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The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)
The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)

Ever Heard of Noh Theater? Our Primer to Three Major Productions Arriving in New York City This Fall

September 26, 2022
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Two winters ago, I picked up a copy of Penguin Classics’ Japanese Nō Dramas, a volume of two dozen translations by Royall Tyler I’d been meaning to read since tearing through Yukio Mishima’s Five Modern Noh Plays a decade previous. I had moved into a New York City gem (an apartment with a fireplace), and with Covid cases skyrocketing and temperatures dropping, I decided that a winter fireside with a handful of centennia-old ghost stories (cat in my lap, or reading aloud to a friend) might carry me away from the pandemic—from Brooklyn, 2020—to somewhere entirely distinct.

Noh is a classical genre of Japanese theater that originated in the mid-14th century and which now stands as the oldest continuously practiced theatrical form in the world. Both the form itself and the major body of plays were developed by two writers, Kan’ami and his son, Zeami. Designated an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO, Noh lies at the intersection of drama, dance, music, poetry, architecture, sculpture, and textile craft, an uncanny and electrifying convergence of ruthlessly precise acting, chanting, and physical movement inside shimmering silk costumes and intricately carved wooden masks that are artworks in their own rights. Many of these costumes date back to the origins of Noh itself. There are, for example, only a few hundred masks in existence, and each of the five Noh schools in Japan cycles through using theirs in different productions, decade after decade, and century after century—each line of actors, masks, costumes, and texts pointing back to a singular origin.

A Zo'onna Noh Mask from Japan’s Edo Period. (Photo: Daderot. Courtesy Tokyo National Museum)
A Zo'onna Noh Mask from Japan’s Edo Period. (Photo: Daderot. Courtesy Tokyo National Museum)

The plays themselves are performed with a near-excruciating control on a standardized stage with an on-ramp and and a painting of a single cypress tree, before a standard, L-shaped audience seating plan, with almost no set, and often only a single fan or small tree for a prop.

A Noh theater at the Museum of Art in Atami, Japan. (Photo: J. Cuatrocasas)
A Noh theater at the Museum of Art in Atami, Japan. (Photo: J. Cuatrocasas)

The stories that comprise the Noh canon also, by and large (though not always), follow the same eerie arc: 1) A visitor visits a place. 2) That visitor meets a local who tells them a story about that place. 3) At the end of their story, the local reveals that they are the person from their story, and then disappears. 4) Later that night, the local reappears in the visitor’s dream and reenacts the story through a dance.

The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)
The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)

Yoko Shioya, the artistic director of New York’s Japan Society, calls this distinctive approach to storytelling Noh’s “unique structure of phantasm.” The plays take place in a sealed seven-century-old conceptual box, but the worlds they evoke through a tight repertoire of conventions is so vast and immediate it defies human time. It’s as if Noh is outside time. There are few artistic forms as rapturously enthralling and slyly immersive as Noh, not least because the formal elements of performance are so refined they require a psychological, near-spiritual element of participation on behalf of the audience.

Consider that prop fan. Over the course of a play, it might become a sake flask, a warrior’s sword, a fish knife, a flute, or a writing brush. The shite (main actor’s) mask, meanwhile, communicates the character’s state of mind through the angle by which it is observed—tilted upward, the mask conveys joy or nostalgia; downward, it can convey despair, rumination, or pain. Actors’ movements are constrained by costume and stage limitations, as well as other technical matters, but the slightest gestures convey entire journeys across land, sea, and time, to the afterlife and back, a simple foot-dance sketching out mortal and immortal realms. The droll, monotonous chants of the singers are anything but flat; instead, the radical simplicity of each play’s dialogue, asides, soliloquies, and poetry—poetry often chanted between two characters in tightly controlled, cascading syntax—spills over from a kind of monotone foundation into the imaginations of the audience.

It’s often said, for lack of a better cultural reference, that Noh is “Japanese opera,” and while the combination of formal elements—music, voice, costume, and movement—is similar, the characterization is somewhat misleading on aesthetic terms. Opera is often unwieldy, bombastic, as big as its themes, while Noh enters the unconscious like a blade so sharp you only notice if you move.

