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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.