DUmb Critic Hack Award: Anne Midgette on Nothing New

summerseve21.jpgOkay, it’s not too late to sneak in a little douche before the New Year. You know C.C.’s pet peeve is lazy critics, and arts writers who think they’re too above general standards of journalism to be bothered with reporting seriously on the arts. So, when we read Anne Midgette’s year-end wrap-up–all six slender paragraphs–supposedly explicating a list of potential future stars of the opera stage, we were compelled to smack Midgette with a douche for leaving out like, totally awesome people, and devoting way too much time to the Anna Nebtrenko, who we’re totally over hearing about (and we haven’t even heard her…yet).  With so little space (we know editors determine word count) why waste time on the most obvious drama in opera?

What about fresh voiced starlette-to-be Lisette Oropesa, or bubble-butted tenor, Brandon Jovanovich?  Or the awsome debuts by hardcore hopefulls Vanke Vondung, Alexej Markov and Marina Poplavskaya? Or even Nancy Allen Lundy, the lone shining star in Tan Dun’s “The Gate” at BAM?

There were like, so many things she could have picked to plug, and you know The Midge sees way more shit than we do.  So what gives? A case of the last-minute ommisions? Or just bad journalism?


Five golden rings…Four calling birds, three shots of the same choir…

Umm…did they think we wouldn’t notice? Don’t think C.C. doesn’t vaca with one eye open. This is from T-Bone Tommasini’s second piece on the St. Thomas Man-Boy Choir. He must like, really go there. (Photo by Julien Jourdes.)


And do you remember this?…


And this?…


Click here for the original post.


elf6.jpgWe know we’ve only been in action since May, but we’ve been toiling away like little Christmas elves to bring you the badest, most awesomest, completely ridiculous critical commentary out there. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve tore a few new holes. But mainly, we’ve been genius. So we’re going out in 2007 by honoring the best (and worst) of this years criticism, performance and culture. Umm…don’t be surprised when we win Blog of the Year.

Performance of the Year: PS22 Chorus singing “Dragon” for Tori Amos

With a single video, the kids chorus of PS22 (check ’em out on our blog roll) on Staten Island became internet celebrities, and proved that children’s voices can make even the most vagi-centric song sound like an anthem for world peace.

elf2.jpgOutrageous Moment of the Year: Ann Liv Young and Family’s “The Radio Show” @ Rush Arts

Let’s just say, if dance aficionados out there are questioning whether or not Ann Liv Young is a choreographer, wait till they try to digest her parental habits. The inclusion of her four day-old infant as a performer/prop at the Rush Arts gallery back in September made this critic nervous and prompted our second most-read posts ever!

Dance of the Year: Jerome Bel’s “Pichet Klunchun and myself” @ DTW

Fuck. This one was tough. Just so’s you know, the short list included…David Neumann’s Feedforward (hot), Tere O’Connor’s Rammed Earth (cool), Batsheva’s Three (fierce), and Jeremy Wade’s first ensemble piece …and pulled out their hair (crazy!). But somebody had to win, and, more than Bel’s lyric conceptualism and sophisticated execution, the heartfelt emphasis on civil understanding tipped the scales.

elf3.jpgBest Orchestral Performance of the Year: Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra @ Carnegie Hall

Seriously, the best sound out of an orchestra we have ever heard in our entire lives, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 is no cakewalk. Some people think a teenage muppet bouncing off the podium is what will save concert music. Boulez kind of proved that its really music of the highest caliber that will save it, that is, if anything needs saving.

Best Opera of the Year: “The Marriage of Figaro” @ The Met

We’re going with our gut on this one. As much as we wanted to give this to Carmen (just cuz it was so much fun), The Met’s Le Nozze di Figaro wins the prize for its truly sophisticated set design and solid cast–including lispy American starlet Lisette Oropesa and the awesome Vanke Vondung in her Met debut–and for keeping opera alive and full of the breath of theater.

Best Theater Experience: Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s “No Dice”

elf4.jpgIf we hadn’t seen this little mini-masterpiece of theater just two weeks ago, we would have given this award to Mexican company Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes’ De Monstruos y Prodigios, which was a riotous tour de force that questioned beauty, fame, and fashion. But the sweethearts of the zany Nature Theater of Oklahoma won us over with their child-like exuberance and mad acting skills. The Wooster Group’s Hamlet was a close third, but, to be honest, we’re still digesting that one. I mean…we didn’t even blog about it.

Let Down of the Year: Yvonne Rainer’s “RoS Indexical”

Is it possible to write too much about a bad thing? Maybe. Click here for the the uber list of posts we dedicated to this let-down of the millennium, or what we’ve dubbed “The Yvonne Rainer Drainer.” This thing was an SBD all the way, and it doesn’t help its cause when certain douche bags try to rush to Rainer’s defense.

Let Down of the Year – Honorary Mention: Lucia Poop, Beethoven Compressed, Dismantled, Doll Parts, and the choreography for Harry Partch’s Delusion of the Fury at Japan Society: It was just…awful.

elf5.jpgYouTube of the Year: She without arm, he without leg – ballet – Hand in Hand

“Dancing For Your Limbs” is the perhaps more (in)appropriate title. Either way, this glorious number is set to a song that won’t leave you (…ever), and is cheered on by perhaps one of the most actively disinterested audiences on record.

Top Post of the Year: FIRST WORD REVIEW, The Met’s “Iphigenie en Tauride”

Who the F knew that a review of a new production of an obscure Gluck opera by The Met would bring down the most hits out of any post we have ever written, far surpassing the other front runners, the aforementioned, andthe little post that could.

