Tuesday, January 22, 2019

BookFilter Reading List


Gentleman Jack (HBO tie-in)
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpal

Benice ya pirates
Geography of Rebels Trilogy by Maria Gabriela Llansol

king of the khyber rifles

PW Best of 2018:

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
Melmoth by Sarah Perry

APRIL 2019


Greystone Secrets #1 middle grade fantasy launch by Margaret Peterson haddix 4-2-2019

Around Harvard Square gay 4-2-2019

THEATER What Blest Genius Shakespeare Jubilee by Andrew McConnell Scogtt 4-2-2019

AARP Greek to me by Mary Norris Comma Queen 4-2-2019

The Lost Boys by 4-2-2019 famous psychological experiment in 1950s

THEATER Macbeth by Harold Bloom 4-2-2019

A Crisis Wasted by Reed Hundt Obama CURR EVENTS 4-2-2019

Ghost Stories anthology edited Leslie Klinger

NASA American Moonshot b Douglas Brinkley history of space race 4-2-2019

Save Me The Plums -- by Ruth Reichel -- FOOD memoir 4-2-2019

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent dalton Aussie hit litfic 4-2-2019

Shakespeare's Library THEATER history 4-2-2019

Crossing by Pajtim Statovci litfic Albanian queer 4-2-2019

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner sports history 4-2-2019

The Damascus Road by Jay parini religious fic St Paul 4-2-2019

Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault by Cathy Guisewite cartoonist of Cathy 4-2-2019

The Editor by Steven Rowley litfic writer and editor 4-2--2019

THEATER Trust Exercise by Susan Choi kids in performing arts school 4-9-2019

The Casket of Time Icelandic fairy tale/enviro tale 4-9-2019

The Players Ball by David Kushner internet history match.com and sex.com battle 4-9-2019

PARADE Notes From A Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi GBN STAR 4-9-2019

My Coney Island Baby by Billy O'Callaghan LITFIC acclaim IRISH 4-9-2019

Working by Robert Caro notes on writing 4-9-2019

Falter by Bill McKibben -- curr events about danger to humanity

Normal People by Sally Rooney litfic great cover longlist Booker coming of age 4-16-2019

Tragedy, The Greeks and Us by Simon Critchley THEATER 4-16-2019

Revolutionaries by Joshua Furst litfic 60s radical son of.... 4-16-2019

The Binding by Bridget Collins -- period fantasy a la sarah Waters 4-16-2019

August Isle by Ali Standish YA big push 4-16-2019

Autumn Light by Pico Iyer nonfic on Japanese culture and grief 4-16-2019

The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown (two bird names) YA Queer acclaim for last book 4-16-2019


Nanaville grandparenting by Anna Quindlen

Odd Partners -- mys anthology of orig short stories edited by Anne Perry

D-Day Girls history of WW II by Sarah Rose 4-23-2019

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World sci-fi 4-23-2019

Machines Like me by Ian McEwan sci-fi? 4-23-2019

**************Our Castle By The Sea by Lucy Strange middle grade author of Secret Of Nightingale Wood 4-30

Lie With Me gay french novel trans by Molly Ringwald 4-30-2019

Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins new mys series Chicago speakeasy 4-30-2019

ROTTER REVIEW Cape May litfic by Chip Cheek -- 4-30-2019 ROTTER REVIEW

Mama's Boy by Dustin Lance Black PARADE GAY 4-30-2019

MAY 2019


Spring by Ali Smith litfic third in quartet


*********** YA  With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X)  5-7-2019

THEATER On Streisand by Ethan Mordden

China Dream by Ma Jian litfic endorsed Atwood banned China, sci-fi-ish

The Endling #2 -- 5-7-2019

Rough Magic memoir horse race 5-7-2019

Ghosts of Gold Mountain by Gordon H Chang HISTORY chinese building railroad US 5-7

Chumps to Champs NYYankees by Bill Pennigton 5-7-2019

AARP HISTORY PARADE War and Peace: FDR 1943-45 by NIgel Hamilton 5-7-2019

AARP Lake of the Ozarks by Bill Geist CBS Sunday morning fixture memoir 5-7-2019

Black Death at the Golden Gate history bubonic plague by David K Randall 5-7-2019

Our Man by george Packer bio of Richard Holbrooke politico 5-7-2019

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake litfic american saga GAN 5-7-2019

Ten Innings at Wrigley sports history by Kevin Cook 1979 slugfest 5-7-2019

On Democracy by EB White 5-7-2019 reissue

Furious Hour true crime Harper Lee nonfic by casey Cep 5-7-2019

The farmer's son by John Connell BIO Irish #1 bestseller 5-7-2019

The Missing Of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos fantasy


We Hunt The Flame YA fantasy inspired by Arabia

Listen Up! Recording Music w Dylan Neil Young REM et al by Mark Howard

Spying on The South by Tony Horwitz (Confederates in the Attic) 5-14-2019

Out East by John Glynn queer memoir debut 5-14-2019

Freedom Fire Dactyl Hill Squad #2 5-14-2019

The Cult of the Constitution law book 5-14-2019

Maddy Alone by pamela Brown Blue Door #2 THEATER ya classic 5-14-2019


Mistress of the Ritz pop fic by Melanie Benjamin(Aviators Wife)

Riots I Have Known by Ryan Chapman litfic

AARP Theadore Roosevelt for the Defense nonfic bio about big trial

Why Superman Doesnt Take Over The World -- using comics to explain economic ideas

Superior: The Return Of Race Science by Angela Saini science cur events 5-21-2019

The Light From The Dark Side Of The Moon lit romance old man remembers WWII romance 5-21-2019

LAT The Dreamt Land -- history current events about California and water and soil by Mark Arax 5-21-2019 ROTTER ROTTER


*********The Book Case  by Dave Shelton 5-28-2019

Aloha Rodeo by David Wolman nonfic about Hawaiian cowboys in 1908 who competed in the biggest rodeo in the world

JUNE 2019


*******The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

Fall or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson Sci-fi

HISTORY 1941: The Year Germany Lost The War by Andrew Nagorski

LA/PARADE  This Storm by James Ellroy LA in WW II ROTTER ROTTER

Indecent Advances by James Polchin history of queer sex crimes before Stonewall

The Crowded Hour by Clay Risen HISTORY rough riders etc

AARP The Plaza by Julie Satow

Like A Love Story queer YA

in West Mills by De-shawn Charles Winslow litfic black community 1940s-80s

PARADE My Life As A Rat by Joyce Carol Oates litfic


Norco 80 -- true story of botched bank robbery in Cali in 70s that was most violent in history by Peter Houlahan

NASA One Giant Leap by Charles Fishman Apollo 11
NASA American Moonshot b Douglas Brinkley history of space race 4-2-2019
NASA Shoot For The Moon by James Donovan nonfic space race Apollo 11 3-12-2019

Places and Names by Elliott Ackerman human cost of war from Veteran CURR EVENTS

Elderhood essays on aging  AARP

The Ice At The End Of The World -- science curr events melting ice by Jon Gertner

The Old Man in The Corner: The teahouse Detective vol 1 mys by baroness Orczy reissue


