Friday, May 30, 2008

Natalie Merchant with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall

By Joan Anderman
Globe Staff / May 28, 2008

From the moment Natalie Merchant uttered the sweet opening stanza of "Autumn Lullaby," a traditional British text set to Merchant's own melody and sure-handed orchestration, it was glowingly, elegantly, poetically clear that the Boston Pops EdgeFest has finally found a match.

Natalie Merchant with the Boston Pops At Symphony Hall, last night and tonight.
more stories like this

More to the point, Merchant has found her medium. Yes, the singer-songwriter scored platinum sales with her pop band 10,000 Maniacs, and she forged a commendably searching solo career in the group's wake. But Merchant's woody quaver has never sounded quite so right as it did framed by flutes, a weaving clarinet, and a gentle harp. Keith Lockhart's orchestra - prone to frustratingly slight flourishes during the lion's share of previous EdgeFest outings - was a full partner in the rich, handsome music.

The concert wasn't without bumps. Without a rhythm section to anchor the songs, mistakes were freely made and gingerly corrected, prompting Merchant to explain that the single allotted rehearsal is what really accounts for this festival's suggestive title. She's right. Far from edgy, Merchant and the Pops performed six new songs and as many from her back catalog, each as literate and lovely as the next.

"Verdi Cries" was transformed from a 1980s folk-rocker into a densely textured art song (with orchestration by frequent Pops contributor Sean O'Loughlin), and it stood as an unexpected companion to "Sonnet 73," a Merchant-Shakespeare collaboration. Calm and formidable as a Plainswoman, in a long blue dress and dark red shawl, Merchant had the quiet bravura required to make unabashed eye contact while singing the Bard.

By contrast, she was moved to tears during "Life is Sweet." That emotional song from 1998's "Ophelia" was a vocal high point for Merchant, who bit off and savored her lines as if they were a last meal, but a sappy interlude for the orchestra, which can't seem to conceptualize anything beyond cheesy strings and toothless drums when faced with a pop tune.

Merchant has been on extended maternity leave for the past five years, and motherhood has made an indelible mark. She set an anonymous nursery rhyme, "The Man in the Wilderness," and "Spring and Fall: To a Young Child," a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, to earthy, graceful melodies; both are slated to appear on the artist's forthcoming Children's Poetry Project album, due out in December.

Thanks to the strength and clarity of her musical personality, her stately new works made surprising sense alongside "This House Is On Fire," reimagined by orchestrator Stephen Barber as a sinewy, restless meditation, and "The Letter," stripped of everything but its beauty.

Joan Anderman can be reached at
© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 29, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 29, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
This would be a good week to celebrate failure -- to laugh about the comic horror stories of your past defeats, to gain a new appreciation for the prickly lessons you learned, and to let go of any regret, shame, or anger you might still be lugging around. I'd even recommend that you and your friends stage a Brag About Your Failures party. Try to outdo each other as you render in ignominious detail the things that went wrong, the mistakes you made, and the people who let you down. I think you'll be amazed at how effectively this will dissolve the karma left over from those misadventures -- and help free you from their ghostly clutches.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 22, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 22, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
I'm issuing a too-much-of-a-good-thing warning. Soaking up too much pleasure could dilute the value of your bliss. Expressing too much personal power could scare away valuable allies who are competent but not entirely confident. Pushing too hard on behalf of your creative pragmatism could subtly undermine the labor of love you've worked so hard on. Therefore, Capricorn, please accept my invitation to enjoy a period of rest and assimilation. You can return later for another round of pure intensity.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Judy Collins May 16th Town Hall


Friday, May 16 at 8 pm


Straight from her critically acclaimed six-week performance at Café Carlyle – Judy Collins’ legendary voice will fill the intimate setting of New York City’s Town Hall Theatre on Friday, May 16 at 8 pm.

Few singers have the staying power of folk icon Judy Collins. For more than 45 years, Collins has thrilled audiences worldwide with her unique blend of interpretative folksongs and contemporary themes – her dulcet tones gracing our ears, her poetic lyrics galvanizing a generation. Stephen Holden, New York Times observes, "... Her voice, clear and vibrato free but inflected with delicate little shivers, [creates an] impulse to turn your head up, close your eyes and tune in to messages from far, far away."

Collins is known worldwide for her music and lyric performances. Her rendition of Both Sides Now has been entered into the Grammy’s Hall of Fame. Her version of Send in the Clowns won Song of the Year at the 1975 Grammy Awards. Collins’ more contemporary songs have included the poignant and haunting Wings of Angels. Judy Collins continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

Opening for Ms Collins will be singer/songwriter Amy Speace, who has already won a loyal grass-roots fan base, thanks in large part to live performances that merge warmth, humor and emotional immediacy, and to a tireless touring schedule that's already taken her across the United States. The Village Voice observed that Speace is "taking her Americana away from twangy contemplation toward tangy confrontation" and noting that she's "not another of those breathy would-be child poets, but a real singing writer of songs." While Music Row’s renowned Nashville critic, Robert K. Oermann, dubbed her a "new star."

the swell season

Radio City Monday, May 19th.

