Dusty Wright's Culture Catch - Smart Pop Culture, Video & Audio podcasts, Written Reviews in the Arts & Entertainment http://culturecatch.com/node/feed en The Return Of The Modern Masquerades http://culturecatch.com/node/3884 <span>The Return Of The Modern Masquerades</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>October 20, 2019 - 15:56</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/629" hreflang="en">prog rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RmolfAAmTf4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Fruupp - <em>Wise As Wisdom: The Dawn Albums 1973-1975 (</em>Esoteric Recordings)</p> <p>Fruupp always were a strange confection with an odd name. Depending on which story suits your taste the best, it was either the left-over letters from a sheet of Letraset or the moniker of the female ghost that haunted the crumbling house in Belfast in which they rehearsed. An inspired and eclectic sound. A fusion of folk, an underlying jazziness, with subtle classical shades they embodied the diversity at large in the early '70s, but they also packed a formidable punch both live and in the studio. Lilting and haunting they shared the stage with Queen, Genesis, and King Crimson, but despite consistent touring they never stepped beyond a cult following, and were finally eclipsed by the advent of punk. Formed in Belfast in 1970 the band that finally hit London had matured from rock covers into sophisticated and symphonic combo that could stir the heart, yet rock the soul.</p> <p>Their debut album <em>Future Legends</em> arrived in October 1973. Dynamic and blindingly original it showcased the strength and diversity they embodied, that rather put them against the grain of their contemporaries. Vocalist and bassist Peter Farrelly proved a charismatic interpreter of their songs. His voice had a restrained yet subtle theatricality that never dominates the drama of the music. The album has an inherent folk element that sets it apart, and yet is driven on by the dynamic drumming of former circus percussionist Martin Foye, the intricate guitar meanderings of Vincent McCusker which threads along neatly with Stephen Houston's exquisite classical keyboards, a boy from the Malone Road in Belfast on whom piano lessons were never wasted, even if they weren't necessarily utilised as his teachers might have desired. Entirely written by McCusker it is a perfect indicator of what lay ahead.</p> <p>The title track is a winsome Irish instrumental, steeped in strings and sentimentality, but is briefly and exquisitely beautiful.  "Decision" has an odd jazziness that wanders through the song giving it an unusual edge whilst "As Day Breaks With Dawn" rattles along with a rumbling intensity and heavy organ interspersed with lilting oboe. "Graveyard Epistle" is another hefty exercise in sublime vocals and driving rock. Heavy but definitely far from humble, and with an almost Indian element lurking.</p> <p>"Lord Of The Incubus" is altogether more catchy and instantly memorable, with a bit of cod rock 'n' roll thrown if for good measure, whilst "Olde Tyme Future" could almost be a patriot's lament and betrays some of the band's members prior showband histories. "Song For A Thought" is a combination of discreet classicism and a manic Irish jig which Farrelly delivers with sublime, leisurely confidence. A pastoral facet slips between the symphonic aspects and builds to a manic and crazed crescendo signed off with a wilful guitar screech. Exhilarating and almost exhausting it is an utter masterclass of a song. "Future Legends" closes things in a sad sing song way. They had also intended to feature "On A Clear Day" on this album and it snuck onto initial pressings before objections from the Holst estate meant it had to be removed since it borrows heavily from his "Jupiter" one of the movements from the "Planet Suite." It can now be included with the lapse of copyright, and it is a valuable addition to proceedings.</p> <p>A mere seven months later they delivered <em>Seven Secrets</em> in April 1974. Produced by former <em>Andwella's Dream</em> maestro David Lewis it is a more fluid and restrained affair. The opening track "Faced With Shekinah" beguiles via an ethereal aspect of voices in the opening track neatly underscored by Farrelly's pulsating bass lines ending as a baroque dance piece. This neat elegance is followed via picked and plucked strings and oboe in "White Eyes" an elegant ghostly song that again has an almost medieval theme, underscored by a certain off-kilter folk motif. The album seems deceptively effortless but is essentially complex and and confident. Despite the beauty it contains it is less commercial in feel than <em>Future Legends</em> but is none the worse for that. More pastoral than symphonic "White Eyes" is a masterclass in restraint with Chopin-like piano that descends into a jaunty easy listening lounge-core of an ending. "Garden Lady" has a cohesive jazzy conceit with crazed organ and ethereal passages, meditative and flowing with some perfect guitar work from Vincent McCusker and perfectly understated piano from Stephen Houston, it builds to a swirling, dizzying conclusion. In "Three Spires," the most restrained cut on the album, a chamber baroque delight that merges and reminds of Clifford T. Ward at his most eloquent and wistful, and the end refrain is catchy enough to have seen it emerge as a strong if somewhat unlikely single. "Elizabeth" is a baroque hoe-down all strings and sparkling piano, Liberace meets Liszt, with Farrelly signing off at his most intimately mournful, a true and beautiful closer rather spoiled by the irritating whimsy of the ditty at the end "The Seventh Secret." A Jackanory-like travesty that mars slighty the sophisticated nature of things.</p> <p> </p> <p>Not resting on their laurels they delivered The Prince of Heaven's Eyes in November 1974. Widely viewed as their masterpiece I find it something of a curate's egg. The cover isn't one of Peter Farrelly's fetchingly mystical servings, but a rather heavy-handed cartoon that doesn't best serve the project  There are moments of stupendous beauty and delight but the production, their own alas, has a muffled dullness about it that deadens the majestic elements that it contains. Much of the music sparkles whilst most of the production fails to. "It's All Up Now" is a perfect example of Fruupp at their most hauntingly eloquent best, building to a symphonic delight interrupted by "Hold on! Hold on! What'll I do? I don't want to end up in a pot of stew!" which still sounds irritatingly cringeworthy as lyrics go, yet the song transcends that carried by the spirited aspects of Farrelly's delivery and Foye's delightful drum fuelled ending.