearly as possible express my ideas for you to consider. I would suppose that a songwriter has the same purpose, expressing clearly their ideas within the reinforcing framework of melody, rhythm and instrumental accompaniment.
Figurative Expressionism in Provincetown
PAAM Exhibition Through September 2
Following World War II the matrix of global contemporary art shifted from Paris to New York with the development of abstract expressionism as the leading movement of contemporary art of that era. During the 1950s there was much speculation about a Return to the Figure. Young artists who flocked to Provincetown to study with Hans Hofmann and Henry Hensche explored a synthesis through Figurative Expressionism. A number of these artists showed with Sun Gallery in Provincetown and Hansa Gallery in New York. The exhibition "Pioneers from Provincetown: The Roots of Figurative Expressionism" curated by Adam Zucker, Co-curator, Stephanie DeTroy focuses on this important movement.
Matilda Soars in London's West End
Olivier and Tony Winning Musical Also on Broadway
Having won a remarkable seven Olivier Awards the musical Matilda was restaged in New York. There it won a modest four Tonys. It is the current toast of Broadway. Surrounded by kids of all ages we caught a Saturday matinee in London's West End. Rarely have we been more delighted.
2014 Boston Pops Season
Fun Fun Fun From May 7 to June 14
The 2014 Boston Pops spring season will introduce audiences to debut appearances by Warren Haynes (5/13 & 14), Tony award-winning Billy Porter (5/20 &21), and conductor Sarah Hicks (5/23 & 24), as well as first-time collaborations with the New York-based jazz band sensation The Hot Sardines (5/28-30) and Cirque de la Symphonie (5/16 & 17),the wildly unique circus act that brings its aerial flyers, acrobats, dancers, and jugglers to orchestral stages throughout the country. Opening night features comic Jason Alexander.
Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil
Vast Installation at Mass MoCA on View for a Year
Building Five of Mass MoCA is one of the largest and most magnificent spaces for contemporary art in North America. It is always fascinating to see how artists respond to the daunting challenge. Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil is now on view for the coming year.
Terry Teachout’s Definitive Book on Duke Ellington
We Loved Him Madly
Wall Street Journal theatre critic, Terry Teachout, wrote a superb jazz biography "Pops: A Life of Duke Ellington." That became the one man play with John Douglas Thompson "Satchmo at the Waldorf" which opens soon Off Broadway. Now Teachout has written an even better biography "Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington." He is in the process of transforming that material into a play.
Management Dust Up for Shakespeare & Company
Tony Simotes Will Report to Executive Director Jerry Bilik
Not long after he took over as Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company in 2009 Tony Simotes had to deal with near extinction caused by some $10 million in debt. With the board and managing director, Nicholas J. Puma, great strides were accomplished to reduce and restructure debt bringing stablity to the company which Tina Packer founded in 1979. In a major change the board has created the new position of Executive Director, Jerry Bilik, whom Simotes and Puma will report to. Those close to the company see this as a long term step foward.
Marc Dennis at Hasted Kraeutler
A Curator And A Rabbi Walk Into A Bar...
The representational paintings of Marc Dennis often entail young people encountering masterpieces of painting in museums. This is the ancient theme of art within art. On a snowy day in Chelsea it was a relief to find a bit of humor.
Corpus Americus in NYC at Driscoll Babcock
Reconfiguring American Art
Founded in 1852 Driscoll Babcock is the oldest gallery in New York City, and the nation's oldest gallery, which from its inception, has focused on American art. Beneath the patchwork of skins stitched loosely into an ungainly whole, there is indeed something alive at the heart of "Corpus Americus."
The Berkshire Eagle: And Then There Was One
North Adams Transcript Merges and Advocate Folds
Given negative trends in media it comes as no surprise that The North Adams Transcript will merge with the Berkshire Eagle as of January 20. The weekly Adovcate, which has been in freefall for the past few years, will cease publication. As a part of the transition the Eagle will exand its weekly arts tabloid insert from summer to year round. Given the importance of the economy based on cultural tourism, and coverage of issues and politics in the still depressed Northern Berkshire County, despite attempts at positive spin this is really bad news.
Photographer/ Art Historian Carl Chiarenza
Makers and Mentors at Rochester Contemporary Art Center
Carl Chiarenza is distinguished both as a photographer and a scholar. Rochester Contemporary Arts Center is featuring him in Makers & Mentors new and recent collages, paintings and photographs by: Carl Chiarenza (Rochester), Lisa Bradley (New York), Bruno Chalifour (Rochester), David W. Haas (Rochester) February 6 – March 16, 2014.
