The Left-Leaning Bar

The Good Fight, the CBS All Access spinoff of the huge hit, The Good Wife, is excellently written and acted. It has none of the restraints of network television, and Christine Baranski has to be one of the finest actors on screen. We tend to binge watch the streaming episodes. But this season it’s getting “screechy” liberal. Like the New York Times, which blames everything including the weather on Donald Trump so that editorial and news are hopelessly conflated, The …


The Show Must Go On

We saw Into the Breeches by George Brant last night at Trinity Rep in Providence (the play takes place in 1942 Providence). The Premise: During the war, the “Oberon Theater” was forced to use gay men in women’s roles and women in men’s roles in order to have sufficient actors. Trinity always has sufficient actors, and my wife and I have been watching cast members Janice Duclos, Phyllis Kay, Timothy Crowe, Rachael Warren, Stephen Berenson (who looks outrageously good in a dress), and …


Trodding the Boards

We went to the GAMM theater in Rhode Island last night, a very intimate place (130 seats) and we have front row seats. The acting is always outstanding and I’m often more fascinated by it than the play (last night was Chekhov, the Gloomy Gus of playwrights, Uncle Vanya no less, which can drive you to the lobby bar rapidly). Watching this level of acting from a few feet away is intriguing. The non-verbal behavior, the commitment to the character, the …


The Emmys (AKA Self-Aggrandizement)

         I waited for a day before writing about the Emmy Awards on Monday evening. They generated the lowest ratings in the history of the event. I didn’t want to be rash. But…. I saw a room of mostly smug, white millionaires, engaged in endless self-congratulatory nonsense and their pride at “inclusion.” As usual, the “patter” of the presenters was scripted and insipid. Just present the award! Worse, the inability of the award recipients to engage in …


Prison (Dumb Ass Stupid Management)

The Liberty Hotel in Boston is a fascinating property. It’s a former prison, so their “do not disturb” signs say “solitary,” and the bars and restaurants are called “The Clink” and “Alibi” and “The Yard” and so forth. Very clever. The prison closed in 1990, and apparently that was also the end of good service. Despite constant conversations with the general manager and senior people, they couldn’t persuade the chambermaids to conduct their normal turndown service. The orange juice was …


Jumping the Dragon (A Critique of Game of Thrones)

Game of Thrones is “off the book,” meaning the writers are no longer using the work of author R.R. Martin. The episode this past Sunday shows the decline in creativity, drama, and common sense. NOTE: TRIGGER WARNING, SAFE ZONE SEEKING, I’M ABOUT TO REVEAL THE EPISODE. GET THERAPY IF YOU READ ON. We now have a sappy love story between Daenerys and Jon Snow. My dog knew that one of her dragons was going to get killed as soon as …


Providence: The Incompetence of Small Numbers

Rhode Island has well under a million adults. Providence, the capital, is by far the largest city and the Greater Providence Area probably has about 400,000 people. But the state has almost 20 geopolitical jurisdictions, so it needs 20 chiefs of police, fire chiefs, head librarians, superintendents of schools, mayors/city managers, and so on. Almost every week it seems as if a member of the state legislature or Providence city council is charged, indicted, and/or convicted of crimes, from not …


Well, Hello, Dolly

Hello, Dolly is over half a century old on Broadway alone, and based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 book, The Merchant of Yonkers. And that was based on an 1835 English play, A Day Well Spent. The setting of the work currently on Broadway is the 1890s. We’re not talking contemporary theater, here. Bette Midler won the Tony for her lead role this year. (It also won Tonys for Gavin Creel as best supporting actor, best musical revival, and best costumes …


I Am Not Spartacus

We were at a well-respected theater last night and saw a play that was so bad—derivative, insipid, predictable—with horrible writing, mindless directing and, quite rare for this place, amateur acting. (One guy recited lines as if he couldn’t wait to get out and go back to his fantasy football game, and he was supposed to be a high counselor! But then again, the king and queen looked stuffed.) The theater was 50% empty on a Saturday night, if you’re ever …


Fences

We had seen August Wilson’s Fences on Broadway, and I decided to watch the movie on the ten-hour return flight from Greece. This was, by a distance too large to assign a coherent number, by far the best movie of the past year. It makes La La Land and Moonlight seem like amateur films, and while Hidden Figures is intriguing for its documentary aspect, it’s not in the same league. How Denzel Washington did NOT receive the Oscar for this …