</p> <p>"Prince Of Darkness" sounds laboured and twee, a nursery story set to music with a Beatles-esque undercurrent. Opaque and irritating. I recall a review in the NME that said the album reminded the reviewer of the theme music to a Czech cartoon and this track belies that opinion perfectly, as indeed does the kitschy sounding "Jaunting Car" that appropriately ended up as the radio theme to a show in Northern Ireland by Gloria Hunniford. Things improve with 'Annie Austere' a dynamic piano driven epic perfectly embellished by some fine guitar adornments by Vincent McCusker, and again Foye spars manfully with Houston's sparkling piano. 'Knowing You' has all the melody and aching eloquence one expects from Fruupp. A beautiful vocal it pulls at the heart strings till it builds to an epic ending of pure dynamic fury and melancholy.</p> <p>"Crystal Brook" continues the upward turn in proceedings and 'Seaward Sunset' is a delightful piece of piano prettiness that perfectly preludes "The Perfect Wish" which really brings to the fore Fruupp at their sophisticated best. Fleeting, effortless and strident it is seamlessly sophisticated with Houston delivering glittering piano crescendos and motifs whilst Farrelly indulges his finest Cleo Laine jazziness. The closing embers of the song is about as magical as it gets, and builds from nowhere to an exquisite moment of pure grace, beauty Dynamism and poise combine to leave the listener sad, beguiled and longing for something more.</p> <p>February 1975 saw the release of <em>Modern Masquerades</em> completed in the wake of Stephen Houston's departure to enter the business of bothering God. His leaving also scuppered their audition for Seymour Stein at Sire Records, which in his absence proved a disastrous affair. Their fourth opus was a marked change of direction. Houston's replacement John Mason gave the band a more warm and enveloping feel, a shimmer of sublime sophistication aided and abetted by the production duties being transferred to the capable hands of former King Crimson member, and future stalwart of Foreigner Ian MacDonald. It opens with 'Misty Morning Way' a delightful slab of mystical meandering. Mason's keyboards have a shimmering sheen and blends perfectly with the guitar dynamics of Mc Cusker. It resembles European proggers Nova and PFM, with elements of Greenslade to boot. 'Masquerading With Dawn' skips and dives with effortless ease. This is Fruupp at a more cohesive and strengthened level, refined via a freshened lightness of touch but delivering a calculated symphonic punch. Mason composed the Mervyn Peake inspired 'Gormenghast' again a sweepingly assured palette of textures and poignancy that wends well with Farrelly's sensitive vocal delivery via the implicit fluidity of the backdrop, perfectly abetted by some sublime sax from Ian McDonald. 'Mystery Might' lives up to the title, a forceful slab of driven sophistication, yet sensitively interspersed with achingly eloquent vocals and sense of exceptional drama driven furiously along by Martin Foye's relentless drumming. With 'Why' we can see the bare subtle refinement of Vincent McCusker's song-craft and the precise beauty implicit in Peter Farrelly's voice. A beautiful piano track underscores the simple sentiment of wondering about making a phone call. It has more in common with piano drenched maladies of the late Jobriath. A tender and exceptional masterpiece of a song.</p> <p>"Janet Planet" -- a single in Ireland and a lost opportunity elsewhere -- is a wonderful ditty about Van Morrison's muse and lover. It skips along like an utter gem that reminds me of the Beatles and and the effortlessly whimsical nature of many of the songs of John Howard. Proceedings swerve to a resplendent conclusion with "Sheba's Song" a searing and glinting fantasy about a big cat, it shows the band at the height of their powers, full of distinctive riffs and a wonderful dynamic effortlessness, A cinematic aspect, it hints at much more in the future, but the future can rapidly change, and often sadly does.</p> <p>Fruupp ground to a halt in September 1976 after a final gig at The Roundhouse. John Mason had already departed and despite recruiting a new member and recording a fifth album <em>Dr Wilde's Twilight Adventure</em> they called it a day after a fire at their flat in London almost killed Vincent McCusker and Paul Charles, destroying the master tapes for their new album, and the recordings for a projected live one. John Mason died a few years ago, but the original members remain. With this re-issue they might regroup for a final masquerade whilst time and health prevails. One can only dream. They had a strange revival of sorts in 2007 when Talib Kweli sampled "Sheba's Song" featuring Norah Jones for "Soon The New Day" on his <em>Eardrum</em> album which hit number 2 on the Billboard chart.</p> <p>Despite the prettiness of the package, there are numerous faults and flaws afoot. Bar the release dates and recording details there are scant biographical details. The whole enterprise has the air of an a swiftly assembled repackage, and yet previous re-issues had copious informative liner note from Paul Charles their former manager and occasional lyricist. These could have been easily utilized to make <em>Wise As Wisdom</em> the tribute it deserves to be. There is nothing here that hasn't been previously available yet there are numerous quality live recordings out there that are calling out to be compiled, and deservedly so. There is also a plethora of ephemera concerning them that would have better served this re-issue than the instantly available stuff that has been lazily appropriated. It is perfectly imperfect primer for the uninitiated, but is far from definitive nor an improvement on prior re-issues. </p> <p>Still, as was once said, "Best to be looked over than be overlooked" and Fruupp remain a band worthy of remembering or discovering afresh, even if on this modern masquerade they are not best served, they still have a future from their extraordinary past.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3884&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="IqAb5cOYGMJyllhhEFwKOac4ZCf7rDya2wpVS9FM0PA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 20 Oct 2019 19:56:00 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3884 at http://culturecatch.com Under-Stated Portrait of Genius and Loneliness http://culturecatch.com/node/3882 <span>Under-Stated Portrait of Genius and Loneliness</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/mark-weston" lang="" about="/users/mark-weston" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mark Weston</a></span> <span>October 6, 2019 - 11:26</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/831" hreflang="en">biopic</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/98t7aXRaA6w?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>It could have been an over-the-top disaster.  Or a cheeky send-up.  It could have been a snooze.  Instead, it is a devastatingly under-stated portrait of genius and loneliness.