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Expect to be delighted and outraged by our incisive and sprawling coverage of culture and arts.

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    2017-01-18-1484765288-3099929-100Days_Web_1.jpg


    By Jil Picariello, ZEALnyc Theater Editor, January 19, 2017.

    Don't you just hate it when people tell you about this "weird dream" they had? Doesn't it make you want to jump out a window?

    How about when someone simply has to tell you about how they fell in love? Isn't that the most boring, irritating thing you can think of?

    Not when the people are Shaun and Abigail Bengson, the endearingly talented couple at the head of a "family band" called, you guessed it, the Bengsons. Hundred Days, at the Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival, is the story of how Shaun and Abigail met, fell instantly in love, and married three weeks later. The shadow of mortality, embodied in Abigail's forbidding recurring dream, drives the sometimes chilling, often thrilling, and quite slender, narrative.

    If you are the kind of person (like me) who ponders all the ways that good fortune (getting a new job, winning the lottery, falling in love) can go horribly wrong (failing at the new job, never knowing if people like you for yourself or your newfound riches, losing the person you love most in the world), then this is the show for you.

    Because as soon as Abigail falls madly in love with Shaun, and immediately moves into his apartment, she is reminded of her prophetic dream, in which the object of her love has only one hundred days to live. And together, the newlyweds begin to attempt to squeeze a lifetime together into a mere one hundred days.

    The music is a rich, often boot-stomping folk-rock Lumineers-ish, Mumford-esque hybrid. Abigail wears the boots and does plenty of stomping. She's also the more expressive, more richly-voiced part of the couple. She telegraphs her joy and her pain in every expression, and her eyes alone tell much of the story, along with her whooping and swooping vocals.

    Shaun is the more recessive half of the pair, but his sweet calm gives his wife more room to shine. And the twosome are lovingly assisted by a quartet of singers and musicians: Colette Alexander, Geneva Harrison, Reggie D. White, and the glowing Jo Lampert. Along with their collaborators Anne Kauffman and playwright Sarah Gancher, the Bengsons have crafted a story of love and mortality that can break your heart at the same time it's making you want to get up and dance.

    The story doesn't always add up, and sometimes you may roll your eyes at their naïve youthful passion and perplexity, but the big, beautiful music always lifts you past any doubts. Is it a musical? A concert? Who knows! And who cares, it's gorgeous and it's moving and it's a pleasure to be part of.

    ____________________

    Hundred Days was part of the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater and ran January 4-15, 2017. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission. Conceived by Abigail and Shaun Bengson; book, music, and lyrics by Abigail and Shaun Bengson; additional material by Sarah Gancher. Directed by Anne Kauffman. Cast: Abigail Bengson, Shaun Bengson, Colette Alexander, Geneva Harrison, Jo Lampert, and Reggie D. White.

    Cover: Abigail and Shaun Bengson in 'Hundred Days;' photo: courtesy of the Public Theater
    ____________________

    Jil Picariello ZEALnyc's Theater Editor writes frequently on theater and culture.

    For more features from ZEALnyc read:

    'Jitney' on Broadway, 'Fences' on film -- the August Wilson Legacy Continues

    Dance as Social Commentary at the Joyce

    Art Break: Where to go this week on your lunch break

    For all the news on New York City arts and culture, visit ZEALnyc Front Page.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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  • 01/19/17--07:27: Portrait of an Odd Couple
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    For years, they were not a fixture of the Hampton's social scene or anywhere. You could see them, pretending to study the menus in the window of tony restaurants as they ogled the crowds. Some people get into trouble when they have too much fun, parenting kids out of wedlock and becoming addicted to the pleasures they once merely enjoyed. Yet this couple found themselves getting into fender benders as their eyes riveted on the luxury cars parked outside of all the social gatherings they were never invited to and from whose windows emanated music and laugher that disemboweled these unwary travelers on the shoals of unfulfilled desire. There had always been a hope that they would one day be rewarded for the profession they'd made out of their very apartness from human society. However, as the years passed and it became apparent they would never receive recognition for their talented anomie, they began to undertake the things that people do who have nowhere else to go such as wait on the 12 items and under line in supermarkets, enroll in discount clubs and seek even greater discounts on bulk merchandise, like toilet paper, than the ones they already enjoyed. Finally one summer's day when the rest of the community in which the had anonymously been vacationing (if that's the appropriate word for their extended isolation) had proceeded to their cocktail parties after spending the afternoon lying languidly on the beach, the feckless couple simply decided to give up and head back to the Metropolis. All the restaurants would be emptied of the fine people whose happy lives had always been a rebuke to them and they'd get home in record time since they'd be going against the traffic.

















    {This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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    2017-01-16-1484597679-9672195-EXCAVATINGPOSTER.jpg
    "Excavating the Templar Treasure: Re/Searching the Hieros Gamos in Artistic & Critical Practice" was presented at the Contemporary Arts Research Unit (CARU) 2016 conference "What does it mean to research art / to research through art?" at Oxford Brookes University on 2 December 2016 with a breakthrough keynote by Professor Kerstin Mey.

    Tagging a sign under the London Bridge indicates that you too will return to the origin...

    toilet
    ...an ecological hygiene worthy of ROYALTY!


    ...signaling the Eternal Return of Zarathustra...

    zara
    ...at 20 percent discount!

    To get the deal, it was required to return to Oxford in order to revisit the Übermensch from your theory of the Third...

    caru
    The Dreieinigkeit behind the pivotal conference CARU/Arts reSearch Conference 2016 with performance highlight...

    2017-01-16-1484590581-8762960-CARUPERFORMANCE.jpg
    ..."It is really interesting but I don't understand it" summing up the state of the Art World from Peta Lloyd of Oxford Brookes University...

    ...the Eternal Return of 2016 by way of social media...

    torch-2
    A new Facebook friend, Dr Hugo Drochon, a Cambridge University Fellow invited you to his talk with the provocative title, "A CRISIS THE EARTH HAS NEVER SEEN: NIETZSCHE, THE 'WAR OF SPIRITS' AND GREAT POLITICS'" at TORCH, a project of the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. The talk and discussion served to fertilize within the academy a 21st century dialectic of Nietzsche's Übermensch in view of the Trumping of America.


    torch-1
    Drochon was emphatic that Trump is NOT the Ubermensch, as moderator Audrey Borowski and I played Devil's Advocate: 'How can we know this so soon in the game?"

    Exiting the Radcliffe Humanities building you have the urge to tag...

    magdelin-street

    Upon returning to London, you set off the next day to the City of London..

    dscn1229
    ...ripe for tagging as clues for Excavating the Treasure.

    You were taken right up to the door of the Temple, which was closed.
    Your guide, Joel Scott-Holkes, a rising film star who animated the tour with his acting, took you right up to the imposing doors of the Templar Temple.

    In a rush before your flight to Athens...

    masonictemple
    ...you couldn't resist tagging the massive Masonic Temple at precisely 3:03 PM.

    And so, you made your mission of endurance into an erotic game of a treasure hunt of the THIRD. MISSING JAMES FRANCO is your honorary rhythmic gynnastics guide for holding the tension of the opposites in the most challenging environments...

    lovestreet
    ...your unknown destination of the raw anarchist neighborhood of Xarchia.

    The nearby Athens Archeological Museum beckoned with an "Odyssey" special exhibition in which your personal odyssey met the symbol of closure: the Antikythera Mechanism...

    phenomenology t
    ...calling for a tag with your MISSING JAMES FRANCO apparatus.

    ...opening your MIssing James Franco 3.0: Nine Days at the Berlinale text:


    This text utilizes the oldest human science to explore the contemporary ontology of our archaic origins. The disclosure of planetary rotation as the imbedded source of the first analog computer was the surprise finding through decades of examining the Antikythera mechanism. The 1900 discovery that this archaic artifact actually was designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for the astrological calendar prepared the twentieth century, bit by bit, to the lights of the present. We might call this moment, "everyone is illuminated," for the occult science that was a privilege of the elite and the outcasts is now available to anyone with an Internet browser.


    The next day, you performed a closing ritual by sending James Franco your Venus Return offering...

    celebrity-faceoff
    ...a tag on British Royalty!

    In the morning, a surprise message...

    2017-01-16-1484598748-5547371-FRANCOGFM.jpg

    How to respond to that but by "IN TAG VERITAS"!!!

    2017-01-16-1484588748-8667288-iloveyoumore.jpg
    ...culminating in a spontaneous SELFie...

    lisa-hieros-gamos-methonis
    ...of the hieros gamos!

    Your street performance had magical effect in delivering you to the New Man...

    2017-01-16-1484589513-3306439-COSTA.jpg
    ...born and raised at the site of the ancient oracle in Arta, discoursing over the hieros gamos on a trip to the Acropolis right under...


    The problem is not to recover our "lost" identity, to free our imprisoned nature, our deepest truth; but instead, the problem is to move towards something radically Other. The center, then seems to still be found in Marx's phrase: man produces man...For me, what must be produced is not man identical to himself, exactly as nature would have designed him or according to his essence; on the contrary, we must produce something that doesn't yet exist and about which we cannot know how and what it will be.
    --Michel Foucault, Remarks On Marx((New York: Semiotext(e), 1991)), 121.)


    ...the Evening Star tucked into the Crescent Moon Boat in the Übermensch sign of Aquarius!

    Dr. Lisa Paul Streitfeld is a Kulturindustrie theorist and Web 3.0 philospher seeking hieros gamos iconography past and present throughout the world. "Missing James Franco 3.0" is Dr. Streitfeld's social media project putting into practice a theory of Uncertainty arising from collaborative practice.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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    The painting Chimera of the State is ready now. The monster is ready to fly! It has two titles, the first one is Chimera of the State, the second one is "The state, I call it, where all are poison-drinkers, the good and the bad: the state, where all lose themselves, the good and the bad: the state, where the slow suicide of all--is called "life."

    It belongs to my new Nietzschean series Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The painting's size is 39" x 47", it depicts a monster with the head of a man, with wings of a bat, two snake-headed tails and four hands. This monster is bad, evil and misogynist.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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    I normally write something for the Huffington Post at least once a month, but I admit that even before the actual election, I began to have a bit of writer's block, which only intensified with the surprise outcome on November 8th. I wasn't sure whether to write about feeling heartbroken and angry, or to attempt to find some Kumbaya spirit and consider ways to bring everyone together using art and music as therapy. I am essentially an optimist, and in most everything I write, I attempt to find some element of hopefulness. I also pride myself on being someone who actually enjoys helping people to find common ground, and using my skills as a writer to negotiate opposing sides.

    However. This is a toughie. My general practice when something upsets me is to let my mind untangle for a time until words come out that may make sense of my anger and frustration to me and hopefully to others. But especially after the election, the words just weren't coming. I couldn't find the sense in what happened, and I couldn't find the silver lining.

    What started to form in my head instead was an idea about artists as communicators, and therefore influencers. All of the news stories about Russia have reminded me of a project I participated in when I was a child in the 1980's, during the height of the Cold War. It was a musical called "Peace Child" that was created in 1981 detailing the adventures of fictional Soviet and American children who meet and become friends. Frightened of the prospect of nuclear war, the children decide that if the kids from the two countries can become friends, they can bring their message of peace to the adults and politicians. The children eventually bring about a meeting of the political leaders of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R, resulting in peace talks between the nations.



    The musical itself began with real life American children performing throughout the United States, and then brought a tour with some of those children to the Soviet Union to perform the musical for Soviet audiences, and eventually became the first time Soviet children were allowed to travel to the United States as the very first youth cultural exchange between the two nations.

    I performed roles in the musical many times throughout my childhood, and participated in one of the performances that featured Soviet children in San Francisco. The Soviet kids, despite being followed very closely by their K.G.B. agents, ran around, danced and sang with us American kids, and we all threw our arms around each other and made immediate friends - performing together creates deep bonds, no matter the circumstances. The "Peace Child" musical was performed over 5000 times in 31 countries, involving 250,000 children, and resulted in life imitating art when in 1986, after working with U.S. and Soviet administrations to create the first cultural exchange between Soviet and American youth, Mikhail Gorbachev invited the Peace Child foundation to work with his Green Cross organization to fight climate change. (info from the Peace Child International Website)

    It was not only the news stories about Russia that made me think of "Peace Child" - it was the idea that something artistic that speaks to individuals can have a great impact on people, beyond just making a statement. The disconnect, fear, and lack of understanding between Americans and Soviets of the 1980's reminds me of the way the people perceive one another on either side of the political aisle in the United States right now. People are now so ensconced in their beliefs - they can, if they choose, watch, read and follow news and social media stories that only support what they believe, and therefore the other side of the political spectrum has become almost like another country with whom we are in a non-communicating war.

    But art will always have the ability to transcend the cold. Just after the election I performed Handel's Messiah in Kansas City, Missouri. As I sat in front of the orchestra waiting for my solos and listening to the glorious music, I looked out at the faces of the audience members, who were nodding their heads, smiling, closing their eyes, and enjoying the music created by this long dead German guy, brought to life by people from within their community and those of us flown in from far and wide. I can guarantee you that there were people from across the political spectrum sitting in that audience, but we were all experiencing something together that connected us no matter our political opinions. Art will always be a form of communication that can be shared by people who may feel they have nothing else in common.

    So back to my original question: What can artists contribute to a polarized political climate? Of course artists who are famous can and will use their fame to express their opinions and to fight against what they feel is unjust. But those of us who aren't famous and don't have that same platform have something to contribute as well: our ability to communicate with those we may not understand or feel connected to in other ways. If "Peace Child" could bring about the first youth cultural exchanges between two countries that faced the prospect of war, artists today must encourage the same exchanges between red states and blue states, who are seemingly at war with words and ideas and even to some degree cultural identity despite being in the same country.

    I read today that the new administration has plans to completely defund the National Endowment for the Arts. I'm here to tell you that this must not happen. Our country is in a communication meltdown, and eliminating funding, and therefore support of the arts is not the answer. The arts may be one of the only pieces of glue that is holding us together with which we can still share and find common ground. We may disagree about almost everything, but we still all go out and see the same movies, listen to the same songs on the radio, and download the soundtrack to Hamilton. And the classical art forms that receive funding from the N.E.A. allow new works that influence and inspire everyone from Francis Ford Coppola to Lin Manuel Miranda. I'm serious: Miranda wouldn't have been able to come up with his genius libretto for Hamilton without the musicals that came before him, which wouldn't have existed without the operas and operettas that came before those, which have always found a way to delve into political issues while still transcending their arguments (Mozart and Da Ponte were deconstructing the relationships between royalty and servants a long time before Miranda was turning history on its head by repositioning a historical figure as a rap / hip-hop / musical theater icon).

    I guess my conclusion is that our work as artists continues to be to make great art, and also to find ways to present that art to people who might think they are excluded from experiencing it. We should follow the lead of the San Francisco Gay Men's chorus who after the election cancelled their trip to Europe to instead started planning a tour of red states. We need to acknowledge that while arts and artists tend to propagate in cities and urban areas, the rural areas need access to our creations even if it means performing for an audience of 10 initially unwilling audience members. Artists are communicators and we need to use our skills with determination and focus, in order to make sure everyone understands our importance in every day life.

    Okay, so maybe I did get a little bit Kumbaya with this one. But no more time for writer's block or complacency. Not from me, not from any of us. The fate of our projects and our institutions is both literally and figuratively in our hands, and we have the tools and the skills to bring the public to a new understanding, one individual at a time. The arts go past the rhetoric of the politicians and connect the actual people in a society with one another. That might seem lofty, but it's true throughout history, and it is our job to make sure it continues.

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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    The formidable Harriet Walter, as directed by the equally formidable Phyllida Lloyd, is delivering the most astonishing reinterpretation of a famous William Shakespeare speech you might ever hope to witness.

    It's the poem that begins "Our revels now are ended," normally rendered as a magisterial pronouncement by the exiled and tyrannical Prospero in The Tempest. Not so magisterial this time. Walters, head resting on folded arms, recites the enchanting lines as a deeply emotional release, an expression of long pent-up stress.

    Walters and Lloyd evidently conclude that having established a kingdom on the island to which he's condemned himself and daughter Miranda (Leah Harvey, in Mohawk coiffeur gone wild), Prospero has placed a previously unacknowledged strain on his powers.

    Once he's married Miranda off to Ferdinand (Shiloh Coke), he realizes he can rest give in to the wearying leverage he's placed on himself and those surrounding him. These include those who drove him from his home and whom the tempest has now shipwrecked--Alonso (Martina Laird) and Antonio (Carolina Valdés) and others--on this far-flung shelter.

    Walter is giving her devastating performance in the third of the all-women Bard trilogy Lloyd has put together--the previous entries also imported from London's Donmar Warehouse to St. Ann's Warehouse. The other two are Julius Caesar, in which Walters played Brutus, and , in which Walters played Henry IV and pulled off a nonpareil deathbed scene.

    There is so much clever in the Lloyd approach that it's hard to know where to start, but perhaps the best place is in the overarching conceit. The quick-thinking director couches these cross-gendered versions as plays-within-a-play. Each is supposedly being performed by prison inmates. It's a smart tactic that gets away from the actors merely taking on male roles. Here they're women taking on Shakespeare and, given their incarceration conditions, forced to play male roles. (They're not Prospera types as, for instance, played by Vanessa Redgrave at London's Globe or by Helen Mirren in the recent Tempest film.)

    Lloyd is so thorough about her plan that patrons waiting in the lobby before the auditorium doors open are able to witness the ensemble arrive wearing prison uniforms and chained to each other in single file.

    The set-up is further enforced by Walters's introducing the supposed jailhouse performance (Chloe Lamford and Bunny Christie responsible for the institutional look) by informing the audience she's Hannah, convicted to a life sentence as a result of driving the getaway car in what she labels a political protest.

    This dramatic layer undoubtedly contributes to the intense feelings Walters projects during the "revels now are ending" outpouring. Yessirree, Walters Is no slouch when it comes to probing a role's (double-role's?) possibilities. You could say there is nothing like this dame.

    Lloyd is full of additional surprises, too, and she salts-and-peppers this Tempest with them. Foremost are the delightful performances she plucks from the cast. A reviewer is allowed to have a favorite, and this time it's Karen Dunbar, who's a Scottish Trinculo of boastful attitudes. Stealing scenes left and right, once in white-stripped minipants, she appears to be having the time of her life.

    Jade Anouka's Ariel, who gets to sing every once in a while, is another focus-puller. Notice the gyrations she goes through whenever summoned and either praised or chastised by Prospero. Jackie Clune's Stefano is fun, too, and that she and Dunbar could almost pass for twins is a big plus.

    Among the other tricks Lloyd has up her sleeve is the strung-together detritus (many empty plastic bottles and other junk) flotsammed and jetsommed around. The coup de theatre that gets audience members laughing ooh-and-aah-ily is the one where, during the wedding celebration, white balloons grounded by bottles tied to them sport amusing projections of contemporary memes.

