Music

Janelle Monae: 9.April.2010 - New York

Janelle Monáe brought her most formidable talent to two sold-out shows at Joe's Pub in New York.

Power to the androids! Self-proclaimed "thrival" Janelle Monáe recently descended upon New York City to preview The Arch Android, her forthcoming follow-up to 2008's Metropolis Suite I: The Chase, which updates the story of Cindi Mayweather (Android #57821) and her adventures in Metropolis.

At Joe's Pub, Janelle Monáe possessed even more drive and confidence than her 2008 debut appearances. Her typically epic opening medley was capped off with "Locked Inside", which wafted over the audience like a salted sea breeze. It's destined to be the "summer song" of 2010. If Monáe's performances of "Cold War" and "Tight Rope" were any indication, The Arch Android might even surpass its predecessor as the mirror to Monáe's genius. With a wink towards James Brown's histrionics, Monáe knelt on the stage floor with a cape and stirred the audience to a frenzy on the latter tune. Call her The Godmother of Android Funk.

Throughout her ten-song 60-minute set, she leapt from the stage onto table tops while dancing in her distinct freeze-frame choreography, simultaneously summoning notes with a multi-octave voice. She fed the audience's appetite for the familiar during the final third of the show with "Sincerely, Jane", "Violet Stars/Happy Hunting", and the Grammy-nominated "Many Moons". White balloons fell from the sound booth and bobbed among the audience, most of whom rose to their feat in the traditionally reserved and seated venue.

Accompanied only by a drummer, guitarist, and keyboard player, Monáe is one of the very few performers who can successfully translate a stadium-size personality to an intimate venue. From the soles of her two-tone saddle shoes to the top of her towering pompadour, Janelle Monáe remains a most formidable talent.

Four-piece Atlanta-based rock band The 54 opened the show with an infectious set of energetic rock that begged for just one or two more songs beyond their brief but memorable opening slot.

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Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

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There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

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