18 December 2006

optimistic

There was a profile of Rick Lowe in the Arts & Leisure section of yesterday's N.Y. Times. He is the founder of Project Row Houses in the Third Ward of Houston. I've meandered over that way from downtown a couple times. The article by Michael Kimmelman describes how Lowe built up the neighborhood through house renovation, general cleaning up, art projects, etc. The picture shows him in front of a couple houses in solid neo-vernacular style, designed by Rice University students. It is encouraging.

Another article in the Arts & Leisure section was about anti-gay slurs and the use of controversial terms such as queer or nigger by the communities that had been the victim of such words. This reappropriation is a combination of "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words probably hurt longer" and political in-your-face-ism. At the screening of "The lost tribe" and "Walking in the light" at Cinemarosa, a woman asked about the use of queer by some folks. She was a Holocaust survivor and couldn't understand the use of queer. Unfortunately, the sentence or two about "Little dog laughed" were not especially positive. Mac and I have tickets for "Dog" for Wednesday. Oh, well.

It will be our third theater experience in eight days. Last Wednesday, we went to "The vertical hour" as part of our NYTW subscription. Both Mac and I thought the play was stronger than the acting though neither of us was major disappointed with the acting. We happened to be standing out in front of the theater when it appeared that the stage door was just a bit West of us. We waited until Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy came out and signed people's programs. We looked at the stars but didn't get our programs signed.

At the ARLIS/NY holiday party on Thursday, Bill Dane said he'd been at the Wednesday matinee of "The vertical hour" too but had found the play weak and the acting fine.

On Friday night, we went to "Kaos" at NYTW. It's Martha Clarke's (no relation, as far as I know) latest venture, based on stories by Pirandello. The dialogue is spoken in Sicilian and that aspect was quite beautiful but the whole thing was pretty inscrutable.

Saturday night was Pina Bausch's "Nefés" at BAM. Wow! The lighting was fine in general but there was one scene with the women in a speckled light where the light was following the women or the women were following the light, or they had become an organic whole. There were several moments during the dance when a dancer would be supported during one particular movement even though it could have been done alone. Beautiful ensemble work as well as fine solos.

I did do a bit of visual art that wasn't connected to performance. Friday's Times had an article on 11 Spring Street where a building long known for its graffiti has been turned into a three-day artwork. The line was maybe an hour's worth of standing but anybody that doesn't have a book or something to read in their bag deserves to be bored. About half of the time in the line was spent listening halfway to shopping talk. At least it was live, not cellphone. Then, for something rather different, I went up to Hirschl & Adler (masterpieces from the Munson Williams Proctor, and they were, especially the Dove watercolors, a nice Frankenthaler, good Rothko and nice S.R. Giffords), Knoedler (Frankenthaler sculpture), and the Frick. The latter has a dozen or so works from the Cleveland Museum whose home is being renovated. The David and some of the others seemed much bigger than I remember them from grad school days though it may have been the scale of the oval gallery at the Frick. I didn't remember the Hals (the gloved left hand of the sitter is gorgeous) and the Valentin de Boulogne.

I stopped at Storefront on the way North for the magazine show. The trip through 1970s magazines was very nostalgic. Those early days of checking in periodicals at Frick, the great titles such as Avalanche and On SITE.

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