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.
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.
A Christmas Carol in Albany
A New Take on a Timeless Classic
The adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" put on by Albany's Capital Repertory Theatre is a fun, fresh take on a Christmas classic. The talented cast show off their craft with multiple roles, enhancing the the heart-warming story with unexpected humor. An excellent outing for the whole family.
12 Years a Slave
Film a Sure Oscar Contender
The film is not the tale of the Old South that your grandparents remember when viewing “Gone With the Wind”. This is an unflinchingly brutal, cruel story told from the point of view of the thousands of black slaves who have endured two hundred and fifty years of living lives devoid of basic humanity and denied the dignity that all humans deserve.
La Traviata at the Lyric Opera of Chicago
Marina Rebeka Stars in Fabulous Production
Under General Director Anthony Freud, the Lyric Opera is transforming opera for the 21st century. Coming seasons will be increasingly General Manager Anthony Freud’s own creations and should be fascinating to watch unfold.
Becky’s New Car Drives Great At Lyric Stage
MidLife Road Testing A New Life Style
Though Becky's midlife isn't exactly unhappy, she needs something. But from her car dealership desk, she can't help but wonder what else is out there. And then she accidentally finds out. When a wealthy suitor presumes she is a widow, she finds herself leading a double life. It quickly accelerates out of control. With very real and yet fantasy characters and places, this play is a witty comedy of manners and expectations. Becky takes an unexpected ride from doldrums to adventure in an often clever and amusing way.
When a Musical OD Lands You in Intensive Care
I’m writing this in the MRU of a local hospital. MRU stands for Mahler Recovery Unit. I’m here for the long haul – six weeks of Rossini overtures, early Haydn symphonies and Scott Joplin piano rags. Mahler addiction respects no boundaries – rich, poor, the highly educated or just plain working-class folks – the MRU has them all.
Boston Baroque Pops the Cork
Concerts to Celebrate the New Year
Following its annual tradition, Boston Baroque will once again "pop the cork" in grand style on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day! This year's celebratory concerts feature a rousing all-Bach program with Brandenburg Concertos No. 3 & No. 4 and Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Coffee Cantata) BWV 211 along with champagne and chocolates at intermission.
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.
Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Operas
The BEMF Delighted Jordan Hall Audience
The BEMF has produced five semi-stage chamber operas since 2008 and this Thanksgiving weekend presented excerpts from all five.
Dallas Buyers Club a Film Scorcher
Matthew McConaghey As a Wasted Hustler Dying of AIDS
Don’t miss the gritty, grungy, and f-bomb laden film “ Dallas Buyers Club” starring Matthew McConaghey. McConaghey, a Hollywood handsome, leading man, lost more than 40 pounds in order to play the role of Ron Woodroof, a Texas hustler and rodeo rider/electrician with Aids, who turned drug dealer in the recently released “Dallas Buyers Club”.
Book Thief Steals Hearts and Minds
Forbidden Literacy in Nazi Germany
“The Book Thief” based on the international best selling novel of the same name by Markus Zusak, is intelligently and sensitively directed by Brian Percival, from a wonderfully crafted screenplay by Michael Petroni. It’s a small, touching story with large emotional issues that is flawlessly and understatedly performed by a cast led by Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush, and Oscar nominee Emily Watson, and stars young French-Canadian teen actress Sophie Nelisse in the title role as Liesel Meminger.
Otello at the Lyric Opera of Chicago
Triumvirate of Botha, Martinez and Struckmann Excels
The Lyric revived a 2001 production by Sir Peter Hall, and it is masterful. Brought forward to the 19th century when the opera was composed, Shakespeare is tipped in the basic ‘public’ set which is shaped like the Globe Theater, a semi circle with three tiers of balconies. Action takes place on all levels and is a delight to the eye. The pageantry of opera opens as Otello returns home victorious through a wild storm of eleventh chords, woodwind lightning and ripping winds in the strings. The chorus prays for Otello’s safety.
Parsifal at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Groves, Youn, Hampson and Karanas Deliver
John Caird and Johan Engels’ production of Parsifal at the Lyric Opera of Chicago is an unqualified success. A difficult and long opera is made accessible without violating the composer. Exiting the theater with the packed house over and over laudatory phrases were lofted: “Home run for Wagner.” “I can’t believe it was so long. I was rapt.” “Beautiful in every way.”
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.
