CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
Arts & Entertainment
One Popcorn, Poor • Two Popcorns, Fair • Three Popcorns, Good • Four Popcorns, Excellent
By Michael S. Goldberger
Songs, Stories Will Inspire All at Ken Medema Concert
WESTFIELD – Internationallyknown musician, singer and songwriter Ken Medema will offer a concert on Friday, September 22, at 4 p. m. for children and 8 p. m. for all at First United Methodist Church in Westfield.
Sharing his concerns about the world, it’s survival, social justice, human relations and spirituality, Mr. Medema hopes to provoke thought and inspire audiences with his program.
Blind from birth, Mr. Medema has been lauded by pastors and church members throughout the area.
Blair K. Anderson, Senior Pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in
Ramsey, Minn. Stated that “eight year olds and octogenarians alike” are moved to “laughter and tears and profoundly challenged all within the course of a few hours with Ken. He is a unique blend of poet, theologian, philosopher, comedian and musician.”
The Reverend John Lohr of Franklin Lakes Presbyterian Church remarked, “He’s amazing!” “Incredibly profound!”
Ken Medema A PAGE OUT OF HISTORY… Colonial and Native American crafts and history will come to life at the 19th Annual Union County Harvest Festival at Trailside Nature & Science Center on Sunday, September 24, from 11 a. m. to 5 p. m. Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the festival is a cornucopia of events the whole family will enjoy. Colonial crafts will be demonstrated and there will be storytelling, games, singing, dancing and a special planetarium show. Admission is $3 per person, with children 7 years and younger admitted free of charge. Pictured, above, is fur trader and trapper Frederick Ross who participated in last year’s festival. For directions to the Harvest Festival, please call (908) 7893670 or (908) 5274900.
Has Cure for Reality 3 & 1/ 2 popcorns
Has life been getting you down lately? Well, that’s exactly how smalltown waitress Betty Sizemore (Renee Zellweger) felt. That is, until she discovered a cure for her ills by diving into a bizarrely divine madness and becoming Nurse Betty.
Tossed into a posttraumatic state after witnessing two hit men (Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock) dispatch her used car salesman of a husband (Aaron Eckhart), Betty imagines that the soap opera heartthrob of her dreams is actually in love with her, too. So, in search of her romantic destiny, she heads for the Left Coast where Dr. David Ravell (Greg Kinnear) is a renowned cardiac man at fictitious Loma Vista Hospital on the daytime drama, “A Reason To Love.”
Unfortunately, the bickering gunmen must tail the daydreamer on her odyssey. (She may know something). A viewing of this spiritually uplifting, often hysterical black comedy might be just what the doctor ordered.
Director Neil LaBute also takes a devilishly goodnatured poke at middle America. His interpretation of writer John C. Richards’s motley crew of personae are humorously and sympathetically fleshed out by a cast of fine performers.
But Zellweger deserves an Oscar nomination for contributing the oddball performance of the season. Only a portrayal this emotionally convincing could keep the zany yet equally chancy premise from badly misfiring. Doing the actor’s version of a tightrope walk, her Nurse Betty straddles the fence between illusion and reality with magnetically daring panache. However, because Mr. LaBute’s movie is about two fantasies on a collision course, Betty isn’t the only one living in an altered state.
Dramatically counterbalancing the title character is Freeman’s none too shoddy depiction of Charlie, a paid killer in the twilight of his career. The murderer features himself the Don Quixote of hit men. He has whimsically decided that this final target is his Dulcinea. Imbuing Betty with all manner of virtue, he thereby elevates himself to the status of gentleman killer.
All this poetic oration as they travel crosscountry in pursuit of Betty drives Freeman’s young henchman crazy. Played by Chris Rock, Wesley is the proverbial loose canon. Possessing hairtrigger nerves, he is at once threatening and unpredictable.
Yet in what must be the most telling disclosure about this movie’s insanity, harshtoned Wesley is the story’s voice of reason, a violent pragmatist among selfactualizing idealists. He just wants to take care of the business at hand. But if you ask him why, he’s hard put to explain.
The other 25 percent of this film’s main quartet of players is actually two characters. Played by Kinnear, they are George McCord, the soap star, and fictional Dr. David Ravell, the handsome M. D. who dauntlessly perseveres despite his wife’s recent death (a decapitation.... but they still haven’t found the head). And if that’s not bad enough, there’s a sexual harassment suit being brought by a spurned nurse; plus a conniving jealous colleague, Dr. Lonnie Walsh (Laird Mackintosh), is trying to steal the good doctor’s thunder in the operating room.
