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Arts and Entertainment Arts and Entertainment Arts and Entertainment Arts and Entertainment Arts and Entertainment
One Popcorn, Poor • Two Popcorns, Fair • Three Popcorns, Good • Four Popcorns, Excellent
By Michael S. Goldberger
POPCORN POPCORN POPCORN POPCORN POPCORN ™
In Election, which focuses on a feverishly delirious campaign for student council president, it’s in high school that our future demagogues learn how to fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time.
The seriocomic case in point is Reese Witherspoon as pushy Tracy Flick, director-writer Alexander Payne’s diabolic embodiment of everything that is bad about American politics. She insists on being elected.
Scaling the heights of obnoxious perkiness, Tracy ventures wherever her insatiable quest for recognition and power takes her, aided and abetted by her singleparent, equally single-minded mother.
Mom perennially writes to positive role models like Connie Chung and Elizabeth Dole, seeking their advice on raising a successful woman.
Of course Tracy’s suburban Nebraska classmates are neither very bothered nor necessarily taken in by the budding politician’s disingenuous ways. For starters, though there is hardly a black student among them, their high school is named after George Washington Carver; this automatically gives the teen-agers a leg up on the wiles of hypocrisy.
But there is, indeed, someone terribly upset at the prospect of a presidential win by two-faced Tracy. Absolutely tormented by the possibility is Matthew Broderick as Jim McAllister, the thriceelected most popular teacher at Carver High.
His character is unquestioned — for now that is.
In fact, Mr. McAllister is known for his academic inquiry into the difference between ethics and morals. But, in the movie’s sense of mischievous irony, each time the educator is about to elaborate on the semantic distinction between the two, something interrupts him.
Taking on a darkly comedic tone, Election then proceeds to show why the wellliked educator may not be the best judge in this matter. Is Jim’s self-righteous outrage beginning to overtake him?
While Mr. McAllister isn’t far from correct in his negative estimation of Miss Flick, what initially provokes his disdain for the young lady is a life-destroying affaire de coeur she has with his best friend, math teacher Dave Novotny (Mark Harelik).
Later, rationalizing his romantic indiscretion to Jim, the philandering mathematician blubbers, “She wanted to read my novel.” Best friend Jim reminds Dave that he has not written a novel.
When the school administration unearths the sordid details, Tracy stands stolid; but, as she cold-heartedly notes in a movie smartly narrated in flashback by its four principals, it was sentimental Dave who “went mushy” and was subsequently fired.
It is a testament to how finely Reese Witherspoon weaves her dragon lady-intraining that Tracy is not entirely hateful (though pretty close to it). Alas, if we are to be kind (after all, she’s just a kid), perhaps Miss Flick is an aberrant product of her competitive environment. And then on second thought, maybe she’s just
Politics and Strange Bedfellows
plain evil. But what then is supposed to excuse the sanctimonious behavior Broderick’s Jim McAllister suddenly exhibits? Is the need to be right in his DNA? Or is the social science teacher just invoking Lenin’s end-justifies-the-means ploy when he sticks his nose into the election and beseeches popular football star Paul Metzler (Chris Klein) to run against the source of his woe?
As he recruits the handsome but simple oaf, you can practically hear the urgent refrain, “gotta stop that man,” from another film about shamelessly obsessive striving, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
And that isn’t the only tampering Mr. McAllister perpetrates, not to mention the added moral scrutiny he invites when he allows his marriage to justify a sudden interest in old friend Dave’s now divorced wife.
Still convinced he is the epitome of civic integrity, the teacher now takes a stroll down the proverbial garden path, a tragically humorous odyssey that Mr. Broderick undertakes with delectable whimsy.
Director Payne (who co-wrote Election with Jim Taylor) injects terrific little nuances along the way, not the least of which is a perfectly timed bee sting to Mr. McAllister’s eyelid, an absurdly effective Cain sign to symbolize this once noble character’s hilarious metamorphosis.
Added to this intelligently mordant swipe at everything from political ambition to adultery to secondary education, there is a zany twist on sibling rivalry. Candidate Paul’s gay younger sister, shrewdly portrayed by Jessica Campbell, suddenly tosses her hat in the political ring.
