THE ESSENTIAL MONTHLY FOR ALL AMERICANS
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WHAT’S ON GUIDES RESTAURANT REVIEWS SPORTS • POLITICS MUSIC • ARTS James Earl Jones in
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF Texas v Alabama
Headlines our Bowl Previews
Black Joe Lewis’ Zach Ernst
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The American Issue 681 – January 2010 Published by Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Old Byre House, East Knoyle, Salisbury SP3 6AW, UK Publisher: Michael Burland +44 (0)1747 830328 email@example.com Please contact us with your news or article ideas Advertising & Promotions: Sabrina Sully, Commercial Director +44 (0)1747 830520 firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions enquiries: Phone +44 (0)1747 830328, email email@example.com Correspondents: Virginia Schultz, Wining & Dining firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Bailey, Social email@example.com EstelleLovatt, Arts firstname.lastname@example.org Jarlath O’Connell, Theater email@example.com Richard Gale, Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Dom Mills, Motorsports email@example.com Jeremy Lanaway, Hockey firstname.lastname@example.org Riki Evans Johnson, European email@example.com ©2010 Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. Printed by Advent Colour Ltd., 19 East Portway Industrial Estate, Andover, SP10 3LU www.advent-colour.co.uk Main cover image: James Earl Jones in ‘Cat’ ...and in London! (Photo: Nobby Clark). Insets: The star seniors of the Texas Longhorns; Zach Ernst of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears.
o, that was the Noughties! I know, technically it won’t be over until the end of 2010, but everyone else thinks the decade began in January 2000, so who am I to stem the tide of popular belief? Anyway, here we are. A decade ago, who would have thought that… We would see the election of a black President? We would be at war in the Middle East and Afghanistan? ‘Talent’ shows would be the biggest draw on the television. Pirate movies would become massive hits and attract top actors? The Beatles would be top of the charts again, The Stones would still be touring, while the once mighty record industry would be on its knees? Banks would make billions of paper profits by selling home loans to people who could never pay them back and then lose it all? What were your highs and lows of the last decade? We’d love to hear about them – email them to firstname.lastname@example.org A Happy New Year to all of you,
Michael Burland, Editor
Estelle Lovatt is an arts critic, author, radio producer and presenter and tutor. She takes over this month as our main arts correspondent
Lucy Thomas is a lawyer with deep experience of transatlantic divorces. In this issue she looks at alternatives to the Big D.
Jarlath O’Connell, Olivier Award judge, has had the best seats in the house to see the three hottest shows in town. Lucky him!
Don’t forget to check out The American online at www.theamerican.co.uk The entire contents of The American and www.theamerican.co.uk are protected by copyright and no part of it may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information in The American is accurate, the editor and publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. The views and comments of contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers.
In This Issue... TheAmerican•Issue681•January2010
News S avingCivilWarbattleﬁelds,andapotentialwaytoavoid Katrina-styledisastersinfuture
10 Diary Dates Itmaybedarkoutsidebutthere’splentytodooutthere 13 Music AninterviewwithZachErnstfromAustin,Texas’shottestband, BlackJoeLewisandtheHoneybears. 18 Women Power... but Where are the Women? Theyareatthetopineducation,businessandthemedia–but womenarenotatimportantconferences,saysCarolGould
20 Evacuation to the Country – Another Country MichaelHendersonwasevacuatedtoAmericain1940. Itwasanexperiencethatchangedhislife 22 Coﬀee Break Takeﬁve,andhavesomefunwithourQuiz,Cartoonandalookback atwhathappenendinJanuaryovertheyears 24 Wining & Dining VirginiaESchultzgoesmulti-cultural,withalookatChinese, IndianandItalianrestaurantsandanAmerican-stylesaladbar
32 Arts OurArtssectionbringsyoualltheNews, ReviewsandtheChoiceofthebestarts eventsinBritain 36 Theatre C at on a Hot Tin Roof, The Habit of Art andSweet Charity,reviewedby JarlathO’Connell 44 Caroline Lagerfelt Interview AhugenameintheUS,theTV,movies andBroadwayactressisappearingina tinyLondontheater
46 Politics OurnewcorrespondentAlanMiller takesalookatthePresident’sﬁrst yearinoffice
48 Law LucyThomaslooksatsomealternatives todivorcethatmayhelpyou 49 Drive Time Amonthortwoagoitlookedasif therewouldbenoSaabsorVauxhalls toreview.Nowthreecomealong allatonce! 51 Sports JimmieJohnsonmakesitfourNASCAR titlesinarow,yourguidetoBowlseason, andRichardLGaleweighsinonsome collegecoachingchanges
56 American Organizations Yourcomprehensiveguideandaproﬁle oftheAmericanChurchinLondon 64 Paw Talk Rebel’sbestfriendisattackedbya husky,buttheydon’tblamethedog 3
Dan Cruickshank To Speak at KCWC Meeting
he Kensington Chelsea Womens Club welcomes members and prospective members to its February General meeting to be held on Thursday the 11th at the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London. This listed Art Deco building will be the venue of the coffee morning meeting for which the guest speaker will be RIBA Honorary Fellow Dan Cruickshank, popular BBC TV presenter, documentarian and author of many books on architecture such as “Adventures in Architecture” and “Around the World in 80 Treasures.” mr. Cruickshank will address the audience at 10.30 am. Guests and members may begin arriving at 9.30 to enjoy coffee and registration for the many activities and events KCWC sponsors. These include Art History courses, Antiques Study Groups, Book Clubs, Language Groups, Travel, and evening activities for our working members, to name but a few of the wonderful programmes available. Join them to discover all that this “association of world women”, with its 1,000 plus members representing over 50 nationalities, has to offer you. We regret that babies and small children are not allowed at General meetings, however partners and spouses are welcome. www.kcwc.org.uk
CoURTESY CELEBRITY PRoDUCTIoNS
Mean Old Levee Meets Its Match ederal, State and local authorities came in for severe criticism following the failures of the levees after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. But now it looks as if one government agency has stepped up to the plate. The Science & Technology Directorate (S&T), the research arm of the Department of Homeland Security, has designed a solution that may ward off similar future disasters. Wil Laska of the S&T wanted a system that would quickly close breaches, and also work when conventional construction equipment cannot reach the breach. He had a flash of inspiration. “The thing is,” he deadpans, “there’s an effective structural material that’s readily available during floods…water.” The S&T’s sense of humor is also shown by the information they sent out, which quotes lyrics from When the Levee Breaks, the 1929 blues classic by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie (subsequently ‘borrowed’ by Led Zeppelin). It’s a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan / It’s a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan / Gonna leave my baby, and my happy home If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break / If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’
to break / And the water gonna come in, have no place to stay Oh cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do no good / Oh cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do no good / When the levee breaks, mama, you got to lose On November 9, 2009, four technologies were tested at the US Department of Agriculture’s Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit in Stillwater, OK. The largest is a tubular balloon, light enough to be transported by helicopter. The tube fills with water, floats on the flood currents to the breach, and sticks in the hole in the failed levee. It worked. The humor extends to the gadgets’ acronynms. This first item is the Portable Lightweight Ubiquitous Gasket, or PLUG. Then there is the Rapidly Emplaced Protection for Earthen Levees, which protects against erosion when water runs over the top of a levee: REPEL. And, of course, the Rapidly Emplaced Hydraulic Arch Barrier, an arched tube designed to hold back water surges while a levee is being repaired – REHAB! S&T reckon that a less bluesy version of a 90-year-old song should be written: When the levee breaks, mama, you may need a PLUG. Guys, stick to the engineering!
New Director For American Museum
he American museum in Britain has a new Director. Richard Wendorf, who began his tenure on January 4, 2010, is the museum’s fourth director, following Sandra Barghini. mr Wendorf served for twelve years as the Director of the Boston Athenæum He has published several books and specializes in portraiture, eighteenth-century British art, literature, and cultural history, British and American library history, British and American printing history, and the theory and history of collecting. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, mr Wendorf was educated at Williams, oxford, and Princeton. A Guggenheim fellow and Phi Beta Kappa lecturer, he served for ten years as a Trustee of Boston’s museum of Fine Arts. He is married to Elizabeth morse, a distinguished paper conservator, and has two children, Reed and Carolyn. “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining the American museum at such an exciting moment in its history,” mr Wendorf has said. “I look forward to working on the museum’s capital campaign, the completion of the centre for American culture studies, and the institution’s fiftiethanniversary celebrations [in 2011]. Claverton is a very special place, and it is my conviction that we can increase its visibility and influence in the years ahead.”
A Special Relationship Even In Death
nited States Air Force personnel at Lajes Field, Azores, honored the fallen of another nation in November when they paid their respects to the British military members who were killed in World War II and are buried in Lajes. The Azores, owned by Portugal, is an archipelago around a third of the way across the Atlantic from Europe toward the US. It is now the home of the USAF’s 65th Air Base Wing.
Special Party Cheers Kids At Duxford
n December 5th, Imperial War museum Duxford hosted a very special children’s Christmas party, organised by the 48th Fighter Wing of the USAF in Europe with the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Seventy children from the Dolphin Ward at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow mingled with personnel from the 48th Fighter Wing and their families. They joined in arts and crafts activities, sang carols and welcomed Santa, who arrived in his helicopter. The party continues a tradition of Anglo-American relations that dates
PHoTo: mARK FAIRHURST
back to the Second World War. on Christmas Day 1943, the 78th Fighter Wing Group of the United States Army Air Force, who were based at RAF Duxford, hosted a party for local children.
Digital Access Award
IWm Duxford has won the Digital Access onsite Award given by the Jodi mattes Trust for accessible digital culture. It recognises the innovative audio guide that is offered to blind and partially sighted visitors within AirSpace, Imperial War museum Duxford’s aviation exhibition gallery.
World Economic Forum
Save Civil War Battlefields
he American Civil War Round Table has sent these updates about the threat to historic Civil War sites.
The Battle of Appomattox Station made Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse a near necessity. George Custer’s Union cavalry captured three trains of Confederate supplies then attacked Lee’s artillery at Appomattox Station, fighting through the night and capturing artillery pieces, wagons, and 1,000 prisoners. Now you can help protect this important 1865 battlefield. With a remarkable $115 to $1 match, this 46 acres can be saved for just $15,000! Donate at the Civil War Preservation Trust’s website, www.civilwar.org.
Confederate graves at Appomattox
Relics of one of the war’s bloodiest encounters are still being found, despite efforts to declare the land open for development. While digging a utility trench, a worker pulled a human leg bone, pieces of skull, ribs and half a jaw; likely the remains of a Federal trooper, archaeologists say. They were found near Columbia Avenue, where a Chickfil-A now is being constructed. “Franklin is this great story of never saying never,” said Joe Smyth, vice president of the Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association and a board member of Franklin’s Charge. “It’s a dangerous game to play when you ask how much is enough. As soon as you say this is enough, anything that’s left is suitable to be destroyed.”
NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2010
f you’re heading home across the pond this winter, don’t miss NYC Restaurant Week. The biannual event, actually two weeks, takes place this year from January 25 to February 7 excluding Saturdays; restaurants have the option to offer the program on Sundays, boasting the same great prices that remain unchanged since 2006: $24.07 for three-course prix-fixé lunches and $35 for three-course prix-fixé dinners (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). That has to be a bargain. “We encourage everyone to take advantage of great food at a great value and continue to support our local businesses,” said George Fertitta of organizers NYC & Company. NYC Restaurant Week dates back to 1992, when it was a one-time culinary program. Since then, the citywide event has grown to feature more than 250 participating restaurants, and currently stands as the largest, oldest and most established restaurant week in the world.
Angelina and Asprey Collaborate The ‘Protector Collectio on Protector Collection to benefit a charity close Hollywood princess and her prince inspired by Angelina’s r have teamed up with royal jeweland A ers to createprotection a range of jewelry thatfertility. will also help distressed children. of Conflict (EPCC).
The Protector Collection is a limited edition of jewels and silver objects created by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt withfirst pr During Angelina’s Asprey. Angelina sees the snake motif has subsequently given b as a cultural symbol of family protection great pers and fertility.endowed During her firstwith pregnancy she was given a snake ring to guard her Prote inspiration for the and her unborn child. The symbol has pendants, bracelets and r become important to her as a family guardian and it appears in jewelled pendants, bracelets, rings, a children’s The individual pieces in tooth box and a silver egg cup. London flagship Angelina and Brad traveled Asia, store, 16 studying theby localthe snakes.London Jeweled Assay O anklets and Collection bracelets are influenced can be viewed by the bells worn by local dancers. The gems were cut in Asia and all the pieces have been handcrafted at Asprey in New Bond Street, London. Angelina supports children’s charities in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and China and she adopted children from Cambodia and Vietnam. Profits will be donated to the Education Partnership For Children of Conflict which benefits Asian children.
Embassy News www.usembassy.org.uk
Fingerprint checks at UK borders
ingerprint checks on foreigners at border controls began at the end of November. In addition to usual checks at UK border controls, from 30 November, 2009 all passengers with biometric UK visas, entry clearances and identity cards for foreign nationals will have their fingerprints scanned. “The purpose of these checks is to verify that the individual entering the United Kingdom is the same person who gave their biometrics when they applied for their visa, entry clearance or identity card for foreign nationals,” said a UK Border Agency spokesman.
Britain: we can’t do it without America
reat Britain’s tourist office, VisitBritain, wants Americans to find the missing tagline for a new campaign promoting the essence of the country’s gay-friendly destinations. The winning suggestion will win a trip to Britain and the chance to see their tagline used in the upcoming campaign. “Can anyone sum up the variety of Britain’s alternative culture in a few words? We certainly hope so,” says VisitBritain’s Simon Bradley. “We think Americans will have some great ideas about what Britain means to them.” Email tagline suggestions to email@example.com by February 5, 2010.
Exchanges Connect Video Contest
ecretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the second annual ExchangesConnect Video Contest, “Change Your Climate, Change our World” November 18. The contest is a call to action for global citizens around the world to engage in cross-cultural community building and mutual understanding. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State launched ExchangesConnect social network in october 2008 and it has attracted over 14,000 members. Video submissions will be accepted until January 12, 2010, so get your skates on. People all over the world, ages 14 and older, can submit their 2-minute videos to ExchangesConnect at http://connect.state.gov. Two international and two American winners (one in each of the two age categories: 14-17 and 18 and older) will receive one of four Grand Prizes: an all-expense-paid two-week international
AMERICAN EMBASSY IN THE UK Switchboard: +44 (0)20 7499 9000 Visa Information (£1.20/min): mon-Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat 10am – 4pm 09042 450100 Passport Unit (American Citizen Services): +44 (0)20 7894 0563 24hr assistance for genuine emergencies: +44 (0)20 7499 9000
exchange program. Last year’s contest drew over 8,400 new ExchangesConnect members from 170 countries and the winners were featured at http://exchanges.state.gov/news/ovc.html.
Interested in Assisting the Boy Scouts of America?
he Boy Scouts of America has over 20 units operating throughout the UK, from Sussex to Scotland. They need the help of adults and youth as members and leaders. 2010 is the 100th anniversary of the BSA and they will be working hard to make this celebration special in the home of world scouting. A major Camporee in April is planned at Gilwell Park in the UK, and a contingent will be sent to the Centennial National Jamboree in the United States. American scouts in the UK can benefit from your experience in many ways, from being a merit badge counsellor to volunteering as a unit leader to providing one-time help with an event. You don’t need have been a scout, or to have children to be a part of this. Just be willing to help boys have fun while developing into better citizens. Contact District Executive, Tony Dvorak, at firstname.lastname@example.org or District Commissioner, Dave Dittmer, at email@example.com.
