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Friday, August 17, 2018

Movie Review: A Talented, Tortured British Fashion Supernova Receives a Compassionate Tribute in McQueen

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 4:12 PM

McQueen ★★★½ Now playing Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui's documentary about the life and career of British fashion supernova Alexander McQueen reveals a man whose personal demons drove his prolific, darkly beautiful designs. The film gains unprecedented access to the designer’s family and revisits key moments of his archive and inspirations. It paints McQueen as a romantic who, burdened with the demands of work and fame, burned out in a manner as spectacular as his runway shows. McQueen is best when it provides insight into the designer’s most intimate relationships. Though McQueen was gay and married to his work,...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Theater Review: Seed Art Share's Immersive The Miracle Worker Reconnected Us with a Midcentury Theater Classic

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 2:34 PM

The Miracle Worker ★★★★ Friday, Aug. 10–Sunday, Aug. 12 The Borden Building, Raleigh Immersive theater attempts to pull viewers through the fourth wall, placing them within the world of the story. Sleep No More, the form’s most famous example, is still sending audiences prowling through a seedy hotel after seven years in Chelsea. Locally, Little Green Pig, Sonorous Road, and MOJOAA Performing Arts have all experimented with the form over the last season. The Borden Building, a two-story brick mansion built in 1900 at the site of a Raleigh orphanage, all but qualified as an additional character in Seed...

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Theater Review: A Faded but Formidable, Distinctly Carnivorous Maria Callas Draws Operatic Blood in Master Class

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 2:13 PM

Master Class ★★★★ Through Sunday, Aug. 19 Kennedy Theatre, Raleigh “You’re a monstre sacré now. We’re both monstres sacrés,” the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis says to Maria Callas in Master Class, currently running at Kennedy Theatre. He might be right. There is something monstrous in the figure director Ray Dooley and actor Judy McLane present in this Theatre Raleigh production of Terrence McNally's drama. Certainly, their Callas is charming, in what is virtually a one-person show based on the life of the legendary opera diva, and the playwright gifts her with an incisive, disarming wit. Still, there’s something decidedly carnivorous in...

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Movie Review: Internet Celebrity Bo Burnham Skewers the Medium of His Fame in Half-Brilliant Directorial Debut Eighth Grade

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Eighth Grade★★★½ Now playing It’s hard to predict who will feel more disquieted watching Eighth Grade, Generation Z or its parents. Writer-director Bo Burnham, who rose to fame as an Internet sensation, skewers the very modern-day milieu that serves as his celebrity platform. The film focuses on Kayla (fifteen-year-old Elsie Fisher), who is in her final week of eighth grade. Compared to a two-year-old “time capsule” containing Kayla’s once-optimistic hopes for middle school, eighth grade has devolved into an alternate reality of photo filters, web chats, and school-shooting drills. As the gaze of students remains firmly affixed to their...

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Movie Review: The Least Interesting Thing About Christopher Robin Is Christopher Robin

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 9:50 AM

Christopher Robin ★★½ Opening Friday, Aug. 3 The least interesting thing about Christopher Robin is Christopher Robin. Decades after departing from the Hundred Acre Wood as a teenager, Robin (Ewan McGregor) is all grown up, not to mention a World War II veteran. He has a wife (Hayley Atwell), a daughter (Bronte Carmichael), and a job that monopolizes his family time. In fact, he has to miss a family getaway when his sniveling boss (Mark Gatiss) tasks him to spend a weekend concocting cuts to the company’s worsening bottom line to fend off mass layoffs. Director Marc Forster strains...

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Movie Review: The Audacious Mission: Impossible – Fallout Rivals the Best of Bourne and Recent Bond

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 9:12 AM

Mission: Impossible – Fallout ★★★★½ Now playing No moment in Mission: Impossible – Fallout captures Tom Cruise’s outsize persona better than the long shot of Cruise racing a BMW Scrambler motorcycle around the Arc de Triomphe. Cruise’s fascinating mélange of ego and effort is his stock-in-trade, so an iconic monument commissioned by Napoleon is a fitting backdrop for another diminutive celebrity as he zips in and out of Parisian traffic. That’s really the fifty-six-year-old Cruise driving the bike, just like it’s really Cruise doing a breathtaking (literally and figuratively) HALO dive, scaling a skyscraper, dangling from a helicopter, piloting...

