February, 2013

Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.

Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index: In Mile High Denver, Pot Is Now Legal, but You can get High on Theater as well! *
Shakespeare in the Shadow of the Rockies
Don't Mess with My Head! Re Programming Ed's Memories
THE OUTSIDER ART FAIR 2013: Outlandish/Inlandish & Almost at The Chelsea Piers
Polish Priest Learns Spanish, While His Orphan Charge Becomes Roller Derby Charger.
At the Met Museum: A Trio of Mini Exhibitions & a Website Enrichment
Blues Lovers & Video Addicts Should Flock To the Whitney To See & Hear BLUES FOR SMOKE!
It's All About Inheritance: Who Will Get Big Daddy's Rich Plantation--No Neck Monsters?
New MoMA Show: Dieter Roth's Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing
Remarkable Baronial Hall Dominates Juilliard Production of Marital Misfires Somewhere in Italy.
MISS LA LA ALOFT: Edgar Degas' Painting of Black Prussian Aerialist at Cirque Fernando
Did Organized Religion Help Kill Matthew Shepard? Talking To Locals *
Who Was That Masked Man with That Flowing Black Cape? ZORRO, of course, But from the UK
For a "Good Time," Call The New York City Opera: Oral Sex Onstage
at BAM, Plus 24 Naked Men!
Impressionism & Fashion at the Met! Manet & Monet were not only into Bustles & Corsets
Marilyn "Jackie" Horne Conducts a Masterful Master Class at Manhattan School of Music!
At the Guggenheim: Lots of Food & Lots of Talk & Talkers about "Art Mapping" in SE Asia
Seven Ages of Man in Shakespeare, but Five Stages of Women Characters!
ANDY WARHOL Art Artifacts Up for On Line Bidding at Christie's!
At the Grolier: A Plenitude of Handsome "Little Magazines," with Beardsley & Elbert Hubbard
Clockwork Precision Marks the Cast Work in the Hilarious Revival of Ives' Six Timed Parodies
A Largely Overlooked & Forgotten Irish Playwright Gets a Second
Chance at Mint Theatre.
There's Evil Onstage at BAM: Governess Battles Ghosts for Possession of Orphan Children
Piero Della Francesca in America? When Did He Arrive? How Did He Get Through Customs?
Trio of New Shows at the Met: Cambodian Rattan, Plain or Fancy, & Southern Poverty Photos.
Muni Art Society Faces New Challenges: After Hurricane Sandy, Sustainability & Livability.
My Old UC/Berkeley Artist/Designer/Friend, Jay DeFeo, Back at the Whitney!
Old Testament Sings Aloud: Mendelssohn's Elijah Electrifies at the Manhattan School
Ronald Lauder's "Magnificent Obsession" with German/Austrian Expressionism at Neue Galerie!
Elite Private School Then & Now: Making Boys into Men Doesn't Always Work



In Mile High Denver, Pot Is Now Legal, but You can get High on Theater as well!

The Paucity of Challenging New Productions, both On & Off Broadway--in February, the Shortest Month--encouraged Your Roving Arts Reporter to fly out to Denver once again for the Annual Colorado New Play Summit.

Founded by Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson, the Festival Formula has been to present Four or Five Play Readings of New Dramas, from which Two will be chosen for Full Stage Production the following February.

But even Drama Critics who had come all the way from New York were forbidden to write anything about the Readings, as the Scripts are Still in Progress

That is really Unfortunate, for Three of the Five were Sure Winners, even without Sets & Costumes to flesh them out

What is most amazing is that the Reading Casts have only three days to become familiar with their Scripts & their Characters.

Yet most of the Players seem already to be Inhabiting their Temporary Roles!

Kent Thompson, his Dramaturg, Douglas Langworthy, & his Staff may have a tough time choosing Only Two out of the Reading Lineup: The Vast In Between, by Laura Eason, Black Odyssey, by Marcus Gardley, The Legend of Georgia McBride, by Matthew Lopez, The Most Deserving, by Catherine Trieschmann, & Just Like Us, a Commissioned Adaptation by Karen Zacarias, of a book by Helen Thorpe, a Local Journalist, whose Husband was once Mayor of Denver.

Fortunately, a number of Theatre Producers from Regional Theatres were on hand, so at least three of the plays are sure to be Optioned for Future Production.

Were I a Producer--instead of an Arts Scribe--I would immediately option The Legend of Georgia McBride, in which a Failed Elvis Impersonator becomes a Fabulous Drag Queen!

Wait for it at a Theatre near you!

Blind Homer might not know what to make of his Odyssey, with his Epic retold in terms of Black History

This one I'd also Option!


Shakespeare in the Shadow of the Rockies

The evening before the New Play Summit gets underway, there's always a new Shakespeare Staging on hand, so I fly out to Denver a day early to savor that.

Kent Thompson's Denver staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream was one of the best I've ever seen, but this year, he ceded Directorial Challenges to Scott Wentworth, who gave a Wonderfully Historicist Look to Romeo & Juliet.

On a Stage Floor & Platforms of Bleached Wood--with a Curtain dividing the Upstage from the Downstage in a haunting Mirror Effect--Renaissance Veronese Jested, Dueled, Danced, & Died in Elegant Elizabethan Costumes.

Robert Davidson is credited with Choreography, but the Entire Production seemed Choreographed, rather like a Ritualized Renaissance Masque.

The Costumes--by Christina Poddubiuk--may have been influenced by her Trip to Italy, to study Period Costumes first hand.

Of course, Juliet is only 14 years old--in the Original Script, now long lost--but that has never prevented Aging Stars from counterfeiting Innocence & Loveliness.

Fortunately for both Scott Wentworth & Denver Audiences, he had a very bouncy Juliet in Lenne Klingaman.

But her Romeo seemed from a Different Century & a very Old Fashioned Production.

He was Vocally & Visually Over the Top from his First Appearance onstage. I had the impression that he was trying to recreate Edwin Booth in this Demanding Role

Only at the close, when he has killed the County Paris & discovered an apparently Dead Juliet in the Capulet Tomb, was his Passion muted & touching. Charles Pasternack can do subtle when he wants to do so, but he needed a Guiding Hand, which his Director should have provided…

Fortunately, the ribald Nurse of Jeanne Paulsen & the thoughtful Friar Laurence of Sam Gregory were exemplary. As was the florid Queen Mab Showpiece of J. Todd Adams' Mercutio.

Major Productions are accompanied by InsideOUT, effectual Study Guides for the dramas.

Denver's estimable Sally Gass provided a variety of Cliff Notes for Romeo & Juliet, including a short note on Humor in Romeo & Juliet.

I told her I thought Humor should be Self Evident if the Actors were really doing their jobs. But I was perhaps forgetting that most Young People now have an Attention Span of Mere Seconds

Nonetheless, Two Young Women--sitting next to me--were laughing heartily at the High Jinx of the Nurse & Elizabethan Wit & Humor that's now at least Four Hundred Years Old!

In her "Encapsulated Biography" of the Author of the Plays commonly attributed to Wm. Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon, Sally Gass does admit that we know very little about Shakespeare before he came up to London.

We have only Six Authentic Signatures, but he could never spell his name the same way twice…

Could it be that Christopher Marlowe did not die in that Infamous Tavern Brawl in Deptford? That, instead, his Death was Faked & he was Spirited Abroad, never to return to England?

Had he taken refuge in Padua & Verona, that might account for The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona, & the Veronese Romeo & Juliet

Also in the R&J Edition of InsideOUT is an Essay on Herbs: Then, Now, & Yet To Come, by Amanda L. Burns, of the Denver Botanical Gardens, the Brochures of which were available in the Denver Theatre Center Lobby.

If you turned up at the Gardens with Your Ticket Stub--according to InsideOUT--you would receive $1 off the Regular Daytime Admission!

From Denver Sight Readings into Fully Staged Productions: Grace & Ed

In addition to R&J, Local & Visiting Critics are allowed to comment on the Two Plays that were chosen from last February's Readings.

This is Awkward, for I didn't warm to Grace, or The Art of Climbing even as a Reading.

Somehow, I missed the Reading of Ed, Downloaded, possibly because I had to fly back to New York that Sunday Afternoon…

As Grace, or The Art of Climbing features a Depressed Young Woman, who decides to try Mountain Climbing to get out of her Funk, in the Reading, I wondered how the Denver Theatre Center Company could stage this Odd Drama?

A Fake Climbing Wall--especially in a Theatre in the Round Conformation--wouldn't work…

Designer Dane Laffrey ingeniously solved the Problem by providing Thin Steel Beams--studded with Mini Stone Handholds--on Cables that can be raised or lowered to simulate the Illusion of Climbing.

Thus, everyone in the Audience could watch Emm's progress in Learning To Climb & overcoming her Fears: Not just of falling

They do say: Write what you know. Playwright Lauren Feldman--if an Interview in the Program is to be believed--has done just that.

What's more, her Entire Cast has apparently mastered the Art of Climbing, even to clambering up some Actual Colorado Mountains in nearby & aptly named Boulder.

Mike Donahue staged the by now Physically Fit Players, among whom John Hutton was notable as Emm's Concerned Father. Julie Jesneck was an Able Emm.

My Problem with this Athletic Drama was that I couldn't quite understand why Emm had turned her back on Friends who loved & cared. But everyone on stage seemed committed to making the Play an Effective Experience.


Don't Mess with My Head! Re Programming Ed's Memories

Ed, Downloaded was Commissioned--from Playwright Michael Mitnick--with the Idea of having Computer Hardware & Software as a Major Character.

This worked long ago in 2001: Who will ever forget Hal?

Unfortunately, the Multi Complexities of the Software Programs on show--while possibly fascinating to People who do not yet have Cell Phones, or who incessantly play Video Games--are Distractions, rather than Revelations.

Initially, I didn't understand that Edward--who was giving a kind of Slide Show or Power Point Presentation to some School Students--was actually dying.

Nor--as he seemed a kind of Nerd or a Wuss--could I understand why Two Women would be so in love with him.

