Author Topic: 'The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World'  (Read 2002 times)

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Offline drogulus

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'The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World'
« on: June 07, 2011, 06:41:32 PM »
    It a Broadway show!

     

     
     Jamey Hood, left, Emily Walton, center, and Sarah Sokolovic in the musical "The Shaggs" at Playwright's Horizons.

     June 7, 2011

Theater Review | 'The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World'

Three Sisters, a Deluded Dad and Some Wretched Rock

By CHARLES ISHERWOOD

Momma Rose may not be the most lovable character in musical theater, but at least she has a sense of humor and a steamer trunk full of galvanizing songs to perform. That’s a lot more than can be said for Austin Wiggin (Peter Friedman), the tyrannical father determined to exorcise his own demons by making stars of his kids in “The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World,” a glum “Gypsy” for the hippie era that opened on Tuesday night at Playwrights Horizons in a co-production with New York Theater Workshop.

Based on an actual footnote in rock ’n’ roll history — maybe that should be an asterisk to a footnote — “The Shaggs” recounts the obscure story of a short-lived, long-haired all-female trio from small-town New Hampshire. In 1969 the Shaggs released one album, “Philosophy of the World,” on a small label before disappearing instantly into musical oblivion.

A dozen years later their recording was rediscovered by enterprising rock critics scavenging through the vinyl dustbins. The Shaggs were called the “comeback” story of 1981 by Rolling Stone magazine. The accomplished musical crackpot Frank Zappa lauded them to the skies, and the idiosyncratic writer Lester Bangs waxed manic in The Village Voice. While cheerfully admitting, “they can’t play a lick,” he nevertheless called the album “one of the landmarks of rock ’n’ roll history.” Which is defensible, I suppose, if you grant that the sinking of the Titanic was unquestionably among the landmarks of nautical history.


     
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Offline Daverz

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Re: 'The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World'
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 07:34:37 PM »

Offline drogulus

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Re: 'The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World'
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 06:57:53 PM »
    There isn't anything to get. Unless....the Shaggs do raise a question of interpretation. How bad does something have to be in order to qualify for the "avant garde exemption"?* Do the Shaggs fall short? Does it matter at all that the girls have no conception of transgressing boundaries? I don't see why it would.

  * What the hell is that? It's this: art is judged by standards, but avant art violates the standard. Its value is subjective, until the standard recovers or alters to embrace the new. In the meantime all sorts of nonsense gets through the breach, so you have gurus like Bangs and Zappa proclaiming the Shaggs as idiots savants, which they arguably are, though they won't ever gain the elevated status of Eric Satie, the most famous of the breed.
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Offline drogulus

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Re: 'The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World'
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 07:37:55 PM »

     I don't think this is what you'd call listening music. It's more like something to discuss, or argue about. In this it's like avant, outsider and moronic art generally. It's value is the discombobulation it causes. But you can listen to it.
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