Say It to Me Now
This Low
The Moon
When Your Mind's Made Up
True (The Frames)
I Have Loved You Wrong
Falling Slowly
What Happens When the Heart Just Stops (The Frames)
Astral Weeks* (Van Morrison)
The Wicker Man
(If You've Gotta Go, Go with) Happiness
If You Want Me
The Blue Shoes (Colm Mac Con Iomaire)
Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy
Gold (Interference)
Fitzcarraldo* (The Frames)
Star Star (The Frames)
Into the Mystic* (Van Morrison)

*Standing ovation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

no child left behind

No child left behind

no child left behind, white house website

NEA's Principles for ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has produced many unintended and unfavorable consequences for students, parents and educators across the country. Six years of experience with NCLB demonstrate the law's complexity and the vital need to take the time to carefully consider and fully understand how each proposed change will affect our nation's schools and students. NEA offers these principles for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization and we encourage Congress to listen to the voices of educators in developing legislative proposals.
Quick Links

• NEA Positive Agenda for ESEA
• Members' NCLB Stories
• NCLB in the News
• NEA Legislative Action Center
• Discussion Board
• Joint Organizational Statement
• Lawsuit Challenges NCLB
• NCLB/ESEA Basics
NCLB - Step by Step

A history of NCLB—a look at the intermittent highs and more consistent lows of the law since 2002. | Timeline

The federal government should serve as a partner to support state efforts to transform public schools. The 21st century requires a partnership among all levels of government -- federal, state and local -- to make up for the historic inequitable distribution of tools and resources to our nation's students, and to create a more innovative educational experience so that students are prepared for challenging postsecondary experiences and the world of work.

A reauthorized ESEA must ensure that all children -- especially the most disadvantaged -- have access to an education that will prepare them to succeed in the 21st century. The federal government should focus on high-quality early childhood education and child care, parental/family involvement and mentoring programs, as well as access to quality healthcare for children to help overcome issues of poverty that may impede student progress. It must invest in proven programs such as universal prekindergarten, knowledge-rich curricula, and intensive interventions, and must provide resources to help improve teaching and learning conditions through smaller classes and school repair and modernization.

A revamped accountability system must correctly identify schools in need of assistance and provide a system of effective interventions to help them succeed. The paradigm must change from labeling and punishing to investing in proven programs and interventions. States and school districts should be given significant flexibility through a transparent process to meet agreed-upon outcomes, using a variety of growth models based on movement towards proficiency, as opposed to 100 percent proficiency in 2014. School quality and student learning must be based on multiple measures and indicators not based primarily on test scores.

Teachers and other staff must be provided supports and resources to help students succeed. Hard-to-staff schools, especially those with high concentrations of disadvantaged students or those that have consistently struggled to meet student achievement targets, need significant supports and resources, including additional targeted funding to attract and retain quality teachers, and induction programs with intensive mentoring components that will help teachers become successful. A reauthorized ESEA should exclude any provision linking student test scores to teacher compensation.

The federal government should require states to detail how they will remedy inequities in educational tools, opportunities and resources. Funding should be targeted to schools with the highest concentrations of poverty. The federal government should provide resources necessary to meet the law's requirements and mandates.

State and local collective bargaining for school employees must be respected and not undermined.

Targeted programs that support special needs students and schools -- such as English Language Acquisition, Impact Aid, rural schools and Indian education -- should be maintained and expanded.

The federal government should serve as a clearinghouse, making available to educators a wealth of knowledge about how best to teach students and help schools improve practices.

Even the Department of Education has recognized problems in the existing law and has instituted changes that provide some needed flexibility to certain regulations.

NEA believes the changes made so far are steps in the right direction, but more significant changes are needed in order to make the law workable and effective. We hope you will join us by urging your elected representatives in Congress to support legislative proposals that will improve NCLB.

The Hillary Waltz

Op-Ed Columnist
The Hillary Waltz

Published: April 2, 2008

Democrats getting jittery about the alienating effects of the endless soap opera they call their campaign should buck up. These “hand-wringers,” as the Hillary strategist Harold Ickes calls them, are not seeing the larger picture.

Hillary is cruelly misunderstood, and she deserves more credit for her benevolence. Not only does she have a lot in common with Rocky, as she said Tuesday in Philadelphia, but she has a lot in common with another famous character — the Marschallin in Strauss’s bittersweet comic opera “Der Rosenkavalier.”

The Marschallin is a princess married to a Viennese field marshal who has a liaison dangereuse with a younger man, Count Octavian. Though she’s worried about her fleeting youth and the fickleness of men, she instructs the young man on the ways of love and then gracefully sets him free, allowing him to find happiness with young Sophie as a soaring waltz plays.

Whether or not she wins, Hillary has already given noble service as a sophisticated political tutor for Obama, providing her younger colleague with much-needed seasoning. Who else was going to toughen him up? Howard Dean? John Edwards? Dennis Kucinich?

Obama had not been hit hard until this campaign; he sailed through his Senate race. Without Hillary, he never would have learned to be a good debater. He never would have understood how to robustly answer distorted and personal attacks. He never would have been warned about how harmful an unplugged spouse can be. He never would have realized how a luminous speech can be effective damage control.

When pressed about whether he’s ready for Swift-boating, Obama has seemed a bit cavalier. But the Hillary camp will garrote him with his mistakes until he fully appreciates what garroting feels like. Ickes told a Web site Tuesday that he has been pursuing superdelegates by pressing the Rev. Wright issue.

Besides coaching Obama, Hillary is also shielding him. If she had not fibbed about the Tuzla airport landing, and then fibbed to get out of a fib, the press would have stayed focused on Wright. She has been an invaluable lightning rod.

