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California Literary ReviewFebruary 2011 | California Literary Review California Literary Review

Archive for February, 2011

The Great Music Videos Valentine’s Edition: “Days Go By” by Dirty Vegas

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Julia
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Rhodes

February 14th, 2011

Happy arbitrary and consumerist holiday from CLR and The Fourth Wall! Richard Phillips’s album artwork is lovely. Dirty Vegas were basically a few-dance-hits-wonder, but if your one massive hit comes with a video like “Days Go By,” you win at awesome. Ten years ago, “Days Go By” soared onto pop radio and MTV’s after-school hit […]

New Insights Into the Life of Caravaggio

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Judith
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Harris

February 14th, 2011

In his most serious brawl, about which the documents provide an entirely new account, Caravaggio killed a man. The brawl, like a Los Angeles fight between rival gangs, had been planned ahead of time with eight participants, whose names are now known.

“I’ll Buy That For A Dollar!” – A Public Service

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Adam Robert
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Thomas

February 14th, 2011

Anyway, here at the Metro City Reform Committee, we’re familiar with hard times, we know that sometimes you need to save a bit of cash to eat or pay rent or whatever. We graduated from the school of Hard Knocks after all, getting a doctorate in awesome – sometimes this means we give back fistfuls of caring rather than our usual knuckle sandwiches of words.

So with out pocketbooks in mind, the desire to help out in our hearts, and the unnecessary back story for the article’s title out of the way, let’s take a look at a few different games that you can purchase for exactly one dollar – and don’t suck.

Movie Review: Gnomeo and Juliet

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Julia
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Rhodes

February 12th, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet seems like a terrible idea. Due to smart writing and great character actors, the end result is more fun than expected. It may not hit quite the niche audience it was after—the subject matter is actually directed toward adults more than kids—but it deserves a round of applause for masterfully whipping cleverness out of its Elizabethan-era hat.

San Francisco Ballet: Giselle Redux

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Geri
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Jeter

February 12th, 2011

Many dance companies would kill for the depth of talent present at San Francisco Ballet. Take, for example, the recent production of Giselle. This is a company that can field five excellent lead couples and has multiple casting choices for the rest of the assignments. The level is so high that soloists, principal dancers, corps members share assignments with no diminution of overall results.

Dance Review: New York City Ballet

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Hanna
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Oldsman

February 11th, 2011

I never tire of seeing After the Rain, however, and doubt that I will. This ballet, choreographed to music by Arvo Pärt, begins with six dancers on the far side of the stage. In front of a backdrop that looks like a rain-spattered window, the women, facing the audience, lift their legs to high penchées–a memorable beginning.

The Weekly Listicle: No, We CAN’T Feel The Love Tonight!

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Dan
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Fields

February 10th, 2011

This week, Julia Rhodes and I (Dan Fields) recall a bygone era, when entertainment for kids – specifically the musical accompaniment – got as much attention and thought as anything produced for an adult audience. It’s not meant strictly to pick on Elton John, but he seems an appropriate figurehead for the rather bland trends in children’s movie music today. This is not your typical twentysomething anti-Disney rant. It is a cry of nostalgic woe, and includes a number of selections from pre-downhill-slide Disney. Please enjoy, and remember some songs you might like to track down and show your own kids.

Book Review: The New York Times Complete Civil War 1861-1865

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Sam
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Stowe

February 7th, 2011

This collection of the Times‘ news coverage during the war is a must-have for Civil War enthusiasts and other American history buffs. It contains the power to astonish modern readers with its lofty rhetoric, constant editorializing in news stories and decisions on what was important to its audience. Those decisions are, in many cases, not what a modern newspaper would choose.

The Metro City Reform Committee: Monday Nights at the Giant Ape Fights!

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Adam Robert
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Thomas

February 7th, 2011

But something seems wrong in gamingdom. The boss battle and especially the LAST boss battle to occur in a game, is dying. I’m not entirely sure why exactly. It’s probably due to zombies, I mean; they’re in just about every game ever so of course it has to be them! Even if it’s not rooted in zombies directly, it’s definitely a plague occurring in games at about the same rate as the current zombification.

Review: Parsons Dance at the Joyce

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Hanna
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Oldsman

February 7th, 2011

Name a piece “Bachiana” and you invite comparison to two twentieth-century greats: Fokine’s Chopiniana, with its nimble-footed sylphs, and Balanchine’s swan song, Mozartiana — one of the choreographer’s last ballets. Both of these works engage seriously with the music, illuminating its contours, reacting to changes in tone and rhythm.

David Parsons’ Bachiana, set to Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 and Air on a G String, does none of this.

San Francisco Ballet: RAkU, Symphonic Variations and Symphony in C

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Geri
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Jeter

February 6th, 2011

A new Possokhov ballet is something SFB audiences have come to relish, and RAkU did not disappoint. Based on a true event — the 1950 burning of Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion — librettist Gary Wang crafted a back-story of love, obsession, and loss.

Video Game Review: Bionic Commando Rearmed 2

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Adam Robert
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Thomas

February 5th, 2011

Bit of a disclaimer: the original Bionic Commando on the NES was the favorite game of my youth. Whereas Mario, Zelda, and Mega Man would become favorite series, BC was the one game I went back to over and over until my NES finally quit on me while playing a rented copy of Kickle Cubicle.

The Weekly Listicle is Seeing Double!

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Julia
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Rhodes

February 3rd, 2011

The Roommate‘s Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester. Fiction is perpetually preoccupied with doppelgangers–doubles or evil twins. See almost any David Lynch movie, the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King’s The Dark Half, Dostoyevsky’s novels, and even Back to the Future Part II for evidence of spooky (and sometimes humorous) duality. In doppelganger films, obsession […]

Dance Review: San Francisco Ballet’s Giselle

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Geri
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Jeter

February 1st, 2011

The cast for the opening night (Saturday, January 29) featured the deservedly popular Yuan Yuan Tan and newly arrived principal dancer Artem Yachmennikov as the tragic lovers. Tan’s Giselle is delicate and charming, bolstered by the underlying power and technique necessary for the role. Bolshoi-trained Yachmennikov, an appealing and complimentary partner for Tan, plays Albrecht as a thoughtless young aristocrat on a lark who gets caught out by actually falling in love.

Book Review: Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

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Ed
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Voves

February 1st, 2011

The passing of Swamplandia!, a crass, hokey “hicksville” where live chickens are suspended from wires to get the gators to leap for their supper, hardly merits more than a moment of regret. But Russell’s evocation of the disintegration of the Bigtree clan is profoundly moving. Arms linked together, Ava, Kiwi and Ossie embrace “in a panic of love.” The mutual devotion of the Bigtree children is as heartfelt a tribute to steadfast family bonds as the ordeal of the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath or the Finch children in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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