Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Monday, September 25, 2023
|Melody A, Betts as Evillene (center)|
in the revival of The Wiz, headed for Broadway.
Credit: Jeremy Daniel
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Two recent weekend fragments.
|Harriet Tubman's house|
in Auburn, NY
Auburn, NY: Harriet Tubman's House. Our guide spoke for an hour on Harriet's life, explaining the movie was 75 percent accurate. Then we saw the actual house, but did not go inside because there was nothing in it. However, a second house on the property where Harriet ran a home for elderly people was resorted with furnishings of the era so we could go in.
|At the It's a Wonderful Life Museum|
in Seneca Falls, NY
Friday, September 22, 2023
Loh is the author of The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, selected by the New York Times' 100 Most Notable Books. Her previous book Mother on Fire is based on her solo theater piece about the Los Angeles school system. Her other solo shows include Aliens in America, Bad Sex with Bud Kemp, Sugar Plum Fairy, and I Worry.
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
|Daphne Rubin-Vega and |
Tim Daly will star in
The Night of the Iguana.
“The Night of the Iguana poses critical questions of faith and identity that are particularly relevant today as we navigate a paradoxically divided yet open world,” Lichty, executive director of La Femme, said in a statement. “Tennessee offers an answer by writing an epic that he described as ‘a play about love in its purest terms.'”
Iguana opened on Broadway in 1961 with Bette Davis, Margaret Leighton (Tony Award for Best Actress), and Patrick O'Neal, and won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. The drama focuses on a defrocked priest at the end of his spiritual rope who has crash-landed at a rundown tourist spot in Acapulco, Mexico. There he encounters the lusty, widowed hotel owner, a traveling artist and her 92-year-old grandfather. John Huston's film version was released in 1964 with Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, Sue Lyon, and Grayson Hall (Oscar nomination).
Saturday, September 16, 2023
(Read on my I-phone on the Libby app) Still continuing the Vonnegut reading jag. This collection of previously unpublished stories is a fast, fun read. Like the pieces in Bagombo Snuff Box, they were written early in Vonnegut's career to sell to popular publication like Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, and Ladies' Home Journal for casual entertainment in the days before mass media eliminated reading time. This group, the second posthumous collection following Look at the Birdie, has only two segments featuring elements of fantasy--Jenny, about a lonely traveling appliance salesman and his relationship with human-like refrigerator and The Epizootic, concerning an epidemic of suicide among young male breadwinners. The rest are neat little moral lessons with O. Henry ironic endings. They all have charm, but not the dark stinging wit which mark Vonnegut's novels. All the characters are sharply drawn in clear, quick strokes. I enjoyed the title story about a Scrooge-like newspaper editor forced to judge a Christmas light display contest. That one and the rest of the stories have relatively simple premises. A young war widow, ironically named Ruth, confronts her domineering mother-in-law. A model train enthusiast neglects his wife. Another widow develops a passionate fantasy life with a pen pal. Dave Eggers in the forward calls them mousetrap stories where the author traps the reader into a moral conclusion, as opposed to modern short stories which are more like photo-realism. Both genres have their place and can give pleasure.
The only thing that bothered me about this volume is this: Does "unpublished" mean these stories were not published anywhere before, not even in magazines? There is no page listing where they might have originally appeared as there was in Bagombo which is subtitled "uncollected" as opposed to "unpublished."
Thursday, September 14, 2023
|Nicol Williamson and George C. Scott in|
Uncle Vanya (1973)
|Heidi Schreck in her play|
What the Constitution Means to Me.
Credit: Joan Marcus
starring David Cromer, Marin Ireland, Bill Irwin, and Will Brill played in a Manhattan loft for audiences of 40 this past summer and received rave reviews. Jay O. Sanders won a Drama Desk Award for playing the title tole in a 2018 production. Previous Broadway stagings have starred Derek Jacobi and Roger Rees (2000), Tom Courtney and James Fox (1995), Nicol Williamson, George C. Scott and Julie Christie (1973), and Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier and Margaret Leighton (1946). A film adaptation, Vanya on 42nd Street (1995), directed by Louis Malle, starred Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore, Larry Pine, and Lynn Cohen.