One of them, named Selene--the Name being suggested by Greek Mythology, or was it Roman?--seems to be some kind of Neuro Scientist & Computer Freak.

But she is suddenly thrust aside, as Edward falls for a cute Marionette Street Artiste, who is actually named Ruby.

We see them thrashing about in the Throes of Young Love, later repeated in Endless Videos.

After Edward had died & an Intermission, we returned to discover a Stage filled with Huge Overhead Computer Monitors & Elegant Pedestals filled with Rising Bubbles in a Clear Medium, below the Downloaded Memories of varied Defunct Brains.

Scenic Designer James Kronzer must have been responsible for the Design of the Pedestals, which were even more impressive endlessly reflected in Mirrors!

There were also some Cases with what I took to be Defunct Dyson Vacuum Cleaners, but a Computer Expert Colleague told me that they were actually Computers!

As I do not even own a Cell Phone, I seem to have no real Grounding in the Common Experience of the Youth of Today, much less their Online Passions

Selene--apparently desolate that Edward had deserted her for Ruby--is trying to Re Program Edward's Memories, so that what was down loaded from his Dead–Brain will show him still infatuated with Selene, instead of with Ruby, even going so far as to replace Her Selene Image for that of Ruby, even when Ed & Ruby were tussling in the Bed Sheets!

This required some Recondite Code Writing & Endless Re Runs of Ed & Ruby Digitals.

It was like Déjà Vu all over again & all over again & all over again.

A Program Insert thanked some Forty People & Organizations for helping out with the Videos!

At one point, the Huge Video Monitors lit up with a Warning: FATAL ERROR

That could also have been a Metaphoric Warning about trying to make Artificial Intelligence a Major Player on stage.

This is something that can be better suggested in what used to be called Film, which no longer exists as a Viable Medium for Entertainment or Enlightenment, alas…

You want a play about Artificial Intelligence? How about putting America's House of Representatives on stage?

Sam Buntrock staged Annie Powell, Grace Rex, & JD Taylor, when he was not being Up Staged by all that Hardware & Software.

If you want to know what you missed by not being in Denver for the New Play Summit, why not check out Video Highlights on You Tube & Photo Highlights on Flickr?

There's also Stuff on Facebook




THE OUTSIDER ART FAIR 2013: Outlandish/Inlandish & Almost at The Chelsea Piers

Art Brut, Art by Untaught Artists, Naïve Art

Call it what you will, but the Bottom Line is that the Creators of the wide range of Visual Inventions & Puzzlements at this Season's Outsider Art Fair all had No Academic Training whatsoever.

Or so they say…

Some, like Martin Ramirez--who was confined to DeWitt Hospital, near my home town of Grass Valley--were Certifiably Insane.

Among the most famed of these Madmen was Adolf Wölfli, who now even has a Foundation named for him.

Indeed, Daniel Baumann, Curator of the Adolf Wölfli Foundation, was even on hand at the show for a Rooftop Panel on A Bridge Between Art Worlds.

In fact, Adolf Wölfli is a favorite of the Galerie St. Etienne, whose Doyenne, Jane Kallir, was also showing the Quintessential American Outsider, Grandma Moses, whom her father, Otto Kallir, effectually "discovered."

No Outsider Art Show would be complete with out some watercolor sheets from Henry Darger's on going Sagas of Victorious Girls overcoming varied Challenges & Threats.

Some of the Artworks involve a Central Conception, such as the many visions of Renaldo Kuhler, "Founder & Permanent Resident" of Rocaterrania.

Kuhler's Rocaterranian World looks vaguely like a Soviet Survival, including the Uniforms

On the Theory that One Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words, Your Roving Arts Reporter would like to share a kind of Collage of the Photos he took of the More Bizarre Imaginative Efforts

The Baltimore based Grimaldis Gallery was showing many Scenes of the Childhood Memories of Giorgos Rigas of Small Town Life in Fokis in Central Greece: Both charming & instructive: So that's how Greek Peasants used to Winnow Corn!

Among the admirable Galleries with stalls down at Centre 548--on West 22nd Street--were Cavin Morris, Carl Hammer, Bourbon Lally, Ames, Gilley's, Dean Jensen, Laura Steward, Henry Boxer, & Vito Schnabel.

Also on hand was the American Folk Art Museum, which owns a Hoard of Henry Dargers.

It once inhabited a State of the Art Museum adjoining MoMA, but that's now sadly shuttered up.

Instead, its Holdings can now be viewed at Lincoln Center, in the Mormon Building.

On a clear day, that Golden Statue of the Angel Moroni--atop the LDS Structure--could be viewed as a Latter Day Saints Exemplar of 19th Century American Folk Art, discovered by The Prophet, Joseph Smith, in Upstate New York, at the Hill Cumorah


Rolin Jones' THE JAMMER [★★★★★]


Polish Priest Learns Spanish, While His Orphan Charge Becomes Roller Derby Charger.

Patch Darragh is Super Charged as Jack Lovington, a timid Roman Catholic Orphan, who becomes a Star of the fixed Roller Derby World.

The Jammer often looks like a Cartoon--with Cartoonish Characters, some of them actually cut out of Cardboard--but it is also an Hilarious Caricature of the World of Roller Derbies, Sports Fans, & Hyped Sports Broadcasters, as well as the Changing World of Roman Catholic Parishes in New York City.

In Bushwick, as in Chelsea, what were once Polish Tinged Masses are becoming Puerto Rican: Our Lady of Guadalupe is replacing the Old Guard of Saintly Patronage

[¿How do you say Saint Ladislaw or Saint Birgitte en español?]

Jackson Gay has strenuously staged a Dynamic Cast which has to play Multiple Roles & speak Bad Language as if it were their Mother Tongue.

Although this Insanely Funny Show is now in the Atlantic Theatre's Sub Basement Space of the Google Building, on West Sixteenth Street, it should soon be moved to a Major Midtown Venue!

Kudos to Wilson Chin for a wonderfully Cartoonish Setting


At the Met Museum: A Trio of Mini Exhibitions & a Website Enrichment

After I fell on my Head--while Photographing the Golden Gate Bridge with a Trick Lens--I almost lost the Power of Locomotion.

When I was finally released from the Hospital, my Primary Care Providing Physician told me to walk Three Miles every day.

As I live only Twelve Blocks down Fifth Avenue from the Met Museum--actually, across from the Frick!--walking up Fifth to the Met isn't enough to be Just What the Doctor Ordered.

Fortunately, on a recent Monday, the Met Management made it possible to satisfy my Doctor's Prescription for Exercise.

Checking in at the Press Table, I was advised to ramble on down through the Greek & Roman Antiquities to a Mezzanine Gallery, where a bronze figure of Sleeping Eros was on view.

This had recently been re restored, but its exposure to view also offered the occasion to show other Classic Representations of Eros as well.

Maybe it was because the Sculptor showed Eros asleep--instead of In Action--that merely looking at the Cherubic Little Lad didn't function as an Aphrodisiac

After that brief brush with Sex in Antiquity, I straggeled back through the long Classic Corridor into the Main Lobby, where Red Carpets were being laid for the Rich Patrons who would arrive that very evening to Wine & Dine & possibly struggle up the Neo Classic Stairs to look at Eros asleep.

But I believe they would have got much more enjoyment from Birds in the Art of Japan, which was almost at the opposite end of the Met, in the Sackler Galleries, looking down on the Temple of Dendur.

Currently, almost everything on view in the Japanese Galleries contains an Image--or Multiple Images--of a Bird or Birds: Scrolls, Screens, Ceramics, Bronzes, & even a Fabulous Bird Burdened Kimono!

Long before John James Audubon wondered how to get all of a Flamingo into one print, Japanese Scroll Painters had already figured out how to depict Long Necked Birds in Small Spaces: Have them pecking about the ground, possibly hunting for Seeds or Worms

There were also modern Art Works--some of them rather Un Bird Like--that were supposed to suggest Birds or Flight.

But why Curators chose to place centrally a kind of Reindeer--made of many Crystal Globes, of various sizes--remains a Mystery.

The Sackler Galleries are on the Second Floor of the Uptown Wing of the Met--which is currently fronted or affronted with the Mammoth Construction Works on the David H. Koch Fountains--so one has to take the Elevator down again to the Main Floor, then proceed through that Great Ecclesiastical Hall, where the Christmas Tree sits annually, to reach the Lehman Wing.

Just inside this Wing, a Computer Monitor was mounted so the Press could see a New Feature of the Met Museum Website: You can now explore Great Works of Art--with Curators explaining their Amazing Qualities--in the Privacy of Your Own Home.

Or even, given the Wonders of the Internet, possibly on your Cell Phone or iPad

The Day may not be Far Off when you do not need to go to the Met--either the Met Museum or the Met Opera--at all. You will soon be able to look at Paintings & Bizarre Productions on your Wrist Watch!

The Sound may not be so good, but Paintings seldom sing.

Beyond the Monitor, however--with the Three Miles almost covered, as per Doctor's Orders--was the Path of Nature, not even Three Kilometers.

This showcases the Met Gift of the Wheelock Whitney Collection, but the exhibition title may be a bit misleading.

There are very few real Nature Scenes or Landscapes on view among the many small scale oils of Historic Buildings & Religious Scenes.

The Idea of Nature is that most of these French Paintings were made en plein aire: Outdoors, not in a Studio.

Rather, this Collection looks like the kind of Souvenir Paintings one would acquire on The Grand Tour.

A stark high columned Interior of a Dutch Church surely wasn't painted en plein aire: Nor by a French Painter…

My favorite image--which would have had to have been painted At Night, if truly en plein aire--showed a frantic English Poet, struggling with the Shroud Enwrapped Corpse of his Daughter, who could not be buried in a Roman Catholic Cemetery, as she was a Protestant.

That's why they have a Protestant Cemetery in Florence.

