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Kathleen O'Connell

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Posts posted by Kathleen O'Connell

  1. 7 hours ago, California said:

    "We have the daunting task of raising $2 million for our Koch season." I'm guessing that they are renting the Koch and are not being co-sponsored by Lincoln Center

    ABT isn't one of Lincoln Center's Resident Organizations nor are its seasons part of  one of the "Lincoln Center Presents" programs. (LCP programs are things like Mostly Mozart, American Songbook, or Midsummer Night Swing.) Its seasons at the Koch are equivalent to, say, the Paul Taylor Dance Company's or Shen Yun's—i.e., not presented by Lincoln Center.

    For the record, here are Lincoln Center's current roster of Resident Organizations:

    The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    Film Society of Lincoln Center
    Jazz at Lincoln Center
    Juilliard School
    Lincoln Center Theater
    Metropolitan Opera
    New York City Ballet
    New York Philharmonic
    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
    School of American Ballet

  2. 12 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

    too bad it's not fictional.

    About halfway through the article I thought "OMG what a deliciously lurid miniseries this would be!" 

    That being said, I hope no one goes there out of respect for the parties involved, particularly Doug Benefield's daughter—judging from her tiktok posts, she's in considerable pain.

  3. 8 hours ago, Quiggin said:

    I'm number 32 of 40 on the waiting list for Swan Dive at the San Francisco Public Library. It turns out it might not such a long wait as I originally thought since, digging deeper into the record, I see that the library has ordered something like 83 copies!

    83 copies! Whoah. The New York Public Library has 12 print copies, 34 ebooks, and 5 audiobooks for a grand total of 51 copies. Note that the NYPL only serves The Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Brooklyn and Queens have their own library systems. Brooklyn has 6 print copies, 5 ebooks, and 3 audiobooks. Queens appears to have 1 print copy. That's a grand NYC total of 66 copies.

    On a per-capita basis, SF is the hands down winner: there's one copy of Swan Dive for every 10,610 San Franciscans vs 1 copy for every 133,333 New Yorkers. We salute your enthusiasm.

  4. 15 hours ago, Helene said:

    I'm trying to remember which organization specified that masks must cover both nose and mouth.

    San Fransisco Ballet's Covid-19 Safety Protocols don't specify that masks must cover both the nose and mouth, but they are very specific about the kind of masks that are permitted:

    Currently, all patrons will be required to wear a mask. Masks with a valve, gaiters, scarves, etc are not permitted. Audience members who fail to follow the Front of House safety protocols will be promptly removed from the performance venue.

    I hope more venues will be similarly rigorous about what counts as a mask. If I were house management I'd make sure there was some money in the budget for a supply of masks to hand out to any audience member that needs one, whether it's because they lost their own mask or it failed in some way (broken ear loop, e.g.), or because they forgot to bring one, or because the one they arrived with doesn't comply with the rules. Heck, sell souvenir masks with the company's logo or performance-themed art on them in a gift shop kiosk by the entrance. A tasteful Edward Gorey Lavender Leotard Mask might be fun.

  5. On 8/12/2021 at 3:40 PM, Helene said:

    This is such sad news for me as audience

    As someone who mourned Seth Orza's and Sarah Ricard Orza's departure from NYCB to join NYCB PNB, I feel your pain ...

  6. 6 minutes ago, Phrenchphry11 said:

    I liked how honest Gina was that ballet is a physical/visual art - so to some degree there will always be pressure to look a certain way - but I liked the nuanced point she made that more often than not the pressure to be stick thin is tied to artistic directors wielding power over young dancers.

    I was particularly struck by Pazcoguin's analogy between the visual/cognitive impact of a dancer's line and the sound of a bat connecting with a baseball:

    "The line is meant to be a full-on experience of the human body, designed in a way that is pleasing to the eye, but beyond the cognitive response of your brain thinking, Huh. I don’t think having your foot that close to your ear is normal. Beautiful line makes watching ballet seamless. It encompasses that just-perfect combination that makes the experience unforgettable. Think the loud crack of a baseball bat that charges the stadium with an energy that signals, Whoa, dude just hit a home run. Your body is out of the seat cheering, your beer splashing before the ball lands in the bleachers ..."

