November, 2012 -- NYC Arts After Sandy

Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.

Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:

What--in God’s Name--Are We To Do about Acts of God? Will NYC Survive Another Hurricane?
Tuesday, 6 November 2012, Was Election Day: If You Think Hurricane Sandy was Traumatic
Whatever Became of Armistice Day? Veterans’ Day Suggests Our Wars Will Never Stop, Already.
Another Thanksgiving Day--But Still an Unlucky Day for Big Breasted Turkeys, Nationwide
Ayad Akhtar’s DISGRACED [****]
Neither Snow nor Sleet nor Hurricane Sandy Kept Fine Print Dealers from the Armory Show!
Charlie Strouse, Tommy Meehan, & Marty Charnin’s ANNIE [****]
Tony Chekhov’s IVANOV [*****]
James McManus’ BLOOD BROTHERS [**]
Three Chaffers & a Cragin’s SON OF A GUN [***]
Beatrix Potter at the Morgan: How About Getting a Letter with Peter Rabbit Looking Out at You!
Richard Nelson’s SORRY [***]
Aurelian Bory’s SANS OBJET [*****]
The French Take Over the Park Avenue Armory for The Salon: Art & Design!
Andy Warhol Artifacts Cram Christie’s Galleries, Plus Big Bucks for Impressionism & Modernism.
Talk About Tax Cuts for The Rich! Sales Totals at Christies for the Warhol Week: $525 Million
Michael John LaChiusa’s GIANT [****]
Kev & Wil B’s BLACK VIOLIN [*****]
Forget Pearl Harbor! Celebrate the Post War Transformation of Tokyo as an Avant Garde Nexus!
Out of the Ashcan & Onto Museum Walls: George Bellows, Graduate of the Ashcan School
Concealed Compartments? Roentgen Desks & Cabinets Are Crammed With Trick Drawers
Tommy Meehan & Chris Curtis’ CHAPLIN [*****]
Daniele Finzi Pasca’s DONKA: A LETTER TO CHEKHOV [****]
Joshua Elias Harmon’s BAD JEWS [***]
Ivo van Hove’s Modernised Shakespeare/Marlowe ROMAN TRAGEDIES [****]
Bruce Graham’s THE OUTGOING TIDE [*****]
Celebrating Aromas at MAD: The Art of Scent--1889 2012
Charles Morey’s FIGARO [****]
Christopher Durang’s VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE [****]
August Wilson’s THE PIANO LESSON [*****]
Linda Christian Sells for Half a Million Dollars: Formerly "Lost" Diego Rivera Portrait at Christie’s!
Kathie Lee Gifford & Friends’ SCANDALOUS: The Life & Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson [***]
Colorful Canvasses Now On View at the Met Museum: MATISSE: In Search of True Painting
African Masks Again! Modernists & Primitives: AFRICAN ART: New York & The Avant Garde.
Theresa Rebeck’s DEAD ACCOUNTS [****]
Joseph Robinette & Jean Shepherd’s A CHRISTMAS STORY [****]
Ruth & Augustus Goetz’s Adaptation of Henry James’s Washington Square: THE HEIRESS [*****]
American Masterworks in the Bohemian National Home, Near the New Second Ave Subway
More Records Broken at Christie’s Auction House: Edward Hopper Sold for $9.5 Million On Line!
Food Over the Ages & Around the World: But No Ethnic Eats Mornings: Global Kitchen at AMNH.
Bogart & Clarke’s THE TROJAN WOMEN (After Euripides) [****]
David Henry Huang’s GOLDEN CHILD [****]
"Mad" King Ludwig II of Bavaria Will Be Back in Richard Wagner’s Wahnfried Villa This Summer!

What--in God’s Name--Are We To Do about Acts of God? Will NYC Survive Another Hurricane?

November dawned--if the Sun could actually be seen through all the Storm Clouds--with much of Lower Manhattan Underwater & Without Power

Forget about Impending Jihadist Attacks on Goldman Sachs!

The Question is: Does Mayor Bloomberg have a Plan for keeping New York functioning when either Nature or Religious Crazies run wild?

Judging from the Multiple Disasters resulting from Hurricane Sandy, there seems to be No Effective Plan.

Not only were Millions--possibly even Billions--lost from the Massive Flooding & Power Failures below 42nd Street, but the Village Hallowe’en Parade & the NY Marathon had to be cancelled!

Both Subway & Under River Tunnels were flooded.

Bridges were closed--

Decent God Fearing, Tax Paying, Broadway Show Ticket Holders over in New Jersey weren’t able to drive in to see Phantom or even Jersey Boys

On Long Island, there was No Gasoline, so Gadabouts had to Stay Home!

LaGuardia Airport looked like the Open Seas.

But there was at least One Plus from all this God Ordained Disaster--that neither the Angel Moroni nor Mitt Romney could have averted--which was that Everyone could Ride Free on MTA City Buses!

This was because all the Metro Card Machines were in [temporarily flooded] Subway Stations, instead of being installed at Major Bus Stops & even inside the Buses, as they are in Most Major Metropolitan Cities around the World.

So, it is devoutly to be hoped that the Mayor will include easily available Metro Card Machines in his New & Improved Master Disaster Plan for New York City.

Nor should any Medic undertake Open Heart Surgery when Con Edison & In House Generators have failed.

What about 80 Year Old Single Women, living on the 30th Floor of Buildings in which the Elevators have failed & the Toilets cannot be flushed?

It used to be said--borrowing from TS Eliot--that April is the Cruelest Month.

Now, November seems a better Match: Sandy may have wiped out Indian Summer


Tuesday, 6 November 2012, Was Election Day: If You Think Hurricane Sandy was Traumatic

Well, it’s All Over but the Appointment of Mitt Romney as US Ambassador to Vatican City

President Obama needs to Reach Out to the Losers: to help close their largely Self Inflicted Wounds.

Considering how adamant Leading Republicans have been about Deregulation & getting Government Off Our Backs & Out of Our Lives, it was bitterly ironic how eager they were for Government to Stop Voter Fraud

This was not something that could have been achieved through Faith Based Charities or School Vouchers.

Although this Demand for Government Intervention was transparently designed to Prevent Certain Minorities from Voting at all, it did not Succeed.

So we will now have Four More Years--not of FDR, alas!--of trying to Repair the Damage created by Eight Years in the Bushes

Nonetheless, we should Shed a Tear for all those Romney Campaign Workers who had their Credit Cards cut off the minute Mitt realized he had not Won the Olympic Gold in Politics.

How about those 172 Private Jets that flew into Boston/Logan, to Celebrate the Resounding Republican Victory, complete with Mitt Fireworks in Boston Harbor?

Another Instance of: Don’t Count Your Plots Before They Are Hatched?


Whatever Became of Armistice Day? Veterans’ Day Suggests Our Wars Will Never Stop, Already.

After The Great War, on every 11th of November, we celebrated Armistice Day, marking the Conclusion of Hostilities between the Allies & the Central Powers, or The Huns, as some preferred to call them.

We wore Orange "Buddy Poppies," to recall those who had fallen in Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields, where Poppies grow/Amid the Crosses, row on row…

To remember those who had fallen during The War Between the States we had "Decoration

Day," which we used to Decorate the Graves of both the Blue [North, or Union] & the Gray [South, or Secessionist].

As Memories of our very own Civil War receded, this was transmuted into Memorial Day.

But this Veteran’s Day 2012 in Manhattan was largely an occasion to block off Traffic from 42nd Street to 57th Street. Not much of a Turn Out

All the Vets from World War I must, by now, have gone off to that Great Flanders Field in the Skies?


Another Thanksgiving Day--But Still an Unlucky Day for Big Breasted Turkeys, Nationwide

As is Customary, the President again Pardoned a Pre Selected Lucky Turkey.

But there were No Indications that either He or Hillary would pardon Turkey, if it fails to Support Israel in its Desperate Fight To Survive on New Settlement Lands, in what had once been the British Mandate for Palestine

The New Yorker, however, showed a Herd of Suited Elephants gathered round a Festive Thanksgiving Table, but in the center was not a Stuffed Turkey but a Stuffed Black Crow!

So, were Mitt & Ann & Karl Rove eating Humble Pie, made with Crow?

Are there any Racist Implications in the fact that the Crow was Black?

The Annual Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade was seen by Millions, but Macy*s was unfortunately unable to fill all its Cartoon Balloons with Hot Air from Capitol Hill.




Ayad Akhtar’s DISGRACED [****]

Can a Decent, Hard Working American Lawyer of Pakistani Descent Really Assimilate?

The Apparent Answer--in Ayad Akhtar’s troubling new drama at the Claire Tow--is No.

Even marrying an attractive, blonde, & talented White Artist Wife--who is fascinated with Islamic Geometrics--isn’t going to Save Him from Disgrace.

In one sense, Amir [the excellent Aasif Mandvi] is His Own Worst Enemy--especially when his Rage at the Injustice of it All wrecks Everything for him--but his False Friends are also No Help.

But what could he have expected, working for a Jewish American Legal Firm?

How could he have believed he would be given Preferment for Partner, when he had unwisely--at the behest of an Islamist Nephew--appeared with an Imam, suspected of Terrorism?

As has been resoundingly demonstrated--ever since Waves of Immigrant Ost Jüden surged over Lower Manhattan & Brooklyn--Jews can certainly Assimilate & Prosper.

Some can even enjoy Dual Citizenship--US & Israeli--without any fear of Terrorist Profiling by the FBI & the CIA.

Unfortunately--as this difficult drama suggests--American Muslims are almost automatically Under Suspicion.

Israelis did not Blow Up the Twin Towers, although they have enough Nuclear War Heads to Total the Middle East


Neither Snow nor Sleet nor Hurricane Sandy Kept Fine Print Dealers from the Armory Show!

I was going to stay at home rather than Slog over to the Park Avenue Armory.

With all those Videos of LaGuardia & Newark Under Water, I feared that International Fine Print Dealers from both San Rafael & Dublin wouldn’t be able to Fly in on Time.

Not to Worry: most of the Old Favorites were on hand, many with exciting new Print Images & Stylistic Tics.

Rather than reprise all the Names of the Dealers with the Most Interesting Offerings, why not Log On?

Try or contact Sanford L. Smith Associates, who manage this & other fascinating shows.

It was good to say Hello to Jane Kallir, of Galerie St. Etienne, who has just launched her new book on Egon Schiele.

I was also impressed with the Booth of Daniela Laube Fine Art, crowded with excellent & rare Medieval Woodcuts & handsome Engravings by the likes of Al Dürer & Etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

When I was teaching in Europe--in the Wake of World War II--there were some astonishing Medieval & Renaissance "Finds" to be unearthed in Trödel Handlungen & Junk Shops.

I bought Piranesi’s Cloaca Maxima--from the Veduti di Roma--for about $10, but the Second Hand Dealer thought he was selling me the Oak Frame.

He had No Idea about the Value of the Etching


Speaking of Value: The Catalogues created by Phillips de Pury--on Park Avenue--are themselves Works of Art, wonderfully Designed!

