Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment
Matthew Drutt Matthew Drutt, chief curator of the Menil Collection, is on a roll. He curated the stellar "Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism," a wonderfully cogent exhibition and indispensable catalog exploring the artist's development of the movement. The show presented Malevich's seminal 1915 Black Square for the first time outside Russia, as well as the artist's lesser-known architectural models. The exhibition was awarded first place by the International Association of Art Critics/USA for Best Monographic Museum Show. (That's like an art-world Oscar.) And this summer, Drutt brought Olafur Eliasson's stunning photographs to the Menil. Less well-known than his installations, Eliasson's photographs investigate nature and man's interaction with it. And in his hands, the results are lush and riveting. The show took three years to plan, but Drutt's timing couldn't have been more perfect -- Eliasson was just coming of his phenomenally successful show "The Weather Project" at the Tate Modern in London.
Under the Volcano Taking its cue from the Malcolm Lowry novel of the same name, Under the Volcano is a colorfully riotous celebration of El Día de los Muertos -- the Day of the Dead -- all year round. As you walk in, there's a glassed-in shrine to recent notables who have passed over, complete with clipped-out newspaper obituaries and fresh flowers. Boldly colored Mexican folk art statues, glowing tin lamps and dusty, old paper flowers cover the walls, which are themselves painted in festive pastel shades. The tropical theme even extends to the parking lot, which is walled in with oleanders, bougainvillea and other flowering shrubbery. The vibe here renders you powerless to resist ordering up one more drink.
Cezanne Sure, there are more glamorous spots to catch jazz in this town. You can delight in the sights of open-backed, little black dresses and power players at spots like Scott Gertner's Skybar or Sambuca. But jazz has always been about the music. And traditional, straight-ahead fans have always flocked to tiny rooms to listen to serious players. Tucked up above the Black Labrador, Cezanne is hardly noticeable to nonfans, but there it sits, home to local and statewide cats such as Kellye Gray, Sebastian Whittaker and David Craig, as well as the occasional national act. For jazz fans who love performance over pretension, shows here promise all the intimacy of an exclusive gig in your friend's living room.
Infernal Bridegroom Productions' Symphony of Rats Stepping into the Axiom theater for Symphony of Rats was like entering an attic from another world. In a place where presidents receive messages from robots -- who make bubbles and smoke cigarettes as they discuss philosophical constructs -- Infernal Bridegroom's production of Richard Foreman's play called for serious set creativity. Designed by the company as a group, the stage was a crazy quilt of cartoon images with messages like "Oil Isn't Fuck Glitter" and "CB Head Face Machine" splattered across the cinder-block walls. TVs, space ships and skeletons drifted in the melee. Official-looking papers and folders were scattered across the floor, and in the middle of the stage sat an enormous Plexiglas box where the president of the free world tried to learn golf. Symphony of Rats came together with its own delicate logic, and it owed much of its success to this chaotic atmosphere.