April 4, 2016
By Ken Liu Saga. 464 pp. $24.99 Reviewed by Jim Higgins To borrow one of his titles, Ken Liu stirs "All the Flavors" into The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories : sci-fi extrapolation, ages-old fantasy, sweet romance, bitter tyranny, and trickster surprises. To call his book one of the best collections of speculative fiction I've ever read is simply to begin my praise. Liu's book compiles brilliant stories written in several different, overlapping modes, a technically dazzling collection of compulsively readable narratives, presenting characters with agonizing moral dilemmas and never forgetting the heart.
October 10, 2014 |
IF POLITICS MAKES strange bedfellows, among the strangest may have been made by the 1980s U.K. politics of Margaret Thatcher, as we see in "Pride. " Some of the bedfellows, if fact, would prefer that we use a term other than bedfellows. They would be striking coal miners in Wales, who for a time found common cause with gay activists - Thatcher's rhetoric targeted both camps, as did police harassment. "Pride" is essentially a comedy, but it makes homophobia a pronounced theme - the culturally conservative miners, we see, are slow to warm to the idea of solidarity with gay activists (some never do)
May 8, 2012 |
The one thing that's certain about this weekend's world premiere of Skins & Songs, a collaboration between Philadelphia's Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and New Yorker Philip Hamilton's a cappella vocal ensemble Voices, is that the stage at the Painted Bride will be crowded. With 22 percussionists and vocalists fusing a musical hybrid out of more than 30 cultural traditions, there's little else regarding the piece that's predictable. "What we've created is something exciting, energetic, and unique," promises Hamilton.
June 3, 2011 |
YOU KNOW what stinks? My car. Last week I used it to haul two bags of Bart Blatstein's putrid trash off the empty lot he owns on the 100 block of West Allen Street in Northern Liberties. For weeks, neighbors had complained to Blatstein-run Tower Investments - owners of the adjacent Piazza at Schmidts - about overflowing Dumpsters on the lot. Scavengers routinely ripped into the garbage, which then blew down the street. The receptacles were supposed to hold only construction debris from the under-construction Arrow Swim Club across the street.
April 8, 2011
Royals enjoy April reign Regular observers of this space (hi, Mom !) may recall us recently suggesting that Kansas City fans might be happy to replace their squad with the equal-value option Alex Rodriguez . Perhaps the youngest and poorest team in the majors took the wisecrack as inspiration, because the Royals are 4-2 for the opening week and leading the AL Central. (You're welcome, K.C. - feel free to send some Arthur Bryant barbeque.) The Royals have already eclipsed their longest winning streak (three games)
November 29, 2010 |
Main Line roofers say they are taking it on the chin from Amish competitors, who are getting a significant amount of work in Philadelphia's wealthy western suburbs. Keith McLean, a Paoli roofing contractor, said he lost a job this month when his bid of $8,000 was $3,000 more than the winning Amish bid. The 38 percent difference in price, McLean said, rendered him unable to compete. "My wiggle room is hundreds of dollars. I don't have three grand" to play with, said McLean, who owns Hancock Building Associates Inc. McLean and other non-Amish contractors say the Amish, who come from Lancaster County and western Chester County, have an advantage because they do not have to pay Social Security taxes for themselves or their Amish employees and are eligible for a religious exemption from workers' compensation insurance, although not all take advantage of the latter.
July 8, 2010
DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old woman and have been with my fiancé for 2 1/2 years. I love him and can't picture my life without him. However, over the last six months he has become emotionally abusive. He's never wrong, gets mad if I disagree with him about anything and yells at me over every little thing. He used to treat me great, and now this. I miss how it used to be, and I cry almost every day. In the past, I always told myself I would never put up with something like this, but I have been - and it gets harder every day. I know it's not physical, but emotional abuse counts for something, right?
March 11, 2010 |
Any time you're making a comedy and you feel you need to add a goat that eats Viagra and attaches itself to someone's leg, you're probably in trouble. So it is with "Family Wedding," a culture-clash comedy about a Mexican-American girl (America Ferrera) who takes her African-American fiance (Lance Gross) home to meet the parents. In a narrative feature as fresh as "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," Gross' character is a handsome physician, Columbia-trained, and on top of that is ready to go to work for Doctors Without Borders.
January 23, 2010 |
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The spotlight landed on Hopital Saint Francois de Sales yesterday, on a day when it was at both its best and worst. What a parade of prominent Haitians, foreign correspondents, and visiting medical experts saw at this small and badly damaged Catholic hospital was impressive - dedicated workers tending to more than 100 severely wounded victims who lie on hospital beds, cots, and mattresses in the open courtyard under the...
July 24, 2009 |
Imagine if contestants on American Idol were threatened with death for shaking their booty in front of millions of viewers. That's what happens to several singers - the women, performing without burkhas or veils - in Afghan Star, a documentary about Afghanistan's hugely popular TV talent contest, a show watched by a third of the country, and condemned by fundamentalists for defying Islamic law. Havana Marking's excellent, illuminating film...