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.

Grapes of Wrath: “All Aroun’ in the Dark”

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Ed Rampell: Don’t miss this inspiring theatrical adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, the rabble-rousing, pro-union Depression-era classic that, alas, remains as timely now as the day John Steinbeck wrote it in 1939.

PBS, Oscars Slighting Latinos

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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

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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?

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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

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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.

Was There a Political Correct Way for Tarantino to Portray Black Slavery?

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Irene Monroe: While some will contest that Tarantino is being well…Tarantino, and he means no disrespect, others argue that his privilege as a well-respected moneymaking white heterosexual male filmmaker gives him carte blanche to recklessly express his creative juices even if it reinscribes stereotypes that many feel Django does.

Eleanor: The Radical Roosevelt Deserves Her Own Worthy Film

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Peter Dreier: Eleanor Roosevelt, an important historical figure, has never been depicted in movies, including “Hyde Park on Hudson” accurately. It’s about time!

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