WBEZ | New York http://www.wbez.org/tags/new-york Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Pianist Fred Hersch inspired by early jazz mentors http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/pianist-fred-hersch-inspired-early-jazz-mentors-113068 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Fred Hersch_ by John Abbott.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Fred Hersch was in town recently to perform at the Chicago Jazz Festival. Hersch started playing piano when he was very young and grew popular over a decades-long career. Hersch says he benefitted musically from having mentors. When he stopped by StoryCorps, he talked about his career and the role of formal education in jazz music.</p><p>This story was recorded in partnership with <a href="http://www.cct.org/about/partnerships_initiatives/ada-25-chicago/">ADA 25 Chicago</a>, part of the Chicago Community Trust.</p><p><em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p></p> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 13:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/pianist-fred-hersch-inspired-early-jazz-mentors-113068 Sept. 11 through the eyes of an NYU undergrad http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps-140912-Asha-Joseph_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;You know sometimes when you&rsquo;re in your house and a big truck will drive by and kinda shake the house? That&rsquo;s what it felt like,&rdquo; Asha Veal Brisebois says to her husband, Joseph, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Asha was in her bedroom at New York University&rsquo;s South Street Seaport dormitory, a five minute walk from the Twin Towers, when she felt her whole room rattle. &ldquo;And then I felt it again, and our suitemate opened the door and she was like: &lsquo;Something&rsquo;s going on.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Brisebois and her roommates gathered in the living room, turned on the TV and saw what was happening: Two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. &ldquo;It was weird. The only reference point that we had was those Denzel Washington movies, or those big Hollywood movies, where it&rsquo;s like, &lsquo;The terrorists have attacked.&rsquo; And no one quite knew what was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>One of Asha&rsquo;s childhood friends called to see if she was okay. Asha said she was, and asked her friend to call her parents. As soon as she hung up, Asha&rsquo;s cell phone went dead.</p><p>Asha and her roommates started to panic. They lived on the fourteenth floor and someone suggested moving to a lower floor for safety. One of them had friends on the third floor, so they went downstairs. Their friends didn&rsquo;t answer and so the girls knocked on the door to the apartment next door. Three strangers let them in, and together they watched news reports on TV.</p><p>&ldquo;It was fine&hellip;Then it got weird when the Towers started to fall,&rdquo; Asha said. &ldquo;We felt it before we saw it on TV &ndash; I don&rsquo;t know if there was a delay - and then the windows would go dark. So it was just kind of: You feel it, you see it on TV, and then the windows go dark... And it happened twice.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;At one point the RA came and knocked on the door and was like: You have to leave. Everyone&rsquo;s afraid that all of downtown is going to fall&hellip;.Everything&rsquo;s unstable.&rdquo;</p><p>The air outside was dirty and Asha began to worry about her asthma. She asked to borrow a shirt from one of the men whose apartment they were in, so she could breathe into it. She was delayed and lost her friends in the chaos of the evacuation.</p><p>She walked for a while and eventually found herself in the school&rsquo;s gym, where she was reunited with her friends by chance. One of her roommates had Asha&rsquo;s asthma inhaler in her purse and had insisted on waiting for her outside of their dorm. Asha didn&rsquo;t see her, but the gesture was still meaningful.</p><p>&ldquo;You have your best friends from college&hellip;Those are my friends forever &ndash; people that took care of you like family on the worst of worst days&hellip;That&rsquo;s your family. Those are your friends. You stay with each other. You look out for each other.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 Chicago writer's passion for opera tied to memories of JFK's death http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-writers-passion-opera-tied-memories-jfks-death-109228 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Capture_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Richard Rothschild is a freelance writer and editor living in Oak Park, Illinois. On the night of November 22, 1963, Rothschild was supposed to see a performance of Richard Wagner&#39;s &quot;Götterdämmerung&quot; at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.</p><p>The performance was cancelled because of President John F. Kennedy&#39;s assassination. But as the weekend unfolded, the 13-year-old began to see parallels between the tragedy of the stage and the tragedy of real life.</p></p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 16:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-writers-passion-opera-tied-memories-jfks-death-109228 1 World Trade Center named tallest US building http://www.wbez.org/news/1-world-trade-center-named-tallest-us-building-109130 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP90687742822.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The new World Trade Center tower in New York will replace Chicago&#39;s Willis Tower as the nation&#39;s tallest building when it is completed next year, an international panel of architects announced Tuesday.</p><p>The Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat said that because the needle atop the New York skyscraper is a permanent spire and not an antenna it can be counted when measuring the structure&#39;s height.