May, 2012

Clybourne Park is Raisin in the Sun Territory, With Racial Problems,
Spring Season Double Header at the Jewish Museum and more!

Mayday! Mayday!

That Alert is a leftover from World War II

But there once was a Time when May Day--The First of May--meant Long Marches of the Dutiful Proletariat, parading before their Designated Leaders with Seas of Waving Red Flags & Hammer & Sickle Devices held joyously aloft.

Large Photo Posters of Karl Marx, Fred Engels, VI Lenin, & Stalin were almost obligatory, as well.

Fortunately, in the New World, the May Date most important may well be Cinco de Mayo, at least for Card Carrying Latinos & Hispanics.

For WASP Gentiles, the Big Date is Mother's Day!

Speaking of Gentiles, there is even a Gentile's Market, up on Madison Avenue, at East 79th Street!

But they Do Not Discriminate

Thinking about the Attitudinal Differences between Gentiles & Jews: Whatever became of Monica Lewinsky?

Was she, as the Question was phrased at the time of the Disclosures about Fun & Games in the Oval Office: "Good for the Jews…"

Is Iran Good for the Jews?

How many Nuclear Warheads are really enough for National Defense?

Toward the End of the Month, Your Roving Arts Reporter & his Critic Colleague & Web Editor, Scott Bennett, will be visiting the Crystal Bridges Museum, in Bentonville, Arkansas, where the Walton Millions have created Wonders.

A Full Report will be filed separately…

Something to Think About: Facebook©™©™© is worth much, much more than The New York Times, now not even valued at a Billion Dollars.

So, is Print really Over?



Spring Season Double Header at the Jewish Museum:

Beyond Impressionism & Pointilisme: Edouard Vuillard--A Painter & His Muses, 1890 1940

Edouard Vuillardnever Married. He lived long with his Maman.

She was one of his Muses, as the impressive new show at the Jewish Museum colorfully demonstrates.

But Vuillard was also fortunate in attracting Rich Jewish Patrons, some of whose Wives also became Muses.

In the Paris of his day, Wealthy Jews were among the major supporters of the Arts & Artists.

David David Weill--of Lazard Frères--was one of Vuillard's admirers & collectors…

But this Exhibition--although focused on his Collectors--is really about the amazing & colorful Paintings on view.

Possibly Vuillard's affinity for Lithographs--some of which are quite original--influenced the flat use of Color in many of his canvases. Instead of seeming modeled to suggest Three Dimensions, they are often flattened out.

Sometimes the Colors seem applied in little Squares, beyond the Dots of Pointilisme.

In some of the paintings in this show, there is a hazy or misty Quality, somewhat like a slightly Out of Focus Photograph.

Here are a few outstanding Vuillard Canvases, so you can judge for yourself.

Even better, do go to the Jewish Museum & see Vuillard's work for yourself. The show is on the walls until 23 September 2012. There's also a revelatory black & white film…


In Israel with Kehind Wiley:

In a recent issue of New York, Kehind Wiley is shown in his new Studio in Beijing.

This remarkable Painter does get around.

He has been shown at Documenta in Kassel.

One of his Heroic Canvases hangs in the Lobby of the Brooklyn Museum. There are even more Wileys upstairs!

He does not seem interested in painting Women.

All of the Paintings in this show were inspired by his Visit to Israel, where he selected interesting Men of various Shades of Color for his Subjects.

Invariably, the Men are gleamingly portrayed, against incredibly detailed & patterned Backgrounds.

You could not make a Photograph of one of Wiley's Men--even with the most Artful Lighting--that could show the Face in such remarkable Reality. Even Adobe Photoshop cannot do this.


At MoMA: Words, Words, Words or Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language…

A Touchstone of this new MoMA show--not the Character in As You Like It--is Robert Smithson's Iconic & Seminal Illustration of Words as Material: A Heap of Language

Some of the Heaps look like junk you might find in a Forgotten Drawer.

Although a Strand of Poetry is said to run through this show, some aspects are more of a Hotch Potch, some of which actually relate to Letters of the Alphabet, to Words, & to Phrase Fragments.

There are some Famous Photos in the show, including a selection of Eye Photos made by such Greats as Berenice Abbott.

This is partly about Concrete Language in Visual Art, so Marcel Duchamp & FT Marinetti represent DaDa & Futurism.

But there's also a Spoken Language Component, in Dial a Poem, with a Bank of Old Fashioned Dial Phones on which you can hear Poems by the likes of Philip Glass, William Burroughs, Laurie Anderson, John Ashbery, & Allen Ginsburg.

Ginsburg & Ashbery were Colleagues of Your Arts Reporter when he was a Professor of Theatre at Brooklyn College, many Moons ago…

For the Record, here are some Examples of Ecstatic Alphabet Letters & Words:

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, I Pray The Lord My Soul To Keep…

Here are Some Numbers, as well:










Simon Says & Simon Selects Photographs Relating To A Living Man Declared Dead & &&&&&&…

Well, it's like This: Taryn Simon has been spending Four Long Years All Over the World, photographing Living Ascendants & Living Descendants of Single Individuals.

This has resulted in an Optical Numbing Series of what look like Wall Charts, studded with Tiny Photos.

When Simon could not find a Living Relative to Lens, he has left a Blank Space in his odd Rogues Gallery.

Among Simon's Subjects are Bosnian Genocide Victims, the Living Dead of India, & the First Woman to Hijack an Airplane.

He has also included Australian Test Rabbits, infected with a Lethal Disease, though one wonders if Rabbits are really Individuals, worthy of such Exhaustive Photography?

The Supreme Court insists that Corporations Are People, so why not Australian Rabbits, as well?

In the Spirit of Simon's Multiple Image Photo Collections, I'd like to offer my own Exploration of the Various Moods of the Blessed Virgin Mary--as She Sails Through the Heavens


At the Walter Kerr: Clybourne Park is Raisin in the Sun Territory, With Racial Problems…

If you still remember Lorraine Hansbury's Raisin in the Sun, you may be interested in what was happening back in 1959 & much later, in 2009.

Unconscious & Deliberate Racism still dominates, even after a span of Fifty Years.

Even if Well Meaning Liberals dance around Issues & Questions

Bruce Norris sets his Domestic Drama in the Living Room of a Neighborhood House that an Angry White Man is selling to a Family of Color. It is neat & conventional.

Fifty Years Later, it is a Graffiti Smeared Wreck.

Property Values & "There goes the Neighborhood" are involved.

This was shown initially at Playwrights Horizons, where Your Arts Reporter was a bit put off by the Over the Top Characterizations that invited the Audience to Feel Superior to Racists of Whatever Color.

Nonetheless, under Pam MacKinnon's aggressive direction, the Cast is excellent, especially Jeremy Shamos, as an irritating, insensitive White Man.


Another Gloss on Barrie's Peter & Wendy: Peter & The Starcatcher at the Brooks Atkinson.

OK!It's like this: Christian Borle has to win all the Best Actor/Farceur Awards there are out there this Spring!

As the Swashbuckling & Piratical Black Stache, Borle chews up all the Scenery that's in sight on stage at the Brooks Atkinson.

He keeps the Audience in stitches, hilariously guffawing

But he's only part of this Fabulous Production, which is Pure Magic!

Peter & The Starcatcher is Story Theatre raised to the 33rd Degree!

Minimal Meansare used to create the Illusion of Wonders & Terrors.

Donyale Werle should win some Awards for the Ingenious Scenic Design, which is activated by the Resourceful Cast.

In fact, Everyone in this remarkable Ensemble should win Awards, for the Directors Roger Rees & Alex Timbers have made sure that each Actor has several Very Special Moments!

Alex may be remembered for his work with Les Frères Corbusiér & that Broadway Hit, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Wendy's Mother, Molly, is energetically played by Celia Keenan Bolger, who holds her own against all odds. She's the only Girl on board…

Rick Elice's Pre Quel to James Barrie's Peter Pan is based on the popular novel by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson.

What was especially remarkable about the Performance I witnessed was how the Audience suddenly stopped its Tsunami of Hilarity & Thigh Slapping Laughter to go Deadly Silent when the Play got Serious!

Peter & The Starcatcher should be settling in for a Very Long Run!

It cannot hurt that it received Nine Tony© Nominations, including Best Play!

Worth noting also is the fact that both Peter & Once began Production Life Off Off Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop!

Once received Eleven Nominations, including Best Musical!

Jim Nicola & the NYTW Crew down on East 4th Street must be doing something Right


Challenge to Blue Man Group: All White Vocapeople Have Come from Outer Space to West 50th!

If you remember the Swingle Singers, you'll have some idea of what Vocapeople can do to both Classic Melodies & Modern Songs.

A Visual Challenge to Blue Man Group, they are all smeared with White Face Makeup & they wear White Suits.

Five Men & Three Women, they say they have come from Outer Space. Or maybe from a Planet a bit closer…

Actually, they've been On Tour abroad.

Most of the time, they seem to be ready to devour the Black Mikes they carry so close to their Lips.

Nonetheless, the Sound is very Good.