Buying & Selling USA Stamps, Covers & Postal History
York stamp & coin Fair The grandstand, York racecourse York Yo23 1eX. January 15 – 16
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HH Stephen T. Taylor HH 5 Glenbuck Road HH HH Surbiton, Surrey KT6 6BS Phone: 020 8390 9357 H Fax: 020 8390 2235 firstname.lastname@example.org www.stephentaylor.co.uk
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American Passport Photographic Service OXF
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Your Guide To The Month Ahead
Get your event listed in The American – call the editor on +44 (0)1747 830520, or email details to email@example.com Desperately Seeking Conservation Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich The Adopt an Old Master scheme ensures the ongoing preservation of the collection. This display focuses on a group of works that are still in desperate need of conservation, particularly two which have not been on public display since WW II: a Saint Cecilia by a still unidentified Bolognese artist, and Venus and Adonis by the workshop of Titian. www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk January 03, 2010 onwards
London International Mime Festival 2010 Various venues 19 days of professional actors performing at venues in central London. Barbican, Southbank Centre, Shunt Vaults and other sites will play host to performances and various acting workshops. After the shows, organised discussions will take place. www.mimefest.co.uk 020 7637 5661 January 13-31, 2010
London International Boat Show 2010 ExCeL exhibition centre, London A boating extravaganza for everyone interesting in boating, from landlubbers to old sea dogs www.londonboatshow.com 0870 848 6666 January 8-17, 2010
From Windfall to Curse? Oil and Industrialization in Venezuela, 1920 to the present Venue tbc Jonathan Di John, School of Oriental and African Studies, gives a talk based on a recently published book, examining the political economy of growth in Venezuela since the discovery of oil in 1920, and suggests that studying Venezuela is relevant for re–thinking the political economy of industrial policy and economic growth in Latin America and beyond. www.americas.sas.ac.uk 020 7862 8871 January 13, 2010 Fulbright Debate: Conflict, Compromise, Co–operation, The Special Relationship? H.M. Treasury, 100 Parliament Street, London Co–sponsored by the US Embassy, London, and chaired by James Crabtree, Fulbright Scholar, (Harvard 2005) Managing Editor, Prospect Magazine, it will examine the various pressures placed upon the US/UK ‘Special Relationship’ and the best means by which to sustain it in the context of today’s global economy, Afghanistan, terrorism, and engagement with nations such as Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan. The Debate will be followed by a wine and canapes reception in the famous Churchill VE Day Room at HM Treasury. Tickets £20. 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start. www.fulbright.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 405 6750 January 14, 2010 La Bohème Grand Theatre, Leeds Royal Opera North sets Puccini’s opera in 1950’s Paris. Opens Leeds, touring to Salford Quays (Feb 23), Newcastle (March2) & Nottingham (March 9). www.operanorth.co.uk January 15, 2010 to March 09, 2010
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Jubilation, then Despair Institute of Historical Research, North Block, Senate House, London WC1 The Reverend Elias Hill and Black Political Mobilization in the South Carolina Upcountry, 1865–1880. Talk by Brian Kelly, Queen’s University, 5.30 –7.30pm www.americas.sas.ac.uk 020 7862 8871 January 21, 2010
Important Americana Sale N08608 Sotheby’s, New York Auction of American Furniture, Decorative Works of Art & Folk Art, Rugs & Carpets and Silver. Viewing from January 16. www.sothebys.com January 22-23, 2010
Daniel Barenboim with Berlin Staatskapelle Royal Festival Hall, London Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.1 & Schoenberg: Pelleas und Melisande www.southbankcentre.co.uk 0844 847 9910 January 29, 2010
Obama’s First Year: An Assessment Room G22/24, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU Talk by John Owens, Tim Lynch, Iwan Morgan and others to be confirmed. 5.30–7.30pm. www.americas.sas.ac.uk 020 7862 8871 January 28, 2010
Edinburgh Burns Weekend Edinburgh, Scotland Orienteer around the historic streets of Edinburgh, or just watch. 3 courses, followed by a family Ceilidh. Sunday has the famous annual Chasing Sprint to Edinburgh’s Arthurs Seat. orienteering.eusu.ed.ac. uk/bigweekend January 30-31, 2010
Priceless Ming or Price Less Thing? Museum of Asian Art, 12 Bennett St, Bath BA1 2QJ MEAA Curator, Michel Lee (previously at the Smithsonian) hosts this fascinating handling session looking at the basics of telling the real from the fake. www.meaa.org.uk email@example.com 01225 464 640 January 29, 2010
Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore Grand Theatre, Leeds G&S’s witty parody of disguises, curses, an on–off romance, and an inherited curse. Opens Leeds, touring to Salford Quays (Feb 24), Newcastle (March3) & Nottingham (March 10). www.operanorth.co.uk January 30 to March 10, 2010
Bernstein Project Event: The Music of the 20th Century
Cirque du Soleil — Varekai Royal Albert Hall, London Varekai (‘wherever’ in the Romany language of the gypsies): In a dream forest, acrobatics and beauty meet. Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world – a world where something else is possible. A world called Varekai. www.royalalberthall.com 0844 847 9910 January 05, 2010 to February 13, 2010
The World of Jazz Omnibus from 1955 is a knockout programme which has, among other attractions, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith and the premiere of Bernstein’s Prelude Fugue and Riffs. The screening is followed by another, Introduction to Modern Music, in which Bernstein leads audiences into the ‘newness’ of 20th century classical music, showing what it is that makes it ‘modern’. Introduced and presented by Humphrey Burton, colleague and friend of Leonard Bernstein, and Gillian Moore, Southbank Centre Head of Contemporary Culture. 11am.
photo: courtesy The Leonard Bernstein Office
Purcell Room, The Southbank Centre, London
www.southbankcentre.co.uk 0844 847 9910 January 10, 2010
LIVE AND KICKING
± Holly Williams, Country Royalty Regular readers will know that Holly is a favorite of The American. Her individual and intelligent country/folk crossover songs are great on record and now you can see her on a UK tour in January and February. She’s going to be a big star on the merits of the music (and being Hank’s granddaughter won’t hurt either). Dates are January 22nd Glasgow Oran Mor, Celtic Connections; 23rd Bedford Civic Theatre; 25th Maidstone, Maverick Live @ The Breeze; 26th London, The Luminaire; 27th Birmingham Music Room @ Hare & Hounds; February 17th Nottingham, The Maze; 18th Winchester, Tower Arts Centre; 20th Newcastle, The Studio in Live Theatre; 22nd Bristol, St Bonaventure; 26th & 27th Belfast Nashville Songwriter Fest.
Iggy & The Stooges Don’t Look Back Looking ahead, The Stooges take over the London Hammersmith Apollo on May 2nd and 3rd, 2010 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Don’t Look Back season, in which All Tomorrow’s Parties asks artists to perform classic albums in their entirety. The first DLB gig was The Stooges performing Fun House at the same venue. It’s also part of this year’s 10 Years Of ATP celebrations. These will be The Stooges first shows with guitarist James Williamson for over 35 years and are sure to be unforgettable events, especially given the recent demise of original guitarist and later bass player Ron Asheton. Featuring songs like Search & Destroy, Gimme Danger and
the title track, Raw Power was released in 1973. It was the Stooges third and final album until recent years. It was a commercial failure at the time, but is now regarded highly as a huge influence on the nascent punk rock scene. If that isn’t enough, your synapses will be blown even more by the support act – Suicide, performing their self-titled first LP in all its glory. More special guests to be confirmed!
New York City’s Cobra Starship are touring the UK in February, including dates in Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Wolverhampton, in support of the release of their third album ‘Hot Mess’, which is released on February 22, preceded by the ‘Hot Mess’ single on February 15.
The Soldiers On The March The reaction of the British and American publics to their armed forces serving abroad this Christmas has been extraordinary, with thousands of gifts and cards being sent to ‘A Soldier in Afghanistan”. Now three British Army singers, appropriately called The Soldiers, are following their Christmas single A Soldiers Christmas Letter and their debut album Coming Home with a 23 date tour starting March 16th. It’s sold out, but you could try for returns or keep an eye out for extra dates (www.the-soldiers.co.uk). A percentage of each album and ticket sold goes to military charities including Help For Heroes.
Pavement Extra Show
Pavement are curating All Tomorrow’s Parties at Minehead, Somerset in May. That weekend and three London shows are sold out, but the band widely regarded as one of the most important American groups of the 1990s have announced a full European tour in May, adding a fourth and final show at Brixton Academy on May 10th. They stress that the tour is not a prelude to further touring or a permanent reunion.
Texas Soul Zach Ernst, guitarist and songwriter with Texas blues-soul band Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, talked to The American’s Michael Burland right before they made their UK TV debut How are you enjoying things over here? Great. We just flew in from San Diego yesterday. We had to fly half way across America before we got to the Atlantic and they had us do a show there the night before we left. I got over the jetlag last night. Have you guys played in Britain much before? We played here for a week when we released ‘Tell Em What Your Name Is’. We reviewed the album. You get a fantastic live sound on record. How did it start – weren’t you hiring Joe to play a gig? That’s right, I was attending the University of Texas and we had a free Spring concert. We had booked Little Richard to be the headliner. I had heard Joe’s music before so I stalked
him down to see if I could convince him to open for Little Richard. I had no intention of playing in a band or writing songs with him. I was just approaching him as a fan but we became friends and we put this thing together a month or two later. That was almost three years ago. Joe supporting Little Richard must have been quite a combination. Joe played that with his old backing band. It was an opportunity to get him in front of a larger audience. And also to meet Little Richard, someone who I only knew from his records. Little Richard is maybe the first rock and roll shouter, and he did some fantastic soul stuff in the late ’60s and ’70s on the Okeh label. It was a thrill for Joe – he really stepped up to the challenge that night.
Do you see yourselves as taking on that mantle of rock and roll soul? I think so. I hope so. That’s definitely how the new songs are sounding. And all of our favorite artists come from one of those sides. Was Joe playing solo before you got together? He had a stripped-down blues trio, kinda like a Chicago blues, Hound Dog Taylor set-up. When I came along we added the horn section and started doing some more soul numbers. But at its heart I don’t think it’s changed from when he started. Somebody came up with the name ‘garage soul’ for us. We still have a garage band attitude, like a bunch of kids that can’t tune their instruments properly – it helps us not take ourselves too seriously. The instrumentation is that of a horn band, but we still think of ourselves as a bluesy rock and roll band more than anything. The singles we’ve put out so far have more of a James Brown feel, but if you come and see a show we have a diverse selection of songs. As we continue writing songs and playing out I think we’re developing more of our own distinctive style. The new material we’ve been working on is really promising. It’s more of an original statement whereas the first record, in a lot of ways, was an homage to all the artists that influenced us.
Zach Ernst and Joe Lewis, second and third from right relax with The Honeybears.
Are you and Joe the two main guys in the band? I guess you could say that. The rhythm section, bass and drums, has been there since the beginning as well. but the song ideas and the arrangements usually come from Joe and me. What elements did you bring? I’ve assumed the role of an arranger or a bandleader, a liaison between Joe and the rest of the guys. We figure out a way for the band to be tight so that Joe can do what he does so well, his vocals and guitar style are unique. I relish being a rhythm guitar player. There aren’t a lot of people who do that anymore I guess, but I’m really comfortable being in the background trying to keep the groove in the pocket. Some of the greatest bands have been driven by the rhythm guitar. If you ask people who the guitar player in the Stones is, most will say Keith Richards. A good example! Do you have more modern influences, like hip hop? I think maybe lyrically. Joe grew up listening to hip hop as a young kid. He didn’t really listen to roots music, he told me, until he started playing guitar. He has this gift of storytelling. You’re all pretty young for a blues band, aren’t you?
“Joe grew up listening to hip hop as a young kid. He didn’t really listen to roots music, he told me, until he started playing guitar.” Absolutely. We try to keep it fresh. The band came about as a reaction to all the stuff we thought was stale. Is there a blues scene among young people in Texas? In Austin there are a lot of folks that play a version of blues that doesn’t go back further than Stevie Ray Vaughan. Joe tells the story that he got his name ‘Black’ Joe because it was unique for a black guy to be singing blues in Austin at the time. Seeing you play live, and listening to the record, it sounds like you’re having a lot of fun. Oh yeah, it’s been a blast! Every night something happens. Joe plays and sings different things. It’s a unique band to be in and doing the shows is our favorite part of the job.
Is it a full time occupation for you now? It has been lately. Since the record came out in March we’ve been touring so much it’s been impossible to sustain a day job back in Austin. We’ve been fortunate to have enough gigs offered that we can do this full time right now. What were you doing before? I started playing with the band when I had a year left in college. When we have time off I’ll do substitute teaching but I haven’t had the time to use my degree yet. Joe was working at a seafood restaurant, shucking oysters until a year ago. Is Austin like Los Angeles, where everyone you meet waiting table or valet parking is an actor? Oh yeah, everyone you meet in Austin is a guitar player, for sure. You’re getting great reviews in the American newspapers. Is there a master plan now? It’s all happened so fast that we haven’t had time to sit around and think about it. We’re sort of going along for the ride. We have hopes of making the next record whenever we’re off the road. Otherwise, it’s a week at a time. H
JAmES WILDER HANCoCK
Hammersmith Apollo • London • Reviewed by Jarlath O’Connell
ink martini, a 12 piece combo from Portland oregon have achieved phenomenal success in the past decade by cleverly blending easy listening, Latin, jazz, world music and adding their own distinctive twist to the cocktail. Their music is light and winsome but never mawkish, expressing great sentiment but never sentimental. They’re not making any statements but they will certainly cheer you up. They returned to London recently to perform to a packed Hammersmith Apollo. All ages from 8 to 80 seemed to be present and on the trendy-square spectrum, the audience included everyone from Shoreditch arty types to possibly quantity surveyors. For this reason they are a marketing person’s dream… or is that, nightmare... They’re not camp, they’re not being ironic and yet their repertoire includes such lounge torture as Que Sera Sera and Brazil. They’re not a covers band either, despite their odd homage to a, usually foreign, standard. They sound like a covers band until you realise that these exotic gems are from the pen of both Thomas Lauderdale, their founder and musical director and the lustrous lead vocalist, China Forbes. She, by
the way, gets the second prize for best name in the band. The cello is played by one Pansy Chang. Pink martini first came to attention with the glorious Sympathique (“Je ne veux pas travailler”, you know it from the car ad), the title track off their first album in 1997. As Lauderdale pointed out, they partly borrowed some of the lyrics from Apollinaire. Creative borrowing is something they’re good at but here fell foul of the zealous French copyright laws. Apollinaire has relations. “Now”, says Lauderdale, “we would only borrow if they were well dead, and not French”. In the concert they performed a number of tracks off their fourth and latest album Splendor in the Grass including And Then You’re Gone, which is inspired by Schubert and Gloria Gaynor no less. This tune was then further adapted as another track on the album, a jumpin’ jive called But Now I’m Back. Having recorded in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic they’ve now gone Turkish and what better song than Uska Dara. Eartha Kitt would have been pleased with this stunning arrangement of her old warhorse. This will feature in their next
album which, amazingly, is a joint effort with the oregon Symphony. Why they need to collaborate with a Symphony orchestra is beyond me. They are all consummate musicians and what makes their work soar is the beautifully detailed arrangements they produce, creating a clean and distinctive sound. They manage to combine a respect for “light” music without being pompous. As Noel Coward put it “There is nothing so potent as cheap music”. The star of the show is undoubtedly China Forbes, a great song stylist with a rich tone, perfect diction and the confidence and class to tackle anything. For the album they got the great Chavela Vargas to re-record her classic Piensa en Mi and on it she sounds even more like Lee marvin than usual. For the live show and with no Chavela at hand (she is 90 and has hung up her poncho), China had to take it on herself. This might have thrown a lesser figure but China delivers the simplest rendition of this amazing song you will ever hear. Aided just by Lauderdale on the piano and an exquisite violin solo she reminds you why great songs never go out of fashion and why you should see Pink martini live. H
D.Matthews 1.4 American:Layout 1 13/11/2009 10:37 Page
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(...but where are the women?)