Beef and Boards Annual Holiday Show
Chowing Down on Christmas Cheer in Indy
The Beef & Boards Orchestra is excellent as always; highlighted center stage on the all-new set by Michael Layton. Dominic Sheahan-Stahl provides a fitting salute to the military with his rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
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.
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.
Milos Karadaglic, the Brooklyn Riders, Bela Fleck
At New York's Le Poisson Rouge
We welome the New York music critic Djurdjija Vucinic. She reports on several performances at the renowned Le Poisson Rouge.
Tina Packer to Direct Henry VIII
The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University
The founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, Tina Packer, will direct the Bard's rarely presented Henry VIII for Actor's Shakespeare Project. It was run in Boston at The Modern Theatre of Suffolk University from December 11 through January 5.
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.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Best Play in London’s West End
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.
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.
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.
Four Saints in Three Acts
Intriguing Opera by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thompson
Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson collaborated on a one-of-a-kind opera that keeps on attracting audiences generation after generation. Conductor Gil Rose led a recent concert performance of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project at Jordan Hall, of the New England Conservatory. But, it’s an awful lot of whimsy. (And I hate whimsy.)
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.
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.
Spiraling Downward: From Minimal to Material
Systems of Abstract Art
Robert Linsley's New Abstraction has an interesting blog post on the notion of symmetry that got me thinking about several of the artists that he mentioned and an earlier blog on Stella who is his “main man” in Modern painting.
Mira Schendel at Tate Modern
Retrospective of Brazilian Modernist
While described by critics as the Doyenne of Brazilian modernism the work of Mira Schendel (Zurich, Switzerland, 1919 - São Paulo, 1988) is not well know outside of her adopted country. The Swiss born artist is the subject of a major retrospective at Tate Modern in London through January 19.
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.
Huntington's Cocktail Hour Stirs Family Strife
A.R. Gurney Recalls WASP Family Bad Manners and Memories
The evening ritual of the upper middle class cocktail hour is used as the vehicle to virtually shake not stir the superficial, unflappable demeanor of cold WASP parents. Set in his parents' elegant home, John announces that he has written a play about them, and their calm demeanor dissolves. As the martinis flow, so do the revelations and recriminations, in this personal comedy of manners about ties that unravel with a couple of wonderful characterizations and witty words.
Hindemith and Me
Celebrating a Titan of Contemporary Music
If I had the means and the energy, I’d organize a festival of some sort. Instead I’m commissioning a Hindemith Bobblehead for my office. Barack Obama has one. So does Oprah, so why not Hindemith? I’m going to stick it on a small pedestal with a plaque that has my favorite Hindemith quote: “There are 12 tones. Treat them carefully.” You gotta love that guy. i
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.
Venus in Fur in San Diego
Whipping Up David Ives Play
Playwright David Ives’ play “Venus in Fur”, is scheduled to become the most produced play in America during 2013-2014 according to American Theatre magazine that keeps track of such things. Caroline Kinsolving and Jeffrey Meek star in the San Diego Repertory Theatre production though December 8.
Lizzie Borden's Forty Whacks
Boston Lyric Opera Slated for Tanglewood
Although its mid-century Freudianism is dated, "Lizzie Borden" still packs a wallop as a work of music-drama. The recent Boston Lyric Opera production was a preview for a performance at Tanglewood this summer.
A Worm in Paul Rudnick's Apple
Gay Eden Remake at Desert Rose Playhouse
It may be somewhat funny at times and the actors are working hard to breathe life into a less than stellar plot line, but Paul Rudnick's “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” directed by the usually reliable Jim Strait, fails to engage on a couple of levels.
String Madness and Accord
I generally avoid reviewing cd’s that are void of singing, so it is with some trepidation that I approach these two releases, and would with even greater hesitation were it not that each of them delights, astounds and begs me to listen to them repeatedly and often.
Twelve Angry Men
Pasadena Playhouse to December 1
Sheldon Epps is a director with a strong personal vision, and he’s been on the mark, more times than he’s missed it. In selecting “12 Angry Men”, a play with twelve white characters, he challenges the audience to accept six black actors playing roles written for white characters.
New York Bound, Islip Museum, Long Island
International Book Art Biennial, until December 29, 2013
Artist and curator, Dorothea Fleiss of East-West Artists, Stuttgart/Germany, has brought exceptional and imaginative works by book artists from around the globe to East Islip, Long Island, New York. 100 pieces are on display by more than 70 artists. They will touch visitors in many different ways.
