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Friday, August 12, 2016

Movie Review: When Good Actors Meet Weirdly Developed Characters, You Get Florence Foster Jenkins

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Florence Foster Jenkins ★★ ½ Now playing It gives director Stephen Frears undue credit to describe Florence Foster Jenkins as an exquisite reproof of audience voyeurism. Led along by a procession of reaction shots and comedic framing, the biopic invites us to chortle at a real-life heiress’s legendarily cacophonous crooning. But it hits a sour note when Frears suddenly turns the mirror on his audience in rebuke, in effect absolving the actual enablers the film otherwise indicts. We meet Jenkins (Meryl Streep) in 1944, as a seventy-six-year-old New York City socialite and musical benefactor. The acclaimed conductor Arturo Toscanini...

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Theater Review: The Roaring Girl Is a Kinetic, Gender-Fluid Revisionist History of Seventeenth-Century Norms

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 at 12:47 PM

The Roaring Girl ★★★ Through Aug. 20 Little Independent Theatre @ Murphey School Auditorium, Raleigh As they say, you gotta have a gimmick. Mary Frith was a London thief and pickpocket; her nickname, Moll Cutpurse, referred to her first primary source of income. She also dressed as a man in public, cursed like a sailor, and smoked like a house aflame—activities that were equally frowned upon for women in the year 1600. Surprisingly, however, her public disregard for gender roles and social norms earned her fame and a large degree of acceptance in King James’s England. In the years that...

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Theater Review: Domestic-Violence Drama The Traditionalists Leaves Us Wanting More—But Not in a Good Way

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 2:46 PM

The Traditionalists★★ Through Aug. 14 Women’s Theatre Festival @ Umstead Park United Church of Christ I am an adult survivor of domestic violence. I still have the pistol my father used one night to threaten my mother’s life and my own. I keep that firearm, which is now unable to menace or injure anyone else, because people regularly doubt, discount, and second-guess accounts of domestic abuse. Evidence, I’ve learned, is important. The gun was in his hand. I can vouch for the authenticity of the damage depicted in Carol Torian’s one-act, The Traditionalists, part of the Women’s Theatre Festival’s first evening...

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New Performers, New Personnel, and New Venues Enliven Durham Independent Dance Artists' 2016–17 Season [Updated]

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 9:56 AM

Durham Independent Dance Artists has just unveiled its third season. Eight performances across 2016–17 include a handful of artists new to DIDA—including one international choreographer, collaborating with Culture Mill's Tommy Noonan—in addition to local mainstays. The new season is also marked by key venue and personnel changes. Since its start, DIDA has positioned itself as an adaptive organization, shape-shifting to meet its original aim: to strategically bring together resources and promotional support in order to solidify the independent dance scene in Durham. This season, DIDA extends its emphasis on nontraditional performance spaces; none of the 2016–17 shows will take place...

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Movie Review: Though Flawed, Suicide Squad Brings Much-Needed Depth and Levity to the DC Extended Universe

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 3:05 PM

Suicide Squad ★★★ Now playing The high ideals of the Bush-era War on Terror included plunging our hands into the filth of rendition and “enhanced interrogation techniques,” usually carried out by foreign contractors at black sites outside the United States’ jurisdiction. Today, the U.S. is part of an uneasy confederation of foes with the shared aim of defeating ISIL, a terrorist group armed with American weaponry seized after the U.S. pullout from the Iraq War, an occupation initiated to topple a dictator once propped up by American treasure. Relying on bad people to do our dirty business is the fulcrum...

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In Raleigh, the First Women's Theatre Festival Hit the Ground Running With a Round-the-Clock Marathon of Staged Readings

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 11:51 AM

Women’s Theatre Festival: Occupy the Stage Saturday, July 30–Sunday, July 31 Umstead Park United Church of Christ Staged readings are hardly the most glamorous side of live theater. Production values are thin—other than a clump of music stands to hold the actors’ scripts, there’s usually little or no set. Though the actors may have dressed up for the occasion, they’re generally not in costume or theatrical makeup. So why would a new theater festival open a month of programs and productions with twenty-one staged readings? And why did sixteen volunteers, 100 regional theater artists, and 250 audience members occupy a...

