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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Theater Review: Two Leads Diverge in a Darkened Dive in Hughie

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 9:47 AM

Hughie ★★★★ (David Klionsky version) ★★ (Brook North version)  Through June 5 Sonorous Road Theatre, Raleigh A few occupations, like Formula One racing, rattlesnake farming—and acting, of all things—demand an acute, ongoing focus on the present. But in most other trades, it’s an eye for the longer term that survival favors. No one thinks, “You know, if I play my cards right, fifteen years from now I should be coming off a five-day bender in a third-rate dive somewhere in New York City.” It’s the kind of fate that happens when someone hasn’t looked ahead. But that’s where we find...

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Movie Review: Whit Stillman's Classist Nostalgia Is Untempered by Wit in Love & Friendship

Posted By on Mon, May 30, 2016 at 11:47 AM

Love & Friendship ★★ Now playing Whit Stillman’s latest, Love & Friendship, finds the director treading new territory in a period adaptation of a Jane Austen short epistolary novel, Lady Susan. Kate Beckinsale plays the cunning, eponymous lady, with Chloë Sevigny as her meek American sidekick, Alicia Johnson. It’s an intertextual echo of their 1998 roles as frenemies Charlotte and Alice in Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco. But while the film's title tantalizingly suggests a return to the repulsion-attraction dynamic that Last Days captured so well, both love and friendship are conspicuously absent. Love & Friendship tells the story...

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Movie Review: Go See Alice Through the Looking Glass For the Visual Design or Not at All

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 11:52 AM

Alice Through the Looking Glass★★★ ½  Opening Friday, May 27, 2016 Disney has been in the spectacle business for more than eighty years now, and its fantasy movies, both live action and animation, tend toward visual extravaganzas, especially in the modern summer blockbuster season. In this regard, Alice Through the Looking Glass does not disappoint. There are maybe half a dozen glorious set pieces designed to pop your eyeballs right out of your skull. That's all you really need to know before springing for the 3-D version, which is the version to see if you're going to see it at all....

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Theater Review: In Musical Thought Experiment If/Then, There Is No Road Not Taken

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 11:39 AM

If/Then★★★ ½  Through May 29 DPAC, Durham Overthinkers of the Triangle: arise, and see If/Then at DPAC. Yes, I realize this unambiguous endorsement raises many more questions than it answers: Which night? Which seat? Invite a friend or go stag? Which restaurant—and which appetizer? Climb those decision trees. Just go. As for the rest of the region’s theatergoers? You might want to think about it a bit first. At the start, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s optimistic follow-up to 2008’s Next to Normal merely seems devoted to a different mental malady than the manic depression that was the focus...

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Announcing Open Auditions in Raleigh for the Inaugural Women's Theatre Festival

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 7:43 AM

In March, we reported on the Triangle's new Women’s Theatre Festival, which will debut this August. Conceptualized by Raleigh’s Ashley Popio and developed by a group of local women in theater, it will feature plays written and directed by women, with women composing the majority of the casts. Now, WTF has announced open auditions for anyone who wants to be a part of the festival. The auditions will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 at Raleigh’s Sonorous Road Theatre. Women, men, and children are all welcome to audition; sign up for an appointment at...

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Movie Reviews: The Nice Guys, The Meddler, and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The Nice Guys ★★★ ½ The Meddler ★★★ Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising  ★ Opening Friday, May 20, 2016 Hollywood in the 1970s is not just the seamy backdrop for The Nice Guys. It’s the uproarious foreground of the buddy action comedy, which smartly borrows from its genre forerunners—an homage giddily reflected in a funhouse mirror. The narrative is immersed in the adult film milieu of 1977 Los Angeles, accented by such era touchstones as smog alerts, The Waltons, and the hysteria over killer bees. As a boy ogles a nude centerfold featuring a porn actress named Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio),...

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Friday, May 13, 2016

What’s This Painted Piano Doing on the Street in Pittsboro?