There is a Lot of Interaction with the Audience, many of whom seem to enjoy being involved.

For me, these interludes were Time Wasters. I'd much rather have had more Swingle Singing

Acres of Post War & Contemporary Art at Christie's: Press Preview with Muffins & Coffee!

Millions ofAmericans are no longer doing as well as they once did: perhaps the Middle Class is really Over?

No Matter… There is still that One Per Cent that can afford to bid on Post War & Contemporary Art at Christie's.

Recently, Christie's hosted a Press Preview for a Host of Modern Paintings, Prints, Sculptures, & Constructions.

But why anyone would want to buy a glowing White Fluorescent Tube, suspended horizontally, is still a Puzzlement. Of course, if you tack Dan Flavin's Name onto or near the Tube, you may have a Winner!

Among the Important Collections on offer at Christie's is Property from the Pincus Collection, whose Founders are described as Passionate Patrons & Philanthropists.

David Pincus is quoted as saying of Art that: "You only have it for a Lifetime. It doesn't belong to you."

So he's not going to be buried in a Tumulus, surrounded by Pollocks, Rothkos, Keifers, & De Koonings…

Some Treasures from the Collection of Evelyn D. Haas, when sold at auction, will be San Francisco's Loss.

Think Levi Strauss, of which Hubby Walter Hass was longtime CEO.

Among the Paintings to go on the Block are Richard Diebenkorn's Berkeley #59 & Wayne Thiebaud's Study for Freeway, both of them Bay Area Oriented.

Mrs. Haas made a fractional gift of the Diebenkorn to SFMoMA, so its sale at Christie's will enable SFMoMA to buy some New Stuff for its Walls.

Christie's is hoping proceeds from the Haas Sale will top $9 Million!

But that's not all from Private Collections: How about those two Sandy Calder Mobiles from the Landmark Home of Eliot Noyes? One is White; the other, Red.

Mega Ton Blockbuster Sale!

Just the Evening Sale totaled $388.5 Million!

That's the Most Valuable Post War & Contemporary Art Auction ever…

Fourteen new World Auction Records were set.

Forty One Artworks sold for more than $1 Million, with Nine going for over $10 Million!

As for the Pincus Collection--mentioned above--if David Pincus is not going to be buried with his Art Treasures intact, he can at least have a Very Expensive Funeral.

The Pincus Hoard went for $174.9 Million, the Biggest Total for Post War & Contemporary Art ever sold!

Christie's Morning & Afternoon Auction Sessions of Post War & Contemporary Art achieved $76,827,300 Million!

Taken altogether, Morning, Afternoon, & Evening, the total was $465 Million!

Twenty One new World Auction Records were set.

Mark Rothko's Orange, Red, Yellow won the Highest Bid Ever: $86.9 Million!

On Broadway, his Bio Show, Red, didn't come anywhere near that in Box Office Receipts…

Talk about World Records:

Yves Klein's FC 1 won $36,482,500!

Jackson Pollock's Number 28 went on the Auction Block for $23,042,500!

Barnett Newman's Onement V fetched $22,482,500!

Gerhard Richter's Abstrakes Bild won $21,810,500!

Richter's Seestück (Liecht bewölkt) wasn't far behind, winning $19,346,500

One of those Calder Mobiles, Lily of Force, set a Calder Record: $18,562, 500!

Calder's other Mobile in the Sale, Snow Flurry, was purchased for a mere $10,386,500…

Who says America Is Broke?

With Sales like that, the One Percenters must be doing Very Well?

Actually, a Lot of Buying Power now comes from Overseas

Lily Safra's Jewels for Hope Fetch $37.9 Million for 32 Charities: Diamonds Are Best Friends!

If you are worried about your Deposits in the Safra Bank, it must be OK, for Mrs. Safra's Gems proved to be worth a lot at the Christie's Sale in Geneva.

Her Burmese Ruby & Diamond Ring was sold for $6,742,440. That could buy a lot of School Lunches for Ugandan Orphans.

This is a new World Record for Rubies sold at Auction. This 32.8 Carat Ruby is now called "The Hope Ruby."

It once belonged to Luz Mila Patiño, known to High Society as the Countess du Boisruvray.

Mrs. Safra's 18 Jewels by JAR all sold, for a total of almost $11.5 Million!

A Ruby Camellia Brooch by JAR set a World Record for Jewels by JAR: $4,323,240.

This does not mean that Mrs. Safra kept those Jewels in Jars

Van Cliburn Collected Silver, not Jars of Jewels: Sale Wins $4.4 Million for Van's Foundation.

After winning the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, Texas' own Van Cliburn began collecting Russian Silver & other Antiquities.

Top of Sales, however, were two George II Giltwood Mirrors, at nearly $500,000

Don't Downgrade American Artists! Over $27 Million for American Paintings & Sculptures.

Mary Cassat's Sara Holding a Cat was bought for more than $2.5 Million in Christie's 16 May NYC Sale.

Norman Rockwell's Dreams of Long Ago sold for $2,322,500, even though Rockwell, for many years, was regarded by Art Critics as merely an "Illustrator."

Georgia O'Keeffe's Deer Horns brought almost $2 Million: Ante Up for Antlers!

MaxfieldParrish's charming Puss in Boots won almost $1.5 Million: Another Art Deco Illustrator

Latin American Artists Amaze at Christie's May Sale: Matta's La Révolte Brings $5 Million!

There won't be any more Mattas, as the Chilean Painter died in 2002.

So his New World Record of $5 Million for La Révolte des Contraires should delight those who already own a Matta or two.

My Good Friend & Fellow Artist Photographer, Carol Miller de Gonzales--who lives in the elite Pedregal Enclave of México City--owns at least one Matta.

So I've just sent her Christie's Report of Sale: Three New World Records were set: for Carlos Cruz Diez & Emilio Pettoruti, as well as Matta.

Totals were almost $28 Million!

Fernando Botero's Street went for almost $1.5 Million, while his amusing cartoonish Arnolfini (after Van Dyke) came in at only $842,500.

If Botero's Fat Latinos were sold By Weight, he'd be the Richest Hispanic Painter.


Edith Wharton's Backward Glance at the New York Society Library…

With Edith Wharton's dramatization--with Clyde Fitch--of her Best Selling Novel, The House of Mirth, on view in May, a visit to the New York Society Library may be worthwhile.

This small scale show of Vintage Photos, Letters, & Memorabilia is titled A Backward Glance, borrowing Mrs. Wharton's title for her Autobiography.

It's little known that Edith Wharton wanted also to be known as a Playwright, as well as a Chronicler of New York's 400.

That didn't Work Out. The Play of The House of Mirth lasted three nights on Broadway…

Your Roving Arts Reporter discovered the Unpublished & Un copyrighted Playscript, in the process of writing a Stanford University Dissertation on Dramatizations of American Popular Novels.

So I have a kind of Vested Interest in Wharton Projects.

In addition to seeing the Play & this Exhibition, you could also visit Mrs. Wharton's Lenox Estate, The Mount, this summer! Try:


More Art from China: Print Making from the 8th to the 21st Centuries, Including Mao's Thoughts!

Chinese Art, then & now, is in the Spotlight, both at the Met & at the Asia Society.

The Focus of the new show at the Met is Print Making, in which some celebrated examples of Traditional Brush Painting were refashioned so that they could be printed from Negative Blocks.

A variety of Popular Chinese Images are on view, but especially interesting are Agitprop Posters that feature The Thought of Chairman Mao, such as it was.

Eager Platoons of Farm Workers are cheered on by a Portrait of Chairman Mao out in the fields!

How many Millions had to die to make possible Mao's Perfection of Socialism?

No Matter. Chinese Millionaires are Moving Forward!

They can even afford to buy precious 8th Century Brush Paintings of Bamboos & Birdies. But even 8th Century Prints of these images now cost a lot.

See them Almost Free at the Met Museum! But only until 29 July 2012

Sue Coe Is "Mad as Hell" As Usual at the Galerie St. Etienne: Animal Exploitation Is Not Good!

You may well wonder at the Sensibilities of some well meaning Liberals who are agonizing over the Brutal Methods used in Slaughter Houses to kill the Living Animals that soon will become Their Sunday Dinners.

"Isn't there some Humane, Painless Way to kill these Unfortunate Sheep, Cows, Pigs, & Goats?"

Why Worry, when their Body Parts are still going to end up in Human Stomachs?

Sue Cole has been savagely documenting the Horrors of Slaughter Houses for most of her Career. But she's also angered by any kind of Mistreatment of Animals.

Some of Cole's images are indeed hard to look at for long. The longer you look, the more tiny details of Human Savagery you will detect.

A visit to the Galerie St. Etienne to see Cole's Unusual Artworks may make a Vegan out of you!

The Galerie is also urging friends to see Portrait of Wally, opening May at the Quad Cinema.

Thanks to Documentation by the Galerie's Founder, Otto Kallir, it was possible to establish the Ownership of a famed Egon Schiele Painting that the Nazis had stolen.

They are calling Andrew Shea's Documentary, Portrait of Wally, "The Face that launched a Thousand Lawsuits."


