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CRITICS’ PICKS GALLERIES Editorial Eye: Aperture Foundation presents “Delpire & Co.,” featuring a half-century of achievement in the life and career of visionary French publisher, editor and curator Robert Delpire. Through July 19, Aperture Foundation, 547 W. 27th St., 4th Fl., 212505-5555, [Valerie Gladstone] Edited by Armond White New York’s Review of Culture • CLASSICAL Fiddler with the Phil: Violinist Pinchas Zukerman plays with the New York Philharmonic—and conducts them, too. He will play three concertos. Even if you don’t like his interpretation, you will hear a marvelous sound. June 6-9, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Columbus Ave. at 65th St., 212-875-5709, [Jay Nordlinger] Photo by Nathan Johnson JAZZ & POP Jazz Awards’ Sweet 16: The 16th annual Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards’ New York City Party, with announcement of award winners and performances by Organ Monk quartet, singer Paulette McWilliams accompanied by pianist Nat Adderley Jr. and double-neck guitar whiz Gabriel Marin with electric bassist John Ferrara. June 20, 4-6 p.m.; $100, $60 for JJA members. Blue Note Jazz Club, 131 W. 3rd St., 212-475-8592, [Howard Mandel] Pictured L-R: Frank Wood, Annie Parisse, Christina Kirk, Jeremy Shamos, Damon Gupton and Crystal A. Dickinson in a scene from Clybourne Park. How Tony are the Tony Awards? ‘Clybourne Park’ questions American and theater history By Armond White I f the award for Best Play goes to Clybourne Park at the June 10 Tony Awards ceremony, will it put the Tonys on “the right side of history”? That particular aphorism entered popular speech during the 2008 presidential campaign (in a rare Obama reference to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), and its artfulness is part of the verbal gymnastics that distinguish Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris’ drama about the language of race relations. Playwright Norris’ inspiration for Clybourne Park came from the 1960 Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin in the Sun. That landmark drama about a poor black family moving from an urban ghetto to a white suburb used the fictitious Clybourne Park as the symbolic site of racial integration and social mobility just as the civil rights effort was gaining momentum. Norris revisits Hansberry’s symbol five decades later to illustrate how social discourse has changed— so much so that Clybourne Park figures to win the Best Play Tony that A Raisin in the Sun lost to The Miracle Worker. Does this mean theater culture has progressed? Clybourne Park is most interesting in its realization that contemporary discourse, in fact, puts us outside history, mired in the confusions of social fragmentation, political bromides and rhetorical deception. The deceit of political sloganeering has seeped into the average person’s language. It affects the ability of Norris’ seven characters to articulate their personal and public feelings. A key lines asks, “Can we just come out and say what it is we‘re really saying?” That question reveals mainstream American theater’s difficulty dealing with experiences that are personal flashpoints before being codified by politicians and sanctioned by mainstream media. It’s why A Raisin in the Sun has still not received its due as one of the finest American dramas (superior to the over-lauded Death of a Salesman), even among reviewers who glibly mention it while praising Clybourne Park; they ignore Hansberry’s deep explication of African-American life, missing the significance of Norris’ historical-aesthetic reference, his invocation. Why didn’t A Raisin in the Sun win the Tony in 1960? The answer might explain what makes Clybourne Park this year’s frontrunner: Contemporary Broadway shares the same bias for focusing on white experience as network television. It is the mainstream’s manner to reflect a socially empowered viewpoint—the perspective that always controls what is “the right side of history,” as Frank Rich recently used Clybourne Park to normalize the wildly contradictory political rhetoric of the Obama era. Thankfully, Norris himself won’t have it; his two-act contretemps omits Hansberry’s deep ethnic and social concerns, deliberately leaving out a third-act resolution. This reflects our modern political delusions as much as it satisfies the current mode for hectoring speech, aggressive posturing and judgmental belittling in our culture. Hansberry’s play derived from the moral and religious roots of social revolution, while Norris’s two-act past/present contrast anatomizes (that’s the pop term) our spiritual amnesia, a very real aspect of the Obama era. “You can’t live in a principle” says one of Clybourne Park’s bickering personae. That imperative was proven when A Raisin in the Sun was a Tony also-ran and is still accepted even as Hansberry’s classic becomes a theatrical specter—like Norris’ evocation of a dead soldier— that the annals of the Tony Awards ignores. Blue Note Citywide Jazz Festival: The second annual fest, 30 gigs of broad stylistic range between June 10 and 30 at the Blue Note, Highline Ballroom, B.B. King’s, Henry St. Playhouse, Brooklyn Bowl and the Apollo Theater. Some highlights include Savion Glover tapdancing in duet with drummers Jack DeJohnette and Roy Haynes, June 14-16; McCoy Tyner and Charles Tolliver Big Band playing John Coltrane’s “Africa/Brass” suite, June 21-24; Kathleen Battle with Cyrus Chestnut, Gato Barbieri, Tim Ries’ Rolling Stone Project and Spanish singer Buika. Schedule at category/events/2012-06. [HM] Bolero Forever!: Paquito D’Rivera plays Boleros de Chopin, with Diego Urcola, trumpet, valve trombone; Alex Brown, piano; Oscar Stagnaro, bass; Mark Walker, drums; Arturo Sable, percussion. June 12-17, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.; $30-$40. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th St., 212-258-9595, [VG] DANCE Russian Steps: New production of John Cranko’s “Onegin,” with music by Tchaikovsky, based on Pushkin’s great verse novel “Eugene Onegin.” June 4-9; $20+. American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House, 212-362-2000, [VG] Dance Picante: Viva la gente! It’s salsa night at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing Dancing 101s. June 13, 7 p.m. David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, Broadway betw. 62nd & 63rd Sts., 212-875-5000, [VG] Plié in the Sky: Hudson Guild Theatre Company performs a contemporary version of “The Sleeping Beauty” on the High Line, using dusk as a curtain. June 7, 7:15 p.m. The High Line under the Standard Hotel, at 12th St., 212760-9817, [Phyllis Workman]

cityArts June 7 2012

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