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Ears on Hiatus

My ears aren’t shutting down but this site is going on hiatus. Apologies to my faithful readers and to artists who have sent me discs or participated in interviews.  While a source of pride, this site has been a labor of love and generosity of time can only go so far.  I continue as a contributor to the Times Union in Albany, NY and will cross-post occasional stories that are relevant to this site.  A new pursuit is modern residential architecture, which is focus of my real estate practice.  Check out ModernHome-NY.com. Thanks for your support and best wishes, jody
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Five Dances – a film in development

Small town boy comes to big city.  Discovers his talents, discovers himself.  Has difficult phone calls back home.  It’s a familiar but sturdy set-up for a film. Yet rather than being a boxer, the young man is a dancer. The film is “Five Dances” by Alan Brown, whose previous efforts include “Private Romeo,” a gay retelling of “Romeo & Juliet.”  The star is Ryan Steele and choreography is by Jonah Bokaer.  Follow the website for information on the forthcoming world premiere and subsequent screenings. Meanwhile, enjoy this trailer.
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A John Waters Christmas

Hold on to your Santa hat. John Waters is coming to town. Like a St. Nic for the adult set, the filmmaker, author and raconteur arrives with a sleigh full of nostalgic, smutty fun. It’s all done up as “A John Waters Christmas,” a touring show presented on Sunday night at The Egg (12/2, Albany NY). (See full schedule below.) “You could call it my obsession, having the right kind of Christmas,” says Waters. “But everyone should have whatever kind of Christmas they want. Even if you’re Jewish, you can have the right kind of Christmas.” As a writer and director, Waters is best known...
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Alex Ross on gay progress and “How to be Gay”

Honestly, I just re-subscribed to The New Yorker a couple of weeks ago after being away from it for a few years.  Just didn’t have the time to keep up, such long articles and all.  But if I’d not already done so, coming upon Alex Ross’ “Love on the March” from the November 12 issue would probably have been enough to get me back as a subscriber.  There may be no music journalism better than Alex’s (just ask the MacArthur judges) and now he goes and writes some — what, 10,000 words? – on the evolution of gay rights during the past 25 years. I am forty-four...
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Cage and Gould in virtual dialogue

It sounds like a late-night parlor game:  pick two artistic geniuses of the 20th century that you’d like to hear share a conversation in the great beyond. Michael Century had no trouble coming up with a dynamic combination:  experimental composer John Cage and classical pianist Glenn Gould.  He’s paired them up in an unusual concert happening Saturday night at EMPAC and presented by the iEar series. Actually “happening” is an operative word to describe the event.  The term dates from the 60s and is attributed to Cage, who infused music with theatricality and all manner of other media...
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Ades’ “The Tempest” storms theaters worldwide

Saturday afternoon the Met’s Live in HD broadcasts features Thomas Ades’ “The Tempest.”  The composer conducts.  Here’s a sampling of reviews of the production starring Simon Keenlyside and directed by Robert Lepage, who seems to have redeemed himself among critics who scorned his staging of The Ring.  Also, some video excerpts and a discussion with Lepage. The work got the royal treatment from the Met, including a chic production by Robert Lepage. Unlike the director’s leaden, glitchy “Ring” machine, this staging effortlessly evoked magic, imagining Prospero’s...
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Todd Oldham on the ballot

The Times’ Op Ed online pages ask Todd Oldham to do a ballot make-over.  There’s no big revelations here.  Clear design=easier voting. Bad design=George W. Bush.  What’s surprising is what a shaggy dog dear Todd has become. What’s with the beard and the aviator glasses? Still love your work, watch for it on eBay and wish you’d get back to making men’s wear, Todd. But is it hunting season or something?  At least you’ve not lost your figure. ‘Ballot Design With Todd Oldham’  
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Milton Glaser’s timely images & insights

It’s time again to ♥ NY.  That wasn’t the case a week or so ago when I interviewed Milton Glaser.  It was just because two shows of his works were coming to Albany…. Designer Milton Glaser is the man who made the heart symbol into a verb, with the I ♥ NY logo. But over the course of his 50 years as a designer, he’s created many other images that have permeated our culture. Simultaneous exhibits of his works will be on display at Sage College’s Opalka Gallery and Rathbone Hall starting Friday and running through Dec. 14. Since 1977, when I ♥ NY was created for...
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Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012)

“The connecting thread between this vast array of works in so many disparate genres was politics, a commitment to which never left him, although varying in degree over time. Henze adhered throughout his life to leftwing ideologies, a reaction to his youth in Nazi Germany, which left an indelible mark on his creative psyche. He was not afraid of courting controversy, even as recently as last month: ‘So long as there are people living in Israel who endured the Nazi concentration camps, Wagner should not be performed there. I see no pressing reason to play Hitler’s favourite music.'” — from...
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Wuorinen’s “Brokeback” opera slated for 2014

One of the many endeavors left in the wake of New York City Opera’s near collapse a few years ago was Charles Wuorinen‘s two-act operatic adaptation of “Brokeback Mountain.”  But the composer has stayed at work on the project, which includes a libretto by Annie Proulx, who wrote the original short story that was turned into the hit film. Teatro Real in Madrid has just announced the premiere will take place on January 28, 2014 and continue for eight performances.  Gerard Mortier, the impressario who launched the project for City Opera but abandoned ship before even taking...
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