Senior Editor and Art Critic for The Cambridge Phoenix
By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 21st, 2019
Jean Bergantini Grillo was hired as a senior editor and columnist when The Cambridge Phoenix was launched by Jeffrey Tarter on October 9, 1969. She worked with renowned editor Harper Barnes trying to bring shape and coherence to a staff of hippie writers. Today she is writing a play about that era and its macho newsroom. She was one of three women on staff and knew how to use her elbows. She later wrote for The Village Voice, an experience described as chaotic, but loved four years with the Daily News.
The vast archive of some 600,000 objects was a primary source for the Bill Lichtenstein film WBCN: The American Revolution. When in college David Bieber became a campus correspondent for Billboard Magazine. In graduate school at Boston University he wrote a thesis on the impact of WBCN and the growing counterculture media on changing the mainstream of Top 40 radio and the straight press. He became music director of WBUR and went on to work for WBCN and the Boston Phoenix. He provides an insightful overview of an era of social and poltical change for the vast college/ youth market in Boston.
Remembering Remains, Hallucinations, Springsteen, and JT
By: Charles Giuliano - Feb 05th, 2019
As a junior at Boston University, John Sdoucous, worked with George Wein promoting the Newport Jazz Festival launched in 1954. By 1968 he was booking Summerthing for the City of Boston. He got Janis Joplin on stage at Harvard Stadium in 1969 and launched Concerts on the Common in 1970. He continues to book concerts and festivals all over America. For Sdoucos it all started in Boston.
In 1970 I was hired to cover jazz and rock for the daily Boston Herald Traveler. To my dismay soon I was writing obituaries. It started with Al Wilson (July 4, 1943 – September 3, 1970) of the blues band Canned Heat. Then Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970). Not long after Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970). That was the class of 1970 with an average age of 27-28. A year later we lost Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971).
The Cabot in Beverly, Mass. is gearing up for its Centennial in 2020. It escaped the wrecker's ball a few years ago and is now in the midst of renovation, Toward that end there was a gala, all star benefit tribute to a 1920s icon Bessie Smith The Empress of the Blues. It was a night to remember and indicator of the next chapter of a venerable venue.
Rossini’s classic story of the oppressed woman who upends the patriarchal dowry system to pursue true love, is wonderfully invigorated by BLO’s selection and cast of critically acclaimed singers. This production launches the fall season of Boston Lyric Opera with stunning panache.
Now 89, legendary Boston jazz impresario , Fred Taylor, is busy booking one nighters for the Cabot Theatre in Beverly, Mass. Asked if it is time to retire he replied with the title of his memoir "What and Quit Show Biz." It's a work in progress with Dick Vacca. They hope to publish the book in spring, 2019. With typical wit and insight it recaps a career booking clubs like Jazz Workshop/ Paul's Mall, and Sculler's. He founded the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and produced concerts at Symphony Hall and other venues.
Objects of Use and Beauty in Japanese Culinary Tools
By: Mark Favermann - Jun 20th, 2018
The Fuller Craft Museum is one the few specifically craft museums in the United States. Ranging from the traditional to the high tech, its appealing and thoughtful current exhibit showcases a wonderful assemblage of diverse Japanese utensils and accessories used in domestic as well as professional kitchens.
Until recently the Museum of Fine Arts has neglected artists of Jewish heritage known as The Boston Expressionists. There were a handful of works that were burried in storage. Major works by Hyman Bloom and Karl Zerbe were included in a gift from Saundra B. Lane and William H. Lane. The museum is planning a major exhibition and catalogue for Bloom. It is likely that there will be other projects and publications. There are no current plans for showing or collecting works by Zerbe and Jack Levine.
Presided Over Once Formidable Phoenix Media Empire
By: Charles Giuliano - May 25th, 2018
While he lacked stature, Stephen Mindich, who died this week at 74, cast a giant shadow. As a hip capitalist at the height of his power he was an ersatz Citizen Kane of Boston's counter culture industry of print and broadcasting media. In 2013, his Phoenix empire exhinguished never again to take flight from the embers of fame and fortune.
The critical success of "Astral Weeks" by Ryan Walsh has brought national media attention to Boston's counter culture in 1968. Following a prior interview with former Cambridge Phoenix editor, Harper Barnes, we pick up on the other side of the Charles River with former Boston After Dark Editor, Arnie Reisman. This continues our coverage of arts and media during a golden age from 1969 to the demise of The Real Paper in 1981.
New Journalism in Boston/ Cambridge in the Early 1970s
By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 14th, 2018
The recently published book Astral Weeks, by Ryan Walsh, has brought national attention to the counter culture of Boston/ Cambridge in 1968. This extensive interview with Harper Barnes, former editor of the Cambridge Phoenix and columnist for The Real Paper, covers developments in the early 1970s. It was a fertile era that launched careers of numerous arts critics and political commentators. After a stint in Boston, eventually, he returned to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and the city where he continues to reside.
