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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dance Review: Rabble & Twine's The Mesoplanets Shines in Multimedia Atmosphere but Needs Stronger Movement

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 3:51 PM

Rabble and Twine: The Mesoplanets★★ Saturday, May 6 Living Arts Collective, Durham When the music, projections, and visual design of a dance performance are as strong as those in Rabble & Twine’s The Mesoplanets, the most recent offering from Durham Independent Dance Artists, it’s disappointing when the choreography lags well behind. But the polish and flashes of imagination that we repeatedly experienced during a drolly narrated guided tour of our interplanetary B-team—ten moons, asteroids and dwarf planets selected from the host that meander throughout or at the edges of our solar system—came for the most part from the costume and...

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Movie Review: In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Guy Ritchie Gets Medieval on Our Collective Asses

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 4:50 PM

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword ★★★ Now playing In the would-be franchise starter King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, director Guy Ritchie gets medieval on our collective asses by twisting Arthurian legend into a British caper film. Hunky Charlie Hunnam is our hero, Jude Law is the baddie, and the future Knights of the Round Table are portrayed as a gang of streetwise fixers from the mean streets of Londinium circa 573 AD. Critics are slamming the movie as a ridiculous attempt to transpose an august mythology onto a laddish action picture. They're not wrong, but they're mad for...

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Common Ground Theatre Is Gone, But Some of Its Resources and Its Role Live on in Walltown Children's Theatre

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 1:53 PM

Cynthia Penn-Halal is beaming as she stands amid the clutter of construction at Walltown Children’s Theatre. The company’s executive director points out a neighborhood worker painting the wooden side rails on new risers for the audience, while theatrical carpenter Jeff Alguire puts the finishing touches on the technical booth he’s made out of what was once the baptistry in a former church building on Berkeley Street. “I’ve wanted to do this since 2005,” Penn-Halal says of a monthlong project that has transformed the main room of her facility into a commercial-grade black box theater, capable of hosting the region’s...

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Film Review: The Rise and Fall of Liberty Asks What Is Lost in Durham’s Urban Renewal

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 10:23 AM

Walker Stone’s voice is gruff but flavorful, like the tobacco leaves that were once hauled into his auction warehouse in Durham to be sold to the tobacco companies that dotted downtown. “Durham was built on tobacco,” Stone says at the onset of The Rise and Fall of Liberty, a film by local documentary filmmaker Carol Thomson and a project of the Southern Documentary Fund. One only needs to walk Durham’s streets and landmarks to see the truth of Walker’s words. But Liberty tells the story behind—and literally inside—those familiar landmarks and raises questions about the consequences of unchecked economic...

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Watch John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats Kick Off a New Storytelling Series From Dogwood Alliance

Posted By on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 2:15 PM

The Dogwood Alliance has launched a new initiative that springs from the special connection humans have with forests. “Stories Happen in Forests” is a video series that will focus on stories about the magic, mystery, and beauty of Southern forests. The project, which grew out of a conversation between author and Mountain Goats musician John Darnielle and his friend Sami Grover, aims to collect stories from a broad range of people that love forests. Darnielle himself offers up the first story, about kayaking in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern North Carolina, and you can watch it below. The organization is seeking...

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Theater Review: In Marjorie Prime, Human Replicas Help the Living, But at What Cost?

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 4:27 PM

Marjorie Prime ★★★ ½ Through May 13 Manbites Dog Theater, Durham The theory of the “uncanny valley” has taken on increasing importance in recent years. It refers to the phenomenon that human replicas prompt feelings of distaste and distrust when they  look, talk, act or move like human beings, but not quite. The idea has become a subject of significant research and the subject of films like Ex Machina, television shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, and plays including Francesca Talenti’s 2013 drama The Uncanny Valley at UNC and Marjorie Prime, now at Manbites Dog Theater. But the concept is actually...

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Interview: Cory Doctorow's Walkaway Puts an Optimistic Spin on the Disaster Novel

Posted By on Wed, May 3, 2017 at 4:41 PM

Cory Doctorow: Walkaway Friday, May 5, 7 p.m., free (signing line with book purchase) Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill In his new book, Walkaway, the writer, activist, and digital polymath Cory Doctorow envisions a quasi-utopian future in which people walk away from a corrupt society that has ignored climate change and allowed inequality to rise, making new lives in the forgotten spaces of the post-industrial world. Reluctantly dragged by his friend Seth to a rave in an abandoned factory outside Toronto, everyman protagonist Hubert meets Natalie, the daughter of an ultra-rich, connected family. Together, the three "go walkaway", escaping (for Seth...

