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ArtsBeat: CBS Works to Minimize the Drama After a Dramatic Departure on ‘The Good Wife’

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 27 Maret 2014 | 16.44

This post may contain spoilers.

Not everyone was upset by the death of Will Gardner. Not completely, anyway. In the aftermath of that shocking plot twist in Sunday's episode of "The Good Wife," Josh Charles — who played Will, the boyish lawyer gunned down in the courtroom by his own client — got a call from a real estate agent he knew. After expressing her sympathy, she asked him: "So does this mean you're moving back to L.A.? Because I'd love to sell your apartment."

Mr. Charles told that story on himself Wednesday night at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, where CBS invited an audience of about 100 to watch the next episode of "The Good Wife" and to hear Mr. Charles; the show's star, Julianna Margulies; and its creators, Michelle and Robert King, discuss — in the words of Charlie Rose, the event's moderator — "what the hell happened to Will and why."

That CBS brought out Mr. Rose, a serious newsman and co-anchor of the network's morning show, to M.C. a promotional midseason panel discussion — what Ms. King called "the 'Good Wife' wake" — signaled just how important "The Good Wife" is to the network and how much effort it is willing to spend to manage the fallout from Mr. Charles's departure.

Reiterating what he told David Letterman on "The Late Show" on Monday, Mr. Charles said he made the decision to leave when his contract expired a year ago. "I just felt a little fried," he said, adding that he had proposed to his wife, Sophie Flack, at about the same time and was thinking about starting a family.

Ms. Margulies, who is an executive producer on the series, said that she "couldn't accept" the idea of her co-star, and her character's one-time love interest, hurriedly being written off the show, whose fourth season was ending in April. She came up with the idea of asking him to return for 15 episodes of the current season and then I tried to make him feel guilty, she said, pointing out how expensive it is to raise children and send them to private school. Fifteen more episodes, she told him, was "money in the bank."

The decision to kill off Will rather than have him just leave town was made because "anything else would have been a little bit too easy," Ms. King said. And if Will Gardner were elsewhere, then Alicia Florrick, Ms. Margulies's character, would have still wanted him, she said. Ms. Margulies chimed in: "She would have wanted him more."

Mr. King said that Mr. Charles's impending departure was exploited in the plotting of the current season, in which Alicia and Will were bitterly estranged when she left the firm of Lockhart Gardner but then at least partly reconciled. "We wanted some sense they were going to get back together," Mr. King said, making Will's death even more surprising and wrenching. Now, he said, there were rich possibilities in "dealing with Alicia's dismay about life and her dismay about her career."

The panelists acknowledged the dismay of some in the "Good Wife" audience, loudly expressed this week on social media. Ms. Margulies, who said she did not use Twitter, was happy to have been a No. 1 trending topic, even if she had to ask for help coming up with the word "trending."

Mr. Charles, a Twitter devotee, said he noticed when a follower wrote that her mother was upset by Will's death. Asking for the mother's number, he called her, saying, "I just wanted to check in with you."

"She was devastated," he said," "But I talked her through it."

This coming Sunday's episode rewinds the action to just before Alicia receives the news of Will's death and then traces the immediate aftermath in the lives of the show's major characters. Mr. Charles appears in flashback scenes. Nothing more will be spoiled here, except to say that as always the minds of the show's lawyers, fixers, investigators and politicians are racing even as they deal with the tragedy, and that the show's cellphone fetish figures prominently. And, to quote Ms. Margulies on what it was like to film the episode: "I was trying so hard to be like Alicia — and NOT cry."

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ArtsBeat: ‘The Americans’ Recap: Philip, the Platinum Spy

There's something about Elizabeth's non-spy character that complements her spy character. She's calculated. That she's always prepared for violence shows in her expression and walk. Elizabeth is a taut puma (with great hair), ever ready to pounce. Philip is more of an affable house cat. There's a lot less surface tension, so it's sometimes a little hard to remember that on some level, he is a seriously cold bastard, and this week's episode, "The Deal," was all about reminding us of that.

It started, more or less, with the cruel way Philip told the mystery man (captured during last episode's botched kidnapping of the Russian Jewish scientist, Vaklonov) that he knew he was a Mossad agent. He mocked the guttural 'h' in the man's rendition of 'The Gambler," singing, "Know when to hhhold them, then adding, "What are you, the Kenny Rogers of Tel Aviv?"

Then Kate, a new K.G.B. supervisor, showed up at the safe house where Philip was stashing the agent. She is a bit obsequious, promising to do her best, and Philip ridicules her: "Your best? What is this, your first assignment?"

The Mossad agent makes a run for it, and while there was nothing remarkable about Philip's subduing him – all in a day's work — he seemed to really enjoy it.

