Monday, July 21, 2014

CULTURAL ACTIVITY HEATS UP SUMMER VENUES (c) By Polly Guerin

Cate Blanchete left and Isabelle Huppert spice up Genet's drama.
A plethora of cultural activities make living in New York one of the greatest city's in the world...no wonder all the tourists are flooding the streets on their sightseeing ventures. But, we alas, the lucky New Yorkers need only step outside and Voila!!! there's more than meets the eye at museums, theater and elsewhere.Here's the scoop!!!
THE MAIDS Literary bad boy Jean Genet's play, first performed in Paris in 1947 is in the top form line up in this summer's Lincoln Center Festival. It's sordid tale, the kind of gory details that people sometimes like to relish, so if you're a bit squeamish, well!!!
   On a quiet February evening in 1933, two unassuming and reticent domestic servants Christine and Lea Papin murdered and mutilated their longtime employer and her daughter in Le Mans, France, when holly hell brook loose making headlines across France and igniting an international debate about class struggle. Did their employer and daughter deserve such a fate?
   Making its North American debut, the Sidney Theater Company's production trio includes exuberant actress Cate Blanchette and Isabelle Huppert with rising star Elizabeth Debicki as the mistress. Curiously enough, Genet originally intended for all those roles to be played by men. Really!!!!
   Nonetheless, the show delivers a rare insight into celebrity, glamor, the high art of theater and true, yes my dears, it is based on a true crime. Aug. 6-16. lincolncenterfestival.org.
ALLIANCE FRANCAISE'S Tuesday movies honor the great work of famed actor Vincent Lindon starting tomorrow at 4pm with WELCOME. In this poignant and tragic film about the plight of illegal immigrants in France, Lindon plays a middle-aged swimming instructor who is reeling from the breakup of his marriage. His friendship with Bilal, a student is an arresting study in a relationship struggle.
   At 7:30 pm the film is FRIDAY NIGHT is a virtually stunning and atmospheric film about a one night stand after a couple meets amid a dreadful Paris traffic jam, sparks fly, A Free wine reception follows each screening. Florence Gould Hall, 22 E. 59th St. Check ticket price at: info@fiaf.org or call 212.355.6100.
NYC MAKERS: The MAD Biennial The first in a series of exhibitions examining cultures, NYC Makers Biennial showcases more than 100 participants and celebrates the artisans, artists, designers and other makers who live and work throughout the five boroughs of new York City today.
   There's innovation and some things are shocking, but there's plenty to titillate your imagination.The galleries are immersive environments, created entirely by the makers within the Biennial and they sometimes act as stages for educational programs and other live components.
   The project also spills out into other spaces in the museum--including stairwells, theater, lobbies, elevators---and beyond, into the streets, parks and studios of New York City. Taken as a whole, NYC Makers are worth the visit to see how skilled makers contribute to the ongoing vitality of New York City. Through Oct. 12, 2014. madmuseum.org.
Ta Ta darlings!!! I'm checking in, gonna see what the MAIDS are doing!!! It's so nice to hear from you. Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon,net. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left hand column Blogs on men, women, fashion or poetry.

