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Cultural Caviar

June 13, 2010

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Cultural Caviar

10 Picks for the Week

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman
Sam Wasson’s new book, about the making of Breakfast At Tiffany’s uncovers all sorts of juicy tidbits: for instance, “Moon River” was almost left on the cutting room floor and George Peppard (who played the love interest) behaved like an utter jerk throughout filming. Most intriguing is Hepburn’s apparent apprehension at playing Holly Golightly, down to that infamous Danish in that indelible opening scene. Truman Capote too was apprehensive—he wanted Marilyn Monroe. But if Monroe had played her, says Wasson, “she would have just been a hooker. That was when I got the power of the movie, and the genius of casting Audrey Hepburn.” If only Carrie Bradshaw had lived up to her legacy.



Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Saskatoon, Canada, June 25 - July 4
Since 1992, Saskatoon in summer rings with the sounds of jazz, hip hop, blues, world, and gospel music. Music lovers and festival junkies will hit the road and head to Canada as summer kicks off. The major tourist event in the Saskatchewan region has a pretty hot line-up this year, including Macy Gray, The Roots, Los Lobos, Chick Corea, Ricky Skaggs, and Roy Hargrove at the top of the list.


24 Heure du Mans, Sarthe, France, July 9 - July 11
The race was immortalized in the 1971 film Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen. But, 24 hours of Le Mans is more than just a product of Hollywood, it is the world’s oldest endurance race in sports car racing. Since 1923, Le Mans has helped car companies build sporty, reliable cars using the 24 hour race to test their automobiles and prototypes. Bugatti, Bentley, and Alfa Romeo were the dominant brands in the 1920s and 30s. Then came Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Jaguar. Today, Porsche, Peugeot, BMW, and Audi are on the track. After a fatal crash in 1955, where 80 spectators were killed, the biggest in the race’s history, many rules and regulations were imposed. As a result, track racing was banned completely in Switzerland, though the Swiss continue to race. This year, 55 cars and 10 reserves will cruise the famous track which has inspired a number of imitation races including: Petit Le Mans, Asian Le Mans, American Le Mans, and the FIA GT Championship.


Maurizio Cattelan, Deste’s Project Space, Hydra, Greece, June 15 - September 30
Mega Greek art collector Dakis Joannou’s Deste Foundation has commissioned Cattalan to make a site-specific installation in a renovated slaughterhouse on the magnificent island of Hydra. The work is still tightly veiled, though Cattelan has promised to display this piece of himself. The Italian artist, known for his subversive work is also on view in a solo exhibition at the de Menil Collection in Houston. How the work will be displayed in Greece remains to be seen, but it is sure to stir up some controversy as Cattelan is known to be a bit of a prankster.


The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol
Christopher Trela first discovered John Wilcock’s (New York Times, Village Voice, Interview) long out-of-print version of this Andy Warhol tome at a Fifth Avenue street fair in 1991. Back then, the 1971 black and white softcover was a mess—Warhol’s casual conversations with the likes of Leo Castelli, Ultra Violet, Charles Henri Ford, and Lou Reed were culled in no particular order and with no introduction. Trela went to work: he reordered the interviews alphabetically and added things like an index and page numbers; used a Warhol-color palette (for instance, the juxtaposition of “banana” yellow and “Volkswagen” red pages to Wilcock’s monochrome text); and incorporated more than 120 photos from the Factory superstars Harry Shunk and Janos Kender (who also provided the original’s interviewee portraits). Gems include Warhol shooting a semi-topless Brigid Polk in a cluttered studio and Ivan Karp with his arm around a nude John De Andrea sculpture.


Mads Mikkelsen in Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky
Surprising, maybe, but the man behind the bleeding-eyed, European-accented villain of undefined national origin in Casino Royale has a growing cult-following as a slightly unearthly sex symbol. Mikkelsen is haunting and impressive all at once, particularly in Coco, which just opened stateside; the Danish actor plays the French-speaking, Russian musical genius who bedded the famous fashion designer. The range in his talent is further on display in Valhalla Rising, in which Mikkelsen—who also happens to be a former dancer—has no lines in his role as the lethal, mute, barbaric, half-blind Viking gladiator called One-Eye. It is only a matter of time before Hollywood comes calling for this mysterious-looking and untraditional leading man.


Realm
Takimag’s James Jackson‘s latest thriller takes places in Lisbon in 1588 when the great Spanish Armada prepares to set sail for England. The army of the Duke of Parma readies itself for embarkation. Threat is imminent. Yet behind it is a darker and more secretive game, one of espionage and murder, of treachery and deceit. The stiletto-blade to the back, the poison in the chalice, the torturer’s rack in the dungeon. This is the realm of the spy. And at its heart is the legendary Elizabethan spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. One-by-one his intelligence sources vanish, day-by-day the danger to his queen and country grows. Jackson is hailed as a “home-grown rival to Tom Clancy” and acclaimed by the likes of Frederick Forsyth as “a thriller-writer who will go far.”


Jean-Léon Gérôme, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, June 15 - September 12
Generations have overlooked him, but Emile Zola once remarked that there was not a house in France that did not have a print by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). In the first major monographic exhibition of Gérôme in nearly 40 years, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles chose to exhibit the artist because he was a major player on the popular scene during his time. Scott Allan, assistant curator of paintings at the Getty, said “You can draw a direct line from Gérôme to Ben Hur to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. We thought the pop culture aspect would be fun to key into.” Gérôme was vilified by critics who saw him as a reactionary academic and conservative, though he was also seen as an innovator who attempted to reinvent history painting and pushed for photographic reproductions of art. The show will travel to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris later this year and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid next Spring.


San Francisco LGBT Parade, California, June 27
June seems to be the month for gay and lesbian celebrations all over the world, though the SF LGBT parade is probably one of the most recognized since California voted against Proposition 8 in an unexpected ban on gay marriage in November of 2008. This year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will address the crowd in a pre-recorded speech. Woo hoo! In addition to a day of fun, the parade is an attempt to educate the world, commemorate the heritage, celebrate the culture, and liberate gay, lesbian, and transgender people. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and 19 stages and venues, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest LGBT gathering in America. For the few remaining heterosexuals out there, remember: they’re here, and they’re queer. We might as well get used to it!


Wimbledon, June 21 - July 4
The oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world is on us again. The only one of the four grand slam matches to still play on the game’s original grass surface is one of the great events of the English season. Traditions including the eating of strawberries and cream, drinking Pimm’s spritzers, royal patronage, and the strict dress code for competitors are still upheld despite the loose adherence to such traditions so common in the 21st century.  The top players: Nadal, Federer, Murray, and Söderling are likely to stay at the top, though there is bound to be a minor upset, perhaps by Jockovich, the Swedish outsider.

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