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About Last Night
TERRY TEACHOUT on the arts in New York City



    THE TT-OGIC TOP FIVE

    A top-five list of new things we've liked. (To purchase or investigate, click on the title.)

  • DVD: Metropolitan. Whit Stillman’s 1990 film debut, now on DVD (at last!) in a full-featured Criterion Collection version complete with outtakes, deleted scenes, and commentaries by Stillman, Luc Sante, and cast members Chris Eigeman and Taylor Nichols, who play the priggish preppies who take an insufficiently monied Upper West Sider under their wing and introduce him to the mysterious world of the urban haute bourgeoisie. The quintessential early-Nineties indie flick, still perfect sixteen years later (TT).

  • BOOK: G. Edmund White, Oliver Wendell Holmes (Oxford, $17.95, out Feb. 28). A pellucid brief life of the legendary Supreme Court justice who read Proust (and Nero Wolfe), knew (and disliked) Theodore Roosevelt and Henry James, was shot three times in the Civil War, sat on the bench until he turned ninety, and wrote like a writer, not a lawyer. The best first book for anyone who wants to know why Justice Holmes still matters (TT).

  • CD: Rosanne Cash, Black Cadillac (Capitol). Achingly sorrowful musical reflections on the deaths of two parents and a step-parent—two of whom just happened to be famous. If you’ve seen Walk the Line (and you should), Black Cadillac will have special resonance, but Johnny Cash’s greatly gifted daughter long ago moved beyond the compass of country music to carve out a spot for herself as one of our best singer-songwriters, regardless of genre. This is her strongest album yet (TT).

  • BOOK: Brian Priestley, Chasin’ the Bird: The Life and Legacy of Charlie Parker (Oxford, $28). A readable, musically aware short treatment of one of the saddest and most significant lives in the history of jazz. Until a full-scale primary-source biography of the self-destructive saxophonist is finally written, this is a good place to start (TT).

  • CD: Sweeney Todd (Nonesuch, two CDs). The original-cast album of John Doyle’s current Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, in which the instrument-playing cast members double as the onstage orchestra. Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone are formidable, and Sarah Travis’ ingenious chamber-orchestra reorchestration of Sondheim’s score is surprisingly effective, though by no means a substitute for Jonathan Tunick’s 1979 full-orchestra version, which remains available on CD. That one’s better, but this one is far more than a mere souvenir (TT).

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

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ABOUT TERRY TEACHOUT
AND OUR GIRL IN CHICAGO

Terry lives in Manhattan. He's the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal and the music critic of Commentary, but he writes about... More


ABOUT "ABOUT LAST NIGHT"
This is a blog about the arts in New York City and elsewhere, a diary of Terry's life as a working critic, with additional remarks and reflections by Laura Demanski (otherwise known as Our Girl in Chicago), who is also, among other things, a critic. It’s about all the arts, not just one or two... More


ABOUT TERRY'S BOOKS
Terry's latest book is All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine... More

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TEACHOUT'S TOP FIVE

A list of things we've liked (subject to unexpected and wildly capricious updating).

To purchase or investigate, click on the link.


  • DVD: Metropolitan. Whit Stillman’s 1990 film debut, now on DVD (at last!) in a full-featured Criterion Collection version complete with outtakes, deleted scenes, and commentaries by Stillman, Luc Sante, and cast members Chris Eigeman and Taylor Nichols, who play the priggish preppies who take an insufficiently monied Upper West Sider under their wing and introduce him to the mysterious world of the urban haute bourgeoisie. The quintessential early-Nineties indie flick, still perfect sixteen years later (TT).

  • BOOK: G. Edmund White, Oliver Wendell Holmes (Oxford, $17.95, out Feb. 28). A pellucid brief life of the legendary Supreme Court justice who read Proust (and Nero Wolfe), knew (and disliked) Theodore Roosevelt and Henry James, was shot three times in the Civil War, sat on the bench until he turned ninety, and wrote like a writer, not a lawyer. The best first book for anyone who wants to know why Justice Holmes still matters (TT).

  • CD: Rosanne Cash, Black Cadillac (Capitol). Achingly sorrowful musical reflections on the deaths of two parents and a step-parent—two of whom just happened to be famous. If you’ve seen Walk the Line (and you should), Black Cadillac will have special resonance, but Johnny Cash’s greatly gifted daughter long ago moved beyond the compass of country music to carve out a spot for herself as one of our best singer-songwriters, regardless of genre. This is her strongest album yet (TT).

  • BOOK: Brian Priestley, Chasin’ the Bird: The Life and Legacy of Charlie Parker (Oxford, $28). A readable, musically aware short treatment of one of the saddest and most significant lives in the history of jazz. Until a full-scale primary-source biography of the self-destructive saxophonist is finally written, this is a good place to start (TT).