Tribes at The Phoenix Theatre
Indianapolis to February 9
The power of the play lies in the exploration of communication. In a world where people can hear they seldom actually listen. It's about communication in every sense of the word. The way we interact with family, our partners, and the rest of the world.
Sondheim's A Little Night Music
I Could Have Waltzed All Afternoon at Emmanuel Music
Emmanuel Music's semi-staged performance of Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" demonstrated to me that the Broadway musical has its merits. I had expected that whatever the quality of the performance I would be writing a review mourning Emmanuel Music’s decline from pursuing high seriousness in music to reveling in kitsch. How could I have been so wrong for so long?
The Brothers Chapman at London's Serpentine
Jurrasic in Hyde Park
The ever controversial Jake and Dinos Chapman are at it again in London's Serpentine/ Sackler Gallery. "Come And See" is another of the artists’ exhibitions to be filled with insalubrious gore and crude hyper-reality. This is the classic art dialectic of vanitas; birth, death, sex, horror … and of course McDonald’s.
Visiting Smith College Museum of Art
Thoughts on Grunewald, Bouts and Jaune Quick-To-See- Smith
To celebrate the birthdays of Astrid Hiemer and Norma Leavy, just a week apart, we drove to the Smith College Museum of Art. Jack, an artist who knows the collection well, called ahead for an appointment to see the only drawing in North America by Mathias Grunewald the German Renaissance master of the Isenheim Altarpiece. I was excited to find a painting by my friend Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith in the permanent collection.
Café of St. Martin-in-the-Field
Cheap Fun Atmospheric London Dining
The top London destination for cheap hearty food with great atmosphere is found in Trafalgar Square. The Cafe in the Crypt below St. Martin-in-the-Fields is no secret. It is always noisy and crowded. Despite the inconvenience it's the best deal around in a very expensive city.
Remembering Folk Legend Pete Seeger
We're All Brothers And We're Only Passing Through
I have few if any idols in my pantheon, but if there is anyone that I admired enough to put there, Pete Seeger might well be the one.
Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at 46
Smacked on Super Sunday
Today, as millions of Americans bet the farm on the Super Bowl, in New York, Lady Luck came up snake eyes for renowned actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. He rolled the bones and with the spike still in his arm croaked from a hot shot of smack. After 23 years of staying clean he started using again last May with today's tragic result. We remember and celebrate him as one of the finest actors of his generation.
Contrarian Osso Bucco
Improvising on a Peasant Recipe
In upscale Italian restaurants when possible I always order Osso Bucco. Having read and absorbed some classic recipes on line, to the horror of my gourmet friends, I winged it and improvised. The resultant sauce was just awesome. But even at the suggested two hours the meat could have been more tender with longer cooking.
Barrington Stage's On the Town Broadway Bound
Julianne Boyd Discusses the Impact for Her Company and the Berkshires
During a recent press conference artistic director Julianne Boyd announced the 20th season for Pittsfield's Barrington Stage. She confirmed that last summer's hit musical On the Town is transferring to Broadway. This is a part of a trend for regional theaters to develop shows for New York. We asked Boyd about the impact and implications for the Berkshires and her company.
Barrrington’s Theatrical Speed Dates
Third Annual 10 x 10 Upstreet Festival of New Plays
Through March 2 Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is presenting its now annual, much anticipated 10 x 10 Upstreet a lively festival of new plays. The pace is fast and furious as one theatrical thumbnail morphs into another and another. After two quick and crammed acts we departed with a head swirling marathon of impressions. There were many joyous nuggets in a mash up of intensive theatre.
FreePort [No. 007]: From Here to Ear
Musical Performance Art By Birds at Peabody Essex Museum
Most Performance Art is warmed over conceptual art from three or four decades ago. So when something is truly new and exciting, even intellectually and aesthetically provocative, it should be celebrated. Currently at the Peabody Essex Museum is a performance piece by 70 beautiful finches created by French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. It should be seen and heard.
A Brecht Twofer in Dublin and London
Threepenny Opera and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
This past summer Shakespeare & Comoany staged Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children starring Olympia Dukakis with John Douglas Thompson as the Cook. This led to a dialogue with Thompson exploring the play and the concept of Epic Theatre. Here we consider two more productions. At the Gate Theatre in Dublin the musical with Kurt Weill The Threepenny Opera. And in London's West End The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.
