Saturday, February 25, 2012

At the Met Opera - on screen

I love that the Met Opera has come to all of us on the cinema theatre all over the world.
Today was Giuseppe Verdi's Ernani. This is Verdi's adaptation of Victor Hugo's play about 3 men in love with the same woman - Elvira. it is about love but more important it is about honor in 1571 Spain. Tenor Marcello Giordani plays the role of Ernani the outlaw that vies for the love of Elvira -Angelea Mead, the Met's youngest staring sopranpo. The cast is rounded out by Dimitri Hvorostovsky who play Carlos the King of Spain and Ferruccino Furlanetto play the elderly Don Silva who also desires Elvira. During the intermission, which is one of the best parts of watching the Met on a movie screen, Dimitri and Marcello were asked if they thought that Honor still existed in the work today. Interesting that the Russian Dimitri replied "Yes" where the Italian Giordani replied "No". The chorus and the set was fabulous. On screen HD at the Met can't be beat.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A cold day in Mexico

Last week we went to Mexico for dental care on a very cold, windy and blustery day. Even on good days there are specific reasons people visit Nogales Sonora, just across the border from Arizona. Dental care, UTEA duty free cigarettes and alcohol, drugs and vanilla. Very few people go as tourists. Any shopping is incidental. Such as the woman in the dental office who was wrapped in a woolen serape that she had bought because of the cold weather. Trees and awnings blow in the wind. Vendors huddle together with parks wrapped around them, waiting for the unlikely sale.
Nogales is depressing in today's economy and fear of crime. NOTE: there are more shootings weekly in Tucson that there are in Nogales, Sonora.

We finish the afternoon at the Old Tubac Inn with a bowl of green chile port stew and a Mexican Negra Modelo.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Necessary Targets by Eve Ensler

The University of Arizona School of Theater, Film & Television Arizona Repertory Theatre.
These young thespians always put on a great performance. They recently presented Necessary Targets by Eve Ensler. This play is about two American women in a Bosnian refugee camp.
J.S. is a practicing psychiatrist whose experience has been primarily eating disorders. However she is professionally trained in psychotherapy. Melissa is a young woman with hands on experience in working with women traumatized by ethnic warfare. They often clash when their techniques have varying results with the women they are there to help. Necessary Targets examines the point of view and the past traumas of five women from Bosnia.

If it comes to your area I recommend it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10 things I learned about J.A. Jance

Although I am not a great mystery fan I braved a crowded parking lot and went to hear J.A. Jance yesterday, bought her latest book "Left For Dead" and got an autograph.
Ten things I learned about her. NOT in any particular order.
#1 She loves the color red.
#2 She loves dogs.
#3 She is an entertaining speaker.
#4 She had a bad first husband.
#5 She has a good second husband.
#6 She paid $400 for the "e" that ends her last name.
#7 One can separate her mysteries into the 4 leading characters: J.P. Beaumont, Joanna Brady,
Diane Ladd, Allison Reynolds.
#8 She is of Scandinavian descent born in South Dakota.
#9 Raised in Bisbee, Az.
#10 You do not want to cross her or you will be the name of a villain in one of her novels.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"The 39 Steps" performance at Az. Theater Co.

Scottish novelist John Buchan wrote this mystery in 1915. In 1935 it was made into an adventure film by Alfred Hitchcock. Recently it was adapted to the stage by Patrick Barlow who cast the entire film with only 4 actors. The main character is Richard Hannay who becomes involved in murder and with spies that take him from London to the Scottish Highlands and back again. The female role is played by an actress that takes the part of the three women he meets along the way.Two other male actors play multiple roles including cops, spies, Scotsmen and women and others.

The play is truly FARCE and the cast at the ATC handles it very well both the dialogue filled with puns and jokes and the physical comedy. Most impressive was the staging, the handling of props and numerous costume changes.

There are three main reactions to plays that are this farcical; Laugh out Loud funny. Quiet smiles and smirks and those that see it as inane and pointless. AzBuddy was the silent smiler and smirker. But the actors played to a full house and a standing ovation.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Albert or Maggie, Glenn or Meryl

Albert Nobbs is a film adaptation of a 19th century Irish short story by George Moore. Albert is a woman who passes as a man so that she can work as a waiter in a hotel. It is not about sex or even gender but about class and the need to support herself in an environment that is difficult for women. Glenn Close played the role many years ago off Broadway. Now, as a mature actress she brings Albert to screen. I loved the short story when I read it about a year ago and loved the movie.

Iron Lady is a biopic of Margaret Thatcher, the first woman Prime Minister of England and first woman in European politics. I was not going to see the film but after seeing Albert Nobbs, I wanted to compare the performances of these two great actors.

I didn't care for the Iron Lady. Whether it was the screenplay or the Director, I felt that it was over the top and made a caricature of Maggie. Half of the film is Thatcher when she is old and feeble and in dementia. By necessity the role requited dramatic makeup in the conversion of Streep to Thatcher. Opposite to this, the makeup of Glen Close is subtle because the goal of Albert as a waiter is to be invisible.

IMO Albert Nobbs is by far the better movie.
The makeup team superbly handles the subtle change of Glenn Close into the male waiter Albert.
By necessity, I suppose, the makeup team had a heavy hand in the transformation of Meryl Streep

And IMO the best actress Oscar should go to Glenn Close