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Filling the hunger since 1992
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW The legendary comedian may look like he rolled in off the street, but he remains one of our most articulate, diverse, accessible, and still somehow mysterious stars.
With the 2014 release of Kin (<-->), Pat Metheny adds one more notch—another restlessly searching album that marks the zone between all jazz, all rock and all-world music—to his belt of aesthetic enterprises filled with zeal and innovation.
City Beat | 5 Backstage | 5 Sally Friedman | 38 Jim Delpino | 39
A THOUSAND WORDS Hoofing It | 7
EXHIBITIONS | 8 The Bucks County Project Gallery Delaware Art Museum Red Filter Gallery ART Jason Bateman in Bad Words.
When Calendars Told Stories | 9 Michelangelo Meets Mickey | 10
FILM CINEMATTERS | 12 Bad Words
SINGER / SONGWRITER | 30 Mark T. Small; Amy Black The Paley Brothers; Lucinda Williams Johnny Cash JAZZ LIBRARY | 31 Harry “Sweets” Edison NICK’S PICKS | 32 Ulysses Owens Jr.; Catherine Russell Eli Degibri; Mike DiRubbo Stranahan, Zaleski, Rosato
FOOD The Bridgetown Mill House Inn | 34 Amuse | 36
ETCETERA Harper’s Index | 41 L.A. Times Crossword | 42 Agenda | 43
KERESMAN ON FILM | 14 RoboCop BAD MOVIE | 16 Winter’s Tale
Robert De Niro in The Bag Man.
REEL NEWS | 18 Inside Llewyn Davis; The Great Beauty Long Walk to Freedom; Let the Fire Burn
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FILM ROUNDUP | 20 The Bag Man; In Secret Omar; Gloria
KERESMAN ON DISC | 28 Chris Campbell; Arlene Sierra Regina Carter; Scott H. Biram Matt Wilson Quartet / John Medeski Ken Peplowski; Bettye Swann The Farewell Drifters
PAT METHENY | 24
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Nicholas Monro (b. 1936), Dancers (ed. 2/75), 1970, silkscreen. Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley. Gift of Ackerman Foundation, 1980
The intersection of art, entertainment, culture, opinion and mad genius
ON THE COVER: Bill Murray. Interview on page 22.
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INKY: WAY COOL OR HALF IN THE SEWER We headed over to painter Elizabeth Osborne’s house for a party and met former Inquirer cartoonist, Tony Auth. The winter soiree massaged our spirits and brought news that the Grand Dame of Philly painters is also the daughter of architect Paul Cret. While munching on tasty edibles, we followed Liz’s suggestion to rotate seats so we could chat with everybody present. Auth, who appeared months ago at a public lecture with Charles Croce at the Philadelphia History Museum, mentioned where his papers would go when he’s no longer around. “We’re getting to the age now where you have to think of these things,” Liz added. It’s not possible to talk to Auth without bringing up the old Inquirer, so the comments drifted to that hybrid Inquirer-Daily News creation, Philly.com, which has evolved into a salacious, tabloid-like broadside where breaking news amounts to the misadventures of a so-called Swiss cheese ‘pervert,’ or random teachers caught having sex with students. How does the spawn of a Pulitzer Prize-winning empire wind up in the sewers? Auth suggested it might be because Inky-DN head honchos have staffed Philly.com with twenty-something “editors” who think the tabloid style is way cool. We were relieved to hear this, since we didn’t think it was the handiwork of Daily News Editor Michael Days, who seemed fairly respectable when we met at the Franklin Inn some time ago. DIDDLING WITH THE DILWORTH When the Center City District announced plans for a redesign of Dilworth Plaza, we wondered what would become of Emlen Etting’s public sculpture, Phoenix Rising, a memorial to former mayor Richardson Dilworth. Etting (1905-1993), a Philadelphia blueblood bisexual married to the former Gloria Braggiotti, lived on Panama Street, and knew everybody from Hemingway to Henry McIlhenny. It’s not often that the home of a Philadelphia gentleman artist gets raided, but that’s what happened in 1958 when Emlen hosted a party for the cast of The World of Suzy Wong, and a neighbor called police to complain about noise. Etting contacted then-Mayor Dilworth about the “Gestapo tactics of Center City police,” implicating Capt. Frank L. Rizzo, who wrote the original police report. Not only did Rizzo insist that the police had been polite, but after his election as mayor he turned a deaf ear when the artist needed City Hall’s help around the time of Phoenix Rising’s installation. We visited the Rizzo statue recently and saw that it was holding up well… aside from pigeon droppings on the shoes. We found that the most intricate part of the sculpture is the shoelaces. They are so authentic looking it’s easy to imagine a passing toddler trying to unlace them. When tourists are not photographing the sculpture, they’re positioning themselves (for selfies) with their arms draped around Frank’s thighs. The statue must be the least vandalized sculpture in the city, even if its frozen wave is anything but benevolent, at least for Etting. We see the Rizzo wave as a get lost gesture to Phoenix Rising, moved last year to an area near Society Hill Towers. Etting would not have wanted that since the piece was designed for the Plaza, not condos in the sky. 2014 POET LAUREATE Poet Frank Sherlock has been selected to succeed Sonia Sanchez as the city’s 2014 Poet Laureate. We wish Sherlock well in putting together a public face even though we’re surprised to hear so many say that they’ve never read his poetry. Poets are the opposite of politicians: The raw, unfiltered juice from the Muse caused Ginsberg to take to the harmonica, W.H. Auden to begin wearing bedroom slippers, and Hart Crane to jump into the sea from the stern of the Olympia. We’re sure Sherlock is more the Wallace Stevens type, stable and constant, though we’re pretty sure he knew he was the winner when we saw him at Dirty Frank’s the night before the announcement. He had a different look on his face then. Was it a shadow cast from the weight of City Hall?
LONG LIVE “THE KING” As previously referenced in this space, 2014 could be the year of Johnny Carson, as a number of projects revolving around the talk show host, who passed away in 2005, are coming to the marketplace. The book by Henry “Bombastic” Bushkin, Carson’s discredited lawyer, is doing well, and Bill Zehme’s long-awaited Carson bio—when Carson retired in 1992, he spoke only to Zehme—should be released this year. There’s also talk of a feature or television film about “Mr. Late Night,” and Carson Enterprises head Jeff Sotzing is doing everything possible to finally revitalize and promote The Tonight Show video catalog. The most impressive project released thus far, which was actually first aired in some markets in May of 2012 but just recently made widely available for viewing on the web and other places, is a brilliant two-hour documentary, part of the PBS American Masters series, called “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night.” This film—beautifully written, shot, researched and produced—must stand as the definitive Carson bio. It pulls no punches about this most public and most private of men, and by way of the interviews with almost everyone living who knew or worked with the man, the “true” Johnny Carson, if there was one, is finally brought into focus. “ABSURDITY” FOR SALE: ATLANTIC CITY’S REVEL CASINO HOTEL Atlantic City’s troubled Revel Casino Hotel, “...a silvery, soaring monument to a stream of bad decisions,” said the Philadelphia Inquirer’s gaming writer Harold Brubaker—could be up for sale via the auction route at a bargain basement $200 million as we go to press. Interested parties are said to be Hard Rock Café and Caesars. Brubaker, never one to mince words, summed matters up by saying in part, “Revel seems like an absurdity now.” The status of their entertainment bookings, including an eagerly anticipated performance by Aretha Franklin on March 15, may be questionable. Suggestion to those booked: Cash up front. TALK OF “THE WALK” The Philadelphia Music Alliance, the organization responsible for the Philadelphia Walk of Fame and its honorees, has announced its new Executive Board Members. They are TimeLife producer Alan Rubens, lawyer and MCT Entertainment founder Mia Tinari, World Café Live at the Queen Talent buyer Christianna LBuz, and Morris J. Cohen and Company, P.C. Board Chairman Stephen A. Cohen. Rubens stressed the importance of maintaining the balance between honoring Philadelphia’s musical past while helping to cultivate its future. “Our ultimate legacy rests in assuring that Philadelphia’s musical landscape remains fertile for generations to come.” MAGIC LANTERN Lantern Theater Company, now celebrating its 20th Anniversary, has announced their 2014 and 2015 productions. The company prides itself on continuing a tradition of presenting classic, modern and original works that authentically and intimately explore the human spirit. Season opens with Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (September 25 through November 2), and then presents Barrymore Award-winning actors Mary Martello and Ben Dibble in John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning Doubt: A Parable (January 15 to February 15, 2015). In the spring, Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon helms a fresh, sexy take on William Shakespeare’s comedy of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew, which will run from March 19 through April 26, 2015. Lantern Theater Company is located at St. Stephen’s Theater at 10th and Ludlow Streets in Center City Philadelphia. Info: lanterntheater.org or 215-829-0395. THE BIG CHEESE This news has the words “drip factor” written all over it. The restaurant called “Wit or Witout? Philly Cheesesteaks” has two locations currently—one on Frankford Avenue and the other on Red Lion Road in the Greater Northeast. But the company is looking to expand by
PLAYS AND PLAYERS’ DERANGED BROTHERS Every Philadelphia theater company has its cultish following. The Wilma crowd looks dif-
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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ferent from the opening night audience at Suzanne Roberts, while Walnut Street Theater people are worlds away from Theater Exile. We visited Plays and Players recently to see True West, a black comedy about what happens when two deranged writer brothers compete to win the attention of a fast talking producer. We had hopes for this Sam Shepard play before things went Animal House. One brother attacked the stage set with a golf club before turning it on a typewriter. The scene made us think of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar-smashing. Applause at the end was tepid, though one person stood up and cheered as if intent on igniting a standing ovation. The shoe-box structure of P&P makes the flow of large crowds there painful at best. At the reception (three flights up narrow stairs) patrons helped themselves to fabulous food, though not many were able to get a drink at the dollhouse bar. Unlike opening nights elsewhere, P&P has a one-drink ticket policy. We spent twenty minutes trying to get the bartender’s attention, but even flashing money like those rammy dudes at Delilah’s Den didn’t work. We looked (in vain) for a golf club to use as an attention-getter then decided to call it quits. On the way out, we noticed the dedicated staff working hard to clean up the Shepard’s pie on stage. GIVE THE SKATEBOARDERS SOME LOVE (PARK) Is the Nutter administration determined to leave its design mark on the city? Like the remake of Dilworth Plaza—where a plastic cheese grater structure that makes us think of patio furniture is slowly rising—JFK Plaza (LOVE Park) is headed for a redo. The 15-million rehab job (city tax dollars) will rid the plaza of the (slippery when wet) terraced surfaces, add more greenery, and add one or more food concession stands. Something’s wrong when the city has to sell assets in order to pay current expenses. The impetus behind the rehab is the poor condition of the parking garage underneath the plaza, so to “do” the bottom you have to “do” the top—despite the fact that the Plaza has just been rehabbed. We say bring back the skateboarders. Skateboarders provide entertainment and keep the homeless to a minimum. Both Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell L, Clarke want food courts on the Plaza, but just as every blank wall doesn’t need a mural, so LOVE Park doesn’t need a café or a food concession stand. LOVE Park can do without an overpriced Stephen Starr commissary, or a mini-Rouge with a lineup of fancy dogs (in sunglasses) eating alongside their owners. KEEP YOUR PENCILS IN YOUR POCKET We like the Barnes Museum as much as the next person, so when we heard that there’s a rule there against visitors doing sketches (in notebooks) of the paintings on the wall, we wondered why. Sketching makes no noise and it is an intensely private endeavor, and yet to be caught sketching in the Barnes is tantamount to lighting up in front of a Degas. No such taboo exists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We know that Barnes was a fussy curmudgeon, and that many of his in-house Merion rules were of the “stick-in-the-mud” illogical kind. While it’s true that a case can be made for our friend Katharine being asked to leave after photographing a painting there, even at PMA they would first ask you to put the camera away before kicking you out. We somehow imagined that the Barnes would be so grateful for having sidestepped Albert’s will that they would err on the side of generosity when it comes to the little stuff. PRESS CONFERENCE-SPEAK At any City Hall press conference, broadcast journalism always sets the tone with its cameras, testing of lights, and the constant moving of cameras to different angles in the room. We were constantly switching seats at the last press event as different broadcast cameramen (they are usually men) kept moving their cameras, blocking all views of the podium. This game of musical chairs continued until we found a safe haven toward the front. Observing other journalists in the room, it was easy to locate the talking heads with their stamped NBC 10 jackets. Compared to the invisible notepad-holding print journalists, who wore no jackets or name tags and who for the most part had no identifiable “faces,” the broadcasters seemed like first class Titanic passengers as compared to we print ruffians in third class. The big moment in any press conference comes when the mayor’s entourage enters the room. Then it is a single file procession of bigwigs, faces you’d recognize in the news, the usual suspects in dark suits. Like a chorus line, they know how to assemble around the podium near the speaker. Since this announcement was about the new Mormon construction at 16th and Vine Streets, the city officials were up front with most of the Mormon delegation standing off to the side. The mayor spoke first. He’s a good public speaker. We like speakers who make eye contact with the audience. Standing directly beside the mayor was City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, in his trademark Clark Kent glasses. Clarke’s speaking style isn’t as forceful as the Mayor Nutter’s. In fact, it has an “aw shucks” shy, self-effacing quality to it, as if he was insecure about speaking in public. At the Q and A, the mayor’s tone was politician sharp. There’s a knack to delivering one word answers, like “Yes” or “No,” and doing this in a way that makes the delivery sound like the crack of a whip. We call it press conference-speak, something that most seasoned politicians have learned to master. (Clarke is also a very tall man, so seeing him standing beside the mayor made us think—for the first time—about the mayor’s height.) The end of a press conference is always anti-climactic. The political suits disappear first; journalists scatter to the four winds, and the cameramen are usually the last to leave. ■
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way of the ever-chancy franchise route, and recently hosted several “open houses” in the area in a effort to become—sorry—the “big cheese” of cheesesteaks. The question, of course, is how does the product taste? Television’s Guy Fieri, for one, proclaimed these to be the “city’s finest.” Which means nothing, as Fieri’s Manhattan eatery, which opened about a year ago, received a review as scathing as anything the New York Times ever published. The record shows that things for Fieri have improved after a year, but there is still no cheesesteak listed on his menu. And there is, as yet, no news on how many Wit or Witout? franchises have been sold. Find out at witorwitout.com.
FALL FROM GRACE The long-anticipated biopic on Philadelphia’s own Princess Grace, Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman, was supposed to be released in November. Then word came down that release would be delayed until this month, as movie mogul Harvey Weinstein demanded edits from director Oliver Dahan. Dahan was not happy with the cuts demanded and the picture has been pulled from the schedule. What sometimes happens with projects like these and is often left unsaid is this: The producers may have miscalculated the market potential for a film about Grace Kelly. Bet this ends up unreleased or as a television film, unless Miley Cyrus is re-cast in the lead. RETURN OF “THE COS” NBC television has announced that the one and only Bill Cosby will be returning to the airwaves in a sitcom next season. The Philadelphia-born comic, now 76, will portray “the patriarch of a multi-generational family.” Producer Tom Werner, who worked on the original Cosby Show with Marcy Carsey, will work with the comic on the program. As for The Cos himself, he recently told Yahoo! TV that he wants “to be able to deliver a wonderful show. There is a viewership out there that wants to see comedy, and warmth, and love, and surprise, and cleverness, without going into the party attitude.” He hopes the program will appeal to those who “would like to see a married couple that acts like they love each other, warts and all, children who respect the parenting, and the comedy of people who make mistakes.” Cosby, one of the great supporters of jazz through the years, has always used his television programs to give exposure to colleagues in the Philadelphia jazz world (“Bootsie” Barnes and Shirley Scott were regulars on Cosby’s You Bet Your Life television show) and elsewhere. SAVING THE BOYD THEATER: THE SAGA CONTINUES The once-venerated Boyd Theater, which opened in 1928 and closed in 2002, sits as a piece of urban blight and a burned out shell in the middle of a thriving Center City Philadelphia neighborhood, on the 1900 block of Chestnut Street. As it is, it’s a disgrace and something should be done about it. The current owner wants to demolish it, except for the façade, and build an eight-screen theater and Italian restaurant. Preservationists are against this, saying that the Boyd is a part of history and if anything, it should be a live theater. Hearings are now being held before the Philadelphia Historical Commission as to the fate of the property, and a decision could take years, as issues regarding financing and other matters are rather complex. In the meantime, while the battling is going on, this eyesore is an embarrassment. Isn’t anyone ashamed? Let’s face it. It will become a Rite-Aid or a Subway. Or maybe even a “Wit or Witout?” cheesesteak joint. At least it will have a nice sign. \friendsoftheboyd.org. SPRING INTO BALLET No doubting that the Pennsylvania Ballet, kicking off their Spring Season with Carmina Burana at The Academy of Music on March 6, is the biggest company of its kind in the region (paballet.org). But there are other, smaller ballet companies in the region worthy of attention. Ballet Hispanico, founded in 1970, is a vital non-profit dedicated to exploring, preserving and celebrating Latino culture through dance. In addition to its national live performances, Ballet Hispanico is heavily involved in the areas of education and outreach, with their goal being to “build new avenues of cultural dialogue and to share the joy of dance with all communities.” Ballet Hispanico comes to Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell on March 8. Tickets for this presentation, a part of Montco’s always-impressive “Lively Arts” program, are available by visiting mc3.edu/arts/lively-arts. The West Philadelphia-based Kun-Yang Lin / Dancers (KYL/D) is known as one of the country’s foremost contemporary Asian-American dance companies. Described as “deeply spiritual, remarkable” by Dance magazine, the company has the lofty mission of celebrating the ability of dance to integrate body, mind, and spirit, while inviting audiences to engage in their own journeys of self-discovery. This “beyond contemporary” dance company will stage the premier of Be/Longing: Light/Shadow at Drexel University’s Mandell Theater, 33rd and Chestnut Street, on March 21 at 8 p.m. and March 22 at 3 and 8 p.m. http://kunyanglin.org/be. ■
A Thousand Words
STORY AND PAINTING BY ROBERT BECK
PEOPLE MIGHT THINK THAT when painting live at an event I slip into some kind of zone, turn on the taps, and watch the magic flow from my fingertips. I wish. Most experienced artists will agree that the best you can do is create an atmosphere where good things might happen and hope Dame Fortune will be punctual. In this instance I was invited to paint at a fundraising benefit, with the finished image being auctioned the same evening. I’ve done many of these events and at almost every one the schedule failed to take into account the time it takes to do the painting. This function began at 6:00, auction at 7:30. Clearly, the organizers figure I shake paintings out of my sleeve. I let them know they had to drag their feet on the auction and went to work right away. It was a dinner dance with a great swing band. I was on the fence whether to include the word “Swing” that appeared on the stage backdrop and decided to go with it. The larger issue was how to portray the people on the dance floor. There was more than a crowd to describe, and more than just movement. It was pairs of dancers, each in time with the music. Let me mention that painting people is not as forgiving as painting, let’s say, trees. With trees you don’t have to be exacting with the limbs. When painting people you have proportion and articulation to consider, and when they are dancing there is action and expression.
