Calendar of Blood: “Holidays”

So since I'm me, I took the time during this Octave of Christmas to watch "Holidays," a horror anthology in which every tale takes place on some sort of celebratory day. It's surprisingly good!The thing that makes the movie so powerful (esp its first half), I think, is that most of the directors/writers took the time to ask what each holiday is actually about. What are the underlying emotions called up by each day--the longings, beliefs, fears, dreams to which each holiday responds? And then … [Read more...]

As They Liked It: Playing Shakespeare in the Early ’80s

The BBC has this great series, "Playing Shakespeare," in which John Barton leads members of the Royal Shakespeare Company in a series of supposedly-somewhat-spontaneous classes about playing Shakespeare's verse. Herein a few notes to whet your appetite, and then a rant.John Barton is hilarious, first of all. He is perpetually swathed in a baggy sweater, all slumping shoulders and bushy eyebrows, his hair piling frowsily on his head like he forgot it there. And then this glorious rich voice … [Read more...]

“Unexpected Beauty in the Union Station Metro”: Prince of Petworth

posts: Tymara Walker posts on youtube (thanks to all for sending links):“This is the original recording of the woman (well… me ) singing in Union Station in early December. I’m celebrating new life, life after being a DV survivor, now I’m just victorious! Enjoy your holiday” more. … [Read more...]

I Think of You and Let It Go: Best Books I Read in 2016

Realized everybody's doing best-of-books in time for Christmas buying. I'll do a complete best-of post at the end of the year, but I'll be spending the rest of December gnawing through Alan Moore's vast, fascinating Jerusalem (review forthcoming), so I can be pretty sure this is my best-books list for the year. Fiction and lesser kinds of book mix here freely. Counting down, basically in order of how much they affected me personally:10. Charles Williams, Descent into Hell.9. Jessica … [Read more...]

“Spirits, What Have You to Say?”: I watch “Ouija: Origin of Evil”

If you're interested in present-day portrayals of Vatican II-era Catholicism, it's pretty fascinating. If you're interested in haunted Ouija boards, not so much: I watched Ouija: Origin of Evil last night, and it was a pretty good flick. But I’m still a little confused about the Ouija board’s motivation.I watched the movie because of this article about Blumhouse, a horror-centered production company making “nuanced dramas about families, class, and morality — but instead of divorce or dysfun … [Read more...]

Will Heterosexuality and Anagrams Save Us from Tyranny?

So on Sunday I went to the Kennedy Center for a children's show, "Where Words Once Were." Cannot confirm the effect on actual children of this fable about totalitarian control of language, since the lad with whom I saw the play was (ironically) disinclined to offer his commentary. But the show offered a window into what our artists and teachers can and can't imagine.So here's the thing: It's probably a fine show, if heavy on the explanations. The look and feel is very "turquoise-gray … [Read more...]

“Tenderness in Moonlight”: I’m at First Things

reviewing a movie, and also contemporary American Christian masculinity: Years ago I was reading testimonies from people who had experienced abusive corporal punishment. One man reached adulthood before he was able to give the right name to something for which he was frequently beaten. His parents had called it a lot of things, but the true name of his crime was “tenderness.”Moonlight, written and directed by Barry Jenkins from a story by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, tells the story of … [Read more...]