A Philosopher Among Russian Dancers
An Interview with Adolf Bohm
THE tumult and the shouting dies, the press-men and the veils depart — and what is left? — Some cosmetic errors, the sound of the stretching of the arch of multitudinous feet and Adolf Bolm.
He it is who has discovered himself next to Najinski, now that Najinski has gone. He is the pampered, over familiar Le Negre, of the chosing of that top heavy though attractive high-hipped Zobeide. He, who is Chef guerrier of Le Prince Igor, not forgotten in Les Sylphides and still on view in La Princess Enchantee and Soleil Du Nuit.
He comes through the melieu of the Ballet with the smile of the man who suffers in three languages.
"Bakst — ah, there you have not only the savage, you have also the artist. I have often thought, how dreadful to be the picture — you know what I mean? No? I shall explain. Notice the eye of the connoisseur of arts, then imagine yourself their goal. See? It is so with the costume. Therefore, I say, how dreadful to be the picture but how still more lamentable to be the costume."
"Bakst is a successful organ; he has a keen appetite, a nose for cafes, a delightful sense of humor, an impressive style of flirting. His advances are of a marked and successful nature, considering his natural inborn plainness. Of his retreats one might say they are masterly. He sails a boat and drinks tea with graceful repugnance."
"He has however one fault — ah, an immense trifle — his headgear the hoods, the turbans, the what-nots that he conceives for the heads of his disciples — Beautiful? Yes, as only ugly and vulgar things are, — but —"
He paused knocking his gold cigarette case
upon his palm. "But my friend
"Is Bakst new, is his art the art of the creator? Often I am asked that, very often I hear others asked that. There is an answer. The tragedy of man — there had been a past; the tragedy of nature — there will be a future."
"Without your yesterdays all would be great
today. No, of course, Bakst is not new.
"It is harder, I admit, to become known for what one has not done than for what one has. Bakst took the easiest way, he became known for what he did. Not for his restraint, but for his vigor. One can say of him what Wilde said of Hall Cain — he creates at the top of his voice."
"Therefore it is that one should not say Bakst dares, one should say Bakst dares again."
"Some of his designs are purely graphic. From the mind, for the paper. These are the kinds I have reference to, when I say how painful to be the costume. I have had to outrage Bakst, because Bakst has outraged me."
"He invents, say, something he considered decorative, but imagine trying to dance entangled with all the intricacies of Bakst's mind."
"Well, we have made our concessions each to the other" he added.
When I asked him if
not asked to understand
I said that the whole production had struck most of us as art under the skin. "A matter," I added, "of gastric acoustics, arteries and undressing or over-dressing," also concluding, "but only of the kind we lament because that savage sharpness, that peasant betterness and vitality given us so richly in the literature of the Russian and in the Russian history, is missing."
"In other words they seem to be economizing on perspiration." I finished.
"He has fallen into the estate of the man who forgets that destruction is more necessary than construction. The rich perversity of a decaying flower is only transcribable in the still richer, still more perverse flare of the decaying art. The happier midways of life and death. The conception that feeds on itself, — that is the most beautiful and the most destructive. Bakst has forgotten, it seems to me, and has instead tried to make something too new, and in consequence has made it too raw. Wounds are all very well but only in that they bleed. Bakst is a wound in which the arteries refuse their waters."
Bolm shook his head "Yes and no, as the peasant says. I admit that he is not always simple. That is what I tried to point out just a few minutes ago. It is his insincerity that sometimes gets in his way, nevertheless his art is a fine thing and the world is coming to know that, and then there will be others.
me say something that touches
London Office of BRUNO'S WEEKLY,
letter this week I must give you some Irish news, for I have
been spending a few days over in
through this gray and rather desolate country-side and
coming across the low snuggling inns or the country
'characters' in the lanes, one could not escape thinking of
Synge at work with his fine mind among this peasantry and
tinkerdom. I could picture to myself how he did it, and when
we passed one old fellow, whose face suggested a wealth of
racy reminiscences by its character and quaintness I said,
"Now if we were Synge we would stand that old fellow a drink
and draw him out."
"And well amused he would keep us, too," my friend replied.
