I’ve got a new Think Again called “Where’s the Real Newt?” here.
And I did a piece on the new, fun, spate of celebrity anti-Semitism for the Daily Beast here.
This week is the beginning of the annual “Rendezvous With French Cinema” at the Film Society at Lincoln Center. It’s a great schedule, from what I’ve seen so far. The schedule is here. My favorite film so far, is (by far) Hands Up, directed by Romain Goupil, about a group of young French school children who protect their Chechen friend from deportation. It moved me to tears. Antony Cordier’s Happy Few is amazingly erotic and also intelligent, and I liked Claude LeLouche’s touching look back at his career, What Love May Bring.
A few years ago, the society writer and critic Rex Reed was arrested in Tower Records on the Upper West Side (now defunct) with a few cds in his pocket. Of the two possibilities, that Reed was a petty thief, or as he said, he planned to pay for them and forgot, most people, including myself, believed Reed’s story. He forgot. Like most of us, Reed, born in 1938, does not have the memory he once had.
I thought about Reed’s memory loss when I read his foolish, snobbish review of Maude Maggart’s new show at the Oak Room at the Algonguin.
I wasn’t going to go to the show this year, owing to time constraints, but Reed’s review pissed me off. I wondered if maybe something had gone wrong this time, though, fortunately, the far more perspicacious Stephen Holden could have taught the fading Mr. Reed a few things with his much more sensitive and intelligent review in the Times. Maude had her hair up and she was a little less scholarly than usual—though the songs required a lot of research; they cover literally a hundred years of composition. Anyway, she sounded as wonderful as ever; the word “ethereal” was invented for this woman, for her voice, for her looks and for her intelligence and charm. Read all about her here and go see her sometime at the Algonguin if you can afford it. She’ll be there through next weekend.
Raul Malo appears to be on a never-ending tour on behalf of his self-produced, home-studio-ed Tex-o-centric new album Sinners & Saints on Fantasy Records. He did three sold-out shows at City Winery. The Texafied sound came from Malo’s decision to bring the songs he recorded to Ray Benson’s Bismeaux Studios and finished the record with Augie Meyers on the Vox Continental organ and guitarist Shawn Sahm, (son of Sir Douglas) and background vocals by The Trishas (Savannah Welch, Kelley Mickwee, Liz Foster and Jamie Wilson). Thing is, Malo’s voice is pretty much unsurpassed in contemporary music. There’s not a richer, more beautiful instrument anywhere when he’s focused. Sometimes he just likes to have fun. This was one of those nights and Malo sang a bunch of songs which I knew the lyrics to better than he did. (Hey Raul: The second verse goes: “I smoke old stogies I have found. Short, but not too big around….”) And nobody was complaining, except the guy at the bar from “the west Texas town of El Paso” whose feelings got a little hurt. I’ve been lucky enough to see Raul three times this year, but this time, the revelation of the shows at City Winery was hotshot accordionist Michael Guerra, who was frequently showcased throughout the show and gave it a spirit of virtuosity that was new to Malo’s post-Mavericks’ career. Anyway, he did a more spirited version of “Gunatanamera” the night I saw him with his mom there, at the beach this summer, but you really can’t have a bad time at a Raul Malo show and I sure didn’t.