Noh productions are rare outside Japan, but the form has had various foreign admirers throughout history (including, in the present day, the artist, jewelry-maker, and metalsmith Daniel Brush, who discusses his fascination with Noh on Ep. 23 of our Time Sensitive podcast). Says Shioya: “[Noh] influenced W.B. Yeats. Noh's economy of style in its drama and chanting speech inspired Benjamin Britten. The highly stylized body/dance movement of Noh performers influenced Robert Wilson. Noh masks inspired Turner Prize winner Simon Starling—just to name a few famous historical and contemporary artists. The uncompromising aesthetics of ‘less is more’ that you can see in Noh theater influences even more people beyond artists.”

One of these artists is Mayo Miwa, a New York–based performer and educator who received a traditional education in Noh before moving to New York and collaborating with artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alice Shields.

Mayo Miwa performing with composer and pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto. (Photo: GION)
Mayo Miwa performing with composer and pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto. (Photo: GION)

Miwa discovered Noh in her youth when her father took her to see a Noh performance at a gallery opening in Tokyo. “I've never seen that newness in my life,” she says. “[It was] super contemporary,” for a reason she couldn’t at first discern. That quality ultimately led her to apprentice under Sekine Shoroku of the Kanze School, and to major in Noh at the Tokyo University of Arts, before moving to New York and becoming vice president of the Noh Society.

Miwa says that part of Noh’s novelty comes from its blending of ritual and entertainment, and of the stripping away of some of theater’s common formal elements in favor of a “perfectly crystalized” simplicity that makes Noh’s themes universal. The actors, first of all, are more medium for experience than characters, Miwa says, “so the audience is, through the actor's movement, actually the center, and through the actor's body, the audience performs the performance.”

Meanwhile, the choreographic elements of Noh lend themselves to an open, rather than determined, experience of meaning. In Noh’s dance sequences, “it’s almost like there’s no story line,” she says. “It’s just dancing through abstract time, when the characters are immersed in waves of profound emotions. The audience is watching the performance, but at the same time, starting to think about themselves.”

“In Western theater,” she adds, “there’s a curtain dividing the audience and the stage. If you go to a Noh theater, there’s no curtain, there’s no division between the audience and stage. That means that the audience also goes into the experience, into the zone of time and space of Noh. After the performance, with no curtain call, the audience goes back to the empty nothingness. So the stage itself is just like the circle of the universe.”

Recently, opera organizations in Europe and the U.S. have been commissioning or producing Noh or Noh-inspired operas for local audiences, and this fall, a Noh-inspired opera and two traditional Noh plays will be performed in New York City.

The former is Hanjo, by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa, with a libretto by Yukio Mishima (one of his Five Modern Noh Plays, published in 1956). Directed by choreographer Luca Veggetti and conducted by Neal Goren, the founding artistic director of Catapult Opera, this North American premiere—taking place at N.Y.U. Skirball, with performances on September 30 and October 2—represents a rather nascent, cosmopolitan approach to Noh, via Mishima’s modernized adaptations. The resulting performance promises to expand the possibilities of the form for new audiences.

View of a previous performance of “Hanjo” in Tokyo. (Courtesy N.Y.U. Skirball)
View of a previous performance of “Hanjo” in Tokyo. (Courtesy N.Y.U. Skirball)

“The opera is not traditional—not by any means,” Goren tells me. “It’s based on a Noh first [created] in the fourteenth century, through the lens of the 1950s, and now through the twenty-first century. The themes—the role that dependency plays in love, denial, fear of the unknown, and need—are as alive now as they were in the fourteenth century. I think that’s what will appeal to modern audiences.” Goren adds that bringing Hanjo to North America is part of Catapult’s mission of disrupting, or expanding, the standard repertory of the operatic canon.

The second and third productions are of Kotei (The Emperor) and Makura Jido (Chrysanthemum Boy), and taking place December 1–3 at Japan Society and produced by the Kita Noh School, one of the five traditional schools of Noh in Japan, which was founded at the beginning of the 17th century and has been in operation ever since.

