Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Oh Richard, you bloated spider, you humpbacked scene-stealer you. When will you ever be part of a play, and not a star turn?
Sigh. Judging by the production currently running at BAM? Never.
As with every other Dicky Three-Eyes I have ever seen, with the exception of Olivier's movie, if you take away the lead actor from this Bridge Project production, everything falls apart. If a good play is a mountain range, then this is a single mountain towering over a collection of little hills. A great mountain, but still a mountain, with nothing to contrast itself against. A one-man show, in other words.
The beauty of that? You get to see Kevin Spacey go to town. And it's a great town, complete with incredible physical contortions a la Mark Rylance in
The major flaw? Because Spacey’s Richard is so blatantly over-the-top evil, everybody else on stage look blind or brain-damaged--so instead of saying to yourself, “Look what he’s getting away with,” you say, “Why are they letting him get away with this?” Which, when you’re doing a three-hour play, is like riding a roller coaster backwards, slowly but surely bringing you further and further away from the fun and excitement, until you’re so distant from the ride that all you can see is the architecture. Plus your back hurts a lot. (Thank you,
There are a couple of brilliant first-half multimedia moments, but sadly these are undercut by the interpretation of Richard as an obvious villain. Even the dumbest politico in
For the Shakespearean purists at this blog (cough), director Sam Mendes didn't cut a whole hell of a lot, so for the first time ever I actually got to see a couple of the women scenes that usually never get done when this play gets produced. And now I know why. And have to ask myself, "Did that EVER WORK? Even in 1594? Really? You had four boy actors who were THAT GOOD in 1594 that you wrote a lo-o-o-o-ong scene for them? Wow, Bill. Cocky in your thirties, weren't you?”
This is also the final Bridge Project presentation, which is odd for two reasons: because the last two projects have had two plays in repertory, and because those plays have had more than one star. Or more than one mountain (See above). But it’s not up to the level of the last two, and not least because it feels like the bus and truck Richard (or as we used to say, referring to
Bottom line: it makes me want to live long enough to see someone play Richard like a male femme fatale.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Since I've been feeling more walled up than a Poe protagonist lately, here are three Wall Of Sound-related tunes, two produced by Phil Spector and one a loving homage to all things Spectorish.
"River Deep--Mountain High" from 1966 barely climbed to 88 on the Billboard 100 and was one of the most expensive singles ever produced at the time, costing over $20,000 in 1966 dollars (that's $138,000 in Today Cash)--which didn't include Phil Spector's private arrangement with Ike Turner (Spector paid him $20K just to stay away from the recording studio while Spector cut the single and the album with Tina Turner). The failure of the single to chart depressed Spector so much that he didn't do another musical thing for the next two years except sing the phrase "Music critics suck" over and over again.
River Deep, Mountain High
This next one is not as Wall-of-Soundy as RDMH, but it's definitely memorable for its subject matter alone. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and recorded by The Crystals in 1962, the song was supposedly created after Goffin and King discovered that Little Eva (the singer on their "Do The Locomotion") was being beaten by her boyfriend, and when they asked why she put up with it, she replied that it was because he loved her. (Shades of Carousel.)
He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss
And finally, on a (thankfully) much sillier note, we have this hot and sweaty duet between Fee Waybill and Re Styles from The Tubes' second album, which was arranged in Wall Of Sound style by Jack Nitzsche. It's one of my favorite songs, and it totally deserves to be in a John Waters movie somewhere. Or have John Waters direct a video of it.
Don't Touch Me There
Monday, January 23, 2012
She’s beautiful the way a knife is sharp. She makes me drunker than a fifth of scotch. One smile and she can play me like a harp. Her heart’s a gun, and I’m the latest notch. There’s nothing that’s beneath her or above her. She’s silk and silver, with a soul of sludge. When she says “I” she means her and her lover; When she says “We” she means her and her grudge. She’ll screw me till my life’s totally effed-- She’ll say "I'll always love you" to my face-- Then hit the road and make me think I left (But keep the door cracked open just in case). She’ll find a way to make me hers for life, Then stab me so I never feel the knife.
Copyright 2012 Matthew J Wells
Sunday, January 22, 2012
a pair of black four-inch heels
The moon goes barefoot
Copyright 2012 Matthew J Wells
*I know, I know--"sol" is masculine, but for the poem to work, they both have to be feminine; and I'm also riffing on this great restaurant in Austin, so it's not only bad grammar but a bad pun.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Here's something that doesn't happen much any longer: you hear a song for the first time on your local radio station and you fall in love with it so hard and so fast that you immediately throw on a coat and run off to your local record store to buy a copy of the album it's on.
(Care to calculate how many archaeological references there are in that sentence? I count at least three--"local radio station," "local record store," and "album." And given the recent 65 degree Fahrenheit weather in January, "throw on a coat" makes four.)
But if I can go Schliemann on y'all, the above is exactly what I did during the first week of October 1982 when I was listening to WNEW and they played "Telegraph Road" from the Dire Straits album Love Over Gold. Looked at my roommate and said "Holy shit, is that great or what?" and he said "I want to hear that again," and I said, "Be back in ten minutes," threw on my coat, walked to the Sam Goody's in Times Square, bought the album, came home, and played the song at least three times straight before listening to the rest of the album.
It's the guitar at the end that makes the song. It doesn't end so much as fade off in the distance, like a highway that always beckons past some hoped-for destination.
And speaking of the guitar, I've been trying to source this for days and drawing a blank (so you're just going to have to trust my memory on this), but there's a quote from Eric Clapton somewhere to the effect that the first time he heard Mark Knopfler play was the first time he ever felt threatened as a guitarist.
Romeo and Juliet
Monday, January 9, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Copyright 2012 Matthew J Wells
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Poetry Magazines Read: 21
Girly Shots: 7
Wild Animals Held: 1
Resolutions made on 1/1/11: 5