Rather than binging on his annual glass of champagne at midnight, Haglund plans to go to bed by about 10pm so that he can wake up with the birds to do what multitudes of real New Yorkers will do this Sunday: rush to get in line to be among the first to ride the brand new Second Avenue Subway between East 63rd and 96th Streets that opens around noon on Sunday.
We real New Yorkers will be out celebrating what’s worth celebrating: subways, yeah. Not just subways, though. Museum quality subways. That’s right. Our new subway (eventually deemed the T-Line, but for the moment it's the Q) is a feast for the eyes of so many locals who perpetually suffer from chronic art binging. New Yorkers have their problems, among them getting that artistic waistline under control. We are, as they say, happy fat when it comes to art. So bring on the Chuck Close portraits, the Sarah Sze blueprints and flying white paper, Jean Shin’s retrospective mosaics of the elevated trains of yore, and Vik Muniz’s photographs of ordinary people doing stuff no one should do on the subway platform - like kicking a soccer ball or trying to transport a huge bouquet of big balloons.
All photos from MTA's Flicker page which is pretty awesome.
It seems that the MTA has a few Mind Games in store for us as well. Look at this effort to test our Sudoko skills. It is obviously beyond the Beginner Level and could create congestion as commuters pause to try to read it:
So, here at H.H. we're starting out the New Year with the biggest new arty thing in New York: the new subway. Hopefully, it will run smoothly, on time, and with few breakdowns. It would be nice to be able to be as hopeful for 2017 in other art areas, too. Let’s think on it.
From ABT, a Murphy/Hallberg/Abrera Giselle would suit us just fine. We’d buy that at the top ticket price. What ABT really also needs to do, however, is re-cast the opening night Giselle to Abrera/Hallberg/Part and move Hee Seo and Cory Stearns to the following Monday night, and lastly, move Boylston into the Wednesday matinee replacing Copeland who shouldn’t have even one Giselle, let alone two. This is what Joe Girardi Madden would do in order to win. We need 2017 to be the year when purchased-celebrity no longer trumps honest, hard-earned artistry. Performers who continually fail to deliver but who now want points and pats on the head for “improvement” should be shunned. Art is too important and too expensive to put up with crap and imposters.
ABT’s “strategy” of starting off Swan Lake week with the two worst possible Odette/Odile casts is a head scratcher. These aren’t just the worst possible for ABT, but represent some of the worst possible in all of professional ballet. These are sub-par performers who beg for forgiveness after being too lazy to put in the work to do a good job and then flash their asses to the world to show that they can get away with it. Changes need to be made.
Given the superior strength of every aspect of New York City Ballet’s team, we plan to spend most of our time and money there this year. And oh what a Jubilant July of Jewels it will be when NYCB, the Paris Opera Ballet, and the Bolshoi share the stage for Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds. Any time Aurelie Dupont visits New York, we all feel a little more glamorous. Let’s hope that someone thinks of snapping a formal portrait of her along with Peter Martins and Makhar Vaziev to commemorate the event. By the way, we think that a Chuck Close mosaic of Balanchine in the Lincoln Center subway would be an awesome idea. Balanchine, Bernstein, and Bing would be an even grander idea.
May the Dance Deities figure out a way to stream one of these Jewels performances live or present it on Live From Lincoln Center so that the rest of the world can share in the celebration. The Bolshoi’s utterly charming public relations polyglot, Katerina Novikova, would be the perfect host for the event.
Outside of the NYC metro area, we are fizzy with excitement for the new Le Corsaire at Pennsylvania Ballet and the top shelf repertory appearing at The Washington Ballet. The Amtrak northeast corridor will soon become known as the Cuban Corridor given all the wonderful ballet artists who are making their ways from Havana to Pennsylvania and Washington DC to share their gifts.
Up in Toronto, the National Ballet of Canada has Neumeier’s Streetcar Named Desire on its June schedule and a brand new production of Pinnochio by Will Tuckett slated for March. We’re excited about both and will try to venture up there to see them.
So that’s what’s upper most in our minds at the moment for ballet in 2017. Surely, many more worthwhile dates will surface on the calendar. We’ll do our best to keep everyone posted.
Happy New Year to all from Haglund and the cats around the office: