You-review-it Monday: $3 Bill in Chicago, 'Two Rooms' in Indy

January 9, 2012
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For me, the weekend included a drive north to see four shows at the Chicago Sketch Fest (including a spot by Indy's own Three Dollar Bill Comedy). I made it back home in time, though, to see Acting Up Productions' "Two Rooms" at Theatre on the Square.

More on both soon.

In the meantime, tell me what you saw, heard or did this weekend on the A&E front. Anyone make it to First Friday? Catch "The Black Pirate" at the IMA? Hear the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra?

Your thoughts?

  • road trip
    I road tripped through Chicago to a wedding at the Milwaukee City Center Hilton Hotel. Beautiful hotel, beautiful drive, missed First Friday's though.
    My 12 year old grandson and I went to see Willie Wonka at the Tarkington - what a great time! So well done, and the cast being in the lobby for personal pictures thrilled my grandson. Great Time!
  • IMA
    We made a spontaneous trip to the IMA on Friday night to see The Black Pirate and The Mystery of the Wax Museum. We walked in about halfway through Mr. L'Abbate's presentation on technicolor (oops!), but from what we gathered he provided some great insight on the method. Both movies were great, with pianist Roger Lippincott providing the live musical soundtrack to silent movie The Black Pirate. We weren't sure about a silent movie, but ended up really enjoying the show. We'll be back!
  • Enigma and Brahms
    I attended the first 2012 concert of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at the Circle Theater on Saturday night. The guest conductor was Mark Wigglesworth and the piano soloist was Yefim Bronfman. First on the program was a dark Sibelius work, Swan of Tuonela. The english horn is prominently featured, and Timothy Clinch did a wonderful job with the expansive melodies. He was also a guest in the preconcert talk. The last time I saw Wigglesworth conduct was with the ISO a couple of years ago in the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony, and I remember being very impressed, especially with the lush sound he brought out of the string section. This time he seemed different; his beats were shaped somewhat like a Nike swoosh. This worked well in the Swan of Tuonela and in the beautiful slow Nimrod section of the second work, Enigma Variations by English composer Edward Elgar. The lack of a downbeat made brass attacks and string pizzicati lack the rhythmic precision that they should have. A section that should be mentioned for their wonderful playing was the clarinets, whose softest sounds were solid and lovely even when they were barely audible. The Enigma Variations is always a sonic treat, and the audience enjoyed it, but I felt it did not get to the big moments as decisively as the orchestra could have done.
    After intermission was a single work, the massive Brahms Second Piano Concerto with soloist Yefim Bronfman. This majestic work suits Bronfman’s powerful sound well, and the slow and sustained sections were beautiful indeed. Again though, the lack of a focused beat seemed to muddy a few rhythmic passages. ISO veteran cellist Perry Scott was serving as Principal for this concert, as the chair is currently vacant. He played with intensity and polish on the frequent solos, and in an unusual gesture, soloist Bronfman asked him to stand for a solo bow. The solo bow for Scott and the rousing ovation for Bronfman were well deserved. Perhaps I am showing too much of my affinity for the wind side of conducting, but I wish there had been more of an ictus, that is, a direct baton direction change that indicated exactly where a beat begins. I believe it would have helped in precision in the faster sections that called for strong points to notes and chords. Bronfman’s encore piece, one I did not know, was stirringly performed. It featured an extremely active right hand with fluttering chromatics and seemed to be from the time period of Chopin or possibly Schumann. All in all a fine concert and a good way to start a new year.
  • Great music good food
    I took a side trip while in Chicago this weekend to restaurant Maya del Sol. The food was good but the band that played for the after dinner crowd was HOTT! Guitarra Azul, a guitar-centric ensemble played flamenco and world music tunes until 2 in the a.m. Lead guitarrist and composer Stephano had the ladies swooning with smouldering Latin riffs bracketed by smooth World-music styled tunes. Ably backed by on acoustic guitar by the very talented David Chiriboga, with Miguel on percussion and the baddest electric bassist on dry land, Tony Mhoon, the band kept the tempos working and the energy flowing throughout the 2 set show. Every song was an original and wonderful to listen to. The audience danced and clapped with the music and it was a two-way love-fest before the night's end. The Oak Park area of Chi-town is very much like our 'Ripple'. It is a sure bet that I will be on the lookout for this band here or there. Well worth braving the traffic for.
  • Souvenir - BCP
    I went to see Souvenir at Buck Creek Players after seeing it in the paper. It was a wonderful show. The two actors did a great job in their roles and really made them feel real. Very talented.

    I also managed to catch the new Sherlock Holmes movie. I thought it was just as good as the previous one. I especially enjoyed the urban camo.

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