Carol Gould attends the launch of a new Anglo American think tank, but wonders why she is the only woman there
ecently I attended the inaugural top female executives who had been conference of a worthy new singled out for plaudits by the Lonorganization in London, the Legatum don ‘Evening Standard’ newspaper, Institute, which is connected to the but got stony stares from the stage. American Enterprise Institute. The The lunchtime speaker was a man. topic of the event was corporate crises Again, the lunch table was filled with and the financial slump. I got there suits. They were nice blokes but where early and had the pleasure of sitting were the women? at a table with Lord Lawson, I ask this because right now former Thatcher cabinet the most successful, untarminister but better nished and formidable known as the father people in industry of television chef are women. In the Nigella Lawson United States (…I will digress: Oprah Winfrey this sexy, buxom comes to mind lady, a household and here in name, probably the UK Dame has more influMarjorie Scardino ence in the lives heads the Pearson of Britons than do Nigella Lawson Group. Like Clara all those male financial Furse (she was head of wizards rolled into one). the London Stock Exchange As the Legatum breakfast room for eight years) she has enjoyed confilled I realized I was the only woman siderable career success, as has Cynpresent. It was a strange, surreal feelthia Carroll, head of Anglo-Ameriing: my table was populated by young can, the world’s biggest platinum men in suits as were all of the other producer (I love the idea that Carroll tables as far as I could see. Then one has a BS in geology from Skidmore woman arrived: I recognized her as College, an MS from University of Baroness Neville-Jones, the former Kansas and an MBA from Harvard, head of British Intelligence and and ends up in London.) Although it was pleased to see a female. The day grieves me that my editor at Random wore on and panel after panel held House, Vanessa Neuling, was one of forth about the perils of the present some thirty staff made redundant financial turmoil, but not one woman at Random House, Gail Rebuck, its spoke. I mentioned this at one of the CEO, also known as Lady Gould (no question and answer sessions, naming relation) appears to be the darling of
British industry this year, having been awarded the Veuve Cliqot Businesswomen of the Year Award. At the second conference I attended in the same week, about the nuclear threat of Iran, at least two speakers were women but again the event was for the most part a testosterone festival. So what? you may ask. Here’s what: Britain has a wealth of witty, enormously well-educated and erudite female professionals in a variety of fields who bring sparkle to a discussion. An event like the Iran conference cried out for a number of female voices. Much as I reject her views on Israel, the columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown would have offered a compelling view on the Iran situation. At the end of October the BBC allowed ultra-right-wing BNP party head Nick Griffin to appear on the panel of the legendary political discussion program ‘Question Time.’ The presence on the panel of the witty Bonnie Greer, the African-American writer, brought humor and warmth to the otherwise grim proceedings. Fact: the FTSE 100’s three female finance chiefs are Stacey Cartwright at Burberry, Julia Wilson at 3i and Jann Brown at Cairn Energy. Here is an amusing observation from the “City Spy” column in the British Evening Standard newspaper: Linda Hudson is the newly-appointed head of the American wing (no pun intended) of British Aerospace. City Spy says this would ordinarily make her a candidate for group chief executive but BAe’s articles of association prohibit a non-Briton from becoming
chief executive. The Spy’s conclusion? This is probably illegal if challenged. Be that as it may, here is yet another woman at the high end of industrial management but not one to be seen at the major conferences I have been attending. One of the most financially successful Anglo-Indian women in Britain is the film director Gurinder Chadha, whose wonderful films have broadened the minds of millions of people around the world. Her What’s Cooking was released just after 9/11 and was a brilliant evocation of America and Thanksgiving. The three most enduring sovereigns in recent history have been women: Elizabeth I, the virgin queen who heralded the Elizabethan Age; Victoria and the present British monarch. Two out of the three also had enduring marriages; Queen Elizabeth the queen mother inspired Londoners to carry on during the Blitz and in more recent times Elizabeth II brought the country together after 9/11 and the July 7th London bombings. (Who can ever forget her insisting on a ‘top down’ limo to tour London after the terror bombs in summer 2005?) The catastrophic events of 1929 were driven by men. When Lehman brothers fell Dick Fuld was seen as the villain. Enron? In the present British credit crisis the villains seem to be by Sir Fred Goodwin of Royal Bank of Scotland, known as ‘Fred the Shred’ because of his enormous pension fund taken in the wake of a financial crisis. The lists go on and on. When the car executives arrived in their private jets at Congress they were men, men, men. On 6th November I appeared on the panel of the nationally-broadcast BBC Radio Four political debate program “Any Questions” and my fellow
Cynthia Carroll, Queen Elizabeth I, and Oprah Winfrey: successful women from past and present
panelist was the feisty Caroline Flint, a former Cabinet minister who left the Labor government after accusing Prime Minister Gordon Brown of “negative bullying.” She got heaps of applause from the audience with her robust views on sex education, the Afghanistan war and the MP expense scandals. The two talented producers were Victoria Wakely and Hilary Buchanan, and in October I was hosted by the brilliant scholars Dr Shirley Dent and Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas. When London think-tanks have their conferences they should be inviting these women to speak. My book, “Spitfire Girls”, about the brave women who risked their lives flying thousands of untried aircraft from factories to airbases in the Second World War, celebrates the achievements of female pilots. Now in 2009 a brave woman has taken on a mass murderer in Fort Hood, Texas. Yes, a man could have done the same but she is proof that women have the Right Stuff too. Many complained about female Governor Blanco of
Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina and the money matters of one Imelda Marcos, but the crimes of men far, far exceed those of women in the present economic catastrophe. Let’s hear from successful women at those stuffy conferences: they are succeeding where many men are not, and they have absolutely and unequivocally not caused the present disasters in which we find ourselves. H Carol Gould is the author of ‘Don’t tread on Me -- anti-Americanism Abroad’ and ‘Spitfire Girls;’ she has appeared on BBC Radio Four’s ‘Any Questions?’ and ‘Woman’s Hour’ and is a regular political commentator on Sky News and Press TV.
Evacuation to the Country...
Michael Henderson remembers the five year stay in the United States that changed his life
ost people in Britain know about the 1939 evacuation of more than a million British children to the countryside to escape German bombing. Less well known either in Britain or in the United States is that in 1940 more than 3000 children were sent across the Atlantic largely because of the threat of a German invasion. More than 30,000 more were on the list to go when both the private evacuation, and the government scheme which was hastily introduced so that the possibility was available for everyone, suddenly stopped after the sinking in September 1940 of the City of Benares with the death of 77 children. I realized when our daughter was eight how dire the situation must have seemed for our parents to be willing to send us away. Parents had varied motives along with the saving of the lives of their children. Some felt they would be better able to fight
Above: Squam Lake as it is now – a whole new world to the British evacuees escaping from the Blitz in 1940 PHoTo: PREZBoY1 Right: Michael Henderson, on the right, arrives with his brother in Boston, August 23, 1940
the Germans without them, some, as Baroness Williams describes in her new autobiography, suspected that they would be on German black lists. In our case our mother had grown up during the ‘troubles’ in Ireland where her father had been told to leave Ireland or be shot and she did not want us to experience the horrors on the streets that she had witnessed firsthand. In London she worked in the ministry of information and our father was in the War Office. As the possibility of invasion grew offers came in from around
the world and particularly from the United States to take in British children. A Gallup Poll indicated that five million American families were ready to take us in. It is gratitude for that generosity that has stayed with us ever since. That summer we climbed aboard an ocean liner along with hundreds of other children, joining a convoy escorted by a battleship and five destroyers. No wonder for many it was adventure rather than trauma that was uppermost in our minds. For
parents the ordeal was harder and prolonged as sometimes it was many weeks before they heard whether their children got through safely. On arrival in Boston we were taken up by our host family, the Walter Hinchmans of Milton, MA, to a camp on Squam Lake where my brother and I won first prize in a fancy dress competition. We went as ‘bundles from Britain’. It was a dramatic change: to go from school blazer and cap, long gartered stockings and short trousers to sneakers, dungarees or corduroy knickerbockers, and baseball cap; from single sex schools to coeducation; from cricket to baseball; and an introduction to hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and doughnuts. I can still sing the college songs I learned round the campfire and can recite the presidents – but only up to Cleveland, for I had only got to him when the war ended and I returned home.. American schools went out of their way to welcome us. In one of ours a Union Jack was put up for us to face as American children made their daily declaration of allegiance. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor meant that we were all in it together and we did our part collecting scrap metal, raising money for war bonds, and even spotting for planes. In 1943 our father came for a few days to Washington. He phoned up and when I put down the phone I said, ‘Gee, he talked just like in the movies!’ We returned home in 1945 in a small aircraft carrier and on arrival walked past our mother without recognizing her. But despite the five years of separation, and the educational readjustments, we regard the experience as a blessing for which we have always been grateful. We see it as our war service and regard it, as
the final report of the committee that brought us wrote, ‘an applied lesson in international understanding’. We, like others, are in close touch with our host family and friends. In this past year I spoke at Rectory, my Connecticut School – where they got me singing a parody of the Notre Dame song – and in the new public library in Milton where I lived for five years. This led to a double page spread with the headline ‘Michael Henderson comes “home”.’ Milton Academy has kept me on the class list of ’49 even though I was only in the junior school. I think their development office hopes my books will be bestsellers. We stayed last year with the grandson of our host, Walter Hinchman, Jr. in Pomfret, CT. As he has just retired as a teacher at Pomfret School and is a grandfather it made me feel particularly old! While in Milton this past summer I recalled the perspective of Dr. Vivian T. Pomeroy, Milton’s Unitarian minister, in July 1940 which have been thoroughly borne out: ‘We should all be enthusiastic to see thousands of English schoolchil-
Right: A British mother puts a brave face on it as her children leave for… who knew where?
dren gathered here because not only will they be preserved from damage and death, but they will grow up to return to their own land with a great love of America in their hearts, a deep and grateful feeling for the people who saved them; and thereby they will become a strong ingredient of a better understanding of America among the English people.’ H Michael Henderson (left) speaks to the American Women’s Club in London on 26 January. His book See You After the Duration – the Story of British Evacuees to North America in World war II is available on-line at www.publishamerica. com or in the UK from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also available to speak about the evacuation.
Coﬀee Break COFFEE BREAK QUIZ 1 What is the world’s oldest-surviving republic? 2 In which year did Elvis die? 3 Stanley Jefferson was the real name of which comedian? 4 What is the largest coffee growing country in the world? 5 What is the only US state which borders one other state only? 6 metachrosis is the ability of some animals to do what? 7 In which English county is Windsor Castle?
8 From what island destination was HmS Bounty returning when its famous mutiny occurred? 9 Which Native American leader’s real name was Goyaałé, (English pron. Goyathlay or Goyahkla)? 10 What is a delusional jealous belief that a partner is unfaithful known as (after a Shakespeare character)? 11 most of which language was created by a one armed man? 12 Who in 1953 appeared on the cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine?
13 What is the country known as “the Sugar Bowl of the world”? 14 What do Aspirin, Dry Ice, Kerosene and Linoleum have in common? 15 Which woman has received the most amount of Golden Raspberries (Razzies) for being the Worst Actress? 16 What is the longest nerve in the human body? 17 German censors cut out one third of the scenes in which oscar winning film from 1965? 18 Zagazig is a city in which North African country? 19 What British term equates to the American ‘quarter-note’ in music? 20 What is orthorexia?
Answers below The Johnsons
Coffee Break Quiz Answers: 1. San Marino ; 2. 1977; 3. Stan Laurel; 4. Brazil; 5. Maine; 6. Change colour; 7. Berkshire; 8. Tahiti; 9. Geronimo; 10. Othello syndrome; 11. American Sign Language (ASL); 12. Marilyn Monroe; 13. Cuba; 14. They’re all trademark names; 15. Madonna; 16. Sciatic nerve; 17. The Sound of Music; 18. Egypt; 19. Crotchet; 20. An unhealthy fixation on eating healthy.
It happened one... January January 1, 1902 – The first college football bowl game, the Rose Bowl, is held in Pasadena between Michigan and Stanford.
January 2, 1791 – Big Bottom massacre (now Morgan County, Ohio,), the start of the Northwest Indian War. January 3, 1749 – Benning Wentworth issues the first of the New Hampshire Grants, leading to the establishment of Vermont. January 4, 1865 – The New York Stock Exchange opens its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York City. January 5, 1759 – George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis. January 6, 1912 – New Mexico is admitted as the 47th U.S. State.
January 7, 1782 – The first American commercial bank, the Bank of North America, opens.
January 8, 1790 – George Washington delivers the first State of the Union Address in New York City.
January 9, 1858 – Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas, commits suicide. January 10, 1982 – The Cincinnati Bengals defeat the San Diego Chargers 27-7 in ‘The Freezer Bowl’, the NFL’s coldest game in terms of wind chill, at -37°F.
January 11, 1949 – First recorded case of snowfall in Los Angeles, California. January 12, 1971 – The Harrisburg Seven: The Reverend Philip Berrigan and five others are indicted on charges of conspiring to kidnap Henry Kissinger and of plotting to blow up the heating tunnels of federal buildings in Washington, D.C.
January 13, 1830 – The Great Fire of New Orleans, Louisiana begins. January 14, 1952 – NBC’s long-running morning news program Today debuts, with host Dave Garroway.
January 15, 1889 – The Coca-Cola Company (then the Pemberton Medicine Company) is incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia.
January 16, 1942 – Crash of TWA Flight 3, killing all 22 aboard, including film star Carole Lombard.
January 17, 1605 – First publication of Don Quixote.
January 18, 1903 – President Theodore Roosevelt sends a radio message to King Edward VII: the first transatlantic radio transmission from the US.
President Theodore Roosevelt enjoying a laugh – probably not while making the ﬁrst transatlantic radio transmission from the USA
January 25, 1890 – Nellie Bly, American pioneering journalist, completes her round-the-world trip in 72 days.
January 19, 1977 – Snow falls in Miami, Florida. This is the only time in the history of the city that snow has fallen. It also fell in the Bahamas.
January 26, 1978 – The Great Blizzard of 1978, a rare severe blizzard with the lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the US, strikes the Ohio – Great Lakes region with heavy snow and winds up to 100 mph (161 km/h).
January 21, 1908 – New York City passes the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public, only to have the measure vetoed by the mayor.
January 28, 1887 – In a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, the world’s largest snowflakes are reported, being 15 inches (38 cm) wide and 8 inches (20 cm) thick.
January 20, 1892 – At the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, the first official basketball game is played.
January 22, 1968 – Apollo 5 lifts off carrying the first Lunar module into space.
January 23, 1897 – Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The murder trial of her husband is the only case in US history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction. January 24, 1848 – California Gold Rush: James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento.
January 27, 1785 – The University of Georgia is founded, the first public university in the United States.
January 29, 1900 – The American League is organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with 8 founding teams.
