sun 02/08/2015

New York

DVD: While We're Young

As Noah Baumbach moves into his forties, his youthful archness is becoming increasingly tempered with a wry melancholy. It adds depth and piquancy to this story of a forty-something couple trying to come to terms with the fading of youth’s infinite...

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Ruth & Alex

All the charm in the world provided by two seasoned pros can't make a satisfying whole out of Ruth & Alex, a glutinous portrait of a longtime marriage that is gently tested when the eponymous couple decide to move house. Burdened with a...

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Imagine... Frank Gehry: The Architect Says Why Can't I?, BBC One

The hook for Alan Yentob's portrait of the 86-year-old architect Frank Gehry was the initiation and progress of an enormous new building in a rough portside area of Sydney, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building for the business school of the University of...

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The Motherf**ker with the Hat, National Theatre

The play that lost the 2011 Tony Award to War Horse is now receiving its British debut at the very address where War Horse premiered. But such theatrical coincidences won't register in most circles as much as a title, The Motherf**ker with the Hat,...

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CD: Arthur Russell - Corn

The story of singer-songwriter-cellist-composer Arthur Russell is tragic and life-affirming in equal measure. A Zelig-like figure, from his corn-belt beginnings he glided through underground scenes in the 1970s and '80s, collaborating with everyone...

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Listen Up Philip

Artists can be selfish bastards. Yoko Ono didn’t pay her babysitters; Bob Dylan has frozen out nearly all his friends; Norman Mailer stabbed his wife, and William Burroughs shot his. Philp (Jason Schwartzman), the young novelist who sociopathically...

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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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