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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008

Art Review

"New Intersections: Form and Meaning in Design," the current exhibit in the Brooks Stevens Gallery at MIAD is, as it intends to be, completely fun and very provocative. As consumers, we may not always understand the aim of product design when we're shopping for everyday objects like toothbrushes and potato peelers, but on some level we do understand what attracts us to a product.
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008

Book Review

A few years ago, I had occasion to discuss the early development of The Letters of Allen Ginsberg (Da Capo) with its editor, Bill Morgan. We were having dinner in Manhattan's East Village, and I was curious about how Morgan was faring in the yeoman task of sorting through the mountains of Ginsberg's correspondence. As the poet's bibliographer, Morgan had spent more than a decade sorting through and cataloging Ginsberg's correspondence...
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008

Theater Review

   Stephen Schwartz isn't exactly a household name around these parts. But mention some of the songwriter's credits, including Godspell, Pippin and the current box office smash Wicked, and people start paying attention. The Grammy-winning Schwartz has a smooth, self-deprecating onstage manner that played well Sept. 26 at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center. Dressed all in black, perhaps as a nod to his New York roots, Schwartz played piano as he led the audience through many of his hits. His boyish, animated face...
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008

Theater Review

   The Vaudeville circuit flourished on American stages for half a century. Between the 1880's and the 1930's, an endless parade of performers scraped together a living one stage at a time, wandering across the country in search of fortune. Stephen Sondheim's hugely successful 1959 musical Gypsy is a strange, endearing tribute to the era of Vaudeville. Director Dale Gutzman brings that tribute to life this month as his Off the Wall Theatre presents its production of the Sondheim classic through Oct. 11...
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008

Theater Review

Between Boulevard Theatre's staging of The Constant Wife as a theater rehearsal and Off the Wall's production of Gypsy, at least two local stages seem to be looking at themselves. Marquette adds to the theater-about-theater motif this month with its production of KenLudwig's comedy The Moon Over Buffalo. Running through Oct. 5, the production stars Kevin Hogan and Jennifer Shine as George and Charlotte Hay-a pair of married actors struggling with their own repertory theater company in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1953...
Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008

Theater Review

The Boulevard Theatre Ensemble's new production of Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife (running through Oct. 5) proves that you can easily convey the vivacity of Maugham's script without resorting to elaborate sets and costuming. Less is definitely more. If only this idiom had been extended to the extraneous packaging that hampers this otherwise enjoyable production. The idea of setting The Constant Wife as a play within a play is not entirely without merit, if it helps cast a fresh light on the play...
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008

Twin Towers adventure

The mastermind and his confederates cased the World Trade Center for entrances and exits and the coming and going of guards, mapping every step of their coup with the meticulousness of professional criminals going for the vault in a heavily secured bank. But although their scheme was against the law, it was more misdemeanor than felony and would have no victims unless a tragic accident disrupted their careful plan.
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008

From the Reach (Landfall)

Incendiary slide-master Sonny Landreth cut his teeth and forged his way among John Hiatt's backing group The Goners in the late 1980s and '90s. And now, close on the heels of his former frontman's back-looking Same OldMan, Landreth offers one of his own reflective works of middle-aged pondering. Unlike Hiatt's effort, though, From the Reach borrows the guitarist's native post-Katrina sadness ("Blue Tarp Blues"), offers a number of superstar...
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008

Exhibiting a Range of Styles

Regionalism was all the rage among Midwest artists, especially in the years between the world wars. But in light of "Wisconsin Legendary Artists," a small but worthwhile exhibition focused primarily but not entirely on the first half of the last century, not all art from the Badger State could so easily be defined. The spread in style and content is wide among the paintings and works on paper in the exhibit.
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008

Vicky and Cristina Abroad

For the fourth in a series of films made outside of his beloved New York, Woody Allen moves from Great Britain to sunnier climes. Set in Spain, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is an ocean away from his mature Manhattan comedies geographically, but emotionally it might as well be just across the Hudson. A rueful examination of love, desire and the impossibility of achieving happiness, VCB unfolds in a dreamy Europe where everyone is a poet or a thinker and great conversations spark to life around copious glasses of wine even in the humblest cafs.

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