Casey Keeler as the Fairy Queen in "Iolanthe"

Lost Music Is Back! And So Is Live Theatre! Talking To An Influential Fairy

I’m thrilled to announce that “Lost Music: Exploring Literary Opera” is back! Season 4 of this podcast kicks off with an interview with singer and actress Casey Keeler, who played the Fairy Queen in a concert production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Iolanthe” with the Village Light Opera Group in February of this year.

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What We’re Up To

Litkicks is 26 years old! It’s been a journey. Lately we’re busy doing a couple of excellent podcasts.

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A battleship in Il Trovatore in Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera

Comprehending Trovatore

Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” is one of the most popular operas of all time, and also one of the hardest to follow. What is going on with this crazy plot? There’s a lot under the surface, and it’s all spelled out in this explainer by Marc Eliot Stein, who shows how a thrilling but nakedly horrible storyline became an entertainment fit for 19th century operagoers. This fascinating episode ends with a look at the Marx Brothers “A Night at the Opera”, which joyously tears Verdi’s masterpiece to shreds.

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Daniel Nester

Beelzebub and Galileo

Season 3 of “Lost Music: Exploring Literary Opera” has kicked off with something different! We are joined by Daniel Nester, poet, author, professor and podcaster, and one of only a few people I’ve ever met who has actually co-written a libretto for a modern opera, “The Summer King” by Daniel Sonenberg.

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A found mirror on Ocean Ave in Flatbush, Brooklyn

A Compendium of Raindrops

It was a rough day for me back in February of this year when the great Beat publisher, bookseller, pacifist and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti died at the age of 101, and I couldn’t post about it on Litkicks. I was right in the middle of migrating this entire website to a new software platform, and was unable to create a new blog post.

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The Walls Of Our Cage: Reading John Edgar Wideman

I took the #WidemanChallenge, in which a few literary critics, bloggers and journalists spent the end of 2020 calling attention to a writer that too few people know about: John Edgar Wideman, an important voice from the Rust Belt whose works are keenly relevant in the year of George Floyd. Here’s what happened when I read two of his books.

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Scorched Earth

There’s a smell of scorched earth in the air lately, here in America. It’s smoke from Pacific coast wildfires, and it’s something more: the warning scent of an authoritarian future we must avoid, even as our society chokes on climate change, racism, social injustice, predatory capitalism and military escalation. Scorched earth is what I see when I close my eyes and think about the direction the USA is going in right now.

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