Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Schoenberg Before He Sucked (And Brahms at His Best)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 2:03 PM

So far so good for Alan Gilbert. While Peter Gelb and James Levine have been getting booed over at the Met, their Philharmonic counterpart (sort of) has been quietly triumphing across the plaza in his first season as musical director. Saturday evening’s concert was a brilliant bit of programming; though the two works presented were written only 25 years apart, pieces with feet firmly planted in similar traditions, they signaled widely divergent musical directions: Brahms’ Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra (1879) looks back at the Romantic Era that was just cresting; Schoenberg’s (pictured) Pelleas und Melisande: Symphonic Poem for Orchestra (1903), looks forward to the Modernist Era that was soon to come.

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Why Must We Always Ignore Tunnel of Love?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 1:28 PM

It was announced yesterday that during the five shows Bruce Springsteen's scheduled to play at Giants Stadium over the next two weeks, he'll get in on the recent trend where bands play one record from start to finish. Two of the shows will feature Born to Run, which, awesome. Two will feature Born in the U.S.A., which, meh. And the other will feature my personal favorite, Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Remember, though: This is the Boss we're talking about, and none of these records is longer than 45 minutes or so, which is somewhere around one-fifth of the amount of time he usually plays. So, what I'm saying is, you'll probably still get to hear "Rosalita," thank god.

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Broadway's Next To Normal Wins Innovative Marketing Award

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Next to Normal on Broadway
The Brooklyn Museum isn't the only New York arts institution using social media to expand its audience: Next to Normal, the Broadway rock musical about a suburban family dealing with its matriarch's manic depressive episodes over her long-dead son, has won an Online Media, Marketing and Advertising Award for its famous Twitter campaign.

Per Variety, the production beat out corporate heavyweights like Coca-Cola, Sprint, HBO and the recent Star Trek reboot for its innovative use of Twitter to recount the play's entire narrative (as written by playwright Brian Yorkey) and solicit followers' help and suggestions to create a new musical number, which will be performed at a special event next month. The award, handed out by advertising industry mag MediaPost, recognizes innovative and creative uses of digital and web-based technologies in marketing.

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Mos Def and MF Doom Hangin' Out, Just Cold Freestylin'

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 12:34 PM

This is pretty much exactly what I like to imagine all rappers do when they're not on tour or in the studio: hang out together and freestyle. And as far as rapper buddy freestyle duos go, Mos Def and MF Doom casually rattling off rhymes in what, we must assume, is the former's Brooklyn brownstone, is just about as cool as it gets. (That is, until the day we get a video of Jay-Z, Nas and Black Thought rhyming in Hov's Tribeca loft.) (HipHopDX)

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Vain, Naked Man Runs Around Naked in Williamsburg, Films Himself

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 11:56 AM

No Thanks to FreeWilliamsburg for calling our attention to the following video of some naked guy ordering a taco from a taco truck. He calls himself the "world's fastest nudist," though he doesn't seem all that fast in this video. And not only does he dangle, but he Tweets and Tumbles. He's a little on the buff side for what I think of as a Williamsburg hipster, and he looks more like Josh Brolin than Devendra Banhart—I guess this would be the frat side of Billburg youth culture. Meh. Just another way to meet girls.

(Not safe for work I guess, I dunno, I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU WORK.)

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Wall Street Journal Makes Awesome Headline Mistake (Ro-Po Saddened)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Man, Roman Polanski (Ro-Po!) is having a crappy week. Obviously, getting arrested on a 30-year-old warrant is no fun, but then the Wall Street Journal has to go and mistakenly use your murdered wife's name in place of her murderer:

Wall Street Journal mistake

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Mad Men: We All Need a Fainting Chaise

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 10:39 AM


Sunday night's episode was definitely my favorite of the season, if not ever. It had everything you need to make a classic season three ep: some subtle plot unraveling, Don bonding with a complete stranger two, actually!), a little bit of blood, and a hallucination featuring a disapproving parent, plus some chatter about Vietnam, an appearance by Miss Farrell AND some delightful Roger Sterling quip Also, the narrative structure of the episode was great. I realize not two sentences ago I hailed the subtlety of the episode, but there was also some loud plot movement here, so the starting-with-the-end framing device wasn't really even necessary, as the momentum of the events themselves would been satisfying enough.

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Moving Cyclists from the Brooklyn Bridge Walkway to the Road?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 10:07 AM

Biking on the Brooklyn Bridge
In an op-ed piece in Saturday's Times, frequent commenter on cycling and transportation issues Robert Sullivan discussed the oft-mentioned, seldom seriously entertained idea of banning cyclists from the crowded Brooklyn Bridge walkway. As a devoted bike commuter who takes the bridge regularly he suggests that the ban is a good idea: wandering tourists, speedwalking workers headed to their Financial District offices, respectful bikers and the minority of hurried cyclists make for a dangerous mix that, among other things, fuels anti-cyclist sentiment in a city where ridership rates are booming.