January 30, 1835 – In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States, Richard Lawrence attempts to shoot president Andrew Jackson, but fails and is subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen. January 31, 1876 – The United States orders all Native Americans to move into reservations. H
Dining out at
PING PONG Dining Reviews by Virginia E Schultz
aving Dim Sum on visits to Singapore was always fun. By eleven in the morning the restaurant near the company office started to fill with Singaporeans and expats from around the world. Young men and women would circle through the restaurant with small steamer baskets or plates holding small portions of meat, seafood, vegetables, desserts and fruit. The drinking of tea was as important to dim sum as the food and a Chinese friend of my husband’s would always order Bolay (po lai, pu erh), a strong fermented tea which he said aided digestion. My husband usually joined him, but I preferred the softer sweet scented chrysanthemum, oolong (wu lung), tea. He would pour our tea before he filled his own cup and then, because he was Cantonese, tap the bent index and middle fingers together on the table which symbolized bowing to us. I was expecting a similar experience when my friend Sue Gillette and I had dim sum at Ping Pong
that afternoon. The setting, ironically, looked more Chinese than the one I knew in Singapore and we only had a short wait before our very congenial waitress came to our table and handed us a small order sheet with a long selection of dim sum to choose. She did seem rather taken back, however, when we said we preferred tea to a cocktail or wine and looking around at the tables surrounding us I could understand why. Glasses and bottles of wine were on the majority of the tables and tea pots were few and far between. After checking off the various dishes we wanted, we handed the sheet back to our waitress. The price of the dishes we ordered went from three pounds to five which doesn’t sound high until you add up the number ordered. Our tea came first and not long afterwards boxes of dim sum which included scallop and shitake dumplings, duck spring rolls, and lovely crispy prawn balls. The problem was by the time we were halfway through the dim sum began
Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX 020 7960 4160 www.pingpongdimsum.com to cool and my sticky rice on a leaf was little more than a cold lump. And this is my problem with Ping Pong. There is nothing wrong with the setting or the service. With twelve locations located across London, the owners have perfected what they do. I have no doubt if I hadn’t tasted dim sum in Hong Kong and Singapore I would have enjoyed it far more. In Ping Pong’s favour, it’s a great place to dine lightly before going to Royal Festival Hall or the National Theatre. Children will love Ping Pong, as I’m certain adults will if they haven’t had dim sum in the Far East or in a more authentic Chinese restaurant. In Cantonese dim sum means “to touch your heart” and as crowded as Ping Pong was the other day when I passed the restaurant on the way to the theatre it has a lot of Londoners agreeing, even if it didn’t this critic.
BOMBAY Brasserie W
hen the Bombay Brasserie first opened in 1982, I had just returned from a trip to India with my late husband that included visits to Mumbai, then Bombay, then up to the Himalayas. Before that first trip to the vast continent my only experience with Indian food was with the corner curry house serving spicy dishes that all seemed to taste the same. We were, I recall, impressed by the Bombay Brasserie’s cuisine and returned a number of times until it seemed not as good as before. But then, I had been on four more trips to India by this time and perhaps it was because of that I felt disappointed. Twenty-five years later, I returned with actress Maxine Howe. The entrance is discreet and the uniformed doorman noting our confusion gave a delicate wave of hand and seconds later we were led inside through a minuscule entrance to the recently refurbished restaurant whose decor can best be described as Hollywood’s version of an elegant modern Indian restaurant. Flock wallpaper is gone, the mirrors are gold but without the over bright brassiness of the past and the only thing that
remains is the courtesy of the waiters. As Maxine and I studied the menu, a tray of mini-popadoms appears which we nibble on with our glass of champagne. The menu has been reinvented by Grand Master Chef Hemant Oberoi and it’s definitely the place to take anyone who’s vegetarian if you don’t mind the prices. Frankly, £8 for a bowl of lentil dahl does seem high in these credit crunch days. But then, huge tender chargrilled prawns (£23.50) arrived and were so tasty we were ready to shout ‘More More...’ The kebab platter (£22.50) which on surveying the room, half the people dining there had ordered, was also good, although more bland than either of us like. But then came the fish curry (£22.00) with pieces of halibut in a wonderful creamy coconut and chilli sauce and we scraped our plates as if it was our last supper. Nor can I forget the delicious naan (£2.50) that tastes nothing like you buy in the supermarket or the bowl of tomato and shredded cucumber in yoghurt (£3.50). My favourite dish of the evening, however, was the Dun KI Nalli, slow cooked lamb
shanks in saffron curry (£19.00) that was perfectly cooked and slipped from the bone in tiny delicate slivers. Delicious! The menu is no longer just Mumbai regional dishes, but Chef Oberoi has searched other areas of India as well. During the winter, game birds are being offered, but then, in case we forget, many of our games birds originally came from this area of the world. Desserts in Indian restaurants have never been a favourite, but I must admit if I had more desserts like the nougat ice cream (£6.50) I could easily change my mind. The service was perfect, the food a pleasure for the most part and if I have a complaint it’s that in trying to keep the food balanced and light some of the hotness seems to have been avoided. No, I don’t need my taste buds vibrating like a jazz band, but I could do with slightly more Beethoven symphony in a few of the dishes.
140 Courtfield Road, London SW7 4QH 0207 370 4040 www.bombaybrasserielondon.com 25
Tossed Dining out at
31-33 Baker Street, London W1J OEJ 020 7486 8555 www.tosseduk.com
mericans love salads. I mean chopped salads with cut up vegetables, bits of bacon, avocado, blue cheese, egg and whatever other combination can be found in the refrigerator and then tossed together to become a combination of flavours, texture and colour. In the States there are salad bars everywhere, but I knew of none in England until I visited Tossed on Baker Street recently. Inside I found a quirky kind of decor with colourful murals and written puns coming from the mouths of animals that took me back to sixth grade. One can take a salad already made up or select a favourite green (cos or mixed leaves) and choose your own ingredients. chicken breast, turkey, bacon, tuna tomatoes, avocado, egg, carrots, bean sprouts,
you name it and Tossed probably has it. All kinds of dressings are offered from low-fat Caesar to champagne raspberry. You can then take it to the office or to nearby Hyde Park, or sit on one of the sofas or picnic tables inside the restaurant. The concept for Tossed came after Vincent McKevitt, who admits to being a food lover and health and fitness freak, travelled from New York to California visiting salad bars and their ilk. Filled with all kinds of ideas and knowledge, this young entrepreneur returned to the UK and opened the first Tossed in Paddington in 2005. Since then seven Tossed units have opened with two more planned in 2010. Vincent stresses healthy eating
and respect for the environment, but that doesn’t mean only rice cakes and pumpkin seeds. The Italian veggie wrap (mozzarella, mushrooms, olives, roasted tomatoes, toasted pine nuts with basil vinaigrette with cous cous) and the southern chicken wrap (baked chicken goujons, chedder, red onion, sweet corn, tomatoes, toasted cashews with ranch dressing) a friend and I enjoyed was the perfect supper to have before we went on to the theatre. As well as wraps and salads, there are homemade soups and the two of us shared the Thursday special of Thai chicken and coconut that was, for want of a better word, yummy. Breakfast is served from 7:30 until 10:30. If you don’t want porridge or granola, you can have the classic bacon butty... perhaps washed down with a multi vitamin smoothie that includes blackberries, banana, apple juice, multivitamin boost, and yoghurt. Prices are reasonable with smoothies starting at £2.95 and a wrap from £3.35 to £4.05. See the website for addresses of other Tossed Restaurants in the UK. Depending on where you live, you can have your order delivered and it will arrive in a small electric van known as “the beast” that goes no faster than 20 mph.
Dining out at
CHINESE CRICKET CLUB Crowne Plaza London – The City Hotel, 19 New Bridge St, London EC4V 6DB, 020 7438 8051 www.chinesecricketclub.com
n this day and age an Italian restaurant can have a German or a Chinese or an Australian as their chef de cuisine. Surprisingly, these idiosyncratic hybrids can turn out delightful, although not perhaps as authentic as some gourmets expect. The Cricket Club’s Executive Chef Brendon Speed was born and raised in Australia, but his career has taken him all over the world including Istanbul’s “Zuma”. My first introduction to the Chinese Cricket Club was at the launch when I took along my friends Marjorie Wallace and Jennifer Atterbury. Jennifer, an interior decorator, was impressed by the subtle and inviting Oriental decor that hinted of the past yet remained modern. Most of the tidbits served were delicious, but it was watching Guanghao Wu, the restaurant’s Specialist Oriental Chef, cut identical pieces of pastry from a roll with his cleaver, fill each and then pleat it into a small perfect packet
that had me fascinated. Wu’s career has taken him all over the world and although he is known for the new dishes he’s developed, he hasn’t forgotten tradition and is a master in Sichuan, Cantonese and Shanghai cuisines. In fact, we were so impressed by that evening I took Marjorie with me when I reviewed the Chinese Cricket Club a few days later. The restaurant describes its cuisine as contemporary and it proved a problem for Marjorie who spent a number of years in Hong Kong with her diplomatic husband. For her, the won ton soup (£5.50) had too many chunks and not enough broth. Chef Wu’s dim sum selection (£11.50) which we shared proved a winner and we both enjoyed the Sichuan pickled cabbage (£5.00). On the other hand, I found the Baby squid with broccoli spiced oyster sauce (£8.50) delicious, but Marjorie was disappointed. The one dish neither of us liked was the seasonal
vegetable (£7.50) which was too overdosed with soy sauce. The crispy aromatic duck (£19.50) is one I’d return for, and there were no complaints from either of us on the Jumbo prawns with ginger (£20.00), but it was the crispy orange chicken (£10.50) that had my taste buds watering with pleasure. Chef Speed has been kind enough to let us have his recipe for this gorgeous dish (see next page). Service is impeccable, but then one doesn’t expect anything less when the restaurant manager is Tony Chan. He keeps an eye on his staff and guests in his quiet unassuming way that could be a lesson to many managers in the top restaurants in London. Would I return? At the moment Jennifer, Marjorie and I are considering going either to the “Chinese Cricket Club” or “Refrettorio”, the Italian restaurant directed by Giorgio Locatelli, also in the Crown Plaza, for New Year’s Eve.
Orange Chicken H
ere’s the special recipe for orange Chicken that Virginia E Schultz loved when she reviewed the Chinese Cricket Club restaurant (see previous page). Thanks to Executive Chef de Cuisine Brendan Speed for letting us in on the secret.
For the orange carmel 2 litres of freshly squeezed orange juice 1kg of castor sugar 350g brown sugar 150g yellow rock candy
● Remove skin from the chicken and cut into strips and marinate in the potato starch and salt and pepper for 10 minutes. ● Seal the chicken in the very hot vegetable oil for about 1min, set aside to drain. ● Remove oil from the pan, add the sesame oil, garlic, and chillis. Cook over high heat for 20 seconds. ● Add orange juice and carmel. ● Throw in the sesame seeds and chicken, keep over a high heat, keep the chicken and sauce moving for about 30 seconds. ● Finally add the rice wine and salt and pepper and give a few final turns. ● Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the orange zest.
For the dish 1 cornfed chicken breast (180gram) for each person 10 grams sesame oil 10 grams sesame seeds 10 grams garlic 200ml vegetable oil 15 grams tsao tsing wine 10 grams potato starch 50ml orange juice 10 gram x orange carmel 15grams x mild red chilli Salt and pepper orange zest to garnish
To make the orange carmel make the sugars into a caramel, add juice and cook until all sugar is dissolved and pass through a fine strainer
y original plan was to become a lawyer,” Walter Ganzi Jr., better known as Wally, told me. “my grandfather, however, insisted I join the family business and I’ve never regretted it. I don’t think anyone could have had a better life or met more interesting people.” I was interviewing Wally over filet steak. outside Palm Restaurant on Pont Street, formerly Drones, the weather was cold and damp, but inside was comfortable and inviting, the walls covered in cartoons of famous characters, celebrities and regular clients. The cartoon ideas came about when local artists in the first Palm Restaurant in what was then the heart of New York’s newspaper district began painting caricatures of local dignitaries and waiters to pay for their supper. Since that opening in 1926, Wally along with Co-Chairman and Co-owner Bruce Bozzi, Sr., have turned the restaurant founded by their grandfathers into a chain that spreads across the States and mexico and now England. over the course of their forty year partnership, the two men have never had an argument, says Wally. Steak and seafood were not
originally served at that first Palm Restaurant, but after John Ganzi found himself rushing to a nearby butcher shop to buy and cook steak for local writers and artists the menu was changed. The restaurants’ reputation for seafood began when Wally and Bruce introduced the four to eight pound lobster in the 1970s, considered gargantuan at the time. In London, the menu is similar to that in the States,
Walter Ganzi Jr. The Palm Restaurant’s owner tells Virginia E. Schultz about bringing good New York food to London but Wally made certain British beef was on the menu as well. The restaurant chain runs its own meat wholesale company to ensure the quality of their prime USDA corn fed steaks. “All our steaks here in England are absolutely free of hormones,” Ganzi emphasized when I told him I heard rumors to the contrary. “Both the UK and the Europeans are extremely strict on this regulation and the cattle are raised on a separate ranch and have been checked and rechecked by authorities from the UK to make certain they are hormone free before I’m allowed to ship the beef here.” In the US, with well-known chefs from Wolfgang Puck to Michael Mina opening restaurants specializing in steaks, the popularity of Palm Restaurants remains strong. Former Ambassador to Spain, Joseph Zappala and his wife Isabella became partners with Wally when they set up in England. He admits he was taken aback when a few restaurant critics came in with guns blazing even
before they took their first bite of steak. But despite one famously critical review the restaurant is popular and not just among Americans as I noted the evening I was reviewing it. Ganzi gives the kind of personal attention to Palm Restaurants that is almost unknown by CEOs. Like many global nomad children, his children were packed up and moved to different cities as restaurants were opened. Ganzi wanted to pass on the legacy and philosophy he was taught by his father and grandfather and would only leave when he was certain each restaurant could stand on its own. During all those moves, he often thought of some day opening a restaurant in England. “There are two great cities in the world, New York and London,” Ganzi said. “And for years I’ve been dreaming of opening here, but the opportunity didn’t come until recently.” By this time I was eating Palm cheese cake, which really tastes like New York cheese cake, I might add. We
had switched conversation to George Bush Sr. and the Republican Party. Barbara and George are good friends with Wally and his wife Sandra and he was on the planning committee for Bush Sr.’s 80th birthday. Like myself, he feels Bush Sr. will go down in history as a far better president than he’s been given credit for. Ganzi has three children from his first marriage, but none have any interest in becoming involved in the restaurant chain. Still, there were four grandchildren waiting in the wings who might be interested some day as he pointed out with a smile. For anyone working in a restaurant whether chef, waiter or owner, it takes long hours and time from the family. A friendly smile even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing and most of all, a love of people is Wally’s advice to anyone interested in the business. Perhaps because he needed a complete change, he started to play polo when he was forty-nine, although now at age sixty-six, he prefers watching his son play instead. He talked of retirement, but with his enthusiasm for Palm Restaurants as well as his staff, many who are third and fourth generation employees, one has the feeling it’s still some time away. If he had to live his life again, would he still become involved in Palm Restaurants, I ask. Yes, was Wally Ganzi’s quiet reply. H
Cellar Talk Libations by Virginia E. Schultz
A Good Cigar and a Glass of Port
n this politically correct era, the one tradition I miss is enjoying a glass of port and a cigar after dinner. Recently at a cigar and port tasting at Bluebird Restaurant I found myself recalling the dinner parties my late husband and I gave when he’d bring out his cigar box and a bottle of vintage port at the end of the meal for our guests to enjoy. I still serve port. It is usually tawny, although tucked away in my hall closet cum wine cellar are several bottles of vintage port. I prefer drinking port between late September and the beginning of April when it’s cold outside. A glass is all I need of this sweet, fortified (20 per cent proof alcohol) wine whether it’s at the end of a meal with friends or alone in front of my window looking out at the Thames. At Bluebird that evening, cigar connoisseur Simon Chase gave a short talk on cigars and then passed around the Cohiba Siglo I and the Partagas Serie D No. 4 for us to try. Maxine Howe and I took a long drag, for want of a better word, and that’s all I can say. The two young men at our table, however, thoroughly enjoyed them as did every-one else at the tables surrounding us. A lovely woman from Cuba demonstrated the fine art of cigar rolling. Served with the port was a wonderful selection of cheeses from Neal’s Yard. The difference between the types
of port is that vintage port gets better as it matures in the bottle, a great vintage port isn’t ready to drink until fifteen to thirty years after the vintage date, while ruby and tawny are ready to drink as soon as they’re in the bottle and do not improve with age. Ruby, blended from young, non-vintage wines is the cheapest. I find tawny, blended from many vintages and aged in casks, sometimes up to forty years, far more delicate and lighter. Not every year is a vintage year as it depends on the wine maker, however the 1994 is considered one of the greatest ports since the legendary 1945. Other top years are 1963, 1977, 1991, 2000 and 2007. The Symington Ports we tasted that evening were lovely, especially the Graham 1955. It was pure perfume in the bottle and honey going down the throat. Port wine has been shipped to England since the 1670’s. It was during the 1800s, to help preserve port on its long trip, shippers fortified it with brandy, resulting in the port we drink today. Port lasts longer than ordinary table wine, but if you want to drink it at its prime, drink within a week of opening. Traditionally, upon the birth of a child parents buy bottles of Port to put away for the baby until its 21st birthday, the age of maturity for both child and Port. My eldest grandson has a bottle waiting for him in a private club in New York City to
be opened on his twenty-first anniversary. Hopefully, he asks grandmother to join him when the bottle is opened. For information on the special events held at Bluebird, contact Penny Edwards, wine cellar manager either by email: email@example.com or telephone 020 7559 1130. Anyone interested in cigars, go to www.cigars.co.uk, the home of Hunter’s & Ferankau’s Cigar Smoker’s Club. H
WINE OF THE MONTH THE COVER DRIVE 2006 “The Cover Drive 2006” is the kind of Cabernet Sauvignon that created Australia’s reputation. I enjoyed this with friends at the Chinese Cricket Club restaurant, it’s their house wine, and with the exception of Australia’s top wines, I can’t recall when I enjoyed a Cabernet Sauvignon more. Grown on old cricket grounds, with the original cricket pitch and pavilion, it’s definitely a wine I plan to purchase.