    The abundance of music has in large part to do with Joan Armatrading's contributions. Some of it gives the impression of being blended into Lloyd's take on London's annual Notting Hill Festival with its gleeful Caribbean overtones.

    Playing the oppressed Caliban in Lloyd's version is Sophie Stanton. (She also strums guitar during the proceedings; Walters tweaks the drums.) Stanton was the commanding Sir John Falstaff in the Henry melding. She's less commanding here, which may have nothing to do with her but everything to do with the character.

    This gets to a personal reaction. Watching Lloyd's playful, critical take on The Tempest, I had an unexpected epiphany. Yes, maybe it does have to do with Lloyd and Walters and the revelation about Prospero. He's a bully, and so, despite the great Shakespeare's poetry laced throughout it, I've decided--maybe just for the time being--that The Tempest is one of the man's 37 plays that I like less than many of the others.

    This, of course, is no reason for anyone to pass up the enormous pleasures Lloyd, Walters and company bring to it.

    (N. B.: This reviewer will interview Harriet Walter at Manhattan's Drama Book Shop on February 6.)

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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    It's a diverse and high-quality crowd, this body of eleven winners in the AIA 2017 Honor Awards for Architecture.

    2017-01-19-1484859881-5097176-AIAToshikoMori.jpg

    Thread Artist Residency and Cultural Center, Toshiko Mori Architect; AKTC/Dev TV


    They range from Toshiko Mori Architect's parametric Thread Artist Residency and Cultural Center in Senegal to the polished Yale Center for British Art Building Conservation Project by Knight Architecture.

    2017-01-19-1484859673-3839100-AIAYaleCenter.jpg

    Yale Center for British Art Building Conservation Project by Knight Architecture; Richard Caspole


    Then there's the waffle-skinned Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban Architects.

    2017-01-19-1484859750-9574264-AIAShigeruBan.jpg

    Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban Architects; Michael Moran


    They make up one of three categories in the awards program this year, with interior architecture and regional and urban design the other two. The architecture category alone fetched 340 submissions, says jury chair Mark Reddington, a partner at Seattle's LMN Architects.

    "That means architects had been busy in the recent past," he says. "In general we were very impressed with the overall quality - they're making a difference for users and the community they were in."

    2017-01-19-1484860016-9147246-AIACarnegieHall.jpg

    Carnegie Hall Studio Towers Renovation Project by Iu + Bibliowicz Architects; Jeff Goldberg


    The nine jurors in the architecture category were looking for specific qualities in the winning entries. Sustainability was important. Maximizing the use of resources - small projects with a big impact out of a small budget - was, too. And how the project contributed to the practice or the community also played a role.

    "We were awarding the project and its results - not the architect or the client," he says. "For a project to be a success comprehensively, it needed a broad collaboration - between client, design team, architects, engineers, artists, builders and consultants. It needed to be story about how they came together in a broad and deep collaboration."

    2017-01-19-1484860290-2914422-AIAMarvelArchitects.jpg

    St. Ann's Warehouse by Marvel Architects; David Sundberg/ESTO

    Over a three month period beginning in August, the jurors reviewed each submission online, then developed a short list for an in-person, three-day session. The list was whittled down to 18, and each submission was then visited by a juror in person.

    "We split up and learned more about the project and its story," he says. "It was a really thorough look at each one."

    Small or large, there's a consistent level of quality across all eleven.

    J. Michael Welton writes about architecture, art and design for national and international publications, and edits Architects + Artisans, where portions of this post first appeared. He is architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., and the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015)

    -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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    © Guy Martin/nineteensixtyeight


    "I don't want to be defined by it, by that thing." Those wise words belong to photojournalist Guy Martin, when talking about the 2011 attack in Libya which injured him along with one other photographer, and left both Chris Hondros and documentarian Tim Hetherington dead. In a society that loves to place labels on people, for their achievements but most often for their misfortunes and mistakes, Martin is a perfect example of why such simplistic definitions are just plain wrong.

    We are, and we become who we will be by constantly reshuffling and adding up all of our life experiences -- the good and the bad, the brave and the scary, the deaths and the births. British-born and Middle East expert documentarian Guy Martin represents a wonderful specimen of the possibilities of humanity's resilience, and grace under fire.

    But, get this, I didn't meet Martin on the embattled streets of Aleppo, or under siege in Misrata, or even in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. I meet the young, handsome and wise beyond his years photographer instead with his assistant for the day Louis, at Pitti Uomo, a fashion fair -- during a break in the press office. Martin is in Florence to document Pitti Uomo through his lens, as part of a collaboration between Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery and nineteensixtyeight, a curated platform dedicated to the discussion and dissemination of modern photography.

    Yes, granted, our initial meeting is inside the Fortezza da Basso, a fortified military building erected in the 1500s by the Medici family in the middle of Florence, to induce fear in their opponents who had ousted the family years before. But that is as far as the war references go. Or is it?

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    © Guy Martin/nineteensixtyeight


    Does a fashion event echo some of the same stances and emotions as a war zone?

    According to Martin, perhaps. He explains, "I think there are many kinds of similarities between doing something on the chaos of covering conflict to the chaos of two or three wardrobe changes backstage. At the end of the day, the things I look for are very human experiences so it doesn't matter if that experience is chaos backstage of a fashion show or the chaos of hanging with rebels and fighters who are getting ready to go out and fight a battle for the day. It's the same kind of mannerisms, it's the same body movements, so as an observer of the human experience, I'm looking for those gestures and that body language that translate from a fashion show, to the street to more social documentary work, which is where I come from."

    Explaining further why he doesn't like to be placed into the convenient little box labelled "war photographer" Martin admits, "I've never actually called myself a "war photographer" because I think that narrows my skill and I don't want to be defined by that. When I am grey and old and I look back and it was only pictures of war and conflict, I think that would just be a really dangerous place to be. I love life in all of its things. There are plenty of old, injured war photographers who still go on talking about the old war stories and kind of live off that and that isn't me. I just couldn't do that."

    I tread lightly when it comes to speaking about Hetherington, because I know from personal experience that PTSD is the one aspect of an accident that never really goes away, and the slightest hint, the smallest mention can bring out a flood of emotions. Of course, I want to get to know Martin, discover more about his wonderful talent, his strength and what makes him tick, but it is never interesting to me to break the magic divide that naturally exists between the writer and the subject of an interview. So, I mention seeing a few articles about the accident online and I express how much joy is present in Martin in person, so much more than I ever expected from a survivor of war, essentially. That brings about memories of his colleague, "Tim" a man who in his short life made award winning, Oscar-nominated documentary films like Restrepo, created installations, contributed to best-selling magazines and curated books which made photojournalism "cool."

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    © Guy Martin/nineteensixtyeight


    "I knew Tim before what happened in Libya and there is one thing that people say that I think is so true with photography, and it's "you should never meet your heroes." I grew up fascinated by war photography and documentary photography and as I got older and into these situations, I met some of the people who inspired me in their work. And their work is still inspiring but as a person, I was like 'I don't want to be you'." Martin continues, "but Tim was different. And the way that Tim, particularly in his work in Afghanistan with sleeping soldiers and what he'd began to do with his work in Libya, was this idea now that the battlefield is a performance, there was a performance aspect in it."

    In the car on our way to a fashion show inside the Sala Bianca, an iconic room inside the Palazzo Pitti where the "Made in Italy" concept began 55 years ago, Martin opens up further about this notion of war as a performance of sorts, which Hetherington had began to play with and which he himself is finding through his work. "Be it men trying to search for their role as men in war, who'd never picked up a gun and watched Rambo films to learn how to fire. Tim began to pick up on that, and I wasn't maybe mature enough to pick up on that, but I saw what he saw and he just began to do it. And I'm so sad that he never got to carry on that. So in a way I kind of think I owe a lot to that experience, and to Tim and to trying to relay that performance, that study of young men, that study of humanity through many different stories."

    2017-01-20-1484898391-4532888-20170112_DSC6142.JPG

    © Guy Martin/nineteensixtyeight


    In Martin's own work, a nearly indescribable quality is present, this wonderful kind of intimacy beyond all possible odds, and his work at Pitti Uomo is no exception. Male models captured bare chested backstage, a female model rushing back from the runway to change, even a young halberdier inside Palazzo Pitti at the Stefano Ricci show we watched together, the affinity Martin feels with the vulnerability of his subjects makes the person beholding his photographs feel like they are magically intruding on a private moment. During another car ride we share together, later in the day, he talks about how odd it is for him to be allowed so much access, particularly to women, backstage and up-close. "In the Middle East it's a luxury to be able to capture a woman's image," Martin explains that he has to spend time convincing those around them that he's worthy of that, and in Florence instead he's been granted immediate access, no questions asked, to models who don't even seem affected by his presence.

    Inspired by Martin's passion, I'll admit that I started looking at the presentations as battles of sorts, the photographers' pit became the trenches of these fashion wars, and the models started to appear more helpless, walking among the surly fashionistas hoping to gain approval. Everything took on a much more important tone with Martin around. It could be that he had earlier referred to the birth of his daughter as "a miracle" following his injuries. Or just the aura of being around someone who looks for the humanity in every situation.

