Or Bradbury Bldg, for some
May 9th, 2019
Or Bradbury Bldg, for some
May 9th, 2019
On a Saturday evening at the Hudson Theatre, exactly one month after its reopening on February 11th, 2017.
First opened in 1903 it served many a purpose: theatre, radio & television studio, club, porn cinema, events venue and, making a full round, a theatre again. And a Broadway one at that.
Many of its original features have been lovingly restored, like this magnificent Tiffany glass ceiling. But the seating has been completely redesigned with chairs adjusted to fit the average human measurements and not the other way round as in most (or all) other Broadway theatres.
It opened with the revival of ”Sunday in the Park with George”, a play inspired by George Seurat’s masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
Jake Gyllenhaal embodied the master of pointillism and, on his side, Annaleigh Ashford performed the role of his muse and lover, Dot. The story unfolds with the perfectionist master obsessing over his work to such an extend that he ends up alienating the bourgeoisie, his peers and even his lover. His relationship is damaged, his fellow artists have rejected him, and yet…
Nothing will stop him from his quest to ”finish the hat”.
The story kicks off like this:
A white stage. George, an artist, is sketching.
White. A blank page or canvas.
The challenge: bring order to the whole. (As he continues to speak, the white stage is transformed into a park on the island of La Grande Jatte. Trees descend onto the grass; a bottle glides into view; a cut out couple appear in the distance. The lighting gives the impression of early morning.)
1. SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE
George is sketching. Dot is posing.
George. (no response) Why is it you always get to sit in the shade while I have to stand in the sun? (still no response) Hello, George? There is someone in this dress! (twitches slightly, sighs, mutters to herself)
A trickle of sweat.
The back of the head.
He always does this.
Until the painting was complete.
By the blue
On the green
Orange violet mass
Of the grass
In our perfect park
Made of flecks of light
(except George end Dot)
People strolling through the trees
Of a small suburban park
On an island in the river
On an ordinary Sunday…
(All begin to leave very slowly, except Dot, who remains in the park, and George, who steps outside the park.)
Sunday… (A blank white canvas descends.)
(looking in the book again)
“White. A blank page of canvas. His favorite. So many possibilities…”
(He looks up and sees Dot disappearing behind the white canvas.)
Sunday in the Park with George
Music: Stephen Sondheim
Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Book: James Lapine
The Hudson Theatre, Broadway
March 11th, 2017
Leaving the ”Keys to Community” in the capable hands, or should I say bust, of Mr. Franklin we followed Arch Street towards 2nd Street, finding some quaint little shops along the way.
To Betsy Ross’ House. Ms Ross was a seamstress, credited with sewing the first American flag – to Mr. Francis Hopkinson’s design, as we learned from his epitaph earlier. While no proof exists of Ms. Ross’ accomplishment, the fact remains that she is a beloved figure and her legend lives strong. And, right across her house, a giant flag. Can you get more patriotic than that?
Yes, you can – by way of preserving your city’s history for generations to come. Like Elfreth’s Alley. Connecting N 2nd Street with N Front Street, it has been there since the 1700s – the oldest residential street in the United States, only because of the efforts of its very residents. Built by merchants and tradesmen to house their families, later welcoming working class immigrants, today impeccably preserved by its community of artists, artisans, educators and entrepreneurs. A street with its own history, its own architecture and website, a little world of its own.
With the most charming dwellers, indeed.
February 24th, 2017
October had arrived cool bringing a hint of autumn, fiery colours, pumpkins – and Sigur Ros to Brooklyn. Tickets booked many months in advance, long before the flight tickets that would bring us to New York. This performance was added ”due to popular demand”, after their first night at Radio City was sold out in a matter of minutes. My initial frustration in missing a performance at the legendary venue quickly evaporated, replaced by awe the moment I stepped in the exquisite, historic landmark that is the Kings Theatre.
Unused since 1977, damaged by time and pilferage, painstakingly restored from scratch to its former glory, its interior inspired by the French Renaissance Revival style of the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House, with brand new state-of-the-are staging facilities Kings Theatre is a prime example of what determination, good planning, respect to the original architecture and an investment of $95 million can do to the benefit of the community.
And I have Sigur Ros to thank for my initiation into the world of New York’s historic theatres, in such grand style.
Takk Sigur Ros, see you again soon!
1027 Flatbush Avenue
October 6th, 2016
Until then, a few snapshots from the legendary, ultra chic Waldorf Astoria that closed on 28th February for renovation. Its new owners, a Chinese insurance company, intend to convert most of its rooms to luxury condominiums. While the exterior is entirely landmarked, this is not the case with some interior parts. Hopefully, all public spaces and their exquisite ArtDeco elements including the hotel’s extensive archive of photographs, menus and other historical paraphernalia will be preserved.
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