Hillary has clearly raised Obama’s consciousness about the importance of courting the ladies. Touring a manufacturing plant in Allentown, Pa., Tuesday, he was flirtatious, winking and grinning at the women working there, calling one “Sweetie,” telling another she was “beautiful,” and imitating his daughters’ dance moves by twirling around.

Later, at a Scranton town hall, he went up to Denise Mercuri, a pharmacist from Dunmore wearing a Hillary button. “What do I need to do? Do you want me on my knees?” he charmed, before promising: “I’ll give you a kiss.”

Obama has been less adept at absorbing the lesson of Hillary’s metamorphosis from entitled queen of the party to scrappy blue-collar mama. His strenuous and inadvertently hilarious efforts to woo working-class folk in Pennsylvania have only made him seem more effete. Keeping his tie firmly in place, he genteelly sipped his pint of Yuengling beer at Sharky’s sports cafe in Latrobe and bowled badly in Altoona. Challenging Obama to a bowl-off, Hillary kindly offered to “spot him two frames.”

At the Wilbur chocolate shop in Lititz Monday, he spent most of his time skittering away from chocolate goodies, as though he were a starlet obsessing on a svelte waistline.

“Oh, now,” the woman managing the shop told him with a frown, “you don’t worry about calories in a chocolate factory.”

The Times’s Michael Powell reports that, after watching five plump, white-haired women in plastic hairnets spin the chocolate into such confections as “Phantom of the Opera” masks and pink high heels, he ventured: “Do you actually eat the chocolate or do you get sick of it?” They giggled at his silliness.

He looked even more concerned when he was offered a chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting. “Oh, man.” he said. “That’s too decadent for me.”

One of the most valuable lessons the gritty Hillary can teach the languid Obama — and the timid Democrats — is that the whole point of a presidential race is to win.

It’s not to share power, or force the squabbling couple into an arranged marriage. The winner wins, even if it’s only by a fraction of a percentage point or one Supreme Court justice. Winning has no margin of error, as the Democrats should have learned by now. And the winner gets to decide his or her running mate.

But the ultimate favor Hillary can do for the Illinois freshman is to fight him full-out until the finale and then gracefully release him so he can find happiness with another.

Hillary’s work is done only when she is done, because the best way for Obama to prove he’s ready to stare down Ahmadinejad is by putting away someone even tougher.
More Articles in Opinion »

a student

This semester I have become a student of social policy. My journey began in January with the beginning of Primary Season. I started reading everything i could and watched all the debates. I watched the Pundits and read the website. I started the semester teaching the 14th Amendment and the Voter Rights Act of 1965. I knew that this primary season would be something special.

as Part of the Tribeca film festival, i saw a documentary on the primary and election of John F Kennedy and the energized younger generation of the 1959 Kennedy resembled the primary run of Barak Obama. The energized "based" doesnt mean votes. The debate between Kennedy and Nixon looks like Democrat vs Republican except the Democratic candidate, is not catholic but rather black or a woman. There were many similarities but Obama is no Kennedy..

His policies on NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND and Universal Health Care are those of Senator TED KENNEDY Who has been trying to get these through Congress for over 20 years. So its Kennedy, Tom Daschle boosting the OBAMA campaign, the policies that Obama speaks about are immature and many times not realistic but did he bring new people to the Party. Many of whom cannot tell you WHY they voted for him, some people because he was black. As Katt Williams said on the View " cant we just celebrate for a while" a celebration is in order but its premature and at what cost.

I have watched the pundits and the press, skewer Senator Clinton. I have seen her Skewer herself and I have seen them use her husband as a skewer. I am not sure the US knows what to do with an ex president as a first man. I am not sure the country knows what to do with a Female president. Will Bill Clinton be able to have a role relegated to Easter Egg Rolls or Christmas tree decorating. what a waste of talent.

I have seen Senator Clinton having to work hard, know more, be sharper, be keener, be more of a vulture. She was the frontrunner who maybe took it all for granted and after IOWA, had to come back and after NH had to come back, loss after loss, like a rollercoast, I have watched her.... Her policies are sound and make sense. She plans to care for the vunerable populations, Women, children, vets, the working class. etc.
I think her idea of a poverty czar is a nod to Edwards and a needed position. Clinton is tested and has had to learn to be defended. A woman candidate, any woman does not have an easy road. I think the gentleman's club made it harder for her. As a woman and as Senator Clinton, baggage and all.

THere are still many unanswered questions about Obama for me. I dont believe he is a muslim, i want to know his relationship to Farakkan and the Nation of Islam. I want to know his view towards Israel. His lack of experience and lack of international knowledge, means that he will take 4 years to be trained to be President. He will not get his plans through congress, they are still too undefined and unrealistic. I still believe his universal Health care is not universal, it leaves too many people out. I think that he spews inaccurate information from Massachusetts Mandates. He cannot fund NCLB. Pay as you go is the budget policy. Will either candidate settle Iraq, no i dont believe they will but i believe Senator Clinton more.

I hear HRC speak and I know that her policies are sound and doable. It too bad that the season may end without her policies being the platform. The public may not be in agreement with the person but the policies are necessary change.

I believe that Florida and Michigan deserve their voice be heard. i will still study this election as i am teaching Social Policy again in the fall and will have my class follow the election.

for more information

On the Issues


I had a dream that someone presented me with my wallet. It didnt have credit cards or my License in it. After a brief moment of anxiety, i realized that I moved my essential information to another wallet and what was lost was not the essential things but rather some auxillary information. In the dream, my anxiety decreased and i relaxed.

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 15, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 15, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

During your entire life, you have maybe never been as free as you are now from the need to be rescued by some savior. You don't need anyone to rescue you from your own dark fantasies because, at least for the moment, your bright fantasies have rendered them obsolete. You don't need anyone to liberate you from oppression or enslavement, because you are fully empowered to do the job yourself. You don't even need anyone to deliver you from evil, since your recent hard work has made evil allergic to you.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Calling All Women

, “Calling All Women” by Ruby Dee:

Calling All Women

Calling all sisters. Calling all

Righteous sisters.

Calling all women. To steal away

To our secret place. Have a meeting

Face to face. Look at the facts

And determine our pace. Calling all


We want to reach – first and second


Third world women

Come together!

Women in and outside the power structure –

Working women,

Welfare women,

Women who feel alienated and isolated

Women who are all frustrated

Women who have given up – women – women

Questioning women – women

Unpolarized and unorganized.

Ostracized. Tired of being penalized

Come help us start to bridge the gaps

Racial, cultural, or generation

We want some action and veneration.

These men, these men they

Just ain’t doing it.

They’ve had hundreds of years

Now they ‘bout to ruin it.

Kitchen, office, ex-prison women

Old and young and middle-aged women

Make this scene

Oh yes, and bring your lunch!

Problems, problems common problems

That we make and cause each other

Sister, daughter, old grandmother

Female child you can bring your little brother

Take the subway, grad a cab

Saddle your mule

Bike it, limo

Take a choo-choo, fly

Or pick ‘em up and lay ‘em down.

Socialism, capitalism, communism

Feminism, womanism, lesbianism

Here-and-now or futurism

We just can’t afford a schism

We got to get together or die.

Now is the time for an evolution

Let’s all search and find a solution

For how we’ll make it to the next revolution

Or die.
Oh yes. And don’t forget your lunch!

From the 1987 book by Ruby Dee, My One Good Nerve, available at

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Zen of Bobby V

(The Zen of Bobby V)
In English, Japanese with English subtitles.
1 of 3


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[ZENOF] | 2008 | 93 min | Feature Documentary

Directed by: Andrew Jenks, Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew and Andrew Muscato

World Premiere

Interests: *ESPN*, Documentary, New York, Sports

Moods: 8 Competitive, Cross-Cultural, Exhilarating, Frank, Irreverent, Manic, Playful, Quirky
Cast & Credits
Director: Andrew Jenks, Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew and Andrew Muscato
Principal Cast: Bobby Valentine
Producer: Andrew Muscato
Executive Producer: John Dahl
Producer: Daniel Silver
Producer: Connor Schell
Composer: Chad Kelly

Program Notes

He made his Major League Baseball debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers at just 19 years old. Since then, as a player, coach, and mostly manager, Bobby Valentine has been a stalwart figure in the world of baseball, and not just in America. After his first managerial position leading the Texas Rangers, Valentine went to Japan for a brief stint as a manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines, testing the waters in a country where baseball was quickly becoming the most popular sport around. He returned to the United States in 1996 to become manager of the New York Mets. In 2000 he led his team to the World Series against the crosstown rival Yankees, but the Mets' loss in that game was the beginning of the end for Valentine. After finishing last in the National League East in 2002, he was fired. But in 2004, Valentine headed back to Japan, determined to help transform Japanese baseball into a real rival for the American major leagues instead of just another farm system for talent. Since Valentine returned, the Marines have been a perennial contender and even won the championship in 2005, prompting Valentine to propose a true World Series: a matchup between the American and Japanese champions. He has tried to boost the Japanese game in quality as well as stature, arguing that the Japanese league shouldn't play second fiddle to anyone. Along the way, Valentine has become an icon and hero in Japan, a recognizable celebrity as popular as any ballplayer. Andrew Jenks, Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew, and Andrew Muscato take the audience behind the scenes into a baseball-season-in-the-life of this energetic, enthusiastic, and outspoken American who continues to prove that his love for the game is infectious even across oceans.
--Aaron Dobbs

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 8, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 8, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
It's an excellent time to make yourself more magnetic to blessings. You might want to experiment, therefore, with good luck charms or magic invocations -- anything that you imagine might attract benevolence into your life. How about the potion that is popular in South Africa right now? It's a concoction cooked up from ground-up vulture bones. Or maybe the kind of mystic jewelry I saw advertised in one of the tabloids, a necklace made of meteorite chunks? Both of those would pale in comparison, however, to the thing I consider the very best attractor of blessings. It's the sacred metaphorical talisman that Tom Waits recommends in his song "Get Behind the Mule": Always keep a diamond in your mind.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

speed racer

1 of 2


This is a test

[SPEED] | 2008 | 120 min | Feature Narrative

Directed by: Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski

World Premiere

Interests: Action, Coming of Age

Moods: 6 Epic, Exhilarating, Joyful, Manic, Playful, Visceral
Cast & Credits
Director: Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski
Principal Cast: Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman
Screenwriters: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski

Program Notes

Action. Born to race cars, Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is aggressive, instinctive and, most of all, fearless. His only real competition is the memory of the brother he idolized-the legendary Rex Racer, whose death in a race has left behind a legacy that Speed is driven to fulfill. Speed is loyal to the family racing business, led by his father, Pops Racer (John Goodman), the designer of Speed's thundering Mach 5. When Speed turns down a lucrative and tempting offer from Royalton Industries, he not only infuriates the company's maniacal owner (Roger Allam) but uncovers a terrible secret-some of the biggest races are being fixed by a handful of ruthless moguls who manipulate the top drivers to boost profits. If Speed won't drive for Royalton, Royalton will see to it that the Mach 5 never crosses another finish line. The only way for Speed to save his family's business and the sport he loves is to beat Royalton at his own game. With the support of his family and his loyal girlfriend, Trixie (Christina Ricci), Speed teams with his one-time rival-the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox)-to win the race that had taken his brother's life: the death-defying, cross-country rally known as The Crucible.
--- Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures / Village Road

President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy

President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy
(A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy)


This is a test

[PRESI] | 2008 | 85 min | Feature Documentary

Directed by: Robert Drew

World Premiere

Interests: Documentary, History, Politics

Moods: 7 Biographical, Glamorous, Iconic, Intimate, Investigative, Political, Urbane
Cast & Credits
Director: Robert Drew
Producer: Robert Drew
Narrator: Alec Baldwin
Photographers: Richard Leacock, DA Pennebaker, Al Maysles, James Lipscomb, Abbot Mills
Field Producers: Gregory Shuker, Hope Ryden

Program Notes

When John F. Kennedy launched his bid for the presidency, Robert Drew was there, always a step behind him, catching history on camera as it happened. In the years that followed, Kennedy continued to allow Drew and his team unprecedented access-to his family, to the members of his administration, and to his highlevel briefings on such signal matters as nuclear disarmament and civil rights. Though much of that footage has been seen before, this new, tightly edited cull of the Drew archives provides a timely update of the Kennedy mythos. Not since 1968, when his brother Robert ran, has the John F. Kennedy name been so endlessly or meaningfully invoked in a presidential election. Whatever viewers' takes on the 2008 race, A President to Remember offers an insightful reminder of what an unlikely candidate JFK was all those years ago: an eastern seaboard millionaire seeking to lead the party of the working class, a Catholic subject to generalized suspicion of his faith, a lightly pedigreed upstart running on a platform of change at a time when Cold War paranoia seemed to demand the steady hand of Humphrey, of Johnson, of Nixon. Of course, Kennedy beat them all. But A President to Remember is a film for those who already know the broad outlines of this history and of the events that followed. Narrator Alec Baldwin provides a minimalist gloss on the Bay of Pigs, the rise of the Berlin Wall, and the desegregation showdown with Governor George Wallace, but Drew's camera remains in the back rooms with Kennedy, reading his face as history is being written. For those who know the legend, here's the man.
-- Peter Scarlet

the univese of Keith Haring

[UNIVE] | 2007 | 90 min | Feature Documentary

Directed by: Christina Clausen

U.S. Premiere

Interests: *NYcomp*, Art/Literature, Biography, Documentary, Female Directors, LGBT, New York

Moods: 6 Biographical, Brainy, Eccentric, Iconic, Joyful, Playful
Cast & Credits
Director: Christina Clausen
Principal Cast: he Haring Family, Kenny Scharf, Tony Shafrazi, Yoko Ono, Kermit Oswald, Julia Gruen
Producers: Eric Ellena, Ian Ayres
Editor: Silvia Giuletti
Soundtrack: Angelo Talocci
Theme Song: Junior Vasquez
Scientific Consultant: Gianni Mercurio

Program Notes

The creator of some of the most popular, enduring images of late 20th-century art, Keith Haring was also an iconic figure of the downtown New York scene in the '80s. Christina Clausen's documentary offers an affectionate, deeply personal glimpse into Haring's life, from his early years growing up in a small, conservative Pennsylvania town to his heyday as a world-renowned artist, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol. Haring's family and childhood friends offer anecdotes about the artist's early years, when he basked in '60s pop culture and developed a penchant for drawing, but it is the recollections of the '70's and '80s New York art scene that form that heart and soul of this documentary. Combining music of the era, photo stills, and audio excerpts from interviews conducted with Haring himself, Clausen brings the sights and sounds of these decades vividly to life. Yoko Ono, Junior Vasquez, David LaChappelle, and gallery owner Tony Shafrazi are among those who offer insight into the significance of Haring's work as well as their personal memories of their friendship with him. The film also examines Haring's oft-repeated maxim that "art is for everyone," his then-controversial decision to open Pop Shop (a store in SoHo selling merchandise with Haring's images on it), and his openness about his AIDS diagnosis at time when few were willing to discuss the disease publicly. The Universe of Keith Haring does not, however, dwell on Haring's untimely death at the age of 31-rather, it celebrates the spirit of his life and his art, which continue to have a lasting influence.

Zoned In

nterests: *NYcomp*, African American, Biography, Coming of Age, Documentary, New York, Social Issues
Cast & Credits
Director: Daniela Zanzotto
Producer: Daniela Zanzotto
Director of Photography: Daniela Zanzotto
Editor: Dominique Lutier
Sound Designer: Ben Baird
Music Supervisor: Create Fresh Music

Program Notes

Winner of the New York LOVES Film Award. Special Awards Screenings of this film will be held on May 4th (see schedule for details).