Lifelines by Heidi Diehl litfic Brooklyn

FKA USA crazy talking goat sci-fi dystopian road novel by Reed King cult

The Body Lies by Jo Baker; litfic thriller author of Longbourne

The Porpoise by Mark Haddon (Curious Incident...) litfic based on myth

LGBTQI Outrages by Naomi Wolff  -- social queer history of British law/ramifications

You Can't Fall Off The Floor SHOWBIZ TV memoir of life in TV industry insider Harris Katleman

Golden Pavements by pamela Brown Blue Door #3 THEATER ya classic

Rilke in Paris trans in English

JULY 2019


***********Last Witnesses kid oral history by Svetlana Alexievich

The Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume 4 edited Neil Clarke

How to reform Capitalism series editor Alain de Botton current affairs


The Saturday Night Ghost Club -- by Craig davidson litfic acclaimed author coming of age set in Niagara Falls, ref Stand By Me, looks appealing queer author

The Substitution Order by martin Clark -- comic legal thriller about down on luck lawyer

THEATER Circus by Wayne Koestenbaum -- litfic about concert pianist planning comeback who insists circus performer must appear w him for recital polysexual

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead GBN litfic


Reasons To Be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe light fiction UK

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J Ryan Stradal litfic

THEATER Professor Renoir's Collection of Oddities, Curiosities and Delights by Randall Platt



Beaten Down Worked Up by Steven Greenhouse NYT writer on workers today

******Prince Albert By AN Wilson HISTORY BIO author of Victoria

The Borgias by Paul Strathern history

Summerlings by Lisa Howorth litfic Cold War coming of age

The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang sequel to fantasy The Poppy War

First Cosmic Velocity by Zach Powers LITFIC On Soviet space program


**********PARADE AARP A Keeper by Graham  Norton litfic

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

Everybodys Doin It: Rise of Popular Music NYC jazz and ragtime in dance halls and brothels by Dale Cockrell


Middle England by Jonathan Coe litfic

The World Doesn't Require You short stories by Rion Amilcar Scott


The Ventriloquists by ER Ramzipoor WW II novel on true story

Shadow School #1 ya/middle grade



*******THEATER BIO AARP Summertime: George Gershwin bio by Richard Crawford

When Hell Struck Twelve by James R Benn Billy Boyle WWII mys

Three Flames by Alan Lightman litfic

CURR EVENTS The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri

LGBTQI YA We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar


The Long-Legged Fly by James Sallis mys classic reissue introing Lew Griffin

What It Means To be Moral by Phil Zuckerman philosophy

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrowe fantasy


**********The Second Founding by Eric Foner on Reconstruction and Constitutional amendments HISTORY

********A Hero Born: Legend Of The Condor Heroes 1 by Jin Yong classic Chinese fantasy

POP CULTURE AARP For The Love Of Music by John Mauceri guide to classical music listening

A Simple Thread by Tracy Chevalier litfic

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill litfic family running haunted mansion attraction


AARP The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman litfic WWII (golem)



PARADE AARP THEATER The Contender by William J Mann bio of Marlon Brando 11-15


AARP PARADE Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren





February 4, 2020

AARP PARADE Unconditional Love memoir by Jocelyn Moorhouse , directing, autistic child, return to directing

MARCH 2020

APRIL 2020

MAY 2020

JUNE 2020

JULY 2020







Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan (Henry) litfic, romance 10-2-2018

Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s edited by Leslie S Klinger 10-2-2018

My Father's Words by Patricia MacLachlan kids 10-2-2018

A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis 10-2-2018

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung memoir 10-2-2018

Good and mad by Rebecca Traister current events history of women's anger NYC 10-2-2018

Skeptic's Guide To The Universe by Steven Novella critical thinking 10-2-2018

When The Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis -- novel based on true female football coach WWII litfic -- 10-2-2018

Under The Knife by Arnold van de Lar history of surgery in 28 operations 10-2-2018

Death From A Top Hat by Clayton Rawson classic mys 10-2-2018

Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo middle grade 10-2-2018

On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides -- Korean battle 10-2-2018

Valley Forge by bob Drury and Tom Clavin history 10-2-2018

Uncompromising Honor by David Weber latest Honor Harrington sci-fi 10-2-2018

Bjorn Borg and the Super Swedes by Mats Holm sports nonfiction 10-2-2018

Dragon's Code by Gigi McCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern 10-2-2018

The Flame by Leonard Cohen poems etc 10-2-2018

The Lady's Guide To Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee fic, romance, gay? *** 10-2-2018

A Knife In The Fog by Bradley Harper mys w Conan Doyle, Jack the Ripper 10-2-2018

The Second Rider by Alex Beer Austrian mystery debut 10-2-2018

Fame by Justine Bateman -- memoir 10-2-2018

That Thin Wild Mercury Sound by Daryl Sanders making of Blonde on Blonde 10-2-2018

Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication science history by Thomas Abraham 10-1-2018

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger -- older man accident, movie house 10-2-2018

Blood Communion by Anne Rice (Lestat) 10-2-2018

The Red Lamp by mary Rinehart mys reissue 10-2-2018

The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan by Stuart Palmer mys reissue 10-2-2018

The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen mys reissue 10-2-2018

Home sweet Homicide by Craig Rice mys reissue 10-2-2018

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel 10-9-2018 THEATER GILTZ

Behold America by Sarah Churchwell history of "America First" and "American Dream" 10-9-2018

The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat and Other Stories From The north anthology edit by Sjon litfic 10-9

Lulu the Broadway Mouse by jenna Gavigan 10-9-2019

The Corrosion of Conservatism by Max Boot politics 10-9-2018

Invisible by Stephen L Carter -- nonfic of female lawyer v Lucky Luciano 10-9-2018 ROTTER REVIEW

What If It's Us? by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera gay ya romance 10-9-2018

Grenade by Alan Gratz ya, follow up to Refugee 10-9-2018

The Clockmaker's Daughter by kate morton litfic 10-9-2018

The Soul Of Yellow Folk by Wesley Yang essays 10-9-2018

November Road bY Lou Berney crime novel 10-9-2018

A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories edited by bettye Collier-Thomas 10-9-2018

Muhammad bio by Juan Cole 10-9-2018

Einstein's Shadow -- by Seth Fletcher science, black holes, 10-9-2018

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young rom comedy 10-9-2018

Death of A Rainmaker by Laurie Loewenstein dust bowl era mystery 10-9-2018

Vietnam -- by Max Hastings one volume history 10-16-2018

A Well Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler litfic novel of Vanderbilts 10-16-2018

She Wants it b Jill Soloway Transparent 10-16-2018

The Season of Styx malone by Kekla magoon ya novel 10-16-2018

Trinity by Louisa Hall litfic Oppenheimer 10-16-2018

Melmoth by Sarah perry author of Essex Serpent gothic litfic 10-16-2018

We Can't Breathe essays current events by Jabari Asim 10-16-2018

Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson German fiction epic 1600+ pages 10-16-2018 NYRB

Frederick Douglass by David Blight bio 10-16-2018

TV Finales -- by Douglas L Howard and david Bianculli editors pop culture 10-16-2018

Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine fantasy ya 10-16-2018

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver litfic 10-16-2018

The Empty Throne by Ivo Daalder etc cur events US abdication of power 10-16-2018

Operation Columba WW II pigeons story by Gordon Corera history 10-16-2018 ROTTER REVIEW