Some of the Color Reproductions--shown in Enlargements of Major Details, as well as in Fold Outs--look More Striking than the Actual Artworks on the Phillips de Pury Walls!


Charlie Strouse, Tommy Meehan, & Marty Charnin’s ANNIE [****]

In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy, Here Comes Annie’s Sandy: Arf, Arf!

Leapin’ Lizards, Sandy!

We don’t actually get to see very much of Little Orphan Annie’s Beloved Dog, Sandy, in the current revival of "The Musical Annie©" at the Palace Theatre.

But Anyone who is lucky enough to get a Ticket to this Handsome Show can rejoice in the Hilarious Performance of Katie Finneran, as the Tipsy Orphanage Keeper, Miss Hannigan.

As Daddy Warbucks, Anthony Warlow, is also Outstanding!

Just Imagine! All those Billions, but Daddy has never married!

Are Money & Power better than Sex?

Perhaps the Most Imaginative Element in this Obviously Expensive Production is the Scenic Design of David Korins, colorfully aided by the Lighting Design of Donald Holder.

Not only do Washed Whites fly high in the sky over Manhattan Slums, but the City’s Starkly Silhouetted Bridges also keep Taking Off Aloft

The many Sumptuous Chambers of Daddy Warbucks’ Fabulous Mansion are Hinged like a Book, so, as Annie goes from room to room, she could be Turning the Pages of Her Wonderful New Life.

Unfortunately, Annie is a show with really only One Good Song--which is Frequently Reprised

Oddly enough, Tomorrow was actually written for Flowers for Algernon, but Charles Strouse borrowed it back from the Play’s Publisher, Chris Sergel.

Although even the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, learns to sing Tomorrow Loud & Strong--along with the very Large & Talented Cast--it is unfortunate that the Current President of the United States hasn’t really mastered that Haunting Tune.

But then, he’s not in a Broadway Musical: Neither Phantom nor Wicked!

Considering the Human Disaster that was The Great Depression--as depicted here in Old Newsreels & other Depression Era Footage--there is a Certain Bitter Relevance in bringing Annie back to life at this Distraught Time.

Where are our New Deals? Are Bailouts only for "Bankstas" & "Fraudstas"?

Where is our WPA? Where is our CCC? Where is our Interstate Highway Program?

But there is a Real Problem with Meehan’s Dated Insider Book: Who was Bernard Baruch?

Who was Frances Perkins? Who was Harold Ickes?

Who now cares?

Unfortunately, despite the cleverness of having Daddy’s Crystal Chandelier descend & unfold to become a Glittering Crystal Christmas Tree--more impressive, in its way, than the Lincoln Center Balanchine Nutcracker Xmas Tree--with Christmas comes Chaos.

The Remainder of the Show looks like a Choreographic Free for All.

As for the Kids in my row, they looked Blank when Harpo Marx was mentioned--obviously with the Intent to Get a Laugh from those in the Audience who remember the Marx Brothers.

So, is the Next Step to revive that Musical about Perle Mesta, the Hostess with the Mostest?

But, hey! Miss Hannigan is Right!

Why would Anyone want to be an Orphan?

Oh oh! I almost forgot…

I guess I was going to think about it Tomorrow?

Lilla Crawford energetically impersonated Annie, although the Relentless Miking of the Performance made it difficult to judge the Real Quality of her Voice.

Tony Chekhov’s IVANOV [*****]

Director Austin Pendleton Does It Again--With Ethan Hawke & an All Star Cast at CSC…

Austin Pendleton is in danger of becoming The Director for Chekhov!

The Productions that he has devised down at the CSC--on East 13th Street--have all been both memorable & affecting: Uncle Vanya & Three Sisters.

Perhaps because of Hurricane Sandy, he added to his Laurels in early November, when he brilliantly replaced the admirable--even venerable--Louis Zorich, in the Pivotal Role of Lebedev, whose Headstrong Daughter, Sasha [a intense Juliet Rylance], is determined to throw her Life away on the Essentially Pitiful but Heedlessly Cruel Ivanov.

How Ethan Hawke can find energy enough to throw himself into the Heart & Soul of Ivanov Multiple Times a week is amazing.

Ivanov ends by shooting himself with the Pistol that he’s been waving about, both in Threat & in Jest, in previous scenes.

Country Doctor Anton Chekhov famously found many of the Pathetic & Deluded Characters that he both Observed & Treated on Russian Landed Estates--distant from the Sophisticated Society of Moscow & Petersburg--ironically Amusing.

Ivanov has many Elements of Comedy & the Ridiculous--exposed in Daily Life among all Social Levels of Tsarist Russia--but it may also be regarded as a Tragicomedy

Perhaps that’s why Chekhov’s Vanya--written well after Ivanov--cannot kill his Enemy, or even finish off himself: such Gestures are both Futile & Comically Grotesque.

As are the Lives, Hopes, & Fears of many of Chekhov’s Characters

Some of whom are here played with insight & fierce concentration by such Talents as Roberta Maxwell, George Morfogen, Joely Richardson, & Jonathan Marc Sherman--a Chekhovian Country Doctor.

Santo Loquasto has created a Nobly Corniced Façade that is both a bit of Russian Neo Classic & Southern Plantation, serving both as an Entrance & as a Bookcase.

Maybe the CSC can save this Set Element for another Cherry Orchard, so Gaev will really have a Noble Bookcase worth Apostrophizing!

Yes, Marco Piemontese’s Period Costumes were an Art Historian’s Delight & Keith Parham’s Lighting cleverly played with Light & Shadow

But Carol Rocamora’s idiomatic new Translation of Ivanov was a Revelation!

Perhaps I should reveal that Carol is not only an Admired Academic, but also a Member of The Outer Critics Circle, of which I happen to be The Historian.

Bravo! Carol!

But also Bravos & Bravi for Austin Pendleton & his Remarkable Cast!

James McManus’ BLOOD BROTHERS [**]

What the Fuck! There’s These Fuckin’ Puppets & These Fuckin’ Blood Brothers, Crazy Fuckers!

Holy Shit!

Have we returned to Naturalism, giving up on Realism & certainly on Poetry?

Are the Fuckin’ Three Parentless Blood Brothers, sealing Their Fuckin’ Bond with Their Own Fuckin’ Blood, dumped into the Fuckin’ Boiling Potatoes, the Fuckin’ Wave of the Fuckin’ Future in Fuckin’ American Playwriting?

Just askin’…

Although the Predominantly Young & Handsomely Dressed Audience--at the World Premiere of Blood Brothers--frequently erupted with Throaty Laughter at the Drug Sogged Lives of at least Two of the Clueless Brothers & every Utterance of Fuck or Shit elicited at least some Giggles, the Humor eluded Your Aged Arts Critic.

Unfortunately for Enjoyment of Contemporary American Theatre--which now seems focused on the Most Utterly Lost of the Losers--My Worldview was formed by Sophocles, Shakespeare/Marlowe, Sheridan, Ibsen, & Chekhov.

Can you imagine: We gotta’ cut down these Fuckin’ Cherry Trees!

Shit! Smash this Goddam Fuckin’ Glass Menagerie! Laura, Blow out your Fuckin’ Candles!

Motherfucker! These Fuckin’ Witches of Fuckin’ Salem are real Cocksuckin’ Fuckin’ Bitches!

So, OK, the Steel Mills in & around Pittsburg are closed down. Have been for a Long Time

So what’s the Fuckin’ Deal about throwing the Fuckin’ Metaphoric & Bunraku Puppet Assisted Spotlight on Fuckin’ Misery in Fuckin’ Donora?

Not only because I’m not used to hearing a lot of "Bad Language," in the service of bringing The Human Tragedy to the American Stage, but also because I know Nothing about Cooking Crystal Meth, I was baffled by some of the Stage Activity.

I do know something about Crystal Chandeliers, as well as a bit about Crystal Bridges, the new
Walton Spawned Americana Museum down in Fuckin’ Bentonville, in Fuckin’ Arkansas, but Fuckin’ Crystal Meth?

A Fuckin’ Mystery!

Nonetheless, the Cast was generally Good to Excellent, with an Especial Nod to Beth Wittig as the Drugged Object of Desire to Two of the Blood Brothers.

As Fly, Zack Griffiths had to take off his Shirt or Jacket a Lot.

His Hairy Muscular Defined Torso is a Natural for Raging Stallion or Hot House

But that’s Not what this Fuckin’ Play is supposed to be about, is it?

Just askin’…


Three Chaffers & a Cragin’s SON OF A GUN [***]

Country & Western Makes a Kind of Dysfunctional Comeback Down on Theatre Row…

Hey! I grew up on The Grand Ol’ Opry…

Among My Favorites were Loretta Lynn & Crystal Gale, as well as Roy Acuff & The Smokey Mountain Boys & Cousin Minnie Pearl.

But I’m at a loss to judge the Intended Performances of the Epically Dysfunctional Khrusty Family Singers.

Are they really Any Good, or are they just slogging on in their old VW Van, because Pa Khrusty is a Megalomanical Drunk?

What about the Cowboy Jesus?

When we first see him--dressed in White Cowboy Drag & a Touch of Glitter--he looks like the MC of The Son of a Gun Show.

But he’s only an Avatar of a kind of Evangelical Holy Relic, an odd Statue of Cowboy Jesus. Who seems to be the Spiritual Center of every Khrusty Performance

On entering the Beckett Theatre, one was confronted by a Massive Musical Set Up on the Open Stage.

Was this going to be another Rock of Ages?

Or were the Khrusty Family going to be just like The Shaggs? Who actually had some Good Songs

This "New Musical" was gradually developed--under the Aegis of the Drama League--from down at Joe’s Pub up to the O’Neill Center in Waterford, CT.

Along the way, didn’t Anyone think to say that the Book was Too Long & Too Convoluted?

That--in performance--it seemed as if they were Making It Up as They Sang Along?

That Pa Khrusty really was a Terrible Old Drunk & a Bad Father

Some Empathy should have been generated, but that didn’t really Happen.

As the Show rattled on--with some Prop Blips--it promised to be as Long as Parsifal.

Nonetheless, the Cast was Attractive, Musical, & Hard Working.

But the Khrusty Family Singers were in No Danger of being transferred from Theatre Row up to the Beacon Theatre, to follow the Allman Brothers

Maybe they could have used Cousin Minnie Pearl as a Back Up?


Beatrix Potter at the Morgan: How About Getting a Letter with Peter Rabbit Looking Out at You!

That nice Victorian Lady with the Rabbit on a Leash is the somewhat shy Beatrix Potter, who wrote Letters to "Real Children," illustrated with her very own Drawings of such now famous Characters as Peter Rabbit & Squirrel Nutkin.

Potter had no thought of publishing these Charming Missives, but, somehow, they made it into Print, making Peter & Potter world famous.

In addition to the Twenty Picture Letters in this delightful show at the Morgan, there are also Peter Rabbit & Co. Stuffed Animals on display.