</p><p>But Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel says if something looks and acts like an antenna, &quot;Then, guess what? It&#39;s an antenna.&quot;</p><p>The needle, measuring 408 feet tall, was more than enough to confirm Chicago is the Second City when it comes to tall buildings.</p><p>With the needle, 1 World Trade Center is a symbolically important 1,776 feet tall. Without it, the building would have been only 1,368 feet tall &mdash; well short of the 1,451-foot Willis Tower.</p><p>At stake was more than just the pride of two cities that feast on superlatives and the tourist dollars that might follow: 1 World Trade Center, with its beacon on top will stand as a monument to those killed in the 9/11 attacks, and its architects had sought to capture the echo of America&#39;s founding year in the structure&#39;s height.</p><p>Not only that, but the building&#39;s height without the needle also holds symbolism because at 1,368 feet it is the height of the original World Trade Center.</p><p>Antony Wood, the council&#39;s executive director, said the needle is particularly important as a &quot;structural and symbolic element.&quot;</p><p>Further, he said, the decision to put the spire atop the building was part of a &#39;quest&quot; to build a permanent reminder of what the nation went through.</p><p>&quot;This was not an economic quest for bragging rights to the U.S.&#39;s tallest,&#39; he said. &quot;This was a quest to put something meaningful and symbolic on that site because of the horrible history of what happened on that site.&quot;</p><p>He said the antennae on top of the Willis Tower help to make the committee&#39;s point about permanence, explaining that when the building went up there were no antennae, and that the original antennae have been replaced with taller ones.</p><p>Wood also made another point that, though not a factor on the committee&#39;s decision, is significant: that the Willis Tower will continue to be an attraction for years just like the Empire State Building is decades after it, too, was eclipsed by taller buildings.</p><p>&quot;Are any fewer people going to come to Chicago or even travel and visit the Willis Tower because it no longer holds the title of the U.S. tallest? &quot; he asked. &quot;No,&quot; I don&#39;t think it does.&quot;</p><p>The Height Committee comprises about two dozen industry professionals from all over the world and is widely recognized as the final arbiter of official building heights around the world. They conferred behind closed doors last week in Chicago, where the world&#39;s first skyscraper appeared in 1884.</p><p>The new World Trade Center tower remains under construction and is expected to open next year.</p><p>The designers originally had intended to enclose the mast&#39;s communications gear in decorative cladding made of fiberglass and steel. But the developer removed that exterior shell from the design, saying it would be impossible to properly maintain or repair. Without it, the question was whether the mast was now primarily just a broadcast antenna.</p></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 10:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/1-world-trade-center-named-tallest-us-building-109130 Hate crime wave: America’s underreported LGBT street violence http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/hate-crime-wave-america%E2%80%99s-underreported-lgbt-street-violence-107404 <p><p><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/195207ebe97e6810320f6a7067005511.jpg" title="Memorial from a New York City rally to honor Mark Carson, shot and killed in the city's historic West Village. (AP/Frank Franklin II)" /></p><p>I&rsquo;ve always heard that most accidents happen close to your home, within 5 miles of your house. Last night I was two blocks away from my apartment, fumbling to find my keys for our front door, when a man took a swing at me. I was listening to my headphones and not paying attention to him or his increasing proximity. Instead of whatever he yelled at me, I heard M83&rsquo;s apocalyptic drums.</p><p>I looked down at my shoes and ducked. He missed my head by a wide margin, his aim so poor that I wondered if he meant to hit me or scare me. His friend, who I hadn&rsquo;t noticed watching us, just laughed. I couldn&rsquo;t hear him, but I saw his teeth.</p><p>I walked away. I should have ran or said something to them, but I just walked. I could barely register what had happened. I sat down on the couch and put my head in my hands. I realized I wasn&rsquo;t breathing. I sucked in, but it didn&rsquo;t feel like a breath.</p><p>Earlier that day I told my grandmother over the phone I would be walking home that night. My gym was closed for Memorial Day, and I figured the distance between Lincoln Square and Rogers Park would make up for it. 3.5 miles, each way. My Nana told me to call her the next morning to tell her I was okay. She always tells me to do this when I&rsquo;m out late and walking alone. She worries, so much so that it keeps her up at night.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve always told her she has nothing to worry about&mdash;because I have privilege in the matter of street harassment. I have trans friends who have to experience transphobic attacks&mdash;usually verbal, sometimes more physical&mdash;just for riding the train. As a male-bodied person, I can walk to my local cafe without having a guy scream at me from his car, who thinks that I should take lewd objectification as a compliment. Most days I&rsquo;m allowed to be myself without anyone saying anything about it.</p><p>I often brag to her about how &ldquo;safe&rdquo; I feel.</p><p>I wonder if Mark Carson <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/18/new-york-gay-hate-crime-shooting-_n_3299277.html" target="_blank">felt safe</a> when a man approached him outside of a bar, telling him that he and his friend looked like &ldquo;gay wrestlers?