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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 4, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas HeraldZeitung Q Thursday December o 7A Attractions Is Broadway ready for Paul Simon By George Varga Copley News Service After exploring the music of Africa and Brazil with his landmark Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints albums Paul Simon has come full circle With The his long awaited Broadway musical and its accompanying album Songs From the the Grammy Award winning has returned home to New York City and to the doowop and Latinpop styles of his youth Thats how I see Simon said from a Greenwich Village rehearsal studio I began standing on a comer singing doowop and here I am now writing old sounds that sound But The Capeman entails much more than doowop the sweet street comer vocal harmony music that enjoyed its greatest popularity when Simon 56 was a teenager in the 1950s Easily the most ambitious undertaking of his career and potentially the most controversial The Capeman will have been more than five years in the making when preview performances begin in December at Manhattans Marquis Theatre Directed by acclaimed choreographer Mark Morris the multimilliondollar musical boasts a cast headed by Latinpop stars Ruben Blades Marc Anthony and Ednita Nazario They will perform 38 new Simon songs featuring lyrics he co wrote with West Indian playwright Derek Walcott who in 1992 was awardediheJfctabel Prize Simons new album Songs From the on Warner Bros Records features 13 of those songs Because of its sometimes explicit lyrics of racial and ethnic epithets it is the first album he has made that nearly qualified for a parental warning sticker A complex morality tale The Capeman is based on the reallife story of Puerto Rican immigrant Salvador Agron who in 1959 became the youngest person ever sentenced to death in New York state Agron then only 16 was virtually uneducated and nearly destitute He was convicted in the stabbing deaths of two Irish American teenagers in a gangrelated fight in Hells Kitchen a mid Manhattan neighborhood His death sentence was commuted by New York Gov Nelson Rockefeller in 1962 just one week before Agrons scheduled execution following pleas for clemency from such prominent figures as Eleanor Roosevelt and District Attorney Frank S Hogan who had prosecuted the case against Agron and the judge who had presided over Agrons murder trial They argued that Agron was severely disturbed not a hardened murderer and that he was the victim of poverty discrimination and a dysfunctional and nearly disintegrated family During the 20 years he was incarcerated Agron became a model prisoner and an accomplished poet He earned both his high school and college diplomas behind bars where he also became a jailhouse lawyer who helped other inmates prepare legal papers and wrote a number of his own appeals for release He was paroled in 1979 and lived in New York until his death in 1986 a week before his 43rd birthday Although Agrqri Ijad gdmitted to his role JrUhe murders at the time of his arrest he subsequently denied his guilt and continued to do so until his dying day Agrons as told by Simon and his Capeman collaborators is a timeless one that takes on added resonance in this era of increasingly fatal youth and gang violence volatile racial tensions and persistent social and economic inequities The story is a New York story a Puerto Rican story and an American Simon said Its a multicultural story This didnt take place in a vacuum ittook place in New York City and I remember it Everyone who was in New York at the time remembers ROCK N ROLL HOODLUM At 16 Agron was just a year younger than Simon when his arrest for murder dominated Big Apple headlines Agron was a member of a Puerto Rican gang called the Vampires and the redlined blacksatin cape he wore as part of his gang attire led to his nicknames The Capeman and On Aug 30 1959 he led the Vampires into a Hells Kitchen playground for a rumble with a white street gang called the Norsemen When the Norsemen failed to show the Vampires turned their attention on two white teens who were in the wrong place at the wrong time While his fellow gang members held the two victims Agron stabbed both to death with a 12inch silvermounted Mexican dagger He was arrested a few days later along with one of his accomplices Tony Umbrella Man Hernandez 17 who allegedly wielded an umbrella during the fatal attack Arrogant and without remorse Agron created an uproar when he told reporters I dont care if I bum My mother could watch Such remarks only further inflamed public outrage against gang violence which had been romanticized in Leonard Bernsteins hit musical West Side Yet while many New Yorkers were appalled and incensed by Agrons deadly deed and lack of contrition Simon was not among them No I the veteran musician said I was too young I didnt realize how terrible it was I was a teenager and it was like a movie I dont think teenagers understand you have to be older to understand that a terrible thing happened and lives were ruined It was a tragedy But to see the event on the cover of the newspaper it was almost the same as a James Mineo movie which I think is how Salvador Agron saw Simon was also struck at the time by Agrons appearance which he now likens to that of a rock n roll hoodlum who embodied the 1950s There was something about his recalled Simon who at the time of the Agron murders was an 18 yearold student at Queens College The way he looked the attitude and the teenage gang thing which I was sort of flirting with myself by just hanging around gangs you know fighting But after I got hit with a belt a couple of times I started to think You know what I better stay with the Simon was only 16 when he and musical partner Arthur Garfunkel scored a national Top 50 hit with the Simonpenned Hey which they recorded under the cartooninspired name Tom Jerry After reteaming in the early 1960s the duo