Monday, June 17, 2019

"ALADDIN" #1 AT WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE FOR FOURTH WEEK IN A ROW

Hey kids,

Just because Sperling is playing in Europe doesn't mean you shouldn't get an update on the worldwide box office. Here are the biggest films of the week ending June 16. Remember, we are talking about the worldwide box office. And unlike everyone else, we don't just look at the grosses from the last four days for new movies (which usually open on Thursday) or the grosses from the last three days for movies that have been out for a week or more. We add up all the grosses for the ENTIRE week. And that tells a surprisingly different story.



If you listen to everyone else, the #1 movie at the box office worldwide has changed every single week for the past four weeks. They've been:

Week ending May 26, 2019 -- ALADDIN
Week ending June 2, 2019 --  GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
Week ending June 9, 2019 --  DARK PHOENIX
Week ending June 16, 2019 -- MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL

But if you look at the total box office for the entire week (and remember, this is summer time when weekday box office is especially robust), if you add up the money made Monday through Sunday rather than just the money made over the weekend, here's what you find....



Week ending May 26, 2019 -- ALADDIN!
Week ending June 2, 2019 --   ALADDIN!!
Week ending June 9, 2019 --   ALADDIN!!!
Week ending June 16, 2019 -- ALADDIN!!!!

Yes, Aladdin has been the most popular movie in the world for the past four weeks. That's going to change next week when Toy Story 4 jumps to the top of the charts. But Aladdin's dominance is notable and it's a story you hear ONLY from Showbiz Sandbox. Here is our chart listing the top grossing movies worldwide for the ENTIRE week ending June 16. Enjoy! And we'll see you next week!

WEEK OF JUNE 16 SHOWBIZ SANDBOX WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE CHARTS FOR THE PREVIOUS SEVEN DAYS


  1. ALADDIN ($180mb) (Fourth week in a row) -- $120m/ $725m (week/total)  
  2. MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL ($110mb -- $102m (opening week)
  3. DARK PHOENIX ($200mb) -- $ 60m/ $204m
  4. SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 ($80mb) -- $ 57m/ $155m
  5. GODZILLA KING MONSTERS ($170mb) -- $ 47m/ $340m
  6. ROCKETMAN ($40mb) -- $ 31m/ $133m
  7. JOHN WICK 3 ($75m + $40m p&a) -- $ 24m/ $276m
  8. MY BEST SUMMER (Chi rom dram) -- $ 19m/ $45m
  9. PARASITE (K Palme d’Or winner) -- $ 16m/ $62m
  10. AVENGERS: ENDGAME ($360mb) -- $ 12m/ $2.742b (needs $46m)
  11. MA ($5mb) -- $ 11m/ $52m
  12. POKEMON DET PICACHU ($150mb) -- $ 10m/ $420m
  13. CHASING THE DRAGON 2 (Chi action) -- $ 10m/ $40m
  14. SHAFT $30mb) $  8m/ $8m
  15. LATE NIGHT ($13m Amazon pickup) -- $  5.4m/ $5.7m
  16. A CITY CALLED MACAU (Chi gambling drama) $  4m/ $4m (opening week)
  17. WHISPER OF SILENT BODY (Chi med mys) $  3m/ $3m (opening week)
  18. THE DEAD DON’T DIE (Jarmusch zombie) $  3m/ $5.4m
  19. GOING VERTICAL ($11m; Russian basketball) $  2m/ $56m (highest grossing Russian film in nation’s history)

https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Rankings




Thursday, May 09, 2019

THEATER: 'BLKS' IS SERIOUSLY FUNNY

BLKS ** 1/2 out of ****
THE ROBERT W. WILSON MCC THEATER SPACE

To the growing list of playwrights of color pushing the boundaries of contemporary theater, you can happily add the name of Aziza Barnes. Is it any wonder they attracted the attention of director Robert O'Hara? No, it is not. He's given BLKS a solid showcase that also shows off the versatility of the mainstage at the relatively new Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space. This was my first visit to the latest addition in NYC's collection of artistic spaces but it won't be my last. And this was my first chance to see a work by Barnes but it surely won't be my last for that either.