Look Where It Comes Again! Mannes Offers Another Don Giovanni, After the Met & Juilliard.

The Good News is that the Mannes New School of Music Spring Opera Production of Mozart's Don Giovanni--while not as dazzling as the New Giovanni at the Met or the recent Juilliard School staging--was very well realized.

It proved a good Showcase for the Young Talents at the Mannes, now facing an Ever Shrinking Market for their Demonstrable Abilities.

Suchan Kim made an exotic Don, with Dongkyu Oh as his resourceful Man of All Labors, Leporello.

The not so good news is that the Mannes still doesn't have its own Opera Theatre.

It has to use Hunter College's Sylvia & Danny Kaye Theatre, where its Two Performances Only Policy prevent it from mounting Visually Strong Productions.

The Mannes Don was performed in what seemed to be a Courtyard of Columns, illuminated from Stage Right by flames from a Volcanic Eruption.

Joseph Colaneri briskly conducted.

At the Marian Goodman Gallery: Italy's Giuseppe Penone, Also Due at Documenta & Mad Park!

Yes, there are slabs of Marble & sheets of Metal.

But, best of all, Giuseppe Penone knows how to get Inside the Heart of a Tree!

One standing tall Squared Beam of Raw Wood has been carved away at its Center to reveal a slim sleek Wooden Sapling, with thin Branches stretching out to the Margins of the Beam.

Penone has been commissioned to create a New Work for Documenta in Kassel, Deutschland.

His visual ingenuity will also be seen next year down in Madison Square Park!


Filming Villa Diodati During On Stage Action at the York Theatre…

Villa Deodati--A Chamber Operawas performed only twice at the York Theatre. These performances were recorded by Bank Street Films.

A Summer Rental, the Villa Deodati--sited above the Shores of Lake Geneva--is remembered mainly because of that summer in which its Occupants were the Club Footed George Gordon, Lord Byron; his Mistress, Claire; Percy Shelley, & his young Wife, Mary Shelley.

Even that Cast of Characters would not be so memorable were it not for the fact that Mary used the Rainy Weather to write her Masterpiece: Frankenstein.

The Problem with this Chamber Opera is that it does not have a Clear Narrative Arc. What is actually going on? Why should we, in the Audience, care?

Unfortunately--even though they are now known to Literary History--in this re enactment, neither Shelley nor Lord Byron is especially Charismatic

Maybe it's all that incessant Rain?

Some of the Songs are charming. Others seemed unnecessary to Advancing the Plot, such as it was; Revealing Character, or Establishing Mood.

Setting three Poems by Byron, three by Shelley, & one by Alfred, Lord Tennyson--who was not included in this Summer Retreat--was not especially productive.

But Byron's We'll Go No More a' Roving seemed entirely out of key here…

The young Mary Shelley seemed to be writing Frankenstein with a long Black Ostrich Feather Quill Pen.

Was this a Production Flourish, where a simple Goose Quill Pen would have done?

Percy Shelley died--as, in fact, he did--but then he got up & sang again…


Going Down To Sidcup To Get Me Papers: Pinter's The Caretaker at BAM.

Years & Years Ago, the new & unknown playwright, Harold Pinter, bowed on Broadway with The Caretaker.

It was notably chiefly for the presence of Donald Pleasance as Davies, the Titular Caretaker.

A Fellow Critic snarled as he left early: "This is a Load of Rubbish!"

He was referring to the odd drama, but he could also have been describing the Setting: what seemed to be an Attic full of Cast Offs.

The Revival that has come to BAM from the Theatre Royal, Bath, also has a Stage Full of Rubbish, but it's not the same stuff that we saw on Broadway all those years ago.

Now, the Caretaker is Jonathan Pryce, a long way off from Miss Saigon

The Two Odd Brothers who occupy this Attic are Mick & Aston, played by Alex Hassell & Alan Cox.

As a Paranoid Homeless, Pryce tries to drive a Wedge between the brothers. He's also always threatening to Go Down to Sidcup to get me Papers…

[If you have ever been to Sidcup, you might appreciate the oddity of this remark.]

Christopher Morahan staged for Bath; then the show moved on to the Liverpool Everyman & onward.

Harold Pinter began his Life in the Theatre as an Actor called David Baron. He & his wife, Vivian Merchant, were an admired young duo.

But he tired of Touring the Provinces. Playwriting seemed a way out.

The Astonishment for London Critics, however, was that his Initial Plays were, indeed, Way Out

They also introduced what became known at Pinterian Pauses.

Fortunately, they are not much in evidence in The Caretaker.

When the even more puzzling The Homecoming arrived in Manhattan, Pinter & the Cast were invited to the Drama Desk to discuss the Meaning of the Play:

Was Ruth really a Whore?

What about Teddy? Had he come home, only to be rid of her?

Put on the spot, Pinter tried to explain the Curious Relationships in the play.

This was the Last Time he ever did that.

He told me later: "Let them figure it out for themselves…"

The Last Time I saw Pinter was when he was given the European Theatre Prize in Turin.

At the Dublin Airport enroute, he'd fallen, injuring his Forehead.

So my close up Photo shows him with a bandaged Dome.

Pace, Pinter!

The Met Museum's Annual Costume Show: Not Alex McQueen but Prada & Schiaparelli!

The Most Important Thing I learned at the Met Museum's New Costume Show is about Very Rich Women's Fashions below the waist in the Era of Art Deco!

Designersdid not think it important to make a fuss about Skirts, as Rich Women, Trophy Wives, & Elegant Mistresses would be seen only from the Waist Up, sitting in fashionable Banquettes at Copa, 21, & other fashionable Night Spots.

Italian born Elsa Schiaparelli changed all that.

Setting up shop in Paris, she was influenced by Salvador Dali & Surrealism, creating some astonishing Skirts, to match her dazzling Blouses & Jackets. Not to overlook such Accessories as bizarre Hats & Shoes

Some interesting Examples are now on view at the Met in Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations.

These Conversations--often projected behind some of the Frocks & Skirts--are, indeed, impossible as Elsa closed up shop in 1954 & definitively Died in 1973.

But Baz Luhrmann, that Aussie Director--who once gave Broadway a very special La Bohème--has cast Judy Davis as Elsa & has her talking to the Real Miuccia Prada on film or tape.

It was suggested--at the Crowded Press Preview--that this was somewhat inspired by that Avant Garde Cult Film, My Dinner with André.

This was that Gem in which Wallace Shawn chatted with the then famous André Gregory, now only a Filmic Memory

Frankly, I think it would have been more fun had Baz dressed up Wally in a Schiaparelli Outfit to interview André, costumed by Prada!

Heavily Subsidized by Amazon--with help from Condé Nast--the Elsa & Miuccia Show had Red Carpets everywhere for the Met's Costume Institute Fund Raising Gala.

For the First Time Ever, Red Carpet Arrivals were live streamed for Fashion Starved Middle Americans in the Middle West & elsewhere.

But Not on Fox! Nor NBC

No, you could watch the One Percenters strut their stuff on or

Not surprisingly, Vogue's Anna Wintour & Miuccia Prada were Co Chairs. All that was needed was Meryl Streep, to remind us that The Devil Wears Prada!

Amazon's very own Jeff Bezos was Honorary Chair. But not one you could actually sit in…

Much more interesting than seeing the Obtusely Rich arriving on the Acres of Red Carpet would have been watching Live Streaming of the Multitudes trying to make their Ways through the Maze of Mirrors & Reflected Glass Cases of often Bizarre Designs.

You mean Rich People actually Pay Real Money to buy stuff like this & actually wear it?

The Design Areas are really not so expansive. The Mirrors only make them seem so, but they also increase the danger of Walking into Your Own Reflection.

Last Year's Alexander McQueen show was Something Else. Unrepeatable

But then he committed Suicide.

That's not a good Career Move for Miuccia Prada.

She has to make enough money to pay for all those Prop Crammed Show Windows on Fifth Avenue & Madison Avenue. Not to mention World Wide

Last week, it was Fake Gas Pumps & Auto Parts.

This week it's Models with their Heads engulfed in what looks like Ejaculations of Shaving Cream from the Loins of Barbasol.

Or, maybe, Baz Luhrmann…


Meet the Drama Desk's Award Nominees:

Something very Fishy about this year's Drama Desk Awards Nominees' Cocktail Reception & Meet the Media Event!

On arrival at Oceana, both Talents & Critics--with a few PR People, busy pushing their Shows--were not just Confronted, but also Offered, huge chunks of Fish, chopped from the Steaming Bodies of very large Marine Life.

I hate Fish, so this was a Non Starter for me as a Free Lunch.

Shrimp are OK by me, but none appeared, even when I stationed myself Close to the Kitchen

Greeting Winning Nominees & their Press Agents were Isa Goldberg, Drama Desk President, & Gretchen Shugart, CEO of to be confused with NYTheatre

Here's the List of Nominees:





Reviving Ragtime at the Manhattan School of Music: Watch Out, Colehouse Walker!

Even though the recent Revival of Ragtime at the MSM was Scenically Bare Bones, it was so Brilliantly Performed that it seemed almost Ready for Broadway!

