A “Bizarre” Dance Movie

Robert Gottlieb isn’t impressed with Robert Altman’s new dance movie “What a bizarre movie this is! Unlike most ballet movies, whose plots are relentlessly clichéd and predictable (a Rocky in tights or tutu making it against all odds), The Company has no plot at all. Although the story is credited to Barbara Turner and Neve Campbell (who also stars and co-produces), there isno story; instead, there are slices of ballet life (the physical hardships, the pain, the anxiety, the camaraderie, the glory) and yards and yards of dancing, almost all of it bad. There are characters who are never characterized, situations that are never resolved. It’s often hard to tell who is who. Or why.”

Next Wave Back On Track

The Brooklyn Academy’s Next Wave Festival has “served to celebrate innovative work begun in Europe or in Manhattan lofts and museum spaces.” But its 20th anniversary festival last year was something of a disappointment for an enterprise that traditionally sought out the new and risky. This year’s installment, however, re-establishes Next Wave’s aesthetic direction, writes John Rockwell. And despite some financial hardships, the Brooklyn Academy takes the lead once again.

The Download Scam

As more and more consumers get used to the idea of paying for music online, a new array of download sites has popped up on the internet. But there’s a problem – many of them do not own the music they’re selling. Consumers pay the sites for downloading, then discover that the music they’ve “purchased” hasn’t been licensed.

Lebrecht: The Sky Is Falling, And I Mean It This Time

Norman Lebrecht has been proclaiming the death of classical music recording for some time, and now, he is confidently predicting that 2004 will be the last year of the classical recording industry’s existence as a distinctive branch of the music business. Classical records have become a niche market, says Lebrecht, and haven’t even begun to utilize the new technologies available to them. Worse yet, the labels themselves have abandoned any effort to invest in new talent for more than a paltry few albums, thus making it impossible for emerging musicians to develop an international following.

Return of the Kings

Just in case you missed it (as if that were even possible,) Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane are back on Broadway, reprising their starring roles in The Producers. “The two actors, whose performances so delighted critics and audiences that the show has not been able to sustain its once formidable ticket sales without them, were enticed to return for 14 weeks at a salary of $100,000 a week each, an enormous sum for the theater.” It’s a situation that seemed ripe for a huge, high-profile flop, but the reviews this morning, a day after the pair’s re-debut, are unanimous in their assessment: Lane and Broderick own these roles, and the public is unlikely to accept anyone else.

Producing Chemistry

The Broadway public is on record: Lane and Broderick are Bialystock and Bloom, and no one else will do. Michael Riedel agrees, and chalks it up to the easy, almost improvisational interaction between the two stars: “They broke each other up several times throughout the show, and, during the final number, when Broderick dropped his cane, Lane burst out in joyous laughter. That chemistry is in many ways a key to the success of the show, which, at its heart, is a love story between two lonely misfits.”

Resolutions of a Critic

Paul Horsley has a few things he’s hoping to do better in 2004 than he did in 2003, and he’s not afraid to share. “I will write less, listen more… I will not whine… I will have agendas. A newspaper critic has two basic functions: to cover the arts news and to comment on it. I’m going to work harder in my commentary to uphold certain things that I deem to be worthy of further support.” Horsley also resolves not to be too nice, and laments having left a particular sentence out of a recent review of a Mahler symphony: “We wept at the usual places, but for different reasons.”

Ararat To Get A Showing In Turkey

Ararat, the film by Toronto-based Atom Egoyan about the genocide of Armenians at the time of the First World War, can be shown in Turkey but at least one scene will be cut, a Turkish culture ministry official said yesterday. The film by Egoyan, a Canadian of Armenian heritage, tells of the plight of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey when a 1915-23 campaign to force them from the eastern part of the country left as many as 1.5 million dead. Turkey says the figures are inflated and that Armenians died during civil unrest and not as the result of a planned campaign.”