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    Louie Anderson and the Compassion of America’s Eternal Kid

    He displayed an empathetic humanity that he shared offstage with his friend Bob Saget. The loss of both comics represents the end of an era.One of the first killer jokes in the stand-up act of Louie Anderson was about the meanness of older brothers. Imitating one of his own in an intimidating voice, he warned that there was a monster in a swamp nearby. With childlike fear in his eyes, Anderson reported that he avoided that area “until I got a little older and a little smarter and a little brother.”Pivoting to the future in an instant, he adopted the older brother voice, pointing to the swamp and telling his sibling: “That’s where your real parents live.”Anderson, who died Friday at 68 from complications of cancer, had five brothers and five sisters, but over the course of a sterling comedy career spanning four decades, he established a much larger family of colleagues. The comedian Bob Saget, who also died this month, was a younger brother of sorts. They started in stand-up on the West Coast around the same time and had breakthroughs in the same 1985 episode of HBO’s “Young Comedians Special” (hosted by Rodney Dangerfield), which back then was second only to “The Tonight Show” as a springboard for stand-up careers.Just last May, Anderson and Saget took part in a loving conversation on a podcast, reminiscing and laughing, and gingerly approaching topics with the sensitivity and warmth of intimates catching up during the long, isolating pandemic. It’s funny and now, considering the loss of both men, terribly heartbreaking. Both still prolific in their 60s, they sounded joyful about the current moment and were looking to the future. Saget talked about wanting to direct a movie that would appeal to everyone, and Anderson said he wished to play Fatty Arbuckle.None of that will happen, of course, and as these friends talked about their careers, it struck me that losing them represents the end of a key part of an era.Clockwise from top left, Yakov Smirnoff, Jeff Altman, Tim Thomerson,  Anderson, Jim Carrey, Pauley Shore, Mitzi Shore and Saget at a celebration of the Comedy Store’s 20th anniversary in 1992.Chris Haston/NBCUniversal, via Getty ImagesWhen you think of the 1980s comedy boom, the first artist that comes to mind for many is Jerry Seinfeld and his clinically observational brand of humor. For others, it might be the rock-star flamboyance of Eddie Murphy or Andrew Dice Clay. But in the days of three major networks, the culture incentivized a warmly inclusive, rigorously relatable comedy that could appeal to a broad mainstream and, at its best and most resonant, had an empathetic humanity.The outpouring of love for Bob Saget took some by surprise and was in part a testament to his good-natured, filthy humor and personal generosity. But it was also because of a vast audience that saw him as the friendly paternal face on “Full House” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” That comedy fans also knew him as one of the dirtiest joke tellers around burnished and deepened his reputation. But if Saget became one of the few cultural figures who could be described as America’s Dad (does any current star get described in such sweeping terms these days?), Anderson fit seamlessly into an equally idealized role as our culture’s eternal kid.There was a boyish innocence and sweetness to Anderson that never left him, even when he was playing a mother on “Baskets,” a remarkable and sincere performance that marked the start of his acclaimed second act (which included his turn in “Search Party”). Like Saget, Anderson had a broad résumé as an actor, author and television host, but he was a stand-up at heart who never stopped touring. I saw him do a 90-minute set in 2018, and he had the low-key improvisational, searching energy of someone still obsessed with finding an incredible new bit.There was a remarkable consistency in Anderson’s work from his early stand-up to his later performances, in spirit and also in subject matter. This included a focus on food: No one told more fat jokes, like his longtime opening line, which he used during his first appearance on “The Tonight Show” and again on “Conan” last March: “Listen, I can’t stay long. I’m between meals.”More prominently, his great topic was family, particularly his ever-optimistic mother and irate father. (As soft-spoken as he could be, Anderson could also yell as much as Sam Kinison.) While his early comedy featured plenty of punch lines, Anderson’s great gift was acting out stories, brilliantly evoking moments with quick-change characterizations, displaying the depth and technique of a seasoned actor.Anderson in his much-praised turn as a mother on “Baskets.” Erica Parise/FXIn one lovely, unusually nuanced scene for his 1987 hour at the Guthrie Theater, near his hometown, St. Paul, he recalled his parents fighting. It begins with a teasing imitation of his father, a classic belligerent blowhard of an old-timer. In Anderson’s telling, he was the kind of guy who would say things like, “When I was a kid, they didn’t have schools. I had to find smart people and follow them around.”In the show, his father boasts in a brusque, nonsensical rant about being a veteran of “World War I, World War II, everything, Korea, everywhere.”Leaving the scene for an instant, Anderson explained that as a boy, he had to look to his mother for the truth — then he unfurrowed his brow, flattened his face and utterly transformed into a soft-spoken woman gently shaking her head. As the audience cracked up, he lingered silently before lowering his voice and saying: “World War II.” There’s something about the quietness of the way he has her explain this that is touching. His mother wants to correct the record but not humiliate. The scene escalates into a fight, and while it could have been incredibly dark, it somehow isn’t.The reason, I think, is that the core of Louie Anderson’s art has always been a bend-over-backward compassion, a grace for everyone, including (maybe especially) those he teases or criticizes, like his father.It’s a quality that can seem in short supply, but it’s one you hear so vividly in that podcast with Saget, who asked Anderson if he ever thought of being a therapist or minister. Anderson replied that he found therapy in comedy.Because they’re comedians, the talk eventually turned to death, specifically Dangerfield’s funeral in 2004. Saget officiated at the service and said he was actually heckled by Jay Leno. In the podcast, Saget thanked Anderson for sticking up for him. Anderson told him: “I know that must have hurt you, what he did. I wasn’t going to let you hang there. Jay probably just did it out of nervousness. Maybe he needed to do that to not burst out crying.”Leno is a polarizing figure for comics of their generation, and to his detractors, he’s an unsentimental joke-telling machine, which might have been part of the subtext when Saget quickly responded to Anderson’s suggestion that Leno was trying to avoid shedding tears: “I don’t think he does that.”In the gentle way a friend does, Anderson disagreed. “I bet he does.” Saget then immediately changed his mind, almost as if he recognized that the humanity of this thought outpaced the fun of his gibe.“All I ever want to do is hug you,” he said to Anderson at one moment.It was unusually sentimental for a comedy podcast, but that these old friends got to share this final moment of connection is no small thing. More