So to get back to unleashing the magic, there I was with the clock running and no idea how to paint a floor full of dancing people, but I started anyway. This made folks around me feel I had things under control, and less inclined to ask me questions like, “How are you going to paint with everyone moving around?” Truth is, I just had to figure it out. I went for quick and simple gestures until I found some that looked dance-like. I would do one in about 30 seconds, wipe it out if it didn’t work, and try another. In a half-hour I had completed the three primary couples I needed. The lady in red and her partner were really good; blue and green were OK. The one in rust was just fair, but they only needed to be in the same dance. The rest of the people were indications. The lady in red makes the statement, and having other dancers’ arms extended like hers tied them all together. That sounds pretty straightforward but it’s difficult to make analytical judgments when the voices in your head are screaming doom and you really don’t know where or when the saving brushstroke will arrive. But anticipation is in the marrow of painting. If you put yourself out there, keep your process active and open, and entice the genie into your circle of possibilities, she might…just might…reward you with a good dancer or two. I’ve said many times that I don’t think of my paintings as art, but as a record of the art that happened. When I look at this image I remember leaving the event and walking out to
my car with a feeling of accomplishment. Not just from being able to pull off a credible painting in ridiculously little time, but finding a good answer amid the mental chaos. It’s not something hidden up the sleeve. It’s having made so many mistakes that I know a lot of things that don’t work. It’s keeping focus and not letting myself be bullied by outside expectation. Or doubt. This is the game, and it’s afoot. As in Kipling’s “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/and treat those two imposters just the same,” life is what’s happening now, and whether good or not so good it’s something to be worked through and not wasted. Same with art. Not wanting to discover things strikes me as the real disaster. So even though there are a couple of hundred people who have been told I’m going to do a crackerjack painting in no time at all, and my subject is constantly changing position, I get on with it. The worst that can happen is not that I do a crappy painting today or tomorrow, the worst is that someday I will not be able to paint, and that day is going to come. When it does I get to tell that imposter that it arrived too late. ■
Robert Beck maintains the Gallery of Robert Beck. The Gallery will host the Lambertville Historical Society/Coryell show through March 23, at 204 No. Union St., Lambertville, NJ. robertbeck.net (215) 982-0074
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Issey Miyake, Paris, 1981. Gelatin silver print, 5 1/4 x 7 7/8 inches. Gift of Mrs. Mary G. Heiser, 1994.
Susan Kott, The Ceiling.
Tattoos and Graffiti The Bucks County Project Gallery 252 West Ashland Street, Doylestown 267-247-6634 buckscountyprojectgallery.com March 6 – April 6, 2014 Artist reception Friday, March 7, 6-9 pm This juried group photography exhibit explores photographic imagery of graffiti and tattoos, their statements, beauty and the photographic interpretation of an art intertwining the creator and the interpreter. “I love the diversity of expression, angles, line balance and ideology. I wanted to look at each submission as a photographic whole rather than simply the outstanding street art represented. On the skin art, these photographers and photographs capture the delicate beauty of what is often viewed as a provocative edgy form of art.” Erik Wahl, Juror.
Eleanor Ivins, Identity.
Fashion, Circus, Spectacle: Photographs by Scott Heiser Delaware Art Museum 2301 Kentmere Pkwy. Wilmington, DE 302-571-9590 Delart.org Wed.–Sat.10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Sun. Noon–4:00 p.m. Free Sundays. Extended evening hours on select Fridays, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. March 8 – June 1, 2014 Best known for his innovative photographs of the fashion runways for Interview magazine, Scott Heiser was a talented photographer who documented a wide range of public entertainments, including circuses, dance competitions, and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show. His grainy, dramatically cropped images provide unexpected glimpses of performers in action, while his sensitive portraits capture famous faces of the 1970s and ’80s. This is the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to Heiser (1949–1993), who was born and raised Wilmington.
Andy Warhol, c. 1980. Gelatin silver print, 9 x 6 inches. Estate of the artist.
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There and Back: Fine art photography by Mark Fields and Forrest Old Red Filter Gallery 74 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ 347-244-9758 redfiltergallery.com March 15 – May 4, 2014 Mark Fields’ art and photography has been exhibited in over 30 galleries and art institutions including Benjamin Mangel Gallery, The Print Center, Nexus Gallery, Walt Whitman Center for the Arts, University City Science Center Gallery, Main Line Art Center, Villanova U., Phila. Art Alliance, St. Joseph’s U., West Chester U., U. of Pennsylvania, Red Filter Gallery, and LGTripp Gallery. The displayed work is from his Sonata series. “In some images, human figures seem to be either entering or emerging from darkness. While technically achieving a matter of fact reality, they are both psychologically and literally believable although we know they could not have been captured ‘straight.’ Working at times on a pixel level, I wanted them to have emotional resonance and that required my technique be of a high and convincing level.” Red Filter Gallery owner Forrest Old will show samples from ongoing personal projects. “The work has taken place over the years; the exhibition reflects my interest in industrial subjects.” The focus of the work is art and abstraction in engineered structures. Both photographers recently appeared in a joint exhibit at Philadelphia’s Twenty-Two Gallery in January.
Calendars TOLD STORIES
JUST TO MENTION “CALENDAR art” in any polite society is to begin to say something nasty. Only those whose taste in art runs to “I know what I like” tend to be satisfied with a dreamy English cottage in winter…and we’re not even talking Thomas Kinkade. Now, however, the Brandywine River Art Museum has mounted two exhibitions of calendar art and the entire genre needs to be re-examined. A Date with Art: The Business of Illustrated Calendars and N.C. Wyeth’s Making of America are both curated by Christine Podmaniczky and both run through May 18. A Date with Art features the art of Howard Pyle, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, and N.C. Wyeth and examples of the calendars that commissioned them. The artists are considered the best “illustrators” of their time. Each of them realized that the calendars would have far greater distribution than their art could ever hope for. The calendars were produced in the hundreds of thousands and for many families represented the only art hanging in the parlor. If name recognition was advantageous to the artist, this was the place to get it. Of them, only Pyle was vexed by the dangers to his art by the advertising world. Parish signed long-term deals that allowed him time for his “real” art. Rockwell, whose art was always one foot into advertising, went along for the Boy Scouts, and Wyeth continued to do his own thing which were large-scale paintings of history sometimes as illustrations and sometimes not. Parrish’s work features General Electric’s Edison Mazda brand, the light bulb, in a kind of mystic, sensual rendition that characterized his other art. Rockwell is identified by Boy Scout pictures, and Pyle’s entry is “Nation Makers” which he did for Collier’s magazine. Wyeth managed to find commissions that allowed him to proceed with artistic goals. The second show, Making of America, is concerned with the 1940 calendar Wyeth illustrated with a dozen paintings from America’s past. He has Coronado, a Spanish conquistador, Sam Houston, Ben Franklin, John Paul Jones, Marquette, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Lewis and Clark, and Abraham Lincoln. The Washington portrait is particularly strong with brilliant color and contrast and the subject definitely looks like a general. That might be due to the scene which shows Washington at Yorktown when rebel victory was close at hand. The Marquette painting shows the explorer standing in a canoe suspended on a clear lake mystically and majestically. There is no information on how the subjects were chosen or who even chose them—the client or the artist. Still, the subjects do fit in with Wyeth’s interests. A telling display with this show is a group of props from the Wyeth studio which indicates his determination to get things right, especially in terms of costume and dress. Items include a Kentucky rifle, a coonskin cap, and a life mask of Lincoln. As was usual with Wyeth, the illustrations are large scale. “Covered Wagons” shows his experience in the West. Almost three-quarters is skyscape with the wagons viewed from high above. Each of the paintings carries with it an appreciation by scholars, experts in art and history. Many of a certain age remember illustrated calendars only from those in the service bays at gas stations. They were of interest to males as most of them features bathing beauties in two-piece suits. They are such a far cry from today’s pin-ups that it seems like a distant era, simpler and gentler. However, the nostalgic pull of those calendars, as with these displayed by the Brandywine River Art Museum, are pleasing to an aesthetic sense as well as telling us what day it is. ■ Brandywine River Art Museum, 1 Hoffman's Mill Rd, Chadds Ford, PA (610) 388-2700 brandywinemuseum.org Top: N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945), “Sam Houston,” 1938/1939. Oil on panel, 26 ≤ x 24 7/8 inches. Brunnier Art Museum, University Museum of Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa Bottom: N. C. Wyeth, “The Alchemist,” 1937. Oil on canvas on hardboard, 75 3/4 x 50 5/8 inches. Courtesy of Chemical Heritage Foundation Collections. Photograph by Will Brown for 1938 Hercules, Inc. calendar
Edward Higgins is a member of The Association Internationale Des Critiques d’Art.
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Michelangelo Mickey meets
Strange bedfellows mix it up in an Allentown exhibit of British Pop prints
Opposite page: Peter Phillips (b. 1939), “Gravy for the Navy,” 1968–73, silkscreen. Allentown Art Museum. Gift of Eddie Green, 1980 This page: David Hockney (b . 1937), “An Etching and a Lithograph for Editions Alecto,” 1972, etching and lithograph. Allentown Art Museum. Gift of Victor Dorman, 1980
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THE FRONT COVER OF my copy of the Beatles’ White Album is a three-ring souvenir from my sometimes threering-circus life. Those coffee-cup circles? They were made during latenight college bull sessions decoding “Revolution 9” and “Glass Onion.” That oval of cigarette burns? Made by an irate girlfriend, who soon became an ex. That faintly bulging, ghostly impression of a vinyl disc? Made by LPs stacked against LPs for decades, the black mark of a lo-fi guy. Richard Hamilton probably didn’t design The White Album as a canvas for stamping my personality. He conceived a starkly white, image-less cover simply because Paul McCartney requested a completely cool contrast from the flower-power garden of characters on the sleeve of a previous Beatles record, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Still, unwittingly or wittingly, Hamilton created an intriguingly interactive icon, a minimal work with maximum memories. Copies of The White Album and Sgt. Pepper covers serve as conceptual lightning rods in the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley’s exhibit of 23 prints made by British pop pioneers. British Pop Prints, which opens March 26, is a smart, sassy survey of a sassy, smart movement where highbrow heroes like Michelangelo’s David mixed with lowbrow heroes like Disney’s Mickey Mouse. A triple celebration, it honors the 50th anniversary of the Beatles storming America, the fertile relationship between musicians and designers in ‘60s Britain, and the cross-pollination practiced by visual artists on both sides of the pond. British Pop printing was minted by the Independent Group, which met sporadically from 1952 to 1955 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Collective members included Peter Blake, who later co-designed the Sgt. Pepper cover, and Eduardo Paolozzi, who compiled scrapbooks of American consumer items: ads, comic strips, pictures of Western movies. These collections inspired his peers to make cheekily radical pieces with materials both prosaic and poetic. Paolozzi and his mates were empowered by the dreariness of post-World War II Britain. They combined popping colors with popping patterns to offset bombed buildings and slums, high unemployment and high poverty, an oppressive bulldog-and-bluebells stoicism. I write from second-hand experience. I first learned about this era from my mother, who grew up in the ’40s and
’50s in the London suburb of Palmers Green. She has prickly memories of pea-soup pollution and long lines for rationed butter. It’s no wonder that she loves butter and hates margarine. This socio-economic dynamic dusts the Allentown exhibit, which was organized by chief curator Diane Fischer from the Museum’s collection of 200-plus British Pop prints. Exhibit A is “The Silken World of Michelangelo,” a 1967 silkscreen by Paolozzi, credited with premiering the word “pop” in a found-object work. Here he pairs a negative-image head of Michelangelo’s David with a neon-dressed Mickey Mouse. Blessing this unlikely union of celebrities are three characters resembling Wise Men made in a Caribbean Lego factory. Peter Phillips mashes up two very different stimulants in “Gravy for the Navy,” a 1968-73 silkscreen. A smiling pinup woman—the kind sailors drooled over—is pinned by rubbery, vaguely barbed ropes. Nevertheless, she floats on an electric wallpaper of black and white triangles. Courting her is a dancing jester of torpedo-like shapes and rainbow-colored capsules that could be mistaken for uppers. Phillips offers a calmer, lighter version of the precise, industrial-grade American Pop practiced by painter James Rosenquist, renowned for surreal fables of billboard-style bombshells and sexy strategic bombers. Patrick Caulfield’s “Interior: Morning” represents the calmer, lighter side of British Pop. The 1971 silkscreen consists of a yellow-shaded lamp hanging by a window with yellow panes and gray glass. The scene is placed yet placeless, pleasantly graphic yet unpleasantly placid. In fact, it could be a close-up from one of Roy Lichtenstein’s very American paintings of blown-up comic-book panels. The show’s most curious work is a 1972 lithograph/etching by David Hockney, the most famous Independent Group alumnus. We know it’s partly an etching because “AN ETCHING” appears in pink under a kind of spermy balloon. A sort of artist’s proof of a book cover, Hockney’s piece can be read as a declaration that prints are no longer second-class citizens to paintings, even though they’re mechanically reproduced. Two artists here raid the distant commercial past: For “Dancers,” a 1970 silkscreen, Nicholas Monro borrows the sharp angularity of illustrated figures from the jazzy ’20s, then blows up the dresses into strikingly colored fans; Peter Blake blows up Victorian postcards of naked women to poster size, in the process turning a private sexual affair into a public semi-
sexual event. One of the cards is drenched in a psychedelic bordello fuschia. Blake posterized these postcards in 1969, two years after he and his then-wife, American-born Jann Haworth, made the cover of Sgt. Pepper a poster of cardboard celebrities. The exhibit has several other Beatles connections. Hockney’s studio, for example, was visited by John Lennon, a former art student well known for his whimsical drawings. Stuart Sutcliffe, the Beatles’ original bassist and Lennon’s great mate, left the band in 1961 to study painting with Paolozzi. Less than a year later he died from a bleeding brain; five years later, he was memorialized in a photo on the cover of Sgt. Pepper. Even the show’s curator was part of the music-and-art party. Fischer admits she collected LPs mainly because of their distinctive designs. Her treasures ranged from Led Zeppelin III, which features a rotating disc of characters behind a cover of miniature windows, to Jefferson Airplane’s Bark, which came wrapped in a brown paper bag marked with “JA” in a red circle, as if it came from an A&P supermarket. All of this leads us back to the cover of The White Album, which Hamilton intended to make busier and funkier. His suggestion of a coffee cup stain was rejected as too cliché. His suggestion of an impregnation of apple pulp—a tribute to Apple, the Beatles’ record company—was rejected as too expensive. As for my own copy of The White Album, it is, alas, no longer mine. It was taken long ago by another ex-girlfriend from our joint collection of LPs. I like to think she took it accidentally; I like to think she still enjoys the accidental art. ■ “British Pop Prints,” March 26-June 22, Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, 31 N. 5th St. (between Linden and Hamilton streets), Allentown. 610-432-4333, www.allentownartmuseum.org.
