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Theater
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Theater Review

Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire depicts the wanton dismantling of an elaborately woven ideal and the erection of a hard-boiled, pressing reality in its place. Blanche DuBois, a faded and delusional Southern belle, represents a dying gentility. Her voracious brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski, represents the archetypal male—the obnoxious leader of a beer-swilling pack, the prize cock who woos, marries and impregnates Blanche’s sister, Stella. He secures his future through the fruit of his loins while ensuring that Blanche remains eternally incarcerated within her tragic illusions.
Off the Cuff
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Radio advertisements touting the flawless merit of diamonds, hallmark holidays urging couples to demonstrate their affections through expensive, timeworn tokens… These are just some of the commercial trappings of the jewelry industry that have robbed it of its greatest asset:
Theater
Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Theater Reviews

A good kids’ play or musical often meets greater approval from parents than from children—perhaps because their appreciation is mingled with a sense of relieved gratitude. First Stage’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad goes further than most in wooing adults as well as their offspring. The musical, like the stories on which it’s based, evokes a nostalgia that’s free of cloying sentiment or honeyed charm. The characters, basking in their sylvan idyll, are homely creatures whose lives are dictated by the reassuring cycle of seasons . . .
Books
Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Book Preview

Brady Street has a well-established reputation as one of Milwaukee’s most exciting and diverse neighborhoods, and one that deserves respect for its resilience to great industrial, social, economic and demographic changes. A new book by Frank Alioto, a Milwaukee fire captain and columnist for the neighborhood newsletter Brady Street News, offers an engaging visual survey of the area from the mid-19th century to today.
Books
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Book Previews

This week, mystery lingers in the air like the teasing portents of spring. A host of wellestablished writers stop at Mystery One Bookstore to sign and read excerpts from their newest works. Chicago writer Steven Sidor has authored a new thriller, titled The Mirror’s Edge, that follows a journalist’s obsessive course to track the abductor of a pair of toddler twins. The investigation leads to the world of the supernatural and occult, taking sharp and grisly turns and . . .
A&E Feature
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Light, air and architecture

Just more than a month from now the Milwaukee Art Museum’s exhibit “Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945” will come to a close. In a review of the show, which brings together an enormous collection of works by Central European photographers active in the interwar period, I pointed out that one of its few failings was the lamentable omission of any references to modern architecture flourishing in that period.
Theater
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Theater Reviews

Milwaukee Shakespeare can sometimes be faulted for staging productions that display more polish than punch. Its production of Cymbeline demonstrates how effectively it can achieve both, creating an entertaining spectacle from one of Shakespeare’s silliest plays. Written after he’d penned his greatest tragedies, comedies and histories, Cymbeline appears to be an exercise by the playwright to see just how dexterously he could coax threads of each genre into the effusive bow signifying the end of the play.
Theater
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Theater Reviews

You’re on Earth, there’s no cure for that,” bellows Michael Corkins, playing Hamm in Milwaukee Rep’s production of Endgame. His outburst marks one of many instances when his rich stentorian voice erupts into violent disdain for the futility and wretchedness of human existence. Despite the comic patter consistent throughout the play, this expression of despair for the irremediable suffering of mankind clings to the characters like the fog one imagines inhabits the world outside their decaying cocoon. Prolonged disease and decrepitude remain within; “Outside of here it’s death.”
Books
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Book Preview

Whether exploring the constructs of an overwrought imagination or the disorienting results of an alien visitation, the fantastical collides with the mundane in the works of two young writers coming to Milwaukee this week. View From the Seventh Layer is a new collection of solemn and often beautiful short stories by award-winning writer Kevin Brockmeier. Like much of his work, it straddles the boundary between fantasy and literary fiction . . .
Authors' Voices (Online Exclusive)
Monday, March 24, 2008

Interview With Kevin Brockmeier

There’s an indelible quality to Kevin Brockmeier’s writing that has earned him such accolades as the O. Henry Award and the Italo Calvino Short Fiction Award. In his new collection of stories, View From the Seventh Layer, he further cements his reputation for creating slender and solemn prose that blends the fantastical with the everyday. He talks to us about this, his second collection of short stories for adults:

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