earned international fame as Simon Garfunkel They disbanded in 1970 but have briefly reunited several times since then Old a threeCD Simon Garfunkel box set was recently released But Agrons story stayed with Simon And in 1989 while working on his The Rhythm of the Saints album he began preliminary work on what would become The The idea hit me in a completed form that was so clear a vision that came out of Simon said And immediately said Yeah thats right What should I do So I checked the newspapers and did some research I knew it was a good idea I didnt know if it would pan out and it probably wouldnt have if it hadnt been for my collaborators it couldnt have The collaborators particularly Derek made it stay afloat when I was ready to abandon it on more than one How do you reach atonement Is atonement possible Who decides if atonement is completed Is it a societal question or is it the individual How deeply can you ever know what an individual Catalogue is a virtual video encyclopedia The By Robert J Hawkins Copley News Service John Waters and Maureen OHara both list Wizard of Oz among their favorite Top 10 films He at the top of his list she at the bottom Producer Saul Zaentz cant stop at 10 He lists 30 favorite films including All About The Bicycle My Left Foot and Raging Gee Mario Puzos favorite film is The Film critic Charles Champlin leads off with Citizen Godfather U and The These little celebrity nuggets are but footnotes in the 20th anniversary edition of the Movies Unlimited video catalog easily the most informative and entertaining mail order catalog available Oh yeah with this edition add Biggest to the list This thing is 768 pages thick Youll find more than movie titles each getting no more than a 50to 60word infocrammed description listed in the 8 11inch volume Thats a far cry from Jerry Frebowitzs first Movies Unlimited catalog in 1978 The number of titles was um limited About 80 And even at that Philadelphiabased Frebowitz crammed in everything he could find on Beta VHS and Super 8 formats My how times have changed What is truly fun about the Movies Unlimited catalog is how films are listed There are the traditional categories Action Adventure Comedy Cult Classics Family Mystery Suspense Westerns 24 in all You would expect that much And for a title search the index in the back is more than adequate But the coolest thing about this tome is the crazyquilt clash between randomness and order a situation that results in serendipitous discoveries for the casual thumber It works like this Having just seen Casablanca again last night on the cable channel Im once again madly in love with Ingrid Bergman So Im thumbing through the drama section when I happen upon page 293 and the boxed list of Bergman films I find not only her 1939 American film debut Intermezzo but also the original 1936 Swedish version that brought her to the attention of American producers Anastasia 1956 is here as are Gaslight 1944 and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness There are a couple of Bergman documentaries listed too But to find Casablanca and Bells of St Im sent back to the index and onward to special pages dedicated to Humphrey Bogart and Bing Crosby respectively And wow look at the films listed for them You could get lost in this book for days The catalog takes a stab at thematic groupings too Theres a collection of mondo films documentaries that portray violent bizarre perverse shocking and just plain weird aspects of society highlighted by Mondo Cane How about a couple dozen videos of music and dance from Ireland including of course Youll find a grouping of the Coen Brothers films from Blood Simple to A complete list of James Bond films is on a page opposite an even larger and more distinctive grouping of other Sean Connery films And the art there must be at least three photos per page because sometimes if the title eludes you the image doesnt General Manager Ed Weiss claims to have virtually every film available on video for sale in the The catalog is priced at plus shipping and can be ordered by calling 800 4 MOVIES Movies Unlimited also has a Web site You can sample the catalog listings check out the latest video release announcements and peruse a list of Oscar winners and nominees as well as order videos NEW RELEASES Joyride Live Generation X thriller features Tobey Maguire TEJANO DANCE American Legion Post 179 Los Mecanicos Dinamicos To Music Dec 6 812 6250179 who will be seen soon in the Robin WilliamsDemi MooreWoody Allen project An American Werewolf in So you can say you discovered him first in this directtovideo tale about a couple of guys who swipe a car from a blonde a professional assassin as it rums out A Chef in Love Columbia TriStar This tasty morsel about a Frenchman caught up in the Russian Revolution was nominated for a foreign film Oscar It joins a fine tradition of films that explores the link between passion and food Hey Hey Were the Monkees Rhino not rated Documentary about the pop band first aired on the Disney channel last summer Now it comes to video with an additional 19 minutes of film Rough Magic Columbia TriStar Bridget Fonda and Russell Crowe star in this set in the 1950s about a gal on the run and the assorted fellas she encounters through old Mexico Rhyme and Reason Miramax A real behindthescenes look at the world of rap music Eagles Hall Invited New Year Eves Dance Sound of Country Kosub 31st Per Person COMAL COUNTY SENIOR CITIZENS CENTER 655 LANDA STREET NEW BRAUNFELS TX 78130 SANTAS CRAFT SHOW 92 Saturday December Unusual Christmas Gifts Handmade Creations Of Wood Ceramic to Cactus Plants More Our Own Ceramics Class will have an Open House Try Our Potato Soup or Strudel at The Snack Bar 620041 I MERRY CHRISTMAS 1259 LOOP 337 GIFT BOOKS AVAILABLE WAUVUT 6 6296400 IH 35 and Walnut Ave Times good 1 thru FIubber C Kombat llpGTJI Anastasia c f Jackal Only BRAUNTEX 6254411 290 W San Antonio GI Jane 240500 R Men In Black PG13
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