Beatrix Potter wasn’t just an Animal Admirer: she was also a talented Illustrator of other imagery, such as a Horrifying Tarantula, dominating one wall…

Get to know both Peter & Beatrix better at the Morgan: Family Photos & More!

Also On View at the Morgan:

The Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist is on loan from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, now on view in the small Thaw Space, as the Centerpiece of FANTASY & INVENTION: Rosso Fiorentino & 16th Century Florentine Drawing.

The Painting--one of only three Fiorentinos in the USA--was executed circa 1520, but Fiorentino’s Drawings are also enhanced by the works of such Flowering Florentines as Andrea del Sarto & Fra Bartolommeo



New August Strindberg Repertory Company Dedicated To Less Well Known Plays…

Hurricane Sandy delayed the Festive Opening of The Strindberg Rep’s Double Bill of The Stronger & Casper’s Fat Tuesday.

Created by Robert Greer & Peter Hodges--formerly PhD Candidates at the CUNY Graduate Center--the Strindberg Rep is dedicated to producing the Less Well Known of August Strindberg’s Dramas.

They have a Long Road ahead of them, for there are a number of Strindberg Plays that are virtually unknown at all in the US.

For that matter, they are not all that often mounted in Stockholm, although I did see an impressive Erik XIV at Dramaten, the Royal Dramatic Theatre, years & years ago.

When was the last time you saw a Professional Production of Queen Christina?

Possibly, Strindberg’s Miss Julie & The Dance of Death are the best known & most often produced of the Strindberg Canon.

Many many years ago, Sir Laurence Olivier gave a Definitive Dancing Performance in this harrowing Domestic–Drama. It was even recycled at Yale Rep as Play, Strindberg, performed in a Boxing Ring

All my Theatre History Reference Books are in Bedbug Storage, so I cannot list for you all of the Lesser Known Strindbergs here, but they must be On Line, somewhere in the Ether

There is a Reason that they are Lesser Known--even in Sweden--in that they are not on a par with the works of Ibsen, in Neighboring Norway, nor with Anton Chekhov, in Far Off Russia.

Nonetheless, in the Late 19th Century, with the Rise of Naturalism, Symbolism, & Realism, National Pride virtually demanded that some Writer step forward to represent his Country with Provocative Modern Dramas.

In Sweden, this Talent was August Strindberg.

Aside from the Screenplays of Ingmar Bergman, how many Famous Swedish Playwrights can you name? [Ten Points on the Final Exam!]

Years & years ago--when Your Roving Arts Reporter went to Stockholm, Uppsala, Malmø, Lund, Kalmar, & Dalarna every summer--there used to be a University Sponsored Strindberg Festival staged below the High Castle: The Keys to the Kingdom--A Revelation!

Down on Bond Street--in The Stronger--the Rant of Ms. X [strongly played by Dina Rosenmeier] has been moved from Scandinavia to Christmas Eve, last year in New York City.

This is Translator/Director Robert Greer’s choice, as well as changing the Female Receptor of Ms. X’s Grievances from her Female Rival to a Man!

Apparently, this caused a Frisson last summer in Stockholm, when Greer staged Viveca Lindfors in the role of Ms. X. Down on Bond Street, it passed without a Murmur…

[Ms. Linfors was once married to the Late Playwright, George Tabori. Their Actor Son, Kristofer Tabori, used to be seen on Off Broadway Stages. Where is he now?]

The Second Half of the Strindberg Bill was a conflation of Scripts, dealing with a North European Puppet Show, wherein Punch becomes Casper.

This takes place in the Graveyard of the German Church in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, or Old Town.

Various Traditional Characters emerge from a Large Touring Trunk & do their Stock Stuff. With Slapsticks

To someone just in off Bond Street--to take refuge from the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy--this could have been somewhat baffling.

Especially if he or she had never before seen a real Punch & Judy Show.

As for the charming animations of the Pink Pig Ballet’s Piglets, this Coupling of Dance with Punch would have been more immediately understandable to anyone who has ever seen the Summer Shows in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens Pantomime Theatre.

Or in Stockholm’s Deer Garden--or Djurgården

Casper was written in 1900 & first performed in 1901.

Ingmar Bergman mounted a Student Production sometime in the 1950s

So, the Bond Street Mounting must be a Manhattan First?

The press release quotes Robert Greer: I want the audience to laugh their heads off & go out wondering about these things.

Actually, there was Someone in the Stands who was constantly Laughing Like a Jackal, causing those in front to Look Around & Wonder

Dr. Peter Hodges--who also made the Commedia Masks--is the Producer of the Strindberg Rep.

Because I was one of his PhD Dissertation Advisors on his interesting examination of the Frustrated Career of the virtually unknown Playwright Sadakichi Hartmann, I must recuse myself as a Drama Critic, preferring, rather, only to Report & Comment.

This also applies to the dedicated contributions of Robert Greer, the Strindberg Rep’s Artistic Director.

Both Greer & Hodges began producing Plays at the CUNY Grad Center, later moving down to Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre.

During our Semester Long Seminar Study of the Career of Peter Brook at the Grad Center, Greer was of inestimable assistance, especially in Programming all of Peter Brook’s Films for our Class.

Richard Nelson’s SORRY [***]

The Third in Nelson’s "Apple Trilogy" Presents Family Political Discussion on Election Morn.

Playwright/Director Richard Nelson--a Longtime Favorite at the Public Theatre--has created a Family Drama that might have a Short Shelf Life, as it is set in the Early Morning of Obama Election Day

Fortunately, it does not Forecast how that Event will come out, but it does remind us how President Pierce’s son died--decapitated in a Freak Train Accident.

Speaking of Heads, the Sisters & Brother of the Apple Family, of Rhinebeck, NY, have a Problem with Uncle Benjamin, who is sinking into Dementia.

Should his Devoted Daughter, Barbara, continue to look after him at home. Or should he be in a Home?

Nelson lives & writes in Rhinebeck, so he may well know a Family rather like the Apples.

Although I have Great Admiration for the Talents of Jay O.Sanders, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, J. Smith Cameron, & Jon Devries--how Old he has become!--initially, I was not exactly On the Edge of My Seat, waiting to find out How All This Will End.

Obama had already been Re Elected on the night I saw the Apples at table, so that wasn’t the Cliff Hanger

Over the Past Two Weeks, most of the New Dramas I’ve seen have been about Dysfunctional Families, often from what used to be called The Lower Depths--with Language to match…

It took me a while to appreciate what the Apples are going through with Uncle Ben & that we should thank Richard Nelson for allowing us to listen in on a Decent Loving Family, trying to Do the–Right Thing.

Anyone who has ever had to Make a Tough Decision about an Alzheimer’s Afflicted Parent will know what is at Stake

The Last of the Apple Trilogy is titled Sorry. That’s a Word often used by Brother Richard: "I’m sorry!"

Aurelian Bory’s SANS OBJET [*****]

Watch Out! There’s an Intelligent & Self Willed Robot Under That Immense Silver Sheet!

In the dim light on the stage of BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera house, a Mountain of Silver Mylar seemed to be breathing & surging, showing at times what seemed to be Primitive Faces, which then abruptly dissolved…

When the Wraps were finally off, the Team of Oliviers--Olivier Alenda & Olivier Boyer--had to deal with a Giant Electronic Robot with a Mind of Its Own.

At one point, it looked like it might Eat Them Alive, but it certainly Carried Them Aloft!

Wow! What a Show!

This could be a Broadway Winner--with the right kind of Advance Promo--but you would need an immense Silver Cloth for each performance, because, at the close, it is completely Punctured so that Mysterious Lights can shine through…

Alors! C’est des Françaises…


The French Take Over the Park Avenue Armory for The Salon: Art & Design!

Sanford Smith’s annual Modernism Art Purchase Fair at the Park Avenue Armory has been transmuted into The Salon, for the first time involving France’s Syndicat Nationale des Antiquaires, with 22 Dealers fresh from the Paris Biennale.

Modernism was defined by Smith as the Period from 1860 1960, but that always seemed Pushing the Envelope backwards, to certify a Century of Modernism.

Unless, of course, you can find some essential Art Nouveau as early as 1860 & the Era of Emperor Napoleon III

As the Editor/Creator/Author of The Art Deco News, Your Roving Arts Reporter finally tired of Deco & replaced this Quarterly with Modernism.

But that was years ago, when I was neither Paid nor Thanked for my efforts on behalf of the Art Deco Society of New York.

So I still view Modernism as growing out of Arts & Crafts, as well as Art Nouveau & Jugendstil

What was most impressive about the Salon Show at the Armory was the profusion of White Walled Booths, featuring arrays of Modernist Furniture, Lighting Fixtures, Objects d’Art, Sculpture, Paintings, Works on Paper, Posters, & Tschotsckes--some of which approached Kitschiness.

Despite the French Accent to the show, American Modern Masters were also on view.

What would we do without the unique Studio Furniture of George Nakashima, Wharton Escherick, & Wendell Castle?

But, as a Friend & Collector of the Wood Creations of the late Sam Maloof, I missed seeing a Maloof Rocker or two…

Yes, there were the Obligatory Asian Artifacts, as well as African Masks & Cult Objects, but this Sales Generating Exhibition wasn’t all that Modern.

In fact, my Favorite Booth was that of De Jonckheere, dealers in tableaux de maîtres anciens.

When I first glimpsed what looked like small Knock Offs of famed Brueghel Paintings in Vienna’s Kunsthistoricsches Museum, I thought they might be some kind of Andy Warhol Caricatures.

But NO! They were the Real Thing! But Small Studies for much bigger Major Flemish Scenes by the Master!

The De Jonckheere Catalogue is a real Keeper!

You might want to check out their Website: www.dejonckheere

Founded in Brussels, there are now De Jonckheere Galleries in Paris & Genf.


Andy Warhol Artifacts Cram Christie’s Galleries, Plus Big Bucks for Impressionism & Modernism.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is apparently emptying its Archives.

There is said to be a Seven Year Agreement with Christie’s Auction House to make even Andy’s Old Polaroids available to Insatiable Collectors!

This year’s Warhol Collection overflows the 20th floor of the Simon Schuster Building, adjacent to Christie’s.

But in the Actual Galleries there is Andy’s very large 3 D canvas of Statue of Liberty Multiples, as well as some large 3 D Blow Ups of Andy & Friends at the Factory & elsewhere.

Not only are there several Handsome Catalogues for The Statue of Liberty & Andy Warhol at Christies, you also get free 3 D Spectacles for viewing these Historic Artifacts!

For that matter, Christie’s also provides a Handsome Separate Catalogue for the Sale of The Douglas S. Cramer Collection, as well as a smaller Keepsake, memorializing the Sale of just Two Georgia O’Keeffe Canvases!

But what are we to think of the Sales Results for two auctions of Impressionist & Modern Art?

Is the One Percent letting their possibly Ill Gotten Riches Trickle Down to Small Businesses & the Homeless?

How about $23 Million Plus for Wasilly Kandinsky’s oil on card, mounted on canvas: Studie für Improvisation 8?

