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Filling the hunger since 1992
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS You've seen her tackle every dialect under the sun, and, in recent years alone, uncannily embody the likes of Julia Child and Margaret Thatcher. And yet, in August: Osage County, Meryl Streep reinvents herself once more, playing the drug-addled matriarch of a highly dysfunctional brood. On the verge of what's likely to be a record 18th Oscar nomination, the acting legend discusses playing intoxicated, going to troublingly dark places, and why producer George Clooney didn't shack up with the cast on their Midwestern set.
DR. DOG | 24
For those who claim that you can’t go home again, Philadelphia’s internationally renowned Dr. Dog prove everything to the contrary each time they step onto a stage or into a recording studio. Dr. Dog’s song catalog has twin towers of melody and lyrical mood behind it. That hasn’t changed since Dog’s start when Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken were known as Raccoon and these old friends were 15 years old.
COLUMNS City Beat | 5 Backstage | 5 Sally Friedman | 38 Jim Delpino | 39
A THOUSAND WORDS Staying Informed | 7 Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks.
ART Art for Society’s Sake | 8 Is it Art? | 9
FILM CINEMATTERS | 10 August: Osage County
Robert DeNiro in The Big Wedding.
KERESMAN ON DISC | 30 Xiu Xiu; Noam Pikelny; Ruth Moody; Keeril Makan; Bobby Troup; Booker Ervin; Oscar Pettiford JAZZ LIBRARY | 31 Tommy Flanagan NICK’S PICKS | 32 Top Jazz Releases of 2013 Jimmy Amadie
FOOD The Stockton Inn | 34 Kanella | 36
KERESMAN ON FILM | 12 Saving Mr. Banks
Harper’s Findings | 40
BAD MOVIE | 14 The Worst Bad Movies of 2013
L.A. Times Crossword | 42 Agenda | 43
Harper’s Index | 41
REEL NEWS | 16 Blue Jasmine; The Spectacular Now; Enough Said; Inequality for All
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ADVERTISING 800-354-8776 Entertainment Editor Bruce H. Klauber / firstname.lastname@example.org City Beat Editor Thom Nickels / email@example.com Fine Arts Editors Edward Higgins Burton Wasserman Music Editors Nick Bewsey Mark Keresman / firstname.lastname@example.org Bob Perkins Tom Wilk Food Editor Robert Gordon / email@example.com Wine Editor Patricia Savoie Contributing Writers A. D. Amorosi Robert Beck Jack Byer Peter Croatto James P. Delpino Sally Friedman Geoff Gehman Mark Keresman George Oxford Miller R. Kurt Osenlund T. J. Reese
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MUSIC THE JAZZ SCENE | 26
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OSCAR PICKS | 20 Who Will (and Who Should) Be Going for the Gold
.Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in American Hustle.
IT / Audio Consultant Andy Kahn
FILM ROUNDUP | 18 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; American Hustle; Inside Llewyn Davis; Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
SINGER / SONGWRITER | 28 Mary Chapin Carpenter; Los Lobos; Lou Pride; Roy Orbison; Tom Russell
1-800-354-8776 • 215-862-9558
MERYL STREEP | 22
Louis Stoumen(1917-1991). Tattoo on Sailor’s Bottom, 1944. Gelatin silver print. Gift of artist
The intersection of art, entertainment, culture, opinion and mad genius
ON THE COVER: Meryl Streep in August: Osage County. Film review, page 10; Interview, page 22.
Copyright 2014 Prime Time Publishing Co., Inc.
N3RDS We headed to the Suzanne Roberts Theater to catch N3RDS, the recently rejuvenated Hal Goldberg musical that created a buzz on the Roberts stage in 2007. Then as now, the epic story of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates took the audience by storm. The final scene, with Jobs in Heaven, was the jolt we needed (besides the giveaway “Nerd” glasses) before heading to the post-play reception where a joyous Sara Garonzik shook a lot of hands. Though many Roberts regulars were not present, there were still crowds around the buffet table (food is the new gold). We chatted with Neal Zoren who let it be known that N3RDS may be headed to Broadway. While we didn’t wear the Nerd glasses immediately (like so many of the millennials present), when we put them on in the subway we swear we heard somebody murmur, “Bill Gates!”
LIFE IS A CABARET Not so very long ago, nightspots in the New Hope, PA area regularly presented top-flight cabaret acts on their way to or from New York City, including legends like Mabel Mercer, Bobby Short and Julie Wilson. Odette’s was one of the more well-known cabaret venues, but that flood-ravaged facility is evidently now a part of history. Enter the Rrazz Room, which has been doing well for some years in San Francisco. Rrazz Room, which bills itself as “The Premier Supper Club of Bucks County” and located within New Hope’s Ramada Inn, is bringing cabaret back to New Hope by way of booking top-flight attractions such as Tom Wopat, Nellie McKay, Karen Akers, Janis Siegl and others. This is an idea whose time—again—has come. For details, visit http://siteline.vendini.com/rrazz-room.
ARRESTING ART We headed to PAFA to meet the effervescent Tish Ingersoll, and check out another alumni art show. Miniature canvasses lined the walls of the former PAFA bookstore, but we preferred the paintings in the room’s small alcove which also doubles as a good conversation space. With Lisa Heyman, Noel Miles and PAFA student Charles Schultz, we said hello to artist Bill Scott—although Scott left before he could hear our discussion about whether the miniatures could be merged into a single collage of Jane Golden-proportions. Our least favorite pieces were the Miami Beach-glitz style pet portraits with jewelry embedded into the frames. We topped the evening off with a walk to Dirty Franks’ (where we hoped to meet poet Frank Sherlock) in order to catch Cohabitation, a photography exhibit exploring the merging of classical and modern styles in Philly. We spotted Thomas Carroll, an expert on Wissahickon German mystic, Johannes Kelipus, and Walton Van Winkle, artist/raconteur and a descendant of Cornelius Van Winkle, the publisher of Washington Irving’s first book. Van Winkle’s image of the Cira Center—one of the more arresting pieces in the show—made us forget Dirty Frank’s reputation as a community matchmaker: more people here have met their spouses (and 11th hour pickups) than in almost any other bar in the city, despite Dirty Frank’s brash Walmartesque lighting. Our booth, for instance, was directly under a high intensity (read: film noir interrogation) bulb, which made us think of old Glenn Ford films and put us eye to eye with a Zoe Strauss imitation photo of a haggard and potentially angry woman (Kensington?) who was staring hard at something in the distance.
TOPPER FOR HOPPER “East Wind Over Weehawkin,” painted by artist Edward Hopper during the depression years, has been owned by the PA Academy of the Fine Arts for around 60 years. It was sold to someone who prefers not to be identified. No wonder. The selling price, which includes the commissions to auctioneer Christie’s, was $40.5 million. The academy will see $36 million of that, which it plans to use to set up an endowment to acquire more art, much of it contemporary.
LIVELY LOBBY Sometimes we perform wedding ceremonies for couples who have problems with legalistic churches. Julie and Frank’s wedding at the First Unitarian Church in Center City was one for the books: Stretch limo, rose petals from China, candles, not to mention ribbons of happy tears. The reception and dinner on the 33rd floor of the PSFS Building afterward opened our eyes to the faults of the International Style. We’re not talking architecture, but rather the building’s use as a hotel. Maybe it was the holidays, but there were always crowds around the elevators. Whether one pressed Up or Down, the process took 15 minutes as agitated passengers did their best to look nonplussed, although some could not suppress a sneer, a rolling of the eyes or an exasperated laugh. The Kabuki theater-sized lobby was no consolation either: it transformed small crowds into elbow-to-elbow congestion. For a design comparison, we headed across the street to the Marriott where the lobby is much more spacious, but where the line to Starbucks snaked out the door and into the lobby. It was packed with young female Irish dancers practicing intricate leg maneuvers that made their curly manes of hair bounce, a scene that inevitably made us think (somewhat tenderly) of city film rep, Sharon Pinkenson. AUCTION ACTION The Crystal Room in Macy’s was better before they carted out the original chandelier and replaced it with an imitation. We still loved our time under the lights celebrating The Attic’s 20th Anniversary Gala, Unlocking the Future. You have to love an organization that starts out
MOVING ON In other art developments, Derek Gillman, executive director/president of the Barnes Foundation—who was a major player in the Merion-to-Center City relocation of the Barnes Museum—is certainly entitled to a time out. He’s taking that time out, as he has resigned from Barnes to become a visiting professor at Drexel’s Westphal Collge of Media Arts and Design. He will teach a “museum leadership program” in Drexel’s Arts History department. MAKIN’ WHOOPIE FOR MOMS Celebrities continue to amaze. Actress/comic/television personality Whoopi Goldberg, who likely has more money than God, wants to hold onto it. Though she desperately wants to bring the story of the legendary comic, Jackie “Moms” Mabley to the silver screen, she’s turned to online fund-raiser Kickstarter, of all things, to raise money for the project. Thus far, comics Kathy Grifffin, Joan Rivers and Eddie Murphy have promised to appear on-screen, which may serve as their “donations.” FOR ALL THE “BEYOND-TEENS” Our ageless main man, pots and pans, a.k.a. “The Geator with the Heater”—Jerry Blavat—will be presenting one of his ever-popular oldies extravaganzas at Kimmel Center on January 25. This one, called “The Great Voices of the 60s,” stars the very talented Bobby Rydell (perhaps he’ll play some drums on this show), Jay Black, Gary US Bonds and Pat Upton. The Geator’s book, You Only Rock Once: My Life in Music, is now in paperback and deservedly continues to sell very well. As it stands, it is the only chronicle of every facet of the rich history of Philadelphia entertainment. For Kimmel Center ticketing info: KimmelCenter.org. IT TOOK A HURRICANE The good news is that Atlantic City’s casino revenue rose over 27 percent in November, compared to a year ago. Bad news is that the casinos were closed for the first week in November last year due to hurricane Sandy. Still, in that October revenues this year were up 3.6 percent, this marks the first time since August and September 2006 that A.C. has seen backto-back monthly increases. INNOVATIVE BOARDWALK BOOKING Caesars Atlantic City has pegged the champ himself, “Iron” Mike Tyson, to perform his
Journalist Thom Nickels’ books include Philadelphia Architecture, Tropic of Libra, Out in History and Spore. He is the recipient of the 2005 Philadelphia AIA Lewis Mumford Architecture Journalism Award. thomnickels.blogspot.com
Bruce Klauber is a published author/biographer, producer of DVDs for Warner Bros., CD producer for Fresh Sound Records, and a working jazz drummer. He graduated from Temple University and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Combs College of Music.
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in 1993 as a tiny, weekly support group for LGBT teens and then grows into a multi-service giant. The Who’s Who LGBT event kept us recognizing faces—from Mark Segal and Malcolm Lazin to a teacher we had at Great Valley High in Malvern. We chatted and exchanged smiles at the bar with an Asian/Latino couple of indeterminate sex as they sipped Shirley Temples. We also enjoyed watching Carrie Jacobs, PhD, The Attic’s Executive Director, being the belle of the ball. We wanted to ask Carrie to dance, as well as Philly Pride’s Franny Price, but the bulk of the dance time was taken up with auctioneering. We felt somewhat impoverished as smartly dressed couples threw out huge bid numbers, as if money grew on faux chandeliers. The Attic celebration was a superb complement to the Philadelphia FIGHT for Life Gala at the Union League, where former Governor Ed Rendell was the official honoree for his long-term commitment to AIDS/HIV communities. We met Chip Alfred, FIGHT’s new Director of Communications, Public Relations & Events, and told him how happy and relaxed he looked in his new position. MOVIN’ ON We admit to a having recurring dream of moving into a large (and affordable) Center City apartment house. This led us to the offices of Carol Sano, sales manager at The Franklin Residences, who took us on a guided tour. The DiBruno Brothers market just off the lobby had us sampling different cheeses, and our tour of the penthouses, had us immersed in skyline fantasies. If we ever sell our house, we’re moving to the Franklin, if only because of the rows of original framed Horace Trumbauer (Benjamin Franklin Hotel) blueprints that lined the corridor to the fitness room. AN EL OF A NIGHT We’ve noticed a tendency, especially among millennials, to travel in packs of ten or more when they head to clubs. We don’t know when this trend started but it is now at full tilt. Stand at the El at Front and Girard on a weekend night and you will witness millennial armies walking in unison up Girard Avenue. When we were 21, we never went out on the town with this many people. We had friends, of course, and would arrange to do things with one or two at a time, but never ten or fifteen. While it may be possible to corral fifteen people to leave from point A, keeping them together for the duration of a pub crawl just isn’t possible. The millennials who do walk back to the El alone usually hail a cab rather than wait for SEPTA. Waiting curbside alone for a bus seems to be the last thing they want to do. While the city can be a wonderful place, there’s always talk of danger, some of it warranted and some exaggerated. The people who exaggerate the dangers have the edge every time. Their message has saturated the suburbs. We know how suburbanites exaggerate their dislike of the city—how two murders becomes twenty, how every dilapidated neighborhood, even those experiencing high gentrification, harbors a rapist or two, a knife wielding maniac, muggers, or homeless people. In the Teflon shopping malls of Exton or Radnor there are no such horrors, although death by boredom may be the number one killer there. PRESS NOT WELCOME? We did our best to cover The Woodland’s Second Annual Madeira Party, but were told “No press invited.” What would The Woodland’s namesake, William Hamilton, have to say about this? We’re pretty sure it would be, “The will of the world is never the will of God.” BABIES NOT WELCOME While we love a cute baby as much as anyone, we don’t think that infants belong next to corporate buffet tables filled with sushi and gourmet cheeses. For starters, some of the babies we’ve seen at these functions look like newborns. While attending (the otherwise wonderful) Voith & Mactavish Architects holiday party celebrating their new offices at 2401 Walnut Street, we noticed a small child being taken out of a stroller and placed on the floor of the reception room while partygoers circled the stroller balancing drinks, plates of crab, blue cheese and slices of roast pig. Not only was the stroller blocking much needed room in that confined space, but the baby’s daddy insisted on giving the child walking lessons in the middle of the floor, making it necessary for guests to detour around them in order to avoid a collision. Daddy, meanwhile, was all smiles and not the least embarrassed about the public display. While a few did stop and say, “Oh, what a cute little baby,” most looked the other way and ignored the show, almost as if they were thinking, “Haven’t you ever heard of a babysitter?” BRIEF GRIEF The world of pet ownership has changed drastically in the last 20 years. We got a sense of this when we watched Sunday Bloody Sunday, a film by John Schlesinger, that we first saw in the ‘70s. The London-based love story shows the death of the family dog who is hit by a car while racing across the street. The reaction of the characters stunned us. They frown, look a little distraught, but within seconds they compose themselves and talk about “getting another one.” In today’s more emphatic environment, there would be considerable grief at the death, possibly comparable to the death of a child. ■
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one-man show, Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth, on January 25. Reviews have been mixed about this, shall we say,“performance,” but A.C. was and is a boxing town and champ still has his fans. Bet this one sells out quickly. Also just signed at Caesars for a March 15 gig are veteran rockers, The Moody Blues. BET ON THE NET? Some of the powers-that-be consider the legalization of internet gambling in New Jersey to be a savior. Others aren’t so sure, including casino mogul Steve Wynn, who just pulled out of the Philadelphia gaming license competition. “I have been bombarded by my colleagues about the internet,” he says. “Like Mt. Everest, it looms on the horizon, blotting out the sun. I fail to see the business opportunity myself.” Guess that means he doesn’t care for the concept. GAGA SAGA The ever-popular Lady Gaga has a new tour called, for whatever reason, artRave: The ARTPOP Ball, and it’s sold out. New dates are being added, including one in Atlantic City at Boardwalk Hall. Tickets, available via TicketMaster.com, among other places, are now on sale. Tony Bennett has reported that his long-in-preparation duo recording with the Lady herself will be hitting the streets as you read this. “It came out wonderful,” (his word, direct quote) said Mr. B. “It’s a sensational jazz album, with great jazz artists on it. I’m very excited about it.” MY FAVORITE THINGS? The critical jury is still out on NBC television’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music, which starred Carrie Underwood. Though some critics cringed, it seems that critics just don’t mean that much these days, as the program was watched by 18.6 million people—that we know of, anyway—and NBC plans to produce and air more live musicals. It is said that Peter Pan may be next. And what did Julie Andrews, the beloved star of the 1965 feature film have to say about the telecast? “Alas, I did not see it. I had a speaking engagement. But my kids did record it. I’ll get around to it.” POST TIME In an effort to increase their shrinking customer base, The Philaldelphia Orchestra has introduced “Chamber Postludes,” a series of free concerts—free for ticket holders—to be held in Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall immediately following selected Sunday afternoon performances by the Orchestra. The program, which began in late November, will continue on January 12 and February 23. A good deal of thought has gone into these presentations, as these postludes have been designed to reflect what the full orchestra has played at the matinee concerts. Info: KimmelCenter.org Down the block apiece at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Curtis Board has elected Baroness Nina von Maltzahn to head the Board on June 1, replacing H.F. Lenfest who has served since 2006. The Baroness resides in Uruguary, but is said to spend plenty of time in New York, Berlin and Zurich. This election, says Executive Vice President Elizabeth Warshawer, reflects the fact that Curtis has “become a global force for music.” BOOKINGS Like bass solos, celebrity bios and autobios keep popping up with incredible regularity. Latest titles published are comic Billy Crystal’s hilarious Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going and Where the Hell are my Keys? (Henry Holt), Brian Ray Jones’ exhaustively researched bio of Muppet maven Jim Henson—Jim Henson: The Biography—a Ballantine Books title, Victoria Wilson’s A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel True (Simon & Schuster), a one-thousand pager that only runs up until 1940 (there will be a volume two); and Shirley Jones’ autobio, Shirley Jones: A Memoir, from Gallery Books. Jones tells plenty in this work, perhaps more than any of us ever needed to know. How will readers’ lives be enriched, for example, by knowing what Ms. Jones does these days alone in her bedroom? IN THE WOOD Those in the know are well aware that Collingswood—as in New Jersey—is a happening little borough, with great restaurants, live music and all kinds of charming festivals held year round. What some folks may not know is this: Collingswood’s Scottish Rite Auditorium, now known as The Ballroom and Theater at Collingswood, is a venue that is booking national and regional acts. The 1,000-seat theater, deemed by David Crosby as “the coolest place I ever played,” doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. Acts booked thus far for the new year— under the aegis of Camden County Board of Freeholders—include folk/rocker Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam on January 25, yet another Beatles tribute show—“The Fab Four”—on Feburary 9, and a real folk music coup, Don “American Pie” McLean and Judy Collins on March 22. Ticketing and details: CollingswoodBallroomTheater ■