Passing through this Wicklow country revealed Synge to me in a new way. I saw how lonely and miserable the poor fellow must have been in spite of all the glamor and courage he has put into his pages.
A visit to the Abbey — so often heard of
yet never seen — confirmed my views. There were two pieces —
The Suburban Groove,
by W. F. Casey, a young man I remember meeting in
One has heard so much of the Abbey Theater
— it is a little
The Suburban Grooves proves charming. It is a volatile trifle, a comedy of suburban manners, delicately written and delicately acted and admirably true to life. Yet it would not stand a chance at the commercial theater. It would be too simple, too natural. The whole play has nothing remarkable about it except that fact that it is a genuine little play, written for the love of the thing, by a whole man who had not sold himself to the devil. The novelty of the evening proved to be very amusing, too. It was a satire on the Ancient Order of Hibernians. To judge by the comments around me it did not seem to please the audience very much.To turn to English news, Thomas Beecham has been made a knight and Henry James has been given the Order of Merit. Decorations are always showered in
By Guido Bruno
(Continued from last issue)
"Well, I gave her up. I gave it all up. I didn't have the heart to induce her to give up the surroundings she loved. I know she would have been willing to do the conventional thing but I didn't dare do it. I loved her so much. I sacrificed everything for her sake. Life is worthless for me. I'll never see her again and I'll never again feel warmth in my heart I'll never see her again in my life and I shall long for her until I die."
be happy at that . . . if it is happiness: the consciousness
of my self-sacrifice."
The man with a sad, resigned face looked forlornly out into the darkness. There was a long silence. His companion did not move. It seemed an eternity, but it surely lasted an hour. Neither did his companion take his eyes away from the face of the man who was speaking. He seemed to try to read his mind and look deep into his heart. He was studying the features of his face and making comparisons.
And suddenly all the relaxation disappeared. He seemed active, dynamic. He lay back in the garden chair. He stretched his legs and arms, conscious of his strength. There was a vigorous exhalation from his powerful lungs that blew out the light.
. . . "Fool! . . . I would have taken her. I would have made only one appointment with her and that would have lasted for life. I would have made her forget her surroundings and her furniture. I would have made her sit with me in my lonely quarters. I would have passed to her a part of my own dish. I would have brought her happiness in return. I would have sacrificed everything but her, and conscious of that I would have been happy."A glaring white lightning parted the dark skies. Thunder resounded from all corners of the earth. Heavy drops of an unexpected rain beat against the roof. The two men hurried back to the big lighted house.
time ago there lived a brave and invincible Knight.
One day he happened to capture Death herself.
He brought her to his strong castle, and put her in a cell.
Death sat there — and people ceased to die.
Thp Knight was overjoyed, and thought:
"Now it is well, but it is rather a worry to keep a watch on her. Perhaps it would be better to destroy her altogether."
But the Knight was a very just man — he could not kill her without judgment.
He went to the cell, and, passing before the small window, he said :
"Death, I want to cut your head off — you've done a lot of harm upon the earth."
But Death was silent.
The Knight continued:
"I'll give you a chance — defend yourself if you can. What have you to say for yourself?"
And Death answered:
"I'll say nothing just yet; let Life put in a word for me."
And the Knight suddenly saw Life standing beside him; she was a robust and red-cheeked but expressionless woman.
And she began to say such brazen and ungodly things that caused the invincible brave Knight to tremble, and he made haste to open the cell.Death went out — and men began to die once more. The Knight himself died when his time came — and he told no one upon the earth what that expressionless, brazen woman, Life, had said to him.
"IN Our Village" a Turkish officer said to me, "we have no graveyard."
"But where do you bury . . . ?"
