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Review: Plunge Into An ART BATH at The Blue Building

Multidisciplinary arts shows dazzle crowds

Review: Plunge Into An ART BATH at The Blue Building

The Covid pandemic shut down many things. One sad loss, especially in New York, was the loss of cultural events and even ordinary fun entertainment. If you were stifling, so were artists and performers. Hence the joys of ART BATH, possibly as close as you can get to the days of the grand salons where the artistic and wealthy mingled and enjoyed each other's company. If you can't have fun at ART BATH, chances are you can't have fun.

In the vein of Noel Coward's "I Went to a Marvelous Party," everyone's there at the Blue Building, wandering through hanging paintings, rapidly changing slides of photography (Gabriella Lucia and Jeremiah Cumberbatch provided outstanding displays along walls and video screens). All roads lead to a bar with equally curated drinks, both alcoholic and not, all satisfying to both palate and soul

The first ART BATH opened with the brilliant music of Qianwen Shen and Junko Ichikawa, on violin and piano, performing works by Ravel, Saint-Saens, and others This alone, with gallery art and drinks, might have satisfied an audience But there was still more to the first half of the evening: dancers from the Metropolitan Opera followed, Kate Myers and Dancers, with three pieces performed in the middle area of the venue, to a packed standing audience,accompanied by Shen and Ichikawa

Another room on the first floor of the Blue Building, right off of the bar and a bit down, was again hung with art and filled with chairs and sequined floor cushions, provided comfortable space for the audience to relax, but also for Big Apple Circus ringmaster and burlesque star Storm Marrero to sing a cappella. If ever a non-smoking venue had the atmosphere and feel of a hookah nightclub, this was it Marrero graced her listeners with songs both from Puerto Rico and from Nina Simone. It's not her usual act, but then, part of the creative idea for the performers was for them to do what they usually don't do.

After the break, visitors to the "bath" were ushered to the back, into more traditional seating for a show. First came "Mx. Rogers' Neighborhood" - a tap-dancing, piano-playing, and singing tribute to the magic of Mr. Rogers (the late Fred Rogers). In this neighborhood, it's a beautiful day to have artists, performers, and even the landlord drop by to talk about affairs of the day... or perhaps just affairs. It was a tribute the original Mr. Rogers might have enjoyed, provided no small ears were listening to him laugh.

The evening's special event was certainly the appearance of Metropolitan Opera countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, who in the spirit of doing what you don't usually perform, delighted the audience with librarian Marion Paroo's songs from Broadway's THE MUSIC MAN along with a few teasers from the Great American Songbook - a nod, likely, to his recent project with Justin Vivian Bond, ONLY AN OCTAVE APART.

If you missed your Chan e to dip in the Art Bath, catch up with it this month or in April, with different lineups of visual and performing artists. We can only hope that enough people feel the need to take an Art Bath to keep the project going endlessly. Nothing's better than being able to take a plunge whenever you like. Visit www.artbathnyc.com for schedules of performances.



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From This Author - Marakay Rogers