It's still cheaper to bury Dead Englishmen in Italy, especially Poets, in what--to Italian Catholics--must surely be Unhallowed Ground, rather than to ship their Corpses back to Bloomsbury


Blues Lovers & Video Addicts Should Flock To the Whitney To See & Hear BLUES FOR SMOKE!

If you love Video Art--or even just plain Videos of Black Musicians jamming--then the Whitney's current Blues for Smoke may be just the show for you.

But this colorful collage of American Artistry isn't only about Media on Monitors.

It is inclusive, in the sense that Blues is now so pervasive in American Culture, that its Essences inform Painting, Sculpture, Drawing, Photography, Literature, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Art Installations, & Multi Media Explorations.

There will be, in fact, both Lectures & Performances in the framework of this show: How about Lonnie Holley, Matana Roberts, Annette Peacock, Loren Connors, & Thomas Bradshaw?

LA Contemporary Art Museum Curator Bennett Simpson will, for example, discuss: Why Contemporary Art Gives Me the Blues. [Just being in & working in LA will give you the Blues, but that's not in the Focus of this Exhibition…]

Also scheduled is: Speaking the Blues: An Evening of Poetry--inspired by the Blues Aesthetic in American Poetry. On tap will be such Poets as Tracie Morris, Haryette Mullen, & Cornelius Eady.

Even an evening of Short Films will explore or demonstrate the Blues Aesthetic. These Brief Movies have been selected by Kevin Jerome Everson, whose own Filmic Work & Photography are said to "evoke this tradition."

There will even be another evening of Readings of works by Gay Black Men, "from the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties."

Among those Poets & Writers will be David Frechette, Marlon Riggs, & Assotto Saint, long dead from The Plague. This has been curated by Gregg Bordowitz, an AIDS Survivor, who describes himself in the Press Release as: "a New York Jewish Bisexual Intellectual." [Caps added…]

[Who, in Manhattan, actually gets to decide who is or is not an Intellectual? How can one recognize one?]

Among the Media Works at various Viewing Stations are: Minor Threat, Richard Pryor Live in Concert, Duke Ellington: Symphony in Black, Bad Brains, & Cecil Taylor: All the Notes.

There are also Artworks on view, not all of them by African American Artists. Willliam Eggleston, for instance, offers two photos taken in Mississippi, both of them titled: Untitled.

More impressive, however, are such works as Romare Bearden's Pittsburgh Memory & Train Whistle Blues.

As you enter the Whitney's Third Floor, you will be confronted by David Hammons' Art Installation: Chasing the Blue Train, [1989]. This work is apparently on loan from Ghent's Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst--known in Belgium as SMAK.

Amid a Landscape of Grand Piano Lids, standing on edge, there are meandering Train Tracks, even passing through a Tunnel in a heap of Polished Black Stones.

In the Foreground sits a tiny Blue Train, which is supposedly Programmed to move forward now & then, but it did not Budge the entire time Your Roving Arts Reporter was on Floor Three, constantly rushing back to see if it would actually move

Now, Blue Trains can be really Bluesy & even Smokey, but it's more fun when they are In Motion


Tennessee Williams' CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF [★★★★]

It's All About Inheritance: Who Will Get Big Daddy's Rich Plantation--No Neck Monsters?

At the opening of the current revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof--at what used to be the 46th Street Theatre, many years ago--Chris Oram's gauzy setting seems to be smoldering, as Smoke drifts about the Drapes.

This may be a Visual Metaphor for the barely banked fires of Maggie the Cat, who knows that Big Daddy is dying of Inoperable Cancer.

That means that his Vast Plantation will soon pass to one of his two sons: either the Over Eager Gooper, with his Pushy Wife & Horde of No Neck Monsters, or to his Favorite, Brick, who can't seem to get it up for his Lawfully Wedded Wife, Maggie.

Burl Ives was not available for this effortful production, but Ciarán Hinds does the best he can with the role of Big Daddy.

Debra Monk--a Broadway Favorite--is a Southern Caricature as Big Mama, but what can you do with Tennessee Williams' Characters, who are seldom far from Caricature, even in The Glass Menagerie?

The Glue that holds Rob Ashford's revival together is the amazing Scarlett Johansson, as the Indomitable Maggie!

As Brick--who is becoming a Professional Alcoholic, because of the Death of his Best Buddy, with whom he had a Very Pure Friendship, with No Hint of Locker Room Homosexuality--Benjamin Walker gets to walk about the stage on crutches, initially at least, in a Gym Towel, which some Ladies in the Front Row may be hoping will come unsecured

For those who already Know the Play, of course Maggie has to get Brick Sober Enough for her to Conceive an Heir for Big Daddy's Acres.

The Handsome Walker--who is No Body Builder--is OK in the role of Brick & he is also the Son in Law of Meryl Streep!

As Revivals seem to be the Thing now for Producers who are terrified of Taking Risks on Broadway--at least with what used to be called Serious Dramas--it's interesting that Clifford Odets is also Making a Comeback.

There are, however, a number of Dramas by Williams that would be interesting to see again on stage, but No One is going to take a chance on a new mounting of Camino Real, even with an All Star Cast



That Was The Question at the Annual Paul Mellon Lecture, Delivered at the Morgan Library/Museum for the World Monument Fund, Which Saves Landmarks.

Possibly, Venice cannot be Saved

But that's not because No Plans have been made to keep the Lagoon from drowning under Rising Water Levels. Or Sudden Storms.

There are, in fact, several Flood Control Systems already planned to keep Tidal Surges & Globally Warmed Waters from inundating the Grand Palazzi & sinking St. Mark's.

No less an Expert than Anna Somers Cocks--Former Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund--showed Models & Drawings of various very Sophisticated Flood Containment Barriers during her admirably illustrated Paul Mellon Lecture at the Morgan.

What may soon destroy Venice is Tourism!

Every Year now, some 17 Million Tourists descend upon St. Mark's Square & the Doge's Palace.

Cocks showed some recent photos with every Bridge & Walkway crammed with Tourists, so densely packed that it's a wonder anyone can move.

The Program for the Mellon Lecture had a Cover Photo of an Immense Six Decked Cruise Ship dwarfing the Campanile.

Another of Cocks' photos showed the Cruise Ship Docks, with Eight Elephantine Sea Hotels at Anchor. They eclipsed the Landmarks & the Landscape.

Oddly enough, only One Third of the Passengers debark in Venice. But that's quite enough to generate Major Human Traffic Jams.

Another Menace to Venice is the Ancient Infrastructure: Crumbling Bricks & Scaling Stonework seem the Rule in many of the Side Streets & Lesser Canals.

Venice could Fall Down before it Drowns

Nonetheless, the Jobs created by such Massive Tourism are not easily cast aside.

Nor are matters made easy by the Number of Government Agencies that are more or less Responsible for the Preservation & Welfare of the Queen of the Adriatic.

Venice, after all, is located in Italy, famous for fecklessness.

Almost Two Centuries Ago, George Gordon, Lord Byron, was already worried about the Survival of Venice.

Rome is fortunate that it is not sited on the Sea.

[For more information about the Mellon Lectures & the Preservation Projects of the World Monument Fund, log on to]


New MoMA Show: Dieter Roth's Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing

Features Salamis Stuffed with Ground Up Books & Toys Embedded in Chocolate!

Dieter Roth was Western Europe's Post War Arts Enfant Terrible, outraging Established Taste & enabling a Cohort of Avant Gardistes.

How about filling Salami & Sausage Casings with Paper Pulp made by grinding up either Your Most Loved Books or Most Despised Tomes & Newspapers & metaphorically Eating Them?

Roth's Artworks in Chocolate might once have been Edible, but now they are sadly ageing.

But that's the Meaning of this Funky Show's Title: All Roth's Creations, he suggested, will someday Bio Degrade…

Of course, that's not what Art Collectors really want--least of all, MoMA, which has mounted this show largely from its Own Collections.

Fortunately, few of the Items on view show signs of Absolute Degradation of Materials: even Roth's tiny 1968 Self Portrait Bust--which is compounded of Chocolate & Birdseed--has held up rather well.

The Actual Title of this Bust is: P.O.TH.A.A.VFB, which stands for Portrait of the Artist as a Vogelfutterbüste.

Just in case your Schweizerdeutsch is a bit rusty, Vogelfutter is Teutonic for Birdseed.

This Bust was "acquired through the generosity of Peter H. Friedland."

But the Sue & Edgar Wachenheim III Fund apparently also had something to do with its Acquisition

How about Two Bunnies, made of Rabbit Droppings & Straw?

These come from the Dieter Roth Foundation in Hamburg, Germany. In German, they are known as Karnickelköttelkarnickel.

Roth was Ethnic Swiss, but born in Germany in 1930, before Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. So Roth had the opportunity to become a Hitler Youth, growing up in Hannover, Germany.

Having Swiss Citizenship saved Roth from the World War II Bombings, as he retreated to Zürich.

Despite Roth's resolution to try out all kinds of Art Fun, he was actually a Gifted Graphic Artist, as some of the works on view make very clear.

He is seen as the First Artist to make Books into Works of Art, not merely Texts illustrated by Art.

But Dieter Roth is not the first Modern Artist to create Artworks that were meant to Destroy Themselves or Degrade over time.

Museum Curators & Conservationists, however, are determined that their Precious Holdings of such
Artworks will not, in fact, disappear.

Just think of the Investment involved…

Gaetano Donizetti's DON PASQUALE [★★★★]


Remarkable Baronial Hall Dominates Juilliard Production of Marital Misfires Somewhere in Italy.

Were it not for some Charming Melodies in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, it probably would not get as many revivals as it does.

The Fable of a Rich Old Man deciding to marry, only to be epically harassed by a Young Wife--from whom he is soon delighted to Separate--has been told more than once.

But Don Pasquale's Bride is none other than the Penniless Norina, the True Love of his Nephew, Ernesto--who refuses the Wealthy Bride the Don has chosen for him.

Whereupon the Don disinherits him & plans to marry, to Teach Him a Lesson.

