For 2016 the APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) Conference offered a broad array of performers and entertainment to behold, not only for those members of the organization looking to fill out their calendars for the upcoming year – at arts facilities, festivals, colleges and universities and the like – but for aficionados of the performing arts in general. As the world’s largest networking forum and marketplace for performing arts professionals, APAP features more than 3,600 presenters, artists, managers, agents and emerging arts leaders from all 50 US states and more than 30 countries convening in one place at one time to both celebrate the disciplines they have dedicated their professional lives to, as well as discuss in many forums and panels the issues which impact the production and presentation of culture, both in the US and globally. While the Conference program unfolded over January 15-19 at the New York Hilton Hotel, the showcase performances which energize and thrill both members and general audiences alike took place over a longer period, from January 12-21 (with some showcasing performers in residencies extending for a week or more beyond), and could be seen at a great number of sites around New York in addition to the Hilton.
While New York is justly celebrated as a center of culture year-round, in January this distinction is magnified by the confluence of several events concentrated not only on the presentation of diverse practitioners of the performing arts, but equally dedicated to the business, aesthetics, logistics and issues involved with the realm of live performance. Given New York’s situation as a gateway to the US and its distinction as a global city, this entails both national and international aspects.
While so many aspects of Scottish heritage have influenced North American culture that it’s easy to take them for granted, it’s always a grand occasion to celebrate them during Tartan Week, which will be unfolding from April 6-11. The expanding slate of events, featuring daily concerts, parties, and of course capped off by the 17th Annual Tartan Day Parade down Sixth Avenue on Saturday, April 11th, was announced at St. Andrews restaurant, at 140 West 46 Street – a site of a number of the events in store.
While it seems for those who’ve lived in Manhattan for a while that the imperative of real estate development in Manhattan was exacerbated in the 12 years of the Bloomberg Imperium to the point that the arts have been pushed further and further out into neighboring boroughs, it’s still possible to see and listen to a diverse array of performers here. One great example of this is the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference, which takes place in January every year. While the primary focus of the confab is to unite in one place folks whose business it is to manage theaters, festivals and other venues all over the nation where live performances are staged, and accordingly there are many panels and presentations which address issues in that arena, the undeniable highlight of the occasion is the showcase performances by the musicians, actors, dancers, magicians and other live acts which give the arts presenters an opportunity to see which acts they may wish to book for their upcoming year. Many of these take place at the conference headquarters at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan, but for the duration of the event many other venues host performers as part of it (both in Manhattan and elsewhere in the city), and one need not be an arts presenter to enjoy some of the acts.
Fringe Fests have always been a place to discover new voices, whether it be playwrights, performers or troupes. Established in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947, the concept spread worldwide to Adelaide, Australia; Grahamstown, South Africa and Edmonton, Canada among many others,…
For the second time I have tried to see Wally Shawn’s hit revival at the Public, “The Designated Mourner,” and twice I have gotten just thisclose to winning one of the prized twenty-dollar tickets. But always, I’m one or two souls away from the Golden Fleece when they announce they have no more seats.
A favorite, and justifiable, pastime among many pop music aficionados is to grouse about who has not yet been enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You’ll frequently hear such worthy names as Chicago, the Moody Blues, Heart, KISS, and Hall & Oates on that list. What is truly a crime is that you rarely hear anyone lament why Johnny Rivers, who placed 17 singles on Billboard’s Top 40 charts and sold over 30 million records in his career, has not yet received rock music’s ultimate honor. “Johnny Rivers is a talented guy,” admitted Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, the person most responsible for determining who makes it through the hallowed doors of the Cleveland shrine, when I spoke to him at a media event for the ill-fated Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in SoHo a few years ago.
The Beach Boys Golden Anniversary concert tour has attracted a lot of attention not only obviously because of the milestone but it also marks the first time in sixteen years that original members Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine have appeared on stage together. Numerous lawsuits ranging from songwriting credit to the use of the Beach Boys name have caused such hard feelings that all of the aforementioned trio have had their own bands on the road at the same time over the years.
Broadway has always had revivals of well-received shows but it has rarely had reinventions of shows that flopped. “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” started its run in 1965 and quietly closed a year later. The show starred John Collum and Barbara Harris and its offbeat story of a divorced psychiatrist who becomes enthralled with his patient who under hypnosis becomes an 18th century aristocrat named Melinda Twelvetrees was a bit too far-fetched for critics and theatergoers at the time.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is legendary for overlooking deserving artists who clearly deserve enshrinement in its Cleveland museum and bestowing honors on those whose contributions to pop music are questionable. There is no question that they did the correct thing in 1996 by inducting the Shirelles. Lead singer Shirley Alston and her three close friends from Passaic High School, Micki Harris, Doris Coley and Beverly Lee, became the first successful girl group, and they clearly paved the way for others such as the Ronettes, the Marvelettes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and of course, the Supremes.