</p> <p>What stays with you in Renee Zellweger's fearless embodiment of Judy Garland in "Judy" is the eyes - the fire that burns in them when she is on stage in front of an adoring (or at times not-so-adoring audience) and the weariness in them when she is not.  What the film and that performance do is something quite unexpected, they peel away the star trappings and reveal the fragile person inside.  And that is quite unlike most biopics that bounce off the glassy surface of their celebrity.  Here, the camera is unmercifully close to the eyes of its subject, and lingers there.  And we experience the emotional injuries, the terrible loneliness and the harrowing fear of what it is like to be an icon.</p> <p>You will hear a lot about how this is an Oscar worthy performance by Zellweger.  But what most critics won't tell you - focused too much on the horse-race handicapping of the award - is why.  The why is in the bravery of a performance that is so vulnerable as to be an open wound.  Yes there are moments of thrilling triumph in the London stage performances, but they are no match for the pain of  watching Renee/Judy pluckishly trying to overcome a broken life in full view of a tabloid world.</p> <p>Judy Garland was not a great singer, a great dancer, a great actor or a great beauty.  What she had was a great big heart.  And when she sang that big heart of hers was full to bursting with raw emotion -- thrilling and exhausting and completely devoid of artifice. And Zellweger uncannily captures this -- the raw genius  that fueled Judy's stardom.</p> <p>Other parts of the film are not as successful, falling into many of the traps of the celebrity biopic, with incomplete relationships, ancillary characters and too much pop psychology.  But these are quibbles next to Renee Zellweger's career-defining performance.  It's in those gorgeous eyes.  Those haunting, gorgeous eyes.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3882&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="_H0p-dliHM5EYp9nt12Ub8gt6cmG4UpYue7-ZTbsjm4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 06 Oct 2019 15:26:03 +0000 Mark Weston 3882 at http://culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "A War On Everything" http://culturecatch.com/node/3881 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;A War On Everything&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>October 3, 2019 - 11:39</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/94" hreflang="en">rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fhi95aiHO5c?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Cool tune. Way cool tune. Vibe. For days. Feel good. Moving. Great vocals. Singer. <a href="https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;sxsrf=ACYBGNR6gKhNLMyawosT9FR9XJ3ibU6C0w:1570116871774&amp;q=Brett+Emmons&amp;stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgVuLVT9c3NEwyqypJz0sufMTozS3w8sc9YSmnSWtOXmO04eIKzsgvd80rySypFNLjYoOyVLgEpVB1ajBI8XOhCvEsYuVxKkotKVFwzc3NzysGAOMHb39uAAAA" target="_blank">Brett Emmons</a>. Great lyrics. Great band. <a href="https://www.theglorioussons.com">The Glorious Sons</a>. Great electric guitars. Great tones. And separation. Groove along with it. Then groove more. And then again. And add it permanent playlists. From Canada. Stars there. Risings stars here. Burn it down, Sons.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3881&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="HEs3DZfFpkqJB20knlEiSlTSOLi_EJ6TaZEqHC2xF2Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 03 Oct 2019 15:39:51 +0000 Dusty Wright 3881 at http://culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Sucker Puncher" http://culturecatch.com/node/3880 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Sucker Puncher&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>September 27, 2019 - 17:56</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/780" hreflang="en">classic rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pc1AvxIUgWw?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>One of my favorite rock 'n' rollers <a href="http://annarosemusic.com" target="_blank">Anna Rose</a> is set to release her latest kick-ass album <em>The Light Between</em> on October 4th. She's currently on tour, too. Her fall tour dates included Franklin, TN's very rightteous Pilgrimage Festival and shows with another favorite artist Texas troubadour Paul Cauthen. The single "Sucker Puncher" is just one of ten killer tracks on her latest long player. It's infectious as hell. Turn it up, rock on; indeed. You can check out more videos and tunes <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNapxoX-iucF_9ShYFMKGmg">here</a>. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3880&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="e1SVe44Zy-v6hI2A_SrUTZecmcaT32MF264Rtc0QDxU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 27 Sep 2019 21:56:08 +0000 Dusty Wright 3880 at http://culturecatch.com Friend of the Dead http://culturecatch.com/node/3879 <span>Friend of the Dead</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/webmaster" lang="" about="/users/webmaster" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Webmaster</a></span> <span>September 24, 2019 - 15:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/b9SKxL9CnW0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Robert Hunter, one of my favorite songwriters, has left this mortal coil. For the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia and Hunter teamed up for many of the band's most iconic tunes, including "Friend of the Devil," "Uncle John's Band,” "Sugaree," “Truckin'," "Franklin's Tower," "Casey Jones," "Eyes of the World," and many others. Hunter also worked with Bob Dylan on songs from the late-'80s onward and more recently collaborated with songwriters like Jim Lauderdale, David Nelson, Bruce Hornsby, and Steve Kimock . He deservedly received the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, and then he was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame with Jerry Garcia in 2015. He will be missed by one and all.</p> <p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3879&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="mvG8gQTcHk5SsDfERhl3ZuJTK5j3MroG7q2axDiN4A4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 24 Sep 2019 19:48:42 +0000 Webmaster 3879 at http://culturecatch.com In The Land of Pink Dreams http://culturecatch.com/node/3878 <span>In The Land of Pink Dreams</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/maryhrbacek" lang="" about="/users/maryhrbacek" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mary Hrbacek</a></span> <span>September 18, 2019 - 12:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/668" hreflang="en">group show</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1004" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/sara-manadar-untitled_3.jpg?itok=0L8Em6-J" title="sara-manadar-untitled_3.