A Weekend With CounterCritic

  • Friday night we stopped by DNA for Laura Peterson’s “Electrolux,” reviewed in The Times by Gia Kourlas. Our very own RT will actually be reviewing this for The Brooklyn Rail, so all we can say now is, it was def worth checking out.
  • Saturday afternoon we hit the replay of the Met’s simulcast of Peter Grimes at BAM, since technical difficulties interrupted the original broadcast. We still haven’t changed our tune, in terms of thinking Griffey doesn’t make for a great Grimes, particularly as he is directed here, but “The Dew” sent in this comment to the contrary.
  • Saturday evening, we checked out the Thomas Adès concert at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, reviewed in The Times by T-Bone. Mark Morris was in the house, sporting a colorful scarf and a “FUCK BUSH” pin. The concert was mainly music Adès wrote when he was nineteen and in school. His “Chamber Symphony” was totally hot; some early songs were, well, early. It’s nice to see a self-proclaimed “modernist” get some credit in the concert scene. (BTW: Kyle Gann picked up our rail against atonality haters over at Arts Journal!)
  • Finally, we swung by the shittiest bar in Manhattan to hear the song stylings of Czar Bomba, when who should walk in but Kevin Kline accompanied by a couple of very young boys. We were all like, WTF? But shortly after his entrance, a whole crew of teenagers flooded the bar. Turns out, Kline’s son, Owen Kline–who starred as the lonely young brother in Noah Baumbach’s “The Squid and The Whale”–has a band that occasionally gets together to play…music. Actually, they were kind of charming (one of the songs was about King Kong biting the scrotum of a tiger, or something). Some parents were there to cheer them on, and, you know, supervise the underage drinking.

DEBORAH JOWITT FIRED FROM THE VILLAGE VOICE

W…T…F…

News came out like, Wednesday? Was anybody going to tell me?!!!!?!?!?

(Danciti is also posting about it)

UPDATE:

Gawker’s Nick Denton was on this shit even before Zimmer. Although, it might intrigue us all to know that he thinks “dance is increasingly irrelevant, culturally.” Anyone car to comment? Incidentally, if you click the “Deborah Jowitt” tag that searches Gawker’s sight for related posts, this is still the only one that comes up.

ANOTHER UPDATE:

L. Ro. reports for The Times.

C.C. Goes Commercial

C.C. fanatic and all around ferosh-tranny-mess-at-large, Michael Hart, made this little commercial spot for Counter Critic. I’m thinking we could definitely go for a Super Bowl spot…

Don’t Need No Hateration

Here’s more evidence of the campaign to oust atonality from the concert music scene. Bernard Holland reviews a concert of new piano music at Greenwich House. He writes:

…something seemed to be whispering in my ear that the Dark Ages of postwar atonality were over and tentative reconnections to the past were under way.

To call post-war atonality “the Dark Ages” is so entirely retarded, I’m beside myself. If anything, post-war serialism (which is probably what he really means to target), exposed more light on what music was, is and can be, and was nothing short of a cultural revelation. Post-war atonality made today’s taste for oblique tonality possible. It’s like women today who disparage the hard-core feminists of the 60s and 70s, even though today’s women are reaping the benefits that those unsightly, nail-spitting bull-dykes risked social derision to gain.

And, to evoke the spirit of one of my favorite hard-core feminists, Susan Sontag, to use military metaphors to excite the aesthetic politics of music–Holland writes, “The 20th century liked to use the piano as an assault weapon”–is morally irresponsible.

Can the haters of atonal music please get a grip and stop practicing this kind of retroactive snobbery? Atonality and serialism are not inherently “dark”, nor do they service militaristic metaphors, particularly since most of the music that is written for militaristic purposes is strictly tonal and generally written in major keys.

If we’re truly living in an age of open eclecticism, then let’s be just, and take atonality for what it really offers: a method for achieving alternative musical expression.

“In the year two thouSUUUUUHND….”

Definitely check out this article in The Times. With audio recording technology progressing at warp speed, it’s hard to imagine that just 150 years ago, it seemed unthinkable to be able to record sound and hear it played back.

The recording, that has been reconstituted by scientists, brilliantly reminds us what recorded sound inherently does, even if we’ve become accustomed to it: It literally allows us to touch the past; to feel–through sound–the ephemeral. Unlike a photograph, which only allows a visual impression to spark our imagination, sound waves touch our bodies. A sound recording is our flux capacitor: it makes time travel possible, although only into the past…at least, for now.

