Monday, May 23, 2016

RADIOTHEATRE: Edgar Allan Poe Festival: Review by Polly Guerin

Add caption
Fasten your seat's going to be a macabre night. Radiotheatre invites you to enter into the mysterious darkness of the 160 year old St. John's Sanctuary, into the world of the grandmaster of psychological horror, the poet and author, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49). His demons and macabre stories are metted out in the candle lit sanctuary with a stellar cast of performers who appear to relish their dramatic delivery in a radio broadcast setting.  
    This is not the first time that The Edgar Allen Poe Festival takes New York City by storm. Now in its l2th year, Radiotheatre present 16 terror tales that will grip your attention, guaranteed to chill the marrow in your bones in a Festival that runs to June 11th. (M27, 28, 29, June 2 4, 5, 9, 10, 11. at 8pm). The stories are dapted for the stage by Dan Bianchi,  as well as sound and lighting design, and music with Wes Shippee.  The atmosphere is riveting with dramatic bumps and grinding sound effects, and smoky sinister vapors.  Under the direction of Frank Zilinyi and R. Patrick Alberty the performers are convincing storytellers, who appear to thoroughly enjoy the craft of make believe.
      On May 21 I attended the Poe story adaptations of Ligeia, The Sphinx, Hop Frog and the Fall of the House of Usher directed by Frank Zilinyi and the show did not disappoint but kept us glued to every moment's dialogue with the detail of the sound effects and music. Indeed, I found myself drawn into the web of intrigue, mystery and the macabre. Cory Boughton's captivating performance was  tantalizing as was Frank Zilinyi's dramatic repartee, while Melissa Roth and Ellen Bryan proved their metal with spellbinding narration and discourse. 
       The landmark St. John's Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street, located in the heart of old Greenwich Village, is the ideal location for a tribute to Poe's remarkable works that have gone on to inspire millions of writers, artists, filmmakers and horror story lovers of all ages and cultures. Edgar Allan Poe, incidentally lived in old Greenwich Village and penned some of his most famous works there. To his honorable credit, Poe is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. In the annals of great men he was a foremost American writer, editor, and literary critic best know for his poetry and short stories, particularly these tales of mystery and the macabre.
     Be ready when sparks fly. As always, Radiotheatre productions come complete with breathtaking performances by stellar craftsmen and women, original orchestral scores, and enough of sound FX to keep you riveted to your seat. Just bring your imagination!!! And as they say Enjoy the Show!!
     What's up next? Indulge yourself in Poe mania: From May 27-29 Morella, The Tell Tale Heart, The Oval portrait, MS Found in a Bottle; June 2-5 Berenice, The Cask of Amontillado The Case of M. Valdemar The Pit and The Pendulum, June 9-11 The Black Cat, the Masque of the Red Death, William Wilson, The Premature Burial.   For further information:  Tickets $20-$10 students and seniors.
Order through or 212 868 4444.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! Whew after a night with Poe, I'm glad to be back on terra firma. Fan mail always welcome at I'd love to hear from you.  Check out Polly's Blogs on, just click on the link in the left-hand column to poetry, fashionhistory,  womendeterminedtosucceed and visionarymen.

Monday, May 16, 2016

J.M.W. TURNER'S WHALING PAINTINGS at the Met: Reiew by Polly Guerin

Whalers ca. 1845
The exhibition of Turner's Whaling pictures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art---the brooding, mysterious depictions of whalers and whaling---is not the subject that would entice most visitors. However, it is the first exhibition to unite the series of four whaling scenes painted by the great British artist, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) near the end of his career.
     To the cognoscenti, who know a thing or two about these paintings, there is the glimmer of recognition that Turner's paintings inspired the epic story, Moby Dick.
     The quartet of paintings---comprising the Met's Whalers (circa. 1845) and its three companions from Tate Britain---were among the last seascapes exhibited by Turner, for whom marine subjects were  a creative mainstay. The topic of whaling resonated with some of Turner's favorite themes, modern maritime labor, Britain's global naval empire, human ambition and frailty, and the awesome power of nature termed the Sublime.

