Musical Rosary #10–Crucifixion

But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. I don't really know how other Catholics do it, but I am a worrier and a gnawer by nature and so I most often find myself praying the rosary for various intentions--praying over issues in my own life or for other people, using the mysteries as jeweled lenses through which to view those issues. I don't do enough of praying the rosary simply in order to be … [Read more...]

“Geishas by Gaslight”: I review a show at the Freer

for AmCon: The Freer Gallery named their show of wood-block prints by fin de siecle Japanese artist Kobayashi Kiyochika “Master of the Night” (on display through July 27th), but night is ancient and Kiyochika’s work is distinctly modern. His prints show a world in transition. Some of the street scenes might almost be Victorian London; even the rickshaw used to pull a geisha through the night turns out to be a recent import, an innovation. Many of the scenes show people in traditional kimono mixi … [Read more...]

My Summer Reading 2014 (And Also Other People’s)

at the University Bookman--although actually I just started Gilgi, by the same woman who wrote The Artificial Silk Girl: From medieval sagas to anti-Communist Japanese surrealist novels, the Civil War campaigns to contemporary fiction, our contributors and friends again provide their summer reading lists. Every year this is one of our most popular features, as the suggestions from our trusted contributors are learned, wide-ranging, and deeply engaged with the questions that face our modern … [Read more...]

Who Are You and What Do You Want?: I watch a play

at the Studio Theater, Cock, playing through June 22. It's by Mike Bartlett, the guy who did Contractions, and like Contractions it's a high-concept play with few characters and a lot of emotional intensity.The high concept is that John, having broken up with his long-term boyfriend for no real reason except his own itchy ambivalence, meets a woman and falls for her hard. But then the boyfriend takes him back, and suddenly he has to choose--and he can't, for almost two hours, he just can't … [Read more...]

A Backwards Catechism

This excellent post from A Queer Calling has been getting a lot of attention: ...First, a bit of context: there were twenty students in the class, mainly from Christian backgrounds. Thirteen identified as Catholic, five identified as Protestant, and two identified as atheist/agnostic. Of the thirteen Catholic students, ten had attended a Catholic high school. Eight of those had been through twelve years of Catholic education. Three Protestant students and one atheist/agnostic student had … [Read more...]

In Which I’m Inspired by Direct Mail. Really.

I just finished The New Evangelization: 2003 - 2013 Missionary Letters, which is basically a collection of fundraising letters from A Simple House, an intentional Catholic community which practices "friendship evangelization" among the poor in DC and Kansas City, MO. It's a genuinely moving book with solid reflections on the theory and practice of charity. There are good explanations of why the authors focus on friendship as vs. efficient meeting of material needs, and there are countless … [Read more...]

Too Much Harmony: “Water by the Spoonful,” A Play About Friendship, Dissonance, and Humiliating Identity

Last night I saw Quiara Alegria Hudes's Pulitzer-winning Water by the Spoonful at Studio Theatre. It uses dissonant jazz as a metaphor for the disjunctions and collisions in our own lives, asking whether these discordant notes will ever resolve into harmony. The show tells two parallel stories: A young vet with PTSD fights with his cousin about how to mourn his dying adoptive mother, and members of an online support group for "crackheads" (their term, which is important, see below) strive to … [Read more...]


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