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Sara Madandar, Untitled, acrylic, and stitchery on linen, 18 x 19,” 2018</figcaption></figure><p><em>Pink Dreams in a Land with No Name</em> </p> <p>Elga Wimmer PCC, NYC</p> <p>9/11 – 9/24, 2019</p> <p>On view at Elga Wimmer PCC, the exhibition "Pink Dreams in a Land with No Name," curated by Roya Khadjavi, presents nineteen visual art works comprised of twelve mixed media pieces and nine laser cut canvas collages, created by Iranian born artists Sara Madandar and Shahram Karimi, who both currently reside in the U.S.  The show explores the strategies the artists have conjured in order to come to terms with their experiences as immigrants living a demanding cross-cultural existence, intensified by the anti-immigration political climate in the U.S. and the social constraints inherent in Iran. Through the creative process of confronting, sorting, and clarifying painful memories and impulses, elucidating notions of place, nation, gender and self, the artists forge the essence of their inner identities and current personas, in works that speak to the feelings and difficulties of displaced people worldwide.</p> <p>Sara Madandar employs metaphoric gestures of release and reclamation, obliterating and reconfiguring the canvas on which she eventually forges a renewed symbolic sense of national place, as her body itself becomes her newly claimed nation and home. In efforts to regain her unique persona in the context of life in an unfamiliar new culture, she reexamines her body, the center of memories and experiences, by stitching her own contours onto cloth formats in a variety of compositions.  The repeated outlines, contrasted with full bodily forms, are split and layered, suggesting discomfort and disorientation as she moves toward integration within herself.   </p> <p>By enduring moves from Iran to Texas, finally settling in New Orleans, Madandar's sense of national identity became eroded in the process of adjusting to new cultures. She began to question the meaning, borders and symbols that relate to place, eventually arriving at a renewed sense of home centered in her own body.  Madandar began to picture her own body as her homeland, as a free land without nationality or borders which she could redeem as the center of herself. She has reconciled the pain and loss that result from immigration through the creative process.  Her art speaks to all people, especially women, who experience loss of their identities by the act of migration.</p> <p>In her canvas and cloth-based collages Madandar employs a laser cutter in a calibrated process, in which she carefully cuts the canvas without setting it on fire, or breaking it. In the work entitled "Persian Fall" (acrylic on canvas, 34 x 66," 2019), the artist unravels thread from the edges of a canvas stretched on wooden bars, destroying portions of the surface to expose the stretchers that support it. She retains part of the intact canvas, allowing the ends to remain unraveled. The piece suggests the deconstruction of remembrances of the past as it recedes from one’s consciousness. With this action she generates a basis for rebuilding a life that has fallen into tatters from the stresses engendered by manifold relocations.  The bars function as a metaphoric structure that supports her explorations. In the masterful piece entitled "Through Roots" (acrylic, stitchery, collage and laser on canvas, 36 x 65," 2019), Madandar multiplies her body form in overlapping outlines, turned right-side up and upside down, eradicating its contours to make space for the symbolic voices of those engaged in simultaneous processes of self-reinvention.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="570" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/sara-manandar-through-roots.jpg?itok=ODrb04tH" title="sara-manandar-through-roots.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="981" /></article><figcaption>Sara Madandar, Through Roots, acrylic, collage, stitchery and laser on canvas, 36 x 65,” 2019</figcaption></figure><p>Madandar has recently turned from her primary medium of painting to a sewing machine, using thread and cloth on canvas in order to challenge herself with an unfamiliar speed and freedom of movement. At times she stitches repeated layered silhouettes of her bodily form on cloth embossed with flowers or traditional Iranian texts, to retain traces from her background. The artist incorporates outlines of her nude body while pregnant, to bring those physical adjustments into a coherent whole. Her signature silhouettes may express loss, while the solid cloth forms indicate stages of growth in a new vision of herself.</p> <p>"Window #1," built as a traditional Iranian window, with green, yellow and red panes that each displays a delicately painted nude woman, allows the viewer to control the LED light source. The piece lends insight into the tension inherent in a dual culture. At home in Iran, Madandar is free to be nude, to reveal herself to herself as she is by nature. This freedom, as fulfilling as it is, may induce a sense of isolation. The strain that arises from conflicts between a hidden but free private life and a socially exposed but impersonal public persona, creates an agonizing divide. The delicacy of Madandar's two-toned female form symbolizes the tenuous hold she has in Iran on the luxury of privacy that makes existence worth living. Madandar focuses on her personal issues to find resolution which has universal parallels. She speaks through her art to new immigrants and all disposed and displaced persons, as she integrates her life in America with memories of Iran within the realm of her own body, herself.</p> <p>Global artist and film maker Shahram Karimi instills his paintings with touching imagery culled from personal experiences of village life, such as roses and poppies that decorate clothing of women in his native homeland of Shiraz. In a courageous effort to retain memories that stamped his early persona, he moves forward in his present cross-cultural existence as an artist who resides in both Germany and the U.S. Karimi's paintings empower his identity by allowing him to bring his feelings into images that cement them in his consciousness. In this positive way he reclaims his past by inventing his own iconography, in heartfelt narratives which accentuate recollections of his cherished history. He has been exposed to the Western genres of abstraction, minimalism and conceptual art, yet in an authentically global vision, he depicts recognizable figurative human forms engaged in enterprises and rituals, such as weddings and funerals, that relate universally to the ongoing concerns of people everywhere. In this way he recognizes and respects the spectrum of his life as a whole, with the realization that there is no way back to the past from a frenetic and fast-paced life in the West.