In this broad but pointed comedy, Octavia is having a bad day. She (Paige Gilbert) freaks out over a mole on her clitoris; it wasn't there yesterday. When her lover/friend with benefits/whatever Ry (Coral Peña) demurs when asked to play amateur gynecologist and see what's what, Octavia has had enough. She ends their brief fling/burgeoning romance (I don't know what to call it because neither does Octavia). When her roommate June Antoinette Crowe-Legacy) barges in and reveals her boyfriend has cheated on her (again) and a relative of Octavia says the potentially cancerous mole needs to be dealt with right away, they and fellow roomie Imani (Alfie Fuller) agree there's only one solution. Day drinking, rolling a blunt and generally partying up.

What follows is almost a roundelay of sexual entanglements, hilarious banter and the unwelcome but inevitable downer of reality intruding in on the fun via a violent confrontation on the streets and social media updates on the latest killing of a young black man.

Unlike other recent plays, BLKS doesn't become extravagantly out there or form-breaking. It's not a series of sketches but a well-constructed play with characters bouncing off one another in unexpected, revealing ways and a joyous sense of sisterhood. Even when they are practically swapping potential partners, you never doubt Octavia, June and Imani have each others backs. And while the humor is broad and turned up, unlike Barnes we never doubt its essential seriousness either.



O'Hara oversees the show with affection but several elements hold it back. This is probably a three star play hemmed in by certain choices. The scenic design by Clint Ramos is a trickster in its own right. The stage is wide and deep but the central space of the shared living room in their apartment is presented at a cramped, odd angle. It's puzzling until it rotates again and again, almost going widescreen as Ramos reveals a bathroom, bedrooms, a club and even a city street with subway entrances. And yet it both felt over-elaborate and attention-grabbing to me. You shouldn't be thinking about the sets as much as you do here.

Worse, two roles are poorly cast. Marié Botha as That Bitch On The Couch is merely ok as a clueless white woman bedeviled by what's appropriate for her to say. She's not bad and her interaction with Imani turns that character from a seemingly dippy sort into someone much more interesting. And yet, I couldn't help feeling the part deserved someone stronger. And Octavia's love interest Ry was mishandled entirely by Peña, who is making her Off Broadway debut and proved very uncomfortable onstage. Her body movement, her line deliveries, literally everything about her proved awkward, never more so than a key monologue at the climax she barely delivered much less brought to life.

The three leads were much better, with Fuller revealing depths to Imani, Crowe-Legacy full-on Amazonian as she straddled the stage with her personality and take-command voice and Gilbert anchored it all with ease as the conflicted but decent Octavia. Playing a string of male characters but mostly the nerdy, off-beat Justin (a guy who befriends June in a club), Chris Myers is scene-stealing good from start to finish. For a play centered on women, Barnes gifts him with a terrific showcase and Myers (and his abs, a key visual punchline in one scene) makes the most of it.

I wish Barnes had trusted their own talents as much. News alerts about the gunning down of young black men by the police both early on and at the end felt like an unnecessary attempt to prove the play had serious intent. I never doubted it, thanks to that more organic inclusion of a burst of violence on the street and the wickedly funny taunting Imani gives to the white woman she flirts with. Yet even at the end, Barnes insists on a string of monologues that come from a different world than the colorful comedy they created and made us care about.

Indeed, Barnes has a gift for character and dialogue -- when the the man Justin interacts with June but then feels even more complex after following her home and then interacts hilariously with Octavia in yet another unexpected but believable way, it's a sign of great potential. Barnes is a promising playwright but after delivering three women in a setting I'd be glad to return to, TV might just be in their future too.

NOTE: It's not every day NYC gets a new theater space. Check out this quick peek of The Robert W Wilson MCC Theater Space.



THEATER OF 2019

Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2
Choir Boy ** 1/2
White Noise ** 1/2
Kiss Me, Kate ***
Ain't No Mo' *** 1/2
Ain't Too Proud **
The Cradle Will Rock * 1/2
Mrs. Murray's Menagerie *** 1/2
Oklahoma! (on Broadway) ** 1/2
Socrates **
The Pain Of My Belligerence *
Burn This **
Hadestown *** 1/2
All My Sons * 1/2
Tootsie ** 1/2
Ink ***
Beetlejuice **
Estado Vegetal ***
Hans Christian Andersen * 1/2
Cirque du Soleil: Luzia ***
BLKS ** 1/2