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    A Knockout Country-Rap Crossover, and 13 More New Songs

    Hear tracks by Nilüfer Yanya, Gayle, John Mellencamp and others.Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos. Just want the music? Listen to the Playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). Like what you hear? Let us know at theplaylist@nytimes.com and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.Kidd G featuring YNW BSlime, ‘Left Me’There’s been an increasing amount of crossover between country and hip-hop in recent years, though often the relationship between the two influences can feel strained. But here’s a collaboration between two sing-rappers, both teenagers, that sounds utterly unforced: Kidd G, who’s making the kind of naturally syncretic music Nashville should be inching toward, and YNW BSlime, the younger brother of the incarcerated star YNW Melly. Kidd G taps into his Juice WRLD influences, with pitter-patter syllables and scraped-up singing, and YNW BSlime’s guest verse is chilling, and sung with disarming innocence: “Two years my brother’s been gone/And I’ve never/felt so alone.” It sounds like the No. 1 song of 2030. JON CARAMANICACharlie Puth, ‘Light Switch’A peppy song about romantic dyspepsia, “Light Switch” is a lightly manqué version of the sort of electric funk-pop that made Charlie Puth’s 2018 album “Voicenotes” so appealing. The singing is slightly less committed, and the lyric construction not buttoned quite as tight, and there’s a light hyperpop-esque treatment on the vocals that makes Puth sound like hes lamenting from the inside of the synthesizer. But the anxiety of the words is pointed, and the sugar-rush production scans as breathlessness. CARAMANICANilüfer Yanya, ‘Midnight Sun’Escalation suggests obsession in “Midnight Sun” from a new Nilüfer Yanya album, “Painless,” that’s due in March. “Maybe I can’t care too much/I can’t clean this up,” she sings. “Get me off this spinning wheel.” Both the acoustic guitar chords and the drumbeat feel looped, with more than a hint of Radiohead, but other sounds arrive — acoustic and electric guitars — sounding hand-played and offering possibilities of escape. It’s not clear whether she’ll use them. JON PARELESGayle, ‘Ur Just Horny’The quantum guitar-chord crescendo of grunge — quiet-loud-MUCH LOUDER — gets a full, furious workout in Gayle’s “Ur Just Horny,” the teenage songwriter’s follow-up to “Abcdefu.” As the stop-start guitars stack up, she spells things out: “You don’t wanna be my friend/You just wanna see me naked/Again.” PARELESEcco2K and Bladee, ‘Amygdala’Ecco2K and Bladee are members of the Drain Gang, a Swedish pop collective that has a sideline in fashion modeling. Their latest collaboration, produced by the German musician Mechatok, is a slice of pointillist hyperpop that treats voices and synthesizer tones alike as bits of blipping staccato counterpoint and computer-compressed nuggets of cosmic ambition: “Destroy and create, dreaming in the dream,” Bladee croons at the end, before the machines shut off. PARELESSofia Kourtesis featuring Manu Chao, ‘Estación Esperanza’Sofia Kourtesis makes songs that pulsate with the hope of a new day. “Estación Esperanza” is a master class in culling citations, opening with the chants of a Peruvian protest against homophobia before vocal samples of Manu Chao’s “Me Gustas Tu” glitch into focus, interspersed with vibrant bird calls and a steady horn. When Kourtesis’ own humming comes into focus, a single moment opens to infinity. ISABELIA HERRERAINVT, ‘Anaconda’The Miami duo INVT lets genres slip through their fingers on its latest track. A fever pitch dembow riddim lifted from Jamaican dancehall thumps to life. A vaporous echo and fleshy moan whisper under the production. There is the steady clang of a cowbell, the shake of a maraca. Is it reggaeton? Minimal techno? Does it even matter? HERRERAKey Glock, ‘Proud’Young Dolph, who was