Posted inArts & Culture

Sweet Mama Stringbean

SWEET MAMA STRINGBEAN Black Ensemble “I sing because I’m happy,” says a lyric in the spiritual that gave the title to Ethel Waters’s autobiography His Eye Is on the Sparrow. “I sing because I’m free.” On the surface it might seem that Ethel Waters was anything but happy and free. The illegitimate daughter of a […]

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Joe Versus the Volcano

Scriptwriter John Patrick Shanley (Five Corners, Moonstruck) makes his directorial debut in a whimsical, contemporary fairy tale with romance and adventure that doesn’t quite come off, but it’s sufficiently fresh, charming, and unpredictable to deserve special marks for trying. Tom Hanks plays a former fireman now stuck in a depressing job who is told by […]

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Piece of Garbage

LA NIK A WET Le Theatre de Banlieue at the International Performance Studio Le Theatre de Banlieue’s La Nik a Wet is an abrasive, insulting, artless hour of pure onanism. Everything in this cluttered mess reeks of arrogance and ignorance. For over an hour, I found myself in the hands of two self- important but […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I understand a few of the reasons behind our complicated English measurements. For instance, an acre was the area plowable in one day using draft animals. But where, pray tell, did the mile and, while we’re at it, the yard come from? I mean, 1,760 yards or 5,280 feet can’t possibly hold any mystical significance, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Laura’s Place

Taped to the door is a handmade sign with a carefully drawn gun that says “Forget the Dog, Beware of Owner.” The owner of Laura’s Resale Shop, on Broadway in Uptown, is Laura, a large, 40-ish woman with black back-combed hair, high cheekbones red with rouge, and pencil-thin eyebrows. She says hello with a friendly […]

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The City File

Facts we could have gotten through the day without: According to Gillette, the “average North Atlantic male”–whatever that is–“generates an average of 27.5 feet of facial hair in his lifetime.” “If they want to call it bribery, that’s fine with me. It’s bribery, but it’s open bribery…. It’s just something you can’t turn down.” So […]

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No Illusions, No Escape

RALPH LEMON COMPANY at MoMing Dance & Arts Center March 1-4 Think of someone you love. Think of eyes, the line of a cheek, the laugh and voice. Imagine that person dying. Now imagine yourself imagining for 45 minutes that that person is dying. That’s roughly the experience of watching Ralph Lemon’s Sleep, the second […]

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Jerome Cooper

Offering a set of solo improvisation for drums and percussion would seem to be a promising way of emptying a performance space; but those streaming for the exits would clearly be people unfamiliar with Jerome Cooper, who applies a particularly judicious sensibility to his instruments. In so doing, he plays against type. Even in a […]

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Scientific Souls

To the editors: I was appalled at the highly dubious “absolute truths” described in your cover story for the February 9 issue (“Uncle J.R. Explains It All for You”). For example, Prof. Regalbuto “is absolutely certain . . . that animals have no moral rights, that abortion is always wrong . . .” Then these […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Healthy Ambition

To the editors: Your article about Edwin Eisendrath’s family tree in a recent Reader [February 16] was one of the most insightful articles I have read, in this paper, in a long time. Imagine my surprise and even disappointment, when after reading every word and line of that rather lengthy work, I came away with […]