Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Canadian Art

Courtyard and fountain
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The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC shows provocative video and film in its Black Box space.

Currently they have the artists and filmmaker Phoebe Greenberg and her movie Next Floor .

A visually compelling take on the opulence in western countries the piece offers a critique of consumption and the usual sins of gluttony and avarice.

The video is fun to look at and its images of the food are amazing and sickening.

The critique is easy and one wonders if the artist expects viewers to experience disgust, joy, excitement? It is at least a short that challenges the viewer to react.

In these times where it is impossible to tax the wealthy and the corporations to even a remotely fair rate, is this video our substitute by vicariously watching wealthy people plummet to their deaths?

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Artistic Youth and Ambition’s Perniciousness

I’ve been thrilled to see some of the new generation being represented on stages in Washington, DC. Theater J is running Itamar Moses’ “The Four of Us,” and it has received solid reviews in the Washington Post and Times.

There was much to enjoy about the content and structure, particularly in the “first act.” I started to lose some interest as the story went on but remained fascinated by the feelings of being in one’s mid to late 20s and experiencing competition and doubt as one’s friend has artistic success.

What does one do to get success yourself? If you write about what you know would it hurt a friend? What does an artist chose, friend or the chance at getting your work produced?

The play made me think about an earlier Theater J production, the world premiere by Sam Forman, “The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall.” Here the ambitious librettist in his mid-20s more humorous and obvious with his ambition.

In that play, Henry engages in subterfuge involving Facebook, lying to a movie producer’s pampered daughter (the fetching Maureen Rohn) and enduring the Tortured Genius’s lounge-lizard rendition of the musical’s proposed title song. He has to turn his back on his stoner writing partner and his singer girlfriend.

Studio Theater’s current play, “In the Red and Brown Water,” also shows people in their late teens and early twenties making choices. Intriguingly, the focus of the ambition is quite different and the lack of following through on ambition actually hurts the lead character.

Washington DC Roads

Been out riding around on my hybrid bicycle the last few days and have a great sense of how much the 20 inches of snow has slowed the nation’s capital.

The northwest section is mostly thinly plowed. If the section with the most businesses and richest citizens are not getting Department of transportation attention you can only imagine what the rest of the city looks like.

There are several state streets, such as New York Avenue, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Avenue, that at least have one lane plowed going in each direction. In some of the busier intersections, there are two or three lanes open.

The numbered streets are a mixed bag. The major streets, such as 7th and 9th Streets, are both well plowed. Most of the rest of them barely have a single lane cleared. The alphabet streets are somewhat worse. Even in major traffic areas, most of the road isn’t visible under caked down snow and ice.

Where have the plows been since Saturday? The City Council member’s office promises that the city has not ignored any areas. Seems like each area has been left unfinished since the weekend’s one time pass on the street with a single plow.

Now DC is getting more snow forecast for tonight and Wednesday.

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