Posted inArts & Culture


Take your cloying holiday tunes and pathological mass-shopping frenzies and shove ’em up your reindeer’s keister. To me, the descent of cold, snow, and long dark nights in the limbo between Samhain and winter solstice (not to mention that bracing shot of postelection nihilism) can mean only one thing: it’s Norwegian black metal season! Satyricon’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues

The dirt gets dished in Jeff Goode’s somewhat playful attempt to expose simmering scandals at the north pole. Santa has allegedly raped the salacious Vixen, and that’s contributed to Rudolph’s breakdown. Accusations fly about the mistreatment of elves by the alcoholic Mrs. Claus and about unfair labor conditions–no sick days or vacations. A strike by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Save Me From Myself

Bob Fisher’s playwriting aesthetic owes a lot to the artifacts of his youth: comic books, Alfred Hitchcock’s British suspense films, ultra-low-budget horror flicks, and everything else Frederick Wertham warned parents to keep their kids away from. But there’s no denying that his continued entanglement in the throes of arrested adolescence can make for riveting theater: […]

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The Exiles

Written, produced, and directed by Kent Mackenzie, this low-budget independent feature (1961) deserves to be ranked with John Cassavetes’s Shadows, but it languished unseen for nearly four decades until Thom Andersen celebrated it in his 2003 video essay Los Angeles Plays Itself. Pitched somewhere between fiction and documentary, with nonprofessional actors improvising postsynced dialogue and […]

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Art About Performance Art

“Camera/Action” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography–an excellent survey of photographs and videos of performance pieces–demonstrates that while documenting performance art may not fully capture the originals, the documentation itself can convey feelings and ideas. Most of the 17 artists represented here use themselves as subjects, focusing on their own bodies, sometimes with narcissistic results. […]

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The SantaLand Diaries

David Sedaris’s etched-in-acid account of his stint as an elf at Macy’s now enjoys nearly as much seasonal currency (via Joe Mantello’s adaptation) as A Christmas Carol, and if you look hard you can see the same sentimental underpinnings. Anyone who’s watched A Christmas Story will be familiar with the basic conceit: people, in this […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Gentle Readers: If there’s ever been any doubt about how seriously I take my responsibilities, this column should lay ’em to rest. Last year I agreed to auction off a chance to give advice in Savage Love. What can I say? I’m a sucker for charity, and the auction raised money to feed the hungry. […]

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Billy Joe Shaver

Music helped Billy Joe Shaver pull through the disastrous years in which his mother and his wife died from cancer, his son Eddy died of a heroin overdose, and he himself suffered a heart attack onstage. The solo acoustic “Fame,” the best song on his new album, Billy and the Kid (Compadre), is a touching […]

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My Juilliard

Gloria J. Browne’s play about bickering generations is itself like a long-standing family argument: repetitive, wandering, and progressively frustrating. There’s enough melodrama in it to fuel a soap opera–which is what this production feels like given Kemati Perter’s awkward staging. The script skims over a rape, a murder, dementia, and the death of a brother, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Stag Party

I don’t know how I didn’t hear of these local drama kings sooner: in a little more than two years they’ve opened for Interpol, !!!, David Thomas & Two Pale Boys, and Gravy Train!!!!, and now they’re headlining the Bottle on a Friday night. They’ve got the tense, careening go-go guitar and nasal, pissed-off vocals […]