Report for Turkey Week & End of November 2011



It's now a Money Saving Tradition to present Paid Up Subscribers with Double Issues for such Holidays as Thanksgiving & Christmas/New Years.

So Your Roving Arts Reporter is going to try this On Line

The Tree was finally lit in Rock Center, the Police having set up multiple barriers to keep people from being trampled in the Ecstasy of witnessing the instantaneous illumination of hundreds of tiny Colored Lights.

This differed somewhat from Police Activity down near Wall Street & all those Commie, Pinko, Red, Socialist, Fellow Traveler, Anti Capitalist, Democracy Hating Protestors. Who did they think they were, to dare to Challenge Wall Street?

Not even the President dared to do that, at least not in any Effective Action

Fortunately, the Holiday Show Windows—we dare not call them Christmas Windows, for fear of destroying the Separation of Church & State, or of offending Atheists—offered some Visual Diversions.

As usual, Bergdorf's Windows were the Best: Crammed with all kinds of Antiques, celebrating a Carnival of Animals Theme.

Saks 5th featured a Lady Riding a Bicycle through several windows, with lots of Wheels & Vent Pipes

Disappointingly, Lord & Taylor's Windows looked like cheesy, cartoonish Knock Offs of previous years' handsomely detailed & animated models of Historic New York Scenes

Instead of recycling the traditional Miracle on 34th Street windows, Macy*s reminded us of that famous New York Sun Newspaper Editorial, Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus!

There were also a lot of Golden Cog Wheels, possibly a Salute to Martin Scorsese's wonderful Salute to the fabulous early films of George Méliès & Hugo, the boy who lived among cog wheels in the Great Clock of the Montparnasse Railway Station.



•Juilliard Chamber Symphony at Alice Tully: Standing Violinists, Sitting Cellos!

•Peter Brook's Beckettian Fragments at Barishnikov: Gestures & Words…

•Weak King Richard II Surrounded by Favorites at Court: Gay Buddies Bad Policy!

•Who's Banging on That Door? Who Fucked Up on That Military Mission?

•Challenge To Book of Mormon: Musical Version of Silence of the Lambs!

•The Horrors & Joys of Gay Marriage! Standing on Ceremony Comes Out of the Closet!

•The Great War Re Visited: The Blue Flower Sings of Lives Destroyed & Collaged.

•Into the Woods with Wild Animals You Should Know: Watch Out for Feral Teenage Boys!

•Japanese Narratives at the Met Museum: Plus Fabergé, Renaissance Venice + More…

• Important American Paintings & Sculptures at Christie's: Rich Collectors Need Cash?

Suicide, Incorporated Appropriately Sited in the Black Box at the Pels on 46th & Sixth.

Seminar with Alan Rickman at the Golden: $5,000 Apiece To Learn How To Write Fiction?

•Moses Confronts Pharaoh at Carnegie Hall: Not the Aida Legend: Rossini, Not Verdi!

•Hanging Boys & Hanging Artworks In Guggenheim Rotunda + Stuffed Dead Horses!


End of Week Rambles Summary:

Alice Tully, Are You Listening in To Juilliard's Great Young Musicians?

Liam Burke was sensational on Clarinet, with the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra, playing Aaron Copland's Concerto for Clarinet & String Orchestra, with Harp & Piano.

The program opened with Igor Stravinsky's Concerto in D, the so called Basel Concerto. It was novel to see the Violinists Standing Tall while playing, with Cellists seated…

This is an excellent ensemble, also well demonstrated with its spirited reading of Mozart's Prague Symphony, No. 38 in D Major.

Question: Where are all these talented young musicians—including those at the Manhattan School of Music & the Mannes School & elsewhere across the United States—going to find life sustaining work at a time when Arts Budgets are being slashed & some Symphony Orchestras are even going under?


Peter Brook & Samuel Beckett Together Again—with Some Wistful Fragments!