A Thousand Words
STORY AND PAINTING BY ROBERT BECK
THERE ARE TWO PLACES where people get their news in Jonesport, Maine: the Post Office and the Variety Store. The town is not very big and to go someplace you have to go past everything else, so it’s more a matter of preference than convenience. The Variety Store would, by the standards of a larger town, be called the Somewhat Limited Store. Most of the space is taken up with videos for rent. The rest is stuff you might buy to eat and drink while watching those videos. There are a few sundries on one section of shelving but it would be a grand act of Kismet to find something you really needed. There’s a hardware store for that. My unscientific study revealed that (other than the occasional teenager renting a video) most of the customers in the Variety Store were men. A lot of those are fishermen who stop by after work to hang out at the large table near the front window and catch up on the latest. If they aren’t going out for lobsters that day they might come in early and play cribbage. You can usually find somebody sitting at the second-hand, wood dining room set, thumbing a newspaper or making a point. They call it the Liar’s Table. My study also indicated that the majority of people frequenting the Post Office are women. I saw them run into each other outside and stop to chat while flipping through their envelopes. I suppose once the men and women get home and trade the day’s events over dinner they have all the news they need. There is a mysterious, preternatural form of communication in Downeast villages that can be described as Scuttlebutt Osmosis. One of the first paintings I did was at the Liar’s Table because it was a good way to get the news out about what I was doing in town. Immediately thereafter, people knew who I was before I walked through the door. The advance notice didn’t make them more talkative—it’s still Maine—but it got me into unusual places to paint. A few days later I set up not far from the Post Office to paint a scene on Main Street. A lobsterman named Mark pulled into the lot, got out of his truck and stood behind me as I painted. He stayed there watching me work for at least an hour. I was nearing the end and needed to recharge for a
Robert Beck Maintains a Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. www.robertbeck.net
few minutes, so I told him I was going to take a break in order to finish with fresh eyes. I put my brushes in the cup and stepped back from the easel. Mark put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Stand behind your car and watch the trucks coming down the road.” His instruction surprised and confused me a little but I’ve learned that when I’m on another person’s turf it can be helpful to follow his or her lead, at least until things get dicey, so I moseyed over to my car and leaned against my trunk. Mark stood in front of my easel and looked at the image. Then he took one of my brushes out of the cup and held it up as if he was about to add a stroke. That made me uncomfortable but my brain kept a grip on my mouth. In the larger scheme, it’s just a painting and I know how to fix it. There was no telling where things would go if I got weird about it so I just watched with acute interest. Mark stood
frozen in that position, looking at the painting intently, poised to add the next passage. I remembered what he told me and glanced at the road. Down Main Street came the lobstermen in their pickups, straight from the harbor on their way to the Variety Store. Just past the Post Office was Mark at the easel, leaning on his forward leg, brush extended, focused on the painting with furrowed brow, not unlike what I look like when I’m working. I watched the drivers slow down, turning their heads in disbelief, passengers twisting around nearly falling out of the truck windows. I would love to have been at the Liar’s table when that group showed up. Only minutes passed before word made it to the Post Office and people poured outside to see news in the making. Mark saw them coming, chuckled and said, “I’m going to pay dearly for this.” ■
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BACK IN LATE 1929, the historic Stock Market Crash was followed by a devastating period of economic and psychological depression. It was a time of massive tragedy. Millions of people were thrown out of work and into a state of desperation. Many segments of the nation’s business empire and industrial resources were forced to close their doors. Consumers sought to curb their spending, often refraining from making purchases of such supposed luxuries as fine art. Consequently, many artists lost their potential for generating income. Soon, they found themselves sadly beleaguered by an insidious condition of woebegone poverty. Even farmers, hit hard by dust storms and drought, became victims of both bankruptcy and hunger. Total catastrophe was averted by President Roosevelt. By the exercise of creative statecraft, he instituted programs designed to cope with the disasters that had crippled the country. For example, in 1934 a federal agency called the Works Project Administration (or the WPA) was created to help deal with many of the problems. Among other measures, this program paid artists to produce paintings, murals, original graphic prints, photographs and posters as well as provide art instruction for a variety of educational applications. Many
Dr. Burton Wasserman is a professor emeritus of Art at Rowan University, and a serious artist of long standing. His program, Art From Near and Far, is on WWFM in NJ and Bucks County and WGLS in South Jersey.
Art for Society’s Sake of their artistic efforts were devoted to illuminating the social and political atmosphere of the time. In the decade between 1933 and 1943, such well-known figures as Julius Bloch, Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kunioshi and Alice Neel were associated with various aspects of the overall enterprise. Many artworks put together at the time have since been acquired by the permanent collection of the Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. At present, the Museum is offering a marvelous cross-section display of examples dating from the period when federal aid helped artists survive during the years of the Great Depression. It is titled Art for Society’s Sake: the WPA and its Legacy. The show is installed in the Annenberg Gallery of the Samuel Hamilton Building, a block north of the famous Frank Furnessdesigned, red stone Academy structure on Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia. It will remain on public view until April 6, 2014. “Ultra-Marine” is a rhythmically active abstraction in oil on canvas by Stuart Davis. The composition doesn’t seek to resemble the appearance of any of the subjects one might encounter in the ordinary, everyday world. Instead, it projects the integrity and reality of its own existence as a highly imaginative artwork with a look and a pulse-beat entirely its own. Visually, it gives expression to sensations and ideas that are rather kin to jazz music, to which Davis was extremely partial. He felt that such fanciful forms contributed very significantly to the life
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of his society in a highly positive and richly joyful manner. Alice Neel was acutely sensitive to the living and working conditions of sadly impoverished residents of the inner city. In her painting “Investigation of Poverty at the Russel Sage Foundation,” she deals with the plight of a poor woman with seven children in a setting in which the sad circumstances of her life were being investigated by representatives of a social advocacy agency. The picture plays a powerful emotional role as an instrument of socially conscious responsibility. “End of the 14th St. Crosstown Line” is a painting in the medium of egg tempera by Reginald Marsh, an artist associated with the movement called American regionalism. The scene focuses on construction workers tearing up trolley tracks in the street in order to make way for a coming subway station project. At the same time, union picketers mount a strike against an urban department store located in the midst of the setting. The clanging sound of the tools used by the laborers is virtually a ring of truth attesting to the facts depicted by the artwork. As the exhibition demonstrates, a major achievement of the WPA art project was the fact that the provision of sorely needed government aid for artists was able to take place without imposing restrictions on their freedom of expression. In addition, by offering support for significant creative production, contact with what art has to offer was moved from an area of concern reserved principally for society’s elite to a place where the citizenry at large might benefit from what gifted artists bring into being. ■
Is it Art? THE CURRENT EXHIBITION AT the Zoellner Art Gallery at Lehigh University has three titles, four student and three staff curators, and more than a dozen images. The images come from the University’s teaching collection in Advanced Museum Studies and then, ironically, questions whether they are art at all. The show is called Is It Art? Is It Good? And Who Says So? It was curated by Alex Doersam, Jocelyn Garland, Alexandria Kennedy and Rebecca Diefenbach—students—and Mark Wonsidler, Jeffery Ludwig, and Prof. Ricardo Viera—staff. The questions being addressed are both age old and timely. Today, when sharks in formaldehyde go for millions of dollars and giant twist balloons for multi-millions, who is to say what art is. As Jed Perl, art critic for The New Republic, said in conjunction with the $58 million sale of a Koons, “The cash registers are ringing and that’s the only music anybody any longer really hears in the art world.” According to Professor Viera, the inspiration for the exhibition came from a 1997 article in The New York Times with the same headline by Amei Wallach. In the piece, Wallach put the question to a dozen or so of the art world’s movers and shakers. The results were predictable—the artists said it was what they did, the curaters said it was what they exhibited, and the dealers said it was what they sold. The piece did, however, renew the argument about art. That’s the one that says, “I don’t know much about art, I only know what I like.” Imagine if you will, students taking the University’s teaching collection and questioning its authenticity as art. The man who has famously thought, talked and wrote about the nature of modern art is Columbia University philosophy professor, the late Arthur Danto. In 1964, he came upon a Brillo box fashioned by Andy Warhol and quickly determined that there was nothing discernible to the eye between the Warhol and a real Brillo box. Hence, he said art and art history are dead. Art is no longer visual but, rather, it is philosophical. And who better to be an art critic than a philosopher. Danto served for many years as the art critic for The Nation. One can get an idea of his opinions from Wallach’s quote attributed to Danto: “Art these days has very little to do with aesthetic responses; it has more to do with intellectual responses. You have to project a hypothesis: Suppose it is a work of art? The certain questions come into play—what’s it about, what does it mean, why was it made, when was it made, and with respect to what social and artistic conversation, does it make a contribution? If you get good answers to these questions, it’s art. Otherwise, it turned out just to be a hole in the ground.” Is It Art? comprises images such as a dead dog, a citrus carton label, a Walt Disney ad, a tattooed sailor’s butt, images of diseases, a bowl of soup, and an Italian movie poster. Any questions? Any answers? For this reviewer that’s where Danto’s methods fail. These are in the proper context, chosen by educated people, hung in an art gallery, etc. The problem is there are no good answers to any of his questions. The matter of context is vitally important. A child’s finger painting on a family’s refrigerator doesn’t pretend to be art. That same work, matted, framed, lit properly and hung on the wall of a reputable museum might, however, make many people think it’s art. Then there are those who will say that a piece of art doesn’t have to mean anything. It can just be and the true magic is what is stirred within the viewer. What is being shown in this exhibition are the kinds of images that inherently make some people uneasy and, of course, that can have a social value. This type of display can easily go too far depending on the sensibility of the viewer. This occurs when the image in question skips into the obscene and pornographic such as the crucifix in the jar of urine. Part of the Lehigh University show is to gauge the reaction of viewers, and to this end there is a website where people can voice their thoughts. The show runs through June 2015, which should be long enough to judge art from a hole in the ground. ■ Top: Larry Fink, American (b. 1941) Homage to George Grosz, 2001. Pigment ink print. Gift of the artist. Middle: M.L. Kalich & Co, Up n' Atom Brand California Carrots, 1930-1939. Color lithograph on paper. Fine Art Endowment Purchase. Bottom: Nestor Arenas, Cuban, lives in FL, (1964- ). Untitled (Dead Dog), 2003. Archival digital print on paper. Wilson Endowment Purchase.
Edward Higgins is a member of The Association Internationale Des Critiques d’Art. W W W. FA C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V ■ W W W. I C O N D V . C O M ■ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 9
Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Abigail Breslin.
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY FEATURES many people talking a lot at a high volume about family tragedies straight from a talk show hosted by Tennessee Williams. Sometimes a character gets slapped or hit with a shovel. Occasionally Meryl Streep [Streep interview, pg. 22] sounds like Foghorn Leghorn’s mom. It’s an exhausting experience, like being locked in an endless group therapy session or being transported through the pages of a journal written by a psychotic drifter with mommy issues. Welcome to Osage County, Oklahoma, where the temperature is as boiling as the characters’ emotions. It’s about to get very unpleasant for everyone, including you, you poor son of a bitch. A collection of disturbed souls has gathered at the home of Violet Weston, the pill-popping, cigarette-smoking matriarch whose husband, Beverly (Sam Shepard), has gone missing. The group of borderline well-wishers includes Violet and Beverly’s estranged daughter, Barbara (Julia Roberts), who is accompanied by her surly teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin) and fed-up husband (Ewan McGregor). Almost immediately, Barbara and Violet butt heads. Things worsen after Beverly turns up dead in a lake. Barbara’s family accumulates—new age moron sister Karen (Juliette Lewis) and her shady fiancé, Steve (Dermot Mulroney); shy sister Ivy (Julianne Nicholson); Aunt Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale); Uncle Charlie (Chris Cooper, the movie’s sole slice of sanity) and Mattie Fae’s late-arriving doofus son (Benedict Cumberbatch)—as does the resentment over past slights. Violet, suffering from mouth cancer and a vicious case of narcissism, is
popping pills. The polite façade breaks. Over the course of several days, it’s reduced to rubble—along with our patience. August: Osage County is based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Sounds promising. Like Letts’ Killer Joe, which was a terrific movie, the material is clearly southwestern gothic. Great. It’s puzzling then why director John Wells handles this like it’s an old-fashioned drama, ignoring the mania that surrounds him, and taking a pass on establishing his own macabre world, like William Friedkin did in last year’s Killer Joe. (Oh, what Todd Solondz would have done if given the chance to go beyond the Jersey suburbs!) Wells approaches the film with the august, earnest attitude associated with a prestige picture, and if you think Wells does anything with the camerawork or set-up to complement Letts’ darkness, you are clearly unfamiliar with dramas released in December by Bob and Harvey Weinstein. The performances carry the day here, because big stars enthusiastically chewing the scenery to a pulp will get the attention of critics and Oscar voters. That does little good if the director exhibits no control over the material. Wells presents everything at a raging boil—the gap between Barbara saying hello to Violet to wrestling her to the ground can be measured with an egg timer. All the actors can do is spew their confessions or choke out jagged bits of emotion. What we get is Therapy: The Motion Picture. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a problem that affects everyone else and probably the Sooners offensive line. There are secret lovers and a safety deposit box and Steve is getting too chummy with Barbara’s daughter. And Barbara’s
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husband finds her insufferable. And, Jesus Christ, is this exhausting. The avalanche of crises makes it impossible to relate to the characters at the most basic level, including the “boy, aren’t families crazy?” kind of way. They’re vessels for suffering. We’re the port they keep slamming into. Via critic’s law, this is where I must write about how Streep comes along and salvages everything. She tears into Violet with venomous enthusiasm, but what she is supposed to represent beyond the mother from hell? For all of Streep’s epic talents, I can recall only one movie (1991’s Defending Your Life) where it felt like she wasn’t playing a personification of an emotion or an icon. And August: Osage County badly needs someone we can identify with; Cooper’s kindly uncle is not around enough. Roberts’ Barbara is the best candidate— this visit is clearly a chance to slay the dragon so she can rebuild her own crumbling kingdom—but the actress’ shrillness-as-personal triumph approach lets us down. August: Osage County is nothing more than a series of hard left turns and cries for our attention. It’s the family that cried wolf. Who knows what we should pay attention to or care about? Great actors emoting and screaming in the name of cinema or under the guise of deeper understanding isn’t just boring—it’s a lousy, deceitful way to be “entertained.” ■ Pete Croatto also reviews film for The Weekender (Scranton, PA) and blogs about pop culture daily at EntertainmenTell.com. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Grantland, Philadelphia, Publishers Weekly, New Jersey Monthly, MAD, and The Christian Science Monitor. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Keresman on Film
Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
VEN WHEN FACTUALLY FLAWED or loaded with outright poppycock, film biographies can still be entertaining. W. C. Fields and Me and Yankee Doodle Dandy (about songwriter/showman George M. Cohan) are full of merde but are still entertaining movies. Saving Mr. Banks is the story of what happened when two iconic characters clashed—master of the American Dream Machine Walt Disney and P. L. Travers. Disney wanted to make a movie out of the popular children’s book, Mary Poppins, written by Travers, who’d resisted 20 years of his entreaties. Travers was afraid her book would be Hollywoodized beyond recognition. However, in the early 1960s, Travers, whose finances were getting strained, reluctantly reconsidered the offer. And off to Hollywood she went. Emma Thompson is Travers, who is portrayed as a stiff, sour, distant martinet. She insists on a high level of creative control over her property, and Disney and his minions want a happy family film. The clashes between Travers and Disney’s creative team are intercut with Travers’ childhood in Australia. We see scenes of the to-be-author as a child with
Saving Mr. Banks her doting father, played by Colin Farrell, who is excellent here portraying a devoted nurturer, yet is harrowingly pathetic because he is an alcoholic. We get to see what shaped Travers’ imagination, to see how someone would create a “Mary Poppins” to rescue a family in turmoil. Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney as a fatherly yet shrewd businessman who tries in a number of ways to convince Travers that her beloved work will be treated with the proper respect. Hanks and Thompson are excellent—whether or not their portrayals are accurate is beside the point. Both convey people with a fierce devotion to their respective crafts, an unshakable integrity, and differing levels of underlying sadness. Travers is portrayed as a contentious bitch. At one point, her driver, played by the usually excellent Paul Giamatti, offers her (while she’s in pensive/glum mode) a cup of tea to which she replies how it’s an abomination for tea to be served in a paper cup. (Charming.) Naturally, because this is a movie, we are almost certain that these tenacious, big-hearted Americans will manage to pierce the crusty exterior of this excruciatingly proper (read “snobby” and “condescending”) Brit, and whadaya know, that’s what happens. Sure, it’s predictable, but it’s charming all the same.
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That, in a proverbial nutshell, is the pro-and-con of Saving Mr. Banks—we know Disney will prevail, the film will be made, and some measure of happiness will be had by all. What lifts the movie above the predictable is the charm of three participants: Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak as the spunky songwriting Shermans (who wrote the songs for Mary Poppins) and Annie Rose Buckley, who plays Travers as a young child. Most child actors coast by on their cuteness, but Buckley actually acts, enthralled by her father’s giddy antics, yet confused and frightened by what she sees happening to her family as a result of his drinking. Travers ultimately did not like the final product and after the film’s opening, Uncle Walt was pretty much dismissive to her—which explains why the successful Mary Poppins had no sequels. As history, it’s hooey. As a film, it’s as entertaining as almost any movie starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, and Colin Farrell can be, no more, no less. ■
In addition to ICON, Mark Keresman is a contributing writer for SF Weekly, East Bay Express, Pittsburgh City Paper, Paste, Jazz Review, downBeat, and the Manhattan Resident.
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Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in RIPD.
The Worst Bad Movies of 2013 NOW ANOTHER YEAR HAS come and gone, leaving—as usual—an assortment of triumphs, tragedies, outright gaffes, and proof that Hollywood is not as smart as it thinks it is. RIPD A dandy concept at first, uh, glance: A deceased cop is “drafted” into a celestial police force to send escaped evil souls (“deados”) from Earth back to Brimstone City where they belong, by gum. Only thing is, it was really much better when we saw it as the Men In Black series of movies (only with alien baddies instead of undead ones). RIPD had an estimated budget of (at least) $130 million and raked in roughly $35 million—proving that many people can sense a massive turkey coming. A good cast—Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, and Mary-Louise Parker—is wasted in an all style, no substance “thriller” in which it was obvious the producers spent millions on special effects and actors’ salaries and $2.87 on the script. The Last Exorcism Part II Look at the title: This is it, folks, MORE of the “last” exorcism—until the producers decide they can wring more (predictable) “thrills and chills” from yet another “found footage” movie. (Hasn’t that pseu-
do-documentary schtick played out yet? Please, no more wobbly hand-held cameras, we’re getting motion sickness here.) I guess the prior Last Exorcism, wasn’t the “last exorcism” after all. I’m waiting for a “post-apocalyptic thriller” in which we are shown “life” as it’s presumably “lived,” wobbly camera and all, by Rob Schneider and Megan Fox after the Earth has been charred to a cinder by the sun going supernova. Speaking of which…
ations of Hollywood fineness—DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon—meets the “best” of current Hollywood’s, well, warning-label actors—Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, and Topher Grace—in a pitiful excuse for a “comedy” that Lucille Ball would’ve thought was cornball in 1959. With all the Hispanic talent in the world, why the producers cast British actor Ben Barnes to play a Mexican remains an unanswered question.
Grown Ups 2 …in which Adam Sandler fully unleashes his contempt for audiences in general in a slobs vs. snobs “comedy” in which there is no one to root for. But hey, we get to witness Kevin James, the very poor man’s Jackie Gleason, demonstrate how to burp, sneeze, and pass gas simultaneously. Oh the hilarity!
Parker Jason Statham is a tough guy—we know this. Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful gal with limited acting ability. Most of us know this, too. Statham’s tough guy is an outlaw (golly, what a surprise) who’s been screwed-over by his former partners after a caper and is out for payback (never saw that in a movie before). Lopez plays what she must play in movies such as this one—the reluctant sidekick and love interest. Statham and Lopez can play these roles in their sleep, and to the surprise of few, they, for the most part, do. I like a good heist/payback movie as much as the next guy, but this one is really by the numbers. Jason baby, if you’re not careful, you’re going to end up stereotyped...and co-starring with Sly Stallone in direct-to-DVD dreck. ■
The Big Wedding We hope this is the last of Robert DeNiro’s “paycheck” movies—you know, the kind of movies that are supposed to be “elevated” by the presence of the great and slumming actor DeNiro. (Only lately, with Being Flynn and Silver Linings Playbook, has he been getting back to movies worthy of his talent.) The best of two gener-
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REVIEWS OF RECENTLY RELEASED DVDS BY GEORGE OXFORD MILLER
James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Enough Said.
★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
Blue Jasmine (2013) ★★★★ Cast: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins Genre: Drama, Comedy Written and directed by Woody Allen. Rated PG-13 for profanity and adult themes. In the classic story opening, the protagonist desperately paddles a rowboat headed for a thundering waterfall, but Allen’s latest tale of angst begins just after disgraced Manhattan trophy wife Jasmine (Blanchett) plummets over the foamy crest. When the FBI convicts her double-dealing, high-finance husband Hal (Baldwin) for embezzling millions, Jasmine instantly becomes homeless, penniless, and a pariah among her socialite friends. With her designer lifestyle torpedoed, she escapes to San Francisco to live with her sister Ginger (Hawkins), a divorced grocery clerk with two kids in a dumpy apartment. Typical of Allen, this isn’t about redemption or even reinvention, it’s a deep study of women freed from the male relationships that defined them, class snobbery, and socio-economic disparities, but mostly about the mental disintegration of a woman trapped between denial and reality. Allen’s most powerful film in decades propels Blanchett center stage for Oscar consideration. The Spectacular Now (2013) ★★★ Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley Genre: Drama Based on the novel by Tim Tharp. Rated R for sex, profanity, adult themes. This teenage coming-of-age romance starts out according to formula. Sutter Keely (Teller) works at a men’s store, has no ambitions past high school, and justifies his boozing
lifestyle with a live-for-the-now attitude. Aimee Finecky (Woodley) makes straight-A grades, throws a paper route, and doesn’t wear makeup or date. The story immediately veers away from expectations when studiously uncool Aimee finds party animal Sutter dead drunk in her front yard. No love at first sight, no girl saves wayward boy, or shy girl outfoxes the social click. Instead, two realistic people get to know each other, become friends, share their dreams and disappointments, and gradually fall in love. Instead of an inane comedy or improbable love story, this is a tale of two outwardly different teens, each troubled with complex family and personality issues, searching for authentic solutions for both now and the future. Enough Said (2013) ★★★★ Cast: James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Genre: Romantic comedy Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener. Rated PG-13 Known for her “adult” comedies about middle-aged romance, director Nicole Holofcener brings together two unlikely actors for a dynamic performance. When Eva (LouisDreyfus), a traveling masseuse, meets Albert (Gandolfini in his last leading role), a film historian, sparks fly in both directions. Both are divorced with daughters about to leave home, they don’t mind sharing personal issues, and they’re both more interested in serious relationships than serial flings. Just as things get serious, Eva bonds with Marianne (Keener), a new client consumed with criticizing her ex. The poison flows until Eva doubts everything she knows and feels about fun-loving, cuddly Albert. Instead of creating a sitcom situation, Holofcener uses the plot point
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to develop the characters with serious, heartfelt emotions and reactions. While providing comic relief, the couple’s fears, needs, hurts, trust, and most of all forgiveness, put their relationship to the ultimate test. Inequality for All (2013) ★★★★ Cast: Robert Reich Genre: Documentary Directed by Jacob Kornbluth. Rated PGLet’s tag along with Robert Reich, former Clinton secretary of labor and current University of California Berkeley economics professor, as he visits middle-class families struggling, and often losing, the battle to balance their checkbook. The outlook isn’t good. “Today, the richest 400 Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together,” Reich says. Reich teaches a “Wealth and Poverty” course at Berkeley. His illuminating story challenges the oft-repeated justification that the wealthy one percent are the job creators of the economy. Not true, Reich contends. A healthy economy depends on a middle class of consumers, which has been declining for 30 years and recently plummeting. This conversational discussion focuses on the “inconvenient truths” that concern the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street activists, and so many over-extended middle-class households. Understanding the issues is necessary to finding the difficult, long-term solutions of our broken economy. ■ George Miller is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and believes that travel is a product of the heart, not the itinerary. See his webmagazine at www.travelsdujour.com.
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Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis.
★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Dir: Ben Stiller). Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Sean Penn, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Patton Oswalt, Adrian Martinez. Stiller’s sweet, sentimental (and very different take) on James Thurber’s brittle short story has the actor playing the title role, an anonymous daydreamer who, through a series of bizarre circumstances, gets the chance to live out the dreams adulthood has put on hold. Wiig plays Walter’s co-worker crush, Scott the douchey boss he needs to please (and wants to throttle), and Penn the mysterious photographer at the center of Walter’s worldwide journey. Believe it or not, Walter Mitty’s real world observations touch us as much as its heavily marketed panoramic adventurousness. At the center of both is Stiller who, finally free to play a human being with unfulfilled wants after years serving as America’s favorite comic nebbish, taps into the universal desire to scale the walls we’ve erected around ourselves. This is big entertainment done exceedingly well. You feel good without feeling manipulated. Definitely take the kids. Stiller’s first directorial effort since 2008’s Tropic Thunder. [PG] ★★★1/2 American Hustle (Dir: David O. Russell). Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Robert De Niro. With their demdese-dose accents and 1970s rock soundtracks, Russell’s The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook were a lunatic rich person’s idea of blue-collar fantasy camp. In American Hustle, Russell has returned to his early strength: creating his own bizarro world where hyperbole doesn’t choke you. This amped, extremely loose retelling of the Abscam scandal— “some of this actually happened,” we’re informed—features
con artists-lovers Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser (Bale, Adams), teaming with an ambitious, childish FBI agent (Cooper) to nab crooked politicians eager to help good-guy Camden mayor Carmine Polito (Renner) bring gambling to Atlantic City. Emotions threaten to unravel the mission. Rosenfeld finds himself becoming friends with Polito and the Fed is falling hard for Sydney, who is playing her role of seductress a little too well. Then there’s the wild card: Rosenfeld’s wife (Lawrence), an unhinged beauty who can’t stay away from the excitement. The movie is a long Mexican standoff that Russell and co-writer Eric Warren Singer tell with zest and confidence. It’s fun and well acted, though hardly the masterpiece some have suggested. Then again, after two intolerable movies where Russell passed off a parody of the great unwashed as noble filmmaking, American Hustle is a classic by comparison. [R] ★★★ Inside Llewyn Davis (Dir: Joel and Ethan Coen). Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Max Casella, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver. The Coen Brothers’ latest attempt at “the theater of the common man” (Isaac’s term) chronicles the weeklong journey of a vagabond Greenwich Village folk singer (Isaac, Drive) in 1961. It’s a struggle for Llewyn Davis. He fits in nowhere. The women in his life thrive without him; hell, he can’t even keep a cat for a day. Professionally, he keeps losing out to freshly scrubbed, sing-songy dweebs. Even his sad artist backstory lacks poetry. But on stage, Llewyn looks beatific as he croons his heartache. Whether anyone is listening is another matter. Despite Llewyn’s churlish, self-defeated manner—even his beard seems sharpened—Isaac infuses soul and nuance into this
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crooning wretch. We care for him, even if being stuck in the same, inescapable starving artist joke has soured him. The Coens’ movies frequently resemble elaborate existential gags; Inside Llewyn Davis actually offers an applicable philosophy for the everyday. If Llewyn can get out of his own way, there’s hope for us. Or maybe we have to live with—or perhaps endure— the belief that more awaits us. Either way, it’s a beautiful, broken heart of a movie. [R] ★★★★ Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Dir: Justin Chadwick). Starring: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Thapelo Mokoena. I would love to write that this is the perfect tribute to Nelson Mandela, the universally beloved agent of change who passed away last month at age 95. Maybe someone can try again in a few years. Chadwick’s attempt, adapted from Mandela’s autobiography, has the energy and urgency of a docked cruise ship. The director and screenwriter William Nicholson cover the 1940s through the 1990s, an impossibly large amount of ground to cover for a life ripe with noble, seemingly impossible accomplishments, only one of which is becoming South Africa’s first black president. Instead of revealing an historical figure’s character while facing a particular event—something Steven Spielberg did brilliantly in last year’s Lincoln—the move drowns in historical overview, which prevents us from knowing Mandela (played by a merely OK Elba) beyond textbook hagiography. Chadwick’s superficial approach—hey, look, a bloody riot; here’s another soft-focus shot of an African child—comes across as a lazy man’s attempt to connect with the audience that reduces his venerable subject into a dramatic token. [PG-13] ★★ ■
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R. KURT OSENLUND
OSCARS 2013 NOMINATION PREDICTIONS:
Who Will (and Who Should) Be Going for the Gold WITH THE NEW YEAR comes a new set of Oscar nominees, and on the morning of January 16, we’ll find out precisely who they are. Of course, despite the few inevitable upsets, most Oscar pundits will tell you those nominees are already forgone conclusions, as precursor accolades have shown resounding love for favorites like 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle. But not all of the shoo-ins deserve to be in the game, and, as per usual, there’s a whole cache of films and performances that Oscar will criminally overlook. So, before the contenders are revealed, check out these lists of who will, and who should, be vying for gold in the top categories.
Suzanne Clément. Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Toni Servillo, The Great Beauty BEST ACTRESS
Will Be Nominated: Joel & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave David O. Russell, American Hustle Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Will Be Nominated: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine Sandra Bullock, Gravity Judi Dench, Philomena Meryl Streep, August: Osage County Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Should Be Nominated: Xavier Dolan, Laurence Anyways Spike Jonze, Her Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers David O. Russell, American Hustle Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty
Should Be Nominated: Amy Adams, American Hustle Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine Suzanne Clément, Laurence Anyways Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color Andrea Riseborough, Shadow Dancer
BEST PICTURE Will Be Nominated: 12 Years a Slave American Hustle Captain Phillips Gravity Her Inside Llewyn Davis Nebraska Saving Mr. Banks The Wolf of Wall Street Should Be Nominated: American Hustle Before Midnight Gravity The Great Beauty Her Inside Llewyn Davis Laurence Anyways Lee Daniels’ The Butler Museum Hours Spring Breakers
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Will Be Nominated: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips Bradley Cooper, American Hustle Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club Should Be Nominated: Casey Affleck, Out of the Furnace Bradley Cooper, American Hustle John Goodman, Inside Llewyn Davis James Franco, Spring Breakers Keith Stanfield, Short Term 12
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will Be Nominated: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave Julia Roberts, August: Osage County June Squibb, Nebraska Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Will Be Nominated: Bruce Dern, Nebraska Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave Matthew McConnaughey, Dallas Buyers Club Robert Redford, All Is Lost Should Be Nominated: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis Joaquin Phoenix, Her
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Should Be Nominated: Scarlett Johansson, Don Jon and Her Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave Adepero Oduye, 12 Years a Slave Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler ■
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ERYL STREEP IS CHOKING on her words. She’s trying to articulate the difficulties of playing a character as dark as Violet Weston, the pill-popping, venomspewing matriarch in August: Osage County. But suddenly, all she can muster is a lot of gagging and tongue-wagging. “Bleehhh...eehhh...uhh...god, I hate this sometimes,” Streep says. It’s not the interview process Streep hates, necessarily, but the perils of summing up how someone like her, an actor whose style is calculated, yet virtually peerless in terms of incorporating inexplicable human nuance, can actually, ya know, do what she does. In the case of Violet, who is quite easily one of the most troubled and despicable women she’s portrayed, Streep seems not only tongue-tied, but hesitant in even recounting the grim demands of playing a character who is at once drug-addled, world-weary, grieving her husband’s death, and, oh yeah, dying of mouth cancer.
