Friday, November 30, 2007

Josh Ritter

Ah, almost forgot...November 9th Josh Ritter completed the U.S. leg of his tour at Webster Hall. This was a sold-out show, and it was packed. PACKED.

Anyway, the show was good...I know my friends who were new to him loved it...I just didn't love it. And I really wanted to. I know I'm spoiled having seen him in the most intimate of concert venues over the past 6+ years, but I'll own up to that. So, although Josh is one of my favorite singer/songwriters, and I'm so proud and happy for him, I think from now on I'll stick to the smaller, more intimate venues in which I hope he'll continue to perform, or go visit my sister in North Carolina and catch him there.


If you're in the NYC-area, I can recommend one play on Broadway that is one of the best plays I've seen in a long, long time. "August: Osage County" is amazing, and now that Broadway is back from the strike, you too can catch this incredible Chicago-based cast in Tracy Lett's newest foray into a fucked-up family that each audience member can empathize with (that's right, I cussed, and so will you after you see it!).

So, I hope some of you can make it, and let me know if you do!

UPDATE: Charles Isherwood just gave "August" a stellar review in the New York Times.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Concerts Galore

True to form, culturaLOVERload has been too crazy busy to post. However, I've found a few minutes, so let's catch up, shall we?

First, Halloween: while I love Halloween candy (it's a good thing candy corn is out only once a year!), I've decided that going to a concert on Halloween is a great alternative to fighting the crowds in NYC to catch a glimpse of the costumes in the parade--if you're 5'3" like me, it's near impossible to see anything! So, Ben and I headed up to Washington Height's new venue, United Palace to see the Black Crowes. First, the venue is rockin'--wonderfully restored architecture/interior, and the acoustics were great. Add in the friendly staff and it's made my short list of favorite venues in Manhattan. Patti Smith opened for the Crowes, and did a good set, highlighted by a wonderful cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"--as usual, Nirvana's lyrics never cease to hit home, and Patti delivered them well. The Crowes were fun as always...a bit slow in parts, but overall a truly entertaining show; along with the crowd full of funny costumes and the subversive pot smoking, it was a great Halloween.

Then off to see Josh Rouse on Friday at the Blender Theater/Grammercy Theatre on East 23rd. I hadn't been to that spot since MoMA was using it to showcase their film collection while their new home was being built, and, I have to say, this theatre rocks. First of all, they left half of the seats, the "balcony" if you will, and made the bottom floor (still slanted from the movie seats) a free-for-all area with two bars. Brilliant. This show was probably close to sold out, but it was not overly crowded on the floor because of the people sitting in the seats above...I know I'm going on a lot about this, but you have to understand how much of a difference a sloped floor, seats, and a lack of people standing in front of you when you're 5'3" can make! As for the show, if I didn't already have plans the next night, I would have come back to see Josh again...really fun, relaxing, quality show. After, I said good-by to Gregg, and it was off to Nolita to meet up with my friends Julie and Ben for drinks celebrating Ben's birthday.

And to complete a wonderful week of music, Julie and I went to see Sufjan Stevens perform his much-talked-about show at BAM, the BQE. Part of the BAM's Next Wave Festival, the organization commissioned Sufjan to write a symphony. I really enjoyed the BQE...if listening to the music alone, I'm not sure it would have been as good, but the true genius of it was that Sufjan incorporated film of the BQE and hula-hoopers into the performance. Then, to top it off, the second act was Sufjan performing his songs with the backing of the orchestra-truly a rare opportunity.

Greg Sandow had a review of the performance that I think hits home as to a new future of classical music and my (and younger) generation(s).

Sorry for the delay, and I promise to keep up in the future! This Sunday, off to the Signature Theatre for the second play of the season!