This is a World Record for Kandinsky, who once was keeping house with Gabriel Münter in Bavarian Murnau. Locals called their Cottage the Rus Haus

Claude Monet’s Nymphéas fetched a fetching $43,762,500, while a Miró was bought for nearly $14 Million, just a bit more than the $12 Million plus bid for a Brancusi Plaster, titled Une muse.

Pablo Picasso’s Buste de femme emptied someone’s Wallet of $13 Million.

With that kind of Money, you could repair some of the Damage from Hurricane Sandy

Pablo Picasso’s Tête de femme was sold for only $5 Million, but then there are So Very Many Picassos available out there: More than twenty or thirty for Every Multi Billionaire Oligarch!

Andy Warhol made a lot of Silk Screens--with help from Factory Denizens--but Picasso made all those Artworks by himself, except for the Actual Founding of his Bronzes. For those, he had some Help.


Talk About Tax Cuts for The Rich! Sales Totals at Christies for the Warhol Week: $525 Million

Andy Warhol’s 3 D Statue of Liberty--including 3 D Glasses--won $43.7 Million!

Totals from the Warhol Archives Sales were $100.1 Million, including those Polaroids.

Two Untitled Artworks were bought for Millions as well. Franz Kline’s Untitled fetched $40.4 Million, while Jean Michel Basquiat’s Untitled brought $26.4 Million.

Jeff Koons’ colorful stainless steel Tulips--shown in a Pond outside Christie’s--was purchased for $33.6 Million, the Pond Frame included.

When you get it home to Moscow, Comrade Oligarch, Just Add Water

One of Josef Albers’ Square Paintings--Homage to the Square--was bought for $2,210,500.

And so it goes…

Michael John LaChiusa’s GIANT [****]

Oil Gushers Engulf Texas Grazing Lands in Lush Musical Panorama of Edna Ferber’s Novel…

This may well be the Musical You Have Been Waiting For!

Not only are there Lilting Melodies & Haunting Lyrics that both Reveal Character & Advance the Narrative, but this Magical Production is Scenically one of the most Artful & Impressive ever.

Bryan d’Arcy James is both Dynamic & Single Minded as the Stolid Texas Rancher who is determined to continue raising Cattle on his Thousands of Acres, while all around him are sprouting Hundreds of Oil Derricks

Kate Baldwin is fascinating as the Cultivated Young Lady from "The East," who loves Bick Benedict but who has a Hard Life in the Strange Wide Wide World that is Texas.

Stunning Staging by Michal Greif, with Folk Inflected Choreography by Alex Sanchez

Allen Moyer’s ingenious Scenic Evocations are immensely aided by the Subtle Lighting of Kenneth Posner.

But the Suffering Humanity of the Texans & the Native Mexicans--wonderfully embodied by the Brilliant Cast--is what makes this Marvelous Musical really Sing!

If there is a Problem with Sybille Pearson’s Book, it is that it tries to Pan too Panoramically over the Long Years this Tale has to Tell.

To move to Broadway--as it surely Must!--its Three Hours needs to be reduced a bit, with the Sacrifice of some Wonderfully Set Scenes.

Each is, in itself, a Mini Drama, & Composer Michael John LaChiusa certainly won’t want to give up Any of them.

Kev & Wil B’s BLACK VIOLIN [*****]

A Thousand Points of Light as Audience Members Cell Photograph Kev & Wil & Magic Violins!

Never have so many Cell Phones & iPads been glowing in the dark of a Broadway Theatre!

Ushers were almost unable to enforce Compliance with the No Photo/No Recording Command.

Kev & Wil are so dynamic as Performers--both On & Off Strings that they had the Capacity Audience at the New Victory waving a Forest of Arms, Chanting, Singing, Surging, & Clapping, while Kevin Marcus & Wilner Baptiste were Jivin’, Jazzin’, Jamin’ & Improvin’.

This is a Show that could have a Good Run On or Off Broadway.

It’s certainly more Audience Interactive than any of those Juke Box Musicals

How about Rockin’ to Bach?


Forget Pearl Harbor! Celebrate the Post War Transformation of Tokyo as an Avant Garde Nexus!

During World War II, many Americans were looking forward to Hanging the Emperor Hirohito for Japan’s Imperialistic Attacks on Pearl Harbor & elsewhere in the Pacific Theatre.

Admiral Tojo was, in fact, Totaled.

But General Douglas MacArthur protected the Emperor, realizing how Central he was to the Recovery of Japan & its People.

Not only did Japan recover from the Devastations of War--the Horrors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki!--it recreated itself as a Peace Loving & Industrially Prosperous Modern Nation.

This was made possible partly by American Assistance & the American Examples offered by the US Occupation Forces, which remained in Japan until at least 1952.

The new Show at MoMA--Tokyo 1955 1970: A New Avant Garde--demonstrates how new & emerging Japanese Artists helped transform Tokyo into a Center of Avant Garde Cutting Edge Art Making.

There are more than 200 Art Works in this handsome exhibition.

Although Japan & Things Japanese are the Core Subject Matter of many of the Paintings, Sculptures, Photos, Drawings, & Art Installations, a number of the Works do suggest some Cross Pollination with
Avant Garde Trends in the United States.

What used to be called Orientalism by some Conservative Western Art Lovers--besotted by Traditional Japanese Styles & Subjects--can hardly be detected in most of the Art on view.

Considering Tokyo’s Burgeoning Population & limited Land Area, new developments in Architecture & City Planning are an important element of this show:

Look for Metabolism… Think Kenzo Tange

This Intriguing Show must close on 25 February 2013, but there will always be some Murakami Curiosities on hand in Manhattan…


Out of the Ashcan & Onto Museum Walls: George Bellows, Graduate of the Ashcan School

If you have a Donald Trumpian Lust for Prize Fighting, you are probably already familiar with George

Bellows’ Stag at Sharkey’s?

Way back when, in Manhattan, you had to belong to a Fight Club to watch two men pound & pummel each other for the enjoyment of the Swells & the Toffs: Modern Gladiators, but with none of the Imperial Pomp & certainly No Colosseum

But Bellows didn’t just paint Ordinary People or New York Scenes: He was also a Portraitist of Distinction.

In fact, the Range of the new George Bellows exhibition at the Met Museum is amazing, but a lot of it is also a Visual History of a Manhattan that has vanished.

This show must close right after Valentine’s Day--on 18 February 2013--so do not delay…


Concealed Compartments? Roentgen Desks & Cabinets Are Crammed With Trick Drawers

Not only are the various gleaming Desks, Tables, Cabinets, & Clocks made by the Roentgen Family of Artists in Wood wonderfully inlaid with magnificent Designs & Scenes, but many of them are also ingenious examples of Trick Furniture.

The title of the Met’s new show is: EXTRAVAGANT INVENTIONS: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens.

You didn’t have to be a Prince to commission a Desk or a Bookcase from the Roentgens, but you certainly needed a Princely Purse to pay for it.

Father Abraham Roentgen was a member of the severe Protestant Moravian Brotherhood, but he had a Genius for Designing & Manufacturing richly inlaid & elaborately decorated Furniture.

His son, David Roentgen, was also a Genius at organizing & marketing, recruiting brilliant Artists & Artisans from all over Europe to create Magnificent Works that commanded Top Prices from King Louis XVI & Empress Catherine the Great--who became the Roentgen’s Greatest Patron.

Some Great Cabinets even have Carillons & Music Boxes. As well as all those Trick Drawers

One of the Desks has its Hind Side exposed, so you can see the System of Cords & Weights that make it possible for Secret Drawers to Pop Open

Then there’s the Automaton of Marie Antoinette, seating at her Pianoforte.

Marie Antoinette is still playing at the Met!

Unfortunately, she Lost Her Head in the French Revolution--which also destroyed the Markets for the Princely Furniture of the Roentgens.

Fortunately, many of their most important Creations survived, although some were broken up for their Decorative Elements.

They began making Baroque Pieces, but transformed their Designs into the newly fashionable Neo Classicism.

The Bust of Benjamin Franklin that rests proudly on a Plinth--or is it a Pedestal?--is not a Left Over from some other show.

Our First Electrician was also a Deviser of Intricate Mechanisms, including the Glass Harmonica.

This fascinating & extensive exhibition must close on 27 January 2013--unless Mayan Calendar Prophecies have intervened in the meantime…

[This Collection of Ornate & Mysterious Furniture so fascinated Your Roving Arts Correspondent--who had already in the same Press Preview Crowded Morning seen Avant Garde Tokyo at MoMA & George Bellows at the Met--that there was No Time Left to cross Central Park to see GLOBAL KITCHEN: Food, Nature, Culture at the American Museum of Natural History.

[What a Loss! This Press Op sounded like there might have been some Actual Food to sample…]

Tommy Meehan & Chris Curtis’ CHAPLIN [*****]

Formerly Known as Limelight, the Non Silent Chaplin Bio Clocks in at Two Hours & a Half…

Who now remembers Peggy Larue Satterlee?

Peggy was a pretty girl from Weimar, near my Home Town in the California Sierras.

She went to Hollywood, in search of Fame & Fortune, but--about the time that Joan Barry was charging Charlie Chaplin with a Paternity Suit--she gained a Momentary Fame by also accusing the Little Tramp of Fooling Around with her.

This was an Era in which Movie Fans were obsessed with the Sex Lives of the Hollywood Stars.

Errol Flynn was also in Trouble: Starlets came forward. It was said that he’d even been in bed with Tyrone Power!

No one ever said that about Charlie Chaplin!

That’s fortunate, because Chaplin: The Musical is already so crammed with Incidents & Personalities from Chaplin’s long & occasionally tormented Career, that the new Broadway Hit would be even longer.

After Chaplin’s Three Wives--Mildred Harris, Lita Grey, & Paulette Goddard--we get Wife #4, Playwright Eugene O’Neill’s feisty daughter, Oona [the charming Erin Mackey].

Book Authors Tommy Meehan & Chris Curtis--who also composed the admirable Score--have refrained from bringing on stage some of the Famous Children of that Union: Geraldine & Michael Chaplin.

What is so amazing about the Chaplin Production--aside from the Absolutely Brilliant Performance of Rob McClure as Chaplin--is the way in which Director/Choreographer Warren Carlyle has been able to keep all those Characters, Events, & even Defeats in Motion & in Balance.

In keeping with the Black & White Silent Film Tradition in which Chaplin made his name--or, rather, the Name of the Little Tramp--the entire Production is designed in Black & White.

Awards Nominations for Set Designer Beowulf Boritt, Lighting Designer Ken Billington, &

Costume Designers [the late] Martin Pakledinaz & Amy Clark!

Charlie is always haunted by the Memory & the Actuality of his Beautiful Mother, Hannah Chaplin [the haunting Christiane Noll], a Music Hall Entertainer who Lost It in a Fog of Confusion.