And he was only warming up. When Philip delivers Vaklonov, the scientist, to the freighter repatriating him to the Soviet Union, the man sobs like an infant. He begs Philip to let him stay, saying he will turn the results of his research over to the Soviet Union, while working in the United States. He he begs to have just three more months until his son's bar mitzvah. Finally, he pleads, "At least look at me."

Failing to get a response, he cries, "You're a monster. You're not a man. Whatever you once were, whoever you were, they trained it out of you… No feeling, no humanity. You might as well be dead."

Now I'm not here to tell you exactly why Philip doesn't turn around, and I really can't say exactly what the tight grimace he keeps on his face throughout Vaklonov's monologue means. Does it reflect hatred for the man's love of America, and/or distain for the man's weakness? Is it just a defense against a potential floodgate of empathy? A less subtle show might show a close up that told us everything we needed to know about who Philip really is.

But "The Americans" is a very subtle show. So we're probably better off taking our clues about from a scene he's not even in. Yes, I'm taking about the scene where Martha drinks 46 bottles of white wine with Elizabeth, who is posing as the sister of Clark, Martha's husband.

The two wives of Clark/Philip sit on Martha's couch, and Martha talks at length (that's a pun and if you don't get it please watch the scene again) about how Clark is "an animal in the sack." If there's even been a more well-done, cringe-worthy scene in television I haven't seen it. Martha just goes on and on: "I mean, you would not believe the things he does!"

Elizabeth, tucked into what might be her most hideous wig-glasses combo of the season was forced to giggle innocently and clutch her glasses. But then she inquires, "Well…what does he do?"

It's every wife's nightmare: discovering that her husband is better in bed — and more enthusiastic — with someone on the side. Can Elizabeth take some consolation that he's doing it for the motherland?

Now, we know these spies are expected to do everything. But Elizabeth seems to be trying to scale back here. In a previous episode, she got everything she wanted from that Navy kid, and she only had to go to third base. Once.

Philip, however, seems to still be striving for the gold stars in the realness department. Hey, it's not that I think we're supposed to believe Philip prefers Martha to Elizabeth. Only — why try that hard? Yes of course, he has to satisfy Martha to keep his cover, but really, does he satisfy her that much? Perhaps not being himself has moved from beyond the realm of duty into a secret, sick pleasure.

The Mossad agent regards Philip with a mixture of reverence and antipathy. "I am bronze," he says. "Not platinum. Not like you. I hide what I do. I don't hide who I am."

At that moment, I found myself having mixed reactions. Reaction number one: "Wow. Philip is a truly terrifying human being. " Reaction number two: Our Philip? Who is just such a nice, stable, all around good guy? Platinum! How impressive.

Later, as Philip was exchanging the Mossad agent for Vaklonov, his captive's critique grew more pointed. "Is your face your face? Are your children your children?"

Philip said nothing. But earlier, when the Mossad agent called the Soviet Union a cold country, Philip said: "I like the cold." One imagines he is not only talking about snow. The episode ends with Philip and Elizabeth cuddling on the couch, but Elizabeth seems to be softening a bit, and Philip, in contrast, seems to be hardening. It will be interesting to see if a new distance, different from the last, grows between them.

Did anyone else tear up at the scenes in the car between Philip and Vaklonov? Do you think Philip felt sorry for Vaklonov? Do you think Philip and Elizabeth's marriage is stronger than ever, or do you think new, deeper rifts could develop between them? Leave your comments below.

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ArtsBeat: ‘Girls’ Recap: Can You Imagine Hannah in Iowa?

Written By Unknown on Senin, 24 Maret 2014 | 16.44

Bravo! So satisfying, right?

After enduring an eye-roller of a season that often seemed lost to the quick sands of narcissism and solipsism, we were treated to some heartbreakingly open moments in tonight's season finale of "Girls."

Guards were let down. Vulnerabilities were on display. Jessa agreed to be a suicide assistant! And Caroline is back and pregnant with Laird's child!!

"I can feel the labia forming," Caroline (Gaby Hoffman) tells Hannah, managing, in one very creepy fell swoop, to sexualize her fetus. "This is a woman."


But for once wackadoodle Caroline is not the only Girl to really go there.

We saw Shosh, in an aww-inducing moment, baring her soul to Ray in an apparently doomed effort to win him back. "I just want to be your girlfriend again and I want to pretend that I was never not your girlfriend before. I love you," she says, tearing up (did anyone else get a little, erm, misty too?). And though she adds a plaintive "please," he still walks away. Jeepers.

(Lest it go unmentioned, can we take a moment to acknowledge the wry brilliance in Shosh failing to graduate because she flunked Glaciology?).

Then we have Marnie, so giddy after finally snogging her musical partner, Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), only to be ripped into by his girlfriend, Clementine (Natalie Morales) -– "you're a sad pathetic mess," Clementine spits –- and then to later watch, doe-eyed, as the couple fights, her heart clearly pinned to her sleeve.