</p> <p>Despite or because of the fact that Karimi is an autodidact, his technique is skillful, confident and sensitive. He paints freely from his heart without gimmicks or formulas, in works which occupy the picture format frontally, without perspective or traditional spatial pictorial depth, inspired by the mysterious visual poetry of Persian miniature paintings. Karimi is a humanist whose broad view of life encompasses activities and celebrations, births, travels and rituals. His reality is immersed in a broad sense of the human predicament, its joy, its pathos and its limitations and longevity. Karimi's exuberance has enabled him to create shimmering narrative tableaux inspired by his formative years in Iran, highlighted by emotionally charged pink tones that stress the present, contrasted with cool blue hues which denote reminiscences.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="934" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/looks-karimi_1.jpg?itok=wkGClELC" title="looks-karimi.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Shahram Karimi, Looks, mixed media on cnavas, 71 x 53,” 2018</figcaption></figure><p>In many works such as "Angel" and "Untitled" Karimi employs lines to delineate forms and features, while in other works such as "Sisters," two broad faceless figures merge to become one entity which commands the entire space. The artist is especially engaged by female forms in repose, whose enigmatic shapes are reluctant to reveal their specific content. In "Angel" Karimi stresses the coexistence in Iran of the Roman Catholic religion with Islam, by depicting the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, surrounded by angels. Karimi expresses his humanistic perceptions in the video-painting entitled "Red Poppy," inhabited by poetically painted, frontally posed individuals set next to the national Iranian flower which, enhanced by video, sways with life.</p> <p>In many of his deep, serious works the artist employs glazing techniques by applying thin veils of color over underpaintings of figures and flowers. The technique enables him to subtly project the past into the present, creating a mood synonymous with memory and instilling a sense of time passing. In the picture entitled "Looks" (<em>image above</em>), the artist creates depth that hints at recollections of incidences of the past, by painting characters strewn over flowered brocade fabric, in visions of faces that appear to materialize as witnesses. This augmented dimension aids the bright pink flowers on the surface to visually and symbolically bridge the artist's past with his present life.</p> <p>Karimi appears to be grappling with the jarring realities of his current existence, but seems cognizant that returning would be unthinkable. He imprints his works with bits of Iranian poetry (a source of national pride), concealed in hidden corners, that enhance his remembrance of historical events. Karimi struggles with the multiplicity of the life he faces in Germany and the U.S. by channeling cherished growth experiences into narrative paintings that forge a personal iconography. He expresses a unique, global vocabulary which employs, and transcends, the Western genres of abstraction, minimalism and conceptual art.</p> <p>Karimi and Madandar both resiliently face the dilemma of the cross-cultural displaced individual by reconciling the grief that arises from relocating, especially into a new land hostile to immigrants. Madandar envisions her body as a new homeland, and Karimi narrates images of individuals engaged in historic rituals that rekindle and enhance his present engagement with his past life in Iran.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3878&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="5VEcbtzb8815HFHYJZEaKVEhwd1j6xbiDNSFDr5FdBQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 18 Sep 2019 16:40:30 +0000 Mary Hrbacek 3878 at http://culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Colors" http://culturecatch.com/node/3877 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Colors&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>September 17, 2019 - 11:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/548" hreflang="en">R&amp;B</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0G383538qzQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Black Pumas' frontman and former Santa Monica busker Eric Burton has a voice that would make Donny Hathaway smile. His bandmate/partner Grammy Award-winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada heard it immediately. The buzz around their camps in Austin, TX brought them together shortly after Burton moved to Texas. Born in the San Fernando Valley, he grew up in church and then got heavily involved in musical theater. His vocal chops married to Quesada's timeless tunes keep their organic vibe infectiously delicious. The funky single "Colors" is from their self-titled debut out on ATO Records. The band will be performing on Friday, September 20th at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg. <a href="https://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1872259-black-pumas-brooklyn/" target="_blank">Grab your tickets here</a>. See you on Friday.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3877&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="rmnefzjlXVR26H1D92x8JVE-83oQdPXxD-ljlUwtBIY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 17 Sep 2019 15:47:18 +0000 Dusty Wright 3877 at http://culturecatch.com 3 Gay Films http://culturecatch.com/node/3875 <span>3 Gay Films</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>September 12, 2019 - 13:49</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/832" hreflang="en">LGQBT</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ELA_DhBp6qg?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Three of the Year's Best Films So Far Are Queer</strong></p> <p>Argentina, Brazil, and France over the past several months have served up some rather hard-hitting, astutely directed films, each with a distinguishable personality, each exploring varied aspects of the homosexual in modern times. Although, surprisingly, their plot lines, all situated in the now, wouldn’t feel out of place in several other decades with just a few alterations.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WF0h-HymbY" target="_blank"><i>The Blond One </i>(<i>Un Rubio</i>)</a><i> </i>is Marco Berger's sixth feature, no doubt the reason for its assured unhurriedness and its ability to make the most commonplace conversations (e.g. "Was it you who fixed the bathroom tap?") and actions (e.g. drinking yerba mate) rife with tension.</p> <p>The simple setup has the amber-locked Gabriel (Gaston Re) subletting a room from his co-worker Juan (Alfonso Barón) in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. They, both hard-bodied and in their thirties, are employed in a wood-cutting factory. Gabo, as he's called, is a widower with a young daughter in the second grade. She lives with his parents in the country.