The dark corners of ‘Cabaret’


first_imgAside from her fishnet stockings, singer Amanda Palmer, known for her edgy look and sound, was almost demure in a beige ensemble during a Harvard panel discussion. But the topic was anything but.During the discussion Monday night (Sept. 20), Palmer and a group of Harvard scholars explored some of the dark, sinister, and sexualized sides of the popular musical “Cabaret.”Palmer, the front woman for the punk rock, alternative cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls, plays the emcee in the American Repertory Theater’s (A.R.T.) new production of the show. Attracted from an early age to music, art, and theater that combined the tension of darkness and light, Palmer said her turn as the grotesque, gender-bending master of ceremonies allows her to inhabit that space perfectly.“There’s a moment on stage where … I get to feel like the human embodiment of those two things colliding: the collision of the ultimate party and the ultimate tragedy,” Palmer told the crowd at Oberon, an A.R.T. theatrical space.The new production “gets you to turn your gaze to what is just off center,” said moderator Homi Bhabha, the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities and director of the Humanities Center at Harvard, which sponsored the event along with the A.R.T.It’s with that myopic look that “Cabaret” offers audiences a haunting prediction of a Nazi-ravaged Europe. Weaving vivid imagery from the Holocaust into the production was part of an effort to “reinvigorate the shock value of ‘Cabaret,’ ” said director Steven Bogart, who was also Palmer’s high school drama teacher.Bogart, who was called from the audience to the stage to add his voice to the discussion, said he hoped his “bold choice” would “devastate people at the end.”“Cabaret” is based on “The Berlin Stories” by author Christopher Isherwood, and is set in Berlin in 1931 amid Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. The original work served as inspiration for the 1951 John Van Druten play “I Am a Camera,” which later spawned the 1966 musical and the 1972 film “Cabaret.”The plot follows the intersecting lives of a group of people in Weimar-era Berlin as the Nazis begin to take power, with violence and anti-Semitism in their wake. Much of the action centers on the Kit Kat Klub, a sordid Berlin nightspot.The disturbing 1972 film is remembered as much for the work of Liza Minnelli in the lead role as the manic cabaret performer Sally Bowles as it is for the iconic turn of Joel Grey as the cabaret’s unsettling, eerie master of ceremonies — a performance that won him an Oscar. Asked if she was connected to Grey’s work, Palmer said she related more to Alan Cumming, who took on the role in 1998 for the Broadway revival.“I remember reading the script, and all I could hear was Alan Cumming’s voice … [and] thinking I need to be really careful I don’t imitate and fall [back] on him,” said Palmer. “I have to figure this one out for myself.”If the sold-out performances are any indication, Palmer has succeeded in making the role her own.Adding a historical perspective to the discussion, panelist Charles Maier noted that as Germany became increasingly polarized in the wake of the Great Depression, the cabarets’ role of master of ceremonies, who was typically tasked with infusing satire and social commentary into the shows, was eliminated.Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph “Goebbels did away with this role. He prohibited [masters of ceremonies] in cabarets because it was too subversive. It was too potentially destabilizing. It opened up a whole realm of criticism he wouldn’t have,” said Maier, Harvard’s Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History.To close the session, Palmer serenaded the audience with a cover of “Fake Plastic Trees” by the British group Radiohead, while accompanying herself on the ukulele. The song’s final line held a haunting relevance to the discussion.“And if I could be who you wanted,” she sang. “If I could be who you wanted all the time.”Carol Oja, William Powell Mason Professor of Music, and Martin Puchner, Harvard professor of English and comparative literature, also took part in the discussion.The event was the first in a series involving the A.R.T. and the Humanities Center. The second talk will take place on Dec. 7 at the Loeb Drama Center following a performance of the musical “The Blue Flower.”last_img read more

