Thursday, July 21, 2016

Where's the good for the old days? Thoughts on THE COLLECTION

when looking back
      It's hard to imagine looking back at these days and pining for the "good old days."
    Every generation has their favorite time, their golden age, a brew of nostalgia and the realities of growing older. Now offers few safe havens for a future stroll down memory lane.
    Disruption is a norm. Violence dominates news and lurks as a constant threat. Weather patterns are changing dramatically. We are about to watch a poison water and virus threatened Olympics. It is a time when hate is a political tool. A popular t-shirt reads, "I already don't like our new president." People ask are our major candidates the best we can find?
    Being a parent and grandparent widens your matrix of concerns longitudinally. Each era has problems and crises but it seems there used to be a larger patch of middle ground, commonweal, shared values and perceived need to solve problems and dispatch issues. I'm hard pressed to understand how we'll see this time of snark, vulgarity, insensitivity, trolling, racial discord, tribalism and high negativity as good. Maybe finding a Pokemon Go monster will be enough.
good days for Mike
    These are however good days for Indiana Governor Mike Pence. He was saved from the verge of political extinction by Donald Trump.  
     Mike has long wanted to run for President, even when I first met him as he was a small town radio talk show host. He left congress to run for governor with the idea it would enhance his presidential aspirations. Pence was expected to run in this years clown car primary but major gaffs and bad judgments crashed those hopes. His own Indiana Republican party was embarrassed and there were moves to undercut him. There is a good chance he would have been defeated in his re-election bid. Mike was depressed and his ambitions were on the trash heap until Trump. The near "has been" will emerge in November as Vice President or the leading contender for the party of Trump in 2020.
a village light

wish you could see it
The Collection
     Playwright and Cal Poly professor Al Schnupp created  THE COLLECTION a play "celebrating the life and legacy of Peggy Guggenheim an eccentric and invincible collector of modern art." 
       4 Actors, 34 episodes and 40 transformational paintings in an inspired 90 minute production that is a cascade of humor, insight and exploration that never slows, never bores and mixes modern art and biography in an ingenious manner of staging. 
       Jaide Whitman plays Peggy Guggenheim while Ryan Austin, Daniel Cook and Ellen Eves play multiple roles. They are a talented ensemble who sell Schnupp's inventive script brilliantly. The set is a kind of triptych with changing pieces of art that are themselves a wonderful homage to the 40 paintings. Kudos to Antonio Mata who worked as stage manager and stage hand in the rapid change production. The episodes are centered on a painting or sculpture from Guggenheim's collection.
       She was quite the personality. Married several times and with a list of affairs she was friends with American and European writers and painters. She had galleries in London and New York, smuggled art during WWII. She was an early patron of "modern" or abstract art and is credited with introducing Jackson Pollock's work. 
       THE COLLECTION is in a kind of shakedown cruise, with west coast performances in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Ojai, Santa Cruz and Carmel.
       The veteran writer director Schnupp has created a dynamic property. His inventive approach and the larger than life quality of Peggy Guggenheim deserve big stages and theaters. 
      Personally I'd love to see Maggie Gyllenhaal in the Guggenheim role.

    See you down the trail.


  1. I hadn't heard of "The Collection" but I'm well aware of Peggy's contribution to modern art and would no doubt find this fascinating.

  2. I hope this trial run in California leads to bigger things for the production. It is really ingenious and entertaining.

  3. The photos of the place is gorgeous, dear. Though this is my first time to hear of The Collection.