And then there was Jessa, perhaps the strongest girl of all, using her mettle quite literally toward someone else's end, by acquiescing to an ailing artist's pleas to help her end her life.

"I'm so moved that you would do this for me. You didn't want to, but you did," the artist, Beadie, (Louise Lasser) says on her would-be deathbed, after Jessa administers a presumably fatal mix of pills.

Given that assisting a suicide can fetch second-degree manslaughter charges in New York, it's probably a good thing that Beadie panicked, realized she wanted to live after all, and had Jessa dial 911.

But of course the true heart of the episode, if not the season, lay in the fate of the fraught coupling of Hannah and Adam. Last season ended with his rescue of her, and this season began with their domestic (co-dependent?) bliss.

Now they are wrestling with competing ambitions. Adam is (somehow) on Broadway. And Hannah is accepted into the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Yet she still remains blind to her selfishness, even in the moments when she thinks she is being selfless. Especially then.

It was only after she learned that she got into a top notch grad school that she truly embraced Adam's success. "What's got into you?" asks Ray, after Hannah gushed excitedly at the premiere of Adam's play. "You were in such a deep groove begrudging the success of others."

Of course moments before, as Adam was gearing up for his Broadway debut, Hannah had slipped into his dressing room to inform him that she might be leaving town for two years. Nice timing!

"This is exactly what I thought would happen, this is exactly why I didn't want to see you," Adam later cries, disconsolate about his onstage performance. After Hannah's efforts at appeasement fall flat, he tells her he's "sick of trying to work it out," adding, "Why can't one thing ever be easy with you?"

In the end, when the finale threatens to end on a low note, we see Hannah alone at her apartment, clutching her acceptance letter delightedly to her chest. Sometimes love just ain't enough. And sometimes a dream realized trumps all.

So, Girlsians: did the finale satisfy you? Humanize the girls? Do you think Hannah would and could last for long outside of Greenpoint? Could the show – and the girls? They've been drifting apart this a bit season, forging separate paths into adulthood. Then again, perhaps this is Hannah's Carrie-in-Paris moment – to make an easy parallel with Sex and the City. Maybe Hannah will go to Iowa, stretch her bonds to her friends like an elastic, then snap right back to the city.

Please comment below or tweet @CaraNYT.

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ArtsBeat: Hytner’s Final Season at National Theater to Include New Stoppard Play

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 21 Maret 2014 | 16.43

Nicholas Hytner's final season as artistic director of the National Theater in London will include new plays by Tom Stoppard ("The Coast of Utopia") and Richard Bean ("One Man, Two Guvnors") as well as stars turns by Ralph Fiennes in Shaw's "Man and Superman" and Helen McCrory in "Medea," the theater announced on Thursday.

Mr. Hytner, a two-time Tony Award winner ("The History Boys," "Carousel") who has led the National since 2003, will stage the still-untitled play by Mr. Bean in the summer and then Mr. Stoppard's play in January before handing over artistic leadership of the National to Rufus Norris next spring.

The Stoppard play is the first new stage work by the acclaimed writer since "Rock 'n' Roll," which premiered at the Royal Court in London in 2006 and on Broadway in 2007. Mr. Stoppard's last play for the National was the three-part "Coast of Utopia," which ran there in 2002 and then at Lincoln Center Theater in 2006-7, winning the Tony for best play.

According to an article in The Guardian on Thursday, Mr. Hytner said about Mr. Stoppard, "I've been nagging him about twice a year since 2001, and he's always said he wouldn't – and one day he said, 'I'm writing.' " The 76-year-old Mr. Stoppard, who told the BBC last year that he worried that his "brain just isn't good enough anymore" for playwriting, recently finished the new script after being holed up working at his home in Dorset, Mr. Hytner said. No details about the play were available, although The Guardian suggested that it deals with science and history

Among the 10 world premieres for the National's 2014-15 season will be a new play by David Hare, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers," adapted from the critically acclaimed book by Katherine Boo. Mr. Norris, the incoming artistic director, will stage the play in the fall. "Ballyturk," a new play by Enda Walsh ("Misterman," "Once"), will star Cillian Murphy and Stephen Rea this fall.

Ms. McCrory will play the title role in "Medea" this summer, in a new version of the Euripides drama by Ben Power, while Mr. Fiennes will play John Tanner in "Man and Superman" in February.

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ArtsBeat: Norwegian Museum to Return Matisse Looted from French Art Dealer by the Nazis

A museum in Norway co-founded by the Olympic skating champion Sonja Henie has agreed to return one of its signature works, a portrait by Matisse, to the New York family of a prewar Paris art dealer after determining the painting was stolen by the Nazis.

