Maybe (this dance will last) Forever

Cynical Dance Review Written In Internal Commentary: Meg Stuart/Philipp Gehmacher “Maybe Forever” @ DTW

Hmm, interesting…

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Notes On A Vanguard: Video Art From France

Images of Alienation: Chez Bushwick Presents Video Art from France

The latest essay I’ve contributed to Chez Bushwick’s new blog, Notes On A Vanguard, hosted on Doug Fox’s Great Dance.

Maazel Takes Wagner For A Ride

Opera Review: Lorin Maazel’s “Die Walküre” at The Met

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If you studied music, watching a Wagner opera is a bit like standing outside a movie premier: you crane your neck in anticipation of the celebrities you know will be strutting down the red carpet. In the case of Die Walküre, which wraps up its well-praised run at The Met next month, you anticipate the celebrity moments; the sword in the tree, “The Ride of the Valkyries” theme (from “Platoon,” among other pop places), and the demi-god-warrior-daughter-Brünhilde-upon-the-mountain-top sequence, not to mention every glorious time the brass sound the “Valhalla” leitmotiv. They’ve all come out, and your grin just gets wider with each one you hear.

But the draw can end there, at amusement, being just as falsely nourishing as a celebrity sighting—you got the thrill of seeing them, but did it really make the condition of your life that much more meaningful?—unless the production is capable of realizing that larger-than-life magic Wagner emphatically, if annoyingly planned his operas to achieve. Last night’s production seesawed between blockbuster and bomb, and the performances between bombshell and bore. Continue reading

Atonality as Alternative

The following is the text of a comment I posted on Greg Sandow’s ArtsJournal blog. It is the third and final comment I left in a thread of conversation dealing with the issue of how to bring young audiences into classical music.

My comments here resonate with a lot of the criticism I’ve been writing on this site, particularly as it concerns critic’s prescriptions for contemporary music.

Hi Greg-

Let me say that I very much appreciate this conversation, as the deeper we get into it, the more I am coming to understand what is at the heart of my hesitation toward today’s “classical music solutions,” so to speak, which, to me, are dangerously falling into a single trend.

It seems that these solutions invariably favor TONAL MUSIC. I’m using the word “tonal” in a broad sense; I would consider middle eastern music, even with its microtonal inflections, as music of the tonal variety, as would I consider most pop music to be of the same category; every pop song in the world, even of the noise kind, has some kind of tonic or gravity to a fundamental bass tone, or at the very least, uses diatonic chord progressions as the basis for composition. Humans like tonality: it is fundamentally natural, and strikes the human ear, and heart, in innumerable ways. Bon.

But there is no popular idiom that has fully embraced pure atonality, which leads me to believe that atonality, rather than being a state of tonal affairs that occurs along a logical, historical progression/continuum of aesthetic events, presumably leading to a new development beyond it, is something quite different altogether. Continue reading

Sandowlicious

Yo yo. Check out the chatter over at Greg Sandow’s ArtsJournal blog.

In this post, Greg proposes solutions to the problem of how to bring young audiences into classical music. C.C. got her panties twisted and played a little devil’s advocate.

Then Greg spins off our conversation into a new thread: costs of classical music vs. pop.

These are both conversations that are very timely and concern anyone whose art/life is affected by music–that includes you too, dance community! So check it out.

P.S.

I’m going to post the text of one of my comments in its entirety in the following post.

Critics Award of the Day (CAD): L. Ro., for calling shit out

balletsets.jpgOMG. How hot is this!?

C.C. BFF and NYT dance critic, Claudia La Rocco, just sent a giant spit-ball hurling toward the ballet universe. Basically, she’s like, WTF is with ballet and old crappy sets from the sixties? We totally agree.

Christopher Wheeldon tries to excuse the disconnect with this theory:

“It’s O.K. that [the visual elements are] not that great because what’s within [them] is just so beautiful,” said Mr. Wheeldon…

Listen, ladies–and by “ladies,” I of course mean “ballet gays”–context is everything. Even the purest diamond placed in the wrong setting will look like a tacky piece of costume jewelry. So, A.) get over the sixties, and B.) stop being afraid of new objects.

Just for fun

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Notes On A Vanguard: Alexandre Roccoli, “The Unbecoming Solo”

Here is a link to the first essay I contributed for Chez Bushwick’s “Force Majeure” series, as posted on Chez Bushwick’s new blog, Notes On A Vanguard, hosted on Doug Fox’s Great Dance.

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It should be pointed out that, while I did not review this performance on Counter Critic, I did jump to its defense when I found that Roslyn Sulcas’ review in The Times fell short of the responsibility of a critic to, at the very least, seriously consider obscure work.

I will write a more in-depth post within the next few days addressing the roles I have found myself assuming in the world of the arts, as a writer, composer and performer. If anyone has questions or thoughts on the matter, please post comments and I will try to address them in my post.

For now, read this post for a brief clarification on the style of writing these essays are intended to exhibit.

(Photo of Alexandre Roccoli by Chris Woltmann)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Walt Disney was my hero.”  -John Corigliano, this morning on NY1.

D’ju know?

Film Review in Brief: “Juno”

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Before we go showering Juno with Academy Awards (should we even get to see that happen), we just wanted to post some random thoughts on the indie-hit of the moment that has taken the country (and the critics) by storm.

C.C. checked this shit out on Monday, and, well, sorry to harsh on everyone’s Juno-crush, but this just didn’t live up to the hype.

First of all, the writing is so conspicuous, I swear I could hear Diablo Cody (the writer) whispering the lines into my ear as the actors were saying them onscreen.

And speaking of the lines, the amount of white appropriated black-speak made us a little uncomfortable, but that may have been heightened by the fact that a few, real black people (it’s no secret that C.C. is a cracker) sat behind us in the theater. Add on top of it Snoop Dog’s edict that white folk should stop using “-izzle” tags, and how strange did we feel when Ellen Page drops one in the middle of one of her sweetly laconic lines?! Regardless of The Dog’s plea, we just felt that for a movie as self-conscious as Juno is, this aspect of the script is oddly lacking self-awareness.

Yes, Ellen Page is darling. Yes, Michael Cera is sweetly dorky. Yes, Jason Bateman is hot.

But the real standout performance in this hipper-than-thou nostalgia pic (which seems to be filmed somewhere between 1979 and 1999; there are no cell phones or computers in the whole thing, but all the references are contemporary; and BTW, nobody wears those geeky jogging costumes anymore, well, except for maybe everyone in Williamsburg; I think they’re standard issue there), is Jennifer Garner as the adoptive mother of Juno’s forthcoming fetus.

Garner, like, out of nowhere, pulls off the only performance in the entire film that is even remotely relatable (except for maybe also the always awesome Alison Janey). She’s not cool. She has a stick up her ass. But she’s so vulnerable that you can’t help but respect her, no matter how square she is.

Whatevs. It’s a decent picture, but we’re afraid that hype machine has launched this ship further than its supply of fuel warrants.

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