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Alan Lockwood

ALAN LOCKWOOD's review of the Divine Comedy Festival 2010 will be in the spring issue of PAJ, and his piece on Krystian Lupa will be in the next volume of Polish Theatre Perspectives.

Letter from Buenos Aires, part 3: Now & Then: Argentina chokes on neoliberal economics

December’s violence in Argentina got airplay worldwide: a concentrated social convulsion that brought about the government’s collapse.

Not Long Ago, Not Far Away: Argentina in the Aftermath of the New World’s Orders

The following article extends a series, published last year in the Rail, on Argentina in the throes of economic and political crisis.

Dancing with the Master: The life and music of Manny Oquendo, 1931–2009

Over fried pork chops one rainy April evening, at a Latin-Chinese restaurant at Broadway and 100th St., music producer Rene Lopez crystallized percussionist Manny Oquendo’s accomplishments.

LOVE + RADIANCE Marie Curie in Lauren Redniss’s Radioactive

As Harold Varmus put it in late January, before a full house at New York Public Library: Have people name two scientists and most will say Einstein and Madame Curie. Varmus, who directs the National Cancer Institute and shares a Nobel Prize for cancer research, was speaking with the artist and writer Lauren Redniss about her new book, Radioactive:Marie&Pierre Curie, a Tale of Love and Fallout.

In Mayan Guatemala: A Walk Among the Ruins

The plaza in which the Temple of Inscriptions stands is bounded, at the edge of the surrounding forest, by a partially excavated wall. At the base of the pyramid’s great mound stand an upright stele and a round, table-like altar, on which is carved the figure of a bound captive.

Not Available at Your Local Bookseller: Edgardo Vega Yunqué’s Latest Novel

Novelist Edgardo Vega Yunqué has donned a myriad of hats. As a teen, he arrived in New York City from Puerto Rico, to live far uptown among the Irish; military service soon sent him into the Cold War world.

Andrzej Wajda: Poland and the Screens of History

On October 17, the Film Society of Lincoln Center opened “Truth or Dare,” a month-long Andrzej Wajda retrospective. Wajda (pronounced VY-da) is among cinema’s great living auteurs, and spent decades cannily steering script proposals and finished works past Poland’s Communist-era censor bureau.

Poland Here, and Poland Now

Poland’s 1989 elections ended communist rule, and have earned 20th anniversary acclamations. With economic pain worldwide, an Economist piece on Eastern and Central European nations under strain said that in Poland “things look better” by a sturdy margin.

Kraków Here and There

A pulsing taste of culture in the Krakow mode unfolds in early April, when the Unsound Festival arrives again.

Listening to History, Ned Sublette's New Orleans

A tough read can be the result of thorny words, tedious rationale, off-putting content.

Andrzej Wajda: Poland and the Screens of History

On October 17, the Film Society of Lincoln Center opened Truth or Dare, a month-long Andrzej Wajda retrospective. Wajda (pronounced VY-da) is among cinema’s great living auteurs, and spent decades cannily steering script proposals and finished works past Poland’s communist-era censor bureau.

Man of the Village, Man of the World: Vincent Livelli and His Enduring Adventures

From a teenage yen for hot rumba that led him from Harlem in the late 1930s to a career on the high seas, Vincent Livelli brims with rich experience.

Andrzej Wajda: An Auteur from the East

On October 17, the Film Society of Lincoln Center opened “Truth or Dare,” a month-long Andrzej Wajda retrospective. The 82-year-old director introduced four features over the first three nights: The Promised Land (1975), Everything for Sale (1969), Ashes and Diamonds (1958), and Katyn (2007). Wajda (pronounced VY-da) is among cinema’s great living auteurs, and he spent decades cannily steering script proposals and finished works past Poland’s communist-era censor bureau.

Sense and the Incensed Paul Krugman and the Accuracy of Outrage

To cut to the quick: Princeton economist/New York Times columnist Paul Krugman sees a way out of the morass this administration is perpetrating.

With Us, Without Us: In Memoriam W.G. Sebald

W.G. Sebald, the German writer whose four elegant, memory-drenched books have gained increasing acclaim over the past decade, dies near his English home in December.