Jeongcheol Cha was sufficiently flustered as the Don & in Good Voice.

Javier Abreu was an energetic Ernesto, but his Shaved Head made him look Older than a Young Italian Swain might want to appear.

Deanna Breiwick's wonderfully animated Spit Fire Norina was not only lovely & lively to behold, but she also sang with clarity & charm: a Star of Tomorrow!

As her Brother, Malatesta, who is also the Don's Doctor & Master of the Fake Matrimonials--Tobias Greenhalgh was elegantly adroit & vocally powerful.

But the Visual Star of the Show was the imposing Baronial Setting, designed by Shoko Kambara, with its three great Mural Panels upstage & a Bibliophiliac Clutter pouring off every surface.

When Norina--posing as the Don's new Wife--decides to do a Modernist Make Over, the Panels reverse, to reveal stark Black & White Horizontals.

At the close, in the Don's Garden, the Panels fly aloft, leaving only the elegant Hardwood Framing of the Baronial Hall.

For Scenes off the Don's Estate, a colorful Art Deco Collage of 1920s Ads descends in front of the Hall: Super Effect!

Norina's Layered Panel Red Silk Dress--designed by Amanda Seymour--is just what a Smartly Dressed & Newly Wealthy Woman would want to wear.

This Dress--with its Hip Enhancing Silhouette--makes Norina in Action the Center of Attention, eclipsing the Furious & Frustrated Don & all others on stage.

Stephen Lord genially conducted the Juilliard Orchestra, with staging by James Robinson, who didn't know what to do with the Chorus at times.


MISS LA LA ALOFT: Edgar Degas' Painting of Black Prussian Aerialist at Cirque Fernando

One of the Great Sensations for Parisians who visited the Cirque Fernando in the 1870s was Miss La La being hauled up almost to the 70 Foot Ceiling, hanging by her Teeth!

This so fascinated Edgar Degas--famed for his interest in Ballet Girls--that he made studies for the colorful painting now at the Morgan, on loan from London's National Gallery.

He also sketched the Dental Apparatus by which Miss La La was raised aloft & suspended while she did some Aerialist Turns.

Born in Prussia to a Black Father & a White Mother, Miss La La also rejoiced in other Stage Names, such as The Black Venus, Venus of the Tropics, & La Femme Canon.

The latter name referred to her most impressive Aerial Act: Hanging Upside Down from a Trapeze, she held a 150 Pound Cannon by her Teeth, after which feat, the Cannon was fired, with a "tremendous report."

Perhaps this was too complicated for Degas to record in Oils?

The new Morgan Circus Show evokes not only the Talents of Miss La La--whose real name was Olga--but also the World of Circus Fernando, a celebrated One Ring Circus, as was & is the Custom in Europe.

No Three Ring Circuses

When Your Roving Arts Reporter was teaching in Verdun, in the late 1950s, he would on occasion--on a Paris Weekend--buy a ticket for a One Ring Circus Performance at the Cirque Medrano, which is what the Cirque Fernando became.

Sadly, it was demolished in 1972.

Also at the Morgan are some Manuscript Pages & Corrected Galleys in the hand of Marcel Proust, whose A la Recherche du Temps Perdu is celebrating its Centenary.

Moisés Kaufman & Others' THE LARAMIE PROJECT CYCLE [★★★]


GOD HATES FAGS! Did Organized Religion Help Kill Matthew Shepard? Talking To Locals

On 6 October 1998, young & pint sized Matt Shepard was deliberately picked up in a Laramie Gay Bar by Two Straight Teenagers who planned to Rob him & Teach Him a Lesson

They left him tied to a Barbed Wire Fence, badly beaten, bleeding & Begging for Mercy.

When he was finally found & freed from the Fence, he was rapidly fading, dying in hospital, on 12 October, from his Fatal Injuries.

Shepard had been a Student at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie.

His Ordeal was almost immediately described as a Hate Crime, drawing Media Carnivores from all over America & even Abroad.

In effect, Matthew Shepard soon became an Ikon, a kind of Patron Saint for Oppressed, Despised, Feared, & Hated Homosexuals & Lesbians.

Under the Leadership of Socially Aware Playwright Moisés Kaufman, the Tectonic Project went to Laramie to Interview as many of the Locals who would speak to them, not only about Young Matt, but also about their own Life Styles & Sense of Community.

The Often Astonishing Interviews were then edited into a Riveting Revelation of how the Citizens of Laramie thought about themselves & others, especially that Threatening Outsider Other who doesn't Get Married & Raise a Family, as God Intended

The Script--performed by the Tectonic Interviewers--was premiered by the Denver Theatre Center, at that time headed by my old friend, Donovan Marley.

Kaufman & Leigh Fondakoswki were the Chief Writers, but they were ably assisted by the Actor/Playwright Stephen Belber, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, & Barbara Pitts, among others.

Now--more than a Decade after the 2000AD Denver Premiere & Cross Country & Worldwide Tours--The Laramie Project is on the Road again, its New York Venue being the Harvey Theatre at BAM.

But this time, it's enhanced & extended by a Second Part: The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.

Over at BAM, the Double Productions are animated by some of the Originators: Stephen Belber, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, & Barbara Pitts, plus Michael Winther, Amanda Gronich, Mercedes Herrero, & Libby King.

What many people in Laramie did not understand--way back in 1998--is that Matthew Shepard had not chosen to be Gay.

Not only did many Pious Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians & Mormons, as well, believe that God had Forbidden any Sexual Congress with Persons of the Same Sex, but also that being what they saw as Sexually Perverse was a Life Style, a Matter of Choice.

Being Gay or Lesbian was especially horrendous to Mormons, who are supposed to Procreate as much as Possible, to enlarge not only the Fellowship of the Local Stake Church, but also to Populate the Heavens to which they would ascend upon their Deaths, to be forever in the Celestial Kingdoms of Their Ancestors.

Well, what can you say to Bible Thumpers who deeply, sincerely Believe that Every Word in the Bible is The Revealed Word of God?

In some cases--in the wake of the Matthew Shepard Frenzy--this translated into Parsons carrying Signs bearing the Legend: GOD HATES FAGS

When Audiences entered the Harvey for Part I of The Laramie Project, the first thing[s] they saw were Five Tables, each in a different style, with Eight Chairs behind them, also each different.

Was this some kind of Arty Designer Conception, possibly Alien to what promised to be a very Straight Forward Encounter with the Citizens of Laramie?

I pondered this Vision for a while & then Decoded it to mean that the Varied Furnishings were to suggest the various Local Venues in which the Interviews would take place…

Ten years later, the Tectonic Folks returned to Laramie--in 2008, to be precise--to discover that they had some Heaping Helpings of Self Denial on their Tectonic Plates, for some Locals had already chosen to Forget & Move On, or Pooh Pooh all the Fuss for what they believed was merely a Robbery or a Bad Drug Deal Gone Wrong

Most revealing, however, were the Two Interviews, made in Prison, with the Once Teen Aged Perpetrators--now much Older, if not so much Wiser.

Had the Motive only been Robbery, they didn't need to pick an Obviously Gay Victim.

Having Successfully Robbed a Victim, it is not necessary to tie him to a Fence & Beat Him To Death

Unless, of course, you somehow feel Your Manhood is Threatened by His Existence.

As for the Pious Evangelicals pointing out that the Holy Bible forbids Sexual Congress between Two Men, there is that Text that Commands Orthodox Jews not to Covet "Thy Neighbor's Man Servant, His Maid Servant, His Ox, or His Ass."

Mormons, especially, should Not Covet their Neighbor's Ass


Visible Fictions' THE MARK OF ZORRO [★★★★★]


Who Was That Masked Man with That Flowing Black Cape? ZORRO, of course, But from the UK

The many times told & retold Legend of Zorro--set in Spanish California, long before the Gringos came--has now been deftly packaged for International Touring, performed by Three Brits & a Remarkable Core of Panels, Doors, Shutters, & What Have You that variously Unfold, Expand, or Transmogrify to suggest Locales, Buildings, Landscapes, & Interiors.

The Zorro Team of Tim Settle, Denise Hoey, & Neil Thomas personify a Range of Characters, shifting Identities as the Cape & Sword Drama progresses.

Even Very Young Spectators at the New Victory Theatre--which specializes in Shows that delight Kids, while also amusing their Parents--were on the edges of their seats: Would Zorro foil the Foul Plots of the Villainous Captain of the Guard of the Governor of the Pueblo of Los Angeles?

Well, yes, of course he would! That's what being Zorro--as well as Leaving His Mark at every Scene of Evil Averted--is All About!

If you have never seen a Zorro Movie or TV Incarnation, The Mark of Zorro is a Stylishly Zigzagged Z

Davey Anderson wrote the clever Script, with Robin Peoples designing the Set Core & Costumes, for Director Douglas Irvine.


Thomas Adès' POWDER HER FACE [★★★★★]

For a "Good Time," Call The New York City Opera: Oral Sex Onstage at BAM, Plus 24 Naked Men!

Way back in 1963, Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, was divorced by her Fun Loving, Kilt Wearing, Highland Flinger, the Duke of Argyll, when a Hoard of Sex Polaroids were introduced as Evidence of the Duchess' own Flings with some 88 Men for Hire.

Now, over in Brooklyn, you can relive those days of the "Dirty Duchess," in the NY City Opera's handsome new staging of Thomas Adès' operatic treatment of a London Tabloid Storm worthy of the Latter Day Rupert Murdoch Yellow Press.

I first saw Powder Her Face after it was commissioned by the Almeida Opera for the Cheltenham Festival.

At that time, Adès was only 24 years old, but much, much older in his interest in composing an Adult Opera about a Female Don Juan, whose Special Talent was Fellatio, performed largely on what the Brits then called Rent Boys.

The Narrative Trajectory of Powder is fractured, beginning with the Ending--with which it also Ends.

