Another installment: The Famous Artswatch Links Post: #4 2012

Cezanne's "The Card Players," subject of a lecture at Reed College.

We love the idea of a “distributed” film festival, meaning we see the films on our own and then report back to the website for discussion purposes. BldgBlog’s “Breaking Out and Breaking In” festival focuses on prison escape movies and it  begins with “Grand Illusion”: “For me it is simple. A golf course is for golf. A tennis court is for tennis. A prison camp is for escaping.”

Sojourn’s Michael Rohd participated in one of the Theater Communication Group’s “call and response” projects. Here, Rohd talks about what “leaping” in the theater might really mean:

“In schools where theatre is taught, including the one I teach at, Northwestern, doing is the grail. Yes, pretend. Yes, imagine. But most importantly, do. Do with courage. Do with skill. Do with ferocious determination.

But-
Do what?

Take on a project that seems impossible?
Start a theatre company in a challenging economic climate?
Make theatre in the politically and ethically charged context of ‘communities’ you agree to see as collaborators rather than potential audience?
Commit to change the world when merely speaking the word change runs you the risk of being branded naïve, presumptuous, unrealistic, and worst of all…an activist masquerading as an artist?

Why do you do what you do?”

Reed College’s Stephen E. Ostrow lecture will be given by Richard Shiff on “Cezanne, Loss of Subject,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 7, in the Vollum Lecture Hall. It’s free. I was struck by Shiff’s thesis: “Perhaps volatile feeling has the final say, not structured reason. Life is manifold, messy, inherently anti-ideological. This is the truth that at least some of Cézanne’s early admirers believed his art confirmed. It made them tolerant of the singular opacity — or the utter banality — of images like the Card Players, where marks and their colours attracted more interest than the theme.” In other words, they were interested in Cezanne as an abstract painter!

Yesterday was the birthday of Philip Glass, and so this interview, conducted by the second cousin of the composer, radio genius Ira Glass, was circulating on the internet, widely. We picked it up from All-Classical.

Chamber Music Northwest’s David Shifrin plays a fine clarinet, remember? Fine enough to please the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein: “The sunny classicism of Beethoven’s early Trio in B flat (Opus 11) made a nice foil to the more inward-looking romanticism of Brahms’ Trio in A minor (Opus 114) and four selections from Bruch’s Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Cello and Piano (Opus 83). Balancing the clarinet’s woody, and potentially overpowering, timbre against the very different sonic vocabulary of the cello and piano is a challenge Shifrin, Finckel and Wu met with conspicuous success throughout the evening. You might even say the playing was as colorful as the rainbow-sherbet caftan worn by Wu.”

The “rainbow-sherbet caftan” is a very nice touch!

We give critic Greg Sandow a lot of space here, just because he’s so provocative. This post about why classical music folk can’t agree on the state of the business, is a case in point: “How is it, then, that we can’t agree on how urgent the crisis might be, about what its true parameters are, about how badly the San Francisco Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra might be in trouble, and about whether these troubles afflict the field as a whole, or just a few institutions with particular problems all their own?”

We broke this on our Facebook page: Portland developer Art DeMuro has given UO’s historic preservation program $2.8 million for expansion.

From the press release:

During the next two years, the program will be able to launch an annual symposium in Portland. New courses will be offered in both Eugene and Portland. Plus, additional staff and adjunct professors who are experts in historic preservation will be hired.

At the same time, the program will establish a new concentration in green preservation as part of the current Ecological Design Certificate, and re-energize the current concurrent master’s degree in architecture and historic preservation with a focus on cultural and environmental sustainability. The university will seek approval to relocate the core of the graduate program from Eugene to Portland’s White Stag Block, so that students and faculty alike might have more opportunities for fieldwork, research, and service learning within a diverse urban context.

Finally, the gift includes a bequest to fund the Venerable Chair in Historic Preservation. This chair will be the first endowed chair in historic preservation in a public university for a permanent faculty member, and the only endowed chair in historic preservation in the western U.S.

“This gift from Art DeMuro is truly transformational,” said Frances Bronet, dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. “With his support, we will be able to accomplish many long held goals for the program.”

The reviews of the LA Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel’s Mahler Project remain rapturous. Here’s the LA Times’ classical music reviewer Mark Swed: “Mahler may have had Armageddon in sight in the Sixth, but he knew the world’s wonders, and the sheer vibrancy of the L.A. Phil’s instrumental dabs of color made this performance practically — and usually for the Sixth — a celebration of life. Gorgeous lyricism sprang, seemingly out of nowhere. Cow bells rang invitingly from onstage and off, as if the lush mountainside beckoned. The slow movement is even more beautiful than the Fifth’s Adagietto. The maws open in the Finale, but with such colors as music had never known, and these obviously interested Dudamel as much as the hurtling rhythmic energy.”

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