“...And it was hard to feel that way about everybody. It was miserable. And it was also during the [last presidential] election, and... uh ...the television is very...odd out there in Oklahoma. You can feel very disembodied in that world. So it was very important to make a connection outside of the set. Also I was smoking nonstop, which really makes you feel shitty.” “It wasn’t the most joyous experience, from my point of view,” Streep says. “I think as an actor you’re supposed to want to go into the ‘house of pain.’ But really, it’s not something that’s fun. And I resisted doing this part, initially, because of that. I just thought, uggghhh. Because on so many levels—physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally—Violet is enraged and/or in pain.” Streep is chatting away—or trying to, at least—inside New York’s historic Essex House, her eye occasionally caught by a window overlooking Central Park. Watching her, specifically as she talks about a character’s pain, one can’t help but recall a slideshow of emotional firestorms this icon has brought to the screen: The horror of losing a baby in the wilderness in A Cry in the Dark; the anguish of losing a fleeting affair in The Bridges of Madison County; the shame of quotidian ennui in The Hours; and, of course, the grave devastation of the titular moment in Sophie’s Choice, an acting landmark that’s likely seared in the memory of anyone who’s seen it. Adapted by the great Tracy Letts from his own Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, August: Osage County begins R. Kurt Osenlund is the managing editor of Slant Magazine. He is also the film critic for South Philly Review, and a contributing writer for ICON, Esquire, Slant, Details, Filmmaker Magazine and IndieWire. Follow him on Twitter @AddisonDeTwitt. Email: email@example.com.
R. KURT OSENLUND
with a vile moment between spouses. With burned-down cigarette in hand, and unknown doses of everything from Xanax to Percocet in her system, Violet stumbles into the study of husband Beverly (Sam Shepard), who’s candidly sharing his household dysfunction with Johnna (Misty Upham), the Native American maid he’s just hired to look after his Oklahoma home. It’s mere weeks before Beverly’s suicide, and despite the peace at which he seems to have arrived with his life and fate, he can’t quite bring himself to look at Violet, who can barely eke out slurred insults, and, without her wig, looks inches from death. “For me, that was one of the most upsetting scenes,” Streep says, “and it was one we shot very early on. Sam Shepard is a person I really have always admired as an actor. And to look at him, close up, and see his loathing of me— that was really hard. Because you get old, and know how you look. You look old, you feel old. And yet you still think that maybe there’s a spark of love in this person who’s gone through everything. And to look in his eyes and realize he would rather be dead than look at me. Ooooh. That was brutal. That sort of set the tone for where my dealing with his death, and everything afterward, was going.” Writing about film, it can get tricky distinguishing actor from character when describing certain moments, and making it clear that, say, the “she” in question is the woman conceived on the page, not the actress realizing her on screen. To hear a performer get caught up in this trickiness is terribly fascinating. Streep constantly references Violet as if talking about herself, actively, if not intentionally, blurring the line between player and persona. This is, unmistakably, part of the job, and countless artists of any medium will tell you that there’s inevitably quite a lot of them in their work. But for an actor mimicking life, sometimes at its ugliest, this can surely play with the mind, and it’s fairly clear that Streep hasn’t fully shaken Violet off. “One of the things that really interested me was where Violet was at any given point in the cycle of pain and pain relief—where she was on her painkiller cycle in any given scene,” Streep says. “And we sort of had to map that in a way just so I could know what level of attention or inattention I could bring to my fellow actors. And it was hard to feel that way about everybody. It was miserable. And it was also during the [last presidential] election, and...uh...the television is very...odd out there in Oklahoma. You can feel very disembodied in that world. So it was very important to make a connection outside of the set. Also I was smoking nonstop, which really makes you feel shitty.” To make herself feel less shitty, and to help unite a cast comprised of an embarrassing richness of talent (Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson play Violet’s three daughters, while Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ewan McGregor play other family members), Streep conceived the idea to build an on-location “compound” behind a Toyota dealership, where the actors would live together and forge real bonds that would hopefully translate into the film. They ate together, watched TV together, argued with each other, and eventually took home leftovers of Martindale’s famous chicken-spaghetti
casserole. Even director John Wells stayed with his cast, drawing attention to a notable absence. “[Producer] George Clooney opted out of our accommodations,” Streep quips, in a moment that could make you spit out your drink. “He’s so important.” Humor, of course, is what parts the gray clouds in August: Osage County, an epic among family dramedies, inspired by Letts’s own tell-it-like-it-is clan. The bursts of lightness, and the unity created among the cast, are what carried Streep through the bouts of performance agony, the lugging around of an aura so thick with despair. The actress, 64, says she relished such things as re-teaming with her Adaptation co-star Chris Cooper, who offers an awkward dinner blessing as Violet’s brother-in-law, and trusting in the supervision of Wells, who corralled the motley crew together. “You don’t get to vote on how you put your family together,” Streep says. “But John Wells was like God. He put us all together, and thought, ‘Oh this’ll get messy.’ [Laughs] And Chris’s character, I felt, was someone Chris would imbue with his enormous humanity, and compassion. And I knew the audience would love him. And I knew that they would hate me in equal measure. That is the story. That is the balance. One of the most excruciatingly funny pieces in this is the prayer, which is honestly, beautifully, earnestly given—to the best of this guy’s ability. And the way it unfolds reminded me of church, when I used to go to church. There was no laughter like the laughter you could get if you got the whole pew going. [Giggles, shakes, and shrugs].” Those who follow Streep’s career, which is to say, most filmgoers, have likely picked up on the amount of authority she seems to wield on set. Though none should doubt her sentiments about Wells, Streep doesn’t work with truly visionary auteurs, probably because she doesn’t want to serve under a director with absolute power. This is a woman who, despite a clear bounty of wisdom and grace, is aware of the position she holds, and the prominence she wants to maintain in her projects. And yet, August: Osage County sees her in more collaborative, greater ensemble territory than she’s explored in years, and the high she gets from working with fellow performers is palpable. Her head may be big given the reverence she’s earned, but her heart is certainly in the craft, a respect for which creates a generosity among co-stars. “The thing about this piece is, we were all absolutely integral to this thing working or not,” Streep says. “The balance of all these characters is such that you’re aware, as you’re watching the play, that if you turn your eyes from one to look at another, each person is affected. What you give you get, and what you get you give. And it only works if you’re all together. And we were so together on this adaptation. Every single one of these actors came to the first reading with a copy of the original play in their back pockets, and with their laughs. The humor is about pain, but you do need your laughs, too. And you need to laugh at yourself. It’s like when you come together with your friends, after Thanksgiving, and you’re like, ‘God, I have to tell you what my mother said. God, oh my God!’ And then you tell a story that was not funny when you were there, but in the telling, it’s fabulous. And that’s how you transform your life.” ■
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FOR THOSE WHO CLAIM that you can’t go home again, Philadelphia’s internationally renowned Dr. Dog prove everything to the contrary each time they step onto a stage or into a recording studio. Since their start as a band with songs that were as silly as they were jam-phonic, the Dog has had a hard working Philadelphia ethos, a loving ideal that runs as deep as their dedication to catchy Beatles-ish melodies, occasional barbershop quartet harmonies, and lyrics filled with Impressionist-inspired ire, no matter who writes them— bassist/singer Toby Leaman or guitarist/vocalist Scott McMicken. That the heralded live ensemble (the late Lou Reed went wild for them when Dog did a tribute to the Velvet Underground leader at last year’s South by Southwest music festival) has its own new studio built from scratch in an old silversmith factory in Philly (that its newest album, B-Room, is named for) proves a love for their hometown beyond mere name-checking. To talk about new Dogs, you have to go backward for a moment to its old tricks, the transitional moment between We All Belong (2007) and Fate (2008) when funny bridges and giddy choruses got replaced by a frank forcefulness to the music. The changes they made were decided upon as part of the process of progress, as well as being an organic happenstance. “The differences are glaring, I will admit,” says Leaman in retrospect. “The way that we’ve done all of our albums—they are each done so differently from the one before it. Easy Beat was done on an eight-track in three weeks. We All Belong took 18 months of doing and re-doing. Fate took a month.” With Fate, Dr. Dog knew exactly what they were doing—as a band, as technicians of their own studios and masters of their own, duh, fate. With that last album, Dr. Dog also had fewer songs to work with than usual. “That album was the start of us being a lot more standardized when it came to making a record,” says Leaman. “No more of whatever-happened-happened or riding out of happy accidents.” The loosely knotted Fate might not always sound like the tightest album, but it was conceived to be as taut as the skin of a snare. Every album since that time has only been more professionally formatted. Does that mean they’ve ditched the improvisational largesse and the on-the-spot magic that made Easy Beat free and breezy? “It is what it is,” says Leaman pragmatically. “The one lousy thing about putting out a lot of albums, something we like to do, is that you back yourself into a corner with questions of self-doubt. Is this too similar or too dissimilar to that? It’s all just what we’re doing now rather than finding comparisons. There will always be listeners who think that we dropped off after our first one.” Rather than see pre-2007 and post-2007 as two separate bands with two separate aesthetics at work, Leaman sees Dr. Dog’s decades as a continuum, of a piece, rather than broken up. “Everything is very gradual with us, every shift, every sound change,” he says. “We’re not a band where every record has to be THE record.” Funny thing is, Dr. Dog do seem to make something very close to THAT record every time, especially considering that they enjoy putting out an album a year, and that the Dog’s B-Room is twice as catchy as its previous album. That’s not an easy feat. “Not every band has the ears for it. Not every band’s audience has the ears for it either. We’re in the studio all the time and enjoy making new work.” One notable bend in the road in the sound and work processes of Dr. Dog is the post-2007 coming of Eric Slick (drums, percussion, and studio dabbler) and Dimitri Manos (electronics, effects, guitar,
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and more) into the Dog camp. Each of these Philadelphia characters changed the game “a lot” where moving forward was concerned. “Especially in regard to recording things live, these guys have been integral for making such quick change maneuvers. Dimitri is a studio rat who records constantly at home. Eric, in particular on this album, helps us keep it all together. He wanted all six of us in the same room together playing off the existing rhythm tracks for each song. That’s great. You have a better position as to what your role is within each moment. It’s just more driving. And without any stress.” One thing that has long kept recording sessions stress free is that, quite famously, Leaman and McMicken never write together, and with that, Dr. Dog’s song catalog has twin towers of melody and lyrical mood behind it. That hasn’t changed since Dog’s start when these two were known as Raccoon and these old friends were 15 years old. “Not much, no. Not much,” says Leaman when asked if anything has changed in regard to a united writing front between the pair. “We started writing more as a band on B-Room, but when it comes to the two of us, it’s either he brings a song and we work on it as one, or I bring a song and we work on it as one.” Their lyrical arcs may have changed to something more character driven and more angst-y, but you can still figure who wrote what in the B-Room. McMicken’s “Phenomenon” is one of the best tracks that Leaman’s partner has written. “It’s just so beautifully produced and his lyrics really make you think, as always.” As for his own favorite track on B-Room, Leaman nominates “Too Weak to Ramble,” one of his most experimental out-of-the-blue tracks to date. Beside those personal bests, much of B-Room’s songwriting blurs the lines between them. “That’s good,” says Leaman. “That shows that we’ve learned the art of subtlety. Shows that we’re a band, and not two dudes and their friends.” Another big change is the shift in local studio space that gives their eighth studio album its title. Having a new room gave the ensemble room to breathe, literally and figuratively. “Honestly, we used to share a cramped studio space with all of our merchandise from tours past and present,” says Leaman. “We’d set up a mic for an extended guitar solo, get in the groove, and knock over a box of hats and promo posters from four years ago. We needed new spaces to work within and grow within.” Another thing their B-Room represents is a change in the band’s proximity to each other as so many of them no longer live in Philly—Leaman lives in Wilmington and McMicken lives in Connecticut. “The B-Room became a new middle ground for us, a new home away from home,” says Leaman. “The new album sounds as fresh as it does, as bad ass as it is, because we had the space to breathe. We hit everything live because we had elbow room, and did as many vocal takes on it as we felt like. We spent hours getting it right, yet it all came very easy.” ■ Dr. Dog plays January 31 and February 1 at Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th Street. 215-627-1332. www.electricfactory.info
If A.D. Amorosi can’t be found writing features for ICON, the Philadelphia Inquirer or doing Icepacks, Icecubes and other stories for Philadelphia’s City Paper, he’s probably hitting restaurants like Stephen Starr’s or running his greyhound
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The Jazz Scene COMIN' HOME BABY The number of jazz legends—past and present--who were born and bred in Philadelphia is remarkable. The Kimmel Center, a venue that continues its commitment to jazz in a big way, is bringing a marvelous group of Philadelphia giants together on one stage on January 7. From a booking and historical perspective, this stands as a once-in-alifetime event. The show, Comin’ Home, features the newly formed Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia under the leadership of Temple University Terell Stafford. Photo: Jimmy Ryan. Jazz/Instrumental Studies Director and master trumpeter Terell Stafford, trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, pianist Kenny Barron, and several players who have opted to stay in and around the Philadelphia area: Saxophonists Larry McKenna, Bootsie Barnes, Odean Pope and Tony Williams. The nonPhiladelphian ringer in the bunch is a pretty fair trumpet player named Wynton Marsalis. Hosting is another Philadelphia celebrity, Bill Cosby, who has used his star status through the years to advance the cause of jazz. And by the way, he plays a passable set of traps. This event, sponsored by the non-profit Culture Trust Greater Philadelphia, will benefit the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. Do not miss this one. KimmelCenter.org. BASS HIT There’s just something about the City of Brotherly Love and jazz bassists that no one has ever been able to explain. It seems that the city likely had and has more world-class jazz bass players than any other region in the country. Those Philadelphians who have broken through nationally include names like Christian McBride, Reggie Workman, Jymie Merritt, Spanky DeBrest, Henry Grimes, Percy Heath, Gerald Veasley and Jimmy Woode. And the list of those who continue to work in and around the Greater Delaware Valley is just as incredible. A partial listing would include Mike Boone, Steve Beskrone, Craig Thomas, Nimrod Speaks, Bruce Kaminsky, Lee Smith, Madison Rast,
Dave Brodie, Nick Krolak, and Adolph “Ace” Tescone. Probably the most influential bassist of the last four decades—in addition to the late and legendary Jaco Pastorius—is yet another Philadelphian, Stanley Clarke. By way of his work with Chick Corea’s Return to Forever and on his own as a leader, Grammy award-winner Clarke, accurately billed as “the liberator of the electric and acoustic basses,” showed the jazz world just
what can be done rhythmically, harmonically and technically with the bass. This innovator and favorite son will be returning to his hometown on January 11 for a performance—in a trio setting--at the newly-revitalized Prince Music Theater. Clarke’s concert performances are always an entertaining adventure. PrinceMusicTheater.com.
EDDY Awards were introduced in 2005 to recognize leaders in education as well as promising Philadelphia public school students and graduates who have excelled in their careers. DIXIE LIVES, LIKE IT OR NOT Dixeland, a.k.a. “traditional jazz,” may be an acquired taste for some. For others, it’s a passion and it’s remarkable just how popular this form of jazz is all over the world. There are hundreds of first-rate “trad” bands performing in festivals internationally, and the fan base for this music is amazing. Dixie, however, is not a big city thing, and aside from a local appearance annually from The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the “mouldy figs,” as the modernists used to call Dixie fans, are not too much in evidence in these parts. Maybe fans haven’t been looking in the right place, as the Tri-State Jazz Society, formed in 1988 as a non-profit, does have a mighty presence here—they are dedicated to the preservation and live performance of early jazz, including traditional New Orleans, Dixieland, swing, ragtime, stride piano and boogie-woogie. Solo and group concerts, all open to the public, are presented monthly in Wallingford, PA and Haddonfield, NJ. On January 12, the Society will present The Barbone Street Jazz Band, billed as “The Busiest Dixie and Swing Band in the Area,” at the Haddonfield United Methodist Church in Haddonfield, NJ. TriStateJazz.com.
ORGAN-IZING In keeping with Philadelphia’s contribution to jazz through the years, it must be mentioned that the city and surrounding areas have also been known for having some of the finest jazz organ players in history. The most famous of them all, Jimmy Smith, was born in Norristown. Joey DeFrancesco, a native Philadelphian, helped put the Hammond B-3 organ back on the map. And who can forget area natives like Richard “Groove” Holmes and Trudy Pitts? Organist Dan Fogel has been at it for a long time, despite trends and ups and downs in jazz organ popularity. And though Atlantic City fortunes are variable these days, Fogel remains a fixture at the shore. ChelseaPubandInn.com.
PERFECTLY FRANK Frank DiBussolo is a master jazz guitarist and educator—and as those in the jazz community will attest, a master chef as well— who has been tearing up the jazz scene in the Bethlehem/Lehigh Valley area since relocating there from his native South Philadelphia some years ago. In addition to celebrating the release of his stellar new CD, Songs to Write Home About, DiBussolo will be appearing this month along with singer Tiffany G. in concert at Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem on January 10 (GodfreyDaniels.org). The CD is available via CDBaby.com, and news of his many activities can be found on the Frank DiBussolo Facebook page.
