The House


David GreenbergDavid Greenspan sets the tone for a delightful evening of theater magic by jumping onto a jewel-box stage set at the start of The Patsy. There are no doorways on this set, nor is there a ceiling; it's a three-walled cube tastefully decorated with wallpaper and a few sticks of period furniture and props. In the nonstop 75-minute solo performance that follows, Greenspan resurrects a drawing-room comedy from the 1920s—three acts of family drama, witty banter, and romance, complete with a cast of eight characters. First presented on Broadway in 1925, the play, written by Barry Conners, centers on the Harringtons, a quarrelsome middle-class family. The father is a weary travelling salesman, the mother a social-climbing complainer, the elder daughter has just snagged a rich suitor, and the younger, bookish and disregarded by the others, harbors a secret passion for her sister's former, now discarded, lover. Without ever leaving the stage, Greenspan gleefully impersonates all the characters, which includes the girls' two young beaus and two walk-ons, charting their comings and goings and their emotional ups and downs, and setting the scene as needed by reading occasional stage directions as well.

A multiple OBIE winner and Drama Desk nominee, Greenspan is a frequent and distinctive presence on the New York stage. It's not exactly a surprise to see him turn out a bravura performance. Looking back at some of his career highlights, one doesn't easily forget his over the top Other Mother in Coraline, a musical he co-wrote with composer/lyricist Stephin Merritt; his exquisitely stylized portrayal of the acerbic Harold in the 1996 revival of Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band; or the exasperating drag queen who delivers a moving rendition of "Over the Rainbow" on the eve of the Stonewall uprising in Terrence McNally's Some Men. Going even further back in time, you might also recall his one-of-a-kind turn as a neurotic artist obsessively channeling Streisand in the 1992 Public Theater production of his own The Home Show Pieces. No stranger to multiple roles, he has also breezed singlehandedly through his own The Myopia, a 25-character cavalcade extravagantly subtitled "an epic burlesque of tragic proportion," which was revived in January last year.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: aristophanes, barry conners, coraline, david greenspan, drama desk awards, hello again, jack cummings iii, jonas, kristina corcoran williams, lysistrata jones, marie dressler, marion davies, mart crowley, obie awards, over the rainbow, public theater, some men, stephin merritt, terrence mcnally, the boys in the band, the home show pieces, the myopia, the patsy, the royal family, transport group


The CurfewThe origins of the shadowy totalitarian forces lurking around many corners of Jesse Ball's The Curfew are left purposefully vague. The novel is probably set in Chicago, but it doesn't matter. William Drysdale, the book's protagonist, has a daughter, Molly, who doesn't speak. His wife disappeared some years ago, after some revolution began. No one inquires as to why Molly doesn't speak. It doesn't matter. William doesn't know why his wife was (presumably) murdered. It should matter, of course, but even if it does William can't let it. The Curfew's unidentified, rarely present narrator introduces the futility of truth or emotion in these circumstances this way: "I shall introduce this city and its occupants as a series of objects whose relationship cannot be told with any certainty."

That is: When there is no art, and no debate is tolerated, and when any passerby may be secret police (and you, therefore, to any passerby, may be secret police), notions of truth or trust are slippery. For William, what solace seems to exist comes from accepting the circumstances of life in a police state: He minds his own business and plays word games with his daughter.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: 1984, jesse ball, the curfew, vintage books, wall-e


John Favalora

The Catholic Church has a secret gay cabal in Miami.

Rebekah Brooks gets slimier by the day.

Christine Vachon, recently awarded NewFest's Visionary Award, spoke to an audience at Lincoln Center's new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center about her early years in the business, her collaborations with Todd Haynes, and how she's preparing for the future.

Chris Weitz reveals how his own family inspired his immigration drama A Better Life.

Celine Dion is a fascist.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: a better life, annette bening, catholic church, celine dion, chris weitz, christine vachon, elinor bunin-munroe film center, georgy girl, kristen wiig, late show with david letterman, louis c.k., miami, peter bogdanovich, polly platt, rebekah brooks, ronald bergan, silvio narizzano, snooki, todd haynes


Michele Bachmann

There's a teen suicide epidemic...in Michele Bachmann's district.

AMC confirms that Frank Darabont has stepped down as The Walking Dead's showrunner, replaced by Glenn Mazzara, a writer and executive producer on the show.

The Venice Film Festival lineup has been finalized.

Willie Osterweil ushers us towards a new film criticism.

On the final season of Rescue Me, says Matt Zoller Seitz, men are from Mars, women are from Venus.

The best four minutes of Mariah Carey's insane HSN appearance.

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

  • print
  • email

TAGS: amc, frank darabont, glenn mazzara, hsn, mariah carey, michele bachmann, rescue me, the walking dead, venice film festival, willie osterweil


Howard the DuckBad reputations can follow films and their makers for years (even decades) after the initial theatrical release. Sometimes this stigma is completely unwarranted, like with Elaine May's scathing and brilliant absurdist comedy Ishtar. But in other cases, a film can actually high jump past their shit-status by leaps and bounds, cresting into a completely new realm defined by non-verbal astonishment.

Howard the Duck is one such cinematic atrocity. Audiences and critics knew it was terrible in August of 1986 when Lucasfilm and Universal Pictures released the film, and I damn well know it in 2011 having recently suffered through its nearly 2-hour runtime. Willard Huyck's clumsy melding of comedy, science fiction and film noir is so misguided you have to wonder if the filmmakers even understood the genres they were referencing. So if Howard the Duck has a rightful place in the canon of worst films ever, why the hell would anybody volunteer to write about it?