The Library Book by Susan Orlean nonfic on library fire 10-16-2018

Young and In Love gay erotica 10-16-2018

In the Hurricane's Eye by Nathaniel Philbrick -- history of Washington and Yorktown 10-16-2018

*******Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson 10-23-2018

Astounding -- bio of John W Campbell and golden age of sci-fi 10-23-2018

Knights vs Dinosaurs middle grade 10-23-2018

The Reckoning by John Grisham mys 10-23-2018

The Long Path to Wisdom by Jan-Philipp Sendker folk tales 10-23-2018

Little by edward carey story of Madame Toussaud 10-23-2018

Marilla Of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy ya 10-23-2018 GILTZ

The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa Japanese LITFIC 10-23-2018

The Rain Watcher litfic by Tatiana de Rosnay 10-23-2018

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah short stories 10-23-2018

Let It Bang by RJ Young memoir of black man learning to shoot a gun 10-23-2018

Enemies Within -- history Cambridge spies 10-23-2018

Downtown Pop Underground by Kembrew McLeod history of NYC downtown, music theater etc 10-23-2018

Jack Of Hearts -- gay ya 10-30-2018

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know -- bios of fathers of Joyce, Wilde etc by Colm Toibin 10-30-2018

on Haiku by Hiroaki Sato -- essay 10-30-2018

Family trust by Kathy Wang litfic 10-30-2018


Wolves Of Eden by Kevin Mccarthy western, Irish writer 11-6-2018

Henry and Eva and the Castle on the Cliff by Andrea Portes middle grade 11-6-2018

Past Tense by lee Child mys Jack Reacher 11-6-2018 ROTTER

The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim litfic 11-6-2018 ROTTER

Gene Machine by Venki Ramakrishnan SCIENCE 11-6-2018

Bletchley Park Brain Teasers by Sinclair McKay PUZZLES UK 11-6-2018

Jeeves and the King of Clubs by Ben Schott humor lit 11-6-2018

The Grandmaster by Brin-Jonathan Butler 2016 chess match history etc 11-6-2018

Wild Justice by Loren D Estleman western 11-6-2018

The Lonesome Bodybuilder stories by Yukiko Motoya British translator 11-6-2018

paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks fic wwii resistance 11-6-2016

Why Religion? by Elaine Pagels faith philosophy 11-6-2018

The War Before The War history of fugitive enslaved people by Andrew Delbanco 11-6-2018

A Shot In The Dark: mys debut by Lynne Truss killing of theater critic 11-6-2018 THEATER

Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle Of WWII by james Holland history 11-6-2018

Lost Time by Jozef Czapski lectures on Proust in Soviet camp NYRB 152pages 11-6

Inhuman Land by Jozef Czapski WW II reporting Katyn massacre NYRB 11-6-2018

The William Gass Reader 11-6-2018

An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe memoir light, 11-6-2018

Grabbing Pussy by Karen Finley 11-6-2018

Those Who Knew by Idra Novey litfic Brooklyn author, sexual misconduct island nation 11-6-2018

The Indispensable Composers Nonfic Pop Culture on classical music canon by Anthony Tommasini 11-6-2018

We The People by Erwin Chemerinsky 11-13-2018

God in The Qur'an by jack Miles -- 11-13-2018

Winter War by Eric Rauchway HISTORY first fight over New deal 11-13-2018

Pulp by Robin Talley ya lesbian teens 11-13-2018

Vita Nostra Russian fantasy by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko 11-13-2018

Empire of Sand by tasha Suri fantasy debut London librarian, middle east setting 11-13-2018

A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne litfic 11-13-2018

Dear Zealots by Amos Oz cur events 11-13-2018

Heirs Of The Founders -- history of 2nd gen of US leaders by HW Brand 11-13-2018

The Circuit -- tennis nonfiction 2017 season 11-20-2018 GILTZ

All The Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy litfic 11-20-2018

Holy Sexuality and the Bible by Christopher Yuan 11-20-2018

Your Place In The Universe by Paul Sutter 11-20-2018

 Nigerian thriller 11-20-2018 ROTTER REVIEW

Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates dystopian litfic 11-27-2018

The Houseguest by Amparo Davila short stories 144p 11-27-2018

Aladdin new trans by Paulo Lemos Horta 11-27-2018 GILTZ

Come With Me litfic/sci-fi by Helen Schulman 11-27-2018


For The Sake Of The Game Holmes mysteries stories edited Laurie R King 10-4-2018

The dakota Winters by Tom barbash litfic 12-4-2018

A gentleman's guide to vice and virtue 

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield LITFIC debut was massive success UK out 12-4-2018 ROTTER

Ike's Mystery Man by Peter Shinkle history queer 12-4-2018

Bryant and May Hall of Mirrors mys series by Christopher Fowler 12-4-2018

The Future Of Capitalism by Paul Collier economist current events 12-4-2018

Once A King by Erin Summerill ya fantasy 12-4-2018

The Division Bell Mystery classic reissue by Ellen Wilkinson 12-4-2018

Victory City by John Strausbaugh history of NYC during WW II 12-4-2018


The Great War in America by Garrett Peck history of WWI 12-4-2018 


Mysteries Of Winterthurn by Joyce Carol Oates 12-11-2018

Influenza  by Jeremy Brown science history on fighting this diseases 12-18-2018 ROTTER

The Ape That Understood The Universe science by Steve Stewart-Williams 12-30-2018

The Inflamed Mind a new approach to Depression by Edward Bullmore 12-31-2018

The Gown by Jennifer Robson (pop fic Royalty) 12-31-2018



Book Love by Debbie Tung COMICS UK set author out at 2-7-2019 in UK 1-1-2019

The Winter of the Witch fantasy trilogy 1-7-2019

55, Underemployed and Faking Normal by Elizabeth White 1-8-2019

Fault Lines -- Last 50 years of US history nonfic 1-8-2019

Henry VIII by Tracy Borman best-selling academic 1-8-2019 (out in UK in Nov)

The Second Kind Of Impossible by Paul Steinhardt (NJ) science on finding new matter 1-8-2019

An Indefinite Sentence by Siddharth Dube nonfic memoir, India gay (Out same day in Uk; author in NYC) 1-8-2019

The Belting Inheritance by Julian Symons classic mys reissue 1-8-2019

Hitler's Pawn by Stephen Koch history on teen Jew blamed for Kristilnacht NYC 1-8-2019

The Unteachables by Gordon Korman middle grade 1-8-2019

The Perilous Adventures Of The Cowboy King by Jerome Charyn -- fic/Teddy Roosevelt 1-8-2019

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma litfic Nigerian 1-8-2019

Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator by nonfic memoir by Gregory B Jaczko 1-15-2019

Bluff City HISTORY bio of Ernest Withers civil rights photog and FBI informant by Preston Lauterbach 1-15-2019

A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary by Terry Shames mys cozy senior citizen 1-15-2019

Late In The Day by Tessa Hadley LITFIC LONDON 1-15-2019 ROTTER REVIEW

Aristotle's Way by Edith Hall classicist UK, philosophy applied 1-15-2019

The Gilded Wolves by Rokshana Chokshi ya fantasy 1-15-2019 (out UK same date)

