Yesterday the Arts Express radio program ran my audio essay on a new site-specific performance piece called Inside by PopUp Theatrics. The more I tried to write a conventional review, the more I realized I had to do it in another way. Sometimes when a work of art leaves you feeling unsettled, it’s a good thing. For a meditation on the power of memories and stories, and the way they blur the line between truth and fiction, click on the grey triangle above.
The Comedian is the new Robert De Niro movie in which he plays a washed-up comedian trying to make a come-back years after his initial fame. It has a great cast including Danny DeVito and Patti LuPone, and a raft of cameos. Is it worth seeing? You can hear my review of the film, which was broadcast yesterday on radio station WBAI, by clicking on the grey triangle above.
Now, here is Part Two, the second half of my interview, which was broadcast on WBAI radio’s Arts Express program yesterday.In this part, Jodi Dean talks about the problems with The New Left and Identity Politics; the anarchist/socialist split; the various critiques of the party formation and the rebuttal of those critiques; and why she thinks parties are the only way forward for those who would seek to upend capitalism.
Click on the grey triangle above to hear Part Two.
Crowds and Party by Jodi Dean is a fascinating must read for anyone interested in how political change happens, and what the left must do now. In this book, Professor Dean talks about those “beautiful moments” that have happened throughout history—think The Paris Commune and Occupy Wall Street—where The Crowd has created a disruption in the usual fabric of capitalist society. But those “beautiful moments” are short-lived, ephemeral, and seem to disappear into forgotten hope. How can a movement hold onto and build on these precious historical moments? Jodi Dean tackles crowd theory and the concept of a working people’s political party, reviews the relevant literature, and presents her analysis in her new book, Crowds and Party.
The book is not always easy reading, so I was happy to have the opportunity to engage in a spirited conversation with Professor Dean, broadcast on WBAI 99.5 FM NY radio yesterday on the Arts Express program. Dean was so interesting that we decided to do two parts to the interview, broadcast one week after the other.
You can listen to Part One by clicking on the grey triangle above.
There are just a handful of Christmas songs that I really like, and this is one of my favorites. It was written by Hugh Martin and introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 film, Meet Me In St. Louis. The effervescent Mark Nadler sung this heartfelt version Sunday at David Kenney’s Everything Old Is New Again—Live Holiday Special, and brought the concert to a rousing close.
David has a weekly program Sundays, 9pm, on WBAI 99.5 FM NYC radio. You can hear the recording of the complete show rebroadcast on David’s show December 25th. The wonderful performers included cabaret stalwarts KT Sullivan, Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Beat Kaestli, Karen Oberlin, Frank Dain (the Cabaret Scenes magazine producer returning to his singing roots!), the awesome Gabrielle Stravelli, and Tex Arnold accompanying on piano.
You can listen to Mark, accompanying himself on piano, singing his soulful version of this Christmas classic, by clicking on the grey triangle above.
Phil Ochs’s birthday is December 19th. This lovely song was not on any of the original albums, though it was released later. He sung it on the air at WBAI radio in 1965, where he explained that this song was heavily influenced by his reading of the poetry of Yeats.
Anna Deveare Smith portrays 17 different people—students, teachers, parents, judges, Congessmen, social justice workers—in her new, almost one-woman play, Notes from the Field. Your intrepid reporter reviewed it for WBAI radio yesterday.
Magician Lance Burton retired five years ago, after an astounding 15,000 performances, but he’s still a busy man. Last Thursday, WBAI radio broadcast my interview with him. Due to time constraints, they played an edited version of the interview, but the audience of this blog is more magic-oriented, so I thought you might like to hear the uncut version.
In the interview Lance talks about Johnny Carson, growing up with magician Mac King, life in Las Vegas, working with doves, and what he considers the most important thing he knows about magic. Click on the grey triangle to catch up with magician Lance Burton.
At the live broadcast of Everything Old is New Again Live at the Metropolitan Room last Sunday, my heart leapt when I heard music historian David Hadju, author of the new history of popular music, Love For Sale, say that the most highly regarded popular song of all time was “All The Things You Are.” Well, of course, a statement like that is necessarily somewhat arbitrary, but it made me happy because I thought my obsession with that song (see here, here, and here) was strictly an idiosyncratic preference of mine. So it was nice to hear someone else say it.
And if you click on the grey triangle above, you can hear Mr. Hadju’s wife, singer Karen Oberlin, sing her lovely version of the song, complete with introductory verse.
Ms. Oberlin was just one of many fine performers in this second season of David Kenney’s and Frank Dain’s Everything Old Is New Again—Live aired on WBAI 99.5 FM NY. The other strong performers included Alfio, Danny Bacher, Alex Leonard, Luba Mason, Tanya Moberly, T. Oliver Reid, Jacob Storms, and The Starlite Sisters. Definitely worth a visit, it’s the first Sunday of every month.