Critics Award of the Day (CAD): Alex Ross on Philip Glass

OMG. A. Ro. is for real. Check out his “endless” article on Philip Glass in this week’s New Yorker. (We know it’s been out for a few day’s now.)

He’s pretty fair in his assessment of Glass’ repetitatious (we just made up that word) music, which was awesome in The Hours, not so awesome in Notes on a Scandal, is great in those Amex commericials (we think that’s him), and is so often boring live.

But Ross gives this keen observation about the opening seconds of experiencing a new Philip Glass offering:

To encounter a new Glass work these days is to pass through a familiar sequence of emotions. More often than not, you start with a disappointed sense of déjà vu: a rapid onset of churning arpeggios and chugging minor-key progressions dashes any hope that the composer may have struck off in a startling new direction.

OMG. Alex, when are you going to spend some time with C.C.? You’re like a super genius and we could totally be best friends. And maybe more. Who knows. We’re open to getting to know you is all we’re saying. Maybe it could start as simple as a coffee in a public place some Saturday afternoon. Then, you know, if the chemistry is there and we feel like taking things to the next level, we can negotiate that. You should know, however, that we sleep on the right side of the bed and we’re allergic to cats. Just an FYI.

To Do: John Jasperse @ BAM

jasperse190.jpgCheck out Roslyn Sulcas’ sweet preview of John Jasperse‘s new work, “Misuse liable to prosecution.” Then go see the show tonight at BAM.  (We’ve heard there’s still plenty of availability.)

It sounds like the dance is going to be an exercise in economic transparency:

“…in the opening section of “Misuse liable to prosecution,” a title that refers to a warning on milk crates, Mr. Jasperse flatly recites a list of numbers that eloquently point up the bizarre discrepancies between his reputation and his realities.

Revealing such information is a concept so antithetical to our population’s latest get-rich-quick frenzy, which requires a good amount of deception and is fueled so much by tabloid media and celebrity aesthetics: celebrity equals rich; rich equals celebrity; with no room in between.

Sounds like a gamble for Jasperse and for BAM.  We can’t wait to see it.

( Photo by Andrea Mohin for The New York Times)

Magic, and Muddle, in The Magic Flute

Opera Review: Julie Taymor’s “Die Zauberflöte” at The Met

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(Photos by Beatriz Schiller)

It is hard to tell that The Metropolitan Opera’s fantastical production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (originally created in 2004) is produced by the same person who directed 1999’s Titus, the wildly visionary and intelligently sleek cinematic adaptation of Shakespear’s earliest tragedy. This Magic Flute is more easily relatable to the director–this same director–that has most recently produced a horribly psychadellic film about absolutely nothing but that is based on a jukebox from The Beatles’ archives, also known as, Across The Universe. It seems that Julie Taymor–also known for Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway, a huge success, and from what I’ve heard, an experience to behold–seems to be hankering for an overdose of whimsy in lieu style and reserve, a predilection that often disserves this complex opera. Continue reading

N. Korea Wants Visitation Rights

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Terry Teachout, in a paranoid editorial published by the Water Sports Wall Street Journal Online, advises against the NY Phil’s proposed performance in North Korea. He basically doesn’t want the Philharmonic to dance like monkeys in front of Kim Jong Il, especially considering that most of the N. Korean population is barred from even entering the capital city Pyongyang, where the concert is to be held.

Gregg Sandow provides counter commentary on his Arts Journal blog.

You know, C.C. is kind of like, a little diplomacy could go a long way. And the arts shouldn’t really be tossed around like kids caught in the middle of a nasty divorce. If the kids want to go over to mommy’s, we say let ‘em. Just make sure we get ‘em back.

The Glory of Sport, And the Unexpected Beauty of its Contenders

Dance Review: David Neumann’s feedforward at DTW

If there is an argument in the dance world that pits those who believe dance need only to be aesthetically beautiful in a simple, if contemporary manner against those who desire a more intelligent investigation of movement as art, David Neumann’s feedward, a deeply felt meditation on athletics and the human condition now in its second of a two week run at Dance Theater Workshop, will provide the latter group with solid evidence that theirs is not only the high road, but it is a road no less beautiful, and rife with meaning. Continue reading

Classical Audiences Don’t Think They Can Dance

So, the verdict is in, and Times readers have reasserted stasis as the preferred concert etiquette. As if that needed to be reinforced.

Here’s what our letter would have said, you know, had we been motivated enough to write one.

Dear Oh Great Editor At The Times:

Daniel J. Levitin is totally right. And hot. He’s hot and right.

We should totally get to dance at classical concerts. First of all, it would help prevent my butt cheeks from falling asleep. Continue reading

DUmb Critic Hack Award: Rothstein on Dumbledor

summerseve21.jpgWe really don’t care about Harry Potter here (unless it’s naked pictures of Daniel Radcliffe), but The Times has decided to drag us into this crappy Dumbledor being gay controversy by running Edward Rothstein’s retarded editorial. And we’re giving him a mega douche, even though he isn’t reviewing anything, as much as he’s just making an argument that doesn’t need to be made.

Listen. If J.K. Rowling says he’s gay, he’s gay. Deal. What is most important to realize is that everyone assumed he was straight. Just like we assume all characters, real or imagined, to be straight, unless proven gay/guilty. Continue reading

I Went To “Macbeth” At The Met And All I Got Was This Lousy Review

Opera Review: Macbeth at the Metropolitan Opera

(Photos by Ken Howard; doctoring by C.C.)

It cannot be that difficult to stage a good opera. I’m not talking about that rare, blow-your-mind, if-only-you-had-been-lucky-enough-to-see production that comes around every so often. guleghina_and_lucic_in_macbeth_cc.jpg(I count The Met’s Jenufa of a few years back, starring Karita Matilla, as one of those.) I’m just talking about a no-fuss, straight forward rendition of an opera that should really take care of itself. It’s not that hard. So why then, should the The Metropolitan Opera, with the vast resources it has, be unable to come up with a watchable version of Verdi’s Macbeth? This, The Met’s second touted “new production” of the season, is encumbered by so many problems, that it should be scrapped altogether. I would recommend to the Met execs to forget about the production–I mean, pretend it never happened–but that would inhibit them from learning from their mistakes. And this Macbeth–directed forcibly by Adrian Noble–is a huge one. Continue reading

That’s What WE Said

A dear friend forwarded us this hot piece by NYT Op-Ed contributor and author of This Is Your Brain on Music, Daniel J. Levitin. It’s about the need to move to music, even if it’s at a crusty old chamber music concert.

C.C. is like, totally down with that. I think we said something along the same lines here, and here.

“Against Appreciation” will probably be the title of our genius essay on the subject. But in the mean time, you can talk amongst yourselves.

Critics Award of the Day (CAD): Kelefa Sanneh on The Shins

Kelefa Sanneh pulls down his first CADDY with this blithe little muse about the bittersweet, caramely goodness that is the music of The Shins, in his Times review of their concert at Terminal 5:

“New Slang” was the band’s breakthrough hit; it’s the one that was supposed to change Zach Braff’s life in the film “Garden State.” But the chorus is de-emphasized (the title comes from the second verse), and the best-known part is probably the wordless melody at the beginning and end. Maybe that’s why no one seems to be sick of it years later; it’s hard to get sick of a sigh.

Hhhmm…yeah…I suppose it is…

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