The museum, the Henie Onstad Arts Center, was founded in 1968 by Henie and her husband, Niels Onstad, a shipping magnate. Mr. Onstad bought the 1937 work, "Woman in Blue in Front of a Fireplace," in 1950, the museum said, in the belief that the sale was legitimate.

But records uncovered by the descendants of the art dealer, Paul Rosenberg, showed that the Matisse was one of 162 works seized from him in September 1941, and that it was briefly in the possession of Hermann Goering, Hitler's Luftwaffe chief. A lawyer for the Rosenberg family, Christopher A. Marinello of the London-based Art Recovery Group, contacted the museum in June 2012 to demand its return.

In a statement on Friday, Halvor Stenstadvold, the chairman of the museum's board, said an "extensive investigation of the case has led to the decision that the return is justified." He said the decision "will most likely impact other Norwegian institutions" if similar challenges arise.

Mr. Marinello praised the museum for taking a "methodical approach." In agreeing to the return, the museum loses a major piece of its "core collection." The museum holds 4,000 items, including 600 trophies and prizes awarded to Henie for her skating prowess.

Henie, who died in 1969, won gold medals in Olympics figure skating in 1928, 1932 and 1936, then became a Hollywood film star. She also faced criticism in Norway in the late 1930s for having befriended Hitler.

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ArtsBeat: Richard Prince Settles Copyright Suit With Patrick Cariou Over Photographs

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 19 Maret 2014 | 16.43

In the final, quiet act of a copyright case that riveted the art world for five years, the artist Richard Prince has reached a settlement with Patrick Cariou, a photographer who accused Mr. Prince of violating his copyright protections by using Mr. Cariou's pictures of Rastafarians as the basis for a series of paintings that sold for millions of dollars.

Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided largely in favor of Mr. Prince, who was found by a federal court in 2011 to have illegally used the photographs. Mr. Prince, well-known for recycling advertising photographs and other commercial imagery in his work, argued that his appropriation should be allowed under the fair-use exceptions to federal copyright protections, which permit limited borrowing of protected material for purposes like commentary, criticism, news reporting and scholarship. But the lower court disagreed, alarming many in the art world, who warned that the decision could have a chilling effect on a tradition of artistic appropriation and adaptation that has thrived for decades.

The appeals court ruled that of the 30 works by Mr. Prince in question, 25 were permissible under the fair use exception because they manifested "an entirely different aesthetic" from Mr. Cariou's pictures. Five works were sent back to the lower court for a determination. The terms of the settlement concerning those five works were not disclosed in court papers filed Tuesday, but the documents make clear that none of the paintings will be destroyed – an option that the federal judge in the 2011 decision had made available to Mr. Cariou.

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ArtsBeat: ‘Diner’ Musical to Open at Signature Theater in Virginia

The bumpy road for the Sheryl Crow-Barry Levinson musical "Diner," based on Mr. Levinson's 1982 film, is not leading to San Francisco or New York first (as originally planned) but rather to Arlington, Va., where Signature Theater will stage a world premiere production in December, the theater announced on Tuesday night.

"Diner" has been in development for years, but productions were postponed as the creators retooled the show, about a group of childhood friends reuniting in Baltimore in 1959. Most recently the show had been aiming for Broadway in fall 2013, which would have been the Broadway debuts of Ms. Crow (who wrote the music and lyrics) and Mr. Levinson (book); that production never came to pass, however. The director of "Diner" will be Kathleen Marshall, the director and Tony Award-winning choreographer of the 2011 "Anything Goes" revival, among other Broadway shows.

The onetime commercial producer of "Diner," Base Entertainment, is no longer involved with the show, a Signature spokeswoman said. Scott Landis, a Broadway producer ("Twelfth Night"/"Richard III") who is married to Ms. Marshall, is now attached to "Diner" and may end up providing financial assistance to Signature for the run there, the spokeswoman added. No plans for "Diner" beyond Signature have been announced. Ms. Crow and Mr. Levinson were not available for interviews on Tuesday, the theater spokeswoman said.

Signature, in announcing its 2014-15 season on Tuesday, also disclosed plans for two additional world premieres of musicals.

"Kid Victory," about a 17-year-old who returns home after vanishing a year earlier, is the latest collaboration between Tony Award-winning composer John Kander ("Cabaret") and playwright Greg Pierce ("Slowgirl"). Their musical "The Landing" ran at the Vineyard Theater in New York last fall. "Kid Victory," to be directed by Liesl Tommy ("Appropriate"), will begin performances in February.

In March 2015 Signature will mount "Soon," a musical with a score and book by Nick Blaemire ("Glory Days"), to be directed by Matthew Gardiner. The show centers on a young woman who shuts herself away in her apartment, to the distress of her loved ones, as she awaits an impending environmental disaster.

