Beyond NY: Brodsky/Baryshnikov Play at Winter Garden Theater in Toronto, ON

Beyond NY: Brodsky/Baryshnikov Play at Winter Garden Theater  in Toronto, ON

Show One Productions presents Brodsky/Baryshnikov at Winter Garden Theater in Toronto on January 24 – 27, 2018 

Brodsky/Baryshnikov
M.Baryshniov, photo credit Janis Deinats / Image courtesy of Cherry Orchard Festival

90 min one-man show Brodsky/Baryshnikov, directed by Alvis Hermanis, is a delicate theatrical staging of complex poetry by Josef Brodsky  performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, a celebrated dancer and actor, and a close friend of J. Brodsky. The show is presented by the Show One Productions with the performances at the Winter Garden Theater in Toronto, ON on January 24-27, 2018. This engagement will follow the performances in Boston, MA.

Josef Brodsky, 1987 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, was a Russian and American poet and essayist. Born in 1940 in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) Russia, he started writing poetry early in his teens. His writings were gaining popularity in literary circles and caught the attention and support from a Grand Dame of the Silver Age of Poetry, Anna Akhmatova. However, Brodsky’s poetry and life style were denounced by the authorities as anti-Soviet , and in 1963 he was sent to a hard labor camp in the Far North. He was eventually expelled from Russia in 1972 and settled in the USA.

Brodsky/Baryshnikov
M. Baryshnikov, photo credit: Janis Deinats / Image courtesy of Baryshnikov Productions

The Paris Review notes Baryshnikov’s description of his first meeting with Brodsky pointing to a minute details like it was just yesterday. In Baryshnikov words “He gave me a cigarette, my hands were trembling … For me, he was a legend.” Their friendship lasted for more than two decades until Brodsky’s death in 1996.

Brodsky was more than just a friend, but a teacher and a mentor for Baryshnikov. In the FT  “Poetry and Motion” article Baryshnikov refers to Brodsky as “his university”.

The first performance of Brodsky/Baryshnikov play took place in 2015 in Riga, Latvia, a birth city for both Baryshnikov and Hermanis. It was then taken on an international tour to Tel-Aviv, New York, London, reviewed here in the spring of 2017, and in 2018 to Boston, Toronto and Chicago.

While Brodsky was forcefully thrown out of Russia for becoming a cause célèbre in demonstrating a demonic nature of the soviet regime, Baryshnikov had defected to the West when he was on tour in Canada with Mariinsky ballet in 1974. They met in New York City at a party organized by Mstislav Rostropovich, an acclaimed Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor who also left Russia in the early seventies.

Brodsky/Baryshnikov
M. Baryshnikov and A. Hermanis, photo credit Janis Deinats / Image courtesy of Baryshnikov Productions

Although it is a one-man show, the audience gets to hear both voices. The Times of London says that there is “an eerie sense of an artistic collaboration that transcends mortality”. The depth of the verses, the grace of movements, the spare stage set bring back a sense of the passing time. And even when Hermanis describes the show as an anti-ballet, one still sees elegant moves in Baryshnikov’s ways of reading Brodsky’s verses and acting them on stage. The reading is done is Russian, so non-Russian speakers have to rely on a translation which surely misses the elegance and the poetic rhythm. Never the less its a theater to it’s highest degree that will surely be enjoyed by the theater lovers.

Toronto,ON Show Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Friday, January 26, 2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

 

Venue: Winter Garden Theater, 189 Yonge St, Toronto, ON 

 


Music in NYC: Carla Bruni Concert at The Town Hall in NYC

Music in NYC: Carla Bruni Concert at The Town Hall in NYC 

Returning to The Town Hall on February 16, 2018 with new program  

Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018 album French Touch
Carla Bruni / Image courtesy of Metropolitan Entertainment

Carla Bruni, a French singer-songwriter and a former first lady and ex-supermodel is bringing her latest collection of songs to concert halls in the US in February 2018. Her dreamy yet sultry singing style of the love chansons accompanied on guitar playing by Bruni herself is guaranteed to give a terrific music night for the concertgoers.

