World Series Overlooks Joyce & Steve

Baseball is desperate to develop more diversity among its players, so why isn’t it cultivating more variety among its singers? The roster of national-anthem singers for Games 1 through 4 announced Monday by Major League Baseball for the World Series between the Giants and Royals, which begins tonight in Kansas City, did not include opera singer Joyce DiDonato (pictured), a Kansas native, nor rock star Steve Perry, who, during the playoffs, led an Read more »

The Vanishing Bookstores Of NYC

The New Yorker has posted a feature, by Bob Eckstein, about the vanishing bookstores of New York City. I have spent many hours in all the stores featured, and can share in the sadness when any one of them has closed. Luckily, we still have several indie stores still left, to counteract the soul-sapping layout of Barnes & Noble.

Gehry’s Vuitton Museum Opens In Paris

Funded by Bernard Arnault, the richest man in France, Frank Gehry’s new art museum, for the Fondation Louis Vuitton, has opened in Paris. But the locals consider the building, with its billowing sails, a grotesque imposition, standing as a brash monument to the fact that the country’s richest man can get his own way.

Alan Cumming On Shia Grabbing His Butt

Alan Cumming is setting the record straight on how he feels about Shia LaBeouf‘s display of affection. Cumming, who was performing in “Cabaret” on Broadway in June when LaBeouf grabbed his backside, appeared on Conan on Monday to discuss the situation. “He was just wasted, and he wasted from the second he walked into the [theater],” Cumming said, adding that the “Transformers” star “seemed to be a crazy person.” Labeouf pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for the incident last month. However, Cumming appreciated that LaBeouf has recently made amends for the outburst, and Cumming was particularly flattered by Shia saying that he, Alan, was the sexiest man he’d ever seen.

Italy’s Singing Nun Picks “Like A Virgin”

Well, it’s appropriate at least. Italy’s singing nun, Sister Cristina Scuccia, who won “The Voice of Italy” in June, has released a cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” as her first single, ahead of a forthcoming album. The 26-year-old Sicilian sister’s rather restrained cover of “Virgin,” softly sung against picturesque religion-themed Italian backdrops, while wearing her nun’s habit, crucifix around her neck, and plain black shoes, is bound to provoke some polemics, especially in Italy. And is clearly calculated to generate boffo sales.

“Klinghoffer” Performed At The Met

Yes, there were protesters outside the Metropolitan Opera last night, and, yes, there was one person who heckled the performance of “The Death of Klinghoffer” during its first act. But mostly the show went on. Rudy Giuliani was part of the outdoor protest; Mayor Bill de Blasio countered: ‘“I think the American way is to respect freedom of speech. Simple as that.” As for the quality of the performance, conducted by David Robertson, here’s the Times review, by Anthony Tommasini, which calls the work “raw” and “penetrating.” Which makes it sound like musical porn. The protesters would, for different reasons, agree.

Stephen Daldry’s “Trash”: Review

Stephen Daldry‘s latest movie is called “Trash,” and is set in the favelas of Rio. (To me, there will always be only one true movie called “Trash,” and it starred Joe Dallesandro and Holly Woodlawn.) The Guardian says: ‘Daldry does what he’s been doing since his breakthrough, “Billy Elliot”; he delivers a well-crafted, above-average film that aims high but invariably falls short. That movie’s greatest strength is Jamie Bell’s performance. He was just 14 at the time…His new movie goes one step further in that his trio of young actors speak no English, nor had they training or acting aspirations when they signed on. With its heavy plotting, “Trash” hardly aspires to docudrama, yet the trio paint an indelible portrait of youth in crisis that is essential to the movie’s success.’