I had forgotten how ingenious is the inter relating of Upper Class Whites with Shabby but Determined Immigrants & Abused but Tuneful Blacks in the original E.L. Doctorow novel.

Terrence McNally wonderfully condensed the Novel of the Same Name into a concise & compelling Libretto that takes flight with the Lyrics of Lynn Ahrens & the Ragtimey Music of Stephen Flaherty.

One of the more charming aspects of this Musical Treatment of Upper Class Snobbery & Rampant Racism is the Development of Motion Pictures by a fiercely determined Emigrant Jew.

But Coalhouse's taking JP Morgan's Library Hostage--the Dramatic High Point--was, both in the Novel & the Musical, a constant Cause for Concern by the Staff down at the Morgan Library.

When I first reported on Ragtime as a New Musical on Broadway, one of the Morgan's Curator Librarians--a Personal Friend--begged me, in the Name of the Morgan's Director, not to mention the Doctorow Incident at all.

They were afraid that even this Fictional Invasion--with the added Threat of Blowing Up the Morgan--might inspire some future Angry Dissident to turn Fiction into Fact.

Not only has Stage Director Carolyn Marlow sensitively probed the Deeper Needs & Desperate Designs of the Major Characters, but Choreographer Colleen Durham has deftly orchestrated the Cast into some amazingly Fluid & Evocative Explosions of Group Solidarity.

Too bad this Spring Production of MSM's American Musical Theatre Ensemble could only play One Week!

Oskar Eustis should invite MSM to let him run it All Summer down at the Public Theatre!

More New Yorkers & Summer Visitors should have the chance to see & hear Darnell Abraham as Coalhouse Walker, Jr.

Not to overlook Bethany Ammon as Emma Goldman, Matthew Montana as Harry Houdini, & Danielle Good as The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, Evelyn Nesbit.

Three Cheers for the Entire Cast!


Bernard Shaw's Man & Superman at Irish Rep: Don Juan in Hell? Also at the Met, This Season.

Let me say it, Loud & Clear, I've never seen a Bad Production at Charlotte Moore's Irish Repertory Theatre.

Usually, the Standard is Good to Excellent, but the current mounting of Man & Superman is beyond that: It Is SUPERB!

Director David Staller is to be both admired & praised for his reworking of Bernard Shaw's Philosophical Masterpiece, dealing, as it does, with the Nietzschean Concept of the Superman.

But he also deserves Kudos for the Brilliant Cast he has assembled: Everyone is Very Good; Some are Outstanding, & the On Stage Chemistry is Electric!

This is the Gingold Theatrical Group, which holds forth on Mondays on the stage of Edwin Booth's Players, down on Gramercy Park South.

[For the Record, although the Players began as a Men's Club for Actors, Directors, & Producers, it never bore the appellation of Club…]

The Gingolds are engaged in The Shaw Project, working their way through the Shaw Canon.

Shaw's Free Thinking Hero, Jack Tanner [Max Gordon Moore], vows never to be entrapped by a Scheming Woman.

Jack may himself be an Avatar of both Shaw & Don Juan Tenorio, of Seville, but he doesn't understand the Power of a Woman's Will & Wiles.

He's been chosen by Ann Whitefield [the lovely & intriguing Janie Brookshire] from their Childhood, never realizing he was her Targeted Bulls eye.

Among the marvelous Pros in this altogether Remarkable Cast are Broadway Vet Brian Murray & such other Talents as Laurie Kennedy, Jonathan Hammond, & Margaret Loesser Robinson.

The Far Flung Action of Shaw's Drama includes Scenes in London, the Sierra Nevada, Granada, & Hell.

James Noone has created a wonderful Neo Baroque Plaster Chamber that easily contains All.

The Costumes of Theresa Squire have a fine Period Flavor, but they are Handsomely Executed, so they don't look like Museum Pieces: easy on the eye & obviously comfortable to wear.

Or at least the Cast makes them look so…

They also speak Shaw's Lines & Thoughts with such Clarity of Diction, Forceful Emphasis, Wit, & Passion, that Oldsters don't need Hearing Aids.

Because these consummate Players so convincingly Inhabit their various Characters, Youngsters could be forgiven for believing that this Shavian Think Piece is currently Topical!

But, for Shaw, the Time was The Present, which he saw as 1905.

The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same…

As originally conceived by GBS, Man & Superman is a very long play. Its Third Act, Don Juan in Hell, is often omitted from Revivals.

In fact, at one time, Director Paul Gregory formed the First Drama Quartet, performing Don Juan in Hell separately as a kind of Readers' Theatre Piece. With such Talents as Agnes Moorehead & Celeste Holm, as I recall…

What Don Juan discovers--after the Stone Statue of the Commendatore he murdered has pulled him down to Hell in a massive Burst of Flames--is that Hell is where all the Interesting People go, whereas Heaven is only sparsely populated with really Good Souls

Doña Ana thus regrets that she didn't enjoy Life on Earth to the Fullest, instead of trying to be Moral.

But you won't regret seeing this production of Man & Superman at the Irish Rep.

If you missed it, why not demand that it be moved Off Broadway for a Commercial Run?


A History of The Theatre for the New City, From Pieter Stuyvesant Onward…

Down at The Theatre for the New City, they are celebrating some kind of Anniversary, with a kind of Music Drama that mysteriously Echoes the recent production of The Ghosts of Versailles at the Manhattan School of Music.

But the Ghosts onstage at 155 First Avenue are not Marie Antoinette & King Louis XVI

No indeed! Instead, they are the Ghosts of Pieter Stuyvesant--whose New Amsterdam Farm once included the current Site of Theatre for the New City, Molly Picon--Star of the Yiddish Theatre on Second Avenue, Caroline Astor--linked with Astor Place, & Walt Whitman, Poet & Lover.

As Aaron Burr had his Stable on what's now East 9th Street, perhaps he should also have joined this Eclectic Cast of Characters?

The Cast was very good at the Assignments given it, but the plodding recounting of all the Disasters & Misfortunes that led Founder Crystal Field to 155 First Avenue made one wish, instead, for a Lively Sampling of some of the Outstanding Productions Crystal has mounted in what once was a City Market.

In fact, some Props from the Bread & Puppet Theatre were briefly glimpsed.

It would surely have been much more interesting to have a B&P scene of St. Joan's Horse Going to Heaven…


The Hills Are on Fire, But Not With the Sound of Music: David Rabe Gets Out of Town…

The New Group Program for David Rabe's An Early History of Fire has two Paste Ins, for Titles & Cast

Did Something Go Wrong, even before Opening Night?

This Overwrought but nonetheless Amateurish Drama of Boring Small Town Life in the Late 1960s is a Long Way Off from Rabe's Boom Boom Room.

And an even Longer Way Off from Our Town


The Fuss Over Wally: The Face That Launched a Thousand Lawsuits: Now a Documentary!

Even if you are not a Great Admirer of Egon Schiele--who had what once might have been regarded as an Unhealthy Interest in Girls' & Women's Vaginas, now regarded as High Art--you may be interested in the Epic Squabble over the Ownership of his Portrait of Wally.

In 1939, shortly after Adolf Hitler's Anschluss of Germany with Austria--to form Grosses Deutschland--the Nazis seized almost everything that belonged to Austrian Jews.

Among the Booty were the Entire Contents of an Art Gallery that belonged to Lea Bondi, a Jewess who had been able to escape to London.

But they also seized the Portrait of Wally, a painting Egon Schiele had made of his beloved Mistress.

This was the Personal Property of Lea Bondi, not Gallery Inventory

After World War II, the Allies set up a Commission to attempt to return to the Rightful Owners all the Artworks that Reichs Marschall Hermann Goering & Adolf Hitler had amassed.

Some Masterpieces had found their way into German & Austrian Museums, which were not about to send them off to Jewish Heirs in Hollywood

When the Wally Portrait was lent to MoMA for a special exhibition, Heirs tried to stop its return to the Ludwig Collection in Vienna.

What the Heirs actually received & how Wally came back to Vienna are among the Topics of a fascinating new Documentary by Andrew Shea, now at the Quad Theatre on 13th Street.

MoMA's Glenn Lowry & the Met Museum's Ronald Lauder don't look so good in the Film Clips used by Shea…


Willy Pogany's Fairytale Murals Complement Telemann's Orpheus at El Museo del Barrio.

The Auditorium of what was once the Hecksher Children's Theatre at Boys Harbor--now part of El Museo del Barrio--is playfully decorated with immense Willy Pogany Murals of Major Fairytales.

Such as Snow White, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack in the Beanstalk, & Hansel & Gretel.

But they were all shrouded in darkness for the Visually & Emotionally Shattering Tale of Orpheus, who descends into Hades to bring back his Beloved Eurydice, Snake Bitten through the Evil Offices of a Vain Queen who loves this Ode Singing Lyre Bearer to Murderous Distraction.

The engaging Daniel Teadt was an affecting & sexy Brad Pitt Orpheus, yearning almost hopelessly for his Lost Love, an ethereal Joélle Harvey.