Carla Bruni Sarkozy (née Carla Gilberta Bruni Tedeschi) was born in 1967 in Turin, Italy and moved to France at the age of 7. Starting with the piano in school, she discovered a guitar when she was about 11 years old. Right there at the first group lesson, she realized that this is her instrument. Singing and playing guitar became her purpose in life.

Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018

She started her music career in 1997 before successfully modeling for the top couture houses in France. Her success in songwriting began when in 1999 she sent her lyrics to Julien Clerc. The songs were later included in his album Si j’étais elle . Bruni’s first personal disc Quelqu’un m’a dit was released in 2002. That followed by No Promises in 2007. She continued to record after her marriage to Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France in 2007-2012.Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018

Bruni’s third album Comme si de rien n’état  was published in 2008 and Little French Songs in 2012. A 4-year interval between the releases did not mean that she stopped her career in light of becoming the first lady of France. Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018 But even though she finished the work on the songs and the recordings by 2011, “it wasn’t considered appropriate to release it while she was First Lady” according to 2013 expose in Vanity Fair.

The latest album French Touch, released  by Verve in October 2017, is her fifth. She regained the pace of her performing and recording music career when her husband had lost the reelection in 2012 and the family had fully relocated from the Élysées Palace to a private residence on Right Bank. The songs included in this album are all her favorites from when “I was a teenager” as she confided in the interview to NPR’s Scott Simon.

Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018 An idea for Bruni to record English language pop and country classics was David Foster’s, an acclaimed music producer and a former chairman of Verve. The collection includes the covers that she knew by heart, so the whole project felt like a smooth sailing full of distant memories and charming reveries. In the interview with The New York Times, she reveals that its “her secret passion: singing classic rock, country and jazz standards in English”.

Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018 album French Touch
Carla Bruni / Image courtesy of Metropolitan Entertainment

She has been including classic rock in her latest concert programs in Paris and on tours in Europe. However, her program at the NYC appearance in 2013 has featured primarily the songs from the newly released at that time Quelqu’un m’a dit album. All were in French or Italian delivered with the mastery, elegance, and simplicity.

The upcoming concert in February in NYC will give her fans a chance to enjoy an unbelievable mix of familiar classics performed in subtly sexy voice making it even more chic with a hint of French accent.

 


 

 

Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018 album French Touch

Concert Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:

 

New York City at The Town Hall on Friday, February 16, 2018

 

Venue: The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd Str, NY, NY

Theater in NYC: The Parisian Woman with Uma Thurman

Theater in NYC: The Parisian Woman with Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman debuts on Broadway in Beau Willimon’s play 

Broadway Theater Uma Thurman The Parisian Woman Beau Willimon
The Parisian Woman, Limited Engagement Now on Broadway at the Hudson Theater /  By Beau Willimon, Directed by Pam McKinnon, Pictured: Uma Thurman, Josh Lucas, Marton Csokas; Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2017 / Image courtesy of BONEAU/BRYAN-BROWN

Captivating performance, high pace acting, foxy intrigue – these are the characteristics that any theater production would want to hear in its regard. And “The Parisian Woman” written by Beau Willimon and directed by Pam McKinnon is scoring high on each one of them. The cast with Uma Thurman in the title role, Josh Lucas, Marton Csokas, Phillipa Soo and Blair Brown are doing an incredible job in keeping the audience in their grip. The performances at Hudson Theater will continue until March 11, 2018.

The play opened on Broadway on November 30, 2017, with reviews praising the actors while pinpointing how the script and the story could be made more edgy.

Broadway Theater Uma Thurman The Parisian Woman Beau Willimon
The Parisian Woman, Limited Engagement Now on Broadway at the Hudson Theater; By Beau Willimon, Directed by Pam McKinnon, Pictured: Uma Thurman, Blair Brown, Phillipa Soo; Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2017 /  Image courtesy of BONEAU/BRYAN-BROWN

The wishful thinking about ways to spice the play up are particularly true since the scriptwriter Beau Willimon is so well-known for portraying the wicked kinks of Beltway politics in “The House of Cards” TV-series. But the play is not a tamed version of barbaric attitudes in the Underwoods’ world, but a tale with its own well-timed twists and accents. Uma Thurman is the glue of the play given the gravity of her role with everyone in the cast giving equally dramatic performance. If at times it feels stiff is because the people operating in the circles of power particularly nowadays’ politicians are like that. The wicked minds of a tax-lawyer or a banker with access to those holding the strings of power are accustomed to move in that self-gratifying space. Thurman’s character Chloë is masterfully exploring those inclinations.

