July 31, 2016 |
What do artists owe their audience? To play the hits? To give the people what they want, and their money's worth besides? Or is a performer's primary obligation to follow an artistic muse and allow fans to decide whether they want to come along for the ride? I had been flipping Sides A and B of that musical debate around in my mind quite a bit this summer, even before I saw Father John Misty take the argument to extremes last weekend at the XPoNential Music Festival in Camden.
July 28, 2016
Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was an obvious choice for a convention striving to be one - and much more apropos than his "America," the adopted theme of the Bernie Sanders insurgency. Fans couldn't help but notice, however, that Simon had chosen a number that was sung by his estranged former partner Art Garfunkel, of whom he recently told NPR, "Quite honestly, we don't get along. " Simon's rendition was in that way analogous to the Democratic National Convention: a paean to building a bridge sung over the unmistakable crackle of a burning one. Much depends on the Democrats' ability to cobble together this particular piece of infrastructure.
July 27, 2016
Ripples of unrest were spreading through the pro-Bernie Sanders crowd among the delegates at the first night of the Democratic National Convention when work crews suddenly dragged a keyboard and drums onto the big stage. The attendees waiting for the Vermont senator instead got a music superstar, Paul Simon. There were murmurs that the aging rocker might play Sanders' campaign theme song - "America" - but instead he launched into a 1970 classic - a new theme for calming an already restless Philadelphia confab: "Bridge Over Troubled Water.
June 22, 2016 |
As a unit, composer Tom Kitt, lyricist/librettist Brian Yorkey, director Michael Greif, and producer David Stone do not make run-of-the-mill, feel-good musicals. Next to Normal is their Pulitzer- and Tony-winning chamber ensemble work on bipolar disorder. And the tender If/Then - which comes in a national tour to the Academy of Music on June 21-26 - is a Paul Simon-meets-Stephen-Sondheim orchestrated tale of one woman's parallel lives. This creative quartet takes a complex but successful road to the Broadway musical.
June 5, 2016
Stranger to Stranger (Concord ***1/2) Given his four-and-a-half-decade, post-Simon & Garfunkel career, Paul Simon's durability is beyond question. What's more impressive though, is his enduring ability to surprise. The 74-year-old songwriter's latest is an 11-song set that brings his various world-music proclivities, playful love of language, and new interests in digital music-making to bear on a percussion-happy collection alive with rhythmic energy. "Wristband" cleverly uses a story about being banned from the backstage area as a metaphor for the American dream's being accessible only to elites - "If you don't have a wristband, then you can't get through the door.
June 23, 2014 |
They had the Hollywood premiere for Obvious Child a few weeks ago, and Gabe Liedman , who plays a stand-up comedian and best buds with Jenny Slate 's lead character in the hot-button indie, walked the red carpet with the stars. "It was cool," he says, on the phone from L.A. But for the 32-year-old comic and Brooklyn Nine-Nine writer, it's even cooler to know that the film opened Friday at the Ritz Five. Liedman grew up in Queen Village, just a few blocks south of the Center City art house.
June 19, 2014 |
Paul Simon 'n' Edie off the hook Phew , what a relief! Folk and pop legend Paul Simon won't be going to the Big House anytime soon! Prosecutors in Connecticut on Tuesday said Simon, 72, and wife Edie Brickell , 48, will not be charged or tried following their arrest in April for disorderly conduct. The couple, who wed in '92, were nabbed after getting into a shoving match during a domestic argument at their manse in New Canaan, Conn. They weren't in court Tuesday, but the duo did appear at a hearing last month, telling Judge William Wenzel that their fight was atypical of their relationship.
May 10, 2014 |
Getting to be a habit What is this rage for singing priests and nuns who go viral? First, you had Irish tenor Father Ray Kelly , who sweetly sang Leonard Cohen 's "Hallelujah" at a wedding where he was officiating - and got 28 million views on YouTube. Now you have Sister Cristina Scuccia , whose great voice, and taste for Cyndi Lauper , Mariah Carey , and Alicia Keys tunes has gotten her on Italy's version of The Voice and garnered 47 million views on YouTube!! The judges better choose her, or there'll be hell to pay . . . . Simon sighting Paul Simon performed in N.Y.C.
May 2, 2014 |
"AMAZING Spider-Man 2" star Andrew Garfield recently stirred some controversy when he said he brought up the possibility that Miles Morales - the half-black/half-Latino teen who replaced Peter Parker as Spidey in Marvel's Ultimate comic-book line - could replace him as the movie Spider-Man once Garfield spins his last web. While many dismissed the idea, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso is not among them. "Yeah, I could easily see it happening," Alonso told Tattle Comics Guy Jerome Maida . "I'm excited by the prospect of seeing the world's most recognizable superhero peel back the mask and show a new face and how inclusive that would be and what a statement that would make - and I don't think I'm alone!"