Geoff Gehman is a former arts writer for The Morning Call in Allentown and the author of the 2013 memoir The Kingdom of the Kid: Growing Up in the Long-Lost Hamptons (SUNY Press). He can be reached at email@example.com. 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 ■ M A R C H 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 11
HE DIFFICULTY ABOUT REVIEWING movies for almost a living is the mind can’t shut off. If all I ever wrote was “I like it” or “I hate it,” that wouldn’t be very persuasive. Then the publisher would have to sell more advertising and jobs would be lost and I’d have to pursue a profession that requires a necktie and responsibility. And nobody wants that. With Bad Words, actor Jason Bateman’s feature directorial debut, there were moments when its PC-free nastiness had me laughing out loud. But, a day later, having examined the movie more thoroughly, I feel like I was conned into a good time. That puts Bad Words in a weird zone. It is a comedy. It made me laugh, so it accomplished its goal. But I can’t recommend it. Bateman plays Guy Trilby, a single 40-year-old proofreader from Ohio, who finds a loophole that allows him to participate in a regional spelling bee, where much to the consternation of everyone, he makes his way to the finals in Los Angeles. He knows the plan is half-baked. There is a larger purpose at work, one that dooms the trash-talking, heavy drinking Guy to emotionally destroy children. Contest rules mean that Guy, a smug loner, has to have sponsorship from a publication, which is how a harried Internet reporter from something called The Click and Scroll (Kathryn Hahn, We’re the Millers) ends up by his side, fending off his insults and attempting to form a rapport beyond angry sex. Guy has learned to tolerate her. He’s having less success with the sweet, talkative 10-year-old who introduced
Bad Words himself on the plane bound for the finals. Chaitainya Chopra (Rohan Chand), who looks like a cartoon fawn, is friendless and essentially left to fend for himself. (He stays alone in the hotel because his dad says it builds independence.) But his room also has a fully stocked minibar, something lacking in Guy’s storage closet digs. Their friendship is presented as accidental, though anyone familiar with Bad Santa saw it coming when Guy snapped at the Indo-American Chaitainya to shut his “curry hole.” For all of its kid punching and anal sex jokes, Bad Santa had heart and soul—so did MASH, Animal House, Caddyshack, and countless other anti-establishment comedies. The big difference is that Bad Words is built on insults. Bateman isn’t interested in what leads the insulter to take such an aggressive stance, which is partially why the shelf life on Bad Words’ funniness can be measured in hours. Every enemy in Bad Words is worthy of Guy’s scorn because they have unfortunate haircuts, an indignant attitude because a 40-year-old is ruining a kids’ event, or wear clothes straight from Caldor’s clearance rack. These are not worthy adversaries for someone with Guy’s caustic wit, because they don’t represent anything beyond their surface appearance. They are caricatures designed to be steamrolled. So, who’s the nemesis? I’m sure first-time writer Andrew Dodge and Bateman would argue that it’s Guy. That’s hopeless because the character is so underdeveloped—his troubled past is explained away in a few lines of dialogue—that it doesn’t water down Bateman’s acidity, his best asset. Because Bateman is on full blast we’re too blinded to see the goodness behind the jerk. Dodge and Bateman could
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have mined the parents and bee administrators for tics and nuances, ones that would have made Guy’s anarchy welcome—and justified. Instead, every actor is forced to absorb Guy’s righteous vitriol, a move that completely neutralizes the abilities of good actors, including Philip Baker Hall, Allison Janney, and Beth Grant (TV’s The Mindy Project). Even Hahn, probably the best comedic actress working today, is handed a lifeless character required to bond with a loathsome jerk. She would have been better served staying home. Everyone would have. By the end of Bad Words, Guy (surprise!) becomes a better person from his experience. It’s one more resolution served up on a platter, and final proof that Bateman and Dodge refuse to work for anything. They furiously peddle shock and cheap sentiment—example: Guy pays a prostitute so the kid can see his first breasts—to break down your defenses, like an aging lothario looking to hook up at last call. If Bateman and Dodge had spent half the time on creating an environment where their insults could thrive instead of playing the dozens, maybe Bad Words wouldn’t look so hurtful and sleazy in the harsh light of tomorrow. All I know is that yesterday I laughed. Today, I wish I hadn’t. [R] ■
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
RoboCop THE ORIGINAL ROBOCOP (1987) WAS and remains one of the best films of the 1980s. It’s loaded with sharp satire, twofisted man-sized action, decent-to-excellent acting, some cool subtext(s), and elements of OTT (Over-The-Top) long before OTT became a tired trope. (Are you listening, Robby Rodriguez?) The basic story: In a dystopian future Detroit, crime is rampant (like that could happen in real life) and the police force has been “privatized” by technological corporate giant OCP. This corporation gets the idea to use robots to help battle crime—but robots don’t have “judgment.” So some whiz-kid gets the idea: A cyborg, a union of human being and high-tech machinery. (Think of Steve Austin of The Six Million Dollar Man.) A police officer, Alex Murphy, is savagely and mortally wounded by a gang of thugs. OCP technicians gather up his remains and place it in an android, one capable of being the best computerized crimefighter money can buy. (For those not into science fiction: An android is a robot in human form.) But, as usual, there are always complications…and so to the remake… The remake, directed by Brazilian director José Padilha, compares well with the original and manages to stand on its own as a thinking-person’s action/science-fiction movie, one that, unlike Prometheus, at least tries to remember the “science” part of the equation. In an America of a not-too-distant future, our military employs not only drone-planes but robots (the big ugly kind, not in human form) to help “pacify” territories in which our forces are, uh, engaged. In this case, OmniCorp designs these gizmos and sells them to the military…but they want to “expand” the use of automated “peacekeepers” for the more crime-ridden streets of the USA. Yet some stubborn Senators—well, one in particular—doesn’t want robots dispensing “justice” in Anytown, USA—machines are programmed to “do,” not consider, evaluate, reason. Cut to: Alex Murphy, honest cop and family man, has become a major thorn-in-the-side to a local underworld figure. With the facilitation of a couple of corrupt cops, Big Thug puts out a contract on Murphy—after a car-bomb blast, OmniCorp puts what’s worth saving into an almost invincible android, one connected to the entire database of Detroit PD and the assorted
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crime-stopping cameras around the city. The big cheese of OmniCorp, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) figures a “robot peacekeeper” with a human face (and identity) will be an “easier sell” to the American public than some impersonal, Transformers-like metal behemoth. Here’s where there are divergences from the original: In the 1987 version, RoboCop is programmed to be a CyberLawman from the git-go, the knowledge of his former life (and memories of his family) is wiped-away…or so the technicians believe. In the 2014 version, OmniCorp “lets” Murphy retain his personality and independence (to a point, of course)—his wife and child know he’s still “alive” and he still remembers (and loves) them. One of the underlying motifs of the original is Murphy trying to regain his humanity; in the remake, he “has” his humanity but the company gradually tries to wrest it from him in their efforts to build a better mousetrap. One crucial difference between the two versions: In the first, we “overhear” the tech-wizards describe the process by which Murphy is transformed into a fighting machine—in this, we actually SEE what’s left of this poor bastard: His head, his lungs, some of his spine, etc. in this mechanized framework. While this writer isn’t a gorehound, I’ve seen a few scary movies in my day—hey, I can even recall when flesh-eating zombies could only be seen in theaters, not on cable TV—these scenes made me squirm in my seat more than once. The similarities: There are strands of wicked, darkly funny satire running through each. In both, we see corporate bigwigs casually make decisions about who lives and who dies, made not in the context of “Kill that SOB!” but rather in the aloof, necessary improvement of their bottom line. Put bluntly, Murphy/RoboCop is a PRODUCT, not a person…like corporate types in real life would ever put profit before human safety and/or dignity, right? Thank goodness this is only fiction! But I digress. Samuel L. Jackson plays TV pundit Pat Novak, a bellicose, hyper-caffeinated cross between Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera on steroids, and he acts as a Greek chorus of sorts, albeit one that’s on the side of OmniCorp. (He almost over-plays, but no one can do OTT like SLJ!) The original was ultra-violent and some of the dialogue was a send-up of macho movie verbiage; this tones down the violence somewhat but increases the pathos factor a bit. Both films send up corporate culture in different ways—in the original, the corporate honchos prefigure Mitt Romney somewhat; Keaton’s droll CEO is akin to a Bill Gates/Steve Jobs from Hell. In the remake, the chief scientist in charge of Murphy’s resurrection is played by Gary Oldman, who is conflicted with the results of his creation and tries to hold onto his humanity as well. Abbie Cornish is fine in a small role as Murphy’s wife, a character who simply wants her husband back and is willing to fight for him. Jay Baruchel is wonderfully slimy as a corporate marketing flunky. With plenty of dark humor, fast-paced action, and good acting (only very occasionally lapsing into dumb dialogue), this remake stands with the original—not nearly as cool but has its moments. I approve. ■
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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THERE’S A SUB-GENRE OF fantasy in which the world— our tiny, tawdry, semi-logical, mundane “reality” world—collides with the supernatural/spiritual world. Examples would be the movie The Adjustment Bureau, wherein agents of Heaven—not actual angels, but close—manipulate reality in unseen ways in order to guide a concept of Destiny, of How Things Are Supposed to Go for us humans; another is Neil Gaiman’s popular comic book series Sandman, in which Dream, the personification of the lord of the world of dreams (who looks like a goth-type guy in his modern incarnation), interacts in assorted ways (directly and indirectly) with folks (and animals) in our “real” world. (Yes, I said animals—for an unsettling look at what our feline friends might dream about, track down the issue A Dream of a Thousand Cats.) Yet another is Winter’s Tale, based on the novel by Mark Helprin. How successful is it? I did not read the novel so I can only comment on the movie itself. It has its moments of charm, but screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (Batman Forever, A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code)—also making his directorial debut here—doesn’t give us enough of the “real world” nor of the paranormal world to ground Us Viewers in his fantasyscape. The basic story: Colin Farrell is Peter, a professional thief in NYC in the early 1900s, falls in love with Beverly (Jessica Brown Findlay, Downton Abby), a dying young lady. Complicating matters is Peter’s falling-out with gang-boss Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe), who wants his former protégé ex-
Winter’s Tale tremely dead. This could be romance novel-type stuff, except that Soames is really a demon in human form and Peter’s loyal friend is a magical white horse, a horse smart enough to indicate which house Peter should rob. Well, alright then. But the above plot elements are NOT where Winter’s Tale stumbles. When Peter is discovered—no, he LETS himself be discovered, really—by Beverly when he’s robbing her mansion by the way, she is in no way upset or frightened. In fact, she invites him for tea! That’s EXACTLY how most young ladies would react had they discovered a gun-toting thief (one that looks like Colin Farrell, anyway) in their homes, am I right? To the surprise of no one, they quickly fall in love—but the chemistry these two have is one of the few good things about this movie. Beverly is ill—consumption is the diagnosis. (Consumption then is tuberculosis now.) Thing is, Beverly has what a writer in Mad magazine called Old Movie Disease—a woman is fatally sick but radiantly beautiful whilst ill. Apparently, consumption is a disease that smites but does not wither. And she—seemingly happy being sick, too—says an embarrassing hunk of new-age-y psychobabble to Peter: “The sicker I become, the more closely I can see everything is connected by light.” (Groovy.) There are similar, Deepak Chopra-like bits of (awkwardly heavy-handed, poetic-wannabe) dialogue throughout. Also a load of unintentional yuks can be gleaned from Peter being questioned in a David Letterman-like manner by Bev’s father Isaac (William Hurt), the big cheese of a major
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NYC newspaper, who by the way is surprisingly “okay” with Peter being a professional criminal. (Uh-huh.) But wait, there’s more! There’s a cameo by Will Smith as a Lucifer-like figure and he engages Soames in a hammy exchange that wouldn’t have made the cut in Devil’s Advocate. While Crowe is magnificent at exuding menace here, he can’t seem to settle on a particular accent for his character (he sort of sounds Irish); he overdoes the facial tics ‘n’ twitches (more than Drew Barrymore), and talks as if he has a mouthful of corned beef and cabbage. (At one point I think he says “egg physics” or something like it.) William Shatner, where ARE you when you are so needed? At one point, We duh Audience are told there are “rules” barring Soames from certain locales—why? Soames kills a waiter in a restaurant full of witnesses and THAT’s not an issue, but he can’t go beyond the Five Boroughs without Will Smith’s permission?!? And why are these rules abandoned at a certain point? Oh, Graham Greene makes a cameo appearance as a (surprise) Native American Wise Man-stereotype spouting pseudo-profound twaddle… which isn’t that big a deal because many characters speak thus in this movie. I don’t think the phrase “shit happens” would be used in 1916, either. Winter’s Tale is a beautiful-looking movie and the supernatural aspects would’ve gone down easier if the writing wasn’t so bad, if the characters were anything like real people at all. ■
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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) ★★★★ Cast: Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake Genre: Drama Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen Rated R Before Bob Dylan catapulted folk music into the arena of social protest, sweet sentiments and broken-heart lyrics dominated the guitar-strumming crooners, come-alongs, and wannabes. The anti-hero Llewyn Davis (Isaac) falls in the latter category of aspiring but hapless artists. Defeated by self-loathing antagonism, Llewyn has a personality only a cat can like. After burning his bridges in Greenwich Village, Llewyn heads to Chicago with a heroin-addicted jazz musician (Goodman) to see a record producer (F. Murray Abraham). The producer tells him to sing something from “inside Llewyn Davis,” which, in keeping with the rest of his life, fails way short of the mark. Like the Coen brothers past triumphs, edgy characters, unfilled ambitions, satire, comedy, and instant karma propel the plot to a train-wreck ending, both satisfying and unsettling. The Great Beauty (2013) ★★★★ Cast: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli Genre: Drama Unrated Awards: Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Like a true celeb, journalist Jep Gambardella (Servillo) flaunts his exorbitantly excessive lifestyle and insider connections with the rich and famous. He soars in the stratosphere of high society in Rome. Yet his reputation depends
more on Gatsby-like parties than personal achievements in the real world. He wrote a popular novel 40 years earlier and currently pens a magazine column—that’s it for his life’s accomplishments. Now at 65, the one true love from his youth just died and he’s feeling the emptiness of a life of folly and faux friendships. Contrasting his impoverished selfworth, Rome with all its beauty and the sumptuous Italian culture that celebrates “La Dolce Vita” surround him. His hedonistic lifestyle leaves him famished but the “great beauty” of Rome and the unexpected surprises of daily life help answer the question “Is this all there is?” Long Walk to Freedom (2013) ★★★ Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge Genre: Bio-drama Rated PG-13 I can’t think of a more important and pivotal person in the 20th century than Nelson Mandela, or a more inspiring book than his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. A twohour movie dramatizing his life can never meet the astronomical expectations, yet it’s a story that deserves to be told and incorporated into our public consciousness. Idris Elba as Mandela is up to the task as a fearless, single-focused lawyer determined to go the distance to bring justice and equality to black South Africa. Even 27 years in prison can’t diminish his resolve or weaken his leadership role in the freedom movement. How he, and more importantly his cause, emerge triumphant is an inspiring example of human will conquering insurmountable odds to right one of humanities’ gravest evils. The movie does an ample job of
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faithfully telling the story but what we really need is a fiveseason Masterpiece Theater series. Let the Fire Burn (2013) ★★★★ Genre: Documentary With: W. Wilson Goode, Michael Moses Ward, Ramona Africa. Directed by Jason Osder Unrated but with violence, profanity, adult themes. Some of us vividly remember the day, May 13, 1985, when the Philadelphia police dropped an FBI satchel bomb on a west Philly row house. Sixty-one homes burned killing six adults and five children. Reportedly, the police commissioner ordered, “Let the fire burn,” despite instructions from the mayor’s office. The aerial of the devastated block looks like a WWII photo of fire-bombed Dresden. Only one adult member of the violent black liberation group MOVE and one child survived. Osder, a film professor at George Washington University, gathered archival footage from newscasts, investigations, depositions, and a MOVE video, then edited the story without additional commentary. Looking back, we get a disturbing glimpse of the values, perceptions, and race relations three decades ago. Yet today, we still have Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis cases and CIA drones that kill foreign terrorists despite civilian casualties, all with the same rationale of security. Even with our best efforts, the fire is still burning. ■ 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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PETE CROATTO ★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
Paulina Garcia in Gloria.
