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Friday, September 1, 2006

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For those of you who apprehend my contempo announcement about activity to see The Fantasticks, my Coffer Artery Journal assay of the awakening I saw is in this morning’s paper, accompanying with a assay of the Irish Repertory Theatre’s assembly of Mr. Dooley’s America:

The Snapple Amphitheater Center, a new two-auditorium circuitous a few accomplish abroad from Broadway, has active “The Fantasticks” in a small-scale assembly agnate to the one that ran from 1960 to 2002 at Greenwich Village’s Sullivan Artery Playhouse. I never saw it there—I charge be the abandoned middle-aged beholder in Manhattan who didn’t—but I can’t brainstorm that it was any bigger than this admirable awakening of a actualization that has absent none of its above-board bloom afterwards bisected a aeon of adamantine use.

In calling “The Fantasticks” guileless, I don’t beggarly to beforehand that it is annihilation added than impeccably crafty. Allotment of what makes it so effective, in fact, is that Tom Jones’ book takes all the blah accessories of the Broadway musical, strips abroad their superfluities, and transforms them into around-the-clock archetypes: two boyish lovers, two altercation parents, two blundering stooges and a tall, aphotic drifter who appears from out of boilerplate to set the simple artifice in motion. Aback in 1960 such adroit abridgement of agency was rarely to be activate in American agreeable comedy, which is allotment of what fabricated “The Fantasticks” assume so fresh. Nowadays the miniature agreeable is an Off Broadway staple, but Mr. Jones’ abridged book charcoal exemplary—and clashing the added cacophonic shows of today, “The Fantasticks” is adored with an appropriately accomplished score….

Finley Peter Dunne, who died in 1936, is one of those writers whom everybody quotes but cipher knows. He created Mr. Dooley, the Chicago bartender whose sly observations about backroom and its practitioners (“The Supreme Cloister follows the acclamation returns”) are consistently actuality recycled, usually afterwards credit, by op-ed columnists in chase of a cogent way to recapitulate the obvious.

Dunne’s own columns are forgotten, not because they’ve absent their point but because they were accounting in a porridge-thick stage-Irish accent (“Thrust ivrybody, but cut th’ ca-ards”) that is bulletproof to the a eye. To accomplish adroitness of his witticisms, you acquire to apprehend them out loud—or apprehend them read. Admission Philip Dunne, a adept Hollywood biographer and the son of Mr. Dooley’s creator. Breathing in bike with Martin Blaine, Dunne the boyish quarried a two-man ball out of his father’s best columns. Aboriginal performed in 1976, “Mr. Dooley’s America,” was an conspicuously analytic applicant for awakening by the Irish Repertory Theatre, the best of all accessible Off Broadway companies, and Charlotte Moore, the Irish Rep’s artful director, has active it with accomplishment and sympathy….

(I should add, by the way, that The Fantasticks is the best child-friendly actualization currently arena in the New York amphitheater district. It’s lively, squeaky-clean, and not too long, and anyone old abundant to watch a adulation adventitious afterwards squirming in his bench or activity Eeuuww! is old abundant to adore it.)

No chargeless link. Buy the abuse paper, or go actuality to subscribe to the Online Journal, which will accord you afire admission to my review. (If you’re already a subscriber, the assay is here.)

In my aing “Sightings” column, to be arise in Saturday’s Coffer Artery Journal, I booty a attending at the banking woes of Tower Annal and the added implications of music downloading. One frequently disregarded aftereffect of downloading on the adeptness of music is the admeasurement to which it discourages in-store browsing, and the accidental discoveries that can abandoned be fabricated by abnormality at will up and bottomward the aisles of a deep-catalog annual store.

Or can they? Is it accessible for an online abundance to carbon the acquaintance of browsing—and if not, does it matter? To acquisition out, aces up a archetype of tomorrow’s Journal, area you’ll acquisition my cavalcade in the “Pursuits” section.

Some of you acquire inquired about the antecedent of the allotment of admonition proffered by James Burnham that I occasionally like to quote. It’s one of a set of maxims that Burnham handed bottomward abounding years ago to his colleagues at National Review:

1. Everybody knows everything. 2. Who says A charge say B. 3. Aloof as good, isn’t. 4. You cannot beforehand in retrospect. 5. Wherever there is prohibition there’s a bootlegger. 6. In every activity there’s a Schlamm. vii. You can’t annulment yourself. viii. Every affiliate charge pay his dues. ix. No excuse, sir. 10. If there’s no alternative, there’s no problem.

According to Burnham’s son, these were “a alternation of observations about the apple that provided the abject for active honestly.” The aboriginal law “centers on the angle that the way in which one conducts oneself in claimed relationships or business or backroom can never be a abstruse from those who matter.” The sixth law refers to Willi Schlamm, a announcer who was briefly and abominably circuitous in the ablution of National Review, of which Burnham was a founding editor. (The seventh, eighth and ninth “laws” are numbered abnormally because they are exhortations, not accepted principles.)

I like the aboriginal and aftermost ones best, but they’re all clumsily provocative, as was Burnham himself. If you don’t apperceive who he was, you can apprehend about him here. In addition, you can apprehend “Second Thoughts on James Burnham,” George Orwell’s 1946 essay, by activity to this folio on a Russian Web armpit that contains, amid added things, downloadable online versions of Orwell’s writings.

“If abandoned he could be a little ironical, abounding beginning accommodation would be befuddled accessible to him. But Hilda did not like irony; to her it was a anatomy of shirking, and autograph to her Eustace was about acquainted of actuality a shirker. He was apt to blooper from one apologetic affectation to another, which was approximate amid two bodies who admired ceremony other, and stranged, because he did not feel affected aback he was with her. But his pen created a cabalistic prsonality with whom he acquainted she was out of sympathy.”

L.P. Hartley, Eustace and Hilda

Is there annihilation added affecting than a houseguest with the sniffles? I bent my accepted algid while visiting a woman with a abiding affliction of abounding force who nonetheless went out of her way to accomplish over me. As she brought me my umpteenth mug of hot tea, I was bedeviled with a attack of answerability and told her, “You charge anticipate it’s appealing bruised of me to be lying on the couch and whining like this, because how ailing you are.”

“Actually, it feels worse to acquire a cold, at atomic in the abbreviate run,” she replied. “When you’re absolutely sick, your point of actualization changes—it gets easier to cope, somehow. So shut up and alcohol your tea.”

This reminded me of how I acquainted aback I was in the hospital aftermost December. I was badly abashed until I best up the buzz and dialed 911—and then, all at once, I wasn’t. It was like throwing a switch. From that moment on, I was absolutely calm. You may not acquire what I’m talking about unless you’ve had a agnate experience, but as anon I told the abettor to accelerate an ambulance, I knew things were out of my hands, and for the aboriginal time in weeks, I relaxed.

Needless to say, my host’s reassurances didn’t accomplish me feel any beneath guilty, but they didn’t stop me from bubbler my tea, either. Alas, I couldn’t acquiesce myself for complete long, alike with her abiding approval, for this was one of my three-deadline weeks. On Monday I wrote a four-thousand-word commodity on John Hammond for Commentary. On Tuesday I alternate to New York, autograph my ball cavalcade for Friday’s Coffer Artery Journal on the alternation from Hartford to Penn Station. Bygone I wrote my “Sightings” cavalcade for the Saturday Journal. All this was a bit abundant for a middle-aged man with a bad cold, but I had to beam and buck it, so I did. As James Burnham admired to say, if there’s no alternative, there’s no problem.

I spent Wednesday atramentous angled on the couch, swilling tea and watching Howard Hawks’ Hatari! It’s not one of the master’s best movies: the artifice is all but nonexistent, and the way Hawks handles his changeable characters tips over into full-fledged self-parody. One of them is alleged Brandy, the added Dallas, which tells you aloof about aggregate you charge to know. Be that as it may, Hatari! angry out to be able-bodied ill-fitted to my bashful artful demands, for it jogs alternating amusingly for two and a bisected hours, the Tanganyikan backdrop is abatement to the eye, and Henry Mancini’s score, which makes all-embracing and artistic use of African percussion, is abundant fun. (This is the blur for which “Baby Albatross Walk” was written.) No eventually had I conflicting “Sightings” off to the Journal than I beatific out for a pizza, angry on the TV, and larboard the draft to John Wayne. Thanks, Duke!

I don’t acquire to go anywhere or do annihilation today, and I’m not gonna. Friday, alas, is different: I’ll be communicable a alternation to Washington, D.C., aboriginal activity in the morning, acrimonious up a Zipcar at Union Station, and active from there to Staunton, Virginia, area I’ll absorb a day and a bisected watching Shenandoah Shakespeare accomplish Othello, As You Like It, and Macbeth. On Sunday I acknowledgment to Washington (stopping alternating the way at the Pope-Leighey House) to see the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new assembly of Ibsen’s An Adversary of the People. I’ll be aback in New York on Monday night.

That, if I may say so, is one abuse connected weekend, so if you don’t apprehend from me amid tomorrow and aing Wednesday, do not acclimatize your set. I know, I know, it’s abandoned a cold, but in the abiding words of Lili von Shtupp, I’m not a wabbit—I charge some west!

Here’s my annual of recommended Broadway and off-Broadway shows, adapted weekly. In all cases, I gave these shows acerb favorable reviews in The Coffer Artery Journal aback they opened. For added information, bang on the title.

Warning: Broadway shows apparent with an asterisk were awash out, or about so, aftermost week.

BROADWAY: • Avenue Q* (musical, R, developed accountable bulk and one show-stopping arena of puppet-on-puppet , brash here) • The Drowsy Chaperone (musical, G/PG-13, mild animal agreeable and a affluence of bifold entendres, brash here) • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee* (musical, PG-13, mostly family-friendly but contains a scattering of able accent and a assembly cardinal about an exceptionable erection, brash here) • The Bells Singer (musical, PG-13, some animal content, brash here)

OFF BROADWAY: • Jacques Brel Is Breathing and Able-bodied and Active In Paris (musical revue, R, developed accountable bulk and animal content, brash here) • Slava’s Snowshow (performance art, G, child-friendly, brash here)

CLOSING THIS WEEKEND: • Indian Blood (drama, G, brash here, closes Saturday) • The Lieutenant of Inishmore (black comedy, R, developed accountable bulk and acutely bright violence, brash here, closes Sunday) • Pig Farm (comedy, PG-13, some animal content, brash here, closes Sunday) • Sweeney Todd (musical, R, developed accountable matter, brash here, closes Sunday)

“It was sad how the actuality of not actuality able to allotment a antic afar one from people. Separated, of course, was too able a word, but it created a frontier, a water-shed for experience, instead of a valley. Abortion to see the aforementioned things as funny about meant a accepted abortion to see eye to eye, because humour was accepted arena area the aesthetic and the low-brow, the affluent and the poor, could accommodated afterwards self-consciousness.”

L.P. Hartley, The Sixth Heaven

So Terry’s got laryngitis and I’ve got my parents in town. Advantage Ms. OGIC, by a complete abounding margin, but in agreement of blogging output, cipher wins. I’ll leave you, however, with a few adequate links:

• Robert Archambeau is complete acute, not to acknowledgment complete hilarious, analytic audiences at balladry readings. Balladry readings get a bad rap, he admits; but “what if a big allotment of the botheration with balladry readings isn’t a bulk of what’s up on stage, but a bulk of what’s bottomward in the seats?” (Via Dan Green).

• Peter Suderman argues that “classic TV” is not aloof a myth, and that the DVD boilerplate overcomes the complete obstacles advanced cited by my illustrious co-blogger to alike the best alternation television attaniing the cachet of bona fide anecdotal art.

• Not a articulation but an observation. There’s been abundant ado about Marisha Pessl’s annual célèbre of a aboriginal novel, Appropriate Accommodation in Calamity Physics, so I purchased a copy. Cat-and-mouse one day for the oil to be afflicted in my car, I best it up and apprehend a few dozen pages. Aback my car was ready, I put it down. I’m not abiding I’ll aces it up again—it befuddled me as too able by half, added than a little exhausting, and inferior to the book its asthmatic columnist belletrist kept reminding me of: Brian Hall’s Saskiad, which is anecdotal by a boyish advanced boyish babe but a clumsily added astute one. It’s grossly unfair, I know, to canyon acumen based on 44 pages of reading—but aback I don’t apprehend to get complete abundant added anytime soon, I may as able-bodied abode why not. (I will say, though, that I clumsily adopt the book itself to its absurd back-cover blurb from Jonathan Franzen: “Beneath the chrism of this activated admission is a dark, able drink.”)

• Acquire we mentioned afresh how abundant we adulation Outer Life? Cipher chronicles This Californian Activity absolutely so well. Docents! Apprehend the allotment and you too will be repeating that chat to yourself wonderingly for the draft of the day.

Happy Wednesday! (Docents!)



(Imagine a big ailing frog intoning those two words and you’ll get the idea.)

UPDATE: My action has evolved. I now complete like the accountable of my aing book.

“He played Franck’s Prelude, Aria and Finale. The noble, aureate music with its aggressive stride and assured accent marched through the room, bushing it with flags and auspicious crowds, a attentive campaign ambience out in the morning of activity to win a airy prize. Eustace anticipation he knew why Victor chose this piece; not abandoned was it, allegedly at any rate, the complete animation of encouragement, but it bidding all those sentiments which he, Victor, so sedulously kept out of his circadian manner. Here, at the piano, adequate by the anonymity of art, he could airing in old ballsy traces afterwards actuality betrayed. Sir John was adapted to say that he played like a professional. He had the antithesis of touch, the restrained, abstruse admission to emotion; he did not bustle aback the music was easy, and apathetic up aback it was difficult. He could let go afterwards absolution himself go.”

L.P. Hartley, The Sixth Heaven

Man at work. Absolutely swamped. Still coughing (but accepting better). See you Thursday.

“Cramer said, ‘I’m not a fool.’

“Wolfe nodded again. ‘We all feel like that occasionally. The adulteration of conceit. It’s all adapted if you accumulate an antitoxin handy.'”

Rex Stout, Over My Asleep Body

I sometimes do too abundant fieldwork afore seeing a movie, architecture up a accomplished anatomy of preconceptions that I afresh acquire to bassinet into the amphitheater with me and crane my aing to associate about at the activity itself. Connected ago I accustomed that this action was abasement altogether adequate movies for me, or alike preempting me from seeing some of them. So I chock-full giving added than a brush to reviews of new movies until afterwards I’d apparent them. But at the anticipation of an beforehand movie, I still arch beeline to the bookshelf and, typically, David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary and Pauline Kael’s 5001 Nights at the Movies: two analytical choir that are consistently astute to me if not infallible.

I didn’t accomplish it this weekend to Carol Reed’s The Collapsed Idol, accounting by Graham Greene from his own adventitious and starring Sir Ralph Richardson. It’s arena in a new book through Thursday at the Music Box. Despite actuality active this week, I still acquire a adventitious to t it on its final night. (The Music Box is consistently an added draw, as there’s breathing agency music on weekends and complete adulate for the airheaded all of the time.) Aloft the accessible abode of the Graham Greene/Carol Reed partnership, which afterwards produced The Third Man, I’m fatigued to this one by what the bookshelf critics say. Kael sounds like she never absolutely fabricated up her mind:

The artifice is aloof about perfect…. There are terrifying, aing moments, too; the accomplished cine is complete cleverly formed out. Maybe it’s too deliberate, though, with its august lighting and its adamant pacing—you adjournment an added exhausted amid the easygoing curve of dialogue. It’s too brash and too hushed to be abundant fun. It’s a affable thriller—which is aing to a bucking in terms.

I’m not abiding what, but commodity about that makes me anticipate she did acquire fun, afresh talked herself out of it. In any case, it’s an absorbing criticism that does annihilation at all to bedew my appetite to see the film. Thomson, on the added hand, has no such ambivalence, and says “The accent may be beeline Greene—that dribble of mortification, of affliction vindicated—but Reed served it with understanding.” Nice precis of Greene there, one which will no agnosticism charm my acquaintance who spent all aftermost ceremony emailing me acerbic quotes from Greene’s novels—just about aggravating to breach my spirit, I guess—and whom I’m aggravating to get to accompany me to The Collapsed Idol on Thursday. (People assume to adulation activity to the movies alone, but I absolutely don’t. In my life, I’ve apparent one cine abandoned in the theater, a adequate one: California Split. That was bristles years ago, and not an adorning experience.)

Then Thomson has this from Greene himself:

When I alarm a scene, I abduction it with the affective eye of the cine-camera rather than with the photographer’s eye—which leaves it frozen. In this complete area I anticipate that the cinema has afflicted me. Authors like Walter Scott and the Victorians were afflicted by paintings and complete their backgrounds as acceptance they were changeless and came from the easily of a Constable. I assignment with the camera, afterward my characters and their movements. So the mural moves. Aback I about-face my arch and attending at the harbor, my arch moves, the houses move, the boats move, don’t they?

And that’s allotment of the acumen Greene gets a two-page beforehand in the Biographical Dictionary. I like the quotation, and I apperceive what he means. But, to bother abandoned because he’s possibly my admired painter, the best of Constable as a painter of changeless images is a little strange: whose clouds move added than Constable’s? Nobody’s, that’s whose.

If I do acquisition a victim…er, date, and do see The Collapsed Idol Thursday, you’ll be the aboriginal to apprehend about it.

Few things in activity are added bellicose than advancing bottomward with a bad algid aback you acquire three deadlines staring you in the face. The animal academician is a amazing organism, but it doesn’t abundant affliction for actuality asked to accomplish admirable book amid sneezes. Instead of writing, I’ve spent the accomplished four canicule watching TV, annual abating books, sucking bottomward amaranthine mugs of hot tea, sleeping as abundant as possible, and cat-and-mouse impatiently for my lungs to dry up.

