Joel Colodner as Solomon Galkin and Jeremiah Kissel as Bernard Madoff

Credit: Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Arts this Week: Not the Usual

January 9, 2014

We all know that Bernie Madoff swindled a lot of people from their savings, but now you can sit with a fictional Madoff and hear him talk out his philosophy. Top that with fashion that isn't concerned with a Western concept of "sexy", Dublin tunes to fall in love by and a less-than-perfect family from the Midwest.

Future Beauty, on view at the Peabody Essex Museum through January 26th.
The Peabody Essex Museum is the exclusive East Coast venue for Future Beauty: Avant-Garde Japanese Fashion, an exhibition of nearly 100 dresses, skirts, gowns and suits that celebrate the ingenuity and innovation of contemporary Japanese fashion designers. Since the early 1980s, designers such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto have reshaped couture as well as popular fashion and launched a revolution that marks the first time a non-Western culture has significantly transformed the global fashion world. » See some of the items on display, featured in Open Studio.

Once, presented by Broadway In Boston, it plays at the Boston Opera House through January 19th.
Featuring a charming ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. You'll lose yourself in the music as the chemistry between them grows and his music soars to powerful new heights... but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance.

Imagining Madoff, plays at New Repertory Theatre through January 26th.
In Obie Award-winning playwright Deborah Margolin’s controversial new play, we witness imagined jail conversations between Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and Solomon Galkin, a poet and Holocaust survivor. In a high moral showdown, these two Jewish men banter about women, baseball, the Talmud, human decency, kindness, and the story of Abraham and Isaac, revealing much about greed and the forces that led us to the Great Recession. According to DC Theatre Scene, “We know the what already; in Imagining Madoff, we seek the why.

Rijksmuseum finally open after major renovations.
I had the opportunity to visit the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, which recently opened after being closed for ten years to complete a nearly $500 million renovation, and I can't recommend the trip enough. Being among the works of so many Masters was staggering. While in Amsterdam, I also saw the works of Vincent Van Gogh. To walk into an artist's life work, as I did at the Van Gogh museum, is an overwhelmingly rich experience. Pretty emotional too, as you see the whole arc of his very short career from beginning to sad end. Just a couple of photos are on my Facebook page.

August: Osage County in theaters Friday.
You'll meet the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Derived from Tracy Letts’ 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, the scene where Julia Roberts wrestles Meryl Streep to the ground, with half of Hollywood's great actors looking on, (the film stars Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard and Misty Upham), is sure to go down in movie history.

Coming up on Open Studio
I sit down with the stars of the musical Once, playing at the Boston Opera House, and preview Acoustica Electronica at the Oberon in Cambridge. Also, ceramic artist Matthew Wilson finds the function in clay art, and painter Nicholas Harper explores the surrealistic character of the human face.

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