For Sullivan, though, removing bikes from the walkway must be accompanied with the creation of protected bike lanes on the bridge's roadway. Being someone who avoids biking over the Brooklyn Bridge at all costs for exactly the reasons Sullivan cites, this idea strikes me as an ideal solution and one that should probably be applied to most of the city's bridges as ridership expands. Just to be sure, though, Gothamist has put the question to a vote so everyone can chime in on Sullivan's unofficial proposal (which, so far, is winning). (Curbed)

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Julianne Nicholson Replacing Parker Posey in Off Broadway Show

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 9:10 AM

Julianne Nicholson
Julianne Nicholson (pictured)—previously of Ally McBeal, lately Detective Megan Wheeler on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and currently starring in Brief interviews with Hideous Men—will, per ArtsBeat, be replacing Parker Posey in the upcoming premiere of Melissa James Gibson's This at Playwrights Horizons.

Posey, you may recall, was slated to star alongside L Mag favorite Louis Cancelmi in the Off Broadway production until she had to cancel after coming down with Lyme disease (no word yet on how that's working out). All of which amounts to the replacement of an established indie favorite with someone who—given the mostly positive press Hideous Men is receiving—will likely be an indie favorite in no time. Previews of This begin on November 6 and the show runs through December 13 (although expect at least one extension).

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Tonight, Silent Films by Pioneering Lady Filmmaker Alice Guy

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 8:26 AM

The month-long Crossing the Line 2009 festival at the French Institute Alliance Française may be winding to a close, but there's still plenty of mixed media events going on this week, including the Alice Guy Blaché Film Score Project tonight. Co-presented with the Whitney Museum of American Art (who will also be honoring her in November), the event pairs the pioneering works of Alice Guy Blaché with new musical works by Tender Forever, Du Yun, Tamar Muskal and Missy Mazzoli.

Originally a secretary for France's Gaumont company, Alice Guy became one of the first female filmmakers when she began shooting movies in 1896 to help advertise the company's new line of cameras.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Francis Bacon Was an Interior Designer?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Study of a Crucifixion by Francis Bacon
The Telegraph reported yesterday that London's Tate Britain will be mounting an exhibition of interiors designed by Francis Bacon, the neo-figurative modernist whose spectacular paintings are pretty much the darkest and most troubling canvases anyone's made since the beginning of the 20th century. Though Bacon was notoriously adamant that most of his early works be destroyed, the three rugs and painted screens that will be included in the exhibition (opening on his birthday, October 28) were held in a private collection after he designed them at age 20, when he was working as a decorator in London.

Admittedly, I'm not sure what a Francis Bacon interior might look like, but based on the rooms that appear in his paintings (like the bedroom of "Study of a Crucifixion" at right), I feel pretty confident that I don't ever want to be in one.


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Minor Threat Played Irving Plaza, Said Lots of Crazy Shit

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Chunklet is offering some MP3s of a bootleg from a 1982 Minor Threat show at Irving Plaza, and you should probably get it—if only to hear a very young and very argumentative Ian MacKaye test your tolerance for irony. He berates fans for climbing on stage, calls the crowd a bunch of ignorant mother fuckers, and, at 10:25 of the first MP3, suggests gang-raping a woman who had been drinking. The straight-edge movement... it was totally complicated.

Almost more interestingly, um, Minor Threat played Irving Plaza?

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Our Official Stance on La Cause Polanski: Can We Call Him Ro-Po? Ro-Po! Ro-Po! Ro-Po!

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Roman Polanski
For some, child rape will always be child rape. For others, a celebrity-obsessed judge who reneged on a plea agreement will always be a celebrity-obsessed judge who reneged on a plea agreement. For most, not knowing most of the facts will always be enough to have passionate, angry feelings.

For us here at The L Magazine, well, we're not sure yet. The only thing we know is that we really, really want people to start referring to Roman Polanski as "Ro-Po."

Ro-Po, Ro-Po, Ro-Po, Ro-Po! See? It's fun.

(Our little buddy Listicles has a more sobering look at Ro-Po's 12 Most Tortured Characters.)

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At the New York Film Festival: Police, Adjective

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 2:38 PM

The New York Film Festival will screen Police, Adjective tonight at 9:15 and tomorrow evening at 6. Tickets to both screenings are available; IFC Films will release the movie next year.

Many of the films associated with the Romanian New Wave, most notably 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, have been set during the 80s, during the crest of the tyrannical Ceausescu years; to understand what's happening now, those films suggest, we must look back to recent history. But Corneliu Porumboiu's movies go one reflective step farther: they are set in the present, looking back at the past, so we may understand the present. The marvelous 12:08 East of Bucharest examined, 16 years later, the circumstances of the revolution that brought down the Communist government, but it's real purpose was to bemoan the failure of Romania to build a better society from that opportunity. His latest, Police, Adjective, another masterpiece, grapples with a similar idea. It's also about language.

