Posted inArts & Culture

Anthony Braxton Quartet

Symphonist, philosopher, former chess hustler, and–not incidentally–the most rigorously individualistic improviser of the last quarter century, Anthony Braxton defies easy categorization. He considers the coolly logical Paul Desmond and the volcanic John Coltrane as equal influences, and compounds the heresy by bringing Arnold Schoenberg into the circle, too. Braxton’s output is too varied to accommodate […]

Posted inMusic

Blues alive: Johnny Copeland looks forward and back

It’s popular among blues enthusiasts to classify early regional styles by stereotyping them. We talk of the intense, emotionally explosive Delta blues (Charlie Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson) and the melodic, tightly structured mid-Atlantic blues of Georgia and the Carolinas (Blind Willie McTell, Blind Boy Fuller, Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen). Then there are the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Rude Awakening

Two hippies from the 60s (Eric Roberts and Cheech Marin) emerge from a Central American jungle, where they’ve been smoking dope and hiding from the feds, come to New York, and discover what the U.S. in 1989 is all about. Aaron Russo (Bette Midler’s former manager) and David Greenwalt codirected this comedy from a script […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Self-Serve

The guy behind the counter was Puerto Rican and looked like Fabian. The security guard was black. His shirt was open to reveal an undershirt and a Star of David. Two Indian kids were haggling over who would pay the lion’s share of the cost of a pack of Now & Later candy. A white […]

Posted inArts & Culture

White Shanks

Perhaps the most neglected of all the major French directors, at least in the U.S., Jean Gremillon (1901-1959) was a figure of such versatility that it’s difficult to make generalizations about his work. (One can, however, speak about its close attention to sound and rhythm–he started out as a musician–and its frequent focus on class […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Smut

SMUT Prop Theatre at the Garage Paul Peditto’s plays reveal a fascination with the story-telling mode. In his new one-act Smut, as in such previous efforts as A Fire Was Burning Over the Dumpling House One Chinese New Year, Scam, and Of All the Wide Torsos in All the Wild Glen, Peditto frequently uses live […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Kiku’s Komedy Workout

KIKU’S KOMEDY WORKOUT at Kiku’s Watching Kiku’s Komedy Workout, three principles of comedy occurred to me. (1) A joke is funnier when it is coherent. Here’s one that still mystifies me: “My mother always told me, “Coffee makes you black,’ but later I found out it wasn’t the coffee–it was the Bacardi she was putting […]