Filmed over the course of nine years, Zoned In traces the remarkable real-life journey of 16-year-old Daniel from a Bronx high school to an Ivy League university while simultaneously exploring the role of race and class in the American education system. Narrated by Daniel himself, the movie celebrates the accomplishments of this extraordinary young man but does not shy away from depicting his struggles to fit in amongst the privileged students at his college and his candid questioning of a system that has allowed him to excel but has left so many of his friends and family members behind. By the age of 15, Daniel had sold drugs, fathered a son, witnessed his mother's arrest, and watched of two of his brothers get thrown in jail. The following year, his mother decided a fresh start was in order for her family, and she moved them from North Carolina to the South Bronx, where Daniel began his studies at Taft High School. The first in his family to graduate from high school, he was thrilled to be accepted into a prestigious Ivy League university. Despite his optimism about the opportunities that await him there, upon arrival he finds himself illprepared both socially and academically. Propelled by his determination to return to and have a positive impact on his Bronx neighborhood, Daniel ultimately manages to refocus himself and succeed academically, but his faith in the US educational system is shaken along the way. With shades of Hoop Dreams, this documentary is a memorable portrait of young man who beat the odds and triumphed over the many barriers that stood in front of him.
--Nancy Schafer

the caller


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[CALLE] | 2008 | 95 min | Feature Narrative

Directed by: Richard Ledes

World Premiere

Interests: *NYcomp*, Crime, Drama, Film Noir, Returning Filmmaker, Suspense

Moods: 4 Intricate, Mysterious, Tense, Topical
Cast & Credits
Director: Richard Ledes
Principal Cast: Frank Langella, Elliott Gould, Laura Harring
Screenwriters: Richard Ledes, Alain Didier-Weill
Producers: Linda Moran, René Bastian
Editor: Madeleine Gavin
Director of Photography: Stephen Kazmierski
Composer: Robert Miller

Program Notes

Winner of the "Made in NY" Narrative Award! Special Awards Screenings of this film will be held on May 4th (see schedule for details).

The past catches up with the present in Richard Ledes' riveting neo-noir. A quiet cat-and-mouse thriller, The Caller is led by the captivating Frank Langella and stellar Elliott Gould. Langella plays Jimmy Stevens, an executive at an international energy firm. When he decides to blow the whistle on his company's corrupt practices in Latin America, he knows his fate-he will be killed for treason, so he anonymously hires private detective Frank Turlotte (Gould) to stay on his tail. Turlotte reluctantly accepts the job, but unbeknownst to him, the man he was hired to investigate and the man who hired him are one and the same. As Stevens' and Turlotte's lives continue to intertwine, puzzle pieces fall together, and the secrets of the past start to explain the future. Ledes-whose first feature, A Hole in One, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2004-displays an assured growth and versatility with The Caller. With A Hole in One, he showed a flare for using a strong, somewhat surreal visual style, but The Caller employs a more restrained and muted grace that heightens the underlying tension throughout. Frank Langella delivers an understated performance that subtly evokes all the complexities of his character. Gould is a natural complement to Langella, and along with Laura Harring (Mulholland Drive) as an exquisite femme fatale, the trio brings a natural sophistication to Ledes' and Alain Didier-Weill's sharp, labyrinthine script.

Following the May 2nd screening, American Express ® Cardmembers are invited to a complimentary after movie reception at the American Express Insider Center located at 27 Union Square West, Union Square Ballroom. Details to be provided at the theater!
--David Kwok

Kaseem the Dream

World Documentary Feature Competition

[KASSI] | 2008 | 86 min | Feature Documentary

Directed by: Kief Davidson

World Premiere

Interests: *ESPN*, African, Documentary, Politics, Returning Filmmaker, Sports, War

Moods: 9 Aspirational, Competitive, Iconic, Inspirational, Philosophical, Poignant, Political, Raw, Topical
Cast & Credits
Director: Kief Davidson
Producers: Kief Davidson, Liz Silver
Executive Producers: Luke Thornton, Forest Whitaker, Keisha Whitaker, Josh Green
Director of Photography: Jose Molina Jr.
Editors: Tony Breuer, Kief Davidson
Music: Leonardo Heiblum, Jabobo Leiberman, Andres Solis

Program Notes

Kief Davidson, who won a Special Jury Award at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival for The Devil's Miner, returns with the powerful story of Kassim "The Dream" Ouma. Many will recognize Kassim from when he became boxing's junior middleweight world champion, but before he became a boxer, Kassim lived a life unimaginable to most. Born in Uganda, Kassim was kidnapped by the rebel army and trained to be a child soldier at age six. Having been forced to commit horrific atrocities for 12 years, he found solace in the army's boxing team. Defecting to the United States and creating a life for himself while establishing his career, Kassim still had to deal with his demons and felt the need to reconnect with his family back in Uganda. But in order to go back to Uganda, he would need a military pardon from the president and protection from the government. Davidson was given unprecedented access to Kassim during a pivotal time in his career. He paints a vivid and candid portrait of survival, balancing the story of Kassim's life inside the ring and out. Kassim's rise in the boxing world is extraordinary on its own, but it is the man in the gloves that gives the film its heart. Kassim is a likable man with a lively demeanor, but Davidson's film is a multilayered emotional journey-even as Kassim lives out the American dream, you can see that he is haunted by his horrifying past.
--David Kwok