    2017-01-20-1484898433-6127510-20170112_DSC6215.JPG

    © Guy Martin/nineteensixtyeight


    I ask Martin what his Zen is, what gives him balance and he replies, "cooking and being in the water. I grew up on the beach surfing, before I was a photographer I was a surfer and represented Great Britain in the World Surfing Games when I was 16. I find such solace and relaxation in the surf, and bigger surf in particular. It's an adrenalin thing." When we touch briefly on life lessons, he says that from his experience he's learned "not to say no to things," and jokes that if he wasn't at Pitti Uomo on this unusual assignment for him, "'I'd probably be home doing my tax returns and would not have this week."

    The wildcard question, what I usually end an interview with is how a person would describe themselves, in three words, to someone who doesn't know him. Martin chooses calmly, "I would say adventurous, human and honest."

    And I would like to add "a hero."

    All photos used with permission.

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    When you want to experience the neighborhoods of New York, you go walking on our streets. When you want to study the people who are New York, you go to John Ahearn.



    For nearly forty years on the streets of New York this artist has been casting New Yorkers and attaching them to walls for all to see, to watch, to talk to, to argue with. In all our self-possessed and artful individual non-homogeneity, with our multitude of languages, accents, trades, styles, opinions, attitudes, and dreams John captures us, and then shares us with the neighbors.

    Long before “Humans of New York” presented the idiosyncrasies in this crazy enigmatic rat trap of a city, sculptures by John Ahearn were capturing a certain bluntly tender honesty of the character of his sitters and their family members and, in doing so, giving them a certain immortality that few could claim.



    That kind of honesty may get you in hot water occasionally of course, as a public art installation during the early 1990s once revealed, when Ahearn sculpted everyday street people from his Bronx neighborhood and dared elevate them as worthy of public display. The incident caused vitriol and pearl clutching and chest pounding and a lot of spilled ink in the The New Yorker, so splendid and nerve-strumming were his honest portrayals of New Yorkers.

    It also revealed latent here-to-fore unspoken prejudice, pride, racism, and classism and put it all muddily and bloodily on parade; in other words, an American story. The writer Jane Kramer rightly asked in that article’s title “Whose Art Is It?” – a lengthy piece which was later published as a book. As many artists who take their inspiration from the street and who give their work to the street will tell you, Ahearn had already answered that question of whose are it is. It’s yours.



    A brand new installation this month on Manhattan’s Lower East Side by Ahearn again elevates your neighbors to a recognized position of prominence, recalling local cultural history and those of our families. As his custom of working within context demands, this line up of people is as significant as their location. A post punk musician from the downtown scene that flourished here when artists flooded this neighborhood and the city was broke, a colorful performance artist, a gallerist, a hometown all city 1970s train writer, John’s own lady pregnant with their child. These are personal stories of life in this city, here on the wall while the cars and taxis and delivery box trucks and tractor trailers roar and halt and honk and rumble by 24 hours a day.



    “The life on Delancey Street is the aim of the work. Friends from Colab took over a building there in January 1980 and proclaimed it “The Real Estate Show,” says Ahearn of the touchstone illegal show that happened four blocks from this new installation on James Fuentes Gallery. It is almost like he’s reflecting wistfully on that earlier time with this new choice of subjects recalling the art scene in this part of town – as if the geography of the city might invoke the hallmark Bohemian spirit that has been steadily and mercilessly stamped out by shiny bulldozers of impossible rents and dull luxury hotels serving rooftop cocktails.



    The seminal “Real Estate Show” opened on the last day of 1979 and closed the first day of 1980 by force of city officials, who are said to have padlocked the art inside the building and out of reach of everyone, including Ahearn. The show and the events surrounding it highlighted the same issues that struggling artists in many cities are facing across the country today; trying to develop alternative spaces in a hostile rental market, city agency bureaucracy, largely absent institutional support, murky grey areas of legality/illegality, crime, real estate speculators, intimidation and of course, gentrification.



    The police shutdown of that show galvanized the artist community and became part of the Downtown art scene lore and along with three other LES galleries James Fuentes himself made an homage to The Real Estate Show in 2014. Fuentes also posed for one of these new sculptures for “Delancey Street” while at one of those galleries, Cuchifritos, located down the block. Ironically, Fuentes is further connected to the work of Ahearn by dint of growing up in the early 1980s directly across the street from an Ahearn public sculpture mural called “Bronx Double Dutch” (1981-82), a casted mural of girls jumping rope that still hangs there today. (see below)

    Ahearn had begun his public sculptures only a year or two earlier in 1979. “I was casting faces of neighbors at Fashion Moda in the Bronx in 1979 and people passing on the street would stop and watch,” he says. After meeting the nephew of a guy who owned a nearby statuary factory, John and Rigoberto Torres began to work together as a team.



    “I gave Rigoberto some materials and he cast some friends on the sidewalk on his block at Walton Avenue,” he says of the partnership that lasted a number of years. “I moved to Rigoberto’s block soon after.” Both built their craft and confidence and community ties by setting up a long-time public presence working on the street and eventually set up a studio together on Dawson Street to begin making a series of permanent fiberglass culture murals.

    Today on a warm summer day you can find John on the street in the summer in the Bronx, or out at Welling Court in Queens, or a Street Art festival in Baltimore, casting the people who are calm enough to stick straws up their noses and be draped with wet plaster and to remain still until it dries.



    Even in 1980 it was a challenge for children to complete a sitting for him. “It became a point of pride for young kids to demonstrate their confidence,” he says, blue eyes smiling. “The little kids would come up to us and say “Let me do it! I’m ready!’ and I would say “No, you’re not ready, you have to wait!” When Ahearn talks with his infectious enthusiasm, you know he’s giving as much energy to his work as he is getting from it and he can tell you countless stories about the people he has profiled, what kind of work they do, who they are married to, where they went to school.



    Just this past Saturday on the blue bricked wall over a tire shop near his studio in the Bronx Ahearn installed his most recent portrait of a neighbor whom he has known for years. Monxo Lopez went to school with John’s wife Juanita in Puerto Rico and he is a social organizer and professor who lives nearby the tire shop, John tells you. Posing in the Bronx ‘resistance’ gesture that also recalls the borough’s letter “x”, Lopez had been trying to get John to make this of him for a couple of years, but the scheduling didn’t fall into place.

    The newest work is just as authentic as ever, distilling personality, stories,  relationships and inferred community in the same way that all of John Ahearn’s sculptures do.



    “I always liked this tire shop better than my studio space nearby because it is so social. It’s loud and bustling,” he says with something you could may interpret as glee.

    “Everyone is yelling and telling jokes all day,” he says. “The owner, Mike, and I are friends – I wanted my sculpture to share this great space and Mike liked the idea.”








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    By A. E. Colas, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, January 20, 2017

    The Winter Antiques Show is one of the highlights of the social and art season in New York City and for good reason. First of all, this show is an annual benefit for East Side Settlement, a New York City social service organization that specializes in education at all age levels and work/career readiness training. Secondly, the level of items on display is exceptionally high: all come with a guarantee by the exhibitors that each piece has been carefully screened for authenticity, date, and condition. Visiting the Winter Antiques show is an excellent way to begin to learn about and appreciate fine and decorative arts from America, Asia, England, and Europe. And thirdly, the annual choice for the featured loan exhibition is always an institution or collection that is among the best in its chosen topic or field. This year's loan exhibition is titled The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum: Revolution and Evolution. AARFAM provides a comprehensive overview of American folk art ranging from the 18th to 20th centuries and is located in Williamsburg, Virginia, part of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. It is an outstanding museum for both its collection and educational programs.

    The show is located at the Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, between 66th and 67th Streets. For more information click here. To purchase tickets click here.

    A. E. Colas, a Contributing Writer for ZEALnyc, writes about art and museum exhibits, as well as lifestyle features.

    For more features from ZEALnyc read:

    Art Break: Where to go this week on your lunch break

    With an Eye for the Icon-Oscar Abolafia is a Cognescenti of the Camera

    'Exhibitionism--The Rolling Stones' is a 'rocker's Nirvana'

    Calling all filmmakers -- there's a new Festival coming to town!

    For all the news on New York City arts and culture, visit ZEALnyc Front Page.

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    2017-01-20-1484922979-7767852-The_Man_in_the_High_Castle.jpg
    The Amazon series The Man in the High Castle based on Philip K. Dick's l962 novel of the same name is becoming prescient. Dick envisioned an alternate universe in which the axis powers won the Second World War dividing the spoils, ie the US amongst them. Philip Roth's 2004 The Plot Against America painted a similar kind of parallel universe catalyzed by a putative Charles Lindbergh victory in the l940 election against Roosevelt. Today it's no longer the Axis powers that are a threat but the Russians. Joseph McCarthy is probably peeing in his grave. The paranoiac vision of Dr. Strangelove is now coming true replete with the ultimate mole, in the form of a newly elected president. Actually most publishers wouldn't even have accepted this novel, as it doesn't allow for the willing suspension of disbelief. However, here it all is, real estate ventures, branding deals, golden showers all provided under the watchful eye of Russian intelligence, a practice know as Kompromat which is a far cry from the old Samizdat. In this new version of The Man in a High Castle President Trump appoints President Putin as director of the C.I.A in attempt to create a new business model of international relations, in which annexations and even invasions are simply looked through the lens of a business model, as mergers and acquisitions. Thus it doesn't matter if Russia acquires the United States or the United States acquires Russia. In the net result, the two countries become one big happy family ruled by Putin & Trump LLC.
















    {This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}

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    Joan Osborne performed at Joe's Pub Friday night, right before Erin Markey, who finally proved her 90's hit accurate: God is one of us and it's her. It's Erin Markey. At least, I hope it is. I can't think of many others I'd rather be greeted by at heaven's gates: a strange psychedelic dream in sphinx and mermaid form. A princess riding shirtless on a horse, who you would actually really want to be your autocratic ruler. A beautiful nightmare you don't want to end soon.

