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Bridge: Women’s Pairs at Cavendish in Monaco

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 31 Oktober 2013 | 16.43

The women's pairs at the Cavendish tournament last week in Monaco attracted 16 pairs. After a round robin, the top half moved into the one-day A final over 42 boards.

The winners were Nathalie Frey from Monaco and Babeth Hugon from France. Cathy Baldysz and Anna Sarniak from Poland finished second. Catherine d'Ovidio from France and Disa Eythorsdottir from the United States came third.

On the diagramed deal from the qualifying section, Eythorsdottir and d'Ovidio outscored not only the women's pairs but also the 30-table open pairs.

With the aid of a four-diamond splinter bid (showing game values with four-card heart support and a singleton or void in diamonds) and Roman Key Card Blackwood (the five-spade reply indicating the heart queen and either two aces or one ace and the heart king), they cruised into a thin six hearts.

West opened with the spade eight, second- or fourth-highest, in answer to her partner's lead-directing double.

Eythorsdottir (South) played low from the dummy and breathed a sigh of relief when East won with the ace.

East shifted to her diamond.

South won with her ace, played a club to dummy's ace and ruffed a club, bringing down West's king.

Declarer now knew that West had started with the spade queen, diamond king-queen and club king, yet could not open the bidding. So East had to have the club queen. And South also needed West to have only two hearts.

Declarer cashed her heart ace, played a heart to the dummy and ran the club jack, discarding a loser from her hand. When West could not ruff, South trumped a club, played a spade to the king, drew East's last trump and claimed.

When compared with the other seven results, plus 980 was worth 83 international match points.

The slam was lucky, but Eythorsdottir, who won the Venice Cup world championship last month in Bali, Indonesia, made the most of her opportunity.


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Encounters : Iké Udé’: The Wildness of Clothes, but Not for Fashion

Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

Iké Udé with two of his self-portraits at the Lelia Heller Gallery in Chelsea during the installation of his show, "Style and Sympathies," in early October.

Iké Udé was standing inside the Lelia Heller Gallery in Chelsea in early October during the installation of his show, "Style and Sympathies." The exhibition, which will run through Nov. 9, was set to open the next day. Many works were in cartons, others leaning against the wall; a few were hung. There was the smell of fresh paint.

The artist paused in front of a self-portrait that hung near the entryway, a photograph in which he was outfitted in a plaid jacket from the George Burns movie "College Holiday," a Soviet military commander armband and 17th-century French shoes with bows, an Ottoman-era Turkish headpiece. "I'm quite delighted," he said. "It came out the way I imagined."

Mr. Udé had been imagining these works since writing the words "Sartorial Anarchy" on the wall of his Chelsea apartment in 2003. A few pieces were included this spring in a show called "Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion" at the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design.

The lush color-laden photographs (he prefers the word "pictures") are self-portraits of the artist in clothes designed to transcend time and place. "I don't use clothes as fashion, it's more of an indices of culture," he said. "I'm quoting across geographies, cultures and time periods, back and forth. That's why I say post-dandyism."

The crinkling of discarded paper was heard as the unwrapped works were leaned against the wall by gallery workers. Does he consider himself a dandy? "By default." Meaning? "I'll leave it at that."

Mr. Udé, who was born in 1964, was raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Dressing for photographic portraits may be bred in the bone. His family dressed up to have their pictures taken twice a month. He has lived in New York since the 1980s. "I qualify as a New Yorker, if you allow," he said, his accent and wording showing a trace of the former British colony.

The next night, after the show's opening, there would be a very New York dinner at Bottino, the Chelsea art-world hangout, with Amy Fine Collins, special correspondent for Vanity Fair; Fern Mallis, the former executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America; the philanthropist Jean Shafiroff; the model Pat Cleveland, and the model-agent-activist Bethann Hardison among the fashionable attendees.

Mr. Udé has been named twice to the Vanity Fair International Best-Dressed List. At the gallery installation, the tall, model-thin artist was wearing a Rive Gauche brownish suit from 1999, by Hedi Slimane. He later admitted he had the jacket shortened. "An improvement on Slimane's design," he said with a sly side smile.

Mr. Udé stood in front of "Sartorial Anarchy #21." Detachment ebbed away as he pointed out that the pants were Nigerian (1940s), the jacket was from England (1930s or 1940s) and an octopus's tentacles hugged the hat. The artist commissioned a milliner to construct the octopus out of papier-mâché. "I love the lines of the octopus echo the lines on the jacket," he said. "And the color here is balanced with the color here, all composed."

At his studio, Mr. Udé staged the scenes, which were shot by a photographer he said was a "hired hand." He painted the colorful backdrops. Nothing is left to chance: not the vibrant interlocking colors nor the patterns formed by his pose, the clothes and the various objects designed to create what he called "rhymes of shapes."

Mr. Udé kept an eye on the installation process going on around him, but kept most of his opinions to himself. "I believe, this is personally what I think, most artists are far too involved in placement of work," he said. "I don't find it advisable because I don't have enough emotional distance from my work. I trust the gallery to be more objective to place the pictures where they belong."

One touch he was responsible for: one wall was painted in red and an interior room in green. Mr. Udé and Lauren Pollock, the gallery director, thinking that they wanted something different from the uniform white background found in art galleries, had visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art for inspiration. Mr. Udé was pleased to see that the red wall, painted the previous day, worked well with his pictures. "My choice was informed by what I saw by the Met," he said. "I love the fabric walls. If I had the money I would have used expensive fabric walls, just go all the way."

Ms. Pollock came from the back office and explained the thought process that went into the placements of three photographs across the back wall. "We think this grouping is similar in quality in terms of mood," she said.

Ms. Pollock hesitated before continuing: "I don't know if this is a word you want to use, but we've been saying they have a little bit of surrealist quality in a way."

She looked at the artist to gauge his reaction. He merely nodded.

She gestured toward the front of the gallery to a work showing Mr. Udé in a fantastic tall, orange powdered wig favored by the fashionable macaronis, a movement that was a precursor to dandyism. "We singled out 'Sartorial Anarchy #5' because it's been one of Iké's best known works to put in the front of the gallery," Ms. Pollock said.

Again, she turned to Mr. Udé. "No, no. I have no opinion," he said.

Michael Watson, the gallery preparator, was energetically opening the pictures and propping them against the wall. He moved on to a white cube where items in the pictures were going to be displayed. On top of it he placed an Uzbek traditional armor hat (circa 19th century); a French fencing mask (1940s); a reproduction of a Western European ruff-collar in white lace and cotton (16th century); and a Lord Byron costume mask, reproduced from an 1835 Thomas Phillips painting of the poet in Albanian dress.

Mr. Udé focused on the helmet. He was no longer aloof. "Are you going to leave this like this?" he asked.

Told that it could be displayed however the artist wanted, Mr. Udé pulled it up and gently moved it into a more upright position. "Yes, it shouldn't be lying down," he said. "It's more beautiful this way."


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In Dispute Over a Song, Marvin Gaye’s Family Files a Countersuit

Robin Thicke's song "Blurred Lines" is one of the year's biggest hits, but behind the scenes the song is the focus of a bitter dispute that led Wednesday to the family of Marvin Gaye filing a copyright lawsuit.

In August, Mr. Thicke and his two fellow songwriters, Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr. (also known as the rapper T.I.), sued the family of Marvin Gaye in a pre-emptive strike, saying that they expected Gaye's children to claim that "Blurred Lines" copied Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up."

The similarities between the songs — among them a smooth, retro beat and lots of falsetto — have been noted by critics and Mr. Thicke has acknowledged "Got to Give It Up" as an inspiration. But "being reminiscent of a 'sound' is not copyright infringement," the men said in their suit.

Two of Gaye's children, Frankie and Nona, have responded with a countersuit, filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles. The suit says that not only does "Blurred Lines" infringe on their father's copyright, but that another of Mr. Thicke's songs, "Love After War," also copies a Gaye song, "After the Dance."

According to the suit, which was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, a musicologist, Judith Finell, studied "Blurred Lines" and "Got to Give It Up" and found "a constellation of at least eight distinctive and important compositional elements" between them.

Extending their case beyond copyright, the Gayes also sued Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which controls the EMI publishing catalog, which includes Gaye's songs. The Gayes accuse Sony/ATV — which is also a publisher of Mr. Williams's work — of breach of contract and of fiduciary duty by taking sides against the family in the dispute and trying to intimidate them into dropping the case. Gaye died in 1984.

According to the Gayes, Sony/ATV tried to persuade them that their case was frivolous, and that the company's chairman — who was not named in the suit, but is Martin N. Bandier, a well-known music executive — told the family they were "killing the goose that laid the golden egg" by pursuing the case.

In a statement, Sony/ATV said that another musicologist had determined that "Blurred Lines" did not infringe on "Got to Give It Up," and also defended its corporate role as a steward for songwriters.

"We take our role in protecting the works of all of our songwriters from infringement very seriously," the company said. "And while we very much treasure the works of Marvin Gaye and our relationship with the Gaye family, we regret that they have been ill advised in this matter."

Both suits seek unspecified damages.


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Sanford Weill Lures Zarin Mehta to Green Center

When Sanford I. Weill bought a 360-acre estate in California wine country three years ago, the area had plenty of attractions — gourmet cuisine, fine hotels, a beautiful climate — everything but a major concert hall for the culturally inclined Mr. Weill. Fund-raising problems and the economic downturn had stalled the completion of the nearby Green Music Center's auditorium at Sonoma State University.

