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Not So Black & White

Not So Black & White

BY DAVID KENNERLEY | Well timed for Black History Month, “Smart People” is the latest play by Lydia R. Diamond (“Stick Fly”) to explore the politics of race. Set against the backdrop of Barack Obama’s historic presidential election in 2008, this barbed comedy of manners features four exceedingly brainy characters from a range of racial […]

Our Future in China

Our Future in China

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The freedom of the road and the joys of wanderlust have been celebrated in American literature and music, even influencing European culture like Wim Wenders’ ‘70s films and Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn.” I doubt it occurs to most Americans that other cultures might have a different –– and substantially less rosy –– take […]

Tried & True & Twisted

Tried & True & Twisted

BY DAVID KENNERLEY | The works of Jane Austen have long been fertile targets for pillage and parody. Look no further than “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” “Clueless” (the charming 1995 update of “Emma”), “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters,” and don’t even get me started on the Filthy Classics book series’ “Pride & Penetration.” And […]

Military Soap, Not Standard Issue

Military Soap, Not Standard Issue

STEVE ERICKSON | Benjamin Crotty is an American director working in France, although he plans to make his next film back home. He took most of the dialogue for his debut feature, “Fort Buchanan,” from American TV, although he’s been reticent to spell out his exact sources. However, he has cited the cable show “Army […]

Sicko, Psycho, Sissy, Sage

Sicko, Psycho, Sissy, Sage

BY SCOTT STIFFLER | Capering about the stage dressed in cowboy/ disco chic, with pursed red lips and a face caked in corpse-meets-Kabuki makeup, Dandy Darkly is a mincing, lilting, alliteration-spouting avenger whose signature look screams horror. Oddly, the effect is both disturbing and reassuring — which, while seemingly at odds, are twin pillars supporting a […]

“Society’s Child” Returns to Manhattan

“Society’s Child” Returns to Manhattan

BY DAVID NOH | If for no other reason than the poignantly empathic song “At 17,” prolific singer-songwriter Janis Ian is assured a place in music immortality. The troubled youthful reminiscence, released in 1975, has touched a chord with generations of listeners and became a cultural reference point in TV and movies from “The Simpson” to […]

Comic Relief

Comic Relief

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE | The show is a send-up of the traditional farce and is all about a company of second-tier actors rehearsing and performing a play called “Nothing On,” your typical door-slamming farce about illicit sexual escapades in an empty country house. The cast of the farce within a farce includes several faded TV stars, […]

Remembrance of Opera Companies Past

Remembrance of Opera Companies Past

BY ELI JACOBSON | New York’s surprisingly strong snow storm on January 23 forced cancellation of two of the six performances of “Tosca” scheduled for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater by the newly formed NYCO Renaissance company. Roy G. Niederhoffer, a former board member of the original NYCO, organized and bankrolled NYCO Renaissance and tapped […]

He’s In Bizness

He’s In Bizness

BY MICHAEL SHIREY | Jason Robert Brown knows what he is talking about when he sings “I’m in bizness” — a line from the opening number at his packed SubCulture concert on January 25, where he is currently the artist-in-residence. Back by popular demand, it is clear that business is going well for the polymath composer-lyricist, […]

Thwarted Dreams

Thwarted Dreams

BY GARY M. KRAMER | A sensitive, absorbing drama about a family in crisis, “Bad Hurt” is based on a play by writer/ director Mark Kemble. Set during Christmas week 1999, the film explores the difficult lives of the Kendalls, a Staten Island married couple and their adult children. Elaine (Karen Allen) juggles caring for her […]

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