Broadway Theater Uma Thurman The Parisian Woman Beau Willimon
The Parisian Woman, Limited Engagement Now on Broadway at the Hudson Theater /  By Beau Willimon, Directed by Pam McKinnon, Pictured: Uma Thurman, Josh Lucas; Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2017 / Image courtesy of BONEAU/BRYAN-BROWN

This all may be good in theory but for a sophisticated audience, the script doesn’t look bulletproof.    It borrows its title from the late 19th-century play by Henry Becque “La Parissiene”. There even was a movie made based on it with Brigitte Bardot in the title role. Together with the title, Willimon uses the centerpiece, a political manipulator wife, played by Thurman. Chloë, Thurman’s character, surrounds herself with useful people and applies her charms to extract the favors from everyone around her. While the acting, the set design, and the pacing are flawless, some elements of the intrigue don’t seem to be that much intriguing given the changes in our society. A grain of salt to consider here is the fact that the action takes place in the high circles of D.C. which leaves in its own bubble. But then again given what everyone already knows from “The House of Cards”, The Parisian Women storyline is rather muted.

The New York Times review describes the play as “a collection of every cozy cliché” and catchphrases from the late-night news programs. Those at times innocuous name-dropping while making the play look like a continuation of the reality unfolding in daily news, don’t let the characters develop their depth. Variety points out that Willimon is “missing his chance to turn this mannered trifle into a substantive political drama”. To sum it up, it “could really be about any era in Washington” in the words of The New Yorker review.

The important thing is that the top-notch performance by the cast and flawless pacing keeps everyone in the audience at full attention and craving to continue watching.

Click here to book your tickets using a promo code TICKETS3.

Venue: Hudson Theater, 141 W 44th Street, NY, NY          Dates: November 20, 2017 – March 11, 2018

 

Beyond NY: Carla Bruni US Tour in February 2018

Beyond NY: Carla Bruni US Tour in February 2018

Songs from the new album French Touch performing in Alexandria, VA, Boston, MA and Los Angeles, CA

Carla Bruni new album French Touch USA tour February 2018
Carla Bruni / Image courtesy of Metropolitan Entertainment

Carla Bruni, a French singer-songwriter and a former first lady and ex-supermodel is bringing her latest collection of songs to concert halls in the US in February 2018. Her dreamy yet sultry singing style of the love chansons accompanied on guitar playing by Bruni herself is guaranteed to give a terrific music night for the concertgoers.

Carla Bruni Sarkozy (née Carla Gilberta Bruni Tedeschi) was born in 1967 in Turin, Italy and moved to France at the age of 7. Starting with the piano in school, she discovered a guitar when she was about 11 years old. Right there at the first group lesson, she realized that this is her instrument. Singing and playing guitar became her purpose in life.

Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018

She started her music career in 1997 before successfully modeling for the top couture houses in France. Her success in songwriting began when in 1999 she sent her lyrics to Julien Clerc. The songs were later included in his album Si j’étais elle . Bruni’s first personal disc Quelqu’un m’a dit was released in 2002. That followed by No Promises in 2007. She continued to record after her marriage to Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France in 2007-2012.Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018

Bruni’s third album Comme si de rien n’état  was published in 2008 and Little French Songs in 2012. A 4-year interval between the releases did not mean that she stopped her career in light of becoming the first lady of France. Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018 But even though she finished the work on the songs and the recordings by 2011, “it wasn’t considered appropriate to release it while she was First Lady” according to 2013 expose in Vanity Fair.