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

MUSIC: CHRIS THILE CAPS CARNEGIE HALL RESIDENCY WITH OLD FRIENDS

NICKEL CREEK/PUNCH BROTHERS *** 1/2 out of ****
CARNEGIE HALL 

Did musician Chris Thile just conquer New York? I think he did! The multi-talented, mandolin-brandishing entertainer capped off a residency at Carnegie Hall with a delightful concert celebrating his two key bands: Nickel Creek, the bluegrass rabble rousers (but with respect!) that started it all for him and Punch Brothers, the ongoing group helping Thile to push boundaries of that genre ever further. (Thile won Grammys with both of them, including just this February.) The sold-out crowd was both enthusiastic and attentive, a rare and welcome attribute. The music was accomplished, lovely, lively and naturally climaxed with both groups merging on stage for a raucous hoedown and a final bow.

As if all this weren't enough, Thile just announced that in the future his radio show will record all its episodes in New York City. Yes, Live From Here -- the Show Formerly Known As A Prairie Home Companion -- that mainstay of public radio and a bastion of heartland humor, will be broadcast from the Big Apple. And with Live From Here already test-driven live from Town Hall featuring guests like jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant and Jeff Daniels doing a monologue from the Broadway show To Kill A Mockingbird, Thile makes this transition seem natural and unforced. Longtime fans can rest assured the show is still sponsored by Powdermilk Biscuits while newcomers will discover a sharper, more encompassing mix of humor and music.

If you don't know Thile, you've got a lot of catching up to do. He began performing as a pre-teen (and even guested on A Prairie Home Companion at just 15 years old). Nickel Creek has six studio album and Punch Brothers have five. But wait! Thile also has seven solo albums AND seven collaborative albums, including two especially good ones with respectively Edgar Meyer and Brad Mehldau.  (You can start right now with this 20m set by Nickel Creek for NPR's Tiny Desk concert series.)



The audience at Carnegie Hall clearly had no catching up to do. They began applauding songs the moment a particular beat or familiar melody was introduced. They shouted "Ahoy!" and "Oh boy!" at the right times. And generally they held off on applause until the sound of a song faded mostly away, though one man up front couldn't quite help himself and offered up a quiet but fervent "Yes!" just as one gorgeous tune ended in otherwise perfect silence.  The night began with the slightly more intellectual endeavor Punch Brothers, with songs that often contained distinct movements along with dynamics more often found in rock. After about 80m and a break, the somewhat more traditional Nickel Creek delivered fan favorites audiences have been cherishing for the past 20 years. The concert could happily have run twice as long.

The Punch Brothers set showed off their versatility, from "Julep" to the marvelous and haunting "Another World" from the EP Ahoy. The Nickel Creek set was even better, especially since fans haven't seen them in concert as much in recent years. Sara Watkins delivered especially piercing versions of "Anthony" and Bob Dylan's "Tomorrow Is A Long Time." Sean Watkins (her brother) offered an amusing intro to his own "21st of May." And Thile was sometimes a showman (making like Joe Cocker on one especially rocking mandolin solo),  sometimes immersed in the group of musicians at hand and sometimes sitting back and taking it all in with delight. His voice weaved in and out of the evening with its high lonesome sound, from Nickel Creek's 2001 debut album heartbreaker "The Lighthouse's Tale" right up to his most recent work with PB.

Time and again, the artists on stage crowded around one mike, shoulder to shoulder, making music. They did it just like the Weavers did at Carnegie Hall nearly 65 years ago...and just like Thile will surely be doing at Carnegie Hall for decades to come.



Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Monday, May 06, 2019

THEATER: CIRQUE DU SOLEIL GETS ITS MOJO BACK

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: LUZIA -- A WAKING DREAM OF MEXICO *** out of ****
NEXT TO CITI FIELD IN QUEENS, NYC 

I skipped the last few Cirque du Soleil shows that passed through New York City. After revolutionizing the circus, this Montreal-based company fell into a bit of a rut. Every show was an amorphous, New Age-y sort of experience. Worse, they kept trying to shoehorn a collection of fine circus acts (trapeze work, juggling and the like) into a narrative. This misguided idea about how to keep their shows fresh culminated in the godawful Broadway show Paramour. Perhaps that disaster sobered the company up. That show was followed immediately by this one, which comes to the city three years after its debut in Montreal. Luzia runs through June 9 before moving on to Connecticut, Canada and then London's Royal Albert Hall in January.

