Category Archives: Performance Art

The Queen’s Christmas Message

Oh, to be in England…

It’s customary, btw, to stand while listening to the Queen’s Christmas Message, even if you’re home alone.

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“Merry Xmas Everybody” from Oxford University’s Out of the Blue

This will make you smile.

Out of the Blue, Oxford University’s premier all-male a cappella group, is ranked as the top a cappella group in the UK. They’ve “…performed on the West End and on Broadway, reached the semifinals of Britain’s Got Talent, and toured around the world to places including Switzerland, Canada, India, Hong Kong, and Japan.” You’ll find lots of videos, music downloads, and CD offers at their site.

“Merry Xmas Everybody” is their Charity Single for 2017.

For the last eight years, Out of the Blue has donated its profits to Helen & Douglas House, the world’s first children’s hospice. It provides end-of-life and bereavement care to children and young adults, and to their families.

“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.

The Circus Comes to Town

Every year, the Smithsonian holds a Folklife Festival on the Mall in Washington during the last week in June and the first week in July. This year was special, because 2017 marks the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s 50th anniversary.

Most of the recent festivals have followed a similar format, celebrating a US state or region, a foreign culture or area, and/or a traditional occupation. In 2016, for instance, the two main themes were “Basque: Innovation by Culture” and “Sounds of California.”

This year’s festival was easily the most fascinating and entertaining I’ve ever visited, because the main attraction was a tribute to…Circus Arts!

And it was wonderful!


One of the displays was this classic Circus Wagon.

You could watch close-up performances by clowns and jugglers…

…and not-so-close-up performances by acrobats and trapeze artists.

In addition to the open-air displays, the festival included full performances in its own Big Top, and in one of the Smithsonian buildings. But for me, the best part was the panel discussions featuring circus people talking about their careers and training and lives in the circus. Heard some awesome stories during my two visits to the festival.