La Capanna For the finest Italian dining experience in the most picturesque of settings, perfect for that romantic dinner for two, a family celebration or business entertainment.
La Capanna Special Menu, 2 courses only £31.95 Sunday Lunch, 3 courses only £25.95 Children’s Menu – £12.00
Lunch at La Capanna 1 course £11.50 2 courses £15.50 3 courses £19.50 Available lunchtime Mon – Sat; 7 – 8pm Mon – Fri.
Romantic Valentine’s Dinners on 13th and 14th February
“Tenors Unlimited” return on 19th March • Sinatra Tribute Evening on 23rd April 48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey
With riverside Italian Garden for al fresco dining
Book your table online on our website: www.lacapanna.co.uk Business account customers and party bookings are welcome. All major credit cards accepted.
“La Capanna must boast the prettiest interior of any restaurant I have ever dined in”
FULLY AIR CONDITIONED • PRIVATE CAR PARK
– David Billington, Hello Magazine
Art Choice F
irst item this month is a huge thankyou and a (hopefully temporary) au revoir to arts correspondent Cece Mills. Regular readers will know that Cece, apart from being an informative and engaging writer who has introduced The American’s readers to the British arts scene for some years, is also a talented painter and sculptor in her own right. She is taking a break from writing to concentrate on her own works (which you can see at www.cecemills. com). We wish her all the best. Estelle Lovatt and our staff now bring you a round up of all that’s best in UK arts. January can be quiet, so here are some special events to look out at the beginning of the year.
‘Impression is not enough. Design, style, technique – these, too, are not enough. Art must reach further than impression or self-revelation.’ ~ Ansel Adams
William Collingwood-Smith RA RWS (1815 – 1887), Rome: The Eternal City, Pencil and watercolour heightened with white, 77 x 117.5 cm
Watercolours & Works on Paper Fair
Science Museum, South Kensington, London • February 3rd – 7th
his long-established fair now presents all types of art on paper from every era, including drawings, watercolours, prints, photographs, and posters. Most of the 3,000 works on display are priced at £500 – £20,000. All the works are checked for authenticity and value by a vetting committee of art experts, so visitors can buy with confidence. It is a friendly fair where visitors are encouraged to talk to the art
dealers and explore the venue. This year it features a loan exhibition of original drawings from the Science Museum’s vast archives including drawings by the computer pioneer Charles Babbage; the Norris Brothers who designed the record-breaking Bluebird; and John Scott Russell, architect of the Great Eastern. This is the first art fair to be held in the Science Museum. www.worksonpaperfair.com
Pick up a painting at the London Art Fair
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 January 13th to 17th
Thomas Allen, Unreachable, 2009, Chromogenic Print, 20 x 24 inches Courtesy of Foley Gallery
The UK’s capital is bursting at the seams with art galleries and museums and people staying in London hotels may struggle to get round even half of them during their time in the city. The London Art Fair aims to let them experience more of these establishments, as it brings together over 100 leading British galleries. It is the UK’s largest modern and contemporary art fair and is its 22nd year. Art Projects at London Art Fair also gives international galleries the chance to showcase some of their most impressive paintings and some of the organisations making an appearance this year include Foley Gallery from New York and Gallery Baer from Dresden. Serious bidders can find works worth over £1 million, but there will also be paintings on display from up-and-coming artists selling from £20.
Thornflower sculpture at Salisbury Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire To mid-April
Paul Delaroche, Charles I Insulted by Cromwell’s Soldiers [detail], 1837, Private Collection © The National Gallery, London
Painting History: Delaroche and Lady Jane Grey Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery, London 24 February 2010 – 23 May 2010
A painting damaged in the Blitz can be seen by the public for the first time in almost 70 years. To coincide with the National Gallery’s major exhibition, ‘Painting History: Delaroche and Lady Jane Grey’ the recently recovered masterpiece, ‘Delaroche’s Charles I Insulted by Cromwell’s Soldiers’, painted in 1837, will be on display. The king is shown moments before his execution in 1649, being bullied by Cromwell’s troops. On May 11, 1941, Bridgewater House in St James’s, London, the painting’s home, was hit by a German bombing raid. The monumental painting received extensive shrapnel damage. The canvas was evacuated to a country house in the Scottish Borders, where it has remained for almost 70 years. Last summer conservators counted around 200 tears received during the bombing raid. It has yet to be fully restored, so visitors can see its war wounds.
The End of the Line: Attitudes in Drawing Exhibition
Charlotte Mayer’s beautiful and thought-provoking bronze and steel sculpture ‘The Thornflower’, which grew out of her reflections on the death of her grandmother in Treblinka and ‘man’s inhumanity to man at other times’, is now on display in the Morning Chapel at Salisbury Cathedral for six months, a period which includes both Remembrance-tide and Holocaust Memorial Day. The Thornflower takes the form of three petal-like diametrically-opposite configurations, created from the shapes of crescent moons and held high by five stems of brutal thorns set into a circular bronze base. The sculpture is full of contrasts being both soft and fluid, rigid and sharp, rounded and straight, while the warm and rich golden flowers contrast with the cold dark grey of the steel thorns. For Mayer, “Making a piece of sculpture does not usually include writing a story but The Thornflower is more than just a piece of sculpture, and the story begins with my Grandmother, Ruzena. It is the story of a journey from duality to unity and also, in part, a story of healing.”
The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Edinburgh • Until January 10th This exhibition of new and recent work by eleven highly acclaimed young international artists explores a diverse range of contemporary approaches to drawing. From small, intricately-crafted pencil drawings to expanded installations in which the ‘drawn’ lines are made from masking tape, or in which drawings mutate into animation, the exhibition celebrates a contemporary resurgence in drawing.
Sandra Vasquez de la Horra, Installation view Courtesy the artist and Galerie Kewenig, Cologne, Galerie Rupert Pfab, Düsseldorf and Sprovieri Gallery, London. Photo Alan Dimmick
Charlotte Mayer, The Thornflower, bronze and steel sculpture
Kienholz: The Hoerengracht National Gallery, London • Until 21 February 2010
omething mysteriously different is going on in the National Gallery, London, writes Estelle Lovatt, who met one of its creators. American artists Ed Kienholz (1927–1994) and Nancy Reddin Kienholz (born 1943) convert part of the gallery into a garish, glowing, walk-through installation, reminiscent of Amsterdam’s Red Light District with ‘The Hoerengracht’ (Whore’s Canal). Assemblage art at its best, it’s a piece for voyeurs. Walking around ‘The Hoerengracht’, talking to Nancy Reddin Kienholz, she told me how, “It was created after the Herengracht (Gentlemen’s Canal). Prostitution is the oldest
profession. No laws can overcome this fact. ‘The Hoerengracht’ is a portrait of the profession.” It addresses the theme of prostitution in a direct, unadulterated, way. Offering the theme of ‘love for sale’ on the street, Nancy elucidates how, “half-dressed girls in windows and doorways offer their bodies for sale.” Fragmented by consumer culture, they wear department store Perspex ‘cookie boxes’ around their heads, saying that though their bodies are for sale, they are not. “It’s a way to shut off their private side. To show they’re unobtainable. That as prostitutes they cannot,
Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, The Hoerengracht (detail), 1983–8 © Kienholz Estate, courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA
Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz in the studio © Kienholz Estate, courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice CA
will not, and do not kiss,” Nancy told me. Their case-hardened attitude and deportment implies that they are aware of – and in control of – their shocking condition. Breaking down obstacles between art gallery and reality, walking amid the artwork’s claustrophobic, dingy streets, Nancy adds, “It doesn’t glamorise or romanticise prostitution. It’s a grubby European street scene of squalor and disease. It’s exciting, repellent, beautiful and ugly at the same time.” The texture of the assembly is unlikeable; a clear resin liquid dribbles, oozes and leaks over the entire set; façades and faces of the whores at the same time. Water, rain, tears or semen? More a three-dimensional painting than sculpture, it is analogous to 17th-century Dutch Masters - Vermeer, Baburen, Steen, Schalcken, de Hooch - through to contemporaries Paul McCarthy, the Chapman brothers, Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas. As the show’s curator Colin Wiggins says, “The National Gallery collection is full of rapes, murders, mutilations and incest, but the pictures are in nice gold frames in a place associated with spiritual solace.” Making environmental sculpture that behaves like a historical document, the Keinholzes – the grandparents of conceptual installations and founders of assemblage art – have changed the way gallery-goers face art; becoming associates of the artwork. As a punter walking this grim, shabby milieu your emotions are manipulated. A powerful tableau, like the jaw-dropping experience of Pompeii - Keinholz has just brought it up-to-date with this very grand gesture; the Keinholz theatre of sociology.
Help Tate Buy Blake
In the red corner, Glenn Beck. And in the blue corner, Jerry Saltz (with some other guy) Let the power struggle begin.
The Power of Art
ArtReview, the contemporary art magazine, announces its 2009 Power 100 list, their choice of the contemporary art world’s most powerful artists, gallerists, collectors, and curators. Amongst the American entries this year is FOX News Channel talk show host, Glenn Beck who occupies post 100 for his attitude towards the arts, especially public art in New York, which ArtReview describes as “reactionary at best and crazed at worst…for upbraiding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for its ‘progressive’ sympathies and especially for commissioning art he considers propaganda for the Obama
administration. With Beck set up as the Joker against whom New York magazine art critic Jerry ‘Hollywood’ Saltz can style himself as the art world’s Dark Knight.” Saltz makes his own appearance at number 73. ArtReview says he “proves art criticism matters, by turning it into a performance art, challenging Glenn Beck to curate a show of ‘degenerate art’ in New York.” The most prominent casualty is Damien Hirst, who falls from first place last year to 48th this year after stepping away from the limelight following his straight-to-market auction success at Sotheby’s last year. ArtReview’s Power 100 website is at www.artreview100.com
Coca-Cola Company Replaces Landmark San Franciso Neon Sign
ut is it art? We’ve decided it is… The Coca-Cola Company has announced today plans to replace the historic neon sign in San Francisco’s South of Market district. The sign has been displayed alongside the southbound lanes on the I-80 freeway heading in to downtown San Francisco for more than 75 years. It will be replaced by a state-of-the-art LED display that will be similar in size and brightness to the existing sign but 80% more energy efficient. Coca-Cola say it will also be powered by ‘100% sustainable and certified “green” energy’.
illiam Blake was a visionary poet, painter, printmaker and political radical. Recognised as an artist of astonishing power and originality he was a British icon. Blake’s work is rarely available for purchase, making a recent discovery all the more incredible. As the keeper of the National Collection of British art, Tate is asking for donations to help it develop its collection of historic British art by purchasing a sequence of eight hand-coloured etchings from Blake’s illustrated books – six from The First Book of Urizen, one from The Book of Thel and one from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The works were found in an old railway timetable in the late 1970s and have been locked in a drawer ever since. The owner has offered them to Tate as a single group. Never one to shy away from controversy, Blake’s etchings confront the viewer with a potently imaginative (and sometimes shocking) world of violence, desire, claustrophobia and explosive physicality. Each etching perfectly encapsulates the calibre of high quality Blake works sought by Tate. The images’ combination of dramatic characters and poetic motifs will bring variety to our collection of Blakes and new visitors to our galleries. They have already raised nearly £400,000 of the £441,000 needed but time is tight and there is a risk that the etchings will end up on the open market, possibly to end up abroad or in the hands of a private collector who would not let them be seen by the public. We need your help to raise the remaining money by Christmas or the etchings could be split up and sold at auction. If you can make a donation now, go to http://art.tate.org.uk/helpusbuyblake. Every penny will help Tate preserve Blake’s work for future generations.
Jerusalem Wins Top London Theatre Awards
an Rickson’s Royal Court Theatre production of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem (which netted a rave review from The American’s Jarlath o’Connell) has won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play, and mark Rylance collected the Best Actor Award for his celebrated performance as Johnny “Rooster” Byron in this riotously comic, contemporary vision of life in England’s ‘green and pleasant land’. The West End transfer of Jerusalem, which received its world premiere at the Royal Court in July, will run for a strictly limited 12-week season at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. Previewing from Thursday 28 January 2010, Jerusalem has its press night on Wednesday 10 February and is booking until Saturday 24 April 2010. Rylance and mackenzie Crook (Ginger) reprise their performances in the West End alongside most of the original Royal Court cast members. Jerusalem is worth seeing, and there is a special deal to encourage you. Twenty best price seats will be on sale at £10 each from the Box office, in person only, from 10am on the day of each performance.
Wanted: Naked Women!
omen of all ages, backgrounds, shapes, sizes, levels of fitness and ability are being sought to perform naked in an ensemble dance celebrating the female form, as part of Nic Green’s multi award winning show Trilogy. Performances will take place at BAC and the Barbican in January 2010. Trilogy, one of the most talked about shows at Edinburgh Festival 2009, celebrates modern-day feminism, examining the joys and complexities of being a woman today. Through narrative, debate, dance and song, it challenges prevailing attitudes and prejudices. It begins by exploring women’s relationships to their bodies, then reconstructs the infamous 1971 New York Town Bloody Hall debate before concluding with a joyous paean to womankind. The first part ends with a high energy naked dance performed by the volunteers. It is a powerful and emotive moment, presenting the female form in an alternative, empowered way, and celebrating the difference and diversity of women. The performers will have taken part in workshop sessions beforehand, including an initial meeting to discuss the piece over tea and cake. Green says, “The first session on January 8th is fully clothed! If you
decide you don’t want to come back that is absolutely fine and we will fully understand. However if you feel at all interested I would urge you to come along and see what you think and how you feel. on the other hand, if you feel completely up for a challenge and want to do something different, meet new people and make new friends in a new women’s community, make a point or even just do some dancing for fun – brilliant!” To have an informal chat with Sally Rose, call her on 020 7326 8260, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shake Up In UK Theater Ownership
ive Nation, the world’s largest live music company, has sold its onethird interest in the London‘s Dominion Theatre to The Nederlander Group and its remaining UK theatrical venues to Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG). The theaters include the Lyceum and Apollo Victoria in the West End, and fourteen regional theaters throughout the UK. Live Nation say the price for the entire portfolio, including the Dominion, is $160m. Former BBC Director General Greg Dyke will be joining ATG in the new role of Executive Chairman.
