Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #45

September 28th, 2007  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report


by Kay Bourne
click image of LOU JONES on the left, to visit his website

395 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #45The globe trotting, Boston based photographer LOU JONES was recently made an honorary lifetime member of the Boston Camera Club. In that honor, he joins Dr. Harold Edgerton, who invented the strobe, and Bradford Washburn, the founder of the Boston Science Museum who flew biplanes, landing on a glacier to get some of his prize mountain shots. Boston’s important history in photography includes such early African American professional cameramen as Edward Bannister, more significantly, perhaps, known as a painter, who was listed as a “photographist” in 1865 – 1866.
The venerable BCC is represented currently with a juried show at the Brookline Arts Center at 86 Monmouth St. through OCTOBER 5. “BCC at the BAC” features the photographs of 17 BCC members selected through a juried process. For more info on the gallery hours and other BAC programming, you can phone 617-566-5715 or go on-line to www.brooklineartscenter.com

There are camera clubs in most towns and cities, but the BCC, founded in 1881, may well be the first that has continued to meet over the years. The annual New England Camera Club‘s gathering attests to the popularity of this hobby with amateur shutterbugs. The conference draws anywhere from two to four thousand people to its 3-day event of lectures and workshops at UMass/Amherst, filling hotel dormitory rooms on campus.
Jones enjoys speaking at the UMass gathering, which he does every few years, and to individual clubs. “I tell them that as an artist and as a photographer, you can make the things you’re interested in part of your art.”
That has been true for Jones himself, who as a youngster played sports with a passion and now regularly covers the Olympics. He wanted civic discourse on the death penalty: he won the right to photograph on death rows throughout the country and put together a book of his powerful studies of these inmates, “Final Exposure.” His travels around the world have resulted in photo essays on head hunters in Borneo and the guerilla soldiers in Central America, among many other subjects. (As a commercial photographer, Jones’s list of clients reads like a Forbes report: IBM, Peugeot, NIKE, KLM, Federal Express, etc. etc. etc.).
Jones has an exhibit of his work in the Hess Gallery at Pine Manor College, 400 Heath St. in Chestnut Hill, until October 24. He will speak there, Wednesday, OCTOBER 3, at 7 pm with a reception in the Gallery to follow.
Clubs like the BCC play an essential role in “progressing photography,” says Jones. “Ansel Adams, so many of the great photographers, belonged to camera clubs. They shared knowledge of equipment and of the developing process. They collected members work which has produced important archives.”


by Kay Bourne
396 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #45Secluded beaches. Balmy weather. Crystal clear waters. Duty free shopping. Night life. Tourists flock to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to enjoy these bounties. But there are snakes in paradise along with the joys, as a dozen Island artists depict in an edgy show currently in the Grossman Gallery at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts through OCTOBER 13. The title of the exhibit which incorporates the license plate mottos of the two areas, ‘America’s Paradise’ and ‘Isla Del Encanto’: Contemporary Art from the American Caribbean,” intentionally camouflages the messages of the activist works. School of the MFA curator JOANNE SOLTAN has staged a powder keg of an exhibition.

The anxieties of the migrant to the islands are explored by several of the artists. EDGAR ENDRESS, for one, uses objects abandoned by the poorest of the poor who have migrated to St. Johns – a torn backpack, broken sunglasses, a tattered English language book are among the items he and LORI LEE and KELLY CARR-SHAFFER have incorporated into works in an on-going project they call “(Re)membering Self: Objects, Migration, and The Personal Archive.” One such migration is the trek of Haitians, escaping poverty and oppression, who entering the Dominican Republic, found it was unwelcoming, so soldiered on to the U.S., many of them entering America’s Caribbean islands.

Who have I become? The existential aspect of all this moving around inform works on paper by MAUD PIERRE CHARLES , now of St. Croix, as well as, tap into her interest in Eastern thought and religions.