Here Cirque breaks its own "rules" but far more effectively. They take inspiration from a particular country, in this case Mexico. That gives the costumes and colors a focus their more outlandish  and conceptually vague shows lack. Many of the songs are sung in Spanish, rather than just the usual made-up Cirque nonsense language meant to be "exotic" and yet not alienate any of its worldwide audience. (Sure, a number of tunes are still vocalized with wordless ooh-oohing, but it's an improvement.) Plus the score is bursting with brass that -- again -- step away from New Age and create a friendlier, livelier more human vibe.

Indeed, the entire show has a warm, inviting feel that draws the audience in. It's human-scaled and all the better for it. This video gives highlights of the many acts on display.



I wasn't surprised for a second by anything in Luzia but I smiled with pleasure the entire time. A treadmill is used effectively early on. A woman/butterfly runs forward as her wings fill up the stage and a War Horse-like puppet of a stallion gallops behind her. It's not ground-breaking or unusual in any way -- just a lovely, simple effect. The same goes for the troupe (my favorite of the lot) dressed in bird-like costumes who tumble through hoops as those move forward and backward along the treadmill. One or two or three hoops are stacked up, while tumblers go alone or two or three at a time in both directions . Again, the routine is simplicity itself but done with elegance and charm. Of course, I say "simple" but of course it's only simple for folk who devote a lifetime to developing their skills and their bodies. (Many performers come from Eastern Europe, which boasts a deep circus tradition while others were competitive gymnasts, swimmers, wrestlers and the like in college.)

Start to finish, Luzia has an easy charm. True, it never wowed me with some outrageous never-seen-before feat of derring-do. But I don't relish truly death-defying acts for my afternoon's entertainment so that low-key vibe was a bonus. While the clown act usually had me cringing over his "antics" in Cirque shows from the past, Luzia's performer was top-notch, especially in an act-one bit where he engaged the audience in a beach ball competition. When a juggler had a disastrous outing (he lost his rhythm early on and dropped pins four or five times), it was a welcome reminder how difficult their skills are. And while the contortionist appearing towards the climax was unsettling rather than entertaining (he seemed more appropriate for Coney Island), his big routine was staged beautifully with a parade of performers placing candles all around the stage while the lights dimmed.

If an aerialist dipping into a pool of water proved kitschy (his Fabio-like hair was flipped so often and so dramatically it deserved its own trailer backstage), this was all part of the fun. A curtain of water also played a prominent role throughout the show and created some very cool cascading pictures indeed. At the end, the cast gathered around a table to celebrate and even this felt right, especially how they froze into place at various points to allow the clown a final bit of nonsense. If you've never been to Cirque du Soleil or, like me, you took a break when it became repetitive or just too omnipresent, Luzia is a good reminder of why they conquered the world in the first place.


THEATER OF 2019

Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2
Choir Boy ** 1/2
White Noise ** 1/2
Kiss Me, Kate ***
Ain't No Mo' *** 1/2
Ain't Too Proud **
The Cradle Will Rock * 1/2
Mrs. Murray's Menagerie *** 1/2
Oklahoma! (on Broadway) ** 1/2
Socrates **
The Pain Of My Belligerence *
Burn This **
Hadestown *** 1/2
All My Sons * 1/2
Tootsie ** 1/2
Ink ***
Beetlejuice **
Estado Vegetal ***
Hans Christian Andersen * 1/2
Cirque du Soleil: Luzia ***

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

THEATER: HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN'S LIFE WAS NO FAIRY TALE

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN: TALES REAL AND IMAGINED * 1/2 out of ****
THE DUKE ON 42ND STREET 

Proving how rich and varied the theater world is in New York City, the Ensemble for the Romantic Century is celebrating its 18th season (still high off the critical acclaim for their show Van Gogh's Ear) and yet somehow I've never seen any of their 40 or so productions. The company is known for creating atypical bio-plays that combine live classical music with the story of historical figures such as Emily Dickinson, Arturo Toscanini and the painter Vincent Van Gogh. In the case of the Danish writer most famous for fairy tales like "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Snow Queen" and "Thumbelina," they're even incorporating puppetry.