Hence, upon her arrival in L. A., after some Cinderellastyle plot manipulations place Betty at a fundraiser attended by the entire cast of the soap, it’s no wonder that the sleepwalker slaps her true love’s arch rival.
Save for the recipient of the cuff, the soap crew thinks Nurse Betty’s impetuosity in defense of her avowed true love is a great gag....... a party stunt no doubt calculated to win a spot on the show. Matinee idol George is intrigued. And while he may not know it at first, he is also smitten by the extent of Betty’s adulation. They peel off from the gala crowd to compare notes.
Amazed at what he thinks is Betty’s dedication to the stage, he observes that she hasn’t broken character once. In the reflection of her sincere eyes he sees Dr. Ravell, perfect person personified.
Meanwhile, wending their way to the coast, the hit men cometh. And push comes to shove when they finally arrive. So stay tuned for an actionpacked flourish leading up to the climax. But for the time being, Betty has found a temporary home. Through some heroics the nurse wannabe performed during a shootout between the police and some bad guys just outside the hospital emergency room (she had just been turned down for a nursing job), she wins the gratitude of a Hispanic family.
Betty explains that she’s come to California to be reunited with Dr. David Ravell, “the famous heart surgeon,” but that thus far she’s been unable to locate him. And with that, Rosa (Tia Texada), the sister of the man she saved, takes her in.
George now adds the role of gentleman caller to his cast of characterizations. And Rosa doesn’t like it. The fiery hostess has put two and two together and is confounded by what she views as an unfathomable charade. How dare this crazy woman wash ashore and immediately land the man of her dreams, literally?
She informs her guest that David is really named George. But retorting with the kind of dumbfounding blind conviction worthy of Gracie Allen, innocent Betty matteroffactly replies: “That’s funny. Half of David’s friends call him George.”
This is indeed wacky stuff. And you’d think that maintaining a semblance of credibility would be its biggest challenge. Yet like a drunk watched over by a guardian angel, the story manages to weave its way through all manner of potential hazards without once falling flat on its face.
Call it the likeability factor, but the more outrageous director LaBute’s film gets, the more intoxicating its humanistic message. Practicing an entertainingly strange version of laugh therapy,
Nurse Betty is good for what ails you. * * * * *
Nurse Betty, rated R, is a USA Films release directed by Neil LaBute and stars Morgan Freeman, Renee Zellweger and Greg Kinnear. Running time: 109 minutes.
Sandor Szabo Kicks Off Church’s Fall Sunday Serenades Series
WESTFIELD — Sandor Szabo, pianist, will appear in the first of the fall Sunday Serenades, sponsored by The Presbyterian Church in Westfield on Sunday, October 1, at 4 p. m. in the Christian Lounge.
The program will include Sonata No. 24 in FSharp Major, Op. 78 by Beethoven, PhantasieImpromtu, Op. 66 by Chopin and Faure’s Nocturne in DFlat Major, Op. 86.
Humoresque by Poulec, Debussy’s Preludes, Book 2, Dances of Marosszek by Kodaly and Liszt’
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11, in A Minor are also on tap.
Mr. Szabo was educated in Yugoslavia, graduating from the University of Novi Sad in 1984 with the diploma “Academic Musician in the Piano Art.” Subsequently, he received his master’s degree from the University of Music Arts in Belgrade.
While studying in Yugoslavia, he was a prize winner in both the Belgrade and Zareb Young Pianists National Competitions. He has performed in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, East Germany and Czechoslovakia, including concerts with the symphonic orchestras, performances on radio and television, and a recording with the Romanian baritone Octav
Enigarescu. From 1983, until his immigration to Canada in 1988, Mr. Szabo combined his performing career with that of piano teacher at the University of Music Arts, Novi Sad, and piano accompanist and assistant conductor at the Serbian National Theatre.
Mr. Szabo holds a double master’s degree in organ performance and sacred music from Westminster Choir College, where he studied organ with Eugene Roan and was the recipient of the Currin Scholarship. In addition, he earned a DMA in piano performance at Boston University, having studied piano with Tong II Han, organ with Max Miller, and harspichord with Mark Kroll.
He also holds the Fellowship Certificate (FAGO) from the American Guild of Organists and is a member of Phi Beta Delta, an honor society for international scholars as well as Pi Kappa Lambda, a national music honor society. Currently, he is Minister of Music/ Organist at Glen Ridge Congregational Church.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield is located at 140 Mountain Avenue. The public is invited to attend. A freewill offering will be accepted.