&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>That man&mdash;later identified as Elliott Morales&mdash;shot and killed Carson. Reports indicate that when police apprehended him, Morales &ldquo;<a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/05/murder-suspect-laughed-bragged-prosecutors-say.html" target="_blank">laughed and bragged</a>&rdquo; about the killing.</p><p>Because Carson&rsquo;s murder happened in the West Village, the historic haven for New York&rsquo;s queers and artists, the gay media quickly latched onto the crime. Because this isn&rsquo;t where we think crime happens. Hate crimes don&rsquo;t happen next to the Stonewall Inn. They don&rsquo;t happen in the gay-friendly Hell&rsquo;s Kitchen, where it&rsquo;s not uncommon to see men arm-in-arm or two women kissing on the sidewalk.</p><p>This is where activist Eugene Lovendusky was attacked on Friday. Lovendusky was <a href="http://www.queerty.com/gay-activist-is-ninth-victim-of-hate-crime-in-new-york-20130526/" target="_blank">punched in the jaw</a> as assailants yelled &ldquo;f*ggot&rdquo; at him.</p><p>He is hate crime&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/26/1211760/-LGBTQ-Hate-Crimes-on-the-Rise-in-NY#" target="_blank">victim</a>&nbsp;22&nbsp;in New York this year, one of a <a href="http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/05/a-wave-of-lgbt-hate-crimes-strike-new-york-city/" target="_blank">half dozen</a> this month alone. It happened in Union Square, on 33rd Street.</p><p>On May 5, <a href="http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-nick-porto-and-kevin-atkins-relief-project" target="_blank">Nick Porto and Kevin Atkins</a> were attacked by four Knicks fans outside of Madison Square Garden. They threw Atkins and Porto to the ground while repeatedly kicking them. Atkins left with a broken nose and Porto a fractured wrist.</p><p>Atkins and Porto told police officers their assailaints shouted anti-gay slurs at them; they called them &ldquo;f*ggots,&rdquo; just like Lovendusky. Despite this language, the police <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/new-york-knicks-gay-crime-_n_3230744.html" target="_blank">told reporters</a> it was &ldquo;too early to call it a hate crime,&rdquo; labeling it a &ldquo;possible bias attack.&rdquo; The pair were attacked while holding hands.</p><p>Statistics show that queer people are <a href="http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/splcs-intelligence-report-gays-targeted-for-hate-crimes" target="_blank">more likely than any other group</a> to be victims of a violent crime, and across the country hate crime numbers are on the rise. According to statistics from Orange County police, their LGBT hate crime numbers have <a href="http://www.mydesert.com/viewart/20130523/NEWS10/305230007/Anti-gay-hate-crimes-nearly-double-Orange-County" target="_blank">doubled in the past year</a>, despite &ldquo;general downward trends&rdquo; in hate crimes overall. The same is true in New York, where LGBT hate crimes are <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/26/1211760/-LGBTQ-Hate-Crimes-on-the-Rise-in-NY#" target="_blank">up 70 percent</a>&nbsp;while overall numbers plummet. 2011 numbers showed that hate crime rates against queer people were the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/anti-gay-hate-crimes-murders-national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs_n_1564885.html">highest in history</a>, but 2013 is well on its way to topping that.</p><p>However, these numbers are likely inaccurate, as police often <a href="http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/formal-apology-from-sheriff-officer-over-hate-crime-failure" target="_blank">discount or play down</a> sexual orientation and gender identity in crime reports.</p><p>In April, a Sonoma Valley student was <a href="http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/formal-apology-from-sheriff-officer-over-hate-crime-failure" target="_blank">knocked off his skateboard</a> by seven teens who taunted him while they wailed on his prostrate body. They robbed him and left him there. The 18-year-old teenager was vocally out in his high school, which was known to the assailants. Despite their repeated use of slurs, police labeled it a &ldquo;fight,&rdquo; implicitly blaming him for being beaten. &quot;Fight&quot; indicates two parties are at fault.</p><p>When the teenager pleaded with them to listen to his story, police told him &ldquo;what colors not to wear, not to ride a skateboard, and stay away from the neighborhood because it was gang &lsquo;turf.&rsquo;&rdquo; This is like blaming a woman for being harassed because she was &ldquo;wearing a short skirt.&rdquo; This says he invited violence in for being himself.</p><p>The teenager&rsquo;s mother, Kristin Land, had to <a href="http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/formal-apology-from-sheriff-officer-over-hate-crime-failure" target="_blank">demand an apology</a> from local police to get them to recognize the crime for what it was: hate.</p><p>&ldquo;The whole point of this story is that incidents are going unreported,&rdquo; Land told reporters. &ldquo;Kids are afraid to come forward. The one someone does come forward, the police do not report it...When a violent thing happens, the community has a right to know.&rdquo;</p><p>Although police mishandling has been crucial in underreporting the hate crime wave, the media has also dropped the ball on homophobia. According to Media Matters, which tracks statistics on news coverage, Fox News <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/23/report-fox-news-cnn-prioritize-jodi-arias-cover/194192" target="_blank">didn&rsquo;t cover the Carson story</a>. CNN mentioned it all of <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/23/report-fox-news-cnn-prioritize-jodi-arias-cover/194192" target="_blank">once</a>, devoting its coverage instead to the Jodi Arias trial. Mark Carson got 50 seconds. Even liberal, gay-agenda-lovin&rsquo; MSNBC has aired five times the amount of coverage on Arias as they have on Carson.