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

ADF Review: Abby Zbikowski’s Tectonic Erupts from a High-Energy, Low-Stakes Footprints, Ending the ADF Season on a Joyful Note

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 12:14 PM

Footprints ★★★½ Jul. 20 & 21 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Every year, I’m reminded why I love the American Dance Festivals’s Footprints show. Usually concluding the season, it features the work of the festival’s commissioned choreographers and stars its students. A few choreographers have the luxury of spending six weeks focused on creating wholly new works, using dancers who are, for all intents and purposes, talented professionals. Almost invariably, the results are intriguing. Are the finished pieces Great Art? Not necessarily. But in this setting, it doesn’t matter. The stakes are relatively low, allowing the dancemakers to take risks...

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Dance Review: Justin Tornow and COMPANY's Maze of Dance-Tech Dioramas Illuminates Compelling Questions About Autonomy and Art

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 11:39 AM

COMPANY: SHOW ★★★ ½ Jul. 11–15 The Fruit, Durham For a show that consists of things happening inside boxes, SHOW is awfully hard to put in a box. Premiering at The Fruit last week, the virtually un-googleable performance installation by Justin Tornow and COMPANY is a maze of dance-tech dioramas in which enticements for free-range viewers lead not to resolutions, but to further enticements. You may come to feel you could drift through it forever on a Möbius path of your own choosing, yet always with a hint of FOMO. After all, the entire multilevel venue teems with simultaneous...

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Friday, July 20, 2018

ADF Review: Dancer Tamisha Guy Steals the Show in Kyle Abraham's Almost Unbearably Intimate Dearest Home

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 11:45 AM

Kyle Abraham’s “A.I.M.” ★★★★ Jul. 17–19 Von der Heyden Studio Theater, Durham I’ve heard it said that marriage is ultimately little more than two naked people together in an empty room. That is, you bring to the partnership nothing more than yourself, with all the concomitant baggage. That concept came to mind while I was watching Kyle Abraham’s piece, Dearest Home. Not only because the dancers progressively strip down to their underwear and, in one case, get naked. And not just because the space, a wide white expanse of floor, resembles an empty room. The show is about intimacy,...

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ADF Review: Heady Deconstructionist Tere O'Connor's Long Run Is More Engaging in Theory than Practice

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 8:22 AM

Tere O’Connor ★★ Jul. 10 & 11 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Something is amiss when a choreographer’s theories prove more engaging than the work that embodies them. This was the case with Long Run, Tere O’Connor’s newest work, commissioned by the American Dance Festival. Critics and audiences have long celebrated the specificity of the choreographer’s explorations. O'Connor breaks down the grammar and syntax of human movements, gestures, and poses into individual visual phonemes that immediately telegraph information about personality, mood, power dynamics, relationships, and sexuality. O’Connor then re-sequences these glyphs into prismatic, quicksilver patterns that elude direct translation, a...

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Theater Review: Innovative Direction and Fine Performances Add Intimacy and Impact to Theatre Raleigh's Big Fish

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 9:08 AM

Big Fish★★★★ Through Sunday, Jul. 22 Kennedy Theatre, Raleigh When James McMurtry sings, “Life and legend are an awkward pair,” we take it that the son of Old West novelist Larry McMurtry is voicing a truth that’s close to home. Playwright John August explores similar terrain in this prismatic musical stage adaptation of Big Fish, Chapel Hill author Daniel Wallace’s 1998 best-selling novel, which director Tim Burton made into a major motion picture in 2003. In it, wonky journalist Will Bloom (Chris Dwan) sifts through a lifetime of tall tales his dying father, Edward (an earnest Timothy Gulan) has...

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Through This Lens Hosts an Exhibit and Flash Sale of Colectivo Liminal Photos to Benefit Local Migrant-Support Organizations

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2018 at 2:07 PM

Colectivo Liminal Silent Auction Friday, Jul. 20, 6–9 p.m. Through This Lens, Durham At Through This Lens on July 20, Colectivo Liminal is holding a flash sale of fifty photographs that document issues of immigration, migration, and refugee crises in the global South. The photos are the product of Colectivo Liminal’s network of journalists and photographers, hailing from as close to home as Durham and as far away as Argentina, who "work in the liminal spaces created by borders." (One wall will be entirely dedicated to photos or photographers from North Carolina.) The flash sale is a response to ongoing...