Wicked in Indy
At Murat Theatre until December 1
It is fun to rediscover why the prennial Wicked sustains as one of America's most popular musicals. Through December 1 it is playing at The Murat Theatre in Indianapolis.
When Silence is Golden
Restaurants Serve Rock Concerts with Food
From restaurants to the mall there is no escaping America's terrible taste in music. In addition to serving food restaurants insist on providing a rock concert. Usually it's the kind of music you go out of your way to avoid. Tell them to turn it down or off.
Nils Frahm at Le Poisson Rouge
Music Between Minimalist and Electronic Conglomerate.
The concert featuring the music of Nils Frahm was sold out at New York's Le Poisson Rouge. His combination of ambient modern classical falls somewhere between minimalist and electronic conglomerate.
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.
Malcolm Morley at Britain's Ashmolean Museum
Beyond Photo Realism
Malcolm Morley is not a Photorealist. His painting can convey a Photo-realist quality when reproduced in a publication, but to the eye of the viewer there is a subtle yet conscious energy to the paint. There is covert mark-making in Morley’s Superrealist works. If an “ism” was to be found it was in the artist’s self-categorisation—before discarding the method and the category of Superrealism in order to follow an expressionistic route—a route already alluded to in his noticeably surreptitious energy.
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 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.
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.
The Sweetest Embrace: Return to Afghanistan
Second Film: Herders’ Calling
Najeeb Mirza has filmed, directed and produced a series of documentaries set in Central Asian countries of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgystan. They tell stories of lives well lived in cultures and landscapes so different from our own, yet the human condition of yearnings for love and a meaning of life remain the same.
Labor of Love
A Primer on Orchestral Musician/ Management Relations
It was quite an eye-opener when I saw my first organizational chart of the BSO. Scratching my head, I asked, “Hey, where are the musicians on this chart?” as for the life of me I couldn’t find us...Today, musicians are trying desperately to fend off 40 percent salary cuts, plus concomitant reductions in orchestra size, length of season, pension and health care.
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.
250 Year Old Southern Live Oak Tree
Hosting Epiphytes: Spanish Moss and Resurrection Fern
A series of photographs with a short report will remain on the BFA Project Space. These 16 photos were a gift, received from a very old Southern Oak Tree and the people, who care for the massive tree, hanging Spanish Moss and Resurrection Fern.
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.
Uzbekistan: Part Two
Shakhrisabz and Bukhara
Tamerlane's hometown Shakhrisabz preserves a rich history of architecture. Bukhara, the Holy City on the Royal Silk Road fascinates with a multitude of mosques, madrassahs and mausoleums. Many of the historic buildings are now restored museums and craft workshops, which provide a unique setting for carpets, ceramics, textiles, metal work and wood carvings.
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.
Revival - A Novel by Scott Alarik
A Fable Of The Cambridge Folk Community
Alarik's credentials are extensive and diverse. He has been a performer, a songwriter, has written folk music commentary for the Boston Globe and published an earlier collection of his writings, “Deep Community: Adventures in the Modern Folk Underground.” His renown as a chronicler of the folk scene leaves me green with envy.
TransCultural Exchange Conference 2013
4th Conference in Boston
The four day conference ended on October 13. It was titled: International Opportunities in the Arts: Engaging Minds and drew more than 400 artists, administrators and participants from many art related venues worldwide. An exhilarating experience!
TransCultural Exchange Boston 2013
Thinking Globally Acting Locally
Attending the Boston TransCultural Exchange for the fourth time meant catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. This is a portrait gallery of many of the artists, panels and participants during the four day event attended by more that 400 delegates and speakers.
Nico Muhly's Opera Two Boys at the Met
From Awakening Desire to Identity, A Treacherous Course
Nico Muhly's opera Two Boys was a success at the Metropolitan Opera. What the music and the story convey is the feeling of sexual awakening in puberty. Only a first-rate article in Salon.com by J. Bryan Lowder talks about “desire before identity.”
Awakening by Martin Case and Joseph Brogan
A Shamanic Journey Across the Sonic Landscape
No coincidence that the sexier, more adulterated human voice of the saxophone takes the lead in the urban groove and neon sizzle of “Dance” and again in “Re-entry.” It is our connection to the dark, after all, that haunts us and, strange to say, fortifies us for a return to the light of common day.
London's Hot New Tryon St Gallery
Near the Saatchi Museum
The new Meridian exhibition at the recently launched Tryon St Gallery, (just a stone’s throw from London’s Saatchi gallery), explores the universal human fascination with finding our place in the world and recording it through maps and mapping.
