Archived entries for Arts
I made it to Park City this past weekend for my first-ever Sundance Film Festival! I have never seen so many people smushed into such a tiny town. The sliver of real estate known as Main Street is truly overrun…
Here is my friend Rhett and I with director Morgan Spurlock at the after-party for his new film “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” quite possibly the worst photo ever taken of me:
What a whirlwind of a week! Wednesday night I had the good fortune to see Jude Law in Hamlet on Broadway — a seriously hot ticket. While I tend to avoid anything associated with big name celebs, on the grounds that they must be over-commercialized, I was hugely impressed by Jude Law’s performance. (Ben Brantley at The Times wasn’t so effusive in his praise.) So many famous – and fabulous – lines in popular usage originated from Hamlet: “Brevity is the soul of wit,” being my simple favorite (and of course Hamlet’s cry to Ophelia to “Get thee to a nunnery!”). While Jude’s performance was spectacular over the 3 1/2-hour performance, it was the realer-than-life lighting design that stole the show and the contemporary touch in the costuming that tied it all together. No wonder this show’s taking in a $1 million haul each week.
From high brow Shakespeare I went a little downscale to see Rihanna at Hammerstein Ballroom. The babe of Barbados performed a quick 45-minute free promotional show that was sponsored by JetBlue and Barbados Tourism. She was actually quite a good performer, though her quick appearance seemed to miff quite a few of us (OK, so it was free…!). The best part of this show was certainly Rihanna’s clothing, which the Daily News called a “revealing outfit that didn’t quite qualify as a dress.” One less centimeter of fabric and the world’s her gynecologist.
From Mr Blue Eyes and Miss Barbados the cultural tour of New York this week proceeded uptown to the famed Apollo Theater, where my friend Andy somehow managed to get us 7th row center seats to the last weekend of Dreamgirls. It was quite simply the best show I’ve ever seen (thanks, Andy!). Not only were the singing and acting talents pretty spectacular, but the stage and lighting (if maybe a little over-the-top) combined with the most indescribable costumes and an electric crowd to produce one spectacular evening on the town. The star of the show was surely the costumes — some 580 of them, created by William Ivey Long. If he doesn’t get a Tony for their not-so-subtle contribution to an incredible show, I’d be shocked.
The controversial public sculpture “Device to Root Out Evil,” has picked up and left its home in cosmopolitan Vancouver for the Glenbow Museum in ho-hum Calgary (“And people keep trying to call Vancouver a world-class city,” a snarky blogger says). It’s hard to say whether the massive piece of art was more controversial with the religious right or the yuppies of Coal Harbour, many of whom decried the sculpture for blocking their views (incredibly difficult to believe). Either way, it’s sad to see it go.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the annual Poetry & The Creative Mind gala at Lincoln Center. It’s always one of the best cultural events of the year, with celebs like Jonathan Demme, Meryl Streep, and Katie Couric reading their favorite poems in support of the Academy of American Poets. This year’s best reader was certainly jazz singer Dianna Reeves, while the best poem was also the simplest one, E.E. Cummings’ “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May,” read by Katie Couric (whose 51-year-old skin looked great!):
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
In one of my fav quotes, the famed Halberstam once said, “Memory is often less about the truth than about what we want it to be.”
Last night I attended Poetry and the Creative Mind at Lincoln Center, the excellent annual benefit for the Academy of American Poets. Last year’s event was great, but this year was even better thanks to a truly stellar reading by Lauren Bacall — who didn’t look a day under 120 — of Dorothy Parker’s “Just A Little One,” a hilarious satire on romance. Though she broke the rules of the American poet-only event by reading what is more like a short story, her delivery was truly amazing. I left in awe of her.
Well, I don’t know Fred – what are you going to have?
Then I guess I’ll have a highball, too; please, just a little one.
Is it really real Scotch?
Well that will be a new experience for me.
You ought to see the Scotch I’ve got home in my cupboard.
At least it was in the cupboard this
morning – it’s probably eaten its way out by now.