  • CD: Sweeney Todd (Nonesuch, two CDs). The original-cast album of John Doyle’s current Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, in which the instrument-playing cast members double as the onstage orchestra. Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone are formidable, and Sarah Travis’ ingenious chamber-orchestra reorchestration of Sondheim’s score is surprisingly effective, though by no means a substitute for Jonathan Tunick’s 1979 full-orchestra version, which remains available on CD. That one’s better, but this one is far more than a mere souvenir (TT).
  • More on the Top Five


TEACHOUT ELSEWHERE

KIRK DOUGLAS, MASTER PAINTER
“A wise old cynic once observed that hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. Had he lived three centuries later, La Rochefoucauld might have added that biopics are the tribute Hollywood pays to real art. Anyone who chooses to make a movie about a great artist, be it good or bad, is making an implicit declaration of faith in the enduring significance of Western culture. Hence it says something of interest about the state of American culture that pictures like Lust for Life and The Agony and the Ecstasy, in which Charlton Heston played Michelangelo, have become so rare in recent years…” More

A HUNDRED BOOKS IN YOUR POCKET
"The e-book is back. So are the technophobes who swear it'll never catch on. They were right last time, and they might be right this time, too. Sooner or later, though, they'll be wrong—and when they are, your life will change..." More

MENCKEN NO. 3
“You don’t pour years of your life into writing a biography unless you feel an initial bond of sympathy with the subject, and, though many a biographer has grown disillusioned along the way, it’s obvious from reading Mencken: The American Iconoclast that Rodgers still admires and, just as important, likes the man about whom she has written. But how closely does that man resemble the real H.L. Mencken? Have Rodgers’s sympathies led her to smooth his rough edges, or downplay less palatable aspects of Mencken’s work that might not sit well alongside her frank admiration? The answer, I suspect, will depend on how much you yourself like Mencken…” More

TEACHOUT'S COMMENTARY

THE BEATLES NOW
“The Beatles were the first rock-and-roll musicians to be written about as musicians. Elvis Presley, for instance, had attracted vast amounts of attention from the press, but for the most part he was treated as a mass-culture phenomenon rather than as an artist, and so were the other rock musicians of the 50’s and early 60’s (and the swing-era band-leaders and vocalists who came before them). Not so the Beatles…” More

SECOND CITY

OCTOBER
"Terry Teachout, author of 'All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine,' 'A Terry Teachout Reader' and 'The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken,' started writing 'Second City,' a monthly column about the arts in New York, in the fall of 1999. In September, after six years and 64 columns, he filed his final report for The Post. 'I can't even begin to tell you how much I'll miss Second City,' he says. 'Not only was it a pleasure and a privilege to report to the readers of one great city about the artistic doings of another, but I learned to love Washington along the way.'...
More

SEPTEMBER
"It's profoundly unsettling for a Manhattanite to be following the news these days. I've found it all but impossible to tear myself away from the televised scenes of mounting chaos in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast, though I did take a quick look the other day at the first 'Second City' column I filed after 9/11. It started like this: 'We're all right, thanks. It took a week or two for us to pull ourselves together, but New Yorkers have finally started to emerge from their holes, looking for all that art offers in times of trial: inspiration, diversion, catharsis, escape.' It will take a lot longer for the victims of Hurricane Katrina to reconstitute their lives, and longer still, I fear, for them to regain access to the solace of art..." More

AUGUST
“Respighi is known in this country for 'The Fountains of Rome', 'The Pines of Rome' and not much else, but in Italy he's rightly admired as a witty, wonderfully lyrical composer. 'La Bella Dormente' is all that and more, and Basil Twist's magical staging commingles singers, puppets and puppeteers to tell the familiar tale (at the end they all dance together, in a breathtaking piece of theatrical wizardry). The puppets were bewitchingly characterful, the singers first-rate. How sad to think that this show received only a half-dozen performances! It belongs in an off-Broadway theater, where it would surely run until the end of time…” More

SITES TO SEE

* = newly added

LITBLOGS
Beatrice
Beiderbecke Affair*
The Bibliothecary*
Bookdwarf
Books, Inq.
Bookslut
Brandywine Books
Chekhov's Mistress
Chicken Spaghetti
Conversational Reading
Brenda Coulter
Elegant Variation
emdashes
Galley Cat
Golden Rule Jones
Happy Booker
Light Reading
Litblog Co-Op
Literary Saloon
MadInkBeard
James Marcus
Scott McLemee
Metaxucafe
The Millions
MoorishGirl
The Mumpsimus
Maud Newton
Old Hag
People of the Book*
Rake's Progress
Reading Experience
Return of Reluctant
Tingle Alley
Sarah Weinman
Dan Wickett

