Boozy: Jacobs, Corbu, & Moses

Finished reading the script for Boozy: The Life, Death, and Subsequent Vilification of Le Corbusier and, More Importantly, Robert Moses [ archive of reviews] last night — it’s reprinted in the latest issue of Duke UP’s Theater” along with a preface by Alex Timbers. The play takes an ironic, contrarian angle to Moses’ life, casting Moses as a crowd-pleasing “Get Things Done” hero. Jane Jacobs is cloaked as an archnemesis, her “bunch of mothers” in Community Board Three a cackle of scheming lovers betrayed by famed Modernist beaus. Some choice bits, excerpted to show how complex ideas of planning can be reworked as pithy stage one-liners:

* Jane Jacobs on Le Corbusier: “The city should be an organ of love, not one of order and height; my womb of Lilith shall bear profligate, winding, unnumbered streets, impossible to navigate. Oh yes, I shall attain revenge on my ex-boyfriend.”
* Jacobs again, complying with FDR, Nelson Rockefeller, and Joseph Goebbels (!): “I will curb the death of great American cities. Long live the sidewalk!”
* Moses: “I have a grander vision, for a new city. A co-operative society where man can live one atop the other in high density, residentially zoned neighborhoods. With parks all around them. People will be happy.”
* Minor character in a rare moment of un-ironic candor: “The more highways that are constructed to alleviate congestion, the more automobiles pour onto them and congest them more. That forces the building of more highways — which generates more traffic and more congestion, creating an inexorably widening spiral[!]… If [Mr Moses] continues building so prolifically and the city is increasingly getting stopped up with cars, it sounds like Manhattan will at some point become one giant parking lot.”
* Stage directions: Crossfade back to Moses at the pulpit, on the entrance to the Triborough Bridge. He is flanked by two female models, with halter tops that say Urban and Planning, respectively. Reminiscent of a photograph from Norquist’s presentation, which I’ll post shortly.

(The article is available online for a fee; otherwise, the Arts reference desk at Harold Washington library has the journal, which has a few photos and lovely typesetting.)


2 thoughts on “Boozy: Jacobs, Corbu, & Moses

  1. Saw it last May at the 45 Bleeker Theater. Entertaining, but not terribly insightful. Nice staging touches included tape of a simcity 1 game playing on several TVs. And the rabbits. FDR, Goebbels, and N. Rockefeller didn’t add much.

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