A better movie than The Dark Knight Rises would invite discussion of its content, but interpretation (“What’s that?” say Avengers fans) isn’t even required of this third entry in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise. A film of empty spectacle, its actual content (formulaic violence, humorless dialogue, unvarying solemnity) runs second to the blatant process of supplying a pre-sold audience with brand-name characters and predictable action.
Why bother detailing the film’s routine story when Nolan can’t get beneath its surface? Demoralized Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) loses his fortune and retraces his previous torturous superhero training to protect Gotham City from another cast of overly familiar nemeses–sneak-thief Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), homicidal freak Bane (Tom Hardy) and an unlikely foe thrown in at the last half-hour.
The Dark Knight Rises only offers an economics lesson in how an entire culture gets indoctrinated into buying repackaged characters, set-pieces and hackneyed style, not a great modern myth. Instead, all the action-movie reflexes learned from James Bond films (the opening airplane stunt), Indiana Jones flicks (battles against world-historical evil) and comic book movies (innumerable, copycat origin-tales) seem for naught. Consumer amnesia rises.
When Batman was just a comic book figure, it appealed to youth and embodied an innocent sense of justice and necessary heroism. Then the graphic novel version, Frank Miller’s 1986 The Dark Knight Returns, converted the fable into casual cynicism that Nolan treats in his now over-scaled sophomoric manner. “I’m necessary evil,” Bane hisses during one of his rampages, appealing to jaded youth and tilting Nolan’s interest away from storytelling and toward trite, cynical mood.
Even I mistook the franchise’s previous mass killings and implacably malevolent adversaries for significant (sickening) ugliness because they resonated 9/11 anxiety. But as The Dark Knight Rises plods toward the three-hour point and Nolan drops-in newsy gibes, it becomes obvious that his political evocations mean nothing. There hasn’t been a trilogy this shapeless and unresonant since The Lord of the Rings–partly to ensure another Nolan sequel (Dark Robin Lays an Egg?).
The 9/11 shockwaves of Nolan’s terrorist-bomb-laden Gotham City include an explosive football stadium extravaganza no deeper than a coming-attractions trailer and offhand references to Occupy Wall Street in Catwoman’s felonious rage against the upperclass. But none of these opportunistic gimmicks (whether a law-and-order subplot or underclass rioting) relate to any character’s dramatized feelings. Bale’s bummed-out crusader lacks convincing moral resilience (see his reluctant hero in Zhang Yimou’s stirring The Flowers of War instead). Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Robin mopes in isolation. Hathaway’s one-note femme fatale never develops like Michelle Pfeiffer’s post-feminist hellcat in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Tom Hardy’s Bane, a Hannibal Lecter/Darth Vader composite, remains muffled; his motivations masked like his face.
To read the full review at City Arts click here.
UWS residents line up Wed. night to voice their concerns to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. (Photo Courtesy of @scottmstringer)
At a packed town hall meeting on the Upper West Side last night, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer fielded questions from concerned residents of the West 90s and 100s. The community came out in full force, pressing Stringer, City Council Member Gale Brewer and a panel of officials representing various city agencies to address their complaints and fears about various neighborhood issues.
Between 100 and 150 residents attended the forum, and the line of people waiting to step up to the microphone to say their piece stretched to the back of the room for the entire two-hour meeting. Armed with literature and, sometimes, un-concealed anger, community members and self-identified local activists pressed their elected officials for answers and action.
Stringer, a contender in the Democratic primary for the 2013 mayoral race, addressed concerns ranging from construction to hydrofracking to rat infestation.
The most-discussed issue of the night was the proposed construction of a Jewish Home Lifecare center on West 97th Street. JHL, an organization that provides health care and support services for the elderly, seeks to build a new, 20-story high-rise nursing home next door to P.S. 163, an elementary school. Although the New York City Planning Commission approved the application, Community Board 7 and local activists have continued to fight against the project.
Avery Brandon, who lives near the 97th Street site and whose kindergarten-aged daughter will be attending P.S. 163 for the next several years, spoke out vehemently against the new building at the meeting.
“A huge construction project like this can have untold effects on the health of our children,” Brandon said. “With the noise levels, and the mental stress that this construction will cause, how will our children be able to learn?”
Brandon and various other residents also cited increased congestion, dust and debris and decreased access to the block for emergency responders as potential negative consequences of the project.