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="731" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/the-blond-one-film-still.png?itok=Bii0LuzT" title="the-blond-one-film-still.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Marco Berger’s “Blond One” showcase Love Brazilian Style</figcaption></figure><p>The brunet Juan, an unequaled womanizer, has numerous guy pals popping in regularly for beer chats and to watch soccer games on TV. When not ranting about their machismo conquests, one chap might spout, "I'd kick this dyke's butt so hard she'd be flying over Buenos Aires" or "weak fathers bring up queer sons."</p> <p>How come then, as the days and night swiftly fly by, is Juan adjusting his crotch in front of his new roomie, posing at the door, and walking about nude in the hallway, especially after his female conquests have left?</p> <p>What follows is a half hour of one of the most erotic seductions you have experienced in filmdom. The innocent Gabo is confused but seemingly intrigued. Is he himself gay? He certainly waters plants a lot. But as Juan appears to be moving in for the kill, pouncing to and fro like a boxer ready for the kill, the blond seems to be looking forward to being KO'd.</p> <p>Finally, there's the touch of the crotch with one daring finger, a few more digits go past the waistband, and so forth. A night of passion arrives, but what follows is never quite what you might expect. Was Gabo just a conquest? Can Juan commit?</p> <p>As John Lennon, among others, have noted:</p> <blockquote> <p>"Life is what happens to us while you're busy making other plans."</p> </blockquote> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/blond_one_film_still_2.png?itok=n8DrD0UY" width="1200" height="1001" alt="Thumbnail" title="blond_one_film_still_2.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Differentiating this tale of two guys searching for completeness within each other, besides its several unexpected twists and its Argentinian take on homophobia, is the stellar acting by Re, Barón, and the rest of the cast, plus the finesse of the production.</p> <p>Clearly, these last few years have been a robust time for imposing LGBTQI moviemaking, and writer/director/editor Berger, with his deliberately observant scenes that are often unafraid to be dialogue free and that are all beautifully shot by Nahuel Berger, has extended this blissful run. His message? A subtle take on "Come out, come out, wherever you are."</p> <p class="text-align-center">----------------------------------------------------------</p> <p>Alexandre Moratto's feature debut, <i>Socrates</i>, which was created in conjunction with the UNICEF-supported Querô Institute in Brazil, a non-profit that aids teens from low-income communities through filmmaking. With a crew of 16 to 20 year olds, which includes the co-writer Thayná Mantesso, you're not surprised then by the overpowering vistas of the slums of Sao Paolo as depicted and the aching emotions they provoke.</p> <p>The film, which made an impressive showing at this year's Indie Spirit Awards, including nominations for Best Male Lead and the John Cassavetes Award, immediately opens with the death of the mother of 15-year-old Socrates (Christian Malheioros). From that moment on, we can only hope the young man’s tale will avoid high tragedy, causing him to follow in the steps of his namesake.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hikXt_qVLlE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>But how can Socrates earn a living when the minimum age for hiring is 18? Will he be evicted? How can he avoid being sent to a home? Where is his next meal coming from? Will the young man he falls in love with respond in same? Why is Socrates avoiding contact with father? What is it to be young and gay in a religious, heteronormative society with absolutely no one trustworthy to lend a helping hand?</p> <p>To reveal more is to ruin your "Socratic" experience. This brave little film, a tale of an uncomprehending hero whose every step seemingly is a misstep, is not unlike the best offerings of Italian neorealism of the post-war years. <i>Socrates</i> rubs all of your senses raw. Malheioros and Tales Ordakji, who plays his love interest, are quite extraordinary as is Moratto's helming.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="712" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/socrates-film-still.png?itok=ZjodZkTz" title="socrates-film-still.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>SOCRATES (CHRISTIAN MALHEIOROS) MOMENTARILY FORGETS HIS HUNGER PANGS WITH THE ENIGMATIC MACON (TALES ORDAKJI).</figcaption></figure><p class="text-align-center">----------------------------------------------------------</p> <p>There's been quite a few memorable films about male prostitution. John Schlesinger's <i>Midnight Cowboy </i>(1969), Paul Morrisey's<i> Trash</i> (1970), and Greg Araki's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Lp5v4oQZRw" target="_blank"><i>Mysterious Skin</i></a><i> </i>are prime examples. Joining their ranks is writer/director Camille Vidal-Naquet's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU8dwjRsO4g" target="_blank"><i>Sauvage</i></a><i>.</i></p> <p>Félix Maritaud, who was last seen on these shores as a French AIDS activist in <i>BPM</i> <i>(Beat Per Minute)</i> (2017), plays Leo, a 22-year-old hapless street prostitute, who's looking for love in all the wrong places. Basically illiterate, a habitual drug user, often homeless, he's surprised when a doctor says he should change his ways. "Why would I?" he wonders aloud.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wcV7Hk-OqsE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>As Leo wanders the streets, with his winsome looks, like a battered kitten left to fend for himself, we meet the young man's clientele, a cornucopia of gents showcasing the fact that some homosexuals can be bastards like anyone else, while others can give St. Francis of Assisi a run for his money. Or didn't we know that already?</p> <p>The film is erotic, shocking, tender, brutal, funny, and bears repeated viewings. Four times so far for me. Just watch Leo cuddle up with a septuagenarian widower while a photo of the man's wife looks on kindly. Then there's the barbaric gay couple trying to stiff our hero of his wages after violating him brutally. And so forth. Sex for survival. Sex for bliss.</p> <p class="text-align-center">----------------------------------------------------------</p> <p>After screening all three, you can't but wonder whether Leo's back story is Socrates' future, or whether either of these young men will ever meet a Gabriel, who will cherish them, hopefully before they are too broken to love him back.