Monday, July 14, 2014

LOVE in the WARS, A ROMANTIC DRAMA at BARD (c) By Polly Guerin

Penthesilea...World Premiere at Bard College, Annandale- on-Hudson, N.Y.--- Summerscape July 16 through July 20: Fisher Center, Theater Two.
The world premiere of a new version of Heinrich von Kleist's, " Penthesilea" by the  Irish novelist, John Banville resonants in modernity with overtones of love, hate and war. This production keeps you riveted to your seat as high drama unfolds an ancient story, drawn loosely from Homer. This new production is great in many ways, one of the most striking of which is the depth of psychological insight it presents on the subject of the unending war between the sexes.
 It recounts the meeting between its eponymous heroine, The Queen of the Amazons, Penthesilea and the Greek Hero Achilles. The action goes full blown with the ferocity of her passion which collides with Achilles' stubborn will, setting in motion  a tragicomedy of love and misunderstanding. Sounds familiar? The fact that the actors are in modern attire also helps to convey the up-to-date message that conflict between the sexes is an ongoing battle.
At the post performance talk, I mentioned to the two-time Obie Award winner, director, Ken Rus Schmoll, "It reminds me of the battle between the sexes in the corporate world, the Amazons representing the women who break through the class ceiling and the men they beat as they scale the executive ranks, yet it just takes one modern day Achilles and love in the end conquers all."  Director Ken Rus Schmoll responded: "You're on the right track, but  for each person the play has different interpretations."
 Incidentally, Mr. Schmoll is a master of nuances of genre and language, and an ideal interpreter of Banville and Kleist's theatrical game playing. The stark white background in half shadow also creates a mystical boundary to the action in the play.
However, Love in the Wars is an adaptation of Penthesilea and in this production the great romantic playwright has met an an ideal present-day interpreter in John Banville who brings the play up to speed with Actor's Equity Association actors including Birgit Huppuch as Queen of the Amazons and Chris Stack as Achilles. These two combatant's high energy driven performance keeps the presentation in high gear during the production's two hour performance (no intermission). The supporting cast of performers are no less remarkable, as they, too, bring the play forward in modern dress with dramatic flair the telling of  the ancestral story.
To recap: At the height of the Trojan War, the armies of Greece and Troy are locked in a seemingly endless stalemate. Suddenly the Amazons, a fearsome nation of all-female warriors led by Queen Penthesilea, arrive at Troy. By seductive and violent force, the Amazons take many Greeks captive, including the mighty general Achilles. These women have for generations sworn to live without men, but once a year they capture the strongest and best-bred males they can find, using them to procreate in order to further their kind. With the Amazons now involved in the mythic battle at Troy, things seem to be going badly for the Greeks---until Penthesilea and Achilles begin to fall in love.
Bard Sunmerscape is a seven-week Arts Festival also exploring the life and times of Franz Schubert and the first U.S. revival in 100 years of Weber's Opera Euryanthe and the return of the Trisha Brown Dance Company.A courtesy bus ($20 round trip) is available for some performances. Box office:
845.758.7900 or contact:  fishercenter@bard.edu/summerscape/2014 preview.
Ta Ta Darlings: Love in the Wars is a riveting experience. Trust me, I saw a performance this past Sunday and it lives up to its ancestral message with a vibrant modern twist.  Fan mail welcome: pollytalk@verizon.net. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com on amazing women, visionary men, hidden treasures and poetry.