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ArtsBeat: MOCA Board Elects New and Returning Artist-Trustees

Three of the artists who left the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 2012 to protest the leadership of Jeffrey Deitch, then the museum's director, have been re-elected to their positions at the artist-centered museum.
The artists Catherine Opie, John Baldessari and Barbara Kruger left the board, along with a fourth artist-member, Ed Ruscha, complaining that Mr. Deitch was steering the museum's program too much in the direction of pop culture. Mr. Deitch, who had previously been a New York gallery owner, stepped down from the museum post last year, three years into a five-year contract, and the museum recently chose Philippe Vergne, a longtime curator and the director of the Dia Art Foundation in New York, to replace him.
While Mr. Ruscha is not returning, the painter Mark Grotjahn has been elected to take the remaining seat reserved for artists on the board, the museum said.
The museum, which has one of the most important collections of postwar art in the country but has struggled financially for years and considered merging with other institutions, announced recently that it had secured a combination of commitments and donations to raise its endowment to $100 million, by far the highest in the museum's history.
"I'm very excited about the prospects for MOCA with Philippe leading us and I want to be supportive," Mr. Baldessari said in a statement.

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ArtsBeat: ‘The Americans’ Recap: It’s All About Work/Life Balance

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 13 Maret 2014 | 16.44

When we last saw them, in Episode 2, Elizabeth and Philip were in mourning. Their friends – and let's be clear, their only friends – Emmett and Leanne, were murdered, along with the couple's teenage daughter, Amelia.

Fears for her own children, Paige and Henry, obsess Elizabeth. "How are we going to live like this?" Elizabeth asked Philip.

"We'll get used to it," he said. "Like we got used to everything else."

Indeed, they have gotten used to quite a lot, including their arranged marriage.

But Episode 3 is about how, as their children grow older and the demands of the job intensify, this whole parenting/spying thing may be a problem they can't solve.

The episode begins with a flashback to the 1960s. Elizabeth and Leanne are, poetically, washing blood off their hands when Leanne asks Elizabeth to make a promise: If something bad happens, Elizabeth will give Leanne's son, Jared, a letter that tells him the truth about his parents' lives.

The rest of the show revolves around this question: Now, that Leanne's dead, should Elizabeth deliver the letter? The issue is certainly on Elizabeth's mind when, in the present day, she finds herself threatening Derek, a hapless warehouse employee, with a crowbar.

Given that almost every single previous conversation Elizabeth has had in this episode is about deciding to have children, or the safety and welfare of children, it is not surprising when Derek's pleas for mercy center are dad-centric. He has three sons, he tells her, and "they expect me home for supper."

Elizabeth studies his sons' photos and says, "Three boys. They must keep you on your feet."

The statement combines empathy and an implicit threat that Derek could soon find himself laid out on the floor. Elizabeth clearly does not want to kill him but is aware that it might be her duty to do so. This scene was so incredibly tense, I came close to shouting at the screen, "Don't do it, Elizabeth! Remember, this morning, when you told Paige to wipe off all that lip gloss!"

It was such a relief when Elizabeth finally found an alternative to swinging away; she pocketed the photo of his youngest — ensuring that Derek would stay silent.

There, a moment where you thought, well, maybe they can be nice spies. Maybe they can somehow keep this crazy situation under control.

Not likely, because, at that very moment, Paige has cut school and is on a bus to Harrisburg to visit "Aunt Helen" – that mysterious person known only as a postcard pinned to the kitchen bulletin board.

"Aunt Helen" — whoever she really is – pretends to have dementia, then calls to warn Philip of Paige's visit, kicking off a situation that shows little promise of ending well. ("Aunt Helen," by the way, is David Lynch-level creepy. I'd like to think she just sits around drinking Sanka, watching "The Rockford Files" and waiting to play aunt, but her job description almost certainly includes other duties and I shudder to think what they are.)

Philip reprimands Paige when she returns, by shaming her, guilt tripping her that their family must not be enough for her, and trotting out time-worn disciplinary tropes like, "Lying will not be tolerated" and "Watch it, young lady."

He pulls out all the scary Dad stops. We've all had the "do as I say, not as I do" conversation, either as parents or as kids, but never with so much as stake or burdened by such an incredible amount of hypocrisy.

How do you tell your kid not to lie when lying is the very first item on your job description, and has defined every waking moment of your life for the last 20 or so years?

It doesn't come as much of a surprise when, after visiting Jared at the home of the nice people who have taken him in, Elizabeth takes a lit cigarette to Leanne and Emmet's letter. After all, no matter what the note says, this is what Jared will see: "The very foundation of your identity is based in falseness and lies." This is exactly what Paige is coming to discover as well.

The other storyline this week, of course, involved Stan shooting the walk-in, a would-be traitor and Vietnam vet whose last words are "Ronald Reagan doesn't care."

This guy is supposed to be off his rocker, but he's totally on point in an episode about authority figures betraying the trust of the very people they are supposed to love and protect, and the consequences of those betrayals. Paige knows that her parents are liars. So far, all she can wrap her mind around is the possibility that one if them is having an affair. Would she be able to wrap her mind around the truth?

