Posted in comedy, comedy about a serious subject, improv, Uncategorized


Originally published today on
Jamie Benson and Hannah Goldman aka The Straight Man duo. Photo by Benjamin Stone.

What is the Straight Pride Parade, I ask myself as I read Jamie Benson’s email. Subject line: “Queer Comedy Duo Reacts to Straight Pride Parade with “The Straight Man Celebrates Gay Pride” on June 29th.”

I Googled the “Straight” part of this new meme and found that there are many protests to its offensiveness. It is the elitist equivalent to “White Lives Matter” as if the #BlackLivesMatter movement takes anything away from people not of color. As if it could? Power and privilege really do put some of us at an advantage.

Inclusiveness or inclusitivity needs more practitioners.

Save yourself the fare for the trip to Boston where you will be ridiculed for your life choices and poor behavior, and go instead to see Jamie Benson’s comedy duo, The Straight Man (TSM-Hannah Goldman and Benson) and others.

Their program The Straight Man Celebrates Gay Pride is at the PIT (People’s Improv Theatre) on June 29th at 9:30pm.

The comedy duo and friends perform throughout the year as well. Says Jamie Benson, co-producer of TSM: “Considering that NYC comedy is still dominated by straight males, our search for queer comedic sanctuary is still so damn relevant. It’s a sad need that we’re filling with joy.”

Part of this walking tour is in the theater district.!4v1537297895154!6m8!1m7!1sgTVm75wDT_Ds6w1ZxaprfQ!2m2!1d40.7811866728013!2d-73.94773902671807!3f275.8681!4f0!5f0.7820865974627469

It’s no secret that if you walk anywhere in New York, some interesting and unusual sight, sound and site will greet you. Midtown, no matter how familiar, always offers up a new view or two. For instance, did you know there was a lobster cart pop-up in front of Oceana, a nice dining establishment in […]

via Gadding about — SidewalkSuperBlog

Gadding about — SidewalkSuperBlog

via The magic that is a Paul Taylor Dance

It is a great loss and a sadness to hear that Paul Taylor has died at the age of 88 on August 28, 2018. His works leave us a delightful legacy.1TrusanvoecGoodePrintemps

The magic that is a Paul Taylor Dance

Watching movies about the civil war is a fraught experience. Whose side am I on? Which side is represented by Jimmy Stewart when he picks up his gun? Can we admire the artistry with which DW Griffiths gives the KKK a valiant star turn? Does irony excuse the racial politics when a mixed-race band of […]

via Between delight and dismay — Take Note

Between delight and dismay — Take Note

Posted in Alexei Ratmansky, American Ballet Theatre, ballet, balletic, dance, dance making, dancing, modern American dance, modern dance, modern dance meets ballet, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Uncategorized

Modern ballet

Dance evolves with the times as do all things, artistic or run-of-the-mill. It is what we need to keep in perspective as we watch young choreographers take on the creation of the next new ballet. They will be influenced by what has been termed modern dance, a genre dating back to Isadora Duncan’s day and represented prominently today by, among others, Paul Taylor (and his) American Modern Dance.

Modern dance is meant to be less formal, to eschew the stodgy. Not that Jerome Robbins, or George Balanchine, for that matter, can be thought of as stodgy. The ballets that are stepping, best foot forward, these days, tend to –not exactly relax, since many are as frenetic as they are innovative– be freer in mixing the metaphors of dance forms.

Lauren Lovett and Peter Walker, two of the more recently minted NYCB dance-makers, have emerged as rising stars of ballet. Lovett tends towards a romantic view of the classical. Walker is a bit of a renegade, although his second work, the 2018 dance odyssey, moves to a more traditional line.

The older guard is equally willng to mix things up. At 40, and after many years dancing as a principal with New York City Ballet, and working with his own troupe and as head of the Paris Opera Ballet, Benjamin Millepied is an elder statesman in the world of choreography. Millepied, whose Neverwhere was a lovely revelation at a recent NYCB performance, is a case in point. His work uses classical style married to contemporary scores–Neverwhere is set to music by Nico Muhly– and refreshing ideas about movement. Alexei Ratmansky, Artist in Residence at the American Ballet Theatre since 2008,  has given NYCB some delightful novelties, as well. His Odessa and Songs of Bukovina are works that join diverse styles of folk and ballet in beautiful complexity.

All of the action described here- ABT, NYCB, PTAMD– takes its place at Lincoln Center.
Paul Taylor American Modern Dance is in the midst of their spring season through the end of March. The New York City Ballet returns to the David H. Koch stage in April for their spring season. American Ballet Theatre begins its Metropolitan Opera House season in mid May.

Posted in historically-based musical, musical, Musical drama, musical theater, musical theatre, Uncategorized

Swing time

Source: Swing time

5019Broadway’s underappreciated Bandstand is set to close on September 17th.

Go! Now!

Thank us later.

Posted in Uncategorized

File under…

I tribute this meme to

Source: File under…


Admittedly, it is an obsessive trait that tends to pigeon-hole disparate entertainments in categories, but lordy it is also so much fun. Orderly — or sometimes quirky– groupings provide intellectual satisfaction.

Change the criteria and your lists have to pivot too. The syllabus varies depending on your P.O.V. If we slide our filmography through the filter of genre, our lists get longer and harder to contain. Try it, and you might see why I’ve said I can’t stop making lists.

