Roger L. Simon

Everything New is Old Again

One of this blog’s two favorite arts critics – Clive Davis – praises the other – Terry Teachout – in this Timesonline article. Davis also has some amusing things to say about codgers Sam Shephard and Mick Jagger. In case you’re wondering why serious theatre in America has gone the way of the dodo bird, Clive writes…

The other reason for my pessimism is that, some weeks ago, I happened to read a first-rate essay on political art by the only New York reviewer I really trust, the Wall Street Journal’s Terry Teachout. (He’s also a superb classical and jazz critic, and has just published a biography of Balanchine. Oh, and he also used to be a bass player in Kansas City – damn him.). Teachout happens to be an admirer of Shepard, but this time he was, let’s say, underwhelmed by a work in which, as he wrote, “a smirking prancing fellow made up to look like Paul Wolfowitz invades the house of a Wisconsin farmer and his wife, festoons their kitchen with American flags, hooks up the genitalia of the man of the house to an electric torture machine, and administers painful shocks until he agrees to surrender his heifers to the government for use in an unspecified but self-evidently nefarious secret project”.

Can’t wait to see that.