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Archive for May 2014

Swiss in New York Yah

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Dieter Meier, known as the Godfather of techno pop along with collaborator Boris Blank, kept Le Poisson Rouge jumping Sunday night, though the uber polite Swiss obeyed the  New  York cabaret laws and didn’t dance.  Dieter’s new project “Out of Chaos” starts with madness…the wailing violin, video images bouncing off the back screens aided by the alchemical zap of electro punk pioneer T.Raumschmiere.

Meier, strolling out in a red velvet jacket and shades, looked like he could play the regal vampire Tom Hiddleston’s uncle in Jim Jarmush’s Only Lovers Left Alive. Dieter Meier, the legendary voice behind the Swiss electronic pop pioneers Yello, renowned for the ’80s underground hits “Oh Yeah” (featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Simpsons) is a true Renaissance artist, making films and writing books; in 2013 he was the subject of a solo exhibition, Dieter Meier and the Yellow Years, at The Watermill Center in Long Island. His music is a combination of Brecht, Weill and Leonard Cohen. Though raised in a banking family, he has redeemed himself by being a poker player, an activist and now runs an organic sheep farm with the decidedly Swiss viticulture in Argentina.

His presence in New York is due to the generosity of Zürich Meets New York: A Festival of Swiss Ingenuity, a week of events highlighting the contemporary relevance of visionary movements and ideas born in Zurich and their impact on American culture. It is all building up to the 100th anniversary of the Dada movement and Zurich’s role as a 21st century hub for artist and scientific innovation.

One of nice surprises of this festiva.l besides falling in love with Dieter. was sitting next to a real live Nobel Prize Winner… Kurt Wüthrich, the 2002 winner for chemistry. Never  happened at Starbucks.

A music sample: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ym1blr908hodjov/gH7hWppnk1

At another Swiss Fest event, Elizabeth Bronfen, Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Zurich, talked about her latest book.Night Passages maps the cultural history of the night in literature and films. She was joined on the New York Film Academy stage by Anastas Michos, cinematographer of Freedomland and Mona Lisa Smiles. Unfortunately it was hard to hear her some of her serious thoughts but Michos was enlightening, sharing the artists’ approach to shooting darkness and delivering the right look for a scene. He, analyzed the film clips of Taxi Driver along with  his own Freedomland and Untraceable. Moderator Ben Cohen could use a new adjective to substitute for his exhausted ‘fantastic’, though he did mention that his new film with penis in the title is soon to (ouch) come.

 For a list of events, ZHNY.eventbrite.com.

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Written by nancykoan

May 21, 2014 at 3:41 am

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory, no one can steal.

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notjustaboutsex

ImageThis quote refers to both plays infused with Irish sensibility.

 

A lovely revival of Sea Marks has opened at the Irish Repertory Theatre. The play was written by one time television god, Gardner Mckay, star of the sixties hit Adventures in Paradise. I feel strangely close to this play as Mr. Mckay lived in my apartment in here while working on changes for its New York debut. The play won the “Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle Award” for Best Play in 1979.

Sea Marks tells the story of a lonely virgin fisherman (Colm Primrose) from a remote island in Ireland who falls for woman from Liverpool (Timothea Stiles) he meets at a wedding. Writing her, they develop a relationship primarily driven by his passionate prose. He speaks of life in ways foreign to urban ears and it’s his poetic voice that brings them together.

 

Facing his fears, he…

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Written by nancykoan

May 8, 2014 at 3:20 pm

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Hanna Ranch Despite the Odds

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If one accepts symbolism, then the idea of Mother Nature, is surely the feminine aspect of reality. And as global chaos reminds us every day, the Mother is having a fit. Our environmental urgencies are like menstrual outbursts…the damn is breaking. Some say these changes are inevitable; most think that we have toyed with the earth for too long…she’s mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore.

 Hanna Ranch tells the story of a four generation cattle ranch in Colorado. These are hard- working people who really look good in cowboy hats. The Hanna family suffered when Clark, the patriarch was killed in a freak accident and leadership fell to the hands of the sons… …from the original family and a second group, the Frosts, who joined the posse when the mom, a widow, married  a neighbor rancher. That’s a lot of land and a lot of fighting kids.

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Written by nancykoan

May 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Hanna Ranch Despite the Odds

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If one accepts symbolism, then the idea of Mother Nature, is surely the feminine aspect of reality. And as global chaos reminds us every day, the Mother is having a fit. Our environmental urgencies are like menstrual outbursts…the damn is breaking. Some say these changes are inevitable; most think that we have toyed with the earth for too long…she’s mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore.

 Hanna Ranch tells the story of a four generation cattle ranch in Colorado. These are hard- working people who really look good in cowboy hats. The Hanna family suffered when Clark, the patriarch was killed in a freak accident and leadership fell to the hands of the sons… …from the original family and a second group, the Frosts, who joined the posse when the mom, a widow, married  a neighbor rancher. That’s a lot of land and a lot of fighting kids.

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The family members each give their side of the story and it is Shakespearean in its drama and impending tragedy. Brother against brother, big expansion against the purity of the ranch. Kirk Hanna, the dynamic and visionary second son takes the reins and leads his ranch to becoming environmentally friendly; he’s a first to do this in his world makes daring moves. All of his progress, however, is weighed against a deteriorating relationship with an older brother Steve, converted to  Mormanism, and much less interested in keeping the homestead whole.

I’ve been to these parts, it’s stunning and this film shows Colorado’s beauty off to great advantage. One of the producers is Eric Schlosser of Food Nation. He helps relate this family tale as well as explain the intricacies of ranching and the importance of grassland to our world. Mitch Dickman, the director, really knows and seems to love his subject, patiently leading his story along, as we get to graze in the lushness of Zachary Armstrong’s cinematography.

The golden cowboy Kirk may be too utopian for his own good. His world is not keeping pace with his dreams. When Kirk’s baby half- brother Jay rides his pony up to a butte and stays there, in grief, we are reminded of Kirk Douglas’s Jack Burns in Lonely Are the Brave, struggling to get his horse across a speeding freeway.

For me, the issues with his brother Steve are not fully realized; did the Mormon church put a spell on Kirk that sent him into a downward spiral?  I would like to hear a more honest reckoning from this side of the tale, but perhaps it’s still too touchy for the truth to come to light.

 

What we do discover is that the feminine, his wife Ann and two daughters, twenty years later, are now the stewards of the land and they like Kirk work to keep it whole. The mothers prevails.

 

Soon at the Quad.photo by lambstar

Written by nancykoan

May 8, 2014 at 4:18 am

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory, no one can steal.

with one comment

ImageThis quote refers to both plays infused with Irish sensibility.

 

A lovely revival of Sea Marks has opened at the Irish Repertory Theatre. The play was written by one time television god, Gardner Mckay, star of the sixties hit Adventures in Paradise. I feel strangely close to this play as Mr. Mckay lived in my apartment in here while working on changes for its New York debut. The play won the “Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle Award” for Best Play in 1979.

Sea Marks tells the story of a lonely virgin fisherman (Colm Primrose) from a remote island in Ireland who falls for woman from Liverpool (Timothea Stiles) he meets at a wedding. Writing her, they develop a relationship primarily driven by his passionate prose. He speaks of life in ways foreign to urban ears and it’s his poetic voice that brings them together.

 

Facing his fears, he goes to the big city where he finds himself entrenched in the glories of first love and overwhelmed by the onslaught of sudden celebrity. It’s hard to imagine in this day and age of anyone turning down the chance to be famous…but not everyone is Colm Primrose.

 

Besides the celebrity issue, the innocence of the man is  a wee hard to buy except that Patrick Ftizgerald does such a good job of making Colm quirky and original, that we do indeed buy it. As Timothea is written, Xanthe Elbrick  has a real challenge. The character is so coolly tempered. She is ambitious and loves her urban life and also loves Colm, but it’s sometimes not clear whether she is interested in being his agent more than a lover. Still, her surprising independence is refreshing and though I was confused somewhat by the accent choices, Welsh to Liverpool to London, she is a strong partner for this budding love affair.

 

Lighting and sound are  evocative of the seascape we all dream of running to.

 

Beautifully directed by Ciarán O’Reilly,  Sea Marks never lets the fish tale become more important than the emotions of the lovers who get caught in its net.

 

…………….

At another Irish inluenced theatre, the Cell, has been showcasing The International, an amazing production by the Origin Theatre Company. Written by first time writer, actor Tim Ruddy, the play explores the horrors and occasional humanities of the Balkan War, seen through the vistas of three separate characters linked through time and space.

 

Carey van Driest as the Balkan villager is every lover, daughter and mother who has had to withstand the atrocities of war at her doorstep. She effuses warmth and charm as the local native who holds on to hope until the word is erased from her mind. She is the center for this three person piece…the one you root and perhaps even pray for.

 

The UN solder Hans, played by Timothy Carter shares with us his confusion at what his job requires. Is he there to actually help these people he has begun to admire? And what about his own fear and the life back in the Netherlands that he wants to protect? No character could have felt as impotent as this poor Hans, the soldier without direction.

 

As the lost American Dave, played by Ted Schneider, is unemployed, depressed and riveted by the possibility of watching a war on television and even betting on the outcome. The goal? Disneyland! He is real as well as a metaphor for the lack of comprehension most Americans exhibited during this horrible history. Has it changed much, however, with equally incomprehensible atrocities happening in Africa and Syria every day?

 Many questions are raised in this riveting show which should be seen by everyone in the political sphere who can make decisions for our exhausted war worn world. By witnessing this play, one is also being a witness to history.. The truths of the emotions of these three characters have been so beautifully written by a man who never visited Bosnia, but who as an actor has the empathy to truly understand the lives of others.

 

Christopher Randolph directed this production, keeping it moving elegantly along from one voice to the other; separate at first and then closer and closer as the three distinct worlds begin to collide.

 

The play is no longer at the Cell but keep eyes opened for productions at other venues. It should not be ignored.

Written by nancykoan

May 4, 2014 at 4:21 am

lygia clark at Moma

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fuzzy on purpose..

notjustaboutsex

The retrospective of Lygia Clark, Brazilian artist opens at Moma. SheImage says she used the frame to open up the painting allowing the external space to influence the internal composition…my attempts at playing with her Mobius ideas peeks through to a body being touched from her therapy period.

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Written by nancykoan

May 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized