Presided Over Once Formidable Phoenix Media Empire
By: Charles Giuliano - May 25th, 2018
While he lacked stature, Stephen Mindich, who died this week at 74, cast a giant shadow. As a hip capitalist at the height of his power he was an ersatz Citizen Kane of Boston's counter culture industry of print and broadcasting media. In 2013, his Phoenix empire exhinguished never again to take flight from the embers of fame and fortune.
The critical success of "Astral Weeks" by Ryan Walsh has brought national media attention to Boston's counter culture in 1968. Following a prior interview with former Cambridge Phoenix editor, Harper Barnes, we pick up on the other side of the Charles River with former Boston After Dark Editor, Arnie Reisman. This continues our coverage of arts and media during a golden age from 1969 to the demise of The Real Paper in 1981.
New Journalism in Boston/ Cambridge in the Early 1970s
By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 14th, 2018
The recently published book Astral Weeks, by Ryan Walsh, has brought national attention to the counter culture of Boston/ Cambridge in 1968. This extensive interview with Harper Barnes, former editor of the Cambridge Phoenix and columnist for The Real Paper, covers developments in the early 1970s. It was a fertile era that launched careers of numerous arts critics and political commentators. After a stint in Boston, eventually, he returned to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and the city where he continues to reside.
Ryan H. Walsh’s Landmark Study of the Counter Culture in Boston
By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 12th, 2018
For most of 1968 the then struggling Irish musician and composer, Van Morrison, was on the run from his mobbed up New York manager. Living on Green Street in Cambridge, with local musicians he performed gigs and worked on what became the iconic album Astral Weeks. This is the focus of an enthralling book by Ryan Walsh fleshed out in the context of a meticulously researched account of the vibrant counter culture of that year of living dangerously. Through what evolves as a page turner we learn about Mel Lyman and his Fort Hill Cult, their paper Avatar, founding of WBCN FM as the rock of Boston, the Boston Tea Party, the Bosstown Sound, and Boston After Dark/ Phoenix. Along the way we encounter films, The Boston Strangler and Titicut Follies,as well as LSD gurus Tim Leary and Baba Ram Dass. Long overdue this fiftieth anniversary book sets the record straight.
Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex" is a bizarre hybrid, an opera-oratorio set to a text by Jean Cocteau. Emmanuel Music paired it with two works about Orpheus, another denizen of the land of the Green myths. In their works, both Matthew Aucoin and John Harrison, composers with local connections, showed their debt to Stravinsky.
International companies will travel to Becket, Massachusetts, from Denmark, Israel, Belgium, Australia, France, Spain, and Scotland. Notably, representation from across the United States ranges from New York City, Minneapolis, and Houston to Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago, among others.
“This is a classic case of confronting a well-organized, well-financed, misguided inside group, hoping to lead them to their better angels,” said Leslie Ferrin, founder of Save the Art. “That’s why we’re crowd-sourcing Save the Art’s legal action fund. We want to invite people to step up at whatever level they can, and say, “we support finding a better solution.”
After celebrating its record-breaking 85th Anniversary Season, Jacob’s Pillow announces new, expanded fall, winter, and spring programming as a main component of Vision ‘22, a strategic approach to the Pillow’s transformation into a year-round center for dance research and development and a civic partner in our region.
19th Biennial Festival's Two Operas and 18 Concerts
By: David Bonetti - Jun 25th, 2017
The early music world comes to Boston every two years for the BEMF. This year its centerpiece opera was Andre Campra's "Le Carnaval de Venise," an opera-ballet, in its American premiere. It also reprised a hilarious pair of intermezzi, one of them the popular "La serva padrona," by Giovanni Pergolesi and Handel's Roman period oratorio "La Resurrezione." A good time was had by all.
Since June, 2014 Berkshire poet, Charles Giuliano, has published three books of gonzo verse. A fourth is in production for a summer release. On Tuesday April 18, at 7:30 P.M. he will give a reading at the Williams Faculty Club (WFC), 968 Main Street, Williamstown, MA 01267. The event is free and open to the public.
The 36th season will include four plays at the Huntington Avenue Theatre, as well as three plays at the Wimberly Theatre and one special event in the Roberts Studio Theatre, both located in the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in the South End.
BTG is expanding its 2017 summer festival offerings, including The Music Man and the Million Dollar Quartet, Arsenic and Old Lace, as well as two productions by playwrights, Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo (Zoo story) and David Auburn's Lost Lake.
There has been extensive media coverage of the First Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards. The winners of The Berkies have been announced. There will be an awards celebration 5 pm on November 13 at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret in Pittsfield. In this first round of awards Barrington Stage Company and Shakespeare & Company dominated in most categories. The smash hit Pirates of Penzance ran the table. The Larry Murray Award, named for the founder, will be the only suprise of the gathering of critics, media and theater mavens.