Donna McKechnie D
onna McKechnie is a legend in theatre circles. Having created the lead role in A Chorus Line and been a star of musicals for nearly 40 years, she recently brought her one-woman show My Musical Comedy Life to London. Here she was expertly accompanied on the piano by local boy Nathan Martin. More at home behind a proscenium arch then in the intimate setting of a cabaret room; nevertheless, it was a treat to appreciate her talent up close and to hear her amazing story. Born in Pontiac Michigan, she saw The Red Shoes, got addicted to dance and headed for the Great White Way. Before long she made her Broadway debut in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, where she first met her mentors Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. She created parts in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, Promises Promises and Company and shone in revivals such as On The Town. She came to London with the whole cast of Company in 1972, (the first time that had happened) and for us, recreated the Andrews Sisters’ homage ‘ You Could Drive a Person Crazy’, which, she quipped is “the one Sondheim wrote for me”. By 1974 she was close to the legendary director and choreographer, Michael Bennett, whom she later briefly married. He’d brought together a group of dancers and writers for what was effectively a group therapy session. Despite the soul searching he wasn’t averse to missing out on a potential hit show and out of these taped sessions came the
Pizza on the Park, Knightsbridge, London musical A Chorus Line. Despite its apparent insularity the show struck a chord instantly with audiences worldwide and is still held in great affection, particularly in America. In the cabaret McKechnie recreates her signature song from the show The Music and the Mirror. This autobiographical barnstormer changed her life. She won a Tony and became an overnight sensation, albeit after 15 years of struggle. She described that her first reaction on hearing the song was to worry that she might not be able to manage the high notes, but then she figured “When Marvin Hamlisch writes you a song, you don’t respond – Isn’t it a bit rangey?”. The show continues to haunt her and she features prominently in the recent, highly acclaimed documentary Every Little Step, which explores both the original phenomenon and the 2006 Broadway revival. There is no getting away from the fact though that Ms McKechnie is essentially a dancer who sings rather than a cabaret singer. Her interpretations are pitched at the upper circle rather than at a table three feet away and like many a theatre person turning to cabaret, she hides carefully behind the cloak of a tight script. Still, in the songs where she is required to act, such as Sondheim’s
“I’m Lovely” or “I’m Still Here”, she excels. The highlight of the evening was a particularly poignant rendition of “In Buddy’s Eyes” (she has played in Follies, three times). Unlike other performers at Pizza on the Park she sang with a head mic, freeing her to show us some moves, on a stage no bigger than a handkerchief. Recently plagued with the dancers curse, arthritis, she has risen above it and her chutzpah and steely determination are an inspiration. She should be doing Masterclasses for the many London “gypsies”, in a West End now dominated by musicals. They could watch and learn. H
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof By Tennessee Williams • Novello Theatre, London
his is the African-American ‘Cat’ which was first staged on Broadway last year. The African-American Wall Street mogul Stephen Byrd acquired the rights to stage Williams’ plays for a multi-ethnic cast and engaged Debbie Allen (always burdened with Fame) to direct it. She has produced a triumph, drawing out the humanity in the piece and underlining its simple poetry. They’ve updated elements of it from the ’50s to the ’80s, including the language, and the more matronly
ImAGES: NoBBY CLARK
members of the audience I saw it with gasped at the liberal use of the F word in this version. It remains pretty much intact though and this cast makes one look afresh at this piece, NoT because they are black but because they are great actors. It’s one of Williams’ more wordy plays and in the long first act the gorgeous Sanaa Lathan, as maggie, has much verbosity to wrestle with as she tries to awaken the sexual interest of her moribund ex football hero husband
THEATER REVIEWS BY JARLATH o’CoNNELL Brick. The plot revolves around her attempt to get him to father a baby to compete with her sister in law, who has produced no less than five “no neck monsters” as she dubs them. Lathan has star quality and is a compelling maggie. Adrian Lester however as the husband seems miscast. Brick is a monosyllabic lug and Lester’s acute intelligence and charisma seem out of place here. Stealing the show though is the great James Earl Jones, who got applause on his entrance, something one usually only finds on Broadway. Jones brings a vulnerability to this part which is often lost in other interpretations, where Big Daddy comes across as a bellicose Colonel Sanders. Big Daddy just wants peace and quiet, and who would blame him, with his family of vultures waiting for him to pop off. The key scene where Brick is forced to reveal
the cause of his own mental torture (his sexual feelings for his football buddy) draws out the wisdom in Big Daddy and is very typical of how Williams always finds the humanity in his characters. There might be ‘mendacity’ everywhere but the old man sees through Brick’s pain and makes him realise that it is self inflicted. He is not the bellowing bully he first appears. Williams is great on the dynamics of families and the casual cruelty of intimacy. The great Phylicia Rashad (forever mrs Cosby!) brings a nobility to Big mamma, whom Daddy despises and yet who is just trying, like all mothers, to keep the show on the road. Rashad is perhaps far too elegant (and thin) for this part but she commands the stage. Peter De Jersey is touching as Gooper, the unloved second son and Nina Sosanya plays his angry calculating wife mae as a lioness, stoutly defending her cubs. The obsession with producing an heir to inherit the estate (a huge cotton plantation on the mississippi delta) could of course be Shakespearean and like all great plays it speaks to the universal while focusing on the specific. The action of the play was set at a time of great social ferment in the US with the rise of sexual liberation, which Williams himself skirted in his plays whilst trying to sidestep the censors. The much hyped film version with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor ended up a confused travesty, because of the compromises which had to be made and the play exists in numerous versions. This production reminds one however that that it is amongst Williams’ best.
Adrian Lester (Brick) & Sanaa Lathan (Maggie) in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof NoBBY CLARK
Opposite Far Left: James Earl Jones (Big Daddy) & Adrian Lester (Brick); and Phylicia Rashad (Big Mama) NoBBY CLARK
Sweet Charity Book by Neil Simon Music and lyrics by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields
Photo: Catherine Ashmore
Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre, London SE1
he Menier is on a roll. Its now traditional Christmas musical has produced a slew of West End and Broadway transfers. Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury have opened in the NY transfer of A Little Night Music and the Menier’s great chamber version of La Cage Aux Folles arrives there this month. Awards and critical acclaim have rained down on this tiny venue in Southwark, making it the most “happening” theatre in London. Sweet Charity has always presented some staging problems though. Based on Fellini’s The Nights of Cabiria, the story of the archetypal ‘tart with a heart’ and her search for true love, has great hit songs but a book which sits rather uneasily with modern audiences. Gwen Verdon created the part on Broadway and Shirley MacLaine played it on film and both specialised in kooky and winsome, as a way of softening the rough edges. In making the character of Charity Hope Valentine more demure, author Neil Simon has unbalanced the piece. She is, after all, a glorified hooker in a “taxi dancing” bar and as one of the ladies puts it “caught in the flypaper of life”. Here, director Matthew White has cast TV star Tamzin Outhwaite in the lead. She plays it straight and unaffected and is a revelation. Those who know her from her television work (East Enders, Fixer, Red Cap) will be pleasantly surprised to witness a great all-round musical theatre talent. She can really belt, she has great comic timing and she moves like a dream. She never lets us forget though that Charity is “a broad”. She sticks her used gum on the bedpost of Vittorio Vidal, the ridiculous
Italian movie heart throb who sweeps her off her feet. He is played, in a gem of a performance, by Mark Umbers, who also plays Oscar Lindquist and Charlie, her other unsuitable conquests. This trio of beautifully delineated characters singles him out as a talent to watch. But the whole supporting cast are excellent. As well as Umbers, Josefina Gabriella steals the show as both Nickie, the hardboiled friend of the heroine and as Ursula, Vittorio’s ridiculous Italian vamp girlfriend. The production has a great feel for musical comedy and for the period. The set, costumes and hair design are simple but spot-on and the show has a panache you’d only expect on Broadway, where budgets would be ten times the size. No attention to detail has been spared and seeing it in this tiny space allows you to focus more on the book. Here, Neil Simon certainly doesn’t disappoint and the gags come thick and fast. My favourite being when Helene, another habitué of the Fan-Dango hostess bar (a great comic turn by Tiffany Graves), is introduced to a new girl at the club. New girl: “Hi I’m Rosie”, Helene: “Not for long ya ain’t”. Stephen Mear’s louche choreography too is another highlight. With Sweet Charity you inherit Fosse and have to get out from under that burden. Mear pulls it off admirably and his use of this small stage and this incredibly talented ensemble, demonstrate again that he is one of the best in the business. His staging of “The Rhythm of Life” is particularly joyous. Fans of the film will remember Sammy Davis Jnr’s barnstorming hit with this song and its wacky mixture of gospel and psychodelia. Paul J Medford, excellent as usual, brings the house down with it here and whets all our appetites for the forthcoming arrival of Hair direct from Broadway, in the Spring.
Habit OF Art
lan Bennett’s last play The History Boys won every possible award, toured nationally and internationally and was quickly made into a film. Expectations were high therefore about how Bennett could follow it up. News got out that his next one would be about an encounter between the composer Benjamin Britten and the poet WH Auden (with Michael Gambon promised as the latter) and the excitement grew. The whole run sold out before it opened, which is not bad going for a new play. Perhaps wary of this burden, Bennett frustrated expectations somewhat by actually writing a play about writing a play about Auden
By Alan Bennett Lyttleton Theatre, London
and Britten. Sadly too, Gambon had to withdraw due to ill health; however Bennett has come up trumps again and produced a gem. Despite its play within a play structure, this is no arid exercise and it is enlivened by Bennett’s usual wit. The play is set in a rehearsal room at the National and as well as recounting the Britten-Auden story, it examines with great feeling, the whole process of making theatre. It has all the Bennett trademarks of
caustic wit and wry observations about the foibles of actors, the egomania of directors and the frustrations of playwrights. The Writer (Elliot Levy) anxiously looks on and, for the most part, holds his tongue, as the tetchy actors led by Fitz (Richard Griffiths) and Henry (Alex Jennings), attempt a first run-though of this play, which imagines a meeting between these two giants of British culture – Britten and Auden. Britten did know and was in awe of Auden at Oxford but they never managed a reunion. The play here imagines the now distinguished composer, who is struggling with his score for Death in Venice, coming to visit Auden to seek his advice on that great work. The buttoned-up composer is finding that Thomas Mann’s tale of boy love is perhaps a bit too close to the bone for him and he is struggling with how he can tackle this subject, now that the time seems ripe for it. Auden, the very opposite of buttoned-up, is someone he feels might be able to help him. The poet is now settled back in Oxford after his long sojourn in the US and presents a rather shambolic and seedy
Above: Richard Griffiths as Fitz (WH Auden) and Alex Jennings as Henry (Benjamin Britten). Inset: Frances de la Tour as Kay (Stage Manager)
“Frances de la Tour ... is up against two great star turns from Griffiths and Jennings who are both superb, and as usual she steals the show.” figure. He lives in squalor “in rooms” at Christ Church, chain smoking, drinking martinis by the bucketful, peeing in the sink and regularly entertaining rent boys. He struggles to rustle up his muse for one last time and is quite excited
therefore at the prospect of taking on one last real job – the libretto for Britten’s Death in Venice. We also meet the bookish Humphrey Carpenter (Adrian Scarborough), who later wrote the definitive biographies on the two, and who arrives to interview Auden for BBC Radio Oxford, only to be mistaken for a rent boy. Steven Wight also shines in the latter role and crystallises many of the themes of the play in a wonderful passage where he talks about how people like him, the little people, always get marginalised in the biographies of Great Lives. Rounding off a superb cast is Frances de la Tour as the droll, beleaguered stage manager. She is up against two great star turns from Griffiths and Jennings who are both superb, but as usual she steals the show with a masterclass in comic timing. Much fun is to be had with the interplay of the actors and the characters they play and Nicholas Hytner directs it all with panache. H
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Caroline Lagerfelt Caroline Lagerfelt, the American star of Broadway, movies and TV, is starring in the world premiere of Frank McGuiness’s play Greta Garbo Came to Donegal at The Tricycle, a tiny theatre in London. Michael Burland talked to her during rehearsals.
aroline, you were born in Paris, your father was a Swedish ambassador and you live and work in the US… what do you feel? It depends where I am. When I’m in Europe I feel American, when I’m in America I feel Swedish and English. I went to boarding school in England until I was 13 so part of me feels so at home here. You’re accent seems more English than usual, am I right? I’m a chameleon. I do a lot of accents on my TV shows. When I’m in the States I talk with a regular American accent, but people can always tell if I’ve been talking on the phone to one of my English girlfriends. I spent most of my early career in New York doing English plays so I got a reputation of being ‘proper English’. I worked with Harold Pinter and Simon Gray for five or six years, and we’ve been friends ever since – they gave me my first break.
A rare chance to see a big American star in an intimate venue in London
You started at the top! No kidding! I went to school in England until I was 13, then lived in Sweden. As soon as I graduated high school there I went to America. In acting school there, the first thing I did was get rid of my English accent as I thought it would be limiting, and I worked very hard on American. I speak 5 languages, and I’ve always been fascinated by accents. I would pick up accents wherever I went on tour. When I was doing the remake of All the King’s Men in New orleans, before the disastrous flood, I worked with Tim monich, one of the world’s top dialect coaches. He’d go deep into the Bayou with his tape recorder, picked up these amazing Cajun accents. He’d play them to me and I’d practice them. I’ve always been fascinated by accents, and there are plenty of them in this play, I can tell you!
It’s set on the west coast of Ireland, isn’t it? Yes, we’ve got Donegal, Derry, Cockney, upper class English and a little bit of Swedish. I have to be very careful that I don’t slip some of the gorgeous Irish dialect into my Swedish. How come, when you’ve had such huge success in the States, you’re appearing ‘oﬀ West End’ in North London? I’ve only worked in the UK once before and that was in Theatre Clywd, Wales, so obviously I like the far off artistic places… Nick Kent and I have worked together twice before and he’s a director I admire immensely. And I admire this theater company and what they do. I did his play Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, in New York, which was a life-changing experience for me, politically and
artistically. Before that I did a play called The Workroom at the American Jewish Theatre for Nick, and we’ve kept in touch over the years. I’m a single mother and I always wanted to be at home for my two children. My youngest son just started university so this is the first time I’ve actually been able to ‘leave home’ to work. Nick sent Greta Garbo to me and I fell in love with the play. It’s so funny, and it’s absolutely true that Greta Garbo visited Donegal. Frank McGuiness has taken this idea and written this incredibly funny, human, very moving play about it. What is Frank McGuinness’s take on Garbo? He sees Garbo as extremely private, blunt and straightforward. I think he’s based it on the Barry Paris biography, which is so well researched, and it debunks so many of the rumors. At the same time he sees her ambiguous sexuality, and her great sense of humor, which she did have when she felt relaxed and with people that she didn’t feel pressured by. He’s captured a really wonderful woman. I think if one knows what she went through in her life one has some understanding for the bits of her that seem abrupt and difficult to deal with. Even though I was Swedish I didn’t know much about her. I knew all the rumors, that she was one of the most beautiful people in the world, that she wanted to be alone, that she made these extraordinary films, yet I don’t think I’d ever seen a film of hers. So every night when I go home to the friend I’m staying with, we’re having a Garbo film festival. We’ve just finished watching Queen Christina, sobbing into the Kleenex. Her movies are absolutely timeless. Did your Swedishness have anything to do with the casting?
