thu 28/05/2015

New York

World War Two: 1945 and the Wheelchair President, BBC Four

More than an hour and a half, and not a moment too long: this moving and enlightening visual essay was a near-perfect example of broad brush modern history, enlivened by telling detail. It was a curiously intense history, written and narrated...

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Antonacci, ROHO, Pappano, Royal Opera House

Few conductors would think of putting Bernstein’s comic-sexy Fancy Free ballet and the orgasmatron of Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy together in a concert's second half. In fact I’ll wager, without research, that it’s never been done before. Yet as...

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Between Worlds, ENO, Barbican

Composer Tansy Davies and librettist Nick Drake’s opera Between Worlds cannot help but be a devastating tribute to the tragedy of 9/11. Yet the whole is peppered with problems that mean this result is achieved only intermittently. Davies – whose...

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DVD: The Group

Mary McCarthy’s 1963 novel The Group inspired Candace Bushnell to write Sex and the City, a connection highlighted on this DVD of Sidney Lumet’s 1966 adaptation. Only the breezy style of the newsletter which keeps eight female friends from Vassar’s...

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theartsdesk in New York: On Kawara at the Guggenheim Museum

On a snowy day in early spring in New York, the On Kawara – Silence show at the Guggenheim is unlikely to warm you up. His date paintings, postcards, telegrams and other coldly ur-conceptual accountings spiral up those famous white Frank Lloyd...

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Bad Jews, Arts Theatre

Joshua Harmon’s provocative 2012 piece is the Rocky of comedies. His evenly matched sparring partners, a pair of viscerally antagonistic cousins confined in close quarters after a familial loss, bruise, bludgeon and literally draw blood. The bonds...

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CD: Lightning Bolt - Fantasy Empire

Anyone whose attention was caught by Royal Blood’s recent explosion in popularity and who imagines the Brighton duo as rock innovators, with their bass and drum approach, may be surprised to hear that Lightning Bolt have been ploughing that...

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10 Questions for Filmmaker Desiree Akhavan

New filmmakers often suffer an unhelpful onslaught of comparisons and labels. Yet Desiree Akhavan offers so many options as to deflect all of them – counter measures against the heat-seeking missiles of media stereotyping. She’s a bisexual, an...

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Appropriate Behaviour

There’s an engaging, indie sense of emotional flux in writer-director Desiree Akhavan’s feature debut Appropriate Behaviour, and a very funny script indeed behind it. Akhavan herself plays Shirin, daughter of a traditional Iranian-American emigre...

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Two Night Stand

A New York blizzard so intense that people can't get out the front door traps a random couple who have hooked up online into a rather longer mating dance than they had anticipated. That's the essence of Two Night Stand, the debut film from director...

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Annie

A lot of harsh words have been and will continue to be written about the new movie musical remake of Annie, the Broadway mainstay about the Depression-era tyke who exists to teach her elders a few life lessons on the way to a sun-drenched "Tomorrow...

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Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live, BBC One

It’s never a good start when the performers have more to gain than the audience. The album Cheek to Cheek, of which this was a televised performance, came out in September to a respectfully reserved reception in UK, while American critics, seemingly...

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