Tag Archives: downtown

Checking Out Art in NYC

Life’s a party, when your life’s in New York City – right?

Not as often as you’d think, but every so often one crosses paths with a strange little happening such as this one: an art opening where the cooler-than-you vibe was so thick you could have cut it with a sarcastic remark, every strand of hair was done within an inch of its life, and an indie band slammed away on their drums in the background as hordes of instagramming hipsters batted their ways through photo- and video-graphers to get that perfect pouty pose in front of a piece of art-as-commodity.

Meanwhile, near the entrance, the artist was selling $100 numbered prints of two of the evening’s pieces. She’d sold two of them by the time we left, which was about fifteen minutes after we got there.


THEATER REVIEW: “The Beautiful Laugh” at La Mama

Clowning is a respected art with a long history, distinct from other forms of theater. My understanding of clowning comes out of familiarity with more classical European traditions, such as Marcel Marceau and the Commedia Del Arte style captured so excellently in The Corn Exchange’s production of Dublin by Lamplight, or the Harlequin story as viewed through the memory of a production I saw at Tivoli, in Cophenhagen, when I was about seven years old. In these forms, it’s often the precision of physical movement that distinguishes the skilled from the unskilled performer.

The style of clowning used in That Beautiful Laugh is different. It is a physical kind of comedy, related Рparticularly in the case of performer Carlton Ward Рto circus acts and Coney Island contortionists, but it is also a comedy of noises and expression.

At the top of the show, a narrator (Alan Tudyk of Firefly, Dollhouse, Suburgatory and more) explains that there are multiple kinds of laughs, and lists some Рas we wind through the cyclical routines presented by Flan (Tudyk), Ian (Ward) and Darla Waffles Something (Julia Ogilvie), the audience is no doubt meant to experience some of these different kinds of laughs. Whether or not the ultimate laugh Рthat beautiful laugh Рis attained is, I suspect, largely in the hands of the audience on any given night.