An exercise in audience alienation

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When I saw the Potomac Theatre Project production of Howard Barker’s “The Europeans” in New York over the weekend, I couldn’t tell if it was the play or the production that was so off-putting. The drama is set in Vienna in 1684 just after the Turks have been forced out of Europe and the Emperor […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The ‘madrigal soul’ of Daniel Zaitchik

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I saw a terrific new band at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan last night — Daniel Zaitchik’s Blue Bottle Collection. Less than two weeks after workshopping his musical “Picnic at Hanging Rock” at the O’Neill Theater Center — see blog posting below — this gifted and eclectic singer-songwriter made a smashing debut at one of the […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Why can’t a woman be more like a man?

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Kathryn Bigelow must be sick and tired of the people who make a big deal out of the fact that she directs action sequences with as much skill as any of her male peers. For more than 20 years, Bigelow has proven again and again that she is second to no man in her ability […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The scamming of America

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  The infuriating story of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is well-told in “Madoff and the Scamming of America,” a recent History Channel special that has been released on DVD by A&E Home Entertainment. The hour-hour documentary was produced by a CBS subsidiary — CBS Eye Too Productions — under the supervision of executive producers Margery Baker-Riker […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Narcissism then (1976) and now

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It’s probably hard for younger people to believe, but there was a time — not all all that long ago — when it was novel to see a film or TV documentary in which real narcissists showed off in front of cameras. Now TV is full of “reality” programming in which everyone from “housewives” in […] [Read More]
Categories: General

What becomes a legend most?

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Do you talk about the work or the life? That’s the question that seems to come up every time a major show biz figure dies. I heard the Rev. Al Sharpton on the radio this morning complaining that the press has been dredging up all of the gossip about Michael Jackson since he died two […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Coming: ‘Smash Cut’

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Sandra Brown is both amazingly prolific and totally reliable — once a year, the novelist produces a thriller that is almost guaranteed to be a winner. “Smash Cut” (Simon & Schuster) won’t be in stores until August 11, but I am happy to report that it is one of Brown’s best books — a terrific […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Where did those three girls (and their teacher) go?

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Last night in Waterford, fireworks started going off just a few minutes before the end of the final performance of “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” the new musical drama by Daniel Zaitchik (above). The loud sounds outside proved to be only a temporary distraction for the full house that had gathered in a barn on the […] [Read More]
Categories: General