I’ve found it hard to get excited about much in the arts and media world these past couple of months — the onset of the winter doldrums, no doubt, combined with a pandemic that won’t go away. But let me ring out the old year with a few random questions: Is This Really Oscar Season? The … Continue reading Year-End Wrap: The Oscars, Broadway, and Brian Williams
I was still in bed last Friday morning when Joe Biden finally overtook Donald Trump in the Pennsylvania vote count, all but ensuring that he would win the state, and thus the Presidency. I was still catching up on my sleep after a two-day excursion to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to do some last-minute canvassing for … Continue reading Do Grassroots Volunteers Make a Difference?
Bill Maher did a little end-zone dance last Friday night — and he probably deserved it. The host of HBO’s Real Time played a montage of clips from the past three years in which he warned repeatedly — and asked virtually every political guest who came on the show— about the possibility that Donald Trump would not … Continue reading is the Media Playing into Trump’s Hands?
Writing a blog about theater during a pandemic is proving to be, shall we say, a bit limiting. So allow me a little break to talk about my vacation. Hardly worthy of the name, it was just a three-day driving trip through rural Virginia and West Virginia — to visit a few Civil War historical … Continue reading A Trip Through Trump Country — With Mask
I was saddened to read, a few days ago, about the death of Reese Schonfeld, 88, the founding president of CNN. I was the television critic and reporter for the Atlanta Constitution when Ted Turner launched television’s first live, 24-hour news channel in June 1980, and I followed its start-up and early years as closely … Continue reading Reese Schonfeld: The Man Who Invented CNN
I feel guilty that I haven’t been reviewing any theater during the pandemic. Of course, there is no live theater to review during the pandemic. But a number of theater companies have been streaming recorded versions of earlier productions, and some have been offering up new works — many pegged to our current, hunkered-down, Zoom-infested moment. I've … Continue reading Is Zoom Theater Really Worth It?
I’ve been in radio silence for a while. No theater to see, obviously, and I’ve already conveyed my irritation with the Netflix binge-watching experience. Lately I’ve spent more time mining the old-movie archives on services like Amazon and Turner Classic Movies. It was nice to rewatch The Best Years of Our Lives, which TCM aired … Continue reading Eureka! The Worst Movie Ever Made
A couple of years ago I aired my gripes about Netflix in a post I headlined “Five Reasons to Dump Netflix.” I did drop the streaming service, at least for a while. But now that we’re chained to our TV sets because of the coronavirus lockdown, I’m back onboard. Not happily. Like everyone else, I’m … Continue reading I’m Sick of Watching Netflix (Part 2)
“New York City, how're you doing tonight?!” shouted one of the stars revving up the audience at the start of the new Broadway musical Six. Nobody, thankfully, shouted back, “Sick!” Or maybe, “Scared to death of the guy who just coughed after he brushed past me on the way to his seat!” But let’s just … Continue reading Theatergoing in the Plague Year
Critics and audiences are all over the map on the new Broadway revival of West Side Story, staged by avant-garde Belgian director Ivo Van Hove. Some find it a striking reinvention of the beloved 1957 Leonard Bernstein-Jerome Robbins-Stephen Sondheim musical. For others, it’s a confusing desecration. My own reaction is complicated by a somewhat embarrassing … Continue reading Coming Late to ‘West Side Story’