Cathleen McGuigan

Stories by Cathleen McGuigan

  • Newsmakers: Kirsten Dunst, Madonna

    Forget about Norma Shearer. Kirsten Dunst is Marie Antoinette. She spoke with Nicki Gostin.I had to believe that because I was playing her. I couldn't judge her; I had to understand her.At first it's completely daunting and intimidating, and then it becomes part of your universe. Of course when you get to shoot in a special area like her little opera house, you can't believe it.It's my bottom. I thought it was appropriate and showed vulnerability. She's out in the cold and she's not really being treated like a human being. Of course I was nervous. I did ask a friend, "Is my butt OK?"Not at all. I'm young, and I don't think Marie was exercising. She was a soft girl.Me? I wouldn't call it a posse, just the people I work with. I mean, I'm staying by myself here in New York.I'm capable of that.Or making it.I would never fix my teeth--if someone asked me to, I wouldn't want to work with them. It's a part of me. Messed-up teeth is character.There are different ones, but I think the Barbie...
  • A Controversial Death Provokes a Controversial Play

    Do you remember the name Rachel Corrie? Maybe not. She was a 23-year-old American peace activist killed by an Israeli Army bulldozer as she tried to block the destruction of a Palestinian’s house in Gaza in March 2003. She became more than a footnote in the Middle East conflict when her own words—from her journals and e-mails—were shaped into an award-winning one-actor play in London called “My Name is Rachel Corrie.” But when the show’s U.S. opening last spring was cancelled at the New York Theater Workshop (best known for spawning the musical “Rent”), a controversy erupted. The theater’s artistic director had made his decision after talking to leaders in the Jewish community; he later told The New York Times, “It seemed as though if we proceeded, we would be taking a stand we didn’t want to take.” The London producers called the cancellation “censorship.”With that advance drum roll, “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” finally opened last weekend at the intimate Minetta Lane Theater in...
  • Case Study: Design for a Healing Space

    With sunlight pouring in through the huge lobby windows and New Age music wafting in the background, you might think you have walked into a high-end resort hotel in the desert. Lounge areas are decorated with cushy sofas in earth tones, along with Southwestern-themed rugs and artwork, and all the wood accents are mesquite--a material that Native Americans believe holds special healing properties. And in fact, you're in a healing place: the new Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix. If your timing is right, you may even notice that the elegantly austere light fixtures hanging from the high ceiling shift color, to pale blue--when a baby boy is born--or pink--for a newborn girl.The quiet colors, the soft music, the view of water flowing in a rock garden just beyond the glass--all contribute to an air of calm and serenity. Not a bad thing if you're walking through the door to face the ordeal of surgery, or even just to visit a new mom. Yet the luxurious amenities of Banner Estrella,...
  • What Little Town Blues?

    The fabled architectural sketch on a cocktail napkin has made a comeback. But in the case of the new Denver Art Museum, it was a boarding pass--Daniel Libeskind says he grabbed it as he flew over the city: "I copied the shapes I saw out of my airplane window--the craggy cliffs of the Rockies." Libeskind is the Great Communicator when it comes to explaining his edgy abstract designs to the public--a talent that got a workout when he won his highest-profile commission, to plan the World Trade Center site. But while that scheme was being pummeled by the forces of big-city real estate and politics, his glimmering museum was quietly rising in Denver. Set to open Oct. 7, it's the Polish-born, American-bred architect's first building in the United States.Whether the building's sharp peaks mimic the distant Rockies is almost beside the point; Libeskind's designs tend to be angular anyway. What matters: the building is smashing. Its jagged forms soar out of the ground, an eruption of shapes...
  • Unfinished Symphony

    Stories about World War II seem to occur in black and white, all grainy and bleak. That makes the stunning novel "Suite Française," about the German occupation of France, all the more remarkable. As the book opens and the Nazis approach the outskirts of Paris, the June skies are gorgeously bright; later, the narrative is rich with evocations of blossoms and trees heavy with fruit, of fragrant air and the sounds of birds--as well as a scene where a cat claws a bird to death and stabs its tiny heart. Lush beauty is the backdrop to dark events, and so is natural cruelty. The characters who populate this sweeping saga of violence and survival--and who exhibit far more self-interest than virtue--are described with the same gleaming precision.The author of "Suite Française" is one of the most fascinating literary figures you've never heard of--and her own tragic story only deepens the impact of her book. Born to a wealthy Russian Jewish family who fled the Bolshevik Revolution, Irène...
  • A Death in the Family