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 3:02 PM

Henry VI: The War of the Roses★★★ Through Aug. 7 Stephenson Amphitheatre, Raleigh I wish I could just fast-forward through the rest of this election. So it’s understandable if Lucinda Danner Gainey, director of Bare Theatre and Raleigh Little Theatre’s coproduction of Shakespeare’s Henry VI, feels the same way about the War of the Roses. Historians generally say the open conflict between the houses of Lancaster and York lasted from 1455 to 1485, with a few skirmishes and mopping-up actions outside those dates. It’s more apt, though, to observe that the power vacuum that destabilized the British monarchy began...

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Peak Potter-Mania Has Passed, but the Old Magic Lingers at the Regulator's Cursed Child Release Party

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 4:05 PM

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Release Party Saturday, Aug. 30 The Regulator Bookshop, Durham There was magic in the air on Saturday night at the Regulator Bookshop. An hour before midnight, the store was filled with an assortment of witches, house elves, Hogwarts professors, stuffed owls, and no shortage of nostalgia. The Regulator—along with bookstores across the country—was hosting a midnight release party for the eighth Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It’s been nine years since the last book came out. Katherine McNulty has read all seven books twice—and out loud. She attended the Regulator’s...

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Theater Review: Honest Pint Theatre's Uncut Hamlet Is Worth Its Daunting Girth

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 2:39 PM

Hamlet★★★★ Through July 31 Leggett Theatre, William Peace University Something was rotten—or clearly amiss, at least—as I topped the second-floor staircase outside Leggett Theatre at Peace University last Saturday night. Aisles of chairs were set out for mourners as an exquisitely dressed party conversed, perhaps a bit too convivially, near a coffin draped with the flag of Denmark. Meanwhile, in an outfit that hardly suggested widow’s weeds, Durham singer Mysti Mayhem lustily belted out the rock anachronism “Me and Bobby McGee” from the other end of the lobby. Strange, I thought. But then, given the sinister circumstances of the death...

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Movie Review: Like Bond, Matt Damon's Jason Bourne Is Less a Character Than a Genre

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Jason Bourne★★★ Now playing Poor Jason Bourne—that guy just can’t catch a break. As an amnesiac super-spy, he's forever being shot at by people he doesn't know, for reasons he can't remember. Relentlessly hunted by every intelligence agency in the world, he must remain radically off-grid in places like Uzbekistan, Nepal, and Cleveland. When old friends get back in touch, they're invariably followed by entire platoons of elite assassins. It's hard not to isolate yourself in such circumstances. It's a drag getting old. Bourne is back in theaters this week, and once again his misery is our delight. Simply...

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Art Review: Truth to Power, Pleiades Gallery's Annual Social Justice Show, Aptly Starts With a Cry of Pain

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Truth to Power 4Through Sunday, Aug. 7 Pleiades Gallery, Durham Before you even enter downtown Durham’s Pleiades Gallery, you’re met by the face of a black man in anguish. “Rage,” which peers out of the front windows of the gallery, is by Durham’s Clarence Mayo Jr. It depicts the pained, scrunched face of a shouting man. According to the caption that accompanies the emotional painting, “Rage” symbolizes the “Black man’s voiceless cry of despair, distress, frustration, and hopelessness in a world where he is marginalized as a result of societal prejudices.” Likewise, most of the art in Pleiades annual Truth...

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Roman Vampire Lords, Telepathic Trees, and Smartphone Witch-Hunting Apps at Quail Ridge Books

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Tony Daniel: The Dragon Hammer Thursday, July 28, 7 p.m. Thomas Olde Heuvelt: Hex Monday, August 1, 7 p.m. Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books just celebrated its grand reopening in North Hills. Two events there this week also basically reopen the Triangle's speculative-fiction events calendar after a quiet start to the summer. Tomorrow is the book launch for Wake Forest author Tony Daniel's first young-adult novel, The Dragon Hammer (Baen Books, July 5). Daniel is best known for science fiction, from the short stories he’s been publishing for almost twenty years to his Metaplanetary series and his...