shot and killed in his Memphis hometown in November, had mentored and collaborated with his cousin, Key Glock. Key Glock’s tribute song, “Proud,” is the first single from the compilation “Paper Route Empire Presents: Long Live Dolph,” and it’s burly in presentation but the lyrics ache: “I can get it back in blood but still I can’t get back the time.” In the video, Key Glock raps his regrets at the site of the killing, a stark choice. CARAMANICAJohn Mellencamp, ‘I Am a Man That Worries’John Mellencamp stays grim and grizzled throughout his new album, “Strictly a One-Eyed Jack.” In “I Am a Man That Worries,” he’s worried about everything and belligerent about it: “You better get out of my way,” he growls. It’s a vintage-style blues stop with slide guitar and fiddle flanking his voice, and though he proclaims his bitter solitude, he has a crowd shouting alongside him by the end. PARELESDaniel Rossen, ‘Shadow in the Frame’Nervous energy courses through “Shadow in the Frame,” the first single from the solo album due in April from Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear. Rossen played every instrument except drums (by Grizzly Bear’s Christopher Bear) in the intricate arrangement, including strings and woodwinds. The song is a meditation on ephemerality and catastrophe — “You will watch us flash and fade and get torn apart,” he sings — carried by a restless, circling phrase that migrates among guitars and vocals, changing contour but never resolving, hinting at hope that keeps moving out of reach. PARELESUwade, ‘Do You See the Light Around Me?’The songwriter Uwade explores infatuation in “Do You See the Light Around Me?” It’s a single on Sylvan Esso’s label, Psychic Hotline, and as it cycles through four chords with voices and instruments arriving and disappearing, it echoes that group’s mixture of sparse electronic beats and human warmth. But Uwade brings her own personality, at once uncertain and embracing. PARELESJana Horn, ‘Jordan’The Austin-based songwriter Jana Horn keeps her voice small and whispery throughout “Optimism,” the debut album she releases this week. “Jordan” is the album’s eeriest, most exploratory, most determined song: a steady-pulsing march with electronics at the fringes, an enigmatic biblical narrative about a quest, an ordeal, a dilemma, a revelation. PARELESGui Duvignau, featuring Bill Frisell, ‘Tristeza e Solidão’The bassist Gui Duvignau begins his take on “Tristeza e Solidão” — a torch song by the Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell and the poet Vinícius de Moraes — unaccompanied, sounding plangent and contemplative as he lets low notes resound. The guitarist Bill Frisell, featured as a special guest, enters with the drummer Jeff Hirschfield, and trades the song’s somber melody back and forth with Duvignau. The track is overcast and melancholy and slow, lacking the quiet, motor-like samba groove of Powell’s and de Moraes’s original version but sounding just as haunted. This performance comes from Duvignau’s latest album, “Baden,” a tribute to the influential guitarist, who died in 2000. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLOKiko Villamizar, ‘Sembrá El Maíz’Cumbia rhythms, carried on drums stroked by hands and mallets, lift up a reverb-shaken guitar and the sleepy-eyed voice of Kiko Villamizar. “Sembrá El Maíz” (“Plant the Corn”) is an original urging hard work and patience, even in the face of climate catastrophe. By the end he’s full-throated, trading call-and-response vocals with the band. A musician, educator and organizer now based in Austin, Villamizar grew up primarily on a coffee farm in Colombia and later traveled the country collecting songs. When Los Destellos and Los Wemblers de Iquitos started making Peruvian jungle-surf like this in the 1960s, it rang cosmopolitan; today, writing similar songs, a younger musician from the Colombian side is building on what’s become a tradition of its own. RUSSONELLO More

