wed 08/04/2020

New York

Album: The Strokes - The New Abnormal

Their debut’s title was a disillusioned shrug, and for most of the 19 years since Is This It, The Strokes have continued with seeming reluctance, releasing new albums fitfully. But here they are, still riding the afterglow of Manhattan’s decadent...

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A simple twist of fate - how a chance encounter with 'Joan Baez, Vol 2' 50 years ago led to a festival in Downtown Manhattan

We’ve all spent time considering our desert island discs, which is of course why the programme Roy Plomley devised one winter’s night in 1942 is still thriving. The choices are perhaps less favourites than music that takes you back to a specific...

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Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, BBC iPlayer - an intimate, insider's account of his life and music

Miles – where to begin? Some 21st century revisionists find his art fatally tainted by his personal life, and his violent behaviour in relationships. His rasping, epithet-scarred voice, the sound of a snake sloughing off its own skin, able to...

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Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All, Netflix review - epic two-parter on pop's first superstar

Coming in at around four hours, in two parts, this 2015 documentary is ostensibly about Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, but really, via the prism of his existence, it’s as much about America’s journey through the first two thirds of the 20th century....

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Sondheim at 90: adults will listen

Here's an irony worthy of the work of Stephen Sondheim, an artist who clearly knows a thing or two about the multiple manifestations of that word. On the same day that he turns 90, namely today, Broadway is unable to host the keenly awaited American...

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The Last Five Years, Southwark Playhouse review - an inspired actor-musician take on a cult classic

There’s concept on top of concept in this revival of Jason Robert Brown’s beloved 2001 musical, which charts the ebb and flow of a relationship by juggling timelines: aspiring actress Cathy’s story is told in reverse chronological order, while...

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Album: Moby - All Visible Objects

Moby is perhaps better known these days for his two ultra-candid biographies, Porcelain and Then It Fell Apart, than he is for his massive album successes of two decades ago. His memoirs are compulsive, unique windows into the screwed up life of an...

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Gerde's Folk City at 60, The Iridium, New York City - a celebration of the legendary folk club

Fifty-nine years to the day, 24 January 1961, that a young college dropout named Robert Zimmerman clambered out of a car on the Manhattan end of the George Washington Bridge, having hitchhiked across the country to reinvent himself as Bob Dylan, the...

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The Sunset Limited, Boulevard Theatre review - all talk, no theatre

Cormac McCarthy’s two-hander, premiered at Chicago's mighty Steppenwolf Theatre in 2006, has by this point been everything short of an ice ballet: a self-described “novel in dramatic form”, as one might expect from the American author of such titles...

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Uncut Gems review - relentless tale of gambling and the diamond trade

The Safdie brothers, Josh and Benny, once programmed a season of films entitled Emotional Sloppy Manic Cinema, and if sloppy is subtracted from that description, it’s a pretty accurate summation of their work here in Uncut Gems. This is edge-of-the-...

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Celebrating the musicals of Jerry Herman (1931-2019)

How is it that, in the nearly 900 pages of Sondheim's collected lyrics with extensive comments Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat, with numerous special boxes celebrating other composers and lyricists, he managed to mention Jerry Herman only...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Buddies

The acclaim of being the first to represent the mid-1980s AIDS pandemic in cultural form was a plaudit that none of those concerned would ever have wished for. With New York as its epicentre, and almost nothing known about the disease that was...

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