Rubens and His Legacy, London

The Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) used to be known as "the Prince of Painters and the Painter of Princes." In a century overloaded with artistic talent, Rubens reigned supreme. But whereas the reputations of his contemporaries, including Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Velasquez, have continued to the present day, Rubens'  ...

Gunmetal Blues, San Diego

Welcome to the Red Eye Lounge, where the lights are low, booze bottles near empty and a woman with a past is about to meet a man with no future in the satisfying musical “Gunmetal Blues,” onstage at the North Coast Rep. A take-off on 1940s film noir, the  ...

Fire Shut Up in My Bones

  In his New York Times op-eds, Charles Blow sometimes single-mindedly elevates discourse of volatile topics to sane discussion. He punctures long held cultural narratives about race, religion, politics, poverty, class, gender, sexuality. Now, in his first book "Fire Shut Up in My Bones | A Memoir" Blow writes  ...

Grantchester, Season 1, PBS

The U.K.’s newest mystery hit from ITV makes its first U.S. appearance on Masterpiece in six episodes starting January 18. With its winning combination of a delightful and appealing amateur sleuth, Anglican priest Sidney Chambers (James Norton, “Mr. Turner,” “Death Comes to Pemberley”), articulate writing, engaging mysteries to solve, and  ...

Garrick Ohlsson Scriabin Program, London

Talking to a reviewer colleague during the intermission of Garrick Ohlsson’s all-Scriabin recital at London’s Wigmore Hall, he commented that he just "couldn't get Scriabin." This was after we had heard the "White Mass" Piano Sonata (No. 7 in F-sharp), a work of complexity, impetuosity, luminosity, exuberance, voluptuousness and ecstatic  ...

Viva la Libertà (2013)

"Viva la Libertà" has little to do with libertà but everything to do with politics, personality, and fooling all the people all the time. We're in contemporary Italy, where Enrico (Toni Servillo--"La grande belleza," "Il Divo"), a senator and leader of the government's opposition party, is failing to ignite  ...

“The Invisible Hand”

Ayad Akhtar, whose excellent "Disgraced" won the Pulitzer last year and transferred to Broadway this year, is quickly becoming one of the most important (if not the most important) new voices in contemporary American theater.  His follow-up, "The Invisible Hand,"  currently running at the New York Theatre Workshop, is thematically consistent with the last  ...

Movies 2014: The Best & the Rest

I used to care about movies a lot more than TV growing up, because the small screen was so formulaic and predictable while the big one had all the memorable, high-quality stuff.  That equation’s pretty much flipped 180 degrees in recent years, but 2014 went a long way towards restoring  ...