Monday, July 7, 2014

FAST FORWARD FASHION and COUTURE (c) By Polly Guerin

Van Cleef & Arpels' magical land Peau d:Ane Collection
Fashion's fast forward into the summer brings us to Paris and Magical Moments with Van Cleef Arpel..and if that doesn't liven things up the Metropolitan Museum's  Costume Center ushers in mourning attire.  Only in New York, my dears, the best of New York. Here's the Scoop!!!
IS COUTURE DEAD"? The pinnacle of luxury, Haute Couture, au contraire is alive and in fine fettle with a new generation of younger clientele flooding the market from as far away as China. These are women who covet high fashion and high heels and are thirtysomething devotees of the made-to-order craft, the mainstay of France's luxury trade.. As the couture shows go into high gear Dior is hosting a client event to introduce its latest high-jewelry collection with a dinner for 120 people at the Palace de Versailles. At one time couture was exclusive reserved for mature women, mothers, the occasional movie star or celebrity.
  Today fashionista daughters with dollars to spare, big buyers that are not affected by the global economic situation, are appreciating and purchasing this exclusive and high high-level form of fashion,. Here in the United States among the intelligentsia, the women who have scaled the glass ceiling are calling couture their own right. They can well afford to look "haute"  and wear exclusive clothes to differentiate themselves from their peers and subordinates.  Granted these executive women tend to order more daywear, but special eveningwear takes priority for special occasions and red-carpet galas.
   For women who are on a more restrained budget they can only dream of wearing couture, but when I worked at the House of Guy LaRoche in Paris, instead of reimbursement for my service, I was paid in the bounty of a couture dress and suit, and I can attest to the fact that when you wear couture it really fits quite differently and you carry yourself with a new "Hoity Toity" manner.
   By the way, Didier Grumbach has stepped down as president of the Federation Francaise de la Couture, du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode and Ralph Toledano, has succeeded him as president of the fashion trade group.Mr. Toledano, president of Puig, a fashion and beauty house based in Barcelona, will retain his position while taking on the new responsibilities.
MAGICAL MOMENTS WITH APRELS Talking about sumptuous events Van Cleef & Aprels created a magical kingdom in which unicorns exist and Indian elephants and other mythical creature roam the Loire Valley's Chateau de Chambord in France. All this movie-star hype to launch its latest high-jewelry collection "Peau d'Ane (or Donkey Skin) inspired by the Charles Perrault fairy tale of the same name. 
   The chateau was privatized for for event and the first day the magical kingdom parade of models and creatures was given exclusively for customers and the second for the visiting press. Guests were welcomed into the 16th-century chateau, which was transformed for the occasion into a magical realm with masked dancers in medieval costume,  men wearing deer's heads and performing owls.
   Everything about the collection was magical from the Chateau Enchante clip centered with a 39-carat oval-cut Brazilian emerald to the Gateau d'Amour ring made of white and yellow gold with gradated yellow to brown diamonds and centered with a 4.48-carat emerald. The magic wasn't over until the guests were treated to a medieval-style banquet followed by a performance of songs from "Peau d'Ane," by opera singers Natalie Dessay and Laurent Naouri accompanied by musician and composer Michel Legrand, who wrote the original score.
MOURNING BECOMES YOU A different kind of fashion history comes to New York this fall when the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Anna Wintour Costume Center unveils "Death Becomes Here: A Century of Mourning Attire. The predominantly black palette of mourning dramatizes ensembles with jewelry and acessories. Curator-in-Charge Harold Koda said, "Even in a subject so fraught  with emotion, clothins becomjes a physical manifestation of grief."  Approximately 30 ensembles will reveal the impact of high-fashion standards on the satorial dictates of bereavement rituals as they evolved over a centuryl. Mark your calender: Opens October 21 to February 2, 2015.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! For the moment I am stay with the magical moments in life!!! Fan mail welcomn pollytalk@verizon.net. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and in the left-hand column click on the links to Blogs on visionary men, hidden treasures and amazing womne.