Injecting the American Dream

Tribeca Talks

This is a test

[PINJE] | 90 min | Panel

Unknown Premiere
Cast & Credits

Program Notes

Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival
America's performance-enhancing appetite has never been bigger. And it's not just in professional sports or Hollywood. From high school locker rooms to anti-aging clinics, our nation is embracing steroids and human growth hormones like never before, spurring a furious debate about the ethics of enhancement. Join Christopher Bell, who documented his brothers' struggle to be “the best,” BALCO founder Victor Conte, Jon Romano and Mark Haskins in a provocative discussion about the pitfalls and promise of the asterisk era, and where we go from here. Moderated by Steroid Nation author Shaun Assael.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

celebrity sightings

eve ensler

Lauren Conrad


at Paul simon

Lucy wainwright roche

Pass Over

Pass Over

afikomen, split,
brittle as a bruised white belly of desert
under the punishing sun
that same sun calls to the Egypt in my skin
the middle east rises as fig trees toward the light,
browning the small hand that clutches a small treasure
found under the radiator and relinquished for a penny
and assurance that larger hands
would put it all back together

we had bitter for slavery and flat bread for haste,
we asked questions and heard the answers
we sang dayenu, it would have been enough
the story told of terrible plagues
and i had a question, a question
why does our freedom have to depend
on the suffering of others?
on the suffering of mothers?
my mother lost her first-born son
she would not wish that fate on any other,
no matter what theybd done
my mother lost her first-born son
i wear him tattooed on the back of my heart,
an echo of my spine

i stare at the lambbs bone on the seder plate,
think of the angels of death who have spared my people,
and those who have not.
family reunions on my motherbs side are small
i had a first cousin, once removed
who bought a ticket for America,
but stayed in Europe for love
Poland, 1938.
first cousin, once.

Israel, poor battered child,
turns to the mirror and sees Palestine
she beats at her reflection
and comes away with bloody fists
both sprung from the same cracked desert womb
the children of Isaac and the children of Ishmael
kicking sand on each otherbs toes,
a pair of ancient 9-year-olds
fighting for the attention of
some cold and distant father
Jerusalem eats herself and multiplies,
only to eat herself again
she builds barricades to keep the demons out
something there is that doesnbt love a wall,
that wants it down.

and you, would you build a solid fence through me?
divide the chambers of my heart with brick and mortar?
bricks and mortar rain down on babies
to the cheering of fundamentalists
and we are one step closer to revelations
add to the din the car bombs
and olive-murdering machines
and they fail to hear our motherbs lull-a-bye:
shhhhh. Shalom. Salaam.

in the gathering darkness, i listen for her
i feel my brother,
bleeding ink through each raw layer of skin,
red wine on a napkin,
spelling out a new religion
i ask him,
why is this night different from all other nights?b

he is six years old and 6,000
a Cedar of Lebanon.
he smiles, b
on this night, you will turn your
fear to compassion, your frustration to engagement.
you will let your anger pass over you
so that one day soon the desert belly
will come out of her famine to laugh and sigh
in delight of her babies."

as if god could choose one child above another.
as if she would make just one piece of land holy.

(c) arjuna greist 2008

Hungry for a Comeback, but Pretty Thirsty, Too

Hungry for a Comeback, but Pretty Thirsty, Too

Published: April 28, 2008

Correction Appended

A single breath of suspense, as faint as a half-stifled sigh, occasionally stirs the inert revival of Clifford Odets’s “Country Girl,” which opened on Sunday night at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. This anxiety does not arise from the fraught plot-propelling questions posed in this backstage drama from 1950: Will the washed-up actor stay off the sauce long enough to make his comeback? Will his wife leave him if he does (or if he doesn’t)? Will the play they’re all working so darn hard on make it to Broadway?
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Frances McDormand and Morgan Freeman as a suffering couple in the revival of "The Country Girl" at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater.
Theater: Driving Mr. Freeman Back Onstage (April 20, 2008)
Times Topics: Morgan Freeman
Times Topics: Clifford Odets
Review: 'The Country Girl' (Nov. 11, 1950) [pdf]
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Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Frances McDormand in "The Country Girl."

Instead what keeps you vaguely but uncomfortably on tenterhooks is wondering whether three of the finest actors around can make you care, for a single second, about any of these questions before the play ends. Sorry to jump to the last page, folks, but the answer is no.

How could this be? “The Country Girl” is headlined by three stars known for the intensity of their presence and the integrity of their acting: Morgan Freeman, Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher. Its director, Mike Nichols, picks up Tonys the way cashmere picks up lint.

Sure, the play reads like a relic, but so do two other shows from the same period, “Come Back, Little Sheba” and “South Pacific,” which both opened on Broadway this season with cobweb-clearing vitality. And “The Country Girl” is about people who love the theater so much it hurts, which is presumably also true of this production’s illustrious participants. Why else would well-paid screen stars return to the dusty boards?

Yet passion — and I don’t mean just a mechanically raised voice or fist — never makes an appearance here. It’s a law of theatrical physics that electricity is generated onstage only when a connection is made: between actors and audience, yes, but first of all among the actors themselves. And for whatever reason, everyone in “The Country Girl” seems to be operating on his or her own isolating frequency.

As befits a play about theatrical birth pains, “The Country Girl” arrives swathed in reports of a torturous delivery. It was said in The New York Post and echoed in chat rooms that Mr. Freeman, playing the alcoholic actor Frank Elgin, was having trouble remembering his lines and that Mr. Nichols, assisted by the playwright Jon Robin Baitz, was merrily rewriting Odets.

