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Paul Grand: Beyond the Surface at the Michener Museum
“I’m not the first photographer to shoot walls, but I may be the only one who concentrates on peeling walls,” Paul Grand said. He discovers great beauty in what most people would overlook.
"The Assembled Parties' on Broadway
Terms of estrangement
In Richard Greenberg's witty comedy drama, The Assembled Parties, life doesn't turn out as expected for an extended upper class New York family. But does Greenberg have a substantive message to deliver, or is he just out to entertain us with witty dialogue and plot contrivances?
Philip Dawkins's "Failure: A Love Story'
A whimsical survival course
Failure: A Love Story is an enchanting poetic fable in which members of the Fail family make the most of life's tragedies by spinning their own narratives to turn back the clock.
Durang's "Vanya and Sonia"¦.' in New York (1st review)
Talk about roads not taken!
The good news is: I scored a ticket to Christopher Durang's sold-out comedy at Lincoln Center. The bad news is: In the evening of my life, I squandered a beautiful fall day when I could have been outdoors walking my dog or riding my horse.
The little bookshop that could
My own personal librarian
In the age of chain mega-bookstores that entice customers with cappuccino bars and special events, one independent Center City shop has survived the old-fashioned way— with personal attention to its books and its patrons.
"The Big Bang' at Kimmel's Innovation Studio
Polonius had the right idea
This endearing musical about two theatrical producers in search of investors is original, funny, blissfully brief and blessed with the comic genius of two quick-change artists, Ben Dibble and Tony Braithwaite.
Maira Kalman's "Crazy World' at the Jewish Museum in NY
Maira Kalman's stealth profundity
Maira Kalman finds strange analogies and metaphors in everything from boxes to kitchen sinks. Of course, these somewhat childlike, naÓ¯ve paintings and perceptions are actually highly sophisticated.
Hitchcock's '39 Steps' at the Walnut (2nd review)
Teaching Hitchcock a thing or two
Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 thriller, The 39 Steps, wasn't his greatest film, but it's a perfect vehicle for a spoof. Patrick Barlow's adaptation is part vaudeville, part farce, and always hilarious.
Tracy Letts's "Superior Donuts' at the Arden (4th review)
The secret ingredient is heart
What distinguishes this play is its humanity. I cared about the characters, and that's all too rare in contemporary theater.
Sam Maitin's prints at Woodmere Art Museum
An artist and his community
The late Sam Maitin's dedication to both art and social causes is legendary. The Woodmere Art Museum's current show, recently expanded, offers a precious opportunity to revisit an artist whose signature colorful paintings, murals, sculptures and posters were integral to Philadelphia's cultural life.
"Driving Miss Daisy' in New York
Pride and prejudice in the emerging South
Why spend money on seats that cost many times the price of the DVD? To see three of the finest actors of our times share a stage and work their own particular magic on Alfred Uhry's classic.
"Black Swan': a ballet/horror film (1st review)
And you thought ballet was a tough career
Black Swan purports to be a film about ballet. Is ballet really this vulgar, violent and tasteless?
Guy Glass's "Last Castrato' in New York
His master's voice
The Last Castrato sheds light on an important chapter of musical history, one that's as fascinating as it is complex. Playwright Glass, a practicing psychiatrist by day, uses a reform moment in the Catholic Church, circa 1904, to examine the issues of art, music, gender and posterity.
Lantern Theatre's "Uncle Vanya' (3rd review)
Must boredom be boring?
When a play focuses on a family, great ensemble acting is required if the audience is to believe that the characters are related. This mishmash failed that test.
Beau Willimon's "Spirit Control' in New York
One moment that changes everything
In Spirit Control, the high drama of an airport tower fades as a controller picks up the pieces years later. He's haunted by a tragedy; I was haunted by the aftermath.