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 11:19 AM

If you drive around the courthouse circle in downtown Pittsboro, you’ll see the usual carousel of office buildings, vintage shops, a bank, and … a colorful upright piano? It might seem out of place, but if you stop and play a few notes—as everyone is welcome to do—you’ll see why it’s where it should be. It wasn’t left curbside for trash pick-up. The designs are not random graffiti. A nearby resident donated the piano for the community and a local artist decorated it with amusing designs and quotes about creativity. When one thinks of retirement, clichés about leisure, family,...

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Reviewing Local Independent Presenters' 2015-16 Season on Stage

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Manbites Dog Theater Manbites Dog looked to the future in a season focused on technology and humanity, but strengths that have long been a part of the company’s history were evident in its twenty-ninth year. In Durham’s haven for visionary guest directors, curated independent artists, and controversial, thought-provoking scripts, director Joseph Megel took a sobering look forward in The Tramp’s New World, Rob Jansen’s poignant, post-apocalyptic, and undeniably funny solo show. We also glimpsed the future in Mr. Burns and The Nether, where Manbites founder Jeff Storer and associate artistic director Jules Odendahl-James probed the theater of social conscience...

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Video: Watch Durham's Monica Byrne Turn Into a Hologram in Vancouver TED Talk

Posted By on Thu, May 5, 2016 at 2:23 PM

Durham author and playwright Monica Byrne is known for raveling disparate strands of gender, race, and love in speculative social orders, from the acclaimed novel The Girl in the Road to the ambitious play Tarantino's Yellow Speedo. Last February, she added to that list with For My Wife, Navid, a story commissioned by Chris Anderson and then performed live at TED 2016 in Vancouver. The performance, in which Byrne portrays a hologram (aided by clever lighting and digital glitch effects), went up on TED's website today. "From what I heard afterwards, a full third of the audience thought I was actually a...

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War Is Like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with a Marvel Smirk Instead of a DC Frown

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 4:01 PM

Captain America: Civil War★★★½ Opening Friday, May 6 Given the factious fervor of fans on both sides of the aisle between Marvel and DC Comics films, it’s a droll coincidence that Captain America: Civil War, the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, shares the same general premise as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC’s most recent blockbuster. Both films revolve around humankind’s attempts to rein in demigods and the collateral damage of their heroism. Both feature clashes between seminal superheroes who are manipulated by a bad guy and at odds over how much power they should be...

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ConcussionCast Carnival Showcases Exciting Bouts of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Durham Central Park

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 1:41 PM

Early rain couldn’t stifle the action at Durham Central Park on Sunday, where a slate of ten jiu-jitsu bouts, fought in an MMA cage, kicked off with a short match. As the rain started to clear, Chapel Hill’s Mary Holmes locked an armbar on her opponent, Washington, D.C.’s Laurie Porsch, and gave the event an enduring shot of energy. From there, all the fights kept the intensity level high. Most of the bouts either ended quickly, with a sudden submission, or pushed the competitors into overtime. The ConcussionCast Carnival, a live extension of the weekly Cageside ConcussionCast radio show...

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Movie Review: TV's Key & Peele Make Unlikely Hollywood Bid With Cat-Meme-Slash-Action-Comedy Keanu

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Keanu ★★ Opening Friday, April 29 Keanu—the feature-film debut of TV comedy team Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele—is surely the biggest disappointment at the movies so far this year. It's one thing to see a bad movie. It's another thing when you're fully expecting a good one. For five seasons on Comedy Central, Key & Peele delivered high-octane funny business by blending sharp writing, kinetic physical comedy, and inspired goofiness. The idea of a movie seemed natural and promising, and the first trailers were very, very funny. Alas, Keanu is one of those movies where the three-minute preview is...

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Movie Review: Bloody Action and Bloodless Politics in Punks-Versus-Skins Horror Thriller Green Room

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 9:21 AM

Green Room ★★★ Opening Friday, April 29 With Green Room, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier solidifies his burgeoning reputation as an action auteur capable of making brutally effective thrillers on a modest budget. Those looking for exploitation-style thrills and chills won't be disappointed, but those intrigued by the subcultural conflict between punks and Neo-Nazis may be left hanging by the film's surprisingly bloodless politics. The high-concept premise involves a touring Washington, D.C. punk rock band, booked at the last minute to perform for a "boots-and-braces crowd" of white-power skinheads in the woods of Washington state. Stumbling upon an internecine murder gets the...

