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August 2007 Archives

August 19, 2007


This two-hander by Corey Patrick (who also acts in it, with Cass Buggé) details how Danny and Lilly handle the death of their father, who was, at least as they tell it, a pathetic monster. Danny stayed in Minnesota to care for the father during his five years of falling apart while Lilly ran away to Manhattan and a life. As is usual in this genre of dead-parent family-dysfunction plays, there is much sturm and much drang, with accusation leading to revelation and ending with a hang-dog redemption. While well-acted and paced, it doesn't deliver much because there is not much to deliver. So families can be nasty and tender with each other — so what else is new?
Michael Bettencourt

Fringe NYC 2007: DIRT

Christopher Domig executes this one-person show by Robert Schneider (originally written in German in 1993, translated by Paul Dvorak). DIRT is a monologue by Sad (short for "Saddam"), an Iraqi living illegally in some modern city, and in this cry from the heart by this accomplished actor we are tutored about the deforming pressures of racism and intolerance on those who are considered outside the family, the state, and the nation. While its ideas and images are relevant and powerful, DIRT is essentially a lecture delivered through theatre devices and thus not very dramatic, which makes the 70-minute running time feel longer than it is.
Michael Bettencourt

August 22, 2007

Leonardo DiCaprio’s "The 11th Hour" Calls Forth Humanity’s Finest Hour

In this summer's blockbuster hit Transformers, "Decepticons" from an alien species, wreak havoc on Earth – things look bad, humanity seems doomed. But just in the nick of time, against all odds, our young heroes save the planet.
It’s an enduring Cliché: From Superman and Wonder Woman to Batman and Spiderman, we love to watch our celluloid heroes save us from whatever creatures are threatening our world. In Leonardo DiCaprio's new documentary, The 11th Hour, the creatures are us. And the ways in which we are wreaking havoc on planet Earth are far more frightening than anything dreamed up by Hollywood:
--Injecting poisons into the atmosphere causing our children to choke and wheeze in an epidemic of asthma.
--Dumping toxic chemicals into the oceans, killing 90 percent of the big fish.
--Poisoning our food supply with pesticides, mercury, herbicides and more.
--Hacking down whole forests vital to the sustainability of life on Earth.
--Burning huge fossil fuel reserves, creating emissions that disrupt the fragile atmospheric balance that regulates temperature and makes Earth habitable.
-- Contaminating our drinking water, melting our icecaps and killing off species forever.
How would we react if an alien species did this to our planet?
“Would we be outraged? I’m sure we would,” Leonardo said when I asked him this question at a Beverly Hills press conference.
“We face a convergence of crises, all of which are a concern for life,” he says in the documentary. “Every living system is in decline – the forest cover, the soil, the oceans. There isn't one living system that is stable or improving. And those systems are required for life." Life on Earth in peril? In a fiction film, people would be gathered around their TV sets, brows furrowed in worry, clutching their children to their breasts, anxiously awaiting some glimmer of hope for how humanity can fight back. But this is real. So is public anxiety even higher? Not according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Their analysis shows that so far global warming hasn’t even ranked with Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton in the top-ten news stories.

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About August 2007

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