On Entertainment and Cordite’s Combined Long Grave Dug

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Charles Orloski: Thankfully, no Chechen-American bombs crashed “The Office Party,” and for the most part, it seemed likely that throngs of druggies kept inner habits silent

Get Your Brecht On

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Ed Rampell: Brecht on Brecht is precise in its stagecraft, adeptly acted, deftly directed and Gayle Bluemel does her musical forebears, Mssrs. Brecht and Weill, proud.

Play Ball, Jackie

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Steve Hochstadt: I don’t know how my parents’ political views, our family’s history during the Holocaust, rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Jackie’s own nobility and fearless civil rights activism mixed together to make me hate racism.

Annual TCM Classic Film Festival Features Vintage Films and Stars Galore From Movies of Yore

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Ed Rampell: Thousands of fans attended screenings of vintage films, discussions with and personal appearances by movie talents, dressed in period garb, partied like it was 1929 and witnessed an Academy Award winner’s footprints and handprints immortalized in cement at the fabled Chinese Theatre.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Exposes American Hypocrisy

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Michael Haas: Americans, deliberately kept unaware of their perceptions by the media, now have an opportunity to break through the brainwashing by immersing themselves in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Olivier Assayas Interview: Changing the World Through Cinema

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Ed Rampell: Today, people don’t think of a revolution. They think of adapting society, of making the hope of more fairness, more justice, more social justice, more generosity, which are old things . But in the 1970s it would have been called “reformist,” which was an insult.

License To Philosophize, Sinatra-Style

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Michael Sigman: We’ll never know the Chairman of the Board’s innermost insights about doing/being, if indeed he had any. What cannot be denied is that his choice of material covers a rich spectrum of emotional leaps and existential twists and turns.

Did Shaquille O’Neal Just Box Out Mumia?

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Dave Zirin: Why did Newark’s only movie theater, co-owned by Shaquille O’Neal, just pull a scheduled showing of a documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal? No one is talking, but this is a story that stinks worse than the Jersey swamps.

Skeptic SINema Series: The Invention of Lying

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For the next several months, Cafe Inquiry will be your host for major motion pictures with a secular, skeptical, or topical bent, followed by discussion.

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater: Ailey’s Comets Cometh

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Ed Rampell: Ailey’s comets are soaring across the stage and illumining the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion through April 21 with three programs, all of them containing the iconic Revelations, created by Alvin Ailey himself in 1960.

The Real Story of Baseball’s Integration That You Won’t See in 42

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Peter Dreier: The new film ignores the broad-based movement that helped make Jackie Robinson’s arrival in baseball possible, as well as the first black major-leaguer’s own activism.

Heart of Darkness: Yes! We Have No Bwanas

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Ed Rampell: The Gang’s version of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is psychologically and politically troubling; in other words, it is great, thought-provoking theatre, spearheaded by Finney’s bravura performance.

Unlikely Friends: When Victims and Perpetrators Meet

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Diane Lefer: Punishment alone–though necessary and often satisfying–will not repair damage or help victims move forward with their lives. Restorative justice brings offenders and victims together to provide a chance for perpetrators to make amends and to promote social and individual healing.

The Lowdown on Accidental Racism

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Bruce Reilly: The sensational buzz around country star Brad Paisley’s song “Accidental Racist” is perfect fodder for a Twitter blurb — but is this the extent of racial analysis we can muster in America?

Interracial Love in Alice Childress’s Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White

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Walter Moss: The Wedding Band indicated that even for a loving couple, the racial divide was difficult to overcome. For the rest of us, despite all our progress since the 1960s, it still remains even more so.

Argo Apostasy

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Gary Corseri: Movies like “Argo” have nothing to do with “freedom of speech” and everything to do with suppressing free speech and the truth for the sake of profits, promoting wars and hatred and slaughter.

Poets Talk: Socrates, Cirino, Hunter Thompson, Tina Fey, et. al.

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Gary Corseri and Chuck Orloski: Where is there a Socrates in the mainstream media? They fired Phil Donahue at the beginning of the rape of Iraq. The best we get is some ironic wit from Colbert or Maher or Tina Fey.

Barry Goldberg: Fifty Years Of ‘Chicago Blues’

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Michael Sigman: The story of American music is often the story of race — and particularly of white boys and girls learning about music from black men and women. The tale of Elvis Presley hanging out in Mississippi juke joints is something like a gospel story in the history of American culture.

A Bite of the Apple

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Ed Rampell: This version of “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is a really important, well-executed one-man show that exposes the abusive working conditions of masses of Chinese laborers toiling away for low pay in abysmal circumstances.

Clang! Clang! Clang! Go the Dueling Divas: Garland versus Callas.

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Ed Rampell: Tony Award-winning “Master” takes theatergoers to the realm of “high art,” featuring the life and career of Maria Callas, one of opera’s top sopranos and stars.

Tomorrow the World

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Ed Rampell: In this new play, Donald Freed extrapolates elements from MacBeth and its murderous lust for power, interchanging them with the 2000 presidential election’s Bush v. Gore debacle.

Lincoln: How Spielberg Got It Wrong

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Anthony Samad: Spielberg not only changed history, he misrepresented it. I’m glad the academy didn’t reward him for it. Lincoln was a story that had to be told. But it needs to be told correctly.

Class Struggle and Cinderella

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Ed Rampell: This L.A. Opera production of Gioachino Rossini’s Cinderella <(La Cenerentola) is nothing short of a sheer delight. It ranks amongst the most enchanting of all of the operas I’ve ever seen.

Cavalia’s Odysseo: A Show Unlike Any Other

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Ed Rampell: Cavalia’s Odysseo is a high tech horse-themed show unlike any other. Under the world’s largest White Big Top a breathtaking new 21st century art form synthesizes stallions, stunts, stilts, circus, cinema, sight and sound, created by a Cirque du Soleil co-founder.

A Top L.A. Theatre Fest Highlighting Multi-Culti Women Turns 20

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Ed Rampell: Spring is here and so is the annual Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, which kicked off its 20th anniversary Emerald celebration with a champagne reception, awards ceremony and performances on March 21 at LA Gay & Lesbian Center.

Judy, Judy, Judy!

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Ed Rampell: As great as Bennett’s live numbers performed during the nightclub scenes are — and her singing and hoofing is worthy of Garland in all her glory — End of the Rainbow is a cautionary tale. Fame is no substitute for a rewarding personal life offstage and offscreen, with loving family, friends, lovers/spouses.

Steubenville: The Culture of Wimps and Enablers

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Julie Driscoll: I’m not a perfect parent, by far – but I didn’t raise wimps, and I certainly didn’t raise kids who would stand by in silence while a young woman was being brutalized.

Wagner’s Dutch Treat

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Ed Rampell: What is Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Holländer) if not a rip-roaring ghost story, highly charged by greed, and lest we forget, sexual frisson?

Dreamgirls: The Stuff That Motown Dreams Are Made Of

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Ed Rampell: Dreamgirls is a thoroughly enjoyable, rollicking, rocking journey down musical memory lane that tells a fictionalized history of 1960s/1970s Black pop music through, appropriately, the medium of Tom Krieger’s blitzkrieging music and dance, as skillfully choreographed by Rae Toledo.

Director’s Note: The Girl

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David Riker: I began to think about what it means to live in the very epicenter of the American Dream, and feel not hope – but trapped. My focus shifted, and I began to imagine a film not simply about the borders of geography, but about human borders – of class, culture, attitudes, and ideas. This was the starting point for The Girl.

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