Jennifer Rowley was in Excellent Voice & Passionate Power as the Spurned Queen, Orasia.

Best of all was the Voiceless but Superbly Sinuous Serpent of Catherine Miller!

In the Libretto, she's identified as Thanatos. That's the God of Death

But Pluto [the splendid Nicholas Pallesen] rules over Hades & he is the God who is so moved by Orpheus' Plaintive Lute that he permits Eurydice to return from Hell!

He also gives all the Chained Slave Sinners a Day Off, so moved is he…

But, in Your Arts Reporter's case, it was No Rest for the Wicked, as I was taken down into Hell twice in the same week. Earlier, I'd seen Don Juan in Hell at the Irish Rep.

Georg Phililpp Telemannn's Score for Orpheus--to a German Text--is superbly Baroque.

What it lacks is a Transcendent Aria for Orpheus that really would seem to enchant Pluto. Or, at least, to Transport Modern Day Listeners to the Realms of the Blessed

But--tell a man or tell a woman--Telemann wasn't composing for Us.

David Zinn designed the handsome but spare Settings, as well as the Costumes.

Rebecca Taichman deftly staged.

Why did I have the odd sensation that I'd already seen this Physical Production? At the Salzburg Festival? At ENO?

Am I now dreaming Opera Stagings, before I actually see them…

Dreaming the Future with NYCO!

After the Disaster of inviting Gérard Mortier to be Artistic Director of the NYCO--he is now in charge of Madrid's Teatro Reál, which, like the rest of Spain, has Money Problems--the City Opera is rising, like the Legendary Phoenix, from the Ashes

Instead of roving around Manhattan to find Alternative Spaces, its 2013 Spring Season--there will be no Fall for NYCO--is scheduled for the Howard Gilman Opera House at BAM.

This Noble Venue was, after all, constructed specifically as an Opera House!

But it costs BAM a lot to import Unusual & Trend Setting Productions from Abroad, so Director Joe Melillo may well welcome Home Brewed Opera.

Projected Productions include Thomas Ades' Powder Her Face, Ben Britten's Turn of the Screw, Jacques Offenbach's La Périchole, & Gioachino Rossini's Moses in Egypt.

If you are still Mourning for Victims of the Holocaust, you may get some Relief watching the First Born Sons of Wicked Egyptians be Killed by the Angel of Death.

There are, after all, All Those Plagues!

This bel canto opera closes with the Parting of the Red Sea


Latino Artworks Soon To Be On View in the Galeria of El Museo del Barrio:

When the Renovations to the Galeria are completed, Voces Y Visiones: Gran Caribe will open at the Museo del Barrio, standing in place until 8 January 2013.

Although the Arts & Culture of Puerto Ricans has been central to the Museum's Concerns--there are, after all, a lot of Puerto Riqueños in Nueva York!--it does not neglect the Artistic Expressions of Haiti or other Caribbean Basin Cultures.

As Guatemala has the Caribbean on one side & the Pacific Ocean on the other, it also Qualifies.

Wait for It!


Mrs. Wharton Writes a Best Selling Novel & Adapts It with Clyde Fitch: Not Many Laughs…

The justly celebrated American Novelist, Edith Wharton, was a Puzzle to her Socialite Friends in Manhattan's 400.

Why would Anyone, born to Wealth & Privilege, want to write Books?

Nonetheless, Mrs. Wharton wrote early every morning, seven days a week, reserving the Remains of the Day for Social Functions, Duties, & Obligations

Her witty dissection of the Frauds & Foibles of High Society, The House of Mirth, was a Best Seller in 1904 & again in 1905.

Broadway was then, as now, always Hungry for New Plays, so it was that in 1906, Producer Charles Frohman induced Mrs. Wharton & the Neil Simon of his Day, Clyde Fitch, to dramatize what was essentially an American Tragedy.

It rapidly Flopped, the NY Times Critic warning that it didn't have Many Laughs.

The Fool dwells in the House of Mirth was Edith Wharton's sardonic Title Source.

Her Society Friends were appalled to see themselves cynically pilloried on stage…

I include this Prelude only because I was the Researcher who finally found Mrs. Wharton's Play text of this Un Copyrighted & Un Published Drama.

So it was a Great Satisfaction to me recently to see a stunning revival of The House of Mirth down at the Metropolitan Playhouse, between Avenue A & Avenue B!

In a very tiny space & with Minimal Means, Artistic Director Alex Roe has deftly directed an Excellent Cast in a Handsome Production that could do Broadway Proud, were it to be transferred, with Sets & Costumes appropriate to the Original Conception!

As Lily Bart, the Doomed Heroine, Amanda Jones was sensitive & touching.

But the Entire Cast played with a Professionalism that would do credit to the Great State Theatres of Europe, where Socialist Governments subsidize the Performing Arts handsomely…

If you missed this Staging & want to know more about the play, there are still Copies available. Google for The House of Mirth: The Play of the Novel.

The Author isn't entirely Edith Wharton: you'll find Glenn Loney on the Cover…

What's More, Michael Feingold recognized Your Arts Reporter in his Village Voice Review of House of Mirth: "The Wharton Fitch script, published in 1981 in an edition by theatre scholar Glenn Loney…"


Instead of Living on the Moon with Newt Gingrich, How About Cloud City on the Met Roof?

If you want to see Central Park from a Different Perspective, clamber up to the Met Museum'sRoof

Garden to see Tomás Saraceno's Cloud City.

Met Curators believe that this is a "Bold Vision for Aerial Urban Living."

Good Luck: Hold That Thought!

If you cannot find a Rentable Apartment, you might just want to stand up in one of Saraceno's Glassed & Stressed Pods. There are 16 of these Interconnected Modules

Weather Permitting, you can climb the Saraceno Stairs to a kind of Mini Heaven until 4 November, by which time you should be thinking of Voting & Thanksgiving Turkey

Saraceno insists this Site Specific Construction was inspired by Clouds, Bubbles, Bacteria, Foam, & Universes, as well as Social & Neural Communications Networks.

And Why Not?

Americans have been living in a Bubble for some time…


Last Year in Bergamo: You could have seen Titian without having to Go to the Met!

Not many Culture Tourists make their Collective Ways to North Italian Bergamo.

They do very well to make it to Mantua & the Duke's Palazzo Té, where you can see fabulous Giulio Romano Murals that have been defaced by North Italian Vandals.

Do not bother to visit Bergamo this coming summer as its Accademia Carrara is closed for Renovations.

So the Italian Government has made it possible for some of the Bergamese Masterpieces to have a Summer at the Met!

The Exhibition is crammed into just one small room: But what Infinite Riches in a Small Space!

How about Lorenzo Lotto's Three Predella Panels, painted for Santo Stefano's Altar?

There's also Lotto's Portrait of Lucina Brembati!

From Giovanni Bellini--not the Composer of Norma!--Bergamo has loaned the impressive Pietà with the Virgin & Saint John.

Then there are those Titians from Bergamo!

What would Renaissance Painters have done--aside from Portraits of Patrons such as the Medici, the Borgias, the Colonnas, the Borghese, the Estense, the Sforzas, & the Gonzagas--had they not had the Consolations of the Christian Religion, which not only provided them with Rich Subject Matter but also with Clerical Subsidies?

New at the 2nd Stage: Lonely, I'm Not, which Provides a Titular Grammatic Switch…

Paul Weitz could have titled this BiPolar Drama I'm Not Lonely.

But he chose That, Not To Do…

The bland Stage Scene--with a seeming beige Backwall--has the Pad of Porter [Topher Grace] at Stage Left, with the Apartment or Office of Heather [Olivia Thrilby] at Stage Right.

Porter seems Terminaly Afflicted with what used to be called Acute Fatigue Syndrome.

Whatever happened to that Term?

He hasn't worked in Two Years; he's terrible at Job Interviews; he has No Significant Other; he has No Center to his Life

Porter then has a Blind Date with a Blind Date.

That is, she's actually Blind, but Looking for Love, with a Mother who does not want her Hurt Again.

Porter has a lying, cheating Dad--who was Never There for Him--who borrows Money Porter really doesn't have to Lend or Invest & ends up in the Clink, in an Orange Jumpsuit.

This is the Second Play this Season about Physical Afflictions. With Tribes, it was being Deaf

There are said to be Five Senses. The Sixth we have already had, with Ghosts!

With Hearing & Seeing checked off, how about a Play exploring what it's like when You Cannot Smell?

Some Plays you can Smell a Mile Off, but Lonely isn't one of them.

Porter & Heather end up Bi Coastal--not entirely BiPolar--but clearly still Lonely

The most amazing thing about this Production is the way Giant Alphabet Letters--suddenly Illuminated through that Grayish Backwall Scrim--transform the Ambiance.

If you have No Clue to what's going to happen in the Next Scene, Nouns, Adjectives, & Adverbs--indeed, Entire Phrases--Light Up from behind, to Characterilze the Action.

Mark Wendland designed the Set, but others also deserve Credit for all that Electric Signage!

It recalled that old play, Light Up the Sky!

