I usually read The New York Times online, but at a friend’s house I found the Arts and Leisure section announcing “The New Season” in the arts… and I opened the large-size, ink-laden pages to find humongous adverts for centennials, old classics and show biz staples: Madonna and Tina Turner making a comeback, the everlasting Rockettes of Radio City, the unavoidable Cirque du Soleil, a smattering of musical revivals: White Christmas (a fifties classic), Billy Elliot (the dance film was terrific but how many years ago was that?), To Be Or Not To Be (another fifties classic – I love the film but I only have seen it four or five times on TCM). “Classic” is the word: A Tale of Two Cities, The Seagull. There are a couple of new musicals, one based on the animation film Shrek and another one named 13… but so far the most intriguing prospect is the actor who played Harry Potter performing live (and possibly naked) in Peter Shaffer’s play Equus – which is another classic. Even the Next Wave at BAM is…well, classic, with Steve Reich and Bill T. Jones this season (but check out some of the new names at http://www.bam.org). Another minimalist classic, the Dream House Sound and Light Environment by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela at the Mela Foundation, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor, is opening on Saturday September 20, and running every Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 2PM to midnight through June 20, 2009. Even I have been described recently as a “classic” of downtown… we’re all classics. I feel sad.

It’s almost like the 21st century is looking back really hard at the 20th century for inspiration. Could it be that people are tired, afraid to take chances, afraid of the new, as if the millennium never happened. Are we living in fear of the end of the world in 2012? Is that why most everything that is being performed on a large scale is so willfully reassuring?

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