Even though Peter Brook wasn't on hand down at the Baryshnikov Arts Center when his production of five of Sam Beckett's short works opened, the performances did him credit.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the delightful Trio of performers—Jos Houben, Kathryn Hunter, & Marcello Magni—did themselves, Brook, & Beckett credit…

Indeed, Brook didn't do the Honors all by himself. He shared direction for this Bouffes du Nord production with Marie Hélène Estienne.

Kathryn Hunter was special in Rockaby & Neither. Houben & Magni were especially charming in Act Without Words II.

The late Alan Schneider was also a major Beckett director & proponent. But Peter Brook is, after all, Peter Brook…

[Brook's daughter, Irina Brook, will be staging her version of Shakespeare's La Tempête at the Salzburg Festival this summer…]


Weak Kings Get What's Coming To Them: Deposition & Death at the Pearl Theatre!

Richard II was murdered in the Tower by a Rascal.

But his Death wasn't so horrible as that of an earlier Weak King, Edward II.

As Chris Marlowe told that Tale, the King's Killers rammed hot pokers up his Anus, it being widely believed that he was Not a Real Man, neglecting his Kingdom & his Royal Duties toward his unhappy Queen Consort.

Some—who believe that Marlowe also wrote the Bard's Dramas—argue that Richard II is only an improved re write of Edward II.

Nonetheless, it is a far more powerful play, but one that is almost beyond the capability of the Pearl Theatre's small ensemble. The doubling of roles is at times confusing, especially when actresses are pressed into service as men.

Like Edward, Richard had surrounded himself with FlatterersBushy, Bagot, & Green—who were also believed to pleasure the King. Not just pay Court to him…

The talented young Sean McNall plays the King sensitively, but, for some, he seemed Light Weight. Well, that was really Richard's Major Problem

Years ago, when Brooklyn College's School of Performing Arts, BAM, & the Royal Shakespeare Company had a kind of Partnership, the RSC brought Richard II to BAM.

Each night they played, Ian Richardson & Richard "Dickie" Pascoe took turns at playing Richard & his arch rival & supplanter, Bolingbroke.

I admired McNall's efforts, but I can never forget two great Richards & two heroic Bolingbrokes…


What's Behind That Door & Who Is To Blame for a Disastrous Military Mistake?

A British Officer [Chris Westgate] & a Soldier [Tom Cobley] are awaiting an Inquest into a devastating miscarried Military Action.

As they tensely wait—with the Soldier prepared to testify against his Superior—there is an Ominous Knocking at an Unseen Door.

Knock Knock, Who's There?

We never find out.

But, in the meantime, the Officer succeeds in convincing the Soldier that he, not the Officer, was to blame for what went Wrong

Anna Adams staged this tense drama—by Tony Earnshaw—for Unfit Productions.

Actually, this taut production is very Fit indeed! Cobley & Westgate make a tense Team.


Click Your Hooves Together for PS 122's Parody of Silence of the Lambs!

Can a new Off Off Broadway Musical be all bad with a Hit Tune like Hannibal Lecter's Lament: "If I could smell her Cunt…"

This may sound like a New Low in Manhattan Culture, but Hannibal the Cannibal cannot be judged by the Rigorous Moral Standards of Tea Party Republicans.

The Silence of the Lambs Parody now at PS 122 is simply titled Silence! The Musical.

But it is anything but Silent! Even the Chorus of Black Sheep are busily clacking their Hooves together in time to the music…

With handsome lit from behind Signs outside this ex Public School, Silence has clearly settled into a Long Run.

Even if you failed to see Anthony Hopkins as the Movie Hannibal, you can enjoy this lively show!


Richard Thomas & Craig Bierko Celebrate Gay Relationships: Standing on Ceremony

Hey, Guys!

Would you like to marry handsome Craig Bierko or earnest Richard Thomas?

Girls! How about a Gay Wedding with Harriet Harris, Beth Leavel, or Polly Draper?

Too bad: they are Not Available as they are just acting in Standing on Ceremony, which offers a selection of often hilarious Skits about the Perils & Joys of Gay Marriage.