Among added things, I watched Dumbo, which I hadn’t apparent aback childhood, and Twelve O’Clock High, which I’d never seen. Dumbo angry out to be alike bigger than I remembered, and the amusement I took in it was abundantly added by the actuality that I watched it in the aggregation of a nine-year-old boy whose adroitness of annual has yet to be burst by the admission of boyish selfconsciousness. Not abandoned is it affably abridged (sixty-four minutes, the beeline of all the archetypal Disney features) and activated with constant bloom and charm, but the annual is abounding of adorable accommodation (I abnormally admired the Hammond agency in “Pink Elephants on Parade”).

What afflicted me best about Twelve O’Clock High, by contrast, was the astute bombing raid, which consisted for the best allotment of complete footage of aeriform action attack by American and German aggressive photographers and accumulated with accomplishment and intelligence by Henry King. Don’t anytime let anyone acquaint you that all old war movies are euphemistic: Twelve O’Clock High, like John Ford’s They Were Expendable, is amazing in the artlessness with which it portrays the adamantine choices that charge be fabricated by men in combat.

What books did I booty with me to my sickbed? Rex Stout’s And Be a Villain, Prisoner’s Base, and Over My Asleep Body, three of C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower novels, Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, Anthony Trollope’s Barer Towers, and Victoria Glendinning’s 1992 adventures of Trollope. Abandoned the aftermost of these was new to me—I adopt twice- and thrice-read books aback I’m activity low—and I got abundant added amusement out of it than a middle-aged man with a summer algid has any adapted to expect. I ran aloft so abounding adorable quotations in its pages that I anticipation at one point to allot all bristles of this week’s annual entries to Trollope, but I’ve afflicted my mind. Instead, I’ll abandoned the bag in one fell swoop:

• “The getter-up of quotations from books which he has never read,—how abandoned he is to all of us!” (Travelling Sketches)

• “There is annihilation conceivably so about abating to a man as a complete grievance; a activity of accepting been injured, on which his apperception can breed from hour to hour, acceptance him to abode his own annual in his own court, aural his own heart,—and consistently to abode it successfully.” (Orley Farm)

• “God is adequate to us, and heals those wounds with a acceleration which seems to us absurd aback we attending forward, but which is admired with bereft annual aback we attending backward.” (The Bertrams)

• “Can it be that any mother absolutely expects her son to sit abandoned atramentous afterwards atramentous in a bedimmed allowance bubbler bad tea, and annual adequate books?” (The Baby Abode at Allington)

• “He would use the simplest, plainest language, he said to himself over and over again; but it is not consistently accessible to use simple apparent language,—by no agency to accessible as to arise on stilts, and to beforehand alternating with sesquipedalian words, with pathos, spasms, and addendum of interjection.” (Framley Parsonage)

On the whole, it was a affable weekend—or would acquire been had I not acquainted so lousy—and the blooming on the sundae was a buzz alarm from my brother in Smalltown, U.S.A., who arise aboriginal activity Sunday morning that my mother has profited clumsily from a contempo operation to abate her abiding aback pain. “She’s continuing four inches taller,” he told me. I stood a bit taller myself aback I heard the news.

I’m still beneath the weather, but deadlines adjournment for no man. On Sunday I fabricated myself alpha autograph again, and I’ll be spending the aboriginal allotment of this ceremony accomplishing the assignment I had to put a aftermost week. Appear Friday I’ll be aback on the alley again, traveling to Virginia and Washington, D.C., to see plays by Shakespeare and Ibsen and advantageous a appointment alternating the way to one of my admired Aboveboard Lloyd Wright buildings, the Pope-Leighey House. I’ll be blogging, too, but don’t apprehend annihilation too aggressive until aing Monday. A active blogger boileth no pots.


“Pieces of music are wormholes, which we can admission to escape our accustomed acquaintance of time.”

Robert Spano, quoted in Justin Davidson, “Measure for Measure” (The New Yorker, Aug. 21, 2006)

I arise on this year’s New York All-embracing Fringe Anniversary (which runs through Sunday) in today’s Coffer Artery Journal ball column. The best talked-about actualization I saw was Bridezilla Strikes Back!:

For those who don’t accumulate up with absoluteness TV, “Bridezillas” is the alternation that follows a accumulation of added bananas brides-to-be as they plan their Must…Be…Perfect Weddings. Cynthia Silver, now a adroitness affiliate at New York’s Atlantic Amphitheater Company, was approached to booty allotment in the aboriginal division and jumped at the adventitious for arrangement TV exposure, demography for accepted that it was a beeline documentary and not acumen that the producers would adapt the cinema-verité footage to accomplish their accommodation attending as aggressive and aberrant as possible. Co-written with Kenny Finkle, “Bridezilla Strikes Back!” is the adventitious of how she descended into the bifold clamor of a bells and a hit TV actualization and emerged sadder but wiser.

I affected Ms. Argent would acquaint her annual with the wised-up disengagement of a media-savvy Manhattanite, but the accent of “Bridezilla Strikes Back!”—frankly confessional, asperous about the affecting edges, accidentally poignant—is annihilation like what I’d expected…

No link, so to apprehend added about this and the four added Fringe Anniversary I reviewed, buy a archetype of today’s Journal. (Alternatively, go actuality to subscribe to the Online Journal, area you can apprehend me every ceremony and lots of added adequate actuality every day.)

I spent an abandoned hour (yes, I do acquire them from time to time, every ages or two) trolling through “Sites to See,” our blogroll. I added several new blogs and sites that bent my eye in contempo weeks, as able-bodied as bottomward a few old ones that had become abeyant or tedious. Our Girl, who writes the blogreviews that arise from time to time in the Top Bristles module, is accomplishing the same. Our goal, as always, is to accomplish “Sites to See” as advantageous to you as possible, so if you run aloft a new or abstruse blog that you anticipate we adeptness like, bead us an e-mail.

New blogs and sites are apparent with an asterisk. Accord them a look—along with any of the old blogs and sites you’ve yet to visit. In the twenty-first century, the ‘sphere is the abode to be.

I’m Lester the Nightfly Hello Baton Rouge Won’t you about-face your radio down Annual the seven additional adjournment we use

So you say there’s a race Of men in the trees You’re for boxy legislation Acknowledgment for calling I adjournment all night for calls like these

Donald Fagen, “The Nightfly”

• H.L. Mencken’s annual bacon in 1899 for his aboriginal job as a Baltimore bi-weekly reporter: $8

• The aforementioned bulk in today’s dollars, abode of Inflation Calculator: $177.24

(Source: Terry Teachout, The Skeptic: A Activity of H.L. Mencken)

To abstain the clichés Of the obituary writers, Die in obscurity. A accomplished bed in a light-filled room Accession who adores you is at your side And vowed to silence.

Kenneth Koch, “Aesthetics of Obituary”

The best absorbing bedfellow blogger conceivably anytime is currently starring at Alex Ross’s. I adulation how the bald anticipation of blogging gives her that deer-in-the-headlights stare. I apperceive how you feel sometimes, Maulina, I apperceive how you feel.

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Let me allotment a few aftermost accurate heresies, with some annotations this time because it’s 8:00 and I’m beginning as a daisy compared with my contempo blogging sessions:

American Beauty. I know, you best it, too, but I couldn’t resist. From Kevin Spacey, arena the distinct role he consistently plays, to Annette Bening, as a gay screenwriter’s absorption of a castrating hag; from the ridiculously admiring delineation of a boyish pothead to the association that a Marine Apple War II vet is a repressed ual Nazi (it was bodies like Spacey, Alan Ball and Sam Mendes, of course, who absolutely chock-full the Nazis from acquisition the world), this breathtakingly deceitful annual of American bourgeoisie takes the cake.

Thank you. I’ve been absolutely adequate to see how abounding bodies actively animosity this movie. I saw it in beneath than ideal conditions: in a promotional examination on a academy campus with Spacey, Mena Suvari, Thora Birch, and Wes Bentley in attendance. The starstruck academy kids in the admirers hooted and clapped through the accomplished thing, egging on Spacey’s character. My breach from my ambience was complete. I’ve abhorred the cine anytime since. But anticipation from what abounding of you had to say, I wasn’t artlessly affected the abortive circumstances—there was a atom of accuracy at work, too.

Leaving Las Vegas. It seemed like an exercise in axle on the chargeless ache and despair, and I’ve accomplished of backward that I anticipate chargeless anguish is abundant worse than chargeless and violence. (I’m of the Jane Austen “let added pens abide on answerability and misery” academy of thought.) Watching it, I got the activity that all the critics who accepted it were congratulating themselves for actuality adventurous and tough-minded abundant to watch commodity that depressing. Blech.

Not accepting apparent this one, I’m not able to comment. But what the hell: Blech!

The Natural. Here’s the cine I abhorrence that best bodies like and it usually ends a the top of best sports movies. Honestly, I can never absolve Redford for what he did to this story. Roy Hobbs doesn’t hit that home run, he doesn’t win the game; no, he fails and anybody thinks he was paid off by gamblers.I don’t apprehend a cine to be 100 percent affectionate to its antecedent material, but there has to a point area accession says “You apperceive that adventitious we’re authoritative into a movie? This is no best that story.” Yeah, I apperceive Malamud himself seemed OK with it, mainly because he said the cine would annual him to be anticipation of as commodity added than a Jewish writer. Sorry, can’t acquisition the exact quote. Robert Redford is one of those bodies I anticipation would acquire added annual for the story. For me, his acceptability is consistently decrepit and I’d aloof like to ask, “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING? JUST GO MAKE SOME OTHER FREAKIN’ BASEBALL STORY YOU HACK!”

Reading this befuddled an abysmal ambit in me. I apprehend Malamud’s atypical as a teenager, adapted about the time the Detroit Tigers had their Cinderella season. Actuality bent up in baseball fabricated me abnormally attuned to Roy Hobbs’s plight, and I was devastated; it was one of my aboriginal absolutely astute encounters with a absolutely austere cabalistic vision. Aing on the heels of that, the cine acquainted like the affliction affectionate of betrayal, and continues to angle as an best low in my movie-viewing history.

This aing one additionally audibly rang a bell.

About Schmidt. Look, I grew up in Palo Alto, California, and go through a tin of flavored hummus a day, but the audacious airs that pervades every attack in this blur had me babble to my accompany about the elitist ethics of Hollywood on the way out of the theater. Oh, attending at those poor bodies in Omaha with their bleak, absurd lives. I’ve heard bodies allocution about how affectionate this cine was, but is there one actualization who isn’t presented as either an or a awful loser? And does anyone absolutely still anticipate that Jack Nicholson is a austere actor?

Well, I’m not abiding it’s Jack Nicholson’s accountability that for a while now he hasn’t been able to ball anyone but Jack Nicholson. It allegedly is. But added to the point, this cine affronted me no end because I was such a fan of Acclamation and Citizen Ruth (and, added lately, Sideways, though—don’t write—I’m absolutely acquainted of the case against; I’m not convinced, however, that this case, or the one adjoin Absent in Translation, would acquire aggregate so abundant beef absent the movies’ success). I was absolutely able to like Schmidt. I abominable it. Advancing from a administrator who is usually such a complete ironist, the apocryphal agenda of the final scene, especially, larboard me abashed and disgusted. And yet I doubtable that the tonal aberration amid this blur and Acclamation was a bulk of millimeters—millimeters that aloof happened to abatement aloft some astute bandage amid burlesque from contempt. (Speaking of Election, Quiet Bubble mentions in casual that it’s one of his cows. I’m analytical why, but in a way I don’t appetite to apperceive aback QB has abundant aftertaste and I wouldn’t appetite to be talked out of my adulation for it.)

Next, two adventurous souls bone from the accepted acumen on a blur that I abandoned acquire never heard a ardent abrogating chat about, Waking Life:

• Beforehand this ceremony the Onion A.V. Club blog tossed out the catechism of what movies acquire aggressive bodies to airing out of the theater, which got me cerebration about this affectionate of stuff. So I anticipation I’d acknowledgment Richard Linklater’s awful Waking Life. Aback it came out, I was in the boilerplate of an acutely accurate self-imposed bookish hell at the University of Chicago, so the afterimage of Ethan Hawke or Julie Delpy continuing on a pseudointellectual soap box spewing out “chicken soup for the soul”-brand political and amusing aesthetics fabricated me physically ill. I anticipate this is a arguable choice, not because I’ve gotten into arguments about it with my accompany (in fact, I haven’t accustomed any admired ones to see it if I could admonition it), but because of the absent expressions of those about me aback I was barrier over them to get myself out of the amphitheater as apprenticed as possible. I am abiding they wouldn’t accede with my assessment.

• Aback I apprehend your cavalcade about advancing movies that anybody abroad loves, I anon anticipation of Waking Life. I am abandoned amid my accompany who acquire apparent this cine in cerebration that it is 90 annual of repetitive, self-impressed, pseudo-intellectual tripe. For some reason, the appealing pictures and elementary analyses aphotic the draft of my accompany to its shallowness.

Conveeeeeniently, I haven’t absolutely apparent the cine and can’t booty a side. I’m a fan of Linklater, acceptance that principally agency I’m a fan of Dazed and Abashed (as is the acquaintance who wrote the aboriginal of these comments). So this should acquire been a accustomed best for me, but commodity kept me from seeing it. Now—perhaps—I apperceive what.

Next is accession cine I’ve never seen. In this case, however, I’ve been congratulating myself on my acumen from the get-go.

Forrest Gump. The absorption of the atypical (I’m told) is that the abode of American history from, say, 1960 to 1980 is best rendered as a annual told by an idiot. The book was ironic, get it? Like best of the movies on this list, FG shows no acquaintance of the achievability of irony. A movie so bad as to aggregate a small ethical catastrophe.

There are moments aback I feel a atom of concern to assay in on old Forrest. My absorption of this movie’s badness is so adroit as to accomplish me anticipate sometimes that it charge acquire been blurred somehow. Afresh the moment passes.

Finally, I capital to allotment this ultimate exercise in counter-intuition:

I haven’t apparent Citizen Kane for abounding years, conceivably an beforehand me would like it more, but I activate it uninvolving aback I saw it abounding years ago. Some of the analytical acclaim seems to accent abstruse accomplishments (camera movement, focus things) which is appealing abundant not of assimilation to the boilerplate cine goer.

I aboriginal saw Citizen Kane in my backward twenties. I was a teaching abettor in a beforehand area it was on the syllabus. I had to be accessible to acreage questions and brand affidavit about it, so I was watching it in abounding allotment out of duty, and adorable at it in abounding allotment as a assignment of art whose abundance was aloft doubt. (Which didn’t absolutely analyze me from anyone watching it for the aboriginal time with an acquaintance of this reputation.) So it was absitively advanced of time that I would acquisition it a masterpiece. Beneath these circumstances, it can feel complete abundant as acceptance your own discernment, rather than the commodity of your scrutiny, is what’s absolutely beneath scrutiny. And yet I anticipate this aftereffect is added arresting for some accustomed masterpieces than others. Watching, say, Grand Apparition or All About Eve for the aboriginal time, any backwardness I adeptness acquire acquainted about my responses was anon aished by absorption. Not so for Kane.

As I told the clairvoyant who beatific it, the Kane animadversion additionally reminded me of a memorable arena in The Sopranos, aback Carmela gets her developed accompany calm for a cine club in the Sopranos’ adequate home theater. For the kickoff, they watch Citizen Kane. It’s Carmela’s pick; she opens the atramentous with some critics’ comments about the abundance of the movie, and the lights go down. Aback they appear up again, anybody looks at ceremony added rather blankly, halfheartedly attempts to altercate the movie’s affirmation and flaws (“So it was the sled? He shoulda told somebody”; “That guy was so conceited”), and moves on agilely to adjacency gossip. Apart from any parallels amid Kane and Tony Soprano, the arena appeared to apish the mob wives army for arising from a masterpiece so pristinely unmoved. Hell, I laughed at them. But aback my acquaintance of the cine was so heavily brash aloft by its elephantine reputation, I’m not certain, in retrospect, I should acquire acquainted absolutely so superior. At the complete least, I’m appetent of their befalling to actualization the cine about baggage-free.

Up and advancing on my calendar:

• SEPTEMBER 14: “Jules Olitski—Matter Embraced: Paintings 1950s and Now” opens at Knoedler & Company

• SEPTEMBER 20: Artery date of Trio da Paz’s About (Blue Toucan)

• OCTOBER 11: Artery date of Hilary Hahn’s aboriginal violin-piano CD, a set of four Mozart violin sonatas accompanied by Natalie Zhu (DG)

• OCTOBER 20: “Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Watercolors and Drawings from the Hood Museum of Art” opens at the National Academy Museum

• OCTOBER 25: Artery date of Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Aggregate Three (Warner Home Video)

My acquaintance and aide John Rockwell, the arch ball analyzer of the New York Times, has arise a cavalcade alleged “Has Mark Morris Fabricated Abandoned One Masterpiece?” which is so approximate that I acquainted I had to say commodity about it at once.

Here’s allotment of what John wrote:

Mark Morris is accurately admired as the finest modern-dance choreographer of his generation, and his “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato,” a abundantly varied, acutely affective evening-length ambience of Handel’s aria to Milton’s text, is broadly believed to be his masterpiece.

But if “L’Allegro,” which was created in Brussels in 1988 and assured its fifth New York run aback 1990 at the New York Accompaniment Amphitheater on Saturday, is Mr. Morris’s masterpiece, what’s he done since? Should we, as ball lovers and Morris admirers, be anxious that a choreographer still in his prime—he’s aloof shy of 49—and adulatory the 25th ceremony of his aggregation has not produced a commensurable celebration in the aftermost 18 years? And if not, why not?…

Size and success are not synonymous. Scattered through the beneath dances that accomplish up the archetypal mixed-repertory programs of the Mark Morris Ball Accumulation are innumerable gems. But amplitude of calibration does accomplish an impact; it stretches out the canvas to acquiesce added allowance for the affluent affecting ambit and abundant array of detail that breathing “L’Allegro.”

(Read the accomplished activity here.)

Fudge the point acceptance he does, John is not so about arguing that admeasurement and success are synonymous, or commodity aing to it. He animadversion in passing, for instance, that “Mr. Morris has delivered conspicuously austere assignment in contempo years. Like ‘V,’ set in 2001 to Schumann’s E-flat Piano Quintet.” Yet that unforgettably astute ball dance, calm with abounding added post-L’Allegro works of commensurable weight and acceptation that John abandoned to mention, is allegedly as annihilation aback placed aing to the full-evening L’Allegro, which to John’s way of cerebration is Morris’ sole and abandoned “masterpiece.”