Later, on the issue of fracking, the focus of the conversation centered around the contentious Spectra Pipeline, a proposed natural gas pipeline intended to expand the delivery of natural gas to areas in New York and New Jersey. The project, which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in May, is slated to run along the coast of New Jersey and cross the Hudson River into Manhattan, bringing gas from the Marcellus Shale — acquired through the process of hydraulic fracturing — to New York City homes on the West Side.
Residents at the meeting last night voiced opposition shared by many critics of the controversial method, citing in particular what they said are particularly high levels of radon and other radioactive material in Marcellus gas. They emphasized the dangers of using radon-infused gas in New York City kitchens, which tend to be small and often not well-ventilated, as well as the potential effects exposure to fracked gas could have on children in the neighborhood.
Attendees also complained of a growing rat infestation on Upper West Side streets — a problem which Council Member Brewer assured would be tackled next month in a block-by-block effort conducted by the Department of Health — and the New York Police Department’s ever-contentious Stop and Frisk policy, which NYPD representatives declined to discuss in detail last night.
Photo Courtesy of SoHo Alliance
The Department of Transportation (DOT) and CitiBank have plans to install a CitiBike rental station in a SoHo memorial park, a park which commemorates four individuals who died in a fire, sacrificing their lives to save others’. This decision has been to the dismay—and outright anger—of many community members, and it’s not the first incident of outrage directed the DOT over proposed CitiBike placements.
(by Alissa Fleck)
Father Fagan Park (corner of Prince St. and Sixth Ave.), according to a SoHo Alliance press release, is named for Father Richard Fagan formerly of nearby St. Anthony’s Church, who gave his life in a rectory fire while rescuing two people. The park also contains three pear trees, which commemorate three firefighters who died in the line of duty, extinguishing a 1994 “SoHo blaze.”
Community Board 2, of which the park is a part, also ranks extremely low in terms of city green space, the Alliance reports. The board asked the DOT not to further burden the area’s limited green space with cumbersome bike rental stations.
The DOT has ignored all community and political pleas and remains steadfast in their decision, says the Alliance. Further, the Alliance calls the department’s actions “thick-headed, arrogant and disrespectful.”
St. Anthony Church Pastor Father Joseph Lorenzo said he hopes the DOT will opt not to cheapen the park with the rental station.
This is not the first time proposed CitiBike placement has been met with vigorous opposition. NY Press previously reported on plans to install docking stations in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza across from the United Nations building. Opponents said it would disrupt the atmosphere of the plaza and create unnecessary congestion.
Victoria Weil, president of Friends of Bogardus Garden, was also not happy about the station planned for the pedestrian plaza at Chambers and Reade Streets her group oversees. She told the Tribeca Trib she saw accidents on the horizon in the small, already cluttered space.
A member of Community Board 1, which encompasses Duane Park, said the proposed station for that park would “ruin the whole aesthetic.”
While the DOT spent months listening to community concerns, Kate Fillin-Yeh, director of the Bike Share program, told CB1 they were trying to install a station every 1,000 feet, which does not leave a lot of space for dissent.
The Tribeca Trib reports there is a great deal of controversy over whether the DOT and Bike Share program actually listened to community concerns and took the most contested docking stations off the to-build list.
NY Press reached out to CitiBike to find out how they had addressed community concerns, and whether they thought every proposed area would ultimately rally a certain amount of opposition. The Press did not immediately hear back on these questions.
By Paul Bisceglio
One Chase Manhattan Plaza. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Following downtown residents’ and the Community Board 1 (CB1) Urban Planning Committee’s demands for an explanation, three representatives of JP Morgan Chase met with the CB1 Quality of Life Committee yesterday evening to discuss the closure of One Chase Manhattan Plaza, home of the bank’s Financial District skyscraper and a privately owned major pedestrian thruway that has been fenced off since September.
Officially, the plaza was closed for a yet-to-be-seen construction project, but its timing prompted many citizens to suspect that the fencing was erected to ward off Occupy Wall Street protestors. Suspicion increased when various community remembers reported that they were explicitly told by the bank’s floor workers and security guards that the barrier was to prevent protests.
Committee member Ro Sheffe asked the representatives if any factors at all other than construction were behind the plaza’s closure. Chase’s Community Reinvestment Manager Karen McGuinness responded, “Absolutely not.”
