Friday, November 29, 2013

A Mary Christmas

Mary J Blige heralds the season

     Yes, Kelly Clarkson has released a Christmas album and I know exactly what it will sound like song for song.  However, Mary J. Blige’s A Mary Christmas hauls out a number of surprises.  We’re a little prejudiced because MJB has been the little engine that could with talent to burn for two decades and her modesty is a beacon in our oversaturated celebrity

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Neil and Eric's Special Night at Zula

Entrance to Zula

      The guys told me they were headed to dinner at Zula in OTR.  That was nothing out of the ordinary, as it almost immediately became their favorite restaurant after their first visit in March.  I think they've dined there at least once a month since then. Believe me—I've heard great things about it every time!

      When they returned I met them at the door and Neil picked me up for a hug.  Then they both started to tell me

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tom Jones, Fielding's Novel Transferred to the Stage

A rollicking, classic sex farce in a vigorous presentation at Actors Theatre of Louisville

     Actors Theatre of Louisville (ATL) presents an ace production of Tom Jones through December 8.  Actually, we’ve never seen anything at Actors that wasn’t at least good and generally they’re excellent.  Jon Jory, who started the Humana Festival of New Plays during his thirty-one years as ATL’s artistic director, ‘freely adapted’ Henry Fielding’s 800 page novel, first published in 1749.  In outline, it resembles

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas is Coming – Will It Ever Stop for Thanksgiving?

     When we lived in Panama, José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” started playing on local and Armed Forces radio stations the week of Halloween and my family was so sick of

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Fascination with The Kennedys

50 years since Camelot

The Official Presidential Portrait
by Aaron Shikler
      For anyone living 50 years ago, I think most of us would agree that November 22, 1963 changed the world we lived in.  So much has been written that I would be self-asserting to

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

August Wilson: American Master

Please, Library of America, 
publish The Pittsburgh Cycle now!

Playwright August Wilson
     August Wilson, who died too young at sixty in 2005, was one of the five best American playwrights of the 20th century.  I think the other four were Eugene O’Neill, Sam Shepard (grossly underappreciated and deserving of a major revival), Edward Albee, and Tennessee Williams – the greatest

Monday, November 18, 2013


They’ve been number one, 
but where does Paramore go next?

Hayley Williams of Paramore, B.o.B., and Dexter
     A couple of years ago I heard the song “Airplanes” continually on the radio and I wondered who was singing it.  I thought it was Rihanna since she sings for rappers between releasing her own albums every other year or so.  To be certain, I asked one of my students and she said, “B.o.B.”  “No,” I said, “that’s the artist, but who’s the singer?”  “Oh, the lead singer of Paramore.”  This past summer, Paramore’s self-titled CD was the top selling rock album and I’d never heard

Thursday, November 14, 2013

George V. Higgins’ The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Great dialogue masks 
a misanthropic view of cops and robbers

Dexter Joins George Higgins for a Smoke Break
    I picked up The Friends of Eddie Coyle in a 40th Anniversary Picador edition at Shake It Records.  Shake It has a small but stellar book collection – the graphic novel selection is certainly worth checking out – and I hadn’t seen this anywhere else.  With the Whitey Bulger conviction in the

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

French Crust Café

Paris in the middle of downtown

An Authentic French Café
       Eric and I are always searching for a café that will transport us back to France.  It's been a difficult quest in our city.  When Lavomatic first opened, the prepress seemed to point in the direction of an affordable French café but that wasn't the case.  Jean Ro was a vibrant bistro that became

Sunday, November 10, 2013

François Truffaut, Part III: A Conventional Brand

Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind
     Small Change (L’Argent de Poche, 1976, which is properly called Pocket Money everywhere but the U.S. because of a minor Paul Newman movie.  It would be more evocative as Small Fry) presents a group of schoolchildren in Thiers.  Rather than presenting only one child and his friend as in The 400 Blows, there are about ten children representing a range of stories and family backgrounds.  Truffaut displays discretion in the plot strand about the boy

Saturday, November 9, 2013

François Truffaut, Part II: The Color Period

Denser and deeper, Truffaut took risks

Truffaut Filming Fahrenheit 451
     François Truffaut’s last black and white movie was The Soft Skin (1964), which I haven’t seen.  He then went color in Hollywood with an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966).  It’s a movie that should have stayed a book even though it stars Oskar Werner and Julie Christie, two of the most sensitive European movie stars to visit Hollywood from time to time.  Werner seems very tentative in it and Christie’s blank in a strange double role, one of her few

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

François Truffaut, Part I: The black and white period

The quintessence of modern French culture:  
intelligent, charming, insouciant, and tantalizingly perverse

Truffaut with Dexter Behind the Camera
     Turner Classic Movies (TCM) focused recently on François Truffaut, one of the architects of the 1960s French New Wave.  The movies will probably be in rotation over the next few months, I hope.  Here’s to TCM for continuing to remind us of

Monday, November 4, 2013


A one-act black comedy electrifies at Know Theatre

      Know Theatre presented Cock in the spring to deserved acclaim and the follow-up Bull, also written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Brian Robertson, opened this weekend.  Cock centered on the competition for love, whereas Bull focuses on

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Cincinnati Art Museum hosts 
some beautiful work through January

Irving Penn's Woman with Roses, 1950
A Recent Acquisition
     Neil and I thought, what the heck we haven’t been to the Cincinnati Art Museum for a while so why not go?  We suggested it to Paul over lunch and, since he was up for it and we promised we could cover the new exhibits in an hour, we were on our way.   There are three exhibits on display through