Monday, June 30, 2014

CULTURAL VENUES INVIGORATE HALCYON SUMMER DAYS (c) By Polly Guerin

Summer in the city offers cultural blue bloods an opportunity to chill out in style while taking in diverse venues that captivate the spirit of those languid  halcyon days. Only in New York my friends, the Best of New York!!! Here's the scoop.
MADELINE is back in town and still has that magical quality to enchant both children and adults alike. Now 75 years later, the New York Historical Society celebrates Bemelman's storied career with "Madeline in New York: The Art of Bemelmans, which opens July 4th...a great day to celebrate the holiday and the iconic book. It all began when Ludwig Bemelmans took his daughter, Barbara, on a trip to France that the fortuitous trip partly inspired him to write Madeline---and little did he know that "In an old House in Paris..." would become an opening line for the ages---nor did he know that the book series would become a classic.The exhibit includes 90 drawings, paintings, and memorabilia and enchanting familiar scenes of Madeline's escapades in Paris. You will also get a rare view of the artist's works including drawings of the old Ritz Hotel in New York and illustrated panels from Aristotle Onassis's yacht. And while you're in a nostalgic mood why not hope over to the Carlyle hotel and  imbibe a libation at the Bemelman's Bar where the artist's folkloric other works are the decorative scenery.
GARRY WINOGRAND the Bronx-born photographer's iconic black-and-white images of mid-century American life comes to full view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in a major retrospective showing the late photographer's iconic work. Documenting as it does the the tumultuous sixties the exhibit  focuses on  images of upheaval and renewal projected through his viewfinder, which framed both the optimistic art and the go-go hustle of the times. According to Nick Remsen in July Vogue, "There's an unmistakable frozen-in-time vitality to Winogrand's work, whether his focus was on homeward-bound fliers fresh off their DC-8s at Idelwild Airport (now JFK) or Gotham's rowdies night owls--and it's been a joy to see that energy and exuberance channeled on the catwalk." You will see familiar fashion icons like Miu Miu's candy-colored vinyl outerwear, Gucci's separates dyed in the hues of sun bleached Formica, and Saint Laurent's glittering knee-high boots. When it's time to chill out try the Met and its many splendid exhibits.
YVES SAINT LAURENT, the MOVIE, brilliantly captures YSL's shyness, charm, and artistic bravado. Pierre Niney (a YSL clone) morphs into the role with so much as a wrinkle.  Drawing upon vast archive of original material (made available to the production by 83-year-old Pierre Berge) director Jalil Lespert puts the designers' groundbreaking work on screen.  Still gloriously beautiful are YSL's Mondrian dresses that were a huge success worldwide, tuxedos  for women, pea coats, and peasant blouses. The film is not without sadness as it poignantly films both YSL's vibrant success and downward spiral. Least we forget, the young design genius left French Algeria as a teenager to work for Christian Dior, took over Dior at the are 21 in January 1958; and he and his partner, Pierre Berge, famously launched their own fashion label in 1962, the rest is history. At the FILM FORUM through July 8th.
MoMA's SUMMERGARDEN and MoMA nights announces a lineup of free live music events in the Abby aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture garden, opening with a free concert series for four Sunday evenings. Members of the New Juilliard Ensemble perform on July 6. 13, 20 and 27, offering two distinctive programs of contemporary compositions.  Jazz at Lincoln Center has selected two jazz groups---on July 13 (Jonathan Ragonese Ensemble) and July 27 (Helen Sung Quintet) emphasize original works, each with one New York premiere.  On Thursday evenings in July and August, the Museum's MoMA Nights---a series of musical performances begins July 3 when the Sculpture Garden opens at 7 p.m. and concerts begin at 8 p.m. in the Sculpture Garden free with Museum admission. Musical acts for the MoMA nights series feature an array of vibrant, creative women who are making their mark on today's music scene.
Ta Ta darlings!!! I've had my vicarious thrill and bought the Yves Saint Laurent catalogue of the YSL exhibition held at the Petit Plais/Musee des Beaux-Arts de la ville de Paris, in 2010. Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon.net. Visit Polly's BLOGS on fashion visionary men, amazing women, poetry and hidden treasures on www.pollytalk.com, click on a Blog link in the left hand column of the homepage.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cooper Hewitt's Modernizes Working Museum Concept (c) By Polly Guerin