The latest album French Touch, released  by Verve in October 2017, is her fifth. She regained the pace of her performing and recording music career when her husband had lost the reelection in 2012 and the family had fully relocated from the Élysées Palace to a private residence on Right Bank. The songs included in this album are all her favorites from when “I was a teenager” as she confided in the interview to NPR’s Scott Simon.

Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018 An idea for Bruni to record English language pop and country classics was David Foster’s, an acclaimed music producer and a former chairman of Verve. The collection includes the covers that she knew by heart, so the whole project felt like a smooth sailing full of distant memories and charming reveries. In the interview with The New York Times, she reveals that its “her secret passion: singing classic rock, country and jazz standards in English”.

She has been including classic rock in her latest concert programs in Paris and on tours in Europe. However, her program at the NYC appearance in 2013 has featured primarily the songs from the newly released at that time Quelqu’un m’a dit album. All were in French or Italian delivered with the mastery, elegance, and simplicity.

Carla Bruni new album French Touch USA tour February 2018
Carla Bruni / Image courtesy of Metropolitan Entertainment

The upcoming concerts in February including one in New York City at The Town Hall will give her fans a chance to enjoy an unbelievable mix of familiar classics performed in subtly sexy voice making it even more chic with a hint of French accent.

 


 

 

 

 

Concert Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3:

Carla Bruni USA tour February 2018 album French TouchAlexandria, VA at Birchmere Music Hall on Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Boston, MA at Berklee Performance Center on Thursday February 15, 2018

Los Angeles, CA at Orpheum Theatre on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Beyond NY: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescoes Up Close at Westfield Topanga, CA

Beyond NY: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescoes Up Close at Westfield Topanga, CA

View the pictures of Sistine Chapel frescoes at the ground level at the Westfield Topanga & The Village in Southern California which follow the shows at Oculus of NYC World Trade Center and Paramus, NJ

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes Vatican City Westfield
Sistine Chapel, Vatican / photo by Patrick Landy (FSU Guy)

Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Vatican City are conveniently brought down to earth by the very modern means of digital photography. The show is going on display at the Westfield Topanga & The Village in Southern California after an exhibition at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ in September-October, 2017 and at the Oculus of NYC World Trade Center Transportation Hub in July 2017. The visitors have the ease of enlarged images to see all the details of historical paintings to follow the Creation story from the Book of Genesis at the spacious and well-lit hall housing the freestanding plinths with good labels. No hurrying up by the guards and neck craning necessary.

Sistine Chapel in the Vatican was built in 1477-1480 by Pope Sixtus IV for whom the chapel is named. The Chapel is used for special ceremonies of the close circle of the Pope. It is also a place were the Papal Conclave of Cardinals meets to elect a new Pope. Interestingly the dimensions of the Chapel are the same as those of the Temple of Solomon as described in the Old Testament, the Book of Ezekiel, the first temple built by the Hebrews in 832 BCE under King Solomon, and destructed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE.

Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Chapel from 1508 to 1512 on a commission by Pope Julius II. Because at the time Michelangelo was preoccupied with sculptures and was reluctant to commit to such an enormous undertaking, Pope Julius granted him full freedom in selecting the scenes and figures to paint thus convincing him to take on the project. The resulting frescoes are considered to be the triumph of the artistic expression in Western civilization.  The ceiling is populated with more than 300 figures starting from the Christ ancestors including Adam and Eve, the scenes from the Garden of Eden and the Great Flood all the way to Christ followers, prophets and sibyls. It’s a rich story with the myriad of secrets as explained in a well-written book by B. Blech and R. Doliner The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican.
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes Vatican City Westfield

Michelangelo’s mastery brings us the “faces of our time: anxiety masked by domesticity, women at work at household duties, men staring out blankly at an opaque fate” in the words of A.Gopnik in The New Yorker review of the exhibition.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes Vatican City WestfieldNow that the viewers can comfortably see those faces and their expressions, the connection to the history and its meaning can be better understood and appreciated. One can easily take it one step further with an assistance of the virtual reality like Oculus Rift and other VR gadgets.

After staying in CA until December 31, 2017, the exhibition will travel to other locations in the US. Check all the locations and dates here.

 

 

 

Dates: November 3 – December 31, 2017

Venue: 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park, CA