2014 Tanglewood Schedule
James Taylor Returns July 3 and 4
The Boston Symphony Orchestra announces the schedule for its 2014 Tanglewood program. Aftar a hiatus last year, as has become traditional, James Taylor returns for the Fourth of July Weekend. On July 5 Renee Fleming will appear on the opening night of the classical program. Popular artists will be announced as they are booked.
The Great Beauty Wins Golden Globe
Best Foreign Film Also Oscar Nominated
In the Italian film “The Great Beauty”, which screened at the just concluded Palm Springs International Film Festival, young Italian director Paolo Sorrentino set out to pay homage to his great predecessors and the country that inspired their work. Rome is one of the great cities of the world and its art, sculpture, architecture and splendor are nonpareil.
Denmark's The Hunt Stars Mads Mikkelsen
2014 Oscar Nominee for Best Foreign Film
The child Klara confuses a glimpse of her older brother's porn film, and anger over seeming rejection by her teacher Lucas, twisted into a false accusation. In this Oscar nominated Danish film we see the life and career of Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) utterly destroyed by a witch hunt in a village. There are stunning parallels to the sensational Fells Acres daycare center case in Massachusetts that sent members of its Amirault family to jail.
Cambodia's Animated The Missing Picture
2014 Oscar Nominee
Cambodia’s 2014 Official Submission for the Academy Awards is “The Missing Picture”, by native Cambodian director and narrator Rithy Panh. In this deeply personal film Panh laments the genocide of almost two million Cambodians carried out by the infamous Pol Pot regime under the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s.
Buzkashi! Shown at MASS MoCA
Final Film in Series: Compete! - The Human Tower
Cinema Lounge at Mass MoCA screened the Canadian Indi-Film BUZKASHI! recently, which was shot in Tajikistan, Central Asia. Buzkashi, an ancient sport, is vaguely a cross between rugby and polo with few rules. The ‘ball,’ however, is a headless goat. There may be 200 riders on a huge field and slowly the film develops the game and its main characters into a fantastic tale set in a vast and fascinating landscape.
American Repertory Theatre 2013-14 Season
Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as LBJ
American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) has scheduled American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performances and Audio Described performances for blind and low-visioned audiences during the A.R.T.’s 2013-14 Season. Bryan Cranston the star of the hit TV drama Breaking Bad plays President Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way which opens the season in Cambridge on October 1.
38th Humana Festival of New American Plays
Actors Theatre of Louisville February 26–April 6
The Humana Festival of New American Plays is now in its 38th year. The American Theatre Critics Association will meet and participate in the Lousiville, Kentucky event.
Newport Jazz Festival to Celebrate 60th
Greetings From Its Founder George Wein
I’ve been producing the Newport Jazz Festival since 1954 and I'm proud to announce that the festival will be celebrating its 60th anniversary on August 1 - 3, 2014. This may be the first time you're hearing from me personally, but I know I've met many of you festival-goers while riding around on my golf-cart, known as the "Wein Machine." It's always great to talk with fellow jazz-lovers.
Artist Joan Snyder
The Writing on the Wall
When Joan Snyder has a show, people come together. They drop whatever they are doing and join groups converging and answering some call. Like a pilgrimage. Converging. Like Flash mobs. Converging. They go to see what's new, of course, but more than that they go to get their fix.
Wilco Returns to Mass MoCA in 2015
Will Skip This Summer
The Solid Sound Festival of Wilco has been a shot in the arm for the Northern Berkshire County tourism and hospitality industry. They will return to North Adams in 2015 but not this summer. This will be fourth festival organized by the band for Mass MoCA.
Ian Grey's Portrait Series
North Adams Parlor Cafe
Ian Grey of the Berkshires is best known for his hummingbird series of photographs. In his largest exhibition to date, some 50 images, he will be showing portraits at the Parlor Cafe in North Adams. The reception for the artist will occur on Saturday, January 25, from 6 to 9 PM. The show remains on view through March 8.
Tanglewood Tickets on Sale January 26
The Best Seats Go Fast
Tickets to the 2014 Tanglewood season, priced from $10 to $121, go on sale, Sunday, January 26, at www.tanglewood.org, through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, and at the Symphony Hall Box Office (301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA). The 2014 Tanglewood season, June 27-August 30, features more than 100 performances, including concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center (the BSO’s prestigious summer music academy); chamber music, recital, and concert opera presentations in Ozawa Hall; and a series of Popular Artist concerts.