OMNIBLOGS
Back with Interest
Coudal Partners
Cue Sheet
CultureSpace
DevraDoWrite
A Glass of Chianti
Gurgling Cod
Ionarts
Jerry Jazz Musician
Killin' time being lazy
Justine Larbalestier
Mixolydian Mode
My Stupid Dog
news from me
Outer Life
Praise of Folly
Pratie Place
Purveyor*
Quiet Bubble
Searchblog
S/FJ
Shaken & Stirred
Something Old
such stuff
Sweet Dissonance
James Tata
Teatro Lifson*
Thrilling Days
Topic Drift
Kelly Jane Torrance
Eve Tushnet
2 Blowhards
Wax Banks

SCHOOLBLOGS
Critical Mass
Household Opera
The Little Professor
Amardeep Singh

SCREENBLOGS
Michael Barrier
DVD Savant
Girish
davekehr.com
Pullquote
Video WatchBlog*

SIGHTBLOGS
Artblog.net
Design Observer*
Eye Level*
From the Floor
Gallery Hopper*
Modern Art Notes
Modern Kicks
Edward Winkleman*

SOUNDBLOGS
Canadienne
The Concert*
Deceptively Simple
Do the Math
Jessica Duchen
The Fredösphere
in the wings
Iron Tongue
JazzPortraits*
Night After Night
oboeinsight
Rifftides
Alex Ross
Sandow
Sequenza21*
Sounds Like Now
Think Denk
twang twang twang

STAGEBLOGS
Downtown Dancer
Footnotes
On Theatre/Politics*
Parabasis
The Playgoer
Superfluities
Theatre Ideas
The Wicked Stage*
zayamsbury.net*

______________


WEBCOMICS
Cat and Girl

______________


ARTISTS
BiddyBlog
Bob Brookmeyer
Mary Foster Conklin
Makoto Fujimura
Greta Gertler
Hilary Hahn
Jim Hall
Fred Hersch
Laura Lippman
Erin McKeown
Beata Moon
Paul Moravec
Nickel Creek
Maria Schneider
Luciana Souza

CRITICS
Bruce Bawer
Roger Ebert
Robert Gottlieb
Maureen Mullarkey
Mark Steyn

ART LINKS
artsjournal.com
Arts & Letters Daily
Ballet.co Dance Links
CBC Arts
The Page

______________


OTHER BLOGS
Alicublog
Althouse
The American Scene
Barone Blog
Eric Berlin
Bookish Gardener
Cathy's World
Chequer-Board
City Comforts
Colby Cosh
The Corner
Crescat Sententia
Clive Davis
Delicious Pundit
First Things
Godsbody
Hotline Blogometer
InstaPundit
Kausfiles
Lileks
Lileks Screeds
Maccers
Lance Mannion
Megan McArdle
Modestly Yours
Off Wing Opinion
Open Book
Overheard Lines
Overlawyered
Political Animal
RealClearPolitics
Roger L. Simon
songs for frogs
Michael Yon

______________


MEDIA/GOSSIP
BuzzMachine
Gawker
I Want Media
Memeorandum
PressThink
Regret the Error*
Romenesko
TMFTML

RADIO
Hello Beautiful!
Saint Paul Sunday
Soundcheck
Studio 360

PRINT
Armavirumque
Baltsun Books
Bosglobe Books
Bosglobe Music
Bosglobe Theater
Chitrib Arts

Chitrib Books
Commentary
LAT Books
NY Observer Arts
NYT Arts
NYT Blogs 101
NYT Book Review
NYT Obits
NYT Theater
The Onion
Slate
The Spectator*
WSJ OpinionJournal*
DC Post Bookworld
DC Post Style
DC Post Sunday Arts

______________


USEFUL SITES
Am Art Oral Histories
Artcyclopedia
BBC Four Interviews
Berlioz Website
Bixography
Bloggers' Legal Guide
Criterion Collection
Currency Calculator
DVD Journal
Greatest Films
Hot Dogs
Inflation Calculator
Internet Movie DB
Internet B'way DB
Henry James Sites
Jazz on Line*
Masters of Cinema
Morandi JPEGs
Online Parallel Bible
OS Shakespeare
Opus 1 Classical
Paris Review DNA
Red Hot Jazz
Rep. Poetry On-line
Rotten Tomatoes
samueljohnson.com
snopes.com
TV Shows on DVD
Upcoming Jazz CDs
Worlds Records

OTHER AJ BLOGS
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