The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)
The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)

These performances present an unparalleled opportunity for American audiences to see the art form practiced by top-tier talents, and because of Japan Society’s focus on cultural education, to learn more about Noh and its history, no questionable self-translation needed. “To make the material accessible and deepen the understanding of American audiences,” Shioya says, “we created English subtitles from scratch.” An hour before curtain time, Tom Hare, a comparative literature professor at Princeton University, will provide a pre-performance lecture for ticket holders.

Shioya graduated with a degree in musicology from the Tokyo University of the Arts, and is deeply connected with many top-class traditional performers in Japan. She and her staff were kind enough to relay my questions to Takehito Tomoeda, a renowned Noh shite actor in the Kita School, winner of the Shogakukan Shirasu Award (2009), and a designated Intangible Cultural Property in Japan. They then translated Tomoeda’s responses in return.

The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)
The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)

Tomoeda began by telling me a bit about the masks that will be used in the New York performances. After centuries of use, Tomoeda says, Noh masks are “not mere theater props, but rather a spiritually important element that helps a Noh actor to convey to the audience the ‘truth’ of a story. In contrast to modern acting practice, in which an actor should transform himself into a character, a Noh actor is ‘transformed’ into a character by wearing a mask on his face. Such impact requires Noh actors to diligently train their inner strength in addition to acting techniques.”

Tomoeda says that this diligence in attending to the soul of a text is a central reason why Noh has survived the centuries. “Noh masks, costumes, chorus verses, and musical accompaniment—all are there to evoke souls. Restraint of expression is a methodology so that the performer’s acting does not overpower the soul of the words.”

In terms of the two particular plays this fall, Tomoeda says that Kotei is about curing an illness. “The mask used for the demon that causes the Empress’s malady is called ‘Shikami, which you can think of as the origin of the word shikame-tsura, or frown. It has deep creases between the eyebrows, with wide-open eyes and bared teeth, as if ready to bite at any moment. On the other hand, the mask used for the Emperor’s guardian deity that fights against the malady is called Ko-beshimi. The word beshimi means ‘closing one’s mouth, holding a deep breath to preserve power inside one’s body.’ As its name implies, this mask expresses the mighty power to stand up against a demon. The existence of a superpower beyond humankind’s abilities is the main theme of this Noh play.”

Makura Jido, by contrast, revolves around themes of youth and mortality. “The mask used for the boy character who has lived for seven hundred years is called Doji,” Tomoeda says. “The mask is made to be a boy’s face but with a hint of femininity, expressing a somewhat lonely disposition. This complex expression implies both the blessings of longevity and the solitude of living for seven hundred years. The costume for the malady demon in Kotei and the boy in Makura Jido share the same cut [shape], worn in the same manner. However, with different fabric patterns and colors, even the same costume design can transmit a completely different atmosphere. The pattern of the costume symbolizes each character in each piece.”

Tomoeda says that the school has already begun preparing to present the two plays with the highest fidelity possible. The major challenge, he says, will be to convey the soul of the play’s language, musical accompaniment, and dance movements to new audiences. But there are also technical matters to attend to. “Fortunately, Japan Society can provide kagami-ita, wooden back-panels with a picture of a pine tree, which is a symbol of the Noh stage and something that all Noh theaters in Japan are equipped with,” he says. “Also, the Society’s stage floor is smooth and natural wood, which enables us to do the unique Noh movement of suriashi [a subtle movement of sliding across the stage on one’s feet].”

But despite a rather rarefied reputation and set of conventions, Miwa notes that new viewers of Noh should simply enjoy the time and space. “In Noh,” she says, “immobility is mobility, where, with sound, the most profound sound is the inaudible space between sounds. This space [contains] a limitless expression that you can feel with your own imagination. It’s not that Noh is a passive form—it's an interactive art, where in a slow motion dance, time [can be] stretched several hundred years. But [viewers] can just enjoy the time in a way that people cannot in daily life.”

As for the future of Noh, Miwa believes that “we have to introduce Noh to a wider audience, especially young people.” She also suggests that the male lineage of actors in traditional Noh schools may change in order to preserve it. “The form itself is based on a man’s physicality. For example, the key of the voice chanting is much lower than what we have for female actors, Noh robes are extremely heavy, and it is challenging for women to see through a Noh mask. So, yeah, I think it should be more open to women—the form of Noh should be shifted a little bit or created for female actors.”