How soon do you think it's going to be before Paige finds out what's going on? How do you think she might react when she does? Comrades, leave your comments below.

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ArtsBeat: ‘Girls’ Recap: Hannah Tries on a Wig, Lingerie and Campy Dialogue

Written By Unknown on Senin, 10 Maret 2014 | 16.43

"Girls" has been touted for mirroring the socio-sexual landscape twenty-somethings navigate these days: porn-influenced liaisons, bleak job prospects, millennial entitlement.

In this episode, Lena Dunham tackles more of an age-old issue: hetero bed death.

For as harmonious as Hannah's relationship with Adam (Adam Driver) has been this season, their carnal life has suffered as he embarks on his first-ever Broadway role.

"There's nothing weird or exciting about our sexual life anymore," Hannah complains to her friend Elijah (Andrew Rannells) over burritos, which they are eating together in bed while also wearing, for some reason, kerchiefs. "He's treating me like an ottoman with a vagina."

And so, in a move that seems at once an inside joke and a knowing wink, Hannah takes a cue from the "Sex and the City" character that might be the most ostensibly unlike her, Samantha, and embarks on some role-playing.

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Donning a platinum wig with a Cleopatra cut and a strappy merry widow (which she wears, ridiculously, over her granny underpants), Hannah sets off for a bar, where she orders a martini and waits for Adam. "Hot night, summer in the city," she purrs in perfect camp noir, after he arrives.

But this is not Samantha and Smith Jerrod we're talking about here. It's Hannah and Adam. Things have to derail. As part of her roleplaying, she throws the martini in his face (is that an O.K. thing to do to an alcoholic?). Adam gets punched by a stranger. After she disrobes to reveal the fetishy lingerie, he blurts, "You look like a Christmas tree."

Whereupon things veer wildly between sexual tension and inanity.

As Hannah perches on all fours over a bowl of strawberries, he orders her to swallow one of the berries whole. "I'm afraid to eat the green part," she replies. "Swallow it whole you can't just have part," he says sternly. "Very hard to do," she says, after spitting half the strawberry out.

It is only after the role-playing falls apart on a narrative glitch that the truth comes out. Adam's sexual predilections have changed after he fell in love with Hannah. Dirty talk was out – he wants it sweet. Then comes another truth, an unvarnished and painful one, that Hannah did not see coming (though perhaps we did).

"I'm not here to fill up your life," Adam says, before announcing he will be staying at Ray's to focus on the play "and not have to deal with all this drama."

"What drama, this is just me!" Hannah retorts.

"Exactly," says Adam. Ouch.

As for the rest of the episode, Marnie (Allison Williams) ambles along pursuing the presumable twin goals of landing a job and a guy, with her garnering employment as a gallery assistant and swooning over a very flirty attached musician.

But it does look like Shosh (Zosia Mamet) pulled a successful intervention with Jasper and Jessa, who were in the manic herky-jerky throes of cocaine addiction. She tracks down Jasper's sniffly, Egyptian-dating daughter Dottie (who is wearing a gorgeous blouse. Anyone know where she got that blouse?) who pleads with him to quit drugs, ditch Jessa and get better. Jasper (Richard E. Grant) seems to really hear her – and it looks like Shosh's disentanglement plan might work.

And perhaps Jessa (Jemima Kirke) will seek help too, especially after her weary sidewalk admission to Shosh, "I am a junkie."

So, Girlsians: Do you think Adam and Hannah will weather this rocky patch? Will Jessa finally get clean? And perhaps most importantly do you know where Dottie got her blouse? Please comment below or tweet @caraNYT.

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ArtsBeat: ‘The Americans’ Recap: A Fake Rock and a Fake Relationship (or Two)

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 06 Maret 2014 | 16.43

So last season "The Americans" offered up a camera hidden in a bra, and in Season 2's latest episode, it goes a step further with what is perhaps the hoariest of spy gadgets: the hollow, fake rock carrying secret data.

I wonder what that rock's journey was like, presumably from the writer's room where it was born, onto the page and then the screen. Was the rock beloved by all, or did it have its detractors? Was there a battle, with some saying, "Guys please, no fake rock, it's too ridiculous," and others insistent that, "Hey, we're making a show about Soviet agents living among us as Americans – the rock stays"?

Speaking of fake, with the emotional relationship of Elizabeth and Philip (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) on fairly solid ground, the most interesting moments of Episode 2 were about two sham couples, Nina and Stan, and Martha and Philip/"Clark." Going in order from least to most bogus, we start with Nina and Stan, because (a.) neither of them wears a wig and (b.) they both know each other's real name.

Courtesy of a surveillance tape hidden in that mock rock, Nina, the rising Russian double agent played by Annet Mahendru, now knows that Stan, the F.B.I.'s counterintelligence man, has lied to her – he fully knows who killed her friend Vlad, the underling snatched up in place of her boss, Arkady, back in Season 1.

"Those bastards," she snarls as she listens to Special Agent Gaad (Richard Thomas) and Stan (Noah Emmerich) discuss the murder.

Her anger certainly provides a nice contrast with her fluffy, white lambswool-angora blend sweater, and it also seems genuine, and also, maybe, like a turning point? Surely this information will solidify her allegiance to the Soviets … except. Later she has sex with Stan. And while that's part of her job, she is enjoying it all a little too much, that is, going into spasms of rapture as she writes up her report. You wonder if she will remain so orgasmic if she finds out that Stan was the one who pulled the trigger on her friend.

Philip has no similar complicating attraction to Martha (Alison Wright), which makes her much more pathetic than Stan, and therefore, much funnier. I hit rewind four times, when Martha told "Clark" (that is, Philip) that she was thinking of leaving the F.B.I. How blithely Martha chewed her bacon, dressed in that pink quilted robe, while Matthew Rhys's micro-expressions shifted from alarm to panic to irritation, even as he so desperately tried to appear only moderately concerned. That Martha bought his flattery made me laugh, just as I laughed later when Martha told him she was thinking about getting a gun. "I don't want to be a victim," she said.

So let's go back to that fake rock – which is both smirk-worthy and an important plot point. There's no one way to think about it, which is just as true with the best characters on "The Americans." From her haunted look when she shuts the door to Arkady's office, she seems both loyal to the Soviet Union and absolutely in love with the enemy. The two things most important to her are on a collision course, yet she is somehow, believably, committed to both.

Even the comic scenes between Martha and Clark carry double-edged feelings. Underneath those laughs is the very sad story of a fool who loves someone prepared to kill her at any moment. Martha in that grotesque robe reminded me so much of Jean Lundegaard, the character in "Fargo" who wore that ugly, popcorn-stitched sweater and whose death was a punch line. Will Martha be punished for loving Philip – and for wearing such an ugly robe? If so, may her end be swift and dignified.

Do you think Nina will end up betraying Stan or her country? Do you kind of like Martha, even though she's pathetic?

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ArtsBeat: Hilary Mantel Stage Adaptations Headed to the West End

LONDON — The Royal Shakespeare Company's stage adaptations of Hilary Mantel's award-winning novels about Thomas Cromwell will transfer from Stratford-upon-Avon to the West End here on May 1, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Playful Productions announced today. Ms. Mantel's historical novels, "Wolf Hall" (2009) and "Bring Up the Bodies," (2012), which earned her two Man-Booker prizes, chart the rise to power of Cromwell, Henry VIII's deal-maker and right-hand man. They have sold close to two million copies in the U.K, and their stage adaptation, by Mike Poulton, has attracted packed houses since the Royal Shakespeare Company began to perform the plays, directed by Jeremy Herrin in December last year. The Stratford-upon-Avon run closes on Mar. 29. "A bright, bustling political soap opera that, condenses more than a thousand pages of fiction into two plays and a brisk six hours of stage time," Ben Brantley, the chief theater critic, wrote in his review in The New York Times.

Most of the existing cast, including Ben Miles as Cromwell and Nathaniel Parker as Henry VIII, will transfer to the West End production, which will run at the Aldwych Theater, replacing Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Stephen Ward," which is closing after disappointing ticket sales. The Cromwell plays will run through September 6. "Tickets for the Stratford run sold like wildfire – which was humbling. The London transfer is a relief to us all," Mr. Poulton said in a press statement.

Ms. Mantel is currently working on a third Cromwell novel, "The Mirror and the Light." A BBC miniseries based on the novels, starring Mark Rylance, is scheduled for broadcast in 2015.

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Backstage at the 2014 Oscars

Written By Unknown on Senin, 03 Maret 2014 | 16.44

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The Carpetbagger: Oscars 2014: ’12 Years A Slave’ Is Best Picture and ‘Gravity’ Wins Seven Awards

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ArtsBeat: A Big Decision at the Minnesota Orchestra – But What?

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 01 Maret 2014 | 16.43

The board of the Minnesota Orchestra, which is trying to rebuild itself after a bitter labor dispute and a debilitating 16-month lockout, has found itself facing an unusual choice of whether to side with its musical leadership or its administrative leadership.

The players and some critics and fans want the orchestra to rehire its old music director, Osmo Vanska, who resigned during the lockout. But Mr. Vanska has reportedly said that he will not come back unless Michael Henson, the orchestra's president and chief executive, leaves.

So the orchestra's board met Friday to chart a new course for the organization, and, in a perplexing turn of events, it announced that it had made up its mind — but would not say how.