Ryan H. Walsh’s Landmark Study of the Counter Culture in Boston
By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 12th, 2018
For most of 1968 the then struggling Irish musician and composer, Van Morrison, was on the run from his mobbed up New York manager. Living on Green Street in Cambridge, with local musicians he performed gigs and worked on what became the iconic album Astral Weeks. This is the focus of an enthralling book by Ryan Walsh fleshed out in the context of a meticulously researched account of the vibrant counter culture of that year of living dangerously. Through what evolves as a page turner we learn about Mel Lyman and his Fort Hill Cult, their paper Avatar, founding of WBCN FM as the rock of Boston, the Boston Tea Party, the Bosstown Sound, and Boston After Dark/ Phoenix. Along the way we encounter films, The Boston Strangler and Titicut Follies,as well as LSD gurus Tim Leary and Baba Ram Dass. Long overdue this fiftieth anniversary book sets the record straight.
Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex" is a bizarre hybrid, an opera-oratorio set to a text by Jean Cocteau. Emmanuel Music paired it with two works about Orpheus, another denizen of the land of the Green myths. In their works, both Matthew Aucoin and John Harrison, composers with local connections, showed their debt to Stravinsky.
International companies will travel to Becket, Massachusetts, from Denmark, Israel, Belgium, Australia, France, Spain, and Scotland. Notably, representation from across the United States ranges from New York City, Minneapolis, and Houston to Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago, among others.
“This is a classic case of confronting a well-organized, well-financed, misguided inside group, hoping to lead them to their better angels,” said Leslie Ferrin, founder of Save the Art. “That’s why we’re crowd-sourcing Save the Art’s legal action fund. We want to invite people to step up at whatever level they can, and say, “we support finding a better solution.”
After celebrating its record-breaking 85th Anniversary Season, Jacob’s Pillow announces new, expanded fall, winter, and spring programming as a main component of Vision ‘22, a strategic approach to the Pillow’s transformation into a year-round center for dance research and development and a civic partner in our region.
19th Biennial Festival's Two Operas and 18 Concerts
By: David Bonetti - Jun 25th, 2017
The early music world comes to Boston every two years for the BEMF. This year its centerpiece opera was Andre Campra's "Le Carnaval de Venise," an opera-ballet, in its American premiere. It also reprised a hilarious pair of intermezzi, one of them the popular "La serva padrona," by Giovanni Pergolesi and Handel's Roman period oratorio "La Resurrezione." A good time was had by all.
Since June, 2014 Berkshire poet, Charles Giuliano, has published three books of gonzo verse. A fourth is in production for a summer release. On Tuesday April 18, at 7:30 P.M. he will give a reading at the Williams Faculty Club (WFC), 968 Main Street, Williamstown, MA 01267. The event is free and open to the public.
The 36th season will include four plays at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, as well as three plays at the Wimberly Theatre and one special event in the Roberts Studio Theatre, both located in the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in the South End.
BTG is expanding its 2017 summer festival offerings, including The Music Man and the Million Dollar Quartet, Arsenic and Old Lace, as well as two productions by playwrights, Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo (Zoo story) and David Auburn's Lost Lake.
There has been extensive media coverage of the First Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards. The winners of The Berkies have been announced. There will be an awards celebration 5 pm on November 13 at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret in Pittsfield. In this first round of awards Barrington Stage Company and Shakespeare & Company dominated in most categories. The smash hit Pirates of Penzance ran the table. The Larry Murray Award, named for the founder, will be the only suprise of the gathering of critics, media and theater mavens.
Bad news continues for the arts community. The Boston Globe has announced that it is elminating Cate McQuaid's weekly gallery column. Kington Gallery is circulating a petition to have the vital coverage reinstated.
In the ever eroding realm of print journalism yet again the deep cuts are to the arts. Berkshire theatre companies, Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow, and museums have long relied on reviews by the New York Times and Boston Globe. As of now the Times is eliminating "regional" coverage which includes the Berkshires. In the western part of the state the arts in the Berkshires are likely to get far less attention from the Boston Globe. With its emphasis on "national" coverage the Williamstown Theatre Festival this season moved opening night from Thursday to Saturday in a perceived snub to "local" reviews including timely blogs. Other than the Eagle they also diminished access for interviews and elminated press conferences. Those polices may come back to haunt arts organizations next summer.
Having returned to Annisquam where she grew up during summers Lindsay Ann Crouse is performing annually with Gloucester Stage. We saw her launch the season with a lively and hilarious production of Lettice ad Lovage. As kids my sister Pip was Lindsay's age and I was a bit older than her brother Timothy. On a rainy day we met in her vintage village home and discussed a remarkable life in theatre with numerous stage, TV and film credits including an Oscar nomination and an Emmy.