</p><p>Carson is only the tip of the iceberg. Queer people are murdered every day without the mainstream media raising much of a fuss. Where was the outrage for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/paige-clay-chicago-transg_n_1437606.html" target="_blank">Paige Clay</a>, <a href="http://www.advocate.com/crime/2012/08/16/trans-teen-murdered-chicago" target="_blank">Tiffany Gooden</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/05/01/mount-vernon-baltimore-murder-trial-postponed/" target="_blank">Lawrence Peterson</a>, <a href="http://unfinishedlivesblog.com/2010/04/27/florida-lesbian-murdered-by-girlfriends-father/" target="_blank">Courtney Bright</a>, <a href="http://www.mambaonline.com/article.asp?artid=8078" target="_blank">Patricia Mashigo</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/05/01/mount-vernon-baltimore-murder-trial-postponed/" target="_blank">Joseph Ulrich</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/brandy-martell-california-transgender-woman-shooting_n_1471209.html" target="_blank">Brandy Martell</a>, <a href="http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2010/10/03/nj-murder-of-trans-woman-victoria-carmen-white-beloved-by-many-disrespected-by-law-enforcement/" target="_blank">Victoria White</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/24/larry-king-murder-gay-tee_n_1112241.html" target="_blank">Larry King</a>, <a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/tyli-a-mack-another-hate-crime-another-murder-another-day-without-full-equality-america" target="_blank">Tyli&#39;a Mack</a>, <a href="http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2010/08/destiny_lauren" target="_blank">Destiny Lauren</a> or <a href="http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/02/12/sanesha-stewart-is-dead-and-i-have-only-tears-for-her/" target="_blank">Sanesha Stewart</a>?</p><p>When the<em> Cleveland Plain-Dealer</em> <a href="http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2013/04/30/cleveland-plain-dealer-dehumanizes-murdered-transgender-woman/" target="_blank">reported the murder</a> of transgender Cemia Acoff, they referred to her dead body (which was &ldquo;stabbed, tied with a piece of rope attached to a block of concrete and dumped into a pond&rdquo;) as &ldquo;it.&rdquo; If hate crimes work to take peoples&#39; power away, this dehumanization only furthers the cause.</p><p>At a time when marriage equality pushes across the country, Southern Poverty Law Center&rsquo;s Mark Potok believes this &ldquo;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/hate-crimes-against-gays-in-america-2013-5" target="_blank">desperate anger</a>&rdquo; against LGBTQ people is &ldquo;ratcheting up in direct proportion to the losses that the religious right has suffered.&rdquo; Hate crimes against Latinos and Muslims <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/national-politics-inspire-hate-crimes-expert/story?id=19195183#.UZ6a1VG7HD0" target="_blank">skyrocketed</a> through the aughties, as September 11 and immigration became some of the defining issues of the decade.</p><p>In France this week, violence broke out as 150,000 protesters <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2331545/Gay-marriage-Paris-protests-enter-second-day-violence.html" target="_blank">stormed the capitol</a> ahead of the country&rsquo;s first same-gender marriages, set to take place on Wednesday in Montpellier. Marriage opponents threw bombs and rocks at police and attacked two journalists. These protests were backed by the country&rsquo;s Roman Catholic church.</p><p>Similar rallies have been mounted in Chicago to <a href="http://southfloridagaynews.com/articles/anti-gay-protests-in-chicago/113231" target="_blank">oppose the passing</a> of state marriage legislation, which may come up for a vote this week. Even Mark Carson&#39;s <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/killing-gay-man-nyc-draws-protesters-062943751.html" target="_blank">funeral got protested</a>.</p><p>While marriage equality gets all the media coverage (because it&rsquo;s the nice version where It Gets Better), this shows there&rsquo;s more to the story; there&rsquo;s a dark side to equality. We miss what people like Cemia Acoff and Mark Carson died for -- the culture of ignorance and dehumanization that allows us to decide that others are less than us and don&rsquo;t deserve basic human rights.</p><p>If Potok is right, we need to start taking these cases of violence seriously&mdash;because our hate crime wave is far from over. Should Illinois pass equal marriage this week, we&rsquo;ll only be the 13th state to celebrate equality. There are 37 more states to go. That&rsquo;s a lot of desperate anger ahead.</p><p>However, marriage won&rsquo;t win the war. It doesn&#39;t stop discrimination or slap the gun out of Elliot Morales&rsquo; hand. Marriage can&#39;t light up the dark while I walk home. Equality is more than legalizing love. It&rsquo;s about protecting humanity.&nbsp;</p><p>When I talk to my grandmother, I don&rsquo;t plan to tell her the world is safe. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean we can&rsquo;t fight for it.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><p><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p></p> Tue, 28 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/hate-crime-wave-america%E2%80%99s-underreported-lgbt-street-violence-107404 A Chicago tourist's guide to New York theater awards season (and the occasional museum) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2013-05/chicago-tourists-guide-new-york-theater-awards-season-and-occasional <p><p>A five-day visit to New York.