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    Renée Fleming and Uma Thurman Share an Odyssey

    The actress and opera star come together in “Penelope,” a Homeric monodrama by André Previn and Tom Stoppard, at Carnegie Hall.When the polymathic musician André Previn died in 2019, he left behind an unfinished score: “Penelope,” a monodrama he was writing for the star soprano Renée Fleming.It was set to premiere that year at Tanglewood to celebrate Previn’s 90th birthday. Instead, the performance became, “as it were, in memoriam,” the playwright Tom Stoppard, who wrote the work’s text, said in a recent interview.That the premiere happened at all was something of a miracle; the incomplete score’s pages weren’t even in an easily discernible order. But David Fetherolf, Previn’s longtime editor, reconstructed and completed the piece, then published a final version after the Tanglewood performance. And now the original performers — Fleming; the pianist Simone Dinnerstein; the Emerson String Quartet; and the actress Uma Thurman, as Fleming’s speaking avatar — are reuniting to bring “Penelope” to Carnegie Hall on Sunday.Previn and Stoppard had collaborated before, on the 1977 play “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” but Stoppard said that he was reluctant to take on a project like “Penelope” because “I don’t really have any musical intelligence.” Still, Fleming — for whom Previn had composed works including the opera “A Streetcar Named Desire” — kept asking for a monodrama, and Previn eventually persuaded Stoppard to do it.What Stoppard came up with was a retelling of Homer’s “Odyssey” from the perspective of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, who waits 20 years for her husband to return from the Trojan War and fends off scores of suitors ready to take his place.“The only idea I had about her was that she starts off by resenting the way that she’s perceived by posterity,” Stoppard said. “The first couple of pages are quite slangy, modernistic and ironic, and even sarcastic. I wanted to end up with a feeling which was not about any kind of grievance she was holding, but about the pain she had gone through. And I wanted to account for her being a byword for wisdom.”If set to music, Stoppard’s original draft would have run for about two hours, Fleming said during a recent video interview with Thurman. As a solution, the piece evolved to portray Penelope with two performers: one singing, one speaking. “Both the soprano and the narrator are Penelope, and should be presented as such,” Fetherolf notes in the published score.Fleming, left, and Thurman, right, with the pianist Simone Dinnerstein and the Emerson String Quartet at the 2019 premiere of “Penelope” at Tanglewood.Hilary ScottThe two performers pass the narrative back and forth, sometimes completing each other’s sentences — the sung part poetically spare (at least relatively, given Stoppard’s idiosyncratic verbal complexity), the spoken one elevated and melodic. In the interview, Fleming and Thurman discussed sharing the role, and what it means to tell Penelope’s story today. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.Renée, you have been involved with this from the start, but Uma, what was the appeal of the project for you?UMA THURMAN Renée. And Tom, whose work I have known all my life, and who I met when I was a teenager and was sort of daunted by his work and his beautiful, complex use of language.RENÉE FLEMING Uma, the fact that you were involved was so perfect. You are the archetype. You just stand for everything that we imagine Penelope to be, in your professional persona. I think of you as a Greek goddess: her strength, her ability to say no for 20 years and be clever and work around all of these men. I really cannot think of anybody better to do this with.THURMAN It was very hair-raising: I was in this play at Williamstown when we performed “Penelope” at Tanglewood, and I was stepping into the situation of Tom’s muscular, articulate language inserted into the music.Whenever music and language meet, it’s so different from being in