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memorating the last Navy Day, October 27, 1945 (thereafter, the celebration was renamed Armed Forces Day).
Mr. Devlin learned that a man named Captain Steichen of the Navy’s Photographic Unit, thought that the image for the poster should not be an illustration but a photograph. Mr. Devlin took Sickles’ nearly completed painting to Capt. Steichen and stated his belief that the important poster “belonged in the hands of an artist – not a photographer.”
After some discussion and even debate with the senior officer, Capt. Steichen consented to at least look at the painting. Once he did the issue was settled, he told Mr. Devlin, “I wouldn’t change a thing. Run with it.”
Two days later, Mr. Devlin’s commanding officer called him to his office “on the double.” Upon his arrival, the officer, Captain Henry Moore, with a scowl on his face asked, “Who do you think you are questioning the judgment of Captain Edward Steichen?”
Mr. Devlin was devastated. Capt. Steichen was THE Edward Steichen, the great American photographer and painter. Seeing his dismay, Capt. Moore laughed and
said, “Don’t worry, Steichen got the greatest kick out of you.”
Years later, Mr. Devlin responded to a blurb in The New York Times
reporting that the Museum of Modern Art was looking for anyone having knowledge of Edward Steichen’s service to the Navy during the war. He wrote the story of their meeting and soon received a phone call from Capt. Steichen’s daughter.
She told Mr. Devlin, “My father frequently related that story of your meeting with him. He thought you were ‘the cat’s ankles! ’” Harry and Wende Devlin would eventually meet Capt. Steichen’s daughter at a Princeton University retrospective showing of his work.
One of the last Navy Day posters hangs in Mr. Devlin’s studio. It features illustrations of the classifications of ships that comprised the U. S. Fleet in 1945 and bears the motto, “A Strong Navy Guarantees Peace.” As I admired the poster with Mr. Devlin, I realized that over the course of the afternoon with this notable veteran a new perspective on the behindthescenes effort had emerged.
There are thousands of other fascinating stories to be told by the men and women, combatants and non, who won the war.
touted by our metropolitan elite to be the “most sophisticated.”
The dilettantes however, will always fall in with the party line of course. Their days are numbered however as we see more orchestras returning to quality music.
Composer Danielpour stated the truth when he said that he “doesn’t feel that music works without some form of harmonic language. It doesn’t matter if it’s tonal or quasitonal, but it has to have a sense of verticality as well as linear movement. Composers today are really searching for this.”
Some composers are trying to create a new language because they feel that they have to. It is called art for the sake of art. Modern, atonal, seemingly disjointed music does not work because it is most distasteful to most people. Not that the majority is any indication of correctness, however, it does not take a genius to recognize the difference between what is naturally beautiful and what is grotesque.
Unquestionably, great pieces have been written in the 20th century, but there is a whole strain of repertoire within modern music which clearly symbolizes one of the great failures in modern American society. Somewhere along the line, many have lost the art of
New Jersey Symphony Opens New Season with NJPAC Performance
being able to see what is truly beautiful. Many have also lost the art of being able to meaningfully communicate with each other, to move each other with words and with music as we have in the past.
“And they were speechless. Grown men and women were so profoundly touched that they were moved to uncontrolled tears when the chorus entered with a powerful whisper Auferstehen,
Ja Auferstehen.” in reference to final movement of the Resurrection Symphony by Gustav Mahler. Musically and spiritually, the work clearly did not hold up next to the brilliance of the German and Italian masterpieces. Splendid City was not well received by the audience and was a weak point in the repertoire.
Despite the musical dogooders, a repertoire need not include such weak points as evidenced by the consistently superb repertoires of other area orchestras such as the Westfield Symphony Orchestra.
New Jersey certainly possesses the talent and the specifically the hall (with some minor modifications to be discussed) to reach our final goal and to make it all happen: To make New Jersey a powerhouse in Metropolitan area music. New Jerseyans should not have to settle for less when we can have greatness.
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Fanwood Rec. Dept. Sets Ceramics Classes
FANWOOD – The Fanwood Recreation Department has announced that beginning on Tuesday, October 10, ceramics classes for adults will be held at Forest Road Park.
The classes will run Tuesdays and Thursdays for six weeks. The cost of the program is $50 for Fanwood residents and $60 for nonresidents.
M a r i o n Yotcoski, who holds years of experience and is known to teach an enjoyable class, will be the teacher.
Registration will be held on the first day of class on October 10 at 7 p. m. For more information, please call the Recreation Office at (908) 8892080.
