Thursday, March 23, 2006

Much ado about much ado.

The last few days have been very busy, not so much in terms of activity as in terms of friends. Jesse McCloskey called with big news (the second "big news" in a week): he's getting a solo show at the Christopher Henry Gallery in Chelsea in May! That's a big deal, because May is one of the big months in the artworld, with the spring auctions during that period. So it's a prime time to have a show. (With things like the Munch show around, the time for Jesse's very expressionistic figurative work may be now, so his show might get noticed.) The first big bit of news was that Nica has finally decided to get help for her book on her father, Nicholas Ray; that item was reported in The New York Post on Page Six. So they must be very happy at the McCloskey-Ray household.

Theodora Skipitares got a great review in The New York Times for her trilogy that's at LaMama. I've seen two parts of it, and i thought they were among the most potent pieces she's ever done. I think the discipline of working with established texts (Greek tragedies, in this case) was a good one for her: she was able to let her imagination really blossom, but there was always a very strong undercurrent supplied by the original texts. There are things like the Greek chorus (which is an almost life-sized frieze of several figures, bracketed by the puppeteers on either side) that were just so perfectly realized, and so utterly apt. Plus Theodora got a wonderful "Voice Choice" last week (complete with a marvellous photo; it was the prime item last week), and this week, she got a very nice notice as part of the "Around Town" section of the New York Press (also with another very evocative photo). I still think Theodora is one of the most inventive performance artists out there; i don't understand why her work hasn't been able to find a place in some regional theater center, or some place with real funding. It's like every time that Theodora gets an opportunity, it doesn't seem to lead to something easier. She did her "Radiant City" piece at the American Place Theater, and it was wonderful, but that was a one-shot. When she directed (and designed) that Charles Ludlum play at the Sundance Theater Institute, it was very well-received, but (because of the enormous sets and costumes) it turned out to be too expensive to move to smaller venues. But this "Trilogy" is so special, "Helen" and "Iphigenia" have so many spectacular and haunting images, i can't see why it hasn't been taken up by some place like BAM....

Got a notice from Alvin Eng, about play readings. His latest installment of the "Flushing Cycle" was this past Monday; sorry to have missed it, because i've liked his other sections. Alvin sent the notice to the old address, and it was forwarded. It's almost the end of the forwarding cycle (we signed up for a year), so i hope no one else sends me anything at the old Wooster Street address.

When we were at PAJ, we published one of Theodora's texts, and we also published the earlier parts of Alvin's "Flushing Cycle".

Had to check with Michael Giltz's popsurfing blog, to find out that it was Kevin that got voted off. A pity.

Last night, Larry and i went to the opening night party for New Directors/New Films. A very odd event, because it was running into a lot of people... and everything is in such flux. Eileen Newman, for example, is now with the National Board of Review, after a year at the IFP, and after a decade or so running AIVF. In today's IndieWire, there was an item about AIVF in a crisis situation: if their latest fundraising drive doesn't meet expectations, the organization, which has been in existence since... i can't even remember when it wasn't in existence, it must be at least forty years, i remember that one of the very first things i ever published was a very brief piece about the Robert Bresson retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 1970 in The Independent. So if The Independent (AIVF's publication) was already in existence in 1970, AIVF must have been around for a while by that point. AIVF (Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers) and the IFP (Independent Feature Project) used to overlap in trems of a lot of their services, but the IFP became more geared towards "the industry" and that has left AIVF in the precarious position of providing services for the genuinely noncommercial filmmaker. And there's no money in that (unfortunately).

Also at the ND/NF party: talked with Irene and Steve from the Film Society, i told them i knew people (critics) were going to revolt. Most of the ND/NF selections this year simply are not "films". I mean that seriously: most are (technically) "videos" and the majority are simply being projected digitally. And the types of dramatic construction, narrative continuity, and technical refinements (editing, cinematography, clarity of sound, etc.) which most critics judge films by just don't apply.

Mary Lea Bandy was at the party: she's so changed! She's lost a lot of weight and she's walking with a cane. She was such an imposing figure, during the re-opening of the museum, she was so much in evidence, as she had so many plans as to the place of the Department of Film and Media in the expanded Museum of Modern Art. And then... that sudden seizure and now...

But talking to her, she seems to be alert. So we'll see how things progress. Mary Lea did lament the demise of film.

Also in the mail: A card about a new "opera" by Eileen Myles and Michael Webster, which will be done at Performance Space 122. This was also sent to the old Wooster Street address and forwarded. The title of the opera is "Hell"; i love the description, "A lurid new opera by poet-librettist Eileen Myles and composer Michael Webster, Hell employs frank and lyrical language and an exalted neo-baroque style to tear away the veils obscuring corporate silence and global disaster." Lurid, frank, lyrical, exalted neo-baroque: sounds like Eileen. I haven't seen her in years....

Also at the ND/NF party: talked a little with Godfrey Chesire, and someone who worked at Wellspring. Then Ryan Werner came over. I'd met Ryan when he was at The Shooting Gallery. That was more than a decade ago. But it is a sea change: most younger people simply accept what's happening in film, and the fact that most of the "independent" work has to be done on digital.

Tonight, watched an episode of "Queer as Folk" from 2004. I've only seen selected episodes, because we never had Showtime. But when we moved to Brooklyn, we got an HBO-Showtime package as part of the installation deal. In this episode, Jack Wetherall is playing Uncle Vic. Jack was another person who used to take the aerobics class on Sunday mornings, along with Amanda Church and Claude Simard.

In The Village Voice, Michael Musto has a note about "Gus Mattox" retiring from porn! Gus is (of course) his porn name; under his real name of Tom Judson, Tom had worked with Theodora on "Radiant City" (her piece about Robert Moses) and he composed the score for Whit Stillman's "Metropolitan". At the Gay VN Awards (where Kent Larson won for Best Supporting Actor), "Gus" won the "Performer of the Year" award; in addition, he got cast in the new Terrence McNally play, so he's decided to retire from porn. With both Kent Larson and Gus Mattox retiring from porn, it's just not going to be the same. (Jake Andrews was given a "Hall of Fame" award; i hope HE doesn't decide to retire from porn, then it'll really be bleak!)

The New York Observer was in the mail, and the last few issues... well, it's a much diminished newspaper. Now, it's only in one section, and in the last month, there's been NO art coverage. No Hilton Kramer. No Mario Naves. Andrew Sarris's column is still there... and so is Rex Reed's. But John Heilbrun's theater column seems to have vanished as well....

What's happening?


Post a Comment

<< Home