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Hugh Jackman Pauses A Steady Rain to Silence a Steady Ring

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 2:29 PM

During a recent performance of A Steady Rain on Broadway—the play that, you may recall, stars Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig as best buddy detectives who are slowly turned against one another by an internal investigation—a repeat cell phone offender in the audience got a personalized monologue from Jackman. By current ticket price logic, said theater-goer should be made to pay an extra $200 or so for such choice tickets to an exclusive, one-night-only Broadway performance. (Or, you know, just a nice big fine—this isn't the opera, people, turn off your phones!)

(Best Week Ever)

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DO NOT WANT: Southampton Cougars Bare Skin for Cash

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Southampton cougar in natural habitat
Ew, gross. A bunch of rich middle-aged ladies from Southampton took off their clothes. For a calendar. To raise money. For a museum. Says one of the semi-naked ladies, Bonnie Grice (pictured): "Posing for a calendar has been on my bucket list. This could be a new career."

No it could not.

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Republican Hopeful Raffles AK-47 at Campaign Rally, Jesus "Saddened"

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Jesus with a machine gun
I'm not sure* why I post about this stuff anymore, just kind of makes a person sad, but... South Carolina Republican Dean Allen, campaigning to lead that state's National Guard, had a "machine-gun" social on Saturday. For $25, attendees got yummy barbecue, a clip of bullets, and the chance to win a semi-automatic weapon.

And then Angry Jesus came down from the cerulean Heavens and grew to a great and awful height before the cowering Christians and He said, in an enormous, terrible voice as large as the vaulted universe, "Thou hast corrupted My teachings; thou art makers of war and destroyers of peace; thou hast twisted My words and the words of Our Lord, My father, and thou shalt be punished..." And lo they trembled before his wrath, and he turned them gay and made them move to the coasts, where they discovered the pleasures of decent coffee and a night without television, and yea they were happy again, and put down their weapons, and truly began to do His work.

Just kidding.

*Actually, it's just an excuse to post this video from a Al Qaida training session "gun show" in Kentucky, which also makes me sad, but at least has explosions.

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The New York Musical Theatre Festival Opens Today

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 11:46 AM

New York Musical Theatre Festival
A healthy percentage of the long-running musicals currently on and Off Broadway (Altar Boyz, Rooms and Next to Normal, for instance) got their start at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, whose 5th edition kicks off today and continues through October 18. This year's slate features some 30 full productions, along with dance shows, readings, concert series and developmental performances. Early favorites seem to be the indie rock romance F#@king Up Everything, Fantasy Camp: The Musical?, Mo Faya about a guerrilla radio DJ in Nairobi, the superhero self-help comedy Whatever Man and Judas and Me, a comedy about Judas's pushy mom from the Tony nominees Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar.

There's also an obligatory vampire rock romance (The Cure), a musical about weight-loss camp (Fat Camp) and something called Gay Bride of Frankenstein, which, obviously, will either be awesome or abysmal. Producer's Perspective has a helpful preview, as does ArtsBeat, or head to the NYMF homepage to make sense of it all (they're still looking for volunteers, if you have the time and want cheap/free tickets).

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Wondering Whose Side to Take in the Black Lips vs. Wavves Thing? Let Us Suggest the One Who Didn'T Call the Other a Faggot Multiple Times

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 11:11 AM

I would be very much remiss—and, like, fired—if I didn't mention this whole Wavves-Black Lips thing from Friday night, so let's just get it out of the way early, and agree to never speak of it again.

On Friday night, after a Wavves show at Market Hotel and a Black Lips show opening up for Yo La Tengo at Webster Hall, members of both bands found themselves at Williamsburg bar Daddy's. Black Lips singer/bassist Jared Swilley launched a verbal attack on Wavves' Nathan Williams' after his much-publiced on-stage meltdown back in June, and the whole thing finally came to a head at the bar this past weekend. Bottles were thrown, punches were thrown, blood was shed.

Wavves dude had this to say:

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If You Bought Your First Pair of Eyeglasses in the 1990s, The Informant! Is the Movie for You

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 8:23 AM

I don't quite agree with my colleague Henry Stewart's assessment of Steven Soderbergh's The Informant! as "tonally inconsistent": it seems to me to be a pretty straightforward ironic comedy (though it's glib more often than it's dark, alas, which keeps a low ceiling over the material, and may be attributable to the process-over-product mantra which Henry (rightly, I think) faults for Soderbergh's sometimes less than finished cinema). A corporate intriguer about a whistleblower who ends up doing more jail time than his bosses, The Informant jokes, at times, that it turned out to be a different kind of movie than the people involved might have expected: FBI agents keep reframing their hidden-camera shots to actually pick up incriminating behavior. As bipolar Archer Daniels Midland exec Mark Whitacre, Matt Damon—sporting a paunch, a patchy mustache and a carpet on his head, and playing off stand-up and TV comics in bit parts—makes frequent reference to the Michael Crichton and John Grisham thrillers he is most emphatically not living in.

In fact, those Rising Sun and The Firm references are something like a passkey to the movie's sensibility: The Informant! works best as a satire of the complacent, suburban-sprawling kitsch of Clinton-era America.

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