Mindy / Oleanna

>On Tuesday night, I went with my friend June, a photographer and fabulous chef, to see Mindy Smith play the City Winery. I’d never seen her live, though I’ve had her latest record, Stupid Love, in constant rotation since it came out. She’s a kind of folky-country artist that has an incredible, textured and girlish voice that writes incredible, potent, simple and beautiful songs. Alison Krauss put a song of hers on her last record. Okay!

The show was wonderful–except that Mindy’s in-between banter was, to put it mildly, sometimes a bit awkward. It was as if she wasn’t used to being in her body, or being in front of people, or being applauded for her incredible talent. At times I kept thinking, please get back to the songs. But when she did, they were ethereal, floating things, which held everyone’s attention and made everything feel more beautiful.

The venue is very nice, with a huge selection of wine, glasses and bottles, and a lovely menu, though I didn’t have anything to eat. And the best thing about the place is that when you buy tickets, you can pick your exact seat from their seat map online. YES!

I have a feeling that the new Tegan & Sara, called Sainthood, out Oct 27, will overtake Mindy. Just a hunch.

Tonight, I was at the Golden Theater where Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles were in “Oleanna,” David Mamet’s old play about…sexual harassment? Higher education? Self-aggrandizing political correctness? I liked it, but I think I liked the evening out, in the theater, seeing a stage set, seeing actors act, seeing Times Square and all the theatergoers, more than the play itself.

Oleana is a hard play to like; it is not very fun to watch. It’s talky, difficult to listen to, and I often found myself distracted–but that’s me in general, so… John, the accused professor, is always answering on the phone, which I found annoying and empty–is that the point? I’ve always wondered whether Mamet wants more equilibrium on stage–or, perhaps he doesn’t. Every time I see the play, I think Carol comes of as a loose, desperate joiner. We’ve seen their interaction, so we, I’m going to assume this here, are generally siding with John. Maybe Mamet doesn’t care about ambiguity?

Actually, it’s all still swirling around in my head and I don’t know what I think about it right now. The acting was good, though I often think that actors can never really get their mouths around Mamet, since it’s so unnatural, and makes for, if you ask me, very little poetry on stage. Directors always want to give his language a certain speed, which isn’t helpful in making theatrical moments. If you ask me.

On my walk home, I stopped in the Baskin-Robbins and got a scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip on a sugar cone. Perfection!


One Comment on “Mindy / Oleanna”

  1. your mom says:

    >I had planned to see Mindy at one of the music fesitvals here earlier in the year, but she canceled her appearance. Sigh. I need to get the CD. Thanks for reminding me to do that. I like Pralines & Cream with my Mamet.


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