In fact, Margaret Campbell even has her final Blanche DuBois Moment

The Disgraced Duchess--now Penniless & Hopeless--is being evicted from her Luxurious Hotel Suite, as she catches a Handyman Electrician [William Ferguson] in her Wig & Gown, declaiming her Sorrows.

He is abetted & encouraged by her Maid [Nili Riemer] who has betrayed her, bedded by the Duke, to whom she also has shown the Fatal Polaroids that he uses in Court.

As the White Wigged Judge rules on the Divorce Action, he is also being Fellated under his Gown by a Likely Lad.

As the Evicting Hotel Manager--as well as the Duke & the Judge--Basso Matt Boehler is outstanding, switching not only Characters, but also Inflections & Styles.

As the Duchess, Allison Cook is nothing short of remarkable, not only in the difficult Vocal Passages Adès has written for her, but also in her willingness to Go Down for her Art. This is not something you can learn at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden…

As for the 24 Naked Men, they do not have to Sing, but they do have to disport themselves about the vast Howard Gilman Opera house Stage in Provocative Positions.

This is not something that is taught at the American Academy of Dramatic Art, nor in the Juilliard Drama Program.

Fortunately, with Job Opportunities what they now are for Stage Actors, functioning as Waiters--as a Second Career Alternative--has been enlarged by playing Escorts.

[As one Young Stud put it: "If you really like Sucking Cock, it's even better being paid for it!"]

[Consider the Freedom of Expression that was available to the youthful Thomas Adès that the Mature Verdi & Puccini could not even have dreamt of: Heroines dying of TB are indeed Pathetic, but what about an Anti Heroine who is in danger of HIV--or at least Trench Mouth?]

[Now that the Met has found it a Crowd Pleaser to up date Rigoletto to a Las Vegas Casino Circus, can Carmen be far behind, giving Blow Jobs to both Don José & her Torero?]

In the opening moments of the NYCO Production, it seemed that Powder was to be a Huge Video, with only a peek at the bottom of the screen of the Actual Actions onstage.

Soon, the Duchess' Chambers appeared, in all their Elegant, Towering, Majesty, complete with Two Beds, a Wardrobe, some Suitcases, & Mirror Enriched Bathrooms.

Everything was a soft Blue Gray in hue, with Chelsey Blackmon following the Action with a Video Camera

Marsha Ginsburg's ever moving Set Elements suggested a Post Post Modernist Production at ENO, the English National Opera.

Or a Fugitive from the Salzburg Festival, which also loves Chambers that seem to be located in the Tahoe National Forest--if not the Black Forest--with the straight tall Tree Trunks spotted here & there…

There was also a Functioning Automobile onstage, as in a recent Salzburg Don Giovanni

The Dirty Duchess' "Intimate Apparel" was provided by La Perla!

Costume Designer Alba Clemente could have saved a lot of money with all those Nude Men on stage, but she apparently also designed Bathrobes for all of them, for the Curtain Call.

When I saw the Show, they didn't make a Bow, although Our Whole Row was hoping to see them Buck Naked again.

Jay Scheib staged with vigor, adding some Odd Visual Activities, which must had had a Metaphoric Significance that eluded me.

Jonathan Stockhammer subtly conducted the Demanding Score--which has more than its share of Anton Webern Hoot & Tinkle.

Although the NYCO's Glory Days, under Julius Rudel & Beverly Sills, seemed over--when it was thrust out of the David H. Koch Memorial State Theatre--thanks the Top Drawer Productions like Powder Her Face, it will live again, not only at BAM, but also where it began, back at the New York City Center for Music & Drama!


Impressionism & Fashion at the Met! Manet & Monet were not only into Bustles & Corsets

Actually, the splendid new Impressionist Show at the Met Museum--although its many Iconic Paintings look like the French Equivalent of High Victorian Style--celebrates the Modernity of Impressionist Artists' depiction of 1860s 1880s French Fashions.

To Denizens of the Twenty First Century, they may instead look like Ancient History.

In fact, the Academic Painters of that time were often engaged in filling Huge Canvases with Historic Scenes or Apocryphal Events from the Holy Bible.

So, yes, the Impressionists certainly were on the Cutting Edge of Cultural Modernity, even if it came with a Parasol & a Bustle.

Anyway, what's the Cutting Off Date for Modern Art?

Now, of course, the many wonderfully observed Group Scenes of Rich Elitist Parisians--enjoying their Wealth, Fine Clothes, Fine Wines, & the Company of Family, Friends, & Social Equals--may well look like Period Pieces.

Some will also surely look like Old Friends--so often are they on Museum Walls or reproduced in Prints & Art Books. Many in this show are Met Treasures, but the Musée d'Orsay has also enriched the Met's Walls with its own Masterpieces.

Once upon a time, on the Left Bank of the River Seine, one of Paris' most magnificent Railroad Stations was the Gâre d'Orsay.

But, when the Trains stopped running on time, this Beaux Arts Monument was transformed into a Museum of Art & Design, often with an Art Nouveau aspect.

The Good Fortune of Your Roving Arts Reporter was to be invited to the Official Opening & the Press Preview of the Musée d'Orsay. I was also encouraged to photograph almost everything in sight, the Images of which Photo Safari are now in The Arts Archive.

An important development in the Era spotlighted in this show was the emergence of the French Version of the Department Store, as well as major Fashion Magazines, such as the Journal des Demoiselles & La Mode Illustrée

Actual Magazine Issues, Fashion Plates, Gowns, Corsets, Bustles, & other Accoutrements for Fine French Ladies are also on view.

Highlights of the exhibition include Monet's Luncheon on the Grass [1865 66] & Women in the Garden [1866], Bazille's Family Reunion [1867], Bartholomé's In the Conservatory [Madame Bartholomé] [ca. 1881, paired with the Sitter's Dress], & 16 other Key Loans from the Musée d'Orsay.

Also enriching the Met's walls: Monet's Camille [1866] from the Kunsthalle Bremen, Renoir's Lise [Woman with Umbrella] [1867] from the Museum Folkwang, Essen, & Manet's La Parisienne [ca. 1875] from the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, which have never before traveled to the U.S.

As well as: Caillebotte's Paris Street--Rainy Day [1877] and Degas' The Millinery Shop [ca. 1882 86] from the Art Institute of Chicago; Renoir's The Loge [1874] from The Courtauld Gallery, London; & Cassatt's In the Loge [1878] from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

This show is closing at the Met on 27 May 2013, so it's almost worth a trip to Manhattan to see it!


Marilyn "Jackie" Horne Conducts a Masterful Master Class at Manhattan School of Music!

What is it with Young Opera Aspirants?

In Master Classes--whether at the Juilliard or the Manhattan School of Music; whether led by Thomas Hampson, Catherine Malfitano, or Marilyn Horne--why do almost all of them beam brightly at the Audience & then sing their Chosen Arias at Full Force?

On Key, of course. But with no Legato or Nuance

Perhaps they are trying to show the Acknowledged Masters that they can fill an Opera house with Glorious Sound--with no need of Electronic Amplification?

Nonetheless, there's more to interpreting a role such as Carmen or Brünnhilde than being able to be heard in the last row of seats.

"Jackie" Horne is known--Worldwide--as one of the most generous, thoughtful, & helpful of Singer/Teachers.

So, when a Young Soprano, singing Debussy, refers to a Season, it should not sound like Cézanne. He was a Painter, not a Time of Year

Horne not only emphasizes the Importance of being able to articulate accurately Foreign Words & Phrases with ease while singing, but also to have some Idea of the Character of the Person they have chosen to inhabit or impersonate on the Opera Stage.

At the MSM--in its Art Deco Borden Auditorium--Horne attracted a large audience, eager to see the Stars of Tomorrow. She had already worked with them in Studio, but now, it was time to see how they'd function in a real Opera Venue.

What was surely impressive for many in the Audience was Horne's ability to still sing all the Arias softly, sensitively & skillfully--to show Students what she meant in Interpretation--even though she is now almost 78 years old!

Among the Aspiring Singers were Amelia Berry, Clarissa Parrish, Seung Hyeon Baek, Tamara Rusque, Leela Subramaniam, & Noragh Devlin. They were all accompanied by MSM Piano Students.


At the Guggenheim: Lots of Food & Lots of Talk & Talkers about "Art Mapping" in SE Asia

Thanks to the Corporate Sponsorship of UBS, there were Ample Brunch Treats at the Press Preview for No Country: Contemporary Art for South & Southeast Asia, premiering at the Guggenheim Museum, before moving on to Hong Kong.

Most Press Previews now do not even feature Coffee or Tea. Art Critics have to content themselves with savoring the Art on the Walls. Or on the TV Monitors, as Video Art is taking over the World.

This Guggenheim/UBS MAP Global Art Initiative eventually will explore other Areas in what are often optimistically called Emerging Nations.

The actual Art on view was rather sparse, considering that No [One] Country included India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, & the Philippines.

[Curiously, Laos & Cambodia were not included, but the Met Museum has made up for that Oversight with some marvelous Rattan Sculptures from Cambodia!]

Some of the Artworks were similar in Concept, Form, & Content to admired Art in the Whitney Biennial. Who says American Culture hasn't permeated South East Asia?

Most arresting was a Wall Filling Mural Collage that looked like a Bollywood Film Ad Campaign gone Mad.

This was the Ingenious Invention of Navin Rawanchaikul, who was born & raised in Thailand, although his Parents came there from India. Into its 23 feet length, Rawanchaikul has crowded Faces of Family & People he met on his Passage to India.

Rawanchaikul & his Family are Center pieced in an Indian Taxi!


Also at the Guggenheim: Gutai: Splendid Playground, presenting the "Creative Spectrum of Japan's most influential Avant Garde Collective of the Post War Years."

I cannot tell you more about this new show, as I was not invited to the Press Preview on the previous week. UBS has a different Press Rep, apparently.

Nor were any of the Critics & Reporters for No Country allowed to go higher in the Frank Lloyd Wright Rotunda than the Second Floor Galleries.

