Jam Today: Sunday, October 29th, 2017
Movies: With plans to see the new opera “The Exterminating Angel” at the Met on Friday, I went back to the source, the 1962 Luis Bunuel motion picture masterpiece, but you can’t write the name Bunuel without the word masterpiece; he makes Christopher Nolan look like Home Alone director Chris Columbus. In 1976, David Bowie showed the Bunuel-Dali masterpiece “Un Chien Andalou” in its entirety on his 1976 Isolar tour. I remember going to a screening of the 21 minute surrealistic nightmare at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. I followed that by haunting a Film Forum retrospective and watching every single Bunuel movie (around the same time I did it again with Jean Renoir). What can I say? Start near the end with his penultimate movie “The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeois,” go backwards to “Belle De Jour,” then spring forward to his finally movie “The Discrete Object Of Desire,” don’t forget “Un Chien Andalou,” and then see every single one of his remaining 24 movies.
Theatre: In my consistent, unparalleled, identification as a teenage girl, I went to “Anastasia” at the Broadhurst yesterday afternoon. Loved it as well, a very clever mix of the 1956 Ingrid Bergman movie and the 1997 20th Century well-beloved animated version, that sticks together uneasily but still sticks together. The first act is in post-1917 Soviet Union, the second act in the swinging pre-WW2 gay Paree. The story, a legend that was put to rest in 2007 when DNA tests proved that Czar Nicholas’ daughter was put to death along with the rest of the family (thanks science, that really helps) dreams of a gutsy girl, her hunky grifting pimp and his elder friend, planning to con the world (and especially the dowager Empress) into believing Anya, an amnesiac, is really the Princess.The songs, by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, are serviceable,which is more than you can say for a boatload of Broadway musicals, the book, by Terrence McNally, is a joy for tween girls (and me), and the happy ending wonderful. An attempt to glom onto “Wicked”‘s girl audience, it seems to have done the job. Grade: B+
History: However, since everything gets lost in the mist of history, Russia in the age of Czar Nicholas was horrifying. From the 1905 Bloody Sunday massacre of 200,000 protesting serfs, to the disastrous war against Japan, leading to the First World War where millions upons upon millions died, this weak, despicable man had no right leading Russia. He deserved to die, his family was murdered to defeat any chance of a counter to the revolution by some Romanov or the other.
Sports: The World Series is tied up at 2 – 2. The Knicks beat the Nets who appear to have reached the mistaken belief that beating Cleveland was a golden ticket. The Giants are toast and enjoying a bye week before a bye bye seasons, the Jets need this one and badly.
Old Music: Waiting impatiently for the next episode of Dylan’s back pages, Trouble No More – The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981’. I’ve been listening to the three singles we’ve been given, and, as no surprise to me, they are all great. Different lyrics to one of his greatest second tier songs, “Groom Still Waiting At The Altar”. It is not that we haven’t already re-assessed Dylan’s Born Again phase, it is that we want to do it again.
New Music: I’m still not knee deep in this week’s albums. Kelly Clarkson, Ty Dolla $ign, Lee Ann Womack lead a pack of fine releases. Nobody believes me, but this is a great time to love music.