“The Chelsea hotel, on West 23rd Street, is still standing. But it is much diminished from the glory days when it hosted the likes of Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious and Warhol’s Chelsea Girls. The halls are dusty from sheetrock; the doors are plastic sheets taped to the wall. Developers are hoping to turn the place into a luxury hotel or condos. But there are still some people still clinging to the place.”
Lately the network has been having a run of trouble making its newest shows successful. Alyssa Rosenberg has five suggestions. Number one: “Stop trying so hard to be important all the time.”
Mark Shenton’s list includes old Broadway/West End hands, two classical guys, and a rock star. Prepare to agree and/or argue about. (And as you fume about the names missing from the list, don’t forget that this is the final installment of Shenton’s top 50, and there are links to the others toward the end of the page.)
In a letter to company employees revealing that they won’t be receiving incentive bonuses for the previous season, general director Stéphane Lissner lists the problems: revenue off €2 million since the beginning of 2016; plunging ticket sales (reportedly down by €5 million), due partly to the terrorist attacks; performances cancelled due to demonstrations by the intermittents … (in French; Google Translate version here)
“Just when you’d thought you’d seen it all when it comes to art-breaking mishaps (selfie seekers, I’m looking at you), along comes this incredible footage from China of two boys fracturing a sculpture in the Shanghai Museum of Glass.”
“If the tale of Rosemary Squire and Sir Howard Panter, the husband and wife team who built a theatrical empire from scratch, was ever turned into a play (and it would make a mighty fine one), then the first act’s set would centre round a little red BMW. Twenty-five years ago, … backstage space was tight and there was no cash left to rent an office. So Squire parked outside the theatre and – with one eye open for zealous traffic wardens – tackled her paperwork from the driver’s seat.”
Alyssa Rosenberg observes that the statement is really a microcosm of literary culture’s long, fruitless struggle against mass-market television.
“Recently, the ballet world seems to be owning up to the fact that it’s got a female choreographer problem. … The trick now – after years of not particularly encouraging female talent – is finding women choreographers who have the chops to truly intrigue and delight ballet audiences. Two young names have popped out of the crowd.”
David Černy’s K. “stands ten meters high, and renders the author’s arresting chiseled face … in a constantly-morphing assemblage of metal. His face is both perennially staring over the plaza … and yet never static or fully graspable. This is only exactly like the omnipresent but inscrutable Court that presides over Josef K. in The Trial, knowing exactly where he is and what he’s doing; present in everyone around him from clueless petty officials to teenage prostitutes, and yet unable or unwilling to present him with a formal charge.”
“Paul Hogle, executive vice president of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 2010 and a key architect of the organization’s post-strike resurrection, is leaving to become president of the Cleveland Institute of Music. … Hogle, who grew up near Cleveland and saw one of his daughters, a violist, graduate from CIM last year, ends his six-year tenure in Detroit in early July.”
Viswa Subbaraman, who began his three-season tenure at Skylight with a daring Bollywood-themed Fidelio, said, “I’ve been wrestling with this for a few months. I love the work here and the Skylight, but I am convinced that my greatest joy and greatest strength is on the podium.”
Ernst Ottensamer and his son Daniel are principal clarinets at the Vienna Philharmonic; baby brother Andreas is principal at the Berlin Philharmonic. Together, they’re the Clarinotts, and they’re commissioning new triple concertos and releasing an album.
Things Mingus Revisited (+)
Occasionally, Rifftides reposts something from the past that still has relevance. Charles Mingus is relevant. From August 24, 2007: “2007 is turning out to be a bonanza year for a Charles Mingus sextet that existed …” read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2016-05-25
Frick Flick: CultureGrrl Video Tour of Off-Limits Upstairs Living Quarters at Frick Collection
One of my favorite parts of the Frick Collection’s controversial expansion plans was the commitment to opening to the public the historic upstairs rooms where the Frick clan lived 100 years ago. Now that I’ve … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2016-05-25
In search of lost time
I just finished One-Man Band, the third volume of Simon Callow’s Orson Welles biography. It’s the first new book I’ve read from cover to cover since … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2016-05-25
“If the angst reached its zenith in the 1970s (Watergate, the fall of Saigon, gas lines, the hostage crisis), its nadir came in the 80s. Enervated by the tremors of punk and disillusioned by the failures of the Congressional class of ’74 and the impotence of the Carter presidency, America sighed a collective ‘What the fuck’ and decided to ring out the end of empire/end of days with the indulgence of third-century Romans.”