Tomoeda’s take? “In the twenty-first century, our great challenge as Noh actors is how we successfully hand down the form of Noh theater that contemporaries have always appreciated throughout every age and era.”

“Noh theater has been passed down for nearly seven hundred years,” he says. “The stylization and forms have inevitably evolved.”

One need look no further than Miwa, Goren, Hosokawa, and Mishima to see this evolution—and through it, Noh’s continued perseverance and preservation—in action. Don’t sleep on this chance to see it for yourself.

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Courtesy Jill Singer

Sight Unseen’s Jill Singer on Why She Doesn’t Actually Consume That Much Design Content

Home is unequivocally where the heart is. But in a world that far too often embraces soulless or downright bland furniture and interior design trends, it may not always look like it. Which is where the pathbreaking work of Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, the co-founders of the online design magazine Sight Unseen, comes in.

Photo: Andrew Zuckerman

A Start-Up Is Monitoring Space Junk to Enable a More Sustainable Space Economy

In February 2009, some 500 miles above the Siberian tundra, a defunct Russian satellite and a U.S. communication satellite collided with massive force and shattered to pieces. Circulating low Earth orbit at speeds north of 20,000 miles per hour, the two instantly broke into thousands of fragments of aluminum and titanium space junk. Of these bits of debris hurtling at hypervelocity, only a fraction of them were large enough to be accurately tracked. And of those roughly 2,000 fragments that have been tracked, they’ll continue circulating for anywhere from 20 to a hundred years or more from the time of impact.

Le Bernardin’s apricot sorbet and chamomile ice cream, infused with Nature’s Fynd dairy-free cream cheese. (Courtesy Nature’s Fynd)

A Microscopic Fungus From Yellowstone’s Hot Springs Is Spurring a New Culinary Movement

Born beneath the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, a microscopic fungus is spurring a new culinary movement. Fy, short for “Fusarium of Yellowstone,” has sprouted into the limelight as a sustainable alternative for conscientious diners, and has begun to germinate in menus and stores across the United States.

Courtesy Artisan Books

Ghetto Gastro’s Jon Gray on “Durag Diplomacy” and the Beauty of the Bronx

Over the past decade, the Bronx culinary collective Ghetto Gastro has—through a combination of creative finesse, clever tactics, linguistic gymnastics, and food alchemy—risen up in the worlds of art, fashion, and entertainment, serving up a new, raw form of cultural ambassadorship. Unofficial representatives of their home borough, the group’s co-founders, Jon Gray (the guest on Ep. 2 of our Time Sensitive podcast), Pierre Serrao, and Lester Walker, practice what they call “durag diplomacy,” bringing the Bronx to the world and the world to the Bronx. The trio’s scope and impact is vast, from collaborating with French luxury house Cartier on a “Bronx Brasserie” pop-up in Paris, to launching kitchen appliances with Target, to cooking with Wolfgang Puck at this year’s Oscars. An unabashed gastronome and the group’s self-described “dishwasher,” Gray has the agility and energy of a frontman: Currently an artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, he’s perhaps best known for his 2019 TED Talk, which has been viewed nearly two million times. Serrao and Walker are seasoned chefs with backgrounds in top restaurants, including at Cracco in Milan and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s now-closed Spice Market in New York, respectively.

A view of the “Slow Show” performance. (Photo: Anne-Sylvie Bonnet)

With “Slow Show,” Choreographer Dimitri Chamblas Emphasizes the Mysterious Power of Slow Movement

What gives a physical movement meaning? There are myriad answers: context, shape, intention. For internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, educator, and creative director Dimitri Chamblas, there’s another, primary answer: speed. “If I go to shake your hand, you would understand because of the movement, but also because of the speed of it. If I do it super fast, it’s an offense. If I do it super slow, you won’t understand where I am going. The identity of the movement is given by the speed of it.”

Courtesy Phaidon

Danish Design Firm HAY Heralds Its 20th Anniversary With a Superb, Highly Tactile Book

While the Danish design firm HAY is just celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, it has achieved a rarefied place in the design lexicon that’s more often associated with brands many decades older. This standing is defined, in part, by being often imitated, yet maintaining a certain level of quality and integrity. HAY originals can always be told apart from those trying to knock it off.