Interrupting my question he said:
"Our people are always shot or hung somewhere else."
the morning of my departure from
afternoon a man came up to me and said: "My lord, I am a
stranger to you. You never received a telegram. But may it
please you to know that I am the telegraph messenger. May it
please you to know that it was up to me to deliver telegrams
to you, if such had been received for you in our office. I
surely would have brought them to you most quickly. I know
you will be just and you will not harm a man who has always
been ready to serve you; I cannot be blamed that I have
never been called upon to be of service to you. I too
deserve half a medshid."
is widely known what an interesting way King Nicholas once
knew to get hold of half a million in ready cash. He sent a
trusted man to Triest addressing to him continuously postal
money orders from Cetinje. The trusted man received payment
for his money orders at the Austrian post office and
returned home with the cash to the Black Mountains. King
Nicholas never reimbursed the Austrian postal government
This episode caused a good deal of talk about the postal
in agonies of Hell
The volunteer from
The lead tore hotly at his gaping lung
A withering thirst choked thick his blackening tongue.
By D. Molby
WHENEVER one is out in a kind of desert country, at night, where there are some lions and one of them is roaring, one is likely to get quite a fright. If the lion roars as loud as he can, one can hear him a long ways. How far, depends on what kind of a night it is and on whether he is back in some hills or is on the front of one. If it is a clear night and there is a moon and the lion is standing on a rock that looks out over a valley, the sounds will go several miles before they stop.
The reason he can roar loud is that his neck is big and his vocal cords are strong and his chest powerful. When he roars and the echoes come back, he knows that he has every other animal for miles around scared so bad that he can't move. He is the king of beasts and he wants them to know it. And the vibrations in his chest and the firmness in his legs bring him the conciousness of his power.When he roars this way, he makes the Earth tremble under his feet, or if he is on a rock, it jars the rock. The night is his and the hills are his, and he rules them with his roar.
THERE is an intimate relation between war and books. This may not be apparent because the effect does not follow the cause immediately. Nor directly. The Welt-geist is prodigal of means when the end is not in sight. It accounts to no one. And it has plenty of time.
there is an intimate relation between wars and books is
evidenced in the nature and amount of literature after
the conquests of Julius Cæsar. After the struggle of
The conditions governing the output of books in these several instances are so varied as to preclude the possibility that the mere vitality of periods of reconstruction could fertilize a barren soil of letters.
It is true that
Just what happens one can never know.
It is as simple and natural, doubtless, as the change of a larva to a pupa. And as the transformation of the pupa to a winged butterfly. Metamorphoses are effected in darkness and under conditions that preclude observation.
But at least something like this occurs.
During war times the voice of the people is heard. Petty differences are forgotten. Men gather in the streets and shout in unison. They hiss and they cheer. And at each explosion there can be no doubt as to whether it is a hiss or a cheer.
And it follows that in the white heat of some noble excitement a pamphlet is printed. Some individual writes it but the people have created it. And in passion and in exaltation songs are struck off.
Everybody reads the pamphlets and everybody sings the songs. They are active, timely, popular. That is to say that both these expressions of a feeling — pamphlets and songs — came from the people and are again absorbed by them.
This is creation, fecundation, germination.
After peace is declared these songs are forgotten. The pamphlets once sold at a penny are exchanged for dollars in auction rooms, as curiosities. Maybe as historical evidence. But the folk idea behind the little book and the verses live in the people. It grows and spreads.
After a while a restlessness is generally apparent. A feverishness that means a generally diffused desire for expression of something not yet clearly defined.
A hundred poets and writers, too feeble to make the sound that can be heard and the gesture that can be seen, try to embody concretely what everybody feels is in the air. The ninety and nine fail.
Then come the men that will be heard: Marcus Aureius, Sienkiewicz, Zola. And for us the poets and novelists that wrote between our wars and after them, whose sentiments can be traced: pamphlets of Franklin and Payne. And to those of the abolitionists.
Uncle Tom's Cabin and the more pretentious poems of the standard American poets are reflexes of and reactions from war feeling. And who can estimate the number of novels related to each other by kindred sentiments that were inspired by recorded expressions of popular feeling during the civil war? The tragedy of brothers meeting face to face in opposing battle array: the horror that an agricultural people would feel at the shooting of a spy: the beauty of reconciliation. These were the themes of the novels and poems.
As to just what will be the general trend of the literature that will record the true feeling in these days when our news stands are overflowing with extra war editions, it would be interesting to speculate.
Doubtless, horror of the incredible spectacle of the foremost nations sacrificing human lives by the thousand in the name of the Almighty, to uphold an abstraction, prejudices all our conclusions.But it's safe to say that no sentiment in the present crisis will inspire a woman to write a Battle Hymn of the Republic.
