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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben -December 19, 2015




On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
December 19, 2015


Off-Broadway, These Paper Bullets!, by Rolin Jones, songs by Billie Joe Armstrong, directed by Jackson Gay, at the Linda Gross Theater, is a production of the Atlantic Theater Company. It attempts to combine the phenomenon of the success of a famous four person musical group from London in 1964 with a play by Shakespeare. Unfortunately, it is a vulgar play, with a hyperactive cast. If  you find a man wearing a lampshade over his head at a party, or a girl tossing a used condom over a couch and landing on the heroine's head funny, this may be your cup of tea. For me, it was tasteless.

Once Upon a Mattress, music by  Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer, at the Abrons Arts Center, is a production of the Transport Group Theatre Company. A very funny Jackie Hoffman as Princess Winnifred and an equally amusing John "Lypsinka" Epperson as the domineering Queen star in this fairy tale musical, about a Prince, who wants to get married, but is thwarted by his mother. The opening night party took place at Hastens Mattress Store, 876 Broadway, with guests Barbara Andres, Linda Lavin and Mary Testa.

MoonStruck!, written & performed by Staceyann Chin, directed by Cynthia Nixon, at the Lynn Redgrave Theater, is a one woman show, in which the author tells us about her life trying to have a baby as a single mother. As she is a lesbian, this causes some complications. The baby appears with the her at the curtain call. The baby is adorable, and the highlight of the show. The opening night party took place in the basement of the theater. Danny Aiello and Rosie O'Donnell attended on opening night.

A spectacular evening was presented at the Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall, by Jaishri & Vikas Kapoor. Their beautiful 15-year-old twin daughters, Riya and Sara Kapoor, performed A Night of Moves, a traditional Bharatantayam dance form, accompanied by a Carnatic Orchestra, a classical South Indian Musical genre. It was fascinating to watch the excellent performance, and to listen to the music, which also included jazz music. Jazz producer George Wein attended the concert, and was introduced to the audience. Cocktails were served before the concert, and an Indian street market dinner followed, with an after party in the Parkview Lounge. It was a memorable evening of delicious food, cocktails and brilliant entertainment.

Opera conductor Peter Mark conducted a Master Class in the private apartment of Tamie Lawrence, on East 57th St. Six young singers, five sopranos and one baritone, each sang one aria. Peter then proceeded to help them improve their sound and their pronunciation. All of them have fine, strong voices, but I was amazed to hear how they improved their rendition of the arias with Peter's assistance. It was a Master Class indeed! I hope I will have the pleasure of hearing them again on a professional stage.Roberto Borgatti, the baritone, told me his uncle was, Giuseppe Valdengo, the famous Metropolitan opera baritone. I told him I was a super on stage with his uncle at Indiana University, on May 16, 1949, for Lucia de Lammermoor. He played Lord Enrico Ashton, and I held a spear. We were both very good.

I attended a press conference for Quentin Tarantino's new film The Hateful Eight at the Starlight Roof at the Waldorf Astoria. Seven cast members were present, including Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Wayne Goggins and Damien Bichir. Tarantino announced that they are doing a 2015 Roadshow release all over the country, as they used to do in the past, with major 70mm films. Famed composer Ennio Morricone has composed an overture to the film. It will be interesting to see the result.

A press preview was held for American Dance Machine for the 21st Century at the New 42nd Street Studios. We saw three selections by a talented cast, directed by Wayne Cilento. It opens on Monday, December 21, at the Joyce Theater, and I plan to be there to review these wonderful dancers and this exciting program.

Former baseball player Lenny Dykstra was Santa Claus at Vivid Cabaret, 61 West 37th St.
He posed for photos with five beautiful, sexy cabaret girls, and seemed very happy, as were all the photographers. The elegant club is one of the finest in New York City.