a drama or comedy in theater. When you put language to music, it becomes very specific: the pacing, the dividing of words and sentences; it all has to obey the music. It’s a challenge that makes me feel like I’m doing things for the first time, as if you had to fix a bicycle and then you had to go work on a plane. You need the same skill set, but it doesn’t feel like it.FLEMING When I’ve done theater, even musical theater, I have felt completely untethered because I didn’t have the musical framework. It was terrifying to me; there was so much space.THURMAN It’s kind of like a white space. But actually there has to be an architecture inside of it. In this piece, we do switch between those two disciplines and mediums in a beautifully compact way.The spoken text is nevertheless quite musical. What goes into bringing that out in the delivery?THURMAN It’s a lot of breaking things down into patterns of vowel sounds and muscular nouns that paint pictures, and finding tempo and space. This comes from circling vowels and choosing T’s and these kinds of things. But in general, I think that Tom Stoppard’s use of language is elevated. He has a vocabulary triple the normal usage of anyone. I’ve had some very keen eyes help me on that, too. I wouldn’t interpret Stoppard with only my mind.FLEMING I think he’s a genius, honestly. During my first engagement at the Royal Opera in London, I saw “Arcadia,” which was brand-new then, and I was completely hooked. Vocally, “Penelope” is like a long recitative. André was by nature melodic, but for this, because of all the text, I’m just singing words on pitch. And I’m working as hard as I can to make them understood.How did this piece change your relationship with Penelope as a character?FLEMING What I said to Tom was, I want to know why Penelope waited. But that didn’t register with him, and he’s Tom Stoppard, so obviously he wrote it as he saw it. There’s a lot in the original story that we bristle at today — like the killing of all those handmaidens, because they were doing what they were coerced to do? He didn’t soften any of those points.THURMAN Interestingly, having been a great fan of the myth since childhood, I just bought a nice children’s collection for my 9-year-old and was reading to her and freshly engaging with it. We’re dealing with our history; let’s be real. Tom did redact one reference, which had to do with women’s work. It wasn’t coming from him, it was an interpretation of our history, but it was too much.FLEMING From the beginning, one of the things I connected with was this incredible device of her weaving and unweaving her tapestry every night, for years. To me that notion is so musical. Every version of Goethe’s “Faust” has some sort of weaving aria. And that was something I admired, how clever Penelope was, and her strength of conviction.THURMAN She also says, “In tears we outdid each other in forgiving.” And her defense of herself and honoring her marriage and her choice of which man will take her father’s property — the enormous skill that she has to put into play to defend herself. She’s an admirable politician. And the politics in which she is exercising her rights and her choice are not the politics in which we exercise rights and choice today.What goes, then, into her earning the title Penelope the Wise by the end?FLEMING Well, she survived. She survived by wit and she was — as you said, Uma — wise enough to forgive. More

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    No, We Didn’t Call Him ‘Mr. Loaf.’ (Mostly.)

    No, We Didn’t Call Him ‘Mr. Loaf.’ (Mostly.)Matt StevensReporting from Brooklyn 🦇The headline of that Times review, written presumably with the lead in mind, was: “Is He Called Just Plain Meat Or Should It Be Mr. Loaf?”But that headline was tongue-in-cheek — a joke, a one-off, Merrill Perlman, a top editor on what was then our copy desks, wrote in 2007.“In other words,” she wrote, “we didn’t mean it.”Ask the Editors: Merrill Perlman More

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    A ‘High Priestess of Satanic Art’? This Organist Can Only Laugh.

