Monday, December 22, 2008


The new, retooled, redesigned, NYC Performing Arts Spaces website, powered by Fractured Atlas.

This was a big project at my job in the last few months and now it's live. We're all pleased as Christmas punch. Check it out! Multi-disciplinary searches, a nifty new Jumpstart menu - hell, we've even got a filter for spaces that explicitly allow flamenco dancing! (You'd be surprised by the calls I get. I'm just saying.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Werner Herzog Narrates the Documentary of My Life

An excerpt from a new one-act.


(A bedroom. A bathroom sink. A bed. A stack of DVDs and a cup of coffee near the bed, and a toilet case near the sink. A broom stands in the corner. There is a pair of pants on the floor. A MAN stands in a tattered, yellowed t-shirt in front of a bathroom mirror. He coughs, spits, and begins to put toothpaste on a brush. Suddenly, a heavily-accented German VOICE speaks from above.)

Now he will brush his teeth.

(The MAN looks up, startled. He listens. There is no sound. He starts to brush his teeth again.)

As he does every day.

(The MAN drops the toothbrush. He looks around. Doesn’t see anything. He slowly picks up the toothbrush again, starts to put toothpaste on it.)

He will brush his teeth approximately 36,000 times in his life. Before his death.


(He drops the toothbrush again. Silence. He looks around. He is now visibly agitated.)

He is now visibly agitated, responding to some stimulus.

(The MAN is now looking around the room, trying to find the source of the voice.)

He will spend approximately three years of his life brushing his teeth, seventeen months searching for his sewing kit when he loses a button, approximately four and a half years waiting for service in the corner diner…

(MAN looks under the bed.)

Why am I hearing things? I’m hearing things!

This is the same routine he goes through every day – he coughs, he spits, he brushes his teeth, many mornings he will attempt to masturbate before –

Shut up!

- leaving for work, but will often abandon the half-hearted attempt due to lack of interest.

(He tears off all the covers on the bed.)

Every day, the plodding march of insignificant details – a life without worth or purpose -

(The MAN seeks under the bed.)

- an accumulation of mundane and banal routines – until the final toppling into the grave.


The banality is terrifying. Let’s observe.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Erwin Schrott is One Sexy Beast

Matt P. had told me about the guy who was singing "Don Giovanni" at the Met - Erwin Schrott, from Uruguay. He sang it beautifully last Tues night and he is one sexy beast on stage, even from the cheap seats. Ildebrando d'Arcangelo as Leporello was marvelous as well. For some reason, the psychology in this production seemed more complex to me than the one I saw at City Opera a few years ago. Characters seemed a bit more fleshed out here, not so easily pegged.

Schrott looks like the cover of a cheap romance novel, all long hair and white shirts and this exquisitely tailored black coat that flows behind him. He showed off his chest in the first scene where he practically went back to Dona Ana for sloppy seconds on the staircase. In a later scene, where they exchange clothes, Leporello had an inspired bit – as soon as he finds out he is to impersonate Giovanni, he drops to the floor and starts doing push ups.

He also ‘impersonated’ Schrott – sang his phrases like him. Which threw into relief how distinctive Schrott is in the part – he can do the hushed pianissimo thing and you don’t have to strain to hear. The song to Dona Elvira’s maid is so hushed and lovely and seductive, I can’t imagine anyone’s clothes not flying off of their own volition.

One thing I love about Giovanni - that thing starts wham bam and keeps going. Not a lot of exposition – 'oh my God I’m so tired sitting in the garden waiting for my master, 'I've got to go,' 'no if you leave me I’ll kill you,' Dad runs in 'what’s that noise' and then he's pushing daisies. It’s a breakneck opening and Mozart and da Ponte really sustain it. It’s not until the opening of the second act that the plot starts to meander for me – and by that point, really, I could care less. The plot is a loose weave, but who goes to an opera for dramaturgical structure?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Road to Perdition

So-so. Sam Mendes is a good storyteller – the picture is beautifully framed, shot, realized. A little too beautiful. Mendes falls in love a bit with his own images – every shot is a little too artful, a little too studied and scored. As a result, all the humanity leaches out of the film.

It’s a gangster tale set in the Depression, with Tom Hanks as a hitman beyond redemption trying to save his kid after the child accidentally witnesses a killing. Hanks is a fine actor, but his instincts are light, comedic –they’re about connecting with others. The result is a good actor who has to smother all his natural impulses to play someone dead inside.

All the humanity in that movie comes from Paul Newman in his last role, as an elderly crimelord sick to death of the killing. Newman only has a few scenes, but he dominates. He is the only one who injects some sense of real human feeling, while the pretty pictures plod along.

The ending is an eye-roller. They try to tack two or three shockers onto it, and it just becomes a little silly. I started mouthing the lines before they came. Jude Law is fine as a creepy, murderer/photographer with bad teeth but the character is too one-dimensional to make much impression.

If you’re watching Paul Newman –in his final screen role – get killed, and all you can think is ‘wow, beautiful shot’ –there’s a problem.

CALL ME ANNE at Blue Coyote & Access Theater

Phillip Taratula got a great review from the NY Times for his one-man show, CALL ME ANNE at the Access Theater.

It's Jubilee Time

My review of Liza's at the Palace! on

Tuesday, December 2, 2008