But--strung across the Rotunda--were a series of long, sagging, clear plastic hammock like tubes, filled with Water, colored with Varied Dyes. This Work is aptly titled: Work (Water).

One hopes none of these Polyethylene Vessels springs a Leak

Tina Packer's WOMEN OF WILL [★★★★★]


Seven Ages of Man in Shakespeare, but Five Stages of Women Characters!

The admirable & excellent Tina Packer--currently appearing in the Balcony less Basement Gym Space of the Judson Memorial Church--interprets that famed Balcony Scene from Romeo & Juliet with a Passion & Sensitivity that was missing out in the current Denver Theatre Center production.

Tina Packer is a Mature Woman, an accomplished Actress, but she is not trying to emulate Mrs. Patrick Campbell or other Bygone Thespians, who insisted on playing Young Roles when they were long past the Sell Date.

Instead, Women of Will is an interesting form of Lecture Demonstration.

Instead of Shakespeare's famed Seven Ages of Man, Packer suggests that for Women, the Bard had Five Stages of Character Development.

Juliet & Rosalind can hardly compare with Cleopatra or Lady Macbeth: "A little water clears us of this deed."

In Elizabethan Usage, Will not only referred to a Powerful Force, but also to Pleasure, especially Sexual, including reference to the Male Member! [Twelfth Night, or What You Will…]

Even today, in Not so Merrie England, Vulgar Persons still refer to Penises as "Willies."

Nigel Gore ably assists Packer in Two Character Scenes, but occasionally she plays both Roles.

After the show, Audience Members are invited to take Felt Pens & scribble Shakespeareana or other Observations on the Raw Wood of the Three Sided Seating.

Mine would have been: Who would have thought that these Old Plays had So Much Blood in them?


ANDY WARHOL Art Artifacts Up for On Line Bidding at Christie's!

How about a Valentine's Day Card from Andy Warhol?

Your Roving Arts Reporter has one right here by the Keyboard of the Mighty Mac: I Love Your Kiss/Forever/Forever/Happy Valentine's Day/Andy Warhol.

Way back when, I used to write for Andy: his INTER/View, for which he then paid $25 per feature.

But this Post Valentine Card was not from Beyond the Grave

It was to remind me that The Press was invited down to Christie's to see some of the Warhol Artworks that soon would be available for On Line Bidding!

Some items were little more than Andy's Polaroids. But with Steven Spielberg or Bob Rauschenberg as the Sitter, why not bid & buy?

Prices range from a suggested bid of $600 to $70,000. There are 125 Paintings, Drawings, Photographs, & Prints in this initial Online Auction.

More will follow, as the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts divests itself of Hundreds & Hundreds of Holdings, to benefit its various Projects in the Arts, in conjunction with Christie's, which is the Designated Vendor. Private Sales can also be arranged.

For more Info, contact: Amelia Manderscheid at amanderscheid@christie'

Heritage Auctions sells exclusively On Line, but this is Christie's first venture into the Internet Ether.

Time was when an Auction Lot--Painting, Sculpture, Poster--would be placed on an Easel beside the Auctioneer. That's no longer necessary…

At Bonham's recent Auction of Paintings of Bird Dogs & Pet Poodles, the many handsome pictures of Prize Hunting Hounds remained in place on the walls.

On a TV Monitor beside the Auctioneer, they appeared in Full Digital Color, while Potential Bidders checked them out on their iPads or in the handsome Catalogue.

Of course, Phone Bids can still be taken, but why bother when you can e Mail your Bid?


PS: On 4 April 2013, Christie's will launch its Spring Photograph Sales, featuring a "Landmark Sale" of: the deLIGHTed eye: Modernist Masterworks from a Private Collection.


At the Grolier: A Plenitude of Handsome "Little Magazines," with Beardsley & Elbert Hubbard

Although this engrossing little exhibition is titled American Little Magazines of the 1890s: A

Revolution in Print, it is handsomely put in context with some splendid examples of Little Magazines from London, Paris & even Munich.

William Morris' Arts & Crafts Movement & the insidious influence of Art Nouveau--Jugendstil, in Germany--did much to shape Graphic Design & Limpid Illustrations of American Counterparts.

Here's Aubrey Beardsley's Decadent Line in The Yellow Book. But you can also find Henri de Toulouse Lautrec in Le Chat Noir.

What distinguishes the American Little Magazines from their English & Continental Models is the wide, wide range of Interests, Causes, Culture, Social Programs, or Poetry they espoused.

They sprang up like Mushrooms, all over the Nation. Not only in New York…

Symbolism, Decadence, Free Thought, Anarchism, Utopianism: all found their Handsomely Designed Print Outlets.

How about Elbert Hubbard & the Roycrofters?

Not to overlook Stephen Crane, Booth Tarkington, Clarence Darrow, & Local Colorist Kate Chopin.

This fascinating Show is, in an odd way, a Printed Slice of American History!

Upstairs, on the Grolier's Second Floor Gallery, the Graphics & Books are all about Microscopes--including seemingly monstrous Fleas that could be glimpsed under the Lenses

In May, the next show will celebrate the Centenary of the Garden Club of America.

The Grolier is a Private Club of Bibliophiles, but its members welcome the Public to enjoy its Periodic Exhibitions Absolutely Free. For more Info: www.GrolierClub.Org.

David Ives' ALL IN THE TIMING [★★★★★]


Clockwork Precision Marks the Cast Work in the Hilarious Revival of Ives' Six Timed Parodies

Robert Wilson! Eat Your Heart Out!

John Rando has eclipsed you in his staging of Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread.

But then, the Idea of Three Chimps--locked in a room with Three Typewriters--so Researchers can see if they really will, eventually, type out Paradise Lost, Gulliver's Travels, or The Castle, isn't really a Robert Wilson Scene

This Ives' Invention is titled Words, Words, Words, but what are Words really Worth, Wordsworth?

Quite a Lot, in Ives Land: Consider the Fraudulent Efforts of Don to teach Dawn The Universal Language, a Parody of such Concocted Languages as Esperanto & NuLingo.

You do not have to be actually, physically in Philadelphia to be sunk deep into The Philadelphia--where you might indeed eat a Cheese Steak that you would never chomp down on in, say, Manhattan.

Being in a "Cleveland" is even worse…

As for Variations on the Death of Trotsky, it defies Leninist Logic that Trotsky doesn't seem to realize that there is already an Axe in his Skull!

Foreknowing the Method of his Stalin Ordered Assassination, Leon Trotsky has purchased a Skull, believing that--as it is indeed now "Trotsky's Skull"--his Communist Mexican Gardner Killer will bury the Axe in that Skull

Coyoacán is still a terrible place to die.

This Sextet of Ivesian Inventions are by no means Six Easy Pieces.

They require Split Second Timing, especially when Action & Dialogue are suddenly stopped & repeated.

Kudos to the Cast: Eric Clem, Carson Elrod, Jenn Harris, Liv Rooth, & Matthew Saldavar.

One Major Manhattan Critic must have fallen asleep, for he referred to All in the Timing as consisting of only Three Mini Plays.

Teresa Deevy's KATIE ROCHE [★★★]


A Largely Overlooked & Forgotten Irish Playwright Gets a Second Chance at Mint Theatre.

Unfortunately, there is a Reason that Irish Woman Playwright Teresa Deevy has been neglected, even forgotten, even in her Native Ireland.

Although she suffered from an Inner Ear Disease that made her Deaf, she was not deaf to the Genius of Chekhov & Shaw, as she sat in front rows, learning to Lip Read.

Her Life Story is fascinating--briefly recounted in the Mint Theatre Program.

Notably, her Dramas were initially accepted & admired by the Abbey Theatre, Eire's National Playhouse.

Then the Abbey turned its Metaphoric Back on Deevy & her Dramas of Constricted Irish Life.

Admirably, Jonathan Bank--Founder of the Mint & director of Katie Roche--has tried to revive Deevy's Reputation as a Chronicler of Irish Life among the Humble, with some striving to be Great.

Bank has already given Manhattan Audiences realistically detailed productions of Deevy's Wife to James Whelan & Temporal Powers.

The illegitimate young woman, Katie Roche, nonetheless has Intimations that she comes from Greatness.

This is True, but she makes the Mistake of marrying an Older Uptight Professional Man--domiciled in Dublin--who leaves her in the Family Cottage where she grew up.

Perhaps she should have married the poor but loving Irish Lad, who promises to make a Home for her, but Michael MacGuire has no sense of the Greatness to which Katie aspires.

There are Plot Complexities, but, finally--despite the passionate, even mercurial, acting of Wrenn Schmidt as Katie--her Story was not all that interesting to this Irish American Theatre Veteran.

Benjamin Britten's THE TURN OF THE SCREW [★★★★★]


There's Evil Onstage at BAM: Governess Battles Ghosts for Possession of Orphan Children

Seeing Miss Jessel rise up out of the stage floor of the Howard Gilman Opera house at BAM, I was reminded of a long ago production of Turn of the Screw at the Washington [DC] Opera.

Henry James' haunting Dead Governess was seen aloft in a Garden Swing on the lonely Estate where the young & orphaned Miles & Flora are haunted by her Pregnant Ghost & that of her Seducer & Destroyer, Peter Quint, also defunct, but still very much in evidence around the Manse.

As designed by David Farley, the New York City Opera's new staging of Turn of the Screw seemed initially in danger of being a Show about Light Bulbs of various Sizes & Wattages rising & falling--sometimes almost to the Stage Floor, from which both Miss Jessel & Peter Quint emerged from time to time.

Myfanwy Piper--Benjamin Britten's favored Librettist--deftly adapted James' Tale of Demonic Horror, for which Britten composed one of his most compelling Scores.

The Unnecessarily Distracting Presence of a Large Screen TV onstage--on which even Margaret Thatcher can be seen--raises Questions about this Modernizing by director Sam Buntrock.

[Buntrock also staged the Denver Theatre Center's Software Extravaganza, Ed, Downloaded.]