“It’s a question of justice. And it’s becoming increasingly important as we get further and further away from World War II, because the original owners are dying, and even knowledge about collections is disappearing with each subsequent generation.”
“It’s beautiful, it’s paleolithic, it’s monumental, it’s dignified, it will never, ever let me down. It’s not going anywhere: it’s a metaphor for what I prefer to live with. I prefer to be single, doing everything I want to do and how I want to do it. … If I feel really low – anything from ‘I shouldn’t have said that’ to ‘I don’t feel very well’, to ‘I feel a bit lonely’ – I think about the stone and it actually makes me feel better.”
“Why are so many works by single artists — male artists who enjoy art-superstar reputations — hung as if animating visual encyclopedia entries, occupying one gallery upon the next upon the next? And whose idea was it to do it this way? For the influential donors of the new SFMOMA, political art appears never to have been invented.”
“In 2009, he won first place in a large international poll of professors and graduate students who were asked to name the dead thinker with whom they most identified. … This is quite a reversal of fortune for Hume, who failed in both of his attempts to get an academic job. In his own day, and into the nineteenth century, his philosophical writings were generally seen as perverse and destructive.”
ETO’s 2014 research with Guildhall School of Music and Drama found that 81% of cinema opera attenders were over 60, had an age profile “slightly older” than that typically found at live opera, and reported no increased motivation to attend live opera afterwards.
“People would order these decadent desserts all the time and not finish. We were a bunch of poor actors, and we’d bring them back to the kitchen and eat them. I especially remember a banana cake soufflé. I probably ate a dozen or so famous people’s desserts in the half-year I worked there – I’m not ashamed to say.”
“While boredom may threaten your ability to work quickly and efficiently, it may be essential to working well. As writer and philosopher Robert Pirsig claimed, “Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.” Even if that isn’t always the case for you, chances are you need to be a little bored in order to generate your most inventive ideas and produce your highest-quality work.”
Environmental design firm Atelier Ten has developed ingenious schemes like a thermal air storage system inspired by ancient Roman ventilation networks that sent naturally cool air from caves into villas.
“Immersive entertainment is, plainly, weird. It’s far more interactive than watching a film or traditional play, and can often be unsettling. Actors can touch you, they know stuff about you, and you may find yourself exploring unknown settings on foot or alone.”
“Somewhere in the latest issue of Badiou Studies, a multilingual, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the thinking of the philosopher Alain Badiou, lives an article entitled, ‘Ontology, Neutrality and the Strive for (non-) Being-Queer.'”
“We have a largely undiluted diet of Shakespeare, Shakespeare, and more Shakespeare, with the occasional nod to the Greeks. Particularly given the US population today, could we not envision instead a turn to the vibrant tradition of Hispanic classical theatre? The lively comedia—the theatrical corpus developed on both sides of the Atlantic by playwrights such as Spaniards Félix Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca, or Mexicans Juan Ruiz de Alarcón and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz—should not remain in the wings.”
“Abner, he was every stereotype of a poor white that has ever permeated the American story. … Faulkner doesn’t want us to laugh at Abner. He wants us to ask, what would it be like to be him? To feel as though destruction was your only path to dignity.”
There was a lot of talk about voters not knowing how to properly measure the art form—to which the designers said, “Let us judge it” rather than eliminate it altogether. How can the art form be measured properly?
Michael Feingold: “Yes, our old three-dimensional art form has stepped into an internet world where everything is accessible in one quick click. Today’s playwrights can shift focus, tone, or even subject matter in an eye-blink. Amazingly, they can do it without losing hold of their core meaning.”
Stanford Live is one of the most well-respected university-based arts presenters in the United States, and the Bing Concert Hall, which opened in January 2013 and cost more than $110 million to build, is Silicon Valley’s most prominent classical music venue.
“‘No one would believe us’ runs like a refrain through the film’s taut dialogues … The fundamental fact of Thelma & Louise – the one that ultimately drives its plot, and the one that makes it feel so disappointingly fresh today – is the women’s recognition that they can’t trust the law, because the law doesn’t trust them.”