    From the moment of Markey's understated entrance until she is hoisted off at the end, the Brooklyn based Diva gobbles up the stage like it's borscht, vomiting truth onto her audience and wiping us clean with a steady stream of insights and riffs. Her humor is at times provocative, and at times obscene, yet through it all, she herself remains as innocent and enigmatic as one of Eugenides' virgins.

    If Cindy Lauper, Zack Galifaniakis, Joey Arias and Miranda July had an orgy, Erin Markey might have been born. The very first thing she wants to talk about on entering the stage, however, is what she'd like to have happen after she dies. At her funeral, she'd like someone to operate her corpse so she can fulfill her dream of singing Whitney Houston's 'Didn't We Almost Have It All?' with a live symphony, an event she has presumably given up on trying to pursue while living. She invites a 'volunteer' to rehearse the part of oral sphincter operator and appoints everyone in the room as her live orchestra. The fact that none of us seem to remember how 'Didn't We Almost Have It All' actually goes, doesn't stop us from trying, and failing, to live up to the demand. Never mind; we failed together. A memory is made.

    Her voice, soothing as it is piercing, travels to strange parts of the psyche where it strikes dormant notes; the music is a call to arms and a nostalgia inducing trip. The songs she has written and composed for her scarily flexible instrument are a genre of their own: her opening number about a baby born with no labia, could be Harold Arlen writing Trip Hop; the rest are no less haunting or original. I hope they are made available, because they are the kind of songs that beg to be shared with people whose validation you want.

    Among the outsized, delicately painted characters Markey steps into throughout the show is a three time Craigslist hooker who fell in love with her John and sustained this love for him for two years... until it was over. The story is revealed in the poignantly hilarious horse-like voice of her Aunt Jan, and climaxes in one of many show stopping numbers.

    For the finale, Markey gets carried around the auditorium alternating between begging, demanding and threatening the audience to fill a hole in the front of her pants with dollar bills. It feels like the culmination of an immersive masterclass on overcoming shame, pushing to the limit the boundaries of intimacy between strangers, and the power dynamic of hooker and John, audience and performer, Sub and Dom. By the end of the show I was led to wonder whether she means to draw a parallel between us, her audience, and the man with the fat wad of cash mentioned during her craigslist confession. If we are to accept the thin line Markey casts between paid entertainer and dominatrix/paid lover, it's a perfect demonstration of how easily love can grow in such an interaction, and how easily the feeling can be sustained... in the case of Markey's show, well after it is over.

    *****/*****

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  • 01/20/17--09:43: small talk
  • Instead of 'how are you,' you could ask me, 'what color's your heart now?' and if you know it's blue, you could say, 'what shade?'
    and if it's a dark one maybe just hold me?

    Instead of 'how was your weekend,' you could tease: 'did you get in any trouble over the weekend?' to get it out of the way in case I did and if I say no, we can breathe in relief; I survived the weekend.

    Instead of 'how was work?' you could ask: 'what are you thinking about right now?' That way I don't have to go back to work in my thoughts and can stay where I am: with you.

    Instead of 'how did you sleep?' what about exclaiming: 'you woke up! amazing how that works.'

    Instead of 'I love you,' you could say, 'I was thinking about something you said yesterday...' or, 'last week,' or, 'last year...' the more you love me the further back you'll go... and if you weren't thinking about anything I said well.

    Maybe you don't really love me and just like having someone around and we should in fact make small talk so small you can't see it.

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    By SALLY BECK
    In a bid to celebrate the heritage of four Yorkshire towns, choreographer and West End star Steve Elias heads North with a plan to rouse locals through dance. Leading man Steve, who has had starring roles in Guys & Dolls, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Billy Elliot, was inspired by flash mobs and viral videos. His plan was a series of spectacles bringing people together in the way that London's Olympic opening ceremony did.
    Steve began in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, whose troubled past is inextricably linked to the coal mines and glassblowing. Steve, who is also a former rugby player and son of a bricky from South Wales said: 'This idea was about working with communities. It wasn't about transforming them into professional dancers is was about what experience people could get by dancing and whether it could change them as people.'
    He was particularly keen to ease tensions in Barnsley between the miners and police who clashed violently during the 1984 strikes. One Barnsley miner, Russell Broomhead, was filmed being badly beaten at the Battle of Orgreave, the most violent confrontation between police and pickets. The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign are campaigning for a Hillsborough like enquiry and are claiming retired officers are prepared to come forward with damning evidence.
    In its heyday there were 10 mines in the Barnsley district, its now green valley was so full of smoke and steam they called it Dante's Inferno. That all changed with the first pit closure. After Cortonwood colliery went in 1985 it marked a steady decline in the industry.
    Former miner and local historian Dave Cherry said: 'When one miner went, fifteen more ancillary workers lost their jobs. The blokes that made the pies for the canteen, the steel works, the railways. It were a big knock on effect - a devastating blow. That was it. Roy Orbison. It's over.'
    Old tensions still bubble close to the surface, but can dance heal that rift?
    Steve said: 'Dance can do so much. It unites, it allows people to express themselves, to show who they really are, it celebrates, it entertains. Dance, I believe, has the power to be life changing. Could I achieve the same result for a whole community? That was the challenge.
    'I know from experience that once you get a room full of people rehearsing for a show, there's something about sweating together, failing and laughing together as a group. It makes you lose all your inhibitions and creates a strong bond.'
    Steve, 44, is set to do for dance what Gareth Malone has done for choirs. Originally from Carmarthen, but now lives in London. He is not your traditionally slim, athletic dancer. He has a definite prop forward's physique, but he says performing has helped him thrive. 'I knew it's what I wanted to do from the age of six when I saw my brother acting in Oliver at school. I was a chubby kid and I had body issues even then, but dance made me forget all about that. I come alive on stage.'
    The community are skeptical and their experience of dance varied. Some have never even danced the conga, whilst other gifted amateurs have dreamed of a life expressed through dance, a dream that for one reason or another, was never fulfilled.
    One lady he approached told him: 'The only time I dance is when I'm drunk in Benidorm.' But then he meets 21-year-old Nick working in his parents' chippy who reached grade six in ballet and tap and studied Latin and ballroom dancing too. He hasn't danced for five years after a London audition made him realise he wasn't ambitious enough. His pirouette is wobbly, but Steve tells him: 'It'll all click back into place.'
    Getting the proud former miners on board was his toughest challenge. Dave Cherry summed up local feeling. He said: 'Personally I think he's raving bonkers.' Steve said: 'I wasn't planning to put them in lycra and tutus, but I needed them. They're the heart and soul of Barnsley.'
    The police were more enthusiastic. PC Craig has served with the South Yorkshire police force for 29 years joining in 1987, three years after the miners' strike. His father was a miner so he has a foot in both camps. He said: 'If somebody had said: "In thirty years time you'll be taking part in a dance in Barnsley alongside the ex-miners." I'd have said, "nah, you're off your head."
    'The strikes split families asunder and time hasn't healed all the wounds. But Yorkshire people and Barnsley people in particular are very broad minded and we can move on, put our differences behind us.'
    That's the theory, but in practice, the miners are reluctant to co-operate, refusing to come to rehearsals or even dance. Finally, they agreed a compromise, they wouldn't dance but they would march. Former miner Eric Richardson, who volunteers at the Barnsley Museum said: 'We don't need a rehearsal. We've marched through London, we've marched in Birmingham, we've marched in Norwich docks. We don't need no trial run I can assure you of that!'
    Steve was convinced they wouldn't show. He said: 'Every time I think about the miners I start to sweat.
    'I had no idea whether or not they would turn up. I knew that with other groups, like the glass blowers, they would send a couple on reconnaissance to see what I was doing. They didn't take me at face value, they were convinced I was trying to expose them or make them look silly. Once they saw I was genuine more would join in, but the miners never came.'
    Even on performance day, Steve was still unsure.
    Their route started at the town hall, wound it's way through the town centre before culminating at the miner's column. Over 350 residents turned up, including 74 proud miners, glassblowers, the women's rugby club, baton twirlers, Barnsley's Northern Soul club and the local theatre group, turned up to take part.
    The miners turned up and were pleased to join in. Eric said: 'We get an immense feeling of pride when we march at back of us banners. That's how we all feel that it belongs to us and we're going to be representative of that.'
    PC Craig said: 'It's the first time in my 30 years of service that I've been part of a body of police officers and we've actually been cheered to the rafters.'
    Steve said: 'They came up trumps. It was mind-blowing, the best moment of my life. To see the miners and police taking part in something together was extraordinary.'
    It was a hard won success. Steve said: 'My heart was in my mouth. When you're working with non-dancers, anything can go wrong. If one goes down it can have a domino effect. The result could be carnage. It was a big gamble'
    Tomorrow night, viewers can see Steve persuading Barnsley to Dance in BBC2's five-part series, 'Our Dancing Town'.
    Next week he travels to Skipton, the rural gateway to the Dales, then the old mill town of Huddersfield which has a higher than average multi-cultural mix, and finally York, with its Viking and Roman history and of course its chocolate. York felt apart after being devastated by floods on Boxing Day 2015.