    For more than a decade, Anna von Hausswolff has been bringing the sound of pipe organs to rock fans. But Roman Catholic extremists have tried to stop her playing shows in churches.When Anna von Hausswolff, an acclaimed Swedish songwriter and organist, first heard that a conservative Roman Catholic website was calling her a satanist and demanding a concert boycott, she and her team laughed it off.“We thought it was hilarious,” von Hausswolff, 35, recalled in a recent interview. “The whole day we were laughing,”The site, Riposte Catholique, was firing its readers up ahead of a concert of von Hausswolff’s epic pipe organ music at a church in Nantes, a city in the west of France. Some of her fans were goths, the site said, and her songs were “more a black Mass than music for a church.” A music blogger had called her “the high priestess” of “satanic harmonies,” the site noted, and conservative Roman Catholic groups noticed that, on the track “Pills,” she sings, “I made love with the devil.”“We said, ‘This is such a great P.R. campaign,’” Von Hausswolff said. “I mean, ‘the High Priestess of satanic art.’ Wow!”But as soon as she arrived at the church in Nantes, the joking stopped. Outside were about 30 young men, most wearing black jackets and hoodies, protesting the show, Von Hausswolff said. The concert’s promoter told her that some men had just broken into the venue, trying to find her.Soon, there were 100 people blocking the church’s entrance. Von Hausswolff sat in the richly painted church, staring up at the organ that she’d hoped to play, listening to protesters chanting and banging on the doors outside as her fans shouted back at them.“There was a primal part of me that told me I was not safe,” she said. “I wanted to get out.” She canceled the show.In recent years, disagreements between conservatives and liberals over issues like gay marriage and abortion have become increasingly heated in parts of Europe. Von Hausswolff’s experience is an example of another tension point in the continent’s culture wars: In some countries, a small minority of Roman Catholics regularly protests art it considers blasphemous.Initially, when the campaign against her was just online, Anna von Hausswolff laughed off the accusations of Satanism. Ines Sebalj for The New York TimesCéline Béraud, an academic who studies the sociology of catholicism in France, said in a telephone interview that extremists had staged protests against artworks and plays in the country for the past 20 years. “It comes from a well organized minority who’re very good at getting attention in the media,” Béraud said.One of their regular targets is Hellfest, a rock music festival held every year close to Nantes. In 2015, a group of protesters broke into the site and set fire to some of the festival’s stage sets. Since then, protesters have regularly doused the festival site’s fields with holy water. Hellfest’s communications manager, Eric Perrin, said in an email that staff members recently found 50 gold pendants depicting the Virgin Mary scattered around the site. Since playing a real pipe organ in concert almost always means playing in church, von Hausswolff’s tour problems didn’t end when she left Nantes — even though some French bishops had issued statements of support. In Paris, she was scheduled to play the grand organ at St.-Eustache, a church widely considered a jewel of the French Renaissance, but after its priest was deluged with complaints, she instead performed a secret show at a Protestant church near the Arc de Triomphe.In December, protestors gathered outside a von Hausswolff concert in Brussels. “That was fine,” Von Hausswolff said. “They weren’t screaming or banging on doors.”Laurie Dieffembacq/Belga, via Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesLater, in Brussels, about 100 people protested outside her show at a Dominican church, taking a more peaceful approach than their French counterparts and moving away from its doors when asked by police. At Nijmegen, the Netherlands, just two protesters appeared, standing quietly outside while holding signs with the message “Satan is not welcome.”Von Hausswolff is not someone you would expect to cause such a stir. She grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden, and said her childhood was “very creative.” (Her father, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, is a composer and performance artist.)As a teenager, she sang in a church choir, and dreamed of becoming a musician, but ended up training as an architect. Her music career only took off in 2009 when, age 23, she released a demo of piano songs called “Singing from the Grave” that quickly found a fan base in Sweden thanks to her soaring vocals. She was frequently compared to the English pop star Kate Bush.After an organ builder told her she could make beautiful pipe organ music, she gave it a go, she recalled, trying out the organ in Gothenburg’s vast Annedal Church. “When I reached the lowest note, I couldn’t believe my ears,” Von Hausswolff said. “I felt it through my whole body.”She’s since explored what the instrument can do across five albums, sometimes pairing it with a rock band and at other times performing solo. Her most recent, released this month, is a live album recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.Hans Davidsson, an organist who helps von Hausswolff probe the instrument’s capabilities, said that she “explores the organ with open ears, eyes and senses,” and had developed her “own musical language.” Her music was inspiring to many classical organists like him, he added. “It’s fortunate for us that she chose the organ,” he said.In the interview, von Hausswolff, who was wearing Christmas leggings covered in cartoon reindeer in Santa hats, denied she was a satanist. Von Hausswolff declined to say what her 2009 track “Pills” — in which she sings of satanic lovemaking — was about, since songs should be left open to interpretation, she said. But, she added, “If you’re asking me if I literally had sex with the devil, the answer is, ‘No.’”“I’m there to present my pipe organ art so that it hopefully can invoke deeper thought in people,” Von Hausswolff said of her work.Ines Sebalj for The New York TimesAs much as she was happy to joke about the accusations, the incidents last month had left a mark. She still felt scared by the French and Belgian protests, she said, and was also worried that churches might think twice about letting her play their organs, so as to avoid complaints.“I’m not a good Christian and never will be,” said von Hausswolff, adding that she saw herself as agnostic. “But I’m there to present my pipe organ art, so that it hopefully can invoke deeper thought in people.”She was already planning more church tours, she said. As long as she was welcome, she added, “I will go there, and I will play my music.” More