Imagine a Traditional Wedding—without the tiny figures of a Bride & Groom on the cake. Groom & Groom or Bride & Bride instead?

Or a Wedding for which the Planner is Julie Taymor!


The Great War Was a Horror, But Blue Flower Collages That Disaster for Two Doomed Couples.

The Production Values of The Blue Flower are impressive.

Possibly, even Oppressive, considering the jumble of Wooden Scaffolds & Stairs Leading to Nowhere that Beowulf Boritt has constructed on the end stage at the 2nd Stage.

Jim & Ruth Bower—who have crafted this New Musical—have obviously done a Lot of Research. Only Tom Stoppard could top their evocation of DaDa in Zürich

Not to overlook their references to the Emergence of Expressionism in Mittel Europa or the Between the Wars Art Scene in Paris

At first, I thought the Young Artist named Franz [Sebastian Arcelus] might be Franz Marc, of Blaue Reiter fame. But no… He's doomed to die in The Great War.

The estimable Marc Kudish plays Max, the Survivor, who ends up Collaging Memories in a scrap book with a Blue Flower on its cover…

Will Pomerantz staged, but there was just too much going on…


Forget About All Those Pedophile Priests! Gay Scoutmaster Destroyed by Teenage Teaser!

With all the Fuss about Sodomic Pedophilia in the Football Team Showers at Penn State, the Agonies of a Gay Scoutmaster now seem only Marginally Tragic.

Indeed, the Idea of a Grown Man dedicating himself to helping Young Boys learn to Tie Knots & Mark Trails when he could, instead, be a Good Ol' Boy, swilling Beers & spouting Sports Scores, has long been almost a Cliché

I was in the 4 H Club, not the Scouts, so I never had to fend off the Unwanted Attentions of an Overgrown Boy Man.

But Friends who were Scouts told tales of their Scoutmasters wanting to snuggle up with them in their Sleeping Bags, when Out In The Woods…

In Wild Animals You Should Know, playwright Thomas Higgins makes it chillingly clear that one of the Animals you need to watch out for is the Feral Teenage Boy, all too aware of his attractiveness to Older Men…

Teens like the one in this play used to be called Prick Teasers

He has glimpsed his Scoutmaster kissing another man in the house across the street.

So, out on a Camping Trip—not "Camping" in quite that sense—when the Scoutmaster tries to show him how to cast in fly fishing, he grinds his butt into the shocked Victim's Crotch.

After which, he destroys him with a Lying Accusation.

Some Alleged Rapes are not necessarily so…


Scrolls & Screens with Japanese Narratives at the Met + Renaissance Venice & Electrotypes!

At the Monday Press Preview at the Met Museum, ostensibly for Storytelling in Japanese Art, there were five other Previews as well!

One was the Annual Unveiling of the great Christmas Tree, hung with historic Neapolitan Angels & engulfed in Nativity Scenes & 18th Century Neapolitan People at Work & Worship.

This Demi Pagan Holiday Treat is always sited before the great iron Rood Screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid, bought—not pillaged—by the late Newspaper Magnate William Randolph Hearst.

Beyond the Altar Screen & into a Wrightsman Gallery, one discovered amazing examples of Victorian Electrotyping.

No, not an early form of Electric Typewriter, but an ingenious method of cladding baser metals permanently with Silver & Gold!

A Heavy Gold Mace might have been carried in Procession before Queen Victoria. Other amazing Artifacts of the Royals & Imperials, as well as of the Robber Barons & the real Baronets, filled the chamber.

Onward into the Lehman Wing & down the stairs to admire Art in Renaissance Venice, 1400 1515.

Until recently, most of the paintings—Madonnas with Child predominate—were upstairs among the Masters, not segregated by City State of Origin

A good walk away are the Fabergé's from the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection. Yes, there are some of those Malcolm Forbesian Imperial Russian Easter Eggs!