The Bag Man (Dir: David Grovic). Starring: John Cusack, Robert De Niro, Rebecca Da Costa, Crispin Glover, Dominic Purcell. Ever since 1997’s Grosse Point Blank, Cusack has pretty much played the same moody loner with the wardrobe and occupation to match. What once was offbeat has become a boring form of rebellion, like suburban teens dressing up like goths. Maybe that’s why Cusack blends in so easily in director Grovic’s debut, which attempts to prop up a lazily constructed story with Tarantinoesque weirdos and sleazy neon lights from the detective writer handbook. Cusack plays a hitman assigned by his boss (De Niro, looking remarkably like Martin Scorsese) to pick up a mysterious bag and await instructions at a seedy motel in Nowhere, U.S.A. Our antihero is immediately confronted with obstacles ranging from a snooping desk clerk (Glover) to gangsters to a statuesque stripper (Da Costa), who—all together now—isn’t what she appears to be. Grovic clearly loves hard-boiled films and their strange relatives, but he fails to do anything new with those influences save for a final, desperate ten minutes that only musters a few broken syllables in its plea for distinction. [R] ★1/2 In Secret (Dir: Charlie Stratton). Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac, Jessica Lange, Tom Felton, Shirley Henderson, Matt Lucas. Pop culture journalist Mark Harris once observed that the adult date movie (e.g., An Officer and a Gentleman) was a thing of the past. From time to time it does pop up. Witness Stratton’s feature directorial debut— based on the play by Neal Bell, which is based on Émile
Zola’s novel Thérèse Raqui—and its ever-shifting love triangle. Orphan Thérèse (Olsen) is forced by her mirthless aunt (Lange) to marry Camille (Felton), her sickly, pallid son. The trio then moves to dark and dingy Paris, where Thérèse mopes until she meets Laurent (Isaac), an old friend of Camille’s whose passion and vigor are soon devoted to satisfying her sexual appetite. Clearly, Laurent and Thérèse are meant to be together, but what to do with Camille, who wants to return to the French countryside? The covert lovers know the unfortunate answer. Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Olsen (who should become a superstar after this summer’s Godzilla), two terrific actors, complement a satisfying, unsettling story that in Stratton’s hands plays like 19th century film noir. [R] ★★★1/2 Omar (Dir: Hany Abu-Assad). Starring: Adam Bakri, Iyad Hoorani, Samer Bisharat, Leem Lubany, Waleed Zuaiter. In modern-day Palestine, being a young man with ambition is a blessing and a curse. Meet Omar (Bakri), who is saving his baker’s wages for a better life, one that he hopes will include the lovely Nadia (Lubany). The hustle is not entirely self-centered. Omar—along with Nadia’s purposeful brother, Tarek (Hoorani), and their sad-sack friend, Amjad (Bisharat)—are freedom fighters. When Omar is arrested, he’s forced into working undercover for the military police, a situation that jeopardizes his future while clouding his personal and patriotic obligations. Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) is dealing with politically charged material for sure, but it doesn’t feel that way in this intense (and in-
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tensely personal) drama. Instead of hitting us over the head with thinly veiled commentary, he shows how a nation’s political environment can weigh upon its inhabitants, preventing them from taking control of their own lives. This Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film stays with you. [NR] ★★★★ Gloria (Dir: Sebastián Lelio). Starring: Paulina García, Sergio Hernández, Diego Fontecilla, Fabiola Zamora, Luz Jiménez. The best thing I can say about this Chilean import is that its title character, played by the wonderful García, reminds me of someone I might know. She’s on the fringe of happiness, doing the things single people do—clubs and classes and work—in the hopes of encountering happiness. The loneliness for the divorced, middle-aged Gloria is more pronounced since her adult children are moving on with their lives, which is making her increasingly obsolete. So it’s wonderful when Gloria meets Rodolfo (Hernández), a successful businessman who clearly loves her but can’t separate from the family he has gratefully left behind. Many movies about seniors favor easily identified triumphs, so seeing one that chronicles getting older as a process fraught with its own difficulties is refreshing. Let’s be clear, though: Gloria isn’t just a satisfying alternative to the standard fare. It’s quietly wonderful. Director and co-writer Lelio reminds us that we have to earn the wisdom of passing years—and he does that while making Gloria’s journey to happiness touching and true to life. [R] ★★★★ ■
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R. KURT OSENLUND
The Bedraggled Mystique of
I’D LOVE TO REPORT that, upon meeting for our interview, Bill Murray made an entrance worthy of the comedy royalty he is—his publicist announcing his arrival with the aid of a drumroll and a megaphone. But, quite the contrary, Murray enters looking like he might be your grizzled, long lost neighbor, his flannel shirt and baggy, belted jeans complimenting an unruly shock of gray hair. The rare actor who’s constantly remained both mysterious and accessible, Murray soon
The hotel was also our restaurant, and where we’d do prep and makeup. So you’d come down for breakfast and then on the other side of the lobby was makeup and hair. So you’d say, “Excuse me, hold on a sec, I’m gonna go get another croissant.” And then you’d march back over there, all the time in your slippers and a robe, like a bunch of old men dying in a hotel.
proves, yet again, that he’s able to genuinely open up without fully opening up, putting his cards on the table while retaining a certain irresistible mystique. Who is this unkempt character you might not gaze upon twice in the street, except maybe to give him money? He’s only one of the most versatile stars in the business, an Oscar nominee and Saturday Night Live legend who’s paired himself with auteurs like Jim Jarmusch, Sofia Coppola, and, of course, Wes Anderson. Murray is speaking to me inside the chic Hotel Adlon, which overlooks the historic Brandenberg Gate in Berlin. We’re both in town for the 2014 Berlinale, or Berlin International Film Festival, where Murray’s latest film, the sublime Wes Anderson opus The Grand Bu-
R. Kurt Osenlund is the managing editor of The House Next Door, the official blog of Slant Magazine. He is also the film critic for South Philly Review, and a contributing writer for ICON, Slant, Details, Filmmaker Magazine and IndieWire. Follow him on Twitter @AddisonDeTwitt. Email: email@example.com.
The legendary comedian may look like he rolled in off the street, but he remains one of our most articulate, diverse, accessible, and still somehow mysterious stars. dapest Hotel, served as the opening night movie and walked away with the Silver Bear for Best Feature. The film, which takes place in a fictional realm akin to Germany, and follows the travails of a hotelier (Ralph Fiennes) and his lobby boy (Tony Revolori) in a frigid landscape, is one of many fruitful Anderson-Murray collaborations, and their teamings alone made for ample discussion. Still, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of room to chat about SNL, that time Poland “was closed,” his near-catastrophic rapport with Rushmore star Jason Schwartzman, and how an actor’s chest is kinda like a guitar box. Q: What is this special Wes Anderson touch, in which he’s able to get so many big stars to often appear in relatively small parts? A: We are promised very long hours and low wages. And stale bread. That’s pretty much it. It’s this crazy thing where you’re asked to come and work very long hours, and you lose money on the job, because you wind up spending more in tips than you ever earn. But you get to see the world, and see Wes live this wonderful, magical life, where his dreamscape comes true. So, if we show up, he gets to have all his fun, and I guess it’s because we like him that we go along with this. Q: At the film’s premiere, you announced to the crowd that The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes’ best film. A: Oh yeah, there’s no doubt about it. It’s pretty impressive. It’s quite a vision to be able to see all of that and achieve it. Just the [climactic] bobsled run alone—I didn’t see that one coming. I saw them building [the miniature set], and I was like, “What’s the bobsled run about?” And the [crew members] said, “Oh yeah, the bobsled’s gonna fly down that hill and [Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori’s characters are] going to be on it.” And I’m like, “Oh, okay.” But no one expected it to look like it does and be that jazzy. It’s pretty cool. Q: Were there other things, perhaps during production, that factored into your feeling that this is his best work? A: Well, when you think of the films he’s done, and then you’re watching this one, and a gunfight breaks out in a bakery, and guys are shooting
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Berettas at each other. And he did a pretty decent job with the gunfight—the way it’s staged and visualized. Even the explosions on the walls look good. So he did a nice job with that, and just the design elements of the film, from the army uniforms on down. The attention to detail and knowing what the picture is going to be like going from one side [of the scene] to the other is just amazing. And then there’s the music. The orchestra had 40 guys blasting music and it sounds so wild. He didn’t just hire two guys and aurally double it to sound like 40—he had 40 guys doing that. Q: The word is you spend a lot of time on set, and on location, while making Wes’ movies, even if you don’t end up in that many scenes. Is there a lot of stuff you shoot that we never get to see? A: Well, I guess there’s some of that. You know, when you put [a script] in the third dimension, there’s just sometimes things that you see that you weren’t expecting on paper. But he’s got a pretty good vision of what he’s doing. There wasn’t a whole hell of a lot that we shot that was [cut]. If you read the script out you’d see it’s pretty spare, pretty clean. Obviously he’s very specific about how he wants things to look and sound. He’s got a lot of tricky camera moves, so you shoot a lot of goofy takes where the camera isn’t absolutely perfect. And that’s the overage. Q: What’s it like off set? What’s it like when you’re with this big group of people but not necessarily “making the movie?” A: Well, Willem Dafoe said it was like the “actor’s retirement home.” [Laughs] We had this small hotel in Görlitz, a town on the border of Poland and Germany, and it was all us—there were no other people in it. We walked over to Poland one night, but it was closed, so we were all just in this hotel. It was in the old part of Görlitz, and they shoot a lot of movies there, because it’s intact, and a part of Germany that wasn’t affected by the war. It’s really spectacular, with clock towers that are 400 or 500 years old. The hotel was also our restaurant, and where we’d do prep and makeup. So you’d come down for breakfast and then on the other
PAT METHENY Unified as a Whole
WITH THE 2014 RELEASE OF Kin (<-->), Pat Metheny adds one more notch—another restlessly searching album that marks the zone between all jazz, all rock and all-world music—to his belt of aesthetic enterprises filled with zeal and innovation. With that lust for life and jumpy artist conquest, it’s hard to assimilate that 38 years has passed since the guitarist’s debut as a leader; rougher still considering that his annual release schedule finds him uniquely crafting one-man bands (recorded on Orchestrion and The Orchestrion Project), odd, small ensembles with the likes of pianist Brad Mehldau and bassist Christian McBride, and making albums covering modern avant-garde’s most notorious composers such as John Zorn. It’s not about age, as I found out from Metheny during our interview: It’s about one’s constitution. This time out, Metheny and his metabolism led him to his Unity Band/reeds man Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Ben Williams, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Giulio Carmassi— for their sophomore recording Kin (<-->). Metaphorically, Metheny put them into a Shake-N-Bake bag, and baked their blend for the tangy seasoned, maximal minimalism of waltzing gospelish ballads, scintillating roomy sambas, tight cool blues and curtly angular electro-paeans. Metheny and his Unity Group will appear Saturday, March 22 at Keswick Theatre, 291 N Keswick Ave, Glenside, PA. www.kimmeltheatre.com.
Q: So, I know as a kid your first instrument was trumpet and that you come from a family of trumpet players. Do you still hear it, use its feel, in any instrument you play now— mostly the guitar, of course? I started life as an accordionist, and now play saxophone, and I promise you I think the vibe of the bellows affects my breathing. A: Yes, I think that starting out as a trumpet player was a very positive thing for me. By being aware of the breath element that makes up so much music, I do tend to breathe phrase by phrase as if I’m playing a wind instrument. I think this has contributed in helping me to develop the kinds of phrasing that I’ve worked hard on over the years.
Q: Bright Size Life is coming up on forty years old. That’s the type of memory we used to have about records from Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Coltrane or Monk. What do you remember most about conceptualizing it, and do you think you create in much of the same manner now than you did then?
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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A: My sense at the time was that I may only ever make one record and that I wanted it to be a real honest statement about what I wanted to communicate. I spent a long time really thinking about what I wanted to offer. At the core conceptual level of it all, a lot of what has happened since is basically all coming from the sound that you hear on Bright Size Life back in 1975—a kind of modern version of what jazz guitar could be. However, as time has gone on, it’s been really natural for me to expand the palette beyond that to many other kinds of things. I’ve always seriously looked at the fundamental idea of what a guitar in jazz can actually be. To me, at the point I came along, it was kind of defined in a way. I wanted to look at the instrument from the ground up on a sonic and textural level while still dealing with the jazz language and vocabulary, but hopefully in a personal way. That caused me to have to invent a bunch of outlets to achieve that. Q: Not counting solo albums, duets and such, what signals in your mind the need to bring in Lyle Mays and the rest of your Band (last time, 2005’s The Way Up) and the Unity Band? A: All the tours and records kind of blur together—it all feels like one big thing to me, like a book with different chapters that are moving the plot along in different ways but always about telling a story from a singular point of view. I’ve had a lot of different bands and groups over the years—and they all kind of continue; nothing ever feels obsolete to me. It’s more a process of constant expansion. Each platform seems viable. Having been a bandleader now for all these years, I always try to find the right people for whatever it is that I’m especially interested in at a particular point. Sometimes it happens that a certain combination of people has a kind of momentum or urgency or fire to it—I always try to pay attention to that. That’s what is going on with the Unity thing these days. Q: How has the Orchestrion changed how you approach an everyday set of six strings, albeit custom made ones? A: It’s really more of a conceptual expansion than anything—it has opened a whole new set of possibilities. To me, an instrument is an instrument and the way that one uses any sound needs to have a kind of fingerprint of some kind. For me, again, this is a conceptual thing, not really a technical thing. The whole idea of Orchestrionics from the start for me was to expand the palette of potential sound. I’ve lived so deeply on the front lines of electronic sound for 40 years but have always balanced that with acoustic sound—this is an expansion of that concept that’s pretty natural for me.
A. D. AMOROSI
Q: When was the last time you played an old beat up store-model guitar? A: Any guitar is fine with me. Basically they’re pieces of wood with strings on them. Guitars to me are like screwdrivers to a handyman—you have a bunch of different ones to do different jobs. Q: You obviously have a love of audacious saxophonists—Ornette Coleman, John Zorn, to say nothing of gigging with Sonny Rollins. Chris Potter sounds and feels like none of these men; not to say he isn’t inventive—he’s rootsier in my mind. What did you hear in him (and your material with him for Unity Band) that pushes you in his direction? A: People have always asked me over the years why I never did another record like 80/81 [his album with tenor saxophonists Dewey Redman and Michael Brecker]. I think I had to wait 30 years for Chris Potter to show up. I’ve been following Chris since he first came on the scene playing with Red Rodney all those years ago. I was a fan right away and have enjoyed his playing all along. But I remember hearing him about halfway through his stay with Dave Holland and walking out of the performance feeling like he had transcended to a different level. To me, he is one of the most brilliant improvising musicians I’ve ever been around. Having him in the band inspires me the same way that it did when I wrote for Mike Brecker and Dewey Redman all those years ago. Q: Wow. Let’s duck back one second, what was the concept/strategy for working with Zorn, his compositions? A: I really admire Zorn and I really appreciate him and the incredible work he has done. That record kind of has a life of its own and is unusual in the way that he sets up structures that musicians can take anywhere they want. All of these pieces, and all of the pieces in the Book of Angels series are very short, just a few notes, maybe a time signature and maybe a few chords. Or none. My idea was to take those small written elements of John’s and develop them compositionaly using those initial fragments as a jumping off point. What is great about what John wrote is that the material is extremely robust, you can really pound on it and it always retains its spirit. If you listen to a few of the other volumes, you’ll hear the incredible range of musicians who have found their own individualistic entry points into this music through their own takes on John’s notes. To offer that much as a composer by leaving just a few essential indications on piece of paper is not easy.
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The Jazz Scene BOP GOES THE OPERA In 2002, the brilliant saxophonist, Joe Lovano, took the jazz-meets-classical music concept outside of the box when he recorded jazz versions of tunes from the songbook of opera legend Enrico Caruso. While Viva Caruso was critically acclaimed and did well for Lovano and Blue Note Records, it represented, at the time, the beginning and end of jazz versions of operatic compositions and vice-versa. Until now. What does alto saxophonist Charles “Yarbird” Parker, one of the founders and inventors of what we know as modern jazz, have in common with Opera Philadelphia? A lot, believe it or not. A project called Yardbird is being developed by Opera
Philadelphia for a June 2015 premiere at the Kimmel Center, with tenor Lawrence Brownlee’s voice taking the place of the alto sax voice of the real “Bird.” Soprano Angela Brown will be the voice of Bird’s mother. Innovative and ground-breaking projects like these that combine genres are essential and rare, if only because it will certainly bring jazz fans to opera and opera fans to jazz. And it’s just fabulous that the premiere will take place in Philadelphia, one of Bird’s favorite stops. The suggestion is to keep checking operaphila.org to see when tickets go on sale. This will sell out. And it will deservedly make national and international news. BIRKS WORKS Speaking of John Birks Gillespie, the folks at Jazz Bridge are again presenting last year’s wonderful stage show, Last Call at The Downbeat—a charming and swinging story about a Dizzy Gillespie gig in Philadelphia circa 1942, and how modern jazz virtually hatched as a result of that job. With a book by Jazz Bridge’s Suzanne Cloud, the participation of stellar trumpeter Duane Eubanks, and Terrell Green portraying Birks, Last Call will run in the Red Room of the Society Hill Playhouse, 507 South 8th Street, the first two weekends in April. Friday/Saturday shows are at 8:00 p.m., with 2:00 p.m. matinees on April 6 and April 13. Tickets, which can be pur-
chased in advance via jazzbridge.org, are $25. Watch this space next month for details of Jazz Bridge’s annual fundraiser on April 25 which will star the living legend of jazz guitar, Pat Martino. ROMAN À CLEF CLUB The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts is an outgrowth of a “social club” of sorts, started in 1966 by a musician named James Adams, then a member of the last independent black musician’s union in the country, Local #274. In 1995, The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts made history when it opened the doors of its new headquarters on 738 South Broad Street. The facility was the first ever designed and constructed specifically to be a jazz institution and now houses educational facilities, performing arts spaces of various sizes, and a repository for jazz artifacts. For a variety of reasons, The Clef Club has had more than its share of growing pains since it opened, but it appears that the organization has found its way. The Clef Club appears to have a new web site, has instituted a Monday night jam session hosted and led by pianist “Chappy” Washington, is taking their wonderful Youth Ensemble to perform at area churches, and is starting to produce and host major jazz events. Last month, saxophone virtuoso James Carter visited, backed by an all-star Philadelphia rhythm section (and Carter’s charts aren’t easy). On March 15, The Clef Club will present A Salute to Women in Jazz—Phyllis Hyman, Nina Simone, Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan—featuring singers Sherry Wilson Butler and Malyka Sankofa, and guitarist Monnette Sudler. Wielding the baton for the event is Tony “TNT” Jones, who also promises some jazzing “with a who’s who of musicians.” The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts needs and deserves the support of those in and out of the jazz community. Tickets for this 8 p.m. show are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Information: clefclubofjazz.org. JAZZ TAP ON THE MAP Jazz tap dancer Pamela Hetherington recently received a 2014 Project Stream Grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, which will partially fund an eight-month dance and music project that will explore the intersection of tap, ballet and the rhythmic possibilities of Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto. Given Hetherington’s jazz orientation, the music will not be Bach’s version of the Concerto, rather, the version by the Swingle Sisters. This will be a collaborative piece of choreography which fuses complex rhythmic musicality with intricate choreography and fast-paced staging for six tap dancers
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and four ballet dancers. There are also plans for a public performance of this and other works, a community tap and music class, an open rehearsal and a post-show “talk back” with the two choreographers and the dancers. takeitawaydance.com. “THE GENE KRUPA STORY” ON CD: IT ONLY TOOK 55 YEARS Fans of drummer Gene Krupa, and there are thousands of them out there, can rejoice. For years, 55 to be exact, those who still regard “that ace drummer man” with reverence have wondered when and if the soundtrack album to the 1959 film, The Gene Krupa Story, would make it to CD. Jordi Pujol of the Barcelona Spain-based Fresh Sound Records, is releasing The Gene Krupa Story soundtrack in tandem with the jazz soundtrack to
The Five Pennies—a 1959 film starring Danny Kaye (!) as jazz trumpeter Red Nichols—in a deluxe, 24-bit, stereo, remastered edition with 16-page booklet of essays and photos. Though the Krupa Story was as corny as all get out and most of the music had little to do with the career of Krupa, Sal Mineo, who portrayed Gene, did an incredible role of miming to the soundtrack of Krupa’s drums, and Maestro himself probably never played better. More importantly, The Gene Krupa Story inspired thousands of pre-Ringo hide-beaters, including a young fellow who made his name with The Vanilla Fudge, Carmine Appice, who to this day can play every lick on that recording. Ordering: freshsoundrecords.com. Area connection? GK played Atlantic City’s Steel Pier as a sideman and leader annually from about 1933 through 1967. (Note: I have nothing whatsoever to do with this release.) SUPER NOVA When it comes to creative and progressive music, the Ars Nova Workshop virtually defines the words “cutting edge,” and they are particularly effective in presenting artists associated with a form of jazz too often forgotten these days: the avant-garde, a.k.a.