Fish or fowl?

The decision to place a film in one group as opposed to another is arbitrary. I rely on subject matter. Sort of…. From one point of view, Chinatown finds itself mapped with Casablanca.  For instance, look at it one way and The Maltese Falcon nests with The Birds;  On The Road To pictures take Bing and Bob along for a trip with Easy RiderJaws pairs withMoby Dick; and Stormy Weather clears to Blue Skies.

The list becomes kind of a free association therapy.

Among my favorites are mafia films that are really comedies or satires. There is nothing intrinsically funny about the mob, so I make a “mafia” category under the comedy rubric, to wit:

Mafia films

While Goodfellas is my top #10, here are some for consideration; note not making you a unrefusable offer–
1. The Family, in which Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer shine, is witty and smart. This is a satire, but with enough violence and extortion to stay in full mob genre. Tommy Lee Jones does some heavy-lifting as the family’s handler.
2. Married to the Mob, as I recall, was a wives’ lark, prescient of any Jersey reality show that cropped up since.
3. Gigli, a rotten tomato mash, with Ben Affleck & Jennifer Lopez, in their dating heyday, is actually quite entertaining.
4. Mafia, a spoof on movies about the mob.
5. Donnie Broscoe: the dark side of mob life; you almost feel sorry for these soldiers of the cosa nostra.


Another kind of Wise Guy 

Woody Allen’s heroes are always flawed. His Irrational Man, takes the flaw to a level of indulgance that simply reorganizes reality . Joachim Phoenix makes an arresting leading man in this 2015 addition to the Allen oeuvre.

The Coen brothers also look to the darker side of our natures in their comedies. A Serious Man is about the desperation of a man, a professor like the one in Irrational Man, whose life is falling apart. And yes, it is a comedy, or perhaps a dramedy.

A Beautiful Mind is about a genius at work in which Russell Crowe plays Nobel Laureate, John Nash. Economic theory and the workings of the intellect are as tense and dramatic as any action picture Crowe has made.

Eddie Redmayne is physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, another genius bio-pic.

And so forth….

Money money money, honey!

The financial sector gets the treatment in which greed is front and center. Many of these are truly great, and some are truly iconic, movies:

Wall Street
”                  ” reprised in 2010
Wolf of Wall Street
The Boiler Room
Demolition (probably the oddest entry in this category)
Money Monster

In other corporate news

  • Patterns: from the ’50s, if you have not seen it, do so.
  • The Intern: a charmer
  • Up in the air
  • Michael Clayton
  • Chaplin’s Modern Times
  • The Desk Set
  • 9 to 5
  • Horrible Bosses
  • Office Space

Don’t play with your food

Foodies like going to the movies, too. There can be a lot of drama when tempered steel blades meet temperament. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the cineplex.

Catherine Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhardt, and Abigail Breslin in No Reservations

Bradley Cooper (Yes, chef) in Burnt

Journey of 100 Steps with Helen Mirren

Juliette Binoche’s Chocolat 

For the kiddies, there’s Ratatouille

Incomplete pass

It behooves me to admit that not only are each of my listings incomplete, and without appropriate notation or explanation, but also that there are many many categories I should have covered.

There are cop stories, crime stories, and buddy pictures with the subgenre of the female buddy pix like Thelma and Louise and … Thelma and Louise.

Sports stars

A couple of styles of cinema are particular favorites in our house– the romantic comedy and the sport genre film. When covering sports, film has been very generous and that list could go on and on and would include William Bendix and John Goodman portraying the Babe; keeping the setting in Boston, Fever Pitch. Giving equal time to their New York rivals, there is the fantastic The Pride of the Yankees. Combining business with sports and covering the business of sports, there’s Money BallMillion Dollar Arm. makes the cross cultural travail between cricket and baseball…

After baseball, where Bull Durham would be on first, and winning the home run derby every year, there is also basketball, and especially football. We would also have to look at all those terrific boxing films from Somebody Up There Likes Me, Raging Bull to The Great White HopeMillion Dollar Baby, and Rumble in the Jungle and so on. Golf also makes an appearance with Tin Cup and The Legend of Bagger Vance, as well as Caddyshack. Ping Pong Summer may be a feisty little stand alone.

Some of these things are not like the other

In pairing films, we recently took the apostrophe as far as we thought it could go in overlapping For Pete’s SakeWhat’s Up Doc? (both with Barbra Streisand) and She’s Funny That Way.

The latter two films are by Peter Bogdanovic, pointing towards another route for list-making: by auteur. The films of Woody Allen, Peter Bogdanovic, Joel and Ethan Coen, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Frances Ford Coppola and so on would be put through their paces, for instance. Of course, the idea of listing films by their star-power is so basic it hardly makes my list.

Or maybe we could just look at movies that have “moon” or Shampoo in the title or as a subject? Then one’s with the word “red” aka The Red ShoesReds… So many things to organize I wonder where to begin.

Trick or tweak

There is more forgotten than included on these lists, and lists of lists. It’s inevitable, really, given filmmaking’s hundred plus year history.

Russell Crowe’s  boxing picture, Cinderella Man , for instance, deserves a place on any lisy. Eastwood’s Sergio Leone résumé and his Dirty Harry pictures has not been mentioned. The Lethal Weapon franchise has spaiwned not only a network TV series but also allows us to full circle back to Crowe in Nice Guys.

I will tweak no more!