  7. 11 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

    NYCB sent out an email saying Abi Stafford is retiring on 9/26 with Russian Seasons, which has replaced Namouna (which was briefly replaced by Concerto DSCH) on the Robbins/Ratmansky program. 

    Russian Seasons is a good choice for Stafford's retirement performance. I've always enjoyed her in the roles Ratmansky created for her and thought she took on Jenifer Ringer's role in Russian Seasons with real distinction. (That's the role danced by the woman in emerald green.)

  8. 42 minutes ago, nanushka said:

    Listening to the book, I've been wondering if the frequent profanity comes across differently in print. On audio, it contributes to conversational voice, though it does at times seem a bit lazy or uninventive. I don't have a particular problem with it, though: language is language. (I don't view profanity as any more "foul" than any other language — except, perhaps, when it involves interpersonal slurs.)

    I'm listening to the audiobook as well and I'm enjoying it. Pazcogiun is an excellent narrator—she sounds authentically herself and she's able to inhabit other voices as well. (Not many authors can narrate their own work well, and even fewer do it with genuine flair, so kudos to her.) I suspect that @nanushka is onto something in observing that the profanity may come across differently on the page; in my ears she sounds like a considerable portion of my acquaintance.

    One thing about the audiobook that does give me some pause is Pazcoguin's willingness to mimic the accents of people whose first language isn't English—Peter Martins and Antonina Tumkovsky in the early chapters, for example. I don't think she's trying to mock them by doing so; it's clear that she has nothing but respect and admiration for Tumkovsky and her killer classes:

    "These exercises were meant to humble our bodies and build strength—all in sync with the speed of the music ... I willed my body to keep moving, and eventually the anxiety and loneliness started to slide off my shoulders. The combination she was calling out was crazy-intense, like nothing I’d ever done before—but my body and soul were buzzing from delight. My homesickness faded. I no longer cared about who was taller, longer, more experienced, more talented, or had the right weird shoes. I wanted to throw myself all in. I was here to learn Balanchine’s way, and if that meant busting my ass for the Michael “Mickey” Goldmill of ballet, well then, I was down."

    While I'm happy that Pazcoguin's editor didn't flatten her voice by ironing out the slang, I'm going to guess that "I was down" will sound as amusingly outdated as "hep cat" a generation or two hence.

    While Pazcoguin is clearly out to de-mystify some of the trappings of the ballet world, she's also dead-set on celebrating ballet as an art, and I'm, you know, down with that.

  9. 16 hours ago, Helene said:

    There has also been talk about full FDA approval for the vaccine, but between now and January 2022 (the deadline) doesnt help much for Nutcracker plans now, nor does "sooner than January 2022" and that's just for Pfizer, which has completed its application

    It appears that the FDA will accelerate the final review process for the Pfizer vaccine with the goal of issuing final approval as soon as it can:

    "Under heavy pressure, the Food and Drug Administration center that reviews vaccines is planning to deprioritize some of its existing work, like meetings with drug sponsors and plant inspections, in an effort to accelerate its review of Pfizer’s application for the formal approval of its Covid-19 vaccine, a senior agency official told STAT."

    "The process requires FDA staff to review millions of pages of complex data, conduct plant inspections, and negotiate with Pfizer over issues including the terms of the FDA’s approved label and the company’s postmarketing responsibilities. Now, the senior agency official said, the agency will initiate a 'sprint.'"

    As someone who worked for over two decades in the pharmaceutical industry, I can attest to the painstaking nature of the FDA review process. There's a lot more to it than it might look from the outside. 

    ETA: This STAT News article provides a little more context around calls to accelerate the final approval process and agency pushback. As does this longer piece from Forbes.


  10. I think requiring proof of an FDA or WHO approved Covid-19 vaccination in order to gain admittance is the right call.

    I was somewhat surprised that there is no exception for children under 12: since they can't (yet) be vaccinated, they will not be allowed to attend NYCB repertory performances. While both the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall have also decided to bar children under 12, Broadway theaters will allow children under 12 to attend performances if they've been tested for the virus. Broadway will also require masking, however. (San Francisco Opera is also requiring proof of vaccination and masking, and will allow children under 12 to attend, with the proviso that anyone planning to bring a child to a performance should call the box office "to discuss seating and safety options.") 