    The memoir genre has taken a beating lately, which is just one reason to celebrate Donald Antrim's stunning new book, "The Afterlife." Antrim, the author of three praised novels, writes principally about his mother here, a terrifying alcoholic who, even when she finally got sober, was hostile, unhinged and convinced she was an artistic visionary. Antrim starts at what would ordinarily be the ending: her death in a dismal little house in North Carolina. Afterward, he returns to his New York writer's life and decides to buy a new bed for his apartment--a fresh start. Tossing and turning one night on a plush new mattress, he imagines his dead mother reaching up from inside it to pull him down, like a skeleton in a horror movie.Antrim's an elegantly spare writer, who paints harrowing scenes of his broken family (his parents split, remarried each other, divorced again) during his Southern childhood in the '60s and '70s. He doesn't create a conventional narrative but rather conveys the...
  • It's an Irish Spring on Broadway

    Stooped and shabby, he slips quietly onto the stage, but when the title character in Brian Friel's "Faith Healer" starts to speak, he becomes a magnetic force field. Brilliantly played by Ralph Fiennes, with burning eyes and long fingers tracing lines in the air, he has you hooked. Or is it hoodwinked? Even Fantastic Francis Hardy, as the healer is billed, isn't sure whether he has an "awesome gift" or is simply a "con man." Or a con artist. Whatever else he is or isn't, Frank's a genius of a storyteller. This mesmerizing play, about an Irishman who performs in dreary hamlets in postwar Scotland and Wales, is structured as separate monologues by three characters: Frank never interacts onstage with Grace (Cherry Jones), the woman who adores him despite his drinking and cruelty, or with his manager Teddy (a heartbreaking Ian McDiarmid). Instead, each brings to life a version of the haunting events that lead to doom when Frank finally returns to Ireland.Last week, "Faith Healer," to no...
  • Art: Designed For Living

    You expect Eames chairs and the Cartier tank watch to turn up in the three-volume Phaidon Design Classics, but some of the other inclusions may surprise you. Those toy wooden monkeys that can hang from a ledge? The Elmer's Glue bottle? This encyclopedia of 999 cool things--from 17th-century Chinese scissors to the iMac G5--makes a big deal of both humble objects and the work of fabled designers. Whether it's the paper clip (1899, by Johan Vaaler) or the Dyson DC01 vacuum cleaner (1993, by James Dyson), the criteria were essentially the same, says Emilia Terragni, editorial director of Phaidon. Each piece had to be innovative, simple and beautiful, and still up to date.Terragni spent three years putting the book together, canvassing everyone she knew in the design world. Some of the choices were easy: "Time has already decided they are classic." Terragni's own favorites are the earlier classics: the Thonet No. 14 chair (1859), the Fiat 500 (1957) and the Fixpencil 2 (1950)--still in...
  • Building Recognition

    When the Museum of Modern Art in New York opened "On-Site: New Architecture in Spain" earlier this year, it showcased Spain as the hotbed of cool design. But besides the cutting-edge projects on display by the usual suspects--Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel--the exhibition carried a subtle subtext. Bang up against the schemes of the avant-garde old guard were dozens of provocative designs by up-and-coming Spaniards you've barely heard of.Take the Woermann complex by Abalos & Herreros (with Casariego/Guerra) in the Canary Islands--an amazing tower with a cantilever at the bottom and a tilt at the top. Or Sancho-Madridejos's starkly beautiful Valleacerón Chapel, a 21st-century take on Le Corbusier's Ronchamp. Upstarts from elsewhere in Europe were on view as well--architects like the arty Berliner Jürgen Mayer H., whose plan to cover an ancient Roman site in Seville with a canopy of gigantic mushroom shapes looks like something Lewis Carroll dreamed up...
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    OLEG CASSINI, 92 Son of a Russian aristocrat, he found fame in dressing royalty--American royalty, that is. For the 1,000 days of Camelot, he was Jackie Kennedy's primary designer, creating the elegant dresses, coats and gowns that made the First Lady an icon of chic. Politics dictated that Jackie suppress her taste for French couture and buy American; her father-in-law Joe Kennedy introduced her to Cassini (by then a U.S. citizen), a former Hollywood costume designer who'd wooed Grace Kelly. The debonair Cassini worked closely with Jackie to create the look she loved: simple lines in sumptuous fabrics, starting with the sable-collared pale wool coat for the Inauguration. "I was successful because I listened," said Cassini, whose clothes for Jackie sometimes closely reflected--some say, occasionally copied--those of such French designers as Givenchy. Cassini also found success in licensing his name for fashion and fragrance lines.
  • All Dressed Up for The Youthquake