How shall I alpha dismantling this argument-by-assertion? With the best adapted accessible comparison. Mark Morris is about to about-face forty-nine. How abounding full-evening dances had the greatest of all choreographers, George Balanchine, fabricated by the time he was forty-nine? Er, one. He fabricated The Nutcracker in 1954, anon afore his fiftieth birthday, and while it is an absolutely abundant and amazing ballet, I don’t apperceive anybody over the age of ten who’d be adequate to alarm it his masterpiece. Too bad poor Mr. B piddled abroad the of his aboriginal bristles decades on such analogously accessory jobs of assignment as Apollo, Prodigal Son, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Ballet Imperial, Symphony in C, Orpheus, The Four Temperaments….

You see my point, of course. Yes, L’Allegro is a masterpiece, allegedly Morris’ greatest accomplishment to date, and its ambit is allotment and bindle of its greatness. To adduce what I myself acquire accounting about it, L’Allegro is “a accomplished apple of ball in a distinct evening, aggregate from artless assuming to knockabout ball to circuitous groupings evocative of George Balanchine in their ascendancy and clarity.” This all-embracing generosity of afflatus is one of the affidavit why we acknowledge to it so powerfully. But it’s not abundant because it’s long, nor are connected works of art necessarily greater than abbreviate ones. In my opinion, the greatest ballet of the twentieth century—perhaps the greatest anytime made—is Balanchine’s half-hour-long Four Temperaments, which contains accomplished universes of anticipation and emotion. Jerome Robbins never fabricated a distinct full-evening dance. Merce Cunningham has fabricated abandoned one, Ocean, and it’s no masterpiece. To date Paul Taylor has fabricated two, neither of which has remained in his company’s repertory. And as for Morris, I can anticipate of any cardinal of his post-1988 dances which I and abounding added critics and ball lovers acquire to be as adequate as L’Allegro, alike if they’re not as long. Dido and Aeneas, Adulation Song Waltzes, Grand Duo, Rhymes With Silver, The Office, The Argument, V: that’s what Mark Morris has “done since,” aloof for starters. So unless you ascertain “masterpiece” as “a person’s distinct greatest achievement,” which John is acutely not accomplishing in this context, afresh what he’s accounting makes no adroitness at all.

Could it be that John has abashed abundance with ambition? Or was he artlessly spinning out a big absorption in alacrity and afterwards adequate forethought, as journalists, myself included, acquire been accepted to do on breach aback a borderline beckons? Beats me. But I appetite he’d larboard this accurate absorption in the oven to broil a little best afore he served it alternating in the New York Times.

Here’s my annual of recommended Broadway and off-Broadway shows, adapted ceremony Thursday. In all cases, I either gave these shows acerb favorable reviews in The Coffer Artery Journal aback they opened or saw and admired them some time in the accomplished year (or both). For added information, bang on the title.

Warning: Broadway shows apparent with an asterisk were awash out, or about so, aftermost week.

BROADWAY: • Avenue Q* (musical, R, developed accountable matter, able language, one show-stopping arena of puppet-on-puppet ) • Chicago (musical, R, developed accountable matter, animal content, abundantly able language) • Agnosticism (drama, PG-13, developed accountable matter, complete animal content) • Fiddler on the Roof (musical, G, one arena of mild carelessness but contrarily family-friendly) • The Ablaze in the Piazza (musical, PG-13, developed accountable bulk and a abrupt bedchamber scene) • Sweet Charity (musical, PG-13, lots of cutesy-pie animal content) • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee* (musical, PG-13, mostly family-friendly but contains a scattering of able accent and a assembly cardinal about an exceptionable erection)

OFF BROADWAY: • Orson’s Adumbration (drama, PG-13, developed accountable matter, complete able language) • Philadelphia, Actuality I Come! (drama, PG, closes Sept. 25) • Sides: The Abhorrence Is Real… (sketch comedy, PG, some complete animal content) • Slava’s Snowshow (performance art, G, child-friendly)

CLOSING SOON: • Glengarry Glen Ross (drama, R, developed accountable matter, copious quantities of spectacularly able language, closes Sunday)

• Fee paid by Cosmopolitan in 1932 for U.S. consecutive rights to Acknowledge You, Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse’s aboriginal affection Jeeves novel: $50,000

• The aforementioned bulk in today’s dollars, abode of Inflation Calculator: $607,551.90

(Source: Robert McCrum, Wodehouse: A Life)

“We abound annoyed of aggregate but axis others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects.”

William Hazlitt, “On the Amusement of Hating”

So I’m hatching this crazy arrangement over actuality that aloof adeptness work: to get six accomplished hours of beddy-bye tonight. I’ve been breathing fifteen-hour canicule and am in a appealing abject state, so I’m activity to accomplish this quick. Actuality are a scattering of my admired skewerings from the contempo Ebert-inspired accessible call—which doesn’t beggarly I accede with them…necessarily. But there’s an art to accomplishing this apace and fatally, and these readers acquire it down.

• Collateral. Oh God. Can we charm aloof accede that it’s time for the existential hit-man actualization to get two in the aback of the arch in a quiet Italian restaurant? Wised-up, amoral bodies don’t adjudge to become hit-men because they don’t see annihilation bigger to do, they become attorneys or lobbyists and accomplish alert as abundant money afterwards accepting to run from the police. Actuality a hit-man is necessarily an abhorrent and abbreviate life, and bodies who go into arrangement killing about don’t acquire a lot of added options, so let’s aloof stop it with these Mephisto characters. And if you are activity to use one, charm don’t acquire him be Tom Cruise talking about jazz.

• Eisenstein’s October has been accepted to abet epileptic seizures in baby children. They’re the advantageous ones.

• Accompaniment and Main. OK, it’s Vermont—get a brace old actors who’ve never been east of the Valley, put them in flannel shirts and agitation chairs and accord them some really. stupid. lines. The allotment of this which was a accelerate up of Hollywood types was funny, but the “real bottomward home America” allotment was worse than aching and insulting. And I abhorrence that abecedarian with the absurd eyes, Julia Stiles.

• Rear Window. A man fears he may be a attestant to a murder. Anybody abroad tells him he’s nuts. They’re wrong. That’s a plot? Aggregate Jimmy Stewart’s actualization thinks is accident IS happening. Not a distinct twist, surprise, or discovery. Dreadful. And the moment area he blinds the able-bodied arduous aggressor with…a camera flash? Woeful. The abandoned acumen to watch: The august women. Thelma Ritter gives a complete performance. And was anyone anytime added admirable than Adroitness Kelly is here? So gorgeous, it hurts.

• My angelic cow is “Reds,” Warren Beatty’s 1981 ode to John Reed. I saw it afresh and bethink it like it was yesterday. Clocking in at 200 minutes, the cine aloof dragged, on and on and on. About the 60 minute mark, bodies started stirring, active bobbing and turning, the adeptness alpha that we’re not alike a third of the way through. Afterwards the intermission, beneath than bisected of my adolescent theater-goers returned. I sat in an alley seat, one bottom abnormality larboard to the aisle, the added anyhow active in front, as the seats about me connected to abandoned out, balked theater-goers blubbering to themselves as they all but ran up the aisle. As the cine boring arena its way into its third hour, I chock-full debating whether to leave, the accomplished activity accepting become a awe-inspiring array of adeptness contest, one of those things you do aloof to say you did it, no bulk how astute the pain.

And then, of course, Beatty won an Oscar for best director.

Googling “Reds” aloof now I was heartened to agenda that no beneath an ascendancy than Paul Schrader, the biographer of “Taxi Driver,” amid abounding others, had a agnate experience:

“Paul Schrader brand to talk. Auspiciously for his listeners, he is a complete adequate storyteller. ‘I bethink I was over at Paramount, and Warren Beatty and I had been bluffing around, accomplishing this Howard Hughes thing. He had fabricated the blur “Reds” and he was assuming it on the lot, and he capital me to come. I was so tired. I thought, “Well, I’ll sit way in the corner, way in the back. If I abatement asleep, I’ll abatement asleep, and cipher will know.” Cipher told me there was an intermission. So the lights appear up, everybody from Barry Diller on bottomward is in the room, all of Warren’s friends, and I am complete asleep. Afterward, one of Warren’s minions came over to me and said that Warren had bidding his displeasure. And I said, “Look, I apperceive it took Warren 10 years to accomplish this movie, but it took me three hours to see it, and I can agreement you that three hours of my activity beggarly added to me than 10 years of Warren’s.'”

Hee. Added area these came from tomorrowish. Beddy-bye well!

Sorry, folks, but that crackling babble you apprehend in the boilerplate ambit is the complete of me afire out. I’m active up to Connecticut this morning to see a show, which I accede added than adequate acumen not to blog afresh today. Acceptance I do assuredly assume to be on the apprenticed of beating this abuse cold—I absolutely took a two-hour nap bygone afternoon that was blessedly affluent in Accelerated Eye Movement, commodity on which I’ve been acutely abbreviate aback aftermost Thursday….

Anyway, see you tomorrow. Or maybe Friday. (And don’t ask me which Friday.)

Ms. Cup of Chicha has alternate to the blogosphere afterwards an continued absence. She’s as abandoned as ever. Go say hello!

• Absolute bulk in 1937 of the 1,340-square-foot Herbert and Katherine Jacobs Abode in Madison, Wisconsin, including Aboveboard Lloyd Wright’s architect’s fee of $450: $5,500

• The aforementioned bulk in today’s dollars, abode of Inflation Calculator: $73,341.81

(Source: Doreen Ehrlich, Usonian Houses)

Elected Silence, sing to me And exhausted aloft my whorlèd ear, Pipe me to pastures still and be The music that I affliction to hear.  

Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb: It is the shut, the alarm sent From there area all surrenders come Which abandoned makes you eloquent.  

Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Addiction of Perfection”

I’m in The Coffer Artery Journal today with a allotment about…well, you’ve affectionate of got to apprehend it:

As of yesterday, “Atelier de Cannes,” a 1958 beautify animation by Pablo Picasso, was still on auction at Price: $129,999.99. You’ll acquisition it listed beneath “Gadgets, Gifts & Art,” alternating with art prints by the brand of Chagall, Dufy, Miró, Modigliani and, er, Peter Max. The admiration of these closing works is abundantly bashful (the Picasso isn’t complete good, either), but the actuality that you can buy them on the Web has brought the barn alternation abundance of chargeless publicity. Yet no one seems to bethink that what Costco is accomplishing is annihilation new. Forty years ago, Sears, Roebuck & Co. was affairs Picassos and Chagalls, not to acknowledgment Rembrandts, Dürers, Goyas, Whistlers, Mondrians and Wyeths, all of them abode the imprimatur of a acclaimed adept who was bigger accepted for authoritative such abominable movies as “The Fly” and “House of Wax.”

Vincent Bulk is now best remembered for his acknowledging role in the archetypal 1944 blur noir “Laura,” but in the ’60s he was a full-fledged cine star, acceptance one who never got the girl—at atomic not while she was still alive. An alluringly apish gent who in his afterwards years specialized in arena pardon-me-sir-while-I-cut-off-your-head psychopaths, Bulk was additionally one of Hollywood’s best amorous art collectors, a aloft apprentice at the Courtauld Institute of Art who had been able-bodied on his way to adequate an art historian aback he abruptly afflicted course, went on the London and Broadway stages and became an brief success.

In 1962 Bulk was approached by George Struthers, Sears’s carnality admiral of merchandising, who believed his aggregation could advertise accomplished art to the American accessible the aforementioned way it awash backyard mowers and ladies’ underwear. Bulk agreed to aces the pieces and serve as spokesman, and the Vincent Bulk Accumulating of Accomplished Art was off and running, aboriginal in Sears’s Denver store, afresh in added aliment aloft the country, with a mail-order bandage added the afterward year…., the Journal exhausted page’s Web site, has acquaint a chargeless articulation to this piece, so you can apprehend the accomplished activity by activity here. Not that I’d dream of atramentous you from affairs a archetype of today’s cardboard and axis to the Leisure & Arts folio (or, bigger yet, subscribing to the Online Journal by activity here).

Here’s the raw annual of angelic beasts proffered by our readers, presented in able subdivisions. Starting tomorrow I’ll allotment some of the complete reviews, which were alluringly absinthian and bilious. Ebert who?



Citizen Kane The Third Man Rear Window Nashville


Rushmore Barcelona Aftermost Annual Show Goodfellas



Schindler’s Annual and Activity Is Beautiful Fahrenheit 9/11 and Passion of the Christ 2001: A Amplitude Odyssey and Aing Encounters of the Third Kind


Vanilla Sky Magnolia Collateral

Avery Removable Self Cling Signs Demo - YouTube - avery static cling labels
Avery Removable Self Cling Signs Demo – YouTube – avery static cling labels | avery static cling labels


Cheaper by the Dozen Ability Day Cabin Boy Troy


Ordinary People, Primary Colors, The Vanishing, The English Patient, The Crying Game, Accomplished Mr. Ripley, Actor Dollar Baby, A Letter to Three Wives, Reds, Abbreviate Cuts, Forrest Gump, Adequate to the Dollhouse, Blessed Endings, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Goodbye Girl, Allocution to Her, Accompaniment and Main, Andrei Rublev, Gandhi, Z, Dersu Uzala, October, Mississippi Burning, Asleep Man, Aggregate Quentin Tarantino Has Anytime Done, A Clockwork Orange, The Piano, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Don’t anticipate I’m not still sick! I’m mostly better, but not entirely. I had to awning the Fringe Anniversary aftermost night, and my Coffer Artery Journal ball cavalcade is due this morning. So in lieu of aboriginal content, I action you this snapshot of my contempo reading:

• Robert Birnbaum interviews Camille Paglia:

CP: I’m on a crusade—it’s to say to the poets and the artists, “Stop talking to ceremony other. Stop talking to coteries. I abhor coteries in any form. You are speaking to a coterie, OK. Stop the abject references to the draft of the apple who didn’t vote with you in the aftermost election.” This is big. Because we acquire all afar again. Afterwards 9/11, anybody was united. We are afar afresh acknowledgment to what has happened in politics. Bodies in the art apple are abounding of [a] biased adroitness of advanced to best of America. But they charge abode America, apprentice to abode America. Yes, acquire your friends, acquire the bodies who abutment what you are accomplishing in the art world, but you acquire to antithesis a adroitness of the accepted admirers and the aforementioned activity I am adage to the far right, get over the audacious at art, the stereotyping—

RB: They started it.

CP: Adjournment a minute. The far adapted wouldn’t acquire any opinions about art if it weren’t for those big incidents in the backward ’80s to the ’90s aback some brainless assignment was committing sacrilege.

RB: You’re applicable to Andrés Serrano?

CP: Yeah, some 10th-rate thing. It’s consistently Catholic iconography, I adeptness point out. I am atheist, by the way. It’s never Jewish. It’s never Muslim. So I am adage this is a scandal. The art apple has absolutely prided itself on accepting a acceleration out of the bodies on the far right. Thinking, “We’re avant-garde.” The exhausted is dead. It has been asleep aback Andy Warhol appointed Campbell’s Soup labels and Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe into his art. The exhausted is dead. Thirty years later, 40 years later, bodies will anticipate they are exhausted every time some nudnik has a activity about Madonna with albatross dung, “Oh yeah, we are accepting a acceleration out of the Catholic League.”…

Read the accomplished activity here.

• Speaking of countertakes, Stephen Hunter of the Washington Cavalcade offers this abrupt camber on The Aristocrats:

For the comics, activity is lived onstage, in the limelight, to the adulation and acclaim of bearding crowds. It involves a abundant accord of travel, friendships with added gifted, crazed bodies but aloof as frequently, absinthian rivalries, amaranthine feuds, betrayal and betrayal. If you win, you win the adeptness of fame, which afterwards the additional day gets you annihilation but adequate tables in restaurants area rubes bother you for autographs as you blot bottomward your linguini, the adapted to abort with a bigger chic of woman and, of course, the blank of actuality abandoned to annihilation aloft than the self.

Boy, that’s some act. Whadaya alarm that act?

The losers….

• And speaking of critics, Mr. Commodity Old, Annihilation New proposes a high-camp animosity match:

Who would win in a action amid the two meanest, cruellest, wisecrackiest critics in the history of movies: Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) in Laura or Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) in All About Eve?

I’m activity with DeWitt. Lydecker may be added alarming in assertive respects, but DeWitt has the admeasurement advantage, and a acknowledgment head, and added cardinal ability. His accommodation to bribery and anatomy a awe-inspiring accord with Eve (making them, according to some interpretations, 1950’s aboriginal Ambiguously Gay Duo), is a far sounder cardinal accommodation than Waldo’s Pygmalion act with Laura. Addison in three circuit unless Waldo has commodity active in his old clock.

However, if it’s a catechism of who’s bigger at wisecracks, afresh Lydecker acutely wins….

The appellation of this posting, by the way, is “Battle of the Angry Critics.” I myself would acquire pleaded not accusable were it not for my best contempo Coffer Artery Journal review, which I abhorrence may acquire been a draft on the angry side. (Not that there’s annihilation amiss with it!)

• The Little Professor, one of the ‘sphere’s added affected bibliomanes, offers an alarming annual of “signs that the books acquire taken over.” Item No. 1:

Your parents accelerate you an commodity from the L.A. Times that describes the lengths to which bodies will go to abode their claimed libraries—converting a garage, for example. It’s not bright if this commodity is meant to be prophetic or admonitory.


• Mr. Jubilation Rising, a blogger new to me, bids a admirable adieu to Vassar Clements, one of the best abundant country fiddlers:

Vassar was a fiddler, apparent but not so simple. To borrow allotment of a line, the violin is a acrid mistress. In symphony halls, it is admired and somewhat feared. In shade-tree cord bands, it is aloof feared. Arena a violin is like spending time with a beauty. Alike a virtuoso accomplishment assets abandoned casual admiration, the commodity of admiration usually in a bustle to acknowledgment to the mirror. But every so about a suitor comes alternating with the adeptness to tame. That was Vassar.

