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Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Burmese Christmas: a last-minute gift recommendation

Posted By on Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 11:56 AM

The Free Burma Fighting Peacock, a symbol of resistanceChances are good that you have forgotten all about Cyclone Nargis, which made landfall on May 2, 2008 in Burma's Irawaddy Delta and reached the country's largest city, Rangoon (or Yangon). Nargis may have killed as many as 500,000 people, and the storm laid waste to Burma's most fertile region, destroying most of its rice fields (the country once led the world in rice exports) and its coastal trade routes. It was a disaster of epic, even biblical magnitude. The thing is, Burma was already a disaster of epic magnitude when Nargis...

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Friday, December 17, 2010

The constricted worldview of Tiny Furniture

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Joe Anderson/ IFCLena Dunham (left) as Aura and Jemima Kirke as Charlotte Tiny FurnitureTwo starsOpens Friday at Colony Theater In her debut feature, Tiny Furniture, writer-director-star Lena Dunham plays Aura, a recent college graduate (from a college in Ohio, presumably Oberlin, where Dunham went) who moves back into the huge Tribeca loft of her successful artist mother after breaking up with her college boyfriend. She’s not getting along with her 17-year-old sister Nadine (Grace Dunham, real-life sister of the filmmaker, deadpan and amusing), who excels academically and thinks Aura is kind of a loser. To make matters worse, she’s not...

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The "legacy" of TRON is real: Looking back at a ground-breaking movie

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 10:08 AM

DisneyJeff Bridges returns to TRONThe one thing you need to know about TRON: It isn’t a great movie, but it’s an important one. Released in the summer of 1982, at the end of the first computer game boom, TRON tried to plug into the immense popularity of video arcades. The plot, such as it is, follows Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a software programmer whose game designs have been stolen by an unscrupulous tech exec. When Flynn breaks into the corporate mainframe looking for proof, the computer’s Master Control Program abducts Flynn, digitizing him and forcing him to fight in the very...

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Walking home after seeing Oh, the Humanity and other exclamations

Posted By on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Photo by Alan Dehmer/ Manbites DogLormarev Jones in Oh, the Humanity and other exclamations.I had the good fortune to see the Sunday matinee of Manbites Dog Theater's production of Will Eno's caustic, coruscating Oh, the Humanity and other exclamations, directed by Jeff Storer. I say good fortune not only because the production—a collection of monologues and "pre-dickyments" and "sitchy-ations," as one character calls her own—is a very good one (see the Indy's five-star review by Kate Dobbs Ariail), but because the day and the play were perfectly aligned. Walking to the theater at about 3 p.m., it was raining steadily...

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Monday, December 13, 2010

One more for The Social Network: Southeast critics name 2010 movie awards

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 2:29 PM

photo by Merrick Morton/ Columbia PicturesJesse Eisenberg (left) and Joseph Mazzello in The Social NetworkToday, the Southeastern Film Critics Association announced its winners for the best in movies for 2010. [This author is one of SEFCA's 43 members.] See SEFCA's press release below: SOUTHEASTERN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION HONORS ‘THE SOCIAL NETWORK,’ ‘THE KING’S SPEECH,’ ‘WINTER’S BONE’ AND OTHERS (Dec. 13, 2010) The Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) yesterday named ‘The Social Network’ the Best Picture of 2010. Director David Fincher’s incisive account of the founding of Facebook earned a total of four awards, with its other victories coming in the...

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Friday, December 10, 2010

When is good, good enough?
DPAC's YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and TIP's A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Posted By on Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 8:28 AM

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN3½ stars out of 5 Durham Performing Arts CenterThrough Dec. 12 A CHRISTMAS CAROL3 stars out of 5Theatre in the ParkThrough Dec. 15 Christopher Ryan as the Doc, Cory English (kneeling) as Igor, and Preston Truman Boyd, chilling, in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN It’s a hideous proposition, particularly for a theater critic. Still, I must admit: On some occasions, the biggest question we’re asked to answer isn’t if a show is good. It’s “Is it good enough? ” Take the professional touring version of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Under the circumstances, I’m tempted to follow that sentence with the Youngman-esque rejoinder, “Please.” Clearly...

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You be the judge:
Nominate works for Indy's Best Theater 2010!