    The snow's melting, the first bulbs are popping, and it's time to see what's in the closet for spring. OK, miniskirt--check. Baby-doll dress--check. Bubble skirt--check. Platform shoes--check. A Pucci print for fun. A Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress to go out in. But wait a sec--if design is a reflection of its time, what the heck year is this, anyway? It's hard to believe we're in the 21st century when the fashion runways are jammed with ideas from the 1960s and '70s, from Calvin Klein's little white baby dresses to Balenciaga's latest take on the pantsuit. Yes, trends cycle in and out, but the decades when baby boomers came of age still cast a gigan-tic shadow on fashion. This year especially, it's deja vu all over again.In fact, women's fashions changed more radically in the years from World War I to the end of World War II than they have since the end of the pivotal baby-boom decades, from the Vietnam War to the 1980s. The boomer era started with a bang, when the counterculture...
  • Unfortunately, It's All in Her Hedda

    It was actually Henrik Ibsen, not ABC, who brought us the first desperate housewives. And more than a century after "Hedda Gabler" was written, its heroine (along with Nora in "A Doll's House") remains one of the most fascinating characters in modern theater. As embodied by Cate Blanchett in a monthlong run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, the moody, destructive Hedda is mesmerizing. Movie-star quality often doesn't transfer to the stage--a warning to Julia Roberts, who opens on Broadway next month--but Blanchett commands our attention from the moment we first glimpse her on the darkened set in this production by the Sydney Theater Company, adapted by her husband, the writer Andrew Upton. Blanchett's Hedda sweeps in with swanlike grace, but the restless energy and sharp mood swings that flash across her lovely face give her away. She's a creature of contradictions, caught in a trap she helped create: a loveless marriage to an ambitious but dull academic. "Nothing is so...
  • Heck of a Prob, Brownie

    If you've read "The Da Vinci Code," you know author Dan Brown loved planting anagrams as clues in his best-selling thriller. But when he named a scholarly British character Sir Leigh Teabing, little did he know an anagram could bite back. "Leigh Teabing" is a play on the names of Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent, the two authors now suing Brown's British publisher, Random House U.K., for copyright infringement. Leigh and Baigent, along with Henry Lincoln (who did not join the lawsuit), are the authors of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," a book of historical nonfiction first published in Britain in 1982. They claim Brown stole not only 15 core ideas from their book but took its "architecture"--how they connected the dots in their windy, speculative history of the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail and the Priory of Sion, a secret society that clung to the heretical idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and began a bloodline of European royalty.The trial started last week in a London...
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    She was a housewife and freelance writer in 1963 when she published "The Feminine Mystique," the manifesto of modern feminism. What sounds obvious today was revolutionary when she articulated it then: "A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, 'Who am I, and what do I want out of life?' She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children." A founder of the National Organization for Women, she was often at odds with her fellow feminists--an unpredictability captured by the words she suggested for her tombstone: "She helped make women feel better about being women and therefore better able to freely and fully love men." ...
  • A Fine Mess in Malibu

    The old Getty villa in Malibu always had a wacky Hollywood vibe. A replica of a grand Roman house that was buried when Mount Vesuvius blew in A.D. 79, it looked so fabulously fake in the southern California sunshine that you half-expected some B-movie actor to stroll out in a toga and start orating. And it was a kind of stage set, a backdrop built by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty in 1974 to house his eclectic collection of old-master paintings, French furniture and classical antiquities. The old man died two years later, and when the superrich Getty Museum moved to the modern Richard Meier-designed complex in Brentwood in 1997, the Malibu villa was closed for a massive makeover. Eight years and $275 million later, it's finally reopening this week as a splendid new home--and free public museum--for the Getty's great collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan art. A perfect ending--just roll the credits.Except that this story turns out to have a dark side: charges of smuggling and tomb...
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

