Thursday, December 02, 2010

Stuff I've Seen

I'm having a little crisis of faith about why I'm writing this blog.  I'm feeling a little stretched between this, War &Peace, and personal writing.  The thing about blogs is that they're off the cuff. It's great, but at the same time I feel it might diffuse my energy a bit.  Oh well, probably just the introspection of the holidays.  I have been wanting to write, so here's just a little bit

The Resnick Pavilion at LACMA
Loved the building, and really loved the Fashioning Fashion exhibit.  It's always a trip to see color and form from days past, sometimes shocking. The exhbit encompassed the 18th - early 20th century, and was well arranged.  I like the wooden cartons that everything was displayed in - nice touch. Unlike the Met, the clothes were out in the air, and arranged so that each piece was easy to view singly.  In a perfect world, I'd want everything to have 360 degree access, but I don't think I've seen that with old clothes, save once at the Musuem of the City of New York (which has an amazing collection of willed clothes, I think back to Washington).  This exhibit had a good mix of the freaky, odd and sublime, which is my favorite combo for fashion exhibits. I also loved the inclusion of homespun things like this vest from the time of the French revolution, complete with revolutionary symbols on the lapel




My only question was about putting a beautiful Poiret (I think) coat over a Fortuny. The Fortuny was gold/platinum from underneath the dress, and I'm sure it was spectacular, but sadly we didn't get to see the whole thing. I kinda have a thing for them. I think they're simple and exquisite. I called a woman at LACMA, and it looks like it was the "Delphos" dress from their permanent collection, and you can see it here.  She said that it's probably that they showed it a couple years ago. Still amazing, and amazing color....



Across the way was the Resnick's own "Eye for the Sensual" from their collection. R-O-C-C-O-C-O. Wow, lots of frippery. Lovely, and some great pieces, but I breathed a little sigh of relief when the last room was unexpected Deco. Very nice.

In the middle are these great stone heads from Mexico. Quite impressive, but I was a little saturated to take it all in. And I'm more of a fan of painting and sculpture. If you're an anthropologist, it would be a find. Get it? A find?

I took some pics of these exhibits, and notes, so perhaps more later.

Harps & Angels, the music of Randy Newman at the Taper

Interesting mix of styles, not necessarily what I would put together for a review. There are stunningly sad songs, pop songs, character pieces, and political monologues with musical backing. The cast was good, though for most of them the rock feel that Newman has in his own voice, as well as the dialect he writes into his songs, felt a little foreign on some of the performers. Of course, the range of styles is broad. Katey Segal and Michael McKean did a good job; as did a local rock singer Storm Large, who I was not familiar with. She had a strong voice, and has a big presence. Adriane Lenox was the big surprise to me. Her song about Louisiana and Katrina was the most effecting of the night to me, and having seen her in Doubt I didn't know she could sing. She has a great voice, and seemed most comfortable with Newman's New Orleans dialect songs. Michael McKean had a fun jaded country singer number, as well as a businessman trying to convince a stripper to come home with him.

Speaking of those, many of the songs were small dramatic moments, and those came across the best - Katey Segal had a great number about a woman mistreated by her husband. The lyrics are filled with beautiful images, and each feels like it could be the basis of a musical. They're poignant, and then they evanesce. I suppose that's what they're meant to do, but I was left wanting more.
Also, since there were six performers and it was a revue, I think I would have liked this more in a smaller space, like the Kirk Douglas, where I would have been pulled more into the action. I often feel that way at the Taper, though, so it's not the fault of this group or show. Nice job on a complicated group of work.

Tangled

Loved it. Would see it again. Donna Murphy is brilliant in one of the best villainess roles in a while, and Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi do a great job as well. I was enchanted, and that's the point.

Burlesque

Oh boy. It was fun. Christina Aguilera has a great voice, but Cher is more galvanizing in her one number. The problem to me is that Christina just doesn't feel emotionally connected to her voice. It's an incredible instrument that she uses to its best ability, but it just doesn't feel connected to me. So, when she leaves the screen, she kind of leaves your mind. Fun movie, though, and fun numbers, so it is what it is.

The Illusionist

I'd say it was melancholy and wistful, but that would be an understatement. Beautifully drawn, with some wonderful observations, in the end I was a little bored. Sorry to say it, and I know art film afficionados will throw their non-pariels at me for saying so, but it's true. It's slightly comedic, but in the end about the loss of a way of life in the theater and the people who are swept aside. Not a bad subject, but it just became bathetic.

Blue Valentine

Can we just admit that Ryan Gosling is amazing? This film felt like an acting exercise to me, confirmed when the director said that much of it was improv, even after he'd done 66 drafts of the script. Michelle Williams is bowled over by Gosling, who is magnetic. The balance is off. I'd see it for his performance, but it's another completely sad, sad movie.

More to come I'm sure. Good to get a little of that out, huh?

6 comments:

. said...

That is a handsome lapel indeed.

I really like your blog. It's interesting.

I've got few blogs myself, but I just started a new one that I'm really excited about. It's called Top My Blog and it's a community based blog that let's other bloggers submit and share their blogs with other users.
Here's a link: Top My Blog

I really think your site is awesome and hope that you'll submit.

Thanks!
John

Elizabeth said...

Something happened to my first comment, unfortunately -- I said, I think, how much I'm looking forward to those giant heads at the Resnick. They both scare and thrill me.

And I love Ryan Gosling.

Criticlasm said...

Thank you both. And Elizabeth, I think your boys would enjoy them, too, and yes, Ryan. Sigh. :)

Kyle said...

Re the Resnick exhibit, I should've looked at the show the right way. I entered it backwards and started with the Art Deco and just got more and more appalled.

Criticlasm said...

@Kyle - lol. Yeah--that would be the wrong way. That Fragonard with the two girls on the bed was basically pornography. It was a little much.

Kyle said...

Hey, I'm all for pornography. I think it was that silver monstrosity that freaked me out the most.