Richard Cummings

And how, given that Richard Cummings interviews as if De Soto’d actually found life’s spume, is the writer feeling these days? "Exhausted," he offers, reaching for the Pelligrino on a shady back porch not far from his Bridgehampton home. "I’d like to get my mind, body, and soul back."

Émigré’s Delight: Gombrowicz at the Beinecke Library

Through January 15, Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library exhibits The World of Witold Gombrowicz, selections from the archive of the caustically funny Polish émigré writer who worked out of obscurity, then was the favorite for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969, the year he died.

In Conversation

Barney, Beckett, and the Beats

It is no exaggeration to say that 20th century literature and culture is an infinitely richer and more fertile field because of the life’s work of publisher Barney Rosset.

Cello Visions: New Work by Jean Jeanrenaud, Matt Haimovitz, and Wendy Sutter

Prominent cello recitals and releases late last year and in early 2008 include installations, concerto commissions by virtuoso Matt Haimovitz, and the first recording of solo cello works by Phllip Glass. Already this month, Fred Sherry has played John Zorn’s music in the Guggenheim auditorium, while at the Austrian Cultural Forum on January 7 and 8, Susan Salm of the Raphael Trio matched Brahms’s cello sonatas with two pieces written for her by Wolfgang Florey. At the Joyce Theater in late January, Armitage Gone! danced to Morton Feldman’s Patterns in a Chromatic Field (a piece recorded by Charles Curtis, whose vast La Monte Young solo was featured in the February 2006 Rail). This cello-and-dance pairing recalls former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud’s Joyce performances in 2002 with Butoh mavens Eiko and Koma, and Wendy Sutter playing Bach suites in the mid-1990s as Mikhail Baryshnikov danced at Lincoln Center. (In her interview for this piece, Sutter acknowledged Jeanrenaud as “the queen of all us cellists.”)

Dimensions in Music: Ethel: Four and So Much More

Q: What blends four impassioned voices in subtle interplay, risking fractious outbursts in a no-holds-barred, tag-team whirl? If you guessed "the model family" or "the Middle East’s current stewards," you’re not wrong, but as this is a music column, quiz winners picked "the string quartet." The quartet is chamber music’s concentrated triumph from Haydn to Elliot Carter, with its adherents extolling the form for its intimate but lively dialogue among interdependent instruments.

Bass Rules: Israel “Cachao” Lopez and Andy Gonzalez: From Mambo to Salsa: Part Seven

The loft that propels Afro-Cuban music—a loping vibe buoying the percussive components, facetted choruses, and elegant ferocity of piano and horns that front an ensemble—derives from the bass lines.

Dimensions in Music

"You were looking at the score when you came in?" Petr Kotik asked at the end of our interview, holding up the folio of Tristan Murail’s Gondwana. "It’s difficult!" he laughed.

Salsa Dura: Willie Villegas plays Brooklyn

It’s a good bet, on a wet night at winter’s end, to get indoors and meet friends where a bar band plays.

Letter from Buenos Aires

At the end of August, the IMF approved $5 billion in loans to Argentina, simultaneously pulling the beleaguered economy from the brink of meltdown and deepening the nation’s already enormous international debt.


This past August’s “Celebrate Brooklyn!” concert at the Prospect Park bandshell featured trombonist/bandleader Willie Colón.

Letter from Buenos Aires, Part II

Argentina’s 3 1/2 year economic downslide continues, even as the U.S. and Europe officially name their own economies in recession.

Dimensions in Music: From Mambo to Salsa Part Three: Loss, Legacy, and the Thriving Vibe

“Taps” sounded at Riverside Memorial Chapel on February 22. A color guard folded Old Glory, handing it to conguero Ray Barretto’s widow—a military moment made more somber by acknowledgements that, as an Army recruit, he’d found he hadn’t seen the last of institutional racism by leaving postwar New York.