Trip Cullman staged.


Not Bertolt Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle: The Chinese Original at Theatre for the New City.

The Central Test of Truth in The Chalk Circle--a 13th Century Yuan Dynasty Drama by Li Qian Fu--is as old as Solomon. Indeed, it's all about a Baby & who is the Rightful Mother

When Two Women came before him, each claiming Parentage of a small Babe, Solomon proposed Chopping the Child in Half, so each could have Her Share.

In Chalk Circle, the Ingenious Judge has a Chalk Circle drawn on the Courtroom Floor.

The Real Mother cannot bear to hurt her Child--now five years old--by tugging on his arm to pull him out of the Circle, as the False Mother is doing.

Bertolt Brecht adapted this tale as The Caucasian Chalk Circle, but that's not been seen in Manhattan for a long time either.

Down at Theatre for a New City, Joanna Chan--former Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Repertory--has mounted an interesting mélange of Cantonese Opera, with Lyrics sung in Cantonese, but half the Dialogue rendered in English.

Denver Chiu, of Hong Kong, performs the Female Role of the cruelly wronged Begonia Zhang.

Men did not play Women's Roles under Chairman Mao.

But then, former actress Chiang Ching--Madame Mao--didn't even permit Traditional Beijing Operas such as Lady Precious Stream. She favored Red Detachment of Women

In Modern Times--Pre Mao--Mei Lan Feng was the most famed Female Impersonator on the Chinese Opera Stage.

Bert Brecht had seen Mei perform & was deeply impressed. As he also was, in general, with Chinese Theatre: hence his Good Woman of Sezchuan.

The Audience--on the evening Your Arts Reporter was present--seemed to contain a number of Gay Asians, also in Great Admiration of Denver's Begonia. There was a Great Waving of Programs, in the absence of Real Chinese Fans. Or Air Conditioning

Having seen Peking Opera in Beijing, as well as in Manhattan's Chinatown & twice yearly at the Fashion Institute of Technology--or FIT--where my Brooklyn College Colleague, Kija Kim, supervised the Special Mask Makeup that tells Traditional Audiences all about the Individual Characters--I was fascinated to see such Facial Masks & elaborately embroidered Kimono Costumes once again.

The Chalk Circle is a production of the Yangtze Repertory Theatre.

After you get off the Ship that takes you up & over the Three Gorges Dam of the Yangtze River, you can get off on shore to make a visit to GuangZhou, but that's not quite the same as seeing Guangdong, which is the Real Canton.


Morning at the Morgan: Drawings & Sketches from Renaisance Venice Drawn from the Archives!

Fewer Blockbusters… More Raids on the Museum Vaults

The Terrorist Risks that Major Loan Exhibitions pose for Museums--from the Met to the Morgan--are now making Insurance almost Prohibitive.

So why not show the Public what's down in the Basement Storage?

The Problem with the new Morgan Show of Drawings from Renaissance Venice is that some of these Images are not really very impressive.

But there are indeed some fascinating Illuminated Manuscripts & Books.

As well as Drawings by Titian, Tintoretto, Lotto, Veronese, Bordone, & Carpaccio

This Show should be seen in tandem with the Treasures of the Accademia Carrara of Bergamo, now at the Met Museum. Bergamo was once part of the Maritime Republic of Venice!


My Distant Relative by Marriage, Winston Churchill, Now at the Morgan: Or His Words, At Least…

Yes, Winston Had a way with Words!

Until 23 September 2012, some Examples of Churchill's Writing Skills will be on view at the Morgan, on loan from the Churchill Archives Centre, in Cambridge [England, not Mass.]

When an Aide corrected one of Churchill's Split Infinitives in a Speech Draft, he wrote on the Manuscript: This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put…


My Grandma Alice's First Cousin was George Cornwallis West: "The Handsomest Man in Europe," according to Ralph Martin, in his Biography of Lady Randolph, Jenny Jerome Churchill.

When Randolph died, Jenny married George, making him Step father to Winston, who was already ten years older than his new Step Dad, whom he despised

Next Question?


Photos Galore! Plus Vintage Images of Jeff Davis Fleeing the Boys in Blue, Dressed in Drag!

The North didn't win the Civil War by humiliating Confederate President Jefferson Davis with Doctored Photos.

But--as Documented in a new show at the International Center of Photography--it certainly tried to Enhance the Efforts of Our Boys in Blue on the Battlefields of Gettysburg & wherever.

Matthew Brady's Portrait Photo of Jeff Davis was Montaged for Comical Effect--showing him fleeing Union Soldiers, dressed as a Woman!

The Shame of It!

But even the Leader of the Mensheviks--The White Guard--fled the Bolsheviks, dressed as a Woman, only to end up at UC/Berkeley as a Professor of Russian Studies.

Centuries ago, even the Pope fled Rome & the Invading Huns in Female Drag. But then, that's always been the Pope's Working Clothes, hasn't it?

This intriguing Exhibition is on view through 2 September 2012, with the handsomely mounted Weegee: Murder Is My Business also closing on that date.

That's also the Closure Date for A Short History of Photography, with some Old Photographic Image Friends on view.

If you are fascinated by Photos of Parisian Ladies of the Night, you may want to see the shots of Christer Ströhmer, who aimed his Lens at Les Amies de Place Blanche. Also ending on 2 Sept.

But Gordon Parks: 100 Years will be outside in the North Facing Windows of ICP until 6 January 2013.

The Problem here is that the best images are shown on two Flat Screens, which catch the Sunlight, making Viewing Problematic


At the Grolier: Burr! Burr! What Have You Done? You've Shot Great General Hamilton!

That bit of Doggerel was written by Stephen Vincent Benet--Brother of the Avant Garde Poetess, Edna St. Vincent Benet--for a Collection of Poetic American Portraits.

Aaron Burr was once Vice President of the United States. But he made the Big Mistake of Duelling with Alexander Hamilton.

This was also a Mistake for Hamilton, as Burr killed him…

Hamilton did not recover, nor did Burr's Reputation. He was tried for both Murder & Treason.

Burr's Stable was down in Greenwich Village, above that Underground River that runs across Manhattan Island.

But he loved Madame Jumel, whose Mansion--still standing & Open to the Public--was then located in what were Forests & Farmlands in Upper Manhattan.

The comprehensive Aaron Burr Returns to New York Exhibition at the Grolier Club will fill in many of the Blanks in Our Knowledge about the Third Vice President of the United States.

It's on view until 28 July 2012…

Make Your Own Paper & Make Your Own Art: Dieu Donné at the Grolier…

How about Painting in Paper Pulp?

Until 8 June 2012, you can see how it's done, upstairs at the Grolier, where Bookmaker Susan Gosin's Collection is on view.

Among Gosin's Treasures are works by Chuck Close & William Kentridge, as well as by those Polish Poets, Wislawa Symborska & Czeslaw Milosz.

If you admire what you see, there's Info on hand about Hand Papermaking, so you can get started as soon as you've laid in Supplies.

As for making real Works of Art out of Pulp, you could begin by Pulping Pulp Fiction & making an Image of John Travolta


At The Public Theatre: February House in Mid May--Famed Bohemians Sing!

When I lived in Brooklyn Heights, on a clear day, you could see Norman Mailer & his Townhouse on the Promenade.

Also, down on Pineapple Street, you might catch Truman Capote outside Oliver Smith's Townhouse.

Over on Remsen Street, you could, perhaps, follow Jim French up the street on his way with Fabulous Male Models, to make some Photos for Lüger & later, Colt.

But--way back in the early 1940s--you could have glimpsed Carson McCullers, Erica Mann, Gypsy Rose Lee, Peter Pears, Ben Britten, WH Auden, & Chester Kallman coming & going on Middagh Street.

They were the Tenants of the Artists' Muse, George Davis, the Proprietor of February House. So named because so many of them had Februrary Birthdays.

At this time, I was just beginning High School, in Grass Valley, California.

Only many years later, would I come to know Wystan Hugh Auden & his Officious Companion, Chester. But in their Capacity as Opera Librettists.

But not in Brooklyn Heights, nor on St. Marks Place, in the East Village, where WH would spend the Winter, apart from Chester. He was famous for not wearing socks

No, I visited the Team in Kirschstettin, outside Vienna, in their summer home: to talk about making Librettos for Hans Werner Henze.

As for Britten & Pears, at Intervals in their Aldeburgh Festival Concerts, we'd all go up on the Maltings Stage & enjoy Strawberries & Cream

Oskar Eustis, Headman at the Public Theatre, has commissioned Gabriel Kahane to create a kind of Musik Theater Stück involving the Characters who lived & loved in February House.

It is Immensely Clever, both in Lyrics & Lines--Book by Seth Bockley--but it goes on too long.

Having Lost a Year of My Life to a Bedbug Invasion, I was less than charmed by A Certain Itch, or the Bedbug Song.

All the Performers are Excellent, even, at times, Sexy.

What was Great German Novelist Thomas Mann's Problem?

Both his Son, Klaus Mann, & his Daughter, Erica, turned out Gay, although there was no such term then. [In Hitler's Third Reich, they were Asocial Elemente, doomed to Dachau.]