“free jazz.” Individually and in tandem with organizations like the Painted Bride, Ars Nova is, as they say, “taking care of business.” Here’s their March line-up: Saxophonist Bobby Zankel and his Warriors of the Wonderful Sound celebrate the music of pianist/composer Cecil Taylor at the Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine Street, on March 8. Drummer Denardo Coleman (son of Ornette) and his band, and bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and his band, celebrate the music of saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman at the Painted Bride Arts Center on March 21. Info on Painted Bride programs: paintedbride.org Outside of the Painted Bride, on March 19, Ars Nova will present the avant garde quartet co-lead by veteran cornetist Bobby Bradford—of Ornette Coleman fame—and Norwegian reedman Frode Gjerstad. This is the quartet’s Philadelphia debut and they can be heard at the Art Alliance, 251 South 18th Street. On March 25, Ars Nova presents the innovative vocalist/pianist from Oslo, Susanna, at International House, 3701 Chestnut Street. For details on all this organization’s important programs, visit arsnovaworkshop.com THE LAST TIME WE SAW PARIS Though the Ortlieb’s Tuesday night jam session is now a part of history, there are still plenty of local spots featuring world class live jazz in jams and otherwise. The Paris Wine Bar, part of The London Grill at 23rd and Fairmount, features live jazz regularly on weekends, often by swinging trumpeter Josh Lawrence, pianist Jim Holton and Steve Beskrone. There are a lot of other things going on here as well, from art exhibits and theatrical presentations to, yes, Passover Seders. Visit londongrill.com PAUL JOST: HE’S THE MOST The long-awaited and much touted CD by Paul Jost’s “The Jost Project” is now a reality. The concept of Can’t Find My Way Home—featuring the leader on vocals, harmonica and guitar; Tony Miceli on vibes; bassist Kevin MacConnell; and drummer Charlie Patierno—is an individual interpretation of rock standards performed in a contemporary jazz format. Hey, a tune is a tune. Colleague Nick Bewsey handles criticism and reviewing in these parts, but those within “The Jazz Scene” can confirm that these players are the absolute best on their instruments, and gimmicks aside—and doesn’t everyone in this business need a gimmick?— anything they do is worth serious listening. Ordering: amazon.com, dottimerecords.com and iTunes. ■
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Keresman on Disc Chris Campbell ★★★★★ Things You Already Know Innova Arlene Sierra ★★★★ Game of Attrition Bridge Let us praise the living that compose with the knowledge their “product” will get filed in the Classical Music section of your music store (provided you can even find one, but that’s another rant entirely). Chris Campbell is a Minnesotan that got the bright idea to take some players from Saint Paul Chamber and Minnesota Orchestras and mix them with some area alterna-rockers, have them play instruments conventional and not, and whaddaya know? It works in a manner both grand and organically crafty, like the
scams in American Hustle. Campbell isn’t running a scam…or is he? Nearly everybody thinks “modern classical music” is (supposed to be) difficult and foreboding, and Campbell disguises his idiosyncratic compositional ideas in a deceptively user-friendly package. Aspects of Glass/Reich-like minimalism, baroque-ish finery, judicious dissonance, cavernous drones, and pop music melodrama (I’m almost certain CC “quotes” from Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”)—it’s all here in a candy-colored kaleidoscope that feels as natural as a sunny day walk through an eclectic neighborhood, where everyone’s got their
★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
window open and music up loud, and it all seems to magically come together. (7 tracks, 34 minutes) innova.mu Arlene Sierra is a Miami-born composer currently based in the UK. Her compositions grab you by the short hairs and make you listen-up. Her compositions are turbulent but tuneful—echoes of Mahler and film composers Alfred Newman and Max Steiner can be discerned throughout along with the hurly-burly of Stravinsky (i.e. The Rite of Spring). Her stuff is full of grandeur without being overbearing or overly melodramatic, loaded with rhythmic oomph, and it’s spiced with (as with CC) judicious, creative dissonances. This set will get you going in the AM. (5 tracks, 54 min.) bridgerecords.com Regina Carter ★★★★1/2 Southern Comfort Sony Masterworks Scott H. Biram ★★★1/2 Nothin’ But Blood Bloodshot Here are two very fine “retrospective” sets of Southern American sounds, both with common ground but very different in execution. Regina Carter is a superb eclectic jazz violinist, and here she tackles folk and country music, encompassing gospel, Cajun, and miner’s work songs. While there is genteel swing, it’s filtered through haunting Appalachian and blues motifs and melodies. Carter tosses us some cool curves too— Hank Williams Senior’s “Honky Tonkin’” takes a trip to N’awlins and Gram Parson’s “Hickory Wind” is accomplished as a Bach fugue, sad as a rose on Mama’s grave. (11 tracks, 56 min.) sonymasterworks.com Scott H. Biram is almost the polar opposite of Carter, though they till similar ground. She has a lush, elegant tone— Biram is a one-man band with a raspy voice, ragged slide and poignant picked acoustic guitars, and a wary, no, make that bad attitude. His sacraments are the same as his demons: Booze, the heathen devil weed, and the pleasures and pains of the flesh, plus some detours into atonement and maybe-redemption (versions of “Amazing Grace” and “John The Revelator” are ironyfree). This is rural punk-blues that makes the White Stripes seem like Simon & Garfunkle. Biram is the darkest of Saturday nights; Carter is Sunday afternoon. If Scorsese ever remakes Night of the Hunter, he must get Biram AND Carter to score it. (14 tracks, 52 min.) bloodshotrecords.com
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a set of joyously fractured hard bop with over/under-tones of free jazz (a la Ornette Coleman), rock, folk, and big band-era swing (there’s a crackerjack take on Duke Ellington’s “Main Stem” that rocks). Medeski sticks to the acoustic keys throughout; Wilson plays with the finesse of the best jazz rhythm-aces and the enthusiastic whomp of rock’s best tub-thumpers. All tracks are short ‘n’ sweet, full of sweet punch ‘n’ tart vinegar with so much joie de vive it’ll feel like New Year’s Eve with every spin. (13 tracks, 55 min.) palmetto-records.com Tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Peplowski is a very old-school-type player, stylistically closer to Benny Goodman than to
Matt Wilson Quartet/John Medeski ★★★★ Gathering Point Palmetto Ken Peplowski ★★★★ Maybe September Capri These two discs share a common factor, namely ace drummer Matt Wilson. Aside
Ken Peplowski. Photo: Fran Kaufman.
Matt Wilson. Photo: Michael Jackson.
from that, both are as similar as Amy Adams and Joan Crawford. Gathering Point finds Medeski Martin & Wood keys-master John Medeski sitting in with Wilson’s Quartet for
Wayne Shorter…or maybe not. While inspired by pre-bebop jazz (Goodman, Coleman Hawkins), he’s not terminally retro or allergic to post-1965 sounds. Sure, the Pepster swings genially and warmly, hugging those melodies with true-blue(s) devotion, but he also applies these verities to Lennon/McBeatle’s “For No One” and the Beach Boys’ “Caroline No.” Wilson plays with exceptional sensitivity and lightness of touch; pianist Ted Rosenthal is in the league of such trad-minded-but-eclectic key-crackers as Bill Charlap and Hank Jones. This is soothing, chill-out sound with the sophisticated verse of Woody’s Midnight in Paris… plus. (11 tracks, 63 min.) caprirecords.com Bettye Swann ★★★★1/2 The Complete Atlantic Recordings Real Gone Music
While singer Bettye Swann hasn’t ridden high on the charts since the mid-1960s, she’s nonetheless held in high regard by aficionados/collectors of old-school soul/rhythm & blues. This collection illustrates exactly why. Vocally, Swann falls between the assertive, gutsy fervor of Aretha and the sweet, come-hither tones of Diana Ross. Her recordings for the Atlantic label, circa 1970-75, are a “link” between the country-flavored Southern R&B of Solomon Burke and swirling, polished uptown Philly soul—in fact some songs here were recorded in Philadelphia. Complete includes all her Atlantic 45s (never on CD before) and several previously unreleased goodies. Unlike too many singers these days, Swann never needs to “over-sing” to get you to believe her stories—her earthy style will be a tonic for those remembering/valuing such vocalists as Al Green and Dusty Springfield. (23 tracks, 78 minutes.) realgonemusic.com The Farewell Drifters ★★★ Tomorrow Forever Compass Nashville’s Farewell Drifters are among the Americana posse—not exactly country, bluegrass, rock, or folk in particular but that draw upon all those in varying degrees. The Farewell Drifters recalls fellow travelers The Avett Brothers somewhat, but while the Bros. sometimes strive too hard to
be boisterous, these Drifters are unafraid to be velvety (really nice harmonies, based in bluegrass as well as pop) and sweetly accomplished. Their songs have the bittersweet, yearning melodious qualities of Gordon Lightfoot, the poignant swagger of Steve Earle, and even the near-symphonic sensibilities of Brian Wilson—the closing track “Starting Over,” with its haunting, faraway harmonies could be an outtake from a late 1960s Beach Boys album. (12 tracks, 42 min.) compassrecords.com ■ 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 ■ M A R C H 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 29
Singer / Songwriter Mark T. Small ★★★1/2 Smokin’ Blues Lead Foot Music
TOM WILK ★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
ally. “Only one place where I feel safe/I get love, I get grace/That’s home,” she signs in a soothing tone. “Old Hurt,” an acoustic blues, is a nod to Bonnie Raitt, one of her musical influences, as Black describes a woman
Long-time bluesman Mark T. Small gets back to basics with Smokin’ Blues, an album of acoustic music that acknowledges his influences as a guitarist and singer, such as Howlin’ Wolf and Charley Patton. Small opts for an intimate approach that sounds as if he is performing in the listener’s living room. He kicks into an unrelenting groove on John
Lucinda Williams ★★★★ Lucinda Williams Lucinda Williams Music/Thirty Tigers
Amy Black. Photo: Tom Moore.
Mark. T. Small. Photo: Ron Hagerman.
Lee Hooker’s “My Daddy Was a Jockey” and revisits Rufus Thomas’ 1960s soul hit “Walkin’ the Dog,” also recorded by the Rolling Stones, as a lively blues. On Sam McGee’s “Railroad Blues,” Small uses his fingerpicking skills to re-create the rhythmic power of a train. He casts a hypnotic spell with a riveting rendition of the Rev. Gary Davis’ “Lamp Trimmed & Burning.” “American Medley” is a creative blend of traditional Americana. Smalls incorporates “America the Beautiful,” Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Yankee Doodle” to weave an instrumental tapestry that symbolizes the nation’s spirit. Smokin’ Blues shows a guitarist doesn’t have to plug into an amplifier to generate electricity. 12 songs 36 minutes. Amy Black ★★★1/2 This is Home Reuben Records With This is Home, Amy Black pays tribute to her Southern roots with an album that incorporates country, folk, blues and gospel delivered in an uncluttered production. Black brings an assuredness to her songs. “I’m Home” is a celebration of having a spot that welcomes you uncondition-
The brothers pay tribute to their influences with vibrant versions of “Down the Line,” an early rockabilly effort by Holly, and “Sheila,” one of Tommy Roe’s 1960s hits. “Come On, Let’s Go,” recorded with the Ramones for the film “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” is a lively cover of Ritchie Valens’ first Top 40 single. 26 songs, 76 minutes.
coming to terms with a troubled past. “These Walls are Falling Down” uses a deteriorating home as a metaphor for a failing relationship. Her version of John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” is a portrait of a couple falling apart. “Hello” captures the pain of a father’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on a daughter, trying to reconnect with a parent. “Gospel Train,” a spiritual stand that is a hidden track at the end of the CD, wraps up the album on an optimistic note about the promise of a better world beyond this one. 14 songs, 55 minutes. The Paley Brothers ★★★1/2 The Complete Recordings Real Gone Music In an alternate musical universe, Jonathan and Andy Paley, would have topped the charts with their ear-catching brand of power pop and vocal harmony. However, the Paley Brothers never caught that big break and had to settle for being a cult favorite. The Complete Recordings, which includes 11 previously unreleased tracks, was recorded between 1976 and 1979. The music shows the duo to be part of a continuum that stretches from Buddy Holly and the Beach Boys to Marshall Crenshaw and the Fountains of Wayne. Here Comes My Baby” and “Baby Let’s Stick Together” show the Paley’s knack for handling a melody-filled song. The latter, co-written by Phil Spector, had the making of a hit single but languished in the vaults for more than 30 years. The buoyant “She’s Eighteen Tonight” has echoes of the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There.”
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From Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” to the Clash’s “London Calling,” third albums can be pivotal in the development of an artist. That was the case with Lucinda Williams, first released in 1988, and now being release with bonus tracks after being out of print for a decade. The breezy exuberance of “I Just Wanted to See You So Bad,” and the intimate confessions of “The Night’s Too Long,” shows Williams finding her voice as a singer/songwriter. “Changed The Locks,” a fiery declaration to leave a feckless lover behind, and “Passionate Kisses,” a statement of purpose about the singer desires, would be covered by Tom Petty and Mary Chapin Carpenter, respectively. The bonus material includes a selection of love tracks heard in stripped-down versions on radio broadcasts. “Sundays” is a wistfully performed song that about the melancholy feelings at the end of a weekend that Williams conveys with an ache in her voice. “Something About What Happens When We Talk” shows Williams ability to explore matters of the heart. Also included is a previously unreleased 1989 concert recorded in Eindhoven, The Netherlands that includes a mix of originals and blues covers. Highlights include her versions of the traditional “Factory Blues” and Memphis Minnie’s “Nothing in Rambling.” Johnny Cash ★★★ Out Among The Stars Legacy Recordings Out Among The Stars, an album recorded by Johnny Cash between 1981 and 1984, is finally seeing the light of day just over a decade after his death in September 2003 Produced by Billy Sherrill, the CD serves as a microcosm of Cash’s career. “Baby Ride Easy,” a duet with his wife June Carter Cash, is a slice of country rock that was recorded by their daughter Carlene Carter and recalls the push-and-pull banter of their hit single “Jackson.” On “Rock and Roll Shoes,” Cash revisits the feel of his output on Sun Records, where he got his start in the 1950s. Train songs were a cornerstone of Cash’s career and he delivers the goods with help from Waylon Jennings on a spirited version of Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On.” “If I Told You Who It Was” and “I Drove Her Out of My Mind” are novelty tracks that fall short of the standard he set with such hits as “A Boy Named Sue” and “One Piece at a Time.” Cash closes the CD with “I Came to Believe,” one of his own compositions that serves as a heartfelt testimony to his faith. Out Among The Stars helps to fill in the gaps of his recording history in the 1980s, a transitional period of his career that would set the stage for his creative resurgence in the mid-1990s. 12 songs 36 minutes■
Harry “Sweets” Edison
QUITE A NUMBER OF jazz artists have become so well known and respected, they’ve acquired nicknames. Surely, saxophonist David Newman benefitted from the unflattering handle of “Fathead,” attached to him by a former music teacher. During his professional career, he used the offensive name in between his given name and surname, figuring that how one could forget such a name? Billie Holiday was dubbed “Lady Day” by Saxophonist Lester Young, and she in turn dubbed him “Pres,” short for president, because she thought he played the tenor horn better than anyone else. Trumpet player Harry Edison, had the confectionary tag of “Sweets” given to him by Lester Young, who thought Edison’s trumpet sound was beautiful. So “Sweets” became as much a part of Edison’s name as the first and last he was given at birth. Harry Edison was born October 10, 1915 in Columbus, Ohio. As a young teen, he is said to have discovered an old trumpet in the attic of his home, and just about taught himself to play. In no time, he was making music around Colum-
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.
bus with local groups. He moved to St. Louis for a couple of years, and then to New York, joining Lucky Millinder’s Band for a short period before hooking up with Count Basie in 1938, where he remaining until the band folded 13 years later, and where he contributed mightily its success. While with Basie, he got to meet and play with some jazz giants, including Lester Young. After Basie came tours with Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic. Edison settled in Los Angeles and began to do well in studio work. He became first trumpet in conductor Nelson Riddle’s Orchestra. Riddle’s orchestra backed a number of great singers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Daniels, Margaret Whiting, and Nat King Cole, but was most noted for his work with Frank Sinatra. As legend has it, Sinatra would almost always show up late for recording dates, but no one worried because he would foot the bill for any overtime incurred, and spring for sandwiches and coffee for the entire thirty-something piece band. I’ve also read that Sinatra would always gaze into the trumpet section and if he didn’t see Edison, he’d ask Riddle, “Where’s Sweets?” Riddle recorded with Sinatra for six years, and Edison was usually a part of the orchestra Because of his commercial work and studio pension, Edison’s earnings amounted to $800 a week, which gave him financial security during his later years. When studio
work began to be fade, he formed his own small group, continued working as a sideman, and made frequent TV appearances, backing major stars like Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, and Della Reese, among other notables. He also found time to teach music seminars at Yale. In 1991 he was honored as a Master Musician, with a National Endowment for the Arts Award. “Sweets” Edison didn’t play as fast, as strong, or present a wealth of creative ideas in his solos, but he still swung individually, was supportive in any trumpet sections in which he played, and a credit to any band in which he held membership. He said he almost left the Basie Band on one occasion because he didn’t believe he’d be missed. But Basie assured him he was needed and was doing a fine job. Edison felt that the band often didn’t use any arrangements—it just swung on its own—and sometimes he wasn’t sure of his role. Basie told him never mind, and that if he played something that sounded right, just keep playing the same thing every night. So we know that the secret success of what many have called, “The Best Band in the Land,” was “Sweets,” the one man who helped make it so…but wasn’t too sure how. Harry “Sweets” Edison died in the year 1991, at age 83. ■
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Nick’’s Picks Ulysses Owens Jr. ★★★★ Onward and Upward D Clef Records Recently, there’s been no shortage of excellent, forward-looking jazz albums led by drummers. For jazz fans who put groove and swing in their plus columns, Grammywinner Terri Lyne Carrington, Kendrick Scott, Antonio Sanchez, Matt Wilson and
Ulysses Owens Jr.