It abiding was. I spent allotment of the summer of 1974 accusation about Nashville, arena in broken-bottle joints and adorable for Vassar Clements—but that’s accession story….

• Ms. DevraDoWrite goes to a way alarming gig:

It was a sad night. Sad to see an old acquaintance who no best has what it takes, amidst by additional or third bulk musicians. He wears a clothing anorak that looks slept in and no one on the bandstand smiles. He wanders on date alone, and starts to play. I annual if he begins his affairs solo, afresh works up to duo and builds on—then I apprehend he’s aloof abating up about as if blind he’s on stage. The pianist arrives, as does the sax. The bagman gets seated. He counts off and they activate aloof as the bassist walks on stage. They’ve amorphous anyway….

(No, I don’t apperceive who it was, and I’m animated I don’t. I’ve been to gigs that were aloof like that.)

• Ms. Searchblog, who blogs about her struggles with abiding abasement aback not absorption on added aspects of life, love, and art, waxes abnormally affecting in this posting:

If anyone told me about two years ago that I would still be angry to achieve my brainy bloom in August 2005, I would acquire absolved such projections as delusional, or at atomic laughable.

Yet actuality I am—still struggling, still aggravating so adamantine to get better, still angry the adequate fight.

Each morning aback I accessible my eyes, my aboriginal anticipation is, “OK—I can accomplish it through today. I can do it.” Although I’ve afresh this mantra every morning for about two years, I don’t feel apologetic for myself—not at all. It’s artlessly the way my activity is lived now: a awful internalized attack that yields inconsistent results. My aloft depressive adventitious led to a alarming brainy breakdown, which resulted in abiding depression. That’s the way it is….

Read this one, whether you’ve been there or not. And be abiding to booty the assay at the end—it’s complete adequate for a laugh.

• Mr. CultureSpace does the job on Sin City:

Corruption contrasts with the men’s hearts of gold. But this array of yin-yang balance, this accepted dualism, is the blazon of clichéd, glib affection of a twelve-year old, or accession who thinks activity is absolutely this simple. I admired Miller’s comics aback I was young, to be sure. But I grew up….Sin City is bare of color, but not the affectionate you see. Rather, it’s bare of the affectionate you feel, and this is the affliction sin of all.

Haven’t been. Won’t now.

• Lastly and conversely, the ambrosial Cinetrix acquaint about Me and You and Anybody We Apperceive aback in June, but for some acumen it slid accomplished me. Communicable up with her thoughts now, I’m befuddled by her adroit and attenuate allegory to accession of my admired films:

At the end of Me and You, I acquainted the way I did afterwards seeing Assurance for the aboriginal time, or The Dreamlife of Angels: I had been about new and aberrant and was abashed to appear aback to the “real” world; I had collapsed in love.

I additionally can’t bethink the aftermost time I saw a blur so gentle. The anecdotal ebbs and flows, beforehand a flat cull on the characters, advertisement their bright idiosyncrasies to our boring for a moment afore across-the-board them away. I can’t adjournment to see it again….

I appetite I’d said that. (I will, I will.)

• Bulk Scott Bradley was paid in 1954 to compose the agreeable annual to a Tom and Jerry animation for MGM: $1,000

• The aforementioned bulk in today’s dollars, abode of Inflation Calculator: $6,904.77

(Source: Daniel Goldmark, Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon)

“Even a abundant accomplishment can’t blemish a accomplished composition.”

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (quoted in Louis Kaufman, A Fiddler’s Tale)

I’m late, I’m late, for a complete important post…I promised you clairvoyant cine rants, and they are forthcoming—just not this weekend, which is now aftermost weekend, alas. And I still acquire a connected night advanced of me afore I can draft up for aing week, which has insidiously but absolutely angry into this week, adapted beneath my comparatively able nose. Wow: I am really, absolutely bad at Sundays. I’ll be aback during the ceremony with the goods. Acquire a nicer Monday than my Sunday, please.

(1) The computer is the affliction adversary of a crammer with a cold.

(2) The iPod is his best acquaintance (especially if he sleeps in a loft).

(3) Don’t watch Red Bedrock West aback you acquire a fever.

(4) Adequate movies for invalids: Barbershop, Clueless, Defending Your Life, Speed. (Did you apprehend that Clueless is now ten years old? Wow.) Additionally good: Nero Wolfe, Patrick O’Brian, twice- and thrice-read affected biographies.

(5) Soup gets tiresome.

(6) Insofar as possible, don’t let army dishes accumulation up in the sink. The consistent ball is atramentous and inhibits recovery.

(7) If you acquire to acquire amid blockage bedraggled and demography a algid shower, booty the shower.

(8) There is no truer acquaintance than the one who offers to run errands for you.

(9) Aback affairs advantage beneath the admission of antihistamines, don’t aloof attending at the pictures—read the labels.

(10) All cabbies are barbarous psychopaths. Actualization no weakness!

(11) Yours is not the abandoned blog in the ‘sphere.

• Gene Bertoncini, who plays for blessed eaters on Sundays and Mondays at Le Madeleine, is actualization this Thursday at the Applesauce Standard in a “celebration” of the absolution of Quiet Now, his additional CD of unaccompanied solos for acoustic guitar. As I wrote in the liner addendum for its predecessor, Body and Soul, Gene is

one of those musicians whom I seek out, no bulk area they’re working. That’s the nice activity about active in New York—you can absolutely accumulate up with abundant artists like Gene—and that’s why I can say with authoritativeness that his arena has gotten bigger with every casual year. The affections abound steadily deeper, the harmonies richer and added oblique, the textures added eloquently spare. He was never one to bandy about his technique, but now he doesn’t decay any addendum at all: every one rings true….

For added information, go here.

• Aftermost Dance, Mirra Bank’s 2002 cinema-verité documentary about Pilous, is arena on the Sundance Channel tonight at 9:30 p.m. EDT. It’s a startlingly aboveboard backstage attending at how Pilous collaborated with Maurice Sendak to actualize A Selection, a ball about the Holocaust. I can abandoned affirm to its candor, for I happened to be visiting Pilous’ alarm flat aback it was filmed (I was advertisement on the authoritative of A Alternative for a New York Times story) and assured up adequate one of the film’s on-camera talking heads. It is, if I do say so myself, a accursed accomplished allotment of work, and aback it has yet to be appear on DVD, I acclaim it to your atttention.

For added information, go here.

• Assay out all the new Top Fives, O.K.? I may be sick, but I’m still arresting art….

• Annual bacon paid to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1937 for screenwriting duties in Hollywood: $1,000

• The aforementioned bulk in today’s dollars, abode of Inflation Calculator: $13,334.87

(Source: Steve Chagollan, “F. Scott Fitzgerald Gets a Additional Act Afterwards All,” New York Times, Aug. 21, 2005)

“To acquire no pride as an abecedarian is fatal. To acquire the adapted bulk is about impossible. It gets in the way of adequate work; the abridgement of it prevents your demography chances, adventuresome to go added than you acquire before, risking whatever acceptability you have—not with the public, but with your administrator or playwright. You charge to apperceive they will acquiesce you to rehearse awkwardly, embarrassingly, in your chase for assertive elements in the play. Not carelessly, but with the affectionate of carelessness that abandoned comes with complete love.

“Our happiest theatre memories are those aback that adulation exists in according measures for the actors and the audience. Aback the ball is accustomed as adulation is received, with trust, unquestioningly. Because it is actuality accustomed with aplomb and accuracy and, yes, pride. Admirable pride.”

Marian Seldes, The Bright Lights: A Theatre Activity

A few hours ago, About Aftermost Night logged its 500,000th folio view. From my angle especially, this is a abject and amazing figure—far added amazing, I daresay, to we bloggers than to you readers. The abandoned activity I absolutely appetite to say on this accountable is simple but complete acutely felt: thanks. For reading, for linking, for writing, and for blogrolling us. I’m abiding that all goes bifold for Terry.

The weekend is now acutely on, and any devious activity that adeptness appear to cantankerous my alley as it gain will be bashed to you, baby readers.

I aloof got aback from Amphitheater Row, area I anticipation I was activity to see the beginning boyish abecedarian who doubles as my trainer backpack a brand in a flat accomplishment of Terence’s The Eunuch. (Keep the jokes to yourself, please.) Alas, the flat aperture was apprenticed and the box appointment unhelpful, so I hailed a cab and headed flush to my apartment, which is currently in a cursory accompaniment of grace, the charwoman developed accepting appear and gone. All surfaces are dusted, all corners straightened, all flowers watered. A adolescent blogger poked her arch in to see the Teachout Museum bygone afternoon and said, “It looks…monastic!” Well, maybe not quite, but ’twill serve, ’twill serve.

I acquire one added allotment to accomplishment afore I shut the boutique down, a Commentary commodity on Jerome Robbins, and on the way home I approved to adjudge whether to breach up backward or get up early. As the cab best its way north, I saw that the night sky over Manhattan was abounding of conflicting presences—low-flying blimps and helicopters aerial in all the amiss places—so I absitively to beating off for the evening, watch Cary Grant and Leslie Caron in Ancestor Goose, and leave Robbins for tomorrow morning. If the bad guys are planning to pay a visit, I’d adopt not to be autograph about West Ancillary Adventitious aback they come. Besides, I don’t about get to absorb a quiet atramentous in my accommodation aback it’s accurate and tidy, and I’d aloof as anon absorb it sitting in the active room, alternately watching TV and accord with the accommodation of the Teachout Museum. You don’t absolutely acknowledge your ambience aback you’re angled over a hot iBook, borer away.

Of beforehand I don’t absolutely anticipate there’s agitation afoot, at atomic not imminently. I’m mainly aloof exhausted to the socks—it’s been a long, connected week—and blessed to acquire an excuse, about far-fetched, to bottomward my tools. I took a nap this afternoon and dreamed I was alteration a branch from my Robbins essay. It’s bad abundant aback you dream about the allotment you’re writing, but aback you dream about alteration the allotment you’re writing, you apperceive you charge to booty a break. This, causeless to say, is absolutely what I’m planning to do. You won’t be audition from me afresh until September 6. Like the charwoman lady, I’ve done my best to accomplish things accurate and tidy for Our Babe in Chicago. In fact, I aloof accomplished afterlight the Top Bristles bore of the right-hand column, which now contains four aboriginal postings for your edification. I was briefly tempted to assay my e-mailbox one aftermost time afore signing off, but I absitively adjoin it, so if you wrote to me today in the hopes of accepting an complete reply, you’re out of luck.

Me, I’m in luck. Not counting Christmas, it’s been a year aback I took a accomplished ceremony off, and I can already aftertaste it. In the meantime, Cary Grant awaits, followed by accelerated eye movement, followed by a brace of thousand words on the iBook, followed by…but that’s a secret. I’ll acquaint you what I did afterwards it’s done.

For now, acquire fun with Our Girl. I see that bodies in thirteen time zones are annual “About Aftermost Night” as I abode these words. May all of them, and all of you, appetite me well.

Sigh. Alex Ross is a afflictive tease. Appear aback from vacation already, Tyler Green! (And hey ionarts, how are you doin’?)

Regular readers apperceive that I’ve been putting the pedal to the metal for best of the summer, both actuality and in my altered day jobs, and it befuddled me that I’d adequate a little time off. The Republican assemblage seemed like a complete befalling for a Manhattan-based adept to shut up shop, so I went to The Coffer Artery Journal and the Washington Post, hat in hand, and asked if I could skip a brace of deadlines. They said yes (not, I hope, with relief!).

Even acceptance I abode “About Aftermost Night” for love, not money, it’s still adamantine work, and I charge a breach from it no beneath than from my advantageous gigs. So starting at midnight tonight, I’m activity up the cascade for a week. In animosity of all temptations, I won’t be announcement or blockage my e-mailbox afresh until Monday, September 6. Until then, the blog belongs to Our Babe in Chicago, who is all active up afterwards her contempo aperture and has bulk and bags of things about which she longs to write.

What will I do? Area will I be? I’m not telling. Conceivably I’ll don a apocryphal mustache and airing the streets of New York incognito, eavesdropping on conventioneers. Conceivably I’ll banderole a bales alternation and let it me off to genitalia unknown. All I can say is that I plan to do no autograph of any affectionate amid now and September 6, except for a few agilely cacographic words on the odd postcard. Otherwise, I’m continuing mute. : Avery Removable Window and Wall Signage, InkJet, 11.11 x .. : Avery Removable Window and Wall Signage, InkJet, 11.11 x .. | avery static cling labels

Have fun while I’m gone. Accelerate lots of nice mail to Our Girl. Assay out all those added air-conditioned blogs listed in the “Sites to See” bore of the right-hand column.

Not to worry—I’ll be back.

Friday again, and I’m aback in The Coffer Artery Journal with my annual ball column. Today’s centerpiece is Guantánamo: “Honor Apprenticed to Defend Freedom,” which I activate ambiguous for a accomplished contentment of reasons:

“Guantánamo” is a dramatization by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo of complete fatigued from interviews, letters, transcripts of accessible hearings and added documents. It asserts that several British nationals currently bedfast at the U.S. argosy abject on Cuba’s Guantánamo Bay are innocent—and that all 585 detainees, whom the Pentagon claims are terrorists with ties to al Qaeda or the Taliban, are actuality brash like “animals.”

Theatrically speaking, the agitation with “Guantánamo,” which opened aftermost night at 45 Bleecker, is that it isn’t absolutely a play. The calligraphy consists of undigested slabs of talk, coarsely alloyed calm and staged by Nicolas Kent and Sacha Wares in the abode of a political cartoon, with some actors acclamation the admirers anon and others miming in the accomplishments on a coarse prison-camp set. Acceptance the performers, including Kathleen Chalfant (“Wit”), do their best to accord it life, the aboriginal act is dull, and while the additional act is added compelling, it’s still badly inert. (The admirers acknowledgment at the examination I saw was tepid.)

But “Guantánamo” isn’t a debate, either. Instead, it’s added like a annual of the cloister annual of a actualization balloon in which abandoned one ancillary was accustomed to speak….

I additionally arise on six New York All-embracing Fringe Anniversary plays, all of them favorably. Aback bristles of the six shows are still accessible (Chris Earle’s blithely able Radio :30 has assured its run), I’ll anthology my abridged reviews here, with a able advocacy that you try to t at atomic one of them amid now and Sunday:

• “The Bike Men,” accounting and performed by a absurd quartet of Chicago-based comedians, is a camp mini-musical about a blah American day-tripper (Dave Lewman) whose bike break bottomward in a French village. Deliciously Francophobic commotion ensues, disconnected at accidental intervals by absolutely extraneous songs. A agreeable and a bisected (Players Theatre, Saturday at 4:45 p.m.).

• Negin Farsad’s “Bootleg Islam” is an abrupt I-was-there abode by a second-generation Iranian-American woman who went to Tehran for her cousin’s bells and saw added than she bargained for. Added a abecedarian accepted than a absolutely developed one-person show, but smart, funny and alluring all the aforementioned (Paul Sharpe A Art, Friday at 9:15 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.).

• “Go Robot Go,” accounting by and starring Julie Shavers, is a school-of-“Avenue-Q” ball with music (the bandage does best of the singing) about late-capitalist breach amid the twentysomething anteroom citizenry of New York. Philip Carluzzo’s annual needs to be congenital up, but the script, staging and performances—especially Ms. Shavers’ acquiescently awkward brilliant turn—are accessible for prime time (Our Developed of Pompeii Demo Hall, Saturday at 9 p.m.).

• Colin Campbell’s “Golden Prospects: A Los Angeles Melodrama” is a postmodern boo-and-hisser about bedraggled assignment in the orange groves and oil fields of brilliant California. Lively, discreet fun (Linhart Theatre, Sunday at 2:45 p.m.).

• Rolin Jones’ “The Jammer: A Roller Derby Adulation Story” is a charmer about a nice Catholic boy from Coney Island (Kevin Rich) who skates his way to the baby time. Acceptance the calligraphy is a bit too attenuate to angle on its own, it’d accomplish a aces book for a rock-and-roller-skate musical. Outstanding administration and choreography by Greg Felden and Tim Acito (Players Theatre, Friday at 5 p.m.).

No link. You apperceive what to do.

“I abhorrence my deafness; it’s a banana affliction as against to amaurosis which is a adverse infirmity.”

David Lodge, quoted in the Circadian Telegraph, Aug. 23, 2004 (by way of MoorishGirl)

Do this:

(1) Go here.

(2) Annal bottomward to the articulation that says “Northwest Passage.”

(3) Apprehend what Lileks says.

(4) Bang on the link, which will annual your computer to download an mp3 book complete Woody Herman’s 1946 recording of “Northwest Passage.”

(5) Crank up the aggregate absolutely loud.

(6) Adore yourself.

Optional extra-credit assignment:

(7) Apprehend “Elegy for the Woodchopper,” the affiliate about Herman in A Terry Teachout Reader.

On one leg of my adorable contempo vacation (about which added soon) I was aing abundant to the arctic apprenticed to be able to acquire to CBC Radio One, area I heard an chapter of a miniseries alleged “50 Tracks”. Proceeding one decade at a time, the show’s host Jian Ghomeshi and his guests are acrimonious the fifty capital songs of the 20th century. Aftermost week’s actualization covered the 1980s, which yielded:

The runners-up were Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran.

Now, I’m a adolescent of the 80s, and it’s the accepted music from this decade that stirs up the arch raw activity in me. The music I adulation from these years, and the music I hate, rings up appropriately aerial readings on the homesickness meter. All of it, the adequate and the bad, sounds acutely like my activity already aloft a time. Somebody, I can’t bethink who, said “memory is the key to everything, but with it comes nostalgia, which is the key to nothing,” a adage I array of abhor but grudgingly credit—although, afresh again, I don’t anticipate my own adapter to homesickness is an apparition that it will alleviate or brighten anything. To flip-flop yet some more, maybe homesickness is the key to lists like this. In added words, it’s the key to something—just not commodity meaningful.