Newcomer Critic of the Year: Britney

Despite stellar contributions to this site from Sidekick and L.A. correspondent, Benn Widdey, the Newcomer Critic of the Year Award goes to Britney Spears for her candid, gum-smacky, and mostly sober cameo critique of Elliott Carter’s 99th Birthday/music concert at the Miller Theater.

Douche of the Year: Alastair Macaulay

elf7.jpgWhether he’s trodding up to Lincoln Center for an evening to mainline more ballet than most humans could possibly ever digest in an entire lifetime, lecturing little Barnard dancers about the future of an illusion, or whether he’s whisping off away to Paris for like…ever, handing over some prime media real estate to the French for some inexplicable reason (seriously, folks, what’s up with that?), Alastair Macaulay is the dance critic we love to hate, and hate to love. He’s received both awards of praise and the big old douche. And, to tell the truth, his awful writing about Merce Cunningham, way back when, is what inspired us to start this blog. Perhaps we can say then that, like Golum, even the creepiest, slimiest, smelliest creature in Middle Earth can still be responsible for a modicum of good in the world.

Critic of the Year: Claudia La Rocco

elf8.jpgIs anyone surprised? I mean, seriously, come on! You know, we may have given her a douche and a half over the past seven months (you know we did it out of love), but the fact remains that her writing on dance (and even a little theater) is the sharpest, most insightful you will find. Not only does she tend to go for the really edgy shit, but she expects the highest level of professionalism from artists and isn’t smoke-screened by reputations or hype. She also totally knows how to take down some god-awful piece of shit in like two seconds flat. And even though we accused her of being old and crusty (which, you know, we might have been not right about), she’s turned out to be a critic (with a darling speaking voice) we love to read and write about, and our affection for her work has even landed her one of the most awesome nom de blogs out there: You can call her L. Ro.

And now, the award you’ve all been waiting for…

Blog of the Year: Counter Critic

elf9.jpgWe told you not to be surprised. I mean, think of it this way. In that one America’s Next Top Model episode, there were like four chicks left, and scary Tyra asked each of them, one at a time, who had the most potential to be America’s Next Top Model, and like, the only one who didn’t say herself, totally got the boot (probably a Prada boot, still a boot). So, we’re shining with vaseline confidence here and giving our blog the biggest award there is out there ever in the entire history of human awards (that even includes the Gold, Frankincense and Mhyr that the baby Jesus won from the wisemen). Thanks to our gloriously bored-at-work readers for keeping loyal and chatty. Douches to all who got catty. And try not to forget us while we go on vaca. We might even check in every now and then. And maybe, if you’ve bought presents for everyone else this year, you can treat yourself to the Counter Critic RSS Feed, which will let you know each and every time we decide to post something awesome and stupid. Do it for yourself. Do it for the world.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

He DOES care!

Do you guys remember when we cried when Alex Ross wrote that piece in The New Yorker with all those links to music blogs, and we were like, Alex, come on! We’re in your “All-Over Blogs” section and that means we won’t get the benefit of the extra traffic that one of your awesome NYer articles is likely to garner. Seriously. Remember that?

Well, check out A. Ro.’s farewell holiday post. No, not the one about the cats! (For us, the pain is still too near.) The latest one. He says, “I will be away until January. Please patronize Music Blogs and All-Over Blogs.” Music blogs and All-Over blogs!

We know you feel us Alex. And we feel you back…I mean…in a completely platonic…non-come on sort of way…you know…like…friends or something.


DUmb Critic Hack Award: Feingold, generally

summerseve21.jpgMichael Feingold is starting to wear. Can anyone get all the way through one of his rambling missives? I mean, all the way through. No skimming.

It’s just, for The Voice, his voice is sounding laconic and curmudgeonly. Not at all like the streetwise rag that isn’t afraid to drop an f-bomb now and then. Take this excerpt from his latest theater review:

America’s sense of humor, I used to think, was its saving grace. We might throw our weight around recklessly as a nation, but at least we could laugh at ourselves. That was before the collision of global media marketing and the right-wing hegemony knocked out our sense of humor and left it for dead in the sandbox of nostalgia. The last few decades have been pretty drought-stricken in the laugh department.

I mean, where to begin? Was the past really that funny? I know I always laugh at the 60s, but, like, that’s because they’re lame. Maybe he just means he used to have a sense of humor, which, judging from his buzzkill attitude, seems more likely to be the case.

Follow The Band Leader

We’re not blaming anyone, per se, but you all know three times equals a pattern, so when we just read Susan Yung’s lovely interview with Trisha Brown in The Brooklyn Rail (okay, so it’s our paper of the day–sue us!), we were intrigued to find out that her piece Foray Foret–from 1980–uses a marching band. Umm…where else have we heard that?…Marching band…Dance…Oh! Wally Cardona in this year’s Site. Who else?…Umm…Well, it isn’t necessarily a marching band, but…there were live trombones in David Neumann’s Feedforward. There’s gotta be more. Anyone care to help us out?



musicophilia.jpgSome dears friends gave C.C. this book, and as soon as we’re finished taking apart Da Noise (Chapters 3 and 4 coming soon), we’ll be tearing into it. In the mean time, here’s a very elegant review by John MacDonald in The Brooklyn Rail.

MacDonald faults author, Oliver Sacks, for covering too much territory and delving deep enough into any single neurological illness: “Casting a wide net is not, in fact, the best way to illustrate music’s ubiquitous power. It’s by focusing in and diving deep that we appreciate music’s eerie sway, that we see lives made livable—that we see ourselves.”

Okay, we threw up a little in our mouth when we read the last line. But come on, even C.C. has used the “see ourselves” line before, so we’ll give Micky D a break…today.