A New Beginning

Dance Review: Adrienne Truscott’s “genesis, no!” @ DTW

genesisno.jpg

There are gaps in Adrienne Truscott’s “genesis, no!,” which had a reprise mounting last week at Dance Theater Workshop, having first run at P.S. 122 last spring. The work, a kind of anthropological rumination on human culture, uses theatricality to isolate activities from their real-world, analogous contexts, and by doing so, generates a pointillist portrait of how culture promotes class division and distances us from our primitive, animalistic origins. Or, at least that’s what I took from it.

The thing is, a work like “genesis, no!” leaves room for all kinds of interpretation within the very semiotic gaps that make the theater possible, thereby emphasizing the responsibility of the audience participant to engage and come to certain conclusions based on their own experience with the work. This technique might not sit well with some, especially those averse to the idea that the audience need be responsible for anything other than getting their tushes into the theater seats; and granted, it is an achievement for any average individual to find themselves spending two hours on a Friday night at a venue that specializes in showcasing innovative dance-theater performance. The very idea of public responsibility is so de rigeur at present (i.e. Think of the every-man-for-himself attitude that everyone seems to believe with religious conviction when it comes to personal success), and is plied by an endemic cultural scepticism toward the intentions of art, that it is no wonder the kind of work Ms.Trucott produces might draw criticism from those who think it does not do enough, does not say anything definitive, and places too much of the burden of cognition on the poor, exhausted audience member who really just wants to get home and plop down in front of the couch for a few hours of facile, prime time television.

Ok, I’m going a little overboard. But a fellow critic, who happened not to like “genesis, no!”–at all–suggested that there should be some kind of comprehensive defense of this kind of work. I can’t say that this review will accomplish that, but, I’m going to allow myself to dive into the meat a little more. Umm…not sure where I’ll come out exactly, but, I’m sure we all can’t wait to find out… Continue reading

TO DO: Force Majeure @ Chez Bushwick

Chez Bushwick Presents FORCE MAJEURE

New Dance From Spain and Holland:

Saturday, March 22nd
7:30pm

Admission Is FREE Upon Reservation (Limited Seating)
info@chezbushwick.net

aimar.jpg

© Aimar Perez Galí, 2008

On The Possibility Of Navigation

Choreography & Performance:
Aimar Perez Galí, Guillem Mont de Palol, Ricardo Santana

“On The Possibility Of Navigation” poses questions to generate knowledge deriving from information transfer in a variety of different media. We offer a flexible framework, and propose possibilities for how an audience may activate and play within this framework. The blog navigatingpossibilities is one tool that functions as an interactive forum for communication. The presentation of work is an outcome of some of the situations we have developed during our navigation in New York, while in residence at Chez Bushwick.”

A Collision Course With Tristan

Opera Review: “Tristan und Isolde” @ The Met

The Met’s latest mounting of Dieter Dorn’s 1999 production of “Tristan und Isolde,” Wagner’s insanely genius love-death opera retelling an ancient Celtic myth of star-crossed lovers via some of the most gorgeous—and I mean gorgeous—music ever written for the theater, has met an unusually gratuitous series of challenges to the cast. Just before opening night last week, Ben Heppner, the husky tenor who was to partner with fellow heavy-weight Deborah Voigt for the six performance run, canceled last minute due to a virus that’s been sweeping the corps of Met singers. Then Voigt had to drop out mid-way through Friday’s performance due to a stomach problem, leaving two newbies, Gary Lehman and Janice Bairde to steer the juggernaut of love onward into the Wagnerian cosmos. Then, last night, THIS HAPPENED. But as dauntless as the lovers in this opera are about satiating their otherworldly lust, so this production barreled forward, culminating in a fiery third act that was as musically powerful as it was remarkable for its freshness. Continue reading

THIS JUST HAPPENED

The road to erotic transcendence is a slippery slope.

Tristan und IsoldeC.C.’s reporting at 1:31AM because girl just got back from The Met’s rockin’-n-rollin’ production of “Tristan und Isolde”–which has already been beleaguered by a series of casting issues–and yet another stroke of bad luck befell the love-sick opera.

Just into the third act, what was meant to be a nifty theatrical device, a sliding gurney covered with an area rug, turned into a terrifying wild ride for Gary Lehman (who was replacing Ben Heppner as Tristan) when the gurney popped out of the slot in the floor that was keeping it in place, and sent Lehman rolling head-first into the eternal flame of love at the base of the set! The whole audience gasped. It was crazy, and it all happened really quickly. Continue reading

You Should Really Check Out…

L. Ro.’s piece on DTW’s new initiative to re-stage modern dance pieces that usually get the one-off…

Apollinaire Scherr’s state-of-The-Times address on her Arts Journal blog…

And some hot new music technology (via TheRestIsNoise) destined to help the latest crop of pop stars sound like they can actually sing…

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