Hooray. The inconsiderate bozos upstairs have stopped stomping around on our ceiling! They have stopped moving their stupid desks and chairs and dragging their big mattresses all over the place for no reason at three in the morning! In a celebratory mood after defeating the "Thump-a-linas' once and for all, my wife and I went out to see a Broadway musical called "Grey Gardens.'' We were way, way, way up in the oxygen-mask seats --- New York theaters are strange in the sense that they are often small but have ceilings that soar so high above the main floor --- but "Grey Gardens'' was still fantastic. Christine Ebersole's performance is a sleight of hand. She plays both the social-climber mom and, later on in the play, the older, decrepit daughter, making retro-flapper outfits out of curtains. The first half shows the Grey Gardens house in its East Hamptons heyday; by the second half it's a hovel, overrun by cats and raccoons. As usual there was a not-very considerate person seated near me -- in this case, a young, but by no means petite, woman who elbowed into me and kept checking the time on her cell phone, eating gloopy snacks with crinkly crankly wrappers, murmuring to herself and loudly leafing through the pages of her Playbook (!) She also spoke loudly to her pals through most of the first act. Mustering all the diplomacy I had within me, which is not much, I asked her to please stop it, and she did.
Today I also saw the incredible, if disturbing and sometimes quite disgusting, Kiki Smith exhibit at the Whitney. It is not to be missed, and makes amazing use of space and craftsmanship. Her various papier mache, glass, plaster, paper and wax creations dangle from the ceiling, crawl up the walls, crouch on the floor and make insanely clever use of space. I think it's one of the most powerful 'body as metaphor' exhibits I've ever seen, though I must admit that it freaked me out and will probably give me nightmares, with its images of wolf children, intestines rendered in ductile brass, and mounted beeswax figures in uncomfortable poses. There is a 'Little Red Riding hood' installation in which the girl herself is part wolf. When you walk past the installation, the sculpture -- equipped with a motion sensor and a hidden music box-- starts playing loud and atonal chamber music tape. See this exhibit now, even though you might need therapy afterwards.