Owning an insane amount of folk and fairy tales (not to mention loving puppetry), I am perhaps the ideal adult audience member for this show. Sadly, it's a noble failure of the sort one would expect of a bio-play celebrating an historical figure. The odd twists and turns of Andersen's celibate life, the fine performances of pieces by Britten and Purcell among others and the sheer commitment of all involved make this a noble failure, but a failure nonetheless.

Written by Eve Wolf and directed by Donald T. Sanders, the show tells of Andersen's life from start to finish, making every dutiful stop along the way. Born into poor circumstances, Andersen hightailed it to Copenhagen at the age of 14 and lucked into a spot at the Royal Danish Theatre. That led to Hans impressing the head enough to land the lad a thorough education, funded by King Frederick VI no less. And up and up he went; rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty; writing pieces of theater, poetry, travelogues and yes fairy tales, the stories which slowly but surely made him world famous.

Andersen might share dinner with Charles Dickens but he never found similar success in his private life. He shunned his mother and sister as undesirably lower class, he yearned for acceptance from the aristocratic family that semi-adopted this stray of a child but never took him to their breast and he chastely yearned for men and women who clearly did not reciprocate his affections. Gay? Straight? Bisexual? The one thing most biographers agree on is that Hans died a virgin.




Frustrated sexual desire, social climbing, world fame eclipsed by private shame -- Hans Christian Andersen was a complicated man. While the details of his life are revealed, the play never turns them into dramatic fare. Most of his fairy tales are glancingly referenced, with only "The Ugly Duckling" (as autobiographical as it gets for him) and "The Little Match Girl" incorporated more fully into the show. Hans obviously identified with the maligned creature who blossomed into a swan. And the inexplicable climax of the play involves a silent reenactment of that heart-tugging fairy tale about a beggar girl freezing to death on New Year's Eve.

Bald statements about the life of Andersen are interrupted by so-so puppetry or fine performances of classical pieces arranged for two pianos and percussion along with a counter tenor. Arvo Pärt seems the odd duck here, alongside a program dominated by Purcell, Britten and one apiece by Igor Stravinsky and Samuel Barber. Still, that deeply religious Estonian composer is a personal favorite and a pleasure to hear. Nonetheless, I struggled to make any connection between the music and the story of Andersen's life, turning them into welcome but puzzling respites from the dramatics.

A better show would have the fairy tales revealing the soul of this sad writer more effectively with the music underscoring the action with purpose, rather than the randomness in selection I felt here. While the puppetry is by and large forgettable, the musical performances are solid. And the acting by leads Jimmy Ray Bennett and Randall Scotting (who also doubled as the singer at the performance I saw) were solid. Bennett showed Andersen's insecure name-dropping and craving for acceptance without making him too pathetic, no small task. Scotting (in multiple roles but especially the object of affection Edvard) was just as assured.

Yet even the ending is bungled, with a perfectly fine last image returning us to where the show began trampled on by an unnecessary coda declaring that the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen would live forever. Yes, we know. A better show would make that point without having to announce it so baldly.

THEATER OF 2019

Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2
Choir Boy ** 1/2
White Noise ** 1/2
Kiss Me, Kate ***
Ain't No Mo' *** 1/2
Ain't Too Proud **
The Cradle Will Rock * 1/2
Mrs. Murray's Menagerie *** 1/2
Oklahoma! (on Broadway) ** 1/2
Socrates **
The Pain Of My Belligerence *
Burn This **
Hadestown *** 1/2
All My Sons * 1/2
Tootsie ** 1/2
Ink ***
Beetlejuice **
Estado Vegetal ***
Hans Christian Andersen * 1/2
Cirque du Soleil: Luzia ***

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Friday, May 03, 2019

The Movies, Books, Theater, Concerts, CDs I've Seen/Read/Heard So Far In 2019

Updated MAY 13, 2019

KEY: star rating is on the four star scale
          meaning of "/" or "\"
          *** is three stars out of four
          ***/ is three stars leaning towards  3 1/2
          ***\ is three stars leaning towards 2 1/2


BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS
(Increasingly, I am sampling books, reading 10%, 20% even 40 or 50% before deciding to move on. The books below are only the ones I've read completely. That also explains what looks like generous grading -- more and more, if I sense a book is not going to be among my favorites, I stop reading. Too many books; too little time!)


