Below are a few of my most fervent wishes (and the reasons why) for the coming year.
Imagine if you'd just seen this part. . .
1) How about just paying for what you get at the ART?
Veterans of this theater know that their shows only heat up in the last 15 minutes. So how about a "15-minute" subscription? Tickets would be a fraction of full price, but would only allow you to see the last fifteen minutes of the production (i.e., the good part). Since many audience members leave at intermission (if you're lucky, and management is feeling confident, there is an intermission), there should be plenty of empty seats available.
Is this really a keeper?
2) Could the contemporary art become just temporary?
The ICA has begun its much-ballyhooed permanent collection precisely the wrong way - by showcasing only artists it has shown before. This cuts out such reigning visual masters as Richter, Freud and Marden, as well as more controversial conceptual stars like Barney and Koons; oddly, the best artists at the ICA are only on view in their current show, "Super Vision," but not their permanent collection, which showcases such minor lights as Laylah Ali and Taylor Davis. True, there is some first-rate work in the permanent collection, from Paul Chan, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and Boris Mikhailov, as well as a solid, if basically picturesque, piece from Cornelia Parker and some okay pix from Nan Goldin. But the museum has essentially set its sights too low; the wall text accompanying the collection even mentions the high cost of collecting as a factor in its choices. The implication seems to be that these works are from artists the ICA has launched whose prices haven't gone up too much - a pretty lame M.O. if you ask me. Save your pennies for something worth saving, please.
And suddenly the ICA looks fantastic . . .
3) Can we make the "new MFA" just go away?
Okay, it's possible, according to Stephen Hawking (and he's really smart). Malcolm Rogers could disappear into a wormhole, and pop out into some alternative universe where museums are already seen as amusement parks. And he could take the plans for the Foster addition with him, where it could house an indoor roller coaster. We'd want to keep the $400 million donated to build the damn thing in this universe, of course - we could use it to cure cancer. Or AIDS. Or egomania.
Faster, Carmen, kill, kill!
4) Somebody make sure Jorma Elo takes his Ritalin this spring!
Hyperactivity ruined last year's "Carmen" - please, Boston Ballet, don't let it happen again!
Yeah, right, we'll believe you when we see you!
5) And nobody in New York or L.A. hire Victor Garber, okay?
The Broadway types that Nicky Martin tries to lure to the Huntington have so often proven unreliable (Andrea Martin, Brooks Ashmanskas), that we don't really believe they're coming anymore until the curtain actually rises. Victor Garber is scheduled to lead Coward's Present Laughter (itself a replacement for Streamers) at the end of the Huntington's season. Garber's perfect for the role - the question is, will he make it?
6) If we say Schoenberg's better than Beethoven, will you stop?
Not that the ongoing Schoenberg/Beethoven bitch slapdown at the BSO would ever lead one to that conclusion - instead, the series is proving (surprise!) exactly the opposite. But maybe if audiences continue to cheer wildly (as they did at Moses and Aaron, even though some players admitted privately they couldn't always follow the beat), Levine will declare victory (I've changed music history, now gimme a Snickers!) and end this huge waste of his organization's resources.