Maid nonfic by Stephanie Lande 1-22-2019

Camelot's End: Carter v kennedy at convention by Jon Ward 1-22-2019 GILTZ

The Field Guide To The North American Teenager by Ben Philippe 1-22-2019

The Weight Of A Piano by Chris Cander litfic two women united by piano/decades Houston author 1-22-2019

Restoration Heights by Wil Medearis NYC novel  litfic GBN 1-22-2019

The Falconer -- coming of age, female basketball player 1-29-2019

Underground: A Human History of the World beneath our feet by Will Hunt history tech 1-29-2019

The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells german best-seller 1-29-2019

The Wolf In The Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky litfic Inuit tale 1-29-2019

The Plotters by Un-su Kim thriller 1-29-2019


The Age of light litfic by Whitney Scharer

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas ya about teen female rapper by author of The Hate U Give 2-5-2019

Merchants of Truth by Jill Abramson nonfic on journalism NYT WaPo Buzz Vice 2-5-2019

This Is Not A Love Song by Brendan Matthews stories litfic author of World of Tomorrow 2-5-2019

Where Reasons End by YiYun Li litfic mother son suicide 2-5-2019

The Hollywood Jim Crow SHOWBIZ GBN by Maryann Erigha 2-5-2019

Jimmy Neurosis by James Oseland memoir, gay,punk TV Top Chef judge 2-5-2019

Europe A Natural History by Tim Flannery science 2-5-2019

No Beast So Fierce by Dane Huckelbridge nonfic on dangerous tiger 2-5-2019

The Coronation by Boris Akunin mys historical 2-5-2019

American Pop by Snowden Wright litfic about soda pop/Coke 2-5-2019

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff comm fic followup to Orphan Train 2-5-2019

If We Can Keep It CURR EVENTS by Michael Tomasky fix-it Daily Beast 2-5-2019

Milk of Paradise history of opium by Lucy Inglis 2-5-2018

Lady First bio of First Lady Sarah Polk by Amy S Greenberg 2-5-2019

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson liftic mys 2-12-2019

Leading men by Christopher Castellani THEATER fi on Tennessee Williams and lover 2-12-2019

Broadsword Calling Danny Boy watching "Where Eagles Dare" nonfic 2-12-2019

The City In The Middle Of The Night ya fantasy 2-12-2019

Sounds Like Titanic memoir by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman fake performances to soundtrack of movie THEATER 2-12-2019

Midnight in Chernobyl nonfic by Adam Higginbotham 2-12-2019

Northern Lights by Raymond Strom litfic queer protag, gender fluid debut NYC 2-12-2019

The Psychology of Time Travel  by Kate mascarenhas litfic fantasy fun 2-12-2019

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli litfic family road trip NYC 2-12-2019

Separate: Plessy v Ferguson by Steve Luxenberg WASHPO HISTORY  2-12-2019

ROTTER The Familiars by Stacey Halls witches period, author of Essex Serpent litfic 2-19-2019 ROTTER

The Next To Die by Sophie Hannah thriller 2-19-2019

Landfall by Thomas Mallon litfic Pres W Bush author DC 2-19-2019

How To Hide An Empire history of US possessions 2-19-2019

Cherokee America by Margaret Verble litfic 2-19-2019

Arturo's Island -- Italian classic new trans 2-19-2019

Earth-Shattering/Cataclysms: Science book on disasters by Bon Berman NPR etc 2-19-2019

Possible Minds edited by John Brockman essays on AI by scientists 2-19-2019

Sleeping With Strangers by David Thomson movie criticism 2-19-2019

The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson middle grade 2-26-2019

Magic is Dead by Ian Frisch 2-26-2019

Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw 2-26-2019

An Affair of Poisons ya 2-26-2019

Binstead's Safari by Rachel Ingalls author of Mrs. Caliban 2-26-2019

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet WWII litfic orphan2-26-2019

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee ya 2-26-2019

There is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee ENVIRO 2-28-2019

MARCH 2019

The Wall by John Lanchester out of comfort zone sci-fi dystopia 3-5-2019

Real Queer America curr events travel 3-5-2019

Murder by Matchlight classic mys 3-5-2019

The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag Swedish period mys 3-5-2019

THEATER A Puzzle For Fools by Patrick Quentin classic mys

THEATER The Unsuspected by Charlotte Armstrong classic mys

A Taste For Honey by HF Heard Sherlockian classic mys

The Unhappiness of Being A Single Man stories by Kafkia

The Women's war by Jenna Glass fantasy 3-5-2019

This Life by martin Hagglund philosophy prof at Yale 3-5-2019

The River by Peter Heller litfic college students wilderness survival 3-5-2019, Lives in Denver

Aunt Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna by Mario Giordano third in series MYS 3-5-2019

Mama's Hug by Frans de waal SCIENCE animals have emotions lives in ATL 3-5-2019

Famous Men Who Never Lived by K Chess sci-fi debut alternate NYC lesbian author 3-5-2019


The Catalog of Shipwrecked Books popular history 3-12-2019

***Childhood two novellas by Gerard Reve

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith fantasy debut buzz, auction 3-12-2019

Shoot For The Moon by James Donovan nonfic space race Apollo 11 3-12-2019

The Bird King by G Willow Wilson fantasy 3-12-2019

The Selected Works Of Abdullah the Cossack by HM Naqvi litfic 3-12-2019

The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor Nigerian litfic 3-12-2019

Sea People the Puzzle of Polynesia by Christina Thompson HISTORY 3-12-2019

The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown classic kids book about theater, acting pub 1941 3-12-2019 THEATER

Tiny Americans litfic by Devin Murphy debut praised 3-12-2019


Genesis By Edward O Wilson on Evolution

THEATER: Funny Man: Mel Brooks by Patrick McGilligan 3-19-2019 THEATER

After The Miracle Mets sports book 3-19-2019

Antiracism by Alex Zamalin

The Parade by Dave Eggers fic 3-19-2019

Horizon by Barry Lopez travel bio 3-19-2019

ROTTER Waiting for Bojangles by Olivier Bourdeaut litfic mental illness French hit 3-19-2019 ROTTER

The Boy by Marcus Malte litfic French novel feral lad decades spanning 3-19-2019


The Size Of The truth by Andrew Smith author of Winger middle grade chef 3-26-2019

Who Killed My Father by Edouard Louis French curr events

The New Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan cur events history 3-26-2019

The Forging Of a Rebel by Arturo Barea memoir history admired by marquez, George Orwell, charts 50 years of Spain in the 20th century 3-26-2019

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott in verse 3-26-2019

NYT 2017:

The Evolution Of Beauty
Exit West
Locking Up Our Own
The Power
Prairie Fires
Sing Unburied Sing

The Annotated Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Arthur Ashe bio by Raymond Arsenault Boom Town by Sam Anderson history of Oklahoma City
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt
The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah new Poirot
brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak ya adi alsaid

Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf NYRB
Tailspin by Steven Brill cur events
Where The Crawdads Sing litfic
Whiskey When We're Dry by John Larison


