Archive for Monday, July 7, 2008

A New York artist, outstanding in all the wrong ways

July 7, 2008


At the risk of presumption, I would change the title of the documentary "The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not for Sale" (8 p.m., HBO) to "Portrait of an Artist as His Own Worst Enemy."

According to this intimate, exasperating and fascinating profile, Connelly has gone from being the darling of Manhattan's art world to a virtual pariah in the space of two decades. And it's not that people don't like and admire his talent. He's just alienated dealers, friends and patrons. His own mother, while dying of cancer, stopped taking his calls. Director Martin Scorsese championed his work and featured it in "New York Stories" only to be abused and insulted.

At one point, a desperate Connelly hires an actor to play his alter ego and sell his work. This is shown in stark contrast to successful artists who hire other artists to "create" the work that bears their name.

For all of his faults and obnoxious poses, the film makes a great case for the quality of Connelly's work and for his sheer drive to create in the face of self-created adversity.

¢ Sydney Pollack appears in one of his final interviews on "Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence" (7 p.m., TCM), a new series featuring conversations with actors, directors and filmmakers. Over the next few weeks, Mitchell, a film critic, will speak with Bill Murray (July 14), Laurence Fishburne (July 21) and Quentin Tarantino (July 28).

Mitchell does a good job of allowing his guests to reveal themselves at length. While limited to 30 minutes, the conversations take unexpected turns, as Murray, who explains the difference between "corny" and sentimental, admires the comedic chops of Bea Arthur and recalls being transported by a 1919 D.W. Griffith melodrama called "A Romance of Happy Valley."

¢ An old favorite finds a new home as "Emeril Live" (6 p.m.) moves to the Fine Living Network seven nights a week. Meanwhile, on Emeril's old network, Sunny Anderson hosts "How'd That Get on My Plate?" (8:30 p.m., Food). Each show follows a single ingredient (eggs, garlic, honey or apples) as it is transformed from raw to cooked or processed in familiar or innovative ways.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ An intern is found in the incinerator on "Bones" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ The sham romance concludes on "The Bachelorette" (7 p.m., ABC). Or has it only begun? A retrospective for the dim and memory-challenged called "The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose" (9 p.m.) follows.

¢ Billy Ray Cyrus appears on "Nashville Star" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ Items attached to lore are evaluated on "History Detectives" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

¢ "Top Gear" (8 p.m., BBC America) looks at biofuel and joins a race in Hungary.

¢ Scheduled on "Dateline" (9 p.m., NBC): a couple's scuba nightmare.

¢ "The War of the World" (9 p.m., PBS) host Niall Ferguson calls World War II a "tainted victory" due to a devil's pact with Stalin and the Allies use of air power to deliberately incinerate hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians.

Cult choice

Colin Farrell stars in Oliver Stone's 2004 epic "Alexander" (7 p.m., AMC).


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