The representatives explained that serious leaks in the plaza were identified that compromise the building’s infrastructure and safety. They said that the bank has spent recent months surveying the lot and using vector mapping to determine weak points. Results showed that the plaza’s membrane would be good for another 8-10 years, but multiple sections need repair, along with cleaning and resetting.
Asked how long repairs would take, one representative said about six months, weather permitting. Asked when repairs would begin, he responded, “soon — as soon as tomorrow, even,” but promised no specific date or deadline.
Asked if the plaza would reopen to the public after construction, another representative assured that it would. “We intend to operate the plaza as it has been traditionally operated,” he said.
After the representatives left the meeting, the Committee agreed to suspend a resolution to pressure the bank to reopen the plaza that the Urban Planning Committee had drafted when it met on July 5. For now, they decided, they would keep an eye on the plaza and wait to see if Chase follows through.
Many committee members remained skeptical about the bank’s story — a few had been told themselves by the bank’s staff that the fencing was in place to block protestors — but most were satisfied that the bank had made its intentions clear.
Sheffe, however, said that he was still unhappy. “I don’t want to argue with Chase because it’s their property,” he told New York Press. “But there’s a social imperative. [The plaza] is a valuable community resource. I want it open as soon as possible.”
It wasn’t the line New York deserved, but the one it had to wait in last night to see Batman.
Movie nerds, comic book nerds and their reluctant significant others alike lined 13th Street at Union Square’s Regal Stadium 14 yesterday for the opening of The Dark Knight Rises, the highly anticipated final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s fan-favorite Batman trilogy.
By 5:15 p.m., around 30 eager viewers stood along a roped off section of the sidewalk that a security guard was extending along the block as the line grew. The line was a little misleading, however: at 6:30 p.m., two of the theater’s screens were showing the trilogy’s previous two films as a lead up to the new movie’s midnight premier, and the vast majority of people were there for this Batman marathon. That’s close to eight hours of the caped crusader — and the waiting fans couldn’t be happier.
“Been waiting for this one since the day the last one came out,” one man said.
“Some people think [waiting in line for movies] is crazy,” a woman said, “but it’s just part of the experience. It’s just as much a part of the event as the movie is.”
“People talk about the The Avengers, Spider Man,” another said, “but for me, it’s all about Dark Knight Rises. [The Batman movie series] is just on another level.”
The security guard noted that there was in fact another line in the building. The marathon was showing on two screens, so viewers who had tickets to the one on the top floor were permitted to wait inside.
At least one tenacious fan was out staking his claim for the midnight showing. A man about 20 people deep in the outdoor line said he didn’t know about the marathon showing, and that he panicked when he saw the crowd gathering. He laughed that at least now he and his friends would get the best seats — right in the middle after the aisle divide, with plenty of room to stretch legs.
Waiting in line would be a lot of funny anyways, he said. “My friends are going to show up soon with pizzas. Everyone hangs out and has a good time.”
Asked how long the line would extend by midnight, the security guard simply pointed down 13th Street. The theater has 14 screens, she said. All of them were showing the Dark Knight Rises, and all of them were sold out.
The line got a few disdainful looks from passersby, but in typical New York fashion, most pedestrians didn’t give it a second glance. One young boy had the right attitude, though: “Please can we get in line, please?” he pleaded with his mom, who had to drag him along the sidewalk to keep him moving. “It will be like a sleepover!”
“When I’m wrong, I say so.”
That’s a direct quote from Dr. Jake Houseman (the late Jerry Orbach) in Dirty Dancing, a 25-year-old movie musical that would appear to have very little in common with The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, the Tony-winning revival now playing at the Richard Rodgers Theater. For starters, Ronald K. Brown’s choreography couldn’t be less different than Kenny Ortega’s in the film. But the first two (two!) times I saw this installation of Porgy, it left me with a very middling response.
Having been invited back a third time, however, I’m happy to report that the show is in tip-top shape.
Have I changed? Has the show evolved? I’m willing to believe it’s more the latter than the former. Six months ago, when I first saw Diane Paulus’ new, Broadwayified vision of the landmark work, it felt both long and clunky. The major plot points—attacks, murders, treacherous storms—occurred, but the grace notes connecting them no longer existed. Porgy felt like a paint-by-numbers retread, a check-off list of love and losses meant to introduce each of the fantastic musical numbers retained in the show.