&nbsp; Six shows, half good and half not-so.&nbsp; Three museums.&nbsp; Some of this is utterly evanescent; some will come to Chicago if you&#39;re patient; but some of it requires you to jump on a plane and go.&nbsp; Herewith a guide to your trip.</p><p><u><strong>What to see:</strong></u></p><p><em>Pippin</em> at the Music Box.&nbsp; There are plenty of people whose first response to the revival of <em>Pippin</em> was, &quot;Oh, I hate that show!&quot; but I&#39;ve always loved it.&nbsp; (No one is neutral.)&nbsp;&nbsp; The Broadway revival, faced with the challenge of eradicating otherwise ineradicable memories of Ben Vereen doing Bob Fosse&#39;s dances, makes two major changes to the original: Vereen&#39;s role is played by a woman (the excellent Patina Miller), and much of Fosse&#39;s athletic choreography gives way to actual acrobatics created by circus artist Gypsy Snider, including tumbling, trapeze, contortionism and human pyramids.&nbsp; This makes wonderful thematic sense, as the titular character spends the entire show seeking thrills.&nbsp; With superb performances by all concerned (a special nod to almost-certain-Tony-winner Andrea Martin as Pippin&#39;s remarkably nimble grandmother), director Diana Paulus&#39;s production should satisfy novices and <em>Pippin</em> cultists alike.&nbsp; Most likely it will play on Broadway until we&#39;re all as old as Granny, but the producers have just announced that it will begin a national tour in Denver in a few months.&nbsp; Presumably Chicago will either be one of the subsequent stops or will get a sit-down production of its own--in which case all those hours local performers spend on trampolines at the Actors&#39; Gym will finally come in handy. Magic to do, indeed.&nbsp; Open run.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7283_3macbeth-4_3_rx383_c540x380.JPG" title="Alan Cumming in Macbeth on Broadway (Getty Images)" /></div><p><u><strong>What to see if you can get there before July 14:</strong></u></p><p><em>Macbeth</em> at the Ethel Barrymore.&nbsp; Alan Cumming, whose reinvention of the MC in a revived <em>Cabaret</em> first brought him to the attention of American audiences, now reinvents an even more familiar figure, or rather figures: in a balls-to-the-wall performance of a lifetime he plays not just Macbeth but every other character in the play.&nbsp; Cumming is persuasive in every role, including the foundational one of a patient in a mental hospital whose recital of the play&#39;s text seems designed to enact or expunge some guilt of his own.&nbsp; It&#39;s a feat of acting, to be sure, as Cumming goes from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth simply by wrapping a blanket around his shoulders; but more, it&#39;s a feat of interpretation by Cumming and directors John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg.&nbsp; <em>Macbeth</em> often seems like a play about a singular incident experienced by singularly amoral and ambitious characters.&nbsp; Here, though, Macbeth is Everyman and -woman, experiencing &quot;tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow&quot; as an endless repetition of today--as do we all.&nbsp; And when the last line of the production is the same as the first--&quot;When will we three meet again?&quot; asked of the patient&#39;s two keepers--the play&#39;s universality is sealed.&nbsp; Cumming, familiar to many as Chicago fixer Eli Gold on television&#39;s <em>The Good Wife</em>, reverts onstage to variations on his native Scots accent to convey a preening Duncan, a resentful Banquo, a bereaved Macduff.&nbsp; And he does it with such conviction that when I remember the scene in which Macbeth and his Lady make love, I picture two actors on the stage--because how is it possible there could be only one?&nbsp; Get thee to New York before Bastille Day if humanly possible; if not, pray to the theater gods that he takes the show on tour next summer.</p><p><u><strong>What you hope you&#39;ll get a chance to see:</strong></u></p><p><em>On Your Toes</em> at City Center.&nbsp; The Encores! series unearths little-done musicals and revives them for 5-day runs.&nbsp; Ostensibly, these are staged readings, whose actors have book in hand; but at least for this production it&#39;s accent on the &quot;staged.&quot;&nbsp; In fact, the production was fully choreographed, by director Warren Carlyle in the first act and by George Balanchine in the second, and danced with precision by a company including principals of the New York City Ballet as well as musical comedy actors.&nbsp; Rogers and Hart&#39;s 1936 musical concerns a tap-dancing music teacher, an unappreciated composer, and their efforts to put up a show called &quot;Slaughter on Tenth Avenue,&quot; a show which consists of Balanchine&#39;s jazz-inflected ballet about a gangster and a chorus girl named Lola.&nbsp; (Is that where Barry Manilow got the idea?)&nbsp; The ballet moved from Broadway into the classical dance canon and has never moved back, til now.&nbsp; It&#39;s a perfect coda to the musical, and makes a marvelous contrast with the Act I finale, a send-up of modern dancing crossed with baggy-pants pratfalls which had the audience gasping with laughter.&nbsp; As the dance diva from hell via Russia, ballerina Irina Dvorovenko shows a real gift for comedy as well as flawless ballet chops.&nbsp; Yes, it&#39;s cruel to describe such a marvelous show and then point out that it can&#39;t be seen anywhere; but Encores! productions have occasionally led to full-scale revivals, and <em>On Your Toes</em> certainly deserves to join that storied group.&nbsp; Closed, but not forgotten: perhaps it will do a pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago.</p><p><u><strong>What not to bother with:</strong></u></p><p><em>Nikolai and the Others</em> at Lincoln Center.