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: elaine may, howard the duck, ishtar, jeffrey jones, lea thompson, steven gerber, summer of 86, tim robbins, willard huyck


Grassroots, Season 6, Episode 4

Hello Lincolnton, North Carolina!

The summer keeps going as we talk shop with Robert Greene and his new documentary Fake It So Real, which opens tomorrow at Rooftop Films in Brooklyn with a special post-screening wrestling match. We talk a bit about his previous doc, Kati with an I, and delve a bit into wrestling terminology just to make Vadim's eyes gloss over like a good mark would.

Then we go into a minor spoiler about the film, which you'd otherwise never learn; the cinema of grown men slapping each other around; and the rather intimate presentation that Greene brings to the week-in-the-life of this cultural event that is slowly becoming more and more commercial despite the local roots of the thing. I'd also add [INSERT COMMENTARY ABOUT INDEPENDENT FILM AND WRESTLING HERE]. It's very apt, no? But we go into the day-to-day of these men who want nothing more than a chance to break into an industry dominated by a single conglomerate (WWE) that does get name-checked—and has been in the news recently as one of their more high profile stars audibly broke character and then left.

So head out tomorrow to catch a screening AND a wrestling bout at the Crown Vic in Brooklyn and keep track of Fake It screenings here.

And with that, the Grassroots podcast goes on hiatus as we deal with other things like the summer heat wave, possibly going to Cape Cod for a while and sitting in Film Forum for the remainder of the Pre-Code series. As always, if you see us at the bar, buy us a drink or get us our checks on time. Cheers! (JL)

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: fake it so real, kati with an i, live at grassroots tavern, robert greene, rooftop films


Toronto International Film Festival

Most of the lineup has been released for this year's Toronto Film Festival.

Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress is set to close the 68th Venice Film Festival on Saturday, September 10th. Related: Expect to see Roman Polanski, David Cronenberg, and Steven Soderbergh there.

Shudder.

Dollywood hates gays.

Man Booker prize 2011 longlist includes quartet of debut novels.

J. Ho tries to address a question many of us have asked: Does Miranda July have any idea of how annoying she is?

Our own Jonathan Keefe tells us about five albums we should be listening to right now.

Below, A.O. Scott on Back to the Future.

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

  • print
  • email

TAGS: back to the future, damsels in distress, dollywood, gnomeo and juliet, jonathan keefe, man booker prize, miranda july, nerve, toronto international film festival, venice film festival, whit stillman


M83

M83, "Midnight City." The first glimpse into what Anthony Gonzalez describes as his most "epic" album to date paints a clear portrait of an artist re-engergized and at the height of his creative capabilities. Bursting out of the gate with sharply serrated vocals backed by a heavy, assertive synth beat, "Midnight City" initiates with a resounding jumpstart and never hits the breaks from there. The song is a tightly knit sonic roller coaster, sparing no expense in exhibiting Gonzalez's understanding of what amounts to musical magnificence. "Kim & Jessie" this is not; there's scarce emotional substance at play lyrically, yet the overall vibe of the track absolutely glistens with the sheen of pure, wild elation. Mike LeChevallier

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: annie clark, anthony gonzalez, coming down, dum dum girls, house playlist, m83, midnight city, only in dreams, st. vincent, strange mercy, surgeon


Somalia

Here are 45 reasons why you should donate $1 to the people of Somalia.

Why House Republicans are confident they have the upper hand in the debt-ceiling negotiations.

Download my girl Robyn's cover of "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" here.

Tune in to General Hospital today as the ubiquitous you know who makes a return appearance.

The muppets from Sesame Street break it down to my favorite Beastie Boys track.

Below is Michel Gondry's music video for Björk's "Crystalline":

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

  • print
  • email

TAGS: beastie boys, björk, crystalline, every teardrop is a waterfall, general hospital, james franco, michel gondry, republican party, robyn, sesame street, somalia, sure shot


The Great White Silence

[Editor's Note: Our coverage of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is cross-posted at Parallax View.]

Silent cinema was uniquely suited to shooting in extreme conditions. Without worries of sound recording, cameras could be taken almost anywhere a person could go, especially in the twenties, as equipment became more portable. But even in the early days of silent cinema, cameras were being hauled all over the world to capture parts of the world most American audiences had never seen and likely never would, except through the cinema eye. It began with the Lumiere "actuality" programs, which took the travel lecture slideshow and transformed them into packages of moving picture postcards and sent them to theaters where everyone could see them. (See Kino's Lumiere Brothers First Films for a well curated selection of these early travel films.) But that was only a hint at the wonders to come.

That's a grand introduction to a pair of films that share little more than extreme snowy climes (Antarctica and the wilds of Northern Sweden) and a determination to film in the extreme conditions of said locations, but I use it as a reminder that the silent cinema was far more adventurous in taking cameras to otherwise inhospitable and difficult locations than the subsequent sound era, when the machinery of moviemaking became much more cumbersome. Of course, things changed when lightweight news cameras and, more recently, digital video made it easier to carry cameras into difficult situations, but that was years later. Until then, films like The Blizzard (1923) and The Great White Silence (1924) were the great true-life adventure cinema of the 20th century.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: einar hanson, herbert ponting, kristian holmgren, matti bye, matti bye ensemble, mauritz stiller, san francisco silent film festival, selma lagerlof, the blizzard, the great white silence







The HouseCategories



The HouseThe Attic

More »



Site by  Docent Solutions