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Political Art on Stage in Manhattan as 2018 Opens

After Uma Thurman's witty and provocative Broadway performance last night as The Parisian Woman, my seatmate to the left remarked, "it's good to see this again." He was a Millennial in this all-ages globally mixed crowd in a sold-out house on a bitter cold winter evening.

Parisian WomanPolitical art is making a comeback on stage, screen and in museums. Inspired by the 19th century farce La Parisienne and written by Beau Willimon (who premiered Netflix' House of Cards' adaptation in 2016), the 90-minute play illuminates the shameless manipulation of an ambitious Washington, D.C., socialite set on a plum appointment for her husband. As the "Year of the Woman" honors moral agency, this "liberated woman's"  willingness to pimp for political advantage skewers the conniving characters - blithely immune to ethical behavior - on our real-world stage. There is no pretense here - mentions of  "Trump," "Ivanka" and "General Kelly"  knit together the script, and Thurman's opening salvo is a Tweet. It's an intimate Broadway experience, with five characters, and a provocative moment in time.

I found Today's Tix  the easiest way to find a last-minute well-located seat in the fourth row of the Dress Circle at the Hudson Theatre, 139-141 West 44 St. (or for the same $89, plus $12.50 service fee I could have sat in the rear Orchestra). The App was intuitive, the fee was reasonable and the convenience instant (bar code to scan along with a Google map). For comparison, try SeatGeek and StubHub.

Insider Note - after two years, Hamilton is becoming affordable too. Check out these services to compare with the box-office prices.

New York Museums Exhibits Revive and Relive Politics in History

Over at the Whitney Museum of American Art, we were absorbed by An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from The Whitney's Collections, 1940-2017. There you experience the scope of political views - and propagandist polemics - in angry and stirring, even wistful and poetic, political and social art. 

2017-10-15 16.09.36The "collective dream" of the U.S. - diverse, competing aspirations, beliefs and histories - is depicted in artistic responses to personal and political experiences - war, AIDS, economic downturns, remnants of slavery and much more. This educational and thought-provoking exhibition alone is well worth several hours at the Whitney. At a time that our democracy seems unusually fragile, and so many longstanding social issues unresolved (such as civil rights), each urgent issue of the past offers a contemporary message - and underscores the relevance of activism.

Having just read Amor Towles' novel, Rules of Civility, which is anchored on young George Washington's "Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation," I am struck by how much the political and social decks have shuffled. Wrote our future President in the final rule, the 110th: "Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience."