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Magazine Review: Art Times

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Art Times is a chatty tabloid newspaper devoted to art and the arts in what it calls the “Northeast Corridor,” but its focus is on the Hudson Valley, from Albany south to Manhattan. Art Times is published monthly in Mt. Marion, NY.

It’s nice that such a localized art and culture publication exists, and I hope that there are many others serving the same purpose around the country. It seems to have no particular artistic axes to grind and no movements to promote, though its columns in the recent issue I’ve been reading do take a few sharp jabs at what their authors feel are the pretensions of (1) youthful artists and (2) minimalist art. Art Times is not a production of the hotheaded young.

The cover article is about a massive exhibition at SUNY-New Paltz of 116 landscapes of the Hudson River Valley and Catskill Mountains by 71 different artists of what has become known as the “Hudson River School.” Amazingly, these are all from the collection of one anonymous landscape lover, and Art Times reports that the exhibition, “Different Views in Hudson River School Painting,” represents only half of the total collection.

The columns in the issue involve dance, film, theatre and music. In one, Frank Behrens, writing of the history of Shakespeare’s works on Broadway, reports that the original Leonard Bernstein conception of Romeo and Juliet as a musical involved a Jewish boy falling in love with a Catholic girl, and its tentative name was East Side Story.

I went on a wild goose chase (or rather, wild Google chase) to find more info on Mr. Behrens. I was truly excited to learn that Frank Behrens was the actor who played “Bert Wedemeyer” in the classic Honeymooners skit that aired in June, 1956 called “Alice and the Blonde.” It’s the one where Ralph is entranced by his friend Burt’s sexy wife, sporting a very tight dress and a cigarette holder, who continually refers to her husband as “my treasure” (pronounced “tre-zuhr”). Alice lets Ralph know that he will soon be a “buried treasure” if he keeps fawning over the blonde. But the Internet Movie Database squashed my hopes when it told me that the actor Frank Behrens died 20 years ago. Further Googling uncovered the Frank Behrens who writes for Art Times: he’s a retired junior high school teacher in Keene, New Hampshire, who lectures and writes on musical history and―get this―has 571 film and music reviews currently posted on Amazon.com.

I liked columnist Robert W. Bethune’s analysis of the three stages of an actor’s development. Youth is charged with emotion; adulthood with reason; and maturity―well, let him speak:

The mature actor―who may be quite young; some gifted people become mature quickly―acquires the gift of aesthesis, of sensory awareness and responsiveness. The mature actor is a bundle of antennae, sparked into life by the quick, sensitive response of the whole organism to everything around it, especially people, and most particularly one’s partner in the scene.

A big draw of Art Times is an exhaustive calendar of art shows, theatre and other events throughout the Hudson Valley, with some happenings in New Jersey and Connecticut thrown in.

There’s a half-page ad in the issue for a new brick-and-glass high-rise in Hoboken called “Waldo Lofts.” The ad proclaims that it’s “ideal for artists” and the units are priced from $390,000 to $1 million plus. Loft living ain’t what it used to be!

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About Ed Rust