A very interesting pamphlet was sent to
us by C. Alphonso Smith, Edgar Allan Poe, Professor of
"Every student of folk-lore has
noticed that the last few years have witnessed a
remarkable revival of interest in the folk-song. This
interest has not been confined to the
The Cheerful Liar
"it can lie better than any other newspaper published. We are Champion Liars. If the public is foolish enough to spend their money for a bunch of unreliable news, we propose to get into the game also and get some of the coin. We are honest about it and tell you by the name of this newspaper what you can expect. There is no attempt made to obtain your money under false pretenses. Only our advertisement columns are genuine. They all guarantee their goods to be as represented."
There is just one exception I would take with its editor. Where is the cheerfulness in their lying?
Bookplates of John E. and Samuel Pepys
Levis' new work dealing with the somewhat humorous
passages in the diaries and correspondence of the two
famous seventeenth-century virtuosi, John Evelyn and Samuel
Pepys, which touch on the subject of engraving, will be
published shortly by Messrs. Ellis. There are chapters
on Evelyn's own etchings on the bookplates and
bookstamps of the two diarists, on their portraits and
the portraits of their wives and on the frontispieces
and illustrations of their works, together with a short
bibliography and an index.
editorial staff of this organ of the small futuristic
group of German internationalists suffered another loss,
as I see by the last issue, which just reached our desk.
August Stramm, the poet whose works created such a
sensation in England just before the outbreak of the
war, upon their appearance in English translation, was
the victim of a hostile bullet, in the Belgian trenches.
The New ReviewThe New Review Publishing Association, which publishes the "New Review," the theoretical magazine of American Socialism, announces its entrance into the book publishing field. Its purpose is to publish books dealing with current events and problems.
In Our Village
conditions prevailing in the American art world of today
are but a true replica of what is going on among the
artists of our village. The times of
There are men and women among us trying to do one thing or the other, who are using their paints and brushes for no other purpose but self-expression. They are the people who will have found themselves in the course of the coming ten or fifteen years and who will really have something to give, to a generation which will have grown with them in the meantime.
Almost as many studios as we have down here, — just as many different ways and means of expression of impressions "to the world" do we have. And these creations drift eventually uptown and are exhibited in "leading" galleries on the Avenue. Shall and can experiments be taken seriously? Shouldn't those in authority, especially the keepers of galleries refrain from using their walls for experimental purposes, especially when the artist today might laugh at his creation of yesterday? Must the public be the goat here, too, as well as in the other branches of the free arts, for mere commercial reasons?
The individualistic expression of a man is of course, the most ideal way to attempt the big. But if he uses, in order to express himself, a language not understood by anybody else, and if he is not able to compile at the present time a dictionary to be used by those interested and eager to understand, because in most of the cases he doesn't know himself what he wants, why not refrain from exhibiting? Why not take the consequences of the prerogative of the self-expressionist: "I don't care what you think about it — if you can understand it or not; it is just exactly as I see it and that is sufficient unto me," and keep his creations unto himself until such a time arrives where either he shall have found a medium which is not strange to our eyes and which we really can see or feel, or our posterity shall have adjusted their focus, in the course of the progress of the world, which will enable them to see and to feel.
The grotesque seems to be favored at present by magazines who are willing to pay large prices for something that outdoes this week the unbelievable of last week.
Money is the great lure in the career of our artists.
Do away with the money which can be gained by the sort of production everybody seems to aim at at present, and most of the members of our hopeful colony of geniuses will return to the diligent study of drawing.
now be honest to yourself — What is the most wonderful
idea worth and the most glorious and impossible color
scheme, if you don't know how to draw and if you think
that composition is something that one can do away with?
exhibition of paintings, marine scenes and forest
scenes, including portraits of Abraham Lincoln and of
group of Russian artists will have a joint exhibition of
their work from February 3rd to February 10th. They
comprise impressions of everyday life, landscapes and
is back home in
7th, is set aside for a poetry reading of H. Thompson
Rich, whose war poems, "The Red Shame" found favor in
the eyes of editors all over the country, evidenced by
their various reprints in newspapers and magazines. The
reading will start at 8 :15. Admission by ticket only.