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Performance Review: In Parcours, JoRose Explores the Spiritual Experience of Growth in a Limiting Physical World

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 at 11:37 AM

Johanna Rose Burwell: Parcours ★★★ July 5–7 The Fruit, Durham Parcours, the new performance piece that Johanna Rose Burwell (aka JoRose) premiered at The Fruit last week, is an exploration of the spiritual experience of growth in a physical world and the limits placed on it by the body, the mind, and society. “This is a party, so enjoy yourself,” JoRose exclaimed as we took our seats. Indeed, the atmosphere felt like a party, and the venue was partly the reason. JoRose transformed an old loading dock in what used to be the Durham Fruit and Produce Company into...

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Monday, July 9, 2018

ADF Review: In an Era of Tested Faith, the Buoyancy of Rosie Herrera's Belief Might Just See Us Through

Posted By on Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 1:51 PM

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre: Make Believe ★★★★ Friday, Jul. 6 & Saturday, Jul. 7 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Choreographer Rosie Herrera still has the power to astonish us. If she retains her usual ability to effectively edit her own work, then Make Believe, which had its world premiere Friday night at the American Dance Festival, will become one of her most notable achievements. In a post-performance conversation, Herrera candidly admitted that the company had still been at work on the piece just before its premiere, and that significant edits remained in store before its second iteration Saturday night. That...

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Theater Review: There Are Plenty of Laughs Left in Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy's Sketch Comedy in Parallel Lives

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 5:46 PM

Parallel Lives★★★½ Through Saturday, Jul. 7 Burning Coal Theatre, Raleigh If our culture has moved beyond the reductive view that feminism isn’t funny, Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy had something to do with it. A generation before the likes of Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer, the pair parlayed its brand of sharp sketch comedy, interwoven with serious social observations, into a celebrated West Coast stage show in the eighties. An Obie-winning off-Broadway production and subsequent HBO specials made them an early-nineties staple on Comedy Central. Parallel Lives, whose Women’s Theatre Festival production closes this weekend at Burning Coal Theatre,...

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ADF Review: L-E-V's OCD Love Purports to Be About Missed Connections, but We Saw Something Else Entirely

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 2:15 PM

L-E-V: OCD Love ★★★ Tuesday, July 3 Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Program notes can be a lifesaver. The short text explaining a show’s inspiration or meaning often serves as a map lighting up an otherwise inscrutable performance. Sometimes, though, they lead to a dead end. That’s how I felt watching OCD Love, a work by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar's company L-E-V. The program notes explained that the show is about lovers failing to connect, but that’s not what I saw. Not even close. Rather, OCD Love appears to be about five people at a club, gyrating to techno...

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

In Raleigh, a New Speculative Fiction Star Bursts Into Being: Get to Know Empire of Silence Author Christopher Ruocchio

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 11:17 AM

Christopher Ruocchio Friday, Jul. 6, 7 p.m., free Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh You may not have heard of the young Raleigh author Christopher Ruocchio yet, but science fiction and fantasy readers around the world now know his name. Just last year, Ruocchio finished an MFA at N.C. State under the tutelage of John Kessel, whose coterie of speculative fiction students includes award-winners such as Andy Duncan and Kij Johnson. Since then, Ruocchio has worked as an associate editor for publisher Baen Books. This week, his debut novel, Empire of Silence, was published by genre titans DAW Books (in the U.S.) and Gollancz...

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 4, 2018 at 9:48 AM

The Bipeds: 54 Strange Words ★★★½ Thursday, Jun. 21–Sunday, Jun. 24 The Fruit, Durham Perhaps halfway through local dance-music company The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words, which premiered as the closer in the DIDA season near the end of June, I saw something I'll never forget. Dana Marks, whom you likely know as an actor and director with Little Green Pig, emerged into the performance space at The Fruit, joining dancer and choreographer Stacy Wolfson, banjoist and singer Curtis Eller, and their ensemble of dancers and movers among the smoldering shadows. Wearing stilts beneath a long robe that had a...

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Monday, July 2, 2018

ADF Review: Anne Plamondon Portrays Her Childhood Experience of Her Father's Schizophrenia with Skill, Intelligence, and Genuine Vulnerability

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 8:33 AM

Anne Plamondon ★★★★ Saturday, Jun. 30 & Sunday, Jul. 1 Von der Heyden Studio Theater, Durham “I was scared,” Anne Plamondon says during her solo show, The Same Eyes as Yours, about visiting her father in a mental hospital when she was a small child. And that’s all I could think about during the piece: how afraid and angry she must’ve been to have had a father with schizophrenia who never recovered. This is a testament to her skill as a choreographer and performer. Plamondon was able to create that world for the audience, displaying a sense of the...