So in 2011, Mr. Weill, the former Citigroup chief executive and longtime chairman of Carnegie Hall, and his wife, Joan, donated $12 million to finish the hall, and Mr. Weill became chairman of the center. Now he is bringing in his own man to run it, putting up the money to hire Zarin Mehta, the former president of the New York Philharmonic.

The university planned to announce on Thursday that Mr. Mehta will take on the title of executive director, which he will share with Larry Furukawa-Schlereth, the university's chief financial officer.

Mr. Mehta "can build this place to be something unique and make it well known on a global basis," Mr. Weill said in an interview.

The Weills will pay 80 percent of Mr. Mehta's $300,000 annual salary to the university, which will cover the rest — an unconventional arrangement for an arts organization. What's also unusual is that Mr. Mehta does not plan to move to California.

These and other factors raise questions about just how the whole thing is actually going to work. It's unclear whether Mr. Mehta can run the center from afar; whether the center's current operating budget of about $9 million will continue to cover the cost of top-tier talent (the Philharmonic's budget is $72 million by comparison); and whether Mr. Zarin and Mr. Furukawa-Schlereth will comfortably share power. The scale of Mr. Weill's effort and investment speaks to his ambitions for the hall, in Rohnert Park, Calif., and to the level of his influence. In its first year the center — which will ultimately cost a total of $150 million — has attracted prominent names in classical music. (It also presents opera, world music and jazz; Lyle Lovett is performing next month.) The pianist Lang Lang gave the first performance at the hall in September 2012, the soprano Renée Fleming opened this year's season, and the cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed in January. Each season will also include regular performances by the San Francisco Symphony and the Santa Rosa Symphony.

In its first season, the 1,400-seat hall was the site of 32 concerts, which sold at about 80 percent capacity. The center's Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, as it is now called, was designed by William Rawn and was modeled after Mr. Rawn's Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, with a back wall that can open onto the landscaped Weill Lawn.

Mr. Mehta says it was the high aspirations for the center and encouragement from Mr. Lang that prompted him to take the job, although he didn't really need a new full-time gig; at 75, he was enjoying being close to his family and being a consultant to music groups in Chicago, to which he returned in 2012 after 12 years at the Philharmonic. Before coming to New York, he was president and chief executive of the Ravinia Festival, in suburban Chicago, where he is a lifetime trustee.

"It's the opportunity to create a public, to create culture," Mr. Mehta said in an interview. "I will be there as long as it takes to make this thing a huge success, because the people merit it." His portfolio at the center will include artistic issues, sales, marketing and development.

Mr. Furukawa-Schlereth said he felt fortunate to have Mr. Mehta as a partner. "I never thought we'd able to find someone of his extraordinary talent and intelligence and experience to come work with us in this brand-new venture," he said.

Mr. Weill said he was unconcerned about the potential geographical hurdles facing Mr. Mehta. "The best managers travel," he said. "Music is a global business with people all over the place. He will be out there as much as he absolutely has to be — whether it's 110 percent of the time or 50 percent of the time."

In addition to Weill Hall, the music center includes the 250-seat Schroeder Hall, which is expected to open next year. Still to be raised is $2.5 million for the MasterCard Performing Arts Pavilion, an open-air space scheduled to open in 2015 to which the credit card company contributed $15 million.

The music center supports itself through ticket sales, board contributions and annual giving, Mr. Furukawa-Schlereth said; the university pays for utilities and maintenance. Mr. Weill said he hoped to expand the board to 50 from 27 with people from the North Bay area, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Most board members are expected to contribute $50,000 a year each.

As to whether the Green Center will compete with Carnegie Hall for Mr. Weill's attentions — and pocketbook — Mr. Weill said: "We're 3,000 miles apart. I think they can enhance each other."

The Green Center is already collaborating on educational programs with the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.

Despite his role as the driving force behind the center, Mr. Weill said its success would not depend on him. "That wouldn't be a good business model," he said. "I really believe in leading by example."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 30, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the operating budget of the New York Philharmonic. It is $72 million, not $73 million.


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Dreamworks Animation Profit Falls, Though Shares Stay Strong

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 30 Oktober 2013 | 16.43

LOS ANGELES — Despite suffering a 59 percent drop in quarterly profit after the disappointing box-office performance of "Turbo," DreamWorks Animation on Tuesday sought to convince investors that its film operation is healthy.

Wall Street responded favorably: DreamWorks Animation shares jumped 9 percent in after-hours trading, to about $30.25.

For the quarter that ended Sept. 30, the studio reported a profit of $10.1 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with profit of $24.4 million, or 29 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been expecting even gloomier financial results – perhaps as little as a penny a share – contributing to the immediate bounce in share price.

But Jeffrey Katzenberg, the studio's chief executive, and several lieutenants also worked hard during a post-earnings conference call with analysts to focus attention on the company's film pipeline and an aggressive expansion into consumer products.

In particular, Mr. Katzenberg said animated competition would be lighter at the box office in the year ahead. "It is a radically different marketplace next summer compared to this last summer," he said. The snail-themed "Turbo," which has taken in $246 million worldwide, one of the worst results in the company's history, had to compete with five other animated films, Mr. Katzenberg noted.

DreamWorks Animation will release three pictures next year, starting with "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" on March 7.

The studio said it had recently seen stronger DVD, Blu-ray and digital download sales for older titles and "Turbo." It attributed the improvement to a new distribution arrangement with 20th Century Fox, which replaced a partnership with Paramount Pictures. Fox has been better about "leaning into the market opportunity," said Ann Daly, DreamWorks Animation's chief operating officer.

Analysts were focused to a large degree in the conference call on the studio's small consumer products division. DreamWorks Animation – seeking to position itself as more diversified – for the first time reported results for licensed products, saying the unit had a quarterly profit of $3 million on revenue of $12 million.

Ms. Daly, outlining retail plans for "How to Train Your Dragon 2," set for release in June, and for a related television show, said the products division was poised to "expand dramatically."


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Theater Review: Brecht’s ‘Good Person of Szechwan’ Opens at Public Theater

By David Frank, Poh Si Teng and Erik Piepenburg

In Performance: Taylor Mac: The actor performs a scene from the Foundry Theater's production of Bertolt Brecht's "Good Person of Szechwan."

Some shows are just too good to go away for good. And no, I'm not referring to the mechanical juggernauts that are parked on Broadway like so many hyper-expensive theme park rides. I'm talking about the Foundry Theater's sublime production of Bertolt Brecht's "Good Person of Szechwan," which was a highlight of the last theater season, when it opened in February at La MaMa, and now becomes a highlight of the current one, having reopened Tuesday night at the Public Theater.

I hope all the Brecht-o-phobes out there haven't already stopped reading, because this frisky production, directed by Lear DeBessonet, could make a convert of just about anyone. If you associate Brecht with heavy-treading, messagemongering nights at the theater, you may be taken aback to find how purely entertaining his work can be when it is delivered with invention and a spirit of inquisitive exuberance, as it is here.

This is not to suggest that Ms. DeBessonet and her collaborators are burlesquing Brecht's fable about the high cost of doing good deeds in a misbegotten world. True, the central role of Shen Te, the prostitute turned shopkeeper in ancient China, is portrayed by the bald, lanky drag performer Taylor Mac, which might suggest mischief in the making.

But despite the sloppy red dress and the gold strappy heels worn over black socks and the Marlene Dietrich maquillage, Mr. Mac is giving a sincere, smart and disarmingly moving performance. His vibrant turn as Shen Te brings out the beating heart and the bristling humor in Brecht without in any way obscuring the play's spirited critique of a punishingly mercenary social order. (The production conflates two translations by John Willett, trimmed here and there with witty contemporary flourishes.)

Shen Te earns the titular distinction when a trio of gods descends upon her city in search of an honorable man or woman; rumors have reached the higher realms, it appears, that "no one can stay on earth and remain good." Clad in tattered white finery — as if purchased from some celestial thrift shop — these doddering figures, played by the terrific Vinie Burrows, Mia Katigbak and Mary Shultz, are shepherded around town by the Water Seller (David Turner), who has taken it upon himself to find them free lodging.

Played with impish humor by Mr. Turner (his razzle-dazzle solo is a musical highlight of the show), the Water Seller knocks on the doors of the miniature houses of Matt Saunders's charmingly funky set, only to discover that, ahem, nobody's much interested in offering hospitality. The only willing soul in town is the poor prostitute Shen Te, who is rewarded for her goodness with a thousand silver dollars.

Sudden prosperity brings nothing but misfortune upon the softhearted Shen Te, who soon finds her tobacco shop infested with more freeloaders than customers. Her unhappy but necessary solution: the invention of a male cousin, Shui Ta, who will sternly set things right by taking a ruthless attitude toward making the shop profitable.

To portray the shadow half of the central character, Mr. Mac dons a natty pinstriped suit, a bowler hat and a curlicued mustache that dangles comically from his nose like a charm on a bracelet. His arrivals to clean up the messes made by Shen Te's charitable instincts are heralded by a thump on the drums from the house band, the Lisps. The music, written by César Alvarez and the band, blends classic American folk redolent of the Woody Guthrie era with more exotic influences. (The declamatory percussion could be a nod to Chinese opera.)

Simple moral fable though it may seem upon the surface, Brecht's play grows more nuanced and complex as Shen Te tries to reconcile her two personas — or rather eliminate the spiritually pernicious one — and find some happiness in love, which turns out to be just as big a drain on the coffers as everyday good works.

