Archive for January, 2019

Quote of the Day: SILENCE

January 25, 2019


In interviews, silence is the weapon, silence and people’s need to fill it—as long as the person isn’t you, the interviewer. Two of fiction’s greatest interviewers—Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret and John le Carré’s George Smiley—have little devices they use to keep themselves from talking and to let silence do its work. Maigret cleans his ever-present pipe, tapping it gently on his desk and then scraping it out until the witness breaks down and talks. Smiley takes off his eyeglasses and polishes them with the thick end of his necktie. As for me, I have less class. When I’m waiting for the person I’m interviewing to break a silence by giving me a piece of information I want, I write “SU” (for Shut Up!) in my notebook. If anyone were ever to look through my notebooks, he would find a lot of “SU”s.

–Robert A. Caro

December 11th 2017: author Robert Caro inside his offices in New York City USA. Photo by Phil Penman

Culture Vulture: Best Theater of 2018

January 24, 2019

Best Theater of 2018:
(somewhat arbitrary ranking)

  1. After – Andrew Schneider’s spooky high-tech meditation on what happens to the dying body (Under the Radar)
  2. 24-Decade History of Popular Music – Taylor Mac’s temporary queer utopia (all 24 hours in Philadelphia)

  3. The Damned/NetworkIvo van Hove’s intense, upsetting staging of Luchino Visconti’s 1969 film about the rise of Nazism — performed by Comédie-Française at Park Avenue Armory with his usual peerlessly inventive multimedia design team — was eerily resonant with today’s shifting political landscape. Ditto van Hove’s London-to-Broadway stage version of Sidney Lumet’s 1976 movie depicting electronic media’s uncanny ability to turn grass-roots political rebellion into cash-generating consumer culture; Bryan Cranston gave a towering performance as the disillusioned newscaster who’s “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”
  4. The Emperor – Colin Teevan’s adaptation of Ryszard Kapuśiński’s portrait of Ethiopian dictator Haile Selassie at Theater for a New Audience with stunning performances by Kathryn Hunter and musician Temesgen Zeleke
  5. The Head and the Load – William Kentridge’s spectacular, appalling pageant depicting the involuntary participation of Africans in World War I, at Park Avenue Armory

  6. Dance Nation – Clare Barron’s fascinating, constantly morphing ode to girl power at Playwrights Horizons
  7. In and Of Itself – Derek Delgaudio’s melancholy mind-blowing philosophy-seminar-as-magic-act
  8. Three Tall Women – Joe Mantello’s exquisite revival of Edward Albee’s play with ferocious Glenda Jackson
  9. Is God Isdespite everything I didn’t like about Taibi Magar’s production at Soho Rep, I was knocked out by Aleshea Harris’s crazy/bold language and theatrical imagination
  10. In the Body of the World – Diane Paulus’s beautiful staging of Eve Ensler’s raw cancer memoir

Other remarkable manifestations: Toshi Reagon’s music for The Parable of the Sower and Dickie Beau’s stealth AIDS memoir Re-Member Me, both at Under the Radar; Vox Motus’s puppet epic Flight at the McKittrick Hotel; the Performing Garage incarnation of the Wooster Group’s hommage to Tadeusz Kantor, A Pink Chair (in Place of a Fake Antique) ; Joe Mantello’s Broadway revival of The Boys in the Band ; Oneohtrix Point Never’s trippy theatrical concert Myriad at Park Avenue Armory; the brief, timely revival of Lee Breuer and Bob Telson’s The Gospel at Colonus in Central Park; Craig Lucas’s brave play I Was Most Alive with You at Playwrights Horizons, starring the mesmerizing Russell Harvard; Anna Teresa de Keersmaker’s spectacular staging of Six Brandenburg Concertos (above) at Park Avenue Armory (do you detect a theme? the Armory programming rocks — hats off to executive producer Rebecca Robertson!); Elaine May and Joan Allen in Lila Neugebauer’s fine production of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery ; Daniel Fish’s bold reimagining of Oklahoma!  at St. Ann’s Warehouse; Heidi Schreck’s righteously outraged What the Constitution Means to Me ; Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s tough immersive drama The Jungle with its gigantic international cast at St. Ann’s; Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman on Broadway with another terrific huge ensemble, among whom Justin Edwards especially stands out; and Jeremy Harris’s edgy, form-smashing Slave Play at New York Theater Workshop.

Culture Vulture/Photo Diary: “Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future” at the Guggenheim Museum

January 13, 2019

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