</p> <p>(<i>The Blond One </i>is ended a week's run in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall on September 12th. <i>Socrates </i>is now on DVD and VOD. <i>Sauvage/Wild </i>has also made it onto DVD.)</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3875&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="ed5-kSW7IDljXEuoLmadH3s-VOZ6sQ7kRS-WAKNNgJY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 12 Sep 2019 17:49:44 +0000 Brandon Judell 3875 at http://culturecatch.com Food For Thought http://culturecatch.com/node/3874 <span>Food For Thought</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/leah-richards" lang="" about="/users/leah-richards" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Leah Richards</a></span> <span>September 12, 2019 - 09:28</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/theater" hreflang="en">Theater Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/88" hreflang="en">off broadway</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/dining_with_ploetz_-_photo_3_by_kate_gaffney.jpg?itok=c804oRXh" title="dining_with_ploetz_-_photo_3_by_kate_gaffney.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo Credit: Kate Gaffney</figcaption></figure><p><i>Dining With Ploetz</i></p> <p>Written by Richard Ploetz</p> <p>Directed by Richard Ploetz and Steven Hauck</p> <p>Presented by Theater for the New City and Nedworks, Inc.</p> <p>at Theater for the New City, NYC</p> <p>September 5-22, 2019</p> <p>Aside from some connection to food, the trio of one-act plays that comprise <i>Dining With Ploetz</i> all feature people coming together around some significant milestone: a birthday, an (almost) anniversary, and the hashing out of plans for an unusual dinner party that will fulfill one man's intensely desired dream. From the pen of Richard Ploetz, a multidisciplinary author, voiceover artist, director, and professor who has written for the page, stage, and screen, <i>Dining With Ploetz</i> serves up three courses of comedy spiced with "food for thought," to borrow a description from the program, and garnished with delectable performances. To top things off, five percent of net profits from the show will be donated to World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit NGO founded by chef José Andrés to function as "Food First Responders" for communities affected by disasters.</p> <p><i>Goldfish</i>, the first of the triad and directed by Ploetz, has some of the feel of a grittier, more eclectic New York City that is increasingly vanishing today (and, relatedly, some of the feel too of a strain of NYC plays represented by playwrights such as Edward Albee). When the play opens, following a piano rendition of "Happy Birthday" merged with Beethoven's "Für Elise," only a single guest has shown up for the birthday party held for six year-old Sabrina (Claudia Fabella) by her parents George (Christopher Borg) and Cindy (Elizabeth A. Bell). The fête is in what they call their loft (reasonable rent; no heat on nights or weekends), located in the rug district and containing an amalgamation of painting supplies, rolled-up rugs, mismatched furniture, a piano, the titular goldfish, and other heterogeneous items. The single guest is Cindy's former coworker turned business partner, Beth (Wynne Anders). Just when it seems that they will have to declare the night finished, however, a stone sails neatly through the glass-less window, announcing the arrival of Rick (Steven Hauck) and Susan (Jamie Heinlein), both invited by Beth, both dressed for a cocktail party (George, in contrast, is sporting a track suit, partly unzipped to reveal his white undershirt; and Cindy is still wearing her waitressing uniform), and trailing an impressively bearded, overalls-and-bandanna-wearing poet, Bill (Ryan Hilliard), whom they met on a street corner on the way over. What follows includes some relatively inappropriate flirting, questionable table manners, and class-inflected masculine posturing—this last allowing Hauck, whose Rick once upon a time fenced, to render the words "thrust and parry" much funnier than they have any right to be. Fabella, even with almost no dialogue, gets a few big laughs herself, including one involving a toy truck and some bones (bones, come to think of it, are another motif uniting all three plays in<i> Dining</i>, even if they only enter the second play through a waiter's enthusiastic mispronunciation). Intermingled with all of the strangeness and even silliness are unrealized ambitions and unfinished thoughts and sentences, an underlying lack of fulfillment such that Susan gives unexpectedly serious consideration to a proposal from George just because, she says, it would be something different.</p> <p>After a brief intermission, the strong second half of <i>Dining</i> starts with <i>Memory Like a Pale Green Clock</i>,<i> </i>directed by Hauck, which takes us to a different kind of fishbowl, an upscale restaurant, and offers a different take on not remembering. <i>Memory</i> sees Christopher Borg and Jamie Heinlein as English professor Robert and his wife, Louise. Louise is suspicious of the roses that she was sent and this fancy night out, but Robert assures her that, thanks to a little inspiration from James Joyce's "The Dead," he has just decided to celebrate their sixteenth anniversary a little early. "The Dead" is a story, ultimately, of personal and national paralysis, which should perhaps worry Louise a bit, but the meal is going well and plans for later seduction are being described, until, when a woman in dark glasses (Elizabeth A. Bell, who also does some great work in <i>Goldfish</i>) sits at a nearby table, Robert's conviction that he knows her derails the evening. It leads, for example, Louise to question why he always "inspects" other women and Robert to ask why she doesn't look at men, and, while there are some highs and lows for the couple, the questions don't get any less fraught from there. Borg and Heinlein, both excellent in<i> Goldfish</i>, here create a terrific portrayal of the teasing, charged, intimate dynamics of long-term couples. We discover that the couple completely misreads Helen, as they do the waiter, Walter (a very funny Ryan Hilliard, trading in poet Bill's free spirit for reserve and exasperation), in a moment that occasions a breathtaking shift in tone. These misunderstandings speak to our tendency to empty out or project onto others, since others effectively cease to exist for us when we aren't with them. Further, as Louise says, we even create a nostalgia for what never was, so that when our sense of our own memory is disrupted, we feel betrayed, reminded, unwished-for, of our mortality.