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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Adam Johnson's gripping novel "The Orphan Master's Son"

Reading Wednesday at Quail Ridge Books

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Photo by Tamara BeckwithAdam JohnsonTHE ORPHAN MASTER'S SONby Adam JohnsonRandom House, 464 pp. Most of The Orphan Master’s Son focuses on a North Korean man named after a government-appointed martyr whose name, Pak Jun Do, resembles “John Doe” for a reason. The book is at once a grand adventure, a hallucinatory ordeal, a deft spy story and a treatise on how the dogmas forced on people by ruthless institutions peel away truth and eventually even identity. The book’s first section describes Pak Jun Do’s unlikely ascent to hero status. The rest of the book veers into something like magical realism...

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, and "Why We Broke Up"

Posted By on Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Photo by Meredith HeuerDaniel HandlerTeen romance has been the subject of a library's worth of novels, but Daniel Handler, the novelist best known for his A Series of Unfortunate Events books as Lemony Snicket, has taken a different path with his novel Why We Broke Up (Little, Brown, $19.99). Taking place after the aforementioned breakup, the narrative takes the form of a long letter written by creative high-schooler Min to her recent ex-boyfriend Ed that accompanies a box full of mementos from their relationship, which are rendered as illustrations by Maira Kalman. With Handler and Kalman set to appear at...

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Disclosing arts education dilemmas in New York, and North Carolina: "No Child..." at PlayMakers

Posted By on Sun, Jan 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM

photo by Carol RoseggNilaja Sun in NO CHILD...NO CHILD…4 stars (out of 5)PRC2Through Jan. 15 To be truthful, I haven’t taught drama in a “worst of the worst” New York City classroom like playwright and performer Nilaja Sun, whose semi-autobiographical one-person show, NO CHILD… closes at PlayMakers Rep on Jan. 15. I taught high school drama in an economically and culturally impoverished North Carolina county during half of the last decade instead. It was the hardest—and most rewarding—job I have ever undertaken. And on the basis of the experience, I can say this much: Ms. Sun clearly knows whereof she...

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Last exit to Llanview: Michael Malone looks back at his work on "One Life to Live," which ends today

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Michael MaloneIn the end, it took very little to end the life of Viki Lord Riley Burke Riley Buchanan Buchanan Carpenter Davidson Banks. It wasn't the heart condition that had necessitated a transplant from her comatose fifth husband (the long-lost half-brother of her third, and also the third husband to leave her widowed), or either of the near-death experiences that that had sent her on two separate round trips to Heaven. Nor was it the stroke, the brain aneurysm, the killer virus, the breast cancer or the traumatic repressed memories that had resulted in her developing seven personalities and forgetting...

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Lioness in Winter: Meryl Streep and "The Iron Lady"

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Alex Bailey. Courtesy of Pathe Productions Ltd/ The Weinstein CompanyMeryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and Anthony Head as Geoffrey HoweTHE IRON LADY** starsOpens Friday (see times below) If ever it was possible for an opening scene to buoy an entire feature-length motion picture, The Iron Lady would be it. Having wandered away from her London home and past her caretakers, a senile, octogenarian Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) is shopping in a small corner mart. As loud Indian music blares over the loudspeakers, a besuited businessman pushes past her while yammering into his cell phone; a young black customer in headphones...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A tribute to the lovable awfulness of "One Tree Hill," which begins its ninth and final season tonight

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

On Jan. 11, the CW drama—and that term is used loosely—One Tree Hill will begin its ninth and final season, bringing to an end nearly 200 episodes of teen melodrama that included brazen guest stars (Kevin Federline!), shameless product placement (watch Tree Hill High’s cheerleaders pose for Maxim!) and plot twists seemingly borne out of a combination of desperation and illegal narcotics (villainous Dan loses out on a heart transplant because a dog eats his donor heart!). Please take a moment to think of all the decisions required for this scene to take place, including finding a heart and training...

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

More of a psychiatric casebook than a life: The Journals of Spalding Gray

Posted By on Sun, Jan 1, 2012 at 8:24 PM

THE JOURNALS OF SPALDING GRAYEdited by Nell CaseyKnopf; 368 pages$28.95 The world primarily remembers actor and playwright Spalding Gray for a body of some 20 theatrical works he wrote and staged over three decades between 1975 and 2004. Improbably, he performed almost all of them, alone, while seated on a stage whose set design rarely included much more than a wooden table and chair, a microphone, a glass of water—and a notebook containing a skeletal outline of the evening’s subject, handwritten, in all caps. Even more improbably, their subject matter was overtly autobiographical. Early monologues like Sex and Death to...

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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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