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE! The Philadelphia Eubanks Brothers—guitarist Kevin, trumpeter Duane and trombonist Robin—were back in their hometown recently to teach a master music class at the Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts. The brothers, graduates of Central and Germantown High Schools were also honored with an EDDY Award from the Philadelphia Education Fund. The
JACK’S BACK Trumpeter Jack Sheldon is a rarity in jazz. In addition to being a top-flight trumpeter for decades, millions of non-jazzers know him via his humor, his singing, his stooging on The Merv Griffin Show, and as the star of several sitcoms, including the infamous Run Buddy Run. Sheldon, who used to be a regular in the lounge of Atlantic City’s Resorts Hotel/Casino, suffered a
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stroke two years ago, and those close to him were certain his career was over. He lost the use of his right arm and the power of speech. Our friend from Britian, Bruce Crowther, who produced a documentary on the life and music of Jack Sheldon—Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyessy of Jack Sheldon—has let The Jazz Scene know that Jack Sheldon is back, having learned to play the trumpet with his left hand. He’s also learned to sing and speak again, says Crowther. He just performed for two nights at Hollywood’s Catalina club before sold-out audiences. He’s not lost his sense of humor, either. Commenting on erroneous reports of his death in Jazz Times, Sheldon said, “I’m only slightly dead.” BIRD LIVES Village Voice author/musicologist Gary Giddins has informed that his landmark book on Charlie Parker, Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker, written in 1986, has been updated and revised. Any book about Bird, and any book written by Gary Giddins, is important. The new edition, put out by the University of Minnesota, has new material, some corrections, an additional oral history by Trummy Young, new intro, new discography, and an up-to-date bibliography. There is still much to be learned from the life and the music of Charles “Yardbird” Parker.” To order and to find out more about the varied activities of Gary Giddins, visit GaryGiddins.com. A SANCTUARY FOR JAZZ Like Jazz Bridge, Alan Segal’s The Jazz Sanctuary presents dozens of jazz concerts annually, mainly in Philadelphia and Bucks County area chuches, which he calls “Jazz and Joe.” Though The Sanctuary differs from Jazz Bridge in several respects—Sanctuary has corporate sponsors and utilizes, for the most part, a steady core group of players, while Jazz Bridge does not—the bottom line, presenting great jazz, is the same. There are concerts this month at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Spring House, PA on January 15, Trinity Church in Buckingham the following day, and in Philadelphia, at Gloria Dei/Old Swedes on January 23. Among The Sanctuary’s core group are pianist George Sinkler, drummer Leon Jordan, reedman Eddie Etkins, guitarist/bluesman/vocalist “Twig Smith,” and Maestro Segal at the bass. TheJazzSanctuary.com. ■ Join the session and sit in with The Jazz Scene. Submit items to DrumAlive@aol.com
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Singer / Songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter ★★★1/2 Songs From The Movie Rounder/Ze Records Songs From The Movie marks a new direction for Mary Chapin Carpenter. The fivetime Grammy Award winner and Princeton native revisited ten of her songs and record-
Mary Chapin Carpenter.
ed them with the backing of a 63-piece orchestra and 15-voice choir. As befitting the album title, arranger and conductor Vince Mendoza gives the music a cinematic feel. “I grew up in a house where film soundtracks and classical music played constantly because my mother loved them,” Carpenter has said in explaining what led her to the project. “I Am a Town,” Carpenter’s portrait of rural life, receives a stirring arrangement that meshes nicely with her descriptive phrasing. “Ideas Are Like Stars” gets a dramatic reading, which gives her a chance to stretch herself vocally. Like a painter working with a bigger canvas, Carpenter takes advantage of the expanded sonic palette. “Only a Dream” opens with just a piano and vocal before the full orchestra enters the song. The only quibble with Songs From The Movie is all the songs are ballads. It would be a nice change of pace to have Carpenter interpret one of her up-tempo hits with orchestral backing. Los Lobos ★★★★ Disconnected in New York City 429 Records To mark 40 years of making music as a band, Los Lobos came up with a different way to celebrate: Disconnected in New York City finds the band playing live but with the group’s three guitarists—David Hidalgo,
Cesar Rosas and Louie Perez—all unplugging their instruments. The result is a vibrant, semi-acoustic performance that pushes the vocals to the forefront. The band’s set serves as a retrospective of their career. “The Neighborhood” kicks off the CD with a nod to the group’s roots in rhythm and blues, spotlighting Steve Berlin’s gritty saxophone work. “Got to Let You Know,” from How Will the Wolf Survive (1984), is a spirited rocker featuring Rosas on lead vocals. With a home base in east Los Angeles, Los Lobos has always had a Mexican/Latin component in its music. Rosas delivers a passionate version of “Maria Christina” in Spanish, while Hidalgo gives a joyous reading of “La Bamba,” the band’s No. 1 hit single from 1987, that segues into “Good Lovin’,” a 1960s hit for the Rascals. Musically, the group explores a variety of genres during the concert, ranging from the gospel-based “Tears of God” to the Procol Harum-flavored “Little Things” to the bluesy stomp of Don’t Worry Baby.” The deluxe version of Disconnected in New York City includes a second CD with four extra songs, highlighted by an energized version of The Grateful Dead’s “Bertha” and a DVD with five songs of the band onstage at City Winery in New York. Lou Pride ★★★1/2 Ain’t No More Love in This House Severn Records Ain’t No More Love in This House is the swan song of Lou Pride, the longtime soul
TOM WILK ★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
Pride was an accomplished vocalist, whose voice could incorporate the smoothness of Al Green and the emotional honesty of Bobby “Blue” Bland. Pride captures the ruefulness and regrets of the title track, a mid-tempo ballad which leads of the CD. “ Take It Slow” finds Pride caressing the lyrics in a smooth jazz setting. He shifts the mood from amorous to clamorous with the bluesy groove of “She Boom Boom Me,” one of four songs that he wrote or co-wrote. “I Gotta Move On Up” features Pride, who got his start singing in church, testifying in the style of Solomon Burke. The album wraps up with a pair of unexpected cover songs. Pride puts a soulful spin on “Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast,” originally a 1972 hit for Wayne Newtown. On “Holding Back The Years,” a No. 1 hit for Simply Red in 1985, Pride delivers the song with a sense of purpose in the face of adversity. Roy Orbison ★★★★ The Last Concert - 25th Anniversary Edition Roy’s Boys/Legacy If there were a Seven Wonders of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Roy Orbison’s voice would merit strong consideration for inclusion in that pantheon. It was a voice that could convey power and passion, heartbreak and melancholy. Despite commercial ups and downs for Orisbon, it was a constant for him during a musical career that spanned four decades. Recorded on Dec. 4, 1988 at the Front Row Theatre in Highland Heights, Ohio, two days before his death of a heart attack at 52, The Last Concert focuses on his hits of the 1960s. “Only The Lonely” shows Orbison’s ability to scale the high notes of the song’s climax. “Crying,” which he had rerecorded with K.D. Lang the previous year, finds him still able to deliver a thrilling finish which delights the crowd. Orbison wasn’t just a balladeer. “Ooby Dooby” and “Go! Go! Go! (Down The Line)” give him a chance to revisit his rockabilly roots on songs he recorded for Sun Records in the 1950s. “Mean Woman Blues” and “Oh! Pretty Woman” remain fresh in Orbison’s faultless delivery. This 25th Anniversary Edition includes a DVD featuring Orbison’s final interview and concert footage of seven songs he recorded at a pair of concerts in the 1980s, including “Blue Angel,” a song not featured on the CD.
singer who died at 68 in June 2012. While Pride never attained the stardom of his contemporaries like Wilson Pickett or Otis Redding, he managed to go out on a high note with his final studio recording.
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Tom Russell ★★★1/2 Museum of Memories Vol. 2 - 1973-2013 Frontera Records Tom Russell opens up his vault for Museum of Memories Vol. 2 - 1973-2013, a collection of 21 previously unreleased songs
and performances that span a 40-year period. The CD makes for an intriguing listen as Russell pulls back the curtain on songs that were once consigned to the cutting-room floor. At his core, Russell is a storyteller, whose songs, at times, are like short stories set to music. “Old Saltillo Road” finds Elvis Presley revisiting Tupelo, the Mississippi town where he grew up. “Small Engine Repair” is a tale of working-class life that Russell sings convincingly in a plaintive baritone “Business End of the Blues,” which features guitarist Amos Garrett, shows Russell’s knack for a turn of the phrase. Some songs
are diminished by the production techniques of the time. The drum machine on “I Hate To Tell You I Told You So” quickly grows annoying. The drums on “Homeless Heart” are like percussion on steroids and too upfront in the mix. Still, Russell has more hits that misses on this collection. “In the American Grain” is a compelling sketch of contemporary culture. A live version of “The Outcast,” originally featured on his 1999 concept album The Man From God Knows Where and sung by Dave Van Ronk, finds Russell gleefully celebrating the oddballs, ne’er-do-wells and nonconformists of American life. ■
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Keresman on Disc Xiu Xiu ★★1/2 Nina Graveface More a collective than a “proper” band, Xiu Xiu—for this recording, anyway—is vocalist/leader Jamie Stewart, and avant-jazzheads Tim Berne (saxes), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Andrea Parkins (accordion, keys), and Ches Smith (drums), among others, and
terials whilst being true to their respective essences. In 1976 bluegrass fiddler Kenny Baker recorded a classic tribute to bluegrass icon Bill Monroe (who is arguably to bluegrass what Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton are to jazz) and modern banjo baron Noam Pikelny did a “tribute” to that album, transposing the fiddle parts to his banjo. The result is brilliant, a tour de force of traditional bluegrass. NP and company—including Bryan Sutton (fiddle) and Ronnie McCoury (mandolin, and Del’s son) treat Monroe’s tunes with respect (Monroe was a staunch purist) but approach them with
MARK KERESMAN ★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
sciously) disconcerting—a pal o’ mine once described Elliott Carter’s music as “sweetly atonal” and that fits here. There are elements of minimalism (Glass, Reich, etc.) but it’s not really minimalist, and some of it possesses a muted American grandeur and bristly yearning not unlike Carl Ruggles and/or John Adams. Some of this set is eerily
Keeril Makan. Photo: Matthew Monteith Xiu Xiu. Photo: Dan Bleckley
here pay tribute to the late great and notoriously iconoclastic (some might say crazy) singer Nina Simone. This is in no way a “literal” tribute to Simone’s soulful blues-, gospel-, and jazz-laced chanteuse style— Stewart and company deconstruct the songs and refashion them in a disquieting manner. Stewart’s hoarse-sounding, whispery voice recalls that of actor Richard Harris in his immortal late ‘60s hit “MacArthur Park”—in fact, Stewart at time makes Harris sound like Marvin Gaye by comparison. Stewart’s voice flickers theatrically like the reflection of a flame in a funhouse mirror, and the band provides a suitable nightmarish backdrop, bringing to mind Kurt Weill, Tom Waits, and Captain Beefheart at their most fractured, alternating dissonance and tenderness. Easy listening it’s not, but Simone could at times be an unsettling experience (the dark side of soulfulness, exposing the un-exposable) and Xiu Xiu certainly convey that. Recommended to lovers of the extreme. (11 tracks, 49:15) (graveface.com) Noam Pikelny ★★★★1/2 Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe Compass Ruth Moody ★★★★ These Wilder Things Red House These two platters demonstrate how the “new” can be wrought from traditional firstname.lastname@example.org
bracing vitality. (12 tracks, 42:04) compassrecords.com Canadian singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ruth Moody is a member of the Wailin’ Jennys and Wilder Things is her second solo CD. She sings with a lovely winsome soprano evocative of Sarah Mclachlan and her sound is primarily acoustic, based in bluegrass and drawing from American and Celtic folk. Moody transforms Boss Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” into a roots-y meditation without being hokey, and Mark Knopfler lends his sparkling guitar and musing vocals to the elegant ache of “Pockets.” If you treasure the electric Americana of Nickel Creek and Alison Krauss, do yourself a swell favor—seek and obtain (legally, of course). (10 tracks, 46:30) redhouserecords.com Keeril Makan ★★★★1/2 Afterglow Mode Keeril Makan is a young-ish fellow (b. 1972) from New Jersey and seeing he’s on the faculty of MIT, I must tip my critic’s hat to the eggheads and chrome-domes of that august establishment. Makan’s style is not an easy one to summarize—some of this music is thorny, but it’s not overtly (or self-con-
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cinematic, a la Bernard Herrmann, and some of it lets judicious space/silence do the talking, evoking the finely detailed later works of Morton Feldman. This is music for contemplation but there is mos def a visceral quality to it—the title piece (for solo piano) will entice you into a reverie but “crack” same every now ‘n’ again. The performances here by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will have you wondering how the assorted instrumental combinations are making that sound. Afterglow is so absorbing, the 60-minute runtime passes like half that. (6 tracks, 60:37) moderecords.com Bobby Troup ★★★1/2 The Songs of… Booker Ervin ★★★★★ The Book Cooks Oscar Pettiford ★★★★ Modern Quintet Bethlehem/Verse Music Group Bethlehem was a NYC/Hollywood-based jazz record label founded in 1953 and has received several (re)incarnations over the past few decades. Now the Verse Music Group has reissued remastered versions of some Bethlehem gems of which these are but a few… Singer/pianist Bobby Troup (1918-1999) is also known as an actor in several Jack Webb productions…oh, that song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66”—he wrote that. Stylistically he falls in between the mellow crooning of Nat “King” Cole and the laconic/droll hipster Mose Allison, and here he gets sparklingly cool accompaniment from
bassist Red Mitchell and guitarist Howard Roberts. (8 tracks, 24:44) The Book Cooks is the debut disc from tenor sax monster Booker Ervin (19301970), who, with his BIG Texas bluesy tone, had one of the most distractive sounds ever. Here he was paired with Zoot Sims, of the Lester Young/Stan Getz/etc. cool school…incongruous? Yes and no...like Getz, Sims could blow hot when he wanted to, and his suave approach makes for a dandy contrast with Book’s gospel-y wailing. Add trumpeter
Oscar Pettiford (L).
Tommy Turrentine and Mingus stalwart Dannie Richmond and you’ve got a hardswingin’ winner. (6 tracks, 41:32) Oscar Pettiford (1922-1960) was a bassist, cellist, composer, and one of the first jazz players to transition from big band swing to small band bebop. Quintet is a short but oh-so-sweet cool-exotica-bop session featuring Monk’s sax man Charlie Rouse and French hornist Julius Watkins. (6 tracks, 15:30) versemusicgroup.com/bethlehem-records ■
TommyFLANAGAN I HOPE I CAN speak for veteran jazz fans when I propose that most all of them love to hear pianists who can solo like mad, and also sympathetically accompany jazz and standardpop singers. Such versatility was evident in the playing of the late master of the keyboard, Hank Jones. Oscar Peterson, who could be all over the piano as a soloist, could also accompany singers effectively. There are a few others in this select circle who have passed on and there are several such artists still on the scene. Another of those possessing fine solo execution, with the softer supportive approach, was Tommy Flanagan. If given a “name the pianist quiz,” I believe I could identify Flanagan’s piano sound over those with similar execution—and Flanagan influenced a good number of jazz pianists—past and present. Tommy Flanagan was born March 16, 1930, in Detroit, Michigan. His parent bought him a clarinet when he was six years old, and he learned to play it without instruction. There was a piano in the house and he later took lessons on it, coached by the same teacher who had fellow pianists Kirk Lightsey and Barry Harris under her wing. Detroit was fertile ground for budding young musicians who were eager to find out about and play modern jazz, and Flanagan was soon making music with fellow Detroiters Lucky Thompson, Kenny Burrell and Pepper Adams. While still in his teens, he sat in and played alongside Charlie Parker when the alto sax pioneer visited Motor City clubs. Flanagan was drafted in 1951, and served two years in the army. Upon his discharge, he returned to Detroit and resumed his career as a musician, again mixing with other up-andcoming jazz stars like Milt Jackson, Yusef Lateef, Elvin Jones, and Thad Jones. H moved to New York in his mid-twenties, where he sometimes substituted for one of his piano idols, Bud Powell at Birdland. He acknowledged the influence of other pianists, but also said, “I like to play like a horn, and blow into the piano.” He found other work as a sideman in New York, with Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins among others, and he served his first tour of duty as accompanist to Ella Fitzgerald. Word got around about the quiet, but very efficient pianist, who was making the bands of so many small group leaders sound even better, and Flanagan’s work as a sideman increased. In 1959, he was called on to be part of John Coltrane’s landmark LP, Giant Steps. The following year, he was sideman on another outstanding LP, The incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery. From time to time, Flanagan headed his own small groups—mostly trios—but they were short-lived, until later in his career. Meanwhile, he continued earning great respect in his supporting role, which included two returns as accompanist to Ella Fitzgerald, the first in 1962, lasting three years, and again in 1968. Working with the popular singer meant touring 40 to 45 weeks a year. Flanagan’s heart attack in 1978 finalized their association. Following his recovery, Flanagan concentrated more on playing solo, or heading his own small groups, continuing this format until in 1991 when he underwent triple-bypass heart surgery. Finally, the major recognition began to come in: He was awarded a Danish jazz prize in 1993, which carried with it a $30,000 award. Three years later came a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship—these, along with the ever-growing respect of his fellow jazz musicians. Flanagan appeared as a leader on several dozen albums and more than 200 as a sideman. One CD I am particularly fond of is a tribute to John Coltrane, titled Giant Steps. His renditions of Coltrane’s “Central Park West” and “Naima” are killers. Tommy Lee Flanagan married twice and fathered three children. He passed away in New York City, November 16, 2001. He was 71. ■
Tommy Flanagan at the 1987 Gibson Jazz Party, Denver. Photo: Dennis Owsley
Bob Perkins is a writer and host of an all-jazz radio program that airs on WRTI-FM 90.1 Mon-Thurs. 6 to 9pm & Sun., 9am–1pm. W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V ■ W W W . I C O N D V . C O M ■ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 31
Nick’’s Picks Top POWERHOUSE RECORDS WERE RELEASED in 2013 from some of the most respected jazz musicians (Wane Shorter, Tomasz Stanko and Chucho Valdes could take the top spots on an alternate list), but my choices for top jazz releases in 2013 were shaped by newer voices and rising stars, all of them uniquely notable for their artistry and leadership. 1. TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON, Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue (Concord Jazz) This is Carrington’s most satisfying record, its unifying themes shaped by the drummer’s self-assurance as much as her as-
Jazz Releases of 2013
phone recalls the poetic sound of Gerry Mulligan. On this addictive all-original program he assembles a first-rate band and adds a string section conducted by Ryan Truesdell. While there are honorable swathes of R&B, soul and contemporary jazz folded into the mix, Landrus has an uncanny ability to weave serene and gorgeous straight-ahead melodies together that make an ultimate connection directly to the heart of the listener. 3. JOHN ESCREET, Sabotage and Celebration (Whirlwind Records) Pianist John Escreet is on the ascent and has an affecting playing style developed from all kinds of inspiration. Approaching 30, he describes his creative process as being driven by making new music, so you listen to his records with an ear tilted for the unexpected that Escreet confidently delivers on a sweeping listening experience that’s boldly communicative. His four previous albums were excellent; Sabotage is driven by genuine purpose and it’s his best yet. 4. CECILE MCLORIN SALVANT, WomanChild (Mack Avenue) Accompanied by label mate (and arranger) pianist Aaron Diehl, Salvant’s powerful debut presents beautifully crafted tunes that will make you think of Ella and Sarah Vaughan, not stylistically, but in terms of originality and poise. Her version of “I Didn’t Know What Times It Was” is infused with a vitality that bursts out of your speakers. Not in a long while have you heard as captivating a voice or performance that brings groove and grace together so effectively.