Rudy Royston are taking music to new and satisfying heights. You can add Ulysses Owens Jr. to this exceptional lineup—he’s a drummer determined to blaze his own trail with sonically inspired beats. On the positively titled Onward and Upward, Owens brings together some of the freshest voices on the NY scene and delivers a set list that neatly connects the past
Nick 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
with the present. As he did on his very fine previous release Unanimous (Criss Cross, 2012), Owens marries traditional grooves with stylish, contemporary material. He enhances that approach beginning with a welcome outlier at the start of his disc where he sets The Stylistics’ “People Make The World Go Round” against a percolating rhythm that could have evolved out of Grover Washington’s “Winelight.” This tune, the album’s only vocal, features the enticing singer Charles Turner and gives the album an attractive starting point. Owens’ fresh instrumentals, a mix of covers and originals, make this record work, from a ravishing Phyllis Hyman cover, “Just 25 Miles To Anywhere,” to a sparkling Brazilian feature that highlights the incomparable clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen as well as Owens’ flair with samba percussion. To fulfill Owens’ vision his band comes fully equipped with chops and invention to burn, like they do with an animated take of Wayne Shorter’s “Fee Fi Fo Fum.” Notably, the personnel include pianist Christian Sands (Owens’ band mate in the Christian McBride Trio) and the in-demand bassist Rueben Rogers. It’s a pearl of a trio that smoothly merges modern jazz swing with a trace of pop to give Owens’ band its signature sound. The 22-year-old Sands is poised to be the great pianist of his generation and unlike his more traditional work with McBride, he proffers an astonishing technique that reframes the architecture of Owens’ charts. No wonder the drummer calls the pianist “his secret weapon” since one listen to Sands play on his striking arrangement of “Human Nature” will give you reason enough to start following this young wiz. Ace trombonist (and co-producer) Michael Dease, trumpeter Jason Palmer and Israeli guitar-phenom Gilad Hekselman round out the core group. Fun fact: Palmer is the lead actor in Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, a sweet, cool little jazz movie with a lot of heart, written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Writing about Owens’ earlier recording, I spoke of Owens’ natural flow and his gift for making music that sounds and feels good. Onward and Upward provides all that and more, mixing beats with evocative tunes that tug at specific emotional threads (“The Of Forgiveness”) while connecting with the visceral essence of jazz at the same time. At 31, Owens has both arrived and is just getting started. (11 tracks; 58 minutes)
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Catherine Russell ★★★★ Bring It Back Jazz Village The powerhouse vocalist Catherine Russell has a bluesy, authentic style that practically defines exuberance on Bring It Back, an energetic collection of early swing tunes, bar songs and punchy dance tunes that flirt with the early R&B, and backed by an exqui-
Mike DiRubbo. Photo: Yuki Tei.
site 10-piece band with lots of brass accents, muted trumpet solos and tasty piano licks. Russell’s own roots reach directly back to Louis Armstrong—her father Luis Russell worked as Armstrong’s bandleader and arranger and penned “Lucille,” performed here for the first time. Soulful and flawlessly delivered, Russell belts out gems like “The Darktown Strutter’s Ball,” Ellington’s “I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart” and nine other rarely heard, utterly dazzling tracks that were written when jazz tunes were the pop songs of their day. Russell is a one-of-a-kind chanteuse who keeps on swinging. (11 tracks; 50 minutes) Mike DiRubbo ★★★★ Threshold Ksanti Records The kinetic energy on alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo’s 8th solo project, Threshold, pops like a Roman candle. This is thrilling modern bop, enriched by DiRubbo’s appreciation of the art and teachings of legendary Blue Note alto-saxophonist Jackie McLean. He sheds notes as fast as Jackie Mac, soloing with gratifying intensity and a hint of swag-
ger that’s in lockstep with his quintet. Throughout this well-ordered set of nine originals, trumpeter Josh Evans matches DiRubbo’s momentum with a flinty tone and tasty solos that dovetail well with the leader’s bulletproof charts. Rounding out the rhythm section are three champions on the NY scene. It’s a treat to hear the soulful Brian Charette on piano (he’s often gigs on jazz records as a first-call organist), and along with bassist Ugonna Okegwo and beats master, drummer Rudy Royston, they seal the deal on this superb collection of dynamic no-nonsense originals that perhaps best recalls the Benny Golson/Art Farmer sessions from back in the day. Beautifully recorded and mixed, Threshold is one badass record that deserves to be played as loud as possible. (9 tracks; 57 minutes) Eli Degibri ★★★★ Twelve Plus Loin Music Saxophonist/composer Eli Degibri is a stealthy traditionalist with an edge. He’s so good that his previous recording featured no less than pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster. He invigorates his sixth album as a leader with his big tenor sound, which is smooth and sweet on “Autumn In New York,” the album’s sole standard. But it’s on tunes like the folkloric original “The Spider” where Degibri gives us a taste of his Brecker-like bite. Along for the ride are a few of Israel’s youngest and most accomplished jazz musicians. Belying their
❈★=SKIP IT; ★★=MEDIOCRE; ★★★=GOOD; ★★★★=EXCELLENT; ★★★★★=CLASSIC
age, pianist Gadi Lehavi, 16, and drummer Ofri Nehemya, 18, join bassist Barak Mori to make up Degibri’s gifted quartet. This mostly swinging album has a pleasing variety of flavors where the band excels with vibrant soloing (“Mambo”), emotive dexterity (“New Waltz”) and virtuosic playing (“Liora Mi Amor”), the latter featuring the effusive vocals of Shlomo Ydov. The far flung musical influences that Degibri folds into the record have an organic feel, thanks to his svelte arrangements and an inspired use of a vocal choir and his playing the mandolin on “The Cave,” a disarming anthem with a spiritual vibe. (9 tracks; 47 minutes)
Stranahan, Zaleski, Rosato ★★★★ Limitless Capri Records Among the many fine recordings that were released toward the end of 2013, Limitless remains lodged in my listening rotation. As a group, drummer Colin Stranahan, pianist Glenn Zeleski and bassist Rick Rosato go for broke with a refreshing and accessible recording that evokes Brad Mehldau and Bill Evans as compositional touchstones, but their eight originals and jaunty reworking of Thelonious Monk’s “Work” gives you an opportunity to savor modern jazz trio music at its best. The virtues of these players come through on the
Stranahan, Zaleski, Rosato.
title track, written by Zeleski, where piano, bass and drums ricochet and bounce on a percussive jet stream. Tunes with shifty time signatures (“Migrations”), a bittersweet ballad (“Cyclic”) and the zippy bass notes that run through the bracing “Forecast” cement their infectious chemistry. Limitless has an emotional directness paired with harmonic invention that’s especially palpable on the warmly conceived closer, “Chorale,” a gorgeous ode to pianist Fred Hersch. (9 tracks; 55 minutes) ■ 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 ■ M A R C H 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 33
ICON WINNER OF DINNER FOR TWO AT THE PRIME RIB, PHILADELPHIA
THE BRIDGETOWN MILL HOUSE INN
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
IT’S A JOY TO find a $30 prix fixe these days. It’s a bonus to find it in a handsome, historic venue like the Bridgetown Mill House. Actually, the Bridgetown Mill House calls their prix fixe The Innkeeper’s Menu. But by whatever name, and by any reckoning, it’s a good deal. Offered at 5 PM from Tuesday through Friday, the Innkeeper’s Menu starts with either Classic Caesar Salad or the Soup du Jour. Chef Russell Cummings’ soups are a treat, as exemplified by a re-
ICON WINNER OF DINNER FOR TWO AT HAMILTON’S GRILL ROOM, LAMBERTVILLE, NJ
JOAN RUBIN-KRITZ 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
cent brothy 16-bean soup on the Innkeeper’s Menu. Stocked with garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, white beans, and a host of other bean varieties, the soup was amped with diced carrots, lentils, and celery in hearty harmony. The Innkeeper’s Special includes four entrée choices. Although the quartet changes daily, it always includes one Pasta du Jour and Meatloaf. Yes, meatloaf—the American comfort-food standby. This version, ground from top cuts of sirloin, is a bit more elegant than the norm. Equally worth mention is the Brussel sprouts side. The sprout tops are nicely caramelized, which gives a dulcet boost to the mild taste of this long-ignored, healthy vegetable that is finally gaining traction among creative chefs. The third course always includes delicious warm bread pudding with caramel sauce. Recently, Warm Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Tart was served tarted up appetizingly with chocolate and caramel streaks. It hit the spot. So does the check. It’s not only the Innkeeper’s Menu that’s
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reasonably priced. So is the entire menu. The cuisine can’t be funneled into a single category. French cuisine finds expression in Escargot Crêpe, which is an earthy take on the classic. Portabello mushrooms enhance the taste and texture of tender escargots stuffed inside and outside a smooth crêpe slathered in truffle-scented garlic sauce. Mediterranean and Italian stylings ring in dishes like Homemade Veal & Ricotta Meatballs flaked with fine Parmigiano Reggiano in mild Marinara sauce. But the kitchen seems to hit its stride when it’s giving nice tweaks to American standards and interpreting the freewheeling terrain of American contemporary. Just as sirloin gives a neat uptick to meatloaf, homemade “mac-‘ncheese” adds homey depth to roasted chicken breast, bestowing it with a homey quality echoed in a side of oven-roasted butternut squash. Into the eclectic offerings, toss in Seared Ahi Tuna with piquant Hoisin glaze and sided with Napa cabbage perked with five-spice as well as vegetarian lasagna for the non-carnivore. The menu covers a lot of culinary terrain, especially for beautifully historic terrain which can tend toward stodginess. Only one item, a $30 Grilled Filet Mignon, reaches the $30 plateau. Most entrée prices hover around $25. The building and grounds are lovely. The main dining room with its cozy fireplace, heavy wooded paneling, comfortably spaced tables dressed in white linen and sided with heavy, comfortably padded chairs is a feast for both colonial and contemporary eyes. There’s also a smaller, more intimate dining room with attractive, understated whitewashed colonial walls, rough-hewn wood rafters overhead and well-stocked wine and liquor racks enriching the décor. The surrounding grounds look much the same as one would imagine they looked in the early 1700s. That’s when Jonas Preston built the original mill. Everything on the property remains splendid and pristine, which is as rare these days as a $30 three-course meal. ■ The Bridgetown Mill House Inn, 760 Langhorne Newtown Rd, Langhorne, PA (215) 752-8996 www.bridgetownmillhouse.com
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Amuse ON A HARSH WINTER’S eve, we settle into a couple of the comfortable chairs that border one of the marbletopped, chrome-legged tables in Amuse Brasserie. Seen through the august 10-foot-high windows that line the street side of the dining room, the cityscape is dramatic. Philly’s brilliantly illuminated City Hall dominates the vista shooting dramatic luster into the nighttime sky. Inside the stylish retro-chic dining room, a mammoth vintage fireplace diffuses warmth and understated neo-Euro charm. Amuse reflects 20th century Art Deco style more than French. Sure, the Meridien Hotel exudes a certain Gallic flair in its proportion and perspective. But the building itself was designed by Philly’s own Horace Trumbauer. Trumbauer is hailed today as a shaper of Gilded Age grandeur. The Philadelphia Art Museum, the Land Title Building, the Union
League Annex, the Philadelphia Free Library, the New York Post Building, and much of Duke University are included in his impressive portfolio. As lovely as the architecture, ambiance and heritage are, all else plays second fiddle to the vibrant fare turned out by talented Vermont native Chef Sonny Ingul and his staff. The baseline cuisine is rooted in classic French. Many plates are refined reboots of French bistro classics. The prices are low to moderate for such delicious, often exceptional fare. Consistent with French tradition, crusty, soulful French bread and a tub of softened butter greet each guest. A scrumptious amuse-bouche augments the bread. Recently, we savored a bite-sized scallop mousse atop a green bed of peas. The mousse, dusted attractively with pecan powder, was moist and scrumptious. Arugula and greens salad is a meal in a bowl, a colorfest of carrots, cashews, spring sprouts, and raspberry with deEmail comments and suggestions to email@example.com
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lectable pickled ramp vinaigrette. The bitter tang of arugula, the sweet fruit, and the earthy greens blend in lush harmony. The Chefs sweetbread recipe is adventurous and tasty. I was skeptical that a crunchy crust would overpower the delicate sweetbreads. It doesn’t. The sweetbread retains its delicacy and dulcet taste. Additionally, the plate arrangement is stellar: tangles of verdant frisée and blocks of chicken-fried sweetbreads are interspersed with mounds of horseradish froth and pools of marrow jus and salsify purée. A delectable Spaghette alla chitarra turns nettle pesto, truffle, peas, grana podano, and goat butter into a feast for the eyes. Bright dots of fresh peas scatter over broad, thin, long strips of pasta in a bowl whose side is artistically painted with bright green nettle pesto. A popular favorite at Amuse is the French bistro classic: Steak Frites. Amuse’s version ranks with my favorites in France. It’s exceptional. The hanger steak is cooked perfectly to order. Slices of steak fan across the plate in front of two tubs, one filled with Béarnaise aïoli, the other, with Bordelaise sauce. A funnel stack of sublimely crisp, grease-free pommes frites attractively sides. A black cod entrée is deconstructed across a large flat black slate. A luscious mound of celeriac purée swirls around two black cod steaks. Fava beans, breakfast radish, and broccoli rappini are stationed around the slate and connected with swirling streaks of piquant beurre espelette. Desserts are made onsite and seldom miss the mark. Armagnac crème brûlée, mocha espresso mousse, and a strawberry tarte hit the mark. On one visit, Sacher torte didn’t rise above the routine. I mentioned it to our server. On a follow-up visit, it had already been removed from the menu—an action that underscores the kitchen’s resolve to get it right on every dish. Servers blend in-depth knowledge of each dish with chatty charm, unpretentiously parsing menu details with clarity, energy, and good humor. And in the hotel proper, sleek contemporary appointments and decorations take on Art Deco glamour. Le Meridien Hotel currently houses 202 rooms in a 10-story Georgian revival-style structure that’s ideally situated for get-away weekends whenever you want a taste of Paris. ■ Amuse, Le Meridien Hotel, 1421 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA (215) 422.8222 www.amusephiladelphia.com
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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 ■ M A R C H 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 37
A simple little house party
EVEN THE VAGUE NOTION that winter doesn’t go on forever, and that spring is hiding just around the corner, always makes me feel ambitious. So on a recent walk, my husband and I had one of those conversations that begins with “Why don’t we…?” In this case, it was “Why don’t we have the M’s over one of these days?” There was compelling logic to that suggestion. The M’s are, after all, extremely nice people to whom we’ve owed an invitation for months. They are top of our list of “invite-backs,” in fact. So my husband’s simple suggestion started the wheels turning. If we were going to have the M’s, I reasoned, why not expand on that idea a bit and invite the W’s, the B’s and the K’s? All were in the same category as the M’s: nice people, and people on the high-priority invite-back list. Well, before our walk was over, the notion was stirring, at least in my head, that it was party time. But party time, friends, is never as simple as it sounds. Case in point: IF we were going to have the M’s, and IF we were going to add the W’s, the B’s and the K’s, well then we’d better start thinking about a minor clean-up, paint-up, fix-up campaign. I mean, who could think of entertaining in a house in which the kitchen curtains are practically in shreds, to say nothing of the terminal countertops, which show every scrape and scar inflicted since 1984, when the house was built? By the time we’d hit the midpoint of our walk, I was already whirling with ideas: if we were doing the curtains and the countertops, well then wasn’t it absolutely crazy not to do something about the kitchen floor, an abomination if ever there was one. We’d been promising ourselves to get around to something newer and fresher underfoot for months—make that years. My husband, he of the logical mind, was already backing off. Having the M’s over had seemed such a sane, sensible thing. It took me until the bend in the road just before our street to convince the man that yes, it was still a great idea to get together with the M’s. But there were, after all, inextricably related issues. As my husband simmered, I went rolling on: If we were finally going to fix the kitchen, it would be impossible to ignore the breakfast area. They are, after all, connected, just the way the knee bone’s connected to the ankle bone; What the breakfast room area needed, I reasoned, was a nice coat of paint—something pale, almost white, but possibly with a faint hint of yellow; And once we got the right color, that indefinable shade that I could recognize more easily than define, we could finally do something about the light fixture in the same area that had always been just a wee bit off. I’d seen a fixture in the back of an old antique shop near the Poconos that would be sensational, absolutely sensational. So on some Saturday before the party with the M’s and all the others, we could hop on up there to see whether we could find that antique shop again and...It was right around there that Vic interrupted me in mid-sentence, before I’d even gotten to my plans for the dining room carpeting. It was at that precise point that he mentioned, in tones
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not dulcet, that all he’d wanted was to get together with the M’s, maybe just for coffee and cake. He hadn’t considered what he hyperbolically called a “mob scene.” Nor had he intended to redecorate the entire house, explore the
entire color spectrum or undertake a road trip to the Pocono Mountains. After five decades of sweet togetherness, we both knew that it was folly to push on in this discussion. We both knew that any additional words exchanged would probably lead directly to tender phrases like “Oh, for crying out loud!” or “Why are you so stubborn?” So the get-together with the M’s is on hold. At least for now. I’m not, however, wasting my time. Like any potential hostess, I’m checking furniture sales and remodeling ads for irresistible bargains. I’m filing away pictures of perfect rooms from decorating magazines. And one of these days, we’ll get around to that party. Meanwhile, we’ve made plans to go the movies with the M’s, and out for coffee. The way we figure it, we’re saving about $35,000 on the deal. ■ 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.