Many of the play's supporting characters are drawn as Hogarthian comic caricatures, and ferociously played as such. Lisa Kron, whose acclaimed musical "Fun Home" is playing in another theater at the Public, is flat-out hilarious in two roles, as Shen Te's grasping, nasal-voiced landlady, and as the grasping, talon-nailed tiger mom of Yang Sun (Clifton Duncan), Shen Te's fiancé. But even the comparatively noble characters — Shen Te, of course, but the Water Seller, too — cannot remain entirely uncorrupted by the brutal imperatives of their world.


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Theater Review: ‘Becoming Dr. Ruth,’ With Debra Jo Rupp, at Westside Theater

"People don't look at the elderly as sexual beings," says Debra Jo Rupp as the title character in "Becoming Dr. Ruth," a solo play about the celebrity sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer that opened on Tuesday at the Westside Theater. "Worse, some older people don't see themselves that way."

Nor, it appears, does the playwright Mark St. Germain ("Freud's Last Session"), who assembled this talking Wikipedia page. He neuters the woman whose remarkable life it depicts, reducing her to an adorable bundle of innocuous jokes, sentimental clichés and over-explained metaphors. The Dr. Ruth onstage is a cartoon, a Stehaufmaennchen doll — you push her down and she bounces right back up!

No disrespect is intended to the real Dr. Westheimer, whose courage, resilience, humanity and intellect are much in evidence here, nor to the tremendous suffering she endured on the way to becoming the beloved matron who taught 1980s America not to be ashamed of sex. But such a fascinating subject deserves a less superficial bioplay than this one, whose lackluster writing is matched by Julianne Boyd's pedestrian direction.

The setup is not unlike that of a far superior recent single-character play about another German-Jewish refugee who reinvented herself in America, "I'll Eat You Last." As indicated by the subtitle of that Bette Midler vehicle, "A Chat With Sue Mengers," the protagonist welcomed the audience into her living room to gab, exposing her vulnerabilities while celebrating her triumphs.

Here, Dr. Ruth cuts short a phone call with her publicist when she looks up and realizes she has company. The time is 1997, two months after the death of her third husband, and she is packing up the Washington Heights apartment they shared, preparing to move the next day. With a stash of memorabilia, photographs and documents at the ready, Dr. Ruth shares her reminiscences.

Her story is certainly a stirring one. Born Karola Ruth Siegel in 1928, the diminutive girl saw her childhood in Frankfurt cut short when her father was taken to a labor camp soon after Kristallnacht in 1938. At 10, she was sent on a Kindertransport train to Switzerland, never to see her Orthodox family again.

When she was 17, she moved to a kibbutz in Palestine, and then to Jerusalem to study kindergarten teaching, just as the conflict between Jews and Arabs was escalating. She joined the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary organization, and became an ace sniper, receiving nearly fatal injuries in a bomb blast on her 20th birthday. Next stop was Paris, where she continued her studies and taught at the Sorbonne before traveling to America in 1956.

Mr. St. Germain connects the dots in a rudimentary fashion to explain how Dr. Westheimer found her way into sex therapy and became a popular media figure. The play, which comes to New York after being seen at the Barrington Stage Company and TheaterWorks in Hartford, provides no nuanced exploration of the Dr. Ruth phenomenon, instead simplifying her vocation into a survivor's sense of obligation to repair the world. That sentiment might have been lifted from the subject's own words, but it doesn't make for an illuminating portrait.

Ms. Rupp, who is best known as the mom on "That '70s Show," gets close enough with the accent and does a nice job conveying the warmth and humor of Dr. Ruth. But rather than this well-meaning tribute, I kept wishing that the woman herself were onstage reflecting on her life and taking questions.

Becoming Dr. Ruth

By Mark St. Germain; directed by Julianne Boyd; sets by Brian Prather; costumes by Jennifer Moeller; lighting by Scott Pinkney; sound by Jessica Paz; projections by Daniel Brodie; production supervisor, Production Core; dialect coach, Stephen Gabis; general manager, Richards/Climan Inc. A Barrington Stage Company production, presented by Michael Alden, Stefany Bergson, Rodger Hess, Jamie deRoy/Beam Reach Entertainment, Pat Flicker Addiss and LFI Group/Elyse Mirto. At the Westside Theater Upstairs, 407 West 43rd Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200, telecharge.com. Through Jan. 12. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

WITH: Debra Jo Rupp (Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer).


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Calder’s Heirs Accuse Trusted Dealer of Fraud

The bond between dealer and artist can be a kind of love affair, with its attendant passions and confidences, interests and intrigues.

Calder Foundation

The artist Alexander Calder, right, with his longtime dealer and close friend, Klaus G. Perls, in France in about 1974.

A sortable calendar of noteworthy cultural events in the New York region, selected by Times critics.

Calder Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Questions about the provenance of Alexander Calder's "Standing Constellation" (1943) set in motion a wide-ranging legal fight that is now in the courts.

Such was the case with the sculptor Alexander Calder and Klaus G. Perls, who represented him from 1954 until Calder's death in 1976. The two frequently dined and traveled together, and visited each other's families. When Calder came to Manhattan, he often stayed at Perls's Madison Avenue townhouse.

"He trusted him completely," said Calder's grandson Alexander S. C. Rower, who added that he himself considered Perls and his wife, Amelia, "a dear aunt and uncle."

But now that bond has dissolved into a bitter dispute between the families of the two men.

In a recently amended complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court, the Calder estate says the Perlses surreptitiously held on to hundreds of Calder's works and swindled the artist's estate out of tens of millions of dollars. Perhaps most surprising, it says that Perls, a dealer with a sterling reputation who campaigned to rid his industry of forgeries, sold dozens of fake Calders. The suit depicts Perls as a tax cheat who stashed millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account, a secret his daughter said she maintained by paying off a former gallery employee with $5 million. She added that Calder had his own hidden Swiss account.

Mr. Rower, seated in the Chelsea headquarters of the Calder Foundation, surrounded by small black-and-red maquettes made by his grandfather, reflected on the case one recent afternoon. "It's really kind of heartbreaking that they turned out to be thieves," he said of Klaus and Amelia Perls.

Steven W. Wolfe, a lawyer for the Perls side, declined to comment, saying a judge's ruling on pending motions was imminent. But in court papers, he described the Calder lawsuit as a "sham and manufactured claim." He characterized it as a fishing expedition, one that is finding only the sort of gaps in records that are normal when tracking 25-year-old transactions from a gallery that has been closed for more than 15 years. The Perls family has asked the court to dismiss the case, also arguing that the statute of limitations has expired.

That this close partnership has devolved into a lawsuit is a sorrowful development. While Calder is renowned as one of the 20th century's most innovative artists, Perls has his own corner in the history of modern art. He was a pioneering collector of African art, and donated dozens of those pieces, as well as $60 million worth of masterworks by Modernists like Picasso and Modigliani, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When Perls died five years ago, at the age of 96, that museum's director called him "a connoisseur and a scholar," a "distinguished honorary trustee, donor and friend."

Although many of the most surprising accusations surfaced in additional papers filed over the summer, the legal dispute began three years ago with a chance discovery. In 2010, a Canadian gallery contacted the Calder Foundation, of which Mr. Rower is chairman, about a $1.5 million wooden mobile titled "Standing Constellation." It had been purchased from the Perls Foundation, a trust set up after the Perls Gallery closed in 1997. Mr. Rower said he was puzzled because "Standing Constellation" had not been listed on an inventory of holdings provided by the Perls Gallery after Calder's death, nor had the Calder estate received any payment from its sale.

Mr. Rower, who has spent more than 15 years compiling the definitive catalog of Calder's work, examined the Calder Foundation's provenance records and said he found several other works in the Perls inventory that were later sold without the estate's knowledge. Many were listed as being consigned by a woman in Switzerland known only as "Madame Andre."

Mr. Rower said he was already frustrated with the dealer's family because it had not turned over a large bundle of archives, drawings and monogramming tools used by Calder to sign his works that Amelia Perls, who died in 2002, had previously promised in a letter to give him. So in 2010, the Calder family sued the Perls estate; the dealer's daughter, Katherine Perls; and "Madame Andre" for the archives and the works missing from the inventory.

As the estate began to dig, however, it made several discoveries.


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Monthlong Chase Around New York City for Banksy’s Street Art

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 29 Oktober 2013 | 16.44

It has been almost a month since the very famous, presumably rich and remarkably still anonymous British street artist and trickster Banksy began making good on his word to spend October festooning the streets of New York with his art. 

Nearly every day, as part of what he called his New York "residency," Banksy has posted to his website and Instagram a photo of a new piece — a wry scrawl, a cheeky silhouette, a cartoony sculpture, an installation — and identified its location by neighborhood. He has wended through all five boroughs with the project, titled "Better Out Than In" — although Staten Island got only one Banksy, and it was a video. As soon as a post goes up, little armies of people set out to find it — Banksy's work sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and here it was hanging free — twittering in triumph when they do.

Borough by borough, and sometimes neighborhood by neighborhood, reactions differed every time a Banksy popped up. In a way, it took this Englishman to remind New Yorkers that parts of our city remain distinct as foreign lands.

