July 27, 2008 |
For John McCain, here's some good news. Barack Obama is home from overseas. There are still 100 days left to go. The polls remain close. And the contrast in political imagery has to get better. It can't get worse. Consider the visuals from Thursday: One man speaking in Berlin to 200,000 cheering Germans about a vision of America reaching out to the world, while his opponent goes to a German restaurant in Ohio. Wednesday wasn't much better: Obama meeting with Israeli survivors of rocket barrages while McCain talks to reporters in a supermarket in Bethlehem, Pa., with shelves of cheese behind him. Even in a more-normal week, the Republican candidate might have had trouble commanding voters' attention.
June 8, 2007 |
Entering the Wilma for the second program of the DanceBoom! festival, I hoped the onstage performances might pack even a fraction of the kinetic wallop of the N.E. Frankford Drill Team's show outside. Its mix of precision marching and hip-hop was downright irresistible; nothing came close. But the program offered other kinds of rich rewards. Myrna Packer and Art Bridgman's Under the Skin is a gentle tour de force. Collaborators for nearly 30 years, the two fuse videotaped imagery with onstage performance to create complex, resonant sequences.
April 6, 2007 |
Poignant beyond words, The Cats of Mirikitani is comparable to finding a pearl in a pile of oyster shells. In 2001, filmmaker Linda Hattendorf encountered street artist Jimmy Mirikitani, 80, huddled under the awning of a corner grocery near her SoHo studio. Initially, she was drawn by his fanciful sketches of cats. But when Hattendorf listened to what other passersby heard as the ravings of a street person, she made a human and artistic connection. She started filming their encounters, and the result is a compelling journal of their growing intimacy.
August 15, 2006 |
Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations The arrests of 21 alleged terrorists last week in London in a plan to blow up airplanes over the Atlantic offers an opportunity to take stock, nearly five years after 9/11. At best, the effort to curb terrorism has had a mixed record. Terrorist attacks have occurred subsequently in Indonesia, Madrid, London, Egypt and Bombay. There is also the steady drumbeat of terrorist violence in Iraq. But the terrorists have not done anything on the scale of 9/11.
April 27, 2006 |
Successful political art traffics in the bold and immediate. There's no room for indifference, muted emotions or muddy messages. The best posters are visual grenades. "The Graphic Imperative: An Exhibition of International Posters for Peace, Social Justice and the Environment 1965-2005," on display at Philadelphia University's Design Center through May 23, collects 111 works that demonstrate the potency of sociopolitical imagery. Curated by Elizabeth Resnick and Chaz Maviyane-Davies of the Massachusetts College of Art and Philadelphia University's Frank Baseman, this terrific exhibit resonates in the Design Center's serene space, the modernist former East Falls home of founder Goldie Paley.
September 30, 2005 |
All library-card-carrying, multiplex rats know these things. That a movie cannot be wholly faithful to the novel that inspired it because books and films are different forms. That some of the best literary adaptations are reimaginings (as Clueless updated Jane Austen's Emma and Naked Lunch reconceived William Burroughs' Junkie and Naked Lunch). And that the best book-based movies imaginatively distill the imagery and themes in cinematic language faithful to the novel's spirit. Everything Is Illuminated, Liev Schreiber's self-conscious adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's best-seller, whimsically conjures the magic-realist imagery of the novel while pruning the book of its narrative undergrowth.
December 17, 2004 |
Icon has become one of the most abused words in the English language. That didn't prevent the Noyes Museum of Art from organizing a group exhibition called "Icons, Symbols and Altars," in which 12 artists try to create "spirituality" out of whole cloth. The majority of the artists - eight of them women - incorporate into their work distinct sensibilities - African American, Chicano, East Indian and Egyptian among them. These ethnic subtexts imply that the "spirituality" made material by their paintings, sculptures and works on paper is more valid and resonant because the artists come from cultures that have been exploited and/or subjugated.
June 11, 2004 |
Michael Lonier's exhibition in the hallways outside the Mednick Gallery at the University of the Arts refutes legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's concept of the "decisive moment" in a novel and provocative way. Lonier's poster-scale digital montages express a counter-concept: that photographic images are intrinsically random and accidental, and that none is any more "decisive" or special than any other. His composites juxtapose images of various kinds, from urban close-ups to scenes of nature.
May 14, 2004 |
If the competition for "The Saddest Music in the World" could encompass the ages, you might have Billie Holiday squaring off against Frank Sinatra (right after he lost Ava Gardner for the last time), Chet Baker battling Chris Isaak, and Air Supply knocking off pretenders like Christopher Cross and Phil Collins. After all, things don't get any worse than when you're lost in love unless, of course, you're all out of love. But judging by his career, Canadian stylist Guy Maddin isn't interested in much that happened after, say, the beginning of Lady Day's career.
January 10, 2003 |
With its mix of Nazi and country-western imagery, there is a mocking tone to the title Emmy Goering Stands by Her Man, which Theater Catalyst is presenting at Second Stage at the Adrienne. It seems to suggest that any woman standing by such a monster, who as Hitler's second-in-command authorized the "final solution" of the Jews, should have stood aside. If that is what German writer Oliver Reese wants an audience to conclude, he hasn't accomplished it. By having Emmy Goering narrate the piece and tell about herself, her husband and their relationship from her point of view, he makes it difficult to see how she could have acted other than she did. This Emmy Goering asserts that she knew nothing of her husband's activities - and Reese offers no reason to doubt her. We can say that she should have made herself aware, but the Emmy Goering in this play is clearly not the kind of person who would do that; she takes little interest in anything outside of herself.