September 18, 2016 |
What does one troubled girl's suicide matter when weighed against the enormousness of an unfeeling universe? Quite a lot, if judged by the wealth of theatrical potency, musical skill, and humor displayed by César Alvarez's musical The Elementary Spacetime Show , a new work that, given a wide enough audience, will become Rent for the social-media generation. Alameda (Julia Louise) wants to die and chugs a handful of pills before singing the last verses of the show's opening number.
September 4, 2016
A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis By J.D. Vance HarperCollins. 272 pp. $27.99 Reviewed by Dan Simpson J .D. Vance came from a family from Jackson, Ky., where the men worked in the coal mines until there weren't any. Then he moved to Middletown, Ohio, to jobs at Armco Kawasaki Steel, until that went away. Vance got out, serving as a Marine in Iraq and then attending Ohio State University and then Yale Law School before ending up at a Silicon Valley investment firm near San Francisco.
June 10, 2016 |
You might think they're crazy, but the first thing to know about Robert and Michelle King's new CBS series BrainDead is that the creators of The Good Wife have not lost their minds. They've just taken their penchant for politics and public policy on a CBS-style summer vacation, the kind in which ant-like creatures from outer space picnic in people's brains. Though no sillier at heart than Under the Dome , Zoo or Extant , the Kings' Washington, D.C.-set BrainDead , which premieres at 10 p.m. Monday, is sci-fi with a healthy sense of the ridiculous.
June 6, 2016 |
Bill Lyon has done it again, striking a chord with readers. Soon after the legendary retired Inquirer sports columnist disclosed he is battling Alzheimer's disease in a piece posted on Philly.com Saturday, and slated for publication in the Sunday Inquirer, a torrent of support from readers followed. Lyon's column, " My Alzheimer's fight: Never, ever quit ," has been shared on Twitter and Facebook, and emailed from friend to family. Online, commenters wrote in to celebrate the sportswriter, to cheer on his fight, and to thank him for sharing his experience.
May 25, 2016
PhillyConfidential I'LL NEVER FORGET how easily Officer James Henninger talked about his own death. And I'll never forget how much he loved life. I met Henninger - who died Saturday - in 2011, just six months after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and given six months to two years to live. He wasn't bitter or angry, he was joyous and full of stories about a full life, like when he saved a child with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or when he was washed overboard off the coast of Spain while serving in the Navy.
February 17, 2016 |
Sayed Kashua's life story reminds one of that wonderfully inappropriate line from Steve Martin's 1979 classic, The Jerk . "It was never easy for me," Martin says, forcing each syllable with the slow, careful deliberation of the addled. "I was born a poor black child. " Kashua was born a (somewhat poor) Palestinian child in Tira, a small, predominantly Arab town 20 miles north of Tel Aviv. But he grew up to become one of the most celebrated satirists in Hebrew literature. You heard right: The novelist and screenwriter writes passionately about the daily injustices faced by Israel's Arabs, yet he writes exclusively in Hebrew.
January 10, 2016 |
Bruce Graham's Funnyman opens at the Arden Theatre on Thursday. The lead character, aging vaudeville slapstick comic Chick Sherman, speaks for Graham - Philly's most Philadelphia playwright - when he says, "Nobody takes comics seriously until they do something serious. " Much of Graham's theatrical output engages people, places, and events from his past. North of the Boulevard is a blue-collar affair set in the Darby auto garage his cousin owns. His first play, Burkie (now 35 years old)
September 16, 2015 |
Girl power reigned at the third annual Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival Sunday at Susquehanna Bank Center. It's a tradition. Sarah Silverman and Whitney Cummings stole last year's show. Bridget Everett and Amy Schumer, who are, not surprisingly, close pals, stole it on Sunday. Opener Nikki Glaser had her moments, particularly when talking about her sex life. MC Big Jay Oakerson, born and raised in Philadelphia, talked sex, sex, and more sex, nothing new, but Oakerson was charismatic and a natural host.
July 13, 2015 |
A glance down the hallway toward the gallery of the Woodmere Art Museum, where its 74th Annual Juried Exhibition begins, reveals the quirky aesthetic of jurors and artist brothers Steven and Billy Dufala. In the distance, an enormous, featureless, off-white creature shaped like a cross between a duck and a sheep lies on the floor. Behind it is a large painting of two women standing side by side against a starry night, one holding an ungainly cloudlike form, the other's face hidden by a mass of droopy hair - or something like hair.
June 5, 2015 |
Theater has many applications. It can entertain. It can provoke intellectual debate. It can serve as a temporary distraction from the grind of everyday life. But Delaware County resident Michael Broussard uses theater to help him cope with being a victim of childhood sexual abuse. And he hopes his one-man production, "Ask A Sex Abuse Survivor," being staged this weekend in Elkins Park, may help others who have suffered this most heinous of crimes to deal with its often emotionally debilitating aftermath.