The modernized book by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre L. Murray remains the same, but there’s more connective tissue bridging these capital-letter sequences to one another. I credit this to two things. First of all, the actors have all immersed themselves more fully into the show. I didn’t buy award-adorned Audra McDonald as Bess, a wanton woman with a history of drug and alcohol abuse who offered her body as a commodity to lecherous men. She was too proper, too technical, for such a performance to feel organic, especially when compared to the man who symbolized what she wanted to run away from: Crown, a monster played to harrowing perfection—and escaping caricature—by the fantastic Phillip Boykin. Their yin and yang of playing vs. being didn’t jive with me.
Now, however, I no longer felt that disconnect in McDonald’s performance. The incomparable soprano not only hits notes that cause the eye to well up, she performs in a way that causes the heart to hurt as well. I feel her constant search to not give in but to better herself, a promise offered by the crippled Porgy (Norm Lewis, awesome all three times), a far less experienced man on Kittawah Island’s Catfish Row and one utterly devoted to rescuing Bess in any way she might need.
Her journey is arduous; in addition to Crown, David Alan Grier’s Sportin’ Life (another actor who has gotten better in the role) represents yet another rabbit hole she wants to avoid falling into. Porgy isn’t just a love story about two opposite forces coming together, it’s primarily about Bess’ quest to figure out how to better herself, without relying on men to help her or hurt her. She has to save herself.
Second, seating at the Rodgers really matters. My repeat viewings offered me a far better view of the stage, and the actors’ reactions do matter. This is especially true among a brilliant ensemble cast of performers, including Nikki Renee Daniels, Joshua Henry, Bryonha Marie Parham and NaTasha Yvette Williams, who evoke all sorts of emotion in such numbers as “My Man’s Gone Now” and “Oh Doctor Jesus.” Suddenly, a show that felt lumped together appeared strung together in a far seamless manner. I’m not sure that that holds true for those with rear balcony seats.
Porgy is, as it turns out, a rich pageant, but this is only true when the parts can be seen as well as heard.
The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
Richard Rodgers Theater, 226 W. 46th St., www.ticketmaster.com
Citing such masters as Charlie Chaplin and Gene Kelly as inspiration certainly sets the bar high in terms of expectations. But those are among the influences on I Love Bob, the latest show from the spirited, inventive troupe Parallel Exit, which is opening at Joyce Soho this week. Their earlier works have merrily defied categorization, winning over theater and dance critics alike; this world premiere focused on the misadventures of a hapless deliveryman could be identified as either a “comic ballet” or a “dance musical,” according to its co-creator and Parallel Exit founder Mark Lonergan.
“We create an outline from which we work—which is essentially just stage directions—and then the material is really created in the rehearsal room with the performers,” he said recently by phone in between rehearsals.
I Love Bob, with a cast of 12, is the largest work Parallel Exit has undertaken. “They are a diverse group. Some come from the world of tap, since there’s tap choreography in the show. Some of them come from a more musical theater background and some from an improv/comedy background. We’re putting all of their skills to use. It’s not a group that wd normally be put together—only for a show like this!”
Lonergan, choreographer Ray Hesselink and composer Wayne Barker are the show’s co-creators. The genesis for the project was a Joyce residency; Lonergan and his colleagues were part of an ambitious initiative focusing on collaboration and experimentation between dance and theater artists. The residency provided a dramaturg, Kirsten Bowen, who brought her expertise and an outside eye to the creative process.
“It was a very new thing for all of us, to have that person in the room,” Lonergan remarked. “And it was immensely helpful, because her focus was on making sure that we were getting the story across clearly.”
There is a definite story and specific characters, but no text; Parallel Exit’s approach, in shows that range from a tale of aging tap dancers about to lose their home to a witty depiction of office life aims to recreate onstage the comic, expressive art of silent film masters like Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
With company mainstay Ryan Kasprzak portraying Bob, “The story follows a very classic structure. The one film I would say it’s closest to would be City Lights—and only in the sense that it’s about two very innocent characters falling in love in the midst of a teeming metropolis,” Lonergan said.
Lonergan founded Parallel Exit in his native Toronto. The first time he brought one of its shows to New York, it won the top award at the 1997 New York International Fringe Festival. He continued to originate shows in Toronto and bring them here before relocating in 2005. Recent Parallel Exit shows have been presented on both dance and theater venues and have received a Drama Desk Award for “unique theatrical experience.” They manage to charm both dance and theater critics.
