Pop Origami

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

Doug McGrath Reimagines Broadway’s Jukebox Musical One of the best aspects of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (at the Stephen Sondheim Theater) is seeing book writer Doug McGrath’s origami treatment of American pop music history. McGrath, who has directed the excellent films Infamous and Nicholas Nickleby) starts with bio-pic basics about singer-songwriter Carole King’s life [&hellip
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Spin Viewer

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

Re-watching 2013’s Best DVDs It was a rich year for new theatrical releases but the DVD releases have also been extraordinary. Film History lessons begin here: Nashville (Criterion) Following Disney’s years-ahead lead packaging Blu-Ray discs with digital copies of new releases, Criterion finally begins offer movies-worth packages of classic films. No better example illustrates this [&hellip
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Arts Foretold: A Checklist

Written by July Gelman Myers on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

Local artists bring new visions to various city venues   • Composer James Blachly founded the Sheep Island Ensemble with a single, beautiful goal: bringing people together through great music. Whether playing Bartok in a concert hall or Scottish songs at a loft party, Blachly and his ensemble create a community of music lovers, which [&hellip
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Musical Forecasting

Written by Jay Nordlinger on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

Some concert-and-opera recommendations for the coming months  As the second half of the classical-music season begins—a “half” that is longer than the first one—let me forecast some highlights. Occasionally, the highlights turn out to be lowlights, but that is a risk one runs.  “Great Performers” is a conceited name, but this Lincoln Center series does [&hellip
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Evergreen Joy

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

Erasure turns seasonal songs into radical praise At Christmas time we forget that seasonal songs can also be praise songs. This comes clear in Erasure’s new release Snow Globe, a Christmas album built around the tradition vs. modernity tension of the holiday season–and yet an evergreen subject. Praise songs suit singer-lyricist Andy Bell, one of [&hellip
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Best TV Narrative of 2013

Written by Our Town on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

Why Blue’s webisodes rule Countering hipster perversity, Blue is not the warmest color in Rodrigo Garcia’s series on the women-centered YouTube channel WIGS. “Blue” is the moniker Julia Stiles’ Francine—single-mother accountant by day/escort by night—demands that family, coworkers and clients use to address her. Indeed, the name signifies her detachment in the sex trade and [&hellip
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Best Albums of 2013

Written by Ben Kessler on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

Inside out, Outside in for year’s Pop music. Honorable mention: Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob; Charli XCX, True Romance; El-P and Killer Mike, Run the Jewels; Jessy Lanza, Pull My Hair Back; Pet Shop Boys, Electric   IMO, the most significant moment in 2013 pop wasn’t a song, album, or music video. It was an unforgettable turn [&hellip
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The Better-Than List for 2013

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

See year’s best films, reject the overrated The false politics of film culture 2013 (films exploiting race, class, sexual politics) paralleled the continued diminishment of cinephilia that has subordinated movies to TV, shifting cinema from a popular art form into political soccer games for media’s power elite. Lots of good film but also lots of [&hellip
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Secret Lives of Walter-Marty

Written by Armond White on . Posted in Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit

Scorsese and Stiller overindulge themselves in two new films The Wolf of Wall Street and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are the same movie. Both films deal with the ambition of working-class protagonists: Scorsese’s three-hour epic about a kid from The Bronx who becomes a Wall Street titan (Leonardo DiCaprio) charts his aggression through [&hellip
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