&nbsp; I went to see Richard Nelson&#39;s play, though I&#39;m not a fan of his historical dramas, because it was&nbsp; directed by Chicago&#39;s David Cromer, whose production of <em>Our Town</em> here and in New York was considered so revelatory.&nbsp; But there&#39;s nothing Cromer or any other director could do with this text, whose central conceit is that George Balanchine, Igor Stravinsky and a dozen other Russian emigres meet for a weekend in the country while Messrs. B. and S. are working on &quot;The Firebird.&quot;&nbsp; They&#39;ve all worked together or been married to one another or both, and one of them is wheezing so hard you know he&#39;s the Act I loaded gun which must go off in Act II.&nbsp; But adherence to Chekhov&#39;s law of stagecraft and minute attention to boring Russians aren&#39;t enough to turn this into Chekhov.&nbsp; We start off not knowing or caring about these people and end up the same way, even as they create what we know is a lasting work of art.&nbsp; The best moments come from the two New York City Ballet dancers whose rehearsals of &quot;Firebird&quot; convey the excitement of creation.&nbsp; The rest of the play just lies there like cold blini.&nbsp; I did, however, enjoy hearing the characters rag Balanchine about choreographing for Broadway (&quot;Of course, that&#39;s where the money is&quot;), knowing they&#39;re inveighing against &quot;Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.&quot;&nbsp; Through June 16.</p><p><em>The Big Knife</em> at the Roundabout&#39;s American Airlines Theater.&nbsp; This late Clifford Odets work is a naked piece of autobiographical special pleading, in which Odets portrays Hollywood as a monster destroying the morals and lives of otherwise good men.&nbsp; No doubt that&#39;s what it felt like to him as he spent years out there producing not too much and drinking himself to death; but, as a friend once said about Arthur Miller&#39;s equally autobiographical <em>After The Fall</em>, &quot;Why should I pay to listen to his therapy?&nbsp; He should pay me!&quot;&nbsp; Portraying a movie star whose guilty secret keeps him in thrall to the studio, Bobby Cannavale gets nothing to do but whine, though he can be an exciting performer who holds his own with Steve Buscemi and Michael Shannon on tv&#39;s <em>Boardwalk Empire</em>.&nbsp; But neither his character&#39;s secret nor the struggle with his conscience engages the audience in the slightest, and by the time he too submits to Chekhov&#39;s law we&#39;re wondering why the homesick playwright didn&#39;t just go home.&nbsp; Through June 2.</p><p><em>The Nance</em> at the Lyceum.&nbsp; Less a play than a showcase for Nathan Lane, Douglas Carter Beane&#39;s play concerns a performer in the twilight of burlesque whose specialty is &quot;pansy,&quot; exaggerated effeminacy shot through with double-entendres about homosexuality.&nbsp; Despite its fidelity to original routines from vaudeville (Ever wondered about that Three Stooges &quot;Niagara Falls&quot; bit?&nbsp; Or Austin Powers&#39;s &quot;Oh, be-have!&quot;?), the play is full of anachronisms, importing a Stonewall consciousness into the New Deal.&nbsp; Lane&#39;s thoroughly unpleasant character, a self-hating Republican gay man named Chauncey Miles, stands up for his right to perform &quot;pansy&quot; in a courtroom sequence straight out of <em>Philadelphia</em>.&nbsp; The lover he meets in a demi-monde automat (the charming Jonni Orsini) is completely at ease with his own gay identity and just wants to settle down and play house with Chauncey.&nbsp; Then one character wonders aloud, &quot;In 80 years, who&#39;s going to be wondering how to pay for Social Security?&quot;&nbsp; (Big laugh.)&nbsp; Beane succumbs repeatedly to the temptation to comment on his characters, so we never for a minute mistake them for actual people.&nbsp; Lane may well get a Tony (though go, Tracy Letts!) but even his skill can&#39;t save <em>The Nance</em>.&nbsp; Open run.</p><p><u><strong>The Visual Arts</strong></u></p><p>Of museums I can report:</p><ul><li>MoMA&#39;s not-so-new-anymore building has the worst people-circulation of any major museum so if there was something to see I couldn&#39;t find it;</li><li>The Neue Galerie, at which Ronald Lauder stashes his Klimt paintings, has a permanent collection consisting mostly of line-drawings (by Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kolkoschka) of women masturbating; and</li><li>The Metropolitan Museum has an amazing video/photography exhibit and an equally amazing painting exhibit, the latter of which comes to the Art Institute next month.</li></ul><p>The photography/video exhibit, &quot;Street&quot; by James Nares, at first appears to be a simple pan by a video camera across still photos of outdoor spaces in New York.&nbsp; Gradually, though, you realize the photos aren&#39;t still--they&#39;re slow-motion, taken with the kind of camera used to capture images of hummingbirds in flight.&nbsp; For more than an hour you sit watching the continuous pan across crowd after crowd, with people flicking cigarettes and kissing and picking their noses and crossing the street, all verrrrrrrry slowwwwwwly, and it&#39;s utterly mesmerizing, especially as set to music by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.&nbsp; The main exhibit is flanked by stills Nares found influential, and they include both motion-capture nature photography and shots of New York streets by Steichen and Steiglitz and Strand.&nbsp; More cruelty: the exhibit closes this weekend and there are no plans to re-open it anywhere else; but there&#39;s <a href="http://www.jamesnares.com/index.cfm/film-video/street/">a video clip on the artist&#39;s site</a>.</p><p>&quot;Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity&quot; is an assemblage of Impressionist paintings featuring people in fancy clothes.