Also new on view is Lisbon's Hebrew Bible, the so called Cervera Bible, so very rich in Ornamentation that its pages are to be turned every week, so that more of its beauties can be appreciated, than leaving it open to only page set.

This is called by the Met's Curators Medieval Jewish Art in Context.

When at the Met, do not miss the 9/11 Peace Story Quilt, even though it's down in the basement, in the Uris Center for Education. In the Corridor, actually…

Then there's also the wonderful, colorful Romare Bearden Mural, The Block, in the gallery between the Rockefeller & Acheson Wallace Wings.This is part of the city wide celebration of Beaden's Centennial. He was born in 1911

Up at the Cloisters—always a good Holiday Treat—there's The Game of Kings. These are Ivory Chessmen from the Isle of Lewis. Made of Walrus Ivory in the Middle Ages, these were unearthed in 1831 on Lewis, off the Scottish Coast.

On loan from the British Museum, so they won't be up at the end of Manhattan at what once was Fort Tryon forever…

The delicate drawings in the Japanese Storytelling Scrolls are a marvel to behold, dealing with Deities, Gods, Dragons, & Demons—from Shinto & Buddhism, Heroes, Tragic Women, Men Making War, Aristocrats, Monks, & Ghosts, as well as stories about Monkeys, Rabbits, Frogs, Horses, & other Animals…

Many of these scrolls are on loan from the New York Public Library, augmenting Met Museum holdings.


Major American Paintings at Auction at Christie's: Ready Cash for Strapped Owners?

Despite the many amazing 20th Century American Artworks scattered around a series of rabbit warren like rooms & chambers on the 20th floor of the Simon Schuster Bldg, waiting for the Christie's Auction, Your Roving Arts Reporter had the sensation of being instead in the Permanent Collection Storage of, say, the Whitney Museum.

Almost all of the works on view were certainly what we like to call "Museum Quality."

Some of them look very much like works now on the walls of MoMA, the Met Museum, & the New York Historical Society.

In fact, one of them—which I rapidly photographed—I had also photographed last week on the walls of the newly renovated & re opened Historical Society. This was N. C. Wyeth's Drafting the Declaration of Independenc—1776!

Obviously, Newell Convers Wyeth liked this Historical Subject so well that he painted it more than once. At auction, it sold for $362,500.

Andrew Wyeth's Lily Pads went for only $47,500…

NC Wyeth, like Norman Rockwell & even Rockwell Kent, had the misfortune in his own time to be widely regarded—even admired—as an Illustrator, rather than as a Serious Artist.

Rockwell Kent's Asgaard Farm went under the Hammer also for $47,500.

There were no Norman Rockwells on offer…

But Georgia O'Keeffe's works won Big: her Vagina like florals My Autumn & Black Iris were sold for $2,770,500 & $1,426,500 respectively!

Frederick Church's subtle Twilight was sold for $3,218,500, but a canvas by Oscar Florianus Bluemner fetched no less than $5,346,500!

You've never even heard of Oscar Florianus?

But surely you know Marsden Hartley, now on view in two shows at the Brooklyn Museum?

Hartley's small scale Movement, Sails was purchased for $1,874,500. That concluding $500 suggests bidding increments of $500…

If anyone knows the name of Emanuel Leutze, it's because they know his famed painting—or school room reproductions—of George Washington Crossing the Delaware.

He must have liked that composition formula so well that he reversed it for Departure of Columbus from Palos in 1492. A Noble Historical Subject!

Some Bidder liked it so well that $1,142,500 was paid for this canvas!

But what a Roster of Famous American Artists On Sale: Milton Avery, Fairfield Porter, Joseph Stella, Charles Burchfield, Paul Manship, Stuart Davis, John Marin, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassat, John Singer Sargent, Thos. Hart Benton, Everett Shin, & of course Grandma Moses!

My interest was piqued by two George Inness canvases: The Goat Herder & Hastings (Evening Landscape).

The latter reminded me of Inness' Home of the Heron, a repro of which was on the wall of my childhood bedroom.