Frankly, a Victorian Jamesian Setting would have been more emotionally effective, suggesting the way in which the Endangered Children & their Desperate Governess were closed off from the Outside World.

Home Schooling with TV seems a bit Too Modern for Ghost Stories like this.

Nonetheless, Sara Jakubiak was valiant & compelling as the Governess, with Benjamin P. Wenzelberg outstanding as the already lost young Miles. Ben Berg might be a better Stage Name?

Dominic Armstrong was a properly demonic Peter Quint, with his passionate desire to Possess the alienated Miles entirely suggesting something a Catholic Cleric could only dream about.

As the Very Pregnant Miss Jessel, Jennifer Goode Cooper was very good. As was the Housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, stolidly interpreted by Sharmay Musacchio.

Jayce Ogren conducted, giving the NYCO another impressive addition to its Now Diminished Repertory, thanks to its having been exiled from what was once THE NEW YORK STATE THEATRE.

But is now the David H. Koch Memorial Theatre, next door to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, where Damrosch Park seems to have quite disappeared

Recently, NYCO sold off Costumes & Props from its Once Glorious Repertory.

New York Opera Lovers can only hope that the NYCO Ensemble--founded by Maestro Julius Rudel, Norman Triegle, & Beverly Sills--will survive, even if it has to Schlepp its still handsome productions from Venue to Venue.

BAM will be its home for awhile, but the Future is Unknowable


Piero Della Francesca in America? When Did He Arrive? How Did He Get Through Customs?

Santa Monica is a lackluster location in Southern California, but it is also the Monicker of St. Monica, who was the Mother of Saint Augustine, the Titular Author of The Confessions of Saint Augustine.

A small but severe Portrait of Santa Monica--in the Habit of a Nun--is now on view at the Frick Collection, along with the Frick's tall Altarpiece Panel of St. John the Evangelist, as well as an imposing Panel featuring St. Augustine, on loan from Lisbon.

Apparently, Augustine revered his Mother, for she prayed incessantly for his Conversion to Christianity.

As a Result, Images of Santa Monica have to be prominently displayed in all Augustinian Churches.

Frick Curators have titled this handsome exhibition in the Oval Room: Piero Della Francesca in America.

Obviously, as he was born in 1412--in the Tuscan Town of Borgo San Sepolcro--Piero could never have made the Journey to Manhattan on his own…

It remained for Knowledgeable & Affluent American Collectors like Henry Clay Frick to see the Genius of this Early Renaissance Artist.

Although Piero was highly regarded in his own time, the fact that a number of his most Definitive Works were painted for Small Towns like Burgo--even today, off the Beaten Tourist Track--contributed to his being almost forgotten.

Indeed, even some of those Italian Towns that had originally commissioned Piero Altarpieces, over time, tired of his Astonishing Images, dismantling these Treasures.

Even cutting one of his Iconic Images down to fit a smaller frame…

In the tall Altarpiece Panel of St. Augustine--on loan from Lisbon's Museu Nacional de Arte Antigua--Piero gave Real Value for Money: The Borders of the Saint's Robe feature Miniatures of Famous Religious Scenes!

One Arresting Panel--also permanently in America, loaned from the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA--depicts The Virgin & Child Enthroned with Four Angels.

The Faces of the Angels are curiously impassive, while the BMV's Visage is a Study in Mystery.

On one wall of the Oval Room, an immense Graphic Reconstruction of the Borgo Sant'Agostino Altarpiece shows how & where the Panels on view fit into Piero's Overall Conception.

How Piero's Home Town came to Be & got its Name is almost as good a Legend as that of St. Apollonia--who had her Teeth Knocked Out by Wicked Anti Christian Persecutors.

[Antonia's Portrait--holding a Tongs, with One of Her Sainted Teeth in its Vice like

Grip--is also on view at the Frick.]

[There are, today, in various Holy Reliquaries, so many of St. Apollonia's Teeth on display--for Veneration by the Faithful--that they could fill Several Mouths.]

Anyway, there were these Two Italian Pilgrims who had returned from a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where they had helped themselves to some Holy Relics from the Holy Sepulcher.

Stopping in a Tuscan Woods for an Over nighter, when they awoke, they saw that their Holy Relics had flown up into the Tree Tops.

And so it was that the Burgo San Selpulcro was founded!

If you want to go there today, to see more of Piero's Genius, on the Google Map it's now known simply as Sansepulcro.--which sounds more like "Without a Sepulcher."


Trio of New Shows at the Met: Cambodian Rattan, Plain or Fancy, & Southern Poverty Photos.

Decorative Arts Department:

From its extensive Decorative Arts Archives, Met Curators have selected various Precious Objects that either are Elaborately Decorated or are, in contrast, Elegantly Simple in Form & Ornament.

This compact exhibition is titled Plain or Fancy--which has Pennsylvania Dutch Overtones--including some Outstanding Examples of Jugendstil Design by the Wiener Werkstätte.

Photography Department:

Quite different are the images of William Eggleston, who gives New Meaning to the Concept of Southern Poverty, although most of his photos are titled Untitled.

For some reason, Eggleston's Images are generically labeled: At War with the Obvious: Photograph by William Eggleston.

You may already have seen some of this Suite of Photos at MoMA or at the Whitney, such is the potent pervasiveness of Eggleston's Color Saturation, the Obvious Result of good Darkroom Manipulation.

How about Old Shoes under a Bed? A Wonder Bread Sign out in a Field?

Eggleston could be called a Visual Poet of Poverty: Poverty of Means, Poverty of Spirit…

Asian Arts Department:

Although the Asian Collections are remote from the Heart of the Met Museum, the Trek uptown inside is well worth the Effort, if you are able to see Cambodian Rattan: The Sculpture of Sopheap Pich.

The Immense Floral Shapes & Unusual Forms, woven from thin Rattan Splints, are Mind Boggling.

To have their Maximum Visual Effect, they need to be seen where Light from above can heighten the Shadows they can cast.

As currently displayed, this is not really possible. They seem to have been inserted into Intimate Galleries featuring other Asian Arts, or simply dumped into a Long Hallway

Sopheap Pich deserves his Own Gallery Show!


Muni Art Society Faces New Challenges: After Hurricane Sandy, Sustainability & Livability.

Rapping Benjamin Franklin's ancient Cane, Vin Cipolla, President of the Municipal Art Society--now celebrating its 120th Anniversary--bought the Annual Meeting to Order.

The Major Item was the awarding of the Annual Brendan Gill Prize for that Author, Poet, Sculptor, Architect, Musician, Artist, Playwright, Choreographer, or Photographer who had done the most in the past year to Enrich & to Celebrate New York City.

This Year's Winner was the Noted Architect Louis Kahn, although he was not around to receive it, having passed on long before his Outstanding FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island could finally be constructed. Not without Opposition from some…

Our progressive UN Ambassador William van den Heuvel graciously & loquaciously accepted for Kahn. Brendan Gill's son, Michael, also expressed his Father's in absentia Approbation

Having been a Drama Desk Colleague of Brendan's, I was once a Nominator for the Gill Prize, with my winning nomination for Architect Hugh Hardy my finest moment at the Muni Art Society.

Slides of the Roosevelt Memorial's Ribbon Cutting showed, among Other Notables, Bill Clinton, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Andrew Cuomo, & Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, jr.

In the afternoon--preceding the Awards--Brit Architect Prof. Peter Bishop showed how it took his firm Seven Long Years to get Community Input regarding the Development of the King's Cross Station Area.

He was joined on a Panel of Manhattan Movers & Shakers to explore Plans for Midtown Renovations, especially for Penn Station & Grand Central Station.

Although the Madison Square Garden Interests intend to remain over America's Busiest Rail Terminal, Muni Arts Experts believe it should once more relocate. It's been a very long time since it was actually on Madison Square.

MAS Mavens give Madison Square ten years to Clear the Tracks: The elegant Neo Classical Columned Eight Avenue Post Office has long been waiting to become a Monument to Rail Friendly Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

How about rethinking Park Avenue? Moving Pedestrian Walkways?

Behind Grand Central Terminal, some of the World's Tallest Buildings could rise: are we ready for that?

To check out what's up with Midtown Planning & Muni Art's Ideas, click on the Website: <>

Also, Do Not Forget: on 13 June 2013, in the elegant Vanderbilt Hall of Grand Central Terminal, there will be a Black Tie Gala for the awarding of the 2013 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal!

The Winners are already known: Dr. Judith Rudin, President, & David Rockefeller, jr, Chairman, of the Rockefeller Foundation!

Both Grand Central & the Rockefeller Foundation are celebrating One Hundred Years


My Old UC/Berkeley Artist/Designer/Friend, Jay DeFeo, Back at the Whitney!

It's Not True, that story about Jay DeFeo & The Rose

Now on view at the Whitney--which now also owns it--The Rose was once called Deathrose, by its Creator, Jay FeFeo.

Jay was so obsessed in creating this Monumental Rose Schema that she worked on it from 1958 to 1965--when a Rent Hike forced her out of her SF Studio.

To remove it, part of her Bay Window & the Front Wall had to be cut out.

Although it was nominally a Painting, it finally weighed almost a Ton, built up by Jay's exploratory addings & scrapings of paint, so that today it is rather more like an Immense Relief or a Sculptural Panel.

By the time of its removal--filmed by Bruce Conner, whose 1967 Mini Documentary is also on view at the Whitney--Jay had renamed this Iconic Work as The White Rose.

She explained her Name Change thusly: "Death has kind of a negative connotation…"

Because Jay died of Lung Cancer, some thought that inhaling all those Paint & Paint Thinner Fumes over all those years had eventually killed her.

If so, it took a long, long time, because she finally Packed Up Her Brushes in 1989, when she was a Tenured Professor at Mills College in Oakland.

Jay & her husband, Wally Hedrick, were at the Center of a Group of Beats in the Era of Haight Ashbury in San Francisco.