Davis McCallum staged, with a Bric a Brac Crammed Stage, orchestrated by Riccardo Hernandez.


New Vic Up in the Air: 8cho Aerial Tango--Smoke, But No Mirrors!

There's nothing so wonderful in Latin Dancing than the ferociously executed Downward Leg Thrusts--which could Permanently Maim the Unpracticed & Unprepared--of an Argentine Tango.

Flamenco is fine, but Tangos are Tops!

The Problem with 8cho Aerial Tango is that too much of the Action takes place in a Cloud of Smoke, with Minimal Lighting.

For most of the Sequences, the Females are suspended, with the Males pulling them this way & that from the floor. One of these Sessions wouldn't be out of place in the Guantanamo Regimen.

A Novelty is having two Tango Couples suspended in the air sideways, so they seem to be dancing on the Theatre's Backwall

The Orchestra is good & Alejandro Guyet is OK as the Singer. Fortunately, this show doesn't require a Flamenco Shouter.

But soon the Airborne Women began to be boring…


Third Time Viewing for Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark

How about Spiderman: Turn Off Your Cell phones

All around me, Ticket Buyers were busily making Photos of the Intriguing Front Curtain with their Cell Phones, iPhones, & Whatever.

Some were also busily Texting, or reading urgent e Mails that could not wait until they returned home to New Jersey or Wherever

This was my Third Time at Spiderman. The Thrill is still there!

My First Time, I bought the Ticket, as it seemed that this Accident Prone Monster Production would Never Open!

No one was hurt on that night.

But, just when The Green Goblin & Spiderman were mid air over the Audience, the Flying Machinery Controls malfunctioned, leaving them, for ten minutes or so, frozen in place.

Goblin Patrick Page & Spiderman cracked Jokes, to pass the time…

When the Show was Officially Opened to the Press, Julie Taymor's name was gone as Director.

I was invited to see Spiderman a Third Time for it had been Nominated for some Awards.

In fact, I'd nominated Scenic Designer George Tsypin for his remarkably Surreal Visions of Manhattan under Siege.

He Won! He Won! He Won!

The Protracted Love Story of Peter & Mary Jane is still a Bore & it goes on too long.

But the Thrusting, Revolving, Shuffling, Shooting, Diving Settings! The Chrysler Building Unfolding Toward the Audience…

Julie Taymor still has justified Credit for Mask Design & Original Direction--although Costs ran out of control & into the Millions

Philip William McKinley now has Directorial Credit.

You may remember what happened to the Original William McKinley?


Last Chance To Visit Salzburg's Barok Museum in Mirabel Garden House…

At one side of the fabulous Baroque Gardens of Salzburg's Schloss Mirabel, there is a small Garden House that for years has presented Treasures of Baroque Architecture & Design in Mozart's Home Town.

In September, its Collections are to be swallowed up by the Salzburg Museum.

Austerity, even in Austria!

Now on view is an unusual Doll House Substitute from the 1780s: the Klebealbum.

The First Sheet, engraved & hand colored, expands a meter long, featuring all the rooms in the House of Proper Burghers.

Other Cut Out Sheets provide Furniture, Decorations, Household Supplies: All that a Young Girl needs to learn how to Housekeep for her Forthcoming Marriage.

Actually, this is an Augsburger Klebealbum, on loan to Salzburg: It is titled Die Kunst zu wohnen…or The Art of Living.


Are You Ready for a Jack Cole Musical?

When I was researching the Life & Career of Jack Cole, Bill Kenly--PR Man for Paramount Pictures & Big Jack Cole Choreography Fan--showed me all the Dance Sequences Jack had choreographed for Major Motion Picture Musicals.

I was so astonished--even though I'd seen all of the films over the years--at the Impact of seeing them almost as a Single Show, that I had Bill project them for Gwen Verdon, Cole's longtime Muse & Four Time Tony Winner.

Wouldn't this make a Great Movie, on the order of That's Entertainment--a Collage of Movie Sequences--with, maybe, Bob Fosse to provide a kind of Jack Cole Biographical Linkage?

Gwen thought that was a Great Idea. But nothing came of it…

Now, from Jacob's Pillow, America's Dance Nirvana, comes Chet Walker with Heat Wave: The Jack Cole Project.

Walker has chosen some of Jack Cole's Greatest Film Choreographies & Replicated them on stage, rather than making them into a Major Movie.

This was shown recently in Flushing Meadows Park, at the Queens Theatre.

Replicating Cole's Distinctive Costumes must have Cost a Fortune.

None of Cole's Broadway Choreographies or his Club Act Dazzlements are included.

They cannot be replicated now, for no Filmed Records were ever made. Nor are there detailed Dance Notations of these Choreographies.

It was--for me & for most of the aged audience--a Wonderful Experience.

But Walker has put Too Much on stage

There are, by my count, 29 Numbers. Less Is More!

There were Three Musical Numbers from Kismet alone. Oddly, Baubles, Bangles, & Beads was missing…

The mise en scène--which features Racks of old Film Cans & Video Projections--could easily be omitted, making this Show Ready for the Road.

Jack's innovative & astonishing Choreographies don't need anything more than Great Dancers, Stunning Costumes, & Ingenious Lighting.

Dance Against Black Drapes: Save Money on Tour!


Yes! I'm Ready for My Jack Cole Documentary Close Up!

Many, many years ago, Bill Como, the dynamic Editor of Dance Magazine, asked me to write a Report on the Career of Jack Cole, a name by that time almost forgotten.

Jack Cole was the Dancer, Director, Choreographer Genius who devised Jazz Dance, later to be renamed Theatre Dance by some Cole Acolytes.

When I finished reading all the Reviews; talking to all of Jack's most famous Dancers, including, of course, Gwen Verdon; studying all those old Broadway & San Francisco Theatre Programs, & looking at all those Movie Choreographic Sequences, I had a Manuscript of 150 Pages.

Not a Short Report

It's a Long Story, but ultimately all my research became a Book: Unsung Genius: The Passion of Dancer Choreographer Jack Cole.

Now, I believe My Dream about a Movie of Jack Cole's Choreographies is about to become a Reality!

The day after we'd seen Heat Wave out at Queens--where the weather wasn't so hot--the Timeline Films Filming Team came to the Upper East Side Apartment of the Author of the definitive Jack Cole Biography.

Andi Hicks--the Producer/Director/Editor of the Jack Cole Documentary Film Project--asked me, on camera, about my Memories of Cole Choreographies I'd seen long ago. Including some in which Andi had danced

Andi & Mary Ann Kellog--also a Producer/Director/Editor--wanted to know what I'd discovered, digging away in Forgotten Archives, about Jack's Miserable Childhood, when he was J. Ewing Richter, as well as his Later Tantrums, Triumphs & Tragedies.

Well, I'm now 83 Years Old & I have a hard time, early in the morning, even to form Whole Sentences.

So I'm hoping Hugh Neely--Producer/Editor--got some Good Footage for the Project.

Although their Varied Projects move forward under the Banner of the Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education, the Cole Project is funded with an NEA Matching Grant of $20,000.

So Andi, Mary Ann, & Hugh would just love it if anyone who remembers Jack Cole & the Time when there were Really Good Movie Musicals could send a Check to help Match the Grant.



The World Monuments Fund Presents Dalai Lama Friend Pico Iyer at CUNY Grad Center.

Pico Iyertalks almost as fast as he seems to Travel: into Dubai Airport & out in Singapore Baggage Claim in the proverbial Twinkling of an Eye.

The World Monuments Fund Invitation to the H. Peter Stern Lecture bore a handsome photo of some of those Mysterious Easter Island Heads, so I expected a dazzling show of Lantern Slides.

No Such Luck.

Pico Iyer informed the large audience in the Harold M. Proshansky Auditorium of the CUNY Grad Center that he would not be able to do even a Power Point Presentation.

He insists he doesn't even own a Cell Phone!

Yet this famed Novelist, Essayist, & Travel Writer--also Confidant of the XIVth Dalai Lama--seems to be constantly on the move.

Without a Cell Phone?

The Man must be a Genius

Pico Iyer titled his talk: In Journeys Begin Responsibilities.

So, when you take your next Trip upstream to the Three Gorges Dam--after climbing all those stairs to the Mountain top Tomb of Dr. Sun Yat Sen--be Responsible!

Do not throw your empty Coke Cans into the Yangtze River!

Properly stated, this Informative Talk was the Inaugural H. Peter Stern Lecture for the World Monuments Fund.

But several spoke of it as the "First Annual Stern Lecture."

Way back at UC/Berkeley, in 1947, we were taught never to refer to anything as a "First Annual" Whatever.

Whatever the Good Intentions, who can accurately forecast that there will be a Second one?

Nonetheless, the Handsome Annual Report of the World Monuments Fund for 2011 was filled with stunning photos of the various Restoration Projects being conducted Around the World.

Most baroquely amazing is the photo of the Sala Terena, the Grand Staircase in Vienna's Upper Belvedere Palace.