The Age of Eisenhower bio 
And Then We Danced -- memoir history dance by New Yorker writer Henry Alford
Amatka sci-fi female
Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson German fiction epic 1600+ pages
Arrowood -- Holmes competitor
Augustown -- Jamaican novel
The Battle For Beverly Hills -- history
Bearskin by James McLaughlin lit thriller
The Beauties Chekhov short stories new trans
Before The Fall -- thriller by creator of TV Fargo
Behemoth: A History of the Factory
Binstead's Safari by Rachel Ingalls author of Mrs. Caliban 2-26-2019
Black Edge -- business nonfic hedge fund shenanigans
Black Flags Blue Waters -- history pirates US
Blood Moon Cherokee nation history two rivals
The Book Of Disquiet new edition
Born A Crime Trevor Noah
Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken litfic 2-5-2019
Bryant and May Hall of Mirrors
Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber
The Butchering Art medicine history
Career of Evil (Robert Galbraith mys)
Central Station
Chicago by David Mamet
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir (book club fiction)
The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen mys reissue
A Christmas Carol and other Christmas stories by Charles Dickens
City On Fire
Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s edited by Leslie S Klinger
Conclave by Robert Harris Vatican thriller
A Country Road, A Tree follow-up to Longbourne 
Darwin's Backyard science history PW PICK 9-5
Daughter Of The Pirate King (ya fantasy)
Days Without End -- gay historical fic Sebastian Barry
Death Going Down (mystery)

Death on the Aisle a Mr and Mrs North mystery 3-5-2019 THEATER
Dodge City (popular history)
Drive -- nonfiction about early years of auto industry 
Elena Ferrante
Empire of Cotton
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Farthest Field
The Fine Art of Murder
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah short stories
Future Home of the Living God dystopia by Louise Erdrich
A Gentleman In Moscow -- lit fic
The Gilded Razor
The Girl at the Baggage Claim (social commentary East-West)
The Good Daughter Karin Slaughter 
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Green by Sam Graham-Felsen
Hallelujah Anyway Anne Lamott -- 4-4
The Heart Goes Last Margaret Atwood
Here Comes The Sun -- fic debut
Heroes Of The Frontier by Dave Eggers 
H is for Hawk
History Of Violence by Eduard louis
Holding by Graham Norton
Home By Nightfall Mys London period
Home sweet Homicide by Craig Rice mys reissue 
House Of Names by Colm Toibin
How To Survive A Plague 
How To Survive A Summer (gay conversion camp)
Huck out West -- by Robert Coover
I'll Have What She's Having -- Nora Ephron rom-com
Infomocracy (not on Kindle)
The Japanese Lover by Isabelle Allende
Joe Gould's Teeth
Katharine Of Aragon -- Alison Weir fiction
Last Stories by William Trevor
Leading men by Christopher Castellani THEATER fi on Tennessee Williams and lover 
The Lessons of Ubuntu nonfic on race 
A Little Life
Lost and Gone Forever Alex Grecian mystery
Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
Loving, Caught, Back all by Henry Green reissue NYRB
Manhattan Beach by jennifer egan
The Man Who Spoke Snakish
Mapp Lucia reissues Worshipful and Queen and Lucia
The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith
Melmoth by Sarah perry author of Essex Serpent
The Mirror Thief
Mister Monkey -- fiction/theater 
Mrs. Engels
My German Brother by Chico Barques, Brazilian pop star
My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Ninefox Gambit (not on Kindle)
Nine Lives new Mys series Wendy Corsi Staub
The Nix
Noir by Christopher Moore
The Novel of Ferrara by Giorgio Bassani (six volume epic)
Number one Chinese Restaurant lit fic
The Odyssey by Emily Wilson trans
The Paper Menagerie
Passing by Nella Larsen
Patriot Number One -- bio/curr events Chinese activist
The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre history of Myers-Briggs
Pirate Utopia sci-fi fantasy by Bruce Sterling
The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan by Stuart Palmer mys reissue
The Red Lamp by mary Rinehart mys reissue
Renoir's Dancer history
Requiem for the American Dream -- Noam Chomsky
Richard Nixon bio John Farrell
Room To Dream David Lynch
The Sacred Hunt Duology
Secondhand Time
Shark Drunk -- two guys true story catch shark, makes em drunk!
The Shepherd's Hut by Tim Winton
Sing Unburied Sing litfic 9-5
The 6:41 To Paris
Sleeping Giants (not on Kindle)
The Soul Of An Octopus
Speak No Evil litfic by Iweala
The Spirit Photographer his fic
Squeezed current events economics
The Stone Reader NYT philosophy column
The Stranger In The Woods -- RS reporter on hermit
Strangers In Their Own Land -- nonfic look at American right on ground level
Substitute -- Nicholson Baker memoir sub teacher
Swing Time Zadie Smith
The Sympathizer
Tell Them Of Battles, Kings and Elephants by Mathias Enard
That Thin Wild Mercury Sound by Daryl Sanders making of Blonde on Blonde
There There -- litfic urban Native Americans
Thirteen Ways Of Looking
Thrice The Brinded cat Hath Mewed new flavia de luce
The Tide -- popular science on tides
To Fight Against This Age --fascism essays
Tomorrow's Kin  sci-fi alien first contact
Too Like The Lightning
Twelve Kings (fantasy)
Valley Of Genius Silicon Valley by Adam Fisher history tech
Varieties of Religious Experience by William James
Victorian Fairy Tales edited by Michael Newton
Vision Quest (ya)
We'll Always Have Casablanca (pop culture)
We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It Irish memoir 3-5-2019
When Einstein Walked With Godel science essays by Jim Holt
Winter -- Ali Smith
The White Ghost by James R Benn WW II Mys
Young Radicals -- nonfic about six radicals prior to WW I
The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford
Yvgeny Onegin -- new trans of Pushkin

Thursday, January 10, 2019

THEATER: "Choir Boy" -- It's The Same Old Song

CHOIR BOY ** 1/2 out of ****

It's been six years since actor Jeremy Jordan enjoyed a rare splash on Broadway: he starred in two new musicals (Bonnie & Clyde and Newsies) within weeks of each other. A star was born. (Ok, it was born the moment he took the stage at the Papermill Playhouse where Newsies debuted. But you get the idea.) Much the same appears to be happening for Jeremy Pope, who stars on Broadway right now in Choir Boy (a play with a lot of singing). And a few weeks from now, he'll be starring in the hotly touted Temptations musical Ain't Too Proud To Beg? Is lightning going to strike twice? And if so, will every parent dreaming of musical theater start naming their sons Jeremy?

It's also the Broadway debut for Oscar-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney. He won the Academy Award for co-writing the screenplay of Moonlight. McCraney also wowed critics with the bold, experimental and moving trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays at the Public Theater.

Prepare to be wowed? Not quite. The strong cast led by Pope and the graceful presentation by director Trip Cullman and his design team is what one would hope for. But Choir Boy proves far more conventional and uninspired than one might expect. It's the same old song given a new but unconvincing arrangement. And if you're eager to point out that's a hit by the Four Tops (and not the Temptations), I'd applaud you and suggest that's precisely the attention to detail that Choir Boy lacks.

Pharus Jonathan Young (Pope) is the golden-voiced member of the choir at an exclusive prep school catering to young men of color. He is very excited about taking a lead role in the ensemble and maybe breaking precedent by taking a solo at his own graduation. Pharus is also very gay. He is out, sort of, because being in is simply not much of an option for him. Pharus is proud and discrete at the same time, a tricky balancing act he manages with humor, defiance and by following the rules of the school both official (hey, no romance!) and unspoken (no ratting out a fellow student).