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Movie Review: Land of Mine Is Both a Classic War Film and a Powerful Anti-War Statement

Posted By on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 1:34 PM

Land of Mine ★★★★ Now playing In the final months of World War II, German forces buried more than 1.5 million landmines on the western beaches of Denmark. Germany believed that the Danish shore was one of the probable landing spots for an Allied invasion. After Germany's surrender, Danish officials commandeered four thousand German POWs to remove the landmines. By then, most of the original occupying forces were dead or gone. The final wave of German soldiers sent to Denmark were mostly teenagers—children, essentially—conscripted by Hitler in a cruel last gasp. This largely forgotten episode of World War II history...

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Justice Theater Project and Young Students Band Together Against Arts Funding Cuts

Posted By on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 10:13 AM

Justice Theater Project's Forum Theatre Workshop Saturday, April 22 Umstead Park United Church of Christ, Raleigh A plastic, gold-painted crown isn’t part of the standard-issue uniform for public school principals. But it somehow fits the character who sits at a desk on the dais at the Umstead Park United Church of Christ. After reading a sticky note handed to her by a lackey, she picks up a phone and imperiously announces on the school’s public address system, “There will be no more art and chorus from now on.” Then her assistants walk across the stage and confiscate the drawings, art...

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Theater Review: In On Golden Pond, Stage Veterans Contemplate What's Gone Before and What's to Come

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 11:46 AM

On Golden Pond ★★★½ Through April 23 Theatre in the Park, Raleigh The thought, though it’s more than a touch morbid, applies as much to summer idylls as it does to theatrical productions, regardless of their ambition or achievement: only a finite number is allotted to any of us. What comes after is, at best, unclear. Playwright Ernest Thompson’s family drama became a part of motion picture history when the Oscar-winning film version, a box-office behemoth with Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda, became the second-highest grossing movie of 1981. (The top? Raiders of the Lost Ark). A television adaptation...

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Theater Review: Durham Newcomer Addled Muse Fire Theater Has Cirque Chops. Now It's Time to Build on the Theater Side.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 2:06 PM

Addled Muse Fire Theater: Purgatoire★★★ Saturday, April 15 Durham Central Park, Durham Theater begets theater, dance begets dance. After a group of artists honing their craft coalesce around a director, choreographer, or company, they branch out to start practices of their own. The same is true of cirque and flow arts; a brief online search now finds more than half a dozen regional groups and practitioners devoted to the style of eccentric aerial and land-based acrobatics and choreography originally championed locally by Raleigh’s Cirque de Vol. Last Saturday, on a perfect night under the stars in Durham’s Central Park, the...

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Meow Hear This: Author and Super Troopers Director Jay Chandrasekhar Looks Back on a Long Comedy Career

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 2:47 PM

Jay Chandrasekhar stand-up April 20–22 Goodnights Comedy Club, Raleigh Jay Chandrasekhar: Mustache Shenanigans Saturday, April 22 Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh Jay Chandrasekhar recalls the experience of directing Super Troopers—the 2001 cult comedy about a group of lazy highway patrollers prone to chugging syrup and pranking those they pull over by randomly inserting “meow” into their conversation—with his colleagues from the comedy troupe Broken Lizard. “We had $1.2 million and took twenty-eight days to shoot it,” Chandrasekhar says. Last year, with help from a wildly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that raised almost $4.6 million, the Broken Lizard team was finally able to film...

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Op-Ed: Revitalization Without Gentrification: The Scrap Exchange in Durham’s Lakewood Neighborhood

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 3:09 PM

The author, Ann Woodward, is the executive director of The Scrap Exchange. Working as a waitress at the Back Porch Restaurant in the early 1990s, I never could have guessed that The Scrap Exchange—my other early-1990s employer—would one day own a big portion of the shopping center where the restaurant was located. Back then, The Scrap Exchange was just getting started—I was one of only three staff members, a small fraction of today’s thirty-two employees—and the Lakewood Shopping Center was a thriving retail center. Today, the Scrap Exchange is poised to develop the northern end of the Lakewood Shopping...