In East New York, local residents charged viewers $20 for a peek of a stenciled beaver. In TriBeCa, at a stencil of the World Trade Center towers, people laid flowers. In Hell's Kitchen, exotic dancers preened before the image of a lovelorn swain at Larry Flynt's Hustler Club. A piece on the preservationist-friendly Upper West Side was quickly sealed behind plexiglass. On the Lower East Side, people ripped off the doors of a painted car. In Queens, and in Red Hook and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, images were swiftly bombed by taggers: local street artists incensed that an Englishman had trod on their turf.

Mike Ellyson, 33, an artist who lives in East Williamsburg, said he watched in awe a few days ago as a worker began scrubbing a Banksy tag off a laundromat wall, causing onlookers to yell, imploring him to stop.

"I think it's amazing — people fighting over a laundromat, Mr. Ellyson said.

Though Banksy works have shown up on private buildings, the Police Department has gotten no official complaints, a spokesman said, adding that apprehension was difficult because "we don't know who Banksy is, if he exists at all." Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's tut-tut response that graffiti was "a sign of decay and loss of control" only gave the project more of a boost. 

The project has also stirred up animosity. This city has bred some serious street artists, after all, few of whom have garnered the fame enjoyed by Banksy.

"I think he's a fraud," said Tiffton Meares, 31, a chef from Williamsburg, as he wandered past the Banksy stencil of the twin towers in a TriBeCa alleyway this past weekend. "My friends believe it is a ploy to get New York cool again."

Mr. Meares conceded that some of Banksy's pieces were "poignant," but expressed disdain for Banksy's followers, some of whom he said sat in pigeon droppings to pose for photos alongside the TriBeCa piece, even after a pug had relieved itself on the wall.

Banksy fans lured to hard-bitten East New York, Brooklyn, where many live below the poverty line, were taken aback when they encountered a group of tetchy residents, who had shielded the little graffiti beaver with cardboard and were demanding pay per view.

"We're trying to get some bread — this is my hood," said one man agitatedly, his response caught on video, before adding, no doubt accurately, "Y'all wouldn't come here if this wasn't here."

After the crowds drifted away, the beaver's face was scoured off and the piece was all but forgotten.

Not so for East Williamsburg, where a tagger was tackled to the ground by a building manager after he scrawled over Banksy's image of geishas on a bridge. The building's owners, one of whom wrote about the adventure, hired security guards and later installed plexiglass and a roll-down gate, which is now open daily on a viewing schedule for the dozens of people stopping by.

"A lot of people come to the neighborhood," said the manager, Jose Goya, 33. "Now we have something to show them. Something nice."

Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, was also thrilled by the Banksy-generated attention — at least at first. In mid-October, Banksy graced the South Bronx with a fiberglass replica of an ill-tempered Ronald McDonald watching as a dirty ragamuffin, played by an actual human, shined his outsize shoes. Delighted, Mr. Diaz likened Banksy to a "contemporary day Picasso."

Alex Vadukul contributed reporting.


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ArtsBeat: American Songbook Series Sets Its Lineup, Except for the Opener

The 16th season of Lincoln Center's American Songbook series will begin Jan. 22 with a free concert featuring an artist yet to be named at the David Rubenstein Atrium. Resuming Jan. 28, with James Naughton singing the songs of Randy Newman, this adventurous, far-reaching series — its programming encompasses Broadway, indie rock, gospel and alt-country — will continue through March 8 at the Allen Room in Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Some likely high points in a series that has proved itself a valuable platform for emerging talent will be the operatic tenor Lawrence Brownlee singing traditional American spirituals (Jan. 29) from his album "Spiritual Sketches"; a program devoted to the songs of the "Dreamgirls" composer Henry Krieger (Feb. 13); the jazzy Broadway singer Jessica Molaskey interpreting Joni Mitchell (Feb. 20); and a salute to Hollywood spun off from Jim Caruso's "Cast Party," the long-running variety show at Birdland. Beginning March 19, with a concert by the singer-songwriter Mark Mulcahy, American Songbook will continue at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse with concerts live-streamed at lincolncenter.org/watch.
The schedule and more details are to be posted at americansongbook.org on Tuesday.


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Theater Review: ‘Grasses of a Thousand Colors,’ at the Public Theater

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Grasses of a Thousand Colors, at the Public Theater, stars Julie Hagerty, standing, and, from left, Emily Cass McDonnell, Wallace Shawn and Jennifer Tilly.

The lecture has only just begun on the Shiva stage at the Public Theater, and yet, already, your eyelids are getting heavy, so heavy. That disagreeable man at the podium, shiny with self-satisfaction, has promised to read from his memoirs, and the tome in front of him is the size of the collected works of Joyce Carol Oates. His voice is a nasal, complacent drone that could put a rabid pit bull to sleep.

But the state of hypnosis into which you subsequently fall, and remain for roughly three hours, is no coma of boredom. It's more like one of those dreams that make you writhe and sweat and cry out in your sleep.

It seems that you've fallen into a fairy tale, a nasty and erotic fairy tale that, no matter how bewitching it seems at moments, murmurs a cautionary whisper all the while: Something is very wrong in this world, it says, and life may not be any better when you wake up. So, thank you (I guess), Wallace Shawn, for guiding us so skillfully into your personal nightmare, and making it feel like our very own.

Mr. Shawn is the star and author of this lyrical, creepy and richly detailed (and, oh yes, pornographic) dreamscape, which goes by the name of "Grasses of a Thousand Colors" and opened on Monday night. Part of the Public Theater and Theater for a New Audience's celebration of the four-decade collaboration between Mr. Shawn and the director André Gregory, "Grasses" follows this summer's superb revival of "The Designated Mourner," a political fable of moral cowardice that made anyone with a conscience squirm.

"Grasses," which I first saw at the Royal Court Theater in London four years ago, is also guaranteed to make anyone uncomfortable, though partly for different reasons, including detailed descriptions of exotic sex that the Marquis de Sade might shrink from. Like "Mourner," "Grasses" could be described as the diary of a narcissist. But this particular egomaniac, Ben (a lovely name that I have previously associated only with the meek and humble of the earth), is even less conscious of his toxic character flaws than Jack, the passive protagonist of "Mourner."

This is especially unfortunate since Ben, a scientist and doctor, is powerful and smart enough to change the basic ecology of the world. When we first see him at the podium, Ben (played by Mr. Shawn, as Jack was) is in poor health and, he says, incapable of remembering even what happened yesterday.

Yet the memories do indeed start rising, miasma-like, with the assistance of women from Ben's past, played by three delicious actresses: Julie Hagerty, as Ben's wife, Cerise; Jennifer Tilly as Robin, his mistress; and Emily Cass McDonnell as Rose, one of his later girlfriends.

Though these women are all unforgettable, Ben's most memorable partner in Kama Sutra diversions is a cat named Blanche, whom we never actually meet. Or do we? Ben lives in a world of transformations, the most unpleasant of which can be laid directly at his feet.

Ben made his fortune by solving world hunger. This was achieved by developing a special grain that alters the metabolisms of animals in ways that allow them to feed on their own kind and to multiply at unprecedented rates. If you hear a rumble of apocalypse in that description, your ears do not deceive you.

This basic information is delivered early, from the podium. After that, Ben pretty much retires to that long white sofa that occupies much of the stage. He is soon joined on that sofa by one or several of the aforementioned women, who alternate narratives that are mostly about Ben's exceptionally varied sex life.

Ben may be the most phallocentric character ever conceived for the stage. His penis, he says, is his best friend, possibly his only friend. And when he describes his erotic escapades, his penis accompanies him as a separate and indispensable companion, as if it were Leporello to his Don Giovanni. And, oh, the places they go! This includes a marvelous castle in the woods that might have been devised by the Brothers Grimm in concert with Pauline Réage (of "The Story of O").


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U.S. Publisher Said to Have Acquired Morrissey Autobiography

The autobiography of the pop star Morrissey, which has become a quick sensation in Britain, has found an American publisher. G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House, acquired the memoir, two people involved in the negotiations said on Monday.

Several publishers were vying for the rights to release the book, which has already been reviewed in the United States after its publication as a 457-page Penguin Classic in Britain. Writing in The New York Times, Ben Ratliff said that the book, titled "Autobiography," is "as sharp as it is tedious, both empathetic and pointlessly cruel," adding that Morrissey, the former singer for The Smiths, is "a pop star of unusual writing talent."

The book is expected to be published quickly to take advantage of the holiday book-buying season. Since "Autobiography" was released in Britain two weeks ago, it jumped to the No. 1 spot on Amazon.co.uk. Fans in the United States who were unable to buy copies from American booksellers have ordered them from online merchants in Britain at inflated prices. A spokeswoman for Putnam declined to comment.


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Lou Reed, 1942-2013: Outsider Whose Dark, Lyrical Vision Helped Shape Rock ’n’ Roll

Written By Unknown on Senin, 28 Oktober 2013 | 16.43

Chad Batka for The New York Times

Lou Reed performing in New York City in 2009. More Photos »

Lou Reed, the singer, songwriter and guitarist whose work with the Velvet Underground in the 1960s had a major influence on generations of rock musicians, and who remained a powerful if polarizing force for the rest of his life, died on Sunday at his home in Amagansett, N.Y., on Long Island. He was 71.

The cause was liver disease, said Dr. Charles Miller of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where Mr. Reed had liver transplant surgery this year and was being treated again until a few days ago.

