As New Yorkers, there’s nothing that we love more than bagels, being mean to tourists, and Woody Allen. Yet for some reason we had our dates mixed up (damn you, TiVo!) and forgot to record Robert Weide‘s 2-part “definitive” documentary of the prolific director for PBS. We haven’t been this mad since Netflix lost our DVD of Bill Moyers’ interview with Joseph Campbell at George Lucas’ ranch!
Lucky for us (and you!) PBS is now screening the two parter Woody Allen: A Documentary from its American Masters series. On the Internet. Thanks to that $20 pledge we made last year. Now go, put on your headphones, and pretend like you’re doing something work-related.
After suffering through the fetid Relatively Speaking, my pain must have shown in the scowl on my face as I trudged toward the exit at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. “To get it, you have to be Jewish,” said a woman ahead of me. What nonsense. Since when do you have to be gay to see the truth in The Boys in the Band, or black to be moved by the universal humanity of Lorraine Hansberry or August Wilson? My date was Jewish, and she didn’t laugh either. Well, she later admitted over a badly needed post-theater nightcap, she did laugh at a couple of lines. O.K., two laughs in a 2½ hour evening of three alleged one-act “comedies” is not what I call much of a success, and Relatively Speaking is a vulgar, poker-faced failure of dire proportions. You don’t have to be Jewish to know bad writing, hysterical overacting and lame direction when you see it, even if the guilty perpetrators include Elaine May and Woody Allen, two of my heroes, actors such as Marlo Thomas and Steve Guttenberg, and director John Turturro, who should stick to acting. All of them have triumphed on previous occasions. This is not one of them.
Wilhelm Reich wrote The Function of the Orgasm in 1927, and The Sexual Revolution in 1936. He studied psychoanalysis under Sigmund Freud, caused a scandal on two continents, and composed a theory of existence based on the orgasm. Women loved him. Governments surveilled him. His books were burned in Nazi Germany, and burned in New Read More
Today is Marshall McLuhan’s 100th birthday and for those who really do know nothing of his work (at least beyond “the medium is the message”) there is no shortage of opportunities in the news today.
Did you know, for example, that McLuhan was Canadian? Because he has been “virtually forgotten” in his hometown of Read More
Now A Major Motion Picture
John O’Brien, the publisher at Dalkey Archive Press in Chicago, has seen steady sales of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans for the past sixteen years.
“Given the size of the novel (925 pages) and its ‘difficulty,’ it has always sold relatively well (perhaps with an emphasis on ‘relatively’),” wrote Mr. O’Brien in an e-mail Read More
I’ve always said that Woody Allen on a bad day is better than everybody else on Sunday. Since he makes more movies than anyone else-and turns them out faster than procreating gerbils–this adage has become a reality. But Mr. Allen is an artist brimming with vitality and imagination, always ready to explore new ideas. When Read More
The Eight-Day Week
Wednesday, May 18
Most creative types have ambivalent memories of recess. While a respite from the strictures of the classroom were nice, the humiliations of dodgeball and other childrens’ “games” were for many the anvil on which a future of creative genius was hammered. But, hey, we’re past that now! Recess Activities Read More
Want to know how the 64th Cannes Film Festival gets gritty to honor Robert De Niro? Imagine gnomish Brit crooner Jamie Cullum delivering a painfully jazzy version of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” on his grand piano while New York’s native son squirms helplessly onstage at the cavernous, VIP-filled Grand Théâtre de Lumière. Nothing like watching 2,000 black-tie film fanatics Read More
Woody Allen may soon need to ask the State Department for extra pages in his passport: he’s just announced that he’s making yet another film in a foreign land. This time, he’s off to Rome (we hope his film’s more La Dolce Vita than Nine)–this after four films set in London, one in Barcelona, Read More
Fashion Week 2011
It was an eyeball-to-eyeball meeting of the world’s most iconic glasses. Spectacular, you might even say. Last night, at the amfAR gala, Woody Allen spoke to The Observer about his friendship with Elton John.
“Yes, I’m excited,” Allen said in reference to the song Elton would be performing with Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and Dionne Read More