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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Art Review

A new exhibit at Tory Folliard Gallery explores wildlife in the African Serengeti. The portraits showcased in “Marion Coffey: Kenya and Tanzania Safari” unleash the untamed and vibrant personalities of wild animals that roam on foreign soils yet are rarely seen outside of cages in America. Through broad applications of textural paint, Coffey captures the essence of these animals in a procession of colors displaying sunset oranges, flamingo pinks and royal purples. Brave brush strokes create the lines of the giraffe’s mouth, an irregular set of circles on the cheetah or a curve of an elephant’s tusk . . .
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A battalion of atavistic bands are raising the specter of psychedelic music, painting it black with plural nouns evocative of the netherworld. Saturday night's show at Mad Planet billed two such chthonic acts as bookends with a curious bolt of Call Me Lightning in the center. Promoting their fifth album, Heavy Deavy Skull Lover, The Warlocks performed with a skeleton crew half the size of their original lineup. Despite attenuated personnel and an unfortunate opening slot on a three’s-a-crowd bill, The Warlocks filled the space with brooding, elegiac new material.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Theater Preview

Given the current state of our union, it’s not difficult to imagine that some people would seriously consider revolution. Local playwright Rex Winsome speculates on the lives of modern revolutionaries in his new, feature-length production, Paint the Town, a drama running July 11-27 at the Alchemist Theatre in Bay View.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Theater Review

For author Eugene O’Neill, Ah, Wilderness!, his only comedy, was clearly a catharsis of fancy. The Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American playwright was best known for dramas doting on dysfunction and addiction based on personal experience. Scholars cite Wilderness, a warmly nostalgic snapshot of a New England family Fourth of July circa 1906, as the life O’Neill, born to an acting couple in a Broadway hotel room in 1888, probably wished he had.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Theater Review

Jesus Christ Superstar was a first at many levels when it debuted on stage in 1971. It began as a double album in 1970 with staging to follow a year later and coined the term “rock opera”; it brought worldwide attention to its young composers Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics) and it depicted the son of God as a human being full of doubts and uncertainty about His predestined fate. The Shorewood Players are finishing up their 78th season with a production of the opera that, despite some problematic choices, points out the strengths of the music and lyrics built around the last seven days in Christ’s mortal life.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Theater Review

Local sketch comedy group Broadminded launched its second show of the year this past weekend. Stacy Babl, Anne Graff LaDisa, Melissa Kingston and Megan McGee return in a show that mixes pre-recorded video segments with live performance. Broadminded: Now In 3-D! takes comedic aim at the mass media in more than a dozen different skits. The show’s comedy is a slightly uneven mix of quality, but even though there are moments when the “broads” fail to be funny, they never fail to be fun. Overall this is a very good show. There are only a couple of skits in the mix that are completely . . .
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

(Broadway), by Suze Rotolo

It could be worse. At least Suze Rotolo is a likable writer. Near the end of her memoir we finally get the story behind the famous album cover of Rotolo walking alongside Bob Dylan for the folk singer’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. A Freewheelin’ Time could have revealed something about the folk-blues revival of the early 1960s and its most enduring artist, but instead spends most of its pages on Rotolo’s artwork (including baubles that hang from ladies’ boots, rejected by Bloomingdale’s at the time) and politics (hanging out in Cuba back in the day and treating Dylan as a fan treats Dylan). We have a charming but boring person on a record jacket writing a book as though she was part of the album’s music. Credit Rotolo for her voice . . .
Friday, June 20, 2008

Shyamalan’s B-movie

In his novel The Terror, Arthur Machen imagined that the animals, sickened by the carnage of World War I, turned on humankind with tooth and claw. Later, Daphne du Maurier in a story adapted by Alfred Hitchcock thought the birds might strike at people for reasons known only to themselves. In The Happening, director-writer M. Night Shyamalan explores the idea that plants, threatened by our poor stewardship of their environment, might launch a holocaust against humanity. It’s the right message at a moment when much of our world seems to be collapsing, except for water levels and prices, which are on the rise. Is Shyamalan the wrong messenger? For their own inane reasons, movie critics . . .
Friday, June 20, 2008

An almost incredible Hulk?

At some point we’ve all felt as if we could explode in berserk rage and release the pent-up monster within. Maybe the moron on his cell phone who nearly ran you over at the intersection provoked the impulse? Or the numbskull boss dressing you down? How about the deceitful politician setting the world on fire to promote his own agenda? Most of us have been socialized to show restraint, whether from an ethic of behavior or fear of punishment. The person without restraint is called psychologically dysfunctional, when he’s not the superhero called the Incredible Hulk.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Classical Review

The automatic, meaningless standing ovation has been out of control in the U.S. for years. Does it come from the American need to overstate everything? Maybe it indicates a lack of standards. It is refreshing to attend performances in Germany and Austria, where knowledgeable audiences applaud appreciatively at length, but never stand up. I am accustomed to being the only one sitting during applause, and am familiar with the resulting looks I get. It is a ridiculous situation. A good performance does not merit a “standing O.”

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