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Jeff Simon

Editor

Jeff Simon is the News' Arts and Books Editor. He has been writing for the paper since Spiro Agnew was the vice president.

Phil Woods, Warm Woods (Columbia Portrait RJ-44408) and Richie Cole, Signature (Milestone M-9162). The Raw and the Cooked. First came Bird, of course. Then came all the little Birds including Phil Woods who first made this gorgeous record in 1957. And then came Richie Cole, a kind of antic Junior Woods-man who can play fluently but all too often seems to be hacking ar…

IVAN REITMAN'S "Twins" started out with the same comic problem as "Scrooged." The biggest laugh in the whole movie begins long before you even sit down in the theater. The major delight is the idea itself, the "high concept" in Hollywood terms -- Bill Murray as Ebenezer Scrooge, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as twin brothers.Building enough variations on The …

SUDDENLY IT ALL became clear.Dustin Hoffman was talking to five members of the press in a small Manhattan hotel suite. Almost instantly, it became obvious why he is extravagantly revered by fellow actors -- and almost equally exasperating to insensitive producers and directors who consider him the embodiment of actorly neurosis and difficulty.Such communal interviews …

DOCUMENTARY photographer Paul Strand wrote to Ansel Adams and objected when Adams sold a magnificent portfolio of his own prints for what Strand calculated to be $8 apiece. Adams, he argued, was undermining photography as a fine art by denying the painterly singularity of his images.Adams, who would become the most popular of American photographers, wrote back: "To me…

POETS HAVE been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese," said G. K. Chesterton. Maybe so. But the human tendency to mate (or at least to consider it seriously) seems to be inherently funny or at least provocative to just about everyone. Money is always good and the meaning of life is nice. But very few subjects lend themselves to outrageous quotability the way l…

Bobby Previte, Claude's Late Morning (Grammavision 18-8811-1). Bobby Previte is easily Western New York's greatest gift to jazz in the '80s -- a hugely talented drummer and composer who happens to be an integral member of the most interesting thought collective on the scene at the moment (Wayne Horvitz, John Zorn, et. al.). This seems to be a quantum leap in Previte's…

BONNY BON MOTSTAKE A LOOK at the cover of the new issue of Life magazine -- the one with the sultry magnolia stares of Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley covering four fifths of it, the one announcing "ELVIS'S DAUGHTER TALKS" in hot pink lettering.Over at the side, announcing the story of lesser importance, you see "Holiday Bonus -- Why Are We Here?: The Meaning of Life…

GORDON HESSLER'S "The Girl in a Swing" is not to be confused with "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing," a 1955 film about the Stanford White -- Harry K. Thaw murder case which starred Ray Milland, Joan Collins and Farley Granger.The new "Swing" is a fantasy thriller exploring the extreme but hitherto unsuspected amount of eroticism in the international antique business.…

They're calling it "Cocoon: the Return." Make up your own wisecrack: it doesn't fly; it's just barely worth the trip; wish they weren't here -- whatever feels comfortable growled out of the side of your mouth.In an age where more energy goes into marketing movies than making them, you expect movie sequels to be significantly flabbier and coarser than the originals. Ev…

Hot on the heels of the State University of Buffalo's International convocation of Women's Playwrights comes a UB film festival called "Screenplay: A Feminist Celebration of Women in Film." It's organized by the Graduate Group for Feminist Studies, the same organization which sponsored the highly successful "Hi, this is Judy" series in 1987. The work of filmmakers from Per…

It was James Agee who said that John Huston was well into his '30s before anyone knew he was more than an awfully nice guy to get drunk with. Because of his much-revered father -- actor Walter Huston -- Huston had floated around show business for years. He'd even written some movie scripts -- including the script for "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" (a somewhat recondite …

Thanksgiving weekend invariably marks the official beginning of what you might call the Sugarplum Theater season -- that time of year when local theatrical companies make a special point of doing theater pieces suitable for children.The Buffalo Ensemble Theater has selected a beauty -- "Toad of Toad Hall" written by A. A. Milne of "Winnie the Pooh" fame and based on K…

Gene Ammons, Paul Bley, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Dexter Gordon, Don Patterson, Bill Smith and Bobby Timmons, The Christmas Collection (Prestige OJC-6011). A potentially kitschy (even deadly) seasonal compilation that turns out to be a delight. Kirk Roberts raided the Prestige storerooms and found a program of soul-drenched but top level performances of Christmas favorit…

THE GENIUSES of the IBC network are all gathered around a conference table checking out the promos for their upcoming Christmas specials.The first is for "The Night the Reindeer Died." We see uzis and grenades strafing Santa's Workshop. The second is for "Bob Goulet's Old Fashioned Cajun Christmas." The third is for "Father Loves Beaver." Finally, we get that old stap…