Posted inArts & Culture

The Family Stone

The potential for moral confusion in a liberal-minded family–unpacked so ruthlessly in Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale–is scrutinized with more ambiguity in this good-natured comic subversion of the holiday get-together. Diane Keaton, in a performance full of unexpected accents and grace notes, presides over a large New England tribe; their open-mindedness is tested […]

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Frogs, Mommy and Daddy

Something weird must happen after you’ve written and recorded a few thousand songs with somebody. Milwaukee brothers Dennis and Jimmy Flemion, better known as the FROGS, have been playing together since grade school, and their breakout album, 1989’s It’s Only Right and Natural, was a bizarre collection of semi-improvised “gay supremacist” psych-folk-pop culled from the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Illusion of Chaos

Mariah Colbert, 23, works in an upscale specialty food shop and hosts French wine tastings. Liz Armstrong: Where did that dress come from? Mariah Colbert: It was in my friend Colleen’s closet and I think I smiled at it so many times that she was like, “You can have that.” LA: This is like a […]

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King Kong

It clocks in at over three hours, but Peter Jackson’s remake of the 1933 classic is gripping. For starters it’s visually compelling, with its lush sets depicting Skull Island and period Manhattan. Jackson rethinks the characters, turning the original’s stark Jungian fantasy into a soulless but skillful set of kinetic and emotional effects. Carl Denham […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

A recent move has brought me to a comfy apartment building in friendly Medford, Massachusetts, complete with washer and dryer hookup. However, while having such a hookup is helpful, it’s much more practical to have a working hookup, which alas I do not (dirty scamming realtors are to blame). So I’m left with a dilemma: […]

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The Magic Flute

The Lyric’s current production of The Magic Flute is truly magical–the singing, the playing, the sets, the costumes, the dancing wild animals. This often confusing mix of fairy tale, vaudeville, and Freemasonry lesson is probably Mozart’s most famous work, written at the same time as the Requiem and finished just two months before he died. […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Project Unreality

Regarding “Get Real,” December 9: Teenagers are going to have sex. Not all of them, and not all starting at the same age–but this most basic of human compulsions is not going to be denied. Telling teenagers they shouldn’t have sex until they’re married, while simultaneously teaching them practically nothing but gross distortions about how […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Hairspray

Gleefully juvenile and flippant, Hairspray seems perfect for high school kids, who also make up most of its characters. But despite all the attention paid to appearance–especially the towering bouffants that require so much of the title product–it’s far from superficial. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan’s musical adaptation of John Waters’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Oliver!

You’d think that Lionel Bart’s effervescent musical version of Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens’s tale of redemption, would be especially amiable holiday fare, featuring such beloved songs as “Consider Yourself” and “Food, Glorious Food.” But much of the first act of this lackluster production drags: under David H. Bell’s direction the well-choreographed musical numbers are sprightly, […]