Saturday, June 16, 2007

It's been a week since i filed anything on this blog. It's actually been a (relatively) "eventful" week, not so much in terms of screenings (only two this week, as last week), but "culture" in general.

Monday on The View, Barbara Walters admitted that she didn't watch the Tony Awards, because she wanted to see the end of "The Sopranos". Actually, Larry and i tried to watch both. Why we decided to watch the Tony Awards this year, i have no idea, since we haven't watched in the last few years. But it had a lot to do with the nonprofit theaters: so many were represented this year, and most of the winners came from the nonprofit theaters. Tom Stoppard's "The Coast of Utopia" won a record number of awards, including Best Play; "Spring Awakening" (based on the Wedekind play) won Best Musical, and almost swept the field. "Broadway" has extended itself, so that Lincoln Center is included; a lot of the nominated works began life at one of the off-Broadway nonprofits. But before any other comments on Broadway and the Tony Awards, i should add that Barbara Walters admitted that, when the TV screen want black at the end of "The Sopranos" (with a 30-second pause before the credits started to roll), she thought her cable service had been affected. That's exactly what Larry thought (and a lot of other people). I had no idea what was going on, but even though our attention to "The Sopranos" has been erratic (to say the least) after the first two seasons, we felt like we ahd to see how it all ended. And (of course) it didn't. But then seeing the rehashes ovre the next few days... it's brilliant, it's stupid, it's just like life, it's a waste, etc. It's a TV series with an open end. So what else is new?

But one striking thing about the Tony Awards: how many gay people there were, all willing to thank "my partner" (seemingly, the designation of choice for Tony winners). When the cameras showed the nominees for Best Choreographer (as an example), there were four men, seated next to other men. I'm sorry if i just assumed that all the (male) choreographers came with their (male) partners. But Larry and i kept switching between "The Sopranos" and the Tony Awards. We had to admit that the Disney people knew what they were doing: rather than simply presenting a number from "Mary Poppins", they came up with a song-and-dance medley, which really showed off the work. (A surprise on my part: i had no idea that Matthew Bourne had worked on the choreography for "Mary Poppins".) "Grey Gardens" simply had a solo song from Christine Ebersole.

But i was amazed... the Best Choreographer award was won by Bill T. Jones for "Spring Awakening". I haven't seen Bill T. Jones in years.

Lee Nagrin died this week (actually, the end of the first week of June, but her death was announced over the weekend). This reminds me of the fact that the era of art of which i was a part is slowly coming to an end. In today's NY Times, Ben Brantley reviewed "Behind the Lid", the collaborative work by Lee Nagrin and Basil Twist, which is now playing at the Silver Whale Gallery. I'd like to quote some of Brantley's review, because his observations are apt: "Ms. Nagrin, a staple of downtown Bohemia for more than half a century, belonged to a tribe now all but extinct in Manhattan, for whom theater was truly a religion, a means of pursuing the ineffable.... Similarly, the entire enterprise can seem silly, frightening, pretentious, sincere and magnificent, all at the same time.... Rather like the great experiment that was avant-garde theater in New York for the second half of the 20th Century. 'Behind the Lid' is an evocation not only of Ms. Nagrin but also of an entire theatrical subculture that now has only a flickering existence." I wanted to quote that because so much of my life had been devoted to that subculture, not just of the theater, but also its manifestations in dance, in film, in "intermedia" as it was called.

And yet the flickerings are still there, not as embers, but sometimes as a true flame. That's why i was (pleasantly) surprised when i realized that Bill T. Jones had been the choreographer of "Spring Awakening". (And it was nice to see him when he danced up to the stage after winning.)

After "The Sopranos", there was the new show co-written by David Milch and Kem Nunn, "John From Cincinnati". It's about the Yost family, a family of surfers living in Imperial Beach! This is one of those situations... Larry and i tried to watch, but it just seemed fake to us. We've lived in Imperial Beach (California), the southernmost town on the California coast. In fact, the apartment we had was right on the beach. There was something "off" about the show: it just didn't seem like the kind of people who would live in Imperial Beach.

But there's a lot more to write about. However, the little gray alley kitten, the one with the eye infection, has been getting bolder in coming near people. The minute you approach him, however, he runs away. It's so sad, but so many people on the block have been trying to take care of that kitten, but it's so feral now.


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