The modernization of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and its new open-door, interactive plan projects the museum into the 21st Century.  However, it is clear me that the Museum's venue harkens back to the original purpose of the museum when the Hewitt Sisters, Eleanor, Sarah and Amy the founders of "The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration" (1897),  called their museum, which became the Cooper-Hewitt, "a practical working laboratory."
   Miss Eleanor stated, "There were to be no restrictions. The literary aids of hundreds of reference and scrapbooks and of art periodicals were to be placed on tables with no hampering restrictions as to their use put every resources at the service of the public."
  Today Cooper-Hewitt's renovation and expansion has redefined the museum experience with high-end but easy-to-use technology that inspires each visitor to play designer before, during and after their visit. This was surely the intent of the Hewitt Sisters and the Museum's new policy correlates to the museum's original intent.    On any day visitors can explore the museum's collections and exhibitions using groundbreaking technologies that inspire learning and experimentation. This new participatory experience is specifically designed to engage all audiences--students, teachers, families, young children, designers and the general public.
   As Caroline Baumann, director of the Cooper-Hewitt stated, "All visitors will be given a newly developed interactive Pen to collect and create. They will be able to digitally collect design objects on view, as well as additional objects from the ultra-high-definition interactive tables. Visitors will become designers in their own right by creating their own designs with the Pen. Symbolizing and embodying human creativity, the Pen is a key part of every visitors experience. With it, they will be able to record their visit, which can be viewed and shared online and supplemented during future visits.
   The Pen also reads data from object labels throughout the museum. this data is stored in the Pen's on board memory, which can then be accessed at interactive tables located in the museum's revamped gallery spaces which will feature ten exhibitions that will inaugurate the museum when it opens Friday, December 12, 2014.
   For instance, one of the most interesting rooms is the IMMERSION ROOM, a new high tech space, designed by Local Projects, which provides an entertaining and interactive experience.Visitors here select digital images of wallpapers--or sketch their own designs--and then project them onto the walls at full scale to see their impact.This is a "Wow" experience for young and mature alike.
    As Eleanor Hewitt said, "Restrictions were eliminated and the entire concept of the "museum for use" was paramount to serve students, artist, craftsmen, scholars, craftsmen and the public at large," and it appears that the Cooper-Hewitt is doing just that, but with a high-tech Pen that resonates with a computer-driven society.
  In addition to the renovation and expansion the Cooper-Hewitt's physical transformation welcomes visitors with a more viewer-friendly galleries. It also has a new name. Formerly the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the museum has been renamed "Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. It is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. It's rich holdings range from Egypt's late Period/new Kingdom (1100 B.C.) to the present day and total more than 200,000 objects.
   The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has transformed its home, the Carnegie mansion on New York City's Museum Mile, from a grand early-20-th-century residence into a 21st Century museum.with an entirely new and invigorated visitor experience, with interactive, immersive creative technologies.
   The Hewitt sister would be proud of the Musuem's inspired transformation, as would their grandfather, Peter Cooper, founder of Cooper Union, who always wanted a museum in his school
Ta Ta Darlings!!! Want to know more about the Hewitt Sisters?  Read The Cooper-Hewitt Dynasty of New York by Polly Guerin, published by  History Press, 2012, www.historypress.org.. Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon.net. Polly's Blogs on fashion, amazing women, visionary men go to www.pollytalk.com  and click in the Blog list in the left-hand column.
 

Monday, June 16, 2014

MIRACLES IN MINIATURE 16th Century Books (c) by Polly Guerin

What treasures await you but to visit the Morgan Library & Museum's "Miracles in Miniature"exhibition that features a diminutive Prayer Book and Book of Hours created in the early sixteenth century in the French city of Tours.
   Forgotten for centuries, one of the greatest artists who came to be known as the  Master of Claude de France was named after two jewel-like manuscripts he painted for Queen Claude de France (1499-1524), first wife of King Francois I: a tiny Book of Hours and an even tinier Prayer Book to be held in the palm of her hand.
   The art of the Master of Claude de France is of such extraordinary quality it is almost impossible to imagine how it was executed with such delicacy of hand, illuminated in gold and beautiful colors.This is the first time the public can see these two stunning treasure together since their creation almost five hundred years ago.
  The artist was known  for a style of the utmost delicacy and his signature palette of subtle lilacs, mauves, and roses, juxtaposed with chartreuse and royal blue, the printing so tiny you should ask to borrow a magnifying glass from the Museum's information desk, in order to study the works more closely.
   The exhibition includes not only the two eponymous books, but also a selection of addition works of Claude Master, notably twelve calendar miniatures along with manuscripts by Jean Bourdichon, Claude Master's teacher, and by Jean Poyer and Jacques Ravaud, two artists active in tours who influenced him.
   The Prayer Book contains Claude's coat of arms three times and nearly every page is framed by a decorative cordeliere, a personal emblem that she inherited from her mother, Queen, Anne d Bretagne. Both books exhibit a sense of delicacy, but bright hues, and charming doll-like figures and his borders a filled with flowers, antique candelabras, or Italianate architectural elements.  All 132 scenes from the Prayer Book are viewable on a special screen installed in the gallery. In addition, each image will be available on an online exhibition on the Morgan's website. themorgan.org. The exhibition is accompanied by a 104-page, fully illustrated monograph written by Morgan curator Roger Wieck, with a contribution by Morgan conservator Franciso Trujillo.
   Twelve Calendar Miniatures includes twelve charming vignettes of the Labors of the Months surmounted by the Signs of the Zodiac.Calendars were often illustrated with a suite showing agrarian activities appropriate to the month of season. Thus, January shows a couple feasting and, in February, a man warming himself by the fire.  April is illustrated by a scene of two youths falconing, and so it goes on and in June and July, the serfs are mowing and reaping in exquisite color and delicacy of artist's style.
   Ta Ta darlings!!! Take a summer break and visit Master of Claude de France's books and works of incredible artistry. Fan mail welcome pollytalk@verizon.net. Visit Polly's Blogs on fashion, visionary men, hidden treasures in new york and amazing women determined to succeed, and poetry at www.pollytalk.com.