    Our Dancing Town, BBC Two, 9pm, Tuesday 10th January

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    Photo Credit: Eve Rinaldi


    Aussie star Richard Roxburgh welcomed me to his dressing room at the Barrymore Theatre on a Thursday before his nightly performance in The Present, in which he shares the stage with his longtime friend Cate Blanchett, whose husband Andrew Upton wrote the play, adapting it after Anton Chekhov's Platonov. Rugged and handsome, Richard has a quiet confidence and sense of calm about him that makes him easy to be around. After sharing recommendations for ramen noodle and ear, nose and throat doctors (he just got over a cold himself), we took a seat on the couch and dived into talking about his debut Broadway performance in The Present.

    This is not your first play by a longshot, but it is your Broadway debut. How are you feeling about it?
    Very excited. The experience of doing this play the very first time in Sydney was so unusual and effervescent and genuinely fun in the way that very good material is. You feel that you can constantly keep mining it, tweaking it, and John [Crowley] has been doing a lot of reworking, rediscovering and changing stuff for Broadway. So we've been working a lot on it.

    Your character, Mikhail, is such a complex character.
    He goes to a lot of places. And there is a lot of fun there, and a lot of existential borrowing thru Act 3 that gets to the emotional bedrock of the play which is so beautifully done. It's fun, and it's also exhausting to do.

    What part of Mikhail do you relate to?
    Laughs. Well, purportedly, Andrew [Upton] wrote it with me in mind.

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    Oh really! Were you a single playboy back in the day?
    I've had my moments. Look, I think he wrote it for other reasons possibly apart from just that. But I relate to a lot of it; I understand it on a deep plane. And being able to play that every night with Cate [Blanchett], having that long and beautiful relationship with her, adds a whole other dimension to it.

    When did you first meet Cate?
    When she was in Ophelia in a production of Hamlet in Sydney. So that was the first time we worked together, and she shook me every night with where she was prepared to go to. Ophelia is not a big role but what she brought to it was a well of suffering that was well beyond her years, and you would wonder where that came from and what else there was. And, of course, we've worked together a lot since then.

    The meaning of the play is open to interpretation. I was wondering what the meaning of the show is for you?
    The play concerns itself so much with the incredibly illusive matter of trying to be precisely where you are, with honesty, in this life. The incredible difficulty of that. And once you tackle that to the ground and you've got it, it can evaporate in front of your eyes. The question is how do you try and keep ahold of that thing. It's so bewilderingly swift in its movement and shimmering and elusive and you can get attracted to all of the paraphernalia in life but the substance, the "why", is the incredibly elusive thing. And Mikhail optimistically comes to some measure of that by Act 4. Without giving away plots, Mikhail is released by saying "here it is - it doesn't matter what the repercussions are because I'm going to speak the truth".

    Your character is on a search for happiness and fulfillment throughout the play. What gives you fulfillment in your own life?
    I look to a lot of different things for my fulfillment. I rely very strongly on my life with my family for my fulfillment. I hate being away from them; I can struggle when I'm away from them. When our family is all together I have a great sense of completeness. In terms of work, what gives me fulfillment is a lot of variation. Whether it's producing or working on my series Rake that I'm also the creator or this new series that I'm looking to direct, or doing other things like the children's novel that I published this year called Artie and the Grime Wave.

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    You definitely have a very diverse resume! Do you have a favorite job?
    I suppose acting is really my great love, and I suppose in particular theater acting. There's something about it, the immediacy of it, of trying to get that "thing". You aren't working to make something perfect. You are trying to be absolutely present in every little shadow, every single moment.

    You moved here from Australia in order to do the play. How's it been living in New York City?
    My apartment is opposite the Rockefeller Center and in December we walked out every day into a stadium of humanity. I used to walk to work on the road with the vehicles every night because there was no other way!

    Your wife, Silvia Colloca, is a chef. Are you any good in the kitchen?
    I used to fancy my skills in the kitchen but it's either that I've been sidelined or I got lazy. The kids like my lasagna; I think I may have the edge on my wife on the lasagna. And I cook Japanese food, as well.

    What's one thing you would like to tell your 15-year-old self?
    I guess I'd like to tell him that everything will be alright. I think I used to beat myself up a lot. It was a strange thing growing up in the Bush and not fitting in to any of the familial paradigms. I am the youngest of six kids, and a lot of my family have become scientists. So I was a real anomaly, difficult for my parents to figure out. Hard for my teachers to figure out. And I was a pain in the ass in school, lippy, because I had nowhere to put my energy. But when I did a production of Death of a Salesman in high school and played Willy Loman, that's when I decided that this is what I wanted to do.

    And aren't we grateful that he did.

    Get tickets to Broadway's The Present here.

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    Last night, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, an art collective known for multiple viral public art actions, projected the faces and stories of survivors of rape and abuse onto the façade of Washington, D.C.’s Convention Center. Each image was accompanied by the hashtag #WeWillNotBeSilent and the words, “In this man, I see violence.” Statements described the way in which Donald Trump’s predatory behavior reminds survivors of their abusers. For people gathered to look, those walking by, in their cars and on their way to inaugural events during rush hour traffic it was impossible to look away. It was a clear, crisp night and the facade is 60 feet tall. The action was done in collaboration with DISCLOSE, an Oakland-based art-activism collective, which simultaneously staged projections on the West Coast. The projected stills and are come from a video created by DISCLOSE, which was released online today.



    “As survivors of violence, we know best the tactics that Trump uses to maintain power because we have lived it. Trump is not new, but all too familiar. As a survivor and as a queer, Native woman I know deeply the hate that Trump embodies, because I live it everyday,” explained Rebecca Nagle, co-founder, along with Hannah Brancato, of the organization. “We also know that the culture that allowed Donald Trump to be successful are larger than just one person and we have to name the violence that is so deeply embedded in U.S. culture that a man like this could be our president.”


    There is no doubt, as evidenced by the millions of #NotOK stories shared in the buildup to the election, that Donald Trump reminds millions of women of the every day reality of sexual harassment, street harassment and domestic abuse. Writer Rebecca Solnit’s recent searing description of Trump’s second debate performance captures why: “Trump roamed, loomed, glowered, snarled and appeared to copulate with his podium, grasping it with both hands and swaying his hips, seeming briefly lost in reverie. The menace was so dramatic, so Hitchcockian, that the Hollywood composer Danny Elfman wrote a soundtrack for a video edit playing up all the most ominous moments ... Friends told me they thought he might assault her; I thought it possible myself as I watched him roam and rage.”



    In the last weeks of the election, multiple women came forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, only to have the candidate engage in a textbook response of how domestic abusers act when confronted with their crimes. In these instances and others, Trump denies, mocks, attacks and reverses the perpetrator/victim trajectory. Or, as Teen Vogue’s Lauren Duca succinctly put it, he is gaslighting America. Trump’s behavior, body language, words and actions all combine to present the picture of a man that many see simply as a violent, manipulative Abuser-in-Chief who has surrounded himself with a cohort of people who seem equally inclined.



    Some people wonder why take the trouble to do something like this, or, worse, actively disparage efforts that are filled with visceral emotions and not tied to specific and concrete plans. Public display of women’s and survivors’ freedom of expression are vitally important and subversive. It takes bravery, determination and will do participate, to be visible and, even in the impaction silence of projections like these, loud in intent and sentiment. During the time that the images covered the front wall of the Convention Center and people walked by in black-tie, heading for the Deplora Ball, an evening celebration of the inauguration, thousands of people looked up to read the unexpected words and consider what they mean.


    As inaugural events unfolded in Washington, D.C., today groups around the country planned protests, resistance movements, and ways for people to participate in every day acts of activism and civic engagement. The art action was a compelling way to confront what most people in the country see as day that marks the start of a long, dangerous and painful period. It was particularly poignant given the announcement by the Trump administration yesterday that, among many other cuts, the administration is planning to eliminate twenty-five Department of Justice grants to fight Violence Against Women and the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. “The goal of the piece is really to uplift survivors voices at a time that a lot of people are normalizing Trump’s behavior,” said Nagle. The projections preceded today’s #WeWillNotBeSilent Twitter storm in which survivors shared ways to organize acts of resistance to a culture that just doubled down on powerful institutional tolerance for rape.



    Photo credits, Nate Larson, used with permission.


    Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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    "Art is music. Nobody tells you what you like, you just know? Right? It's kind of like love, you know? Roy Tabora is sitting there, on the sofa in an air-conditioned corner of a Lahaina gallery, talking, complete with hand gestures and his big smile. He is an engaging conversationalist. "Art is not one of those things that you can compartmentalize, you just don't approach it in a practical way. Unless you are pressed for why, then you try to explain it but to yourself, you don't. You just try and enjoy the moment, right?"

    Roy Tabora is a third generation artist but says that the way he paints now is quite different from the way he was guided. His grandfather and uncles had the talent, the ability and a desire strong enough to do what they had to do to survive. His family became artists out of necessity. There was no definitive structure as to how or why they became artists, they were just trying to survive.

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    Rythmic Dance by Roy Tabora

    Kralik- The more I learn the clearer is my understanding that representational painting was surviving in little pockets all over the place. It did not just come down from Gerome or the Italians or the Russian School or whatever. Somebody went to Rome and said wow and bought some paint and went back home and started doing it.

    Tabora- I bet you that is more true than people give it credit for. The instinct to carry on, whether you got a family to feed or whatever, if you have that internal drive you will find a way. My family did billboards, painted them by hand, not just pasting up some posters, no no no, they did large scale, measured it out and did it by hand. They had this ability and it needed to be done, you know, baby needs new shoes, come on, lets do it! Plus you want to do well because you want another job like that so you put your best effort in there. It is all in the mix.