    I note that vaccines will be required for "all employees and visitors to the David H. Koch Theater and Samuel B. & David Rose Building." Will children under 12 be allowed to attend classes and rehearsals at SAB? NYCB's announcement states that children under 12 can't attend repertory performances, but doesn't state that they can't otherwise enter the theater or the Rose Building.

  11. 39 minutes ago, nanushka said:

    I’d be all in favor of a mask mandate even if they don’t do much to enforce it. (I wouldn’t want enforcement to disrupt performances, for instance.)

    Agreed. And in truth, the vast majority of New Yorkers in my neighborhood are still masking up in most indoor spaces, even if it's not required that they do so. I'd expect that at least some audience members will resist masking, but that more will be willing (or even eager) to don them again.

  12. 2 minutes ago, Helene said:

    One reason why the CDC decided to recomment indoor masking for everyone where local conditions warranted is because vaccinated people have high enough loads to be contagious

    Yes. If there's anything that argues for a mask mandate, it's this. 

    To be clear, I don't think it's an argument against vaccines. 

  13. 1 hour ago, abatt said:

    Since a significant portion of NYCB's income would be lost if they required proof of vaccination (ie, no kids under 12), I think they will not require proof of vaccination unless Cuomo orders that all indoor venues for performing arts have this requirement. 

    Wouldn't it be possible to require vaccination of everyone over 12?  One way to protect those who can't be vaccinated—e.g., children under 12—is to ensure that those who can be vaccinated are vaccinated. 

  14. 7 minutes ago, Marta said:

    About a week ago, I emailed NYCB and asked how having no intermissions protected the audience.

    I still can't figure out the logic behind no intermissions. I suppose the intention is to limit the absolute amount of time front-of-house employees and audience members are exposed to the virus given that duration of exposure is one driver of transmission risk. But it's hard to see how adding, say, one 20 minute intermission materially increases the risk for people who will be sitting (unmasked!) in close proximity to potential carriers of a highly contagious variant for 90 minutes. 

  15. 10 hours ago, abatt said:

    NYCB talks a good game about protecting the audience, but if that protection was really the goal they too would ban people who are not vaccinated from the theater.

    I wonder if NYCB will decide to revise its policy in light of 1) rising Covid-19 case rates at both the local and national level; 2) revised CDC guidance re indoor masking; 3) more and more organizations in the for-profit, non-profit, health care, and government sectors requiring vaccinations of both employees and customers; and 4) the number of public figures now urging everyone to get vaccinated. 

    Surely headlines like "All NYC Counties Fall Under CDC's New Recommendation For Universal Indoor Masking" has to prompt a NYC performing arts organization to re-think its re-opening policies. (Or this one, as Nutcracker season approaches: "Arkansas Children’s hospitals report record high number of children hospitalized with Covid-19"—it certainly got my attention.)

    Frankly, it might be easier for a venue to require vaccines for admission than to try to enforce a masking requirement. You just know that there will be audience members who will kick up a prolonged and noisy ruckus when an usher politely requests that they put their masks back on. 


  16. 9 hours ago, choriamb said:

    The Cornejo performance is also interesting to speculate over:  can you imagine what would happen if management cast Trenary as Myrtha to get her onstage during a Cornejo/Brandt performance?

    In the Theater Formerly Known as State where you can actually see what's going on onstage? Oh, I'd be elbowing my way to the front of the box office line for that one. 

  17. 15 minutes ago, rkoretzky said:

    Try again, Cobweb.

    Yes, try again. This email from NYCB hit my inbox at around 4:30:


    It was brought to our attention that some of our priority sales patrons were having trouble accessing seats for Maria Kowroski's farewell performance on October 17. 

    The issue has been fixed and available seating for this performance should now be displaying correctly online. If you were experiencing problems ordering online earlier today, thank you for your patience. Please try to order online again as our phone lines are experiencing extremely heavy traffic.

    We apologize for this inconvenience and look forward to seeing you in the theater.


  18. 1 hour ago, YouOverThere said:

    IMHO, this issue puts arts companies in a difficult position. Most cannot afford to antagonize even a small portion of their regular audiences, and the non-vaxers can be pretty intolerant.

