Note from New York
Mary Ann Caws
Can you imagine something calling itself the World Maker Faire in New York? They had to add the “World” part, after the whole thing got moved here from San Mateo, California, Austin, Texas, and Detroit, Michigan, it felt Bigger still. Thus the World.
It seems to include just about everything possible, including an Axe Frinder, a bike in the middle of a 23 foot high tower that plays electric guitars in a kind of windmill when you pedal it. And, most grandly, a chariot race, from rickshaws to a jetpropelled car. The seemingly most improbable items and collectivities abound, such as the Members of the Swimming Cities of the Ocean of Blood, artists from Brooklyn who plan to float down the the Ganges on rafts next year – this year they are in the chariot race.
At the Met, the Ring is starting up in the LePage production. The opening of Das Rheingold is to be shown on the enormous HD screen at Lincoln Center, in Times Square, and no doubt elsewhere. Very Big Indeed.
Gustav Mahler has returned to New York, first at the Philharmonic with Alan Gilbert conduction the Sixth Symphony, the one with the hammer and so on. Lots later, here and there: can’t have too much Mahler. But I do notice that when he is being played LOUDLY in our small apartment, I get grumpy and anxious, both at once.
I want to see The Big Uneasy about Katrina and New Orleans, The Social Network: now you know what that’s about, but hey, the cover of New York Magazine says it’s “the Movie Facebook doesn’t want you to see,” now THAT will bring everyone in, for sure. Most definitely I have to see the documentary about Glenn Gould, whose face I had, in a magnified state, in my kitchen in New York before I got remarried. No way is my husband, who also plays, but on a normal piano bench, going to have that face in his (our) kitchen.
There’s a combination of Richard Serra big pieces somewhere in Brooklyn, but unless he states it is by him (as in, site-specific), it remains just that. We see a photograph of part of it in the New York Times, and there it sits. That’s an appealing concept all right.
Greatly appealing, in three locations in the city right now, is Roy Lichtenstein: he’s at the Morgan Library, in midtown, at the Leo Castelli Gallery on the upper East Side, and at Mitchell-Innes and Nash in Chelsea, middowntown, which is convenient if you want to walk on the High Line, way up, on the once railroad line. Matisse is still at MOMA, as is the Original Copy, about photography of sculpture.
Early this month, out of curiosity and loving the title I went solo to a matinee of Love, Loss, and What I Wore. The book is by Ilene Beckerman, and the play by Nora Ephron (as in the brilliant revenge novel and film Heartburn) and Delia Ephron. The sections (like: The Bra, Black, Shoes, that kind of thing) were read by the five very different women on stage, and a narrator pulled it together. It worked well, with a series of posters representing the “what I wore” part. Each member of the almost all female audience was given a sheet with an invitation to “Draw A Picture of Yourself” and to hand it in to the merchandise stand, at which point it would become the property of Love Loss Productions. I resisted, but liked the idea.
I HATED The Screwtape Letters, staged as in Hell, I guess, and I found it overblown and wanted to leave: but, dammit, we were in the middle of a row and I’m still too southern polite to be able to rustle out, or even sneak out. AND I LOVED Orlando, finding it not nearly so far from Virginia Woolf’s super love letter to Vita Sackville-West as a recent production of The Waves, full of noise and mirrors and rushing about. What an actress plays Orlando man and woman, super, like Tilda Swinton in the film. Lyric and elegant and swooping about all along: Francesa Faridany was matched, in her genius, by Dravid Greenspan, playing Queen Victoria, and by Annika Boras as Sasha the Russian Princess (the Violet Trefusis character) – in fact, the whole thing seemed really right on key.
I have to admit that among the varied theatre offerings this season, my favorite is A.R. Gurney’s play Office Hours, at the tiny Flea Theatre, which stars my very own cousin, Betsy Lippitt, in five or six roles: she is super (objective judgment also) and since it concerns teaching, curricula, and that kind of issue (don’t you hate the word “issues?”), it particularly interested me. And, thankfully, my husband also, and everyone else in the audience. Rave reviews and reception, deeply deserved.