April 23, 2009
"A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves."
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way
Posted April 23, 2009 12:00 AM
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5780 entries and counting
A list of new things we've liked (subject to unexpected and wildly capricious updating). DVD BOOK CD PLAY CABARET
Not new, but still worth a look or listen (and no less subject to change without notice). NOVEL FILM
This is a blog about the arts in New York City and the rest of America, written by Terry Teachout, Laura Demanski (otherwise known as Our Girl in Chicago, or "OGIC" for short), and Carrie Frye (who signs her postings "CAAF"). Terry, who lives in New York, is the drama critic of The Wall Street Journal and the music critic of Commentary.
Terry's latest book, Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, will be published in December by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the U.S. and JR Books in England. One of his essays is included in Robert Gottlieb's Reading Dance, published last year by Pantheon. He contributed an essay to Coudal Partners' Field-Tested Books (as did OGIC) and wrote the introductions to William Bailey on Canvas and the paperback edition of Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado.
To watch Terry's wsj.com review of Guys and Dolls, go here.
Terry is collaborating with Paul Moravec on The Letter, an operatic version of Somerset Maugham's 1927 play. It was commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera and will open there on July 25, 2009. Here is an ongoing series of progress reports on the writing and production of The Letter.
Lend me your ears (and eyes)
Men at work
Men at work (II)
Men at work (III)
Men at work (IV)
For better and worse
Men at work (V)
Men (and women) at work (VI)
Notes from an unkept diary
The case for lower-case opera
The envelope, please
Right turn at Albuquerque
Men at work (VII)
Scene stealing (I)
Scene stealing (II)
Becoming an artist
In one piece
Among the brethren
By the clock
No, but I heard the movie
The Doctor is in
A doll's house
Free at last
Looking for trouble
Step away from the car, sir
A ripping good show
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The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Criterion Collection, out May 19). Peter Yates' near-forgotten 1974 film version of George V. Higgins' harder-than-hardboiled novel about a washed-up small-time Boston hood has finally made it to DVD. Everything about this movie is memorable, but it's Robert Mitchum's performance in the title role that makes The Friends of Eddie Coyle a classic. One of the greatest film actors of the postwar era, Mitchum got even better as he got older, but only two or three the movies that he made in the last quarter-century of his life came close to tapping his immense potential. This is the best of them, a little masterpiece of disillusion that is more than worthy of the man who made Out of the Past, The Night of the Hunter, and Cape Fear (TT).
Bruce Boyd Raeburn, New Orleans Style and the Writing of American Jazz History (University of Michigan Press, $26.95 paper). A fascinating, exceptionally well-written study of the origins of American jazz criticism and scholarship, both of which turn out to be rooted in the emergence in the early Thirties of the idea of "authenticity" as a criterion for excellence in jazz. Raeburn, the curator of Tulane University's Hogan Jazz Archive, has probed deeply into the work of the enthusiastic amateur scholars who first sought to document the beginnings of jazz in New Orleans, and his thoughtful account of what they wrought is destined to become one of the standard works in the field (TT).
Anne Sofie von Otter Sings Bach (DGG). Arias and ensembles from the B Minor Mass, Magnificat, St. Matthew Passion, and eight cantatas, elegantly sung by the greatest mezzo-soprano of our time (no fooling!) and incisively accompanied by Lars Ulrik Mortensen and Concerto Copenhagen, a fine period-instrument ensemble whose work is inexplicably new to me. It's been quite a few years since I last heard von Otter in person, and I'm glad to report that she still sounds marvelous (TT).
Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Belasco, 111 W. 44, closes June 14). A magnificent production of one of August Wilson's strongest plays, performed by an ensemble cast devoid of weak links. Bartlett Sher's expressionist-flavored staging breaks with the naturalistic style that has dominated Wilson revivals in recent years, not always to ideal effect--the set is a bit fancy--but never in such a way as to obscure the extraordinary quality of the acting. You'll hate yourself if you miss this one (TT).
Daryl Sherman (Oak Room, Algonquin Hotel, 59 W. 44, Monday nights through April 27). A smart, light-footed songstress whose piping, Mildred Bailey-flavored voice never fails to swing or to please, Sherman is currently appearing on Mondays at the Oak Room, accompanied by James Chirillo on guitar and Boots Maleson on bass. They don't come any hipper (TT).
Out of the Past
Stewart O'Nan, Last Night at the Lobster. I don't know how this tough, no-nonsense 2007 novella about the closing of a suburban chain restaurant got past me, but now that I've finally caught up with it, Stewart O'Nan is going straight to the top of my catch-up list of contemporary novelists. At first glance there doesn't seem to be much to it, but before long you realize that you're reading a deeply serious moral tale whose protagonist, a Red Lobster manager whose marriage is in trouble, is one of the most memorable fictional characters to come to my attention in recent years. Short and wholly to the point, Last Night at the Lobster is a minor masterpiece (TT).
The Devil and Daniel Webster. William Dieterle's bracingly dark 1941 screen version of Stephen Vincent Benét's once-popular short story about a New England farmer who makes a Faustian bargain isn't exactly forgotten--the Criterion Collection released a deluxe version in 2003--but it's not nearly as well known as it ought to be. The cast, especially Walter Huston and Edward Arnold, is superb, and the atmospheric black-and-white cinematography borders on the miraculous. As for Bernard Herrmann's score, which won him his only Oscar, it's identical in quality to the music he wrote for Citizen Kane in the same year. If you missed this one on TCM the other day, pick up a copy of the DVD and revel in a first-class piece of work (TT).
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Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Rebuilding Gulf Culture after Katrina
Douglas McLennan's blog
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Martha Bayles on Film...
Drew McManus on orchestra management
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jerome Weeks on Books
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
ABOUT TERRY'S BOOKS SEE TERRY TALK ABOUT TERRY'S OPERA TERRY'S TWITTERS
SEE TERRY TALK
ABOUT TERRY'S OPERA
Archive 5780 entries and counting
A list of new things we've liked (subject to unexpected and wildly capricious updating).
Not new, but still worth a look or listen (and no less subject to change without notice).