Reviews

Sarah Jones

Matt Rogers
Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

City: New York
Venue: The Bleeker Street Theater
Date: 2004-03-07

Sarah Jones
The Glorious Melting Potluck Buffet of Sarah Jones Reading theater and film reviews is, for me, a delicate process. Just tell me whether to see the production or not. If you can do that in the first few sentences, without draining any of the future suspense, I will love you. Just give me a hint. If the play or film sucks, then tell me all about it and save me the dough. Unless it sucks so creatively bad that I must see it. If it's great, then please shout just that. Please, then, shut up. Sarah Jones's one-woman play, Bridge & Tunnel, is frickin' brilliant! If you live in the tri-state area, then you must get your ass out the door, cross a bridge and/or cruise a tunnel and end up at downtown Manhattan's cozy Bleeker Street Theater for this Meryl Streep and Culture Project produced miracle of a play. If you find yourself living a bit further away, but you were looking for that special excuse to visit NYC, then you now have it. If you don't know about Sarah Jones you truly need to know about Sarah Jones. She is the type of writer and performer whose work is so nuanced and delicious that she is impossible to categorize. She is comedian, poet, actor, MC, athlete, linguist, changeling all rolled into one and she's beat the FCC. She may be, along with Danny Hoch ("Jails, Hospitals & Hip Hop"), the finest theatrical talent of her generation. And while most one-person productions these days seem to be autobiographical in nature, and somewhat, if not completely, confessional, Ms. Jones's baby has been clearly birthed by a playwright. And this baby is as multi-cultural/racial/ethnic/generational/sexual as you can get. Plot-wise this is all I will tell you. You are part of the audience at the annual "I.A.M.A.P.O.E.T.T.O.O." reading being held at the Bridge & Tunnel near the JFK airport in Queens, which contains some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the world. It is the perfect theatrical device, for you the audience member no longer have that "fourth wall" to hide behind. The event is hosted by the affable, middle-aged Pakistani immigrant Mohammed Ali, a master of ceremonies who is delightfully prone to corny one-liners. He is the glue for this poetry club made up of immigrants both recent and old who have come from all corners of the globe. Throughout the evening, we hear the voices of many of the club's poets, most of them via their poems, and a few who although decline the poetic spotlight, talk anyway. Some are young, some are old. Some are angry, some are sad. Some are spiteful, some are playful. Some are shy, some are melodramatic. All are endearing, as they give a condensed kernel of their experiences as an American immigrant, whether from Vietnam, Haiti, Russia, Jordan, China, Mexico or Australia. Perhaps what is most phenomenal is that each character could be performed by a separate actor and the play would still work. Yet it is Ms. Jones's uncanny, seamless ability to inhabit so many personalities that impresses most. All she needs is a few transitional seconds of music, a different shade of lighting and a quick change of jacket. And by its nature it's a political play, which serves to remind us that in these post 9/11 times when tolerance may be the first thing forgotten, we are all immigrants. One look at the diverse, sold-out crowd at 45 Bleeker Theater, underlined this fact. As far as I know "Bridge & Tunnel" has an open-ended run. But don't sleep on this. Come to Sarah. Don't wait for Sarah to come to you. You'll laugh your ass off. You might cry. You may even get a little angry. Mostly, though, you'll want more.

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?

Music

Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.

Music

IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.

Music

Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.

Books

David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.

Music

David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.

Music

Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".

Music

Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.

Music

The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.