The Culture Proud City of Vienna can well afford to Preserve & Maintain its Many Monuments.

But, even in such Metropolitan Capitals, some times a bit of prodding from the World Monuments Fund is needed to set Things in Motion.

It was pleasing to see how many Worthy Projects were in hand for 2011, moving forward into 2012 & onward.

On my own account--for my Nearing One Million Images Photo Archive, Trademarked as INFOTOGRAPHY™--I have, over the years, photographed many of the Sites in which the World Monuments Fund was involved.

Not to overlook the Projects in Cambodia, at Angkor

But, although I am a Dues Paying Member of the World Monuments Fund, no one has ever asked me to Show My Photos.


Mike Bartlett's Cock at the Duke: Show & Tell or Go To Hell…

Ready for a Cockfight?

The intimate space of the Duke Theatre--in the New 42 Studio Building--has been filled with a raw wooden O.

But it's not a Globe Theatre Mockup. No! It purports to be a Cockfighting Ring.

Not to be confused with a Cock Ring, which is what two of the Participants in Mike Bartlett's Cock might want to wear when they cannot Get It Up

The nominal scene is London, for all the Players seem to be English, even if impersonated by American Performers.

John is identified as a Broker.

His confused Partner, called M--for Man or Male?--thinks that, maybe, he's not really a Homosexual & should, instead, Bed & Marry the charming, but needy Woman he's just met. She is called W, for Woman?

This, understandably, provokes a Crisis.

So M proposes bringing W to dinner at John's Flat.

But John also invites his own Father, who is called F.

[Not to be confused with Fuck, which seems to be at the Very Center of this Problem Play…]

The Playwright seems to have been heavily influenced by Play Strindberg of many seasons gone by, in which each Round in the Battle of the Sexes was fought in a real Boxing Ring, the Rounds announced by the Ringing of a Gong!

But, in this odd drama, the Beats don't really work as Rounds in a Metaphoric Cockfight.

John Lahr--writing in The New Yorker--has raved & raved about this play, which comes to Benighted New Yorkers from the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square.

John lives largely in London, so he must know something about such Scenes as this?

After all, he wrote the Definitive Joe Orton Biography, Prick Up Your Ears!

This Bio, however, was informed by the Letters that Joe Orton had written, over some years, to his New York Chum, who just happens to be Your Roving Arts Reporter.

I couldn't understand, in Bartlett's Cock, why John was so Needy.

As played, he had energy enough for Two or Three Lovers.

There must be Gay Clubs in London now?

Even years ago, he could have dropped by the Salisbury Pub, when Homosexuality was Against the Law.

Or he could have ducked into the Loo at Victoria Station, being careful to avoid Police Officers in Plain Clothes, waiting to Entrap Deviants!

James Macdonald directed the excellent cast, consisting of Jason Butler Harner, Amanda Quaid, Cory Michael Smith, & Cotter Smith. Let's hear it for the Smiths!


Gustav Klimt Anniversary at the Neue Galerie: See Die Schöne & Goldene Adele in All Her Glory!

Had he lived, Gustav Klimt would be 150 years old on 14 July: Bastille Day!

In Klimit's Native Vienna, they are already ahead of the curve on Birthday Celebrations.

Not only are the Belvedere, the Albertina, the Leopold, the Kunsthistorisches, & the Wien Museums having special shows, but also MAK--the Museum für Angewandte Kunst.

In fact, MAK recently sent Your Roving Arts Reporter its CD Press Kit for its Klimt Exhibition: ERWARTUNG UND ERFÜLLUNG--Entwürfe sum Mosaikfries im Palais Stoclet.

I'll report on this potentially fascinating show from Vienna in Late August…

[Incidentally, Palais Stoclet is not in Vienna, but in Bruxelles!]

In the meantime, anyone interested in this Genius of Wiener Jugendstil & Secessionist Meister, should visit the Neue Galerie up on Fifth Avenue at East 86th Street, on view until 27 August 2012.

Here you will see Die Goldene Adele, Klimt's shimmering Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer.

When Ronald Lauder acquired this Famed Image for his Collection of Austrian & German Expressionists, he paid what was then Top Dollar for a Klimt.

But there are other interesting Klimts on Upper Fifth: Pale Face, The Black Feather Hat, The

Dancer, The Park of Schloss Kammer, Forester House in Wiessenbach on the Attersee, & Forest Slope on the Attersee.

The shining Attersee is still The Place for Fashionable Viennese to Summer. It was also where Hitler & Goering stored their Stolen Artworks in Salt Mine Caves

Also on view at the Neue Galerie will be Klimt's Sketches for two Important Projects that were never executed: A Suite of Three Paintings for the Main Hall of the University of Vienna & the Beethoven Frieze for the 1902 Vienna Secession Exhibition.

The Vienna Establishment was High Catholic & it did not need Fresh Ideas from Upstart Jews.

Klimt's striking visions of the Faculties of Medicine, Jurisprudence, & Philosophy were not in accordance with Received Ideas

As I write, I'm looking at a lovely reproduction of the Face of Madia Primavesi, painted by Klimt when she was a young girl.

It is now in the Met Museum, but when I first saw it in the Presence of Mme. Primavesi, it was over the Mantel of the Austrian Ambassador to the UN.

Having made a Study of Lost or Pillaged Art Works in World War II, I exclaimed: "But this painting was Lost! There was no record of it as War Booty!"

Madame explained: "We were able to get it out of Austria when we left, before the Nazis came. Since then, it has been over my own mantel in Toronto."

The Primavesi's did not report its Survival & Location: "The Insurance Costs would have been immense…"


No More Breakfast at Sardi's: Din Din for the Outer Critics Circle Awards!

Decades ago, across the Nation, Ordinary People in every Village & Farm could have a brief sensation of being part of Manhattan's Exciting Social & Cultural Life.

This was made possible by such Radio Programs as Breakfast at Sardi's, with Don McNeill. Also by the Texaco Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts

As a humble & ignorant California Farm Boy, I longed to see Traviata at the Met. Also, to have Breakfast or Lunch or Dinner at Sardi's, with or without Don McNeill.

Done All That…

But my favorite Visit to Sardi's is the Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards, held in the Star Studded Caricature Haven that is the Eugenia Room, named for the late & beloved Actress, Eugenia Rawls.

This Year was the Best Ever because both Your Arts Reporter & his Colleague & Web Master, Scott Bennett got to talk with many of the OCC Winners.

Among the Stars giving--rather than receiving--Awards were Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara, who won the OCC's prestigious John Gassner Award some seasons ago.

Also on hand was popular Josh Gad, from The Book of Mormon!

John Robin Baitz--who won already for Other Desert Cities--was on the Giving End this time, but it is More Blessed To Give Than To Receive, isn't it?

He was carrying a Shoulder Bag labeled simply BERLIN.

I asked him whether the Berlin in Question was Sir Isaiah Berlin, or Irving?

He opted for Irving Berlin, but the bag, in fact, advertised the German Capital

Below, Scott Bennett shares some of the Celebrity Photos he made during the Awards. Winners are also noted:

[Insert Pix & Lists…]


Potted Potter at the Little Shubert:

How about all of the Harry Potter Books in Seventy Minutes?

Dan & Jeff do this--plus all those Harry Potter Movies!--in more than the Promised Seventy because, winging it with the Enthusiastic Audience, they sometimes get in over their Heads.

You do not have to have actually read all Seven of Joanna Rowlng's Potter Tomes to enjoy this show.

As with all Good Parodies, there is enough Idle Fun to amuse All Sizes.

Daniel Clarkson & Jefferson Turner have concocted this Harry Stew, which they also perform.

With Zest & also Funny Wigs, Props, & Masks

There's even a Great Wardrobe--although the Program makes no mention of this Debt to that Brit who wrote The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe--that doubles as a Projection Screen & a Hidden Dressing Room.

Potted Potter & its Twin Spooner Outers of the Roiling, Rolling, Rowling Contents is just the kind of show that the New Victory often schedules just up West 42nd Street two blocks or so.

But its Season has just ended, so we wish for an Open Ended Run for Dan & Jeff at the Little Shubert--which seldom has a Hit


This Month's Rational Ratings--

Bruce Norris' CLYBOURNE PARK [★★★★]

Rick Elice's PETER & THE STARCATCHER [★★★★★]

Harold Pinter's THE CARETAKER [★★★★]

Ahrens & Flaherty's RAGTIME [★★★★★]

Bernard Shaw's MAN & SUPERMAN [★★★★★]

Toby Armour's 155 FIRST AVENUE [★★]


Georg Philip Telemann's ORPHEUS [★★★★]

Edith Wharton & Clyde Fitch's THE HOUSE OF MIRTH [★★★★★]

Paul Weitz's LONELY, I'M NOT [★★★★]

Li Quianfu's CIRCLE OF CHALK [★★★★]

Kahane & Bockley's FEBRUARY HOUSE [★★★★]

Look Where It ComesAgain--SPIDERMAN [★★★★]

Mike Bartlett's COCK [★★★]

Clarkson & Turner's POTTED POTTER [★★★★]


Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.

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