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  • Posted 7/25/16 at 10:58 AM
  • Theater

David Bowie’s Lazarus Is Headed to London, for Longer Than Just One Day

British theatergoers will soon get the chance to sit in the seats with the clearest viewLazarus, the David Bowie musical that played the New York Theater Workshop earlier this year, is coming to the musician's hometown of London in October. The show, a spiritual sequel to Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth, stars Michael C. Hall as the space traveler Thomas Newton, originally played by Bowie in the 1976 film; Hall will reprise the role in the London production, which will play at the King's Cross Theatre. Its New York performance space became the site of an impromptu Bowie memorial after the music legend's death in February.

On the Set of Jill Soloway’s Next Show, I Love Dick

It’s a warm day in early June on the Marfa, Texas, set of I Love Dick, Jill Soloway’s new pilot for Amazon, and Kevin Bacon, playing an enigmatic academic named Dick, and Kathryn Hahn, playing a failed filmmaker named Chris, are arguing, over dinner, about the quality of movies made by women. Or, more specifically, about the quality of the films that Chris is, or isn’t, making. Chris’s husband, Sylvère (Griffin Dunne), a cultural critic and Holocaust scholar, keeps his eyes on his rabbit. “It’s a question of desire,” Dick says, “not talent, or timing, or circumstance. Pure want. Which you don’t possess.” He continues, punctuating his mansplaining with a conclusion that might have made even Norman Mailer blush: “Most films made by women ultimately aren’t … that … good.” Shocked and wounded, Chris nonetheless stands her ground. “Women make good shit all the time,” she says. “Jane Campion. Chantal Akerman. Uh, Sally Potter.” With the cameras still rolling, Soloway, who has short salt-and-pepper hair and is wearing hot-pink Nike high-tops, calmly issues direction: “You’re schooling, Kathryn. Educating. Not angry.” Hahn repeats the line, matching Bacon’s disdain with her own defensive hauteur. Soloway smiles. 

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Exhibition Shows What America Looks Like From Beirut

Beirut is a 5,000-year-old city, or series of cities, each layered over another on the same site, living with the previous era’s ghosts. Today, it can feel like a place steadily, and in certain ways, heedlessly devouring itself to meet the various needs of an uneasy and unevenly affluent now, the ancient souks rebuilt as a series of covered outdoor shopping malls — Zaha Hadid designed one — and Miami-style starchitect-luxe condo towers (by the likes of Herzog & de Meuron and Norman Foster) coexisting side by side with pocked concrete high-rise ruins, legacies of when the city was divided between Christian and Muslim sections during the 1975–1990 civil war, and snipers would nest in the upper floors, keeping watch on the borderline between them. It’s a city crowded with Syrian refugees in a nation itself overrun and undergoverned, all within commuting distance to the frontiers of the Islamic State. It has problems with the basics of municipal functionality — the power supply and garbage collection — even as developers extend its borders out into landfill in the Mediterranean. And yet, through this, life goes on: It remains a city of beguilingly romantic cosmopolitan complexity and potential.

Last fall, Aïshti by the Sea, a high-gloss luxury mall, was built in an industrial waterfront area of town, a futuristic spaceliner moored between the highway and the sea. It feels a bit like it’s at a wary valet-parking remove from the city itself, and solidly within what was the Christian zone during the civil war. It was designed by the British architect David Adjaye, who is better known for his museums than his upscale retail, for Tony Salamé, a Lebanese retail magnate who wanted to be better known for his collection of contemporary art. And so there is a museum in this mall, too. By bringing an outpost of name-brand art to a place which didn’t have much — even if it is in the same building as a place to buy luxury name brands — Salamé has tried to elevate his own and his city’s position as a outpost for the transnational art elite. Still, its opening last fall ignited a certain amount of knowing eye-rolling in the art press about Salle and Gucci cohabiting.

