Saturday, February 18, 2012

Artistic Inspiration or Just Plain Theft?

According to recent articles in the press, a battle seems to be brewing between fashion designer Tory Burch and ex-husband Chris Burch, who recently opened the moderately priced apparel and lifestyle store C. Wonder in Soho. Gold metallic logos. Preppy bold colored apparel. Absent price, one can easily see similarities between C. Wonder and Tory Burch’s high end line launched in 2004. Did Chris Burch steal the concept? Or was he simply inspired by it? Or perhaps the fashion idea was his to begin with (they were married for nine years after all)?   

Who knows? But these kinds of situations occur every day and while not exactly the same, a similar type of topic is being explored on the New York City stage in Jack Canfora’s Poetic License at 59E59 Theaters.

Meet John Greer (Geraint Wyn Davies), an articulate and esteemed university professor about to be named Poet Laureate. His ambitious wife Diane (Lisa Vann) is what a friend of mine would call a battleax; however, she is the one who has parlayed John’s talent into a successful career and decent living. The Greer’s aspiring poet daughter Katherine (Natalie Kuhn) returns home for the weekend with her boyfriend Edmund (Ari Butler), who has his own secret agenda. And as the title of the play informs us, the concept of artistic (or poetic) license is challenged - for 80 engaging minutes. Poetic License skillfully lines up both sides to the argument of artistic inspiration or just plain theft. In the case of Poetic License which runs through March 4th, the audience decides; however, in the case of Chris and Tory Burch, a court of law or some other arbiter may just have to do so.

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