Category Archives: Music

“David Bowie is” Coming to the US!

This makes me very, very happy.

“David Bowie is”, an exhibition that originated at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013, will be installed at the Brooklyn Museum next year. It will be the last stop on a long journey.

After the original blockbuster show at the V&A, “David Bowie is” went on tour, visiting 10 cities on five continents. Along the way, it became the most popular exhibition in the museum’s 165-year history, attracting 1.8 million attendees so far.

I saw it in Toronto, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, on the first stop of the tour. You can read my rapturous reaction here, along with a description of some of the items on display. A quick summary: It was one of the most brilliantly staged and mounted museum exhibitions I’ve ever seen.

Here’s perhaps the highest compliment I can give to “David Bowie is”: It’s worthy of Bowie himself.

“David Bowie is” will be on display at the Brooklyn Museum from 2 March 2018 through 15 July 2018.

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Cigarettes After Sex — “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” and Other Love Songs

The seventh episode of The Handmaid’s Tale ended with this song, “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby,” by an ambient pop group named Cigarettes After Sex. I’ve had them on heavy rotation for the last two weeks.

Cigarettes After Sex is, basically, a Brooklyn-by-way-of-Texas singer-songwriter named Greg Gonzalez and an evolving troop of collaborators. In 2012, Gonzalez recorded the first and so far only Cigarettes After Sex EP in a stairway at his alma mater, University of Texas at El Paso. He released a handful of singles over the following five years, and, somewhere along the way, attracted an online following. The audio-only YouTube version of “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” currently shows more than 62 million plays.

Cigarettes After Sex released a self-titled début album earlier this summer. The music reminds me of the Cowboy Junkies and Mazzy Star, but it’s even more lush and sensual than that of those 80s virtuosi. The band’s name certainly captures the mood of its music.

The cover photography, btw, is by Man Ray.


Here are some of the singles. Audio only.

“Affection” (2015)

“K.” (2016)

“Each Time You Fall in Love” (2017)

International Agatha Christie Festival

The 2017 International Agatha Christie Festival will take place from Wednesday, 13 September through Sunday, 17 September, in Torquay, the British seaside resort where Christie was born. This year’s festival emphasizes her connection to the Middle East, where she spent considerable time with her husband, archaeologist Sir Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan.

The full schedule for the festival has just been posted, and it includes readings, films, concerts, tours, performances, and workshops. One of the highlights is likely to be the weekend-long Garden Party at Torre Abbey,

Torre Abbey

Torre Abbey

The historic Torre Abbey gardens “… will come alive with music, films, stalls and gastronomic delights for all the family.” There will be a garden marketplace and an open air screening of a classic Agatha Christie film.

Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson, will be on hand to discuss his memories of the writer.

Given the setting and the theme, I wouldn’t be the least surprised if someone is the victim of murder most foul during the weekend. If festival guests are in search of clues clews, they’d be well-advised to begin by looking in the herbaceous borders….

Single-day passes start at £15, and top out at £150 for the Grand Tour Ticket.


Torquay is about four hours from London, by car or train. While it’s certainly proud of its most well-known daughter, the city’s greatest claim to fame is probably that it was the (fictional) home of Fawlty Towers, Basil Fawlty, prop.

Take a break and watch as Basil, suffering from a concussion, tries to avoid embarrassing some German guests by not mentioning WWII.

Hello Again Again

A film adaptation of Hello Again, Michael John LaChiusa’s 1994 musical, has begun showing up at festivals and limited screenings.

Here’s where things get delightfully complicated.

Hello Again was itself inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s German-language play, Reigen. In ten scenes, ten pairs of characters are shown before and after having sex. The first scene is about a prostitute and a soldier, the second shows the soldier and a parlor maid, the third features the parlor maid and a young gentleman, and so on, as Schnitzler’s characters move up and down the social scale, ending with a scene between a Count and the prostitute from Scene One. Schnitzler wrote the play in 1897, but it was so controversial that it wasn’t performed publicly until more than 20 years later.

If the plot sounds familiar but you don’t recognize the name of the play, that’s because in 1950, Max Ophüls filmed a French-language version of Reigen under the title La Ronde, and that title is the one that stuck with English-speaking audiences. (And presumably with French-speaking audiences as well.)

Since then, there have been at least four feature films (with four different titles) based on Reigen, and dozens of TV show have stolen the plot and structure paid reverent homage to the play.

Hello Again adds a new twist, by setting each of the scenes in a different decade, with period-appropriate music for each scene.

Should be interesting. Great cast, and the trailer certainly seems intriguing.