But when Charlie decides to Silence the Already Silent Little Tramp, replacing him with The Great Dictator, in which a little Jewish Barber impersonates Der Führer, Adolf Hitler, & sends a Message of Hope to the World, his Troubles begin.

Not the Paternity Suits, but Accusations from the Self Promoting Hedda Hopper [the excellent Jenn Colella] that this British Citizen--who has made Millions in Hollywood, but never sought American Citizenship--is an Apologist for Stalin & a Supporter of Communism!

Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux is not mentioned by name, but it’s made clear that Chaplin’s Career in American Film is definitively over.

With Oona--now disowned by Gene O’Neill--he retires to Switzerland, where they raise Eight Chaplins.

[Sometime after his Burial, his Corpse is Stolen, taken Hostage, but that’s beyond the purview of this Lively, Fascinating Musical.]

[Did you know that Broadway Producer/Director Multi Tony Winner Hal Prince married a Chaplin? His son, Charlie Prince, is thus the Great Grandson of the Little Tramp…]


Beyond The Vagina Monologues: There’s Also the Problem of Female Circumcision!

Your Roving Arts Reporter is really Not Qualified to comment on such subjects as Vaginas & Clitorises, as he has only seen Pictures of these Elements of the Female Anatomy.

In Childhood, I was taught that No One who is at all a Decent God Fearing Christian is the least bit interested in What’s Down There!

Eve Ensler’s new show--most of it also Monologues--purports to be about "The Secret Life of Girls Around the World."

Yes, Girls & Women are very badly treated by Men in many parts of the World.

In many cases, however, this often Sex Oriented Mistreatment or Masculine Tyranny is Religiously Ordained, Traditional, & Routine.

Nonetheless, Ensler’s Six Talented Monologists manage to show how they can also Enjoy Life, even under Oppression or Scorn from Other Girls!

Shawn Sagady’s colorful Projections on a curving Back Screen are often arresting & memorable.

Jo Bonney directed the Girls--who seem to represent Types--with verve & vigor.

Daniele Finzi Pasca’s DONKA: A LETTER TO CHEKHOV [****]

The Postman Always Rings Twice, But Tony Chekhov Is Dead, With No Known Address…

Donka was inspired by the 150th Anniversary of Anton Chekhov, who was born in 1860 & died in 1904, so this must be a Birth Anniversary.

Europeans love to celebrate Death Anniversaries as well, so it’s important to keep track of Dates.

Watching the Dazzling Acrobatics, the Miraculous Videopticals, the Ice Juggling, the Haunting Dance of Silhouettes--Black Giants & Black Bedsteads against a Vivid Red Full Stage Scrim, I was suddenly seized with the Sensation that I had seen this Fascinating Show before: Perhaps at the Edinburgh Festival?

But No! This remarkable Invention of Daniele Finzi Pasca was devised in Mother Russia, in Moscow, where Chekhov’s [Tragi ] Comedies were definitively staged at the Moscow Art Theatre.

Chekhov’s own Letters & Diary Jottings inspired the Varied & Electic Mixture of Circus Arts & Skills, as well as Music, Song, & Movement that electrify Donka.

Among the many Astonishments are the Ice Objects: a Chandelier whose Great Crystal Rings are dashed to pieces on the stage floor, as well as Crystal Platters & a myriad of Small Balls, juggled & then smashed.

Performers visit with the Audience in a comical but charming Broken English, but some Folkish Songs seem distinctly Slavic.

My Sense of Déjà vu must have been triggered by the fact that I’ve seen Pasca’s Genius in action in other Cirque style shows, such as the Cirque Éloise, which featured, if I recall correctly, Charlie Chaplin’s Daughter, Geraldine

Daniele Finzi Pasca is always ably supported by the Genius of Maria Bonzanigo, who created the Music & the Choreography, among other production attributes.

Creative Direction is credited to Antonio Vergamini, but then he had Eight Remarkable Talents with which to work: Trapeze Artists, Jugglers, Clowns

Had Daniele Finzi Pasca sent a Letter to Chekhov at the Spa in Badenweiler--where he was under Treatment for TB--it might have come back, marked Return To Sender, in German, of course.

Chekhov’s Last Words in Badenweiler were: Ich Sterbe…

I’m dying…

And so it goes…

Joshua Elias Harmon’s BAD JEWS [***]

Sitting Shiva with a Shiksa? At Least There’s a "Riv Vu" from the Bathroom!

It was Friday Evening. Our Press Tickets were nowhere to be found.

We couldn’t call anyone as all the Good Jews were in Temple

Fortunately, the Box Office Lady relented & found Tix for us, so we could find out what Bad Jews may be like. I thought, maybe, like Goldman Sachs?

Formerly, I thought Linda Lavin--embodying Nicky Silver’s Vision--was the Definitive Jewess from Hell.

Now, however, thanks to Joshua Harmon’s ironic drama & the impassioned portrayal of the indomitable Tracee Chimo as Daphna Feygenbaum, there is another Candidate!

Chimo offers a kind of Chimotherapy, but the Entire Cast--directed by Daniel Aukin--is outstanding.

But there is This Problem

Beloved Grandfather has died & Grandson Liam [Michael Zegen] did not make it to the Funeral!

Worse yet, he was in Aspen with the Bubble Headed Blonde Shiska [Molly Ranson] he plans to marry!

They arrive late in the cramped Studio Apartment owned by His Parents, for Overflow.

Daphna is determined that she should have the Sacred Gold Hebrew Letter her Grandfather kept Under His Tongue in the Nazi Death Camp, to keep the Gestapo from taking it away.

But Liam already has it: his Mother got it from the Dying Grandfather & sent it to Aspen via FedEx.

He proposes to his Beloved Melody--an Opera Major who wretchedly sings Gershwin’s Summertime, to calm them all--& also proposes to put the Sacred Gold Letter around her neck.

At which Daphna goes berserk, attacking the alarmed Melody.

Daphna has a Variety of Problems, including gaining Possession of the Golden Letter.

She has Been To Israel, where she was presumably Invaded by an Israeli Soldier.

Sheldon Adelson--that Major Mitt Backer--has been making Free Trips to Israel possible for Young American Jews, so they can discover that You Cannot Live a Fully Jewish Life outside Israel.

Surely, Adelson is not a Bad Jew?

Apparently, Daphne has embraced His Vision.

Liam’s Younger Brother, Jonah [Philip Ettinger], who seems a bit Slow & is trapped between the Warring Cousins--has honored his Grandfather by having his Concentration Camp Number tattooed on his Arm.

Not really Bad Jews--just Confused

Ivo van Hove’s Modernised Shakespeare/Marlowe ROMAN TRAGEDIES [****]

Interviewing the Defeated Volscian General on the 10 O’Clock News! Cleo Dies On Camera!

Amsterdam’s Gift to World Theatre--the No Holds Barred Ivo van Hove--had this Great Idea for the Holland Festival, way back in 2007.

To emphasize the Political Content of Shakespeare/Marlowe’s Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, & Antony & Cleopatra, why not run them one after another--without Intermission--with the Audience free to get up on the Stage & mingle with the Rulers of the World?

This has been so Crowd Pleasing that the Toneelgroep Amsterdam has been schlepping this Production to Major Festivals & Venues such as Brooklyn’s BAM.

The Stage looks like an Over Furnished Lobby of a Taj Hotel, but it also has a Lot of Wide Screen Monitors, so you can see Things that have happened in the Past, as well as what’s now happening before Your Very Eyes!

The Vast Balcony & the Mega Mezzanine of the Howard Gilman Opera House were empty.

Everyone was in the Unticketed Orchestra, encouraged to Change Seats & join Roman Generals & Cleopatra up on the stage.

Although Frieda Pittoors’ furious & dominating Volumnia--the Doting Patrician Roman Mother who helps her Anti Hero Son, Coriolanus, [Gijs Scholten van Aschat], destroy himself--was even more Impressive on the Big Screen than just seated on a Sofa.

But it was a bit Odd to see the Roman Senators raging at each other from what looked to be UN Security Council Desks

The Audience was warned in advance that the Noise of the War Sequences would be deafening. It was…

To emphasize the Topicality of Antony’s Defeat at the Battle of Actium--among other Disasters of War--a Red Zipper ran beneath the Immense Screen that hung over the Stage.

So we were able to Read the Latest Body Count from Israel’s Attacks on Gaza, but, unfortunately, not Mitt Romney’s Retirement Plans

The Historic Texts were somewhat adapted, as Christopher Marlowe--or his Beard, Wm. Shakespeare--had never had to write Stuff for Late Night News Broadcasts.

Coriolanus--seldom performed even in the Best of Times--ran some 89 Minutes, followed by 187 Minutes of Julius Caesar, followed by a Scenery Change, with Antony & Cleopatra--seldom performed even in the Worst of Times--beginning at 197 Minutes & ending with the Asp Bite at 340 Minutes.

For a Grand Total of 5 Hours & 44 Minutes!

The Dutch Cast was excellent, but it would have been All Dutch to Me, were it not for the Ubiquitous Super Titles.

Having just seen Antony & Cleopatra in Oberammergau this past summer--played on the Actual Stage of the Oberammergau Passion Play--I must note that None of the Three Roman Tragedies is well served by Ivo van Hove’s Stunt Staging.

Bruce Graham’s THE OUTGOING TIDE [*****]

Is Life Worth Living When You Have Lost Your Marbles & Your Memory? Not On Golden Pond

The raging Gunner of the remarkable Peter Strauss is Losing It!

He doesn’t even recognize his own son, Jack [Ian Lithgow], who he has insisted must come to the Chesapeake Bay Cottage where he & his Long Suffering Wife, Peg [the Sunset Radiant Michael Learned] are in retirement before his Admission into a Senior Facility.

Gunner hates not being In Control & he also hates the Idea of wearing an Adult Diaper.

Peg dearly loves Gunner, but she can no longer Cope

His Fond Idea, however, is to topple out of his boat in the Evening Sunset, so the Value of His Insurance will be doubled by his "Accidental Death."

But he needs the Pious Roman Catholic Peg to give him Her Blessing.

Will Peg be able to Let Go?

As a Devout Catholic, she risks Hellfire if she permits Gunner’s Potential Defrauding of the Insurance Company.

Their Son consoles her with the Thought that, once in Hell, she will be surrounded by Pedophile Priests!

This was a very Powerful Performance & also a Very Disturbing Experience for those of us in the Audience who have had Beloved Parents pass over into Senility before they Definitively Passed Over

Indeed, some Members of the Audience looked just a Step away from an Assisted Care Senior Home.

Bud Martin staged this Excellent Trio, in an often amusing play that is Far Beyond On Golden Pond.


Celebrating Aromas at MAD: The Art of Scent--1889 2012

It may be a bit amusing to say that This Show Smells, but, actually, it is the Viewers who will smell the Twelve European Perfumes--not On Display but On Spray--at the Museum of Art & Design!

Estée Lauder deserves Credit for helping this Unusual Olfactory Exhibition to come into being, but, alas, none of Her USA Devised Scents made the cut…

The Original Blenders seem to be mostly French, but No Americans are among them in this show.