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    Meat Loaf, ‘Bat Out of Hell’ Singer and Actor, Dies

    In his six-decade career, the singer, born Marvin Lee Aday, sold millions of albums and acted in films including “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Fight Club.”Meat Loaf, the larger-than-life rocker whose 1977 debut album, “Bat Out of Hell,” was one of the best-selling albums of all time, died on Thursday. He had given conflicting information about his age over the years, but was widely reported to have been 74.His death was confirmed by his manager, Michael Greene. A statement on the musician’s Facebook page said his wife was by his side and that his friends had been with him in his final 24 hours. A cause of death was not given.Meat Loaf, who was born Marvin Lee Aday and took his stage name from a childhood nickname, had a career that few could match. In six decades, he sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, the statement said, and appeared in several movies, including “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Fight Club.”“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man,” the statement said. “From his heart to your souls … don’t ever stop rocking!”Meat Loaf’s death came just a year after that of Jim Steinman, the songwriter who wrote “Bat Out of Hell,” a record that brought operatic rock to audiences at a time when, in the face of disco and punk, it couldn’t have been more unfashionable. The pair met when Mr. Steinman was commissioned to co-write a musical called “More Than You Deserve,” which ran at the Public Theater in New York in 1973 and 1974. Meat Loaf auditioned and later joined the cast.Jim Steinman, left, with Meat Loaf in 1978. Mr. Steinman wrote all the songs on Meat Loaf’s debut album, “Bat Out of Hell,” which became one of the best-selling albums of all time.Michael Putland/Getty ImagesLater, Mr. Steinman was trying to write a post-apocalyptic musical based on “Peter Pan,” but, unable to secure the rights for the tale, he turned the work into “Bat Out of Hell,” bringing in Meat Loaf to give the songs the style and energy that made them hits. The title track alone is a mini-opera in itself, clocking in at nearly 10 minutes and featuring numerous musical breakdowns. The album’s seven tracks also included the songs “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”Meat Loaf and Mr. Steinman went on to have legal disagreements, but still worked together, writing a sequel to “Bat Out of Hell” in 1993 — “Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell” — which included “I’d Do Anything for Love (but I Won’t Do That),” Meat Loaf’s only track to top the Billboard 100 singles chart. The song also won him the 1994 Grammy Award for best rock vocal solo performance.“Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose,” released in 2006, also included some songs by Mr. Steinman, who created a musical based on “Bat Out of Hell” that premiered in England in 2017. Mr. Steinman died in April 2021 at age 73. Meat Loaf told Rolling Stone shortly afterward that Mr. Steinman had been the “centerpiece” of his life.Some critics could be sniffy about Meat Loaf’s music and spectacle. John Rockwell, reviewing a 1977 live show for The New York Times, started by remarking that “Meat Loaf is the rather graceless name that a large rock performer has chosen for both himself and for the band built around his singing.” Despite that, Mr. Rockwell was soon convinced that Meat Loaf was worthy of being the center of attention. “He has fine, fervent low rock tenor, and enough stage presence to do without spotlights altogether,” he wrote, adding that, “one had to admire the unabashed intensity with which he was willing to wallow in such soap‐opera silliness.”Meat Loaf ultimately released 12 studio albums, the last being “Braver Than We Are” in 2016.In addition to his music, Meat Loaf also appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, according to IMDb. His first major role came in 1975 in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” where he played Eddie. He also appeared in “Wayne’s World” (1992), “Spice World” (1997) and “Fight Club” (1999). More recently, he had a role in several episodes of the TV series “Ghost Wars” from 2017-18.Marvin Lee Aday was born and grew up in Dallas, the son of Orvis Wesley Aday, a former policeman, and Wilma Artie Hukel, an English teacher. “I stayed at my grandmother’s house a lot,” Meat Loaf wrote in “To Hell and Back,” his 1999 autobiography, adding that he did not know if those stays were because his mother was busy working or because she did not want him to see his father “on a bender.”According to his autobiography, Meat Loaf was born on Sep. 27, 1947, but news reports of his age varied over the years. In 2003, he showed a reporter from The Guardian newspaper a passport featuring a birth date of 1951 and later said about the discrepancy, “I just continually lie.”Meat Loaf at a news conference promoting his album “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose” in 2006.Bobby Yip/ReutersAs an adult, Meat Loaf said he changed his first name to Michael from Marvin because of childhood taunts about his weight and, he said, the emotional impact of a Levi’s jeans commercial that had the slogan, “Poor fat Marvin can’t wear Levi’s.”He later cited the commercial when petitioning to change his name, which the judge granted it within 30 seconds, Meat Loaf wrote in his autobiography.Meat Loaf also told numerous stories about how he got his stage name, including one about a high school stunt in which he let a Volkswagen run over his head. Afterward, a child shouted, “You’re as dumb as a hunk of meat loaf.” But Meat Loaf wrote in his autobiography that the name came from his father: “He called me Meat Loaf almost from the time my mother brought me home.”Meat Loaf had health problems throughout his career. He had heart surgery in 2003 after collapsing onstage at Wembley Arena in London and told an audience in Newcastle, England, in 2007 that the concert was “probably the last show I’ll ever do” after another health scare.Meat Loaf performing in the Netherlands in 2013.Ferdy Damman/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesIn 2013, he told The Guardian that he was definitely retiring from music after another farewell tour. “I’ve had 18 concussions,” he said. “My balance is off. I’ve had a knee replacement. I’ve got to have the other one replaced.” He wanted to “concentrate more on acting,” he added, since “that’s where I started and that’s where I’ll finish.”A full list of survivors was not immediately available. More

