The Queen of Burlesque

There was glitter, feathers and Swarovski crystals. There was titillation. There was rich lather and sensual bubble dance. There was riding a giant red lipstick on a patent leather costume. There was the famous martini glass number. Dita and her team of sexy teasers were in Manhattan. And Manhattan was under their spell.

Last pic from Dita’s facebook page.

Dita von Teese Copper Coup Tour, Beacon Theater, New York City

May 1st, 2018

Dancin’ & Bridgin’

Café Müller, Pina Bausch’s dreamy masterpiece
The Rite of Spring, Pina’s interpetation of Stravinsky’s groundbreaking work
Brooklyn Bridge, no intro necessary

Three iconic creations, so visionary and inspirational, it is easy to believe they have always been here, evolving organically since the beginning of time. 

In 1984, Tanztheater Wuppertal made its New York debut at BAM, performing what would become the two most iconic works of Pina Bausch’s extraordinary repertoire. More than three decades later, the company returned with a landmark restaging of that historic double bill. 

Images show the transformation of the stage from a café, in which figures dance dreamily to the music by Henry Purcel, to a dirt field where dancers perform a wild ritualistic routine in honour of spring – a transformation that earned the crew their very own, heartfelt applause; alternating with images of one of the City’s most iconic structures, at dusk.

Café Müller/The Rite of Spring, was part of 2017 Next Wave Festival at BAM. The Brooklyn Bridge is part of the City, since 1883.

September 24th, 2017

Sleep No More

Sharing a pastrami at Katz’s proved to be not only a delight but also necessary. We didn’t know it yet but we would need all the energy we could muster to see us through the rest of the evening. You see, we were about to embark on a journey to the fantasy world of the McKittrick Hotel and Punchdrunk’s adventurous production Sleep No More where lines between reality and dream, performer and spectator, time and space, are blurred and constantly shifting.

Sleep No More tells Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Macbeth seen as a film noir but, instead of watching a film, spectators move freely through corridors and rooms following any of the performers they choose to, or no one at all. People, wearing white masks handed by the McKittrick’s eccentric hosts before bidding them farewell with a firm ”fortune favours the bold”, can enter the dimly lit rooms, touch objects, open drawers, listen to soft rustling sounds and whispers, even breath the ever-so-faint scent of unseen residents. Sometimes, they can come face-to-face with an actor, perhaps too close for comfort. Which is precisely the whole point of this production, a unique theatrical experience unlike any other.

For tips on how to experience Sleep No More best, please check here.

Image credits: all except the first one, which was taken while waiting in line outside, are courtesy of the McKittrick and Punchdrunk. Photography is strictly forbidden so as not to spoil the ambience.

August 20th, 2017

Zender’s Winterreise || Jazz @ Lincoln

It was August but Winterreise was about to take us on a journey back in time, through Hans Zender’s Dark Mirror; I had a feeling it would be dark and cool, just what one needs in August in the City – and I was right.

Schubert’s Winterreise is a work shockingly ahead of its time, with a strongly expressionist flavor and prescient hints at the progress of music into the 20th century. Zender’s interpretation brings out and clarifies these extraordinary aspects and creates sonic associations for a modern audience. The rich cabaret feel draws on elements already there, and allows for a reflection on the piece itself—it is a work of art about a work of art.” (source)

Before looking into ”The Dark Mirror”, we lingered around the Ertegun Jazz Hall Of Fame, a space honouring the life and work of jazz legends with photos of the men and women who dedicated their lives to jazz, and a video series on the media wall, designed and animated by Nate Milton. Walking by, it occurred to me that I have yet to discover New York’s jazz scene. Now, a year-and-a-half later, I’m still in the dark and not sure where to start. If you have a recommendation, please do drop me a line in the comments – I would love to find out! 

Jazz at Lincoln Center

August 12th, 2017

Mlle Bourgeoise Noire || A State of Mind

Even more than the obvious joy of coming up close with works by renowned artists, I enjoy discovering those I had never seen before; especially the work of an artist that has something to say and does so in such a striking way, as Ms. Lorraine O’Grady.

This is her story:

[”In 1980, artist and critic Lorraine O’Grady left her apartment wearing an evening gown and cape made out of 180 pairs of white dinner gloves and carrying a white whip studded with white chrysanthemums. She was going to a party at Just Above Midtown (JAM), an avant-garde art space in Manhattan representing work by African American and other artists of color.”]