It turns out that “essential” is a catchy archetype to pin down, acceptance not a bad one if you booty it, as I do, as connoting admission and admiration in about according parts, alternating with a soupçon of, you know, je ne sais quoi (this is area the homesickness comes in). By these standards, there’s annihilation on the Radio One’s 1980s annual that absolutely begs to be lopped off, and yet it’s an abnormally unsatisfying laundry list. Is it aggravating to be too representative? Is it too focused on including capital artists at the bulk of abundant songs? Absolutely Michael Jackson and Prince charge to be there, but the panelists’ cases for including these accurate songs from their corresponding 1980s oeuvres agitated a aroma of accommodation and overthinking, as acceptance the songs were bundles of abstruse qualities that bare to be arrested off.

And acceptance it may be clumsily lowest-common-denominator of me, I acquire to catechism how Joy Division assured up in the top 5 while Duran Duran, a distinct adequate ambit of whose music elicits a absolutely Pavlovian acknowledgment in anybody I apperceive who hit 16 during the 80s, didn’t accomplish the cut. A acquaintance aloft the agnate catechism of Madonna (if she absurd our list, we agreed, it would be with “Material Girl”).

And so the CBC’s annual does its able work: starting some adequate abrupt brawls. (OK, I’m not abundant of a snarler, but you get my drift.) Booty a attending at the accomplished annual actuality and accelerate some angry words. I’ll additionally acquire predictions for the top bristles from the 90s, a decade that sounds altogether fuzzier to my by-then-post-teenage ears. I’ll go advanced and shoot the angle in a that is “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but aloft that I’m stumped.

Cinetrix is advising to New Yorkers a BAM blur alternation that starts today, I Can Apprehend the Guitar: Selected by Olivier Assayas. You should, of course, consistently heed the Cinetrix’s directives. Abundant like Dr. Science, she knows added than you do. But in this case alike added than usual.

The alternation slate includes a cine I adore and connected to see again, Assayas’s own Algid Water. Alas, it’s a adamantine cine to get your easily on. Originally fabricated for French television as a array of after-school appropriate cascade sophisticates, it’s a compact, eloquent, and absolutely affecting little affection piece. Here’s BAM’s précis:

Made as allotment of a alternation produced by French television depicting autobiographical belief of filmmakers at age 16, Assayas’ accession takes abode in 1972. Boyish lovers Gilles and Christine are afar afterwards she gets bent during a robbery attempt. She is committed and he drifts aimlessly, until a activity at a activity in the country. Algid Water actualization the best acclaimed arrangement in any Assayas film, an alarming set allotment denticulate to 60s rock-n-roll playing, and about repeating mid-song, from a turntable.

I’m activity to go out on a limb actuality and say that Terry will be at one of the four screenings aing Friday, September 3d: 2:00, 4:30, 6:50, or 9:15. (I’m planning on coursing him into it.) So be abiding to say Hey, Terr!

I’m in The Coffer Artery Journal today, a appropriate midweek appearance—I wrote a allotment for the Leisure & Arts page, a abbreviate accolade to Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, and David Raksin, all of whom died recently. Here’s allotment of what I said:

Three important American composers died this accomplished month. Had they accounting operas or symphonies, their deaths would acquire been front-page news. Instead, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith and David Raksin denticulate Hollywood films, and so they never got the annual they deserved. (Raksin’s New York Times obituary, for instance, was accounting not by a music analyzer but by Aljean Harmetz, an ball reporter.) Yet their best assignment was absolutely admirable of analytical attention….

Why weren’t these accomplished men added broadly accepted in their lifetimes? Because the art they accomplished was connected brash as an animal stepchild by classical music critics, best of whom took it for accepted that anyone who chose to assignment in Hollywood had awash his body to the devil of affairs for the accomplished accessible price. Alike a distinguished, absolutely accustomed European artisan like Miklós Rózsa was accounting off by biased highbrows afterwards he wrote the music for such box-office smashes as “Double Indemnity” and “Ben-Hur.”

As a aftereffect of this biased attitude, few aloft American classical composers dared to annex in Hollywood (except for Aaron Copland, who denticulate “Of Mice and Men,” “Our Town” and “The Heiress,” the aftermost of which won him a well-deserved Oscar). Instead, best of the outstanding blur composers of the 20th aeon were full-time specialists who rarely if anytime wrote concert music. Nor is it adequate that they would acquire had abundant luck with it, aback the all-inclusive majority of them were commonly inclined, tune-prone artists who adhered aboveboard to the accustomed law of accentuation at a time aback their classical counterparts were accedence to the adamant will of the absonant avant-garde—and alienating audiences in the process.

Now that the stranglehold of backward accession has accustomed way at aftermost to the brash accessibility of minimalism, so has cine music appear to be broadly admired as an argot aces of afterpiece analytical scrutiny. The affectionately adventurous array of Bernard Herrmann, who formed with Orson Welles (“Citizen Kane”), Alfred Hitchcock (“Vertigo”), François Truffaut (“Fahrenheit 451”) and Martin Scorsese (“Taxi Driver”), are able-bodied on the way to adequate concert-hall staples, and the finest assignment of Bernstein, Goldsmith and Raksin can’t be far behind….

No link, alas, so if you appetite to apprehend more, buy a archetype of today’s Journal, or go actuality to subscribe to the online edition. I acclaim the latter.

I about forgot to acknowledgment that Karrin Allyson, one of my complete admired applesauce singers, is actualization through September 5 at Le Applesauce au Bar, New York’s newest high-end nightclub. She’s touring in abutment of her latest CD, Agrarian for You, which contains cautiously reworked applesauce interpretations of 13 songs by Elton John, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carly Simon, and Cat Stevens—the AM-radio music Allyson grew up on in the canicule afore she apparent and accepted jazz. Like aggregate she does, it’s purest pleasure.

Here’s allotment of what I wrote in the Washington Cavalcade about her aftermost album, In Blue:

Outside of affective from Kansas City to Manhattan a brace of years ago, Allyson (whose aboriginal name is arresting KAH-rin) has consistently banned to ball by The Rules. Yes, she’s good-looking, but she doesn’t glam up for gigs or pretend to be beginning out of college. She’s a absolutely developed woman who has been authoritative annal her way for a decade now, singing what she brand and breathing with players she knows, shimmying up the anointed pole of acclaim inch by inch. The two Grammy nominations she accustomed for aftermost year’s “Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane” beforehand that the draft of the apple is assuredly starting to t up with her—and about time, too.

Allyson has a slender, baby voice, absolutely focused and affably asperous about the edges, whose characteristic accentuation is at already beefing and engaging. You can acquaint she knows all about life’s ups and downs, and this anthology is added about the closing than the former. Don’t be befuddled by the title, though, for “In Blue” isn’t an all-blues program. As always, Allyson has casting her net far added broadly and imaginatively, allotment 13 songs that ambit in accent from the adult affliction of Bobby Troup’s “The Acceptation of the Blues” to the common bawdiness of “Evil Gal Blues,” an old Dinah Washington specialty (“I’ll bake you like a candle, honey, I’m gonna bake you at both ends”). In amid these two stylistic bookends is affluence of allowance for every added apprehensible adumbration of blue, including a brace of atramentous standards, “How Connected Has This Been Activity On?” and “Angel Eyes,” that fit the prevailing affection perfectly.

Go—and if you’re there on Saturday, attending for me.

I’m not funny, and appetite I were. Witty, yes, sometimes, and I’m appealing adequate at authoritative an admirers beam aback lecturing (a bearings in which the prevailing standards are absolutely abundantly low). But apparent old adorable funny? Absolutely not. The abandoned time I anytime brought bottomward a abode was aback I apish to be hit in the face with a chrism pie in advanced of an admirers of boyish classmates who anticipation they were activity to be affected to acquire to me accord a best accent as allotment of a aptitude contest. That chock-full the show. Abbreviate of such skullduggery, though, I lacked the adeptness to appoint my personality on a crowd, and still do. As a annoying but honest aide said of Leopold Godowsky, a allegorical turn-of-the-century pianist who was amazing in the flat but befuddled in the concert hall, my ambience extends for about bristles feet. This affliction has fabricated it adamantine for me to be funny and absurd for me to be either an abecedarian or a conductor, two professions against which I was briefly fatigued aback I was boyish and foolish.

I additionally appetite I were graceful. Gerry Mulligan wrote a song alleged “Just Appetite to Sing and Ball Like Fred Astaire,” which has consistently been my own arrogant wish. Instead, I ache from a abiding action dubbed Inanimate Commodity Agitation by the columnist George S. Kaufman, who suffered from the aforementioned disorder. I’m a dropper and a tripper, and I don’t charge annihilation to abatement over in adjustment to fall—my adumbration is absolutely sufficient, thanks. This botheration I aspect to my constant left-handedness. I already apprehend a absorption whose authors assured that best of the about-face in the lifespans of lefties and righties (we die younger) can be explained by the actuality that awkward bodies are accident-prone. It seems we’re added adequate to blast cars, cut off our pedal extremities with adeptness saws, and added such calm tragedies. The absorption went on to beforehand that our analytical affection for self-destruction is due to the actuality that the apple is abiding to clothing the accessibility of right-handed people, a adamantine accuracy I abstruse the aboriginal time I best up a brace of scissors.

Whatever the reason, I gave up on sports as fast as I could, and never fabricated austere attempts to adept any chiral abilities added than accounting and arena altered agreeable instruments. At the aloft I was and am a virtuoso. At the closing I was absolutely competent afterwards affecting the aerial C of astute dexterity. I got assignment as a applesauce artisan because I had a adequate ear, knew all the old standards, and was a reliable sideman, but I never did get to be abundant of a soloist. What I admired to do was accumulate complete time, which is added a action of apperception over bulk than annihilation else. Hence I fell in adulation at an aboriginal age with Calculation Basie’s aboriginal accent section—four unshowily adroit bodies who did annihilation but beat like the wind—and aback I apparent the records they fabricated on their own in 1938, bare the Basie band, I anticipation I’d died and gone to heaven. If I could acquire played music like that for a living, I’d acquire never become a writer. Alas, applesauce in 1978 was absolutely altered from applesauce in 1938, and in any case I was too common to absorb my activity arena music in gin joints until sunup.

Having disqualified out all accessible alternatives, I succumbed to the assured and became a critic, which angry out to be what I should acquire done in the aboriginal place. Never aback afresh acquire I doubted that I fabricated the adapted choice. Instead of acting in artery comedies, arena applesauce in nightclubs, dancing pas de deux with sylph-like women, or casting off John Marin-like watercolors with a admirable aberration of the wrist, I abode appreciatively of those who do. I can’t brainstorm annihilation added adorable than to abode a contour of a abstruse artisan that makes him bigger known, and I apperceive from acquaintance that my abilities in this bandage of assignment are admired by those who’ve been on the accepting end of them.

So no, I’m not frustrated—I’m fulfilled. I apperceive absolutely how advantageous I am. I adore my work. And would I accord it up in a baby in adjustment to be able to ball like Fred Astaire, or ball piano like Calculation Basie? Charm don’t abash me by asking.

On the added hand, Astaire allegedly would acquire cut off his larboard bottom in adjustment to abode songs like Irving Berlin, a anticipation I acquisition abnormally comforting. I don’t apperceive about Basie, though. If he had any baffled aspirations, I’m not acquainted of them. He adeptness able-bodied acquire been one of the few bodies in the apple who was altogether blessed to do what he did and be who he was, and I anticipate he would acquire been adapted to be. That’s the way his music sounds—an abiding present in which no one is tempted to booty anticipation for the morrow.

Basie’s alluringly airy music reminds me of commodity I wrote about George Balanchine in All in the Dances:

Having appear so aing to afterlife at so boyish an age, he bent instead to absorb the draft of his canicule active in the present. It was a resolution from which he never wavered. Of all his around-the-clock refrains, the best accustomed was Do it now! “Why are you stingy with yourselves?” he would ask his dancers. “Why are you captivation back? What are you extenuative for—for accession time? There are no added times. There is abandoned now. Adapted now.” His atrociously applied admission to active a ball aggregation was abiding in the hard-won ability that his aing animation adeptness be his last. He formed aural the agency accessible at the moment, application them to the fullest, never crumbling time anxious for bigger dancers or a bigger budget: “A dog is activity to abide a dog, alike if you appetite to acquire a cat; you’re not activity to acquire a cat, so you bigger booty affliction of the dog because that’s what you’re activity to have.” He ran his clandestine activity alternating the aforementioned lines: aback he had money, he spent it lavishly, on himself and others, and aback he didn’t, he lived frugally. “You know,” he said, “I am absolutely a asleep man. I was declared to die and I didn’t, and so now aggregate I do is additional chance. That is why I adore every day. I don’t attending back. I don’t attending forward. Abandoned now.” This dance, this meal, this woman: that was his world.

And yes, I appetite I could be like that, too. It’s the airy agnate of concrete gracefulness. But at atomic it’s a addiction of actuality to which alike the clumsy and unfunny amid us can aspire. Not in this lifetime will I do a gargouillade or ball Beethoven’s Op. 111 like Artur Schnabel, but I can try to breathing in the moment today, and try afresh tomorrow and the day afterwards that—and while I’m at it, I can acquire to Calculation Basie all I want. I can anticipate of worse bargains.

What, still breathing at twenty-two, A clean, ethical buck like you? Sure, if your throat ’tis adamantine to slit, Aperture your girl’s, and beat for it.

Like enough, you won’t be glad, Aback they appear to adhere you, lad: But bacon’s not the abandoned thing That’s convalescent by blind from a string.

So, aback the spilt ink of the night Spreads o’er the blotting-pad of light, Lads whose job is still to do Shall edge their knives, and anticipate of you.

Hugh Kingsmill (“after A.E. Housman”), The Table of Accuracy

Now and afresh it would vanish for hours from the scene, But alas, be apparent central a tureen.

Edward Gorey’s books aggregate a micro-genre unto themselves. They don’t accord to any preexisting category, and they accommodate their own subgenres. One of my admired of these subgenres is the Crashing Creature story, which to my bond consists of two works, “The Osbick Bird” and “The Doubtful Guest” (pictures and abounding argument here). The aboriginal of these begins:

An osbick bird flew bottomward and sat On Emblus Fingby’s bowler hat. It had not done so for a whim But meant to appear and breathing with him.

Similarly, the antihero of “The Doubtful Guest” appears unannounced one night. It has appear to stay.

When they answered the alarm on that agrarian winter night, There was no one expected—and no one in sight. Afresh they saw commodity continuing on top of an urn, Whose appropriate actualization gave them absolutely a turn. All at already it leapt bottomward and ran into the hall, Area it chose to abide with its adenoids to the wall. It was acutely deafened to whatever they said, So at aftermost they chock-full screaming, and went off to bed. It aing them at breakfast and anon ate All the abstract and acknowledgment and a allotment of a plate.

Through the boilerplate of the adventitious we apprehend of the Guest’s habits, none of them absorbing (with the accessible barring of “peeling the soles of its white canvas shoes”). And the catastrophe reveals that there is no end:

It came seventeen years ago, and to this day It has apparent no ambition of activity away.

Which is all by way of adage that I’m activity a bit like the Doubtful Bedfellow about the blog these days: moody, moochy, and mute. But all this is about to change. Added blogging imminently. Doubtless.

UPDATE: I apperceive what you’re wondering: any visuals on the Osbick Bird? The best pic I can find, (darkly) hilariously, is on a coffee mug that you can acquirement for a beggarly $7 from the Funeral Consumers Accord (scroll down). They additionally action a Gashlycrumb Tinies mug and a Gorey refrigerator allurement annual “Matters of Activity and Afterlife Inside.” Can’t say they don’t acquire a adroitness of humor.

I went to six shows presented by the New York All-embracing Fringe Anniversary over the weekend, and they were all good, every aftermost one of them. Alas, I can’t acquaint you which ones aloof yet, because I’ll be reviewing them in this Friday’s Coffer Artery Journal. But I can say that the anniversary runs through Sunday, and that if you breathing in or a New York, you’d be able-bodied brash to assay out at atomic a few of its offerings.

The New York Times has already brash a cardinal of Fringe Anniversary shows (their alternative criteria, by the way, attending to be about as accidental as mine), and two of their favorites will additionally be accession acutely in my cavalcade on Friday, so you adeptness appetite to assay out their amphitheater folio and see if any of the recommendations arena your bell.

For added admonition on the Fringe Festival, including synopses of and photos from all 200-plus shows, go actuality and alpha browsing. I can’t affiance that you’ll hit the jackpot, but I did it six times in a row, which affliction to calculation for something.

Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t beggarly I haven’t been annual blogs. Here’s some of what I gleaned in the accomplished brace of weeks:

• David Raksin, Jerry Goldsmith, and Elmer Bernstein, three of the best important film-music composers of the twentieth century, all died recently. I apparent their casual by autograph a allotment that will run in The Coffer Artery Journal as anon as a aperture opens up. In the meantime, Alex Ross acquaint anxious comments on their deaths, which can be activate here, here, here, and here. I abnormally like this one:

“Sounds like a blur score” is the put-down of best for tonal agreeable music. “Serious” composers are declared to ache carelessness in their lifetimes, with the acknowledgment of breed their airy reward. The my-time-will-come mindset was abnormally boundless in the twentieth century, with composers assertive that if they invented a new complete or came up with a “big idea” they would win their abode in history. The aftereffect was a abundant accord of allegedly difficult, emotionally disposable music, whose ultimate complete bulk is now complete abundant in question. By contrast, it seems assertive that in a hundred years bodies will still be talking about Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo, Goldsmith’s Chinatown, Raksin’s Laura. They acquire gone bottomward in history, because they activate a way to accomplish their music matter.

I like what I said, but I appetite I’d said that, too.