Courtesy Aedes de Venustas

A New Perfume Translates the Greek Island of Corfu Through Kumquat

Growing up in the Midwest, I wasn’t exposed to the widest range of foods. True to the Scandinavian heritage and harsh winters of the region, I remember a hearty, meat-and-starch focused cuisine, one meant to warm and sustain through the cold and dark. As I got older, I started expanding my palate, and I can remember many firsts: my first pho, my first dosa, my first doro wat. But out of all these first experiences of more far-flung tastes and flavors, none stands out in my memory as sharply as my first kumquat.

An array of Baudar’s wildcrafted vinegars. (Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing)

“Culinary Alchemist” Pascal Baudar on the Art of Foraging and the Craft of Vinegar

Pinning a single job title on the award-winning food expert and forager Pascal Baudar is no easy task. A self-described “culinary alchemist” who cans, dries, smokes, ferments, steams, and pickles cactus buds, harvester ants, and other obscure flora and fauna, Baudar is the go-to source for Los Angeles–based chefs Curtis Stone, Josiah Citrin, and Ludovic Lefebvre, as well as cocktail maestros, including Matt Biancaniello, seeking these delicacies. “The majority of chefs use 30 wild ingredients, maximum,” Baudar says. “We deal with four hundred and fifty-six.”

Courtesy Strange Attractor Press

A New Book Explores How, Via X-Rays, Banned Albums Made It Into the Cold War–Era U.S.S.R.

The bad news is that this particular set of X-rays won’t be covered by your health insurance. The good news? Discarded hospital film of broken bones can defy a communist regime, deliver banned music to the masses, and endure as art.

Photo: John Cairns. Courtesy the Bodleian Libraries.

An Exhibition at Oxford Highlights the Sensorial Splendor of Books

In 1940, Dorothy Kunhardt published a book that would forever change the way young children read. Pat the Bunny, an interactive book full of activities such as touching the sandpaper of “Daddy’s scratchy face,” playing peekaboo with a piece of cloth, or gazing in a mirror, imbued the act of reading with a new form of sensory engagement. Today, “touch and feel” books for babies and children are almost required reading—their cellophane stuffing produces a satisfying, A.S.M.R.-level crunching sound, while the use of faux rabbit fur or horse hair offers an exhilarating tactile experience. As we age and our reading comprehension sharpens, the books we pick up prioritize a single sense—sight—their stories seemingly locked away in lines of text.

The Sculpture Gallery at The Glass House. (Photo: Michael Biondo)

Robert Stadler Has a “Playdate” With Philip Johnson at His Glass House

It’s a serene, bluebird-sky day, a slight chill in the air, and I’m walking with the Paris-based, Austrian-born designer-artist-provocateur Robert Stadler along a central pathway on Philip Johnson’s 49-acre Glass House estate in New Canaan, Connecticut. We’ve just exited the property’s whitewashed, brick-floored, glass-ceilinged Sculpture Gallery, a transfixing space of light and shadow built in 1970 that’s home to works by artists including Michael Heizer, Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella. Now, for one of the first times ever, a temporary installation by a contemporary artist—Stadler—is being shown among the sculptures of these art-world giants.

Photo: Marco Galloway

Willo Perron’s Debut Furniture Show Makes the Case for a “No Coasters” Design Movement

With everything he does, the Los Angeles–based designer and creative director Willo Perron always considers the macro and the micro. From the L.A. headquarters of Roc Nation, to Stüssy stores around the world (including in Kyoto, Milan, and Shanghai), to the set build-outs for Rihanna’s and Drake’s latest tours, to album art for those same artists, to the branding and art direction for the non-alcoholic aperitif company Ghia, Perron has an adroit ability to work across many scales.