Dimensions in Music: The Art of the Cello, Extended: Charles Curtis Plays Waking States

Possessed of a microtonal pitch acuity with which he mirrors sine waves, and in command of an exquisite technique that earned him first soloist chair in Hamburg’s North German Radio Orchestra, cellist Charles Curtis bridges the out and in sides of classical music.

Music to Look In For: Kurtag's “Kafka Fragments”

"Kafka Fragments," Györg Kurtág’s song cycle presented in Dawn Upshaw’s Perspective series at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall during mid-January—with a level of pomp befitting a new staging by director Peter Sellars—was completed and premiered back in 1987.

From Mambo to Salsa

By the mid-seventies, New York salsa had taken on sassy profile and sprung such commercial wings that Epic Records launched Eddie Palmieri’s 1978 major-label debut, Lucumi Macumba Voodoo...

From Mambo to Salsa Part One: The New York Sound

New York’s Latin music today sounds like a front for producer-phenoms, its acts panting to cross over, perhaps because their top voices got their start singing club music in English.

Decasia at St. Ann's Warehouse

St. Ann’s Warehouse, overarched by the Brooklyn Bridge, low-set on cobbled, waterfront streets among Dumbo’s brick warehouses, was an evocative location for the U.S. live premiere of Decasia, the much-touted Bill Morrison film accompanied by a rambunctious Michael Gordon score.

Dimensions in Music

A century since its inception along the Rio de la Plata, tango has lost none of its power, with fresh incursions into big-screen (and small-screen) romance, the club scene, and, with most telling intensity, jazz.

Dimensions in Music: Ears to the Ground...and in the Case of

New York’s new and contemporary-classical music scenes are abuzz in anticipation of a bevy of May events, culminating at month’s end with the annual Bang on a Can marathon at the World Financial Center. One way of looking ahead is to glance back at early spring festivals and concerts, to appreciate the local variety and vivacity and to stoke anticipation of more to come.

Imposing Thirds

There’s a juncture in Evan Hause’s new opera, Man: Biology of a Fall, when Army chemist Frank Olson confronts the popular magician John Mullholland. These characters are based on historical figures: Olson served in the Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, Maryland, around the time of the Korean War, participating in biological weapons research including the infamous MKULTRA mind-control experiments. As Hause said in an interview, Mulholland “was famous in his day for his books and pamphlets, and employed by the CIA to teach sleight-of-hand tricks so they could slip LSD into people’s drinks.”

New Sound, New York Takes Manhattan (and Long Island City, and…)

Talk about a festival living up to its name: New Sound, New York, presented by the Kitchen and Cooper Union’s School of Architecture with Time Out New York, is all over the city.

Dimensions in Music: From Mambo to Salsa, Part Five, IP Hilton Ruiz—Learning with los Grandes—Plying New Terrain

On June 6, pianist and bandleader Hilton Ruiz settled the debt we all attend. Ruiz studied with Mary Lou Williams, then worked with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jackie McLean, and Tito Puente; his originals graced the soundtracks of Crimes and Misdemeanors and American Beauty, and his chops dazzled at April’s Sábado de Gloria all-star jam in Brooklyn.

Liberating Sound Floating Points Plays ISSUE Project Room

The curators at ISSUE Project Room, a linchpin in New York City’s experimental music scene, are hard at work on numerous fronts.

Dimensions in Music: A Field Guide to the Mambo World

Celebrations continue in NYC’s Latin music world, though industry downturns have hit hard at Latin’s magic meld of live music and dancers. The Spanish Harlem Orchestra recently played Lincoln Center Out of Doors, while August found percussion maven Bobby Sanabria’s big band at Jazz Standard, and an Arturo O’Farrill combo at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola—both venues without dance floors.

Dimensions in Music: From Mambo to Salsa, Part Four

Drafted into Fort Dix after the Korean War, Robert Farris Thompson heard the Seventh Army needed a historian and volunteered.

Dimensions in Music: Soft Power: Jazz Meets the Subcontinent

A loose-knit group of New York creative musicians are avidly crossing impressive fluency with resonances from their South Asian traditions. ...