Son of Saul
, by Laszlo Nemes, Hungary, 2015, is an amazing film. It stars Geza Rohrig as a Sonderkommando at a concentration camp in 1944, who has to persuade prisoners to undress, enter the gas chamber thinking they are taking a shower, and then he removes the bodies and cleans the chamber afterwards. He is obsessed with the idea that his son is one of the victims, and steals the body to give the boy a decent burial with a rabbi to say Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. It is a powerful film, in which we follow Rohrig over two days, and are aware of the horror of his existence. The film leaves a memorable impression on the viewer, and one can never think of the Holocaust again without recalling this astonishing film

Film Society of Lincoln Center held press screenings for The 25th Annual New York Jewish Film Festival January 13-26, 2016. Lamb, by Yared Zeleke, Ethiopia/France/Germany/Norway, 2015, is beautifully photographed, as it tells the story of nine-year-old Ephraim (a remarkable performance by Rediat Amare) and his only friend, a lamb. When his mother dies from famine, he is taken by his father to live in the north with relatives. He is very homesick, especially as his strict, brutal uncle wants to sacrifice his lamb for the local festival. One gains an intimate knowledge of the hard life of rural families scratching out a living in Ethiopia. It is a grim, realistic view. 

Projections of America, by Peter Miller, Germany/USA/France, 2015, is a documentary about Hollywood screenwriter Robert Riskin, who led a team of idealistic filmmakers during  World War II, to create 26 short, propaganda documentaries, showing the good life in America. The ten minute The Autobiography of a 'Jeep' made in 1943 was extremely popular. Many others presented cowboys, farmers, immigrants and school children to show the world what a wonderful life people enjoyed in a democracy. It is a fascinating film.

Tito's Glasses, by Regina Schilling, Germany, 2014, is a documentary about Adriana Altaras, the daughter of Jewish Croats, who were partisans who fought the Nazis with Tito in Yugoslavia during World War II. When her parents died in Berlin, where the family had fled after the war, she discovered memorabilia of their past. She visits the scenes in what was once Yugoslavia to tell their story. It is a rather self indulgent tale, focusing more on her than her parents. It is not a very interesting.

Rabin, the Last Day, by Amos Gitai, Israel/France, 2015, is a combination of recreated scenes and actual archival news footage of the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995, by a 25-year-old student Yigal Amir, a right-wing Israeli radical. As a tribute to the Nobel Peace Prize winner on the 20th anniversary of his death, the filmmaker created the events of that horrific day. The excellent cast do an excellent job showing the tragedy and the investigation by the Shamgar Commission that followed. It leaves a profound impression on the viewer.

For me, Wedding Doll, by Nitzan Gilady, Israel, 2015, was the highlight of the press screenings. It features two magnificent performances by Asi Levi as Sarah, the mother of  Moran Rosenblatt as Hagit, her daughter, with a mild mental deficiency, who works in a toilet paper factory. The young girl has a discreet love affair with the factory owner's son, hoping that he will marry her. It is a sad tale, but the acting by the entire cast is superb. The photography of a little town in the desert is wonderful. I cannot imagine any member of the audience not being emotionally involved with the heroine.

MoMA presented a career retrospective from December 3-18 of the Italian film director Antonio Pietrangeli. I Know Her Well (lo la conoscevo bene), Italy, 1965, stars Stefania Sandsrelli as a pretty hairdresser, from a small town in Italy, who comes to Rome hoping to be a model and actress. A large number of men take advantage and deceive her with promises of love and help to achieve her goals. It is a scathing view of la dolce vita of the 1960s, which has not changed much today. Sandrelli is perfect in the comic/tragic role, and Pietrangeli is a fine director, who died much too young.

12-19-15 (l-R) Director Cynthia Nixon. cast member Staceyann Chin. producer Rosie O'Donnell at the opening night of "MoonStruck!" at tthe Culture Project. 25 Bleecker St. Monday night. 12-14-15.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

12-15-15 Stagers (L-R) Ed Kresley. director Wayne Cilento. Pamela Sousa. Gemze de Lappe. Robert La Fosse. Donna McKechnie at a press preview of "American Dance Machine for the 21st Century" at the New 42nd Street Studios. 229 West 42nd St.. Tuesday morning. 12-14-15.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

12-19-15 (l-R) Director Cynthia Nixon. cast member Staceyann Chin. producer Rosie O'Donnell at the opening night of "MoonStruck!" at tthe Culture Project.
25 Bleecker St. Monday night. 12-14-15

12-15-15 Stagers (L-R) Ed Kresley. director Wayne Cilento. Pamela Sousa. Gemze de Lappe. Robert La Fosse. Donna McKechnie at a press preview of "American Dance Machine for the 21st Century" at the New 42nd Street Studios. 229 West 42nd St.. Tuesday morning. 12-14-15


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