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
|Kelli O'Hara and Brian d'Arcy James|
in Days of Wine and Roses at Atlantic
Credit: Ahron R. Foster
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
|Water for Elephants at the|
Alliance Theater in Atlanta.
Credit: Matthew Murphy
Monday, September 11, 2023
|Rachel McAdams will|
star in Mary Jane
|Carrie Coon and Susan Pourfar|
in Mary Jane (2017)
Credit: Joan Marcus
Saturday, September 9, 2023
(Downloaded and read on the Libby App on my I-phone) Continuing with my Vonnegut binge, I ripped through this collection of short essays originally published in the small journal In These Times. Written towards the end of his life and published in 2005, these ruminations on politics, humor, and life in general are startling in their relevance almost 20 years later. With this characteristic dry sarcastic wit, Vonnegut bemoans climate change (then called global warming) and the rampant corruption and warmongering of the George W. Bush administration. God only knows what he would have said about our current state of environmental disaster and the Trump crime family who make W., Cheney, and their cronies look like Sunday school teachers. (And what's really scary is that a huge swatch of the gullible public actually want Trumpy back in power. That's a whole Vonnegut essay right there. In fact, Trump could be a Vonnegut character he's so over the top.) The author's probably rolling in this grave and if he could jump out of it, he'd scream at all of us, "I told ya so! Geez, I didn't think things could get much worse when I passed, but you morons managed to do it!" Vonnegut is merciless in his castigation of humanity for ruining our planet and putting ignorant "guessers" in power over scientists and wise men who follow logic instead of passions.There are also biographical segments on his childhood, war experiences, struggles to gain a foothold as an author, and his current life in Manhattan. In the latter, he laments how technology has eliminated the simple joys of taking a walk to the corner newsstand to buy stamps, then to the post office to mail a manuscript to a typist, and meeting and talking with fellow humans along the way. Email and computers had destroyed typewriters and community. But at the same time Vonnegut doesn't pine for the "good old days." He objectively states that there were no "good old" times, just times and we should relish whatever joys we can such as just sitting with friends and drinking lemonade as his favorite uncle advised.
Thursday, September 7, 2023
(Borrowed from the Mid-Manhattan NYPL on 40th St. and Fifth Ave.) After viewing that documentary on Vonnegut on Hulu, I launched a binge on so-far unread works by the author I've been reading since high school (or maybe junior high, I can't recall.) A plentiful collection of previously uncollected stories from Vonnegut's early days as a writer, eking out a living at a variety of jobs including car salesman and PR wordsmith for General Electric. From the 50s into the early 60s, a number of magazines published short stories by unknowns (Now the New Yorker is one of the few left, and they generally employ known quantities.) Each is a little gem with a twist ending (In an afterward, Vonnegut admits he rewrote three of them for this collection.) Most are humorous satires of human behavior, subdivision small town dreamers. Only two (Thanasphere and 2BR02B) display the dark science-fiction bent of Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Sirens of Titan, and Player Piano. The formula many follow has an objective narrator, either a real-estate man or a financial consultant injected into the bizarre world of absent-minded geniuses, small-time con men and women or obsessive ketchup consultants. My favorites were Any Reasonable Offer (very funny), Runaways (insightful dissection of shallow teenagers and their clueless parents), and Hal Irwin's Magic Lamp (a wallop of a story on clashing values along class and racial lines). Looking forward to the other Vonnegut collections of fiction, essays and letters.
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
|Jessica Lange will star in|
Paula Vogel's Mother Play.
|Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn in|
Death Becomes Her.
Monday, September 4, 2023
|Only Murders in the Building with|
Selena Gomez, Steve Martin
and Martin Short
Sunday, September 3, 2023
Book Review: The Big Lie: Election Chaos, Political Opportunism and the State of American Politics After 2020
(Taken out of the Jackson Heights Library) Jonathan Lemire is a familiar face and welcome presence for his appearances on Morning Joe and his tough questions for Trump as a reporter for Politico and the Associated Press. His book on Trump's endless mendacities is valuable in that its a fairly detailed record of the past seven years beginning with Trump's 2016 statement that the upcoming presidential election would be rigged if he doesn't win. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know and there is a lack of independent interviews (Most quotes are from other books.) But a good summary of Trump's efforts to discredit our election system when it didn't go his way, plus his history of an extremely loose relationship with the truth.