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    Ebb and Flow by Roy Tabora


    Tabora- That early connection with the artists in my family was sort of short lived because my immediate family moved to Guam. I started when I was 6, which is an age where you are not really going to develop any sort of skill but, the fire was lit and I was very inspired and I was able to identify with being an artist without really knowing what that is. It was just someone who draws and paints. I had no experience of the artists life, of how it really is. I was a child. I wasn't in the business or any of that, I was just in it to explore whatever curiosity I had. I was doing everything. My family was more traditional back in the Philippines but Guam is a US territory so suddenly my mind was opened up to all sorts of things. I was curious and I always ended up being the artist of the class and that just threw more gasoline on the fire! I was picking up techniques and living on a tropical island, the scenery was a curious thing so it perpetuated itself. Then, when it was time to go to college I came through Hawaii in 1975. I came back in 77 and have been living here ever since. I just felt that this was the place I had to be, it just felt right. It felt home,

    I didn't do any research or have a plan other than I just knew that there was nothing I would rather do and it was as simple as that.

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    Summer Embers by Roy Tabora

    Tabora- A lot of people tell me that they or their kid is leaning toward art. There is a practical approach to art and then there is the other. I talk about this in my new book, I want to make sure that they know it is very hard. It is difficult and therein lies the importance of being passionate about it because I believe that is your fuel. You are going to run into so many dead ends, in all different varieties whether it is trying to improve upon your skill or opportunities that you want to have available to you or people that you meet who do not always have your best interest in mind, all of those things.

    I never had a plan B. All the eggs in one basket! It is a JUMP! It is a commitment.

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    Solitude , Midnight Wonderland and Blush of Early Dawn (detail) by Roy Tabora

    Kralik- Did you ever wrestle with what style to go with?

    Tabora- Yes. That is part of the checklist. If you are going to be an artist you have to address the style and I got caught up in all of that but somewhere, and I don't know when that happened. I abandoned that mindset. When you look at what is trending, and you look at it like that, from a business standpoint, but being honest, I know that I did not want to work that way so eventually I just listened to my natural inclination. I was following my wiring.

    I committed to my wiring instead of working outside of myself. I just liked the realistic look. I started out with that and then got to be more expressive with emotions and fudged the realism a little in order to accomplish the goal of making someone REALLY feel this. I saturate the colors, pump it up a little bit, more drama in the composition, but there is still all the references of those who have gone before. So, I abandoned that thought of establishing a style. You have to be excited about what you are doing. If you are not, if you are not sold. If you are following another matrix to get that, it is not natural. If it is outside yourself the chances that you will abandon the project is really great.

    2017-01-20-1484891344-751683-TheUnveilinglarge1024.jpg
    The Unveiling by Roy Tabora

    Tabora- As much as we cannot deny the business aspect of what we are doing now, we can think back to the time when there wasn't any money in it. We still did it and finally the money caught up. That is one of the things that grandpa taught us, and I didn't understand it until later, "Don't chase the money. Let the money chase you. "

    2017-01-20-1484890873-3972513-TimelessRhythmlarge1024.jpg
    Timeless Rythm by Roy Tabora

    Tabora- Painting from the heart is most important. It is scary but that is part of what adds to it. Love is it's own thing, it survives. Things out there, trends can morph you and I certainly sampled a few of them in the 70's but I kept coming back to love, good old fashioned love, right? No matter what everybody else was doing. If you are a trendy artist you better have the next thing lined up because the clock is ticking on this work. Classics are classics for a reason. They transcend time. That is something everybody can relate to. You do not have to rely on the marketing guy's take on it for you to appreciate it. You can see it for yourself. There is something in it that you are going to gravitate to if you are a human being. Without any preparation from anybody, you can appreciate this. The marketing guy can sway the population away from that for a little while but you cannot deny your wiring. That is what people need to come back to.

    Tabora Gallery
    https://taboragallery.com/

    Diamond Head Gallery, Lahaina, Hawaii
    http://www.diamondheadgallery.com/gallery-category/artists/roy-gonzalez-tabora/

    Tabora's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TaboraArtGallery

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    2017-01-20-1484920469-1682532-ICGraphic2copy.jpg

    The winter sun rose fast over a California morning, peeking above the San Gabriel mountain range, and bringing sunlight to the City of Angels. It was Sunday February 8th 2015 the day of the 57th annual 2017-01-17-1484693095-8169351-Grant1.jpgGrammy® Awards. Eileen Sherman was attending the Grammy® Awards that day, and had an appointment that morning to meet Grant Maloy Smith, (another voting member of Grammy) in the lobby of The Marriott hotel in downtown LA. So, at the arranged time, dressed in their "red carpet finest" Grant and Eileen met for the very first time. In Eileen's own words. "At first, I couldn't even find Grant because of the "glamorous mob scene" in the lobby, but then I saw the "cowboy hat." I went over to him, extended my hand, and said, "I'm Eileen Sherman. I have this idea." I don't think I had completed my second sentence, when Grant said, "I'm In." (It wasn't until much later that I learned, he had the same idea.)" And so, it was, on that musically auspicious day the Indie Collaborative drew its first breath.



    Within weeks they met again in NY at the Drama League in Tribeca which Eileen Sherman, a lyricist, and playwright, (who collaborates with her sister Gail Bluestone, when she's writing musicals) had chosen, and together sitting on a couch in the reception area she and Grant began creating what would soon 2017-01-17-1484692951-2260080-EileenSherman.jpgbecome the Indie Collaborative. Both Grant and Eileen realized they wanted a more formal mechanism for fellow artists to get together and support one another artistically. For the past 12 months Grant, had been traveling around the US with his friends Ricky Kej and Wouter Kellerman, meeting and having lunch with hundreds and hundreds of musicians and artists in cities across America, so it appeared that the recipe for a successful new organization was ripe. The seeds of the new Indie Collaborative were sown. They started planning their first event, to be held on the stage at the Drama League in June 2015. With clever networking on Facebook, they packed the house in June and the event was a huge success. At the event folks took pictures and posted them on FB which instantly translated to the event going viral. Grant was inundated with requests to bring this event to Indies around the country and within a week they scheduled another Indie Collaborative in LA for September 2015. Right from the beginning, Grant and Eileen decided that there would be no requirement that a person be a voting member of NARAS, or belong to ASCAP or BMI or any other organization, but simply that talent, passion & persistence be the criteria for membership without any preferred art form. Or as The Outback Steakhouse likes to proclaim, "No rules, just right!! "

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    2017-01-19-1484836301-4072571-02092017IndieCollabposter.jpgWithin weeks membership grew from 100 to over 1,000 and by January 2017 the number had grown to an impressive 2,000 with events scheduled from New York to Los Angeles. To date The Indie Collaborative has organized sold out2017-01-19-1484836481-1371470-02102017IndieCollabposter.jpg events in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta with possible events happening this year in Fort Worth Texas and Fort Lauderdale Florida. The next event is scheduled in LA on February 9th and 10th at Kulak's Woodshed, 5230 Laurel Canyon Blvd • N Hollywood • CA • 91607 at 8.00pm. The audience will be treated to a wonderfully diverse selection of live music ranging from Blues to Americana, R&B to Flamenco, and Classical to Jazz featuring over 50 world class artists for both nights. Tickets are sold out already, (a testament to how popular The Indie Collaborative has become.) To see a list of performers click the photos in this paragraph. If you're interested in watching either event, you can stream it live at concertwindow/indiecollaborative

    It takes a lot of backbone to pronounce yourself a musician, an artist, or a writer. When you look at the many faces featured in the Indie Collaborative it's impressive that so many people take that leap to pursue music careers. Some may think it's all about chasing fame, but, after years in the business, we see and hear so much to dispute that. Certainly, any artist's heart leaps at positive recognition they might receive, any good press they get, or even, heaven forbid, a great day of CD sales! But mostly what drives these creative people is the passion to express themselves freely. "Ars artis gratia" meaning art for the sake of art, is the mantra for many serious artists worldwide. Indie artists are often the conscience of the music industry. Free from the constraints of record contracts, they're sometimes raw, unpolished but offer a necessary check and balance to the war that rages on over art versus marketability. Long live the amazing artists that bubble to the top like "Adele" who richly deserve their congratulations at Grammy time. But chops too, to the amazing collection of people who pursue music for the love of music with no safety net and, who very often give of their talents for free, to help a fellow musician with their projects. The Indie Collaborative really is a collaborative group of diverse artists, who share feedback and add variety to a sometimes trend oriented business.

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    Below are some of the Artists who are part of The Indie Collaborative:


    2017-01-19-1484837720-8804464-MikeGreenly8.jpgMike Greenly is a former Fortune 500 marketing & communications VP. Today he's a highly-acclaimed speechwriter and speech coach helping executives around the world. His passion is writing lyrics and spoken word pieces.Mike is the author of "Our Great Virginia" which in 2015 became Virginia's Official Traditional State Song.He's also had several Billboard-charted hits, including his recent #1 Dance song, "Say Yes" by Jason Walker. Watch the video below called Common Ground. Mike wrote the lyrics, and Gil Polk wrote the music. Mike Greenly has been a member since 2015.



