August 23, 2010

Plus, L’Insctint de Mort puts Pacino to shame, the US Open returns to Queens, Jonathan Franzen finally gives us a second novel, and more cultural gems to love this week

Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries, National Gallery, London, through September 12
In its last days, this fascinating exhibition at London’s National Gallery uncovers the significant role applied science has played in the art world, highlighting instances in which museums and collectors have been shocked to discover when so-called artistic fact is suddenly proven false. One particular exhibit focused on how “€œThe Man with No Skull,”€ a painting once attributed to Hans Holden, actually postdates the artists death. No one ever said that the arts and sciences were made to get along.

Dirty Sexy Politics
In her new book, Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain, establishes herself as a brutally honest commentator concerning the unfortunate state of the Republican party, which, according to the attractive blonde, has veered from its original principles. Filled with wit and insight, the Daily Beast columnist’s book raises hope for a political party whose moment in the sun is bound to return thanks to a newly invigorated crop of young republicans. 

Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through January 2011
In the first comprehensive survey of Richard Avedon’s photography since 1978, we get to see, admire, and revel in the lush compositions that made Avedon one of the quintessential fashion photographers of the twentieth century. Known for photographing women living a life of luxury, his pictures successfully created an aesthetic that came to define the stylish pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar

Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, New York, August 28 – 29
Part of New York City’s Summer Stage concert series, this two-day festival promises to bring jazz back to the parts of New York City where Charlie “€œBird”€ Parker once gave lessons on cool to all of those beat poets that tried to emulate his persona, aura, and improvisational nature. This year’s festival promises to stay true to his innovative style with renown jazz pianist McCoy Tyner taking center stage in the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park and Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park.

L’Instinct de Mort
Starring Vincent Cassel as the notorious French criminal Jacques Mesrine, L”€™Instinct de Mort takes us on a journey of crime with one of the most alluring figures in international criminal history. During his reign in the 1960s he was responsible for various murders, high-profile heists, and even numerous daring escapes from high security prisons—he ultimately came to be known as French Public Enemy #1. Cassel’s portrayal of Mesrine is already giving Al Pacino in Scarface a run for his money as the most notorious criminal celluloid has to offer.

2010 US Open, New York, August 30 – September 12
The world’s greatest tennis players all come together in Arthur Ashe stadium in the heart of Queens for what is probably the world’s best known hard court grand slam—sorry Australia. While lacking the all-white dress splendor and decorum that Wimbledon offers, the U.S. Open does promise its fair share of high-powered aggressive tennis with Roger Federer looking to regain his place as number one in the world.

Raised on Hi-Fi, Gallery 1988, San Francisco, through August 28
A gallery exhibition that takes two obsessions of the 70s and combines them to create bizarre prints of what that strange decade had to offer. Artist Netherland takes the world of fashion and what was once thought to be the pinnacle of sound, Hi-Fi, and combines them in colorful prints that transport the viewer, for the better of worse, to the decade of disco.  At times it is difficult to understand if he is looking back at that notorious decade of polyester with longing, adoring eyes or the scornful gaze of the critic.

La Rêve, The Wynn Las Vegas
Not very many people get to say that they”€™ve seen an entire Vegas show from an underwater perspective. so wouldn”€™t it be nice if you could be one of the few that could? Available as part of a scuba package, The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas is offering special passes that allow you to see their water-themed show, La Rêve, from backstage. It is also worth mentioning that backstage in this particular show is enjoyed underwater with your own personal scuba gear.

AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa – The Criterion Collection
This beautiful collection of twenty-five Akira Kurosawa films should be on any self proclaimed cinephile’s wish list.  Kurosawa is much more than simply a director; he is an auteur and an artist in his own right. His films have ranged from probes into the shattered Japanese society that was left in the wake of World War II, to sprawling Samurai Epics, film noire, and even his own take on Macbeth, which is arguably the best film adaptation of any Shakespearian work. In usual Criterion style, the set also includes a book with an introduction to every film written by the unmatched Kurosawa historian and film critic Stephen Price. 

Freedom: A Novel
After impressing the literary world—and then some—with his breakout novel Corrections, which found a home on many a “€œBest of the Decade”€ list, Jonathan Franzen is finally giving us a second read nine years later, in the form of Freedom.  Set at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the novel paints a portrait of a budding mid-western family as they deal with trials and tribulations of a post 9/11 world. Freedom takes up many of the same themes and tones of his previous work, thrusting us into the lives of characters that are both detestable and relatable because like so many of us, they have their reasons, and we can”€™t help but recognize them. 


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