1. Love To Everyone by Hilary McKay (ya WW II) *** 1/2
2. The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1926) *** 1/2
3. The Winter Of The Witch by Katherine Arden *** 1/2
4. The Music Of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg **
5. DogMan: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey ** 1/2
6. Cane by Jean Toomer (1923) ** 1/2
7. Underground: A Human History Of The World Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt *** /
8. Unknown Man #89 by Elmore Leonard (1977) *** 1/2
9. The Falconer by Dana Czapnik (NYC coming of age basketballer) *** 1/2
10. Midnight In Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham *** 1/2
11. The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (2005) ****
12. Pogo: Bona Fide Balderdash -- The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol 2 1951-1952 by Walt Kelly ****
13. Pogo: Evidence To The Contrary -- The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol 3 1953-1954 by Walt Kelly ****
14. The Complete Terry and the Pirates (1937-1938) by Milt Caniff *** 1/2
15. The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown (1941) *** 1/2
16. The Last Samurai by  Helen De Witt (2000) ****
17. There Is No Planet B: A Handbook For The Make Or Break Years by Mike Berners-Lee **
18. Cherokee America by Margaret Verble *** 1/2
19. A Taste For Honey by H.F. Heard (1941) ** 1/2
20. Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions And What They Tell Us About Ourselves by Frans De Waal ***
21. The New Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan **
22. The Players Ball by David Kushner ***
23. What Blest Genius: The Jubilee That Made Shakespeare by Andrew McConnell Stott ***
24. The Binding By Bridget Collins ** 1/2
25. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (1865) *** 1/2
26. Falter by Bill McKibben ** 1/2
27. Our Castle by The Sea by Lucy Strange **
28. Endling #2: The First by Katherine Applegate ***
29. Charles Dickens -- A Tale Of Two Cities (1859) ***
30. Call Mr. Fortune by H.C. Bailey (1920) ***
31. Aloha Rodeo by David Wolman and Julian Smith ** 1/2
32. Ghosts Of Gold Mountain by Gordon H. Chang ***
33. Just Kids by Patti Smith (2010) ***
34. The Porpoise by Mark Haddon ** 1/2
35. The Book Case by Dave Shelton ** 1/2
36. Maddy Alone by Pamela Brown (Blue Door #2) (1945) ** 1/2
37. Golden Pavements by Pamela Brown (Blue Door #3) (1947) ***/
38.





CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS (A strong emphasis on the ones I like, so don't think I love everything I listen to -- I just don't bother really listening to the ones I don't )

