what I want to do 9/30

bbtoscaphoto‡ You can’t deny there must be something to a production of a Puccini opera that garner’s real boos from a celebrity audience on opening night. Bad enough that they don’t bother continuing with curtain calls. At the Met. I wanna see this one (Tosca that is). I might have to miss this week and catch the April replay, though, partly due to schedule and partly because then personal fave Bryn Terfel comes on board as Scarpia.

‡ Stanley Tucci has won my heart a couple handfuls of times (once for every time I’ve seen him), and especially in Big Night, Midsummer Nights Dream, and the Imposters — oh and in Daytrippers — and in Frankie and Johnnie on Broadway. Enough. I am wondering what I’ll see in director Tucci’s Blind Date (which he also acts in with Patricia Clarkson(!)). I missed the original, by Theo van Gogh, which I will try to get to on Netflix now. It’s at the Cinema Village, where the screens are just slightly bigger than my TV, but that warrants support for being a bringer of art into the land of the multiplex (usa, that is).

‡Robert Frank’s Americans. I wanted to see this anyway, but hearing him interviewed by WNYC’s Leonard Lopate cinched it. When Lopate asked, this exhibits the photos much larger than in your original (1959) book; don’t these pictures deserve to be larger? he replied, no, i don’t think so. How refreshing!

what i want to do this week 9-18

Next week I want to find out that Roslyn Sulcas was overly critical (although I trust her judgement)! I’m planning to see in-I with Akram Khan and Juliette Binoche. As a recent flurry of personal facebook activity proved, Binoche is to many as Johnny Depp is to many others. She’s deluged NYC right now with a book, a film retrospective, a new film and this choreographic and dance debut.

I also want to see the new season of Hope Davis with Jeff Daniels, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden in God of Carnage. Besides all the good acting, I’m hoping to gain some agreement with a few of my ideas about modern parents.

Finally, I’m planning to hit the open studios in Joel Adas’s building in Greenpoint on 9/26. The whole area will have things going on, but Joel’s in the Pencil Factory at 61 Greenpoint Ave #304.

shannon gillen

okay, so I got behind on posting my “what I want to do this week” list.

Here’s number 1: See shannon gillen’s dance work-in-progress based on a combination of impressions of her father’s stroke and arthur miller’s the crucible. Sounds crazy, especially from shannon, whose work with Doorknob Company is so damn funny! This new work features one of my favorite dancers, Stephanie Miracle in a great trio that contains rough and tumble partner work, fascinating explorations of what shannon calls “flinching” — the involuntary response to a need or a fear — and some lovely formal unison (the latter remarked by choreographer Laura Peterson, also at the performance). The finished work will be great to see in October as part of Dance New Amsterdam’s 25th anniversary celebration (Doorknob Company were DNA artists-in-residence last year).


Shannon couldn’t say enough about the performance space: the 14 Wall Street Vault that LMCC made available long-term for rehearsal under their Swing Space program. I was impressed with the vault itself, but the space was a long linoleum cave that had numbered floor tiles — an abandoned matrix of $millions. The depth of the space made for a long long perspective on the dance and created a gorgeous upstage downstage perspective in the unison segments.

I already know the finished piece will be on my “what I want to see this week” on October 24.

I’ll conclude with the manifesto from shannon’s web site; an indicator of how tough this cookie is:

  • never repeat
  • respond to the conditions at hand
  • move from spontaneous reaction
  • uplift and unburden the performer
  • bring the audience to life

should ‘a been the headline: beyonce

I heard a human interest story last month about a 9-year old kid who won a journalism award. He would have sounded brilliant at any age, and he ended with a comment that I’ve long held true: we need good news. I’m going to try to do my part. Hopefully, I’ll give our national media some effective advice. My recommendation to today’s New York Times:

Monday, September 14, New York Times
page A-11 article titled “A Solemn Awards Tribute, Then a Celebrity Run-In”
A review of the MTV Video awards show during which Kanye West jumped on stage, interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech to protest that Beyonce’s video should have won. The fine article by Jon Caramanica ends with this clever observation: “A soul singer making room for a young country star who’d been bullied by a rapper: it was indelibly 2009.”

here’s my suggestion. Page One HEADLINE (and lead):

Beyonce Swiftly Rights West’s Upset
Singer/actress Beyonce gracefully gave awardee Taylor Swift back the floor last night, demonstrating the power of dignity and the ridiculousness of arrogance in our most visible celebrities…


(here are the moments, via VH-1.)

Luxe on the LES


Gallerist Stephan Stoyanov (whom I think is terrific in both personality and taste) has moved his gallery Luxe from a tiny spot on the LES to a big spot. Now at 29 Orchard Street between Canal and Hester, the gallery has an upstairs three times as big as the old and a basement gallery to boot. The current group exhibit features Marie Maillard upstairs with two video projections entitled Wall (detail above). The work is part of the Alliance Française Crossing the Line festival.


