Remembering Altman with a slew of tributes
NEW YORK -- It has been almost a year since Robert Altman stood on the stage of the Kodak Theatre on March 5 to receive his long-overdue honorary Academy Award. (How time does fly!) It was preceded, if you remember, by a hilarious introduction done with perfectly polished mock tribute by two of Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion" stars, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin. Another highlight of that Altman award was the great film montage by the indispensable Chuck Workman, all of it adding up to one of the Academy's finest moments. The great Robert A. has been gone three months now (he died Nov. 20), and memorials on both coasts are appropriately at hand. Today, which would have been Altman's 82nd birthday, there will be a memorial celebration at noon in Manhattan's Majestic Theatre, where a large number of his cohorts, pals, admirers and fans will gather to honor Bob. (It's open to the public.) The Los Angeles memorial will be held March 4 at the DGA Theater -- this one by invitation only because of the venue's limited capacity -- where numerous Bobfinados are expected to be front and center . ... Meanwhile, other tributes to Altman are deservedly popping up. Already under way near Seattle in Port Townsend, home of the Port Townsend Film Festival held each September, is an Altman mini-festival. It began Thursday with a screening of an Altman TV movie with a Port Townsend connection, "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" (1988), which was filmed in P.T. and features a cast headed by Jeff Daniels, Eric Bogosian, Peter Gallagher, Michael Murphy and Brad Davis (as Captain Queeg, the Humphrey Bogart role in the 1954 film about the Caine). The R.A. fest there continues March 8, when "The Player" will be screened, along with a 60-minute documentary titled "Luck, Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country," which Mike Kaplan made about Altman during the making of "Short Cuts." Kaplan will be on hand to introduce both films. On April 19, Altman's "A Wedding" is the main attraction; it has a story by Port Townsend resident John Considine, who will intro that screening. ... Speaking of Kaplan, he recently completed a docu on Malcolm McDowell's one-man show about another superb director, the late Lindsay Anderson, the legit version successfully staged at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and at the National Theatre in London. (Anderson, for the record, directed McDowell in two highly regarded films, 1968's "If ..." and 1973's "O Lucky Man!"). The docu is titled "Never Apologize" and will receive a New York screening Thursday at the Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center. Kaplan -- who produced "The Whales of August" (1987), which Anderson directed with Bette Davis, Lillian Gish and Ann Sothern, and which turned out to be the last film made by each of those once-indestructible ladies -- says a high point of "Apologize" is McDowell doing a dead-on impersonation of Bette encountering ex-husband Gary Merrill on her flight to Maine to start working with Anderson on "Whales." ... This week's Broadway opening: the anti-war play "Journey's End" at the Belasco, first done on Broadway in 1928 and a recent smash hit in a West End revival. The anticipated U.S. revival toplines Boyd Gaines, Jefferson Mays and Hugh Dancy.