So I commemorated the Fifth of November by attending a reading of Equivocation, Jesuit priest Bill Cain’s tragicall comedy about an alternate history in which James I commissioned Shakespeare (here “Shag,” whatever, we all know who this is) to write a play about the Gunpowder Plot. It’s not a perfect play; it does get preachy, and you can see contemporary Catholic obsessions and tics peeking out from amid the Jacobean trappings. E.g. the idea that destruction of community bonds are… Read more

for Commonweal: “Your new neighbors”: Few phrases evoke such a mix of hope and dread. They’ll provide barbecues and babysitters, or else they’ll be the occasion for 911 calls and “Clean It or Lien It” signs. Karen Zacarias’s play Native Gardens, which recently ran at Washington DC’s Arena Stage, uses the new neighbors as a microcosm of social and demographic change. Zacarias wants to offer hope of reconciliation in an increasingly divided country. But reconciliation turns out to be much… Read more

A couple notes of Halloweenery for you. First, I did a piece for a Scottish Catholic paper on the Church in horror films, and I think it turned out pretty well. I even truffled up a religiously-tinted horror flick set in a Glasgow housing project: No matter how much deserved criticism or casual contempt other kinds of films offer Catholics, in horror our Faith is often the haven of last resort. When nothing else can explain your situation and nobody… Read more

for Modern Age: Alan Moore lives in the past, and who can blame him? The rent is cheaper there. Jerusalem is not the first novel from Moore, though the Hugo-winning author is better known for writing bleak and gory comic books: the antisuperhero masterpiece Watchmen, the dystopian V for Vendetta, the Jack the Ripper tale From Hell. Moore frequently delves into the weird. His Swamp Thing series explores that age-old tale of “sentient plant meets girl.” But in Jerusalem he… Read more

YES here I am with MORE about that noir procedural/Reagan tribute fanvid, that glorious neon wheel of cheese, Miami Vice. Season two ahoy! # The back end of this season slows down considerably, and you even get the occasional bad episode (“French Twist,” “Free Verse”). On the other hand, you get a lot of fun episodes and one genuinely magnificent one (“Bushido,” see below). For the season finale they give Tubbs a family, which obviously goes horribly for everyone involved,… Read more

via a married friend who says almost all of this resonates! …ADB: And so we go into marriage unable to convey that knowledge to a partner. We don’t understand them. They don’t understand us. We don’t understand what marriage is. Let’s stress that. Ira Glass So what would you say to all the people getting married this month? What would you tell them? Alain De Botton Be incredibly forgiving for the weird behavior that’s going to start coming out. You… Read more

is at Commonweal: Donna Deitch always intended Desert Hearts to be not only a lesbian classic, but one of the great romances. In the commentary to the director’s 1985 adaptation of Jane Rule’s novel Desert of the Heart, Deitch explained: “It was my express purpose to make a film fashioned on an old-fashioned love story…. This was meant to be a universal love story.” more–this was a pretty personal piece for me. Read more

I recently watched Writer of O, the 2004 documentary about Pauline Reage/Dominique Aury/Anne Desclos, the multiply-aliased author of the most famous work of French pornography since de Sade. Story of O was a big influence on me, as I noted in that birthday book meme. Three things stood out to me from the documentary. # The attempts to film scenes from the book are ludicrous. It’s all arty pseudoporn, too refayned to be hot and too lewd to be sensual…. Read more

So I finally read me some of that Karl Barth I’ve heard so much about. He used to preach in Swiss prisons, and Deliverance to the Captives collects several of his prison sermons. I got a lot out of it. He’s so good at just simply reminding us to look at God, at God’s action in our lives and the utterly unearned love He offers us. Barth is great about pointing us to see God’s power working in our lives… Read more

over at First Things: “You can talk to me. I’m your doctor.” Dr. Jenny Davin speaks this sentence, or some variant of it, several times in the course of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Unknown Girl. And people do talk. They talk to the young Dr. Davin even though she is not an especially skilled counselor. She mostly just tells people to do things, or asks whether they’ve done the things she told them to do last time. But people respond… Read more

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