Mr. Reed brought dark themes and a mercurial, sometimes aggressive disposition to rock music. "I've always believed that there's an amazing number of things you can do through a rock 'n' roll song," he once told the journalist Kristine McKenna, "and that you can do serious writing in a rock song if you can somehow do it without losing the beat. The things I've written about wouldn't be considered a big deal if they appeared in a book or movie."

He played the sport of alienating listeners, defending the right to contradict himself in hostile interviews, to contradict his transgressive image by idealizing sweet or old-fashioned values in word or sound, or to present intuition as blunt logic. But his early work assured him a permanent audience.

The Velvet Underground, which was originally sponsored by Andy Warhol and showcased the songwriting of John Cale as well as Mr. Reed, wrought gradual but profound impact on the high-I.Q., low-virtuosity stratum of punk, alternative and underground rock around the world. Joy Division, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, R.E.M., the Strokes and numerous others were descendants. The composer Brian Eno, in an often-quoted interview from 1982, suggested that if the group's first album, "The Velvet Underground & Nico," sold only 30,000 copies during its first five years — a figure probably lower than the reality — "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

Many of the group's themes — among them love, sexual deviance, alienation, addiction, joy and spiritual transfiguration — stayed in Mr. Reed's work through his long run of solo recordings. Among the most noteworthy of those records were "Transformer" (1972), "Berlin" (1973) and "New York" (1989). The most notorious, without question, was "Metal Machine Music" (1975).

Beloved of Mr. Reed and not too many others, "Metal Machine Music" was four sides of electric-guitar feedback strobing between two amplifiers, with Mr. Reed altering the speed of the tape recorder; no singing, no drums, no stated key. At the time it was mostly understood, if at all, as a riddle about artistic intent. Was it his truest self? Was it a joke? Or was there no difference?

Mr. Reed wrote in the liner notes that "no one I know has listened to it all the way through, including myself," but he also defended it as the next step after La Monte Young's early minimalism. "There's infinite ways of listening to it," he told the critic Lester Bangs in 1976.

Not too long after his first recordings, made at 16 with a doo-wop band in Freeport, N.Y., Mr. Reed started singing outside of the song's melody, as if he were giving a speech with a fluctuating drone in a New York accent. That sound, heard with the Velvet Underground on songs like "Heroin" and "Sweet Jane" and in his post-Velvet songs "Walk on the Wild Side," "Street Hassle" and others, became one of the most familiar frequencies in rock. He played lead guitar the same way, straining against his limitations.

Mr. Reed confidently made artistic decisions that other musicians would not have even considered. He was an aesthetic primitivist with high-end audio obsessions. He was an English major who understood his work as a form of literature, though he distrusted overly poetic pop lyrics, and though distorted electric guitars and drums sometimes drowned out his words.

Emma G. Fitzsimmons contributed reporting.


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Theater Review: Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz Star in ‘Betrayal’ on Broadway

So just how sexy is it? Oh, admit it. That's the biggest question on your mind. You didn't pay all that money for tickets to "Betrayal" because it was written by the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, the great master of existential dread and the vagaries of memory.

No, I'll bet what lured you to the box office at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, where "Betrayal" opened on Sunday night in a crude and clunky production, was the prospect of seeing in the flesh one Daniel Craig. He, of course, is Bond, James Bond, to most of us — a man widely perceived, especially by women of a certain age, as the hunkiest actor in movies.

It doesn't hurt that Mr. Craig is playing opposite his real-life wife, the beautiful, Oscar-winning movie star Rachel Weisz. Or that the subject of the play, at least on its most literal level, is marital infidelity. And that the number of central characters is a magical three (the other being played by Rafe Spall), which titillates with triangular possibilities.

Throw in that the director is Mike Nichols, whose name is a byword for deeply knowing urbanity, and you have a recipe for classy eroticism, a New Yorker's favorite form of catnip. No wonder the show was breaking box-office records even before it opened.

And — oh, dear — here comes the part where some killjoy critic (that would be me) pours ice water on steaming anticipation. If you already have tickets to "Betrayal," don't read another word of this review. You will indeed be able to see Mr. Craig in the flesh, and that flesh (though covered up by suits and downtime civvies) looks great.

A respectable stage actor before he became 007, he brings the same fierce intensity to talking that he does to zipping across moving trains and zapping supervillains. Not that such overt intensity is exactly what "Betrayal" asks for, but never mind. As for Ms. Weisz, she looks smashing. And let me add that she, Mr. Craig and Mr. Spall seem to be having the kind of rowdy old time you associate with moldy British sex farces, though that's a genre in which I would never before have thought to include "Betrayal."

As for sensual content? O.K., there is one brutally sexy scene in this intermission-free, 90-minute drama of love and perfidy among the literati. That's when Robert (Mr. Craig), a publisher, and his wife, Emma (Ms. Weisz), who runs an art gallery, suddenly find themselves at home alone together (in one of Ian MacNeil's floating sets) after the departure of a visitor. That's Jerry (Mr. Spall), a literary agent and Robert's best friend, who also happens to be having a long-running affair with Emma, which Robert by this point knows (though Jerry doesn't know that he knows).

Once Jerry leaves, Emma starts to cower and tremble as if she expects Robert to hit her. Instead he kisses her — hard and bruisingly — and then forces her onto the sofa where he starts to undress her. Between you and me, I'm not really sure how much Emma wants what's coming, even if Robert is Daniel Craig. But it's an unsettling, uncomfortable moment, fraught with blurred layers of love, hate and power.

Let me pause here to give you Pinter's original stage directions for that moment: "Robert returns. He kisses her. She responds. She breaks away, puts her head on his shoulder, cries quietly. He holds her." That suggests rather a different tone, no?

There are no stage directions, either, for the simulated copulation (she's on top) that takes place here between Jerry and Emma in the love nest where they meet for erotic matinees. Nor is there any indication in the script regarding the scene in which the affair between them begins, that he is as drunk as any jerk in a "Hangover" movie, and she is smoking pot.

By the way, just to be clear, that beginning-of-the-affair scene occurs at the end of the play, which is told in reverse chronology. This structure is usually something worth discussing — about what it says about time and memory and the attrition of hope — but in this case, I'm not going to bother.


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Theater Review: ‘House of Dance’ by Tina Satter at Abrons Arts Center

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

From left, Jim Fletcher, Paul Pontrelli and Elizabeth DeMent in "House of Dance."

The four characters in this hourlong production, which opened on Sunday night, have about as much chance of becoming stars as... Well, I was about to say "my cat," but in these days of YouTube and Instagram, I'd say my cat has a fair shot at celebrity. So does every human, animal, insect and inanimate object on this planet.

It's true that at least one member of the group that hangs out in the play's sole setting — a studio designed with eloquent shabbiness by Andreea Mincic in a basement room at the Abrons complex — talks the obligatory aspirational talk. Sort of. Says Lee (Jess Barbagallo), a winning young all-American type of uncertain gender: "I just wanna be ready for tryouts. I hate this town, and I am going to leave here and be a millionaire by the time I am 40."

Still, the odds are that neither Lee nor any of his (I use this personal pronoun arbitrarily) tap-dancing confreres are ever going to feel the tingle of blazing limelight. They'll have to settle for something more like a metaphoric key light, the flickering kind that falls on them only when they're dancing for the person in the mirror.

If "House of Dance" were like "Flashdance," the 1983 movie about a steel-town girl who boogies her way out of the proletariat and into ballet school, then Lee would be the Jennifer Beals character. The play is centered — as much as something so charmingly off-center can be — on Lee's prepping for a big audition at the local town hall.

It's for the Teen Tap Dance Road Show, something that Lee's instructor, Martle, has never heard of. "Well, I'm not a teen," he says. Played in a really bad toupee by the fabulous downtown Everyman Jim Fletcher (Gatsby in the Elevator Repair Service's "Gatz"), Martle is supposed to be devoting this morning exclusively to Lee — "encouraging my wings," as Lee puts it. But the solo class doesn't stay solo for long.

For one thing, the rehearsal pianist, Joel (Paul Pontrelli), is a more intrusive presence than his job would seem to warrant. And then there's that obstreperous Brendan (Elizabeth DeMent), who keeps busting in even though she's been told to stay away. Brendan, by the way, walks with a cane, yet she doesn't dance with a limp.

That's one of the many incidental details that Ms. Satter — a warmhearted avant-gardist who directed as well as wrote this work — throws out without explanation. "House of Dance" is as full as quotidian mysteries as real life always is for newcomers (that would be us) to a place they've never been before.

Why is Brendan so angry at Martle, and what is that colorful miscellaneous stuff that tumbles out of her bag? Why is she so insistent on wresting away the cushion that Joel sits on? Were Brendan and Martle once lovers? Are Martle and Joel lovers now? And just what kind of tether connects young Lee to the stepparents who keep texting him?

These titillating questions arise from cryptic but very prosy dialogue delivered with an artlessness that brings to mind the performances in Richard Maxwell's extraordinary plays of paralyzed lives. "House of Dance" is a presentation of New York City Players (Mr. Maxwell's company, and he is the producer here), in association with Half Straddle. Like Mr. Maxwell's characters, those in "House of Dance" exude an air of hopeless hope, of feisty defeat. (Even their spangled glad rags, designed by Enver Chakartash, look forlorn.)

But then they dance. And, no, they don't turn into Fred and Ginger, or Mickey and Judy, or even the socially challenged, cosmetically gorgeous amateur ballroom competitors from the hit movie "Silver Linings Playbook." Ms. Satter's folks are kind of ramshackle when they trip the light, although Joel has some impressively precise, and wonderfully prissy, moves.

