Springsteen on Broadway creates new performance template

Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patti Scialfa
Updated 15 October 2017

Springsteen on Broadway creates new performance template

NEW YORK: After checking off all the rock star superlatives in his 68 years, Bruce Springsteen has set out to create a wholly new performance template.
“Springsteen on Broadway,” which opened Thursday night, is a deeply personal life story with a soundtrack, a one-man (or one-man and one-woman for two songs) show that is by turns funny and touching. He is onstage five nights a week through Feb. 3 in what has been called his Broadway debut.
The distinction is important. This is a set piece, not a concert where Springsteen usually changes his set-list from night to night. He motioned to fans who greeted him at Wednesday’s final rehearsal with cheers and familiar “Bruuuucce!” shouts to sit down, and stopped people from clapping along to “Dancing in the Dark” by saying, “I will handle it myself.”
The songs — 15 of them in a 130-minute performance — were secondary to Springsteen’s stories about growing up in Freehold, New Jersey, the peeks into what he has reached for artistically and pokes at his own persona. The intimacy of the 960-seat Walter Kerr Theatre is what made it special; Springsteen could step away from the microphone for a verse or two and not worry about his voice not reaching the rafters.
“I have never held an honest job in my entire life,” Springsteen said. “I have never done an honest day’s work. I have never done hard labor. I have never worked nine to five. And yet, that is all that I have ever written about.”
Reciting a stream of his own lyrics about the “death trap” and need to run from the swamps of Jersey, he deadpanned, “I live 10 minutes from my hometown.”
“I came from a boardwalk town where everything is tinged with a bit of fraud,” he said. “So am I, if you have not figured that out yet.”
Some of Springsteen’s stories about growin’ up (the title of his opening song) should be familiar to readers of his autobiography, and he even reads from it. He has a keen eye and novelist’s sense of detail. Talking about going into a bar at his mother’s behest to tell his father it was time to go home, he described his dad’s entire outfit, down to the belt, and the mix of smells exotic to a young boy’s nose.
His monologue about the neighborhood that constituted an eight-year-old boy’s world segued into Springsteen performing, on piano, the song “My Hometown,” which begins with the lyric, “I was eight-years-old and running with a dime in my hand.” Stories of his father, Douglas, and mother, Adele, contrasting moods of darkness and light, were accompanied by performances of the songs “My Father’s House” and “The Wish.”
Local police were not sad to see Springsteen go when, at the age of 19, he packed up his belongings and left Freehold. His family had scattered, he had no job and seemingly no future, yet he spoke wistfully of the experience.


Solid gold toilet stolen from English stately home

Updated 14 September 2019

Solid gold toilet stolen from English stately home

  • Toilet was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and estimated to be worth around £1 million
  • A 66-year-old man was arrested following the burglary at Blenheim Palace

LONDON: A gang of thieves on Saturday stole an 18-carat gold toilet from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, police said, causing flooding that damaged the world-famous stately home.
The fully-functioning toilet, dubbed “America,” was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and estimated to be worth around £1 million.
A 66-year-old man was arrested following the burglary, which took place before dawn at the 18th-century estate near Oxford, southern England.
The toilet was one of the star attractions in an exhibition of Cattelan’s works that opened on Thursday at the palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors were able to book time slots to use it — but only for three minutes each, to limit the queues.
More than 100,000 people used the loo during the year it was on display at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
“The offenders broke into the palace overnight and left the scene at about 4.50am (0350 GMT). No-one was injured during the burglary,” police said in a statement.
Detective Inspector Jess Milne of Thames Valley Police said she believed “a group of offenders used at least two vehicles” — and left a mess behind them.
“The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace,” she said.
“Due to the toilet being plumbed into the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding.”
Blenheim Palace said it was “saddened by this extraordinary event, but also relieved no-one was hurt.”
It closed on Saturday but said it would reopen on Sunday.

The palace is home to the 12th duke of Marlborough and his family, and was also the birthplace of British wartime leader Winston Churchill.
The duke’s brother, Edward Spencer-Churchill, who founded the Blenheim Art Foundation, said last month he was relaxed about security around the gold toilet.
“It’s not going to be the easiest thing to nick,” he told The Times newspaper.
“Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it.”
He added: “Despite being born with a silver spoon in my mouth I have never had a shit on a golden toilet, so I look forward to it.”
Cattelan, who is known for his provocative art, has previously described the golden toilet as “one-percent art for the 99 percent.”
The Guggenheim had offered the loo on loan to US President Donald Trump, but he declined.
The Italian artist’s exhibition at Blenheim runs until October 27 and includes a taxidermied horse hoisted onto the ceiling of an ornate reception room.
Blenheim has previously hosted exhibitions of work by Ai WeiWei, Yves Klein, Jenny Holzer, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Lawrence Weiner.
Police said they were looking at CCTV footage to help them in the search for the gold toilet, adding that nothing else was believed to have been stolen.