Dance Forms has been presenting performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 16 years, everything from classical to avant garde, from major company principals to unknowns. This year’s International Choreographers’ Showcase had major European and American ballet soloists and the iconic post-modern choreographer Douglas Dunn, who danced with Merce Cunningham’s company. As one expects from Dance Forms, were some very fine pieces.
The Fringe is not only about theater. There is also dance. Here are performances I found important. The classic “Studies in Red,” 3 girls 2 boys, twists, turns, high kicks and poses in excellent form was a highlight. This choreographers’ showcase has been presented at the Fringe for 15 years, and it’s a good chance to see an eclectic selection of creative dancers, ranging from traditional to minimal. In this case, the best were traditional!
Sept 29, 2014 –
Last week (Sept. 22), I went to a Metropolitan Museum of Art event about a new exhibit, Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age.
It included a talk by Secretary of State John Kerry and some speeches by art experts. A theme was the destruction that the “bad guys” have wrecked on historic art and archeological places in the Syria-Iraq region.
Can an art lecture in the form of a theater piece push you to the edge of your seat? This rich, engrossing play by John Logan does! Painter Mark Rothko’s inflated sense of self collides with the challenges of youth’s new visions in Logan’s fascinating pas de deux about the meaning of art and its indelible connection to commerce.
Protest at Rosenstrasse by non-Jewish women saved their Jewish husbands and sons —
In a small park just off Karl Liebnechtstrasse in former East Berlin stands an extraordinary group of reddish pink sculptures called “Block der Frauen,” the block of women. German sculptor Ingeborg Hunzinger, an artistic refugee from the Nazis, chiseled them to commemorate an extraordinary event that occurred at that site in February 1943.
The Nazis had rounded up some 2500 Jewish men and boys, the husbands and sons of non-Jewish women, and imprisoned them at Rosenstrasse 2-4, the Jewish Community Center to gather them for deportation to death. The women found out where the men had been taken and converged there. From 600 the protests grew to 6,000. The guards pointed machine guns at them and threatened to open fire. The women held their ground.
After a week, propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who indicated in his diary that he was worried about the protest’s public relations impact in Germany and abroad, ordered that the Jews with Aryan spouses or parents be released. And then the event seemed to vanish from history.
Why didn’t we know about this? Why is it still generally believed that no one could challenge the Nazis and live?
The citizens of Buenos Aires are called “porteños,” people of the port. Perhaps this connection to the rest of the world contributes to their sophistication. “BA” is a city of grand, classical-style buildings, elegant neighborhoods, scruffy crowded “barrios,” pedestrian malls and even a kitchy tourist waterfront along the Río de la Plata, the Platt River. Like other great cities, it’s a center of contemporary art. Much of that reflects its turbulent political history.
Argentina has come a long way since the period of repression of 1976-1973, the time of the military’s “dirty war” against the left. The government has granted the “Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo” concession booths at the square opposite the Presidential Palace, and they are mentioned in official guides. The café-bookstore is a tourist attraction! In this vibrant city, politics and culture mix with a Latin passion.
The most riotous time I had in Italy was at Michelangelo’s David 500th birthday party. Well, not exactly a party, an exhibit at the Academy Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia) in Florence. Hmm? Isn’t David just a piece of white marble, beautiful, yes, but riotous?
I’m talking about Robert Morris’ “The Birthday Boy,” an hysterical send-up of two leftwing art historians, each in a separate video talking about “The David.” The American Morris did them in 2003-4. His satire has the art critics (played by actors), typically veering into discussions of international politics, feminism, all the hot-button issues. Or didn’t you think an art historian discussing “The David” could bring in an attack on George Bush?
Paris has always been stimulating to the artistic soul and also a little outrageous. There are two edgy museums with art that pushes the most controversial boundaries – sex and politics. And both also defy the staid notion that museums are only for solemn daylight viewing. They are he Museum of Erotic Art in Montmartre, and the Palais de Tokyo near the Arc de Triomphe.