California Literary Review

Disability

This Sweet Nothing Reimagines Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun

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February 22nd, 2012

Her duet with Giles, in which both dancers use stilts to place themselves on the same locus, invites us to meet a pair of post-Nijinsky characters, two women who move like languid praying mantises, fluid, deliberate, yet delicate, as they explore a sensuality between women, untested by the choreographers of Nijinsky’s time.

The Weekly Listicle: Shameless Oscar Bait

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January 20th, 2012

If Oscar bait works on you, then you’ll treasure the film all your life and hate anyone who speaks a word against it. If not, you will enjoy bitter self-satisfaction every chance you have to snipe at it.

Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs by Jeni Stepanek

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November 11th, 2009

He explains it in his journals as “Whatever it is that a person needs or wants, they understand why that matters, and that is the unfolding of their Heartsong . . . And as we learn in almost every religion or philosophy of goodness, it is in giving that we receive. In sharing our Heartsong with others, it goes out into the world, and somehow, circles back to us.”

Marlee Matlin: Bold Moves and Few Regrets

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June 10th, 2009

“I worry about nothing except doing work that I like and that I look at as quality work. I don’t think of legacies or what people think. They are bold moves because I’ve found I can get the most attention with doing things that people don’t expect of me. It’s just the way it is.”

Driftless by David Rhodes

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November 11th, 2008

In his first book in more than thirty years Rhodes proves with ease why when he stopped writing after a paralyzing motorcycle crash in 1977 he was considered one of this country’s finest writers.

Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

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October 7th, 2008

Reflecting on DEAF SENTENCE, the reader can hear the echoes of awful laughter — that silent cacchination encountered everywhere in Beckett’s writing — which characterizes our present lot, with its extended, often forcibly prolonged, old age. Lodge’s transparent prose plays out in a sophisticated informal, everyday voice; his is artful writing that succeeds in that most difficult literary genre, Comedy.

Jill Bolte Taylor’s Right Brain Wants to Tell Us Something

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July 2nd, 2008

“I had a rare congenital malformation in the blood vessels of my left hemisphere and at the age of 37 the malformation (AVM) blew and resulted in a major hemorrhage in the left half of my brain. On the morning of the stroke, I could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of my life. I describe myself as an infant in a woman’s body.”

Frida Kahlo at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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June 16th, 2008

Art critics may speculate about the influences on Kahlo’s style or her place in modern art. In the end, these reflections, however valid some of the details may be, diminish Kahlo’s achievement. The truth of Frida Kahlo’s life is startlingly simple. She recorded the realty of her life without flinching, creating for herself a world that conformed to her insights and her experience. And in the process, Frida Kahlo’s art became Frida Kahlo’s life.

Sudden Onset

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March 25th, 2007

From that first tingling in bed to calling 911 was an hour and a half. Sudden onset, they call it.

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