Mandy Greenfield For Williamstown Theatre Festival
Tenure Begins September 2014
As she has for the past three seasons Jenny Gersten will plan the 2014 program for the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In September Mandy Greenfield will take over as artistic director. Currently she is Artistic Producer at Manhattan Theatre Club.
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.
Joe Thompson Maps Five Year Plan
Cultural Synergy Raises Tide for North Adams and Williamstown
This time next year the Clark Art Institute will open its Tadao Ando designed campus expansion. Mass MoCA unveils its new Anselm Kiefer building this fall. That adds to its existing Sol LeWitt building. The resultant boost in visitation, as well as more events like the recent Solid Sound Festival, are a part of plans for the expansion and growth of business, tourism and jobs for a region with twice the rate of state unemployment. That's down from seven times the unemployment rate in the early 1990s.
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.
ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage
Announces 2014 Season
ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage announces the second half of its fourth theatre season, beginning in early 2014. This covers productions into June of 2014. Rob Orchard, Executive Director for the Arts stated that "Our fourth season offers world premieres, classics, return visits from friends we've hosted before, and dialogue around important historical moments as well as a number of works featuring multi-media and music. In short, a world on stage coming to us this year from Belgium, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, England, Israel, The Netherlands, Russia and across the U.S."
Bacon Moore: Flesh and Bone
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford to January 19
It is hard to balance these two artists’ works. Bacon’s feverish sacks of meat are positively fervent set against Moore’s stolid immovable incapacity; Moore is like a muted child being out-screamed by a naughty sibling. Bacon Moore: Flesh and Bone contrasts their work in an exhibition at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum.
A.R.T & Moscow Art Theatre Schedule
Advanced Theater Training Productions for the 2013/14 Season.
The American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training announce the productions for the 2013/14 Season. From October 11 through May 30 in Cambridge, Mass.
Dialogue With Clarence Fanto One
Former Managing Editor of the Berkshire Eagle
In 1987 Clarence Fanto moved full time to the Berkshires joining the Berkshire Eagle as editor of its then new Sunday edition. He left the paper as its managing editor and several years ago rejoined as a reporter and has now slowed down as a freelancer and columnist. For the past several years he has compiled an annual summary of budgets, attendance and box office revenues of the major Berkshire arts organizations. We got together for lunch to connect the dots. There is no dispute over the accuracy of the data he compiles but we differ on its interpretation. Our occasional meetings and e mails are always lively and this is a chance to listen in.
Kiss and Cry at ArtsEmerson
Hands On Dance
The Belgian company Charleroi Danses presents Kiss and Cry a dance for animation and hands at the Majestic Theatre of ArtsEmerson. Performances continue through October 12. This is one of the most astonishing and original "dance" perrormances we have ever experienced.
Sargent’s Watercolors at the MFA
Glorious Glitz Awash Until January 20
The traveling exhibition "John Singer Sargent Watercolors" encourages us to view the artist as more than a glib and succesful society portrait painterr of the Gilded Age. This is an intimate study of the private Sargent painting in nature entirely for his own pleasure. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this aspect of his work in stunning depth and range,.
Sargent as Court Painter to the Gilded Age
Reflections on MFA's 1999 Exhibition
The current exhibition of Sargent's Watercolors at the Museum of Fine Arts prompts artist/ critic Martin Mugar to repost his review of the 1999 MFA exhibition. He compares Sargent in style and manner to Velasquez as a court painter. It is well know that Sargent's masterpiece "Daughters of Edward D. Boit" borrowed its composition from "Las Meninas" by the Spanish master.
Edmund de Waal Ceramics At Gagosian Gallery
Porcelain Pots Panoply By Author of the Hare With Amber Eyes
The author of the international bestseller The Hare with the Amber Eyes, ceramicist Edmund de Waal is a puzzle maker. Best known for his large scale installations of porcelain vessels exhibited in many major museums, much of his recent work has been concerned with ideas of collecting and collections. This reflects notions of how objects are kept together, lost, stolen and dispersed. His work comes out of a dialogue between minimalism, architecture and sound, and is informed by his passion for the written word. The issue of this Gagosian Gallery exhibition is what is it about? Is it a statement about de Waal regaining his family's lost wealth, or is it a commentary on consumerism? Just one of the many puzzles by de Waal in his literature and visual art.