Monday, June 9, 2014

MARKS OF GENIUS and Tea at the MORGAN (c) Polly Guerin

"How warmly we respond whenever we receive letters from friends or scholars written in their own hands! wrote Erasmus. "We feel as if we were listening to them or seeing them face to face." (I couldn't agree more---no truer words could have been written or spoken). Handwriting is prized because it contains the character of an individual, what Erasmus might have called his or her genius. The more exceptional the person or the work, the more prized the manuscript. Manuscripts can embody the character of a person who drafts a work or edits a speech.
   MARKS OF GENIUS: Treasures from the Bodleian Library, on view at the Morgan Library & Museum through September 14, 2014, celebrates more than two thousand years of the creative genius of authors, composers, artists, scientists and philosophers preserved in the Library's rich holdings.
Image: William Shakespeare (1564-1618) Comedies, Histories & Tragedies (The First Folio London: Printed by Isaac, Jaggard and Edward Blount, 1623.
 If you appreciate historical treasures as I do this exhibition is a rare opportunity to see works that include items from western and eastern culture and range from a papyrus fragment of a seventh-century B.C. Sappho poem, (Imagine that!) to a copy of the Magna Carta dating to 1217 to Shakespeare's First Folio to key works by novelist Jane Austen. Pictured right: Jane Austen (1775-1817) Pride and Prejudice, Published London: T. Egerton, 1813.
A TOUCH OF GENIUS Genius was not confined to individuals: place and even nations had their guiding spirits, in the form or genius of place. Works in this section include Handel's conductor's score for Messiah used at the first performance and Mary Shelley's manuscript for Frankenstein, with Percy Bysshe Shelley's corrections.Other objects gained authority because of their association with a historically important person. Case in point: the manuscript of the fourteen-year-old Elizabeth 1 translated text into English and dedicated the document to her step-mother, Katherine Parr  Genius has its roots in the Latin word genius derived from gignere "to beget," and has the literal meaning "that which is born," and we know that there are quite a number of geniuses today who will leave their mark for generations to come.  There are several interesting sections, The Patron of Genius and On the Shoulders of Giants.
The one that intrigues me most was The Genius of Printing:Few inventions have so revolutionised the spread of knowledge, literacy, and communications as Johann Gutenberg's creation of a system of movable type in Germany around 1450-1455. Visually stunning works, such as Albrecht Durer's Apocalypse, Published: Nuremberg: Hieronymus Holtzel, 1511, which illustrates the relationship that some authors and artists had with the publication and distribution of their own work.
   Public Programs include a Gallery Talk, Friday, July 11, at 6:30 pm and Tours June 14 and September 13 at 11am, both free with museum admission. Reservations are recommended. themorgan.org/programs.
LUNCH or AFTERNOON TEA at the CAFE is one of the true joys of a visit to the Morgan. The Cafe's new look thematically connects to the Morgan's notable architecture and its menu links patrons to the
Gilded Age and the Museum's exhibition programs. Most certainly relax in the comfort of the new walnut chairs and stylish square tables.  On Sunday's there is a festive jazz brunch, and on Fridays relax over tapas and libations and enjoy a cocktail inspired by literature. The newly designed menu cards highlight the names of artists, writers, historical figures, and composers whose works are found in the Morgan's renowned collections. Please made a reservation.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! PollyTalk is wondering just how many geniuses she has met? Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon.net. Polly's BLOGS on fashion, remarkable men, music and art, poetry and New York's hidden treasures can be found on the left hand link wwwpollytalkcom
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