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Movie Review: An Indie Short With a Clever Premise Becomes a Surprisingly Effective Horror Film in Lights Out

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Lights Out ★★★ ½ Opening Friday, July 22, 2016 The story behind Lights Out, the surprisingly effective first feature film by David F. Sandberg, is the stuff of indie auteur fantasy. After Sandberg put a no-budget short starring his wife, Lotta Losten, on YouTube, it went viral, attracting the attention of horror maven James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring). Wan was impressed enough to help Sandberg develop his dialogue-free short into a major studio film, and New Line Cinema’s faith was justified. While it’s no The Babadook, Lights Out is an efficient haunted-house thriller, as witty and charming as it is...

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Movie Review: New Zealand Hit Hunt for the Wilderpeople Brings Genuine Emotion to Ridiculous Circumstances

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 9:18 AM

Hunt for the Wilderpeople ★★★★ Now playing The focus of this film from New Zealand, which is set in the bush of that country, is Ricky, a pudgy orphaned teenager who names his dog Tupac and uses haiku as a form of self-expression. Described as a kid who never wanted to be good, Ricky is at ease with his new foster family. He runs away every night, only to make his way back every morning for a pancake breakfast. When he is told by child protective services that he must leave his foster uncle after his foster aunt’s untimely death...

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Get Your First Look Inside Durham Artists Movement's New Gallery Space Tonight

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 2:07 PM

Durham Artists Movement Third Friday Opening Friday, July 15, 6–9 p.m. 111 West Parrish Street, Durham In June, when we reported on the Carrack Modern Art's move to Main Street—which took place via parade in July—we learned that the last six months of its Parrish Street lease would be taken over by Durham Artists Movement, a collective seeking safe spaces for people of color, LGBTQ people, and others who might feel marginalized in a gallery world where the white cube is symbolic, not just aesthetic. Tonight, DAM is opening its new space to the public for the first time. It's...

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Movie Review: Todd Solondz Lightly Links Tales of Abjection and Absurdity in Wiener-Dog

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 9:18 AM

Wiener-Dog★★★ ½ Opening Friday, July 15, 2016 Wiener-Dog is a funny, if modest, installment in director Todd Solondz’s series of meditations on the austere cruelty of the American middle-class family. The film consists of several episodes linked by the eponymous creature, a forlorn dachshund shuffled from one tenuous situation to the next. First, the dog lives with a shy little boy and his self-involved parents, then with an awkward and lonely veterinary assistant, followed by a bitter screenwriting teacher and an elderly woman dying of cancer. The dog’s goofy, kind-of-blank but also kind-of-sad expression is the perfect visual counterpoint...

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Movie Review: Shut Up, Misogynists, the Ghostbusters Reboot Has a Great Cast. The Rest of the Film, Unfortunately ...

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 3:57 PM

Ghostbusters ★★  Opening Friday, July 15, 2016 Contrary to all the sexist noise online, remaking Ghostbusters with a female cast was not a bad idea. Of course not—with director Paul Feig behind the camera and Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy in front of it, it was an empirically good idea. Unfortunately, the result of that good idea is a pretty bad movie. In fact, the new Ghostbusters is lazy, uninspired, and really close to insulting. Feig and the film's four leads—Wiig, McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon—are all comedy professionals with strong track records. But this is a highly...

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Pokémon No: Why Are People Stumbling Around Saying Words Like "Squirtle" and Falling Down Open Manholes?

Posted By and on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM

If the words “Gotta catch ’em all!” mean something to you, then the world outside your bedroom has become a little more exciting. The free augmented-reality mobile game Pokémon Go is fulfilling childhood fantasies of becoming a Pokémon master, as people are venturing out in the world attempting to capture all the Pokémon. Android and iOS users are searching for spawned Pokémon in any place imaginable: gas stations, hospital rooms, strip clubs, and, to the chagrin of some, churches and graveyards. They’re everywhere, including all over the Triangle. Local Pokémon trainers are in a Pokémon trance in their search for...