You figure that big, blustery Martle is only a bogus authority, inventing his choreography on the spur of the moment. "This is called 'L'Acapella de Jim,' " Martle explains to Lee, with unblinking earnestness, as he demonstrates a step. "Also known in Barcelona, Spain, as 'Capella Jim.' "

But, hey, isn't making it up as you go along what life is all about? And far more than your standard-issue play or musical about dancing — even more than, say, "A Chorus Line" — "House of Dance" uses dance to reflect and define the idiosyncrasy and all-too-human haplessness of those who perform it.

There are a few moments when all the characters slip into the same synchronized groove in a routine, or close enough to that, anyway. And you can feel the pure, victorious pleasure that courses through them as they catch one another's eyes. (Hannah Heller is the choreographer; and the deliberately incongruous music is by Chris Giarmo.)

It's a short high. Whatever connections may exist among these characters, on or off the dance floor, they're tenuous. By the show's conclusion, you have the sense that Martle, Lee, Joel and Brendan have gone back to spinning in their own isolated orbits. The dominant step here is what might be called a pas d'un, and this small but enchanting show might just as easily be titled "Dancing With Myself."

House of Dance

Written and directed by Tina Satter; sets by Andreea Mincic; lighting by Zack Tinkelman; music and sound by Chris Giarmo; costumes by Enver Chakartash; choreography by Hannah Heller; produced by Richard Maxwell; associate producer, Lindsay Hockaday; stage manager, Randi Rivera. Presented by the New York City Players in association with Half Straddle and Abrons Arts Center; at the Abrons Arts Center Henry Street Settlement, 466 Grand Street, at Pitt Street, Lower East Side ; (212) 598-0400; abronsartscenter.org. Through Nov. 9. Running time: 1 hour.

WITH: Jess Barbagallo (Lee), Elizabeth DeMent (Brendan), Jim Fletcher (Martle) and Paul Pontrelli (Joel).


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The Tv Watch: ‘Homeland’ on Showtime Gets a Jolt of Energy

Kent Smith/Showtime

Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin in "Homeland."

"You've been very, very brave."

That's what Saul soothingly said to Carrie in the fourth episode of "Homeland," but it's also what Showtime should tell viewers who patiently sat through the first three disappointing episodes of the series's third season.

This once sleek and sure-footed espionage thriller had seemed off-kilter, slow and even dull. Then, a week ago, the story took a promising twist. Sunday's episode, the fifth, kept the momentum going.

There are still irritating elements in "Homeland," but now, almost midway through the narrative, the show has a surge of energy and even some reasons to keep watching.

And that's remarkable given how difficult it is to sustain a show that made its mark by preserving psychological realism even as it kept adding increasingly preposterous plot turns.

Especially now, when so many National Security Agency secrets have been laid bare by Edward J. Snowden, American intelligence is under intense public scrutiny — and suspicion. Each misstep or shortcut taken by "Homeland" writers grates because many viewers are no longer as confident about what our spies can or can't do in real life.

But it's not the breaches of protocol that jar the most. Worse were those early episodes that seemed to break faith with the viewer's understanding of at least two main characters, the Central Intelligence Agency spymaster Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) and his brilliant bipolar protégée, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). There could be a shadow of doubt about Saul's loyalty to his country. (There was a mole somewhere in the government, after all.) But there was never any question about his feelings for Carrie.

That's why it was disconcerting when Saul, as interim C.I.A. director, seemed to be setting up Carrie to take the fall for the terrorist bombing of the agency headquarters. However clever, that turn seemed inconsistent with his nature and the show's ethos: "Homeland" was good mostly because even when the story turned far-fetched and almost silly, its heroes stayed true to themselves; the psy-ops in the show could turn cartoonish, but the psyches of its characters were layered and believable.

So it was exciting to discover that Saul's betrayal was all part of an elaborate sting operation, and also a relief. When Saul and Carrie met in private at long last, he commended her courage because it turned out that her meteoric fall — including a stint in a psychiatric ward — was all part of a ruse to persuade Iranian spies that Carrie, disgraced, broke and bitter, could be turned into an informant.

When Carrie went off her medication and ended up in the hospital, the relapse seemed repetitive and even hackneyed. But when it turned out that she derailed as part of her imposture, that tack suddenly seemed fresh and rang true. Since the very first episode, this strange, unorthodox and often unpleasant heroine was always ready to go to extremes. She underwent electroshock treatment at the end of the first season because she believed that she had made an unpardonable mistake in her work. It makes sense that she would strap a straitjacket back on to trap the terrorists who had committed an unpardonable crime.

It's still not clear whether Brody (Damian Lewis), the Marine who was turned into a double agent while in captivity, is innocent or guilty of the terrorist on the C.I.A., and he is still mostly absent from the scene. His story line hasn't yet intersected with Carrie's. The two have parallel plights. She is medicated into a zombie state in the psychiatric ward; and Brody, held by Venezuelan thugs force-fed heroin to dull his wits, is trapped in a different kind of madhouse. But that juxtaposition is a distant one. The first two episodes go by without a glimpse of Brody, and when he shows up in the third episode — in a squatters' unfinished high-rise in Caracas — his is an unrelieved, and not particularly interesting, solo performance.

Brody's removal from the forefront may turn out to have a purpose, but it mostly feels like the kind of choice writers make because they don't really have one — an actor's contract or scheduling conflict forces them to write the character into the far background.

And without Brody, it seemed as if his daughter, Dana (Morgan Saylor), was being served up as a stand-in, and the focus on her teenage angst was drawn out and tedious. It wasn't Ms. Saylor's fault, but Dana was on screen so often, in the same mannered slump of grievance, that she became a figure of parody on "Saturday Night Live." As it turned out, all that adolescent acting out at least had a point: Carrie, always susceptible to Brody and his family, risks blowing her cover to help track down and recover the runaway Dana. That distraction puts Carrie off her game and off her guard, and she ends up the way Brody's double life began, with a black hood over her head. Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) is appalled that Saul let his colleague go undercover as a traitor without their surveillance, fretting that in the hands of the Iranians, Carrie is all on her own.

"She's always been on her own," Saul replies. Many viewers were ready to abandon her, and quite a few already have. But even without Brody, or backup, Carrie alone in captivity holds out hope that "Homeland" isn't all washed up.


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Television Review: ‘The Governor’s Wife,’ on A&E, Follows Life of Edwin Edwards

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 27 Oktober 2013 | 16.43

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A Poet With Words Trapped Inside

On a recent evening, three days before her 65th birthday, Ms. Shange sat at the front table of the Nuyorican Poets Café in the East Village, listening to rich vernacular lines pouring from three characters who were all versions of her. Ms. Shange, best known for her 1970s verse play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf," wore a red dress and sat in a wheelchair facing the stage, her hands and feet dancing involuntarily in front of her. The show, called "Lost in Language and Sound: Or How I Found My Way to the Arts," was her first new theatrical work in more than a decade, and the words onstage were unmistakably hers, attuned to the rhythms of the jazz musicians and dancers on stage.

"I can't count the times I viscerally wanted to attack, deform and maim the language I was taught to hate myself in," one of the characters said. "The language that perpetuates the notion that causes pain to every black child." No one else writes like that.

But for Ntozake Shange (pronounced en-toh-ZAH-kee SHAHN-gay), who once made a point of writing a poem every day so she would have fresh material to present at readings, the new lines came laden with an unfamiliar struggle. For the last decade, health problems have buffeted her relationship with language. First a pair of small strokes left her temporarily unable to read; then, in 2011, a neurological disorder called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy took control of her hands and feet, leaving her unable to type or write without difficulty. Until recently, she could not even stand or walk.

In between, Ms. Shange moved from the West Coast to Brooklyn to be near family members who could care for her.

"I can't work on a computer and I can't write very well, either," she said the other day, her words still slightly slurred from the strokes. "It sort of feels empty, not like I'm swollen with words. I feel like there's an astringent being applied to my body so that everything is getting very tight and I can't release it right this minute."

All of this has shaped the new work, which she calls a "choreoessay," in the same way that "For Colored Girls" was a "choreopoem," said Claude Sloan, a longtime friend and director who shares a brownstone with her in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. "Her body is conspiring against her," Mr. Sloan said. "Her art has always told the story of people who are suffering, and given meaning to their struggle. Now she's looking back and asking, 'What is art going to be for me in the body that I have now?' "

On a recent afternoon, Mr. Sloan wheeled Ms. Shange into the house of a neighbor, Evette Lewis, where she drank soda and talked about her adventures with voice recognition software.

"Spell-check ruins my work," she said. "It fixes all my slang and dialect into standard English. So I'm caught in a tangle of technology that feels very foreign to me. My characters don't talk necessarily in a normal American way of talking. They talk a little different. So I'm having a struggle with the grammar."

The day before, Ms. Shange had walked upstairs for the first time since her illness; earlier, she said, she tried dancing to a mambo song on the radio and was in pain for two weeks.

"But I've still got my characters in my head, and I can still hear them," she said. "When I go to the grocery store I hear them. Or we went to the San Gennaro Festival a couple weeks ago in Manhattan and I could hear all those voices again, and that invigorated me, because I said, 'Wow, they're still here, I can do it again.' So I feel optimistic about my writing career. I just was not capable of doing it for some years."