JAMES P. DELPINO, MSS,MLSP,LCSW,BCD
Much like a tulip, personal growth starts from the ground up AS THERE ARE CERTAIN conditions that favor optimal growth and development. Just wishing for change or growth isn’t sufficient to attain goals like functioning higher, and expanding awareness. Trying to attain new capacities and abili-
ties without the components that trigger optimal growth response is an endeavor set up to fail. Setting the scene for optimal results is a bit like gardening: Before any gardening can begin one must choose where the garden will be. Then painstaking steps concerning tilling, furrowing and digging, along with fertilization and irrigation, all contribute to creating the best conditions for growth and development. Consider the tulip. As a bulb, it doesn’t even appear to be alive much less something that will explode into color come the spring. The bulb will emerge under the right conditions, which also include soil depth and temperature. Without these variables, the bulb will fail to thrive. There is enough research, information and experience to identify the combination of things that set the scene for humans in the same way as the scene is set in the garden for blossoming. Humans need many intangible ingredients to furrow, plant and bloom. A primary ingredient in the mixture is the belief that something can become better or that something causing pain or suffering can become less so. This intangible is known as belief in yourself. Self-belief establishes the pos-
Jim Delpino is a psychotherapist in private practice for over 33 years. firstname.lastname@example.org (215) 364-0139.
sibility that “better” is achievable. Self-doubt establishes that progress will not happen—it becomes an internal saboteur. While belief in oneself is a form of self-nurturing, self-doubt is a form of imprisonment. Being too harsh with oneself is based on the primitive thought that creating undue stress and negativity internally will somehow improve a person. Harshness is punishing, it’s akin to chopping down a tree or stomping on a plant rather than doing effective pruning and managing. Shame and guilt—which are the dual faces of being too harsh—feed off self-doubt, but wither in the face of self-belief. Having the internal attitude of self-belief and self-nurturance illustrates wisdom about how people function and thrive. Shifting these internal structures requires being willing to pay attention to thoughts and feelings because they co-influence each other. Paying attention to thoughts and feelings allows a shift from negative into positive territory. This work is done by generating a deeper, higher and broader awareness known as wisdom, that takes care of oneself. Wisdom keeps feelings and thoughts that might interrupt or stop progress on the radar so they may be addressed and reduced in their frequency, intensity and duration. Wisdom isn’t just an awareness of thoughts or feelings but something more than the both of them combined. It’s much like internalizing a loving parent who forgives and guides. Studies show that people are likely, actually much more than likely, to succeed in any goal if he or she has a guide or mentor. A good mentor would be someone who has already had success in the areas where progress is desired. Instead of guessing and re-inventing the wheel, a guide or mentor has the knowledge to get to the goal. Because humans are so relational, the benefit of a human connection in any process greatly enhances the chances of success. A guide or mentor can operate as a fertilizing element that super-charges the growth process. That person can also serve as a role model, share strategies for success and provide all sorts of information that might be needed along the way. Growth can be difficult and painful. Making shifts in thoughts, feelings and behaviors can stir up self-doubt— knowing this can be a comfort as it’s a normal reaction to change. Wishing to function higher brings up those things that have operated as ceiling barriers to growth and development. This is where self-doubt and negative feelings make their presence felt. And it is at these times that the tools of self-belief and self-nurturance are needed most. It’s a normal dynamic that deeper and unresolved feelings and conflicts manifest when challenged with new and happier states of being. Coupled with the universal fear of the unknown, many give up when faced with these forces. When giving up is not an option, people are forced to understand that these negative forces are the homework that each person must face to overcome. There are no shortcuts when confronting fears and self-doubt. They must be faced and contended with in order to go beyond them. If they’re too large to deal with all at once they can be dealt with little by little. Small changes make big differences over time. ■ 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 ■ M A R C H 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 39
22 / BILL MURRAY
side of the lobby was makeup and hair. So you’d say, “Excuse me, hold on a sec, I’m gonna go get another croissant.” And then you’d march back over there, all the time in your slippers and a robe, like a bunch of old men dying in a hotel. Q: What about in the evenings? A: Well we had a bar. We were in a little town square with a church at the end of it, and there was a bar across the way. It was about 40 steps, but it was snow, all snow, the whole time we were there. And if you were awake, odds are you were still jet-lagged, and you’d walk over there and there would be someone there from the movie, drinking, at any hour of the day. So you could just roll in there, and talk, and listen to music. There was always something to do. There were only a handful of places that we went to the whole time, but they were all really interesting. Q: You spoke about Wes having a very clear vision of what he wants, but was there something specific you added here once the cameras were rolling? A: I don’t know. Maybe. The speeches are tonguetwisters. You should try speaking some of these lines some time. They’re tough—especially in the cold. We were shooting outdoors, and even in certain escape scenes where we’re talking in cars, at night, it was freezing cold. And you think, “How cold could it be?” Well, let’s just say it’s zero. And you’re doing the scene for hours because the camera’s not right, the light’s not right, ya know? So, for the first hour it’s okay, and you’re speaking normally, and then you start to get a little [talks in slurred, numbed voice] heavy. And then at the third hour [barely articulating syllables], you’re just trying to get words out. And all the time you’re trying not to breathe too much because you don’t want to blow [visible exhalation] everywhere. So you’re trying to control your voice and you sound a little [adopts numbed voice again] like this. [Continues slurring and mumbling] Q: Is there a part of your process as an actor that’s changed considerably through the years? Have you streamlined the way you get ready for a scene or a performance? A: I wake up later. No, I...well, I think the thing that’s most different is the scripts are better. When I started, the scripts just weren’t as good, and you’d have to go to work and have a huge burst of energy to go, “I can’t do this; this stuff ’s no good.” So then you’d have to create something, or improvise something, or try to work with the [material], and try to figure out how to make things visually and aurally acceptable and entertaining. So you’d have to go to work and [grunts] cinch-up your belt and make something. Nowadays, the scripts are so much better that I don’t have to feel that way. I can feel like the script’s coming to me. I can just relax; I don’t have to drive the boat. And, really, it’s always been about relaxing. Even with the earlier stuff, I had to be able to sit back, and breathe, and find something I could use. Now, with Wes, specifically, all his props and sets are so perfect, you just have to relax and be part of the chemical process, sort of. It’s almost like the developing of a photograph. If you’re in the midst of it, you’re a part of it—this picture that he’s made. You’re like the flower in the still life, and you just have to sort of be the resident voice, speak the lines, tell the truth. Q: What about your relationship with Wes? Has your handling of his dialogue reached a mutual understanding? Do you know what he wants? A: Well, he really wants it a certain way, and he’s heard it in his head a certain way, so he’ll tell people to say it that
way. And most actors don’t like that—to be told, “Say it like this.” And for myself, I have a problem with obedience, probably, but I sorta know the pitch of [his work] now. You don’t have to say the lines exactly like he does, but you’ve got to have the sort of clarity in your head so you’re not dragging it down. It’s got to be able to bounce up there. People usually want to gravel it up but it’s not that way— it’s gotta really bounce. It gotta pop along because the script’s really moving. People are talking fast. Q: How do you bounce? A: Well, it’s like if someone plays an instrument, say, a guitar. A young player can play it, and if he wants to play a high note, or a fast rhythm, it has a certain [makes twangy noise] desperate quality to it. But when you get a really sophisticated player playing those notes, he can ply those same notes in a tempo where there’s space in between. You can see that there’s actually a process where his interior state is so quick, that he can find time other people can’t find. A young player can go, “[makes clumsy blip sounds],” whereas a real player can go, “[makes smooth
Bill Murray in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
blip sounds].” You can notice the difference, and it’s like with that fast pace of Wes’ movies. If you’re real quiet, your whole body will be quiet, and there’ll be echo, and resonance. It’s like your head, or your chest, is like a guitar box. It vibrates a certain way. So if you’re really loose, and warm, the sound comes at you differently. You’re able to shade words and give them different meaning. Q: What about when you worked with Wes on Rushmore, your first film with him? Obviously, you know how he works now, but did you trust him then? A: Well, on that job, there was a lot of pressure to meet this guy, and they kept sending me copies of his first movie, Bottle Rocket. I still have many copies. And they’d say, “Do you want to meet this guy?” And I said, “No. Because the guy who wrote this script knows exactly what he wants.” I mean, there was nothing to talk about. It was all right there. He was so precise. I didn’t have any doubt that he would achieve what he wanted to do. Q: And what about when you got on set? A: Well, it was really just Jason [Schwartzmann] and I. And this is kind of a funny story: The night before we did
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our first day of shooting, Wes and Jason and I just sort of ran through our scenes. And for some reason, Jason was just terrible. Just terrible. I was just like, “Ohhhh god. This kid’s no good.” And we were in this hotel in Houston, and they were having a bourbon tasting, and I just went in and drank myself to sleep. But then, the next day, we went to work, and it was all over. It was just one strange, aberrant night where Jason was just terrible. I thought it was going to be the worst movie of my life, and that this kid couldn’t do anything. Q: Do you guys still talk about that now? A: Oh yeah, it’s still a thing. I’ll say to Jason, “Do you have any idea how much I drank that night?” But then he was great. Jason’s amazing in that movie, and he’s continued to be amazing. Besides being a wonderful guy, he’s an extraordinarily charmed actor. Q: Looking back to earlier stages of your career, you’re one of the enduring legends of Saturday Night Live. Do you still keep up with the show, and keep in touch with creator Lorne Michaels? A: Well, when I need tickets for friends I call Lorne. [Laughs] But I have been watching it more now because these days, it’s real easy to record it. When people used to ask me if I watched the show, I’d say, “I did that show. I like my Saturday nights. I don’t want to [reflect on] work.” Now it’s really easy to record them all, and watch them all, and fast-forward through the commercials. The group right now is very fast—the fastest I’ve ever seen anyone get it. Because usually, when one group leaves, there’s a learning curve for the newcomers. But the new people are really good and Lorne’s new writers are obviously really good. But that previous group with Kristen Wiig—that crowd was really, really good. I mean, they’ve had talented people all the time, through the whole thing, but those guys were actor-actors, and it’s different. There’s a difference. They have people who come that are stand-up comedians, but those people were all trained, improvisational actors, and they made the material work better. Because the material’s not quite finished at 11:30 p.m., and the actor types can sort of keep writing even through the performing of it on air, and solve things in the moment. You can feel it, and just be like, “Here it is—bam!” Q: In relation to that, a lot of these people now are going into dramatic acting, which is something that you’ve done. What is it about comedians that makes some of them our best dramatic actors? A: Well, that’s one of those things that actors know—to play funny, you have to be able to play straight. So if you can play straight in comedy, you can play straight in drama. It’s the same process. It’s not any different. There are some people who are funny but can’t necessarily play straight—they do a certain kind of range of comedy. But if you’re really good at it, you can play straight. Q: At this point in your career, it’s obvious that you’re being offered some great scripts. What are you thinking about at the moment in terms of what you’re being offered? A: I’m not thinking about anything. I’m going to do something in June—work on this film my friend Mitch Glazer wrote called Rock the Casbah. I’ll go to make that movie this summer. But that’s all I’ve got in my head. You can’t think about what you’re gonna do. It just gets in the way. You have to just be available, for life, otherwise you’re not bringing anything to the party. ■
25 / PAT METHENY
INDEX Facts compiled by the editors of Harper’s Magazine
Q: A random question: you’ve crafted a zillion albums as a leader, recorded as part of other musician and vocalist sessions. Do you feel as if you’ve ever made a misstep—a false or wrong move, obviously thinking in hindsight? A: I probably wouldn’t have put “Forward March” as the first track on First Circle. Q: Back to the new album, how did it evolve—and so richly—from the all the gigs you guys did before Carmassi joined the fold? You guys didn’t sound so rich, as you do on the new album, yet I dare not think that bringing in Carmassi changed the sound so much. How did you come to use him in the first place? A: To do what I wanted to do I knew I needed to expand the palette by adding another musician. However, I didn’t want to alter the incredible dynamic of the quartet. What I really needed was a good musician who could play a lot of parts. I needed someone to kind of fill out the sound of the band; I didn’t really need another soloist, especially with Chris Potter standing right there, but I did need someone who understands the language that we’re dealing in and can contribute in a textural way and give me another voice to write for. He’s doing fine in that role for this band. Probably at least as significant or more so to the difference in this record to the one before, was my decision to do so much electronics and Orchestrionic stuff. I usually haven’t done that in these types of settings. Q: What came first in regard to the new album—the idea of grander orchestration for this material, or the conviviality of being an equal part of the whole, if you are indeed an equal part of the fold in your opinion? A: It was the idea of reconciling the richer harmonic language that I’ve developed on projects like Secret Story or my regular group stuff or even Orchestrion with this slamming quartet sitting right in the middle of it all. And also responding to the inspiration that I got from all the touring we did together last year and to try to push it further. Q: There are several shades at work on the new album. What composition or jam came first and how did it wind up defining where the rest of the sessions related to the album would go? A: “Jam” is probably not a word that comes to mind. The compositional aspect of this record is probably near the top of the priority list. I came into the studio with hundreds of pages of written music for everyone. However, for me the relationship that composition has to improvisation is a very interesting and endlessly fascinating dance— there’s no reason that they need to be mutually incompatible even taken in large measure. That’s also an undercurrent of the new record. Q: Age is but a number, but between 150 and 250 gigs a year—your norm at any age is ball breaking. How has age affected the playing, the desire to gig more? A: Compared to most people—I would say schoolteachers, paramedics, police and firemen and women and many many other occupations—doing what I do is nothing. I feel privileged and lucky to get the opportunity to play a lot. I take it very seriously and try to make every concert as if it is the last time I’ll ever get to play. I’ve been doing this since I was really young—my metabolism is sort of geared to do it. ■
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.). 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 ■ M A R C H 2 0 1 4 ■ I C O N ■ 41
The Los Angeles Times SUNDAY CROSSWORD PUZZLE
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INCIDENTAL MUSIC By Doug Peterson Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 1 Campfire residue 4 Volkswagen sedan 10 Speak for yourself? 14 Office __: Staples rival 19 Suffix with señor 20 Outfielder who had a singleseason record 262 hits in 2004 21 Four-ring logo company 22 Hidden repository 23 Donut lover’s discipline? 26 C.S. Lewis lion 27 Symbol of steadiness 28 School-wk. start 29 Shell lobbers 31 Copy editor’s mark 32 Kicking back with the drones? 36 Emulate Eminem 39 “CSI” actor George 40 Literature Nobelist Canetti 41 Japanese soup, apparently? 46 Gander, e.g. 47 Player with earbuds 51 Lyricist Gershwin 52 Dustin’s “Midnight Cowboy” role 53 One of a hotel room pair 55 Medina native 56 Feeling sluggish 58 Defunct ’80s gridiron gp. 60 Recipe quantity 63 Missile stabilizer 64 Shinbone neighbor 67 So-so joe? 70 Forbidden 72 Honoree on the third 28Across in Jan. 73 Squiggly diacritic 74 Bangle, often? 79 Julius and Augustus, e.g. 83 Blubber 84 Haile Selassie followers 85 De Matteo of “The Sopranos” 87 Many a Royal Troon golfer 88 Be on the same page 90 State secrets? 92 Longhorn rival 95 Baton Rouge sch. 96 Romney’s 2012 running mate 97 1/640 of a square mile 99 Snorkeling area patrol unit? 102 __ cotta 104 Singer Tennille 105 The “t” in Crete? 106 Broadcaster who goes on and on and on? 112 Farm Belt state 116 Swallowed one’s pride
117 MD workplaces 118 Item kept near brushes 121 Name on many video games 122 “Water that poor plant before all the leaves dry up!”? 126 Fallback option 127 “And don’t forget ...” 128 Break 129 “__ Maria” 130 “The Playboy of the Western World” dramatist 131 Scrabble two-pointers 132 Enthusiastic 133 Folk hero Kelly
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 24 25 30 33 34 35 37 38 41 42 43 44 45 46 48 49 50 54 55 57 59
DOWN Gave a ride, say Log cabin warmer Eye color Best of health, figuratively Climber’s goal Hosiery variety Move furtively D-backs, on a sports ticker Typical “Yo Gabba Gabba!” viewer Relay sticks Feeling sorry about Stir Cheap saloon Beltway region, briefly Taiwan’s locale Programming class setting Orchard Field, today Keyed up Año opener In the thick of Great Depression migrant Take to the airport, say Floppy topper Most pleasing to Jack Sprat Bubble filler Sch. meeting group Cereal go-with Weights, when pumped Judicious Zombie-like states Suffix with lion Skimpy skirt Powder __ Patient of Dr. Liz Enjoy a meal Got the job done Fine china name High-elevation enigma San Diego suburb whose name means “the table”
& J & t
g t a
61 62 65 66
Loop site Pac-12 school Core group “Take a Chance on Me” quartet 68 Down with something 69 Come clean, with “up” 71 Muffin stuff 74 Dueling memento 75 Unrestrained party 76 Constellation named for an instrument 77 NASCAR Hall of Famer Yarborough 78 Like some flaws 80 Scopes Trial gp. 81 Historic Parks 82 Simple earring 86 Psych 101 topic 89 Hard to resist 91 Skirt companion 93 Mtge. feature 94 Panamanian pronoun 97 2012 Best Picture 98 Crustacean used in Cajun cuisine 100 “Barbara __”: 1960s hit 101 Bails 103 Dress like a justice 104 Statue subjects 106 Packs down 107 Land of the Apennines 108 Showed again
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109 Futile 110 Period in history 111 More valuable, possibly 113 Giant squid’s home 114 Give up 115 Paid to play 119 Rick’s flame
120 Light bite 123 Ringside cheer 124 Clearance rack abbr. 125 Genteel gathering
t Answer in next month’s issue.