Coronavirus rising in 22 US states ahead of Labor Day holiday weekend


first_imgOn a percentage basis, South Dakota had the biggest increase over the past two weeks at 126%, reporting over 3,700 new cases. Health officials have linked some of the rise to hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists who descended on Sturgis, South Dakota, for an annual rally in August.Cases are also rising rapidly in Iowa, with 13,600 new infections in the past two weeks, and North Dakota, with 3,600 new cases in the same period.The increases are masked nationwide by decreasing new infections in the most populous states of California, Florida and Texas.In California, cases fell by 39,000 over the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks, compared to a 37,000-case increase in the 22 states in the same period, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data. While cases nationally have dropped from a peak in July, the United States is going into the Labor Day holiday weekend with an average of 44,000 new cases a day — double the number ahead of the May 23-25 Memorial Day weekend.Many health experts partly blame the July spike on social gatherings held around Memorial Day.At the same time, the United States continues to average about 1,000 new deaths from COVID-19 each day, with the total number of lives lost approaching 190,000 — the highest death toll in the world.Also contributing to the spike in US cases is the re-opening of schools and colleges in many areas and the large gatherings taking place despite the warnings of health experts, ranging from protests against racial injustice to rallies in support of President Donald Trump.The government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has said that it is crucial that the outbreak be contained before the cold weather sets in, when influenza cases are likely to spike alongside COVID-19 and more people begin to move indoors, increasing the risk of contagion. Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 US states, according to a Reuters analysis, a worrisome trend on a Labor Day holiday weekend traditionally filled with family gatherings and parties to mark the end of summer.As little as three weeks ago, cases were increasing in only three states, Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota, according to an analysis comparing cases for the two-week period of Aug. 8-22 with the past two weeks.Most of the 22 states where cases are now rising are in the less-populated parts of the Midwest and South.center_img Topics :last_img read more

A third of Pasma Electrical work to replace faulty solar panels


first_imgElectricians are warning Cairns residents about incorrect and poorly installed solar panels in the region. Nathan Trigilio and Lachlan Pearce of Pasma Electrical have been busy fixing jobs where solar paneling has been incorrectly installed. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKEMORE than 75 per cent of solar panels installed in Cairns homes could be at risk of catching fire or being blown away during a storm because of low quality, faults or poor installation.Pasma Electrical boss Bill Melville said he had capped solar panel replacement and repair work at 30 per cent of his business.“We could put on more crews who could retrofit and replace them but the sparkies don’t want to do it because it’s double the work,” he said.“We inherit people’s problems, we want to do new installs.“It’s endemic. If there are 25,000 solar systems in the city then close to 20,000 are underperforming, or illegally installed, or the consumer has bought faulty equipment.”Mr Melville said homeowners who bought “cheap and cheerful” systems not suited to Australian conditions were disappointed when they disintegrated quickly.More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days ago“Usually six to nine months later when they get their bill they realise the system’s not working,” he said.“One business owner in town had it for four years before he realised it wasn’t reducing his power bills.“I’ve dealt with 500 solar systems which have caught fire. If it was any other industry there would be a class action.”Mr Melville encouraged consumers to buy the best equipment and avoid devices that include a central converter with a DC system.“If there is not an Australian-based warehouse and an Australian landline to call avoid it,” he said. “A normal family, on a 5kw system might spend $5000, but in reality the materials cost more than $5000. Good quality systems start at $1650 per kilowatt.“And buy from a publicly-listed company, so what it says on the package, that is what it is.”last_img read more

