Toller Cranston Skates for Mexico: A Fever Dream

One reason I loved the Mountain Goats' new album Beat the Champ so much is that it speaks about a kid projecting his own emotional turmoil onto the storytelling sport of pro wrestling, in a way which deeply resonated with my experience projecting my own emotional turmoil onto the storytelling sport of figure skating. If I made my own sports concept album it would be Toller Cranston Skates for Mexico, and it would be about, mostly, the Lillehammer Olympics, which allowed skaters who had left … [Read more...]

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My Summer Reading: Locas in Love (Plus Old-School Sci Fi and Just a Ton of Wellington)

at the University Bookman:Eve Tushnet I hope to spend this summer soaking up the sun with Los Bros. Hernandez’s epic comic book series “Love and Rockets.” The comics follow a group of knockabout, hard-living characters from punk LA (Jaime Hernandez’s “Hoppers 13” stories) and a slightly surreal South American village (Gilbert Hernandez’s “Palomar”). These are genre-crossing tales of love, loss, slowly encroaching adulthood, and sci-fi adventure; there are ghosts and witches, betrayal and cam … [Read more...]

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“The Dead Hand of the Past”: I Review “Bad Jews”

at Studio Theatre: Jaroslav Pelikan declared, “Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” But it can be hard to tell which one you’re actually doing.“Bad Jews,” at the Studio Theatre through December 28, takes place over a few hours in one tiny (but pricey) New York apartment. Cousins Daphna, Jonah, and Liam are reunited on the night after their grandfather’s funeral. (So big, even Abe Foxman was there!) Liam has also brought an outsider: the … [Read more...]

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Musical Rosary #13: Descent of the Holy Spirit

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Kind of a stretch today, but the Holy Spirit calls us together and guides us when we act as a Christian community. Pentecost is a story of diversity within unity: the wildly varied languages which express a common call from God, like the many weird vocations by which we serve that same … [Read more...]

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From “Going to the Dogs”

"That happens to many women. We young men have cares of our own, and they leave us sufficient time for pleasure, but not enough for love. The family is disintegrating. After all, there are only two possible ways in which we can shoulder responsibility. Either a man accepts the responsibility for a woman's future, and then, if he loses his job the week after, he realizes how irresponsibly he has acted. Or his sense of responsibility forbids him to make a mess of a woman's future, and if, for this … [Read more...]

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Sister and Stranger: “Ida,” A Jewish Nun in a Haunted Poland

Ida, a contemporary black-and-white movie now playing at the E St Cinema & Bethesda Row Cinema, begins as the title character (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to meet her only known relative. Ida doesn't want to meet Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), about whom she knows nothing except that Wanda refused to take her in when she was orphaned, so she was raised in a convent. She's about to take her own vows, though, and so she musters up all her obedience and submits to spending some indefinite time … [Read more...]

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From Erich Kastner, “Going to the Dogs: The Story of a Moralist”

tr. Cyrus Brooks: Rather against his will, Fabian was allowing Malmy to enlighten him on the subject of short-term loans. "The whole country, politically and economically, is falling more and more into the hands of foreigners," he maintained. "A pin prick and the whole thing will blow up. If once the money is recalled in large quantities, we shall all go broke--the banks, the municipalities, the joint-stock companies, and the Reich.""But you never put that in the paper," said Irrgang."I … [Read more...]

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