1. The Beach Boys -- Smiley Smile (1967) *** (esp side two)
2. The Beach Boys -- Wild Honey (1967) **
3. The Beach Boys -- Friends (1968) ***/
4. The Band -- Stage Fright (1970) ** 1/2
5. The English Beat -- Public Confidential ***
6. The Band -- Cahoots (1971) *** 1/2
7. The Band -- Northern Lights Southern Cross (1975) ***
8. Van Morrison -- The Prophet Speaks *** \
9. Dee White -- Southern Gentleman **
10. Ken Nordine -- Speak With Your Ears (1979) *** 1/2
11. David Gray -- Gold In A Brass Age ** 1/2
12. Van Morrison -- The Healing Game (1997) ***/
13. Various Artists -- Joni 75: A Celebration ** 1/2 /
14. Maren Morris -- Girls ***
15. Elton John -- Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Cowboy (1975) **
16. Joe Jackson -- Fool *** /
17. Trevor Horn -- Reimagines The 80s **
18. India Arie -- Worthy ** 1/2
19. The Everly Brothers -- Roots (1968) ***
20. John Pizzarelli -- For Centennial Reasons: A Salute To Nat King Cole ** 1/2
21. Julio Gutierrez -- Cuban Jam Session Vol 1 (1956) *** 1/2
22. Lone Justice -- This Is Lone Justice: The Vaughn Tapes 1983 ***
23. Nancy Wilson -- Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley (1962) *** 1/2 /
24. Nancy Wilson -- Something Wonderful (1962) *** 1/2
25. Nancy Wilson -- Tender Loving Care (1966) ***\
26. Ella Fitzgerald -- The Complete Decca Singles Vol. 1 *** \
27. Nancy Wilson -- The Swingin's Mutual w George Shearing (1961) ***
28. Antonio Carlos and Jocafi -- 20 Super Succesos ** 1/2
29. Idles -- Joy As An Act Of Resistance (2018) **
30. Mercury Rev -- Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited ** 1/2
31. Bobby Long -- Sultans **
32. Ramsey Lewis Trio -- Sound Of Christmas (side one solid, side two w strings awful) 1961 **
33. Hozier -- Wasteland, Baby! **
34. Better Oblivion Community Center -- Better Oblivion Community Center (Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers) ***\
35. Chet Baker and Art Pepper -- Playboys aka Pictures of Heath (1956) ***
36. Gilbert O'Sullivan -- Himself (1971) ** 1/2
37. Gilbert O'Sullivan -- Back To Front (1972) ** 1/2
38. Solange -- When I Get Home *** 1/2
39. Ben Platt -- Sing To Me Instead * 1/2
40. Bryan Adams -- Shine A Light **
41. BTS -- Map Of The Soul: Persona **
42. The Blue Nile -- A Walk Across The Rooftops (1984) ****
43. The Blue Nile -- Hats (1989) ****
44. Norah Jones -- Begin Again **
45. Johnny Cash -- The Christmas Spirit (1963) *
46. Les Paul and Mary Ford -- Bye Bye Blues (1952) ***
47. Melissa Etheridge -- The Medicine Show **
48. Ella Fitzgerald -- Ella and Basie! (1963) *** 1/2
49. Ella Fitzgerald -- Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! (1961) *** 1/2
50. Ella Fitzgerald -- Lullabies Of Birdland (1954) ** 1/2
51. Ella Fitzgerald -- Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson (1962) **
52. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong -- The Decca Duets (playlist of eight songs) ****
53. Paul McCartney -- Wildlife (1971) *
54. Paul McCartney -- Red Rose Speedway (1973) **
55. Patty Griffin -- Patty Griffin **
56. The Tallest Man On Earth -- I Love You. It's A Fever Dream ***/
57. Alan Parsons -- The Secret **
58. Gary Clark Jr. -- This Land **
59. Grupo Fantasma -- American Music: Volume 7 ***
60. Billie Eilish -- When We All Fall Asleep ***/
61. Lee Fields -- It Rains Love **
62. Corey Hart -- Dreaming Time Again ep **
63. George Winston -- Restless Wind **
64. The Claypool Lennon Delirium -- South Of Reality **
65. Wynton Marsalis NYT jazz playlist *** 1/2
66. The Coral -- Move Through The Dawn **
67. 5 Minutes That Will Make You Love The Piano NYT playlist ***
68. Aerosmith -- Toys In The Attic (1975)
69. George Strait -- Honky Tonk Time Machine ** 1/2
70. George Benson -- Walking To New Orleans **
71. Ben Webster -- Ben and "Sweets" (w Harry "Sweets" Edison) (1962) *** 1/2
72. Howard Jones -- Transform **
73. Husker Du -- Warehouse: Songs and Stories (1987) *** 1/2
74. Youssou N'dour -- History ** 1/2
75. Weezer -- Teal **
76. William Tyler -- Goes West **
77. The Who -- Who's Next  (1971) *** 1/2
78. Various Artists -- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season One soundtrack ***
79. Vangelis -- Nocturne **
80. Vampire Weekend -- Father Of The Bride ***/
81. Doris Day -- Duet (w Andre Previn Trio) (1962) ***/
82. Doris Day -- The Essential Doris Day (2014) ** 1/2
83. The O'Jays -- Back Stabbers (1972) ***
84. Nick Lowe -- Love Starvation ep ***
85. Professor Longhair -- New Orleans Piano (1972) ***
86. Lee Dorsey -- The New Lee Dorsey (1966) ***
87. Richard Thompson -- The Cold Blue soundtrack ***
88. Eric B and Rakim -- Paid In Full (1987) *** 1/2
89. Neil Diamond -- Hot August Night (1972) ***
90. Mavis Staples -- Live In London ** 1/2
91.



MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES 

(Not TV movies, of course, but movies and TV -- and TV movies if it comes to that. Mostly I only list TV shows when I've tackled an entire season at once or reappraising an entire series after it's over This doesn't really capture my ongoing watching of current TV.)

