Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cry You One (Mondo Bizarro and ArtSpot)

Fear not, street theatre and political performance is live and well.  A collaborative project by Mondo Bizarro and Artspot, "Cry You One" seeks to entertain, educate, enrage its audience. The subject: the devastation of cultures and wetlands in Louisiana by levees and petroleum/chemical industries. Through storytelling, music, and dance, the small audience groups are led through the Malty Lakes district.
These outdoor performances pieces tend to be one of the best parts of Arts and Ideas.  Though this wasn't one of my favorite ones, I'm glad we went. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

About Elly (Asghar Farhadi)

Asghar Farhadi's A Separation (2011) ranks among my favorite films. When The Past appeared in the US two years later, we were not disappointed.  Finally, Farhadi's 2009 film, About Elly, was released this spring, and we made certain not to miss it.  Our efforts were supremely rewarded.
The film features a 8 or so minute seaside episode featuring small children and a young schoolteacher that is one of the most excruciating scenes I've ever witnessed on film.  The rest of the film carefully parses that scene, revealing small lies, one by one, until compounded they create a story that can no longer be sustained.  More broadly, it is an allegory of living in a restricted regime.

Highly recommended.  Should not be missed.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dan Zanes and Moona Luna (Arts and Ideas Festival)

Lively, energetic performance to family audiences on the Green got EVERYONE dancing and tickling one another.
Preceded by the Connecticut Mariachi Academy: authentic!

Magmanus (Arts and Ideas Festival)

 This Swedish juggling and acrobatic duo grabs its audience in two ways. First, the two work hard to charm the audience with winks and tomfoolery; the percentage of the show spent on acrobatics or juggling is rather small.  Second, they incorporate a member of the audience.  In the show we saw, "Kim" was an extraordinarily good sport. And because the find half hour of the show depended on her good-nature cooperation, they must have a keen for selecting the right person who will neither protest too much or try to upstage their antics. 


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Roz Chast (Arts & Ideas Festival)

Roz Chast's warm, humane talk opened up this year's Arts and Ideas Festival. 


Midsummer (from Shakespeare's MSND)

Energetic re-imagining of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Love and Mercy (Bill Pohlad)

I'm not a connoisseur of popular music (or culture, for that matter). Having owned fewer than a dozen rock albums, I haven't listened to side B over and over, studied liner notes, or deconstructed the cover design. Instead, I came to rock and soul and country music in the most plebeian way, the radio.  Though I know decades of top 40s music, often I cannot match music with musicians or place them within the right decade. There are enormous gaps in my knowledge, and I'm not bothered by that fact.

My ignorance is compensated by Mike's fascination and knowledge.  One room in our home is given over the cider-block-and-board shelves that have held his albums for forty years and several addresses.  It's his interest and curiosity that takes us to biopics like Love and Mercy, a sympathetic portrayal of the dangerous dance between Brian Wilson's creativity and his mental illness.  Sometimes it's so sympathetic that the lines harden: the bad guys--his father and his therapist--are really bad, and the good guys--the studio musicians and his future wife--are really good. 

The sound design was more than Beach Boys music playing in the background. For both Mike and me, the film's best parts were set in the studio while Pet Sounds was being recorded. 


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