I definitely think it did. I’d love to say that it was my raving beauty, or my cheekbones, but I’m afraid it wasn’t! (laughs). There are certain aspects of Garbo’s moodiness and her dark sides that I completely understand. I don’t think you have to be Swedish to play this, but there’s research I don’t have to do. “Of course she swam naked in freezing cold lakes – we all do that!” Given that you’ve constantly worked in movies, TV and the theater how do you feel about somebody like Garbo who had this immense talent and then just walked away from it all? I think it was a completely different experience for her. I’ve been imagining what it must have been like to be so incredibly beautiful and famous, and to have felt the need of protection from the strong men in her life – and the strong women like Cecilia Rothschild. I think she just plain didn’t want to do it anymore. People offered her millions to come back and do tiny little cameos. Nowadays fame is so different, people don’t have the same sense of awe. I knew Ingrid Bergman very well, who didn’t get along terribly well with Garbo actually. I remember being on tour with Ingrid and some middle aged women came backstage and started palpating, sweating, almost swooning with excitement. Ingrid was incredibly kind but she didn’t suffer fools gladly. Swedes don’t. Ingrid said “Don’t be so silly, come and say hello to me or go out of my dressing room”. I can only imagine exponentially what that must have been like with Greta Garbo. I don’t know whether she truly was as hounded as she thought she was. It was exacerbated in her early life with her director Stiller, her Svengali, who guided and manipulated her. He would break her down, reduce her
to tears by telling her she was useless and fat and moved all wrong, then build her up, just to get a performance out of her. He was the one who told her to stop talking to the press when she was 18. Is working over here what you expected? It’s very similar to working in New York. The actors in this show are la crème de la crème. The questions they’re asking of Nick, of each other, of the play and of Frank, are absolutely the same. Of course you drink a lot more tea here! They’re also giving us a few days off for Christmas, which in America is unheard of, so I get to see my children. But when you’re in a good group of actors, it doesn’t really matter if you’re in America or here Do you think this play will transfer to the West End and maybe Broadway? I’m absolutely keeping my fingers crossed. It should have a chance of a transfer, because as deep and as thoughtful the play is, it’s incredibly funny, and I think it would have a vast appeal. The theatre here is only 250 seats, and I think a lot more than 250 people would like to see it. H Below: Greta Garbo
difference a year makes Obama one year on from election
ust over a year ago Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of The United States. His impressive campaign parted with recent historical trends insofar as it attracted large numbers of young people who mobilized and volunteered and lobbied for him. Yet at the time, the very success of the Obama Phenomenon (OP) was part of its core weakness. Suggesting that the
In a new series of articles, Alan Miller comments on ideas in arts, culture and politics in the US and UK. nation needed “hope” and “change” represented an empty vessel. Many projected what they hoped Obama was saying on to the image of this fine looking, highly educated young man. What was the reality, however, eluded us.
“The very success of the Obama Phenomenon was part of its core weakness. Suggesting that the nation needed ‘hope’ and ‘change’ represented an empty vessel.”
It was a magical time for many, but after a year what is the public to make of Obama’s ideas? photo: Chad J. McNeeley
This is largely due to the fact that the OP was comprised of a combination of things – some of them contradictory in nature. On the one hand, there was an extremely positive desire to see things happen in a different way. There was genuine unhappiness with the incumbent administration and, particularly with young people, an excitement about what was possible. Sadly however, that was all that was new, for what accompanied it
was the continuation of the idea that what was most problematic at the heart of the issue was politics itself. So, when Obama distanced himself from DC and the Beltway and the Clintons et al, he was really saying that politics per se has been the problem. Further, in arguing for “reconciliation” he was echoing Bill Clinton’s (and Tony Blair’s) rush to the center alongside a moment in history where these individuals became segregated from their political organizations – and no longer responsible, or accountable for a body of political principles and ideas. Ultimately, while appearing to provide flexibility and ensure “pragmatism” what it ensures is the consolidation of a certain amount of cynicism: “Oh, he’s just like all the others”. This is the sad upshot of not committing to clear cut ideas and having politics as the vehicle for any type of change. Ideas are, after all, the things that are used to engage with and eventually overcome obstacles and problems that we face in the world: and to have ideas that can win requires hard-fought battles to convince people that you are right on a variety of them. Many commented on Obama’s predisposition to fudging certain issues depending on the audience he
was addressing during his campaign. Now however, while his personal popularity is still fairly high in the 70 per cent region, only 47 per cent approve of his policies. Dodging bullets may seem smart, or anti-partisan, for instance handing over legislative organization to Congress to draft the Health Bill however consolidates the problem that unless one thrashes out ideas with the public we will face a situation where increasing numbers of citizens are disengaged with the political process and with having any impact on the world. As the first anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration came along, it was also the twentieth anniversary of another historical milestone: the falling of The Berlin Wall and the formal collapse of the Cold War. Having dominated the post-war landscape, the end of Socialism and the flag-posts of “Left” and “Right” initially led to fanfares. Fairly speedily however, it became clear that ‘TINA’ (There Is No Alternative – to the market, as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan used to enjoy declaring) meant society faced a continually narrowing and parochial outlook. Worse, many drew the conclusion that the Twentieth Century represented human folly through attempts to significantly change the world and resulted in Dachau and the Gulag – and that we were better off not attempting to change the world, lest we make it worse not better. While President Obama represents the end of the Culture Wars in America in many ways, he simultaneously is part of the ossifying of the political elite. The “Yes We Can” man quickly, as Anna Quindlen pointed out in Newsweek recently, became the “Yes He Can” man – “but he hasn’t yet”.1 Some would argue that this is unfair, having faced a series of
Is President Obama still a winner? photo: Joshua Debner
“While President Obama represents the end of the Culture Wars in America in many ways, he simultaneously is part of ossifying of the political elite.” crises from the economic recession to international wars all inherited from a predecessor and that he and his administration has done a proficient job in extremely testing circumstances. However, from creating another inflationary bubble through the Stimulus Bill that does little to transform productive investment in the medium and long term, to having a wonky and disjointed “strategy” in Afghanistan over the next eighteen months, it is clearly apparent that having political ideas and conviction is far more difficult than making exciting speeches with little substance. In the end however, there is something indeed we should take from President Obama’s campaign slogan. “Yes We Can” is a very good start when considering what citizens can and should do. However, while President Obama and his administration entirely disconnected from the mass mobilized grass-roots movement that led them to victory, we should be 1
mindful that the world is made and remade by ordinary people. That was as true of the American Revolution as it was with the Civil Rights movement and it is today. While the ideas that dominate our world of TINA may be that humans are somewhat damaging, toxic and not to be trusted (especially true in the environmentalist outlook) the world could do with some more “Yes We Can” – although for that to happen we are all going to need to go out and spell out what we mean by that and try and convince some fellow travelers of the efficacy of our ideas. H Alan Miller is Director of The New York Salon in NYC, writes irregularly for The Huffington Post and runs an entertainment company. He is cofounder of London’s Truman Brewery music, fashion, art and media center and sits on the London Regional Arts Council. (www.nysalon.org, www.alandmiller.net)
“Hope Springs Eternal” Anna Quindlen, Newsweek 24 October 2009
New Year – New Start? Lucy Thomas, transatlantic divorce lawyer with Kingsley Napley, looks at alternatives to legal action when relationships sour
ivorce lawyers often say that the first weeks of January are the busiest of the year. The Christmas/New Year holiday season can be a time of enormous stress and heartache which can place family relationships under strain. Sometimes it brings into sharp focus underlying tensions. The result, anecdotally at least, is that relationship breakdown increases and many are left feeling that their only option is separation or even divorce. Couples can rush into a process which can be costly, both emotionally and financially, when what they really need is time to consider their options and perhaps work things through. For couples with a US connection this can be especially difficult because there is often a race to secure jurisdiction i.e. determine where any formal proceedings (e.g. divorce) should take place, whether in England or in a home state. This is often key as the location of formal divorce proceedings may mean that the resulting financial settlement can be very different. For those couples, obtaining specialist advice at the outset is key and often needed urgently. In an ideal world, many would say that couples should have a period in which to reflect. Rather than embarking on a formal process of separation/divorce from the outset, it can be possible to negotiate with your partner and agree a temporary period of separation. It is important to consider how
your finances are going to operate in that period (and ensure that your main outgoings are covered) and arrangements for children are of particular importance. A skilled family lawyer should be able to guide you through these steps and, if there is goodwill on both sides, the outcome should be a period of calm and reflection before key decisions are made. Relationship counselling can be invaluable. You do not necessarily need to attend as a couple, you could go alone. In any event, counselling can often bring a sense of clarity and space, which can be fundamental when facing potentially life-changing decisions. If a couple decide to separate permanently then how that separation is handled can vary. The traditional approach of ‘lawyer-led’ litigation via the courts can be bruising, however carefully it is handled. There are however alternatives:1. Collaborative law is a relatively new development for English lawyers and originated in the US. It works on the basis that each party has a lawyer but that negotiations relating to all issues, finances and children, take place in a series of face to face meetings, “around the table”. Your lawyer is with you
throughout but, rather than corresponding and liaising with the other lawyer directly, those discussions take place in a much more “open” forum. All parties, lawyers included, agree at the outset not to go to court; this is designed to provide an incentive to resolving matters. The aim is to avoid the constraints and possibly the costs of the court process. 2. mediation is another alternative approach with a proven track record of success. mediators are trained to help couples resolve their disputes directly, again via a series of face to face meetings, with the mediator. It is a process which often goes hand in hand with legal advice but, ultimately, it enables the parties to speak directly in a measured and safe environment. The aim for mediators, who can be lawyers or other specialists, is to encourage dialogue and discussion in a constructive and non-confrontational manner, with a view to agreeing mutually acceptable solutions. Every couple is different and there will be, for some, good reasons why quick and decisive action is required once the decision to separate has been reached. For others, it could pay to take a more measured, ‘alternative’ approach. H
Lee Noble Rises With The Fenix
ee Noble is the most famous car designer you’ve never heard of. The maverick engineer who redefined the British low volume sports car market, taking it from retro-chic to car of the future, is back with a new company, Fenix Automotive, and aims to launch ‘one of the most dramatic supercars of the century’ this year. The manufacturer of the stunning Noble m12 (he also worked on the Ultima and Ascari) plans a lightweight, powerful mid-engined V8 supercar to enter the market by the end of 2010. The car will cost under £75,000, and Noble says it will beat the performance of his previous cars with a 0-100mph (not 0-60) time of under seven seconds. “our new car will offer buyers performance and dynamics that they’d normally have to spend well over £100,000 to experience, but at a far more affordable price,” said Lee Noble. “It will combine simplicity, strength and agility, while its two-seat, closed body will ensure sensible levels of refinement for road use. And thanks to a feature which will be revealed nearer the car’s launch, it will be amazingly practical too, for both track and road users.”
Free company livery on Toyota’s iQ
oyota is offering businesses who buy the striking Toyota iQ the chance to stand out from the crowd even more with a free company livery. The limited period free offer involves covering two standard body panels in the customer’s choice of graphics. Graphics company motor mode can provide designs, adapt the customer’s own ideas, or work with the customer to create a bespoke, customised livery. Half and full vehicle wraps can be created, although you’ll have to chip in with some cash.
iQ is already a good choice as a business car. At less than ten feet long it’s the world’s smallest production fourseater. It has Co2 emissions of 99g/km (zero VED/car tax), fuel consumption of 65.7mpg combined, low company car benefit tax and the top five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Now it can double as an attention-grabbing mobile promotional tool.
he Highways Agency and their partners in The Deer Initiative are asking drivers to watch out for deer as part of a new campaign, DeerAware. Every year, people are killed or injured in road collisions with wild deer around England and The Deer Initiative estimates that there are up to 74,000 deer-vehicle collisions every year in the UK – 80% in England. most deer are killed, but thousands more are left to die of injuries. When you see deer warning signs, check your speed and stay alert. If your headlights are on, dip them if you see deer, as they may ‘freeze’. more deer may follow the first one you see. Be prepared to stop. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse. If you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights. Do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous. If you collide with a deer (or witness a collision) and someone may be injured, or the presence of vehicles/deer in the road are a risk to road safety, then ring 999 for Police or Ambulance service immediately. Report any injured deer to the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
Vauxhall and Saab
Alive and Very Much Kicking Michael Burland takes three very different euro-GMs for a spin
n. Off. On. Off. It’s not one of them thar new-fangled engines that switches off when the traffic lights show red. It’s the sound of the sale of the main part of The General’s European arm. In November, GM decided not to sell the main part, its euro-division, to Canadian auto-parts firm Magna. The U-turn saves hundreds or possibly thousands of British jobs but has enraged unions in Germany who see the new plans as threatening workers there. Saab, the Swedish part of GM’s empire, was still for sale to that country’s sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg, but the would-be buyer pulled out of the deal. According to Vauxhall’s Simon Hucknall, no-one at the UK firm knew what would happen if the Magna deal had gone through. Manufacturing could have gone entirely to Germany, with thousands of British jobs and the
venerable Vauxhall name going for good. It would have been a shame, not only for the workers and their families, but for one of the oldest names in auto history. Let it not be forgotten that Vauxhall was GM’s first acquisition outside North America. Now things are looking good for the future of Vauxhall, whose Ellesmere Port, Merseyside plant is in the running to produce the Astra hatchback’s next generation in 2016. Ah yes, the Astra. I was with Simon at a driving day, a chance to sample several of the company’s latest models. As fortune would have it, the event was hosted at a country house hotel one mile away from my kids’ school run, so I had ample opportunity to drive the cars on familiar roads, allowing me to concentrate on the vehicles not maps or directions. They’re only snapshots, but the real-world nature of my drives
It’s the boss – the Vauxhall Insignia VXR
gave valuable information. First up was Saab’s 9.3X 2.0T XWD wagon. XWD is Saab’s own part time/on demand all-wheel drive system (designed in partnership with transmission specialists Haldex). On a very slippery, wet day it proved its worth. The brochures claim it adds to driver involvement, but I would dispute that. It does however add to driver confidence – probably more valuable. Acceleration away from the hotel, on small local roads that have not had the ‘benefit’ of speed cameras, was firm rather than eye-watering, a function of Saab’s trademark small turbo. Inside the 9.3 is classy, not as wacky as older Saabs although the key is reassuringly still buried between the seats. Plastic ‘aluminum’ trim around the instrument binnacle is maybe trying a bit hard (at least it matches the door handles, there’s nothing worse than varying finishes) but is fake carbon fiber still the best way to insinuate sportiness? Likes? The little joysticks that operate the air vents and the parking brake handle hidden as a flying buttress on the central console. The packaging implies that Saab think the typical buyers are couples with active sports and social lives – the front is spacious and the trunk is large and long with a false floor hiding useful storage for your valuables. But don’t forget this wagon is based on a compact
Vauxhall Astra looks set fair for the future
car – the three comfortable rear seats don’t offer much legroom. The 9.3 corners flat and soaks up the bumps on my back road route well. The XWD was impressive, as in un-noticeable. It did the job well. The brakes were even more striking, as in nose-bleed inducing on slimy roads. Less impressive was the 23mpg thirst on my real- world route. Altogether, a good car in a tough marketing segment, up against tough BmW and mercedes competition, but it deserves to have a successful niche. The Astra Elite 1.7 CDTi was next. There are a lot of family hatchbacks out there, all shuﬄing in the queue to get noticed. Apart from style-orientated cars like Alfa’s Brera, the latest Astra has a storing claim to being the best looking of the crop. I immediately liked the sporty clocks – the needles on all the dials (rev counter, speedometer, water temperature and fuel gauge) spin round on starting as of to check ‘all systems are go’. Necessary? No. But fun! The rest of the dash is cluttered, with too many buttons scattered around. A quick look around gleans loads of front legroom (I’m tall but I had the seat set a way forward), swoopy modern styling, heated seats in the front, more carbon fiber-a-like finishes and a nice
electronic parking brake switch. A sunglasses holder sits above the driver’s door, where a grab handle might normally reside. It’s unusual and first seems handy, but taller drivers (oK, me) can bang their head on it – not great in an accident. out on my muddy road loop. Hmm, sharp immediate steering, compliant suspension, a pleasantly gruff exhaust note but a notchy gear change – a brand new car so it may bed in. Summary: a good contender for the small family car buyer. Now, what was that stunning looking beast parked by the hotel’s front door that I’ve been walking past going to and fro the other cars? Ah yes, the Vauxhall Insignia VXR. Seriously, and you may think I’m mad when you look at the photo, this is a great looking car in the metal – hunched, ready to pounce, aggressive. In white, especially, it has what a many car makers dream of. Presence. I grab the keys. It’s time to get down to it. And I mean down . You sink in to the bucket Recaro racing seats. Surprisingly comfortable and also handsome with their metal inserts around the headrest and its perforated leather, just like the matching steering wheel. For the raciest car here, it’s noticeable that it has ditched the mock car-
Saab 9.3X 2.0T XWD in the mud
bon fiber and opted for clean modern piano-black inserts on the doors and dash. Forget that the VXR is up against German, British and American competition and take it on its own merits. A 2.8 liter V6 pumping out 325 PS and 321 lb ft of torque through a 6 speed box. Good figures, even better in the driving seat. It’s one of those cars that makes you wonder why everyone’s driving so slowly today. In a 911 GT3, or a Gallardo, you know you’re in a very fast car so you understand why all the other cars seem to be going backwards. But the VXR, for all the bling, is a normal car when you find yourself going at twice the speed of other road users. The four wheel drive system keeps everything safe and sound, at the expense of the thrills of rear wheel drive. At £31,000 it’s a bargain, as long as you don’t feel the need for a prestige badge, not so much as Vauxhall’s own £34k Corvette powered VXR8, but a supremely capable, practical fast car. H
little corner of Florida witnessed history in the making at the end of November when Jimmie Johnson did something never seen before in NASCAR – he claimed his fourth consecutive driver’s championship – a feat that firmly establishes his place at the top table of American racing greats. Of course to achieve such an impressive accomplishment you need a great team around you and Johnson certainly has that. Crew Chief Chad Knaus has been in charge of the number 48 car for all four of Johnson’s titles, his tactics have certainly helped Johnson along the way, with some astute calls with his race strategy. The 48 car is prepared by Hendrick
One of the most impressive winners in recent American histroy… with Barack Obama. Jimmie Johnson is honored by the President at a White House event
Johnson Takes Place Amongst Motorsport Immortals By Dom Mills
Motorsports, a team that filled the top three positions in the final Cup standings winning a total of 13 races between them. Such attention to detail in preparation is another essential ingredient in the recipe that makes a four-time champ. Having said all that, nothing should be taken away from Johnson and his driving ability, the way he dominated this year’s Cup was astonishing – you don’t get the nickname Superman for nothing! No other team better understands that it’s the last ten races of the year that determine who wins the Cup and the 48 team are masters at getting their car perfect just at the right time. Team mate Mark Martin led the pack going in to the Chase and further increased his lead by winning the first race in the Chase but then Johnson came right back at him by winning three out the
next four races – a run of results that paved the way to the title. Martin’s season was a fairytale in itself after Rick Hendrick persuaded him to race one more year. Few people, least of all Mark Martin himself, would have thought he would still be within reaching distance of claiming his first championship going in to the final race. The only blip in Johnson’s cruise to victory came at Texas when an early wreck with Sam Hornish Jr saw the 48 car in the pits for over 100 laps as his team almost re-built the car as they struggled to limit the damage to his title charge. How many other teams would have called it a day at that point? The 48 team knew they could scrape a few extra points if they got the car back on track. A lowly 38th at Texas was followed up by a crushing win at Phoenix which settled the
nerves somewhat and made all the hard work in the pits at Texas more than worthwhile. Going in to 2010 you cannot see far beyond Johnson making it five in a row, the team is that dominant but Juan Pablo Montoya is starting to realise his potential and Tony Stewart whose car also comes from Hendrick will be in his second year as team owner and could give Johnson a run for his money. Kyle Busch had a year he’d rather forget, missing out on place in the Race despite three race wins, he will be hungry to create some history of his own. Johnson has a few more titles to win before he can sit at the same level as Petty and Earnhardt but it will be some time, if ever, that we will see another driver achieve what Johnson has done over the past four years. H
In his irregular ramble, Richard L Gale reflects on the end of an era, energy levels, and the annual BCS nonsense
affeine is my friend. LDS acquainances may tell me otherwise, but they’re not eight timezones ahead of Pasadena. I’d love to think I can make it to the end of bowl season without stimulants, powered only by the sheer excitement of football, but the BCS sure does know how to drag me down. Recent years brought us Boise State stunning Oklahoma, and Utah upsetting Alabama, but, in the latest affront to my British sense of fair play, the BCS will avoid the chance of double humiliation by sending TCU and Boise State to go play in the yard like good little children while the big boys get on with the serious stuff. And thus we get the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl all over again (by the way, I finally know what a Poinsettia is – there’s one sitting on the corner of my desk, and very festive it is too). At this particular desk, BCS now stands for Big Chicken Schools. Yes, there are regional and rational reasons for the Fiesta to match Boise with TCU, but... well, I don’t care what they are. BCS apologists spend all year claiming the little teams don’t play anyone, then the BCS makes sure they don’t play anyone. So this year I’m boycotting the bowl games. (Nah, not really). Somehow I’ll get through all these bowls. (click...fizz...)