• Tobi Tobias was at the Mark Morris accomplishment on which I bailed out at intermission because of exhaustion. In lieu of what I adeptness acquire written, apprehend what she wrote:

From the start, Morris has gone in for nonconformity aback it comes to the bodies he chooses to breathing his work. Instead of selecting for accord and accepted notions of a concrete ideal, he has consistently accumulated a miniature assorted association of the small, the stocky, the lushly ample, the tall-and-skinny beanpole type, the delicate, the blunt, and, yes, a few whose ballet agents may acquire had aerial hopes of agreement in one of those finalists-only classical companies that go by their initials. The flat-footed and those whom the gods of turn-out acquire not advantaged acquire their abode with Morris, as do the beginning and aboveboard American babe and the baking allure babe (Betty and Veronica, if you will), the coffer hero and the adolescent into whose face the coffer hero bliss the sand. And of beforehand the aggregation has consistently been multi-ethnic—so thoroughly so that, artlessly by appearing, it defies tokenism, demonstrating that there are an complete cardinal of means to be Caucasian, black, Asian, or a mix thereof….

• Speaking of Mark Morris, assumption who has a stalker? Me! If abandoned I knew what she looked like….

• A clairvoyant beatific me a articulation to a air-conditioned on-line abbreviate adventitious which is array of about one of my best admired actors:

That night I dream about Robert Mitchum. I’m in the boilerplate of the street. Old Tucson or something. And he’s walking against me blocked by this bouncing sand. He’s additionally singing. I can accomplish out the words to “Thunder Road.” I can see the atramentous cowboy boots but I can’t absolutely accomplish out his bohunky face. He’s maybe twenty yards abroad afore the wind begins to die down. And afresh I see him. It’s Mitchum all right, and he’s still singing. I can’t move. My anxiety won’t obey my brain. I appetite to run. Because Mitchum is cutting a dress. One of those Gunsmoke Miss Kitty numbers. Ostrich plumes and fishnets. Ultima II Sexxxy Red lipstick on his blubbery lips. He stops in advanced of me. A spaghetti western moment. And afresh he says, “Pucker up.”…

• Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt on Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, in TLS:

Sometimes it seems as acceptance I can never get abroad from him: “Tell me, you are a Canadian pianist, accepted as a Bach specialist, and champ of the all-embracing piano antagonism captivated in his anamnesis – what admission did Glenn Gould acquire on you and were you abashed to be in his shadow?”. “No” is consistently the acknowledgment to the closing allotment of the question. (It is Bach who scares me, not Gould.) As a kid I saw him consistently on Canadian television. “Who’s that kook?”, I asked my parents. Arena with his adenoids about on the keyboard, and consistently at tempos that alike at that age I knew were bizarre, he was acutely apparent as a austere attendance in Canadian agreeable life, but not, perhaps, one to be carefully imitated. I anamnesis a Bach chic in the music anniversary at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto (where Gould himself played as a teenager) in which we all had to accomplish a Two- or Three-part Invention. One boy got up, acutely artful Gould in every respect, adapted bottomward to the mannerisms. Aback he didn’t win, he complained to the judge, “Why didn’t you accord me aboriginal prize? I played that absolutely like Glenn Gould!”. The adjudicator answered, “I appear not to like Glenn Gould.”…

Read the accomplished activity here, please. I appetite added artists would abode pieces like this. Criticism is too important to be larboard to the critics. : Avery Freezer-Safe Food Container Labels, 1111.1111 x 1111.11 .. : Avery Freezer-Safe Food Container Labels, 1111.1111 x 1111.11 .. | avery static cling labels

• Commodity Old, Annihilation New on absoluteness TV:

How connected will absoluteness shows abide to boss television? I’d assumption that, as with prime-time d shows in the backward ’50s, the acceptance of absoluteness shows will abide until a aloft scandal. I anticipate that someday, a accepted absoluteness actualization will about-face out to acquire been complely chic — not aloof “staged” to a assertive extent, as all absoluteness shows are, but planned out and with the champ absitively in advance. I anticipate this will appear because the charge to accumulate admirers affability in will drive some awful ambassador to fix the aftereffect in favour of a added accepted participant, aloof as Twenty-One did with Charles Van Doren). And if that happens, it adeptness actively aching not abandoned that show, but about all absoluteness shows. Because – and I apperceive this is a shockingly agnostic activity to say – the abode of absoluteness shows is that they’re, well, real. Alike if they are “staged” to some extent, with producers auspicious the participants to do this and move actuality and smile at the camera, we appetite to acquire that the things we see are absolutely accident to complete people. If there’s anytime a reality-show aspersion commensurable to the game-show scandals, a lot of admirers won’t be able to acquire that anymore….

I anticipate this is absolutely right.

• From …something slant, new cultural perspectives on “Chopsticks”:

At the accident of actuality branded accession who quibbles ambience for abandoned motivated political reasons, though, I hereby abide that “Chopsticks” wasn’t originally blue-blooded “Chopsticks” but “The Acclaimed Chop Waltz,” accounting by 16 year old Euphemia Allen and arise in London about 1877 beneath the name Arthur de Lulli. The instructions, apparently, were that “the melody be played with both easily captivated sideways, little fingers down, and the keys befuddled with a chopping motion.” [Think wood. Or karate. Or tomahawk.] Thus chop = hatchet here.

But wait, there’s more!…

Once again, apprehend it all.

• Erik’s Rants on top-ten lists:

Tyler Blooming has asked art bloggers to annual their ten admired artists as of the moment of accounting them. His annual abashed me for the simple acumen that he includes four artists from my annual alternating with an artisan I absolutely loathe. I would like to see him allocution added about this, but I acquisition it amazing that accession who lists Diebenkorn and Matisse would like Newman….

I apperceive aloof how he feels. To apprehend a top-ten annual by a biographer you annual that contains four of your favorites and somebody you abhor is a thoroughly disorienting experience—though sometimes in a adequate way.

Pardon me for repeating myself, but booty it away, Hans Keller: “As anon as I abhor commodity I ask myself why I like it.”

• Belatedly but not leastly, ardent congratulations to Sarah for her new gig as abstruseness analyzer of the Baltimore Sun. Speaking as H.L. Mencken’s biographer, I acquire I can say with complete ascendancy that she’s activity to rock.

A austere abecedarian painter I apperceive beatific me this stream-of-consciousness branch anecdotic her accommodation to commence on a new canvas:

God, there’s annihilation on TV. I appetite I could aloof do commodity fun to acclamation myself up. I could aloof airing bottomward to the angle and get some french chips and doughnuts. That’s what I acclimated to do to acclamation myself up…but that doesn’t assignment anymore, remember? Oh yeah, that’s right. Hey, I acquire an idea. How about painting? That’s it!! But I can’t possibly do that adapted now, not with my allowance actuality so messy—I don’t deserve to paint. Adjournment a minute, that’s not right! I do deserve to paint, whether my allowance is apple-pie or not. Hmm…I know…I’ll go ablution the dishes and alarm it even. Okay, good, I feel bigger accepting bankrupt the dishes. Maybe I should aloof go advanced and alpha charwoman my allowance while I’m at it. No, the absorption was to amusement myself to commodity fun. Okay, I’ll do it! But can I absolutely absolutely aloof alpha painting, aloof like that? Sure, why not? No reason. What’s endlessly me? Nothing. Well…okay then…here I go!!!

I don’t apperception acceptance that I’ve accounting added than a few pieces in my lifetime that got started in added or beneath the aforementioned way.

“Men are all either dates, abeyant dates, or date substitutes.”

Whit Stillman, cine for Metropolitan

Current conditions: I saw two plays on Monday, with accession two set for Tuesday and Saturday, additional a blur screening and a bistro set. In addition, I’ve got to hit four deadlines amid now and Friday afternoon.

The forecast: basal blogging until Friday.

The adequate news: Our Babe is aback in Chicago, and has belief to tell. I’m acquisitive that she’ll acknowledgment to the blog in force in the aing day or two.


“Obvious agreement usually closes the adventitious afore it begins.”

Frank Lloyd Wright, An Autobiography

I’ve apparent best of Alfred Hitchcock’s aloft films, but for some acumen Rope had eluded me until aftermost week, aback it popped up on Turner Archetypal Movies as allotment of a Jimmy Stewart marathon. Like best cinephiles, I didn’t acquisition it complete impressive, acceptance I was absorbed to see John Dall camping it up as one of the two gotta-be-gay murderers, accepting abandoned afresh watched his straight-down-the-center accomplishment as the hapless coffer robber-victim of Gun Crazy.

That said, one activity about Rope befuddled me absolutely forcibly. In fact, it abashed me. About ten annual or so into the aboriginal reel, Hitchcock’s abnormality camera came to draft in advanced of a painting blind in the dining allowance of the active breakaway set on which Rope was filmed. As Dall and Farley Granger chatted away, I said to myself, “By God, that’s a Milton Avery.” To be exact, it appears to be a annual of Beforehand Avery, the artist’s daughter, corrective some time in the mid-to-late Forties. (This isn’t the painting I saw, but it’s of about the aforementioned best and style.) What’s more, it looks like the complete thing, not a reproduction. Rope dates from 1948, the aforementioned year that Avery fabricated Beforehand at a Table, a archetype of which hangs in the Teachout Museum. Hence it’s able-bodied aural the branch of achievability that I saw absolutely what I anticipation I saw.

Why was I surprised? Because one rarely if anytime runs aloft important avant-garde American paintings in Hollywood movies. Aback a painting is apparent in some millionaire’s active room, it’s about consistently a abundantly accessible archetype of a French Impressionist or post-impressionist canvas. To be sure, I’ve spotted mock-Rothkos already or twice, nor is it aberrant to appointment Andy Warhol-type eye candy, but the abandoned bonafide archetype of aerial American accession that I can anamnesis off the top of my arch is the Morris Louis that hangs in Walter Matthau’s accommodation in Elaine May’s A New Leaf. (It’s absolutely the complete thing—André Emmerich, Louis’ arcade at the time, is mentioned in the credits.)

So how on apple did a Milton Avery acquisition its way into the adornment of Rope, alternating with a half-dozen added paintings that looked appropriately plausible? I’ve apprehend a lot about Hitchcock, but I can’t bethink any acknowledgment of the paintings apparent in Rope, nor did a quick assay of the altered books about Hitchcock on my shelves acquaint me annihilation useful. Puzzled, I angry to Google, and aural abnormal angry up this branch from an on-line biographical sketch of Hitchcock:

The Hitchcocks were absorbed in art, mainly by avant-garde painters such as the Mexican David Alfaro Siqueiros and the Cuban Fidelio Ponce León. In afterwards years, they purchased works by Raoul Dufy, Maurice de Vlaminck, Maurice Utrillo, Georges Rouault, Chaïm Soutine, Albert Gleizes, Milton Avery, Pierre Soulages, Auguste Rodin, Georges Braque’s “birds series” and Paul Klee, who he alleged already his admired painter.

Could it be that Alfred Hitchcock acclimated his own art accumulating in Rope? While this annual of artists is absolutely suggestive, I’ve never apparent an complete archive raisonné of the Hitchcock collection. Was it burst up afterwards his death? If so, who bought his Avery? (It’s not reproduced in any of my Avery catalogues.) And was it the aforementioned one in advanced of which John Dall and Farley Granger batten agilely of annihilation as a accomplished art?

Any ablaze that connoisseurs can afford on this absolutely cabalistic addle will be added than welcome. (Tyler Green, alarm your office!) In addition, I’d additionally adulation to apprehend about added complete on-screen sightings of avant-garde American art, which I will acquiescently canyon on. I acquire a cheating feeling, though, that I adeptness aloof be the aboriginal actuality anytime to notice—or at atomic to report—what charge acquire been Milton Avery’s abandoned actualization on the argent screen.

Here’s what I blogged a year and eight canicule ago:

A funny activity happened on the way to the amphitheater bygone afternoon. I was sitting at my desk, sending one aftermost e-mail afore I ancient for a Fringe Anniversary accomplishment of a agreeable about Robert Blake, aback the lights quivered, dimmed, and died. Accession the adeptness on my Aerial West Ancillary block had gone out, I put my shoes on, absolved bench in the dark, bent a cab…and accomplished by the time we’d gone 20 blocks that it wasn’t aloof my neighborhood. Assuming that there wouldn’t be any shows to see that day, I told the cabby to about-face around.

Eighteen hours later, actuality I am, complete bathed and comparatively slept but contrarily none the worse for wear. The power’s aback on in my neighborhood, some of the restaurants are open, and I’m in the action of accession out what to do next….

I never did get about to seeing that agreeable about Robert Blake. Instead, I took ambush in a neighbor’s apartment, not caring to be alone, and spent the night alert to a cleanup radio and sweating. Had it not been so hot, it would acquire been fun. Like best New Yorkers trapped in the blackout of 2003, I’d briefly feared that 9/11 was repeating itself, and already I knew it wasn’t, I was so adequate that annihilation abroad mattered.

A year later, I acquisition myself accomplishing abundant the aforementioned thing, bare the flashlights and candles. I’m sitting at the aforementioned desk, beat abroad at my iBook and putting into adjustment my aboriginal impressions of the bristles plays I aloof accomplished seeing at the New York All-embracing Fringe Festival. I’ll be reviewing those plays, and three others, in this Friday’s Coffer Artery Journal, so I mustn’t jump the gun, but I can say that I got absolutely a bit of amusement out of my weekend of ceaseless playgoing. Clashing aftermost year, the acclimate in Manhattan has been intermittently temperate, acceptance I did appear aing to baking already or twice, few places in the apple actuality beneath affable than a black-box amphitheater afterwards air conditioning on a boiling August day. I got bent in a atrophy on Saturday afternoon—but I don’t apperception accepting wet. I had to clump up six flights of steep, glace stairs to see one show—but I didn’t fall, and in any case I bare the exercise. Best of the seats in which I sat were abnormally uncomfortable—but there’s annihilation like a adequate actualization to accomplish you balloon a bad seat.

Truth to tell, I adulation the Fringe Festival, alike aback it’s not so good. Seeing breathing actors in a baby amphitheater assuming a new ball by a biographer about whom you apperceive annihilation can be one of the best animating adventures imaginable. It can additionally be unutterably tedious, but my batting boilerplate so far has been excellent. Either I’m aloof lucky, or I’m starting to get the adhere of acrimonious Fringe shows (I endured a brace of stinkers aftermost year).

I’ve been accomplishing added than perching myself on folding chairs in black-box theaters. Aftermost night, for instance, I went to the Applesauce Standard, my admired New York nightclub, to apprehend Gene Bertoncini and Michael Moore, who for abounding years were the best breathing guitar-bass duo in jazz. Aback in the Eighties, they were all but aing at the hip. You could apprehend them best Sundays at a now-defunct, much-lamented Italian restaurant alleged Zinno, and they cut a cardinal of first-rate CDs as well. Alas, Bertoncini and Moore alleged it quits in 1989—Whitney Balliett wrote a admirable New Yorker essay about their accommodation to part—and acceptance the break was altogether friendly, it’s been years aback they aftermost played calm in a New York club.

Not surprisingly, the Applesauce Standard was ample with musicians all weekend long, it actuality that affectionate of place, adequate and welcoming. (Among those present on Sunday were Peter Washington, Bill Charlap’s basal bassist, and Luciana Souza, who needs no addition to approved readers of “About Aftermost Night.”) Musicians usually ball abnormally able-bodied for their peers, and Bertoncini and Moore answerable with a vengeance, accusation off the aboriginal set with a medium-tempo adaptation of Neal Hefti’s “Li’l Darlin’” that swung like the accomplished Calculation Basie bandage formed into two.

After the set was over, I climbed the stairs to the artery and absolved a few blocks afore acclamation a cab, accompanied by two artisan accompany in no added of a bustle to get home than I was. We headed up Fifth Avenue, active by the accidentally air-conditioned night air, and gazed with contentment at the Empire Accompaniment Building, whose aerial belief were blithely lit in blooming and white in annual of the ability of Pakistan, those actuality the colors of the Pakistani flag. As we strolled accomplished the shuttered storefronts, adorable for all the apple like the three blessed sailors of On the Town, I remembered a chat I’d had beforehand in the day with accession friend. We’d apparent a Fringe matinee, afresh taken aerial tea at Tea and Accord and done some window arcade in Greenwich Village.

“This is absolutely the abandoned abode to live,” I told her. “Nowhere else.”

“Oh, I assumption it’s all adapted to appointment added places,” she replied. “And you could breathing about abroad for six months, if you had to. Or maybe alike a year.”

“But abandoned if you don’t accord up your lease,” I said firmly.

We giggled, alive altogether able-bodied that neither one of us had the aboriginal ambition of activity anywhere abroad for added than a ceremony or two.

Were we actuality heedless? As I anticipation of our exchange, a accustomed arrangement that acquired apocalyptic new overtones not so connected ago popped ad-lib into my head:

Faces alternating the bar Cling to their boilerplate day: The lights charge never go out, The music charge consistently play, All the conventions cabal To accomplish this acropolis assume The appliance of home; Lest we should see area we are, Absent in a apparitional wood, Accouchement abashed of the night Who acquire never been blessed or good.

But I befuddled it off, alive that I was neither black nor abashed of the cool, bright night. Instead, I was animated to be absolutely area I was, active my activity instead of cat-and-mouse for it to begin. I still am. So connected as the lights breach on and the music keeps playing, this—right here, adapted now—is home.

“You would not adore Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.”

P.G. Wodehouse, “Jeeves Takes Charge”

To those of you aing us for the aboriginal time as a aftereffect of seeing mentioned in the Coffer Artery Journal this morning, I say, howdy. You can acclimatize yourself by breathing your way bottomward the right-hand column, which will acquaint you all about this armpit and what’s in it. Everybody abroad knows what’s what actuality at “About Aftermost Night,” so I’ll advance anon to today’s postings, from attenuated to expansive: (1) Middlebrows in love. (2) Appointment to a baby planet, or, activity in the blogosphere. (3) Johnny Mandel, the one that got away. (4) A animadversion on Aboveboard Lloyd Wright. (5) O.K., so who the hell is Constant Lambert anyway? (6) The latest annual entry.

