14 March 2019Hi MLE,I saw Mike Leigh's "The Pirates of Penzance" for the first time at the English National Opera almost two years ago and quite liked it. So, when I heard that Sasha Regan's version was coming to Wilton's Music Hall, I thought I'd go see how it compares. And I'm so happy I did. I loved it!The female characters are played by men, and this is largely what makes this version so memorable. It just works perfectly to emphasise Gilbert and Sullivan’s already funny libretto and overly feminine females and masculine males.The entire all-male cast is brilliant. To me, it was Alan Richardson as Ruth who stood out most. Her mouth says some things, while her face and body say something totally different. She is sensitive, ruthless and hilarious.The audience followed along with ease and enthusiasm, captivated from beginning to the standing ovation at the end. By comparison, I felt that Mike Leigh’s more traditional version was harder for the modern audience to properly appreciate, as it should.After the show, the energy of the happy crowd leaving the 160-year-old Wilton’s Music Hall made me wonder if this was what the original performances felt like, 140 years ago in New York.Yes, The Pirates of Penzance premiered in New York rather than London, which is odd, as Gilbert and Sullivan were Londoners and the script is very much British. There was quite a good reason for this. At the time, American law offered absolutely no copyright protection to foreigners. This lead to hundreds of American companies mounting unauthorised British productions that often took considerable liberties with the text and paid no royalties to the creators. Gilbert and Sullivan decided to open the production themselves on Broadway, and delay the publication of the score and libretto, so that others could not copy it. This was successful for about ten years, when they inevitably lost control of the copyrights again.SuzanPosted in: theatre
1 March 2019
Last night heard London's Gentle Author, of the famous Spitalfields Life site, speak to artist Doreen Fletcher. Really interesting, amazing and refreshing to listen to the sincere passion both have for East London.
You can read the details at the links mentioned here, but very briefly, Doreen had been painting East London from the early 80s to the early 2000s. She then stopped when she started working a more secure 9-5 job. As she said in the talk, "I did not want to be just a Saturday/Sunday painter." The Gentle Author then discovered her and was amazed to find that she still had dozens of paintings hidden away in her attic. Well, she is now finally gaining the reputation she deserves - in fact she has now converted her attic to a studio and has started painting again.
Her retrospective is at Bow Arts until March 24th, 2019.
Above are just a few paintings that I really like, if only because they are only one minute from my house! I walk past each of these places almost every day.
22 February 2019
Everyone who knows me knows that I stretch while I read and drink tea each morning, for about 15 minutes. I’ve done every day since I was 16. I can’t stand just waking up and rushing out of the house. And I would never think of leaving the house without making the bed! This week I write to you about my interest and fascination in people’s morning routines.
From 1976 to 1987, Andy Warhol woke up and had a phone call with his friend Pat Hackett at 9am to dictate the previous day’s events. This was because Inland Revenue audited his business each year, so this helped him keep track of his expenses. He would then have breakfast downstairs with his two dashunds and his housekeepers. I always suspected Andy had a relatively uneventful morning routine.
After a cup of tea, Louise Bourgeois was picked up at her home by her assistant at exactly 10am, and the pair would drive to her Brooklyn studio. Hmm, another uneventful, yet rather strict routine.
Joan Miro was another artist, set in his morning routine. Every morning, he would wake up and get ready and would be at work by exactly 7am. He would then have a break at noon for one hour when he would exercise. He felt that routine and exercise would keep depression at bay (he had a bout of severe depression in his teens), so makes sense.
Georgia O’Keeffe rose with the sun and a cup of tea each day, followed by a half hour walk in the desert. She loved this time of day, when no one was around. At 7am, her cook served breakfast.
I just got this audiobook, which lists the routines of 161 artists, philosophers, scientists, etc. Listening to something while I get dressed and make the bed in the morning is another one of my routines…
Daily Rituals, How Artists work.
SuzanPosted in: random
15 February 2019RICHARD PRINCE joke seriesHi MLE, How the written word can be used to convey a message, not only literally, but also visually, as always been a bit of an obsession for me. Religious calligraphy, dada poetry, even people’s handwriting… So, when Richard Prince’s “Early Joke Paintings” came to London, at the Skarstedt Gallery, I had to check it out.Spanning the period from 1988 - 1992, the format for each joke it always the same. Each joke is isolated on a large canvas, painted in plain block letters against a field of colour.On a canvas in a gallery, they seem strangely out of context. The jokes get repeated, reframed. They go from funny to not funny to annoying.As Time Out's Eddy Frankel said, "Maybe the joke’s on us. And if it is, then it’s absolutely hilarious."I noticed that one of these paintings sold recently for $2.5 USD. If I had the cash, I would definitely invest.Have a nice weekend!Suzan
8 February 2019
MLE,Saw one of the best exhibitions in awhile when I was at the ICA in LA and wanted to share with you, as I know you would appreciate it too: “B. Wurtz: This Has No Name.”This Has No Name is the first major US museum survey of this American artist. Now aged 70, it is only relatively recently that he has received praise as an un-recognized master.Above are three of my favourite pieces from this exhibition. I love the way they make me interpret these otherwise bland and ordinary materials:Top image: I couldn't look at this without trying to lock the lock in my head.Middle image: I couldn't look at this without trying to see what piece belonged to what bag at the bottom.Bottom image: I couldn't look at this without trying to see how the plastic bucket below was photographed to look like a some sort of building.And I couldn't agree with B. Wurtz more:"Human life—without humor or play or whimsy—would be intolerable.”Suzan B Wurtz @ ICA LAPosted in: art