    There's plenty of fog and gloom and ominous music in "The Woman in White," based on the classic Victorian thriller, but the fear factor, I'm afraid, is zilch. The first full-blown Andrew Lloyd Webber musical to open on Broadway in more than a decade, it strips Wilkie Collins's elaborate 19th-century page turner down to a skeleton. Two orphaned half sisters--one a beautiful heiress, the other a poor but clever spinster--become victims of the evil Sir Percival Glyde and his Continental co-conspirator Count Fosco. And of course, there's that ghostlike woman in white, who emerges from the shadows to remind everyone that she's got a seeeee-cret, weirdly singing in a grating shriek. As directed by Trevor Nunn, the valiant performers are at times upstaged by the scenery--video projections of Victorian Gothic manors, overstuffed drawing rooms and wild countryside. Some of the images are beautiful, others look faded and out of focus. They move, too--at moments, dizzyingly so--and provide,...
  • A Light in the Piazza

    It's easy to forget that the elegant Italian architect Renzo Piano's first big commission was totally outrageous. Thirty-five years ago, he and British colleague Richard Rogers teamed up to build the Pompidou Center--both unknown, they beat out 681 architects for the job--and their brash factory for culture, with its pop-colored industrial tubes, ducts and pipes, landed in a sedate Paris neighborhood like an alien spaceship. "We were young, quite impolite bad boys," Piano recalled with a smile not long ago. Now the Pompidou is a landmark, of course, and Piano's architectural manners are polished to a high gloss. With two exquisite small American museums to his credit--the Menil Collection in Houston (1986) and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (2003)--this Pritzker Prize-winning designer is on a museum-building binge that will leave his mark on half a dozen U.S. cities.Designing museums is only a fraction of Piano's practice. Directing a staff of 100 or so from offices in Genoa...
  • The de Young Is... DeLovely

    If you go to the top of the tower that rises out of San Francisco's stunning new de Young Museum, you can see for miles. You can see the Marin headlands and the downtown high-rises; on a clear day you can see the Pacific. You can look down, too, onto the main part of the museum itself and see the ingenious design of the long, low-slung structure--with wedges sliced deep into its oblong shape to let daylight penetrate--and notice how the shimmery copper that wraps the exterior even covers the roof. If museums are today's cathedrals, this tower is the de Young's campanile--though in the hands of the edgy Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, it comes with a twist. And the tower's been a lightning rod: some local critics complain that, among other things, it looms too high over the trees surrounding the museum in Golden Gate Park.San Francisco has such a liberal vibe it's easy to forget how reluctant the city has been to embrace new architecture. There aren't many good...
  • ALONE WITH HER WORDS

    These are the first words Joan Didion wrote after the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in December 2003: "Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." They became the first words of her slender, stunning memoir "The Year of Magical Thinking." Not many writers use words with Didion's beautiful exactitude, and months after Dunne was gone, she turned to words to try to grip the hugeness of his death and her grief. As a legendary literary couple--both authors of nonfiction books and novels, and who had occasionally collaborated on screenplays--they'd spent most of their 40-year marriage working under one roof, in California or New York, their writing lives so intertwined with everything else ("There was nothing I did not discuss with John") that notepads in their house were imprinted simply "Didion/Dunne."When Dunne slumped over from a massive coronary at the table in their Manhattan apartment, they had just come home...
  • A 'Diplomat Of Grief'

    Marian Fontana had just dropped her little boy at kindergarten and was waiting in a Brooklyn coffee shop to meet her firefighter husband; it was their eighth wedding anniversary, and they were going to spend the day in Manhattan. But Dave Fontana never showed up. It was the morning of September 11, 2001, and he was just coming off his shift when the call came that the World Trade Center had been struck. He died, along with 11 other men from his firehouse, in the collapse of the South Tower. It took three months to find what was left of his body.Each anniversary of 9/11 has brought a spate of books about the terrorist attacks and their tragic aftermath. Marian Fontana would be the first to say that her claim to grief is no greater than that of the hundreds of other widows from that horrific day. But her claim to our attention is that she's a natural writer, and her memoir, "A Widow's Walk," manages to make an exhaustively covered public event into a riveting private narrative....
  • DESIGNER DIGS

