You-review-it Monday

April 5, 2009
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So was it a visit to the American Pianists Association Fellowship Awards finals with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra? A gallery hopping First Friday? A trip to the multiplex for a movie?

For me, the weekend was a low-key one--but I was coming off a three-day run of the revamped American Cabaret Theatre, the touring production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" (both reviewed at www.ibj.com/arts) and Actors Theatre of Indiana's "Forbidden Broadway" (comments forthcoming).

So tell us what you saw, read, or heard this weekend.
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  • I loved ATI's Forbidden Broadway. I will be writing about it in more detail on my own blog tomorrow morning (or this morning, I guess, after a few hours' sleep) but I loved it. Oh, my goodness, what a hilarious show.

    I saw and loved HART's In a Dark Dark House again Friday night. It was even better the second time.

    Then I popped in to Comedy Sportz to see the second act of the first show of the Three Dollar Bill Comedy Club's new series. I still love 3$B, but I was NOT in love with the two women sitting near me who yakked through the whole thing. Other people tried to shush them, but they were oblivious.

    So then I wanted to shout, Shut UP, you clueless bimbos! What is the matter with you? Were you raised in a barn? and other things like that but I didn't, because I thought that would be even more distracting. Also I was afraid I might get a drink thrown in my face. Those girls looked MEAN.

    Still, even with the distractions, I enjoyed several of 3$B's new pieces.

    On Saturday I took a workshop from storyteller Megan Wells at the Fringe building and then saw/heard her tell Helen's Troy at the Indiana State Museum. Both were presented by Storytelling Arts of Indiana. Both were wonderful. I'll be writing about them on my blog, too.

    I read two new books that I highly recommend if the genre/subject appeals to you:

    THE WARDED MAN, by Peter V. Brett (Del Rey 2009) is a post-apocalyptic fantasy/horror story about three young people coming of age in a world where the humans live in fear of the corelings that rise up out of the earth to slash and devour them when the sun goes down. Even though I don't usually read a lot of horror, I was sad when I got to the end of this book. I had grown very attached to the three young heroes and had enjoyed spending time in their world. This is a satisfying read on its own, but I am also looking forward to the sequel.

    FIFTY MILES FROM TOMORROW: A MEMOIR OF ALASKA AND THE REAL PEOPLE, by William L. Iggiagruk Hensley (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009) is interesting nonfiction about our 49th state, which just turned 50 this year. (Isn't that hard to believe?) The author writes very modestly about his amazing accomplishments on behalf of his people. I was most fascinated by his descriptions of living a subsistance lifestyle near the Arctic circle, but I also enjoyed reading about his development as a political and spiritual activist.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • Friday evening, I had the great good fortune of attending the first part of the Finals for the American Pianist Associations's Classical Fellowship Finals. Perhaps, for me, the biggest disappointment of the weekend was that I was unable to come back on Saturday to experience the remainder of the finals and the announcement of the new APA Fellows.

    Friday's presentation of three pianists each playing a concerto with the ISO was really wonderful. I was so pleased to see that Grace Fong was one of the announced winners. Her grace (no pun intended) and fury at the keyboard amazed me.

    This is an extraordinary opportunity for these young American pianists backed by an extraordinary organization. I was fortunate, earlier in the week, to attend one of the noon chamber concerts at Christ Church Cathedral. The pianist that day was Adam Golka -- who was announced as the other winner. That also was a nice experience.

    The APA's competition is quite different than the other piano competitions in that it truly tests the mettle of these emerging artists.

    Congratulations to APA Artistic Director Joel Harrison, his great staff and Board of Directors for providing such a tremendous week of music and for embracing/developing young artists!
  • Kate Clinton started the weekend in grand style for Beth and me--she's timely, edgy and humane. The high point, though, was Saturday's finals of the American Pianists Association. (Wish we could have been there on Friday, too--especially after reading Jay Harvey's review for the Star and John Picket's account above.)

    I went expecting to be more taken with the Rachmaninoff Third concerto than by John Corigliano's. I already love the Rach, which is a sweepingly romantic knuckle-buster and which sounded inspired, indeed, in the hands of Adam Golka, Maestro Newhouse and the ISO.

    The Corigliano, though, had me in a trance. It's a fresh, forceful piece with some memorable pairings of instruments with piano, such as marimba and bass clarinet. Percussion writing is sensational throughout, and Corigliano understands winds as well.

    Michael Kirkendoll seems to have this music in his blood (contemporary music is a specialty) and I can't imagine anyone playing it better. In short, while the Rachmaninoff was everything I'd hoped to hear, my first hearing of the Corigliano made me want to hear it again and again. My wife wasn't swept up in the newer work, which made for a thoughtful after-concert exchange between two music lovers who have heard countless perforances together..

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