[”At the gallery, O’Grady turned heads. She raised her whip—which she called “the whip-that-made-plantations-move,”referencing the slave drivers on Southern plantations—and gave herself 100 lashes. And she shouted poems of protest—against the exclusion of black people from the mainstream art world in New York, and against black artists who she believed were compromising their identities to make work that was agreeable to white curators and audiences. The white gloves covering her body represented the work growing out of this system as “art with white gloves on.”]

Enough is Enough for Mlle Bourgeoise Noire
Among the poems that Mlle Bourgeoise Noire shouted at the Just Above Midtown (JAM) gallery reception was:

THAT’S ENOUGH!
No more boot-licking…
No more ass-kissing…
No more buttering-up…
No more pos…turing
of super-ass..imilates…
BLACK ART MUST TAKE MORE RISKS!!

Mlle Bourgeoise Noire leaves the safety of home (New Museum performance, 1981)
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire and her Master of Ceremonies enter the New Museum
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire continues her tournée
Crowd watches Mlle Bourgeoise Noire whipping herself
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire shouts out her poem
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire leaves the New Museum
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire celebrates with her friends

[”With this performance, O’Grady introduced a new, fictional persona to the art world: a tempestuous 1950s beauty queen named Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, or Miss Black Middle-Class. She has explained that Mlle Bourgeoise Noire was inspired by the Futurist declaration that art has the power to change the world. The persona was generated out of O’Grady’s anger at the racism and sexism then prevalent in the art world, and her own, complex relationship to race. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, she was raised in a privileged environment that contrasted with what she described as the “neighboring black working-class culture” and the disadvantaged position of blacks in American society. Through Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, she expressed the conflicts in her own identity, while also, as she stated, “invading art openings to give people a piece of her mind.”]

Lorraine O’Grady / Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The glove dress and b&w photos of Mlle Bourgeoise Noire’s performance, were part of We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85, an exhibition that focused on the work of black women artists. It was on show at the Brooklyn Museum until September 2017.

Black & White highlights from Lorraine O’ Grady’s website. Please view the gallery for more.

Source of Mlle Bourgeoise Noire’s story & poem : MoMA Learning

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

 

 

Watch This Space

On 20 July 2018, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst welcomed the legendary electronic band Kraftwerk and 7500 visitors to the Jazz Open Festival on Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz – live from the International Space Station, where he will live and work until mid-December 2018.

Watch them perform live. In real-time. In direct line. With space.

Alexander Gerst: […”The ISS is a Man-Machine. The most complex and valuable machine humankind has ever built. Here, in the European Columbus Laboratory, the successor to the Spacelab, the European Space Agency (ESA) is researching things that will improve the daily life on Earth. More than a 100 different nations work together peacefully here and achieve things that a single nation could never achieve”…]

∞ °•° 

Paired with the reflective, illusionary, upside down, spacey architecture by Samara Golden.

The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 was a site-specific installation using insulation foamboard, extruded polystryrene, epoxy resin, carpet, vinyl, fabric, acrylic paint, spray paint, nail polish, plastic, altered found objects and mirror.

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

June 10th, 2017

Girls & Boys

Carey Mulligan has a story to tell. The tragicomic, shocking life story of an unnamed lover, wife, young professional and mother. She delivers it in a -seemingly- free flowing monologue with wit, tenderness and, at odds with her slender figure, a steely determination in a powerful, arresting performance that deserves admiration. That, besides her phenomenal capacity as an actor, to absorb ninety minutes worth of text and recite it naturally, almost if it were spontaneous rather than painstakingly rehearsed.

If your way brings you to New York City in the coming days, go see Ms. Mulligan in the rollercoaster of a monologue that is ”Girls & Boys”. It will run until July 22, 2018 only, but its effect may stay with you a lot longer.

The Minetta Lane Theatre

July 8th, 2018

Socializing

in Lincoln Center.

With music and drinks, followed by more music in an evening tagged as ”born of ice and fire”.

With the New York Premiers of Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Wing on Wing, written for and featuring soprano sisters Anu and Piia Komsi, and Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s etherial Aeriality (ice) –

and a superb performance by the New York Philharmonic’s Artist-in-Residence for 2016-2017, renowned violinist Leonidas Kavakos, who played Brahms’ Violin Concerto (fire).

After the concert, we were joined by some of the Philharmonic musicians who, following the ”obligatory” Q&A session, simply mingled with the guests for some more music and drinks.

No, Mr. Kavakos was not among them.

#nyppolaris

May 20th, 2017