    As you sit in the crisp white living room of the model apartment at 50 Gramercy Park North in New York City, check out the subtle details of the exorbitant minimalist decor: the sleek fireplace of buttery travertine, the Italian cherry kitchen cabinets, the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the leafy private park to which each owner will be given a key. This sumptuous space--one of 23 high-end luxury units that will be completed by the end of this year--is being marketed as a residence that comes with an "unprecedented level of luxury service," according to developer Ian Schrager, provided by a hotel-style concierge staff. Naturally, if you want to live here, you'll pay: the apartments, each one unique, range from $5.35 million to $16 million. At those prices, there's one additional element that's become almost essential to contemporary urban spec dwellings: they were designed by a famous architect, in this case John Pawson of London, known for a look of stripped-down elegance...
  • SNAP JUDGMENT: DVDS

    The Bette Davis CollectionIn this five-film set, you can see Davis go from mesmerizing to monstrous--often in the same scene. The 10-time Oscar nominee (and two-time winner) is luminous when she's good ("Now, Voyager," the end of the weeper "Dark Victory"), but nothing beats Bette when she's bad (the lying wife in "The Letter"). During her long career, she made a ton of stinkers (such as 1952's "The Star," included in this set) as well as classics, but she's always a blast: watch her drink, watch her smoke, watch her burn through asbestos with those famous saucer eyes.Very Crudely Yours, John WatersIf your kids think the word "gross" was invented just for "Fear Factor," then it's high time you bought "Very Crudely Yours, John Waters," a deliciously tacky DVD collection from the original raconteur of repugnance, and show them the real meaning of "yuck." It's all there: "Pink Flamingos," about "the filthiest people alive"--yes, that's the one with Divine eating some dog do; "Polyester...
  • SNAP JUDGMENT: BOOKS

    Acts of Faith By Philip CaputoIn this modern-day morality tale set in Sudan, a band of Western aid workers pay the price for their altruism when they forgo airlifts of food and medical supplies to run guns to the Sudanese People's Liberation Army. Caputo's sharply detailed prose exposes the baser impulses that inspire the "aid entrepreneurs," and we are constantly reminded that they are blind to their own shortcomings. As a result, the book at times reads like a sermon on the dangers of failing to first plumb one's own depths before undertaking the salvation of others. Perhaps it's a message the West needs right now, if only delivered in a softer voice.The Friend Who Got Away Edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa SchappellThis collection of essays is gentler and harder to love than "The Bitch in the House." The theme is passionate friendship and its dissolution; the main emotional ingredient is longing, not fury. The best entries show mature friendships unraveling inexplicably, as when...
  • HOUSES OF THE FUTURE--NOW

    If you're cruising through the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York this week, stroking the buttery leather Italian chairs, coveting the coolest couches--and wrinkling your nose at the design world's inevitable excesses--you'll come upon a one-room "house," all glass and wood, filled with nifty, well-priced furniture from Blu Dot (page 64). But don't just check out the urbane modernist chairs and chests: pay attention to the sleek little structure itself. Designed by architect Charlie Lazor, one of Blu Dot's trio of founders, it's a sample of Flatpak, an ingenious system of 2-D panels that, like their furniture, can be shipped and assembled on-site into a well-crafted prefab house in far less time--and for less money-- than it would take to build from scratch. It may look handsomely unassuming sitting in a cavernous trade show, but trust us: it represents the first revolution in American housing in decades.You can't measure this mini-phenomenon in numbers. Of the...
  • A PROBLEM WITH AUTHORITY

    Thom Mayne hasn't been sleeping well. The radical L.A. architect, whose edgy designs seem to mirror his notoriously intense personality, keeps waking up from anxiety dreams. "They're all connected to figures of authority," he says. We don't need Freud to figure this one out. Mayne, 61, a true child of the '60s, has spent most of his career as a rebel outside the architectural mainstream--teaching, entering design competitions, creating dense, hyperkinetic small projects and basically staying faithful to his own gestalt. (At one point, his funky Santa Monica office was down to half a dozen employees, and Mayne was broke.) But he's no longer operating on the fringe: this month he'll be awarded the Pritzker Prize at a ceremony in Chicago--the first American to win architecture's highest honor in 14 years. Who knew Thom Mayne was ready for prime time?But these days, he's frequently zipping between Shanghai and Madrid, and he's exceptionally busy on his home turf, where his big client is...
  • Walker On The Wild Side