Most students just shake their heads at Pharus sometimes being a little too open. But Bobby Marrow, the nephew of the headmaster, can't stand Pharus and they butt heads constantly. When Bobby disrupts practice once too often, Pharus calls for a group vote and Bobby is ousted, creating even more tension between the two. Toss in a fellow student who is preparing for a life in ministry and a new (white) teacher who oversees the choir and you've got plenty of material for a drama, all of it pretty obvious. Sadly, Choir Boy follows the old script of a tragic but noble gay character, the repressed religious figure, and a stalwart straight best friend. It never surprises. The cast and presentation elevate the proceedings, but not enough to mask the play's essential flaws.

Beyond the charismatic ensemble, the best part of the show is the music, mostly old spirituals and an original posing as the school's theme song. They are woven into the action with simplicity and ease. Choreographer Camille A. Brown and Cullman keep the 100 minute show moving briskly and seamlessly between story and song. While the connections to the drama aren't always obvious to me, they were clearly chosen with care and feel of a piece with the action.

The highpoint of the show is a locker room scene. Bobby (played gruffly and a little too obviously by J. Quinton Johnson) has been touchy throughout over any mention of his mother. Indeed, when the would-be preacher David (Caleb Eberhardt) references her and Bobby's hackles rise, he immediately apologizes and says he forgot. Dead? A disgrace? It's not quite clear but Bobby's mom is a source of pain for him. In the locker-room David starts singing "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" directly to Bobby. (That answers that question, since now we know Bobby's mom is dead.)

It's an entreaty, a peace-offering and an invitation to grieve and heal all at once. The rest of the cast freeze in tension and empathy. David keeps singing and offering it up to Bobby...and finally Bobby takes the lead. Soon, the rest of the choir are joining in on harmony to support him. It's touching and powerful. And then Pharus steps in and starts show-boating on vocals until Bobby and everyone else stop singing and leave in disgust. Only Pharus' roommate A.J. (John Clay III) stays behind to shake his head and chide him. Everything about this scene is good. It's the best use of a spiritual and music in general. It moves the story forward meaningfully. And it complicates our hero, letting us know however much we sympathize with him, Pharus is human and can be brash and self-centered at times too.

But later in the play, this dramatic peak is undercut when we're supposed to believe Pharus had NO IDEA that Bobby's mom is dead. Since everyone else knows and Bobby is the nephew of the headmaster, his life is already an open book and if his mom weren't there for a school event it would be pretty obvious even to Pharus, that's hard to believe. And if true, it makes the earlier scene pointless: Pharus wasn't interrupting a precious healing moment; as far as he knew. he was just joining in on a song after Bobby and others had their turn.

Other problems abound, including the saintly AJ, a straight dude in high school so comfortable with himself he both straddles his roomie Pharus to tickle him and then swiftly takes in stride the inadvertent arousal that follows. Even more problematic is the new white teacher played by Austin Pendleton. The actor does his best and as usual is appealing and believable on stage. But what should be an unconventional shaking up of the choir (they've been on their own) proves quite beside the point: about the only meaningful step he takes is to assign them an assignment to learn a favorite song of their parents. This character might have created tension, proven a role model for Pharus, brought the two warring students together or a million other things. And yet, he does nothing. Indeed, when the teacher gets upset over a string of slurs voiced by Bobby, it was hard to tell if he was more upset by the N word or the F word. (Given his immediate understanding when the preacher-to-be references wanting to learn more about the Biblical King David, I'd go with the latter.)

It all ends much as one would expect, more's the pity. Despite the constant flow of music, even the setting of a choir seems beside the point. Pharus has one great scene discussing old spirituals. Yet accept for that locker room scene, the real joy of a choir is absent. Most of the music interludes are dropped into the show, not part of it. We don't see the young men working on an arrangement, learning a new song, striving to make their voices blend together. While Pharus yearns to solo at graduation, he might just as well be striving to deliver a speech as the student with the best academic record or strive to win the big game. It's a goal, but a generic one.

Still, the cast makes you believe. Chuck Cooper breathes life into every moment he's on stage as the headmaster. And the students are a strong ensemble, from Nicholas L. Ashe as the bouncy Junior to Johnson's stolid, dependable AJ. But just as Jeremy Jordan's appearance in Bonnie & Clyde was just a precursor of things to come, we can expect both Jeremy Pope and Tarell Alvin McCraney to be back on Broadway in far better style. Hey, the same was true with that Motown act. Their debut was the so-so Meet The Temptations. But with talent like this, the sky's the limit.


Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2
Choir Boy ** 1/2

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Monday, January 07, 2019

IRAs -- The Best Of The 1980s (work in progress)


87 and counting 

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension 
All Of Me
Another Country (Tubi w ads)
As Tears Go By
Au Revoir Les Enfants (Kanopy)
Babette’s Feast 
Back To The Future 
Berlin Alexanderplatz
Blade Runner (IMDB w ads)
Blood Simple 
Blue Velvet (Amazon, Epix, Hulu)
Born on the Fourth of July (Hulu)
Broadcast News (Starz) 
Broadway Danny Rose 
Bull Durham (Amazon, Hoopla, Netflix)
Chariots of Fire (Max  Go)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (HBO)
Dangerous Liaisons 
Danton (Kanopy)
Das Boot 
The Dead 
The Decalogue 
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Amazon, Hoopla, Roku)
Distant Voices, Still Lives 
Do the Right Thing (Starz)
Drugstore Cowboy (HBO)
Eight Men Out (Amazon, Hoopla, Roku) 
Empire Of The Sun 
The Empire Strikes Back 
Enemies, A Love Story 
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Max Go) 
Evil Dead II 
The Fabulous Baker Boys 
Fanny and Alexander 
Field of Dreams (Hulu)
A Fish Called Wanda (Roku)
The Fly 
For All Mankind (Kanopy) 
Full Metal Jacket 
Gallipoli (Starz) 
Hannah and Her Sisters 
Henry V 
High Hopes 
Honkytonk Man 
Hope and Glory 
Jean de Florette / Manon of the Spring 
The Killing Fields 
Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance 
The Last Emperor 
The Little Mermaid 
Local Hero 
Lost In America 
Modern Romance 
My Brilliant Career 
My Dinner with Andre 
My Favorite Year 
My Left Foot 
My Life As A Dog 
My Neighbor Totoro 
Once Upon a Time in America 
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure 
The Princess Bride 
Prizzi's Honor 
The Purple Rose of Cairo 
Radio Days 
Raging Bull 
Raiders of the Lost Ark 
The Return of Martin Guerre 
The Right Stuff 
Risky Business 
River's Edge 
The Road Warrior 
A Room With A View 
Runaway Train 
sex, lies and videotape 
The Shining 
Smooth Talk 
Something Wild 
Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan 
Stop Making Sense 
Swimming To Cambodia 
Tender Mercies 
Terms Of Endearment 
The Thin Blue Line 
Things Change 
This Is Spinal Tap 
Time Bandits 
The Times Of Harvey Milk 
The Unbearable Lightness of Being 
Vernon, Florida 
The War Of The Roses 
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 
Wings of Desire 
Withnail and I 
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown 
The World According To Garp 

THEATER: "Ink" -- The Art of Calligraphy, Performance and Friendship


Have the performance duo/art experts James & Jerome created  a new form of lecture for museums around the world to adopt? A sort of Ted Talk for tapestries and the like? Not really.  I mean, how many people are out there who can hold a stage, speak authoritatively and entertainingly about art and art  history, weave in personal anecdotes, compose beautiful music, play multiple instruments and dance with insouciance? Heck, I'm not even sure James can dance with insouciance, so it takes two here. With Ink, the combination of their talents has created an engaging piece that surely will be welcome at museums around the world.