The opening show last night also featured an exhibit in a bus parked outside. The work, “Cell Spectacular,” by Gabriela Galvan represented gametes via crochet and various yard sale materials. I liked the repurposed magnetic skating toy with sink strainer and push pins in the starring X-Rated roles (see photo at right). Stoyanov’s favorite puppeteer of his childhood Bulgaria, Hristina Hristova, gave a performance of crochet dolls getting down. It was a hoot.

barely a review: District 9

Wow, I’m glad I have access to old action movies;  the one’s like “The Outlaw Josey Wales” where everyone gets shot — one or two times. It’s taking me a long time to adjust to the last decade’s fashion of total overkill of shooting and explosions. I kept longing for the cuts to quiet interview scenes to get a break from what ultimately looked a lot like the “Transformers” previews I saw in theaters this summer.

That said, the rest of “District 9” was fascinating in its ability to comment on so many political situations of the current day without becoming self-righteous or pedantic. The main characters are fascinating and believable. I sympathized with the everyman Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) in his quest to do a good job and his failed attempt to save himself; I loved the wife’s steady emotion; and I appreciated the alien scientist’s balanced relationship with Wikus given the treatment his people have received from humans.

The scriptwriters/director decided to leave out a fair amount of the backstory, despite the documentary format. For the most part, I didn’t mind, but I did wonder why only one alien seemed to have the ability and motivation to generate an escape plan. Was he the commander (there was some speculation from one interviewee about the population being workers who followed orders) or did they all have an underlying technical prowess that was somehow not functioning? Why weren’t they using their advanced weaponry to main standard of living gains?

All in all, glad I saw it, though I think all that noise messed with my sleep last night.

what i want to do 9/8/09

Boy, it’s hard to come back from the country. Everything there seems so, well, simplified: haul wood, stare at fire, make food, hammer nail, haul water. It was especially nice to have so much stimulating conversation this time as a handful of great friends came to share the weekend that Labor provided for us. I got through most of last week’s wish list (see review posts). Here’s what I want to do this week:

  • District 9 (the movie, not next month’s city council election). I was wary of this, but the personal and media reviews I’ve heard made me hopeful of a new sci-fi flavoring to add to my galactica staple diet.
  • ENYA (the Emerging New York Architect competition, not the singer). Artists Unite and the Bronx Museum are hypothetical clients for the AIGA’s ENYA committee biennial project that re-envisions a section of New York City. In HB:BX, it’s the High Bridge that spans from Washington Heights to the Bronx.
  • Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting (the Author of, not the song). CUE in it’s inimitable cool taste is exhibiting Naeem Mohaiemen as curated by DJ Spooky. Vijay Prashad, who wrote Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting and Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World will talk with the artist on Sept. 17.
  • LES (the new chelsea, not the old knish district) Jon Pestoni and Zak Prekop at Lisa Cooley. Of the many invites I get as editor of Artists Unite ISSUE, this one hit me like a cool summer breeze.

MoMa sept 09

normally a trip to MoMa is one of the following:

  • interesting
  • boring
  • informative
  • sentimental
  • BUT NOT TODAY!!!!!

    I went to check out the Ensor show and saw so much more. I have rarely been so inspired by a visit. It was such a tug-of-war between wanting to go home to make work and wanting to see one more room of exciting reminders and new ideas.

    Ensor’s show was informative and fun. I do not know his work and it was exciting to see both the balance between humor and skill and the dexterous handling of formal painting considerations with fascinating subject matter.

    (to take nothing away from it) it was after the Ensor show that things really got interesting. Ron Arad’s No Disipline show made me want to go home and start making furnishings for my cabin, the In and Out of Amsterdam exhibit of conceptual art made me want to plan my next action, and the Judith Rothchild Foundation drawing exhibit in the contemporary galleries simply blew my mind. (The inclusion of Jan Mancusca, whom Wendy and I fell in love with in Prague several years ago utterly made my day.)

    Here’s the low-tech tour.

    3 Skin chair, Ron Arad

    Song Dong’s amazing “Waste Not Want Not“. The installation is the entire contents of his parents’ house+the house. The bags reminded me of Generation Jeans from last year’s Under the Radar Festival, where shopping bags were an indicator of “cool” during earlier communist times in Eastern Europe.

    (detail of one panel of a triptych)

    somewhere in here is my name, with the date (today) on which a gallery assistant marked my height. This killer project by Roman Ondák takes a gallery to “measure the universe.” This brilliant project makes me proud of my Slovak heritage — and aware of my average height! (check the link for a great video description of the project.

    And speaking more of Eastern Europe, here’s Jan Mancuska’s piece plus a detail (a butterfly drawn in sugar).

    what i want to do 8/1/2009

    (my spin on the myriad offerings of New York—some will end up as further blog posts)

    • Tar Magazine 2nd issue is on newstands. the Kate Moss cover by Damien Hirst has made me rethink (to the + column) his work.
    • James Ensor at MoMa. It’s on its way out and I think I’m the last to get there.
    • Ponyo. Hiyao Miyazaki’s latest. With Cate Blanchett, Tina Fey and Liam Neeson in the English version that’s in theaters now.
    • Not quite a thing to do yet, but I must go through the line up of shows opening this month and make some picks. I’ll let you know…