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    Watch a Seductive Moment in ‘The Power of the Dog’

    Jane Campion narrates an intimate scene between Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee.In “Anatomy of a Scene,” we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into making key scenes in their movies. See new episodes in the series on Fridays. You can also watch our collection of more than 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel.A cowboy’s tough veneer is cracked in this sequence from “The Power of the Dog,” Jane Campion’s period look at the American West.The film (on Netflix) features Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank, a man who spends a lot of time on the family ranch he runs with his brother (Jesse Plemons), making life unpleasant for many of those around him, namely his brother’s new wife, Rose (Kirsten Dunst), and her son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee).But in this scene, which comes late in the movie, Phil has been warming up to Peter, and invites the younger man to watch him work on the weaving of a rope. The sequence has elements of a seduction, though the intentions of each character may be more complex than what they seem in the moment.In her narration, Campion said she loved the scene because “it’s the culmination of their relationship and so many different parts of the film that have been seeded right from the very beginning coming together.”The dialogue here is spare. It’s more about glances, close-ups of rope work and the methodical way the two characters feel each other out. An eerie and heightened score by Jonny Greenwood add to the tension of the moment.Read the “Power of the Dog” review.Sign up for the Movies Update newsletter and get a roundup of reviews, news, Critics’ Picks and more. More

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    ‘The Power of the Dog’ | Anatomy of a Scene

    Film directors walk viewers through one scene of their movies, showing the magic, motives and the mistakes from behind the camera.Film directors walk viewers through one scene of their movies, showing the magic, motives and the mistakes from behind the camera. More