The chairman of the board, Gordon Sprenger, issued a statement saying that "the board came to very strong agreement on leadership and a positive direction for the organization" but declined to say what that strong agreement was.

"However, we have more work to do before we are able to make a detailed public statement,'' he said. "We will share further news as soon as we are able."

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ArtsBeat: Artists Donate Works for Legal Defense of Man Who Smashed Ai Weiwei Vase

MIAMI — A few dozen artists have promised to donate works for an auction to help cover the legal expenses of a colleague who stunned the art world by smashing a vase by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

The mustering of support for their fellow artist, Maximo Caminero, who has been charged with criminal mischief and could face up to five years in prison if convicted, includes a defense of the intellectual underpinnings of his action. "We do not support the act, but we support the intention," said Danilo Gonzalez, a painter and sculptor who said he spoke for many of his fellow artists.

While Mr. Caminero's purpose, as he initially expressed it shortly after breaking the vase on Feb. 16, was to draw attention to a dearth of exhibition space for local artists in Miami's museums, he has since said that he was driven more by a spontaneous impulse to emulate Mr. Ai's own destruction of vases, some thousands of years old.

In an interview, Mr. Caminero said he had acted from a sense of solidarity with Mr. Ai, a dissident who has been under pressure from the Beijing authorities for his political activities and is barred from leaving China. Mr. Caminero said he did not realize until later that the vase, painted over in bright green by Mr. Wei, dated from the Han dynasty.

"I was in shock," Mr. Caminero said. "He could have made replicas."

Reached at his studio in Beijing, Mr. Ai said he had received an apology from Mr. Caminero but was unimpressed.

"My only advice is that he should make sure next time he knows — or have someone tell him — what he's going to break," Mr. Ai said. "He thinks it's from Home Depot?"

Some artists accuse Mr. Ai of hypocrisy for taking that view. The Chinese artist, they point out, has made a show of not only painting over exquisite ancient vases but of smashing some of them to pieces.

"On the one hand, it is a clear act of vandalism," the Ukrainian-born artist Alexey Steele, based in Los Angeles, said on Friday of the Pérez Museum incident. "On another, painting on a historic vase is a clear act of vandalism, too."

While Mr. Ai has defaced works to make new art, one difference is that, unlike Mr. Caminero, he owned the art before he ruined it.

In his emailed apology, Mr. Caminero told Mr. Wei that he shared the Chinese artist's battles "as though they were my own."

"Breaking the vase signifies breaking the chains that prevent you from leaving the prison in which you find yourself," Mr. Caminero wrote. "You were the vase in my hands, and I was the silent voice of the artists of Miami."

However divided they might be on the advisability of Mr. Caminero's act, Miami artists clearly see it as an opportunity for a debate about their situation. "Prominent intellectuals" were planning to discuss the cultural impact of the work's destruction at a news conference late Friday in Miami's Wynwood arts district, an announcement from organizers said.

Emilio Martinez, a 32-year-old Miami-based artist from Honduras who is helping to plan the auction, said he had pledges from 35 to 40 artists — including some from Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela — for donations of works and that six more had already turned some in. He said he expected the sale to take place in three or four weeks.

Mr. Martinez called Mr. Caminero's action "heroic." Asked what his reaction would have been if Mr. Caminero had destroyed one of Mr. Martinez's own paintings, he said it would not have bothered him, provided that it was an "unselfish, altruistic act" driven by a "humanitarian" ethos.

Another local artist, Elsa Roberto, said she supported Mr. Caminero's act "in concept" but not in execution. She added that various ideas were "floating around" to help seize the moment on behalf of Miami artists, including placing vases on the steps of every museum in the area.

The Pérez Museum has pointed out that its schedule already includes exhibitions of local artists' work, which it describes as "part of the museum's long legacy of working with the local creative community."

A show of works by the Miami-based, Haitian-born artist Edouard Duval-Carrié is planned for March 13 to Aug. 31, and an exhibition devoted to the artist Adler Guerrier, also from Miami, opens on Oct. 30. "Americana," a series of exhibitions at the Pérez through May 1, 2015, includes work by the local artists José Bedia, Naomi Fisher, Lynne Golob Gelfman and Frances Trombly.

Mr. Ai's plight, meanwhile, continues to draw attention: At the Armory Show, a fair that opens on Thursday on Piers 92 and 94 in New York, a booth set up by the For-Site Foundation of San Francisco will feature a large bicycle similar to one he keeps chained outside his Beijing studio to remind people that he is not free to leave the country. The foundation is also working with him on a major installation at Alcatraz prison, scheduled for September.

A spokeswoman for Cheryl Haines, the executive director of For-Site, said it does not plan to line up extra security at its booth.

A version of this article appears in print on 03/01/2014, on page C1 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Miami Artists Rally Around Colleague Who Smashed a Star's Vase.

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