Answer to February’s puzzle, UNIVERSAL TRUTH
T S o A
G a a c
Agenda CALL TO ARTISTS Deadline: June 15, 2014. Philadelphia: 114th Philadelphia Water Color Society International Anniversary Exhibition of Works on Paper at The CommunityArts Center, 414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford. Show Dates: 9/14-10/17. For prospectus: pwcsociety.org website in March 2014, or send SASE to PWCS Entries, 13 Brandywine Dr., Media, PA 19063. Two entries: pastel, water media, drawings, hand-pulled prints. Members $15, Non-Members $45. Juror of Selection: Linda Baker, AWS, NWS, Juror of Awards: Antonio Masi, AWS. Over $5,000.
ART EXHIBITS THRU 3/28 “Mercury Retrograde: Animated Realities.” Artists, Brian Alfred, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Aline Bouvy & John Gillis, eteam, Cliff Evans, Jan Nalevka, and Noah Spidermen & Scott Gelber. Williams Center for the Arts, 317 Hamilton St., Easton. M-F 11-5, Sat./Sun. 12-5. 610330-5361. galleries.lafayette.edu THRU 4/13 FiberNext: Fiber artists explore ingenious approaches to classic textile traditions and contemporary art and design. Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy. Wilmington, DE. 302-571-9590. delart.org. THRU 5/25 “Blessed are the Peacemakers”: Violet Oakley’s The Angel of Victory (1941). Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE. 866-232-3714. delart.org THRU 5/31 Seasonal landscape and still life in oil, pastel and watercolor by Frank Arcuri, Dot Bunn, Michael Filipiak, Barbara Sesta, Janine Dunn Wade, Steve Zazenski and more. Welcoming Materese Roche. Patricia Hutton Galleries, 47 West State St., Doylestown. 215-348-1728. PatriciaHuttonGalleries.com. 3/6-4/6 “Tattoos and Graffiti.” Juried Group Exhibition. Street and body art interpreted by photography artists. Juror: Eric Wahl. Artist reception 3/7, 6-9. The Bucks County Project Gallery, 252 West Ashland St, Doylestown. 267-247-6634. buckscountyprojectgallery.com 3/8-6/1 Fashion, Circus, Spectacle: Scott Heiser. Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE. 302-571-9590. delart.org. 3/11-4/18 “Mapping Meaning: Easton.” Lafayette Art Galleries, Grossman Gallery, 243 N. Third St., Easton.
610-330-5361. galleries.lafayette.edu 3/15-4/4 “There and Back.” Photographs by Mark Fields and Forrest Old. Red Filter Gallery, 74 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ. 347-244-9758. redfiltergallery.com 3/7-4/20 Terri Amig, “Falling.” Opening reception, 3/8 at 3pm. The Quiet Life Gallery, 17 So. Main St., Lambertville, NJ. 609-397-0880. quietlifegallery.com
DANCE 3/7 Exquisite Russian Dance Moscow Festival Ballet performs “Sleeping Beauty,” with members of Kirov & Bolshoi troupes. Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem. 8pm. $42/35. Free parking attached to center. 610758-2787. zoellnerartscenter.org 3/14 “Flamenco Vivo” / Carlota Santana. Celebrating its 30th anniversary tour features an all-star cast of Spanish dancers & musicians in newly created pieces & reconstruct an early work by Roberto Lorca, “Luz y Sombra.” 8 pm. Miller Symphony Hall, 23 North Sixth St., Allentown. 610-432-6715. millersymphonyhall.org
3/23 “Rock of Ages,” the worldwide party musical. 7 PM, State Theatre, 453 Northampton St., Easton. $60/$55. 610-252-3132. 1-800-999-STATE. statetheatre.org 4/3 ‘In The Mood.” 1940s musical revue. America’s greatest big band show. 2 & 7pm. Zoellner Arts Center, 420 E. Packer Ave., Bethlehem. 610-758-2787. inthemoodlive.com zoellnerartscenter.org 4/3-4/13 “Journey: Dreams of the Red Pavilion.” East meets west in Bethlehem’s backyard. Thurs.-Sat. 8 pm, Sun. 2 pm. Touchstone Theatre, 321 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem. 610-867-1689. touchstone.org
FILM 3/22 & 3/23 Act 1 Performing Arts presents the 14th Annual Student Film Festival. DeSales University, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, Main Stage, 2755 Station Ave., Center Valley. 610-282-3192. desales.edu/act1
DINNER & MUSIC Saturday nights: Sette Luna Restaurant, 219 Ferry St., Easton. 610-2538888. setteluna.com
3/14-3/16 Dance Ensemble Concert. Act 1 Performing Arts presents their annual spring event featuring dance faculty and student collaborations with exciting guest artists. DeSales University, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, Main Stage, 2755 Station Ave., Center Valley. 610282-3192. desales.edu/act1
Thursday nights: DeAnna’s Restaurant, 54 N. Franklin St., Lambertville, NJ. Live music/raw bar. 609-3978957. deannasrestaurant.com.
Every Monday, Live guitar with Barry Peterson, 7-10pm. Karla’s, 5 West Mechanic St., New Hope. 215-8622612. karlasnewhope.com
3/12 Direct from Ireland, “Celtic Nights.” Featuring The Emigrants Bridge, a night of music, song & dance. Six of Ireland’s most accomplished dancers mirror six of its finest voices. 7:30 pm, Miller Symphony Hall, 23 No. Sixth St., Allentown. 610432-6715. millersymphonyhall.org 3/14 “A Couple of Blaguards.” Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish humor & storytelling. Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem. 7 & 9 pm. Free parking attached to center. 610-758-2787. zoellnerartscenter.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
CONCERTS Some organizations perform in various locations. If no address is listed, check website for location of performance.
KESWICK THEATRE Keswick Theatre 291 Keswick Ave., Glenside, PA keswicktheatre.com 3/2 3/7 3/8
3/20 “TAO, Phoenix Rising.” Percussion meets martial arts. Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem. 7 pm. Free parking attached to the center. 610-758-2787. zoellnerartscenter.org
The Peking Acrobats Amy Schumer: Inside Amy Schumer's Back Door Tour George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic The Irish Rovers Farewell to Rovin' Experience Hendrix: Billy Cox, Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Jonny Lang, Kenny
3/29 4/2 4/3 4/4
Wayne Shepherd, Dweezil Zappa, Eric Johnson, Cesar Rosas & David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Doyle Bramhall II, Chris Layton & Eric Gales Pat Metheny Unity Group: Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez, Ben Williams, Giulio Carmassi Wanda Sykes Joe Conklin & The City All-Stars of Comedy: Nicky Attitude, Dennis Horan, Joey Callahan, Sudsy Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle Jon Anderson - Solo Jesse Tyler Ferguson & Eric Stonestreet Los Lonely Boys
ARTSQUEST CENTER AT STEELSTACKS MUSIKFEST CAFÉ 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA 610-332-1300. artsquest.org 3/5 Blood, Sweat & Tears Features Bo Bice. 3/5 The Steel Wheels 3/7 The Irish Comedy Tour 3/8 Tinsley Ellis 3/13 Keith Robinson 3/16 SteelStacks H.S. Jazz Band Showcase 3/19 XPN: Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle 3/20 Maria Bamford 3/21 Rick Braun 3/23 Crystal Bowersox 3/26-29 SPANK! Harder 3/28, 29 BridgmenlPacker Dance Voyeur & Under the Skin 4/2 The Psychedelic Furs 4/3 The Associated Mess 4/3 Jon Anderson
GODFREY DANIELS Original live music room since 1976 7 E Fourth St, Bethlehem 610-867-2390 godfreydaniels.org 3/2 3/6 3/7 3/8 3/14 3/15 3/16 3/16 3/21 3/22 3/23 3/27 3/28 3/29 3/29
Children’s Storytelling w/ Ingrid Bohn PA Jazz Collective w/ Freedom H.S. Jazz Band Tret Fure Alexis P Suter Mustard’s Retreat Blackwater Children’s Storytelling w/ Kristin Pedemonti Peggy Seeger Tumbling Bones GD 38th Anniversary Thom Schuyler, Craig Bickhardt, Jack Sundrud Dave Fry “Playground” CD release Charter Arts Gospel Choir Carole King Songbook Craig Thatcher at the IceHouse Christine Havrilla, Dina Hall, Mama’s Black Sheep
3/7 Golden Boys. Sands Bethlehem
Event Center, Bethlehem. 610-2977400. Sandseventcenter.com 3/14 Quartet Quiroga, 7:30pm. Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem, Foy Concert Hall, Moravian College W. Church & Main Streets, Bethlehem. Tickets available at door or lvartsboxoffice.org. Visit cmsob.org
4/12 Poet James Richardson. 2011 Jackson Poetry Prize-winner will read new work along with poems from ‘By the Numbers: Poems and Aphorisms.’ Book signing, Q&A, and refreshments. 6PM. Panoply Books, 46 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ. (609) 397-1145
COMEDY 3/21 Huey Lewis & The News. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem. 610-297-7400. Sandseventcenter.com
3/29 & 3/30 Jim Gaffigan, the White Bread Tour. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem. 610-297-7400. Sandseventcenter.com
3/21 Aaron David Miller, organist. 7:30 p.m. Arts at St. John’s, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 37 So. Fifth St., Allentown. 610-435-1641. stjohnsallentown.org
4/4 Lewis Black, The Rant Due. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem. 610-297-7400. Sandseventcenter.com
3/28 The Robert Cray Band & Mavis Staples. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem. 610-297-7400. Sandseventcenter.com
THRU 3/31 Drink of the month, the Spicy Shamrock. Wines by the glass are ½ priced in March. Chaddsford Winery, Street Rd., Lahaska. 215-794-9655. Chaddsford.com
3/30 The Bach Choir of Bethlehem performs, Haydn’s “Creation.” 4 p.m., pre-concert lecture 3 p.m. Tickets: bach.org or 610-866-4382, x10 or x15. Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, 420 East Packer Ave., Bethlehem. 4/5 Yes. Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem. 610-297-7400. Sandseventcenter.com 4/11 Daedalus Quartet. 7:30 p.m. Purcell Three Fantasies, Britten String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25, Beethoven String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130 & Grosse Fuge, Op. 133. Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem, Foy Concert Hall, Moravian College, W. Church & Main Streets, Bethlehem. Tickets at door or at lvartsboxoffice.org and cmsob.org 4/12 “All Nature Sings.” Violinist Karina Canellakis. Mendelssohn, Delius, Shostakovich. 7:30 p.m. Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orch., First Presbyterian Church, 3231 W. Tilghman St., Allentown. $15-$35. 610-4347811. Tickets: lvartsboxoffice.org
READINGS 3/8 Charlie Bondhus’s 2nd collection, “All the Heat We Could Carry,” won Main Street Rag’s Annual Poetry Book Award 2013. 6PM, Panoply Books, 46 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ. (609) 397-1145
THRU 3/31 Monday for Locals Night. 5-10, 3course dinner $12-$19. Karla’s, 5 W. Mechanic St., New Hope. 215-862-2612. Karlasnewhope.com THRU 3/31 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. 610-865-9600. apollogrill.com THRU 3/31 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. 610-865-9600. apollogrill.com 3/15 4th Annual Celtic Classic Parade of Shamrocks. Downtown Bethlehem. Events include free Celtic concerts. Beer and soft drinks available for purchase in the Sun Inn Courtyard from 12-5:30. celticfest.org 3/26 & 5/7 Tinicum Art and Science High School Open House Days March 26 and May 7 all day. Visit our school and experience mindfulness in education. Join us for our 9th annual coffee house fundraiser on April 11, 5 to 8pm. Tickets $25 in advance. 85 Sherman Rd., Ottsville. For more info visit tinicumartandscience.org or call (610)847-6980.
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Carol C. Dorey Real Estate, Inc. Specialists in High-Value Property www.doreyrealestate.com (610) 346-8800
WEYHILL WOODS The proximity of Saucon Valley Country Club, the Promenade Shops and I-78 add to the desirability of living in one of the Valley’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Set on a private 2.2 acre parcel, this classic colonial is defined by a brick exterior with keystone, shutter and dormer accents. The interior blends sophisticated and comfortable gathering spaces including a gourmet kitchen, sunroom with exposed brick walls, and formal living and dining areas. $1,195,000
MAINTENANCE FREE Stone appointments and dramatic ceiling heights are the hallmarks of this finely crafted carriage home in prestigious Stever Mills in Saucon Valley. Nestled at the end of a cul-de-sac, overlooking a nearby creek and Lehigh University’s athletic fields. There are 3 BRs, a four-season sunroom, gourmet kitchen and a cathedral ceilinged LR with corner fireplace. Easy access to major thoroughfares, Historic Bethlehem, and hospitals and country clubs. $765,000
BAY HILL On a premium lot in Valley Green South, overlooking open land with walking trails, this quietly sophisticated home has been well planned and beautifully executed. Built in 2006 with quality enhancements, it has been stylishly updated and impeccably maintained. Enjoy the excellent appointments with coffered ceilings, Morris Black cabinetry, hardwood floors throughout, 1st fl office, a master bedroom suite and 3 additional BRs. In beautiful Saucon Valley, close to the Promenade Shops. $675,000
The Bernard Lehman House is the embodiment of all that Historic Bethlehem has carefully preserved. This treasured property has not been offered for sale for over 40 yrs and has always been a home to prominent executives, with an interior and exterior well suited to entertaining. At once classic and elegant, while warm and comfortable, it is also the perfect family home. An 1829 auxiliary building awaits your imagination for use as a studio, an office or just the joy of owning a most charming bit of history. $595,000
SPECIAL PROPERTY Bathed in light, this home offers spaces that will be the heart of all family activities. There is a 4-season sunroom adjacent to the kitchen which overlooks the lush backyard with a hot tub and a fabulous water feature with a yearround waterfall. Evergreens envelop the property creating intimacy & a great family space for entertaining and fun. There are 4 garages & a 2nd floor getaway room for summer fun or artistic pursuits. As beautiful as it is protected, Whiteacre is a special property. $699,900
BEAUTIFUL GARDENS Much care has been taken with the 2003 restoration of this beautiful, historic residence. The new blends seamlessly with period details and creates a modern functioning floor plan. Of special interest are the Moravian tile floor and the coordinating handmade tiles surrounding a fireplace. Outside there’s a lovely garden and patio with a 1930s water feature. This home is in the National Register of Historic Places and Benjamin Franklin stayed here for about a month in 1755. $899,000
WEEKEND GETAWAY Marvelous location along the Little Lehigh Creek, this delightful home is a one of a kind dwelling, privately set on 7 acres. Nestled into a hillside with an attractive exterior blend of stone, wood and slate, the rustic interior boasts wood floors, pine paneled walls and 2 wood burning fireplaces. There are 3 bedrooms overlooking the picturesque grounds. A finished lower level with wet bar and a detached garage with a guest house. Access to I-78 and LV Hospital are just minutes away. $749,000
HANDCRAFTED QUALITY This 1830s stone colonial offers the magical essence of life in a historic Bucks County home. Random width chestnut, oak and pine flrs, and exposed wood ceiling beams give a honey amber glow to the 3 BR, 1.5 bath interior. There is a detached 2-car garage/barn with heat and a 2nd fl studio. A sunroom off the kitchen is the perfect place to enjoy front row seats to nature. Set in a sun-filled clearing, the inground pool overlooks the lawn, rock-lined flower beds and woodlands beyond. $399,000
PICTURESQUE SETTING Trexler Farmhouse is a renovated 1840s residence where old and new finishes blend flawlessly in gracious and sunny rooms. Gleaming random width pine floors, deep windowsills, and period trim and hardware are found in nearly 4,000 sqft on 3 charming levels. A delightful keeping room with beamed ceiling has a walk-in fireplace as its focal point. The 2-story family room addition is illuminated with an abundance of windows and leads to a private patio enveloped by lush gardens, towering maples and grapevines. $569,000 M AY 2 0 0 9