The Body Elastic

Since we have a focus on the body today, I thought it would be a good idea to post this Beyonce video sent to us by a dear C.C. friend and fan, BP. The video is hot for at least two reasons.

One, it shows just how much we can accomplish with a simple idea and professional execution.

Two, and more importantly, it puts to bed the tired notion that dance just can’t be captured well on film.

Watch and wonder…

Naked Brunch

What we didn't get to see in HD

What we didn't get to see in HD

Salome: Review in brief, and in HD

So, C.C. stopped by BAM (a couple Saturday’s ago) to see Karita Mattila get naked in The Metropolitan Opera’s brunch-time simulcast of “Salome.” I mean, come on, that’s not the only reason we went to see it, but it was definitely a draw.

But lo and behold, as soon as Ms. Matilla’s dance of the seven veils–or, in this case, a Doug Varone choreographed dance of the non-sequitur pant suit–drew to its final unveiling, the camera cut to an awkward shot of Kim Begley (as Herod), and I was left with my proverbial dick in my hand.

Now, come on, you know C.C. doesn’t go that way, but we do go the way of adult entertainment, by which we mean, entertainment made with the essential maturity of an adult audience taken into account. But for The Met to leave out the nudity in a production that flaunts the nudity as a way to pique interest–not all sopranos make the choice to bare all, well, some can’t even lift their arms–illustrates the conflict at the heart of The Met’s bid to be a relevant player in the theater of popular entertainment. We see more snooch on South Park than what opera house patrons saw of Ms. Mattila on Saturday. For The Met to get demure when it comes to the simulcast only leaves the audience with blue balls, and, in effect, resenting the opera house.

Aside from the censorship, I found the account of the opera to be stirring. Ms. Mattila is a remarkable, if somewhat over-the-top performer. Well, let me qualify that.

Something that many know about the simulcasts is that sometimes devices that work well in a huge opera house become overexposed in the high definition and large-screen format of the movie theater. In this vein, Ms. Mattila’s foaming interpretation of Salome, wriggly and jiggly as it was, probably worked better in the cavernous opera house, but it was simply too much jelly for the silver screen to handle.

It will be interesting to see, as Anthony Tommasini proposed a while back, if The Met will begin to conceive of new productions with the HD format in mind. If so, and I don’t think it would be a bad idea, I only hope that they trust the simulcast audiences are mature enough (or maybe immature enough) to deserve as much full frontal as the those paying premium dollar for the velvet seats. Otherwise this sends the sign that, when it comes to nudity at The Met, you’ll only get it if you’re willing to pay for it.

That’s right. We called The Met a whore. We’re proud.

TO DO: DARMSTADT (aaaaand a little shameless self promotion)

Among the many exciting new music events that have sprung up in NYC over the past few years, DARMSTADT, a concert series curated by Nick Hallett and Zack Layton, is one of the coolest. Avant garde classics are mixed on the turn tables, as well as performed live by some of the best contemporary music performers around.

Well, tonight, DARMSTADT is launching its first ever “festival” (their quotes) at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, presenting six concerts over five days. Definitely check out at least one of these.

Tomorrow night (Thursday, 8pm), yours truly will be interpreting a fluxus score by Emmett Williams. So come check it out, and, as always, feel free to criticize the critic.

If you haven’t yet been introduced to the world of Fluxus, now’s a good time to start. The evening will also include works by Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Joseph Byrd and Tony Conrad.

DARMSTADT presents Essential Repertoire
ISSUE Project Room in the (OA) Can Factory
232 3rd Street (at 3rd Ave), Brooklyn
performances at 8pm unless noted otherwise
tickets: $10 advance (available at Other Music and online) / $15 at door
darmstadtnewmusic.org issueprojectroom.org

DO THIS NOW

Today Friday is your last chance to register to vote in New York. There are lots of ways to get this done today before the deadline, so get your lazy ass off the internet and make it happen.

And for that matter, if you are registered to vote, double check with your election board. Turns out voters in Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina are getting seriously screwed. It’s super easy to check your status. No excuses.

TO DO: Live chat with L. Ro.!

Talk to me, Goose...

Dear, Lord...

Today at 3pm, WNYC’s blog is hosting a live chat with Claudia La Rocco and Nathan Lee.

Details are few, but whatever, any chat with L. Ro. is bound to be like chicken soup for the critical soul. (Cheesy and delicious!)