    As everyone knows, winter is still blasting the American Midwest. Besides the blustery snow, a giant ice cube has landed in Minneapolis--and it's not going to melt by spring. "A big ice cube for Ice City," jokes the avant-garde European architect Jacques Herzog, one half of the Basel-based team of Herzog & de Meuron, who've designed the expansion of the city's Walker Art Center, opening next month. The tour de force of their building is the silvery five-story cube, with its daredevil cantilevered corner hovering over the entrance--anchored by hidden tons of steel and concrete--and the whole shebang wrapped in shimmering aluminum-mesh panels that look as light and luscious as crumpled silk.What makes this a big deal is not just that the building is so cool but that we've been waiting so long for these Swiss masters to build something major in the United States. When they went to America in 2001 to collect architecture's biggest honor, the Pritzker Prize, they were barely known...
  • Curiously Strong

    So you want to see a show in New York City? Maybe score tickets to "Spamalot"? Fuggedaboutit--they're harder to find than the Holy Grail. Broadway is having an amazing late-blooming season, with certifiable megahits like the just-opened Monty Python musical ($20 million in advance ticket sales), word-of-mouth wonders like "All Shook Up" and plays with heavy doses of star power: Denzel Washington as "Julius Caesar," Kathleen Turner as the monster Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and Jessica Lange in "The Glass Menagerie." But much less hyped are the gems you'll find off Broadway, especially this season, with an impressive number of original shows performed by top talents (some of whom you've never heard of). The reward for the best of these shows is, of course, a transfer to Broadway. Here are five of our critics' off-Broadway picks:THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING). Could a rave review almost kill a show? Expectations soared for this smidgeon of existential drama when a New...
  • DONNY GEORGE

    It's been two years since the start of the Iraq war, and with increasing news coverage of insurgents, torture scandals and successful elections, one issue has taken a back seat: the looting of the Iraq museum in Baghdad. Not so for Donny George, the museum's director, whose responsibility it is to try to locate and retrieve the priceless antiquities stolen in the mayhem that followed the liberation of Baghdad, as well as protect those items that were left behind. Currently also working with the World Monuments Fund, UNESCO and the Getty Center to train Iraqi employees in conservation and restoration, George took time out to speak with NEWSWEEK's Cathleen McGuigan about his efforts. Excerpts:MCGUIGAN: Even when the looting began in 2003, there was great disagreement over the number of objects taken from the Iraqi National Museum.GEORGE: The number given at that time was 170,000 objects. That was a mistake by journalists. We have lost 15,000 objects, but I believe the number will go...
  • WALKER ON THE WILD SIDE

    As everyone knows, winter is still blasting the Midwest, and besides the blustery snow, a giant ice cube has landed in Minneapolis--and it's not going to melt by spring. "A big ice cube for Ice City," jokes the avant-garde European architect Jacques Herzog, one half of the Basel-based team of Herzog & de Meuron, who've designed the expansion of the city's Walker Art Center, opening next month. The tour de force of their building is the silvery five-story cube, with its daredevil cantilevered corner hovering over the entrance--anchored by hidden tons of steel and concrete--and the whole shebang wrapped in shimmering aluminum-mesh panels that look as light and luscious as crumpled silk.What makes this a very big deal is not just that the building is so cool but that we've been waiting so long for these Swiss masters to build something major in the United States. When they came to America in 2001 to collect architecture's biggest honor, the Pritzker Prize, they were barely known...
  • A STAR: NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTZ

    In old Hollywood, a press agent would've changed Norbert Leo Butz's name to something like Chad. But since audiences are going nuts over his hilarious turn in the Broadway previews of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," his name is now unforgettable just as it is. In the new musical--based on the 1988 movie starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin as a pair of con artists on the French Riviera--Butz plays the clueless slob Freddy (the Steve Martin role) to John Lithgow's suave swindler Lawrence, and they are perfect foils. With his manic vulgarity, Freddy is all id: his over-the-top number about everything his little grifter's heart desires ("I want GREAT BIG STUFF!") is the evening's showstopper. So how is it to step into Martin's big shoes? "I'm a huge fan and I loved the movie," he says. "But we're looking at the character through a completely different lens." It's definitely the silly season on Broadway, as "Scoundrels" goes head to head with the mega-musical farce "Spamalot," now just...