SAVOR A SPOT OF TEA... A relaxing evening of English Afternoon Tea will be on tap Tuesday, September 28, at 8 p. m. at the Fanwood Train Station. Hostesses for the evening will be Joan Shropshire and Phyllis Holder, two members of the Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood. They will provide a brief history of tea ceremonies as well as serve tea and tasty traditional accompaniments. The program is open to the public. For more information, please call Richard Bousquet, President of the Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood at (908) 2321199.
Artist Harry Devlin of Mountainside Recalls Service to Country in WWII
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24
FestiFall to Attract Visitors, Residents with Music, Arts, Crafts
WESTFIELD – The Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce will offer the 11th Annual FestiFall of Arts and Crafts on Sunday, September 24, from 11 a. m. to 5 p. m. on Elm, East Broad, Prospect and Quimby Streets. The raindate is October 1.
Over 250 exhibits of quality crafts, art, local businesses and children’s activities will highlight this year’s event. Traffic along those streets will be detoured for the day. Entertainment will include:
·Al Madison of Scotch Plains, Blues Singer/ Songwriter, 11 a. m.
·Kathryn Weidener of Raritan, “The Storyteller,” 11: 30 a. m.
·Jim Cava of North Haledon, “Operation Red, White and Blue” from 12 to 1 p. m.
·Front Porch Swing Band of Scotch Plains, Contemporary and Popular Music, from 1 to 2 p. m.
·Bob Mele of Elizabeth, Singer and Entertainment Host, 2 p. m.
·His Master’s Peace Puppet Theatre and Magic Show of Union, 2: 30 to 3: 30 p. m.
·The Gospel Shepherds, Central New Jersey, 3: 30 p. m.
·Tom Klimchock of Branchburg, 4: 30 p. m.
·The Dixie Mix of Bridgewater, Dixieland Music, street performances.
·Mystic Warriors, Contemporary, IncaStyle Music, street performances.
·Louie the Bum (clown) of Upper Montclair, street performances.
Pony rides, moonwalk, temporary tattoos, sand art and storytelling will be on tap for children. Food from local vendors will line the streets with delicious fare, such as calamari, pastas, Greek foods, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, zeppoles, ice cream, homemade fudge, funnel cakes and more.
Artists from around and beyond the area will display original watercolors, oil paintings, photography, batik, pottery, decoupage, bonsai, wall hangings and more.
Admission and parking are free. For more information, please call The Advertising Alliance at (908) 9963036 or the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce at (908) 2333021.
Crafters, Artisans, Musicians To Vend Unique Wares At Nomahegan Park
CRANFORD – The 13th Annual Fall Fine Arts and Crafts Show at Nomahegan Park in Cranford will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and 8, from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m., rain or shine.
Approximately 90 professional artists, photographers and craftspeople from the northeast and beyond will display and sell their handcrafted works.
The free event is cosponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Union County Division of Parks and Recreation and Janet and Howard Rose of Rose Squared Productions, Inc.
Fine art, photography, weaving, clothing, pottery, wood, fiber and
stained glass will be just some of the unique products available at the show. Entertainment and a variety of ethnic foods will round out the twoday program.
Local participants include Kathy and Robert Scardino of Cranford, Anna Continos of North Brunswick, Mary Casey of South Orange, Sue Preston of Springfield and Gina Romano of Summit.
Parking is free across the street from Union County College. For further information, please call (908) 8745247 or visit www. rosesquared. com.
The Reader: A Book Review
Attention Book Lovers:
The Arts & Entertainment Section welcomes a new addition to its pages. Beginning with the October 5 edition, “The Reader: A Book Review” will offer a synopsis and opinion piece based on a book by local authors and other writers. The feature will appear monthly.
Is there a certain book you would like to see reviewed? We welcome your suggestions for consideration. Please feel free to write to the A& E Editor, Michelle H. LePoidevin, at michelle@ goleader. com.
Calvary Chorale Season To Start This Saturday
SUMMIT — Calvary Chorale’s 27th season of montly concerts begin on Sunday, September 24, at 4 p. m. with “Mr. Handel and Friends” at Calvary Church, 31 Woodland Avenue, Summit.
Eugene Roan on harspichord and John Burkhalter on recorder, who made their Calvary Chorale debut last season, will present a concert of English Baroque music.
Other performances this fall include “Mass in D” by John Knowles Paine, a rarelyheard 19th Century American composer in October; The Out of Town Quartet in November and Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “Mass in G” in December.
For a season brochure, please call (908) 2771547. The church is handicapped accessible.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)