Posted By on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 10:21 AM

This year, the Independent Weekly’s annual awards recognizing the best in regional theater will be published on Wednesday, Dec. 22 — which means this is the week our critics are contemplating well over a hundred different productions they saw this year on the area's stages. But why, pray tell, should we have all the fun? Below are the categories and guidelines our critics will follow in determining the award winners for 2010. If you were on our panel of critics, which show would you nominate for best production? Which individual performances would get the nod for best lead and supporting...

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Amadeus at Meymandi: Powerful music transcends technical issues

Posted By on Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Photo by Michael Zirkle/ NC SymphonyMichael Urie (left) and Ray DooleyAMADEUSFour starsPlayMakers Rep and N.C. Symphony@Meymandi Concert HallThrough Dec. 5 There’s not a lot of scenery in the N.C. Symphony and PlayMakers Repertory Company’s take on Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, but what’s there nearly upstages the drama. Presented with the entire symphony on stage, with the actors working on front (and occasionally behind) the musicians, the production pays brilliant tribute to the love of music at the heart of Shaffer’s characters, but technical problems at Friday night’s performance made the story at the heart of the music occasionally difficult to follow....

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Manbites Dog's tonic, 5-star, alt-holiday Oh, the Humanity

Posted By on Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Ed HuntDavid Berberian as a coach on a losing streakOH, THE HUMANITY AND OTHER EXCLAMATIONS5 starsManbites Dog TheaterThrough Dec. 18 Oh come all ye lonely, baffled and despondent, oh come ye, oh come ye to—Manbites Dog Theater, where your questions will be asked, your fears and hopes revealed, and your dreary isolation breached by a touching production of Will Eno’s Oh, the Humanity and other Exclamations. You may not get enough information to figure out just where you are on the time line between birth and death, but you certainly will be reminded that you are not headed toward the...

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Friday, December 3, 2010

In memoriam: Peter Eichenberger and perfect corners

Posted By on Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 7:30 PM

D.L. AndersonPeter EichenbergerI met Peter Eichenberger on a random weekday morning in that infamously smoky backroom of the real Cup A Joe on Hillsborough Street. It was among my first few times hanging there. As a 20-something expatriate of academia eager to stage my own disappearance, I stumbled into Cup A Joe on a daybreak of wander and found it a prime location for an amateur poet to find her voice, to fester in her own anonymity. There was a retro-red diner table in the right corner just before the insubstantial wall segregating the women’s bathroom from the opaque air—as...

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Did a variety show really save activists' lives?
Mike Wiley Productions' THE PARCHMAN HOUR

Posted By on Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 11:52 AM

THE PARCHMAN HOUR4 stars out of 5 Mike Wiley ProductionsKenan Theatre, UNC Department of Dramatic ArtThrough Monday, Dec. 6 Over the past decade, the region has come to admire Mike Wiley’s series of intensely researched—and brilliantly crafted—original one-person shows that have illuminated significant (but frequently neglected) events in America’s long and problematic racial history. Wiley's unerring ear for dialogue, acute editorial sense of scene, and significant gifts as an actor and a mimic have made solo works like DAR HE: THE LYNCHING OF EMMETT TILL (partially captured in the film EMPTY SPACE, which took honors at last year’s Carrboro Film...

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Theatrical disaster as farce—and something else:
NCSU's INSPECTING CAROL and FATE's MARAT/SADE

Posted By on Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 3:29 PM

INSPECTING CAROL3 1/2 stars out of 5N.C. State University TheatreThrough Dec. 5 THE PERSECUTION AND ASSASSINATION OF JEAN-PAUL MARAT AS PERFORMED BY THE INMATES OF THE ASYLUM AT CHARENTON UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE MARQUIS DE SADE2 stars out of 5Free Association Theater EnsembleClosed Nov. 20 NCSU photo by Ron ForemanJordan Manning, Christian O'Neil and Paul Brothers, in "Inspecting Carol" Optimism ! Trust ! Fearless Authority ! And DISASTER !! I can still hear performance poet John Giorno’s trademark, small-time chiseler’s voice—the unlikeliest set of pipes ever to front an art band—railing out the opening lines to his scabrous little...

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You stopped the arts coverage to cover the election..... You were probably better off just covering the arts, rather than …

by Matt Price on Will to Live Cautiously Returning? Here's a Few Things to Do This Week. (Arts)

Thanks for being there. You will be missed.

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