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ARTSBEAT – November 28

007 Returns

Britain’s #1 secret agent is back on the big screen, and the latest Bond film may be the best yet.  He’s still the most daring spy with a “license to kill,” a host of gadgets, a weakness for vodka, and a never-ending stream of those Bond girls; and the latest installment, Skyfall – marking the 50th anniversary of the franchise is no exception. This is the first Bond film that is directed by an Oscar-winning filmmaker – Sam Mendes and the film delves into the character’s childhood.  Fan favorite Daniel Craig is getting rave reviews – bringing to the role grittiness, reality, and a “cool” factor. It may remain a mystery why the “man of mystery” transcends generations as the father of all action movies doesn’t look like he’s going away anytime soon.

 

Pan Tadeusz Score in Concert

The Paderewski Symphony Orchestra of Chicago under the direction of Wojciech Niewrzoł will present a concert version of the score from the Polish film – Pan Tadeusz on Saturday, December 1, 7:00 pm at Copernicus Center – 5216 W Lawrence Avenue, Chicago IL.  Pan Tadeusz is an epic poem by the famed poet, writer and philosopher Adam Mickiewicz.  The book was first published in 1834 in Paris, and is considered by many to be the last great epic poem in European literature – recognized as the national epic of Poland.  In 1999, a film version was made by director Andrzej Wajda.  The score by Wojciech Kilar is filled with majestic, heart-rending melodies and tense, visceral strings. Fragments of text will be interpreted by Chicago actors Elżbieta Kochanowska, Julitta Mroczkowska, Andrzej Krukowski, Bogdan Łańko and Stanisław Wojciech Malec. For tickets:  773-467-9000; www.pasochicago.org.

The Tale of Two Hitchcocks

Alfred Hitchcock, who died in 1980, is getting a lot of attention this year.  That aloof and somewhat creepy director is back in two biographical films – HBO cable television’s The Girl and the film Hitchcock dramatize the director’s overbearing fixation on his blonde leading ladies. His obsession and harassment of actress Tippi Hedren during the making of The Birds is portrayed in The Girl with Toby Jones as Hitchcock. In Hitchcock, Anthony Hopkins plays the master of suspense as he tries to get Psycho off the ground, and terrorizes Janet Leigh in the process.  Hitchcock’s wife and lifelong partner, Alma Reville features prominently at the center of each film.

 

Review: Strindberg Double-Bill

Directed by Robert Greer, The August Strindberg Repertory Theatre presented a double-bill of works by the Swedish author and playwright (1849-1912).Casper’s Fat Tuesday, a little known work which was discovered and reconstructed from a puppet play, is a departure from such masterpieces as Miss Julie and Ghosts. The dance section which followed the comic showpiece did not transition well from the spoken text – with no apparent connection to the play. Alternating in the leading role of “Punch” and in a featured dance role in the piece that followed, Joanna Sienkiewicz speaks with authority and displays an innate connection to the audience; her dancing is luminous and focused. Natalia Lepore Hagan animated the role of the “Officer” with elocution and gesture in Commedia dell’Arte style. Kate Bishop exhibited a purity of voice in song, and Dina Rosenmeier was appropriately dazed and determined as the “Puppet master’s wife.” The second offering – The Stronger is rich in allegory and lends itself to many layers of interpretation.  What makes the play so powerful is its immaculate stagecraft. The entire scene consists of a single conversation as two friends meet in a fashionable café – truths emerge and the relationship becomes less than cordial.  Dina Rosenmeier balanced the needs of the script and carefully brought the character’s emotional turmoil to the forefront with a nuanced classical delivery.

 

Ailey Dance Theater at City Center

 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies returns for the 41st consecutive year to the New York City Center stage from November 28 – December 30 with exciting performances that have become a joyous holiday tradition.  The beloved Revelations will be performed with live music and an expanded cast of 50 dancers.  For tickets: 212-405-9082; www.alvinailey.org

 

Ballet Hispanico at the Apollo

Ballet Hispanico will present the dance event of the holiday season at the legendary Apollo Theater – 253 West 125th Street, New York, NY on December 1 at 7:30 pm. Exploring the contemporary Latino soul through dance, the evening features three premieres that put a contemporary spin on Cuba’s danzón, Argentina’s tango, and 1980s Spanish pop. For tickets: 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.

 

Love, Poetry and Art

Two Loves – an evening of love, poetry and art will take place on Tuesday, December 4, at 7:00 pm at The Kosciuszko Foundation – 15 East 65th Street, New York, NY; www.thekf.org. The “two loves” are works by Polish poet Bolesław Leśmian and Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner. Books by both authors have been translated by Marian Polak-Chlabicz, who will read some of the poems and answer questions from the audience. The setting will be among drawings and paintings by Janusz Skowron, the illustrator of both the volumes.  Polish actor, Tadeusz Turkowski will offer his interpretation of the verse.

 

TV: Taylor-Burton Love Story

Lifetime television’s film – Liz & Dick about the world’s first paparazzi couple, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, stars Lindsay Lohan and Australian actor Grant Bowler.  The story unfolds during a supposed TV interview post-second-divorce. While still married, the couple did a 60 Minutes television interview from which this is based. The film will be repeated on the basic cable station and is available using the “On Demand” feature.

 

Kisielewska Paintings at Skulski Gallery

 The Skulski Art Gallery of the Polish Cultural Foundation in New Jersey will present an exhibit of paintings by Polish artist Malgorzata Kisielewska from December 7 through 31. Kisielewska was born in Webrzezno, northern Poland.  Since an early age she showed a talent for painting, but in 1985 her talents came to the fore when she took up painting and started to express her emotions on a larger scale. Between 1985 and 1990 she completed about fifty oil works.  Encouraged by a friend, she entered a competition in Strasburg, France in 2001. After she won the competition, her watercolors were presented at solo exhibition at the Palais de l’Europe in Strasburg. The public is welcome to the opening reception on Friday, December 7, 8:00-10:00 pm; admission is free and light refreshments will be served. Skulski Art Gallery – 177 Broadway, Clark, NJ, just of exit 135 from the Garden State Parkway.  For more information contact: 732-382-7197; aknowak@verizon.net.

 

Piano Recital in Chicago

Michal Korzistka will present a piano recital at the Polish Museum of America – 984 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL on December 16, at 3:00 pm. The concert program will include the works of Fryderyk Chopin, Karol Szymanowski and Wojciech Kilar. All proceeds will help support The Polish Museum of America Library Rare Book Restoration Project.