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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Classical Review

Friday evening at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was the debut of conductor Edo de Waart, music director designate, who will begin the post in September of 2009. There was a jittery edge to the performance, understandable from an orchestra eager to play for its new maestro. It was exciting, but not always elegant. I returned Saturday night to hear if the performance would become more settled. In most ways it did.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fear, despair, determination

As a clock ticks off the seconds, the camera stares as a pair of college roommates, Gabita and Otilia, engage in an apparently ordinary conversation. The camera slowly pulls back to reveal a narrow, cramped dorm room at the opening of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and follows Otilia down a dismal hallway to a communal washroom, then to the dorm room of a student running a thriving black market in cigarettes and into another room where she buys hand cream from girls operating a cosmetics bazaar
Thursday, April 17, 2008

George Clooney’s football follies

In the 1920s, college football was just for fun and professional football was a ma-and-pa business. It was a game played by men in scratchy jerseys wearing chin-strap leather helmets that might—with any luck—cushion a blow to the head. Football was still a fast and loose sport. Many fans might have concurred with Dodge Connelly (George Clooney), a member of the Duluth Bulldogs in the period-comedy Leatherheads, when he declares, “Rules will ruin the game.” Along with the influx of corporate money, inflated salaries, stadium-naming rights, luxury sky boxes...
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Theater Review

Kind of like going to the wedding of your second cousin once removed (or is it twice-removed?), Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is good, dysfunctional family fun. It ran through April 20 at the Turner Hall Ball. The scenario goes something like this: You’re seated at a table with a bunch of people you don’t know but with whom you interact cordially, and before you know it the show begins. As wedding “guests,” the audience has a role to play, too.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Theater Review

For its latest production Spiral Theatre has moved to its third location so far this season. And while the performance space at Bucketworks’ new location has all the emotional warmth of a warehouse or an aircraft hangar, it has much better acoustics than their old performance space in the old Mandel building. Spiral Theatre brings an endearing degree of warmth to the new space with it’s production of the 1994 Charles Busch comedy You Should Be So Lucky.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Theater Review

The Chamber Theatre brings its usual finesse and careful adherence to the spirit of the text in their thoughtful new production of Talley’s Folly, Lanford Wilson’s 1980 Pulitzer Prize-winning play and recipient of the New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award .The play is the second in Wilson’s “Talley Trilogy,” all successfully produced. With such distinguished credentials, audiences may feel an uneasy sense of disappointment at the dialogue’s initial lack of focus, a requirement so important in a two-character play.
Monday, April 21, 2008

Local author cracks the case

Elizabeth Hewitt awakens with a strange sensation at the start of the novel Separated at Death (Berkley Prime Crime). What she feels is the close and unfamiliar banding of an engagement ring snug around her finger. She pauses to consider: Settling down with one man had never been tops on her to-do list. Hewitt isn’t the star of a romance novel, however, and the homicide detective/protagonist in the third Elizabeth Hewitt murder-mystery thriller is about to be thrust into more than marriage. Her Milwaukee author, Sheldon Rusch, has spun a web of dangerous marital discord involving unhappy couples, relationship counselors and murder victims decoupled from their heads.
Sunday, April 20, 2008

Book Review

A Student’s Guide to Music History might make a good textbook. It’s inexpensive and handy enough to slip into the pocket of a parka. It’s also entertainingly opinionated, even when the opinions are goofy. Many of us will take exception to a certain slant in the Australian writer’s perspective: He seems to put the NEA under the same heading as Axis cultural agencies. Paleo-conservative politics aside, Stove is a witty writer and . . .
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tibetan women on the Buddha path

Mainland China has been in denial over Tibet ever since Mao’s army invaded the mountainous theocracy. Communist China consistently denied that Tibet was a nation with a distinct history. China denied the aspirations of Tibetans after forcing them to endure mass murder, cultural genocide and the colonization of their country by Chinese immigrants. China denies all these things, but reality keeps poking the Beijing regime in the eye. The recent rioting and worldwide protests are not the prelude Mainland China had scripted for the Beijing Olympic Games. With the Chinese . . .
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Art Preview

As the city emerges from winter cold, a host of young artists emerge during Spring Gallery Night and Day. The Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) offers its senior exhibition featuring 145 design and fine art students. Exciting new Latino artists display their work at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, and the Hotcakes Gallery showcases another six MARN Mentor 2008 award-winners. MIAD’s “2008 Senior Exhibition” features the vividly colored paintings of Brad Conklin, Katie Donoghue’s combinations of photographs and light boxes, Benjamin Rothschild’s sculpted metal toys, Julia Schilling’s dye-on-metal drawings coordinating with cast aluminum sculpture, Boris Ostrelov’s interactive mixed-media pieces, and Colin T. Dickson’s 31/2 Miles to the Center of Somewhere.