Cover of “The Seed Detective” (left). Adam Alexander (right). (Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing)

“Seed Detective” Adam Alexander Imagines a Better World—Through Rare, Endangered, and Unusual Vegetable Varieties

For British author, TV gardening producer, and “seed detective” Adam Alexander, the supermarket serves as perhaps the finest symbol of our modern food systems and their discontents. Of course, there’s undeniable quantitative material abundance, with aisles upon aisles of vegetable varieties—chopped, pickled, canned, and fresh—all that one could imagine within the confines of some idea of a generic palette. But it arrives at a qualitative price, and not just in terms of flavor, but also in context, in our ability to see this food as a part of our own story—as a connection to the land we live on or a cornerstone of the traditions we uphold. Vegetables are more than just so many anonymous pounds on a scale. “This strong connection with the land and what we grow and what we put in our own mouths has been lost, especially in the U.K.,” Alexander says. “To me, it’s really important that we try to reconnect and recognize that these vegetables are part of our human story and, in that way, we can do a lot to serve rare and endangered varieties.”

Courtesy Assouline

Why Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Remains One of the Most Enduring Watches Ever

Designed in 1972, at a time when a luxury watch made of steel was still a radical concept, Audemars Piguet’s nautical-inspired Royal Oak captured the “stealth wealth” style of the moment, mirroring the cutting-edge ethos of the French fashion scene (think: Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro, Pierre Cardin), as well as the era’s groundbreaking architecture, such as Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s inside-out postmodernist Pompidou Centre in Paris, completed in 1977. “To me, the Royal Oak is a work of art that happens to be a watch,” says British GQ editor Bill Prince, author of the new book Royal Oak: From Iconoclast to Icon (Assouline), coming out October 12. “It’s one of those works of culture that has managed to cut through time, in the sense that it was born of an era, but it already had the criteria to be bigger than the era.”

Courtesy Olivia Sammons

A New Zine Highlights the Poetry and Beauty of Food

Each of us has our own individual way of following the changing of the seasons, a private choreography in relationship to the calendar. For interior designer and prop stylist Olivia Sammons, the produce available from the farms, orchards, and markets near her family’s Hudson Valley home marks time for her, leading her forward through the year. “I spend so much time thinking about food,” she says. “What I’m going to eat, where I’m going to find it, which orchard has the best blueberries.” This focus led her to create the new zine Is My Favorite Flavor, which just launched its first issue, appropriately titled Summer! Is My Favorite Flavor, at the design-focused Head Hi bookshop and café in Brooklyn.

Photo: John C. Hawthorne. Courtesy Alex Tatarsky.

Alex Tatarsky on Art as a Means to Live Out the Absurd

It’s late August, and I’m walking on Grand Street in Lower Manhattan. It’s one of those summer evenings that’s cooler than expected, a pleasant foreshadowing of fall. I’m on my way to discuss compost with the artist Alex Tatarsky, and as I head east from the subway, I pass through the dense, networked scents of the edge of Chinatown: the briny tang of fish markets, the sweet snatch of a fresh egg waffle from a rolled ice cream shop, the yeasty cloud that floats around the famous bialy shop. Approaching Abrons Art Center, where Tatarsky is doing pick-up rehearsals for an out-of-town run of their show Dirt Trip, this close-packed olfactory landscape opens up into something with more space: a faint vegetal whiff from a small vacant lot, the not unpleasant chemical tang from a passing truck, and beyond these, the smell of a certain rot rolling in from the East River.

Courtesy Blue Note Records

An Album of Cover Songs Honors the Legacy of Leonard Cohen

Though nearly six years have gone by since Leonard Cohen’s passing, the long shadow cast by his legacy as one of the 20th century’s most esteemed and idiosyncratic singer-songwriters shows no signs of lifting from the public’s imagination anytime soon. From the enveloping warmth of “Suzanne,” to the high drama of “Hallelujah,” to the chilling minimalist and gospel juxtaposition of his swansong “You Want it Darker,” Cohen managed to constantly reinvent himself, leaving behind the rare achievement of a musical body of work whose most impressive moments exist across eras.

Courtesy OMA

For a Tiffany & Co. Pop-Up in Paris, OMA Designs a Literal Jewelry Box

Hiring a world-class architecture firm to design a tiny temporary retail space may seem an extravagant choice, but given the high aspirations of Tiffany & Co.—especially now that it’s owned by the French luxury conglomerate LVMH—it makes sense for the American jewelry company’s Paris debut under its new French banner.