Glen Close and Ethan Hawke were among the other celebrity readers, but Patrick Wilson (right) definitely was the most jaw-dropping eye candy of the night.
I picked the right weekend to come to Rochester: the weather has been spectacular, and I’ve been able to go out and reshoot many of the architecture photos I took four years ago. The shot to the right is from this afternoon on the west facade of the George Eastman House, aka the International Museum of Photography and Film. The museum has a fabulous exhibit going on right now of David Seymour photos.
While in Rochester I’ve been able to spend plenty of time checking out my favorite old haunts: Spin Caffe, Spot Coffee, Cibon, Esan Thai, Tilt, a very sad Muther’s, and a new joint I’m in love with: Solera, a wine bar in the emerging South Wedge part of town.
The more things change in Rochester…the more they stay the same. One thing I always find weird about visiting western New York is that the faces don’t seem to change much. The same people I saw in bars seven years ago are still the same ones I saw last night!
Last night I checked out the off-Broadway hit musical, Altar Boyz. The show about a Christian boy band making their NYC debut was absolutely hilarious, and I don’t recall laughing so hard in recent memory. The boyz (Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan, plus the Jewish Abraham) were attractive truly talented singers, belting out fun songs like “Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone,” and “Girl, You Make Me Want to Wait.”
For serious fans of the show, like Joan Rivers and Cynthia Nixon, there’s even a web site, Altarholics.
Last night at Poetry & the Creative Mind, the annual benefit of the Academy of American Poets, I had the pleasure of seeing Gloria Vanderbilt – a.k.a. mother of my future ex-husband, Anderson Cooper. She truly is timeless; she doesn’t look a day over 120. Her face was so tight and so lifted it was like she was blinking with her lips. Clearly she’s ‘gone to Arizona,’ as they say, once or twice, or maybe three or four times.
The event featured ten well-known figures–including Wynton Marsalis, Mike Wallace, and Alan Alda–reading their most beloved poems. Meryl Streep was a show-stopper, not because of her rapturous selections, but because she fell on stage as she was being introduced. She caught the lip of her chair just as she went to be seated, and it was all downhill from there.
I’m not sure what to make of San Francisco’s new de Young Museum, which opened last weekend. But I know I’m not in love. The building’s exterior is rather bland, an uninspired large metal box with a hunk of a tower placed at one end (tower pictured below). That tower, with its unobstructed vistas of the city and the bay, is certainly the most appealing part of the new museum. But unfortunately, on the day I visited, San Francisco was socked in by fog (surprise). The inside of the museum is awkwardly chopped up, though it does boast fine details including some pretty amazing wood flooring, a hint of which is pictured in the photo below.
Edmonton is pinning its downtown renaissance on a new art museum — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — created in the style of Frank Gehry, by one the controversial architect’s proteges. The Edmonton Art Gallery, which is changing its name to the Art Gallery of Alberta, yesterday unveiled its expensive heap of twisted metal and wavy glass that looks strikingly similar to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, — again, stop me if you’ve heard this story before — the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Opponents of the project are already lining up for a fight. Letters to a local newspaper have called the new gallery everything from a “half-peeled potato” to a “poor man’s Gehry.” L.A.-based architect Randall Stout said of his building, “I think you can certainly look at this and think about the notion of the river running through Edmonton. And you can look at this and think of the northern lights.” Or something like that.
A member of the selection panel balked at criticisms and told the press, “We have produced an iconic piece of architecture, which will help put Edmonton on the map, culturally, architecturally, and as a place to visit.” (Let’s hope so — they call it “Dedmonton” for a reason.)
Here are a few snaps in and around Millennium Park in Chicago. The expansive space features some of the most impressive public art America has ever seen including the Crown Fountain and its two 50-foot high glass block towers onto which are projected the faces of Chicagoans, and the highly-polished, cityscape-reflecting stainless steel “Cloud Gate.”
Last night I walked down a quieting Boylston Street and thought I was in San Francisco. We’ve been having the most bizarre weather for days in Boston: it’s been West-Coast foggy and drizzly all week. And today I came across this very dark painting at South End Open Studios, which so reminded me of the dank, colorlessness of this week.
