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About Quiggin

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  1. I don't know which painters Suzanne Farrell was referring to at the National Gallery. She could have been pointing to one of the impressionist works such as Monet's Garden at Vetheuil. Or maybe to the to one of the Washington school of Color Field painters such as Morris Louis. The Monet has both color and texture, the Louises use color as structure. Monet: https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.52358.html Morris Louis: https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.52382.html Stuart Davis: https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.166441.html Veronese [red pushing against blue?]: https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.46146.html
  2. Natalia Goncharova, who did sets and costumes for Diaghilev, and an important painter on her own, was very recently the subject of a Tate Museum show in London. The last painting in the link below, Peasants Picking Apples, looks as if it could be hanging in an Lower East Side gallery today, perhaps alongside one of Nicole Eisenman's works. What's interesting about the Russian Futurists that Judith Mackrell refers to in Buddy's link above – Kandinsky, Mondrian and all – is how they deploy space, or objects in space, as on a stage floor, like a kind of Labanotation, rather than through a proscenium or in Renaissance perspective. The pictorial elements push and pull against each another and there is no wasted space. Even in Goncharova's paintings every corner is activated, up and down as well as side to side. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/natalia-goncharova
  3. Chester Higgins in today's Times describes a visit to Robert Frank this past January "to thank him, for having the clearness of heart to make these 1950s images that gave black people like myself the same decency and agency usually reserved for whites." One of the most moving elements of many in "The Americans." Walker Evans, whose own journey through America Frank was in part following, wrote sharply in his original but not used introduction to "The Americans" - "Since it is the fashion to say that Americans can afford everything, let us say they can afford to have an astringent, abrasive picture of America ... Those who know the language of images and the speech of the eye ... will instantly recognize this photographer's intellect, his ungentle poetry, his ferocious wit and his educated morality." And that book was basically a moral philosophy of photography, photographic aphorisms – that showed you could do and couldn't do as a photographer. It was an antidote to such overly ambitious shows such as Edward Steichen's "The Family of Man" which fuzzily said that everyone is the same person, everyone has the same experience. Frank lived all those years in a small, green-fronted loft on Bleecker Street just off Bowery, "poor as a church mouse" as a friend used to say. There was always a light bulb on during the day – or maybe it was only on when he and June Leaf were in Nova Scotia. Originally the little loft seemed to me like a fishing boat among fishing boats, and as the years went on it was still a fishing boat but now seemed to be completely surrounded by yachts (cafes, chic hat shops, etc).
  4. I don't think what serious film audiences liked then – just as serious ballet audiences appreciated Agon and The Four Temperaments in their time – was so off base in retrospect. After all George Lucas made American Graffiti from the bones of Fellini's I Vitelloni, Martin Scorcese was influenced by 8 1/2, and Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde, which was previewed at film school for student opinions, was inspired by Godard's Breathless, which for years was hugely influential. Lawrence of Arabia in its time seemed like a big old fashioned, conservatively constructed but fun, entertainment film. Panavision is less wide than mail-box-slot CinemaScope (great "envelope pushing" examples of which were Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player and Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well). The most pleasing aspect ratio seemed to be semi-wide screen 1.6, the classic golden mean ratio of 5:8, in which most European movies were filmed. In the US they would inevitably be projected in the wider and less attractive – neither this nor that – ratio of 1.85, voiding all the cameraman's careful choices. Here's Scorcese's (I can't forget the old spelling) list of Criterion Film favorites, Lourie's The River among them, and his reasons: http://www.openculture.com/2016/05/martin-scorsese-names-his-top-10-films-in-the-criterion-collection.html
  5. I remember seeing Lawrence of Arabia back in the day at film school. It seemed like a big overstuffed armchair of a movie in faux naturalism, with its over the top wide screen landscapes and wide screen acting (with Anthony Quinn's nose looking as though it could fall off at any moment). This was in comparison to the modest New Wave films my friends and I were seeing and even the color A-grade films that those directors had graduated to, like Contempt and Blow Up. (In Contempt, which was filmed in CinemaScope, Fritz Lang says that CinemaScope is only appropriate for snakes and funerals, all the while Godard was having his mischievous ways with it.) And students in the English dept would recommend instead reading Charles M. Doughty's Travels in Arabia Deserta, T. E. Lawrence's inspiration ("we may write books on parts of the desert … but here it is all said, and by a great master"). What Lawrence would have thought of this film must spin between the comic and the tragic in our imaginations. An art director I knew later, Eugene Lourie – who did the art direction on Renoir's The River and Chaplin's Limelight – told me that he worked on an early film with Peter O'Toole just after O'Toole had some plastic surgery done. On the first day of shooting all of the crew pretended not to recognize him and kept looking at their watches and wondering aloud when the real Peter O'Toole was going to show up.
  6. But this wasn't just about knee squeezing – and knee squeezing, and what Matt Damon referred to as just a little pat on the butt now and then, eventually becomes a kind of sign meaning "I own you." But this was also about sex, the compete works, in exchange for being able to keep your job.
  7. Why didn't he just say, here's something to pay for parking with. Why did he bring the word "prostitute" into the picture? A bit of a Freudian slip I would think as far as what he really thought of his "consenting" partners.