Seven digital prints on paper of Puerto Rican native RAFAEL TRELLES‘ images document the work he created on the walls of abandoned soot- stained U.S. Navy magazines on the island of Vienques. The U.S. Navy bombing tests and military practices there ended in 2003 (after much protest which went back to the 1940′s when the Navy bought two thirds of the island and forced families and farmers out of their homes and off their land). Getting the Navy to leave has not been a total win, however, because of the environmental destruction and unexploded ordinances that ravage the land. A video documentary about the making of the original images was shown September 27, in the Anderson Auditorium, School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

No place to run; no place to hide. Such is the nature of living on an island. ELSA MARIA MELENDEZ‘s box-theater hung on a gallery wall at eye level is crowded with James Ensor-like animals and people. You view these six-inch or so stuffed creatures created by the San Juan-based printmaker through the glass that is the “fourth wall.” Move them around the shoebox sized area by means of wooden spools sitting on top of the box which are threaded to the figures, yet no matter how you try to arrange them, some block others to a claustrophobic effect. The American Caribbean islands are a pressure cooker of peoples and ancestries that have resulted in societal dominances and subserviencs.

At first glance, SANSI MILLER‘s exuberant, photo realistic oil on canvas “Scratch Band” (pictured above) seems to deviate from the exhibit’s theme of the problematic complexities and worrisome issues associated with living in Caribbean America. The older men of African descent are having a ball playing in the improvised band on the street. Their joy in making music together brings a smile to the viewer. Look at the instruments closely, however. These are musical instruments made from scratch, even to the triangle; one of the trio plays a hollow gourd by scratching it with an Afro pic (comb). The banjo, an instrument that traveled with slaves to the islands from Africa, is made from a cheese can. Poverty is one of the scourges for the residents, in particular the 70+ per cent African American proportion.

School of the Museum of Fine Arts website

by Kay Bourne
( l. to r. Brian R. Robinson, Guy Olivieri, and Aimee Doherty in “tick, tick… BOOM!” )

397 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #45When Augustine Early, as a small child takes Mary Poppins to heart and attempts flight, umbrella held high, plunging off the top of his mobile home . . . he breaks both legs. His unsympathetic mother, far from consoling the boy, tells him he’s a jerk. Cynicism sets in for Augustine early (allusion to last name intended) – as does a psychological inability to walk away from the messes he makes of other people’s lives. In other words, Augustine Early has all the makings of a tabloid journalist whose nosy pursuits push other people to the edge of their roofs. Playwright RONAN NOONE, who has been groomed by Boston theaters and their audiences, shows his well honed craftsmanship with the two-act “THE ATHEIST,” a one man show performed exquisitely by stage and screen star CAMPBELL SCOTT who is mesmerizing throughout. Through SEPTEMBER 30 at the Stanford Calderwell Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, in the South End, presented by the Huntington Theater.

A kind of pre 9/11 innocence that existed for the Brits before terrorism hit their cities gives adapter PATRICK BARLOW, the playwright of this old fashioned spy story, set in the 30′s, license to be outright silly and theatrically flamboyant. The fast-paced story is based on JOHN BUCHAN‘s novel about a man on the run from the police for a murder he didn’t commit and on the scent of some Fifth Column subversives who plan to take military secrets out of the country. The story originated as the first in a series of popular books about the tweedy, spy chaser RICHARD HANNAY . The play is also an homage to ALFRED HITCHCOCK‘s classic movie, “The 39 Steps” (1935) which stepped up the tension of Hannay’s adventure a good bit. All in all, this madcap show makes for wonderful escapism. The 100 or so characters are exuberantly performed by a stellar cast of only four actors with the lead role taken by Charles Edwards who created the part in its debut at the Tricylce Theatre in London. On its way to Broadway, the rollicking “Alfred Hitchcock’s THE 39 STEPS,” entertainingly directed by Maria Aiken (also of the original company), continues only through OCTOBER 14 at Huntington’s main stage, the Boston University Theater, 264 Huntington Ave near Massachusetts Avenue and The New England Conservatory.

Two musicals that take you back stage are really worth seeing, as well:
When the musical based on the childhood memories of the elegant striptease dancer GYPSY ROSE LEE was in rehearsals, the show about a children’s act playing seedy vaudeville houses was threatened with a law suit by Gypsy’s sister JUNE HAVOC, by then a movie star. She was uncomfortable with the bossy, horrific, brassy portrait of Mama Rose and also probably the portrait of the perky, spoiled daughter with the Shirley Temple ringlets Mama doted on, Baby June. June finally gave the go-ahead, she said, so that Gypsy could reap the financial rewards from a Broadway show, but to fend Havoc off, the show ended up by being called “Gypsy/A Musical Fable.” One of musical theater’s best songbooks (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim), GYPSY is given excellent voice by the cast at Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, until OCTOBER 7; LEIGH BARRETT’s surety in picking up a song at exactly the moment she should is awesome. EVE KAGAN is outstanding as Louise, the ugly duckling who finds swandom in a burlesque house. So too SCOTT H. SEVERANCE as Mama’s long suffering boyfriend and the little troupe’s agent.

The mega success of the rock musical “Rent,” the Pultizer Prize-winning adaptation of Puccini’s “La Boheme,” (reset from a Paris loft to a dingy East Village apartment) brought all the acclaim adapter songwriter JONATHAN LARSON could ever have desired, and achieved his dream of updating musical theater and making it personally relevant to a young audience. But he didn’t live to hear the applause. He died the night before the first preview. He was 35 years old.

Think TIME WARP for a moment – NEW REPERTORY THEATRE is currently offering a brilliantly realized earlier musical by the same Jonathan Larson, which is autobiographical and all about living poor in the village and trying to get ahead artistically. It’s not at all a morbid theater experience, but “Tic,tick..BOOM!” gains in poignancy because you know the struggling songwriter/playwright who dreams of Broadway will have that hit show yet won’t live to see it. The cast is superb from GUY OLIVIERI who plays Jon (and will remind you of Mark in “Rent”); to AIMEE DOHERTY as Jon’s girlfriend Susan, a dancer, who is becoming increasingly frustrated by Jon’s stick-to-it mindset despite seeming to get nowhere, although he’s about to celebrate his 30th birthday; and BRIAN R. ROBINSON (In the best role he’s had in the years; we’ve cheered him in smaller parts) as Michael, Jon’s best friend who has moved out of the coldwater flat into a fancy apartment he can afford because he now works for an ad agency. The band is terrific too and the score prescient of Larson’s hit to come. ERIK D. DIAZ‘s deceptively simple set perfectly sets the mood with its New York cityscape. “Tic, Tick..BOOM!” continues through OCTOBER 21 at NEW REP’s black box theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts , 321 Arsenal St., Watertown.

by Josiah Crowley © 2007
399 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #45INTO THE WILD is the film version of Jon Krakower‘s best-selling novel about rich kid Christopher McCandless (former child actor EMILE HIRSCH, in a performance which shows him off as a talented young adult actor). McCandless gave away all of his belongings and set off on the road to live in the wilderness, a story that succeeds in the transition from script to screen on account of the formidable directorial talents of SEAN PENN.
A book like this could easily have failed onscreen. Yes, it’s a very visual story (the wide open roads across America; slices of various types of Americana), but in lesser hands, it could have failed miserably. For one thing, Penn, who hasn’t received his due as a director, makes great choices in casting, film score, and cinematography.

Various challenges are inherent in the book. For one there’s the question of the main character: is he a spoiled rich kid? Or a little crazy? Penn makes the choice to portray him as a little of both. While he may not be a typical movie hero, Hirsch draws us in with a skilled performance; by the time we suspect he may be a little nuts, we’re already invested in the film.

Like so many actors-turned-directors, Penn is generous with his cast: there are several great turns by well-known actors, in small character roles: Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keenar, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Hardin. In the case of Hal Holbrook – touching as a lonely widower who is unaware of his loneliness until encountering Hirsch late in his road trip – there may even be an Oscar. Also worth noting, as Keenar’s hippie husband, is Brian Dierker, who had never acted before. A Penn discovery to watch.

Enough cannot be said about Michael Brook‘s haunting film score, which immeasurably aids the film’s pace, or Eric Gautier‘s beautiful cinematography, which is like an additional film character.

However, it is Sean Penn whose talent blooms with this film. In the past, Penn has directed films that were (literally) dark: THE PLEDGE (retired cop, Jack Nicholson looks for a child rapist/killer), THE CROSSING GUARD (again Nicholson, this time as a man who has waited for seven years for the drunk driver who killed his son to be released from prison so that he can seek his own vengeance on him). A great portion of those films were shot at night.

With INTO THE WILD, Penn has lots of wide-open-spaces shots of the Midwest, Northwest and Alaska. It’s as though the daylight has challenged Penn to move from his despairing view of the world as a film noir one must endure on a daily basis. It’s as though the story of Christopher McCandless, who saw life from an angry young man’s perspective, somehow matured Penn as a filmmaker and inspired real empathy for the human condition. This is Penn’s most optimistic film. And a stunning piece of filmmaking. INTO THE WILD opens Friday, SEPTEMBER, 28. Check local listings.

Official Site of INTO THE WILD

by Josiah Crowley © 2007
(l to r: Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Robert Benton)

393 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #45Oscar-winning director Robert Bentonwas recently in town to promote his latest film, FEAST OF LOVE, a study of various relationships, featuring a formidable cast (Morgan Freeman, Jane Alexander, Greg Kinnear). Benton, who has 3 Oscars – for Writing & Directing KRAMER VS. KRAMER and writing PLACES IN THE HEART – proved to be a charming Southern gentleman who had plenty to say about the current state of American filmmaking and his inspirations and challenges he overcame to become a heavyweight presence in the history of American film (he co-wrote the landmark film BONNIE AND CLYDE).

Raised in Texas (where his two brothers were murdered as young men), Benton suffered from severe dyslexia. He says he was lucky because “my father wasn’t the type of dad to ask ‘Did you finish your homework? Instead, he would ask ‘Want to go to the movies?’ Reading a page was painful, but I could enjoy the visual stimuli of film and I became obsessed with movies.” Everything from SINGING IN THE RAIN to CITIZEN KANE inspired him.

Benton moved to New York, where he became an editor of ESQUIRE magazine and met writing partner DAVID NEWMAN. Together, they wrote a Broadway musical SUPERMAN – THE MUSICAL! The show bombed, but got them attention (they later wrote the screenplay to the 1978 SUPERMAN movie) and they moved to Hollywood after selling their first screenplay, BONNIE AND CLYDE.

When asked about the current difficulty of getting quality scripts produced, Benton said, “People think it was easy in the 1970′s, to get these pictures green lighted when so many great American movies were being produced. Wrong. It’s not easy now and it wasn’t in the’70s and, I suspect, never has been an easy process.”

Benton loves actors. He cast JEFF BRIDGES (BAD COMPANY) and LILY TOMLIN (THE LATE SHOW) in early film roles. And waxes, enthusiastically, about one of his FEAST OF LOVE co-stars, newcomer ALEXA DAVALOS (her grandfather, RICHARD DAVALOS, played JAMES DEAN‘s brother in EAST OF EDEN), stating: ” She’s going to be a huge star. The last time I said that was when I directed REESE WITHERSPOON in TWILIGHT.”

Of FEAST OF LOVE‘s star, Greg (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE ) Kinnear, he says, Greg is “the Jack Lemmon of his generation: he can play Everyman and do comedy and drama equally well; the audience is always rooting for him. It’s great to have him in FEAST OF LOVE.”

Benton’s films tend to focus on relationships (think THE HUMAN STAIN, BILLY BATHGATE ) and the odds his film’s characters have to overcome to achieve their goals, whether robbing banks or getting custody of their child. He is currently adapting JOHN O’HARA ‘s APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA.

At age 74, he’s filled with energy and enthusiasm, and he’s still ecstatic about his first love – going to the movies. Just like the movies of Benton’s youth, some loves never die.

FEAST OF LOVE opens nationally on Friday, SEPTEMBER 28. Check local listings.

Official Website of FEAST OF LOVE

394 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #45Tantalize your taste buds. Drink in the excitement and Celebrate the voices of independent filmmakers at our 2nd Annual TASTE OF FILM fundraiser for The Color of Film Collaborative’s Mini-Grant Fund and the Kay Bourne Arts Report.
We hope you all will come out and support the work of The Color of Film and The Kay Bourne Arts Report and if for some reason you won’t be able to make it down to this fabulous event, consider making a donation by purchasing a ticket, just the same.

The First Annual TASTE, last year, was a great success and we anticipate this year’s TASTE OF FILM to be as equally exciting, and we want you there to enjoy it.

Tickets for A TASTE OF FILM, on OCTOBER 20, at Roxbury Center for Arts at Hibernian Hall, are available on line now at www.brownpapertickets.com.THE COLOR OF FILM website

by Mervan F. Osborne
398 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #45DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON joins VIN DIESEL and ICE CUBE as the latest tough-guy positioned for mainstream props in director ANDY FICKMAN‘s vanilla film that hits most of the appropriate notes and generally does the trick. Johnson (count me among those who takes a pass on referring to another man as “The Rock”) plays Joe Kingman, a sort of TERRELL OWENS/REGGIE JACKSON/JOE NAMATH concoction of a worshiped, prima donna athlete, in this case, an NFL quarterback.
Kingman is an overdone narcissist who plays hard and parties harder. Ridiculously obsessed with Elvis, Kingman, who garners abundant praise from men and women alike, is brought down to earth when little Peyton (MADISON PETTIS) shows up at his doorstep. Peyton (or Curly Sue, or the Welch’s girl or whoever) claims to be Kingman’s daughter and in town to spend a month with him while his mother cures AIDS in Africa. Kingman, who had no idea his ex had given birth eight years ago, is stunned and completely unprepared for this new role as a father. Will the help of Peyton’s new ballet teacher Monique Vasquez (Latina stereotype No. 245, insert MARiA CONCHITA ALONZO, ROSIE PEREZ, whatever) be enough to transform the madly-muscled-egomaniac into Cliff Huxtable?

For all its lack of originality and unmitigated dependence on stock characters from every major sports themed movie ever made – they’re all here – THE GAME PLAN has several significant things going for it. First, the film is well-paced and holds the audience’s attention. Fourteen year-old critic, Jalen T. found the humor “cute and pretty funny” and appreciated some of the “sarcastic adult wit”. Jalen also acknowledged the effectiveness of the emotional scenes between Johnson and Pettis- no small admission. Fellow teen critic, Joseph S. criticized THE GAME PLAN‘s predictability “I could see everything coming”, he admitted to being wrapped up in the films climactic championship game sequence and, judging from the raucous audience response, he was not alone.

It would be interesting to track national reaction to the New England aspect of the film but setting a sports film in Boston definitely seems to stamp it with an air of authenticity. The use of ESPN personalities and Boston professional athletes in cameo roles, as well as local sportswriters and familiar locations further support this notion.

The film’s other major assets are its two stars. Despite the stupidity of the plot where she’s concerned (she’s a runaway with an Oilily wardrobe and a Frederick Fekkai hairdo), Madison Pettis remains true to her character throughout and has enough natural acting ability and innate sass to hang with the other cast members. Dwayne “The Rock” (that is just a silly nickname for a grown man) Johnson is a bit of a revelation. He, like Pettis, is saddled with numerous scenes full of sophomoric, at times offensive brainlessness. He is, however, more than capable of carrying this role through. In the film’s one mushy, misty-eyed scene following Kingman’s loss of his daughter, Johnson delivers and avoids embarrassing emoting. He’s quite good at comedy and is blessed with a strong sense of timing and presence. Could a dramatic lead be far off?

Both guest critics pointed out that they would give a strong recommendation of this film to parents with children under ten. Indeed, they have a point. THE GAME PLAN is a fun and well-constructed kids movie with just enough Rock pec(toral muscle)-shots to make mothers realize why they didn’t just drop off the kids.


400 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #45“Berklee College of Music announces a star-shining lineup for the 7th Annual BeanTown Jazz Festival, September 27-29, at various locations around Boston. In its second year of producing the festival, Berklee will bring Grammy-winning, internationally renowned superstars and cornerstones of the Boston jazz scene together on a number of stages in free and ticketed offerings that last year drew upwards of 50,000 people. More than 30 jazz, Latin, blues, and groove acts will perform at Symphony Hall, Scullers Jazz Club, the Beehive, and outdoor stages along Columbus Avenue. The BeanTown Jazz Festival is sponsored by Sovereign Bank and Target. For a complete list of all events, venues, and performers, visit . www.beantownjazz. org
GREATER FRAMINGHAM COMMUNITY CHURCH celebrates 35 years of service to the MetroWest community, and invites all to its celebratory banquet on Saturday, SEPTEMBER 29 at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel where MA Governor, Honorable Deval Patrick, will be the guest speaker. Continuing the celebration on Sunday, SEPTEMBER 30 at the 10am morning service at GFCC with Rev. Dr. Conley Hughes, Jr., pastor of Concord Baptist Church in Boston as the guest preacher. For more info call the GFCC at 508-626-2118.

Providence Rhode Island’s Black Rep will open it’s 2007-2008 Theater Season with Jamaican playwright TREVOR RHONE‘s TWO CAN PLAY, a hilarious and revealing look at the perils of love, marriage, and the American dream, Jamaican style! directed by New York City based director MICHAEL ROGERS and featuring the talents of Black Rep Affiliate Artist RAIDGE and Boston-based Jamaican actress MARCIA FEARON. The show opens OCTOBER 12 and runs through November 11 at The Providence Black Repertory Company, 276 Westminster Street, Providence. For ticket information, call THE BLACK REP’s box office at 401-351-0353.

TRINITY REP‘s season started SEPTEMBER 14 with a restaging of the bold political drama ALL THE KING’S MEN by Adrian Hall, adapted from the Robert Penn Warren novel, and directed by Brian McEleney and runs until OCTOBER 21. For tickets or more information contact the Trinity Rep box office, by phone at (401) 351-4242.

Nathan Warren Lane’s,”THE DEVIL’S TEACUP” runs Thursdays-Sundays, OCTOBER 18-2. Die-hard New Yorker Max Fletcher is back in the small, southern Baptist town where he was born and raised – Calvary, Arkansas. Faced with a funeral and the sale of the family’s moneymaking saloon, The Devil’s Teacup, Max has got some decisions to make. For ticket information call 866-811-4111.

OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center presents: TWIST & SHOUT! An Evening of Dance, Spoken Word, and Music on Saturday, OCTOBER 6, at Roxbury Community College Mainstage Theater 1234 Columbus Avenue Roxbury, MA – 6:30 pm VIP Reception, 8 pm, awards and performance honoring: Naheem Garcia, Actor/Entertainer; Lois Roach, First Night’s Neighborhood Network; Kayanna Scott, OrigiNation ‘Teacher of the Year’; Akila Stanley, Master Teacher; also featuring: NIA Dance Troupe, Girlz of IMANI, and Aleye in the world-premiere of Block Party, a high energy contemporary jazz dance set to the music of Rufus featuring Chaka Khan . Special appearances by Omékongo and IMANI, Jr. Tickets $35 – VIP Reception and Performance (reserved floor seating); $25 – Performance (reserved floor seating); $15 – Reserved seating (balcony). For information call 617-442-6250.

The Color of Film presents A TASTE OF FILM on Saturday, OCTOBER 20 at Hibernian Hall, its 2nd Annual fundraiser to benefit this newsletter, The Kay Bourne Arts Report and TCOF’s Mini-Grant Fund. General Admission and VIP tickets are on sale now at www.brownpapertickets.com. More information in the next few issues of The Kay Bourne Arts Report, or call 617-282-1234 with any questions.

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The Color of Film Collaborative is a non-profit organization that supports and fosters the individuals and organizations in the creation of diverse images of people of color in film, video, theater and other media, by providing artists with opportunities to exhibit, distribute and find funding for their work, as well as provide a supportive environment where they can share and develop their ideas, their vision and their work with their peers. About Us

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