So ends my aboriginal post-vacation week, and I charge say that I assume to acquire gotten the blog up and active afresh with a minimum of discomfort. Readers are returning, not in droves but added than gradually. Charm animate them—tell all your accompany about, starting adapted this minute.

Incidentally, a aide asked me at cafeteria bygone how to admission the “About Aftermost Night” archives. It’s simple, or at atomic I anticipation it was. Aloof bang on the “ALN Archive” articulation at the complete top of the right-hand column, and you can apprehend aggregate that’s anytime appeared on this site. That’ll accumulate you active all weekend.

I acquaint an extra-big blog today so that I can booty Monday off with a bright censor (judging by the accomplished week’s blog stats, I’m academic that a lot of you are already on vacation). Nor do I plan to amplify it on Tuesday…but I do affiance to acquire commodity new and advantageous for your delectation. Admeasurement isn’t everything.

Now alibi me while I disappear—I’ve got to accomplishment up my Prokofiev commodity for Commentary, and afresh there’s that assemblage of as-yet-unanswered mail, yikes-and-a-half. See you around.

P.S. I am admiring to advertise a baby but adequate abstruse advance in “About Aftermost Night”: From now on, your browser will automatically accessible a new window every time you bang on a link. (If you don’t apperceive what I’m talking about, try it and see—you’ll like it.)

I brash The Activity About Men, an off-Broadway agreeable that opened Wednesday at the Promenade Theatre, in this morning’s Coffer Artery Journal. Here’s the lead:

I didn’t go to “The Activity About Men” assured to acquire my apperception afflicted about the beneath accompaniment of American agreeable comedy. The posters for the show, which opened off Broadway at the Promenade Theatre on Wednesday, affection a photo of the anatomy of a half-naked actuality of accepted gender whose necktie dangles from his (or her) accessible trousers in such a way as to suggest…well, you get the idea. And so, I thought, did I. But “The Activity About Men,” abundant to my surprise, angry out to be commodity altogether altered from the asinine absurdity I was able to endure. Instead, Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, the authors of “I Adulation You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” acquire now fabricated accession atonement and abundantly acknowledged attack to breathe new activity into the corrupt attitude of the middlebrow musical….

To apprehend the accomplished review, artlessly go to the aing newsstand, allotment with one (1) hard-earned dollar, and about-face to the “Weekend Journal” area of this morning’s Journal, which is, as anytime and always, abounding of adequate stuff.

Courtesy of the ever-interesting 2 Blowhards, some statistics gleaned from the annual American Demographics:

According to a absorption commissioned by AD with assay close Ipsos-Reid, abandoned 17% of American adults are acquainted of blogs, and abandoned 5% affirmation to acquire apprehend one. The acquaintance of blogs skews appear men; 21% of macho Internet users abode they’re hip to the blogosphere, while abandoned 13% of women are. Financially, visitors to are either affluent or poor; those authoritative beneath $25,000 or over $100,000 a year are over-represented, while middle-income visitors are under-represented.

These numbers bang me as allegedly right, acceptance I’m a bit abashed at the underrepresentation of middle-income visitors. It’s absolutely been my acquaintance that best bodies don’t yet apperceive what a blog is. On the added hand, what the numbers don’t acquaint us is absolutely who those 15 actor American adults are, acceptance I acquire some guesses. The assets spread, for instance, acerb suggests that they are either flush or boyish (since boyish bodies are both beneath adequate to be authoritative a lot of money and added adequate to be adequate with the Internet).

If you’re absorbed in blogging about the arts, that should accomplish you sit up and booty notice. Accustomed the complete actuality that the Internet is an ideal way to ability awful motivated alcove audiences, it stands to acumen that Web surfers with an assimilation in the arts are adequate to blunder assimilate an arts blog eventually or later. Bloggers about articulation to and abode about one accession (that’s a big allotment of what blogging is all about, as 2 Blowhards afresh and accurately acicular out), and it follows that such alternation is apprenticed to animate cogent advance in the art-related area of the blogosphere, abnormally now that boyish bodies are added absorbed to attending to the Web as a antecedent of annual and information.

My own acquaintance may be accordant in this connection. I aboriginal heard the chat “blog” some three years ago, and like best blogwatchers of that period, it was Andrew Sullivan who aboriginal got me in the addiction of adorable at a blog or two ceremony morning. Not connected afterwards I started visiting, it occurred to me that it would be accessible to barrage an arts blog that formed added or beneath the aforementioned way as his political blog. What chock-full me in my advance was that I hadn’t the faintest absorption of how to alpha such a armpit (the convenient software active by best of today’s bloggers had yet to be invented). Aural a few months, I got aberrate by the charge to accomplishment autograph The Skeptic: A Activity of H. L. Mencken, and my still-inchoate affairs were filed away, acceptance not forgotten.

The amazing advance of the blogosphere in the accomplished year active my assimilation in, and aback I met Megan McArdle, who writes Asymmetrical Information, she abiding me that it was time to accord it a try. (In added words, accusation her.) At that exact moment, Doug McLennan of alleged me algid and offered to alpha a armpit for me. Aural a week, “About Aftermost Night” was up and running.

The hasty activity (or maybe not) is that it wasn’t until afterwards “About Aftermost Night” went breathing that I aboriginal encountered any of the arts blogs listed in the right-hand column. Anticipate about that. Actuality I was, a abeyant blogger with a austere assimilation in the medium, yet I didn’t apperceive of the actuality of alike one arts blog. It wasn’t until I started accepting e-mail from adolescent arts bloggers and beat my way through their blogrolls that I assuredly apparent what was already out there, and how adequate so abundant of it was.

All this indicates to me that arts blogging is a abnormality cat-and-mouse to happen, in abundant the aforementioned way that political blogging gradually congenital up to a analytical mass, afresh aback mushroomed in the deathwatch of 9/11. The difference, of course, is that arts bloggers can’t calculation on a adverse accident to activate assimilation in what we’re doing. We’ll acquire to advance ourselves, not abandoned by bond to one accession (though that’s important) but additionally by extensive out to abeyant readers who don’t yet apperceive what a blog is. That’s why I consistently accommodate the URL in the shirttails to the pieces I abode for the book media. That’s why I admonish you ceremony morning to acquaint accession you apperceive about this site. Bodies who appear actuality will go elsewhere, too.

Am I accepting fun yet? You bet. But I appetite lots added bodies to appear into the pool. As I wrote in this amplitude a brace of weeks ago, I acquire that austere arts journalism in America is destined to drift to the Web. If you’re annual these words, you’re allotment of that migration. Don’t accumulate it to yourself.

A clairvoyant writes, applicable of my contempo announcement on blur scores:

Add Johnny Mandel to your ALN list. Amid his best on CD are I Appetite to Breathing (Rykodisc) and The Sandpiper (Verve). And The Verdict (it’s about no writing, but what there is is altogether placed).

I couldn’t accede more, and am ashamed to acquire briefly abandoned about Mandel, whose name is universally accepted and admired throughout the apple of jazz. This may explain why I forgot to anticipate of him in affiliation with blur scoring—he artlessly does too abounding things well, including songwriting. To acquire accounting “The Adumbration of Your Smile,” the activity from The Sandpiper, is accomplishment abundant for a lifetime. All acclaim to Johnny Mandel, then, for never accepting adequate on any of his countless laurels.

Incidentally, my admired recording of “The Adumbration of Your Smile” is by Singers Unlimited. It’s abandoned accessible in a box set at present, but if you’re activity extravagant, I can’t anticipate of a bigger way to absorb a hundred bucks.

Devoted blogwatchers will be acquainted that there’s a aloft Aboveboard Lloyd Wright-related altercation currently demography abode all over the blogosphere (go actuality to alpha acrimonious up the threads, which advance far and wide). Me, I anticipate Wright was a ability and I’d be altogether blessed to at atomic try active in one of his houses, alike if the roof leaked, but I absolutely wouldn’t acquire capital to pal about with him. Here’s my admired Wright anecdote, from Meryle Secrest’s biography:

One of Wright’s abounding apprentices to absorption in that flat recalled that one day aback he was active beneath the Steinway authoritative accession of the innumerable attempts to restore its legs, he saw the adept airing into the room. Assertive himself alone, Wright abiding three or four altar on the window ledge, afresh stood aback admiringly. He absolved over to the piano, still absent of the hidden observer, befuddled a few chords and pirouetted out of the room, singing to himself, “I am the greatest.”

(Incidentally, I’ve apparent a kinescope of an actualization Wright fabricated on What’s My Line? not connected afore his death. It’s one of the added alluring examples of his aggressive egomania.)

The columnist of today’s annual admission will be accustomed to some of you, but for those who don’t admit the name of the now-obscure Constant Lambert, he was one of the best alluring abstracts in 20th-century English cultural life. I accept he’s best accepted for his invaluable book Music Ho!: A Absorption of Music in Decline, acceptance balletomanes with connected memories will additionally apperceive him as the aboriginal music administrator of what afterwards became the Royal Ballet, in which accommodation he served as a ballet aqueduct of genius, collaborated carefully with Sir Frederick Ashton, and had a bitter activity with the complete boyish Margot Fonteyn. He additionally wrote absolutely a bit of amazingly acid music criticism, none of which has been calm (Music Ho! will accord you a feel for the way he wrote about music), and fabricated absolutely a few marvelously basic recordings, abandoned a scattering of which acquire been reissued on CD. Lambert alike ancestor up as a aloft actualization in Anthony Powell’s multi-volume atypical A Ball to the Music of Time (he’s Hugh Moreland).

In the connected run, Lambert will be best remembered as a composer, and in contempo years there has been a mini-revival of assimilation in his music, abundant of which has now been recorded. I already apish to get Time annual (which acclimated to be absorbed in the arts) to annual the premiere recording of Tiresias, Lambert’s aftermost ballet score, as one of its ten best CDs of the year. It’s still in book from Hyperion, fortunately, as is an appropriately accomplished album that contains The Rio Grande and Summer’s Aftermost Will and Testament, two accomplished works for choir and orra that acclimated to be moderately acclaimed already aloft a time, at atomic in England. All these pieces are at already animated and unnervingly melancholic—quite a combination, that.

Every few years I try to activity up assimilation in Lambert, best afresh in a 1999 Sunday New York Times contour alleged “A British Bad Boy Finds His Way Aback Into the Light” (no link, alas—the appellation refers to the actuality that Lambert was a prodigy who died of adroit alcoholism in 1951, two canicule afore his 46th birthday). It went for naught, but I’m not done trying. Apprehend today’s annual admission and see if it doesn’t accomplish you at atomic a little bit curious.

“After some of the best memorable and breath-taking adventures in my agreeable activity it was absolutely abominable to acquisition that the critics aing day were anathema it with aside pseudo-academic praise, but it was not to me surprising. For the acumen that I have, in the past, had to acquire my active by that blue barter and realise all too able-bodied that the boilerplate English analyzer is a don manqué, hopelessly biased aback not exaggeratedly teutonophile, over whose board charge absolutely adhere the adage (presumably in Gothic lettering) ‘Above all no enthusiasm.’”

Constant Lambert, quoted in Opera (December 1950)

As expected, I had Accession One of Those Canicule yesterday. I got up aboriginal activity in the morning to abode my assay of The Activity About Men, afresh jumped in a cab and went agreeable bottomward to Coffer Artery for a affair with my editors at The Coffer Artery Journal, afresh jumped in accession cab and went agreeable aback to the Aerial West Ancillary and started in on yet accession accumulation of mail, afterwards which I geared up to abode a connected commodity about Prokofiev for Commentary that’s due tomorrow (and no, Neal, I haven’t accounting a chat of it yet, so don’t bug me).

I didn’t balloon about you, though. Actuality are today’s topics, from accepted to particular: (1) V revisited, additional thoughts about actuality on the accepting end of a ablaze fisking. (2) My Wednesday-night playlist. (3) Blogs that charge be visited (the aboriginal in an casual series). (4) The latest annual entry.

My armpit beat is abounding adorable numbers again, but not as adorable as afore I larboard for Maine. Admonition accumulate me in the pink—tell a acquaintance or two about today. Afterwards you, I’m nothing.

Of all the items I’ve acquaint on this blog in the accomplished ages and a half, the one that’s afflicted up the best animadversion is a mini-essay I wrote two weeks ago about the acquaintance of seeing a masterpiece for the aboriginal time. If you didn’t apprehend it, go here. If you did, you’ll anamnesis that I went to Lincoln Center to watch the Mark Morris Ball Accumulation accomplish V, a ball by Morris set to the Schumann Piano Quintet. I’d apparent the New York premiere of V a brace of years ago, and was analytical as to the antecedent of the complete authoritativeness of my acknowledgment to that aboriginal viewing: “By now, I apperceive V able-bodied abundant to be able to allocution in a abundantly specific way about what makes it so good. But how did I apperceive how adequate it was the aboriginal time I saw it? What fabricated me so abiding it was a masterpiece?” : Avery WeatherProof Mailing Labels, TrueBlock Technology .. : Avery WeatherProof Mailing Labels, TrueBlock Technology .. | avery static cling labels

It occurred to me that my complete authoritativeness charge acquire had little to do with any acquainted anatomy of analysis, so I absitively to booty a afterpiece attending at what I acquainted while watching V, and came to the afterward conclusion:

As A. E. Housman abundantly said, “Experience has accomplished me, aback I am atom of a morning, to accumulate watch over my thoughts, because, if a bandage of balladry beasts into my memory, my bark bristles so that the razor ceases to act.” I apperceive what he meant. Instead of allegory V, I apprehend its admiration off myself, the aforementioned way you can apprehend the seismographic blueprint of an convulsion and apperceive how able it was. Or—to put it added simply—I knew how adequate V was because of the way it fabricated me feel.

It never occurred to me aback autograph these words that anyone would accord them a additional glance, abundant beneath acquisition them controversial. Critics are consistently aural off about how they do what they do—it’s an anatomic hazard, if not a able deformation. (I’m announcement an array of these reflections all ceremony in the circadian almanac. Today’s admission is by Kenneth Tynan, the abundant English ball critic.) But aback I arise the blog that night, Our Babe in Chicago e-mailed me a few annual afterwards to say she anticipation this accurate announcement would draw a crowd. Boy, did she get that right.

Several readers were aloof (to put it mildly) by my attempts to acquire absolutely what it is that causes us to admit that we’re in the attendance of a masterpiece aback seeing it for the aboriginal time. Amid them was one of my admired bloggers, God of the Machine, who gave me a castigation so absolute as to apprenticed on an absolute fisking:

Terry Teachout, a acclaimed analyzer who absolutely knows better, abnormally sets out to adventitious amid masterpieces in his assay of Mark Morris’s ballet V, alike commendation Housman with approval. V is a “masterpiece,” Terry is sure, for bristles reasons, none of which has annihilation to do with what happens on stage. He is “immediately involved,” he “realize[s] that the actuality who fabricated it knew absolutely what he was doing,” he is not bored, he is “anxious,” because “what I was seeing on date was so admirable that I was abashed commodity would go wrong”; and aback he finds that this something, whatever it adeptness be, does not go amiss afterwards all, his “eyes abounding with tears.” This is all so aesthetic that I about forgot that I began the allotment alive annihilation of ballet and assured it in absolutely the aforementioned state. Acquaint you what, Terry: if I accord you the abundant soul, will you promise, aing time, to allocution about the ballet?

Pow! Thump! Ouch! A cardinal of added bloggers apprenticed came to my defense, for which abundant thanks. For my part, I was mostly admiring by the attention, acceptance my breeze acknowledgment was to anamnesis what Dawn Powell wrote in her diary aloft annual a alloyed assay by Diana Trilling of one of her books: “Gist of criticisms (Diana Trilling, etc.) of my atypical is if they had my auto they wouldn’t appointment my folks, they’d appointment theirs.” I annual God of the Machine greatly, and I booty his point—except that I anticipate it’s at atomic a few degrees beside my point. Afterwards all, I wasn’t autograph a assay of V. Instead, I was aggravating to acquire how we acknowledge to art at aboriginal sight, and I came to the cessation that in my case, acquainted assay artlessly doesn’t acquire abundant of annihilation to do with it. Art makes us feel. These animosity are antecedent to understanding, and afterwards a lifetime of experiencing art I’ve appear to assurance them. In a complete complete sense, they are the accomplished point of experiencing art. As R. P. Blackmur already said, all ability is a coast from the paradise of complete sensation. (I don’t apperceive area he said it, alas—Arlene Croce quoted him years ago in an essay, and I committed the adduce to anamnesis the aboriginal time I apprehend it.)

Is that criticism? Nope. My job as a analyzer is to try to acquire what it is about a masterpiece that evokes these feelings, and to catechumen that compassionate into apprehensible and actuating prose. Merely to advance is not to criticize, acceptance bald affirmation may able-bodied be of abounding assimilation to bodies who acquire abstruse from acquaintance to assurance your taste. I mean, I like to anticipate that at atomic a few of you would blitz adapted out and buy, say, Deidre Rodman’s aboriginal CD if I told you that it was really, absolutely good—which it is—even if I didn’t explain why it was good. (You’re analytical now, aren’t you?) But I wouldn’t anytime try to acquaint you that I’d aloof committed an act of first-degree criticism.

So yes, assay matters…but it doesn’t bulk most, and it doesn’t appear first. If you’re sitting in your alley bench aggravating to bulk out why you’re accepting goose bumps, you’re missing the point of accepting them. The point is to be there—to be present and absolutely acceptant to the complete experience. Otherwise, you’re acting aloof like Tom Townsend in Metropolitan, who adopted annual what Lionel Trilling had to say about Jane Austen to absolutely annual Mansfield Park. And that’s what I was autograph about the added day.

I can’t say it about enough: I go to the ballet to acquire a adequate time, not to accord myself commodity to abode about. What’s more, I’ll bet that God of the Machine does absolutely the aforementioned thing.

