Wagner’s Dutch Treat

flying-dutchman-wide

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

dreamgirls

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

the girl

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.

PBS, Oscars Slighting Latinos

lupe ontiveros

Rudy Acuña: I still remember going round and round with broadcasters over Ken Burns’ special on World War II. As in the case of his documentaries on jazz and baseball, Mexican Americans and Latinos do not exist for Burns.

The NFL: Where Dr. King’s “Dream” Goes to Die

adrian peterson

Dave Zirin: It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the tributes to Dr. King by the NFL don’t include the time when he said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

Half a Coke and a Smile?

old coca cola ad

JP Sotille: The American diet is now a mine-field of sickness, empty calories and chemical additives. And the number-crunching folks at Coca-Cola think this mine-field may blow-up in their faces.

Confessions of a Juiced Journalist

sosa-juiced-wide

Walter Brasch: I must confess now. While Stephen King, Aaron Sorkin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, and thousands of other great writers used coke or pot to get high and produce great works, I used steroids.

This New Year’s, Resolve to Give Yourself a Break

obesity

Michael Sigman: For post-postmodern nourishment, I’m keeping David Foster Wallace’s mighty novel Infinite Jest on my night table with the intention of reading at least 10 pages a week. It’s a long haul, but if I keep my resolve, I’ll be done by New Year’s 2015!

Ghost of Christmas Presents

xmas turkey

Steve Hochstadt: Our family likes to eat, make and give good food. Homemade jams, granola and pickles were exchanged; during frequent breaks in present-opening, we ate freshly baked coffee cakes, thanks to my nieces.

The Midnight Swimmer

midnight swimmer

Lawrence Wittner: In his latest novel, Edward Wilson — a U.S. Special Forces officer in the Vietnam War who subsequently became an expatriate, a British citizen, and a teacher in the UK — does help to illuminate the Cold War crisis of the early 1960s.

Morning of Lola Zola Fun in Santa Monica

john muir school

Marcy Winograd: Students cheered “LO-LA LO-LA LO-LA” during Lola Zola’s speech for sixth grade class president, showing full appreciation for Lola’s promise to extend recess for five minutes for rehydration.

From the Dust Bowl to Hurricane Sandy

dust bowl

Wa;ter Moss: The destruction, personal suffering, and tragedies caused by our recent Hurricane Sandy were not a repeat of the 1930s’ Dust Bowl, but they were close enough to remind us that we have ignored at our peril a basic historical lesson: Screw up the environment badly enough and it’ll come back to blow you away with a vengeance.

Tradition and Change at Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

Steve Hochstadt: Maybe because it happens slowly, we don’t notice how often we must re-create our habits, our daily routines. Jobs change, neighbors move, and the great events of family life add and subtract loved ones from our lives.

Something in the Air: Talking ’bout My Generation

something in the air

Ed Rampell: We often label and lump the turmoil that swept America and the world with a series of assassinations, Civil Rights, the antiwar movement, Black Power, China’s Red Guard, the Prague Spring, feminism and so on under the broad rubric of “the ’60s.” Auteur Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air sets the record straight, showing that the era’s radical fervor continued well into the 1970s.

Why Everyone Loves the Olympics

kerri walsh and misty may

Randy Shaw: After watching a documentary on Jim McKay and the success of Wide World of Sports, I think another reason predominates: the emphasis on the “human drama of athletic competition” distinguishes the Olympics from other entertainment events.

Dear Dr. Laura

Dr. Laura Schlessinger

This letter was written by an anonymous “fan” of  Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It’s been posted and published on countless blogs and newspapers. But its such a good read it’s worth reposting. Enjoy. Dear Dr. Laura: Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your [...]

The Coup Against Sovereignty

Queen Liliuokalani

Ed Rampel: The history of the Hawaiian holocaust begins in 1778 with Cook’s voyages, his death at Kealakekua Bay, and the British reprisal. Protestant missionaries from New England arrived in 1820, filling a cultural vacuum created by the breaking of the pre-contact religion’s Kapu system in 1819.

The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement

hawaii

Ed Rampell: A century after the deposing of Queen Liliuokalani, these Polynesians have become an oppressed, landless, and often homeless, minority in their own ancestral homeland. Yet, a revived Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement is fighting for native land and cultural rights.

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