The Performance Club


This article was written on 24 Dec 2011, and is filed under Claudia's Blog.

A Little Light Reading

hi everyone.

so, well, i kind of fell down on the job these past two weeks. end of semester, moved apartments, holiday craziness, dog ate my homework …. all that stuff. the death star will be fully operational once again in 2012 (until the world ends, at any rate). meantime, here is some stuff that i have been reading, writing and editing over the past few weeks. there will be a quiz.

This is the textbook I use for the performance crit class I teach at SVA. Highly recommend it.

1. Whither New York City Opera? Fred Cohn lays it all out in Opera News. “New York used to support two full-fledged opera companies. Now it doesn’t — and we are immeasurably poorer for it.” Could Counter Critic have saved it ….? We’ll never know.

2. The discussion and debate around Marina Abramović’s gala performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles continues, in Catherine Wagley’s report for LA Weekly. “…why was it the female body that was still always subject to display? Why were we stuck in these old molds of acceptability and unacceptability?”

3. Speaking of sexism, here’s my final article of 2011 for the NYT: a notebook on misogyny in a female playwright’s work. I was so disheartened to see the gender politics on display in Teresa Rebeck’s “Seminar,” where the worst thing you can call someone is a “pussy.” That insult drew big laughs in the theater, and some of my colleagues found it “glorious.”And what’s the only thing worse than being a woman in “Seminar”? As Betsy Kim points out on Pop Matters, it’s being an Asian woman. “American entertainment still seems addicted to certain Asian stereotypes: the exotic, over-sexed being, whose primary attribute is physically pleasing men; the socially clueless, math and science nerd; or the “Yan Can Cook” servile house servant, speaking with a thick accent, in broken English.”

4. Finally, it is with regret that I announce that the December/January issue of the Brooklyn Rail was my last as dance editor. I’m going to be concentrating on this blog a lot more in the coming year (thank you, AWG!), and so I won’t be able to dedicate the time that the Rail deserves. It’s sad to be going. But: I couldn’t be prouder of the final section, which is dedicated to “Merce Cunningham, and the many fine individuals who have helped him, in his lifetime and after, to make his art what it is.” These individuals include Christian Wolff, Carolyn Brown, James Klosty, Robert Swinston, David Vaughan, Lise Friedman, Silas Riener, Rashaun Mitchell and Nancy Dalva, all of whom contributed to the section. An editor’s cup runneth over.

Happy Holidays, everyone!





  1. aynsley
    January 1, 2012

    oh, Counter Critic!

    • claudia
      January 2, 2012

      the good old days….

  2. Christine
    January 2, 2012


  3. Jeff McMahon
    January 3, 2012

    Claudia, so sorry to hear you won’t be writing the Rail anymore, but thanks for the excellent Cunningham issue. Really prepped me for the final event.

    • claudia
      January 3, 2012

      I’m so glad! I was in total heaven making that issue … I’ll still be a contributing editor at the Rail. But I really want to focus my energies on the Performance Club

  4. Jeff McMahon
    January 3, 2012

    and another thing…I’m with you on the Rebeck. I went with my niece, who is just starting at Hampshire. She’s taking some classes in feminist history (her uncles helped her along by getting her a book on the Gorilla Girls for xmas) and we talked after the show about the retro sexual politics of the play. But then again, a lot of the script felt like high-end tv sitcom anyway.

  5. claudia
    January 3, 2012

    Gorilla Girls – what more could a gal ask for in her stocking?

    Yeah, “Seminar” isn’t great art. But it’s so strange to me, the choices she made – the play could have worked out exactly as she wanted it to without her throwing the women writers under the bus like that. It’s really dispiriting to see the same politics from Rebeck and Woody Allen…

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