Their show is broken into five parts. Jerome Ellis kicks  things off with the story of a sabbatical he took away from his friend and collaborative partner James Harrison Monaco. Inspired by a book, Jerome decides to make his own ink. Before you know it, we're off into the history of ink and calligraphy and illuminated manuscripts, scored by music one or both of them perform throughout and backed by projections of various art pieces.

And it is a story. Jerome has a stutter and explains how early on in their friendship he asked James to introduce Jerome to others, saving him the hurdle of repeating his own name. "James gave me my name back hundreds of times over the last ten years," he says. Just like that, they set a pattern.  A close but playful examination of a signature of Suleiman the Magnificent flows into some hypnotic music which leads to more personal comments (such as how the two bonded by spending endless days at the Met soaking in their favorite works together) back to music (maybe with Jerome soloing on the flute or sax)  and back to art history.

Is it an art lecture? A performance piece? A musical concert? Yes.

Photo copyright by Marcus Middleton

Jerome's stutter adds an element of drama to the show. Once the audience realizes  he is not "performing" but simply working to communicate with them, they are immediately on his side, rooting for his thoughtful comments and compelling voice to come as easily as he wants, while patiently making mental room when it doesn't. (Anyone who has seen the British performance artist and comic Daniel Kitson will recognize this phenomenon.) James becomes a helpful counterpoint, contrasting their styles of storytelling and giving both Jerome and the audience a breather. This only adds to the sense of warmth between them and the people hearing their story.

This is good since Ink would otherwise lack tension and be merely a lecture with modest anecdotes woven in. No natural suspense arises from the stories shared or information presented, however compelling they might be.

Naturally, their comments are illustrated throughout with images of art. (Media Designer Shawn Duan is the third key element of the show, which was directed by Rachel Tavkin and Annie Tippe.) From Part II onward,  each piece of art projected on the screen was spoken about directly or obviously related somehow to the moment. Not so in Part I, where Jerome  set up his story and their friendship while seemingly random objects were displayed behind him. Undoubtedly they have significance, but that remained  obscure at least to me. A similar disconnect seemed to reoccur with the last few images of the show, though that was so minor it just be my fault. The visuals  and music came together perfectly however when Jerome would step in front of the projections while dancing or playing an instrument, literally becoming a part of the art they so love.

Lastly, an unintentional odd note was struck at the finale. Jerome said something akin to, "I think I'd like to finish this alone" and James left the stage. Clearly this was planned. Perhaps they have several options at the end, depending on the mood, their desire to change it up or Jerome's  temperature-taking of how his speech is flowing and whether he wants to tackle one final bit or pass it off? I've no idea but one thing is clear: James wasn't being "dismissed." But the way that transition was voiced added a discordant note; it should be handled differently in the future.

Just as clearly, this piece will indeed have a future at any museum James & Jerome want to visit. The only pity is that those future audience members won't be able to follow the show by immediately heading upstairs at the Met to check out most of the key pieces mentioned in person with a new appreciation.


Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***
Ink: Under The Radar  Festival at the Public  ** 1/2

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Saturday, January 05, 2019



Well, that worked! The New Saloon theater company came up with a clever stunt of a show: find every English translation of the classic Chekhov play Uncle Vanya (including their own hilariously literal version via Google Translate), mash them up, have multiple actors tackle the same roles (often at the same time) and see what happens. Quite a lot, as it turns out. At just 90 minutes and with a strong dollop of humor, any production of Chekhov that doesn't bore is to be appreciated. Minor Character does quite a bit more.

If you don't know the story, don't worry. Despite the on-stage chaos -- sometimes three versions of various characters like Vanya and Yelena and Sonya jostle for space in a scene -- the basic story comes across quite nicely. The cantankerous, grumpy, irascible professor is visiting the country estate that supplies the funds to keep him living well. At his side is the professor's notably younger and more beautiful wife Yelena.

Servants are underfoot but the estate is overseen with tireless diligence by Sonya (the professor's daughter from his late wife) and the dead woman's brother, Vanya. Also dropping in is the Doctor; he is drawn to Yelena while meek, mild, mouse-like Sonya has worshipped the man from afar. Little happens and little changes (it's Chekhov, after all), but done well the play can be devastating and sad.

Like the actors, those multiple translations bump into one another throughout the show. At times, a single actor might run through two or three variations of a line or phrase. Instead of seeming comical or bizarre, it  creates a unique rhythm for the production, such as this line by Vanya: "I've been made a complete fool," Vanya says, "foolishly betrayed," the second Vanya agrees, "stupidly cheated," the third Vanya clarifies.

A simple but garish set with the same ugly pattern adorning the carpeting, the tablecloth and the drapes along the back wall indicates an off-kilter world, not to mention how the same idea, image, pattern can be repeated over and over (and over) again. And the eight member cast led by a very droll David Greenspan (doing wonders with his delivery of lines) is sterling from top to bottom.

It's lucky enough that this idea worked and better that it didn't lose track of the story being told in the process. The stunt probably shouldn't be duplicated, though the very idea of doing it over and over again with other plays is surely embedded in its very DNA.

Yet it did pay dividends in unexpected ways. When three Sonyas are giggling like schoolgirls over expressing their love and admiration for the Doctor, the text came alive, their voices rising in a chorus of glee. When the Professor makes his desire for Yelena clear, having three Professors surrounding her and touching her made his attention a little creepier and more aggressive than expected. At other times, when a character is talking to themselves, they are literally talking to themselves, with one actor repeating a line or exploring a new avenue of thought followed by another actor in the same role who contradicts them or dully repeats the same idea, revealing how stuck in one way of thinking they truly are.

Suddenly, this approach of multiple actors playing the same roles and multiple translations battling for supremacy illuminated one idea after another: how every production (indeed every performance) brings a play to life in a slightly different way, how diverse casting in gender and race lets us see a person anew or reveal their universal humanity, how every revival is haunted by the past and on and on and on. While simply watching this performance was a solid evening of entertainment (and hence only three stars out of four), I must admit Minor Character is one of those shows that feel more significant the more one thinks about it. And New Saloon is a troupe to keep an eye on, keep tabs on, pay attention to.


And here's my review in Russian.

Ну, это сработало! Театральная компания «Новый Салон» придумала хитрый трюк: найти каждый английский перевод классической чеховской пьесы «Дядя Ваня» (включая их собственную веселую буквально версию с помощью Google Translate), разомкнуть их, заставить нескольких актеров играть одинаковые роли часто одновременно) и посмотрим, что получится. Как оказалось, довольно много. Всего за 90 минут и с сильным приливом юмора любая постановка Чехова, которая не надоедает, должна цениться. Незначительный Персонаж делает немного больше.

