Happy 50th column, Sasha Frere-Jones.By the way, there have been a lot of primates in the magazine lately. Here’s SFJ:
The opera, perhaps to the relief of those encountering sung exposition for the first time, begins with images. On a thin scrim in front of the stage, the Chinese ideogram for “monkey” appears, followed by a series of crisp animations by Hewlett that echo the opening sequence of the Japanese television series: a stone egg perched on top of a mountain lights up, wobbles with pending life, and rolls down a hill, where it breaks open, revealing the monkey king, who emerges with a loud “Eeeeeeeeeee!” Then the scrim lifts to show Monkey, played by the Chinese singer and acrobat Fei Yang, surrounded by his subjects, also monkeys (and acrobats), who scamper up green bamboo poles.What with the bonobos in the same number and at least two other bits of monkey business in recent issues—this BEK cartoon and Jack Handey’s hilariously cruel nature documentary—it’s a veritable barrel full of ‘em, and hey, I approve. Martin, how about a brief departure from The Pigeon Files to do a quick monkey memo from the archives?
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