    On the flip side, there's antagonizing the portion of their audience that IS vaccinated and is reluctant to attend a public event in an enclosed space that doesn't require vaccination because a) they're concerned about picking up a break-through infection and either becoming ill themselves or passing a Covid variant on to someone in their household who's immune-compromised; or b) annoyed at the safety measures that have to be put in place to accommodate the un-vaccinated, such as NO INTERMISSIONS, no bio breaks, no mingling with friends in the lobby, standing outside the theater in inclement weather because the venue can't risk patrons mingling in the lobby prior to the show, etc etc etc.

    ETA: An example of where the potential for push-back against a good public-health measure was overblown: when NYC decided to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. There was a huge hue-and-cry from certain sectors of the hospitality industry and the usual suspects in the pundocracy, declaring that this would absolutely, positively be the end of the city's bars and restaurants. Spoiler alert: it wasn't, and drinking in bars and eating in restaurants remained as popular as ever, was more enjoyable for the vast majority of patrons who weren't smokers, and much much safer for the industry's labor force.

  19. 13 hours ago, On Pointe said:

    I must say,  Pazcoguin's allegation about Ramasar touching her inappropriately doesn't sound credible.  Once maybe,  but every day for years?  She should have kicked him in the balls the first time,  or at least have filed a complaint with management and refused to be in his vicinity.

    Leaving the veracity of her claim aside, in the real world of a male-run, tradition-bound, hierarchical organization eager to coddle its stars, neither option would likely have gotten Pazcoguin anywhere. I can imagine any range of bad outcomes for Pazcoguin and none for her harasser; she was on the wrong side of any number of power imbalances in that situation. 

    For a chilling depiction of how a credible allegation of abuse and exploitation can be turned back against the person reporting it by an HR department operating under the thumb of a powerful male executive, I recommend Kitty Green's excellent 2019 film, The Assistant. (If you haven't seen the film and don't mind a little spoiling, you can watch one of the central, telling scenes from the film on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=972P9XLWyoE. Jane, a young production assistant for a powerful film executive is party to a very young, very inexperienced woman being set up for sexual exploitation on the pretext of being given a job at the firm. The executive's habit of sexual predation is an open secret; part of Jane's job is literally cleaning up after his exploits and facilitating them in other ways, including installing the new hire in a high-end hotel. She decides to report the situation to HR. It does not go well.)


  20. 14 minutes ago, Jack Reed said:

    the first item, Pite’s Body and Soul, originally announced as  available through July 15, has already been taken down a day or two early. 

    Body and Soul is still available for viewing here on the Jacob's Pillow website—I just paid my $15 fee and logged into the stream. 

    I believe that the little note on the bottom of the page that reads "Event Dates: Oh no! You missed this one! Check our calendar for future events" refers to the live performance, not the stream.

    ETA: Go to this page to see all of the online offerings. Quite a few of them are free.

  21. On 7/12/2021 at 2:19 PM, JuliaJ said:

    On the NYCB website, in the fall season, Ratmansky's Namouna has been swapped with Concerto DSCH. It's on the program with Robbins' Opus 19/the Dreamer, and nothing else. That's a total of around 40 minutes of dancing for the evening... they have to be adding something else to the program, right? 

    Namouna is just shy of a hour long. If there's no intermission, it would be audience abuse to put more than one other ballet on the program.

    ETA: Hmmm ... maybe I misread the original post. Has Namouna been taken off the program and replaced with Doncerto DSCH? If so, that is indeed a short program.

  22. 3 hours ago, California said:

    If they are worried about long lines and crowds in the restrooms, I wonder what they have planned for before and after the actual performance. We are used to seeing signs on the floor for distancing and attendants at the door to regulate access. But, of course, that could also be done at a genuine intermission.

    Seriously, how are they planning for the rush to the restrooms when the performance is over? 

  23. 11 hours ago, pherank said:

    One of the things I've learned in recent years is just how much of a hold the various unions and rights holders have over the ballet companies. Nothing gets done without long negotiations and legal wrangling.

    To be clear, I'm all in favor of unions and collective bargaining in the performing arts. Everyone has a right to fair compensation and a safe and respectful workplace. I think artists and stagehands have a right to negotiate how they will be compensated for work that's made available via means other than live performance.

    Rights holders are a more complicated issue. Creators should be compensated for their work, but existing copyright regimes sometime operate to facilitate behavior that can stymie the public interest. 

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