&nbsp; That sounds like an artificial basis for an exhibit but in fact the highly intelligent wall commentary explains how the portraits helped create and then chronicle the fin-de-[19th]-siecle Parisian middle class.&nbsp; Manet, Courbet and Degas paintings stand next to the original dresses in which their models were clothed.&nbsp; One entire room is dedicated to the significance of white gowns, another to black, and several rooms display the dandification of men that went hand-in-glove with widespread prosperity.&nbsp; It&#39;s an illuminating as well as beautiful exhibit which closes this weekend in New York and reopens June 26 at the Art Institute, where it will run through September 22.&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 26 May 2013 13:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2013-05/chicago-tourists-guide-new-york-theater-awards-season-and-occasional Synth band Nova Social will take you to The Delano http://www.wbez.org/blogs/mark-bazer/2012-06/synth-band-nova-social-will-take-you-delano-99846 <p><p>I&#39;ll probably get in trouble for calling New York City&#39;s <a href="http://novasocial.com/">Nova Social</a> a synth band. But I was never that good at describing music.</p><p>What I can say is that the band, fronted by David Nagler, takes me back to the 1980s (without wallowing in nostalgia) and the songs hypnotize me. Check out the performance below from last month&#39;s <em>Interview Show</em> in Brooklyn.</p><p>And if you live in NYC or know someone there, the band <a href="http://www.joespub.com/component/option,com_shows/task,view/Itemid,40/id,6176">plays&nbsp;Joe&#39;s&nbsp;Pub on Wednesday, June 20, at 7:30 p.m.</a></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Pd_kE_J0ZwM" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 06 Jun 2012 09:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/mark-bazer/2012-06/synth-band-nova-social-will-take-you-delano-99846 A tour of Dawoud Bey's 'Harlem, USA' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/tour-dawoud-beys-harlem-usa-98990 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bey corner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/41873684" webkitallowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="411" scrolling="no" width="620" align="middle"></iframe></p><p>I recently <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/photographer-dawoud-beys-landmark-moment-two-exhibits-two-chicago">interviewed Dawoud Bey</a> about <em>Harlem, USA</em>, his '70s era photo essay of the New York community.</p><p>After our interview we toured the exhibit - which was still being installed - and he shared how, as a novice photographer, he went about photographing people in the community.</p><p>For more contemporary Bey, be sure to attend his show <em>Picturing People</em>, which opens May 13 at <a href="http://www.renaissancesociety.org/site/">The Renaissance Society</a> in Hyde Park.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 09 May 2012 16:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/tour-dawoud-beys-harlem-usa-98990 FBI declined to pursue New York bomb plot http://www.wbez.org/story/fbi-declined-pursue-new-york-bomb-plot-94242 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-21/AP11112015753.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NEW YORK — U.S. authorities declined to pursue a case against an "al Qaeda sympathizer" accused of plotting to bomb police stations and post offices in the New York area because they believed he was mentally unstable and incapable of pulling it off, two law enforcement officials said Monday.</p><p>New York Police Department investigators sought to get the FBI involved at least twice as their undercover investigation of Jose Pimentel unfolded, the officials said. Both times, the FBI concluded that he wasn't a serious threat, they said.</p><p>The FBI concluded that the 27-year-old Pimentel "didn't have the predisposition or the ability to do anything on his own," one of the officials said.</p><p>The officials were not authorized to speak about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity. The FBI's New York office declined to comment Monday.</p><p>New York authorities said Pimentel is an "alQaeda sympathizer" motivated by terrorist propaganda and resentment of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police had to move quickly to arrest Pimentel on Saturday because he was ready to carry out his plan.</p><p>"He was in fact putting this bomb together," Kelly said. "He was drilling holes and it would have been not appropriate for us to let him walk out the door with that bomb."</p><p>His lawyer Joseph Zablocki said his client's behavior leading up to the arrest was not that of a conspirator trying to conceal some violent scheme. Zablocki said Pimentel was public about his activities and was not trying to hide anything.</p><p>"I don't believe that this case is nearly as strong as the people believe," Zablocki said. "He (Pimentel) has this very public online profile. ... This is not the way you go about committing a terrorist attack."</p><p>Authorities characterized him in a different way. The unemployed U.S. citizen was born in the Dominican Republic and later converted to Islam. They said he was energized and motivated to carry out his plan by the Sept. 30 killing of al Qaeda's U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.</p><p>"He decided to build the bomb August of this year, but clearly he jacked up his speed after the elimination of al-Awlaki," Kelly said.</p><p>He plotted to bomb police patrol cars and postal facilities, targeted soldiers returning home from abroad, and also talked of bombing a police station in New Jersey, authorizes said.</p><p>New York police had him under surveillance for at least a year and were working with a confidential informant; no injury to anyone or damage to property is suspected, Kelly said. In addition, authorities have no evidence that Pimentel was working with anyone else.