Sleeper, well-known to the readers of these pages, is
living at present in the seclusion of the
The Candlestick Tearoom,
right around the corner from The Thimble Theatre, has put
new shades on all its candles — some very interesting
silhouettes which look very much like life.
THE Thimble Theatre went
a traveling last week. The entire ensemble of last
Saturday night followed an invitation of chief clerk,
Augustus Sherman, of Ellis Island, and repeated the
performance for the benefit of the immigrants detained
at present on
The Sunday afternoon concerts are held
in a building whose size is similar to that of an
armory. The acoustics are rather bad, but the audience
was very appreciative and the artists did their best to
add a few pleasant hours to the lives of these poor,
involuntary residents of the
The concert on the Diamond Disc, a selection of operatic airs in several languages, old hymns and chorals, concluded the program. It was amusing to watch the little ones seated in the first rows and nearest to the instrument. They didn't know where the voices and the music came from and it is doubtful if their parents, whom they questioned wonderingly, were able to give a proper answer.
Sunday afternoon concert, one of the many humanitarian
innovations Mr. Sherman has put into effect, is looked
forward to eagerly by the detained immigrants; this is
one more proof that music, good music, finds a quick
repsonse in the heart of every human being, even if he
doesn't know the technical meaning of what he hears and
of what appeals to him.
This Week's Performances
A piano recital by Miss Sarah Shapiro,
a young artist from Waterbury, Conn., will be not only
interesting as an interpretation of some of the best
music of Rachmaninoff, of Chopin and of Mendelsohn, but
on account of her playing for the first time before a
public audience compositions of her own. Miss Shapiro is
known as a concert artist in her home town but wishes to
enter upon a
Mrs. Lila Collins will sing
"Aria-Enfant Prodigue" by Debussey, "Dearest" by Homer,
and "Spring Morning" by
D. Stott, a concert singer for some time is preparing
for a career in light musical comedy (operetta), where
he will have a chance to do both singing and dancing.
Among the numbers in his repertoire for this week are,
"O du, Mein Holder Abendstern" by Wagner, "Mother
Machree" by C. Olcott and Ernest R. Ball, and "A Song of
Sleep" by Lord Henry Somerset.
By His Warder
I am indebted for this story to Mr. Patrick F. Madigan, who has the original, in the handwriting of Oscar Wilde's warder, and also the two manuscripts mentioned in this story.
"The only task Wilde was put to was to act as 'schoolmaster's orderly,' which was in the nature of a great privilege, for it meant that he could take charge of the books and go round with them to other prisoners, besides having the pick of the literature for himself. Strange as it may seem considering his literary bent, he failed to accomplish even this task satisfactorily."
remained in his cell occupied with his books, of which
in his cell he had a large supply, consisting of poetic
works and foreign authors. On his table was always a
manuscript book — full of writing in some foreign
language — French or Italian I believe, and Wilde often seemed
satisified writing in this."
think this must have been 'De Proftmdis' — the work of
self-analysis that has just been published."
hair was always kept closely cut until about five months
before his discharge, and I remember when he was told
that it need not be prison-cropped any more owing to his
impending release, how pleased he seemed. And he was a
man who so seldom lifted his bowed head of shame to
was superstitious to a degree, and I recall one striking
incident that proved his superstitious fears to be well
was sweeping the walls of his cell, for he seldom
followed the prison regulations with regard to
scrupulously cleansing his cell daily, and I disturbed a
spider which darted across the door."
it made off I raised my foot and killed it, when I saw
Wilde looking at me with eyes of horror."
brings bad luck to kill a spider,' he said. 'I shall
hear worse news than any I have yet heard.' "
the time I paid little attention to it, but the
following morning he received the news that his mother,
whom he had deeply loved and honored, had died, and that
his shame had hastened her end."
saddest story I know of Wilde was one day when his
solicitor called to see him to get his signature, I
think, to some papers in the divorce proceedings then
being instituted by his wife — a suit which, of course,
Wilder did not defend.
(To be Continued)