“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...]

All Their Wars Are Merry: Short movie reviews

In the order in which I saw them.Specter of the Rose: Utterly whackadoo noirish thing by Ben Hecht, set in the world of ballet. You'd think I'd love it! But the acting is just not great, and the main characters are wafer-thin. If you're more willing than I was to succumb to the pasteboard melodrama of it all you might love this. There is one truly great line: "If we jailed all the people I dislike, the world would become a pensive vacuum."Hunger: Intense, complex Bobby Sands/Maze prison … [Read more...]

NO SURFERS: “Tuff Turf” (1985 at Its 1985iest)

So they told me that James Spader and Robert Downey, Jr., in their misspent youth, once played semipunk delinquent BFFs. They did not have to tell me more.Tuff Turf (dir. Fritz Kiersch, and now I want to know why I don't know this name already) is sort of John Hughes high-school class-war romance (only not annoying like John Hughes movies always eventually are), in the Reseda version of the school from Class of '84. Gangs prowl and switchblades bristle, but instead of CO84's howling anger … [Read more...]