Beneath the Parthenon, on the southern side of the most famous hill in Athens, Greece, there stands today the Theater of Dionysus. Two millennia ago a Dionysian festival gathered here each year at harvest time for a series of remarkable dramatic performances. The great tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides … Read the rest
The second episode of “Lost Music: Exploring Literary Opera” is out! This one tells the story of how I turned myself into an opera freak by forcing myself to listen to nothing but opera music — 100 selected arias in random order, eight hours a day every day while I … Read the rest
The audiobook of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born To Run is narrated by Bruce himself. It kicks off with a bizarre, unexpected noise: a slow thundering torrent, familiar but eerily transformed. This is the opening of the great rock anthem “Born To Run” played at half speed: booming drum roll, snaky … Read the rest
I fell particularly in love with Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when I saw it performed in Central Park in New York City — a perfect setting, long ago, outdoors on a summer night, with William Hurt as a bemused but domineering Oberon.
I loved the play not for its … Read the rest
We always knew our country could fall victim to a right-wing coup. It’s happening right now, in the form of a stolen election by the repulsive Donald Trump, and everything we cherish is at stake: our freedom, our democracy, our basic human decency, our lives and the lives of those … Read the rest
“Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad.” — Euripidies, from “Prometheus”
Einar Wegener—Europe’s best known transgender person in the … Read the rest
I recently enjoyed two new novels, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta, that left me thinking about the shimmering surfaces of everyday life, and the interwoven meshes of secrecy and guilt that ripple beneath. One novel is about a clever and bookish Vietnamese … Read the rest
For a long time I thought her name was Beverly Clearly. That’s because she wrote so clearly. For real: as a kid I would look at the covers of these wonderfully readable books, and “Beverly Clearly” was the author name I saw.
It’s rare that I have a chance to … Read the rest