“‘Roe’s’ Missing Stories”: I’m at First Things

playwatching: Roe, the new play from Lisa Loomer about the woman at the heart of the 1973 Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, is much like its main subject: easily distracted, unbalanced, but undeniably compelling. Roe (at Arena Stage in Washington, DC through February 18) at first suggests that it will be a story of two women. The play opens with Norma “Jane Roe” McCorvey (Sara Bruner) and lawyer Sarah Weddington (Sarah Jane Agnew) speaking in unison. We're encouraged to think that their l … [Read more...]

More Sex Ed Thoughts Plus Two Disreputable Songs

I'm not especially satisfied with that post I did about sex ed, and this email exchange gets at part of the reason.A reader: This wouldn't normally clear my "worth emailing about" threshold, but you specifically solicited comments, and I do have a question.When you discussed pros and cons for the ownership framework, one of the things you liked was the way it helped the student relate to other actors. The examples, though, were people doing things that were pretty obviously bad in … [Read more...]

Sex Ed in the Renaissance Tavern

Over the weekend I drove to a wedding with a bunch of strangers. We got to talking about our memories of middle and high school. One of us went to either a small-town public school or a private religious school (can't remember which), one to a single-sex Catholic school, and two of us to an intensely progressive private school. And none of us had had any kind of sex ed that struck us as even marginally relevant or insightful.So look, if fools didn't rush in, would we even need middle-school … [Read more...]

Doomed Queen and Beaten Champion: Concert review, Tristen & the Mountain Goats

A few weeks ago I got a chance to see the Mountain Goats in concert. Let me tell you to do this thing if you get the chance. The Mt Goats is sort of one guy, John Darnielle, and the people he gets to help him make narrative, terrifically-structured indie music; I've yapped about their stuff here and here among other places. I super love them but am wary of live music for whatever dumb reason, so when I finally saw them at Calvin College, I was totally blown away. Darnielle was losing his voice … [Read more...]

“Divine Disco: The beatific sub-genre that delivered sermons on the dance floor”: The Guardian

grauniading: With its reputation for sex, drugs and unbridled hedonism, disco doesn’t have a reputation as the most god-fearing genre. But, as every clubber knows, on a great night you can have something akin to a spiritual experience on the dancefloor, putting your hands in the air and giving yourself over to a higher power: music itself.A new compilation, put together by DJ and inveterate crate-digger Greg Belson, confirms that the cultures of Saturday night and Sunday morning aren’t so di … [Read more...]

Kids Under 12 Drink Free: I review the “AbFab” movie & “Bojack Horseman”

together! The third season of Bojack Horseman arrived the same day the long-awaited Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie opened here in D.C. So audiences who want to watch appetitive people careening through aimless lives have two starkly opposed portrayals of antiheroes who gobble drugs and guzzle booze, corrupt minors, and abase themselves for fame and maybe kill people.AbFab is the simpler pleasure. The movie plays like an extended episode of the TV show, in which lifelong best … [Read more...]

I Don’t Believe in Modern Love (But I Do Love “Modern Manners”)

Recently revisited Modern Manners: An Etiquette Guide for Rude People, my favorite PJ O'Rourke. I think what makes it work is the mix of elements. It's mostly corny humor, like the extended segment on food fights ("Use a raw oyster to show someone what a French kiss would be like if she'd married a reptile"). There's also a lot of witticism: a lot of peppy, preppy cynicism. But mixed into all that there is just enough genuine insight (the bit about how modern people have replaced love with … [Read more...]