“Sorry for (Communist) Partying”: I review “After the Revolution”

at AmCon: The engine which runs “After the Revolution,” a play by Amy Herzog that will show at Theater J (the theater of Washington’s Jewish Community Center) through October 6, is a generations-old betrayal: A fledgling leftist activist from a family of Communist Jews learns that her much-honored grandfather spied for the Soviet Union during World War II and then perjured himself in front of HUAC denying it.The revelation shatters Emma Joseph’s trust in her family and in her own righteo … [Read more...]

Bedrooms and Bootstraps

Last weekend I went to a conference put on by the Archdiocese of Washington, "Speaking of Love: Answering Tough Questions About Human Sexuality." It was geared toward youth ministers, teachers, and other people who work with teens and young adults, so it was a window into what the AD-Dubs thinks young people need to hear about sex, marriage and chastity. I had, I guess, three basic problems with the conference's approach, which I will present in no especial order. (I went to the keynote … [Read more...]

Convention of Ex-Slaves in 1916

Just fascinating, via Ghosts of DC. … [Read more...]

Stories of Atonement–Almost

On Wednesday I went with a friend to see "Atonement: Stories About Confession, Redemption and Making Amends," at the Jewish Community Center--part of their preparation for the High Holy Days. A group of storytellers from Speakeasy DC came and performed true personal tales of childhood shoplifting, hit-and-run car damage, and dishonorable Scrabble.All of the stories were interesting and for the most part well-told--but literally none of them followed the form I was most hoping for: "I sinned, … [Read more...]

“Dance of Creation”: I Review the Fantastic Ballets Russes Exhibit

at the National Gallery: ...It’s ambitious, and it mostly works. Even the walk over to the exhibit feels like a part of the show: In the cool, white, high-ceilinged landing of the gallery, you walk past George Segal’s 1971 plaster sculpture The Dancers, in which a ring of four calm and focused women practice their moves. From this image of peace and clarity you suddenly enter the dark, exotic, lush world of the Ballets Russes exhibit: a world of inspiration and ecstasy. The walls are close, the … [Read more...]

“No Place to Stand”: I review “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”

at AmCon: Both the title and the trailer of Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (now playing in DC at the E Street Cinema and Bethesda Row Cinema) suggest that this will be the story of how a man becomes a fundamentalist: how a young-gun New York financier, humiliated and mistreated after 9/11, turns his back on America and returns to Pakistan to become an Islamic terrorist. This is not the actual story of the film. In a sense the movie has too much story for this summary, and the prota … [Read more...]

“Sensual Christianity”: I review an art show

in the Weekly Standard. "The Pre-Raphaelites," at the National Gallery until May 19: The Pre-Raphaelites attempted to craft a unified sensibility at once modern and medieval. Unlike devotees of the overlapping Aesthetic and Decadent movements, who, in some ways, were the Brotherhood’s heirs, the Pre-Raphaelites were aggressively English and Protestant. Shakespeare, Keats, Chaucer, and Wycliffe all get heroic treatments here. And the exhibit highlights the artists’ religious sensibilities—in fact … [Read more...]


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