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News Features
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Paradise in Our Own Back Yard

The Department of City Development has formulated a Northeast Side Plan, a broad guide to future development of an area that includes the Milwaukee River environmental corridor and the Hometown site. The plan will be finalized later this month and will offer a broad frame within which site conflicts can be resolved.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Theater Reviews

Revivals of the King Arthur legend can usually be rated in terms of historical accuracy or the imagination with which they push the legend further into fantasy. Broadway Across America’s Spamalot, which ended its brief stint at the Marcus Center on May 4, gleefully defies either category. In fact, its main purpose is to offer a musical take on another version of the King Arthur story: the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Although it departs from the film at times, especially in its upbeat finale . . .
Monday, May 5, 2008

Book Preview

For a writer, relating the immigrant experience without patronizing or perplexing the reader is no small feat. Actually making them laugh in the process is even harder. Firoozeh Dumas has been hailed by critics for being capable of delivering poignant glimpses of her experiences as an Iranian American growing up in Southern California with both sensitivity and humor. Her first book to gain wide critical acclaim, Funny in Farsi, was a series of autobiographical essays illuminating her and her family’s experience of acclimatizing themselves to American culture. Her second, released this month . . .
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Theater Review

Despite offering a critique of what he called the “claptrap morality” of Victorian society, Wilkie Collins’ novels never failed to weave a thoroughly good yarn. The Milwaukee Rep’s production of Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Collins 1866 novel Armadale remains true to this spirit. It navigates its way around the novel’s convoluted plot and boldly lifts up the starched petticoats of English upper-crust to reveal sexual intrigue, suicide, deception, murder, medical malpractice and opium addiction teeming beneath the veneer of propriety—in short all the things which Collins longed to further illuminate—and presents them in the form of a highly entertaining and rather saucy play.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Book Preview

It’s no coincidence that some of the most controversial and widely discussed books of the last century have been coming-of-age novels. Evidently there’s something about a young person’s path through the minefield of adolescence that can capture the anxieties of an epoch. Milwaukee native Paul McComas’ new novel, Planet of the Dates, offers readers a glimpse into the shifting political and cultural climate of the late-1970s and ’80s through the eyes of an ardent youth. It speaks of an era when the public’s anxiety . . .
Monday, April 28, 2008

Interview with Paul McComas

The Planet of the Dates is an alien and sometimes hostile territory, but Phil Corcoran, the teenage protagonist of Milwaukee-native Paul McComas’ new book, is determined to conquer this unfamiliar habitat. He talks about how he combined autobiographical elements and fiction in this humorous and engaging look at adolescence.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Architecture Review

Hollyhock House, a residence in Los Angeles that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for oil-rich heiress Aline Barnsdall in 1919, is not among the architect’s most celebrated works. Indeed, it belongs to what has been considered by some historians as a less illustrious, almost anomalistic period of his career. However, within the last decade or so, there has been a resurgence of interest in the building, culminating in an exhibit by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs that includes the Hollyhock House drawings in its possession as well as photographs by Edmund Teske, a friend of both Barnsdall and Wright. Through June 15, some of these drawings and photographs can be seen at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.
Sunday, April 20, 2008

Book Preview

The unmitigated awe that nature can inspire in the youthful imagination has been a subject of reflection for countless poets and authors. Transcendentalists like Walt Whitman ascribed an almost pious relevance to a child’s discovery of nature. It’s this sense of awe and wonder that writer Richard Louv believes is at stake in today’s youth, resulting largely from a dwindling contact with nature and an immersion in electronic media and structured play. In 2005 he published Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, enumerating the many ills that arise when children are gradually divorced from the natural world.
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Book Preview

In spring 1988, Milwaukee’s observance of Earth Day was bolstered by the city’s first ever Earth Poets Celebration. A group of 10 ardent and inspired poets, handpicked by author and UW-Milwaukee instructor Jeff Poniewaz, assembled at The Coffee House on 19th Street to perform poetry that centered on environmental concerns. Twenty years later, they’re still going strong. Each annual event boasts a talented lineup of local poets that includes four of the original group members: Poniewaz, Harvey Taylor, Suzanne Rosenblatt and Louisa Loveridge-Gallas.
Off the Cuff
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Since the 1980s, local author and UW-Milwaukee instructor has been using poetry to usher in a greener, more environmentally aware city. After immersing himself in the eco-inspired poetry scene of the West Coast in the late-’70s, he came back to Milwaukee in the early ’80s to find a community of like-minded individuals.

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