Classical Music, Opera, Theatre, Photography, Art, Books, Travel, Food & Drink – the View from Western New England

Archive for December, 2008

Edward Weston, Portrait of Charis Wilson. Gelatin silver print. Edward Weston Archive. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

Meeting Charis

I met Charis Wilson last summer at her friend Don’s house in Northern California. Charis, 94, wore black pants and a purple sweater and sat sprightly in a wheelchair. Her short hair was straight, smart, and delicate. She wore a purple headband and two bright blue hair combs. I immediately recognized her luminous face from Edward Weston’s photographs, taken over 70 years ago.

Champagne & Sparkling Wine

Although for many of my friends there is never a reason needed, nothing at this end of the year holiday season seems more festive than champagne, at least in the alcoholic beverage realm. Oh yes, there’s eggnog, but how much of that can you really drink without feeling sated, and, besides, it’s terrible with smoked […]

The Cripple of Inishmaan, Atlantic Theater Company, NYC

The Cripple of Inishmaan Aaron Monghan and Kerry Condon in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, photo Keith Pattison by Martin McDonagh Directed by Garry Hynes A Co-production of the Atlantic Theater Company and Druid (Galway) Linda Gross Theater, New York, December 9, 2008 – February 1, 2009 Kate – Marie Mullen Eileen – Dearbhla […]

On Man’s Quest for Meaning

I remember fondly the innocent times when the British tabloids faithfully provided a bracing dose of spleen for their readers over their breakfast fry-ups. Usually this took the form of a sensational report about an abused dog or a tortured cat. Times have changed, and I don’t know who to blame for evolution in British […]

Good Red for Under $16

Perhaps you’re in the throes of the annual frenzied ritual of Christmas shopping. Whether you’re feeling a pinch in the wallet, or only have time for a quick supper before you dash back out to the mall, you may still want a glass of wine to go with that quick supper or, beginning the day after Christmas, that turkey sandwich. And it’s not going to be Gevrey-Chambertin. This seems like a good time to look at some red wines for those on a budget.






Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective II

With the chronological retrospective exhibition of the wall drawings of Sol Lewitt, Mass MoCA has duly taken its place on the stage as a magnet for contemporary art.






Russell Sherman, pianist, at Williams and on DVD: Liszt, Transcendental Etudes

Williams has had an exceptionally strong recital program this fall, from its Messaïen tributes, medieval and renaissance music, and Ani Kavafian and Mihae Lee early on to the splendid Brahms violin sonatas of Williams’ own Joanna Kurkowicz and Doris Stevenson (soon to be reviewed) and, in November, the great Russell Sherman. I’m used to driving to Peterborough or Boston to hear him play, and it would be a great thing to be able to rejoice in the convenience of hearing him at home, if it weren’t for the unfortunate combination of Chapin Hall’s acoustics and the Williams Bösendorfer. I’ve never heard any musicians, especially pianists, realize their potential under these circumstances. However, one undeniable advantage was the opportunity to talk with Mr. Sherman during his visit, which included a master class the following day.






Nude and Naked a photography exhibition at the Brill Gallery, Eclipse Mill, North Adams

One of the most absorbing and challenging exhibitions in the Northern Berkshires this year has been Nude & Naked at the Brill Gallery in the Eclipse Mill in North Adams. Densely hung in a dynamic arrangement, the prints, of many different sizes, ranging from Roy Volkmann’s enormous “Seraph” (41 x 45 in.) to Lucien Clergue’s intimate abstractions, which at 8 x 10 in. seem like miniatures, do more than present a series of beautiful or provocative examples of this classic genre, it poses an extended visual argument about how the ten photographers in the exhibition see the nude and about how we see it, that is, anyone who makes the decision to enter the Brill Gallery and spend an hour or so with these images. (Looking at oneself in the mirror in another thing altogether). Some are beautiful; some are ugly. I have my own ideas about which are which, but I doubt many people would agree with me. Every visitor will have his or her own opinion, and this is most definitely a show to arouse discussion—which is the best kind, in my opinion.