Terri Lyne Carrington. Photo: Tracy Love.
tounding rhythm team that’s profoundly in sync with the material. She takes a risk and brilliantly re-imagines the classic Ellington/ Mingus/Roach recording by contemporizing the sound, adding killer arrangements and infectious grooves to protest current social ills.
2. BRIAN LANDRUS KALEIDOSCOPE, Mirage (Blueland Records) Landrus’ voice on the baritone saxoNick Bewsey has been writing about jazz for ICON since 2004. A member of The Jazz Journalists Assoc., he blogs about jazz and entertainment at www.jazzinspace.blogspot.com. Twitter: @countingbeats
ing—she’s a masterful composer of dramatic harmonies for brass—Baum sets herself free from the constraints of straight-ahead jazz, incorporating a range of subtle world-music styles that ultimately gives In This Life its altogether different and welcome contours. 7. ETIENNE CHARLES, Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music) Creole Soul flaunts a polished groove, heavy on the beats and the bass that dares you to try to sit still. Trinidad-born trumpeter Etienne Charles is the man behind the positive sound, a uniquely fired up combination of calypso and modern jazz that reflects his musical upbringing. Pianist Kris Bowers, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Obed Calvaire help fuel the fire. 8. GREGORY PORTER, Liquid Spirit (Blue Note) Singer and songwriter Gregory Porter’s baritone is one the most captivating instruments in jazz. Liquid Spirit keeps Porter’s strong production team and musicians in place from his previous albums and adds original compositions that freely merge jazz with soul, gospel and R&B that’s beautifully
Taborn, Holland, Eubanks, and Harland
5. CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE TRIO, Out Here (Mack Avenue) McBride makes his most seriously entertaining and musically affecting trio record. They tip their hat to the great Oscar Peterson and leap off from there with fresh renditions of “My Favorite Things” and a stunningly crafted original “I Guess I’ll Have To Forget” that showcases the expressive and mature style of pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. whose contributions throughout are especially rewarding. 6. JAMIE BAUM, In This Life (Sunnyside) As satisfying as it is heartfelt, flutist Baum and her ace band vividly evoke many moods with tunes inspired by her trip and experiences in India and Asia. By turns breathtak-
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exercised on the title cut—a gospel-tinged tune fueled by hand-claps and a punchy Les McCann style piano break. 9. STAN KILLIAN, Evoke (Sunnyside) You can trace saxophonist Stan Killian’s sound back to the glory days of 1960’s Blue Note and the exuberant records by Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon, but his tenor is firmly planted in the now. It’s easy to lean on hyperbole to describe Killian whose keen ear and strength as a leader is evident throughout. He brings refreshing originality and deft swing to this winning date. 10. KENDRICK SCOTT ORACLE, Conviction (Concord Jazz)
An exhilarating exploration of contemporary jazz, Scott lets straight-ahead beats collide with the modern architecture of contemporary sounds, bringing both a sharp focus and disciplined craftsmanship to this artful recording—along with some tight grooves that sonically endure. With Joe Sanders, Mike Moreno, Taylor Eigsti, John Ellis and Alan Hampton on vocals. 11. DAVE HOLLAND, Prism (Dare2 Records) Bassist Dave Holland has been in the jazz business for 40 years, forever looking forward as an artist and musician. Since releasing five acclaimed albums on his own label since 2005, Holland shifts gears and personnel for Prism, a groove-centric, hyper-fresh collection of tunes featuring guitarist Kevin Eubanks, keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Eric Harland. Hard-hitting rhythms collide with edgy harmonies and plugged in electronics to prove that Holland remains one of the most vital and important voices in jazz. 12. KEITH JARRETT, GARY PEACOCK, JACK DEJOHNETTE, Somewhere (ECM) Recorded live in July 2009, Somewhere captures the trio (together 30 years) at the height of their talents. The live gig weaves improvisation with straight-ahead swing. The title track, coupled with Leonard Bernstein’s “Tonight,” gives the concert its center with a tender reading that bypasses sentiment and manages to open a deeper emotional vein. HONORABLE MENTIONS: Alexis Cuadrado, A Lorca Soundscape John Abercrombie, 39 Steps Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers, Border-Free Tomasz Stanko, Wislawa Antonio Sanchez, New Life Aaron Diehl, The Bespoke Man’s Narrative Noah Preminger, Haymaker Giacomo Gates, Miles Tones Tierney Sutton, After Blue Bob James and David Sanborn, Quartette Humaine Rene Marie, I Wanna Be Evil Ahmad Jamal, Saturday Morning Patricia Barber, Smash BEST REISSUES: Tommy Flanagan, Giant Steps Miles Davis, The Original Mono Recording Sarah Vaughan, Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection ■
★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
The Jimmy Amadie Trio ★★★★★ Live At The Philadelphia Art Museum TP Recordings A jazz review shouldn’t be a testimonial, but unfortunately this is where we are with pianist Jimmy Amadie who passed away from cancer in early December 2013. In addition to celebrating the release of The Jimmy Amadie Trio: Live at The Philadelphia Art Museum, we mourn the loss of this great musician, a man who persevered in the face of terrible odds, who fought the good fight against debilitating tendonitis and pain that manifested within the very hands that interpreted jazz standards with enduring grace, beauty and a whole lot of swing. He was beloved by many in Philadelphia and especially by the musicians that heard and had an opportunity to play with him. Amadie’s ninth and final album sequences the best tunes from the event on October 14, 2011—it was Amadie’s first live performance in 43 years. Despite an onset of painful symptoms that very evening, including vision issues that necessitated Amadie reading flash cards for set list, soloing order and basic changes, the band surpasses all expectations with a first rate program. Joining him on this well-recorded date is his long-time rhythm section—bassist Tony Marino and drummer Bill Goodwin, like-minded colleagues with refined chops who bring the same level of professional elegance to the music that Amadie did. Amadie was a relentless optimist whose performance this night sounds as if led by a man half his age. Among many highlights, the trio gives “There Is No Greater Love” a delicate, yet upbeat reading. There’s a slinky, exotic interpretation of “On Green Dolphin Street” and a gangbuster version of “Softly As The Morning Sunrise” that bounces at a speedy tempo with particularly good solos from Marino and Goodwin. Speaking on the recording that he never would have gotten this far without her, Amadie dedicates a lush and tender “My Funny Valentine” to his wife, beginning with a remarkable solo intro that slips into a penetrating groove where Amadie leads us deep into the tune swinging every step of the way. The trio brings the same insightful flair to “All The Things You Are,” and the way the song is played spotlights all the things that made Amadie great—timing, touch and a profound sense of how to swing. Amadie played in the tradition of jazz pianists that he revered—Hank Jones, Jimmy Rowles and guys like Billy Taylor who played tunes from the golden age of popular music and put their own jazz spin on these standards. He was a well-known jazzman in Philadelphia, thanks in part to DJ Bob Perkins at WRTI, Philadelphia’s jazz and classical radio station; and if you aren’t familiar with him, or you haven’t had a chance to purchase any of his recordings, then today would be a good day to do so. Having reviewed three of his most recent recordings, locally produced by his friends and supporters, I have deep appreciation for the gift that was Amadie’s art. I never had a chance to meet Jimmy Amadie or hear him in person. It’s one of those missed occasions, tinged with regret. Amadie joins jazz pianists Mulgrew Miller, Marian McPartland, Bebo Valdes, Cedar Walton and George Duke who played their last notes in 2013. Indeed, their music lives on, and as time progresses and jazz carries on, it’s a piece of good fortune that Jimmy Amadie left behind treasures on disc that await discovery for decades to come. Please visit his very fine website, www.jimmyamadie.com for more about this king of swing (12 tracks; 77 minutes) ■
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THE STOCKTON INN THE STOCKTON INN’S HISTORY always seduces me. The Inn lies within the hallowed historic tract that runs along the Delaware River from Yardley to Easton. But in contrast to other inns along the River, it’s not the Stockton Inn’s colonial and canal-era legacy that is most compelling. That’s not to say the Stockton Inn doesn’t boast its fair share of colonial-era bona fides. The edifice was erected in 1710. Incidentally, the Lenni Lenapes recommended the site to the settlers because it wasn’t in the flood plain. And indeed, the Stockton Inn has remained largely flood-free, unlike most of its besieged neighbors. But, the Stockton Inn’s history in the latter part of the first half of the 20th Century is as singular as it is impressive. Richard Rodgers composed an ode to its charm: There’s a Small Hotel (With a Wishing Well)—although the Montecito Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA, also “claims” itself as the object of Rodgers’ affection. In 1935, the Stockton Inn—at the time called Colligan’s—rose to international renown when it functioned as the provisional media headquarters for the Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial. In the 1940s, eminent big band leader Paul Whiteman was a regular at the restaurant. Mimicking Jimmy Durante’s famed signoff—“Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are”—Whiteman signed off from his radio and TV programs unfailingly with “Now, I’m going to dinner at Ma Colligan’s.” In the same era, Dorothy Parker and the A-Listers of her fabled Algonquin Round Table like Helen Hayes, Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley, Damon Runyan, and S. J. Perelman frequented the premises. The Inn’s luster glowed through the Fifties and Sixties, when it accommodated papparazi magnets like Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The Inn’s ownership has changed hands a few times since those splendiferous 20th century happenings. The current owner, Mitch Millet who took the reins in June 2012, is rethinking the menu. Perhaps more accurately, he’s gently shifting focus to Colonial-era fare. One of the current appetizers is oysters and shrimp coated with a corn meal crust and fried. The recipe is reminiscent of Philadelphia City Tavern’s Giant Cornmeal Fried Oysters with remoulade. Only some of the Stockton Inn’s fare has colonial provenance. Stockton Inn’s Crab Roll, for instance, contains a contemporary touchstone: the accompanying Thai salad is spruced with wakame, the deep green seaweed staple of Japanese cuisine found in modern kitchens of all stripes. A thin bed of wakame also glints green under meticulously chopped clams, bacon, and onions in a well-executed, traditional Clams Casino rendering. A satisfying salad stretches grilled red peppers along white Mozzarella coupons appetizingly zigzagged with balsamic glaze. Grilled Fennel-Rubbed Tenderloin of Pork nuzzles up to brandied sweet potato, maitake mushroom, and Swiss chard. Risotto Cake provides a pedestal for a large diver scallop: An orbit of four halved Brussels sprouts in a pool of butternut squash purée surrounds this centerpiece in a composition and presentation that’s pleasing enough. But the roasted sprouts beg for more crisping to give a needed contrast to the texture. The management has some service glitches to address. The waitstaff is friendly and helpful, but coordination between the kitchen and servers needs focus and improvement. We endured some inexplicably long waits between courses. The physical plant is as gorgeous as ever, both inside and out. The Inn’s alfresco dining ranks with the best in the entire region. The little town of Stockton, remote, romantic, and picture-postcard pretty, is delightful dining territory. And the ambiance of the Stockton Inn, commodious and gracious, is the antithesis of the straight-laced, stone-and-shutters rigidity at some historic inns. But I’d like to see more adventure in the menu. The colonial-influenced fare can tend to under-utilize the extensive pantry available to modern chefs and throttle the kind of experimentation that might express colonial-era cuisine in new and nuanced ways. In any case, I’m for any culinary path that leads to reclaiming the Inn’s glory years. The Stockton Inn is a nugget of Americana patrimony that is rare, special, and I’m hoping, perpetual. ■ Stockton Inn, One Main Street, Stockton, NJ (609) 397-8948 stocktoninn.com Email comments and suggestions to email@example.com
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KANELLA I READ RECENTLY THAT Kanella is “still compelling after five years.” Carrying on millennia-old culinary traditions for five years is compelling, I suppose. But when carried out with the passion for the gastronomy of his native Cyprus that burns inside Chef-Owner Konstantinos Pitsillides, five years is merely an overture. The Kanella symphony will compel Philly foodies for years to come. Konstantinos’ dishes are ablaze and send lip-smacking scents into Kanella’s air. Cypriot cuisine is similar to other Middle Eastern traditions, at least as Pitsillides interprets it. Yet it seems to have a bolder spicing profile. He has a penchant for dialing up aromatics that give marinades and meats a potent edge, often unleashing rare, thundering flavor. Halloumi Saganaki is semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese pan-fried into a trio of golden-browned wedges and accompanied by ouzo. It’s served with fig and tomato salad brightened with an intoxicating bouquet of mint. Ah, I love Chef Konstantinos’ savvy with spices! Manti is Armenian ground lamb dumplings with mint-parsley yogurt sauce. Strips of Guinea Fowl float in a sweet crunchy elixir of wheat berry studded with walnuts, celery, and pomegranates. The kitchen coaxes the mellow flavor out of Dorado, a firm yet delicate fish sometimes billed as pompano or mahi mahi. The entire fish is wrapped in grape leaves and roasted before being filleted (and done so in entertaining style) at the table. Once filleted, the meltingly tender fish, crowned with a cluster of fresh, diced vegetables and piqued with a subtle citrusy nip, taps the essence of Mediterranean gusto. If you’re fortunate, Bobby will do the honors. Bobby has starred in the front of the house for Konstantinos for years and has to be considered for any city crawler’s top-server-in-the-city honors. Bulgur Wheat in roasted fennel sauce stocked with a wedge of yogurt counterbalances the inherent richness of organic pig cheeks. However, Grilled Octopus, I find, drops below the high bar of the rest of the menu. The accompanying arugula and onion salad tossed with caper and cilantro dressing is a good platform for the dish, but the octopus was a bit too chewy. In contrast, Braised Rabbit Leg is sublime. Served as a deep-dish stew, a battalion of roasted onions layers dulcet overtones to the succulent meat. Asparagus provides an earthy base in a lush chorus of tastes that are at once homey and elegant. Tender Summer Ravioli is filled with Manouri cheese, lemon zest and cracked pepper. But it’s the mint and walnut pesto with green peppercorns festooned with zucchini blossoms that make the dish soar. Kanella’s desserts include fig-topped tarts bursting with Mediterranean swagger, flourless chocolate cake confected with outstanding consistency, and a swoon-for pistachio crème brûlée, which ranks among the best version of crème brûlées I’ve ever had. Kanella is a restaurant that might not appeal to anyone rutted in the familiar. Pity for them. Kanella is a rock star to the legions of foodies that queue up each night waiting for a table. Food is the all-consuming (so to speak) focus at Kanella. For those of us who have that passion, that makes Kanella a mecca. The sounds that reverberate in the little room is invigorating—enlivening like a rock concert. Indeed, Chef Konstantinos is a gastronomic rock star. He has been selected as one of eight semi-finalists for the 2013 James Beard “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic Region” Award. Now, that is compelling. ■ Kanella, 1001 Spruce Street, Philadelphia (215) 922-1773 kanellarestaurant.com Email comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org 36 ■ I C O N ■ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 4 ■ W W W . I C O N D V . C O M ■ W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V
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HOTEL Modern Cuisine h Classic Comfort Corner of Swan & Main Lambertville, NJ 609-397-3552 W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V ■ W W W . I C O N D V . C O M ■ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 37
Teenage Boys THEY RUSH INTO THE house against a cold wind outside—and suddenly, it starts to feel like a hurricane inside, too. Three of our four grandsons are now teens. They seem to take up the entire foyer space in our house. They also seem to suck up all the oxygen. And wow, are they tall! It seems like just yesterday that I would lean down to hug small boys who wriggled away. Back then, I would grab them back and plant some smooches. Now I stretch up my arms and barely reach a neck. When I finally get to a cheek, I feel stubble. Yes, stubble. Sam, Jonah and Zay shave. And they laugh uproariously at my shock. Sam, the oldest, reminds me that he started shaving a year ago. Jonah and Zay allow that for them, the razor has been a more recent acquisition. Now these giants announce that they’re hungry, even though they had lunch an hour ago. But like big cars, these big guys need constant refueling. So I get to work. They sprawl out on the kitchen chairs and watch me make epic quantities of macaroni and cheese, their voices shockingly deep, and their humor surprisingly sophisticated. These boy-men are allowing me micro-images of who they will be a few years from now, and I’m still amazed. That’s because I remember holding each of them close to my heart, rocking each to sleep on their fussy days, and cheering as each tiny boy took his first step in my presence. Where are those adorable little bandits in overalls now? The kitchen explodes with their energy. I eavesdrop shamelessly as they talk of subjects their mothers—my daughters—never did. Bodybuilding is a major area of concentration. Also high priority subjects are the Giants vs. any other team, the relative merits of certain video games with names that are meaningless to me, and, of course, who said what on Facebook. But when the subject of girls comes up, they lower their voices so that they’re inaudible. My best efforts to spy are foiled. I love these guys so much that I think my heart will burst on this cold winter day when
Sally Friedman contributes to the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, AARP Magazine and other national and regional publications. She is the mother of three fierce daughters, grandmother of seven exceptional grandchildren and the wife of retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge Victor Friedman. Email: PINEGANDER@aol.com.
