Out of Here — Activities Outside Rye
Bringing the Arts Outdoors
The Bruce Museum hosts its 36th Annual Outdoor Arts Festival from 10-5 this weekend. More than 85 new and returning artists from across the country will showcase their work.
“What makes this juried show so special is the caliber of the exhibitors,” says Festival organizer Sue Brown Gordon. “They choose the Bruce Museum because of its ‘originals only’ policy.”
Admission of $10 includes admission to the Museum, whose current exhibits include “Toulouse-Lautrec Portraits from the Herakleidon Museum.”
For a preview of the Festival, visit brucemuseum.org.
Studies in Black
The Harrison Council for the Arts presents “Pre-Columbian Mexican Pottery” sumi ink paintings by Jim Maciel at the Harrison Public Library on view until October 28.
The black ink works in the show were inspired by a visit to the Anthropological Museum in Mexico City. “Sumi ink is used in calligraphy. I work from photos I take in my travels,” explained Maciel. “I do a detailed drawing first then paint from light to dark. My influence is Chiura Obata, who created remarkable paintings of the Yosemite Valley.”
Call 835-0324 or visit harrisonpl.org for library hours.
The Neighborhood Tiger
Daniel Tiger purrs his way to The Palace Theatre in Stamford with an all-new show at 4. The musical is based on the No. 1 PBS KIDS TV series.
During an adventure in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Daniel learns what it takes to be king.
The show is a mix of roaring fun and valuable lessons of kindness, helping others, and being a friend.
Tickets start at $25. Call the box office at 203-325-4466 or visit palacestamford.org.
Rick Abramson, aka the Railroad Man, a 44-year veteran of the Connecticut railways, returns to Greenwich Library at 2 to discuss the streamlined trains of the 1930s and their designers.
Like any business, railroad management wanted to increase business and revenue by providing clean, modern passenger cars. They employed professional designers to achieve this goal. Abramson’s talk will cover the evolution of streamlining trains from as early as the 1860s to its high point in the 1930s. There will also be models on display of some of the locomotives.
Abramson has been fascinated with train since age 6, both real and model. His dream of working for the railroad came true in February of 1968 when he was as hired by the New Haven Railroad, holding a variety of positions over the years — freight agent, station supervisor, locomotive engineer, train dispatcher, and superintendent. He recently retired as Superintendent of Operations for the Housatonic Railroad in Canaan, Conn. Rick is an avid model railroad hobbyist. His models are known for their detail and accuracy.
Winter scene by Pat Wagner
Michele Sobel, <Modern Mother>
Christine Teter, <Ripple> watercolor
Rock art by Laurie McAllister
The Port Chester Council for the Arts presents the seventh annual ART10573, a fine art exhibition and sale featuring the work of local professional visual artists. The show takes place at Crawford Park Mansion on N. Ridge Street in Rye Brook, from 11-5. Admission is free and open to the public.
The participating artists will present work in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, colored pen, colored pencil, oil, figurative art, mixed media, cartooning, photography, pebbles and driftwood, fabric, fiber landscapes, gold leaf, and Swarovski crystal.
Among the artists are Port Chester residents Ileana Hernandez Carafas, April Dessereau, Laurie MacAllister, Gregory Maggi, Grace Mora, Christine Morgan Teter, Patrice Pelissier and Paul M. Rively Jr.; Rye Brook residents Joyce Askanasi, Michele Sobel, and Pat Wagner; and Yonkers resident Steven Rossi.
A selection of work by student artists from local high schools will also be on view. Donna Cribari will provide musical accompaniment throughout the day.
An hourly raffle will feature small pieces donated by each artist, with proceeds benefiting the Council’s Summer ArtsCamp scholarship fund.
The Port Chester Council for the Arts, founded in 1981, is committed to providing high-quality, innovative programs that build and encourage cooperation and community. For more information about ART10573, call the PCCFA office at 939-3183 or visit www.portchestercfa.org.
AT THE MOVIES
By Noah Gittell
There are certain unalienable truths about Tom Cruise. His smile always works. He always gets the girl. He doesn’t die (except in “Collateral” when he played the villain). These qualities made Cruise the most infallible movie star of the last 35 years, but nothing lasts forever, especially in Hollywood. In his latest, Doug Liman’s “American Made,” he inhabits the same type of hero he has perfected in the past – the cocksure American winner - but for the first time there are chinks in his shiny armor. His smile is now a salesman’s smile, and it hides a deeper fear. His girl threatens to leave him constantly, and for the first time, we sense the possibility that he might not make it out alive. In a few scenes, he is actually missing a tooth, which turns that movie star grin into a comedic prop.
His character in “American Made” plays like a subversion of role that launched his movie star career: Maverick in “Top Gun.” Here, Cruise is Barry Seal, a commercial airline pilot with the skill to be much more. First in his class at the Naval Academy, he now supplements his modest income for his wife (Sarah Wright) and child by smuggling Cuban cigars in from Canada. The CIA, represented only by the smarmy, mysterious Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson) use the cigars for leverage to get him engaged in more serious flying. It’s 1979, and they want him to take surveillance photos of the Communist rebels in Latin America. It’s a dangerous job, but Seal is so bored he would have done it for free.
Structurally, the story is framed by a series of videos made by Seal in a cheap motel room, putting his story down on tape in case something happens to him. It’s a well-worn technique, but it allows Cruise to speak directly to the audience, using his charisma to anchor the film’s wildly scattered plot. When he looks out at us from beneath his still-brown bangs, it remains unthinkable to look away. “It gets crazy from here,” he says at one point, and it does indeed, but we’re willing to follow him into any situation.
After winning praise for his photos of the rebels, the CIA asks him to start smuggling – first cash, then guns, then eventually the Contras themselves. His charisma, which includes a spotty Southern accent, serves him well as he befriends Pablo Escobar, who is so charmed that he starts paying him to smuggle his product back into the U.S. Soon, Seal is running missions for every side, and making money faster than he and his family can spend it.
It’s a thrilling real-life story (although highly fictionalized), even if the telling is a little too familiar. With its fast pace, electric photography, and classic rock songs on the soundtrack, director Doug Liman is working from the playbook created by Martin Scorsese in “Goodfellas.” There are also hints of “Blow” and “American Hustle.” It’s the classic rise and fall of an American outlaw — an irresistible story — but these films increasingly favor style over substance, relying on energetic editing and evocative rock songs to make up for a lack of characterization or a predictable script.
For “American Made,” it works but just barely. The formulaic script by Gary Spinelli never conjures any real drama, but Liman keeps the pedal to the floor, moving so quickly through Seal’s real-life adventures that there is no time to stop and ask what it all means. Like one of Seal’s planes, it flies through the air at record speeds, and while it’s hard to keep track of the cargo, we’re there mostly just for the thrill.
Only Cruise – the star, the performer, and the actor – brings any real significance to “American Made.” If the character is a revision of the unbeatable, exceptional Cruise persona, it could be a harbinger of a next phase in his career that is long overdue. If not, Barry Seal represents only the type of character he should be playing, those who know that American exceptionalism is just a dream and every winning streak must come to an end.
My Rating: See it in the Theater