Notes on Time: The Recent Music of Tigran Mansurian

Before ECM began releasing Tigran Mansurian’s music in 2003, the Armenian composer’s finely etched, mid-period chamber music might be found on the U.K.’s Megadisc, with violin and cello concertos dating back to the seventies on the German label Orfeo.

Dimensions in Music: Michael J. Schumacher's Sonic States

Four Stills was recorded direct to stereo from an ever-intriguing trove of sonic devices. Coursing and static, highly detailed and unsettlingly sumptuous, each track becomes the aural equivalent of a genre scene: self-contained, highly referential, at once freighted with and disassociated from levels of interpretation that give way to the pleasure of pure music in sound.

Dimensions in Music: From Mambo to Salsa, Part Six: The Rhythm Sticks

Afro-Cuban music’s polyrhythmic structures evolved from ceremonial African hand-drum ensembles; rumba, like Puerto Rican bomba, fused hand-drummers, singers, and dancers, while in a 1930s innovation on Havana’s band scene, Arsenio Rodriguez beefed up bongo-driven son with the conga’s deeper resonance.

Don’t Shoot the Player Piano: Céleste Boursier-Mougenot Taps into Unplayed Musical Realms

Without a pianist at the bench, pianos can foray into wildly perplexing terrain.


Emerging choreographers Liz Gerring and Ruth Baguskas debuted evening-length works in recent weeks. Each had hit highs on this reviewer’s dance calendar in 2002.

Dance in the Modern Firmament

March, pivoted on its Ides, bowing out this hemisphere’s winter, held both a momentous storm’s blank promise in the weather and continued bickering over Martha Graham’s dances in our cultural heritage.

Moving on Gravity’s Rainbow

Ruth Baguskas at WAX; Eiko + Koma and Anna Halprin at the Joyce

Independent’s Dance

Erico Villanueva’s expanded dance piece Ikuko’s Alter Ego had its late September, attack-delayed opening in the grim scene of downtown recovery that has redefined our times.

New Choreography: Dragons in the Light

Choreographer Liz Gerring presented Low Light in early June, her second piece in a year, upping the ante for her growing audience and setting a heightened standard for her own vision.

Afterlife Beckett: Prose in the footlights, plays on the big screen

Recent genre-crossing productions of Samuel Beckett’s work, seen at the Classic Stage Company and at the New York Film Festival, continue presenting fresh interpretations to new audiences of the Nobel laureate’s writing, a decade after his death.

We Must Go On: Re-directing Beckett

A year on from Samuel Beckett’s centenary—when festivals, theater productions and conferences were held around the planet—New York City has two new productions arriving back to back that will then share the spotlight through most of January. Mikhail Baryshnikov and Fiona Shaw take the leads at New York Theatre Workshop and BAM, respectively, in just the sort of high-profile events that weren’t in great evidence here during 2006.

Acts of Cruelty

he Hotel Savant’s production of Antonin Artuad’s The Cenci wends its way through the Ohio Theater this month, the first time the sole manifestation of Artaud’s legendary Theater of Cruelty has hit a New York stage in over three decades.

Beckett in the living room, Beckett up your earhole

Recent months have brought significant commercial availability to Samuel Beckett’s theater work, with 19 stage plays out on DVD and a CD release of the playwright’s astonishing radio plays. Jeremy Irons hosted an evening of short plays in September on PBS, which also more recently broadcast director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s Waiting for Godot on January 1st.

All our tomorrows: TR Warszawa brings Macbeth to DUMBO

It stands to reason that TR Warszawa, the propulsive Polish company whose Krum just collected an Obie (for Krzysztof Warlikowski’s direction, at BAM in October 2007), is staging their willful adaptation of Macbeth in DUMBO. The riverfront streets beneath the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges are as dramatic as any terrain in New York City, and TR general director Grzegorz Jarzyna’s confrontational immediacy in updating Shakespeare’s gore fest seems echoed by DUMBO’s monolithic facades and tightly cropped Manhattan views.

Tautologically Foreman

Now That Communism is Dead My Life Feels Empty!

