Review: Nothing But the Clouds Unchanged

Review: Nothing But the Clouds Unchanged This companion book to the excellent 2015 Getty Center exhibition of WWI art gathers 14 essays about 14 artists by 14 art historians. Their commentaries are uniformly excellent in their balancing biography, culture, and brief analyses of or observations about individual works. The book demonstrates that artists respond in … Read more

Review: Welcome to FOB Haiku

Review: Welcome to FOB Haiku In Welcome to FOB Haiku (Middle West Press, 2015), Randy Brown has written some of the best poetry that I know of to come out of our war in Afghanistan. Most poets surely hope that their books of poetry will last, but most books of poetry end up as ephemera … Read more

Review: In Cadence

Review: In Cadence In Cadence (2016) gathers about three dozen poems by C. Rodney Pattan and Lance B. Brender. Make that Col. Pattan amd Maj. Brender, as both poets are in the U. S. Army. Col. Pattan, an OB/GYN physician, is Deputy Commander of Clinical Services at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri, and the author of … Read more

Kevin Perrin’s “The Shir Khan Bandar Bridge”

Kevin Perrin’s “The Shir Khan Bandar Bridge” blog post seems to me to have the potential to be one of those modest but telling anecdotes that succinctly illuminate the American military experience in Afghanistan, richer in specifics than a parable, but still lean and uncluttered. Kevin Perrin was in Afghanistan 2005-2006 as a U.S. Army … Read more

The Mozart mystery remains unsolved

In a letter to the Napa Valley Register (“Darwin’s Dilemma,” Sept. 1, 2017), Lowell Young suggests that extraordinary talents in music, mathematics and the other arts prove the existence of a creator. I find it quaint that some people still think that finding flaws or incompleteness in one scientist’s 1859 book undermines an idea that … Read more

Review: 2017 Live Action Shorts Oscar Nominees

I have no interest in the Oscars or similar marketing entertainment, and I would be hopeless at predicting winners, but I enjoyed these five films this weekend at Los Angeles’s Nuart Theater.   Timestamp The nominee that makes the most effective, engaging and original use of the tools of cinema is Timestamp, from Spain, directed … Read more

Donald Trump and the Law of Unintended Consequences

No one should have a fuller experience with and understanding of the law of unintended consequences than Donald Trump. Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who is impulsive, narcissistic, and willfully and profoundly ignorant (of culture, history, economics, science . . .). Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who considers his intuition more … Read more

Review: Icebergs

Icebergs is a light and reassuring comedy about deciding whether to have children in a worsening world. Los Angeles’s Geffen Playhouse has created a fine production for the world premier of playwright Alena Smith’s sit-com script. Audiences will enjoy a classic realistic set, purposeful direction, and good comedic acting. The production, directed by Randall Arney, … Read more

10 ways to improve the presidential debates

All reality TV is boring and only pretends to be spontaneous, but the worst reality TV shows are probably the presidential and vice-presidential debates. They are not really debates at all, and probably never will be, but here are ten ways to make them much more honest and useful to voters. 1. Get a competent … Read more

Review: Don’t Think Twice

Don’t Think Twice shows the forced transformation of a small improv group from New York hopefuls to the newest arrivals in that vast community of artists all over the country who have abandoned their quests for celebrity careers, and settled for pursuing their art in small towns. As the film opens, members of The Commune, … Read more