You-review-it Monday: The holiday ramp-up/wind-down

December 19, 2011
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For me, the weekend included visits with Willy Wonka in Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre's newest holiday show and a revival of "A Year with Frog and Toad" via Actors Theatre of Indiana. Thoughts on both forthcoming.

I also experienced the "It's a Wonderful Game" event at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday featuring the Indianapolis Colts in a live production that made me want to run up Meridian St. shouting 'Merry Christmas' at every emporium.

And you? Did you catch up on made-for-TV holiday movies while wrapping? Pick up a ticket for Yuletide Celebration or "A Christmas Carol"? Put a little Handel on your music mix?

What did you heard, see or do this weekend?

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  • Boogie Woogie Holidays
    Caught some talented friends at the Atheneum having a lot of fun with a 7-piece "big band" ensemble. Another triumph and fantastic evening from the hand of BOBDIREX!
  • A show and a movie
    A friend took me to the Saturday matinee performance of Christine Pedi at The Cabaret in the Columbia Club on Monument Circle. It was a treat in more ways than one: the luxurious venue, the delicious food...

    But best of all was Christine Pedi. She shared a mixture of funny and/or beautiful songs and little stories, sometimes as herself, other times doing spot-on (and therefore hilarious) impersonations of various famous divas such as Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Joan Rivers, Judy Garland, Sarah Palin, and more. She was accompanied by a nice man on the piano. (I am sorry I can not remember his name!)

    I fell completely in love with her wit, her warmth, her talent, her professionalism...I hope she returns to Indy from New York City soon! I wish I could pop over there right now to see her in "NEWSical the Musical."

    My friend and I enjoyed pizza at Bazbeaux, (which has, to my surprise, moved to the other side of Mass. Ave!) and then went our separate ways. I had promised to see "Winter Wonderettes" out at the Buck Creek Playhouse Saturday night and I thought I had left plenty of time, but I found myself sitting on the 8th floor of my parking garage for forty minutes. (FORTY MINUTES!) I still don't know what caused that delay, but anyway, by the time I got back on the road, it was too late to see any live theatre show. SO frustrating!

    I probably should have just called it a night and gone home to read a book or something, but instead I stopped in a movie theatre to see "Young Adult."

    It was depressing - NOT a good pick-me-up after my frustrating parking garage experience - and I left thinking, "What a stupid movie!"

    However, the movie kept coming up in my mind the next day, and I came to have a grudging respect for its dark, quirky, thought-provoking layers.

    So now my judgment of it is "limited, but brilliant...brilliant, but limited. Depressing as heck, but worth seeing as art rather than as a complete commentary on human potential."

    While I was at the movie theatre I joined the Landmark Cinema Club, so maybe next time I will get free popcorn. I do love going to the movies.

    But I would still rather see a live theatre show when I can.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
    @IndyTheatre
  • Brass Concerts

    It was a great week of brass music for me. The final installment was the Boston Brass at the Palladium. The BB is one of the best brass quintets in the world, but for this concert they added a rhythm section and extra brass players to play Stan Kenton's exciting Christmas arrangements. It was a terrific evening of music and some really good humorous banter with the audience. Among the extra brass were IU Trumpet Prof. Joey Tartell, who provided the screaming lead in the Kenton works, and the amazing jazz trombonist Harry Watters. Harry plays in the US Army jazz ensemble and concert band, and his lightning fast technique and high range are nearly unbelievable. It was a wonderful evening.

    I heard two concerts by the Chicago Symphony. Their performance of Mahler's Sixth Symphony was dazzling. Esa Pekka Salonen was the conductor, and he showed the large scale phrasing very convincingly, bringing forth gigantic climaxes and emphasizing the weight of the work. The first half was a world premiere of the Matheson Violin Concerto with CSO violinist Baird Dodge as soloist. I enjoyed the accompaniment more than the writing for the soloist, which seemed frantic and dizzying at times. There were great moments for the winds and percussion, and in this work Salonen was a completely different conductor. His movements were extremely concise and emphasized precision rather than phrasing.
    The other CSO concert was one with just the brass section, and their virtuosity may be unmatched by any other orchestra brass. The works ranged from Gabrieli of the early Baroque to new compositions, and all were played brilliantly.

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