    2017-01-17-1484694708-3780164-ICbannercopy.jpg


    2017-01-17-1484694820-369857-1374799_10151689526871762_1116981055_n.jpgDespite emigrating to the United States in 1975, Peruvian-born guitarist Ciro Hurtado has continued to be one of the finest performers of traditional Latin music. A founding member, musical director and producer of Huayucaltia, Hurtado has balanced work with the group with solo performances and recordings. While the L.A. Times called him, "an elegantly polished guitarist, who can evoke flourishes of flamenco or jazzy staccato runs with consummate ease", Musician magazine claimed that he "combines the dexterity and elegance of the Spanish classicists with the romantic imperative of South America". Ciro will be performing at the indie collaborative event at Kulak's Woodshed on Feb 9th or 10th. For more info click HERE

    2017-01-18-1484697900-3427400-247455_10151429311227253_327187443_n.jpgWouter Kellerman is a Grammy Award-winning South African flautist, producer and composer who has won six South African Music Awards Using his classical training as a foundation, Kellerman has focused his attention on World and Roots music, exploring the versatility of the instrument and fusing classical and contemporary sounds. Kellerman received a Grammy Award at the 57th Annual Grammy Award for his 2014 album Winds of Samsara, a collaboration with Indian composer and producer Ricky Kej. Kellerman's latest album 'Love Language' (2015) received a Grammy® Nomination, and won a SAMA for 'Best Instrumental and/or Classical Album. Wouter will be performing at the Indie Collaborative event at Kulak's Woodshed on Feb 9th or 10th. For more info click HERE

    2017-01-18-1484697989-5860718-NatalieJean.jpgNatalie Jean is an award-winning singer/songwriter. In April of 2013, she released her first CD entitled, 'Obsession,' and In 2014, released her second album, a self-titled album, 'Natalie Jean.' In 2014, she was nominated in the Best Dance Category in the 2014 Artist in Music Awards, as well as being nominated 5 times in the Indie Music Channel Awards for Best Blues Song, Best Blues Artist, Best Jazz Song, Best Rap Song, and Best R&B Artist. She was also nominated in the LA Music Awards in the Pop category. In 2015, she won for best Jazz Song with Trevor Sewell. In 2016 Natalie won the Josie Music Awards for World Artist of the Year, and Best Musical Collaboration with Trevor Sewell for 'Devenir Gris.' Natalie will be performing at the indie collaborative event at Kulak's Woodshed on Feb 9th or 10th. For more info click HERE

    2017-01-18-1484698447-4791953-janis1100x100.jpgTrevor Sewell is an English blues guitarist, who has won multiple awards and been nominated 4 times in the British Blues Awards. His debut album 'Calling Your Name' spent 7 weeks at number 1 on the American Blues Chart, while his 2nd album 'Independence' went on to win multiple awards and firmly establish him as a blues force to be reckoned with. Trevor has recently become the voice of the audio book 'Dangerous Gambles' ( produced by Mia Moravis) by acclaimed American author J.H. Sanderson which also featured Sewell's music, which has not only been recorded by several artists, but is also featured on numerous compilation albums alongside legendary artists such as Robert Johnson, B.B. King and Howlin' Wolf. Recently he teamed up with the legendary Janis Ian to record a new single called SHADOWS. Trevor will be performing at the indie collaborative event at Kulak's Woodshed on Feb 9th or 10th. For more info click HERE

    2017-01-18-1484698863-4056783-15826656_10154251806157473_7129445629654423769_n.jpg Stephen Michael Schwartz is a shining star in Children's music. He is a master of melody, approachable,friendly and is totally genuine and everything that one expects a children's performer to be. He's been part of the successful group 'Parachute Express" for years racking up awards including a Parent's Choice Gold Award, a NAPPA Award, and 1st place in the International Songwriting Award. Stephen also composed and sang the title song for the popular animated PBS show "Jay, Jay the Jet Plane," He has a new solo album out called "Bucket of Wow" which features a very special song titled, "I'm Being Followed By the Moon" that is beautiful and underscores his exceptional sense of melody. We were privileged to work with Stephen at the White House years ago, and now we're so proud of him for taking his music for kids all the way to China. Just off a tour of 30 shows for children in Northern China he is the perfect "Kiddie Ambassador" and his incredible career has spanned, as he puts it, "From the White House to the Great Wall."

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    While there are no requirements that members must belong to Grammy®, in fact a percentage of indie collaborative members are indeed long term members with over 30 members within the organization receiving either a Nomination or an actual Grammy® Award. "One thing we were careful about from the beginning," says Grant Maloy-Smith, "was to put up a firewall between the Indie Collaborative and NARAS (aka "The Recording Academy" or the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences). We love NARAS and don't want to do anything that might seem like impropriety, so we don't hold any indie collaborative events during the months when Grammy voting is open. We adhere not just to the letter, but to the spirit of the rules of the Recording Academy." This year the 59th Grammy® Nominees who are also members of Indie Collaborative are: Kabir Seghal (Producer,Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom) Adam Berry and Santosh Khaur Khalsa (White Sun II) Janiva Magness (Love Wins Again) Ted Nash (Presidential Suite: Eight Variations On Freedom) The Okee Dokee Brother (Saddle Up) Secret Agent 23 Skidoo (Infinity Plus One) Van Dean (The Color Purple) John Burke (Orogen) Herschel Garfein (Producer of Presidential Suite: Eight Variations On Freedom) Mike Posner (I took a pill in Ibiza) and Kalani Pe'a (E WALEA) Congratulations to each and every one of these fine Artists.

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    The Indie Collaborative proudly wears many hats and is an important arm of the music industry. It's brimming with cultural diversity in a way that doesn't feel forced as music is so naturally varied and diverse. Any genre of music is welcome, any age of artist is welcome, music in any language is welcome. The Collaborative also fosters a sense of being part of a community of musicians which is nice for people who may work solo or feel somewhat isolated by self-employment. In short, musicians can find "common ground" with the Indie Collaborative and that's a good thing. Our sincere thanks to the almost 2,000 members of the Indie Collaborative for their passion, their dedication and their talent. Grant Maloy Smith and Eileen Sherman had a winner of an idea when they created it and we're so pleased to see it thriving. Hats off to them both, and we hope this year's event on February 9th, and 10th is a roaring success.
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    Batman swept Jason O'Connell off his equilibrium when he was just a lad, and he's lived to tell the tale, which he's enthusiastically spinning in The Dork Night right now at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre.

    For the extremely friendly and appealing O'Connell, Batman in his many film guises (Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, among them), the comic book figure hasn't simply been a pastime. For him, the pointed-eared masked figure has been more like a case of WWBD--What Would Batman Do? Since he was 9 years old, he's asked the pressing question of himself whenever faced with a dilemma.

    He's continued to employ Batman as role model right up to the present date when he's in his 40s. He's certainly relied on what he's learned for his several forays with the opposite sex. It's certainly been important for him, but not absolutely prohibitive, that the object of his affection is also a Batman aficionado--a Batwoman, you might say.

    When O'Connell, born in Commack and educated at Hofstra, begins his peregrinations and his many actor impersonations, he seems to be launching into a stand-up routine. But as he keeps bantering, it becomes clear he's doing much more than that. As he roams the stage, like a medium-sized bear hunting his next meal, he's in the tell-all, confessional mood.

    Another way of putting it is that, as directed by Tony Speciale, he represents that newer strain of stand-up technique: delving into the deeper needs behind getting up to tell jokes as a way of dealing with life. From that perspective, he's one of the immensely likable--in large part, for the honesty--compulsively introspective guys. By the way, his looks are one of the subjects raised, often when discussing his attraction to prospective lovers.

    It doesn't take long, as he talks about coming to terms with his Batman fixation, to decide that looks don't matter when a fellow is this forthcoming and so consistently amusing while he's on about it. From any angle, he's a handsome fellow.
    ******************
    It's the rare high school graduate who doesn't know "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," probably Samuel Taylor Coleridges's most famous poem. It's the one, it should be needless to mention, that includes the line "Water, water everywhere, nor any drip to drink."

    With Albatross, at 59E59 Theatres, Matthew Spangler and Benjamin Evett choose to inform the audience right off that revered poet Coleridge homogenized the true story. To fill patrons in, Evett comes out on designer Cristina Todesco's nautically prepped 59E59 stage and goes into Coleridge's ignored details.

    Gotten up like a grizzled mariner (Frances McSherry is the costumer), Evett hoists several sails before he says a word. Then the man recounts his adventures, right down to the penguins eaten when his stalled ship's supplies ran out. This mariner also makes a point of correcting any landlubber who assumes that those scurvy mates drink water--when, that is, water is available and potable. These hearty men drank rum exclusively.

    Evett is an imposing figure of a man as he impersonates a mariner condemned to suffer after having shot an albatross. And as directed by Rick Lombardo, with lighting and projections designer Garrett Herzig also having a field day, the writer/actor has won Boston's Elliot Norton Prize for solo performance.

    There may be Coleridge diehards who take umbrage at anyone's tampering with this classic, and the Spangler-Evett revise is undeniably presumptuous. All the same, in any collection of great English poems this one remains the same as it's been since the poet put it to paper. So it's good fun to go long with the hearty outing.

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    On the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen (Basel, Switzerland) is presenting one of the most important artists in its collection: Claude Monet (1840-1926). The exhibition brings together sixty-three masterpieces from private collections and renowned museums such as the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, the Pola Museum in Japan, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Art Institute in Chicago.



    The featured works span Monet's artistic development from Impressionism to his famous late work. In his paintings, Claude Monet experimented with the changing play of light and colors in the course of the day and the seasons. The show presents his Mediterranean landscapes, wild Atlantic coastal scenes, different stretches of the Seine, meadows with wild flowers, haystacks, water lilies, cathedrals, and bridges shrouded in fog. 15 paintings from various private collections that are seen extremely rarely are special highlights of the show. This video provides you with an exhibition walk-through during the opening reception of the exhibition on January 21, 2017.

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    Claude Monet: En Norvégienne (1887).

    For more videos covering contemporary art and architecture, go to VernissageTV.

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