</p> <p>The plays that make up <i>Dining with Ploetz</i> are successively more stripped down—leaner, if you prefer—and <i>Bone Appetite</i>, the final play, directed again by Ploetz and loosely based on events that took place between Bernd Brandes and Rotenburg resident Armin Meiwes,<i> </i>features just two chairs and a pair of men meeting for the first time. These men are Arny (Christopher Borg), an enthusiastically salt-of-the-earth guitarist for a band called The Cruds, who were involved in a Great White-style nightclub fire; and Matthew (Steven Hauck), a rather more refined man with a particular culinary predilection. Arny dreams of being an orgasmically spectacular roast. In pursuit of this dream, Arny has answered Matthew's ad. When someone responds to one of his ads, Matthew likes to get to know the whole person, and the conversation between this odd couple touches on pleasure, acceptance, and, again, memory. Borg is superb as the kind of guy you might run into in a dive bar with unsigned bands playing in the back room, and Hauck plays off him in terrific fashion, as Matthew's cultured exterior is penetrated by Arny's weirdly pure ardor.</p> <p>Juxtaposing the three plays of <i>Dining With Ploetz</i> allows them to speak to one another in interesting ways, much as the melancholy notes in all three stand out the more for being set against the predominant comedy. Entertainingly executed by a splendid ensemble, <i>Dining With Ploetz </i>is worth making a reservation for. - <em>Leah Richards</em> &amp; <em>John Ziegler</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3874&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="T3Cx_HV6rQ4C6Bd4wkFX48Y5P2zptjTTHqhTGoE1di0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:28:00 +0000 Leah Richards 3874 at http://culturecatch.com The Joys of Wonderful, Obscure Folk Music Finds http://culturecatch.com/music/little-sisters-joys-love-mgm-records-1963 <span>The Joys of Wonderful, Obscure Folk Music Finds</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>September 6, 2019 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/735" hreflang="en">folk</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7CJtcTcA_8I?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>The Little Sisters: <em>The Joys of Love</em> (MGM, 1963)</strong></p> <p>Some album covers can intimate to a vinyl junky too rewarding and intoxicating a hit. Imagine a pair of blonde girls <em>a la</em> Edie Sedgwick -- beautifully and perfectly shot in black and white -- with lazily dressed blonde hair. The one in the background is laughing, whilst the other looks dreamily skywards. Both appear timelessly and unbearably chic. It can only be hoped that such a delightful promise can deliver even a fraction of its beatnik suggestion. <!--break--> The liner notes by the legendary Johnny Carson -- they appeared three times on his show in 1962 -- beguiling reveal: "The Little Sisters are actually sisters. Mary is 22 and Patty is 21. Each girl is married; Mary to a poet who speaks only Spanish (she speaks only English) and Patty is an artist. They live in Greenwich Village, New York City, a gathering place for artists, poets, and folk singers, as well as writers, sculptors, and musicians. A casual stroller through the haphazard streets of the Village might see the girls bustling about in the course of their daily routine. They usually wear plaid leotards, beige car coats and beanies -- one red and one green, but which one wears which one is a point I haven't yet pursued. Their father is a cartoonist. Their grandmother was a vaudeville artist." Forty-three years later in an English Record Fair, all that sounded too good to sound any good, but the sleeve was worth more than the dump bin price of a pound. Sometimes things turn out far better than one could hope. What emerged was a stunning record of remarkable brevity and freshness. The longest track is 2 minutes 18 seconds; the shortest 1 minute 30 seconds, whilst the entire affair lasts a mere 24 minutes. These little sisters understood the dictum that less is better.</p> <p><em>The Joys of Love</em> is a remarkably assured debut. It has elements of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, and Nanci Griffiths, but possesses a knowing maturity that one would expect an album from this time to contain. Imagine the theme from "Dueling Banjos" mixed with Francoise Hardy, filmed by David Lynch. But then again, it was produced by Creed Taylor, the found of CTI Records, and engineered by Phil Ramone. There is a strange mix of enthusiastic innocence and artful experience. Greenwich Village 1963 collides with a Kentucky Barn Dance from a hundred years earlier, but surreal isn't one of the many words such a time-warp proposition conjures up. According to Carson's liner essay, the girls decided to go on the road in their own adventurous and endearingly eclectic way: "They wrote letters to towns they planned to visit, and took whatever engagements at whatever prices were available. As a result they sang in homes for old folks, in schools and auditoriums and classrooms, in tiny clubs, and, on occasion didn't sing at all. To support their travels they took side jobs when they had to. They have been waitresses, shop clerks, and car hops in the cities and towns of the East and South. Much of the music included on this album, their first, was collected first-hand on their travels.</p> <p>The songs aren't "discoveries," of course, but they are authentic because the girls learned a lot of them from their friends in Kentucky and Virginia and the Carolinas." This record is their record of an American sojourn. Appalachian melodies and banjo picking of extraordinary freshness results in a strange slice of American folk music imbued with an air of Greenwich Village worldliness. It seems to be their only long player -- a postcard from the past, which makes you wish you could have been there. It is all too romantic to thinking of these two striking young women continuing to stagger gracefully around Greenwich Village in aging splendor, a pair of Bohemian Beatnik Baby Janes who occasionally burst into song to startle the young. Songs such as <a href="/tunes/cuckoo.mp3">"Cuckoo,"</a> "The Joys of Love," and <a href="/tunes/blackgirl.mp3">"Black Girl"</a> have such a vitality about them, it is surprising that this album rests so far below the radar of those who value the work of exceptional quality. Ripe for sampling, the record has a sweetness that is never cloying, but is far from tongue-in-cheek. A stimulating experience resides in such sophisticated simplicity.</p> <p>Do yourself a favor and get searching. Probably grandmothers by now, these sisters should sing again, and this record deserves to be heard. There is an enthusiastic air of beginning from this that now reeks of unfinished business. Two albums in over forty years wouldn't exactly be overstating one's talent, and Mary may have finally learnt how to speak Spanish, and if she hasn't, at least that would be another story.</p> </div> <section> </section> Fri, 06 Sep 2019 14:00:00 +0000 Robert Cochrane 295 at http://culturecatch.com