They smoked a Lot! When I interviewed the Beat Poet/Playwright Michael McClure uphill from Haight Street, he offered me Pineapple Wedges & a Joint

Although I am dazzled by the amazingly bold, striking Canvases on view at the Whitney in this Jay DeFeo Retrospective--not to overlook her Experiments in Photography [closing 2 June 2013]--my favorite Jay DeFeo Artwork is a small Dry point Etching she gave to me when she designed my Thesis Production at UC/Berkeley.

At that time--about 1949 or so--Jay & her then partner, David Wool, were infatuated with the fantastic designs of Saul Steinberg, so my Anton Chekhov Boor, looked like Rural Russia gone mad.

Both Jay & David were students in the UC/Art Department, while I was in the Department of Dramatic Art.

They appeared one day, offering to bring our Two Disciplines together, willing to work with any Apprentice Director who wanted to take a chance…

We became Friends, although I now regret I did not keep contact over the years.

When The Boor was over, Jay gave me the Etching that she had made when studying with Jacques Schnier.

Schnier was, at that time, an important Bay Area Sculptor, whose works had been featured at the

Golden Gate International Exhibition on Treasure Island in 1939.

Who now remembers him…

In Schnier's Studio Class, future Artists were required to try their hands in various Media, so Jay had created this small scale but fascinating vision of Abstract Forms.

When Jay had a previous show at the Whitney, I thought there was almost nothing in my Etching that resembled her Later Works.

But this time--seeing so many DeFeos in one gallery-- it's clear that her Vision was already there.

Unfortunately, my Etching is not signed, nor is there a Name on it. But then, Jay did love Titles such as Untitled.

A later Jacques Schnier Class Generated DeFeo Etching baffled me.

I couldn't make out what it was supposed to Be or Represent.

Jay was going to give it to me, but my Questions annoyed her, so she changed her mind.

"Glenn! If you have to have a name for this, I call it Desperate Remedies."

I was even more baffled: "Jay! Remedies for what?"

"It's a Woman in the back of a Berkeley bus who has just been told by her doctor that she has Cancer."

Did Jay DeFeo have Cancer on her mind so many years before she died of it…


Old Testament Sings Aloud: Mendelssohn's Elijah Electrifies at the Manhattan School

Felix Mendelssohn was no Georg Friderich Händel, but he nonetheless was able to create two impressive Oratorios.

But when was the last time you heard Mendelssohn's St. Paul?

For that matter, Mendelssohn's powerful Elijah is not programmed all that often.

So it was a distinct pleasure to hear the Combined Forces of the Manhattan School of Music--the MSM Symphony, Symphonic Chorus, & Chamber Choir--perform a Rousing Rendition of the Extended Tale of the Defeat of the Doomed Worshippers of the False God, Baal, by the Forces of Righteousness, rallied by the Prophetic Rants of Elijah & some Attendant Angels.

The Evil Queen Jezebel gets what's coming to her, but Elijah goes off into the Wilderness, to be fed--as Legend would have us believe--by Random Birds.

This Malediction Spouting Prophet, of course, has a Gloriously Flaming Exit: He is carried off to Heaven in a Fiery Chariot, drawn by Flaming Horses!

Although some Free Thinkers now suggest that many Old Testament Accounts are Fables, rather than Oral History, set down in Hebraic Characters, the Story of Elijah must be true because--on a recent Jaunt to Jordan--I saw the Exact Spot from which the Chariot took off to ascend, shedding Sparks all the way, into the Heavens over the Dead Sea!

Shortly before that Epiphany, I beheld the Exact Spot where John the Baptist baptized his Cousin, Jesus of Nazareth!

The Place Marker must have been correct, for shortly after I photographed the narrow, muddy waters, which are all that remains of the River Jordan--Israel having siphoned off most of the Flow far upstream--a Busload of Arkansas Evangelicals arrived to have their Pastor douse them in the Brown Effluvia

Unfortunately, Mendelssohn died rather young, both before he could compose another Oratorio--possibly based on Baptism of The Messiah--or hear Jenny Lind perform in Elijah in London,

Maestro Kent Tritle didn't have a Jenny Lind on hand at MSM, but he was blessed with Soprano Chanäe Curtis, Mezzo Soprano Helena Brown, Tenor Michael Anderson, & Chad Sonka, as Elijah.

The Massed Forces of the Excellent Choristers filled the John Borden Stage, almost outnumbering the often aged Audience, who nonetheless applauded with appreciation.

The MSM is very fortunate to have Kent Tritle--a Master Organist: I once followed his footsteps in East Germany, as he played on Historic Silbermann Cathedral Organs--training its Orchestra & Choir Students!

Not so long ago, Kent conducted wonderful Concerts at St. Ignatius of Loyola on Park Avenue: Sacred Music in a Sacred Space…

Now, he has transferred his allegiances to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which espouses the King Henry VIII Improved Version of Catholicism.


Ronald Lauder's "Magnificent Obsession" with German/Austrian Expressionism at Neue Galerie!

If Ronald Lauder's Mother, Estée Lauder, didn't actually invent Lipsticks & Skin Conditioners, she certainly knew how to turn Milady's Beauty Aids into a Fortune.

That may have helped her Son with his Avid Art Collecting, notably his Focus on German & Austrian Expressionism & Modern Design, as exemplified by the Wierner Werkstätte & the Bauhaus.

Currently, at the Neue Galerie--which he & the late Serge Sabarsky established to show their Treasures--some outstanding Expressionist Paintings from the Permanent Collection are dazzling visitors with their Bold, even garish, Colors.

For Your Roving Arts Reporter, many of these now priceless Canvases are like Old Friends, but some of the most Striking Images must have been hiding down in the Basement: They are both Vibrant & Depressing, by turns.

Just inside the Initial Gallery, however, I was struck by a View of Murnau, which--although the Colors & Contours of the Houses were muted--I instantly recognized as the small Bavarian Town where I once taught English Comp to Officers & Soldiers of the American Occupation Army.

At first, I thought that this must be Murnau as seen by its almost Most Famous Modern Artist, Gabriele Münter.

But No! The Painter was none other than Vasily Kandinsky, who was Münter's Live In Fellow Painter & Lover!

When I first came to teach in Murnau, a Local told me that I should go over to the "Rus Haus," which had earned its Local Name from the Presence of that Russian Fellow

Gabriele Münter had left her handsome home--complete with a Carved & Painted Wooden Staircase, made by Kandinsky--to her Old Housekeeper, for her Lifetime.

Both because I was not only a Professor Doktor, but also because I knew who both Münter & Kandinsky were & what they had created, she was glad to welcome me on several occasions, when I photographed not only the Staircase, but also Münter's own Decorative Touches.

It did not hurt that my UC/Berkeley German now sounded distinctly Bavarian, not Hoch Deutsch

The charming Kandinsky & Münter paintings on view have been loaned by none other than Estée Lauder, from her Own Collection!

[I first became really conscious of Mme. Lauder's generosity when I would see--on top of our Co op Mailbox, from time to time--handsomely wrapped Packages from Estée Lauder to Bess Myerson, who lived high up above me, though we were both across from the Frick…

[Did Bess--our Iconic Miss America & later NYC Cultural Commissioner--really need Beauty Products?]

Among the Famous Names in German/Austrian Pre & Post War [WWI, that is, followed by the Weimar Republic] Expressionism now on view are such Greats as Max Beckman, Herman Max Pechstein, Lovis Corinth, Otto Dix, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, August Macke, Franz Marc--with his colorful Blue Rider Horses, & Karl Schmidt Rottluff.

There is also a Suite of striking Paul Klee Images.

The bitterly satirical Weimar Images of Georg Grosz are offset by one Quasi Cubist Engraving by Grosz, quite different from his usually Savage Line.

A Bonus is the Gift to the Permanent Collection of an admirable range of Wienerwerkstätte & Bauhaus inflected Furniture & Furnishings, included charming Jugendstil Ceramics, Glassware, & Silver.

Harry C. Sigman has, over the years, collected works of such outstanding Design Talents as Peter Behrens, Kolo Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Marianne Brandt, Otto Eckmann Henry van de Velde, & Joseph Maria Olbrich--who gave Vienna the "Golden Cabbage," an Art Nouveau inflected home for Secession.

An admirable addition to the Neue Galerie's already fascinating Collections!

A. R. "Pete" Gurney'sTHE OLD BOY [★★★★]


Elite Private School Then & Now: Making Boys into Men Doesn't Always Work

Pity poor Perry!

His Hard as Nails Super rich Mother Harriet [the excellent Laura Esterman] is determined that he will grow up to be a Real Man, a Winner, unlike his Discarded Father.

When Perry arrives at the Exclusive Private Boarding School--somewhere in New England--it's the Duty of The Old Boy, a Class ahead of Perry, to Take him in Hand & Show him the Ropes.

AR Gurney wrote this Prep School Lament over Twenty Years Ago, so--even with his recent Re Thinkings--it still seems like a Ghost from the WASP Past.

"Pete" Gurney has long been regarded as the Definitive Chronicler of WASP Values & Hang Ups, especially around Buffalo, in Upstate New York.

His Revised Drama--set in a time when Dying of AIDS was an Almost Unmentionable Subject--shows Perry & his Secret Crush Old Boy as Students, but that is framed by the Old Boy's Impending Campaign for Governor, moving back & forth.

Will he Spoil his Chances at the School Commencement by revealing that Perry not only had AIDS, but also effectively Committed Suicide?

Poor Perry!

Although he was Good at Tennis, he really didn't care for Sports at all, preferring to listen to Opera on the Radio: Always a Bad Sign with Boys among Would be Men…

As a Country Lad who attended a Rural One Room School & went on to a Small Town High School, the Problems of Elitist East Coast Teens have always had little fascination for me.

Nonetheless, Tom Riis Farrell, Cary Donaldson, Peter Rini, Chris Dwan--a tormented Perry, & Marsha Dietlein Bennett--under Jonathan Silverstein's deft direction--were Thoroughly in Character, in Steven C. Kemp's properly fusty Guest Suite, oppressed by Portraits of Former School Heads.

Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.

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