July 2011

Film

Production Notes: Woody Allen’s Bop Decameron in Rome

Woody Allen is in Rome shooting his latest production, The Bop Decameron. Italian newspapers have been brimming with “Where’s Woody?” stories, and tourists and citizens have been tweeting their sightings. Woody is very popular in Italy and while this is his first Rome-set picture, he has been a frequent visitor in the past with his New Orleans jazz band. in tow. The Bop Decameron will be structured into four vignettes, two of which will be in Italian. Yesterday, Woody shot at Piazza Mattei with a predominantly Italian cast and crew. Jim Jarmusch used the same location in the Rome segment of Night on Earth, starring Roberto Benigni, who is also signed on for The Bop. Other cast members include: Penélope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody Allen himself.
A London Summer with Huntley Dent

The Tree of Life, by Terrence Malick

First disobedience. Sticklers are fond of pointing out that Proust was not remembering things past but in search of lost time, as the original French title says. So is Terrence Malick. His most Proustian film to date is The Tree of Life, which is now awing and stumping audiences, trailing a Palme d'Or from Cannes in its processional through movie houses where most of the audience, children of Star Wars and Scooby Doo, stand as amazed as Nebudchadnezzar reading God's message in fiery letters. The film is autobiographical and philosophical, like Proust's A la recherche, and just as maannered in its stylized language, although in this case the invented diction is visual.
A London Summer with Huntley Dent

Diane Arbus at the Tate Modern

Camera obscura. Despite its conversion into the hippest museum in London, the Tate Modern's massive ugly building, unmistakably an old power station, could otherwise be one of Blake's dark Satanic mills. In that guise it's the perfect setting for three rooms lined with photographs by Diane Arbus. There would seem to be nothing new to say, or think, about Arbus's scalding vision. She roamed the ordinary New York of commuters and shoppers, and yet somehow simply to have her eye settle on strangers transformed them.
A London Summer with Huntley Dent

Lars Vogt plays Janáček, Schubert, and Beethoven Op. 111 at Wigmore Hall

Worldly wise. I have enough concerts at Wigmore Hall under my belt to qualify as a Wiggie (not that I could ever vote Tory), if it's not too cheeky to nickname the knowing regulars at this, the best hall in London. The seating capacity is only 540, a minnow that would disappear in the maw of Albert Hall, so the stars who appear here do it for love, not to mention the warm, enveloping acoustic—this must be the closest that a Pollini or Tetzlaff comes to singing in the shower. We are just a week past Pollini's recital in Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, but the chills and tingles he failed to supply, sadly, came with a rush at Wigmore last night.
Art

Lucy MacGillis: “Casa” – New Paintings from Italy, at the Hoadley Gallery, Lenox, July 7 – August 2.

Lucy MacGillis grew up not far from Melville’s famous prospect of Mt. Greylock, surrounded by the rolling expanses, hills, and wooded slopes of the Berkshires. Since 2000 she has lived and worked in a small Umbrian town, Monte Castello di Vibio, not far from Todi, painting landscapes and familiar objects around her studio and the simple house where she lives. The distant views and the rooms of the house alike are filled with the clear, warm light of Umbria. As she explained to me, showing me photographs as illustrations, her point of departure is this all-encompassing light and its subtle changes through the course of the day and the seasons. Wherever she goes from there, she is guided by her eye. This visual experience, she says, slows down her painting, reflecting the slow, tranquil life in the town.
A London Summer with Huntley Dent

A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre

Shaken and stirred. The mid-century denizens in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance must have seemed immortal at the time, 1966, when the play was premiered. They are Dorothy Parker's gin-soaked contemporaries, morphing into Stephen Sondheim's ladies who lunch. Along with their Wall Street-country club husbands, they prowled the veldt from Westchester to the Upper East Side, confident that they were at the top of the food chain, putting down stakes at a private table at "21" and needing only a five-to-one martini in their canteens, seven-to-one if the terrain got rocky. Brought back as the cast of the hit retro TV series, Mad Men, this New York City type arouses nostalgia, but Albee experienced the real thing—and his reaction was pitiless.
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