Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Posts from — November 2008

Sunlight on the Sand AND Dames Aplenty

what aint they got?

what ain't they got?

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is sunlight on the sand and dames aplenty in the sparkling new revival of Roger and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” regardless of what twinkling hedonist Luther Billis’ (as played by a cheeky Danny Burnstein) groans.

Stepping into the theater I instantly felt a sense of glee and burning anticipation in the crowd. This anticipation was not misplaced as I observed that many of the beaming theatergoers were probably old enough to have seen the original “South Pacific”.  I wondered if this musical was good enough to see more than once and after watching it, I am sure it is. Their anticipation slowly changed into participation as I was touched by many couples sitting side by side slowly singing along or mouthing the words. My peers and I may not have been in the same situations but the wonderful thing about “South Pacific” and its classic score is simply that. It is classic and will always be relevant. It is a multifaceted gem of sorts to be handed down from generation to generation and to bridge the generation gap. [Read more →]

November 14, 2008   Comments Off on Sunlight on the Sand AND Dames Aplenty

An About Face, About Time Too.


"art for arts sake"

"art for arts sake"


            My mentor once told me, “Artists need an ego to protect them from the cold, cold world”. That being said, I feel that one of my proudest achievements is in my ability to continually paint things in a good light. Pun intended.

However it wasn’t always that way. [

November 14, 2008   4 Comments

The Good, the Bad, the Anticlimactic


Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera

               It was the perfect story for an opera. The drama and tension that is crucial to the success of the performance was inherent in the subject. Furthermore, one of the greatest composers of our time produced the music that tells the tale of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Yet somewhere along the road from conception to performance, the opera Doctor Atomic fell apart. The final product was a discordant ensemble of operatic brilliance and stale segments. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   1 Comment

Dr. Atomic Lacks a BANG!

The explosion of an atomic bomb or any bomb for that matter should have opened with a resounding “BAM”! Or at least a “BANG” some form of explosion because no adjective would rightly do it justice. Regrettably, this was most not the case at John Adam’s and Peter Sellers new contemporary opera “Dr. Atomic”.
The beauty of Met opera house overshadowed the poker stiff soldiers and officials at either wings of the stage and officials that compromised the introduction of the opera. Straight spined, they were as appealing to the viewer as ordinary school choir and just as simple. An atomic bomb releases a massive amount of energy but it was not the case with the singers and this led to their less than convincing performances. The singers were stationary and according to one viewer the beginning could simply be categorized as “flat”. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   1 Comment

Meeting Jeff


Bill Charles

          The room was filled with the anxious air of anticipation. Eighteen college students were sitting in the classroom – waiting for a legend to arrive. They knew of his many accomplishments – having won the European Publishers Award for Photography and having his work displayed in over fifteen exhibitions. Then, he arrived and Jeff Mermelstein was a regular man wearing regular street clothes, but like his photography of ordinary people, there was something extraordinary about him – his passion for taking pictures. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   Comments Off on Meeting Jeff

Waltzing With Bashir

Ari Folman as himself

Ari Folman as himself

“Memory is the most subjective thing in the world, I realize that memoryis alive”. Filmmaker Ari Folman reflected, meditatively leaning his chin on an open right palm, during a talkback on his unique animated documentary “Waltz with Bashir”.
It is the fantastical quality of his memories of the Lebanese War and his own personal guilt of his participation that led him to believe animation was the only channel that would do his memory justice. The animation, done by hand, focuses more on facial contours and highlights, in an attempt at realism. The seemingly simplistic, lines that make up his furrowed brow and shadows under his eyes, are still accurate enough to translate self-torture and a guilty conscience.
Apart from being a genre all itself, “Waltz with Bashir” is a personal reflection of an Israeli soldier who believes that a “memory repressed is a memory conserved”. In this case the memory would be the blind massacre of innocent Palestinians, during the Lebanon War by vindictive Bashir supporters. The Christians were enraged that their leader Bashir was murdered and they took it out on the refugee camps where people that were living there for years. Bullets and blood emitted from all directions and this destruction underwent a transition to actual film footage. Women, drifted across the screen screeching, flailing, pulling their hair, all in an open supplication for an answer to the cause of the destruction of their homes and families. This shows his acknowledgement that animation cannot fully invoke pathos as strongly as actual camera footage. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   1 Comment

Dr. Atomic

San Francisco Opera)

The most highly anticipated performance of the opera season, “Dr. Atomic”, can only be described as a flop. There has never been an opera with a topic such as this. It was unheard of until this point to have an opera based on a historical topic of this nature and for a libretto to be created for an opera instead of vice versa. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   Comments Off on Dr. Atomic

Francine Prose

            After a grueling five week long tour promoting her new book “Goldengrove” it is understandable that Ms. Francine Prose would want to take a break and do a reading of another one of her pieces. The short story that Ms. Prose read, entitled “Hansel and Gretel” is very amusing and fantastical story. The main character, Polly, is in a very bizarre situation, to say the least. It is surprising that it was actually based on a situation that the author was in. The title and the beginning of the story do not seem to match. It is not until later that the audience understands the connection to the children’s story of “Hansel and Gretel”. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   Comments Off on Francine Prose

An Extraordinary Photographer: Mermelstein

Street photography is something that has always fascinated me. I really enjoy looking at books and albums of photographs. Last week Jeff Mermelstein, a street photographer, came to our class to speak about photography and show us some of his pictures. Some people go out to photograph a specific theme or idea, while Mermelstein prefers to shoot everything he finds interesting and then choose a theme later. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   Comments Off on An Extraordinary Photographer: Mermelstein

Francine Prose

Who is Francine Prose? This was the question that many people hoped would be answered when the president of the PEN American Center came to Baruch College. Although many of the attendees already knew of this distinguished author and read several of her books, and others were just curious to see what this event had to offer, everyone wanted to hear what Prose had to say. During a short reception before the actual reading, Prose spoke personally to whoever had the guts to approach her, and later answered questions from the guests. Listening to Prose speak, and hearing what others had to say about her, it is safe to say that she is a devoted and brilliant writer, as well as an open-minded and easy-going person with a great sense of humor. [Read more →]

November 12, 2008   1 Comment