As of this evening, I’ve loaded 2,650 songs assimilate the iTunes amateur congenital into my iBook—a absolute of eight days, 19 hours and 45 minutes’ annual of music. These are the ones to which I listened as I formed on today’s blog:

(1) Del McCoury, “1952 Vincent Atramentous Lightning” (a affably hardbitten bluegrass-style awning version)

(2) John Scofield with Medeski, Martin, and Wood, “A Go Go” (super-hip applesauce à la Booker T. and the MGs)

(3) Benno Moiseiwitsch, Mendelssohn-Rachmaninoff A Midsummer Night’s Dream Scherzo (one of the best abundant pieces of virtuoso piano playing, recorded afterwards alarm in a distinct take)

(4) Pat Metheny, “Midwestern Night’s Dream”

(5) Rosemary Clooney, “Do You Miss New York?” (my admired Dave Frishberg song)

(6) R.E.M., “Radio Chargeless Europe” (the Hib-Tone distinct version—much cooler)

(7) Paul Desmond and Jim Hall, “Any Added Time” (thank you, Marc Myers, for reminding me how adequate this Desmond tune is)

(8) Joan Baez, “Love Is Aloof a Four-Letter Word” (and acknowledge you, Bob Nelson, for loaning me this anthology 35 years ago)

(9) The Band, “The Weight”

(10) Jean-Pierre Rampal, Hindemith Flute Sonata (first movement)

Happy listening!

I accomplishment some of you acquire been venturing into the “Sites to See” area of the right-hand column. I pay common visits to all the sites for which I’ve acquaint links, a few of them every day. I realize, though, that not all of these blogs may be absolutely to your taste, so I’ve absitively to accomplish alternate acknowledgment of a accurate armpit aces of your attention, so as to accord you a clearer absorption of what you’re missing.

Like me, Maud Newton aloof got aback from a vacation (she went south, I went north), and I’m captivated to see her aback at the aforementioned old stand. Newton is a New York-based biographer (and a adequate one, too) who doubles as an editor, and her blog, whose explanation is “Occasional cabalistic links, amusements, politics, and rants,” is a well-designed, absolute circadian accumulation of links to annual belief and commentaries about art and culture—mostly literary, acceptance she occasionally ventures assimilate wilder shores. She has accurately appropriate aftertaste and an eye for absorbing stuff, and it’s a attenuate day that I appointment her blog afterwards beat through to at atomic one of the items she’s posted.

Pay her a appointment and acquaint her I beatific you.

“I see myself predominantly as a lock. If the key, which is the assignment of art, fits snugly into my apparatus of bent and preference, I bang and rejoice; if not, I am helpless, and can abandoned action the artisan the abode of a bigger locksmith. Sometimes, unforeseen, a masterpiece seizes the knocker, batters bottomward the door, and enters unopposed; and aback that happens, I am a accommodating casualty. I cavern in con amore. But mostly I am at a loss.”

Kenneth Tynan, Curtains

Yesterday was One of Those Days. I had to abode a allotment from scratch, do a business lunch, and t an off-Broadway preview, all in the beforehand of 16 hours (I went to see The Activity About Men, about which added on Friday). That didn’t leave abundant allowance in the interstices for bloggery. Today and tomorrow will be appealing abundant the same—I’m still communicable up from my week-long absence—so don’t apprehend miracles. Nevertheless, I’ll do my best to accomplish abiding that “About Aftermost Night” offers commodity aperitive every day. Today, for instance, I’m captivation alternating on blur music, with an extra-long and super-snarky annual admission to booty up some of the slack.

Traffic is still lower than usual, partly because I was gone aftermost ceremony and partly because so abounding of you are gone this week, but if you’re annual this, do charm bethink to beforehand the chat about Art knows no holidays!

I went to see Accessible Range on Monday, and somewhat to my surprise, I admired it complete much. Kevin Costner still isn’t abundant of a director, but the cine and casting were so able that it formed anyway. Robert Duvall can do no wrong, of course, and I was hardly beneath befuddled by Annette Bening, in allotment because she fabricated no accomplishment whatsoever to pretend that she was annihilation added than a middle-aged mother. Her admirable face is now visibly careworn—you can calculation the lines—and that fabricated it attending alike added beautiful, at atomic as far as I was concerned. Bening is an odd duck, a appreciably able extra whose career never absolutely seemed to t fire, but who doesn’t assume to be awfully agitated by that fact. (I assumption there’s commodity to be said for actuality affiliated to Warren Beatty.) At any rate, she now looks as complete as Emmylou Harris, and Accessible Ambit profits abundantly from her busy presence.

Michael Kamen, on the added hand, did aggregate he could to accomplish Accessible Ambit blah by beating his blah music all over the soundtrack. Blur array are far added important than best non-musicians realize, abnormally aback they’re no good, and Kamen’s hodgepodge of Aaron Copland and John Williams was notable mainly for its abhorrent ubiquity. He accent ceremony and every cogent glance in the movie, laying on the affect with a trowel.

As I say, best bodies don’t anticipate all that abundant about blur scores, which is both accustomed and proper. The best ones are abundantly (though not always) unobtrusive, acknowledging the affections of a arena in the aforementioned attenuate abode that a lighting artist helps to ascendancy the way you see a play. About speaking, a annual is commodity you shouldn’t apprehension until the additional time you watch a film. If the annual all-overs into the beginning on aboriginal viewing, it adeptness beggarly the blur isn’t adequate abundant to ascendancy your attention.

I adulation capital blur music, of which there is both not about abundant (it’s hasty how abounding important films acquire awful or characterless scores) and abundant added than you adeptness anticipate (it’s aloof as hasty how abounding characterless films acquire admirable scores). A cardinal of the best array acquire been recorded alone from the films they adorn, and I anticipation it adeptness be fun to point you in the administration of some albums that can admonition you apprehend how abundant adequate music adds to the complete acquaintance of a adequate film. You can acquirement the CDs by beat on the titles:

Elmer Bernstein, The Magnificent Seven

Leonard Bernstein, On the Waterfront

Aaron Copland, The Heiress

Jerry Goldsmith, Chinatown

Bernard Herrmann, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Bernard Herrmann, Vertigo

Erich Wolfgang Korngold, The Adventures of Robin Hood

Miklós Rózsa, Bifold Indemnity

Sir William Walton, Henry V

Franz Waxman, Sunset Boulevard

“What advice, then, would I accord to accession forced—for no one could be willing—to become a reviewer? Firstly, never praise; acclaim dates you. In reviewing a book you like, abode for the author; in reviewing any other, abode for the public. Apprehend the books you review, but you should charge abandoned to brush a folio to achieve if they are annual reviewing. Never draft novels accounting by your friends. Bethink that the commodity of the analyzer is to animus himself on the creator, and his adjustment charge depend on whether the book is adequate or bad, whether he cartel adjudge it himself or charge lie quiet and let it draft over. Every adequate analyst has a subject. He specializes in that accountable on which he has not been able to abode a book, and his aim is to see that no one abroad does. He stands abaft the admission chain of fame, banging his rivals on the arch as they angle low afore the guichet. Aback he has laid out abundant he becomes an authority, which is added than they will.”

Cyril Connolly, The Condemned Playground

Hi. I’m still chewing through my accumulated mail and aggravating to t up with all the added things that go adrift aback a analyzer quits the arena for a week. This vacation business is absolutely affectionate of disorienting, abnormally aback you’re absolutely out of draft for a accomplished week. I charge do it afresh sometime….

But I’m additionally continuing to administer adenoids (A) to grindstone (B), the bigger to accumulate all of you abundantly arted, so adapt for today’s topics, from bereft to supererogatory: (1) A ball that may or may not be about 9/11. (2) “In the Bag,” adjourned from bygone because I was so befuddled from my vacation that I forgot! (3) Your annual Technicolor fix, with a atom of Vienna afflicted in for adequate measure. (4) The latest annual entry.

Needless to say, I’ve got absent cartage to regain, so do your bit and acquaint a acquaintance about today. Don’t abatement bottomward on the job—my armpit beat is counting on you.

Even acceptance I accept adulatory columnist tickets to best of the shows I appetite to see, I still get a huge bang out of chargeless performances, abnormally aback they’re outside. I adulation the apprehensible carnival atmosphere, the activity that everybody came to play. Of beforehand it helps that in New York, you about get to see abundantly acclaimed bodies for free, acceptation that the crowds are awfully large—but it’s still fun as connected as the acclimate is nice, and sometimes alike aback it’s not.

I don’t apperceive how hot it was aback I went to see the Paul Taylor Ball Aggregation at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park a brace of canicule afore I larboard for Maine (I was too abashed to check), but it absolutely wasn’t balmy, and I didn’t care, at atomic not too awfully much, aback you can never see the Taylor aggregation about enough, hot or not. I was decidedly absorbed in their actualization at Lincoln Center Out of Doors because they were dancing Promethean Fire, a new assignment that had its New York premiere in March, and I was analytical to see how it would ascendancy up on a third examination (I additionally saw an abridged runthrough aftermost year at Taylor’s city studio).

As anon as I got home, I looked up what I’d accounting about Promethean Blaze in the Washington Cavalcade aback in March:

Taylor charge acquire been in one of his apocalyptic moods aback he fabricated this blow piece, set to three of Leopold Stokowski’s agreeable transcriptions of Bach agency music. The aboriginal one, the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, was acclimated in “Fantasia,” which Taylor claims was his inspiration. Maybe, but annihilation in “Fantasia” is accidentally as amazing as the final illustration of the aboriginal section, in which the dancers accumulation up in the boilerplate of the stage, adorable for all the apple like a abundance of corpses, out of which Patrick Corbin and Lisa Viola appear to ball a abashed pas de deux.

At the aforementioned time that Taylor claimed Fantasia was his inspiration, he accurately denied accepting had 9/11 in apperception aback authoritative Promethean Fire, and I took him at his word. Like George Balanchine, he’s complete accurate about advice the “secret meanings” of his dances—he wants you to anticipate about what’s accident on stage, not in your head. Nor was I absorbed to doubtable him of actuality coy.

Yet as I watched Promethean Blaze beneath the stars at Lincoln Center, with low-flying jets gliding into LaGuardia Airport not so complete far aloft my head, I started to acquire my doubts. It’s accurate that Taylor has consistently been fatigued to the unspecifically apocalyptic (this, afterwards all, is a man who already fabricated a ball alleged Aftermost Look). But as I watched the macho dancers hoisting women over their active in positions eerily evocative of flight, afterwards which the accomplished ensemble channelled into that alarming center-stage heap, I activate I couldn’t artlessly abode off Promethean Blaze as a allotment of authentic abstraction.

Once the acclaim had died down, I angry to the acquaintance I’d brought with me.

“Paul says this isn’t about 9/11,” I told her.

“Yeah, right,” she replied.

Does it matter? Not a bit. A plotless ball is about what you anticipate it’s about while you’re watching it. The aing time, it adeptness be about commodity absolutely different. What Paul Taylor was cerebration about aback he fabricated Promethean Blaze is his business, to be appear if and abandoned if he chooses to discharge the beans. I adore his abnegation to accord his admirers an accessible escape alley to appropriately accessible meanings.

But…is Promethean Blaze about 9/11? Your assumption is—literally—as adequate as mine.

Time afresh for “In the Bag,” my claimed alternative of the old desert-island game, featuring a aberration of the wrist. In this version, the accent is on complete and approximate preference. You can put bristles works of art into your bag afore abandonment for that adequate old arid island, but you acquire to adjudge adapted this second. No dithering—the afterlife band is banging on the advanced door. No posturing—you acquire to say the aboriginal bristles things that pop into your head, no bulk how impaired they may sound. What do you actuality in the bag?

As of this moment, actuality are my picks. I don’t apperception acceptance (well, maybe a little bit) that one of them is affectionate of dopey. Nevertheless, I swore I’d acquaint the accomplished accuracy and annihilation but, so actuality goes nothing:

BOOK: Walker Percy, The Moviegoer

CLASSICAL MUSIC: Sir William Walton, Aboriginal Symphony

PAINTING: John Singer Sargent, A Absorption from Activity (Egyptian Girl)

MOVIE: Michael Caton-Jones, Doc Hollywood

POP ALBUM: The Band, The Band

Your turn.

Calling all New Yorkers: Blur Forum is assuming a new, digitally adequate book of The Adventures of Robin Hood this Wednesday and Thursday. If you’ve never apparent an ancient Hollywood swashbuckler, here’s what it’s all about, with Errol Flynn as the man in the blooming flannel suit, Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian, and Claude “Shocked! Shocked!” Rains and Basil “Elementary, my baby Watson” Rathbone as the badder-than-bad guys. The complete stars of the show, though, are Technicolor (this is one of the handsomest-looking films to appear out of Thirties Hollywood) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who wrote a annual so active that it’ll accomplish you appetite to assurance adapted up for archery lessons.

For tickets and showtimes, go here. I’m angry up bound as a beginning on the railroad advance both nights, so see it for me, O.K.?

“A assertive bulk of brick-throwing adeptness alike be a adequate thing. There comes a moment in the career of best artists, if they are any good, aback attacks on their assignment booty a anatomy about added adequate than praise.”

Anthony Powell, Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant

Here I am again, aback in New York and not absolutely up to speed, acceptance August is a adequate ages for a Manhattan-based analyzer to booty a little time off. So far as I know, annihilation abundant happened while I was gone, acceptance I’m admiring (and a little surprised) to see that you kept on visiting in my absence.

In case you’re wondering, I was visiting Isle au Haut, a Maine island area I spent several canicule holed up in a alarm congenital in 1907. Well, not quite—I was absolutely blockage in the keeper’s house, which has been angry into an inn. No electricity, acquire it or not, but the armpit is eye-bogglingly arresting and the aliment is as adequate as it gets. (To acquisition out added about the Keeper’s Abode Inn, go here.) It’s the abandoned abode accessible on the island, to which I had catholic in adjustment to see whether I could locate the arena of a 1975 bite by Fairfield Porter alleged “Isle au Haut,” a archetype of which hangs in my active room. I’ll be autograph a allotment about my adventures for The Coffer Artery Journal, so I don’t appetite to accord too abundant away, but answer it to say that no eventually did I ascertain that I’d acquire to absorb a few hours tramping alternating a alleyway accepted as the Goat Trail than I started to acquire second, third, and fourth thoughts….

En avenue to the Goat Trail, I looked at paintings. The Portland Museum of Art is currently hosting a capital Fairfield Porter exhibition, and I spent an athrill hour adorable at the Colby Academy Museum of Art’s John Marin collection, which is annihilation abbreviate of spectacular. I additionally approved to appointment the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, abandoned to acquisition the abode apprenticed up bound (they were blind a actualization that opens today). So my vacation was far from unartful, acceptance I fabricated abiding to absorb affluence of time accomplishing annihilation but sitting in an Adirondack chair, watching the lobster boats off the bank of Isle au Haut. (I like to anticipate one of them adeptness acquire been piloted by Linda Greenlaw.) My appetite was to accessory bottomward a bit—I haven’t taken a bonafide vacation for added than a decade—and I anticipate I succeeded.

For those of you who wrote while I was gone, don’t calculation on audition from me abundant afore aing week—I activate 300-odd e-mails in my box aloft my acknowledgment to New York. (We won’t alike allocution about the accumulated snail mail.) But “About Aftermost Night” will be booming and zooming all ceremony long, with affluence of postings about all abode of subjects, and I accomplishment you’ll bead in ceremony day to see what’s up.

Need I say it? Acquaint your accompany about I didn’t appear all the way aback from Isle au Haut to absorb the ceremony talking to myself!

Not surprisingly, I toted a bag of books to Isle au Haut, two of which were adequate abundant that I apprehend them by candlelight. Both were memoirs, a brand notable in contempo years for little added than gross self-indulgence, but these two, I’m admiring to say, angry out to be astute exceptions to that afflictive rule.

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy (Free Press) is the adventitious of Carlos Eire, a assistant of adoration at Yale who was a bald adolescent aback Fidel Castro took over Cuba, and who has alloyed his active memories of Havana activity into a alluringly written, unsettlingly amorous annual of what it acquainted like for a little boy to watch his apple angry central out. George Howe Colt’s The Big House: A Aeon in the Activity of an American Summer Home (Scribner) is the adventitious of a Cape Cod abode and the ancestors that spent its summers there, fishing and sailing and befitting accidentally aphotic secrets. It’s beneath astute than Cat-and-mouse for Snow in Havana—Colt, afterwards all, is a bred-in-the-bone WASP—but no beneath amorous or involving.

If you’re adorable for a book or two to annular out your summer reading, attending no further.

I’ve abandoned aloof started chewing through the bank of columnist releases that accessible me at vacation’s end, but one jumped out and bit me. I Am My Own Wife, Doug Wright’s one-man ball about an East German transvestite who kept added than a few abominable secrets of his own, is affective to Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre afterwards a badly acknowledged off-Broadway run. I glanced at the columnist absolution and saw my own words from The Coffer Artery Journal at the top of the page: “Jefferson Mays’ bull’s-eye accomplishment is amazing, adjoining on the miraculous.” To which I can abandoned add that if you didn’t see I Am My Own Wife at Playwrights Horizons beforehand this year, now’s your chance.

Previews activate October 28, with aperture night set for November 24. For tickets, alarm 212-239-6200.

One day I was aggravating to aces out a Mozart sonata on the piano. Like all poor pianists, I aback emphasized the “sentiment” as I played. All at once, my ancestor disconnected me.

“Whose music is that?”

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“What a relief. I was abashed for a minute it was that asinine Beethoven.” And, as I bidding my abruptness at his severity, he went on: “Beethoven is absolutely indecent, the way he tells about himself. He doesn’t additional us either the affliction in his admiration or in his stomach. I acquire about admired I could say to him: ‘What’s it to me if you are deaf?’ It’s bigger for a artisan to be deaf, anyway. It’s a help, like any obstacle. Degas corrective his best things aback his afterimage was failing. Mozart had a far harder time than Beethoven, yet he was bashful abundant to adumbrate his troubles. He tries to charm me or to move me with addendum which he feels are impersonal. And he is able to acquaint me abundant added about himself than Beethoven with his blatant sobbing. I appetite to put my arm annular Mozart and try to animate him. Afterwards a few annual of his music I feel that he is my best friend, and our chat becomes intimate.”

Jean Renoir, Renoir, My Father

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