The New York Times’ Neil Genzlinger called Room 17B, their most recent show, “65 minutes of outlandish incongruity,” writing, “The whole thing is so charming and mindlessly amusing that it may not be immediately apparent just how much skill is on display.” The Times’ dance critic, Roslyn Sulcas, writing about their earlier show Time Step, praised its “wordless yet lucid physical comedy”.
Though Lonergan and Hesselink, a choreographer and dance instructor whose credits include training the children who performed in Billy Elliot, are working together for first time, Lonergan reports that the collaboration has been “seamless.”
“In the rehearsal room, Ray and I are finishing each other’s sentences. Often I’ll say to Ray, ‘In this bit of choreography, could you try this?’ and then when we’re doing more of an acting moment, Ray will step in and suggest, ‘Try this.’ We’re very careful not to give the performers two different ideas at the same time. We let each other step in when the moment is right,” Lonergan said.
Lonergan also has high praise for the third collaborator, composer Wayne Barker, who among his multiple and varied credits wrote the original music for Peter and the Starcatcher. “Wayne has an encyclopedic knowledge of the last 200 years of music. He sits at the piano as we’re working on something, and he’ll play something. He has an unbelievable Rolodex of every style of music in his head. I imagine there are many things that I don’t even know he’s sourcing.”
Though Lonergan and his colleagues look to past masters for inspiration and pay homage in their work, he emphasizes that the show itself is very much of today. “The show isn’t set in the past. It’s very current—the subject matter and the characters. But it certainly has the feeling of a classic movie musical or a classic silent film comedy.”
I Love Bob
July 20-29. Joyce Soho, 155 Mercer St. (betw. Houston & Prince St.), www.joyce.org; 7:30, $25.
Text by Adel Manoukian Photos by Ian Douglas
Key local and state officials and prominent waterfront activists got a splash as they celebrated the fifth annual City of Water Day Festival on Governors Island this past Saturday.
The festival included a dockside press conference at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17, followed by a launch event on Manhattan by Sail’s Clipper City where Council member Margaret Chin presented a city Proclamation to the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) in honor of the festival. Many adventurous attendees chose to reach Governers Island using human-powered water vessels, like the New York City Downtown boathouse which used a series of kayaks. While others already on the island were treated to a tour of an historic tugboat and paddleboarding demonstrations.
For the past five years, the festival has drawn over 20,000 people. Past celebrations have taken place at Liberty State Park and other sites around the harbor. Organizers of the festival, MWA, would like to show residents and officials alike the potential increased uses of the harbor. The festival is also part of the growing “Blue Movement” to revitalize the waterfront so it may be accessible to all.
Council member Margaret Chin presents a representative
from the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance with a
proclamation honoring the City of Water Day festival
aboard Clipper City.The historic tugboat Urger.
FDNY fireboat Bravest.
The historic tugboat Urger.
There’s no guarantee that jazzers performing live in New York City in the next couple of weeks are going to evoke their recent records. So much the better. Live, expect surprises. On their albums, here’s what some artists with gigs coming right up are doing:
Nate Radley's The Big Eyes.
Nate Radley, a punctilious guitarist, is at Barbes in Brooklyn July 18 with four-fifths of the quintet from The Big Eyes (Fresh Sound New Talent 395). It comprises nine of his original songs, measured in tone and tempo, with amorphous melodies that his capable band (Loren Stillman, alto sax; Pete Rende, Fender Rhodes piano, who won’t be at the performance; Matt Pavolka, bass; Ted Poor, drums) flesh out in various combinations. Though too ruminative by half for my taste, Radley and company make the most of dynamics and interplay to build tension and arrive at release. Barbes is tiny; it will get hot.
Tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen brings The Third Incarnation, a septet plus four guest sitters-in, to S.O.B.’s July 19, and that group will obviously sound bigger, if not necessarily better, than The Matador and the Bull (Savant), his new trio album. Commanding in the honorable though prescribed post-Coltrane style, Allen is offset by bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston as he has beenon three other records since 2008. Their balance is impeccable, though they expand on Allen’s launching motifs and stream-of-consciousness improvs by each operating in their own fields, connected mostly by mood. On the sixth track of 12, “Paseillo,” the trio suddenly syncs in an upbeat, swinging abstraction over “Sweet Georgia Brown” chords—up till then, they’ve been somber if not sorrowful, and that major mode does not reappear. The format has its limitations and on CD grows repetitious, though live it’s probably compelling.