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Theater Review: An All-Female, All-Japanese Chicago

Whenever I’d hear critics describe musical theater as one of the few truly American art forms, I would think, well, at least one of those words is right. It’s a form. I suppose it is also, at its rare best, an art, but American it never fully was, except in having, like bastard America itself, plenty of European and African roots. Recently, though, I’ve been changing my mind, and not just because most non-American musicals are so wretched. As the operetta format and literary tone of the so-called Golden Age continue to recede in favor of more domestic subjects and more vernacular styles, musicals do begin to seem more intrinsically local, a phenomenon that may be playing a role in the popularity of Hamilton. (It is, after all, subtitled An American Musical.) But what has now really clinched the case for the Americanness of the form, for me, is the bizarre hall-of-mirrors production of Chicago that opened last night at the Lincoln Center Festival. This Chicago, produced by a 103-year-old, all-female Japanese troupe called the Takarazuka Revue, is so minutely faithful to the Broadway version playing a mile away at the Ambassador that its complete cluelessness left me feeling shocked and a bit demented. How could something so intensely familiar, copied so precisely, turn out so utterly foreign?

Minutely detailed replication that still seems strange. »

Stephenie Meyer Is Releasing a New Secret-Agent Thriller, Because Vampires Are Now Officially So Passé

Stephenie Meyer is once again writing in the daylight! The author, best known for her astronomically popular young-adult series Twilight, will be moving away from the teen demographic to release a new spy thriller for adults called The Chemist on November 15. (She previously released another non-Twilight novel, the adult sci-fi book The Host, in 2008.) The novel will revolve around a female ex-operative forced to go on the run from the U.S. government, which fears she knows too much about a highly classified operation. "The Chemist is the love child created from the union of my romantic sensibilities and my obsession with Jason Bourne/Aaron Cross," Meyer said in a statement. "I very much enjoyed spending time with a different kind of action hero, one whose primary weapon isn’t a gun or a knife or bulging muscles, but rather her brain." So, let the guessing game begin: Which actress is going to play her in the inevitable film adaptation?

  • Posted 7/18/16 at 10:24 PM

Theater Review: Listening in on Daniel Radcliffe in Privacy

Abstract-noun titles are usually deceptive, or at least under-determined; DoubtDemocracy, and Plenty, good plays though they are, might each just as easily have been named something else. Not so for Privacy, which opens tonight at the Public in a production starring Daniel Radcliffe. It is so specifically and solely a discussion of privacy in the age of smartphones — from cookies and Uber ratings to Big Data and Edward Snowden — that it barely functions as anything else. 

A few extra tech tricks, undisclosed, are part of the production. »

The Cast of Hamilton Bids Farewell to Daveed Diggs

Excuse us, but Daveed Diggs's last Hamilton performance is going to send us headfirst, into the abyss with sadness. Diggs ended his Tony-winning tenure in the dual role of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson — which he originated — on Friday night. But the sun comes up and the world still spins despite his departure, which follows Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., and Phillipa Soo leaving last week. Hamilton's formidable cast took to social media to send Diggs various fond farewells and well wishes. No one will ever work that purple-velvet suit as good as you, man. (As for Diggs himself, how did he celebrate? By taking 40 shots out of a Grammy.)

  • Posted 7/15/16 at 12:18 PM

Dying Gaul Is a World Masterpiece About Death

Dying Gaul is a world masterpiece. A once-in-a-lifetime loan from the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, the 2,000-year-old sculpture is part of the Met’s luminescent exhibition of more than 250 incredible objects of Hellenistic art, "Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World." It is a slightly larger than life-sized marble sculpture of a partially naked man on the ground — apparently felled here, supporting himself with one arm, the other resting weakly on an outstretched leg. The hand on the ground is atop a broken sword; his head is bent downward to the point where we can't really see his face at all. He is bleeding from a large chest wound, dying.

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For $13 Million, David Bowie’s Elusive Art Collection Could Be Yours

When David Bowie wasn't busy making some of the most groundbreaking art of his generation, he was a fierce private collector of some of history's most famous artwork, having owned more than 400 pieces. For the first time ever, the late icon's personal collection will be revealed to the public; it will later go up for auction this fall. Starting November 1, Sotheby's plans to display the entire collection at its New Bond Street galleries, in London, for ten days, after which all 400-plus items will go up for sale at a three-part auction, on November 10 and 11. Some of those items include works by British 20th-century artists Frank Auerbach, Damien Hirst, Henry Moore, and Graham Sutherland, and there are also works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marcel Duchamp, and Ettore Sottsass.