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they are miraculously in my kitchen, not miles away. I love seeing them devour the mac and cheese as if it were the last meal they’d ever see on this earth. But most of all, I recognize how far I’ve come on the learning curve of Boy. Before grandsons, my only proficient language was Girl. I spoke it fluently as a daughter, sister and mother. But for the last 18 years, starting with Sam’s birth—one heralded as if a future king had arrived—I started learning to speak Boy. I learned that they moved like greased lightning even when they crawled, that their tolerance for sitting quietly in a car was extremely limited, and that around 14, they started speaking in monosyllables. Then they returned to words, sentences and yes, even paragraphs again. I learned that little boys in socks turn hallways into skating rinks and wrestle like they mean it, even when they don’t at all. It is, I’m told, a way of expressing affection. Who knew? And oh my, have I learned that most of the time, they are free of the diva/drama of teenage girls.... As they bring their plates to the sink, with no leftovers in sight, I have my next shock: I detect a whiff of aftershave...subtle, mellow, but there. And I realize that the days of “But did you wash your neck?” are behind us. Who knows what will come next? And with some wistfulness, I remind myself what it is. Sam is spending a school vacation looking at colleges, and Zay is not that far behind in that department. Jonah will follow in no time. Yes, before too long these older grandsons will be taking off for that chapter of their lives, the one that changes everything. And it will happen before their grandfather and I can even imagine. But for now, they are totally delightful companions, still occasionally eating mac and cheese at our table, and sprawling out on our furniture, most of the time shedding their huge sneakers, as they offer running commentaries on sporting events or, more often now, world events, too. They know things, these guys. It shouldn’t surprise me—but it somehow does. On good days, when no one’s looking, they allow me to hug them, no matter how high my arms need to reach. There is nothing moderate about the way I love them because our teenage grandsons have wrapped a smitten and devoted grandmother around their big fingers. They are the delayed pleasure of the sons I never had, the bonus boys inexorably approaching manhood. And what a wondrous journey for them—and for me. ■
JAMES P. DELPINO, MSS,MLSP,LCSW,BCD
Self-Belief THERE IS A GREAT American myth that suggests that being hard on oneself somehow makes a person better. Beating yourself up internally is a far too common resort when mistakes are made. For many, reliving humiliating experiences and self-blaming are part of the everyday experience. Self-deprecation only leads to more self-deprecation. This is how bad habits of thinking, behaving and feeling are developed. When anything is repeated over and over it creates a hypnotic trance inside. Mistakes—real, exaggerated or perceived—create the post-hypnotic suggestion that triggers the negative trance. The world continues to spin and people continue their lives, but for the person in trance the
reality of the world and other people becomes changed. Over time, investing in negative non-believing thoughts, feelings and behaviors becomes habitual. Through a process of mental, behavioral and cognitive erosion a person will inevitably fall into the pit of self non-belief. One way to progress in the direction of self-belief is to reduce the occurrence of negative thoughts, feelings and actions. Negativity can be reduced in three areas: 1) Frequency, 2) Duration, and 3) Depth. It’s always better to reduce a little at a time for this generally creates a better and longer lasting outcome. To reduce frequency of negativity, each person must find a way to be conscious of the approach of negative thoughts and feelings and the things, situations and people that trigger them. Awareness creates the freedom to decide how to contend with triggers before they become post hypnotic suggestions. Once in trance the process becomes automated because it has been conditioned and programed over the course of time to do so. To decrease duration it’s best to become immersed in something that fully occupies the mind. Cognition in humans is singular, so being capable of thinking only one thought at a time our brains can prevent and shift out of trance if they are trained elsewhere, say a hobby, a passion, another activity or another person. Stop focusing on the negative for it only keeps you stuck. Instead, write down your strengths. Shifting internal
focus to strength makes it larger and more powerful. Shifting the internal focus away from what’s not there to what is there becomes a mental habit. As the healthier habit of positive belief in the self develops it begins to overtake the negative and self-deprecating beliefs. Thoughts become positive more often, feelings are more frequently uplifted and more positive behaviors emerge. As far as the external world goes, the words, thoughts and behaviors of others can have a corrosive effect on selfbelief. In many instances others are given the power to shape and hurt the esteem and self-image. Entrusting this kind of power to another is risky business, especially if the other person is especially negative. While it’s true that happiness does not depend on other people, having positive and uplifting people around does enhance happiness. Happy people tend to believe in themselves—just as people who believe in themselves tend to be happy. Allow others to have the power to increase your happiness. Learn to see that negativity in others reflects their suffering. It’s the same thing with events: When they go unexpectedly wrong it’s not the occasion to engage in negative self-talk. While external events that are negative can push down positivism temporarily they need not define who you are. Only you can decide who you are in the face of challenges—and even tragedy. A positive technique to increase self-belief via self-hypnosis is to attach a sticky note to your bathroom mirror. For most people, looking in the bathroom mirror is one of the first things they do in the morning. Write “I deserve a good day.” This morning ritual, over time, sets the tone of the day from the very beginning. It can be helpful to use this message and technique in different places that are central to everyday life, like the car, the office, the refrigerator. It’s also helpful to make a list of strengths and gratitudes and then memorize them. Repeating these sequences from a few to many times a day is a good inoculates against negativity. A memorized list of positive attributes and the good fortunes of life is a highly effective tool. Something common to those who lack self-belief is the propensity to speak negatively about themselves to others. When this is done it decreases their perceived value in the eyes of others. So being aware of this tendency is the first step in catching it and beginning to modify it. A common manifestation of this a tendency is to over-apologize. Lastly, learn how to say no. All too frequently people with low self-esteem agree to saying and doing all sorts of things, even if it hurts them, to gain acceptance and approval from other people. Approval-seeking behavior doesn’t work and diminishes the person who engages in it. It’s a vain attempt to control the thoughts, feelings and actions of others and often leads to anger, disappointment and a sense of being used. ■ Jim Delpino is a psychotherapist in private practice for over 33 years. email@example.com (215) 364-0139. W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / I C O N D V ■ W W W . I C O N D V . C O M ■ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 39
WINNER OF DINNER FOR TWO AT THE PRIME RIB, PHILADELPHIA
WOMEN’S drinking in parks was associated with male-on-female intimate-partner violence, while men’s drinking quietly at home in the evening was associated with female-on-male violence. Among federally licensed gun retailers, 98.9 percent support handgun restrictions for people with a history of both mental illness and violence. Mildly psychopathic Swedish teenagers tend to mellow as they age, some children diagnosed as autistic may instead have 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, and recovering bilingual aphasics are confused by homophonous noncognate words. Dyslexic Bostonians read better on e-readers. The ability to read facial emotions is improved by reading literary fiction. American soldiers were growing too attached to their battlefield robots. “They would say they were angry when a robot became disabled because it is an important tool,” said a researcher who interviewed members of an explosive-ordnance team. “But then they would add ‘poor little guy,’ or they’d say they had a funeral for it.” Genetic diagnosticians located the mutation of a girl who feels no pain. Stoicism was blamed for masking from nurses the suffering of Ireland’s elderly. Scandinavians have outgrown gods.
JEFF HOELTZEL TWO WAYS TO WIN: 1. “LIKE” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/icondv or 2. Send an email with the subject line Glorious Food. Write YOUR FULL NAME and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
ICON WINNER OF DINNER FOR TWO AT THE PRIME RIB, PHILADELPHIA
ELISSA HALPERIN TWO WAYS TO WIN: 1. “LIKE” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/icondv or 2. Send an email with the subject line Glorious Food. Write YOUR FULL NAME and send to email@example.com
By Rafil Kroll-Zaidi / A compendium of research facts
WHITE plague continued killing Caribbean coral reefs, Tanzania continued killing its albinos, and Minnesota improved its monitoring of massive moose mortality. “If the heart stops beating,” explained a state wildlife veterinarian, “it sends a text message to our phone that says, ‘I’m dead at x and y coordinates.’ ” The cockroaches of the Upper West Side were found to be genetically distinct, and New Yorkers were found to be likelier than residents of other cities to respond to a request to mail in dead cockroaches. The female ancestors of most Ashkenazim were Gentiles. Archaeologists discovered a priestly bathroom in Jerusalem and twenty skulls beneath the Bedlam cemetery, concluded that the Bosham Head is Trajan, suggested toad may have been roasted at Blick Mead, and could not say where Mesolithic hunter-gatherers got their domesticated pigs or whether the nipples of a 4,000-year-old mummy at Cashel bog were mutilated when he was decommissioned as king. Most cave paintings in France and Spain were made by women, at a time when male and female humans’ hand shapes were apparently more dimorphic. “Twenty thousand years ago,” said the study’s lead author, “men were men and women were women.” WHEN one of two experimental test subjects sees photos of maggots, then touches toy slime, and the other subject sees photos of puppies, then touches fake fur, their empathy for each other is impaired. Some American entomologists are arachnophobic. University of Chicago researchers noted that gestures intended to avert jinxes are not all equally effective. A bioengineered lacrimal gland was successfully shedding tears. Electric stimulation of the lateral prefrontal cortex makes Swiss divvy up money more evenly, and a belief in God makes young Swiss men less likely to take ecstasy. Empathetic children better understand the sarcasm of puppets. The brains of straight people release natural opioids in response to imaginary sexual rejection. Photographing your food makes eating it less enjoyable, people burdened by guilt overestimate their own body weight, and African elephants possess an intuitive understanding of human finger-pointing. The voices of new lovers on the telephone, stripped of words, sound vulnerable. RESEARCHERS in Kansas, Slovakia, and South Korea suppressed sexual desire in red flour beetles, silk moths, and fruit flies, respectively. Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants. Mosquitoes are able to smell human odorants better at night. Wild-derived female house mice (Mus musculus musculus) who engage in noncoerced multi-male mating do so to preempt the highly infanticidal tendencies of newly nonvirgin male mice. Female barn swallows whose breasts are darkened with magic marker exhibit lower levels of oxidative damage. Zoologists investigated the surprising frugivory of crocodilians as a vector for saurochory. Male orangutans announce their travel plans in advance. French birds are aware of automobile speed limits. One species of weakly electric bluntnose knifefish was found to be AC; another, DC. Bisexual British teenagers drink and smoke less than their gay and lesbian peers but more than their straight ones. Research sponsored by the Caledonian Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club, Dandiedinmontinterrieri DDT Ry, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed Council, the Dandie Dinmont Trust, Dansk Terrier Klub, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, and the Stichting Dandie Dinmont Trust identified a chromosomal locus for glaucoma in the Dandie Dinmont terrier. The British Ministry of Defence killed a Belgian shepherd and a German shepherd from the protection detail of the Duke of Cambridge. A barn owl in Wiltshire failed to deliver two wedding rings and instead fell asleep in church. Shy male tits have fewer, but closer, friends.
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INDEX Facts compiled by the editors of Harper’s Magazine
Percentage change in the S&P 500 since its pre-crisis peak: +8 In the price of financial stocks: –44 Portion of wages paid in Manhattan that come from the financial-services industry: 1/3 Percentage by which New York City’s homeless-shelter population has increased under Mayor Michael Bloomberg: 65 Portion of the city’s shelter population who are children: 2/5 Percentage of black U.S. children under the age of five who live in poverty: 43 Portion of U.S. foster children who will experience homelessness by age twenty-six: 1/3 Percentage of Americans who think children are better off when their mothers stay at home rather than working: 51 When their fathers stay at home rather than working: 8 Median age of a U.S. woman giving birth for the first time: 25.7 Getting married for the first time: 26.5 Estimated amount spent globally on fertility drugs and devices this year: $4,054,984,000 Percentage of first-time fertility treatments that fail: 75 Portion of U.S. births from unintended pregnancies that are paid for by Medicaid: 2/3 Percentage change in the portion of uninsured young adults in Massachusetts since the state’s health-care reform: –67 Portion of U.S. college graduates who say their job does not require a college degree: 2/5 (see page 14) Percentage of 2012 U.S. law-school graduates not currently in full-time jobs requiring membership in the bar: 43 Portion of hyperlinks included in Supreme Court decisions that no longer work: 1/2 Minimum percentage of all federal background checks handled by the Office of Personnel Management: 90 Percentage of OPM employees who are private contractors: 76 Percentage of Pentagon background checks sampled by the GAO that were processed with insufficient information: 87 Percentage increase in “employee misconduct” at the TSA between 2010 and 2012: 26 Cartons of cigarettes the ATF lost during a botched sting operation last year: 2,100,000 Estimated chances that a recent crack cocaine or methamphetamine user is not physically addicted to the drug: 4 in 5 Minimum number of retired California public servants receiving pensions of more than $100,000 a year: 21,874 Percentage of rentable property in San Diego County that registered-sex-offender parolees are prohibited from living on: 97 Portion of men in China who say they have raped a woman: 1/5 Percentage of those men who said they did it because they were bored or wanted to have fun: 57 Percentage of flights out of Beijing’s Capital International Airport that have left on time this year: 27 Portion of Tajikistan’s GDP that is composed of migrant remittances: 1/2 Kilowatt-hours of energy used each year by the average Ethiopian citizen: 52 By the average U.S. refrigerator: 454 Amount the Canadian Armed Forces spends each year on weight-loss surgery for obese soldiers: $220,000 Replacement cost of the munitions used by the U.S. military in the first nine days of its intervention in Libya: $259,200,000 Percentage change from 2002 to 2012 in the amount the United States spent on “security assistance” to other countries: +227 Percentage of U.S. Jews who believe God gave Israel to the Jewish people: 40 Percentage of white U.S. evangelicals who do: 82 Portion of U.S. Jews with Christmas trees in their homes: 1/3 Estimated profit an Illinois zoo has earned since 2008 by selling tree ornaments made of reindeer droppings: $50,000 Index Sources 1,2 S&P Dow Jones Indices (N.Y.C.); 3 New York State Department of Labor (Albany); 4,5 Coalition for the Homeless (N.Y.C.); 6 Children’s Defense Fund (Washington); 7 Amy Dworsky, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; 8,9 Pew Research Center (Washington); 10,11 National Marriage Project, University of Virginia (Charlottesville); 12 Transparency Market Research (Pune, India); 13 International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Palo Alto, Calif.); 14 Guttmacher Institute (N.Y.C.); 15 The Urban Institute (Washington); 16 Gallup, Inc. (Washington); 17 National Association for Law Placement (Washington); 18 Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law School (Cambridge, Mass.); 19 U.S. Office of Personnel Management; 20–22 U.S. Government Accountability Office; 23 U.S. Department of Justice; 24 Carl Hart, Columbia University (N.Y.C.); 25 Harper’s research; 26 California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Santa Barbara); 27,28 Partners for Prevention (Bangkok); 29 FlightStats (Portland, Ore.); 30,31 World Bank (Washington); 32 Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (Washington); 33 Canadian Forces Health Services (Ottawa); 34 Congressional Research Service (Washington); 35 Stimson Center (Washington); 36–38 Pew Research Center (Washington); 39 Miller Park Zoological Society (Bloomington, Ill.).
