Posted in #whatdoyouthink, actors, African-American playwrights, artist, based on a novel, based on a true story or event, based on a true story or event and historical documents, based on true events, brutality, chronicle, deep South, empowerment, ensemble acting, famous, film, Fox Studios, historical drama, history, honky, husbands and wives, KKK, meditation on life, movie, new work, opinion, poignant, race, racism, riff, sci fi, serious, serious subject, showcase, timely, TV, Valentine's Day

Serially entertaining

Actors and screen-writers are busier these days than they have been in some time. There are “streaming” shows, 100s of cable outlets producing both series and movies, and of course Hollywood and the Indie scene all requiring their talents and services.

We are the beneficiaries of all this production. We will be enlightened, entertained and excited by the films they produce.

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than binge watching Divorce?

Gifted, the movie with Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace, and not so incidentally Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, and Elizabeth Marvel, is touching without being maudlin. It is generally intelligent, with a sterling performance by young Ms. Grace, and until we saw it last night on HBO, I had not heard much about it.

The assignment for Black History Month can include the excellent Get Out, Jordan Peele’s genius defies and reinvents the “horror” genre. It should also feature a viewing of Birth of a Nation, perhaps both in its regressive D.W. Griffith 1915 version and Nate Parker’s 2016 “remake.” The contrast between a paen to the Ku Klux Klan and to Nat Turner’s slave rebellion may prove edifying. Add Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (although not our personal favorite) to your list of films for 2018. (In the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham expresses a different view, especially of Parker’s film.)

Art is meant to engender controversy, stimulate and even incense and enrage. We should not be passively diverted in its presence. It is here to help us ponder life’s (and history’s) biggest issues.

Thanks to films and serial dramas we have a lot to consider and enjoy. And we are treated to some terrific performances in the bargain.

Posted in cabaret, David Shrubsole, meditation on life, Simon Green

Mid-Life with Simon Green

Simon Green in “Simon Green: So, This Then Is Life,” part of Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters.
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Simon Green in “Simon Green: So, This Then Is Life,” part of
Brits Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Carol Rosegg

A performer with a middling voice and a fair amount of charisma, Simon Green offers his view of life at that tipping point of middle age. Pushing onto 57 seems to have made Mr. Green wax philosophical.

His “Simon Green: So, This Then Is Life,” in a US premiere at 59E59 Theaters through June 1, is a metaphysical cabaret, to piano accompaniment by Simon Green’s long time musical director, David Shrubsole. Mr. Shrubsole, co-creator with Simon Green for the program, has also provided the musical arrangements to songs by a wide range of composers from Noel Coward to Stephen Sondheim.

For more information about “Simon Green: So, This Then Is Life,” please visit 59e59.org.