Skandalkonzert – Music with Punch

March 31, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, MUSIC |

March 31, 1931: A concert at the Vienna Concert Society by the ‘atonalists,’ Schoenberg, Berg, inter alios, ended part-way through when fights broke out. It was a bit like the scene in No Surrender when a punk band comes out to entertain old age pensioners at a New Years Eve dance hall. Concert organizer Erhard Buschbeck punched a man out: a witness described it as “the most harmonious sound at the entire concert.” The show closed during Alban Berg’s “Five Orchestral Songs on Picture-Postcard Texts by Peter Altenberg.”  Mahler’s contribution to the programme, the best of the bunch by far,…

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Stan & Ollie

March 11, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

It's another fine mess...

(Directed by Jon S. Baird) (2019) “Stan’s cry, or the frequent sight of Oliver, prostrated and turning up his face in speechless appeal, may seem unfunny at first acquaintance, but gradually grow upon one until they are hilarious, irresistible, looked-for, and cherished.”* And once you watch a few of Laurel and Hardy’s short and longer films (try Way Out West (1937), which we watched to get in the mood for the film under review, or Laughing Gravy (1931), which you can see on YouTube), the appeal starts to soak in: you sense something deep and loving under the chaos, peevishness, and…

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Kosky Blows His Magic Flute – And it’s a Catastrophe

March 2, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Opera, OPERA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Barry Kosky, Festival Theatre, Adelaide, 2 March 2019) A filthy hot early autumn, Adelaide buzzing with stock car racers; construction blocking easy access to the Festival Theatre, its bars cash-free to absolve staff from learning to do sums in their heads; refugee photos on the gallery walls; no paper towels in the men’s to conserve resources (you use a dodgy blower the size of a cigarette packet – wonder what is available in the ‘female and unisex’ facility?) and a sweaty, sun-burnt matinee crowd, applauding every number performed by the ‘B’ team – What else could one add…

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At Eternity’s Gate

February 24, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Julian Schnabel) (2018) It takes some men a long time to grow up. Julian Schnabel began his career as an artist, allegedly; his notorious ‘plate paintings’ moved Robert Hughes to say of him: “Schnabel’s work is to painting what Stallone’s is to acting: a lurching display of oily pectorals.”*  Then he produced a memoir, when only aged in his mid-thirties, without having achieved anything of note – if you want a nasty laugh, read Hughes’ review of it in The New Republic.**  Then he found the medium of film, where his talents and sensibilities obviously lie: after Basquiat (1996) a…

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The Aerodrome

February 17, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(by Rex Warner) (1941) Prima facie, this is a poor book: clunkily written, slurpily edited, wildly uneven, as devoid of depth in characters or the forces moving them as any book can be. And yet, it has something; it tackles the great theme of the 20th Century, and beyond – totalitarian cohesion and ‘cleanliness’ vs the chaos and mud of ‘normal’ humanity.  And the dry, deadpan way in which high tragedy and low comedy are presented here seem in a screwy authentic way to mirror the keep-calm-and-carry-on fashion of the time in which it was written. Roy (i.e. Rex) is…

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