J.D. Allen Trio: The Matador and the Bull.
Rez Abbasi, a guitarist/composer appearing in quartet at Cornelia Street Café on July 20, was born in Karachi, Pakistan, but grew up in California. On ENJA Records’ Suno Suno (“listen listen” in Urdu) he convenes an ensemble called Invocation with alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, who’s of South Asian ancestry but grew up in Colorado; pianist Vijay Iyer, who’s of South Asian ancestry but grew up in Buffalo (and whose own trio is at the MOMA sculpture garden on July 29); bassist Johannes Weidenmueller (from Germany, steeped in Spanish and New Orleans idioms); and drummer Dan Weiss (born in the USA, listened to rock, played metal, attended Berklee, studies tabla with Samir Chatterjee). They make music reflecting Abbasi’s interest in Qawwali religious repertoire of the Indian subcontinent.
Rather than appropriating that tradition’s melodic content or imitating its repetitive phraseology, Abbasi constructs multilayered compositions with lots of detailed moving parts, inspired, so he writes in liner notes, by “feeling.” Though the instrumental work is excellent, the program requires repeated listening to absorb and won’t satisfy anyone looking for a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan tribute or a recognizable hybrid. The cross-culturalization results in something essentially without precedent, though its creators obviously know a lot about a lot of music. This is new. So let’s call it jazz.
Joe Deutch's "Grow Up."
Art or prank? Joe Deutch blows himself up
by Valerie Gladstone
Los Angeles artist Joe Deutch has caused quite a stir. He was reprimanded at UCLA as a grad student for going before his class and playing Russian roulette, actually loading a gun and shooting himself in the head. Unhurt, he left the room and set off a firecracker, which sounded like a shot. (His professors dubbed him a “domestic terrorist.”) Since then, he has attached a boot to a police car in broad daylight so it couldn’t be moved, incurring the considerable wrath of the police, and taunted a poisonous rattlesnake into biting him—he lived.
Fortunately for those of us who couldn’t be there, videos of these feats, plus Deutch’s luminous photographs of gridlocked Los Angeles freeways under gorgeous setting suns with ambiguous slogans placed on the railings, are now on view at Marlborough gallery in Chelsea.
Everything the 32-year-old Deutch does has a reason. “I like to bring an aspect of mortality into my work,” he says. “I want to take art out of its artificial shell. I feel there’s a duality in art—that it’s trapped intellectually. On some level, my job is not to make art. I want to focus less on what’s in the art world and more on what’s outside the art world.
“I liked that those works ended up in the media so people could deal with them directly, rather than when art works are in a show. I like the conversation taking place in public,” he says.
In part, Deutch is rebelling against what he perceived as the dominant view when he was in art school 10 years ago, where it was decreed that everything is art. He doesn’t believe that’s true, and thinks it limits the concept of art. For his photographs, he didn’t have to look further than the classic Los Angeles traffic jams for his subject. What caught his imagination was that when the drivers sit there struck, they also probably notice the beautiful sunsets—caused by the fog, he adds—and say, “How pretty.”
This inspired him to put up signs, or at least a few words, on the overpasses for people to read. “Messages,” he explains, “that would be silhouetted against the sky. I choose incredibly cheap and/or incomprehensible messages, and mixed up the letters.” Phrases he used include “Just Kill Her,” “Fuck Iraq, Save Yourself,” “Grow Up,” “Flight or Fight,” “I Have a Gun” and “Go Somewhere Else,” mostly with their letters a jumble. They’re all just about as aggressive and provocative as the scenes he stages.
What’s in the future? “I go back and forth with studio projects,” Deutch says. “When there’s risk, there’s trouble involved and I want to avoid that, so I don’t give my planning away. But I’m not finished with Eli Broad’s construction site, where’s he’s building his gigantic museum”; like many Angelenos and artists, he couldn’t be more against it. Who knows? Maybe he’ll blow it up.
Through July 27, Marlborough Gallery, 545 W. 25th St., 212-463-8634, marlboroughgallery.com.
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