Unfortunately, Your Roving Arts Correspondent cannot provide you here with Photos of actual Whiffs of Chanel No. 5, L’Interdit, or Pleasures--which was lent by Lauder.

The Exhibition Space--designed by Famous Designers Diller Scofidio+ Renfro--is a Long White Room, with what look like small Urinals along the walls. These are the Founts where you can sniff the Aromas!

There’s also an Adjacent Chamber where you can Dip a Stick into Glass Vessels of Perfumes!

What goes into Blending New Perfumes is not really a Photographic Friendly Process.

The Art of Olfactory Inventions needs Words--not Sniffs or Smells--to describe how Blending works.

But, if you think you can learn everything you need to know from the Handsome Catalogue, guess again!

The Big White Book will cost $250--but it’s not a Real Book!

MAD’s Heather Barrett showed me the Mock Up, but--before she opened it--I asked if there would be any of those Sniff Strips you find in Vanity Fair?

Even Better! It contains Twelve Vials of the Actual Perfumes on display!

This Fragrant Show--curated by Chandler Burr--will be Sniff Ready until 24 February 2013.

Google MAD’s Website

Charles Morey’s FIGARO [****]

Karl Rove & The Koch Brothers! Watch Out for Figaro! He Has Your Number!

Just in case you may have thought that Drama Classics have really Nothing To Say to Us Moderns, Charles Morey’s reworking of The Marriage of Figaro is a Fusillade aimed at the Rich & Privileged of both Pre Revolutionary France & The USA Today.

Of course, there is a Basic Difference, in that Figaro is trapped in an Essentially Feudal Society, in which the Droit de Seigneur still had some force.

That is: the Lord of the Manor--or Estate--had the Medieval Right to enjoy the First Fruits of a Servant Bride’s Virginity before her Servant Husband could make love to her…

So the Plot Mechanics of Seville’s soon to–be married Barber are largely concerned with Sexual Intrigues.

Not the kind of Activities you can easily imagine Karl Rove or the Kochs--or even Mitt Romney--to be eagerly pursuing.

Karl Rove deflowering a Hard Working Union Member’s Wife to be? Not Bloody likely…

Nonetheless, what Figaro has to say about the Powers of the Privileged--Money, Lands, & Social Station all inherited--versus the Native Cunning of the Under Class still has Relevance.

One does imagine, however, that the Koch Brothers are more interested in Fracking than in Fucking.

As for Karl Rove, what could be more Powerfully Aphrodisiac than Tons of Super PAC Money?

Poor Figaro: he only wants some small bags of Dower Money. What more could a Foundling expect?

Neo Classical Playwrights favored Five Acts, but Morey has considerably abridged the Original Text of Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais.

All to the Good! The Comedic Action moves briskly along, thanks to both the New Text & the Stage Direction of Hal Brooks.

The Obvious Star of this Nouveau Figaro is the Pearl Theatre’s Handsome Young Leading Man, Sean McNall.

But he is ably assisted by Pearl Theatre Stalwarts such as Jolly Abraham, Dan Daily, Joey Parsons, Chris Mixon, & Robin Leslie Brown.

The Problem with Ensemble Casting, just as it was years ago when Chris Martin & Karen Sunde founded the CSC--or Classic Stage Company, down on East Thirteenth--is that you cannot Ideally Cast from the Vast Pool of Excellent Actors in the Metropolitan Area.

Chris & Karen often starred themselves

Nonetheless, the Pearl Ensemble does very well, materially aided by the Lavish Period Costumes of Barbara A. Bell.

Count Almaviva’s Multi Flounced Coat is a Wonder!

Oddly enough, the Women’s Costumes are not nearly as Handsome or as Rich in Materials

The Vibrantly Colored Multi Purpose Settings of Jo Winiarski are also valuable in Heating Up the Stage Temperature & moving the Action along.

The Mozart Da Ponte Musical Version of Figaros Hochzeit has Four Acts & plays over Four Hours, so Pearl Audiences can be grateful to Morey for his Abbreviations.

Nonetheless, when I did Figaro Comes To Flatbush years & years ago at Brooklyn College--with a $5,000 Grant from the Services Culturelles Françaises, for a New Translation--I was adamant that Marcelline’s oft elided Complaint about the Treatment of Women be given Full Voice.

Even though Figaro’s Marriage to Suzanne--not consummated on stage in this production--takes place on a Country Estate outside Seville, in the Late 18th Century, Figaro’s Comments about the Rich, with sly suggestions about Then & Now, still have some Relevance.

Karl Rove may not have inherited Great Wealth, but the Koch Brothers certainly did…

Even Mitt Romney was not a Self Made Man: why would any of these One Percenters want to take credit for something so poorly fashioned?

Although Beaumarchais’ Figaro may have been a Harbinger of the French Revolution--King Louis XVI initially forbade performances & the Habsburg Emperor in Vienna was wary of the Mozart Opera as well--Morey’s New Version is not likely to rally Occupy Wall Street to another Storming of the Bastille.

Hey! Did you know that Beaumarchais was a Gun Runner for the American Revolution?

Oh! The Handsome Program for the Pearl’s Figaro is a Keeper! Lots of Good Information!

You can now find the Pearl--which long, long ago used to be over on East Eighth Street, in the East Village--down near the Hudson River on very West 42nd Street, in what used to be the Peter J. Sharp Theatre of the Signature Theatre, which is now just up the street, with Three New Stages.

Christopher Durang’s VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE [****]

Instead of Going Off To Moscow, Chris Durang Takes Us to Bucks County!

If you do not know the Collected Works of Anton Chekhov--as well as The Oresteia Trilogy--you may miss a lot of the Fun in Christopher Durang’s Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike.

Long Lapsed Roman Catholic Bad Boy Durang has made a Career out of mocking Sacred Beliefs & Hallowed Texts.

Even those of the Country Doctor who wrote The Seagull, The Three Sisters, & Uncle Vanya

Durang has comically conflated those Three Masterpieces, with a rather small stand of Cherry Trees & the Doom Foreseeing Cassandra--borrowed from Agamemnon, but herself borrowing from Shakespeare, warning of the Ides of March, although it seems to be Autumn in Bucks County, the nominal site of this Grad Seminar Dram Lit Farce.

But even if you do not have a Yale Drama School Pedigree & must necessarily miss many of the Literary In Jokes, V S M S is so riotously funny that you will still have a Fabulous Time in the Mitzi E Newhouse Theatre in Lincoln Center--which is possibly named for a Leading Character in that Daniel Day Lewis Movie!

Good Parody should still be amusing, even if you do not know the Original Target of the Spoof

But how could Satirist Durang & Director Nick Martin miss, with a Cast including an Over the Top Sigourney Weaver, a Batty Kristine Nielsen/Maggie Smith, & David Hyde Pierce, who plays a Gay but Sad Suburban Vanya.

How is it possible to be both Gay & Sad?

The Spike in the Title does not refer to any Known Chekhov Character.

Instead, he is the Momentary Cougar Love of Weaver’s Five Times Married Masha, who nonetheless has a Fabulous Career as a Performing Artist.

As Spike, Billy Magnussen has Fabulous Six Pack Abs that he can ripple with the Best of Them.

Although there are sometimes Hints of Joe Orton in Durang’s eviscerations of Polite Society, there’s not a Trace of Oscar Wilde nor of Noël Coward.

Still, wouldn’t it be Fun to be in Moscow with The Three Sisters, as imagined by either Wilde or Coward?

Vanya’s attempt to write a better--but still Avant Garde Drama--than that of Konstantin, in The Seagull, is painful, rather than amusing.

How can Nina really inhabit the Role of a Molecule?

It’s all very well to make fun of Drama Classics, but there’s a Crying Need for Durang to return to the Convent of Sister Mary Ignatius.

There is so much Religious Superstition out there--some of it informing Our Laws--that only the Artful Mockery of a Jesuit Trained Altar Boy can do Justice to Priestly Pedophilia

Dante was not shy about consigning Cardinals & Popes to Hell, so why not A Divine Durang Comedy of Eros--set in Boys Town?

Why not a Frontal Attack on some Cherished Rituals?

How about The Feast of the Circumcision: it sounds like a very meager Meal.

But then there’s the Miracle of the Loaves & Fishes, in which Five Loaves & Five Fishes fed Five Thousand!

How many Pious Catholics can One Foreskin actually feed?

If Sister Mary Ignatius cannot tell us, then, perhaps, Christopher Durang can imagine the resolution of this Holy Mystery

August Wilson’s THE PIANO LESSON [*****]

Don’t Touch that Old Upright Piano! It’s Not Only Haunted, But It’s Also a History Lesson!

August Wilson’s brilliant Piano Lesson is, in essence, almost another Judgment of Solomon.

There’s No Baby to divide, but, instead, a Richly Carved Upright Piano, that is both Haunted & a Family History, dating from the Days of Black Slavery in the American South.

This Piano, which can Play Itself, when it is in the mood, is the Inheritance of both the wounded & protective Berniece--a wonderfully resolute Roslyn Ruff--& her Over the Top & Out of Control Bother, Boy Willie--the dynamic & explosive Brandon J. Dirden.

With his feckless & boyish buddy, Lymon--the charming Jason Dirden--Boy Willie has driven a large but dying Truck, loaded with Watermelons, up from Georgia, hoping to Make a Killing, so he can buy some Land Down Home.

But it won’t be enough, so he wants to sell the Family Piano to secure that Acreage.

Over Berniece’s Dead Body?

Not exactly. But, at times, she seems ready to Total Boy Willie, if he as much as touches that Hallowed & Haunted Instrument.

The Lesson that not only Boy Willie learns from that Carved Piano is not How To Play It, but that Family History is not to be denied nor forgotten

The Entire Cast is brilliant: James A. Williams, Alexis Holt, Eric Lenox Abrams, Chuck Cooper, & Mandi Masden.

The Entire Production is so enthralling that it should have an Extended Run, even if Signature has to delay the next show planned for the Irene Diamond Theatre Space.

Who was Irene Diamond, anyway?

The imposing Rafters Exposed & Floor boards Open Ended Setting of Michael Carnahan is a Show in itself, not easy to move to the August Wilson Theatre, on Broadway, which already has its own Long Run.

Perhaps it’s time again to revive all the Wilson Cycle of Black Folks in Pittsburgh’s Hill District?

Ruben Santiago Hudson has created such a vibrant staging that he might well Take on the Project?


Linda Christian Sells for Half a Million Dollars: Formerly "Lost" Diego Rivera Portrait at Christie’s!

That Huge Fat Bronze Horse--standing outside Christie’s Auction House in Rock Center--sold for almost a Million Dollars: $938,500, to be exact…

This Morbidly Obese Steed was, of course, the Work of Fernando Botero, who favors Fat Folks for his Paintings & Sculptures.

His fat Nun Eating an Apple fetched $602,500.

The two Latin American Sales at Christie’s totaled $17.9 Million.

Diego Rivera’s Mad Eyed Linda Christian was won for $575,500.