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Theater Review: PlayMakers' My Fair Lady Fleshes Out Edwardian Culture and Cuts Against the Romanticism of the Songs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 1:47 PM

My Fair Lady ★★★★ Through April 29 PlayMakers Repertory Company, Chapel Hill Education changes everything. That’s one of the reasons George Bernard Shaw’s twist on the Pygmalion tale, adapted as the musical My Fair Lady at PlayMakers Repertory Company, could be something of a tender subject in a region where the transformative powers of learning have long been championed. It is widely held here that, through scholarship, people can transcend the limitations of culture, economics, class, and gender. And that statement is true—at least, insofar as it goes. But for many, transcending the limits of their native culture involves the painful...

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious Does Dumb Fun Right

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 4:09 PM

The Fate of the Furious ★★★½ Now playing Any notion of logic in the Fast & Furious film series has long gone the way of the Edsel. What began as a NOS-soaked Point Break knockoff morphed into muscle-bound heist films with muscle cars. With The Fate of the Furious, the series enters its Avengers mode, with Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Statham as its Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor, superheroes forming uneasy alliances to save the world from annihilation. It’s outlandish and refreshingly self-aware, giddily embracing both elements of the label “dumb fun.” Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and new wife,...

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Movie Review: Animated Fable The Red Turtle Uses No Words, and No Words Do It Justice

Posted By on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 12:32 PM

The Red Turtle★★★★½ Now playing Dutch writer-director Michael Dudok de Wit’s first animated feature is quiet, mysterious, and breathtaking. It is almost entirely void of vocal language, other than the occasional emotive grunt. It complements silence with the audible twisting and turning of the tropics—leaves whistling in the wind, ocean waves washing onto the sand, unseen life bustling and breathing. The light bleeding off de Wit’s trademark watercolors render the island of The Red Turtle into some kind of spiritual being. When a nameless middle-aged man finds himself stranded on an island after his ship is swallowed by a storm,...

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Full Frame: Dina Is Earning Acclaim for Its Portrait of Love and Autism. But Is It Illuminating or Exploitative?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 1:36 PM

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival: Dina ★★ Friday, April 7 Carolina Theatre, Durham It speaks to the high quality of Full Frame that the films in its perennial programming range in quality from “above average” to “transcendent.” Any chagrin is typically reserved for experimental submissions that might not suit the taste of some viewers or docs that delve into controversial subject matter. You certainly don’t see many missteps among the invited films—the ones not in competition but chosen due to the pedigree of the director or the film’s previous accolades. Foremost among the invited fare at Full Frame this year...

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Full Frame: All Skate, Everybody Skate Peeks Inside a Post-Office-Slash-Skating-Rink with a Five-Decade History on Topsail Island

Posted By on Sun, Apr 9, 2017 at 7:00 PM

We first meet Doris Jenkins onscreen at the Topsail Beach Skating Rink, standing behind a counter, flanked by a shelf of roller skates and an old record player. She wears a loose white T-shirt with her name airbrushed on the front in neon colors. You know, the kind of souvenir you get at the fair—or the beach. But at the rink she’s owned and operated for more than fifty years, this is a uniform for Jenkins. Durham filmmaker and Elon University professor Nicole Triche spent March through September of 2015 filming All Skate, Everybody Skate, a short documentary about the rink...

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Full Frame: An Avetts Agnostic Finds Some Faith in May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers

Posted By on Sun, Apr 9, 2017 at 4:59 PM

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival: May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers★★★★ Saturday, April 8 Carolina Theatre, Durham I’m not particularly a fan of the Avett Brothers, which made me the odd person out in Fletcher Hall last night, judging from the outbursts of mid-screening applause and the fawning post-screening Q-and-A. Through fifteen years of dogged persistence, the brothers from Concord, North Carolina, and their adopted musical family have built a devoted global fanbase for their soulful, punk-tinged acoustic bluegrass and folk. When singer/banjoist Scott Avett and cellist Joe Kwon showed up with codirector Michael Bonfiglio after the...

