Chelsea Gallery Robbed… David Thorne to the Rescue

•May 25, 2011 • 1 Comment

Art in America just published a report that a Chelsea gallery had a Steven Parrino drawing of a tarantula stolen off its walls yesterday afternoon. This is tragic.

Immediately, I knew the man with the perfect solution: David Thorne.

You may remember David Thorne as the man who tried to pay his rent bill with a drawing of a spider. (You may also remember that he resurfaced in a feud with a gym manager.)

Either way, I think gallerist Marc Jancou needs his spider drawing replaced. And fast.

Just my two cents.


Need a good cry?

•December 28, 2010 • 1 Comment

I can help! Here are 7 of my favorite tear-jerking videos, complete with some of the most overwrought pop stars alive!

In no particular order…


7. The Dubai Fountain: This one is pretty innocuous, but I’m a sucker for African choirs.  (30 seconds into the stage version of Lion King, I was toast.) This video just makes me happy… tears of joy and all that.


6. Dog Saves Dog: Hard to believe, but oh-so-touching. There’s a version of this video set to some Sarah Mclachlan song, but I’ll spare you the trashy tactics.


5. Kiwi!: An internet classic.  Is it joyous abandon? Is it suicide? Who cares… it’s a kiwi and he’s crying.


4. You Raise Me Up, Shamu: Josh Groban appeals to me most when accompanied by 9-ton orca. I can’t help it. This gets me EVERY DAMN TIME. In person or via some dude’s camera phone with whining children in the background– doesn’t matter. I turn into a giddy child- a sobbing, giddy child- each and every time.


3. Christian the Lion Reunion: Did you really think I could leave this one out? Sing it, Whitney!


2. The Animal Odd Couple: Take a good look, America! Take a good look, world! If they can do it, what’s our excuse?


1. Stand By Me: Not necessarily a tear-jerker, but a good lift after watching all these others, n’est-ce pas?

You have to click through here:

Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around The World from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.


Did I miss any other good ones?

5. Kiwi!: An internet classic.  Is it joyous abandon? Is it suicide? Who cares… it’s a kiwi and he’s crying.

5. Kiwi!: An internet classic.  Is it joyous abandon? Is it suicide? Who cares… it’s a kiwi and he’s crying.

Blood is thicker than…

•September 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sent to me by my aunt this evening…

This place is a dream.  Only a sleeper considers it real. . .

We began as a mineral. We emerged into plant life and into the animal state, and then into being human, and always we have forgotten our former states, except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again.

That’s how a young person turns toward a teacher.  That’s how a baby leans toward the breast, without knowing the secret of its desire, yet turning instinctively.

Humankind is being led along an evolving course, through this migration of intelligences, and though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.


Plays well with others

•March 31, 2010 • 1 Comment

Sometimes, I can’t help but get frustrated by the in-fighting and territorial claims in the art world.

This comes to mind:

“He drew a circle that shut me out- Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle and took him In!”

Artists & arts groups, this applies to all of us.  In promotional efforts. In collaborations. In support.

Draw your circle bigger!!!

My current project: Spacetaker’s Apocalypto

•March 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

For those of you who may not know, I was promoted to Executive Director of Spacetaker earlier this year- truly a big honor for me!

(Scroll down to the bottom where I continue, but not before you click on the pic for a preview…)


I first became familiar with Spacetaker when trying to get a fledgling theatre company off the ground– and David Brown’s organization was certainly instrumental in the growth and attention Nova Arts Project received.  Since then, I have been a big believer in Spacetaker’s mission- and it’s potential to advocate our city’s artists so that they receive the recognition and support they deserve, as well as to equip them with professional development tools to further their careers. I am fortunate to work alongside an amazing team of committed and passionate board members (to whom I owe so much), as well as a thrilling group of local artists.
We have BIG plans for Spacetaker in the next few years… and the success of events like the upcoming gala on March 20th will be what paves the way for those plans.  I welcome you all to join me next Saturday for what I promise will be one of the best parties of the year.  Spacetaker designs each gala to be an arts showcase as much as a fundraiser: there will be 9 different acts (modern dance, a string quartet, a honkey-tonk band, comedy improv, etc!), over 30 performers, over 20 visual artists featured, 10 different restaurants, open bars with drinks abounding… and best of all, the company of wonderful people who love our Houston art scene. (Not to mention our party takes place in the middle of an extraordinary FotoFest exhibition!)  You can get tickets and more info here:

I hope to see you there!

Vote of confidence

•November 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have an admission: I’ve been apathetic about politics for a long time.  I have wavering faith in my ability to influence any real change.  I have wavering faith in the media to provide me with objective, unbiased feedback on our candidates and leaders.  I am turned off by all the mud-slinging and slander that goes on between candidates and politicians.  I have lost interest in all the meaningless generalizations about who’s best for this job or that- so rarely rooted in facts or tangible evidence.  I’ve had an ideological problem with voting for the lesser of evils… so I haven’t consistently been an active voter.

However, I have never been so shamed as I was today.  Walking to my booth at Poe Elementary, I passed a man being helped by a poll volunteer.  As another volunteer handed me my slip, she remarked that the man claimed he couldn’t read or write and therefore, needed to be helped through the process.  After having voted, I walked past the man on my way out and on second glance, it appeared as though he might be homeless.  And I couldn’t help but be moved.