Stirred to candidacy when a disenchanted girlfriend dumps her to take up with brother Paul, Tammy soulfully narrates: “It’s not like I’m a lesbian. I’m interested in the person. It’s just that the only people who have interested me so far are girls.”
On Candidates’ Night, angry little sister gives vent to her anarchical leanings, declaring that, if elected, her first act as president will be to abolish the student council. A fickle audience cheers with glee. Phil Reeves as abashed principal Hendricks, the template for every unyielding school bureaucrat in America, immediately asks for Tammy’s suspension.
Sharp-witted and astute, director Payne’s daring exercise in social satire topples several sacred cows and leaves few taboos unexplored. Yet he manages this comically scathing devastation while adroitly maintaining an artfully exquisite buoyancy.
The results of this Election are in, and movie audiences are declared the overwhelming winners by a landslide.
Election, rated R, is a Paramount Pictures release directed by Alexander Payne and stars Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Campbell. Running time: 104 minutes
MUSIC MASTERS… Terrill Middle School students Mike Gleason, left, Delsa Slaugh at the piano, and Ben Flath won places in the Central Jersey Music Educators’ Association Region 2 Jazz Competition. Representing the Scotch PlainsFanwood school district, they joined area students in a jazz concert performed on April 18 at War Memorial High School in Sayreville.
Fiber Artist, Catherine Marchant Fiber Artist, Catherine Marchant Fiber Artist, Catherine Marchant Fiber Artist, Catherine Marchant Fiber Artist, Catherine Marchant Named May Artist at Gallery Named May Artist at Gallery Named May Artist at Gallery Named May Artist at Gallery Named May Artist at Gallery
WESTFIELD – Westfield resident C a t h e r i n e Marchant has been named the May Artist of the Month at the Local Color Fine Arts Gallery in Blairstown.
Ms. Marchant is a Fiber Artist who creates handwoven items such as rugs, table linens, beaded jewelry, Japanese thread balls or temari balls and quilted vests.
She has been practicing fiber art for many years. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Utah and is currently a candidate for Master Spinner Certificate from Haliburton School of Fine Arts in Canada.
“I am passionate about fiber. It is tactile as well as visual. I love to surprise people with unusual applications such as knitting with
wire or weaving with metal, but, I also take great satisfaction from making useful, everyday items,” stated Ms. Marchant.
The artist has taught numerous workshops at various schools and Peters Valley Crafts School. She is a member of Westfield Weavers Guild, North Country Spinners and H a n d w e a v e r s Guild of America.
Ms. Marchant also writes a column for Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot
and North Country Spinners Newsletters.
The Gallery is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10: 30 a. m. to 4: 30 p. m. and Saturdays from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. For more information, please call the Gallery at (908) 3627552.
An American Cinderella Set By American Repertory Ballet
NEW BRUNSWICK – The American Repertory Ballet will present
An American Cinderella on Saturday, May 15, at 7 p. m. at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. An additional performance will be held on Sunday, May 16, at 2 p. m.
Christian Holder, choreographer, provides a look at the fairytale in the setting of 1927 New Orleans. This adaptation features a Creole fairy godmother and two “very kooky” stepsisters.
The production’s specially commissioned score features the music of Dr. Steven Winteregg whose
orchestral pieces have been performed by The Milwaukee Symphony, Czech Radio Symphony and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.
Septime Ebre is the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Ballet.
Tickets range in price from $14 to $32 and may be purchased by contacting the State Theatre’s box office at (732) 2467469. For group sales, please contact the Box Office Manager at (732) 2491254. For further information, please call 18778Ballet.
SCOTCH PLAINS – The Scotch PlainsFanwood Music Boosters Association will sponsor a golf outing on Monday, May 24, at 11: 30 a. m. at the Apple Mountain Gold & Country Club in Belvidere.
This benefit enables the purchase of instruments, performance costumes, choral equipment and uniforms for the students.
The registration fee is $85 per person which includes lunch, golf cart, golfing and dinner.
Door prizes and awards will also be presented for closesttopin, longest drive (female and male) and winning score.
For more information, please call (908) 8896400, Extension No. 4.
FANWOOD — The Fanwood Recreation Commission is sponsoring Art Classes for Adults.
Barbara Prestridge, a local artist and teacher, will instruct the courses in water color, acrylic or oil painting to adults with previous painting experience.