  8. Yes, absolutely. But there is something in us that tends to want look the other way when everything else is going so well. Sometimes an authority – say a director – will say I won't have any of that in my theater and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. I think when it happens at the board level, it's inexcusable. The strangest thing, and what blows all of Domingo's "alibis," is when he put $10 on a dresser and said it was just enough to pay for parking but not enough to make his partner into a prostitute.
  9. The Times is $15.00 a month – 50 cents a day. Single articles elsewhere start at $3.00 or $4.00 and on up. The Times and the Wall Street Journal are the only US papers left really keeping an eye on lots of dubious things and acts on a day to day basis. Even if I don't read all the national articles, I figure in some way I'm voting for good government by subscribing (at least to the Times). Yes, a vote for Marina Harss per Marta and Kathleen O'Connell's links, most recently her well considered Dance Tabs Bournonville review.
  10. I'll miss Ulrich's reviews which seemed strong and just. He knew the music as well as the choreography. His championing of San Francisco Ballet's production of the "Shostakovich Trilogy" helped get it a full, not partial, reprise in the following season. From the initial review in 2014 -
  11. I'm just catching up on this, too. Wheeldon uses the dubious term "balance" several times in the interview. Balancing dark forces against rational and light ones doesn't really seem to work – and we can see the results of twenty years of such attempts in the political arena. Wheeldon: Another biography problem: While I've never followed Jackson's music and career that much, only the effect on its fans, I did find his surgeries and skin whitening treatments very disturbing. Who did he want to be, to represent? What was his attitude towards his black heritage? Who did he become? From a 2009 Rolling Stone article on Jackson's legacy: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/michael-jackson-black-superhero-71199/
  12. When I worked in a law firm library, we kept everything in date order, the most recent memo on top (we were very old fashioned). If I were as organized at home today, I would keep all the cast lists of a company in one folder in such a date order, with colored sheet of paper between seasons. I'd put occasional tear sheet from programs in another. If I put them in my computer, they would lose a lot of their "tangible" value, though you could probably do a lot of Nate Silver/538 like statistics and charts with them. Anyway I've even kept the ticket stubs nestled in the casting sheets of my San Francisco Ballet seasons – when the dancers I most liked were still in the company and they were regularly doing Balanchine and Ratmansky – as a kind of stamp of authenticity. Some of my old City Ballet programs still contain those little slips of paper that indicated a very nervous-making when you first saw them, last minute casting change.
  13. Reading the Wikipedia entry on "West Side Story" gives some interestingly crazy, slightly bad faith, background – which could be a play in itself, if not a musical. Originally WWS was a Romeo and Juliet story (Jerome Robbins's idea) about a Jewish girl and Roman Catholic boy set on the Lower East Side ("East Side Story"). The Jets were Catholic and anti-Semitic, the girl a survivor of the Holocaust. Later the musical was to be set in Los Angeles among Mexican American gangs on Olvera Street. Arthur Laurents. who wrote the book, said he was more comfortable setting the story among Puerto Ricans whom he was more familiar with – though he ended up coining their slang words rather than transcribing them (so that they wouldn't date). Jerome Robbins was happy that the musical had a "Latin beat." Stephen Sondheim originally wanted to write the music as well as the lyrics, but Laurents wouldn't go for that idea. Bernstein wrote some of the more florid lyrics but most of them were eventually dropped. (Bernstein was writing 'Candide' at the same time and some of songs were shuffled back and forth between the two works.) The credits were all over the place, Bernstein given the nod for some lyrics, Sondheim not wanting to be associated with them, Robbins claiming the concept – and no one speaking to him by opening night as a result. Rita Moreno was the only Puerto Rican cast member. So maybe it's alright that the afterlife of West Side Story continues on in a like manner.
  14. nanushka: Yes, shadings of meaning contribute to clarity (and wit).The Oxford Dictionary on Historical Principles has affair as this: To back it up they cite, among others, Noel Coward: "We could carry on a backstairs affair for weeks without saying a word about it." And I'd add to my own OED: Barbara Pym, from Jane and Prudence: "It was not a very nice book – so often Miss Trapnell or Miss Clothier asked her, ‘Is that a nice book you’ve got, Miss Bates?’ – but it described a love affair in the fullest sense of the word and sparing no detail, but all in a very intellectual sort of way and there were a good many quotations from Donne. It was difficult to imagine that her love for Arthur Grampian could ever come to anything like this, and indeed she was hardly conscious of him as she read on into the small hours of the morning to the book’s inevitable but satisfying unhappy ending." In literature at least, most love affairs are unhappy affairs, while relationships are fairly (teleologically speaking) neutral.
  15. Which Degas faithfully recorded. Link from Robert Herbert's Impressionism which treats the movement as documentary footage for a sociological interpretation. "The lives of Morny and Halevy … are very rewarding for the study of Degas’s own role as a backstage at the opera. The artist’s devotion to the dancers at the opera cannot readily be understood unless we examine the roles of powerful men." Suite of backstage monotypes begins on page 107 – https://books.google.com/books?id=p93wb_p4ndgC&pg=PA169&lpg=PA169&dq=degas+jockey+club&source=bl&ots=GjmyZVbhkI&sig=ACfU3U1Bm3hk0ogs0rmF0k_gUhOEsJ43PQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwit1LCu8K_jAhWDBc0KHaFXAckQ6AEwEXoECAkQAQ#v=snippet&q=jockey club&f=false
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