If this man, illiterate and potentially homeless, either believes he can effect change or merely values the ‘right’ to vote enough to show up at the polls, what has been my excuse?  And what is the excuse for the millions of people who fail to take part in the political process?

I ask this question while accepting my part in it.  Our system is only as good as we make it.  Each one of us has the ability to restore faith in our government and the political process- starting with ourselves.  Get out and vote today.

Cabaret Revisited

•June 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

After reading responses to the recent production of Cabaret on the TUTS blog, I was inspired to write about audience expectations and propriety in the theatre on my Chron blog here.  But I hadn’t seen the show yet…

Now I have.  And though I know plenty could live out their days without hearing my opinions on the subject, a few of you have expressed a desire to know what I thought of the production.  So here they are…

Sidenote: My date to the musical is a friend and someone who has attended more than a few productions with me over the years.  As we sat down in our seats, he leaned over to tell me that had put on his “Jenni-theatre-watching-filter.” You may wonder what this means.  What it means is, in short, that I am a pain in the ass to accompany to the theatre.  I have a lot of opinions about what I see… and guess what!  If you’re sitting next to me, you will get to hear them.

TUTS’ Cabaret: if I had to sum it up, I would say it wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty damn good.  Certainly worth attending… and worth staying through the second act, which concludes with one of the most striking moments in theatre I’ve ever seen.

Especially after the good reviews from trusted sources and after having written the blog, I was hoping to be swept away from the show’s first drum roll.  Admittedly, this was not the case.  The set was visually interesting; the emcee was as he should be; the voices and costumes were fantastic… but it nonetheless felt like the first few numbers were phoned in.  (This isn’t entirely surprising given it was a Tuesday night after a day off.  Maybe they were just getting warmed up?)  Still, I was surprised that neither Don’t Tell Mama nor Mein Herr– two of the most fun and familiar production numbers- inspired too much applause or stir in the audience.  In the case of Mama, I feel like the costumes- though cute- did the number a disservice.  No longer was it about the lyrics or the choreography, but about watching Sally and 6 chorus girls fiddle with their costumes in an effort to take them off piece by piece.  (If there was ever to be a song about buttons, snaps, and the like, this was it.)  Mein Herr lacked the costume complications, but wasn’t much better in terms of pizazz.  In the end, Sally’s singing didn’t do it for me in these two numbers.  Miss Leslie Kritzer proved herself to be a more than capable singer in several of the later numbers, but her first two simply lacked panache.  Perhaps it was her stylistic efforts that obscured the lyrics, but the ends of her vocal phrases were dropped or thrown away in ways that ultimately undermined the camp of the routines.

It was just at the point that my hopes starting waning that Two Ladies restored them.  Cute, naughty… but just right.  (It was also at this moment that the exodus of offended audience members began.  Sadly.)  Nonetheless, the emcee was pretty fantastic from start to finish.  His was a different emcee than Joel Grey or Alan Cumming, but he won me over with his candid repartee with the audience at the top of Act II… as well as his holding his own in a kick routine with the Kit Kat girls.  Big kudos to Leo Ash Evens!

The moments I was positive the show was going in the right direction were the two back-to-back songs: It Couldn’t Please Me More and Tomorrow Belongs to Me.  The former was sweet and genuine… and was probably my first laugh-out-loud moment in the show.  The latter was beautiful- idyllic even- in harmony and performed by several Adonis-like men and a single dancer.  It set the tone for the reprise in a subtle way… hinting of nationalism, but in a less sinister light.  The show only gets better from this point…

The action of Cabaret escalates until reaching its pinnacle in the middle of Act 2, in a scene in which Cliff urges Sally to open her eyes to the impending disaster around her.  His insistence and her resistance are the jumping-off points for Sally’s final number: Cabaret.  And here’s where I get really picky.  Vocally, I couldn’t have asked much more from Kritzer… but it seemed as though the song was plucked from a review and placed into the show, rather than coming on the heels of having her hand forced in a stressful decision.  In a perfect world, I’d like to see that pressure underneath Sally’s portrayal of Cabaret… isn’t she blowing off steam in that number?  The scene following- which was acted beautifully by both Kritzer and Hanes (Cliff)- only emphasized this point in my opinion.

The ending was the highlight of the show.  While parts of the show were slightly off the mark, the ending couldn’t have been more perfect.  The gradual emptying of the stage, the unresolved chords hanging in the air, the desolation of a society on the brink of collapse- one could see it all.  And for that reason, I am saddened for those who chose to walk out of the show earlier, as they missed the culmination of all the vulgarity they witnessed and the ultimate point.  For the first time in the entire production, there was silence… from singers, orchestra and audience.  That kind of tension isn’t achieved easily.

And here’s the kicker: when it comes to propriety, Houston audiences should start with modifying their own behavior.  There was a lot of fidgeting, chatting, and candy unwrapping during this production.  And- as my date and I agree- the only things for which you should be rifling through your purse during a show are an asthma inhaler or an epi-pen.

The moral of the story? Go see it.  The production is far, far too good to be playing to smaller audiences… help fill in those empty seats this weekend.