People who think the Museum of Fine Art’s Malcolm Rogers is a bit nutty for the ways in which he is changing the institution may want to gaze westward and see what’s going on in Toronto for some unusual perspective.
It seems the Royal Ontario Museum, which is the fifth-largest museum in North America, will replace their unused planetarium with a 46-storey condominium tower. Units will cost $3 million and go up to $50 million for the penthouse, a new high for the rapidly expanding city.
The ROM has an impressive new “Crystal Building” facade that will open next summer, but a substantial number of locals hate it and say it is out of character with the surrounding neighbourhood. This proposed new condo tower could build on the protracted opposition that has marred the Museum’s renaissance plans — it will be the tallest building around. Neighbours are lining up for a fight, saying “It’s just over the top, it’s too big, it’s so tall..”
The three stories were not connected, but they were deeply related. In the first, the Boston Globe reported that Bostonians are uneasy about the sight of 125-foot sailboat masts dominating the Huntington Avenue lawn in front of the Museum of Fine Arts as part of its latest ego-exhibit “Things I Love: The Many Collections of William I. Koch.” One passerby looked up at the soaring sailboats and told the paper, “They’re beautiful, but I’m still trying to figure out why they’re at the museum.”
In the second piece, a columnist for theToronto Star said we’ve got it all wrong: “We persist in the belief that beauty is the exclusive domain of the rich and powerful and the institutional. We go to museums and art galleries to search for beauty, and all the while, it can be seen at every turn … [we] have to learn to look closer, to trust our eyes more, not wait to be told what’s beautiful and what’s not.”
In the third, Heather Mallick wrote that “the distinction between ‘high’ art and ‘low’ art is so maddening that it makes people’s hair bleed. You cannot win … The snobbishness of the art world makes it almost impossible for a sane person, educated or not, to enjoy painting, music and books openly. The art world despises the arts of the masses — makeup, fashion, etc. and what Prof. Carey says is arguably the greatest art we practise, gardening — and yet museums are begging for tax money from the masses. They cannot bring themselves to find a middle ground.”
I think Malcolm Rogers, the controversial head of the MFA, despite all his flaws (and there are many, if you believe the op-ed page of the Globe), probably has the right perspective on the matter: ”Is the whole of museum culture going to come crashing down as a result of this? Give me a break. One of the things I want to do is humanize the arts.”
I spent the weekend playing tourist with a friend in from out of town, and had a great time exploring all the spots in Boston that I don’t get to see enough of. Saturday we checked out the new Ansel Adams exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, which was awe-inspiring to say the least. It was not dedicated exclusively to to the impressive large-format landscapes which are so often seen on posters everywhere. Instead, the show ran the gamut from portraits of people like Georgia O’Keefe and Navajo Indians to cityscapes of San Francisco and my personal favourites — photos from ghost towns in California and Nevada.
Related: The MFA is in the midst of an ambitious $100 million expansion campaign, but as Michael O’Hare muses in the Globe, could such a concentrated center of unique art treasures only bolster the museum’s appeal as a terrorism target? “Let’s try to think like a terrorist … flying over Boston in a stolen corporate jet with a load of fuel, who wants to deliver it where it will create the most damage to the evil society below it … various skyscrapers are in view … say, what’s that building in the Fenway?”
I went to the Museum of Fine Arts today to check out my brother’s handiwork hoisting Bill Koch’s America’s Cup racer into place on the museum’s front lawn on Huntington Avenue. An engineer (in the red t-shirt), he’s responsible for balancing the boat and making sure it doesn’t fall over during the MFA’s latest vanity exhibition, “Things I Love: The Many Collections of William I. Koch“, which comes hot on the heels of the controversial show of Ralph Lauren’s cars.
The lawn may be torn up right now as engineers work to steady the huge boat, which won the America’s Cup in 1992, but as MFA Director Malcolm Rogers told the Herald recently, “We like to have a little razmataz on the front lawn.”