Time After Time: Society and its Discontents in Martha Clarke’s Vienna: Lusthaus (revisited)

Riding ardent early reviews, steady houses, and its own burnished beauty, director/choreographer Martha Clarke’s Vienna: Lusthaus (revisited) extended its spring run at New York Theater Workshop through late July.

Dante in Dumbo: GAle GAtes et al. Tales it Down… and Down… and Down

With hell as other people, the theatrical installationists Gale Gate et al. keep their audience right in the thick of it.

The Excellent Fopperies of the World: YOUNG JEAN LEE TAKES ON LEAR

It is going to be pride of place for Young Jean Lee’s Lear during its three-week, world premier run in January. Lear was commissioned by Soho Rep, and they’ve selected her new piece as their new season’s opening knell.

Waxing Ten: WaxFactory’s Delirium 27

Delirium 27 works with a tantalizing vision. Lights glower, rhythms pulsate in the sound design as the four actors group and break compulsively. Projections spill on several screens: actors’ tightly shot mugs, urban overheads, then a solar radiance on the back wall that’s as entrancing as Olafur Eliasson’s twilight sun at the Tate.

The Macbeths in the Prism of Noh: Ping Chong Stage's Kurosawa's Throne of Blood

The uncanny is the grease on which Macbeth skids. Like gruel dredged from the weird sisters’ cauldron—a loaded smear of newt’s eye and witches’ mummy—our supernatural captivations plunge the Scottish play its way to dusty death.

LAUGH TIL YOU DON’T: Dorota Maslowska’s A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians

Until the end of this month, East River Commedia plays Dorota Maslowska’s A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians at Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side. For the writer’s New York stage debut, the director Paul Bargetto has taken up her raucous play, the three acts of which could seem high-octane farce if the social conclusions weren’t so galling.

Beckett at 100: Waiting for Godot and other New York Centenary Events

The Gate Theatre of Dublin brings Waiting for Godot to NYU’s Skirball Center October 24–28, capping New York’s sparse celebration of Samuel Beckett’s centenary.

The Art of Assimilation

Sejny, the centerpiece of a cultural festival by the Borderlanders Foundation from the northeastern Polish town of Sejny (pronounced as if the final letter of “sane” were accented), took on the immediacy and fragility of oral history—a crucial topic in a part of the world that’s suffered invasions and counter-invasions for generations.

review: An Earnest Start: Brooklyn's Brave New World

Opening their tenure as Brooklyn’s sole rep company, Brave New World Repertory Theatre played a savvy production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the South Slope’s MadArts Studios in September.

Musical Ghosts in Hand-Held Machines: La MaMa E.T.C. Celebrates International Puppetry

Three arched window doors with gauze drapes, billowed by the narrator’s feather duster; a tiny black circular stage rolled about, as are those pretty, creepy windows; a glowing backstage candelabra. That’s the set for Chopin–An Impression, by the Bialystok Puppet Theatre, which opens at La MaMa E.T.C. this month during their annual Puppet Series.

La MaMa Puppet Series IV, <i>Built to Perform</i>, plays through November; check <a for schedules and information." />

The New Garde

When TR Warszawa brings Krum to BAM’s NextWave this month, it will be both director Krzysztof Warlikowski’s second appearance at the festival, and the opening half of the company’s latest incursion into Brooklyn’s theater scene. In October 2004, Warlikowski’s concerted, intermissionless The Dybbuk haunted the Harvey Theater, then in November, TR artistic director Grzergorz Jarzyna’s raucous Risk Everything—busting at its seams with a punk vibe and a bad bloodlust—spilled out of St. Ann’s Warehouse’s glass side door and onto the brick street. This time around, Warlikowski takes the autumn spotlight with Krum’s bout into family underpinnings, then in June 2008, the company returns to occupy Dumbo’s roofless, pre–Civil War Tobacco Warehouse, across Water Street from St. Ann’s, for Jarzyna’s flagrantly ambitious 2007 Macbeth.

A Moving Case OR: GO AHEAD! JUMP IN!

The film plots, which are making up the bulk of the discussion among the four of us here on the roof in the night, turn to death.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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