Bad news continues for the arts community. The Boston Globe has announced that it is elminating Cate McQuaid's weekly gallery column. Kington Gallery is circulating a petition to have the vital coverage reinstated.
In the ever eroding realm of print journalism yet again the deep cuts are to the arts. Berkshire theatre companies, Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow, and museums have long relied on reviews by the New York Times and Boston Globe. As of now the Times is eliminating "regional" coverage which includes the Berkshires. In the western part of the state the arts in the Berkshires are likely to get far less attention from the Boston Globe. With its emphasis on "national" coverage the Williamstown Theatre Festival this season moved opening night from Thursday to Saturday in a perceived snub to "local" reviews including timely blogs. Other than the Eagle they also diminished access for interviews and elminated press conferences. Those polices may come back to haunt arts organizations next summer.
Having returned to Annisquam where she grew up during summers Lindsay Ann Crouse is performing annually with Gloucester Stage. We saw her launch the season with a lively and hilarious production of Lettice ad Lovage. As kids my sister Pip was Lindsay's age and I was a bit older than her brother Timothy. On a rainy day we met in her vintage village home and discussed a remarkable life in theatre with numerous stage, TV and film credits including an Oscar nomination and an Emmy.
Highlights of Festival 2016 include a world premiere engagement And Still You Must Swing created by tap dance powerhouses Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith; former New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan and choreographer Brian Brooks in an evening of new duets and solos, accompanied by eminent string quartet Brooklyn Rider and titled Some of a Thousand Words; rare U.S. appearances by France-based Compagnie Hervé KOUBI and South Korea-based contemporary ensemble Bereishit Dance Company; the powerful all-male company Che Malambo of Argentina; and the return of the eminent Seattle-based company Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Highlights of Jacob's Pillow Festival 2016 include a world premiere engagement created by tap dance powerhouses Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, and Jason Samuels Smith; former New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan and choreographer Brian Brooks in an evening of new duets and solos, accompanied by eminent string quartet Brooklyn Rider; rare U.S. appearances by France-based Compagnie Hervé KOUBI and Korea-based contemporary ensemble Bereishit Dance Company; the explosive Che Malambo of Argentina; and the return of the beloved Seattle-based company Pacific Northwest Ballet.
The investigative stories depicted in "Spotlight" and "Truth" although based on events that occurred not that long ago represent that last gasp of the tradition of great American journalism. Beyond entertainment these films raise issues about the ever diminished means by which we get the news.
A feature of the New York conferences of the American Theatre Critics Association is a lunch with Broadway stars at Sardi's. It was my pleasure to introduce Marlee Matlin. Other guests were Tony winner, Michael Cerveris, actress Kathleen Chalfant, creator of legendary musicals (Fiorello!, Fiddler on the Roof, She Love Me) Sheldon Harnick, actor Brian D'Arcy James, Tony winner Judith Light, director Bartlett Sher, four time Emmy winner, Marlo Thomas, Tony winner Doug Wright and playwright Arthur Kopit.
When I curated a solo exhibition of work by the Visionary artist Paul Laffoley it was his first Boston show in 20 years. The exhibition was ignored by the Boston Globe. A few years later, during his brief time at the Globe, Ken Johnson declared Laffoley to be the most important Boston artist of his generation. In recent years he enjoyed national and international recognition
Regarding Boston Theatre it is broke and time to fix it. This fall as one shoe after another dropped the Boston Theatre Community seemed to collapse like a house of cards. In 2004 through a partnership between Druker Development, Boston Center for the Arts and the Huntington Theatre Company the multi-stage Calderwood Pavilion was created in the South End. Is it possible that Huntington can swing a similar development to save, renovate and expand its antiquated facility? That's just a part of dramatic changes for the city.
Strauss's early operatic masterpiece follows its Greek model closely to reveal the neurosis at the heart of modern life. Andris Nelsons led a white-hot BSO performance of a lurid, fin-de-siecle masterpiece. The cast, led by Christine Goerke, Jane Henschel and Gun-Brit Barkmin, was stellar.
Emerson College Converting Colonial Theatre into Student Center
By: Charles Giuliano - Oct 09th, 2015
If bad luck comes in threes what's next for the Boston theatre community. Today we have reported on the break up of a 33-year-old relationship between the Huntington Theatre Company and Boston University. Now we report news the Emerson College, the owner of the 115-year-old Colonial Theatre has plans to convert it into a student center. These developments were predicted several years ago by then NEA chair Rocco Landesman. As he suggests, here in the Berkshires, there are too many arts organizations pursuing the same limited potential donors.
The renowned playwright John Guare was in Pittsfield recently for the first days of rehearsal of his play His Girl Friday. It is being directed by Julianne Boyd for Barrington Stage Company. He and others in the production met with the media for a lively give and take.