New CWI boss Skerritt urges patience from stakeholders

zksweugm he gets ready to act on campaign promisesKINGSTON, Jamaica, (CMC) – After securing the Cricket West Indies (CWI) top job in a stunning result here Sunday, new president Ricky Skerritt has targeted the rejuvenation of the high performance centre, governance reform and finding a permanent West Indies coach, as three of the main items on his immediate agenda.However, the former St Kitts and Nevis government minister has urged patience from stakeholders as he prepares to implement his 10-point Cricket First Plan, which formed the basis of his election campaign over the last month.The 62-year-old was speaking shortly after he and running mate, Dr Kishore Shallow, unseated Jamaican Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron and vice-president, Emmanuel Nathan, by 8-4 margins, in a highly anticipated annual general meeting at the Jamaica Pegasus.“We are going to have to ask for patience but there is some basis in some of those 10 points that is already happening but most of it needs significant improvements, significant injections and in the case of the HPC for instance that is going to be the one that is most costly,” Skerritt shared.The former West Indies team manager had made reviving the HPC one of the bedrocks of his campaign, after the Cameron-led CWI pulled the plug in the institution in 2017.Skerritt, who gained widespread support from stakeholders in his election bid, said CWI would also be aiming to make possible implementations from the Patterson Report.“We had actually begun to do that under the leadership of Don Wehby and myself and two other independent directors back in 2016 and 2017,” Skerritt explained.“And there is a report that was submitted to the outgoing president which was really a review of the Patterson Report and several others, to try to see which recommendations had actually been implemented and which ones were not.“So what we have to do now is go back dust off that 2017 report which is the most recent summary and use it as a starting point to see which of the governance changes are still relevant and which ones we can implement as quickly as possible.”He added “I will even try to approach him [Wehby]. Maybe he can somehow find the time out of his busy schedule to look at that report and even help me with the implementations.”According to Skerritt, steps will also be taken to search within the region for the next possible West Indies senior team coach. Englishman Richard Pybus is currently guiding the team on an interim basis, following the departure of Australian Stuart Law.The appointment of Pybus ahead of the recent England series was a controversial affair, with Cameron accused of hand-picking the former director of cricket and agreeing contractual terms without prior board approval.“That has been a vexatious sort of issue,” said Skerritt.“I have to tell you that we believe very strongly in localising the expertise that we put behind our teams and we believe only in bringing in non-Caribbean expertise only where it is not available across the region.“We want to be sure that the team does well at all times with the possible resources but we also have to make sure that they have a Caribbean support team around them.”He continued: “So that is the issue which will be looked at. I can’t give you any promises or any anticipation of how soon or when there will be changes but it is an issue that has touched many across the region. People generally want to see Caribbean past cricketers and Caribbean expertise helping to build Caribbean cricket.”last_img read more

Syracuse blows past UConn 4-0 in Big East tournament opener


first_img Related Stories Syracuse heads to Tampa with final chance at Big East championship Syracuse won its opening-round match against Connecticut on Thursday, 4-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament in Tampa, Fla.The fourth-seeded Orange (13-7, 7-1 Big East) shut out the Huskies (7-11, 2-5 Big East) for the second time this season. The first win came on March 29, a 7-0 win in Hartford.The win marked the eighth straight conference win for Syracuse. During that stretch SU has won 44 individual matches, while losing just eight.The Orange won the doubles point behind victories from junior Aleah Marrow and freshman Alex Aiello. The tandem of junior Maddie Kobelt and freshman Brittany Lashway won as well, improving the pair’s record to 10-2 on the season. Both matches ended 8-6.The Orange didn’t drop a set in singles as Kobelt ended her strong day with a 6-0, 6-1 win in No. 2 singles. Sophomore Amanda Rodgers won next with a 6-2, 6-3 win, and sophomore Jimena Wu ended the match quickly with a 6-2, 6-1 rout.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe win sets up a rematch with DePaul, which beat Providence 4-0 on Thursday.Earlier in the year on Feb. 24, Syracuse beat DePaul on the road 4-3. At the time DePaul was No. 69. It is the only match in which Syracuse has defeated a ranked team this year. The match came down to a tense final-set tiebreaker for Rodgers.Friday’s second-round match starts at noon. If Syracuse wins, it will take on the winner of the Notre Dame-Marquette in the semifinals Saturday.Syracuse has never won a Big East championship, but has now won in the first round in three of the past four seasons. Comments Published on April 19, 2013 at 12:44 amcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more