Monday, November 26, 2007

Remembering Radio City

The "hall of a thousand illusions"

Thanksgiving is on Broadway the gate for the Christmas entertainments. In this year of struggling workers and theatre strikes, of uncertain family novelties as boutique Cirque christmas tales, we wish to celebrate the 75 years of the most ingenuous and anachronistic of all american entertainments: Radio City Christmas Spectacular, still alive in the world’s largest stage, the performing sanctuary of the art-deco glory: the Radio City Music Hall.

In 1933, Rockefeller, RCA and impresario Roxy realized a fantastic dream - a theatre unlike any in the world. A place of beauty offering high-quality entertainment at prices ordinary people could afford. It was intended to entertain and amuse, but also to “elevate and inspire”. Architect Deskey chose elegance over excess, grandeur above glitz; he created a stunning tribute to "human achievement in art, science and industry”. He made art an integral part of the design, engaging fine artists to create murals, wall coverings and sculpture; textile designers to develop draperies and carpets; craftsmen to make ceramics, wood panels and chandeliers. The shimmering gold stage curtain is the largest in the world. Popular Mechanics described it as a “hall of a thousand illusions.”. Fountains, torrents of rain, clouds, revolving platforms, appearing animals, movable skating rink or bandwagon, the colossal wurlitzer organ…We’re not sure about the resistance of this cathedral in the virtual era. But in this week’s gallery we still want to think about it as the 8th wonder of the world.

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