"Lost in Language and Sound," which Ms. Shange adapted from a collection of her essays, represents her next step back into the world — an experiment to see if the essays held together dramatically, and to test the interest of producers.

Ms. Shange, the daughter of a surgeon and a social worker, has lived a life as bumpy as those she writes about. After the explosive success of "For Colored Girls," which she developed during poetry readings in San Francisco, she struggled to find her way.

Fame hit her hard.

"It was pretty arduous," she said. "I never intended to go to Broadway. I was very happy being in an Off Broadway theater and having an Off Broadway life. What it did to me is try to fit a round peg — that's me — into a whole bunch of square buildings. I just didn't fit. And some black men had made really wretched statements about me, so there was all this controversy going on that I was trying to stay out of. It was difficult and very unpleasant to do interviews, because they always were trying to paint me as a woman who hated black men, and I didn't and don't. But that was a difficult time for me."


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Hal Needham, Stuntman and Director of Action Films, Dies at 82

Universal Studio, via Getty Images

Hal Needham, left, with the actors Burt Reynolds, center, and Jerry Reed on the set of "Smokey and the Bandit" in 1977.

Hal Needham, a veteran Hollywood stuntman who later embarked on a less risky career as a director of action movies including "Smokey and the Bandit" and "The Cannonball Run," both of which starred his friend Burt Reynolds, died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 82.

Jim Ruymen/Reuters

Mr. Needham accepting a lifetime achievement award.

The death was confirmed by his manager, Laura Lizer, who declined further comment.  

During the course of his career, Mr. Needham said in a speech at the Academy Awards in 2012, he broke 56 bones, including his back twice. He punctured a lung, had a shoulder replaced and knocked out several teeth. He invented several new stunt methods and devices — among them the introduction of air bags for breaking falls, prompted by watching pole-vaulters — as "a way to save myself some trips to the hospital," he said.

"Hal Needham was a great stunt coordinator, director, and an icon," Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote on Twitter on Friday. "I'm still grateful he took a chance with me in 'The Villain,' " he said, of the 1979 film that Mr. Needham directed. "I'll miss him."

Mr. Needham was born in 1931 and, as he told it at the Academy Awards in 2012, raised "way back in the hills of Arkansas during the Great Depression." His father was a sharecropper. As a boy, Mr. Needham fished and hunted squirrels with a rifle. He later moved with his family to St. Louis.

After his discharge in the 1950s from the United States Army as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, he began a career that spanned hundreds of movies and television shows across five decades.

In a 2011 interview on the NPR program "Fresh Air," Mr. Needham said he moved to Southern California after being discharged and went back to pruning trees, what he had done before entering the service. He broke his ankle and, after he recuperated, a fellow former paratrooper got him a stunt job on a television show. His next assignment involved aerial stunts, some upside down, on "The Spirit of St. Louis," which starred James Stewart.

At first he appeared primarily in television and movie westerns, including "Gunsmoke" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," leaping to and from galloping horses. On one occasion, he said later, he landed so hard on the roof of a stagecoach that he crashed through it. Mr. Needham was also involved in stunt work on "Little Big Man" and "Chinatown," and he coordinated the stunts for "Have Gun — Will Travel," starring Richard Boone.

In the 1970s, Mr. Needham turned his attention to car stunts, he said in the NPR interview in 2011, and collaborated often with Mr. Reynolds, whom he had met when they both worked in television. "Smokey and the Bandit" was Mr. Needham's directorial debut in 1977. He went on to direct 19 other movies. 

He won a scientific and engineering Oscar in 1986 for the development of a camera car. Later he was given a governor's award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "You're looking at the luckiest man alive," Mr. Needham said in his acceptance speech. 

His memoir, "Stuntman," was published in 2011.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.


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Marcia Wallace, ‘Simpsons’ Voice Actor, Dies at 70

(Reuters) - Actress Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel on the Fox show "The Simpsons" and earlier Carol Kester, the receptionist on the 1970s sitcom "The Bob Newhart Show," has died at 70.

"I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace," said executive producer, Al Jean. "She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character."

Wallace, who had survived breast cancer, died at home, according to a Fox publicist, Antonia Coffman.

A fellow cast member and voice of Lisa Simpson, Yeardley Smith, wrote a farewell to Wallace on Twitter Saturday morning.

"Cheers to the hilarious, kind, fab Marcia Wallace, who has taken her leave of us. Heaven is now a much funnier place b/c of you, Marcia," Smith tweeted.

Wallace won an Emmy for outstanding voice actress in 1992. Her long-running "Simpsons" character Edna Krabappel was Bart Simpson's jaded, crabby fourth-grade teacher.

Earlier, Wallace played the chatty receptionist on "The Bob Newhart Show." She also appeared on "The Merv Griffin Show" and game shows such as "Hollywood Squares" and "The $25,000 Pyramid."

Executive producer Jean had previously hinted about killing off one of the show's characters.

"Earlier we had discussed a potential storyline in which a character passed away," Jean said in a statement. "This was not Marcia's Edna Krabappel. Marcia's passing is unrelated and again, a terrible loss for all who had the pleasure of knowing her."

Wallace published an autobiography "Don't Look Back, We're Not Going that Way," in 2004. Her husband, hotelier Dennis Hawley, died in 1992. She had a son, Michael Hawley.

(Reporting By Noreen O'Donnell; editing by Gunna Dickson)


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Dance Review: The Apollo Presents ‘James Brown: Get on the Good Foot’

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 26 Oktober 2013 | 16.43

Julieta Cervantes for The New York Times

James Brown: Get on the Good Foot From left, the Philadanco dancers Tommie Waheed Evans, Heather M. Benson, Adryan Moorefield, Rosita Adamo and Lauren Putty White in Camille A. Brown's "1973" at the Apollo Theater.

How many choreographers does it take to celebrate the many sides of James Brown? To do justice in dance to his incalculably huge and global influence? According to "James Brown: Get on the Good Foot," an enjoyable miscellany of a dance revue that had its premiere on Tuesday at the Apollo Theater, the answer is 10.

A sortable calendar of noteworthy cultural events in the New York region, selected by Times critics.

Julieta Cervantes for The New York Times

A star's troubling side: Ephrat Asherie in "It's a Man's World."

The show inaugurates the Apollo's Legacy Series, which seeks to honor and reclaim the theater's history in contemporary productions. Brown is an unavoidable subject. The Apollo was a home to him — the house where he recorded his breakthrough 1963 live album (and many others), the stage where he lay in state after his death in 2006.

As those live albums document, Brown's shows were intense, with pacing that could accelerate into lightning-round medleys. So there's historical justification for how "Get on the Good Foot" keeps its pedal to the metal, barely letting one number begin, much less finish or fade, before it's replaced by something radically different. Nevertheless — to choose the title of one of the nearly 40 Brown songs sampled in 75 minutes — the constant swerving makes you feel "Bewildered."

Otis Sallid's direction essentially lets the assorted choreographers get up and do their thing, either taking a turn themselves or making use of the amazingly versatile dancers of Philadanco. Mr. Sallid's own choreography is harmless fun, a couple of "Soul Train" dance parties deploying the vernacular steps that Brown mixed and matched so adroitly. Mr. Sallid's "Live" is straight-up pastiche, with Derick K. Grant doing an impressive imitation of the departed star of the show. (Mr. Grant's wig, like the rest of Dante Anthony Baylor's costumes, does good work.)

Mr. Grant is a tap dancer, a masterful one, and his fancy footwork implicitly reveals a source of Brown's swiveling style. Souleymane Badolo is from Burkina Faso, and his choreography (with gentle jokes about the shining of shoeless feet) points at once to deeper roots and to a circular influence in Africa. Aakash Odedra's solo is more of a surprise, a whirling blend of Kathak and contemporary. Does he make it funky? Sort of. The characteristically ecumenical Apollo audience gave him an ovation.

Thang Dao's section is a tone-deaf display of balletic technique, clunky with references to Brown's domestic abuse. Abdel Salaam's contribution, more idiomatic, stages Brown's racial politics baldly yet incoherently. Camille A. Brown indulges in some one-note satire at the expense of poseurs and a pimp with an electrified hat and cane.

Where those choreographers stumble, Ephrat Asherie succeeds. One of her numbers (credited to her, Jennifer Weber and Mr. Sallid) has her slinking in a red dress to "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," and the way she keeps falling to her back but also spinning on it — she's an adept B-girl — eloquently and subtly salutes and questions Brown's immeasurable impact on hip-hop alongside his troubling treatment of women.

That's the high point of meaning. Yet the apex of choreographic skill comes from Ronald K. Brown, who understands how to ride even the fastest tempos and make visual sense of the music's structure. His mix of West African and American modern dance, a worthy answer to Brown's alchemic creativity, gives "Get on the Good Foot" almost its only moments of breath. James Brown knew how to "hit it and quit," but also how to sit in a groove.

"James Brown: Get on the Good Foot" — A Celebration in Dance" continues on Saturday at the Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street, Harlem; (800) 745-3000, apollotheater.org.


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Dance Review: ‘Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty’ at City Center

That the full title of "Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty" includes the name of its director and choreographer isn't vanity. It's truth in advertising. As do Mr. Bourne's "Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake" (the international success, with the male swans), his "Sleeping Beauty" retains the Tchaikovsky score of this classic ballet. His version is still a fairy tale about a princess who sleeps under a spell for 100 years. But it truly is his. The subtitle is telling: "A Gothic Romance."

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty Hannah Vassallo and Chris Trenfield in a reworking of a classic at City Center.

A sortable calendar of noteworthy cultural events in the New York region, selected by Times critics.

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Ms. Vassallo, in blindfold, with Edwin Ray, left, and Danny Reubens in "Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty," a new version of the old tale set to Tchaikovsky's score.

The production, which opened in London in December and is now having a two-week run at City Center, is distinguished by Mr. Bourne's gifts as a storyteller. His changes are in the service of his sense of story. In his program note, he explains his dissatisfaction with how, in the original ballet, the hero and the heroine meet only at the end. So he has the princess, Aurora, fall in love before she sleeps — not with a prince, but with the gardener, Leo.

To sustain dramatic tension, Mr. Bourne introduces a darkly handsome rival: Caradoc, the vengeful son of the evil fairy who gives Aurora to her parents and then curses her with death when those parents don't show gratitude. The Lilac Fairy, who softens that curse into sleep, is Count Lilac here, his title a hint to how Leo and the others survive a century to meet Aurora after she wakes: they're all vampires.

More traditionally, Mr. Bourne adjusts the historical timing. He sets Aurora's birth in 1890, the year of the ballet's St. Petersburg premiere. This puts Aurora's coming-of-age in 1911, and advances her awakening to the present. The sets and costumes by Lez Brotherston meet the challenge of such a span brilliantly, period-faithful in an Edwardian garden party and magical with an enormous moon.

The timing also offers dance opportunities. In the 1890 section, the fairies dance ballet, cleverly quoting from the original choreography by Marius Petipa. The story of Aurora's sleep and awakening is foretold in mime that's masterfully clear and charming in its commitment to an old-fashioned mode (while also incorporating conveyor belts). The Edwardian garden party occasions a delightful waltz but also social fad dances that Mr. Bourne convincingly sets to music that Tchaikovsky intended for something else.

Throughout, Mr. Bourne listens carefully to Tchaikovsky's music (not, alas, played live). He's keenly attentive to the score's proto-cinematic qualities, its motion and moods and cues for action. And he successfully makes themes of roses and sexual awakening his own by developing them.

As a baby, his Aurora is an amusingly demonic puppet, climbing up the curtains. As a young woman (on Thursday the glowing, youthful Hannah Vassallo), she's a free spirit, dancing barefoot à la Isadora Duncan. Her Rose Adagio with Leo (the appealing Chris Trenfield) is puppy playful yet built out of a tension between yielding and taking charge: the tension between her independence and her being someone's puppet extends all the way through the show.

Mr. Bourne is also less coy than the original about sexual implications. When Aurora is pricked by Caradoc's black rose, Leo is on top of her.

Before intermission, the production speeds along pleasurably. Then Mr. Bourne's solutions start causing problems. In the original Vision Scene, the Prince is introduced to Aurora in a dream. Mr. Bourne retains the scene — presumably for its music — but its dramatic function is muddied (Leo and Aurora are already in love) and Mr. Bourne's choreography fails to justify the inclusion. The faux-dangerous contemporary dancing in a sinister nightclub doesn't persuade as the Edwardian period dances do.

More fundamentally, the love story that Mr. Bourne substitutes isn't any more emotionally compelling than the original. Poetically, it's a diminishment. The battle between good and evil is reduced to a tussle between the nice guy and the bad boy. Discarding the original allegory, which is about ballet itself and the continuation of the classical tradition, in favor of vampires (an idea not even developed seriously) only says dispiriting things about the present.

Still, Mr. Bourne is not an ungrateful recipient of the gift of Tchaikovsky's score. He dedicates his "Sleeping Beauty" to the composer, whose work will survive this version. It's more than 100 years old and still likely to last as long as the undead.

"Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty" continues through Nov. 3 at City Center, 131 West 55th Street, Manhattan; (212) 581-1212, nycitycenter.org.


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Theater Review: J. Smith-Cameron Stars in ‘Juno and the Paycock’

Ruby Washington/The New York Times

Juno and the Paycock From left, J. Smith-Cameron, Ed Malone and Ciaran O'Reilly in this Irish Repertory revival.

Trouble breaks in great, surging waves upon the Irish family in Sean O'Casey's classic "Juno and the Paycock," now being revived with all the requisite big heart and black humor by the Irish Repertory Theater. The waters swirl most strongly around Juno Boyle, the matriarch of a small family barely subsisting in the strife-torn Dublin of the 1920s. And when you first glimpse the careworn Juno, portrayed by the veteran J. Smith-Cameron, you may wonder whether this petite figure with the haunted blue eyes has the fortitude to endure the worst, and then the worse than worst.

But make no mistake. Although she may not be built like a stevedore, and has a mother's soft heart for the foibles of her children, Ms. Smith-Cameron's Juno possesses a strength capable of withstanding the biggest storms life can bring. In one of the finest performances of her distinguished career on the New York stage, Ms. Smith-Cameron imbues her Juno with a steely pragmatism, but more important an emotional pliancy that makes her more prepared than the rest of her clan to beat back the onslaughts of ill fortune that beset them. She occasionally bends under the weight of grief, guilt and an anger at the "hearts o' stone" of mankind, but she will never, ever break.

Directed with assurance by the company's artistic director, Charlotte Moore, this production also stars the Irish Rep's producing director, Ciaran O'Reilly, as the "paycock" of the title, "Captain" Jack Boyle, Juno's strutting ne'er-do-well husband, whose allergy to work is as ample as his affection for drink. The daily plague of Juno's life is wrangling her man into searching for work — whenever the word is mentioned, those pains in his legs start up again — and to keep him from springing off to the local bars, those aches suddenly in abeyance. For company Jack has the toxic Joxer Daley, played with funny noxiousness by John Keating, glowering at everyone else's misfortune and grasping at every free drink or dropped coin.

Mr. O'Reilly, who directs many productions for the company, brings out the lovable rogue in the unlovable Jack with an easy flair. Jack's ingenuity at avoiding viable job offers and the wife's intrepid efforts to trap him into pursuing them bring indulgent laughter. Even when Jack flares up into threats of violence when he learns that his unmarried daughter, Mary (Mary Mallen), is pregnant, we cannot entirely harden our hearts against him. The play's famous final scene, when a sodden Jack stumbles into an apartment empty of all life, remains pathetic but also moving.

Ms. Moore's production has an intuitive feeling for the manner in which the play's characters can move between despair and hope, torpid depression and exuberance, with disarming fleetness. When news comes that the family has inherited what is for them a huge sum, the lighting (by Brian Nason) brightens noticeably, as if the characters were suddenly shedding the shadows they move through life in.

It is, alas, a temporary glow. The assaults on the family's frail equilibrium come from all sides: Jack and Juno's son, Johnny (Ed Malone), who has already lost an arm from taking part in the civil unrest that is roiling the country, has been targeted for punishment for betraying the cause. Johnny's glum self-pity suddenly finds release when he lashes out at his father for lying to the family about their fortunes, in a moment taut with the electricity of long-held resentment and abject misery.

Among the altogether excellent supporting cast, Ms. Mallen gives the standout performance as the hard-working, loyally loving, young woman who falls for the flashy promise of Charlie Bentham (James Russell), the Anglo-Irish lawyer who brings the news of the apparent windfall. The scene in which Mary is reunited with her former love, Jerry Devine (an ardent David O'Hara) is beautifully played.

Although she knows she has shamed the family and can barely look at Jerry, Mary bears herself with a crisp dignity; she's inherited from her mother an ability to face hardship head-on and dare it to do its worst, as it so often seems to. The moment when Mary's resignation gives way briefly to hope — only to see those hopes dashed within seconds when it turns out that Jerry doesn't know the whole truth — is among the evening's most devastating.

But Ms. Smith-Cameron's deftly drawn Juno (the Irish accent is impeccable) gently dominates the production. Although she has plenty of sharp words for her useless husband, and flares up against his anger at Mary's transgression, Ms. Smith-Cameron opens up the vulnerable heart of the character most effectively. Her disbelief when news of the family's fallen fortunes comes is expressed in a voice of soft bewilderment: after so much suffering how could such a thing be?

This is, of course, the very question Juno asks in her last moments onstage. Ms. Smith-Cameron movingly blends the character's defiance and her fragility, her tremulous voice rising in outrage to ask where God's mercy is when man needs it most. Needless to say, no answer comes.

Juno and the Paycock

By Sean O'Casey; directed by Charlotte Moore; sets by James Noone; costumes by David Toser; lighting by Brian Nason; sound by M. Florian Stabb; wig design by Robert Charles Vallence; dialect coach, Stephen Gabis; production stage manager, Pamela Brusoski. Presented by the Irish Repertory Theater, Ms. Moore, artistic director; Ciaran O'Reilly, producing director. At the Irish Repertory Theater, 132 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, (212) 727-2737, irishrep.org. Through Dec. 8. Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes.

WITH: Ciaran Byrne ("Needle" Nugent), J. Smith-Cameron (Juno Boyle), Terry Donnelly (Maisie Madigan), John Keating (Joxer Daly), Laurence Lowry (Neighbor/an Irregular/a Moving Man), Mary Mallen (Mary Boyle), Ed Malone (Johnny Boyle), Kern McFadden (an Irregular Mobilizer), David O'Hara (Jerry Devine), Ciaran O'Reilly ("Captain" Jack Boyle), James Russell (Charlie Bentham) and Fiana Toibin (Mrs. Tancred).


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