My father was the Chief Herdsman for the Purebred Guernsey Dairy of Jesse Juliet Inness Cox, daughter of George Inness II. So I grew up with the Inness Legacy

Next at Christie's: The fabulous Jewels of Elizabeth Taylor!


Committing Suicide Just Off Sixth Avenue: We Help You Write Your Last Notes!

"Farewell, Cruel World!" is by now almost a Parodic Cliché

Still, if things have got so bad that you just can't stand it anymore, you might want to leave a Note behind to explain…

Or to make whomever you blame for Failure or Loss of Love feel really, really Guilty!

In Suicide, Incorporated, playwright Andrew Hinderaker imagines a Visionary Entrepreneur who offers to help people write really Good Suicide Notes.

He makes a mistake in hiring a still grieving Young Man who, through neglect, allowed his Younger Brother to commit Suicide.

There is a kind of Odd Bonding between the New Hire & a shambling Failed Husband.

Does the Note Facilitator really want to help him let go. Or does he want to save him & perhaps save himself?

As staged by Jonathan Berry & designed by Daniel Zimmerman, there was a lot of Furniture Movement in the constricted Stage Space of the Black Box at the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre.

In fact, the most Vigorous Activity engaged in by the Cast was the shoving off stage & pushing on stage of various desks, tables, couches, & stuff…

It should be possible to design a kind of Unit Set, in which Acting Areas can be indicated by changes of Lighting, not by Major Dislocations of Chairs & Couches!


Taking Notes in Seminar, with Alan Rickman: Bitter, Failed Brit Author Confronted by Students.

Four Young Would be Writers of Fiction have gathered in a spacious [Rent Controlled] Riverside Drive Living Room to take a No Credit Seminar with an Older Writer, not only Past His Best, but also possibly a Plagiarist!

One of them is a preening young man who speaks of Yaddo & the MacDowell Colony, as well as of his Manuscript now at The New Yorker.

Why he feels he needed to pay Alan Rickman $5,000 to read his stuff is a Mystery.

There's also a Young Asian American who bares her Breasts, at one point. Possibly a production feature that will entice audiences to the Golden Theatre…

Seminar is by Theresa Rebeck, who, the last time I saw her—in a Limo bound for the Humana Festival in Louisville—was angry that "Critics do not like my plays." Or were we on or way to Downtown Denver, for the New Play Summit?

Some Fellow Critics, who saw Seminar, wondered why anyone would want to pay $5,000 to learn how to Write Fiction?

Truth is said to be Stranger than Fiction anyway! Plus, you do not have to Make Up Stuff!

A raffish Malcontent, who is also sponging off Lily Rabe, playing the Apartment Owner—who has only two rooms with Hudson River Views—finally Wants His Money Back.

This involves the Entire Apartment, walls & all, rising up into the fly gallery of the Golden Theatre & disappearing out of sight!

To reveal the bitter old Author's book case cluttered digs, where Rickman offers the angry lad a check

This amazing Transformation was worth the Whole Evening!

Actually, the Young Author gets more than a Check.

The Old Master has read his astonishing manuscript & will now be its Editor. Supposedly, he will learn more from being well edited than in a Seminar

At first, I wondered, where did they find all those Books on the Shelves?

What an Exhausting Job, having to dig up so many volumes & place them on David Zinn's shelving!

But then, so many people now read Fiction & the New York Times on those little Kindle pads.

Who needs actual books anymore?

Oh, Sam Gold staged this play at the Golden!


Let My People Go: Moses Sings To Pharaoh at Carnegie Hall!

Opera Lovers know how many Visual Versions are possible in staging Verdi's Aida.

But what would Rossini's Moïse et Pharaon look like in the Great Proscenium Frame of the Metropolitan Opera?

We will probably never know, for—although some of the Arias, Duets, & Choruses are interesting—the Dramatic Action is not all that compelling.