There was no Matching Portrait on sale of her husband, Tyrone Power, though they did once have Matching Nude Statues of themselves in their Rear Garden

Other Distinguished Latino Artists with works up for Auction included Matta, Wilfredo Lam, Rufino Tamayo, Francisco Zuñiga, & Tomás Sánchez, whose Buscador de paiasajes was bought for $626,500.

Sánchez specializes in large scale paintings of Dense Green Forests--plus Lakes or Rivers--in the Hearts of which can often be found a small Male Figure, almost overwhelmed by Nature.

Kathie Lee Gifford & Friends’ SCANDALOUS: The Life & Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson [***]

Who Knew That Kathie Lee Had Musical Comedy Know How? Sinners & Singers Rejoice!

What Won My Heart about the Bio Musical about Evangelist Aimee was its Fabulous Art Deco Settings, the Confections of Designer Walt Spangler.

Almost a Century ago, I created, edited, & wrote The Art Deco News, so I am a bit of an Expert on 1920s & 1930s Art Deco

Of course, Aimee’s Angelus Temple in LA, didn’t look quite like its Stage Incarnation, but the Period Costumes of Gregory A. Poplyk certainly helped sustain the Art Deco Illusion.

When you hear the name Kathie Lee Gifford, you probably do not immediately think of her as in the same class as Oscar Hammerstein II.

Or even his Protégé/Prodigy, Steve Sondheim

Nonetheless, Kathie Lee has written the Book, the Lyrics, & some "Additional Music" for Scandalous, now at the Neil Simon Theatre--formerly the Alvin.

Some of her Lyrics are, in fact, interesting, even amusing, with some of the Songs depending on Chromatic Ascensions, which might instead be the Inspiration of Co Composers David Pomeranz & David Friedman.

As with the Musical about Charlie Chaplin--also on Broadway now--there is always a Danger in attempting to put almost an Entire Life on stage, All Singing, All Dancing.

Aimee Semple McPherson was a Fascinating Phenomenon, one about which I’d often hear, growing up in California, among Religious Fanatics.

I do wish I’d been able to see one of her Five a Sunday Religious Perfomances in the Angelus Temple, but we were not only forbidden to travel farther South than San Francisco, but also not to Heed the Radio Voice of "That Woman."

As Aimee, Carolee Carmello is both Fabulous & Hard Working--with so much Biographical Detail & Titillating Scandal to cover.

Charlie Chaplin even appears in this show--but not the same Chaplin who’s elsewhere on Broadway--but so does William Randolph Hearst, played & sung by Joseph Dellger.

Chaplin’s Newspaper Nemesis is Hedda Hopper, but Louella Parsons does the Hatchet Work for Willie Hearst in this show.

It was Good to see George Hearn--once a Broadway Musical Star--as Aimee’s Birth Father & also as Brother Bob

The Art Deco was glamorous, but the Backdrop for Growing Up on the Farm was a Miscalculation.

It seemed intended to suggest the Wild Skies of the Mid West Paintings of John Steuart Curry, if not Thomas Hart Benton.

Unfortunately one of the Colored Clouds looked very much like a Dead Pink Rabbit

David Armstrong staged the Busy Cast, with Dances by Lorin Latarro--one of which looked like a Steal from Newsies, as Lovable Irish Lads & Lassies cavorted in an infectious but totally Narrative Unnecessary Jig.

Despite the Scandal that brought Aimee into Court--in danger of Prison--all turned out very well for

Aimee & the Angelus Temple, still in business today, under a Different Name.

In fact, after Charges were Dismissed--owing to Blackmail Threats to Wm. R. Hearst & a Phony Pious LA Bible Thumper--the remainder of Scandalous seemed an Extended Commercial for Aimee & Her Ministry

Nonetheless, The Entire Cast worked very hard!


Colorful Canvasses Now On View at the Met Museum: MATISSE: In Search of True Painting

Beware the Ides of March!

The admirable new Matisse Show at the Met must end on 17 March 2013, which is just two days after the Ides but is also St. Paddy’s Day.

The Odd Title of this Exhibition suggests that there is also such a Thing as False Painting.

But that’s not really the Meaning at all: Matisse was developing as a Painter--inspired by such French Talents as Cézanne & Signac--experimenting with Form, Color, Light, even Brush Strokes

This amazing show--which has dragooned Major Matisse Canvases from International Museums--puts Pairs, Trios, & Series of Images together, to demonstrate how he developed not only his Essential Image, but also his way of rendering it.

Fortunately, unlike some Mono Chromists who followed him, Matisse was in love with Light & Color, so this is one of the Most Colorful Shows the Met has had recently: "49 vibrantly colored canvases," according to the Met’s Press Release.

Although that Andy Warhol Catch All was pretty Colorful, as well…


African Masks Again! Modernists & Primitives: AFRICAN ART: New York & The Avant Garde.

What would Brancusi have done without the Inspiration of Primitive African Masks?

But the Real Question is: Why are Brancusi & Picasso invoked, when the Title of this small scale Show is NY & The Avant Garde?

It is by now so well known that African Primitive Masks & Carvings inspired Pablo Picasso & other Artists working in Paris between World Wars that there have been more than sufficient Exhibitions with Primitive Artworks next to Picasso Artworks

Can it be that the Met’s Curators--in invoking the Frenchified Term Avant Garde--are really referring to the Parisian Avant Garde, not its Manhattan Follow Up?

If so, then the inclusion of Two Americans, Charles Sheeler & Alfred Stieglitz, in the Celestial Company of Picasso, Picabia, Matisse, Brancusi, & Diego Rivera--who, though just across the Border, could be called a Meso American, rather than a Real American--may be justified.

Not that Met Visitors haven’t seen such Masks & Carvings before, in the Standing Exhibition Cases in that Great Hall that takes care of All the Primitives & enshrines the Memory of the Late Michael Rockefeller, whom some say was eaten by some of the Oceanic Primitives he met when he went on one of his Collecting Expeditions

Theresa Rebeck’s DEAD ACCOUNTS [****]

Piles of Pizza Boxes & $27 Million Lifted from Dead Accounts: Norbert Leo Butz Is Over the Top!

Theresa Rebeck’s Monetary Marital Farce is not just another one of those Dysfunctional Family Dramas that have recently infested Manhattan’s Stages.

No Indeed!

It can be, for many, a Laff Riot!

Here’s the wonderful Jane Houdyshell--as the Cincinnati based Mater Familias--babbling away like a Character out of Chekhov, with Nobody listening to her, just as she talks over them.

Who knew that being trapped in a Scientology Marriage would prepare one to be a Charming Comedienne like Katie Holmes, who is delightful as Sister to The Bank Account Thief?

How Norbert Leo Butz can continue to Rage & Rant through Eight Performances a Week & not have Cardiac Arrest remains to be seen.

As Jack, he has, thus far, made Two Big Mistakes--aside from Ordering all those Pizzas, with Individual Salads for each Box, as well as Cups & Cups of Ice Cream Treats

As a Born & Bred Son of Cincinnatus, he made the Mistake of Falling in Love with a High Maintenance Upper Class Manhattan White Shoe Wasp Girl.

Her World--which is really the World of Her Wall Street Banker Father--doesn’t really mesh with the Mid Western Manner.

Jack’s Second Mistake was--as a Cubicle Confined Banker, placed by her Father--to have gradually transferred Millions of Dollars out of the Dead Accounts of Dead Depositors, Money that has never been claimed by Anyone

Oddly enough, the Jilted Jenny--the Meryl Streep Like Elegant Judy Greer--has pursued Jack to his Mother’s Cincinnati Kitchen, where, it develops, she Still Loves Him.

But she would like Half of that $27,000,000…

Josh Hamilton is cute as Phil, who has never asked Katie Holmes out since she turned him down in High School.

Well, actually, she’s called Barbara in Theresa Rebeck’s Fun Play.

Staged by the redoubtable & resourceful Jack O’Brien!

Joseph Robinette & Jean Shepherd’s A CHRISTMAS STORY [****]

Taps Are Tops for Tiny Tots: The Kids Are Just Great Way Out in Indiana, w/Dan Luria Narrating!

If you loved lovable old Dan Luria as the Green Bay Packer’s Coach, you may well find him even More Lovable in A Christmas Story: The Musical, which--along with Elf: The Musical--has this season replaced that Old Xmas Chestnut, A Christmas Carol: The Usually Non Musical.

Just Think how lucky Israelis are at this Time of Year:

Neither Charles Dickens nor Jean Shepherd wrote a Holiday Masterpiece about The Maccabees & Their Miraculous Menorah!

The Best Thing about this Limited Run Holiday Fun at the Lunt Fontanne is its Wonderful All Dancing, All Singing Kids!

Especially Johnny Rabe & Zac Ballard, who are the Lucky Kids who have a Caring Mother [Erin Dilly] & a Swearing Father [John Bolton], as well as Non Unionized Public School Teacher [Caroline O’Connor], who can Parse a Sentence & Dance Up a Storm.

This once was a Movie of the Same Name, ©1983 Turner Entertainment Co., distributed by Warner Bros., with Permission to Produce this Bus & Truck Production from--among Others--Dalfie Entertainment, Inc.

[Just so you know Who Owns the Rights, in case you made an Illegal Video during your visit to the Lunt Fontanne. Oh, who was Lunt Fontanne anyway? One of those Hyphenated Brits?]

The Major Dramatic Question in this Lively Show is: Will Ralphie get the Red Ryder BB Gun he so desires?

But the Real Interest is in all those Hilariously Costumed Kiddie Dance Sequences, choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with John Rando directing…


Ruth & Augustus Goetz’s Adaptation of Henry James’s Washington Square: THE HEIRESS [*****]

Cruelty, Taught by a Master: Fortune Hunter, Beware of Painfully Plain--But Rich--Miss Sloper!

The Agonies & Insecurities that bedevil Miss Catherine Sloper--both despised & dominated by her Forbidding Doctor Father--are tremulously evoked in the changing Facial Expressions of the remarkable Jessica Chastain.

But David Strathairn, magisterially Playing Doctor, is Too Dedicated to the Memory of his Dead Wife--to whom her Desperate Daughter cannot compare--to realize how he is condemning Catherine to a Life of Wealthy Spinsterhood.

Nonetheless--thanks to the Design Genius of Derek McLane--she will spend her long, long Loveless Years in a Splendid Mansion on Washington Square.

The Year of Novelist Henry James’ Dramatic Action is 1850, but a Century Later, NYU will surely turn this Handsome Interior into the Reception Room for French Studies

But, way back in the Wake of the California Gold Rush--to which Catherine’s fickle Fortune Hunter, Morris Townsend, flees--Miss Sloper is kept company by Aunt Penniman, a fluttery clucking Judith Ivey, desperate to find Borrowed Romance with the Possible Elopement of her Niece & the Feckless Morris, played fecklessly by Dan Stevens.

Moisés Kaufman staged magisterially, greatly aided by the Lavish Period Costumes of Albert Wolsky & the Subtle Gas Lighting of David Lander.