Classes will be held at La Grande Park in Fanwood. There will be two sessions of classes: Tuesdays from May 18 to June 22 from 7: 309: 30 p. m.; and Mondays from June 28 to August 2 from 7: 309: 30 p. m.
The Fees per session are Fanwood residents, $60, and nonresidents, $70. Registration for one or both sessions will be held at LaGrande Park on Saturday, May 15, from 10: 30 to 11: 30 a. m. Enrollment will be limited.
Pictured, above, is a vest created by fiber artist, Catherine Marchant.
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WESTFIELD – Genevieve Manion, a 19yearold composer from Westfield, will perform her work, The Flow of Her Spirits, at the Spring Celebration concert of the Colonial Symphony of Morristown on Sunday, May 16, at 3 p. m. in the Community Theatre at 100 South Street in Morristown.
The concert, which will be led by Music Director and Conductor Yehuda Gilad, will also feature Serge Prokofiewv’s Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26 and Robert Schumann’s
Symphony No. 1 in Bflat Major, Op. 38 Spring.
A preconcert lecture by musicologist, Martin Bookspan will be held at 2 p. m. Ms. Manon will join the lecture.
Ms. Manion is a graduate of Westfield High School. She began her musical career at age 6. She studied voice with William Mathues, the Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church in Westfield. She was also a member of the Westfield High School choir and the Westfield Chorale.
She studied with Metropolitan Opera artists, soprano Juliana Gondek and mezzo soprano Jane Bunnell. She began compositional instruction in 1995 under the direction of Paul Somers, the editor and publisher of
Classical New Jersey, based in Westfield. Ms. Manion also studies music theory with Raymond Wojcik, Music Director of Westfield High School and Conductor of the Garden State Philharmonic. Her works include pieces
for violin, wind duets, choral and chamber music and songs for solo and duo sopranos.
Ms. Manion will also speak to other composers from the Morristown schools at a concert rehearsal on Friday, May 14, as part of the Symphony’s ongoing educational programs between local high schools and the Symphony.
This will be the final concert for the 19981999 season by the Colonial Symphony.
Tickets are available for $32, $23 and $12. Tickets for high school and college students are $5. Students in grades K8 are admitted free, with a paying adult. For tickets, please call the Ticket Hotline at (973) 5398008. For information and group sales, please call the Colonial Symphony at (908) 7667555.
Guys and Dolls to be Held At Edison Intermediate
WESTFIELD – Guys and Dolls will be performed at Edison Intermediate School on Friday and Saturday, May 14 and 15, at 7: 30 p. m. in the school auditorium.
Nathan Detroit, played by Jason Mesches, is the founder of the “oldest established floating crap game in New York” and is having difficulty finding a place to hold his game due to police restrictions.
Police Lieutenant Brannigan is played by Raj Bhandari, NicelyNicely Johnson is played by Chris
Lynn, Benny Southstreet is played by Josh Lerner, Sarah Brown is played by Colleen Kirk, Sky Masterson is played by David Eisenberg and Miss Adelaide is played by Betsy Paynter.
Guys and Dolls is directed by Dr. David Shapiro with musical direction by Kristine SmithMorassco. Choreography is by Julian Mandrillo and Megan Steinbrecher. Artistic design is handled by Lun Aleksandrowicz.
For further information, please call (908) 7896134.
Cranford Dramatic Club Announces Casting Call For Forever Plaid Production
CRANFORD – The Cranford Dramatic Club will hold auditions for
Forever Plaid on Sunday, May 16, at 1 p. m. and Monday, May 17, at 7 p. m. at 78 Winans Avenue in Cranford.
The cast of characters includes: Francis, the leader and caretaker of the group, must be a second tenor or lyric baritone; Sparky, the clown of the group, a baritone and a character who loves to perform; Jinx, a shy character and Sparky’s stepbrother, must be a tenor and likes to sing high; and Smudge, a worrier who is reluctant to perform and whose voice is at bass level.
Auditions will consist of reading from the script, singing a song of
your choice and movement and choreography. Scripts are available at Arlene Wachstein’s home at 32 Manchester Drive in Westfield. Please call (908) 2325231 before picking up a script.
