15 October 2007

Caravaggio & Dewey

Sunday was a splendid theater day: "Caravaggio chiaroscuro" at La MaMa Theater and "Dewey's Nightmare" at Gene Frankel.

"Caravaggio" was an opera based on the life of Caravaggio with a handsome, compelling actor as the painter and a lovely young man with curly hair as Mario. Rannuccio was not hard to look at either and the rest of the cast was solid. The singing was good. They used plain white canvases and when the first painting is being shown, the passion of the description of the painting was heartbreaking. Beautifully described. Occasionally, the director used a tableau vivante but lightly. For someone familiar with Caravaggio's paintings, the tableaux were delightful and added to the enjoyment, my favorite was probably the bit of Narcissus on the part of Mario as he sat on the upper level of the set. The opera, mostly in English with lovely bits in Italian, was written and conceived by Gian Marco Lo Forte, the music was composed by Duane Boutte, and it was directed by George Drance. You can find out more by seaching the archives of performances at http://www.lamama.org.

"Dewey's Nightmare" was a library play challenge with seven playwrights, seven random library books, seven days to write a 10-minute play, a director and two actors with an hour's rehearsal. It could have been stupid or banal or ... well, it was wonderful. None of the plays was horrible. The acting was overall really strong. The evening ended with a song by Sameer Tolani, based on yet another book. The playwrights picked a book, blindfolded, from the shelves of the Reanimation Library, a project by Andrew Beccone with a collection development policy that picks the books for their pictorial qualities, pictorial in the broadest sense. http://reanimationlibrary.org/ "Dewey's Nightmare" was probably that the books had been reclassified to LCC.

I didn't get to the galleries this weekend because I was putting together the Queer Caucus for Art Newsletters and taking them to the 24/7 post office (I love it!). Last weekend, I did get to some shows between stops for Open House New York. I went to the Modulightor store and owner's apartment on East 58th Street, designed by Paul Rudolph. Wow!! Judith Newman (of Spaced Gallery for Architecture) told me I shouldn't miss it. It was incredible. If you go to the "about us" button at http://www.modulightor.com/, you can get a bit of feel of the building. After a lecture a couple weeks ago about Albert Ledner, I finally joined Docomomo which I've been thinking of doing for years. I need another membership like a hole in the head. Oh, I did hit my head on the ceiling of the stairwell at the Paul Rudolph apartment and got to "wear" a Rudolph blemish for a few days. Be proud, support architecture. After seeing the Modulightor building, I walked across Midtown and stopped at a few galleries in 724 Fifth Avenue. Davidson Contemporary had a show of works by Darren Lago entitled "Inappropriations." Great stuff: felt Frank Stellas, tin-can Judds, pipe-cleaner LeWitts, Lego Mondrians.

On Sunday, Daniel met me for breakfast at Silver Spurs and then we went to Governors Island (also part of Open House New York). It was a lovely day to be out on the island in New York Harbor. We also went to see the Prince George Ballroom and World Monuments Fund Gallery on East 27th Street, ran into Sara Roemer and her mother. Sara works at both the Met and NYU so it was fun to be with Daniel when we ran into Sara. The ballroom is a splendid Beaux-arts interior designed by Howard Greenley, 1904-1911, and recently restored by Beyer Blinder Belle. The gallery had photos of monuments from Croatia and brochures from the Croatian national tourist office. Lots of wonderful Mediterranean architecture with some mountains thrown in ... which brings us back to Italy and Caravaggio. I actually know three (American) people who are currently in Italy. Sigh. I wouldn't mind being there myself but I've got Aleph training to do tomorrow and Wednesday.

(from the OHNY site)

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