THE MELVILLE CONNECTION: Turner's whaling pictures offers a unique opportunity to consider the painting's impact on Herman Melville's epic novel Moby Dick, published months before Turner's death in 1851.  It is not certain that Melville saw the paintings when he first visited London in 1849, but he was unquestionably aware of them.  Aspects of Melville's novel remain strikingly evocative of Turner's style. 
      In addition to the four paintings that are on view, a selection of related watercolors, prints, books, and wall quotes is displayed and offers the insight into Turner's paintings and their possible relationship with Melville's text. A whaling harpoon on loan from the South Street Seaport Museum, and whale oil lamps from The Met's collection are also on view. 
     The exhibition is accompanied by a Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin entitled Turner's Whaling Pictures written by Alison Hokanson. It is on sale in the Museum's book shop and at the Met store
     Educational programs include a gallery reading of excerpts from Moby Dick on July 8 and a a Picture This! program on June 16 for visitors who are blind or partially blind.

This exhibition allows viewers to engage closely with the output of these two great 19th-century artists and to assess for themselves whether the British painter inspired one of the crowning achievements of American literature. Additional information about the exhibition and its accompanying programs is available on the Museum's website,, as well as Instagram and Twitter using #MetTurner.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!!  I suggest that you take along a magnifying glass to view these moody, mysterious paintings and you just might catch a whale or two yourself. Fan mail welcome, I love to hear from my readers  To view Polly's Blogs go to and in the left-hand column is a link to other Blogs including visionary men, women determined to succeed, poetry, and fashion.
    The image left: W.W. Turner as a young man.

Monday, May 9, 2016

ROBERTO BURLE MARX, Brazilian Modernist: Review By Polly Guerin

Avenida Atlantica, Copacabana, Rio de Janiero
 Looking out my hotel window in Rio de Janeiro I was captivated by the panorama of the continuous mosaic promenade that borders Copacabana Beach's main thoroughfare, "the most famous in Brazil," where native sea breeze-resistant trees and palms appear along Avenida Atlantica. The mosaic pavement, a gigantic composition more than two miles long with a pattern composed of bold abstract motifs in white, black, and red-brown stone evokes modernist imagery in Roberto Burle Marx's best- known project.
      "Who was the genius of such an innovative pavement plan?"  It was  Brazil's native son, a multi-faceted architect as well as painter, print maker, ecologist, naturalist and musician whose artistic style was avant-garde and modern. From Copacabana Beach to Biscayne Boulevard in Miami Beach, throughout Brazil and around the world, the artistic and prolific work of ROBERTO BURLE MARX (1909-1994) has made him one of the most prominent landscape artists of the twentieth century.  He is famous for designing over two thousand outdoor spaces, such as public parks, private and home gardens.  Sidewalks and gardens were never the same again. His abstract and undulating curvilinear sidewalks were colorful and opened up a new world of artful expression for public appreciation. Yet, Burle Marx's oeuvre reached out into many other areas of artistic expression. Famous projects the multitude of gardens that embellish Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil founded in 1960 and featuring buildings by famed architect Oscar Niemeyer.
Mineral Roof Garden, Banco Safra headquarters, Sao Paulo
Through nearly 140 works, the Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist exhibition at the Jewish Museum, through September 18, 2016, presents the first New York City exhibition to focus on Burle Marx in more than two decades, and the first exhibition in the United States to to showcase the full range of this artistic output.  A major exhibition highlight is a magnificent, nearly 90-foot-long wool tapestry created by the artist in 1969 for the Santo Andre Civic Center, near Sao Paulo. As is characteristic of his work from that period, bold colors, geometric, and biomorphic abstraction fuse in a gigantic composition, creating a veritable woven garden. This monumental work has only once before been exhibited outside Brazil. 

