Monthly Archives: September 2011

33 posts

Book Review: Virginia Woolf by Alexandra Harris


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Woolf spent much of her life trying to free herself from the grasp of the past, specifically the Victorian milieu of her childhood. Her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, was the editor of the prestigious Dictionary of National Biography and a personification of the Victorian pater familias. Woolf both loved and rebelled against him. She suffered a severe nervous breakdown following his death in 1904. Yet it was not until her father died, that she was able to liberate her emotions to the point where she could begin a serious career as a writer.

Book Review: Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi


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In a neat reversal of the Reynard myth, the students at a school that molds young men into “world-class husbands” for purchase by the wealthiest bidder discover a murderer locked away beneath the campus grounds—a personification of all of the human weaknesses and desires that are forcibly discouraged and suppressed in order to create cookie-cutter Prince Charmings skilled in exemplary masculine arts like “Strong Handshakes, Silence, Rudimentary Car Mechanics, How to Mow the Lawn, Explosive Displays of Authority, Sport and Nutrition Against Impotence.”

Art Review: de Kooning: A Retrospective, MoMA


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De Kooning exhibited six “Bitch Goddess” paintings when most American men preferred to watch Marilyn Monroe stand over a steam vent. These paintings, as Robert Harris observed, are rooted in the “simultaneous desire for and fear of women.” De Kooning may not have intended to paint Woman I to express these suppressed emotions. But that is what he put on the canvas and he may have been as perplexed as his critics as to how it got there.

Smuin Ballet Kicks Off Its 2011-2012 Season


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The spotlight for this season opener is the world premiere of Dear Miss Cline by Choreographer-in-Residence Amy Seiwert, which she has described as her most “Smuin-esque” piece to date. Set to ten classic Patsy Cline recordings, it is a sometimes comic, often touching, exploration of interpersonal relationships. The company has a real winner with this ballet. A big plus were the cheerful costumes by Jo Ellen Arntz (with Amy Seiwert). They captured the period of the late 1950s/early 1960s without descending into cliché-ridden “Hee Haw” country kitsch.

Dance Review: New York City Ballet, ‘Balanchine Black & White’


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Though the hype surrounding the New York City Ballet’s fall season has lately concerned a new ballet composed by a certain former Beatle, the company has continually impressed with its performances of repertoire by its founding choreographers. On Tuesday, a program of three early Balanchine works – the ballets presented were all choreographed before 1960 – showed just how modern his ballets seem half a century later.

Maryhill Museum of Art, One Hundred Miles East of Portland


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Mannequins in pale satins and gauzy tulle pose in a lofty attic whose roof has been torn open as if by an air raid, revealing a black and white cityscape seen as if from the angle of a pilot.

Doctor Who Recap: ‘Closing Time’ (Season 32, Episode 12)


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Having left Amy and Rory to indulge in some domestic bliss, we no longer have to deal with the issues created by putting those characters into episodes disconnected from their main story arc. Instead we can indulge in a fun old-school interlude, pepped up with a blast from the past.

Video Game Review: Gears of War 3


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Perhaps it’s just me, but it always seemed like Cliff Bleszinski and Epic Games had something heavy on their minds when they launched the original Gears of War back in 2006. Maybe it was the original trailer featuring a lone soldier walking through ruined cities, fighting a war he had no hope of winning against unending waves of monsters while the Gary Jules cover of “Mad World” plays, sealing a sense of hopelessness into a scant minute.

Movie Review: Moneyball


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Jonah Hill shows that he can do more than broad comedy. Although awkward and nervous, Brand is severely dialed back from what we’ve seen Hill play before, and Moneyball utilizes his strengths without showing his weaknesses. The movie also wisely doesn’t make this math genius some sort of Beautiful Mind-esque, socially incompetent robot. He’s good at statistics, but he’s still a human who gets caught up in the excitement of the game.

The Weekly Listicle: Kicks Ass For The Lord


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In honor of the re-release of Red State, this Listicle looks at movies and television shows that feature people killing in the name of their religion.

The Office Recap: The List (Season 8, Episode 1)


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This is a recap/review of the eighth season premiere of NBC’s The Office entitled The List and featuring James Spader in a recurring role.

New Kid on the Smuin Ballet Block: Jared Hunt


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It is wonderful to be dancing in an ensemble again. The company is tremendously talented, and we all feed off each other’s energy and abilities. The familial atmosphere works. All the dancers seek to make their fellow company members look their best. There is a sense of common good — a sense of community.