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sharpen Your Script With UNC Teacher and Veteran Screenwriter Scott Myers

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 2:43 PM

Write Now! Saturday, April 30 The McKimmon Conference & Training Center, Raleigh For aspiring and established screenwriters alike, Scott Myers is an invaluable resource for storytelling tips and film-industry insight. On Saturday, April 30, the UNC instructor joins other Triangle storytellers to dispense advice live. Myers is a presenter at Write Now!, the annual writing conference held by the Triangle Association of Freelancers, which includes sessions on self-editing, running a freelance “business,” and how to get published. Myers’s session is on “Character Development for Screenwriters,” though, as he’s quick to point out, “It’s actually for all writers.” “We’ll be talking about...

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Bill Thelen to Step Down as Director of Pioneering Raleigh Gallery Lump

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 12:56 PM

An upcoming installation by the Team Lump collective, Arise! Bald Man! King of Hair People!, will close Lump’s twentieth-anniversary season. It also marks an even bigger milestone: the end of Bill Thelen's long tenure as the director of the Raleigh gallery.  In an email to the INDY today, Thelen confirmed that he’ll step down in July. “The space will move to being a nonprofit with a new director, and I'll still be on the advising board,” he says. “There is going to be a reconfiguring of the space in the near future. We are really excited about taking Lump into a new...

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Theater Review: Little Green Pig Meets Tom Waits in a Night of Boisterous, Boozy Cabaret

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 4:54 PM

The Piano Has Been Drinking: A Tom Waits Cabaret ★★★½ Friday, April 22, 8 p.m. Arcana Bar & Lounge, Durham If you’re putting on a Tom Waits cabaret—as Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern did at Mystery Brewing Company last Saturday, and will do again at Arcana in Durham on Friday—you’re going to need more than one vocalist. Actually, you’re going to need more than one band. It’s hard to believe the same mind that produced the wistful heartache ballad “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love With You” went on to pen the jaded observations and acid sentiments of...

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Video: Raleigh Murals Project Mashes Up Vibrant People and Public Paintings

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 12:15 PM

The colors of spring preceded the flowers in Raleigh this year, thanks in large part to the people of the Raleigh Murals Project, who work to catalog and highlight historic urban murals and to facilitate the creation of new ones (see Jane Porter’s article for more). They just released a fun new video that draws a parallel between the vibrancy of Raleigh's citizens and its public art.   Co-owner Jedidiah Gant is also a digital strategist at Raleigh video production company Myriad Media, where he worked with creative strategist Tina Haver Currin (disclosure: Currin is an INDY contributor) to produce...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

North Carolina's Independent Bookstores Band Together Against HB 2

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Naturally, the open letter that independent bookstores across the state sent to the governor’s office and circulated online late last week begins by quoting a book. The petitioners use Ray Oldenburg’s assertion that “third places … are the heart of a community's social vitality and the grassroots of democracy” to frame their argument for the repeal of House Bill 2. “As independent bookstores providing that third place in communities across our state,” the letter continues, “we believe it is essential to be non-discriminatory, inclusive and tolerant, to promote freedom of speech and equality, and to guard against censorship and...

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Movie Review: The Jungle Book Creatively Brings the Essence of Disney's Animated Classic to Life

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 1:46 PM

The Jungle Book ★★★★ Opening Friday, April 15 As a CGI bear named Baloo in Disney’s new, live-action The Jungle Book, Bill Murray channels the kind of surrogate-big-brother camp counselor that made him famous in Meatballs. He doesn’t try to hit the exact same notes as Phil Harris in the 1967 animated classic, but it’s the same principle—laidback, laconic, irresponsible but protective—capturing the essence while doing something new. That’s the strength director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Marks bring to this update, which honors the iconography of the original while restoring some of the darkness of Rudyard Kipling’s stories, which...

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Theater Review: The Elephant Man Is a Theatrical Autopsy of Victorian England's Selective Morals

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 4:32 PM

The Elephant Man★★★ Theatre in the Park, Raleigh Through April 24 Perhaps the subject’s medical nature had something to do with it, but by the end of the first act of The Elephant Man at Theatre in the Park, I’d concluded it was a theatrical autopsy that stripped the title character's tale to its bones, until the last act more fully fleshed it out. It vexed me enough to send me back to Bernard Pomerance’s Tony Award-winning script from 1977—where I found skeletal scenes and underdeveloped characters, hobbled by exposition, throughout Act One. It’s hard to fault director Ira David...

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Andy Warhol Museum Director Cancels Visit to UNC's MFA Class—Guess Why

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Thus far, many of the headline-grabbing HB-2-related boycotts have come from the worlds of business (Paypal, Deutsche Bank) and music (Springsteen, Ringo, and, today, Ani DiFranco). But the backlash is being felt in less commercial spheres as well. Eric C. Shiner, director of The Andy Warhol Museum, had planned to visit North Carolina later this month to offer critiques to MFA students at UNC-Chapel Hill as part of the school’s Visiting Artist Professionals program. Due to HB 2, Shiner will no longer be making the trek down from Pittsburgh. UNC art professor elin o’Hara slavick published on Facebook yesterday the...

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Theater Review: The Consequences of Virtual Play Laid Bare at Manbites in The Nether

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 3:51 PM

The Nether ★★★★ Manbites Dog Theater, Durham Through April 23 In The Body in Pain, Elaine Scarry writes about how technology has extended our physical abilities and senses. The hammer and handgun concentrate applied force; the telescope lengthens eyesight; microphones and loudspeakers amplify voices; bicycles and cars expand mobility. But as networked computers exponentially increase our computational, sensory, and data-gathering powers, some say the human body is becoming increasingly dislocated in the digital rush. Soon, it might be all but discarded. Jennifer Haley explores a very unsettling facet of this possibility in The Nether, her creepy 2013 sci-fi drama. Director Jules...

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Full Frame: A Quirky Sunday Surfing the Net With Werner Herzog and Reading New Yorker Cartoons

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 3:31 PM

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World Very Semi-Serious Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham Sunday, April 10, 2016 This weekend’s late-spring freeze turned attendees of the nineteenth annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival into puffy little cotton balls, their down jackets swishing together in tight theater aisles, making the cinemas feel even fuller than usual. By Sunday, everyone had gotten the hang of the ticketing process, screening locations, and which bathrooms had the fastest moving lines. The festival moved like a well-oiled, well-bundled machine. I’ll admit it: this was my first time at Full Frame. I was afraid...

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Movie Review: City of Gold Deliciously Translates a Celebrated Food Critic's Style to the Screen

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 12:19 PM

City of Gold ★★★ ½ Now playing For dedicated foodies, City of Gold is the best dinner-and-a-movie option to hit local theaters since Jon Favreau's underrated Chef. This sprightly new documentary profiles the life and work of Los Angeles Times writer Jonathan Gold, the first food critic to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Gold made his bones in the eighties by wandering away from the usual high-end French restaurants and exploring the city's humbler eateries, often tucked away in dodgy neighborhoods or shabby strip malls. Gold's abiding love of Los Angeles and its endlessly colliding cultures powers his writing and...

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Full Frame: Underdogs Get Their Place in the Spotlight

Posted By on Sun, Apr 10, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Sonita (★★★½) Life, Animated (★★★) Raising Bertie (★★) Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham Saturday, April 9, 2016 Perseverance is a common theme in documentaries, usually involving the tenacity of a film’s subject and occasionally the filmmakers. Three docs featured during day three of this year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival ply this premise, with decidedly different results. Sundance sensation Sonita chronicles the story of Sonita Alizadeh, an undocumented Afghan teenager living in Iran. We first meet the 18-year-old Alizadeh rapping for fellow displaced children in their Tehran group home. Alizadeh harbors Western sensibilities and dreams of hitting it big...

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I think that this sequel is a good movie to watch. It is frightening and has a lot of scenes …

by Hannah James on Movie Review: Blair Witch Takes Us Back to Ground Zero of the Found-Footage Horror Explosion (Arts)

such low key, warm, psychedelic cinematography (and Naomi Watts). beautiful film. …

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