Thursday, July 31, 2014

Shaw Festival 2014

Ten show choices in the 
beautiful setting of Canada’s wine country

Queen Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake
     We used to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL), Ontario, annually until a few years ago.  It’s in the middle of Canada’s wine country and features The Shaw Festival, one of North America’s finest professional theatre companies.  Imagine Napa Valley with the Guthrie or The Goodman smack up in

Sunday, July 20, 2014

AMC Sunday: Halt and Catch Fire

What’s a network to do 
when the great shows go?

     AMC (formerly American Movie Classics, though they mainly showed the second-rate) took off in 2007 with Mad Men.  It was their highly successful attempt to become a buzzed about cable network in the manner of FX and follow the premium cable networks HBO and Showtime, which had pioneered the magic formula a decade earlier.  The “open sesame” is an original series that few actually watch, but critics, bloggers, and loyal fans can’t stop talking about such as Oz, The Sopranos, Rescue Me, Six Feet Under, The Shield, Queer as Folk, etc.

Megan and Don at Howard Johnson
     Unlike those programs, Mad Men was a period piece and it seemed literary.  I always thought it was as if a John Cheever novel had been turned into television and, as it’s progressed chronologically, it feels like a John Updike novel.  From the

Saturday, July 19, 2014


An alternate take on a classic 
fairy tale would be unimaginable 
without Angelina Jolie

     We haven’t visited the cinema lately, mainly because we’re in superhero – i.e. fascist bullshit season for the simple-minded – and have been catching up on more intriguing

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arnold’s Bar & Grill

A Cincinnati institution 
that keeps a-going and deserves attention

The Courtyard at Arnold's
     Katy and Denny just moved to a spacious, beautiful apartment downtown so we decided on Arnold’s for dinner a couple of weeks ago.  They’d visited earlier in the spring and

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Melissa McCarthy’s hilarious, 
but the script can’t deliver on expectations

      Yes, Melissa McCarthy emerged as a unique force of nature in the movies three years ago as a smart, foul-mouthed, gifted physical comic actress.  The previews for Tammy actually worked because they made us want to see it.  We went with Martha and Kaylee.  Bryce had heard it wasn’t

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Obvious Child

Let’s hear it for the Girls

     Writer-director Gillian Robespierre, producer Elisabeth Holm, and star Jenny Slate have collaborated on a romantic comedy-drama that’s probably the best one since The Kids Are All Right (2010).  I’ll state now that there is an early first