Henry James might well have approved of this Handsome Production, for, like Catherine Sloper, he Never Married

But James didn’t live on Washington Square.

He preferred Ex Pat Baronial Digs in England--where he could write his Baroquely Verbose & Epically Boring Society Novels in Virtual Obscurity.


American Masterworks in the Bohemian National Home, Near the New Second Ave Subway

If you wanted to see Authentic American Masterworks this past November, you did not have to rush off to the Park Avenue Armory or to saunter over to Christie’s for the next American Auction.

You could see a Festival of Wyeths--Nathaniel Conyers, Andrew, & Jamie--at the Annual American Art Fair, over at the Bohemian National Hall, very near the Epic Second Avenue Subway Tunneling.

Unfortunately, there was only a Four Day Window of Opportunity, but the Fair does have a Website, so you can check out the Dealers with the Most Important Treasures

Because my Dad was once Manager of a Pure Bred Guernsey Dairy in the California Sierras--largely bankrolled by the Inheritance of Jessie Juliet Innes Cox--I commented to one Dealer: "You don’t see many George Inness Hudson River Paintings around anymore."

He laughed: "You are looking at one right now!"

So I was! But it was by George Inness, Sr, not George Innes II, Jessie’s Father.

"Inness Junior wasn’t very good," the Dealer told me.

But I had grown up with a Print of No. 2’s Home of the Heron in my Bedroom: What did I know?

Nonetheless, I know enough to recognize Important American Paintings when I see them.

What’s more, they won’t cost you the Millions you will have to pay at Auction at Christie’s

Some of the Famous Names on Paper or on Canvas: Milton Avery, Robert Henri, William Glackens, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sergeant, Everett Shinn, Paul Cadmus, Jasper Cropsey, John Henry Twatchman, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley, Sandy Calder, Romare Bearden, John Marin, Arthur Dove, Max Weber, Thomas Moran, & Albert Bierstadt, who seems to have Painted the East, as well as the Far West…

But don’t overlook such American Masters of Trompe l’Oeil as William Harnett & John F. Peto.

Who now remembers Alfred Frankenstein’s Masterwork on Harnett & Peto: After the Hunt, named after that fascinating canvas in San Francisco’s MH DeYoung Museum?

I do not forget for I almost grew up with After the Hunt, as well as having Frankenstein as an Art History Prof at UC/Berkeley.

Last Spring, Your Roving Arts Correspondent visited the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, down in Bentonville, the Wal Mart Waltons’ Arkansas Home Town.

My Guess was that Alice Walton’s Agents had raided the Storage of every Major American Museum, in order to fill the Walton Walls with American Masterpieces on such short notice.

Well not quite. Over 100 American Artworks were sold in 2007 to Crystal Bridges by New York’s Oldest Art Gallery, established in 1852: Driscoll Babcock Galleries.

They were well represented at the Bohemian Hall!

Now, all they need to do to top that Bentonville Achievement would be to sell some Really Good American Works to Bohemia, the Homeland of Dr. Antonin Dvorak, who earned his Musical Spurs right here in America!


More Records Broken at Christie’s Auction House: Edward Hopper Sold for $9.5 Million On Line!

Ed Hopper’s Autumn on Cape Cod, bought for $9,602,500--by Anoymous--now holds the World Record for an Item sold On Line at any International Auction House!

Hopper’s Barn at Essex didn’t do badly either: $1,762,500

This modest painting was also bid on by Anonymous, who also paid $2,210,500 for Sun Water Maine, a small canvas by Georgia O’Keeffe.

Perhaps there is more than one Bidder who prefers to be Anonymous?

Thomas Sully’s handsome 1841 Portrait of General George Washington was bought for $1,082,500.

This was a "US Private" bid, but Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art doesn’t seem a Likely Bidder as they already have a Profusion of Colonial Americana, including Our First President.

Other American Artists breaking the Million Dollar Barrier in this sale were Maxfield Parrish, Charles Burchfield, Stuart Davis, & Martin Johnson Heade, with his small but striking Hummingbird Perches on the Orchid Plant.

So, if you have any Forgotten Parrishes or Neglected Burchfields in your Attic, you may want to Phone Christie’s


Food Over the Ages & Around the World: But No Ethnic Eats Mornings: Global Kitchen at AMNH.

You will need a Ticket to get into OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN: Food, Nature, & Culture, partly to avoid Overcrowding & partly to Limit the Lines to get Tastings of Exotic Foods in a Real State of the Art Kitchen, presided over by Three Friendly Lady Chefs.

But there’s No Free Food in the Morning.

Only around & after Lunchtime

The Graphic Design & Visual Content of this fascinating show at the American Museum [closing 11 August 2013, the Mayan Calendar permitting] are remarkable.

How about a Reconstruction of an Ancient Aztec Marketplace?

Or the Tent of Kublai Khan, followed by a Peek into Jane Austen’s Sitting Room?

This Show provides an Intersection of Food, Nature, Culture, Health, & History.

That’s Five Roads, however, so look out for an occasional Bumper Bender!

There’s World Wide Hunger, as well as Morbid Obesity, not confined to the USA.

The Global Kitchen explores Growing, Transporting, Cooking, Eating, Tasting, & Celebrating Food!

Food! Food! Glorious Food!

Wasn’t that a Song in a Charles Dickens Inspired Musical?

You will see Hydroponic Farming, or growing Crops in Water, rather than in Soil.

You can Smell such Aromas as Garlic--but not necessarily on Anyone’s Breath: You press a button & voilà! Garlic, Cinnamon, Cloves, Lemon Essence!

Worried about Genetically Engineered Corn? Discover the Dangers & the Benefits.

To find out about Tickets & Hours, go online at, where you may be able to Paste Your Photos on Instagram, with #CelebrateFood.

Bogart & Clarke’s THE TROJAN WOMEN (After Euripides) [****]

Was This The Face That Launched A Thousand Ships? Katherine Crockett as Helen:

Oh! Helen! Make Me Immortal with a Kiss… But Call the Fire Department for Burning Troy!

As Greek Tragedies go, this Anne Bogart Updating of Euripides’ Trojan Women was a bit Talky & could have used some Dionysiac Choric Dancing to Good Effect

Nonetheless, Irish Poetess Jocelyn Clarke has provided Bogart’s SITI Ensemble with a pared down version of Euripides’ 415 BC Not So Cathartic Tragedy which confronted Hero & Victory Loving Athenian Audiences with the Depths of Despair of the Surviving Royal Women of Defeated & Destroyed Troy.

This Drama was hardly calculated to win the Annual Dionysia Playwriting Prize for Euripides. He was fond of rubbing Raw Nerves even Rawer

Euripides seemed to favor Abused Women over Attic Men.

In reducing Euripides’ Original Cast of Trojan Women to Four--Hecuba, Andromache, Kassandra, & Helen, who isn’t really a Trojan Woman, as she was Helen of Sparta, the Abducted Wife of King Menelaus, for whom this Disastrous Ten Year’s War has been begun--Clarke & Bogart have sought to focus Audience Attention, without turning the Evening into an Orgy of Loud Lamentations.

Unfortunately, that is how it sounds.

The Men in the Cast tend to be More Interesting, especially The God Poseidon, to Whom the Topless Towers of Illium have stood in Tribute, until the Greeks finally brought them toppling down…

Then there’s the Gelded Priest of the Goddess Cybele--as Hamlet says: "What’s he to Hecuba?"

This Tormented Agony Festival began Life out on the Pacific Coast, in the Getty Villa, where the J. Paul Getty Strongbox may be pried open in the Name of Culture & Adventure.

Nonetheless, Anne Bogart’s SITI Adventures are always sought after. She & SITI have done outstanding work at the Humana Festival in Louisville.

How about Joseph Cornell & his Wunderkammer Boxes, in Hotel Cassiopeia?

David Henry Huang’s GOLDEN CHILD [****]

Abandoning The Ancestors for Christianity: The Golden Child Made the Passage--Some Did Not.

If you are Adopted--having No Idea who your Birth Parents were--Ancestor Worship would be rather difficult.

In David Henry Huang’s absorbing new drama, Golden Child, everyone seems to know all too well whose Ancestors are whose, needing constantly to be propitiated: Burning Money would be a Good Move

The Problem in the Disciplined & Traditional Home Compound of Fujian Businessman Eng Tieng Bin--a very effective Greg Watanabe--is that, among other things, he has Three Wives, with First Wife, to whom he was effectively married before either of them was born, now has taken to the Opium Pipe to ease her Sorrows.

Saving his Village by marketing with White Men in Manila, he has come to know a Welsh Parson [Matthew Maher], who leads him to the Altar of Christianity & most of His Family as well.

But taking the Wine & Wafer mean leaving the Old Order behind.

The Ancestors fight back: they can be seen by those who both believe & fear them.

Golden Child is a Touching Drama & a Beautiful Production: Acted with both Restraint & Passion, it has been subtley staged by Leigh Silverman, & handsomely designed by Neil Patel [Setting], Anita Yavich [Costuming], & Matt Frey [Lighting].

Hwang’s Drama is, itself, a kind of Ancestor Worship: recovering the Pre Christian & Pre Westernized Past, with the Framing Device of recording Golden Child Eng Ahn’s ancient Memories on a Tape Recorder. Annie Q is a wonderful Child, but her Memory still seems very good in Advanced Age.

This is such Moving & Haunting Production--both Visually & Spiritually--that its Run should be extended so more people can savor its Humanity

Although many Chinese left the Ancestors behind to become Christians, curiously, in America there was a Christian Sect that preserved a kind of Ancestor Worship.

If you decide to become a Mormon--in Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints--you will have to go through the Temple for all your Non LDS Forebears, or they won’t be with you through Eternity.

Can you imagine spending Eternity with your Relatives?

Forever & ever & ever, Amen, World without End…

Or, maybe, Hell is already Packed with Relatives?


Arts Rambles News & Notes:


"Mad" King Ludwig II of Bavaria Will Be Back in Richard Wagner’s Wahnfried Villa This Summer!

Thanks to the New York Times Bureau in Berlin, Arts Rambles has just received a Press Bulletin from the Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte, which mounts interesting Themed Exhibitions in less well known Bavarian Towns & Cities, both to stimulate Tourism & to showcase Bavarian History.

Home of the Annual Bayreuth Festival of the Major Operas of Richard Wagner, Bayreuth is hardly Unknown.

But many Wagner Lovers may not know how much The Master owed to the besotted Love & Patronage of King Ludwig for Opera Premiers & the Founding of the Festival.

On view from the Festival Opening, 25 July 2013, until 29 September 2013, the show is titled: Götterdämmerung--König Ludwig und seine Zeit.

Drowning in Lake Starnberg was, in fact, a kind of Twilight of the Gods for the Unfortunate Monarch, who built all those wonderful Fairytale Castles: Linderhof, Herren Chiemsee, Neu Schwanstein

Caricature of Glenn Loney in header is by Sam Norkin.

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