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Good morning! I know, I know, starting a roundup with thoughts about the weather is terrible, but: It’s a sauna out there, and the Phillips Collection is offering some relief, or at least it has a canny way to draw you in at the close of the week. Every Friday through August, show up there with an exhibition ticker or a membership card and you can collect a free Arnold Palmer. Boozy? Virgin? Not sure. And if you’re into the whole liquor-fueled-appreciation-of-art thing, then hey! the Fringe Festival kicked off last night.
Speaking of Fringe, you should read Chris Klimek‘s cover story in this week’s Washington City Paper on the topic. It starts with this quite sensory lede:
Three weeks before the opening night of the fifth Capital Fringe Festival, its headquarters retains the faint scent of urine.
* When pondering the new, rap-sprinkled, apparently conversation-starting Liz Phair record, only one question comes to mind: WTF? WaPo‘s heroic Click Track bloggers go one further, asking: Why? Allison Stewart and Aaron Leitko offer explanations, but David Malitz isn’t having it. He writes: “Maybe she’s just – not that good? She certainly wouldn’t be the first artist to fizzle out after a career-defining debut.”
* On Yoko Ono‘s Wishing Tree in the Hirshhorn sculpture garden.
* Hot-shit dance critic Sarah Kaufman reviews Godard’s Breathless, whose new (and I hear, gorgeous) new print is showing at AFI Silver. Kaufman is impressed neither by Belmondo’s apparent ability to hold a close-up, or Godard’s treatment of Belmondo’s physical talents:
Belmondo’s face, magnificently planed and sloped as it is, tells us zilch in this movie. Newly restored and re-subtitled for its 50th anniversary, the story of a thug marooned in Paris that helped launch a new cinematic style is, in fact, an inadvertent ode not to Belmondo’s looks, but to his body.
I say “inadvertent” because, tragically (eh oui, one cannot overdramatize when referring to a French film), director Jean-Luc Godard does not fully exploit Belmondo’s gift of physical grace. “Breathless,” which opens Friday for a weeklong run at the AFI Silver, loses air every time it opts for close-ups. But let Belmondo saunter downstairs while he’s lighting one of his fat cigarettes, or swagger through a lobby, or shadowbox in his underwear, and the film hums with raw, freewheeling elegance.
On the first point, one famous critic—-was it Pauline Kael?—-said part of Belmondo’s appeal in Breathless was his bratty, hypnotic sort of ugliness, so uncharacteristic for a leading man in 1960. Never has a Brando impression seemed so discordant and better for it.