Of course, football has always been the preferred sport of the couch potato. There’s endless opportunities to make snack raids on the kitchen, the breaks
are too short for us to get distracted by chores, and the sport actually celebrates 300lb men – but less so when they hold a clipboard. I do wonder whether Charlie Weis might have been given the benefit of one more season had he projected a little more energy. By the end, he seemed an Irish coach without the fight, without the effort to defend his own job vigorously enough. It may seem odd that a sofa surfer like me is grateful to see Weis and Kansas’ even larger Mark Mangino move on, but I just feel that senior members of athletics departments shouldn’t be in worse shape than me. And at last we can contemplate the next coaching era at Notre Dame. Brian Kelly’s resumé includes what Charlie Weis’ did not: head coaching experience (high school excepted). Kelly took Grand Valley State to two Div. II National Championships, then won a MAC Championship with Central Michigan, and this year won his second straight Big East title with Cincinnati (still unbeaten as I write this).
Bowden Bows Out
The other big coaching change this past month is the baton passing from Bobby Bowden (pictured) to Jimbo Fisher at Florida State. The 80-year old coach has defined FSU football, overseeing two national titles, 12 ACC titles, and the second-winningest career in FBS football history. From 1987 to 2000, he logged 14 straight seasons of 10+ wins. This bowl season he will try
Photo © Christopher Holder
to avoid his first losing season since his first year at FSU in 1976. It’s likely Bowden wanted to come back for another season, but with designated successor Fisher waiting in the wings, the 6-6 record heralded change. Being in the rich recruiting state of Florida, there will be the assumption – as at Notre Dame – that good times will return. Ironically, Bowden’s legacy may exert more pressure on Fisher than all the Rockne and Parseghian legends at South Bend will on Brian Kelly. For all the media coverage, Kelly just has to do better than 35-17 to get to Year Six, At FSU, Bowden set the championship standard so high that, in the end, even Bobby himself couldn’t match it. H
THE REST OF THE BOWLS New Mexico Bowl • December 19 • 4:30 pm Fresno State v Wyoming St. Petersburg Bowl • December 19 • 8 pm UCF v Rutgers R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl • Dec 20 • 8:30 pm Southern Miss v Middle Tennessee San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Dec 23 • 8 pm Utah v Cal Little Caesars Bowl • Dec 26 • 1 pm Marshall v Ohio Meineke Car Care Bowl • Dec 26 • 4:30 pm Pittsburgh v North Carolina Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Dec 2 • 8:30 pm Kentucky v Clemson AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl Dec 28 • 5 pm Texas A&M v Georgia Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl • Dec 30 • 4:30 pm Bowling Green v Idaho Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl • Dec 31 • Noon Houston v Air Force Texas Bowl • Dec 31 • 3:30 pm Navy v Missouri Insight Bowl • Dec 31 • 6 pm Minnesota v Iowa State Chick-fil-A Bowl • Dec 31 • :30 pm Virginia Tech v Tennessee Outback Bowl • Jan 1 • 11 am Northwestern v Auburn Capital One Bowl • Jan 1 • 1 pm Penn State v LSU International Bowl • Jan 2 • Noon South Florida v Northern Illinois Papajohns.com Bowl • Jan 2 • 2 pm South Carolina v UConn AutoZone Liberty Bowl • Jan 2 • 5:30 pm Arkansas v East Carolina Valero Alamo • Jan 2 • 9 pm Michigan State v Texas Tech
Bowl Season PReVIeW By Richard L Gale
ive years after winning the BCS National Championship Game with LSU, coach Nick Saban is back, this time with Alabama. The American’s preseason no.1, Texas, awaits. But before a champion is decided, there’s sixteen days of college football action and no less than 33 other bowl games to be won. Excessive? Probably; but isn’t this usually the season of excess? You may still be in the festive scrimmage at John Lewis when the New mexico Bowl kicks off on the last Saturday before Christmas, but there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy that new 60” HD plasma this new year. Here’s our guide to the ones you don’t want to miss.
10 Non-BCS Games to Catch MAACO Las Vegas Bowl • Dec 22 • 8 pm Oregon State v BYU BYU started and finished their schedule beating ranked foes, and Max Hall v the Rodgers Brothers promises to be a spectacular Sin City showdown.
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl • Dec 30 • 8 pm Arizona v Nebraska Arizona’s offense lacks star power, and Nebraska has a minimal passing threat, but who wouldn’t want to watch Ndamukong Suh one last time?
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl • Dec 24 • 8 pm Nevada v SMU SMU’s first bowl game since ‘The Death Penalty’ is a noteworthy achievement, but the no.1 rushing attack – with three 1000-yard rushers – awaits.
Brut Sun Bowl • Dec 31 • 2 pm Oklahoma v Stanford How fortunes change: after losing five games (and Sam Bradford), Oklahoma is the underdog against 26-TD back Toby Gerhart’s Stanford.
Emerald Bowl • Dec 26 • 8 pm Boston College v USC Which is more astonishing: USC 5th in the Pac-10 or BC matching their 8-4 record with all the events of the past year? USC needs this win badly.
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl • Jan 1 • 1 pm West Virginia v Florida State If FSU doesn’t rise up and beat a better team for Bobby Bowden’s swansong, somebody better check those Seminole players have a pulse.
EagleBank Bowl • Dec 29 • 4:30 pm Army or UCLA v Temple Temple are going bowling for the first time since the Carter administration. Al Golden’s upstart Owls have a good chance of a 10-win season.
AT&T Cotton Bowl • Jan 2 • 2 pm Oklahoma State v Ole Miss Senior OSU QB Zac Robinson won’t want to repeat his 44-yard Oklahoma effort. Watch this for lightning-fast Rebels RB Dexter McCluster alone.
Champ Sports Bowl • Dec 29 • 8 pm Miami v Wisconsin With 16-TD Badgers RB John Clay and 2-TD ’Canes QB Jacory Harris both sophomores, these teams should be troubling the top 10 next year.
GMAC Bowl • Jan 6 • pm Central Michigan v Troy MAC legend Dan LeFevour has a chance to break 150 combined TDs for his career. Troy QB Levi Brown is a worthy adversary. Expect points!
The Big Ones Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi
Ohio State v Oregon Jan. 1 • 4:30 pm It’s a traditional Big 10-Pac 10 clash as Bucks play Ducks. Few teams have salvaged a season the way Oregon has, fighting back after the seasonopening loss to Boise State to log 7 straight wins and upend USC. With Oregon in-form, Ohio State must again prove that they can overcome a sixweek layoff to win a bowl game. Oregon’s no.7 rush attack meets Ohio State’s no.4 rush defense.
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Florida v Cincinnati Jan. 1 • 8:30 pm The Gators looked a little rope-a-dopey against LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State and South Carolina. Then Alabama landed the knockout. If Tim Tebow wants to go out a winner, he must get off the canvas and deliver a similar blow to the unbeaten Bearcats. Cincy’s QB Pike and RB Pead may not match Tebow’s star appeal, but they lead the higher ranked offense coming in.
Jordan Shipley, Colt McCoy and Sergio Kindle of Texas – three seniors rounding off outstanding college careers with a shot at the national title
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Boise State v TCU Jan. 4 • 8 pm True, we’d rather have seen these unbeaten mid-majors getting a crack at the big programs, but Boise State QB Kellen Moore (39 TDs, just 3 picks) and TCU’s smothering defense (no.6 in the nation) provides its own intrigue. Last year’s Poinsettia Bowl matched them for a 17-16 TCU victory – Boise State’s only loss of the last two seasons. Do you suppose they’d like revenge?
FedEx Orange Bowl
Iowa v Georgia Tech Jan. 5 • 8 pm Iowa weren’t just lucky when they started the season 9-0; they bring a top 10 defense to this game, and will need it to keep the Yellow Jackets backfield in check: Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer and QB Josh Nesbitt have combined for 42 scores this season. The concern must be that Iowa’s only win since October was an ugly 12-0 result over Minnesota. This could be a blowout.
Citi BCS National Championship Game Texas v Alabama
Jan. 7 • 8 pm Texas barely outgunned Texas A&M and barely survived Nebraska’s defense. If Alabama needed tape on how to give the Longhorns trouble, they’ve got it. For those with a one-game memory, this looks like Mark Ingram running Texas ragged while Rolando McClain and Terrence Cody take up where Ndamukong Suh left off: sending Colt McCoy to the ground. However, two small caveats: (1) Texas has the no.1 rush defense in the land, with no single back breaking 100 yards against them all season; and (2) McCoy just wins – more than any QB in NCAA history. That makes it tough to bet against him now, but when Alabama QB Greg McElroy has been called upon to carry the offense, he’s done it; the same cannot be said of the Texas running game. McCoy will need to end his career with a special game. H (All kickoff times ET)
Paw Talk, or My Life as a Dog in London by Rebel.
’m on my dog box today. It all started with my best dog pal in the world, Scout, being attacked in Dulwich Park by a half Husky dog not on a lead. There Scout was, on her lead, happily trotting beside the Blonde when out of nowhere comes this huge dog and the next thing my little Westie pal is being tossed into the air like some football. Now the Blonde is horrified, but she also loves Scout and she bravely grabs her away from the jaws of this vicious animal. But the half Husky, having tasted blood, still goes after my now terrified little pal and seizes her from the Blonde’s arms, tearing her jacket. In the meantime, the owner, who has another big dog on the lead, comes after her Husky, but has to stop because the second dog wants to attack Scout as well. People are coming from all over the park to help, but everyone is afraid of these two big dogs and can do nothing but watch in horror. Finally, the Blonde manages to rescue Scout and she runs home, clutching my terrified little friend in her arms. Not only has the Blonde been bitten severely on her finger and needs a tetanus shot and medicine for a week to protect against infection, but the vets who see Scout tell the Blonde they have never seen a dog so savagely attacked before. In fact, it’s almost a miracle Scout survived. Believe me, I saw her wounds and they are horrific. Although the Blonde reported the attack to the police, the next day she spots the woman with the half Husky
It’s not the dog, whatever the breed. It’s the owner. PHoTo: PAmELA CARLS
who attacked Scout and he still wasn’t on a lead but running freely in the park as if nothing happened the day before. When the Blonde confronts the woman she says her dog doesn’t need a lead because it was Scout’s fault as her dog wasn’t used to seeing dogs on leads… which is about the dumbest excuse I ever heard. And that’s the reason for the soap box. You see, it is irresponsible owners like this one who give us dogs a bad name. She-Who-Must-Be-ObeyedUsually grew up with German Sheep Dogs as she calls them, but they were well behaved. Often, she went with her father and the dog hiking in the woods behind their house and the dog wouldn’t be on a lead, but, and I emphasize this, when they were around children in the park her father (who trained dogs) made certain he was.
We dogs love our parks and going for long walks with our owners, the majority whom, I might add, have well-behaved dogs. Having a dog means owners must be responsible for their pet no matter what the size of the animal. I just wish the public would realize when they hear about a dog attacking a child it isn’t the dog’s fault but the owner’s. It was obvious this woman had no control over one dog let alone two, even with a lead on them, and the animals should be taken from her because, as She-WhoMust-Be-Obeyed-Usually pointed out, the next time it could be a child that dog comes after. H
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The American has been published in Britain since 1976. It is the only monthly magazine / website / community for Americans visiting and livi...
Published on Mar 1, 2010
The American has been published in Britain since 1976. It is the only monthly magazine / website / community for Americans visiting and livi...