Category Archives: Coming Attractions

UPDATE: Postings Suspended until September, Maybe

Unless something unexpected and terribly important comes up, I won’t be posting any new items until at least September. There are a couple of reasons.

The pandemic has shut down so many of the things that make life interesting and enjoyable that I’m left with little to celebrate or write about. The museums, galleries, and theatres are closed, and I haven’t visited a restaurant in more than three months.

Because I’m in at least two of the high-risk groups that COVID-19 targets, I’ve been self-secluding since 14 March. Since I’m seriously introverted by nature, it hasn’t been as difficult for me as it has been for other, more outgoing people, but after three months, I’m beginning to feel the effects of an urban version of cabin fever. Condo fever, I guess. Even with all the books and films and music in the world only a few keystrokes away, you go a little batty after a while.

That will all end sometime in the next two months. The long-awaited renovation of my apartment, damaged a year ago when our roof-top pool dumped its contents on the floors below, is scheduled for sometime before the end of July. Everything in my condo must go into storage, and I’ll have to temporarily vacate during the two weeks when the work is being done, so I’ll be hors de combat for the duration. Putting all the pieces back together when I return will probably take up most of the rest of 2020.

So it’s goodbye for a while. See you sometime in the Fall.


Leaving you with my current favourite song, “Suck On Light” by Boy & Bear.

Next from National Theatre at Home: Gillian Anderson plays Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

This is a big one.

The National Theatre’s live-on-film series presentation that begins today will be the 2014 production of Tennessee Wiliiams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, with Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois and Ben Foster as Stanley Kowalski.

You can watch it free on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel, starting on 21 May 2020 and running through the morning of 28 May 2020.

Must admit that after seeing some of the teasers, I’m not in love with the set, and the accents are…disturbing. But Streetcar has a strong claim to the title of The Great American Play, so this is unmissable.


“Memories, Light the Corners of My Mind…”

(Of course I’m not serious. I’m using it sarcastically.)

Five or six years ago, I was walking down Saint Peter Street in New Orleans, on my way to the world’s best dive bar, Yo Mama’s Bar & Grill, which served the world’s greatest hamburger, the famous and much-missed Peanut Butter and Bacon Burger. (And as you can see, I’m still obsessed with Yo Mama’s and its burgers, and upset that they’ve left New Orleans and moved on to the Dive Bar Heaven in the Sky.)

About a block from the bar, I read the small plaque on the wall at the front of 632 Saint Peter Street, which commemorated the time in 1946 – 47 when Tennessee Williams lived there while he wrote Streetcar.

632 Saint Peter Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Great — Two Trailers and a Teaser

Opening today on Hulu is The Great, a not-at-all serious look at the rise of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. And I suppose that means I’m going to have to add yet another streaming service.

The trailers for The Great are amusing and the script is by Tony McNamara, who wrote last year’s delicious The Favourite. Elle Fanning plays Catherine and Nicholas Hoult plays Peter III, Emperor of All Russia, who had no idea what he was getting into when he wed his 2nd cousin Catherine, née Sophia Augusta Frederica. It was not a happy marriage. In her memoirs, Catherine called Peter “an idiot” and “a good-for-nothing” and several other names that don’t translate very well,

Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult have both been actors since their pre-teens and have gone on to successful careers as adults, avoiding the pitfalls that ensnare so many young actors along the way. It’s reassuring to know that not every teen star is doomed to drunkenness, drug addiction, or turning into Corey Feldman.


Meanwhile, over at HBO, you can find another, somewhat more realistic portrayal of Catherine in the four-episode miniseries , with Helen Mirren as the Empress. While Mirrin herself was not a teen star, she’s still managed to have a reasonably successful career.

Upload —- Official Trailer

This looks like fun.

Combine the setting for The Good Place with the last episode of Years and Years, and what do you get? Well, probably not anything as wonderful as those two shows, but something that looks like an enjoyable way to spend some time during this decidedly less-than-wonderful Spring.

Upload is a new sci-fi comedy set in the near future, when people can be “uploaded” into virtual reality environments. The series was created by Greg Daniels, who is known for his work on The Office, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Parks and Recreation, and King of the Hill.*

The show has a number of things going for it: A clever idea, some neat special effects, and Robbie Amell, who is one of the most likable actors working today.

Upload is set to premiere on Friday, 1 May 2020, on Amazon’s Prime Video.


*As I listed those shows, it occurred to me that I’d either given up on them long ago (Saturday Night LiveThe Simpsons) or never got into them in the first place (everything else). I can’t really blame the more recent shows themselves—the original three seasons of Arrested Development were so fantastic that they spoiled every other American sitcom for me in the 10 years that followed. I should really give Parks and Recreation another shot.

Watch the Best of British Theatre at Home

With theatres all over the world gone dark, and potential audiences confined to their homes, the National Theatre (UK) has come to the rescue with a bit of relief for theatre lovers everywhere. Beginning this week, National Theatre at Home will make selections from its extensive collection of live-on-film productions available online, free of charge.

First up is the hilarious One Man, Two Guvnors, an updated version of Carlo Goldoni’s 1746 farce, The Servant of Two Masters. James Corden won a Tony Award for his lead performance in the Broadway production of the West End hit.

Some clips from the show:

Each show will be posted to YouTube on Thursdays at 7 PM UK time. That’s 2 PM on the US East Coast. Each show will be accessible for a full one-week run on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel.

When One Man, Two Guvnors ends its run next week, it will be replaced by a reimagining of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Treasure Island arrives on 16 April, and Twelfth Night will open on 23 April.