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  • Posted 7/13/16 at 8:30 PM

Theater Review: Near-Silence Never Sounded So Good As in Small Mouth Sounds

Aside from an occasional unicorn like The Humans, Off and Off–Off Broadway plays almost never dare transfer to Broadway anymore, which means that New Yorkers who miss them in their original limited runs don’t get a second chance. Bess Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds seemed to be one such play: Despite rave reviews for its premiere in March of last year, it closed as scheduled after six weeks and basically disappeared. How many people saw it in Ars Nova’s 99-seat space? Perhaps 5,000. (Thanks to end-stage Tony-mania, I wasn’t one of them.) And yet here it is again, in the 199-seat Linney Courtyard Theatre at the Signature Center, where it opens tonight for a three-month commercial run. Should it succeed, that would be great news, and not just because the theater industry needs to find a fruitful middle ground between tiny not-for-profit stages and Broadway, with middle-ground prices to match. Over the course of its run, some 20,000 people, typically paying $75, could catch Small Mouth Sounds at the Signature. 

An essentially wordless play. »

This Week’s Ham4Ham: Come for Rory O’Malley’s Emcee Debut, Stay for Daveed Diggs’s Dabbing Skills

If the video of Rory O'Malley's Ham4Ham hosting debut is any indication, he's going to make a fine, fine emcee. But this week's Ham4Ham was overshadowed by some somber news Daveed Diggs, Hamilton's flamboyantly wonderful Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, will be leaving the production on July 15. Don't weep, though! Diggs is here for one last Ham4Ham appearance, and he brought his top-notch dabbing skills with him. "I fucking love y'all," Diggs said. "Thank you so much everybody who has been a part of making this the most incredible few years of my life. It has been such an honor to perform for y'all. This is the most important thing about Hamilton to me. The way that you guys come out here and reclaim this area, that I didn't come to at all before I was in Hamilton, is the most important thing to me. This is public space, and it belongs to all of you." Travel the wide, wide world and come back to us soon, Daveed.

This Book by Amy Schumer’s Head Writer Is Better Than Therapy

Halfway through Jessi Klein’s new essay collection You’ll Grow Out of It, the Inside Amy Schumer head writer and executive producer describes visiting a therapist after a particularly challenging breakup in her late 20s. “The first time Connie and I met, I had the feeling I imagine an orphaned baby animal gets when it spots a female of another species and chooses her to follow her around until she becomes its new mother, like the post-tsunami baby hippo that latched onto a matronly female tortoise,” writes Klein. “She reminds me of my mom, without being my mom.”

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  • Posted 7/13/16 at 1:43 PM
  • Theater

What Comes Next? Everything We Know About the Future of Hamilton

After making a bunch of people very rich and winning a whopping 11 Tony Awards, what comes next for Hamilton? This summer marks the end of act one for the smash Broadway hit: Unlike Alexander Hamilton himself, many of the people involved are taking a break from the production now that their yearlong contracts are up. With the change in administration, we thought this would be a good time to check in on the future of Hamilton, from cast departures to filmed versions to non-Broadway productions. Take a look below to see what you missed.

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Renée Elise Goldsberry Is Leaving Hamilton in the Fall for a Netflix Sci-Fi Series

Renée Elise Goldsberry is getting ready to work, work for Netflix. Goldsberry, known for her Tony Award–winning role as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, will be leaving the musical at an unspecified date in the fall to join the streaming service's newest sci-fi drama, Altered Carbon, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She'll be playing a master strategist and revolutionary named Quellcrist Falconer in the ten-episode series, which is set in the 25th century and described as "what happens when the human mind becomes digitized and the soul is transferable from one body to another." (It's based on Richard Morgan's 2002 novel of the same name.) She'll be starring opposite Joel Kinnaman, who plays "an ex–elite interstellar warrior" named Takeshi Kovacs who has been "imprisoned for 500 years and is downloaded into a future he had tried to stop." The two are also lovers. Laeta Kalogridis will write, executive produce, and be the series showrunner.

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Daveed Diggs Is Leaving Hamilton July 15

Every action has an equal opposite reaction: Now that co-stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., and Phillipa Soo have said goodbye to Hamilton, Daveed Diggs will leave the record-breaking musical as well. Diggs won a Tony for his dual role of Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson; his last day in both parts will come July 15. The departure comes as a slight surprise, as Diggs was reported to be among the original cast members who renewed their contracts in early July, but his rep tells Vulture his inclusion was an "error."

When Will Helen DeWitt Be Recognized As One of the Great American Novelists?

When I arrived at her cottage in Newfane, Vermont, Helen DeWitt was at work in a spacious room on the first floor. On the table in front of her was a page of notes in longhand, an overturned mass-market paperback of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and an ashtray full of Marlboro 100’s butts. On the wall was a photograph of her grandfather, Marine Corps General Ralph DeWitt, in uniform, his chest decorated. DeWitt was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, rumpled work pants, and an old pair of running shoes. There was a daybed in the corner and a cast-iron stove a few feet from the table. “This stove is from 1918 and it’s still working,” she said. “And if you’re a writer, back in the day of Hemingway, you actually could have a typewriter that would see you through your career. It might not last a hundred years, but it would see you through your career, and if laptops had that kind of longevity, look, I would not be broke.” 

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What Did Season 6 of Game of Thrones Teach Us About The Winds of Winter?

Much and more has been made of Game of Thrones' sixth season finally surpassing George R.R. Martin's books, and though the claim can sometimes be overstated — Sam and Jaime's stories this year took heavily from A Feast for Crows — it's true that, for the first time, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were painting on a nearly blank canvas. They're not the only ones: Somewhere in Santa Fe, Martin himself is putting what fans hope are the finishing touches on The Winds of Winter, a book that's expected to cover much of the same narrative territory. Though the books and show are telling their own separate versions of the story, they're still working from the same general, GRRM–created road map. What can we learn about Winds from what we saw on HBO? Here's a guide:

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Theater Review: Oslo Finds Drama in the Back Channels of Diplomacy

It’s not often I think a three-hour play could profitably be longer, but J. T. Rogers’s gripping, big-boned Oslo, which opened last night at Lincoln Center Theater, needs all the meat and muscle it can pack on its frame. It is, generically, a “secret history” drama, which means there’s a lot of context to provide: in this case, the long trail of sad events and unheralded personalities that made the 1993 Oslo “accord” between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization such a surprise. The agreement, really a framework for future peace rather than an actual treaty, was negotiated through a back channel almost entirely unknown to the diplomats engaged in the hopeless official process in Washington, London, and elsewhere. Organized by Terje Rød Larsen, a rogue Norwegian sociologist, and his wife, Mona Juul, an official in the Norwegian foreign ministry, it involved nine months of covert meetings in a remote manor house about 60 miles south of the title city. The scheme was based on the audacious proposition that if these enemies, some of them legally forbidden to meet the others, could break bread in dinner-party-sized gatherings rather than huge delegations, if they could get to know one another as people rather than as vessels for hardened positions, they might find a way forward.

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7 Books You Need to Read This July

Each month, Boris Kachka offers nonfiction and fiction book recommendations. You should read as many of them as possible.

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  • Posted 7/12/16 at 2:35 AM
  • How-tos

Hey Millennials, Let Ben Schwartz Tell You How to Date Not Like a Total Idiot in His New Book

Somewhere between singing nonstop songs during guest appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang! and popping up in movies with other comedians, Ben Schwartz is taking on a new project: co-writing an illustrated guide to dating for Millennials. Entertainment Weekly reports that the actor is teaming up with his friend, television writer Laura Moses, for a book titled Things You Should Already Know, You Fucking Idiot. Though Schwartz is probably best known as loveable-scamp/mostly harmless douche Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Recreation, this is actually his fourth book. Previously, he and Amanda McNally penned such classics as Grandma’s Dead: Breaking Bad News With Baby Animals; Maybe Your Leg Will Grow Back!: Looking on the Bright Side With Baby Animals; and Why Is Daddy in a Dress?: Asking Awkward Questions With Baby Animals. Presumably this book will feature less big-eyed small critters, unless one of its first points is "Things you should already know: People like staring at cute animals, you fucking idiot."

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