1. Sweepstakes Winner (1939) no stars
2. Captain Marvel **
3. Giant Little Ones *** (gay swimmers)
4. Leave No Trace (2018) *** 1/2
5. Minding The Gap (2018) *** 1/2
6. Wildlife (2018) *** 1/2
7. Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle (2018) **\
8. Us (w Luis) **\
9. Border (2018) ***/
10. Sweet Country (2018) *** 1/2
11. The Tale (HBO, 2018) * 1/2
12. Woman's World (at MOMA w Noam) **
13. Running On Empty (1988) ***
14. Shazam (2018) w Zoe * 1/2
15. The Good Fairy (1935 at MOMA w Noam) ***
16. Apollo 11 (doc) ***/
17. Avengers: Endgame **
18. El Rebozo De Soledad aka Soledad's Shawl (1952; dir Roberto Gavaldón) ** 1/2
19. La Noche Avanza aka Night Falls (1952; dir Roberto Gavaldón) **
20. Knock Down The House (Netflix doc OAC) ***
21. La Diosa Arrodillado aka The Kneeling Goddess (1947; dir Roberto Gavaldón) ** 1/2
22. Walking On Water (doc on Christo) ***
23. The Tin Drum (1979) (at Moma) **
24. Happily Buried (1939) * (waffle iron musical short)
25. Radio Hams (1939) (ham radio operators short) * 1/2
26. Killing Eve Season Two ***\
27. BookSmart ** 1/2
28. No Place To Go (1939) *
29. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum **** (ok, ** 1/2 , but still, pretty awesome)
30. Rocketman ** 1/2
31. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters *
32.



THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS
(The names after the shows are the people who joined me at the performance.)

1. Frankenstein (at Public) ** 1/2 
2. Minor Character (at Public) ***/ 
3. Ink (at Met) w Noam ** 1/2 
4. Choir Boy (at MTC) ** 1/2 
5. Chambre Noire (at Public) (w Noam) ** 1/2 
6. Weightless (at BRIC) (w Diego) (left early feeling ill, but quite promising)
7. Be More Chill (on Broadway) (w Noam) * 
8. Grease (at UN International School)  w Noam
9. Das Rheingold (at the Met w Noam) ** 1/2 
10.  White Noise (at the Public) ** 1/2 
11. Kiss Me, Kate! (alone) ***
12. Ain't No Mo (at Public w Zoe) *** 1/2 
13. Ain't Too Proud (w Cohen) ** 
14. Die Walkyrie at the Met (w the Machine and Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde, Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde and Stuart Skelton as Siegmund) *** 1/2 
15. The Cradle Will Rock (at CSC w Noam) * 1/2 
16. Mrs. Murray's Menagerie (at Ars Nova w Noam) *** 1/2 
17. Socrates (at Public w Noam) ** 
18. Siegfried (Ring Cycle at Met w Noam) *** (thrilling final act) 
19. Oklahoma! (at Circle In The Square w Evans) ** 1/2 
20. The Pain Of My Belligerence (solo) * 
21. Burn This (w Zoe) ** 
22. Hadestown (w Noam) *** 1/2 
23. All My Sons * 1/2 
24. Tootsie (w Noam) ** 1/2 
25. Ink (w Noam) *** 
26. Beetlejuice (w TJ) ** 
27. Estado Vegetal (w Diego) *** 
28. Hans Christian Andersen * 1/2 
29. Götterdämmerung (at Met w Noam) *** 1/2 
30. Tolkien exhibit of drawings, maps, timeline (!) etc at Morgan Library *** 1/2 
31. The Vessel outdoor public art at Hudson Yards (w Noam) ** 
32. BLKS (w Zoe) ** 1/2 
33. The Tale Of Genji exhibit at Met NYC *** 1/2 
34. Cirque Du Soleil: Luzia (w Noam) *** 
35. Octet (at Signature, alone, in previews before locked) ***/ 
36. August Wilson Annual Monologue Competition (w Noam) *** 
37. Nickel Creek/Punch Brothers at Carnegie Hall *** 1/2 
38. Legally Blonde (at Notre Dame Catholic Girls School in Manhattan) (w Jamie)
39. Octet (at Signature)(alone)  *** 1/2 
40. 



KEY: star rating is on the four star scale
          meaning of "/" or "\"
          *** is three stars out of four
          ***/ is three stars leaning towards  3 1/2
          ***\ is three stars leaning towards 2 1/2

Updated May 13, 2019