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Video: 'Emperor and Galilean' opening at Torn Space

The Henrik Ibsen play "Emperor and Galilean" adapted by Neil Wechsler and directed by David Oliver opens March 1 at Torn Space Theater. Artistic director Dan Shanahan explains the production:

Images, review from Davy Jones' 2010 Niagara Falls concert

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Davy Jones, the lead singer of the 1960s group the Monkees, died of a massive heart attack today in Florida, his spokeswoman said. He was 66.

Jones rose to fame in 1965 when he joined The Monkees, a British popular rock group formed for a U.S. television show. Jones sang lead vocals on songs like "I Wanna Be Free" and "Daydream Believer."

Jones played the Bear's Den at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls on April 30, 2010. Here is News Contributing Reviewer Joe Sweeney's review.

Here are a couple of images from News Staff Photographer Robert Kirkham, including one from Jones' entrance in a Maid of the Mist poncho:

Jones 03Jones 02

All Due Apology....

For reasons that none of us yet understand, the video chat that Miers and I usually do on Wednesdays never got off the ground and had to be shelved for good.
We're sorry, believe me. We were getting very good questions and had some leftover comments from earlier in the week and last week to read to you. We'll hope for better luck next week.
Bear with us if you will. And we'll bear with this brave new technical world.
--Jeff Simon

Music's Leap Year baby

Rossinidoodle

As I continue to get no work done today ... Gioachino Rossini has a Google Doodle.

It is Rossini's 55th birthday today!

At 55 Rossini is a little young to be talking about old age. But here is a piano waltz from his wittily titled collection "Sins of My Old Age." You will have your little joke, Signor Rossini!

Happy 55th, Rossini! In four years we will be back to wish you happy 56th.

And many more!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

 

The leap year song

This being February 29, someone has to do it and so I will do the honors.

We must watch the clip from "The Pirates of Penzance" where it is announced that the hero is only 5 years old.

This is from the '80s production with Kevin Kline. I hoped to find some hoary British version but you can go crazy looking around on YouTube for Gilbert & Sullivan numbers. There are all these high school versions. Which is OK! It is great that Gilbert & Sullivan is still big among the young. But you can waste your whole day.

Happy Leap Year from The Gusto Blog!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

Our Estimable Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers is Back from Vacation...

Which means that, God willing and the creek don't rise, we'll be chatting on the News website together at 1 p.m. today. Happy to have you join us and bring up whatever is on your mind.
--Jeff Simon

Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper to perform at Darien Lake

Let the summer concert season begin: Iron Maiden and special guest Alice Cooper will perform at 7:30 p.m. July 16 in the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. 

Tickets are $39.50, $59.50, $79.50 and $95 reserved and $28 lawn and go on sale at 10 a.m. March 3 through www.livenation.com or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

O'Neill's 'Exorcism' to be published this week

On Wednesday, Yale University Press will publish "Exorcism," a long-lost one-act play by Eugene O'Neill based on the playwright's own attempt to commit suicide as a young man. My review of the published play will run in Sunday's paper. In the meantime, check out this video, produced by The New Yorker to accompany its own publication of the play last October. It features actor Tommy Schrider performing a scene in which Ned, the central character and stand-in for O'Neill, describes a particularly harrowing experience:

--Colin Dabkowski

Keeping Score on the Oscars

It's like this: I just don't believe in thumbs up or thumbs down. Life doesn't usually work that way. It's not a matter of black and white, most of the time, but of a rich and subtle pallette of grays that always makes things interesting.
That's why the annual Oscar piece I write always involves a lot of hedged bets.
It's also why, every year, I steadfastly refuse to be as cynical as I could be and wind up predicting --against all cynicism--a couple awards I'd like to see that circumstances, nevertheless, mitigate strongly against.
Usually, the message I get on Oscar night is "go ahead. You really need to be more cynical, not less. If you're always as cynical as possible, you'll never be wrong."
I just didn't believe that all the factors mitigating against an Oscar for George Clooney in "The Descendants" would wind up doing him in. Or that the combined mojo of Meryl Streep and Harvey Weinstein would be enough to deny a Best Actress Oscar to Viola Davis, so extraordinary and memorable in "The Help."
Ah well.
The way I score it this year, I batted .767--10 for 13. That's because I sometimes give myself half credit for knowing --and saying--all the reasons that my prediction might not be the right one in my annual tipsheet. Hey, it's my scorecard, so why shouldn't I mark on curve (back when I first started doing it, Oscar tip sheets were almost nonexistant.)?
On the subject of Meryl Streep finally winning over Viola Davis (who won the Screen Actor's Guild Award)there is this to say: in the months leading up to Sunday's Oscars several stories from Hollywood reported the extremely low percentage of black voters in the Motion Picture Academy.
You don't suppose those stories were trying to tell us something, do you?
--Jeff Simon
 

Ravishing Rava: Enrico Rava performs for Art of Jazz Series

Rava
Enrico Rava is next up in the Art of Jazz Series at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. 

With a pedigree like Italian jazz trumpet player Enrico Rava’s, you know something great is possible at any given moment.

Try this on for size: He first made a big impression in Europe playing with Gato Barbieri and then played in a pianoless quartet led by the great soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy.

In the late 1960s, he was a fellow traveler with Cecil Taylor, Roswell Rudd, Marion Brown and Rashied Ali, not exactly a bunch in competition with Muzak. In Italy, he was famous for performing with Lee Konitz in Rome and then, during an eight-year stint in New York City during the ’70s, he played even more with Rudd and Co. and was one of the extraordinary musicians on Carla Bley’s legendary "jazz opera," "Escalator Over the Hill."

While it’s true that some of his latter-day discs for ECM have been unprepossessing chamber jazz (his new quintet disc "Tribe" for instance), his history at the age of 72 is so formidable that any live performance by him opens up a world of possibilities.

Quite literally.

He’ll come to the Albright-Knox Gallery Auditorium at 2 p.m. today (Feb. 26) as part of the Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series curated by Bruce Eaton.

-- Jeff Simon

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