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ADF Review: A Concert of Dance by Returning Alumni Reminds Us That Sometimes, You Can't Go Home Again

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 8:14 AM

Coming Home: ADF Alumni Return ★★ Saturday, Jun. 23 & Sunday, Jun. 24 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham Homecomings can be bittersweet affairs, and ADF’s alumni showcase was a particularly dispiriting one. It’s hard to imagine that more than a hundred other submitted dance works were less accomplished than the mostly unfortunate quintet selected by a blue-chip panel of professionals: ADF alumni themselves, including Elaine Bayless, Nicholas Leichter, and Larry Keigwin. Even harder to swallow: Apparently, no work by female alumnae met the problematic curatorial standards here. Two of the five works we saw were largely exercises in form without...

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Monday, June 25, 2018

ADF Review: Pilobolus's Crowd-Pleasing Dance Is Apolitical. Unfortunately, the World It Inhabits Is Not.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 12:32 PM

Pilobolus ★½ Thursday, Jun. 21 & Friday, Jun. 22 Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Pilobolus exempts itself from politics. The dance company wants you to escape the real world and have a good time for a couple of hours. It wants to give you a handful of chuckles and elicit some oohs and aahs in return. It operates in two distinct modes: hamming it up—exaggeratedly acting like animals, pantomiming to sound effects—or smoothing it out, showing off physical strength and skill at counterbalancing human bodies in muscular poses, lifts, and spins. That’s enough to send most people home impressed...

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Theater Review: One of Theater's Great Sacrificial Characters Strikes Back in Iphigenia in Splott

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 3:31 PM

Iphigenia in Splott ★★★★½ Through Saturday, Jun. 23 Burning Coal Theatre, Raleigh Iphigenia is one of the greatest sacrificial characters in Greek mythology. Splott, however, is a rundown section of Cardiff, Wales, best known to locals as the place where a library, swimming pool, doctor’s office, and other amenities used to be—before government funding cuts. “They cut everything we need to make a life,” a chronic, salty-tongued young alcoholic, purposefully named Effie, tells us in  playwright Gary Owen’s harrowing, challenging one-person show. As in the ancient texts, a soldier will cruelly betray this unlikely Iphigenia. She will also be repeatedly...

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ADF Review: Shen Wei, Samuel Beckett, and Morton Feldman Meet in the Bardo in Neither

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 9:58 AM

Shen Wei Dance Arts: Neither★★★★½ Saturday, June 16 & Sunday, June 17 Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham In retrospect, it was obvious. If grim Samuel Beckett, indeterminate composer Morton Feldman, and choreographer Shen Wei were going to meet anywhere, it was going to be in the bardo, that liminal space between lives contemplated in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Shen’s interpretation of Neither, the disquieting 1977 “opera” Feldman composed to Beckett’s skeletal eighty-seven-word libretto, seems to document transactions in that Buddhist analog of purgatory, a disorienting place of reckoning and transformation where souls work out their next incarnation....

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Coming Home: ADF Alumni Return

Posted on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 4:00 AM

Saturday, June 23-Sunday, June 24 Reynolds Industries Theater, Durham 7 p.m. Sat./2 p.m. Sun., $12-$33 www.americandancefestival.org Each summer at the American Dance Festival, student choreographers and dancers sharpen their skills in its rigorous Six-Week School and frequently launch professional careers. Here, a blue-ribbon panel of choreographers has chosen five emerging talents, all ADF alumni, for a showcase of their divergent work. Burr Johnson's grace, precision, and long physical lines have made local choreographer Helen Simoneau's work look good for years. Raja Feather Kelly continues his series of Andy Warhol dance interpretations. Alex Springer and Xan Burley's study in proximity,...

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Durham Comics Fest 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 4:00 AM

Saturday, June 23 Durham County Library Southwest Regional Branch) 11 a.m.-3:45 p.m., free, www.durhamcomicsfest.org If your budget or tolerance of crowds makes you wary of NC Comicon or Raleigh Supercon, the Durham County Library's free, relatively intimate annual comics festival is a less intimidating venture into the waters of fandom. The main event is at the library on Saturday, where alternative comic creators will offer family-friendly insights into their craft. Guests include Molly Ostertag, creator of the webcomic Strong Female Protagonist (about a female superhero braving the challenges of college); and Liz Prince, whose comics range from Steven Universe...

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Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

You probably want to refrain from using ableist language.

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Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

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Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

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