</p><p>"He appears to be a total lone wolf," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "He was not part of a larger conspiracy emanating from abroad."</p><p>Pimentel, also known as Muhammad Yusuf, was denied bail. The bearded, bespectacled man smiled at times during the proceeding. His mother and brother attended the arraignment, his lawyer said.</p><p>Pimentel was accused of having an explosive device Saturday when he was arrested, one he planned to use against others and property. The charges accuse him of conspiracy going back at least to October 2010 and include first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act.</p><p>Kelly said a confidential informant had numerous conversations with Pimentel on Sept. 7 in which he expressed interest in building small bombs and targeting banks, government and police buildings.</p><p>Pimentel also posted on his website trueislam1.com and on blogs his support of al Qaeda and belief in jihad, and promoted an online magazine article that described in detail how to make a bomb, Kelly said.</p><p>Among his Internet postings, the commissioner said, was an article that states: "People have to understand that America and its allies are all legitimate targets in warfare."</p><p>New York City remains a prime terrorist target a decade after the Sept. 11 attack. Bloomberg said there have been at least 14 foiled plots against the city, including the latest suspected scheme. The most serious threats came from Pakistani immigrant Faisal Shahzad who tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in 2010 and is now serving a life sentence, and Najibullah Zazi, who targeted the subway system a year earlier. Zazi pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges and is awaiting sentencing.</p><p>Asked why federal authorities were not involved in the case, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said there was communication with them but his office felt that given the timeline "it was appropriate to proceed under state charges."</p><p>Alexis Smith, 22, who lives in an apartment in the same building as Pimentel, said she was shocked that he was a suspect in a terrorist plot. "He was always very courteous to us," she said, adding that Pimentel helped her carry groceries and luggage into the building.</p><p>"It's nice to know he was only working alone," she said.</p></p> Mon, 21 Nov 2011 17:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/fbi-declined-pursue-new-york-bomb-plot-94242 Cleanup begins in wake of Irene http://www.wbez.org/story/clean-begins-wake-irene-91166 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-29/6093413756_78818c96d1_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Irene is gone but the trouble it started isn't finished by a long-shot. It could be days or even weeks before some of the millions<br> without electricity get it back. Airlines will be busy untangling masses of stranded passengers delayed by canceled flights. And some&nbsp;rivers in New York and New England pose potentially major flood threats today.</p><p>And then there's the damage. It hasn't been tallied up yet but one private estimate is up to $7 billion.</p><p>Flooding is widespread in Vermont and the Mohawk River is over its banks in parts of New York. Officials say they may be seeing<br> 500-year flood conditions on the Mohawk. New York City's three main airports will be reopening today as will part of the subway system. Commuters have been warned of long lines and waits.</p><p>Airports in Philadelphia and Washington are open and Boston's transit system is reopening. So are Atlantic City casinos.</p><p>Aviation officials in Chicago say almost 400 flights have been canceled at both of Chicago's airports because of Tropical<br> Storm Irene. Airlines canceled more than 300 flights at O'Hare International Airport and around 70 at Midway International Airport on Sunday.</p><p>Chicago's Department of Aviation says most of the cancellations are due to East Coast weather conditions. There aren't any delays. More than 11,500 flights have been canceled nationwide.</p><p>Weather officials downgraded Irene from a hurricane to a tropical storm Sunday as the storm's winds lost speed. As a hurricane, Irene had already unloaded more than a foot of water on North Carolina, spun off tornadoes in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, and left 4 million homes and businesses without power. At least 18 people died in the storm.</p><p>Meantime, New York City subway service is back on track for the morning rush. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said limited service resumed at 5:40 a.m. Monday. It said service remains suspended on Metro-North Railroad because of heavy damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Metro-North serves regions north of New York City, from Westchester County to southern Connecticut.</p><p>The MTA's decision Saturday to halt all subways, buses and commuter trains in preparation for the storm had threatened to disrupt the start of the work week for millions of New Yorkers. It was the first time a natural disaster ever shut the system down.</p><p>New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making no apologies for ordering hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate for a hurricane that ended up doing relatively little damage in New York. Bloomberg said he was unwilling to risk the life of a single New Yorker in the face of Hurricane Irene. He spent days urging people to get out of harm's way and to prepare for storm. Irene caused some flooding and other problems in New York but no deaths or injuries.</p><p>The mayor said he's not sure whether it's the city's preparations or luck that prevented the toll from being worse. But he said he would make the same decisions again.</p></p> Mon, 29 Aug 2011 11:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/clean-begins-wake-irene-91166