Posted inArts & Culture

The Years

Cindy Lou Johnson’s play begins with a bride assaulted by a curiously apologetic thief only hours before her wedding. Over the next 16 years, she and her family struggle to make sense of the events in their lives–the marriages, divorces, and funerals, which are likewise obstructed in ways that are often absurd as well as […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Legendary Shack Shakers

Plenty of hicksploitationists have tried to mine Americana for the sake of snarkiness–I doubt the stereotype of the hairy hillbilly carries any real menace anymore, considering how much it’s been sillified. So bless the pan-southern, Nashville-based Legendary Shack Shakers for sounding like they drink real esophagus-searing moonshine, handle real rattlesnakes, and take pride in being […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Sirens of Titan

Only Kurt Vonnegut, with his sardonic wit, could turn a resigned, even mildly depressive phrase like “so it goes” into a punch line, as he does in Slaughterhouse-Five. And who could help but laugh at the postmodern Christian sect he invents, the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent, in 1959’s The Sirens of Titan? Lifeline […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Potato Head

Though Rena Leinberger had never made a video, she had a strange thought while lying in bed in late 2003. She’d been diagnosed with mono, had had a migraine that lasted two weeks, and was sleeping 16 hours a day. Suddenly she flashed on the idea of making a potato video. “This is kind of […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story World’s Shortest Attention Span: In January a New York City jury awarded $450,000 to Douglas Hall, whose career as a professional dancer ended in 2001 after surgery by Dr. Andrew Feldman at St. Vincent’s Hospital. In a meeting before the procedure Hall indicated the spot on his right knee where the pain was […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Incident at Vichy

The Wall Street Journal marked Arthur Miller’s death by dismissing him as a sentimental peddler of communist bombast. So thanks are due to Steep Theatre Company for highlighting Miller’s unmatched ability to give his characters impossible moral choices, then show the significance of managing to fail with less than utter ignominy. Luke Hatton’s taut staging […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Office

One of America’s most praised sitcoms, All in the Family, was a remake of a BBC series, so I guess it’s conceivable that NBC’s The Office, which premieres at the end of the month, will have a life of its own. But after watching a few clips of it online–many of them moments re-created from […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tom Russell

Russell has always been more erudite than your average singer in a cowboy shirt, though he’s maintained that jes’-plain-folks persona: in a dry southwestern drawl over elemental guitar picking, he’s spun vivid vignettes from the dark side of the arroyo. But on his latest album, the tour de force Hotwalker (Hightone), he sings tributes to […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Steve Lantner

Boston-based keyboardist Steve Lantner isn’t averse to the dense language that’s favored by so many contemporary jazz pianists, and his music has its share of dissonant harmonies and emphatic percussive accents. But he only uses those devices to emphasize the fundamentally melodic nature of his improvisations, and his clean, darting lines tend to incorporate plenty […]