Latest entries

Obliviots, or Shallower Into Solipsism

Obliviots, or Shallower Into Solipsism

Spike Jonze dehumanizes women and love in Her  Until Her, Spike Jonze was a favorite of the American Eccentrics. His brazen artiness was usually redeemed by youthful goofiness and the goofiness had a certain conceptual finesse–best demonstrated in his 2000 Weapon of Choice music video for Fatboy Slim where Christopher Walken’s song-and-dance pantomime jeteed into...
Sunbathing in the Gay Ghetto

Sunbathing in the Gay Ghetto

Stranger by the Lake is a pathological murder mystery The full-frontal male sexuality in Alain Guiraude’s Stranger by the Lake occurs at a gay nude beach in France. This location, surrounded by hilly woods and a parking lot, puts gay cruising rituals on display as well as explicit sexual acts–ejaculation, fellatio, copulation–shown with matter-of-fact frankness....
Chelsea Churchgoing and Theater-hopping

Chelsea Churchgoing and Theater-hopping

Atlantic Theater Company’s season of newness  Greek theater grew out of a religious festival so it’s fitting that the Atlantic Theater Company’s home in Chelsea uses that former neighborhood church as the locus of plays concerned with, in a classic theater company’s motto, the deepest questions about morality and performances that show the relationship between...
Singing For Freedom

Singing For Freedom

Local Anti-Slavery concert rings out the news One of the most persistent delusions of human existence is the belief that one person has the right to enslave another.  Few people attempt to justify the practice publically, yet it thrives in its various forms virtually everywhere. According to Free the Slaves, a non-governmental organization/ lobby group...
Half-way Housing

Half-way Housing

Vanessa Hudgens is a prodigal daughter in new teen drama Gimme Shelter lacks depth and complexity but not the proper affect. This memoire of Agnes “Apple” Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens), about her flight from a New York tenement and her prostitute, welfare-and-drug addicted mother June (Rosario Dawson) in search of the father she never knew (Brendan Fraser),...
Pop Origami on Broadway

Pop Origami on Broadway

Doug McGrath reimagines Broadway’s Jukebox Musical  One of the best aspects of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (at the Stephen Sondheim Theater) is seeing book writer Doug McGrath’s origami treatment of American pop music history. McGrath, who has directed the excellent films Infamous and Nicholas Nickleby, starts with bio-pic basics about singer-songwriter Carole King’s life...
Wounds of the Father

Wounds of the Father

A poet is born in Jamesy Boy  “Never back down” says the ad copy for Trevor White’s modest feature debut Jamesy Boy referencing the title of another (better) film about a white boy’s pain finding constructive focus in the masculine code provided to him by the mentorship of an older Black man. Indeed, as title...
Mean Queens

Mean Queens

Sensual and cinematic regression in G.B.F.  “In times of crisis, I turn to LiLo,” says flamboyantly gay high school student Bret Van Camp (Paul Iacono) when his best friend and secret crush Tanner (Michael J. Willett) inadvertently steals his high school “coming out” thunder. The accompanying image in G.B.F. shifts in focus from Iacono’s reflection...
Lively Still Lifes

Lively Still Lifes

Danielle M. Marin’s various techniques combine at Noho Gallery in Chelsea At NOHO gallery, Daniele M. Marin is showing her new series of still-lifes entitled “Interaction”.  Marin examines her association with this medium and explores various eras of art history. Indeed, there appears to be references to James Ensor, traditional still life and along with...
Over-acting-Out

Over-acting-Out

August: Osage County bashes red states and Chekhov As the film version of August: Osage County finally, mechanically winds down, it reveals playwright Tracy Letts’ goal: His unoriginal view of domestic squabbling goes from warmed-over Edward Albee to room-temperature Chekhov in a scene where three adult sisters Barbara, Karen, Ivy (Julia Roberts, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette...
“Hercules! Hercules!”

“Hercules! Hercules!”

Harlin’s The Legend of Hercules makes no myth-take  The perverse core of Renny Harlin’s Legend of Hercules reveals why this b-movie matters. The first display of Hercules’ superhuman strength occurs at the moment of his defeat (chained up between two stone pillars), his impotence (the murder of his teacher before his eyes), and his humbling (finally...
Making Art A.S.A.P at APAP

Making Art A.S.A.P at APAP

Local festival brings dance, theater and music to town at reasonable prices    Who said ticket prices for dance, theater and music were too high for the average New Yorker? In fact, usually they are but in January every year, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) comes to town offering a multitude of artistic delights...
Freeze-dried Disney

Freeze-dried Disney

Thawing out the clichés and commercialism of Frozen  Disney Animation is no longer simply Disney Animation as proven by the mega-blockbuster Frozen (to date: over $300m gross). This neo-fable has social prognosis and prospective commercial potential prefabricated into its mythology. Frozen’s tale about two temperamentally different sisters, the frolicking, touchy-feely Anna (Kristen Bell) and the...
Divided and Conquered

Divided and Conquered

Divorce Corp. Adjudicates the Seamy Side of Family Law  Divorce Corp. flicks spitballs at the walls of American family and divorce courts and some of them stick, but in the end they only make the chambers a little messier. Joe Sorge’s documentary amasses compelling and usually persuasive anecdotal testimony of a legal/judicial complex of corruption...
Arts Foretold: A Checklist

Arts Foretold: A Checklist

Local artists bring new visions to various city venues throughout 2014   •Composer James Blachly founded the Sheep Island Ensemble with a single, beautiful goal: bringing people together through great music. Whether playing Bartok in a concert hall or Scottish songs at a loft party, Blachly and his ensemble create a community of music lovers, which you...
Musical Forecasting 

Musical Forecasting 

Start 2014 with some concert-and-opera recommendations for the coming months   As the second half of the classical-music season begins—a “half” that is longer than the first one—let me forecast some highlights. Occasionally, the highlights turn out to be lowlights, but that is a risk one runs. “Great Performers” is a conceited name, but this Lincoln...
Eyes on Auctions

Eyes on Auctions

Americana and More Up for Bid The New York auction season resumes next week with Americana and Old Master works of art. Pieces from a number of stellar private collections, new discoveries, and works not previously on public exhibition will be on display during previews starting this weekend. Refer to the websites for schedules, illustrated...
Ain't That A Man?

Ain’t That A Man?

Film legend John Milius gets the overdue bio-pic he deserves on EPIX  After decades of defiantly jutting his philistine jaw, playing the taunting Goliath to Hollywood’s liberal Davids, John Milius was hit by a lightning-bolt uppercut, suffering a stroke during the production of Genghis Kahn. Leave it to his most sensitive friend and colleague, Steven Spielberg, to...
Cluster-Cliché

Cluster-Cliché

Why Lone Survivor fails to adequately convey the tragedy of war Of the many dramas, documentaries and mockumentaries that have come out of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and both Iraq wars, the most painful is Lone Survivor. The problem isn’t political (it would be a relief to see a film take a fresh position...
Ode To An Everly

Ode To An Everly

Remembering a radiant voice   Phil Everly is the man who introduced harmony to rock ‘n’ roll.  People habitually refer to him and brother Don as if their voices were interchangeable.  Dead wrong.  Funky Don is the lyrical acid-voiced one, while celestial Phil is the one with a honey-voice.  Don’s twisted soul kept Phil’s airiness...
The Better-Than List for 2013

The Better-Than List for 2013

See the year’s best films, reject the overrated The false politics of film culture 2013 (films exploiting race, class, sexual politics) paralleled the continued diminishment of cinephilia that has subordinated movies to TV, shifting cinema from a popular art form into political soccer games for media’s power elite. Lots of good film but also lots...