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.

Oh Dear, What Is Michelle Wearing?

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive at the Kennedy Center Honors Reception at the White House in WashingtonAt the Kennedy Center Honors the other night, Mrs. Obama wore a dress that looked as if it had been pulled from the Bob Mackie vaults from the old “Carol Burnett Show.” The First Lady has done great things for American fashion and she often looks swell. But this Gucci gown looks like Christmas wrapping paper. Yes, I know that’s probably the point, but it’s still, in my humble estimation, quite ugly (at least in the photos).

“The Young Pope” Begins Next Month

Paolo Sorrentino‘s “The Young Pope” has ten episodes, but, because it’s airing on HBO (beginning January 15th), the installments will be dribbled out over months. Like many people, I’m so used to the Netflix model of binging out that I grow impatient with the week-by-week schedule. I’ve watched “The Crown” twice through precisely because I can binge. Still, I’ll give the “Pope” a whirl. I like this exchange from the trailer: Sister Mary (Diane Keaton): “Everyone is afraid of you.” Lenny, aka Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law): “That’s not exactly true (beat) but it will be.”