      The exhibition explores the richness and breadth of the artist's diversified and extensive oeuvre-his landscape architecture, painting, sculpture, theater design, textiles, and jewelry--as well his reputation as an ecologist, naturalist and musician whose artistic style was avant-garde and modern. 
      The son of a German-Jewish father and a Brazilian mother of French, Portuguese, and Dutch descent, Burle Marx embraced modernism in he early 1930s, as the movement was taking hold in his country among artists and intellectuals. Using abstraction as his guiding principle, and grand sweeps of voluminous local foliage and colorful flora, Burle Marx devised a new form of landscape expression, revolutionizing garden design.
Victoria amazonica waterliliesgarden of Fazenda Vargem Grande
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, gardens in Brazil primarily followed French models, featuring a symmetrical layout and imported flora. Burle Marx did away with symmetry and advocated for the use of native plants, making numerous incursions into the Brazilian country side and jungle throughout his life in search of rare species.

       He was a horticulturist and a pioneering ecologist who only used plants suitable to the environment and was one of the first to speak out against the destruction of the Amazon rain forest.  
      Roberto Burle Marx's gardens are works of modern art, not only because they make use of flat planes, abstract shapes, and bold colors, but because of the way they behave: they prompt awareness of oneself in relation to the built environment.  In this exhibition, Burle Marx's global influence and legacy is also examined through the work of a number of international contemporary artists with ties to Latin America. It is no surprise that today's artists find Burle Marx a fruitful source of inspiration and you will, too.
     Ta ta Darlings!!! The work of Roberto Burle Marx tugs at our collective imagination...that the world can be a magical place, where sidewalks move in abstract directions and color and pattern inspire a new way of thinking about art.  Fan mail  always welcome, I'd love to hear from you, send an email to Visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk,com and click on the link in the left-hand column to the subject that resonates with your interest on fashion, amazing women, visionary men and poetry.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


This just in form the press preview at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this Monday morning:

The beautiful and thought provoking show,, MANUS X MACHINA; Fashion in the Age of Technology reveals how technology and craft go hand-in-hand to make a powerful combination. "I am humbled by the innovations of the past but I am also humbled by the future of technology," said Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer,  Apple, a sponsor. "Both the automated and handcrafted process require similar amounts of thoughtfulness and expertise. There are instances where technology is optimized, but ultimately it's the amount of care put into the craftsmanship, whether it's a machine-made or handmade that transforms ordinary materials into something extraordinary."
     The exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, Spring 2016 exhibition, presented in the Museum's Robert Lehman Wing, is a breathtaking presentation worthy of close examination.  It explores how designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. I was stunned by the magical world of the haute couture ateliers and equally marveled at the futuristic machine-inspired fashions.
     The space houses a series of case studies in which haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles are decoded to reveal their hand/machine DNA. Image above: A 2014 haute couture wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel with a 20-foot train occupies a central cocoon-like area with details of its embroidery projected onto the domed ceiling. Not to be missed.!!!
      The exhibition is structured around the traditional metiers of te haute couture. It's like getting a sneak insider's view of the haute couture workshops. The first floor unfolds in a series of alcoves, examining the petites mains workshops of the extraordinary embroidery, featherwork and artificial flowers.   

     I was taken aback by the marvel of the featherweight and wondered how many birds has been sacrificed for this kind of adornment and how many may have become extinct by this fashion Image right: Relief came when I saw this Yves Saint Laurent evening dress constructed of hundreds of clear cellophane drinking straws, ingeniously layered; another marvel of the couture.
      The ground floor space is arranged as an enfilade, examining pleating, lacework and leatherwork. A room dedicated to toiles and ateliers of tailoring and dressmaking---the traditional division of a maison de couture---anchors the ground floor gallery.
     Then traditional techniques are discussed alongside innovative techniques such as 3-D printing, computer modeling, bonding and laminating laser cutting and
ultrasonic welding. 
     Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute said, "Traditionally the distinction between haute couture and pret-a-porter (ready-to-wear) was based on the handmade and the machine-made, but recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of each other."  
WHY IS MAXUS X MACHINA IMPORTANT? Bolton concludes: "Manus x

Machina challenges the conventions of the hand/machine dichotomy and proposes a new paradigm germane to our age of technology>" 
    Ta Ta darlings!!! Manus x Machina will resonate with visitors where machine and hand made morphs into something extraordinary.  Fan mail welcome at
Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left-hand column click on the link to the Blog that resonates with your interest on fashion, visionary men, extraordinary women and poetry.