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dance Review: John Jasperse Somehow Stops Time While Moving It Forward in Remains

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 2:42 PM

John Jasperse Projects: Remains ★★★★ Wednesday, July 6, 2016 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham When the curtain rises—only slightly—on John Jasperse Projects’ Remains, dancer Maggie Cloud is prostrate on the stage, her limbs arranged like a classical Greek statue. Later she will return to a similar position, albeit shifted downstage, in an embrace with dancer Claire Westby. This reprisal of the work’s opening image seems, suddenly, like an ending, but it's a tease—the picture would be too perfectly circular. Cloud exits the scene, leaving Westby with her legs suspended in the air. Westby gets up and the dance goes on....

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Pets Riffs on Our Animal Obsession

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 4:21 PM

The Secret Life of Pets★★★ ½ stars Opening Friday, July 8, 2016 From the creative team that brought you Despicable Me and those rascally Minions, The Secret Life of Pets is an exquisitely calibrated family movie with plenty of laughs for both grown-ups and kids. The concept is simple: What do our pets actually do while we're away? Animators have been riffing on this idea since the heyday of Looney Tunes, of course, and with good reason. It's a virtually inexhaustible comedy premise. As approximately ten billion YouTube clips demonstrate daily, pets are funny. We like to watch them,...

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tim Carless's Live Score for Peter Greenaway's Cook Was Appetizing at The ArtsCenter

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 7:42 AM

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover: Reimagined Saturday, June 25, 2016 The ArtsCenter, Carrboro The Saturday before last at The ArtsCenter, Tim Carless premiered his original score for an abridged version of the cult classic The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, director Peter Greenaway’s most celebrated film. When Greenaway began filming it in the 1980s, he already had a reputation noble enough to attract Michael Gambon, Tim Roth, and Helen Mirren to the project. The film is billed as a black comedy centering on the foursome of the title as they enjoy adultery, sumptuous...

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Movie Review: Harry Potter Is Dead in Swiss Army Man, a Weird, Touching Mash-Up of Cast Away and Weekend at Bernie's

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 2:44 PM

Swiss Army Man ★★★ Opening Friday, July 1, 2016 Deciding whether or not you like Swiss Army Man is like trying to decide whether to keep your arm or your leg. You’re going to be somewhat dissatisfied either way, but grateful that you at least have something to appreciate. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, two writers and directors known mostly for creating eccentric music videos, push the weirdness over the edge in their first feature film. There are times where what’s happening makes sense only to the characters, leaving the audience lost. But in the moments when we’re able...

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The Triangle Gets an Etsy of Its Own in The Makers Mercantile

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 9:35 AM

With the Internet always at hand, it’s really no problem finding the polka-dotted planter, jasmine-and-hibiscus body butter, or stoneware serving spoon of your dreams. But if you’re someone who likes to shop closer to home for artisanal goods, The Makers Mercantile, a new online shop and blog that launched from Durham recently, might be your new favorite website. Designed to “connect local makers with a community that appreciates the mission, story, and craftsmanship of each artist," according to the site’s founders, The Makers Mercantile curates pieces from mostly Triangle-based makers and sells them on consignment. It also features their...

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Quail Ridge Books Sets Opening Date for Its New Raleigh Location

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 5:19 PM

Last December, beloved Raleigh indie bookstore Quail Ridge Books announced it would be leaving its location in the Ridgewood Shopping Center. Since then, the shop has been in a temporary space, endearingly known as Quail Ridge Books on the Fly, at 4381-105 Lassiter at North Hills Ave. In a few weeks, though, Quail Ridge Books will hold its grand opening at its new, nine-thousand-square-foot location just down the way, at 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road. Yes, there will be a party. It will be held July 23 and 24, and, according to a release from the bookstore, will be "complete with games, prizes...

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Dance Review: Kate Weare Sculpts With Bodies in the Premiere of Marksman at ADF

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 3:35 PM

Kate Weare Company: Marksman ★★★ Wednesday, June 22, 2016 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Kate Weare’s Marksman, an American Dance Festival commission that premiered at Reynolds Theater last week, is a molded and folded dance. The six dancers act as architects: They build houses, live in them, and vacate. They sculpt their bodies into notches for others to push and pull through. A bent leg folds perfectly over a crouched back; an arm pierces the negative space between other limbs. The performers greet one another in undulations; they unfurl and then halt. Eventually they part, dissipating. Most often the sextet...

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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.

by vidvis on Theater News: Common Ground Theatre to Go Dark in December (Arts)

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