| Jul 11, 2010
Carlos Monsiváis wasn't a "pundit," although he spoke and wrote with biting irony and insight about politics. He wasn't a "talking head" either, although he regularly appeared on TV shows in his native Mexico to offer erudite yet unstuffy thoughts about...
| Oct 25, 2009
A few weeks ago, on a fog-enshrouded night in Malibu, Richard Montoya stepped onstage in full mariachi regalia to welcome his audience to what he slyly called the "Getty Pancho Villa."
The occasion was a performance of "Peace," Aristophanes'...
| Mar 21, 2010
In Richard Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung," a pile of sacred gold and a ring that's fashioned from it are said to confer "measureless might." However, by the fourth scene of the 17-hour-plus opus, a drawback has emerged: A curse gets attached to the...
| Jan 24, 2009
In case you missed it, there was a big stage production in Washington, D.C., this week involving symbolic rebirth, stirring rhetoric and sobering evocations of bloody national conflicts, mixed with some lighter touches, all performed near the memorial...
| Nov 7, 2008
The unfortunate thing about revisiting "The Grapes of Wrath" is that John Steinbeck's Depression-era classic about a displaced Dust Bowl family does not merely conjure up the social ills of a distant historical chapter in a remote, informative way....
| Aug 9, 2009
Brecht at Night
Translated from the Estonian
by Eric Dickens
Dalkey Archive: 208 pp., $13.95 paper
In 1940, Helsinki received an unexpected visitor: Bertolt Brecht. Eventually to be known as the most famous German playwright after Goethe,...
| Feb 15, 2009
A female voice floats from a loudspeaker, sounding preternaturally calm amid the morning chaos inside Los Angeles Opera's costume shop on South Alameda Street downtown.
"We're ready for a dwarf in Fitting Room 2," the voice intones.
In recent days,...
| Mar 1, 2009
Barry Day (ed): "The Letters of Noel Coward" (Vintage)
"The human race is a let down. It thinks it's progressed but it hasn't. It thinks it's risen above the primeval slime but it hasn't -- it's still wallowing in it!," says Gilda in Noel Coward's...
| Feb 21, 2009
It's no fun being rich when everyone else is poor. Who, for example, would be willing to show up to a dinner party in a brand-new lime-green Lamborghini, in the almost certain knowledge that some of the other guests would be among the growing ranks of the...
| Aug 17, 2008
The poet Weldon Kees was born in Beatrice, Neb., in 1914, though what's best known about him is that on July 18, 1955, his car was found abandoned with the keys still in the ignition in a parking lot on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge....
| May 2, 2008
NEW YORK -- It was one of the most iconic record album covers ever released, and Suze Rotolo was part of it: On a snowy day in 1963, she snuggled with Bob Dylan as the two walked down a Greenwich Village street. "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" went on to...