How do you stage the Parting of the Red Sea so the Israelites can walk across to Sinai?

Fortunately, we were able to enjoy this seldom heard work in concert at Carnegie Hall, courtesy of the Collegiate Chorale, under the able direction of James Bagwell!

Not only is the Massed Chorus a potent Musical Force, but choosing some outstanding Operatic Talents for the Major Roles was a Master Stroke.

The veteran James Morris seemed just the Leader the Jews needed to bring them out of Egypt: Strong of Voice & Stalwart

But instead of having a brother Aaron to turn a Staff into a Serpent & invoke all those Devastating Plagues, Rossini's Moses had Éliézer [Michele Angelini] for a brother. Apparently, Aaron gains something in Translation.

Kyle Ketelson was fearsomely powerful as Pharaoh, with Eric Cutler his handsome son, Aménophis.

But Aménophis has a Problem: he's in love with Anaï, a Hebrew Girl!

Marina Rebeka was vocally & visually sensational as the Alien Beloved—who has to make a Choice

Under Maestro Bagwell's baton, the American Symphony Orchestra splendidly supported the Soloists & the Collegiate Chorale.

The Chorale is offering other programs this season, after which it will travel to Israel & to the Salzburg Festival, where I hope to hear them again!


Jack Kennedy in a Coffin, Pablo Picasso Suspended, Stuffed Horses: Guggenheim Rotunda…

Even if you live far off from the Isle of Manhattan, it's worth taking the trip to New York this Holiday Season just to see the Cascade of Outrageous Artworks hanging down in the Rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum!

Among the Pendant Masterpieces are several Hanged Boys, Pope What's His Name, felled by a Meteorite, Pablo Picasso Suspended, Disney's Pinocchio Flying, JFK in a Coffin, an Immense Dinosaur Skeleton, The Bremen Town Musicians: Stuffed Donkey, Dog, Cat, & Rooster, Adolf Hitler Praying + Various Stuffed Horses, Dogs, & Whatever…

This Suspended in Space Show is called ALL.

What you see is what their Creator insists are all the Works of Art he has made thus far.

After this stupefying Exhibition, Maurizio Cattelan has promised to make No More Art!

Do Not Take Him at His Word…

Actually, it's clear that he has not, in fact, made many of the objects hanging high up in the Frank Lloyd Wright Air of the Guggenheim Rotunda.

The Stuffed Donkeys, Horses, Dogs, & Cats must have been taxidermied by actual Taxinomic Craftsmen, not by Cattelan.

He seems to have been the Ideator, finding others to make his Ideas, Drawings, & Intentionally Offensive Fantasies into Objective Realities

Indeed, he seems to think so little of the Results, that many of the Works hanging out to dry are titled Untitled!

Jeff Koons also early on Ideated Artworks that he then hired Italian Craftsmen to execute. His Ceramic Michael Jackson with Pet Monkey—a copy is in SFMoMA!—was certainly not formed, colored, glazed, & fired by Koons.

The slanting Side Gallery Cells—lining the upward or downward Spiral of the Rotunda—remain Empty for the ALL show.

They thus offer a Mute Comment on both Wright's Architecture as a site to display Planar Artworks & Cattelan's lack of interest in segmenting his Creations into them.

All who visit this show receive, absolutely free, a two sided sheet depicting All the Hanging Artworks, as seen from two sides of the Rotunda. This is a Keeper!


This Week's Rational Ratings—

Peter Brook's Samuel Beckett Sampler: FRAGMENTS [★★★★]

Shakespeare's, Marlowe's, or Anonymous' RICHARD II

Tony Earnshaw's THE DOOR [★★★]

Paul Rudnick, Neil LaBute, Moisés Kaufman, Mo Gaffney, et al's STANDING ON CEREMONY [★★★★]

Jim & Ruth Bauer's THE BLUE FLOWER [★★★]


Andrew Hinderacker's SUICIDE, INCORPORATED [★★★]

Theresa Rebeck's SEMINAR [★★★]


Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.

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