But if Mr. Freeman was still unsure of his lines, it was undetectable in the performance I saw, which exuded a low-key confidence and charm. (This is not, I hasten to point out, what the part requires at all times.) And if you compare this version’s script with Odets’s published text, the deletions and discrepancies don’t change the sense of things, though the word substitutions are often bizarrely capricious. I would happily have put up with flubbed lines if real runaway feelings accompanied them. Each star has a few abrupt moments of simulating anger or sorrow via sharp, attention-grabbing technique. But I rarely felt prepared for these explosions; they seemed like unanchored, virtuosic exercises. And while Mr. Gallagher and Ms. McDormand bring a brisk surface energy to the proceedings, the overriding note of this production is fatigue, right down to the funereal tones of Tim Hatley’s backstage sets and Albert Wolsky’s costumes.

An autumnal sensibility is not inappropriate to “The Country Girl,” which is best known today for the 1954 movie starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and William Holden. Its pivotal character, Frank, is an aging actor whose star sank long before the play begins.

Now considered unhirable because of his reputation as a lush, Frank has one steadfast fan in Bernie Dodd (Mr. Gallagher), a younger director who remembers the old guy when he was good, and risks starring him in a new Broadway-bound drama. The catch is that with Frank comes Mrs. Elgin (Ms. McDormand), known as Georgie, who is either her husband’s salvation or nemesis. Bernie suspects the latter.

“The Country Girl” has its quaint spots, and Odets’s stylized, tough-cookie language can feel ripe for parody, especially in its encomiums to theater with a capital T. But as a study in varieties of co-dependency — alcoholic, sexual and artistic — the play is well shaped, and it offers the opportunity for some teasingly layered portraiture. The real driving force of “The Country Girl” isn’t the success or failure of the play within the play but the gradual revelation of just who is using whom and why.

This aspect of psychological mystery is barely evident in Mr. Nichols’s production. It’s hard to credit the poisoned interconnectedness of people who appear to have stepped out of different genres of theater. Ms. McDormand plays the long-suffering Georgie with the mannered briskness of a wisecracking heroine from a 1930s screwball comedy. I suppose it could be argued that this is Georgie’s defense system, but I rarely glimpsed the life-flattened woman underneath.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 1, 2008
A theater review on Monday about “The Country Girl,” at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, misidentified the singer in one of the recordings played between scenes. The singer is Perry Como — not Bing Crosby, who starred in a film version of the play.

Mr. Gallagher would seem to be trying for a more classically Odets-like figure: the hard-boiled urban guy with the manners of a thug and the heart of a poet. He brings an entertaining nervous restlessness to this archetype, and he has some funny running physical gags with cigarettes. But like Ms. McDormand he’s on a private wavelength, shared only by Lucas Caleb Rooney, in an enjoyable turn as the stage-obsessed stage manger.
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Enlarge This Image
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher in "The Country Girl."
Theater: Driving Mr. Freeman Back Onstage (April 20, 2008)
Times Topics: Morgan Freeman
Times Topics: Clifford Odets
Review: 'The Country Girl' (Nov. 11, 1950) [pdf]
Enlarge This Image
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Dysfunction and deceit: Peter Gallagher, far left, Frances McDormand and Morgan Freeman are the stars of a revival of Clifford Odets’s 1950 backstage drama, “The Country Girl.”

In theater as in film Mr. Freeman is a quietly commanding presence. When Frank auditions for Bernie, the producer (Chip Zien) and the playwright (Remy Auberjonois) in the opening scene and begins improvising, you get a flash of the wild-card artistry that makes Bernie prize him. Otherwise he seems natural, affable, occasionally irritable, but not like a man wrestling with demons.

It suggests how little confidence this production has in its material that the scenes are separated by a perky and distracting mixed-period soundscape of radio ads and pop hits.

I had watched the film version recently and hooted at the old-style underlining of big moments (like the drunken Frank seeing his face in a mirror) with crashing symphonic chords. But as creaky as the movie seemed, Crosby, Holden and, most surprisingly, Kelly (who won an Oscar for her performance) created a poignant vision of people with the power to wound one another irrevocably. In Mr. Nichols’s production, where the performances might as well be taking place in separate sealed bubbles, there’s no danger of anybody getting hurt.


By Clifford Odets; directed by Mike Nichols; sets by Tim Hatley; costumes by Albert Wolsky; lighting by Natasha Katz; sound by Acme Sound Partners; hair design by David Brian Brown; revisions by Jon Robin Baitz; production manager, Aurora Productions; production stage manager, Barclay Stiff; general manager, 101 Productions; associate director, B T McNicholl. Presented by Ostar Productions, Bob Boyett, the Shubert Organization, Eric Falkenstein, Roy Furman, Lawrence Horowitz, Jam Theatricals, Stephanie P. McClelland, Bill Rollnick/Nancy Ellison Rollnick and Daryl Roth/Debra Black, in association with Jon Avnet/Ralph Guild, Michael Coppel, Jamie deRoy/Michael Filerman, Philip Geier/Donald Keough, Max OnStage and Mary Lu Roffe. At the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 242 West 45th Street, Manhattan; (212) 239-6200. Through July 20. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes.

WITH: Morgan Freeman (Frank Elgin), Frances McDormand (Georgie Elgin), Peter Gallagher (Bernie Dodd), Remy Auberjonois (Paul Unger), Anna Camp (Nancy Stoddard), Joe Roland (Ralph), Lucas Caleb Rooney (Larry) and Chip Zien (Phil Cook).