“Hairspray” Fluffs Up TV Tonight

hairspraydownload“Hairspray Live!”, the 2002 Tony Award-winning musical about a teen who will stop at nothing to achieve her dreams and try to change the world, comes to life on television tonight at 8 PM ET on NBC direct from the Universal Studios lots in Los Angeles. I had my doubts about letting Harvey Fierstein put on the wig and makeup again. Plus, he’s hardly a household name. But the woeful casting of Travolta in the movie version taught us that few stars have what it takes to play Edna. So I’m hoping for the best.

Top Art Stories From 2016

arta8598e771602ebcab75c93748577081e_158f8e3f5274e49fdd2c22d661b6a6222000x1586_quality99_o_1b2ef659vmcj1htf9ab1vhf1qjpaThe Art Newspaper recaps 2016: ‘The year began with Iran and the West tentatively resuming cultural relations after the nuclear deal brokered by US President Barack Obama; the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye was quick to make a splash in Tehran with a solo show. It ended with an exhibition in Berlin of works of Modern art from Tehran being postponed until the New Year. The possibility that the works by Pollock, Rothko and Bacon, among others, bought before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, would one day come to Washington, DC, receded with the election of Donald Trump. He promised voters he would tear up Obama’s deal.’

Edward Albee Memorial: A Report

A friend writes: ‘Edward Albee’s life and work was celebrated by almost two dozen friends and colleagues on Tuesday at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway. Remembrances and readings by those present were supplemented by video tributes and remembrances by others, and by clips of Albee himself discussing his life and work. There was even a clip of him as the mystery guest on “What’s My Line?” (When it was determined that the Read more »

Jazzmen In The Daylight

jazz-festival-monk-wilsonOf “Jazz Festival,” a thick book of black-and-white photographs by Jim Marshall, Charles Simic writes: ‘Here are Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and dozens of other jazz greats representing at least four generations of musicians who made their names playing radically different kinds of music, performing or being caught by the camera schmoozing backstage between sets and enjoying each other’s company.’

2016: The 20 Best Pop & R&B Albums

popqgl5tvhlhjkaocrnzlsdPitchfork makes a selection, ranging from From Frank Ocean to Chairlift to Solange. I can’t pretend to have listened to them all: I got about as far as Ariana Grande.

Grammy Face-Off: Adele Vs. Beyonce

It will be a diva duel at the 59th annual Grammy Awards: queen bee Beyonce is headed for a face-off with British pop superstar Adele in three of the four top categories. (Full list of nominees here.) Meghan Trainor, the 2016 best new artist recipient, announced the noms on Tuesday’s “CBS This Morning.” Beyonce’s widely praised million-selling collection “Lemonade” is pitted against Adele’s 10 million-seller “25” in the Album of the Year category. Beyonce’s politically-edged hit “Formation” (written by Beyonce, Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan and Michael L. Williams II) and Adele’s ubiquitous single “Hello” (penned by Adele and Greg Kurstin) will compete for honors as Song of the Year, a writer’s award, and Record of the Year, awarded to artist, producers, engineers and mixers.

Occupy Museums Fuses Art And Activism

occupyubsdebtcollectiondebtfair_cover2I have only just learned about Occupy Museums. The social justice group that grew out of Occupy Wall Street aims to hold large arts institutions responsible for their investments. It has announced that last week’s Miami Art Fairs were “Trump’s inaugural pre-party.” Hmm. Rich people support artists and always have. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing: should every artist have to scrounge? And the one percent that Occupy Museums decries have only gotten richer under, yep, Obama. Of course, I’m not a Trump supporter, but let’s not pretend that the loathsome income inequality in our country is the reflection chiefly of Republicans only.