Forever Plaid will be directed by Ken Rosenblum and Ms. Wachstein, with Musical Direction by Anjanette Valiante and Choreography by Janice Lynn Shuhan.
Production dates will be Fridays and Saturdays, October 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23.
For further information, please call Ms. Wachstein, Ken Rosenblum at (908) 2338163, or Linda Guiditta at (908) 2328934.
Final Concert of Season Final Concert of Season Final Concert of Season Final Concert of Season Final Concert of Season Slated By Musical Club Slated By Musical Club Slated By Musical Club Slated By Musical Club Slated By Musical Club
WESTFIELD – The Musical Club of Westfield will hold its final concert of the season on Wednesday, May 19, at the First Baptist Church at 10 a. m. in Westfield.
The program will begin with Christina Martos, soprano, accompanied by Robert Frankenberry at the piano. She will open with “Apparition” by Debussy, followed by “Ain’t It a Pretty Night” from the opera, Susannah, by Carlisle Floyd, Fernando J. Oberardor’s “El Vito” and George Gershwin’s “Embraceable You.”
Flutist Clarissa Nolde will follow in the program, performing an
unaccompanied flute solo, “Les Follies d’Espagne” by Marin Maris.
Sondra Tammam will perform four selections on paino: Serge Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude,” and one movement, “Auf Schwung” from Schumann’s Fantastic Stucke.
She will also perform chopin’s
Etude Op. 25, No. 7 and Etude Homage a Chopin by Nicholas Flagello. The members of the Musical Club of Westfield will celebrate this year’s season at an annual luncheon at the Echo Lake Country Club.
Sondra Tammam Clarissa Nolde Rachel Mack Performs
In Music Recital WESTFIELD — Rachel Mack, a fifth grade student at Wilson Elementary School in Westfield, was selected to perform in the New Jersey Music Teachers Association Honors Recital.
The recital was held on Saturday, May 1, at the Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton. Rachel played Le Petit Rien by Couperin.
She is the daughter of Robyn and Scott Mack.
Rutgers Prepares Exhibit With Holocaust Theme
NEW BRUNSWICK – The Rutgers SummerFest and the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper at Mason Gross School of the Arts will present an exhibition, “Veiled Time: Contemporary Artists and the Holocaust” from Sunday, May 16, to Saturday, July 31, on weekdays from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m.
The exhibit will be featured at the Mason Gross School of the Arts Galleries, 33 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick.
Curated by Judith Brodsky and including the work of Aharon Gluska, Melissa Gould, David Levinthanl, Zbigniew Libera, Diane Neumaier, Gabrielle Rossmer, Luba Stacho, and Murrary Zimiles, the exhibit involves the emotional experience of humanity through life and death.
The exhibit may be viewed on weekends by appointment only. To arrange an appointment, please call (732) 9322222, Extension No. 838.
Theodore Schundler To Display Original Art
WESTFIELD – Westfield resident, Theodore Schundler, will have original art displayed at the Case Museum in Jersey City as part of the 5 th annual St. Peter’s Preparatory School Art Exhibition.
The opening reception will be held on Sunday, May 16, from 1 to 3 p. m. at the museum located at 80 Grand Street in downtown Jersey City.
The exhibition will run from May 16 to Thursday, May 20.
Center For Hope Hospice Center For Hope Hospice Center For Hope Hospice Center For Hope Hospice Center For Hope Hospice To Host Art, Craft Show To Host Art, Craft Show To Host Art, Craft Show To Host Art, Craft Show To Host Art, Craft Show
WESTFIELD – The Center For Hope Hospice Auxiliary will host its third annual Arts and Crafts Collection at Mindowaskin Park in Westfield on Saturday, May 15, from 9 a. m. to 4 p. m. The collection will feature over 100 crafters in New Jersey.
The raindate for the event is Sunday, May 16. “I am so proud of the success the Auxiliary has had with the Arts and Crafts Collection and grateful for
the significant contribution their efforts make to the many hospice families in need of care,” said Margaret Coloney, President of the Center For Hope Hospice.
Refreshments will be available during the juried show.
Children will be entertained with balloons and clowns. Entertainment will also be available for adults.
For more information, please call Barbara McCutcheon at (908) 4860700.
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Recreation Department To Host Art Courses
Music Boosters Set Charity Golf Event