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The Los Angeles Times SUNDAY CROSSWORD PUZZLE
NAME GAME By Joel D. LaFargue Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 1 5 10 15 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 29 30 32 33 35 36 39 40 44 45 47 48 49 50 51 53 54 58 59 61 62 64 65 67 68 70 71 74 75 79 80 82 83 84 85 86 90 91 93
Pacific island nation Eastern teachers __ bar Frequent autograph signer Quaint plaint Man with memorable thumbs Really cold Extra Singular 1983 novel partly set in a graveyard Bakery buys Arboreal rodents From square one Tap Steams (up) Cannes conclusion Baffled “Jeopardy!” contestant’s effort Proprietary formula, perhaps Salon treatments Frankie Valli singing style Bonding agent Classic detective played by William Powell Needing training Sourdough’s strike Item sold in a kit Ohio pro Letter successor, to a large degree Non-metallic rocks Bibliophile’s prize “Spamalot” co-creator 2000 film set in a confectionery __ exam Fitting to the max Cold, in Calais Stupefies DeMille specialties Taken as __: in its entirety Secret rival? Greatly disliked thing Engage in braggadocio Simple to operate Rip off Salon dye Back in time Least quantity Actor’s accessory That, in Toledo Office staple French peninsular city It won’t hold water Horse features
94 Marks common in stories 95 Landings: Abbr. 96 Muffet fare 97 Bedroom community, briefly 98 Joe or java 101 Major affair 102 He played Arnold Vinick on “The West Wing” 106 Diva’s moment 107 Any top-25 NFL career scoring leader 111 Transmission speed unit 112 Salon treatment 113 One often turned on 114 Top-tier invitees 115 Gospel writer 116 What one star may mean 117 Nods, often 118 Freebies on pillows 119 Fall locale
DOWN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 25 28 31 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 45
Pool surface “M*A*S*H” mess server Boy’s mother Parisian obsession Classic French firearms company Does lookout duty for, say Subway Series team MGM motto word Multi-office rental: Abbr. __ rice Staff figures What there oughta be Jam ingredient? Mrs. Blake Carrington on “Dynasty” Drink Henning of magic “Deal __ Deal” For fear that More than excited Like challah dough No longer in Diamond side Trimming tape Cannon barrage Thing of the past Significant period Cheating deterrent Center Weak A 36-Across may be one Call before the game? Immature hooter Org. headquartered near Colorado’s Cheyenne
46 49 52 54 55 56 57 60 63 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 76 77 78 81 84 87 88 89 90 92 94
Mountain Assume the role of Surroundings Author Albom Blockhead Leveling machine High dudgeon Flamethrower compound Broken nursery rhyme item “Bummer” Red pig Bit of setter speech Say “Enough!” Liniment targets Grab forcefully “Like a Rock” singer Frank and Rice Seuss’ Thidwick, e.g. Date bk. listings Quarterly report line “Yes, it does bother me!” Some, in Stuttgart In flames Likely As an answer Charms Israeli prime minister before Sharon Expend, as fuel Cool and Lam detective series pen name Milk buys
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96 Buried treasure 97 Consecrated 98 Smythe’s comics barfly 99 Oft-twisted treat 100 Generic pet name 101 Jokes 102 Related
103 Praise highly 104 Blue Devils’ home 105 Arabian Peninsula port 108 Invention 109 Seuss’ Sam-__ 110 MDX ÷ X Answer in next month’s issue.
Answer to December’s puzzle, AND 100 MORE!
Agenda ART EXHIBITS Thru 1/31 Patricia Hutton Galleries. Landscape, seasonal still life, and small art will be featured along with our usual selection of realism and impressionism by 25 acclaimed artists. 47 West State St.. Doylestown. PA. PatriciaHuttonGalleries.com 1/3-2/2 Winter Exhibition. The Quiet Life Gallery. 17 So. Main St., Lambertville. NJ. 609-397-0880. quietlifegallery.com
$5/members; $15/nonmembers. Call 610-432-4333 ext. 110 for reservations. Allentown Art Museum, 31 North Fifth St., Allentown, PA. 610432-4333. AllentownArtMuseum.org 1/31-5/16 Abstract Fridays, 2 p.m., guided tour of Paul Harryn: Essence of Nature, free with Museum admission. Allentown Art Museum, 31 North Fifth St., Allentown, PA. 610-432-4333. AllentownArtMuseum.org
DANCE 1/8 Noon Gallery Talk on The Maiden Creek Series by artist Matthew Daub—free with admission. Allentown Art Museum, 31 North Fifth St., Allentown, PA. 610-432-4333. AllentownArtMuseum.org 1/10 Art Encounters, for the 50+ crowds, 1–2 p.m.—free with admission. Allentown Art Museum, 31 North Fifth St., Allentown, PA. 610-432-4333. AllentownArtMuseum.org 1/10-3/16 "What Happens When We Die," by Robert Quezada. “Down South,” new work by Brian Lav continues in Gallery II. Red Filter Gallery, 74 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530. Fri.-Sun. 12-5. 347-2449758. 1/15 Appetite for Art, lunch and discussion of Mary and the Studio, 1924, by Sidney Edward Dickinson. Noon 1:30 p.m. $20 /members; $25/nonmembers. 610-432-4333 ext. 110 for reservations. Allentown Art Museum, 31 North Fifth St., Allentown, PA. 610-432-4333. AllentownArtMuseum.org 1/18 Preview Party for Paul Harryn: Essence of Nature, 6 - 9 p.m. FREE for museum members; $25/nonmembers. Call 610-432-4333 ext. 129 to reserve. Allentown Art Museum, 31 North Fifth St., Allentown, PA. 610-432-4333. AllentownArtMuseum.org 1/26 Artist Paul Harryn talk and visual presentation illustrating the evolution of his work, influences and inspirations, and the materials he uses to create his artworks.1 p.m.,
1/25 Europium Dancetheater returns to The New Hope Arts Center for one night only with "What Good Is Love...". A compelling production of dance with theater exposing the intimacies of human relationships. 7.30 p.m. 2 Stockton St., New Hope, PA. europiumdancetheater.org or call 1800 838-3006 for tickets, $25. 1/26 Compagnie Käfig. Samba & Hip-Hop Dance. 4 p.m., Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem, PA. Free event parking attached to the center. 610-7582787. zoellnerartscenter.org 2/6-2/8 Master Choreographers. A spectacular evening of ballet, contemporary dance, tap and jazz showcasing new dance works choreographed by nationally and internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty. Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, PA. 484-6643333. Muhlenberg.edu/dance
2/9 The Addams Family creepy and kooky Broadway musical comedy! Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem, PA. 7pm. $60/50 discounts available. Free event parking attached to the center. 610-758-2787. zoellnerartscenter.org 2/15 Lisa Lampanelli. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem, PA. Box office: 610-297-7400, Sandseventcenter.com 2/19-3/2 The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett. Act 1 Performing Arts, DeSales University, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, 2755 Station Ave., Center Valley, PA. 610-282-3192. desales.edu/act1 2/20 Little Shop of Horrors. Samuels Theatre, Cedar Crest College, 100 College Dr., Allentown, PA. A downand-out skid row floral assistant becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood in an affectionate spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies. Tickets: cedarcrest.edu/stage
DINNER & MUSIC Saturday nights: Sette Luna Restaurant, 219 Ferry St., Easton, PA. 610253-8888. setteluna.com Thursday nights: DeAnna’s Restaurant & Bar, 54 N. Franklin St., Lambertville, NJ. Live music and raw bar. 609-397-8957. deannasrestaurant.com.
1/11 Classic Albums Live performs The Dark Side Of The Moon. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem, PA. Box office: 610-297-7400. Sandseventcenter.com 1/26 Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra. Winter Vivaldi Chamber Ensemble. Delightful Baroque Music performed by principal instrumentalists of the Sinfonia and guest pianist Father Sean Brett Duggan. 3 p.m., Wesley Church, 2540 Center St., Bethlehem, PA. 610-434-7811. PASinfonia.org, tickets: lvartsboxoffice.org 2/7 Vienna Concert-Verein Orchestra. Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem, PA. 8pm. Free event parking attached to the center. 610-758-2787. zoellnerartscenter.org 2/21 All You Need Is Love, A Beatles Tribute Concert. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem, PA. Box office: 610-297-7400. Sandseventcenter.com
ARTSQUEST CENTER AT STEELSTACKS MUSIKFEST CAFÉ 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA 610-332-1300. artsquest.org 1/3 1/4 1/8 1/9 1/10 1/12 1/16
THEATER 1/10 Joy Behar. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem, PA. Box office: 610-297-7400. Sandseventcenter.com 1/22 Million Dollar Quartet, 7 p.m., State Theatre, 453 Northampton St., Easton, PA. $60/$55. 610-252-3132. 1800-999-STATE. statetheatre.org 1/30 Hair, Let the Sun Shine In! 7:30 p.m. State Theatre, 453 Northampton St., Easton, PA. $60/$55. 610-252-3132. 1-800-999-STATE. statetheatre.org
Every Thurs.-Sat., Dinner and a Show at SteelStacks, Bethlehem, PA. 510:00pm. Table service and valet parking. Information, menus and upcoming events visit artsquest.org
1/17 1/18 1/23 1/24 1/30
Every Monday, Live guitar with Barry Peterson, 7-10pm. Karla’s, 5 West Mechanic St., New Hope, PA. 215862-2612. karlasnewhope.com
Some organizations perform in various locations. If no address is listed, check website for location of performance.
2/14 2/14 2/19 2/20
Leon Russell Craig Thatcher Band Presents An Eric Clapton Retrospective Kevin Devine The Associated Mess Stanley Clarke Blair Academy for a Holiday Concert Two Laugh Minimum: Jesse Joyce Boogie Wonder Band the Aardvarks The Associated Mess The Fabulous Greaseband Two Laugh Minimum: Giulla Rozzi The Front Bottoms SteelStacks Improv Comedy Festival 10,000 Maniacs Strawberry Fields: The Ultimate Beatles Tribute Two Laugh Minimum: Jon Rineman The SteelStacks Stunner Ball: Red and Wild The Amish Outlaws Angelique Kidjo The Associated Mess
An Evening of Bruce Springsteen with Cunningham & Associates Two Laugh Minimum: Big Jay Oakerson Cowboy Junkies
READINGS 1/11 Panoply Books Reading Series 2014: Bernadette McBride. Former Poet Laureate of Bucks County, PA. Bernadette McBride presents her poetry collection, Waiting for the Light to Change. She directs the monthly Poets Reading Series at Farley’s Bookshop in New Hope, PA. 6PM, Panoply Books, 46 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ. Book signing, Q & A, refreshments. (609) 397-1145
EVENTS Thru 1/31 Karla’s, join us every Monday for Locals Night! 5pm-10pm, 3 course dinner $12-$19. 5 West Mechanic St., New Hope, PA. 215-862-2612, Karlasnewhope.com Thru 1/31 Treat Yourself Tuesday, every Tuesday night at the bar and in the dining room, Apollo offers an additional menu. The menu includes a variety of appetizers, and martinis for $7 each! Apollo Grill, 85 West Broad St., Bethlehem, PA. 610-865-9600. apollogrill.com Thru 1/31 Therapeutic Thursday, every Thursday from 5-7pm enjoy Apollo’s version of “happy hour”. Stop in and enjoy a signature martini of the week for $7 and $5 glasses of chosen wines and tasty appetizers at the bar. Apollo Grill, 85 West Broad St., Bethlehem, PA. 610-865-9600. apollogrill.com 2/7 & 2/8 The Emmaus Arts Commission SnowBlast Winter Arts Festival, 2/7, 6-9pm & 2/8, 10am-3pm at Emmaus Triangle Park and various venues and stores throughout Emmaus, PA. The festival includes an ice sculpting demonstration, EAC Art Show and Sale, and the 3rd Annual Community Art Project. For full list of schedule. emmausarts.org
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Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc. Specialists in High-Value Property (215) 766-8834 • (610) 346-8800 www.doreyrealestate.com
STATELY AND WELCOMING Architectural details abound in this 6000+ sqft home set on 2 peaceful acres. Gleaming wood floors, side porches, aesthetically placed sets of French doors, repeating arched doorways, and 3 double-sided fireplaces accent the floor plan. Skylights and large windows fill the home with natural light. There are 5 bedrooms and 4 full baths to accommodate family members and guests. A full size butler’s/catering pantry, office and library on the main level, and a tranquil pool are lovely amenities. $1,425,000
Currently under construction, this 8800+ sqft home was designed by award-winning builder, Myron Haydt. At the center of a private and beautiful setting stands Newport Ridge, the benchmark for the estate quality homes to be built in this 16 lot subdivision. A thick stone façade highlights the exterior. Indoors, sophisticated rooms boast oak and marble floors, extra high ceilings, detailed moldings and millwork, and dual master bedroom suites. Ample acreage provides room for a sprawling lawn, tennis court or swimming pool. $1,950,000 completed
A distinguished neighborhood of custom built homes is the setting for this 7000+ sqft residence. Five bedrooms and 6 full baths highlight three airy and open levels where high ceilings, contemporary finishes and plentiful windows are prevalent. Four fireplaces, a resort quality 1st fl master bedroom suite with vaulted ceiling, private office, and walkout LL are beautiful highlights. A multi-tiered rear deck offers quiet countryside views, yet the convenient location is just minutes from Lehigh Valley Hospital, Air Products and major thoroughfares. $949,000
METICULOUSLY RESTORED AND UPDATED Move right in to this refined and gracious 1915 home which reflects the discriminating taste of past and present owners. The impressive interior boasts over 6700 sqft of space, and the 2nd and 3rd floors offer many living combinations. The cozy family room is warmed by paneled walls, bookcases and one of the 3 fireplaces. Set just off the kitchen are flowering gardens, a 3-season screened porch with an extensive patio perfect for entertaining indoors and out. Conveniently located just minutes from Bethlehem and major highways. $675,000
1939 FRANK CHILES CLASSIC
The textures of stone, stucco and hardwood are perfectly balanced by the panorama of sky. Guests greeted in the soaring foyer enjoy views of the greenery that grace the park, drawing them into the warm and welcoming great room. An open dining room and a kitchen that marries style and substance are sure to be the site of many evenings of fine food and great memories. The 1st level master is flanked by closets and a bath that redefines relaxing. A private deck and spa overlooking the stunning views make “getting away from it all” a daily occurrence. $899,000
In the distinguished neighborhood of Bethlehem’s Main Street Extension, is the property called Stonefair. Lush lawns, enormous trees, terraced beds and garden walls frame the charming residence. There are four bedrooms, including a resort quality master bedroom suite with cathedral ceiling, fireplace, private balcony and sleek bath. Formal living and dining rooms have access to the terrace and overlook the lovely acreage and the sun-filled family room boasts white washed stone walls, a wall of windows and a beamed ceiling. $590,000
THE SUMMIT AT SAUCON VALLEY
Lotus Lane is set in a neighborhood of distinguished cul-de-sac homes offering easy access to I-78, The Promenade shops, restaurants, and Southern Lehigh schools. An attractive stone and stucco exterior and foyer with sweeping dual staircase welcomes you to this 5,000 plus square foot home. A two-story family room has a gas fireplace at its center and is framed by a wall of windows looking out to the pretty yard. There are four en suite bedrooms, a partially finished lower level, first floor office, and private deck and patio areas for outdoor entertaining. $810,000
Tucked away on a cul-de-sac of custom-built homes in the Southern Lehigh school district. Great curb appeal and interior of 4,500+ sqft create a home that is beautiful and practical. The main level has a guest suite, office and a wonderful open gathering area comprised of the gourmet kitchen and family room with wood-burning fireplace. This wonderful space has long-distance views and overlooks the private yard with patio, fire pit and hot tub. Upstairs, 4 additional bedrooms include a master with luxurious bath and walk-in closet. $749,000
With a view from atop Jakes Place, this custom home has all the appointments requisite for the best in today’s quality construction. Taking full advantage of the spectacular, long-distance views, the home has been positioned so that a walk to the front door will make visitors stop at a vista that takes one’s breath away. Brazilian cherry floors, two fireplaces, detailed coffered and tray ceilings, an elegant master suite with steam shower and a fabulous gourmet kitchen are just a few of the amenities. A world apart, but located in Saucon Valley. $895,000
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