I’ll update later on as soon as it becomes clear exactly how the hell this is going to play out.

xoxoC.C.

UPDATE:

Here’s the link to the WNYC chat. Basically, you just type in a question, and Claudia and Nathan will do their best to answer in complete sentences. See you there!

UPDATE 2:

You guyz! It’s actually happening! And it’s very cool. GO NOW.

UPDATE 3 – About Face:

So, some head is up some ass over at WNYC. Let me apologize to y’all if you’ve gone over there and you got to the bottom of the page an realized: IT’S OVER.

Turns out they only chatted for half and hour and then called it quits just when things were getting good (aka: when C.C. chimed in).

I don’t know who’s responsible, but I wouldn’t doubt it’s the same people who were responsible for consolidating L. Ro.’s blog into all the others. BTW, have you noticed that L. Ro.’s posts get like, millions of comments, and the others (maybe with the exception of Nathan Lee’s) are like ghost towns? L. Ro. really had something going.

And WYNC could really have something going. I like how they’re trying to mix things up. But today’s aborted live-chat was kind of pathetic. It felt like that asshole parent who says you’re going to get to go to Disneyland, drives you up to the gate, says, “See! We went to Disneyland!” and then turns around and takes you to the public pool. Lame.

New York City (Soap) Opera: Episode 3 – “Phatnom Menace”

Recent articles in The Times have chronicled the latest in New York City Opera drama.

On Friday, T-Bone Tommasini wrote in-depth regarding Mortier’s troublesome relationship with the board of the City Opera. Chairwoman Susan Baker made some reassuring comments, confirming that the board is “galvanized” around a series of proposals Mortier made during a recent meeting, and that patron money is still coming in.

But the very next day, word came that the company layed off 11 administrators at the same time Jane Gulong, their executive director, decided to leave since Mortier “effectively eliminated her job.”

It’s amazing how much the trials of the City Opera are mirroring a political campaign/election. Mortier is being called on to show face and sell his agenda during a time when the organization seems to be facing political and financial crisis. Mortier’s flirtation with the Bayreuth Festival certainly didn’t help consumer confidence.

The City Opera hopes this season’s main performance fare, “Looking Forward”, a series of low-cost concerts in each borough, will foster community interest in the 20th century program Mortier has planned for his first full season in 2009-2010.

In a performance review today, Anthony Tommasini expresses doubt that it will do the trick, but thought Saturday night’s Staten Island installment proved that at least the performers of the New York City Opera are still eager to put on a show. NYCO Director of Media Relations Pascal Nadon confirms that Mr. Mortier was not in attendance, although it’s been said that Mortier will only spend a few weeks of the entire season in New York.

It’s also telling that some of the big developments in this saga, like the firing of staff members and even early rumors that Mortier was looking for jobs outside of his City Opera gig, have only come to light after prodding from the press, or at the very least, well after rumors had begun flying. It’s understandable that organizations–like campaigns–try to keep these kinds of twists and turns, many of them unpredictable, under tight control. But this task becomes less and less manageable with each surprise plot twist.

At this point, anything the City Opera can do to convince the public that the organization isn’t going to implode and disappear through some parallel dimension Carrie-style vortex, is much welcome.

The next “Looking Forward” is coming to Brooklyn on November 2. Let’s hope audience interest, administrative leadership, and fiscal liquidity, can last that long.

The Cunt In Me

The Cunt In Me, or, “Sir, you are my property”

Ann Liv Young as George Washington (from The Times)

Ann Liv Young as George Washington (from The Times)

When the music gets loud, all bets are off. Be afraid.

This is but one of the things you can predict in Ann Liv Young’s latest full-evening piece, now being tolerated at The Kitchen, a venue that has welcomed back Ms. Young’s regard-no-limits performance work for another go around, hoping, I’m sure, for more jam-packed crowds clambering over each other to steal a glimpse of some yet even more daring feat of sexual activity.

Well, they got it. Unfortunately, that’s all they got.

The latest work, “The Bagwell In Me,” a trite portrayal of George Washington’s love affair and siring of a child with one of his and Martha’s slaves, Oney, played by a much abused Isabel Lewis, touches obliquely on various sexual and political themes while offering no real insight and insisting upon petulance and novelty as key modes of theater. And as much as Ms. Young can argue herself out of knee-jerk criticisms of her more outrageous choices, nothing can justify the many moments of “Bagwell” that are simply boring and not thought out. Continue reading

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