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Full Frame: 2017 Award Winners Announced

Posted By on Sun, Apr 9, 2017 at 1:11 PM

For ticketing details on this afternoon's encore screenings of the festival's award winners, visit Full Frame's website. 2017 Award Winners THE REVA AND DAVID LOGAN GRAND JURY AWARD Sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation QUEST by Jonathan Olshefski Encore 4 – 4:40 pm, Fletcher Hall Honorable Mention: Last Men in Aleppo by Feras Fayyad Encore 7 – 7:20 pm, Cinema 1 FULL FRAME JURY AWARD FOR BEST SHORT Provided by Drs. Andrew and Barbra Rothschild Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 by Frank Stiefel Encore 6 – 5:00 pm, Cinema 3 Honorable Mention: The Great Theater...

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Full Frame: What's the Use of Looking Back? In the Case of Two Towns of Jasper, It Helps Us Gauge Our Progress from Then to Now.

Posted By on Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 4:31 PM

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival: Two Towns of Jasper Friday, April 7 Carolina Theatre, Durham In 1998, an African-American man was murdered by three white men in the seemingly peaceful town of Jasper, Texas. Not long after the incident took place, filmmaker Whitney Dow, intuiting the complexity of the story, asked his colleague Marco Williams to join the project of documenting it. Together they determined that they needed two film crews, one white and one black, which would explore the story from the perspective of the white and black townspeople, respectively. Two Towns of Jasper, the result of this unconventional...

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Full Frame: An Interview with the Director of Purple Dreams, a New Doc Capturing the Power of Art Education in a Charlotte High School

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 5:58 PM

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival: Purple Dreams Friday, April 7 Carolina Theatre, Durham It was by sheer luck that I wound up sitting next to Joanne Hock and Heidi Dove, the director and assistant director of Purple Dreams (which has its world premiere in a primetime slot at Fletcher Hall tonight), at a screening this morning. “That’s the fun part about coming to these festivals, meeting people,” Hock remarked when I pulled her aside in the hall to learn more about her film, which is about the first high school (a magnet school in Charlotte) allowed to stage the musical...

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Movie Review: Do Not Go, in Style or Otherwise, to Zach Braff's Going in Style

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 10:56 AM

Going in Style ★ Now playing Going in Style, the new “comedy” from “filmmaker” Zach Braff, has a familiar setup: three old friends, played by veteran actors in their golden years, run into trouble and reunite for one last caper. In this case, the actors are Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, and Michael Caine. The caper is a bank heist. The jokes are tame (and lame) and the entire film hinges on the accumulated good will these performers have earned over their lifetimes. If it feels like you've already seen this movie, you have, figuratively and literally. This iteration tells the story...

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Theater Review: The Harrowing Stories of Global Female Activists Dramatized in Seven: A Documentary Play

Posted By on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 2:30 PM

Seven: A Documentary Play ★★★ ½ Through April 6 Sonorous Road Theater, Raleigh Works like Seven: A Documentary Play sometimes experience difficulty attracting audiences, not despite their worthy subject matter but because of it. The 2007 project, commissioned by the Washington-based international organization Vital Voices Global Partnership, tasked a septet of playwrights, including MacArthur Foundation "Genius" grant-winner Anna Deavere Smith, to interview and dramatize the harrowing stories of seven notable women who have labored in recent decades to improve the living conditions of women in Africa, Central America, Europe, and Southeast, Central, and Western Asia. That description, in itself,...

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Chat with Peyton Dilweg, Who's Competing For Duke on The Price Is Right Tomorrow

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 11:28 AM

March Madness may be but a memory now, but on Friday, Duke will once again face off against UNC in the glare of bright lights. But instead of a sports arena, the battle will take place in the TV studio where The Price Is Right is filmed. Representing Duke in the gameshow's upcoming "College Rivals" episode, set to air on CBS on Friday, March 31 at 11 a.m. EST, is Peyton Dilweg (of Chapel Hill—she's a rivalry of one!), while Dayci Brookshire will fight for UNC. Though Dilweg is technically competing for material wealth, all the years of accrued antipathy...

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Wow. I guess you can't recognize brilliant satire when you see it. This was an amazing performance that if you …

by Sam Bayer on ADF Review: Hillel Kogan's We Love Arabs Lags Behind a Cultural Conversation Already Well Underway in Our Region's Performing Arts Scene (Arts)

The photo in this article is of Jackson Cooper and Katie Barrett, as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, not of …

by David Akiva Klionsky on Theater Review: The Amusing Tea with Edie & Fitz Strains to Make Hay From a Gin-Soaked Dust-Up Between Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Arts)

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