A Gift from the Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera House

Metropolitan Opera House

Met to launch “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” a free series of encore Live in HD presentations streamed on the company website during the coronavirus closure

Because of coronavirus concerns, the Metropolitan Opera has canceled all performances through 31 March 2020, but there’s a silver lining: Each night for the duration of the closure, starting Monday, 16 March 2020, the Met will stream encore presentations from the award-winning Live in HD series of cinema transmissions on the company website for free. Learn more here.

All “Nightly Met Opera Streams” will begin at 7:30pm and will remain available via the homepage of metopera.org for 20 hours. The homepage link will open the performance on the Met Opera on Demand streaming service. The performance will also be viewable on all Met Opera on Demand apps.”

Here’s this week’s schedule:

March 16: Bizet’s Carmen
Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, starring Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna. (Originally broadcast January 16, 2010.)

March 17: Puccini’s La Bohème
Conducted by Nicola Luisotti, starring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas. (Originally broadcast April 5, 2008.)

March 18: Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick, Yonghoon Lee, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. (Originally broadcast October 3, 2015.)

March 19: Verdi’s La Traviata
Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey. (Originally broadcast December 15, 2018.)

March 20: Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment
Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez. (Originally broadcast April 26, 2008.)

March 21: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, and Mariusz Kwiecien. (Originally broadcast February 7, 2009.)

March 22: Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
Conducted by Valery Gergiev, starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. (Originally broadcast February 24, 2007.)


With my goldfish-like attention span, I’ve never gotten into opera. I think I might give it a try this week.

This Year’s BBC Agatha Christie Adaptation — The Pale Horse

Under terms originally set forth in the Magna Carta, the BBC is required by law to broadcast at least one big new Agatha Christie dramatization every year. Since they can only remake And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and Death on the Nile two or three times a decade, BBC management occasionally looks to Christie’s lesser-known works for inspiration.

This year, they’re giving us Christie’s witchy 1961 novel, The Pale Horse. Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple are absent from this one, but Ariadne Oliver—friend of Poirot, mystery novelist, and frequent stand-in for the author herself—plays a prominent role.

Here’s the trailer:

And here’s the cast:

The Pale Horse is available on BBC iPlayer in the UK, and starting this weekend, on Amazon Prime in the US.

Lauv — “Modern Loneliness”

Really liking Lauv’s new release, “Modern Loneliness”, which is one of those songs that seems to be speaking directly to me. (And, it seems, directly to a lot of other people, as well.  The video was posted five days ago and already has more than two million views.)

“Modern Loneliness” is the final track on his first studio album, How I’m Feeling, which will be released on 6 March 2020. In early 2019, Lauv started to release singles that will appear on the album as they were completed, so 10 of the 21 cuts from How I’m Feeling are already out there online.

Lauv, after musical collaborations with everybody from Troye Sivan to BTS, is three months into a year-long world tour.


The image is the artwork for <i><b>How I'm Feeling</b></i>

The image is the artwork for How I’m Feeling

Tuesday, 25 February 2020, Is Pancake Day


“The Fight Between Carnival and Lent”, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pancake Day has never caught on in the US, and that’s an American deficiency that should be corrected. It’s celebrated around the world, but especially in the British Commonwealth, on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent.

a

In towns throughout the UK, schools shut down at 11 AM, and roads are closed to traffic so that local citizens can race through the streets, tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in frying pans as they go.

b

If you happen to be in London, which is to Pancake Day what New Orleans is to Shrove Tuesday, but with fewer next-day regrets, TimeOut has posted a list of some of the pancake races, pancake eating contests, and create-your-own dream pancake celebrations.

Up until a year ago, you could also watch teams from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the media competed for the title of Parliamentary Pancake Race Champions, in support of the charity Rehab. The fun relay race has apparently become yet another casualty of Brexit bitterness.

c

If you’re in the US, you can still celebrate! IHOP, which I believe is a public interest organization of some sort, has got into the spirit of Pancake Day by offering a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to every guest on 25 February 2020.


Disclaimer

(This comment was neither sponsored nor endorsed by IHOP, formerly known as the International House of Pancakes, not that I’d turn down some coupons for free stacks if they offered them in exchange for the wide exposure this blog post will give them. I mean, I’m an Influencer, dammit. My recommendation will make their pancakes sell like…well, off-hand I can’t think of a good analogy.  I don’t know, maybe Popeye’s chicken sandwiches* or something.)

*Which I also like and would gladly recommend, for a small sum.

Better Call Saul — Season Five Starts Tonight

Looks who’s back!

It’s Saul Goodman, a shyster so corrupt, so morally bankrupt, so totally devoid of ethics, honesty, and scruples that it’s surprising he didn’t pop up advising the Republican senators during the recent impeachment trial.

And look who else is back!

Gus Fring!

Héctor  Salamanca!

Mike Ehrmantraut!

And even DEA agent Hank Schrader!

All brought back from the dead for this prequel to Breaking Bad, probably the finest television achievement of the still-very-young 21st century.

There’s a never-ending debate on line—one of those Kirk-vs-Picard things—about exactly when Walter White broke bad and went over to the dark side. (I admired the Redditor who answered the question by posting sonogram of a fetus.)

With Jimmy McGill, the question is pretty much resolved: It was when Jimmy McGill became “Saul Goodman”. That’s where we are at the start of Series Five.

After tonight’s episode, Better Call Saul will return with a second episode on Monday night in its regular time slot. This is the show’s next-to-last season, but, hey, s’all good, man.