Resonance Works Performs Verdi's Macbeth
Pittsburgh's Operatic Halloween Thrill
A new Pittsburgh-based company kicked off its inaugural season with the well-known Scottish blood bath. The reduced orchestra played with a lush round sound, supporting excellent native and regional singers whose voices carried easily in the Gothic music hall. A timeless setting added to the overall eerie effect of the piece, reminding us that the minds of mortals are ever susceptible to addictive avarice.
Corelli and the Elevator
Exploring Musical Ups and Downs
Go for it. What would you say has been the most important invention over the past five hundred years or so? The automobile? Nuclear power? The microchip? Sliced bread? My vote…(drum roll)…the elevator!
American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life
At Atlanta's High Museum Through January 12
The first installation of the collaboration between the musée du Louvre, the High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Terra Foundation for American Art explored the birth of American landscape painting through the works of Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand. American Encounters: Thomas Cole and the Birth of Landscape Painting in America premiered at the Louvre in January 2012.
Laure Prouvost Wins Britain's Turner Prize
Based on Video Installation Wantee
Laure Prouvost, winner of the fourth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, has been awarded the prestigious Turner Prize for her video installation Wantee, tribute to a fictional grandfather inspired by Kurt Schwitters.
At Home with Photographer Matuschka
A former model, Matuschka, created a riveting self portrait revealing a radical masectomy. It was on the cover of the New York Times Magazine and has been published in a Time Life book as one the 100 most influential photographs of the 20th century. With the recent coverage of Angelina Jolie ironically Matuschka is back in the news. Yesterday we attended her 40 year retrospective of self portraits at Sohn Fine Arts in Stockbridge.
Matuschka, Artistic Activist, Activist Artist
Another Vintage Interview
The former model, photographer and breast cancer awareness activist Matuschka is the subject of a current 40 year retrospective of her work at Sohn Fine Art in Stockbridge. Much of the work was created in the Berkshires as the jazz entrepreneur and journalist Edward Bride explored in a 2006 interview. Because of the media coverage of the recent elective surgeries of Angelia Jolie this proves to be both timely and provocative coverage of a courageous and interesting artist.
Uzbekistan: Part One
Tashkent and Samarkand
The fertile oases across Uzbekistan have attracted great conquerors in history, each leaving an architectural legacy along the fabled Silk Road. On this ancient trade route the cities of Tashkent and Samarkand shimmer with turquoise domes and spectacular mosaics. The cities also brim with exceptional crafts, fashioned out of silk, wood, metal and ceramics.
A Thanks to Lou Reed
Punk Poet Rock Icon Dead at 71
Personal remembrances of Rocker Lou Reed (1942-2013) whose influence on popular music and culture has been felt for over 40 years. Reed's trajectory was from pickup bands at Syracuse University to Andy Warhol's Factory parties to Boston's rock scene to the world.
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre 2013
Four New World Stage Presentations
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announces four new World’s Stage presentations in 2013—bold theatrical events from across the globe, each in its own voice, provoking discussion on issues of international significance. On the heels of celebrating the Year of Creative Scotland with two critically acclaimed National Theatre of Scotland productions this fall, Chicago Shakespeare Theater continues to demonstrate its commitment to engage audiences in global issues.
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.
Matuschka Reacts to Angelina Jolie
Renowned Breast Cancer Survivor Discusses Options
Because her mother and grandmother succumbed to breast cancer the artist/ activist, Matuschka, got tested often. At precisely the age of Angelina Jolie she underwent a radical mastectomy to remove a tumor. Her self portrait on the cover of the New York Times Magazine proved to be iconic. Which is why this week Inside Edition woke her up to comment on the breaking news about Jolie. That prompted her to write this compelling article.
Matuschka Maimed, Claimed and Famed
A Life and Career Defined by an Iconic Image
A blessing and curse the life and career of the artist Matuschka has been defined by a single iconic image. It has both opened and closed reports on work that came before and after the cover of the New York Times Magazine in 1993. The media entirely focuses on that image and her somewhat complex and freaky life. Attempts to evaluate her as an artist are few and far between.
The American Repertory Theater
Announces Its 2013/14 Season,
The 2013/14 Season, includes the previously announced Robert Schenkkan’s play All the Way and the world premiere of the musical Witness Uganda. Also: All the Way – by Robert Schenkkan, The Heart of Robin Hood – by David Farr, The Light Princess – a family show for the holidays, The Shape She Makes – conceived by Susan Misner and Jonathan Bernstein, choreographed by Susan Misner; written and directed by Jonathan Bernstein and The Tempest – adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and Teller (of Penn & Teller).