Если вы не знаете историю, не волнуйтесь. Несмотря на хаос на сцене - иногда три версии разных персонажей, таких как Ваня, Елена и Соня, борются за место в сцене - основная история довольно симпатична. Странный, сварливый, вспыльчивый профессор посещает загородную усадьбу, которая предоставляет средства для поддержания его хорошей жизни. На его стороне заметно молодая и красивая жена профессора Елена.

Слуги под ногами, но за состоянием усадьбы с неутомимым усердием следят Соня (дочь профессора от его покойной жены) и брат покойной женщины Ваня. Также заглядывает Доктор; его тянет к Елене, в то время как кроткая, мягкая, похожая на мышь Соня поклонялась человеку издалека. Мало что происходит и мало что меняется (в конце концов, это Чехов), но хорошо выполненная игра может быть разрушительной и грустной.

Эти многочисленные переводы также сталкиваются друг с другом на протяжении всего шоу. Иногда один актер может пройти через два или три варианта строки или фразы. Вместо того, чтобы казаться комичным или причудливым, он создает уникальный ритм для постановки, такой как эта линия Ваней: «Я стал полным дураком, - говорит Ваня, - глупо предан, - соглашается Ваня, - глупо обманут». Ваня уточняет.

Простой, но броский набор с тем же уродливым рисунком, украшающим ковровое покрытие, скатерть и занавески вдоль задней стены, указывают на мир, в котором нет места, не говоря уже о том, как одна и та же идея, изображение, рисунок могут повторяться снова и снова ( ) снова. А актерский состав из восьми человек во главе с очень дурацким Дэвидом Гринспеном (творящим чудеса со своей доставкой строк) - сверху вниз.

К счастью, эта идея сработала и лучше, что она не потеряла след истории, рассказанной в процессе. Трюк, вероятно, не должен дублироваться, хотя сама идея делать это снова и снова с другими пьесами, безусловно, заложена в самой ее ДНК.

Тем не менее, он выплачивал дивиденды неожиданным образом. Когда три Сони хихикают, как школьницы, из-за того, что выражают свою любовь и восхищение Доктором, текст оживает, их голоса растут в радостном хоре. Когда Профессор ясно заявляет о своем желании к Елене, окружение ее трех профессоров и прикосновение к ней сделали его внимание немного более жутким и более агрессивным, чем ожидалось. В других случаях, когда персонаж разговаривает сам с собой, он буквально разговаривает сам с собой, когда один актер повторяет линию или исследует новый путь мышления, за которым следует другой актер в той же роли, который противоречит им или тупо повторяет ту же идею, показывая, как они застряли в одном образе мышления.

Внезапно, этот подход нескольких актеров, играющих одинаковые роли, и нескольких переводов, сражающихся за превосходство, высветили одну идею за другой: как каждый спектакль (на самом деле, каждый спектакль) воплощает пьесу в жизнь немного по-другому, насколько разнообразное распределение по полу и расе мы снова видим человека или раскрываем его вселенскую человечность, как каждое пробуждение преследует прошлое и так далее, и так далее. Хотя простой просмотр этого спектакля был насыщенным вечерним развлечением (а значит, только три звезды из четырех), я должен признать, что «Незначительный персонаж» - это одно из тех шоу, которое тем значительнее, чем больше думаешь об этом. А New Saloon - это труппа, за которой нужно следить, следить за ней, обращать на нее внимание.


And French.

Eh bien, cela a fonctionné! La troupe théâtrale New Saloon a imaginé tout un programme: retrouvez toutes les traductions en anglais de la classique pièce de Chekhov, Oncle Vanya (y compris leur propre version littéralement hilarante via Google Translate), écrasez-les, demandez à plusieurs acteurs d'assumer les mêmes rôles ( souvent en même temps) et voir ce qui se passe. Beaucoup, en fin de compte. À seulement 90 minutes et avec une bonne dose d'humour, toute production de Tchekhov qui ne s'ennuie pas est à apprécier. Caractère mineur fait un peu plus.

Si vous ne connaissez pas l'histoire, ne vous inquiétez pas. Malgré le chaos sur scène - parfois trois versions de personnages différents tels que Vanya, Yelena et Sonya se bousculent pour trouver de la place dans une scène - l'histoire de base est assez belle. Le professeur sarcastique, grincheux et irascible se rend dans le domaine rural qui lui fournit les fonds nécessaires à sa survie. À ses côtés se trouve la femme particulièrement jeune et plus belle du professeur, Yelena.

Les serviteurs sont sous les pieds, mais Sonya (la fille du professeur de son défunt épouse) et le frère de la femme décédée, Vanya, surveillent la succession avec une diligence infatigable. Le Docteur fait également son entrée; Il est attiré par Yelena, tandis que Sonya, douce et douce comme une souris, a vénéré cet homme de loin. Peu de choses se passent et peu de changements (c'est Chekhov, après tout), mais bien joué, la pièce peut être dévastatrice et triste.

Ces traductions multiples se croisent également tout au long du spectacle. Parfois, un seul acteur peut parcourir deux ou trois variations d’une ligne ou d’une phrase. Au lieu de paraître comique ou bizarre, cela crée un rythme unique pour la production, tel que cette ligne de Vanya: "Je suis devenu complètement idiot", dit Vanya, "stupidement trahi", reconnaît Vanya, "stupidement trompé". Vanya clarifie.

Un ensemble simple mais criard avec le même motif laid qui orne la moquette, la nappe et les rideaux le long du mur arrière indiquent un monde décalé, sans parler de la façon dont la même idée, image, motif peuvent être répétés encore et encore (et plus encore). ) encore. Et le casting de huit membres dirigé par le très droll David Greenspan (qui fait des merveilles avec ses lignes) est remarquable du début à la fin.

Il est assez chanceux que cette idée fonctionne et mieux qu’elle ne perd pas de vue l’histoire racontée au cours du processus. La cascade ne devrait probablement pas être dupliquée, bien que l’idée même de la répéter encore et encore avec d’autres pièces soit sûrement inscrite dans son ADN même.

Pourtant, il a payé des dividendes de manière inattendue. Quand trois Sonya rigolent comme des écolières pour exprimer leur amour et leur admiration pour le Docteur, le texte s'anima, leurs voix s'élevant dans un choeur de joie. Lorsque le professeur a exprimé clairement son désir pour Yelena, le fait d'avoir trois professeurs l'entourant et la touchant l'a rendu un peu plus effrayant et plus agressif que prévu. D'autres fois, lorsqu'un personnage se parle à lui-même, il se parle littéralement à lui-même, un acteur répétant une phrase ou explorant une nouvelle voie de pensée suivie par un autre acteur du même rôle qui les contredit ou répète la même idée, révélant à quel point ils sont coincés dans une façon de penser.

Soudainement, cette approche de multiples acteurs jouant les mêmes rôles et de multiples traductions en lutte pour la suprématie a éclairé une idée après l’autre: comment chaque production (et même chaque performance) donne vie à une pièce de manière légèrement différente, et à la diversité du casting selon le sexe et la race. nous voyons une personne à nouveau ou révélons son humanité universelle, comment chaque réveil est hanté par le passé et ainsi de suite. Bien que regarder cette performance ait été une solide soirée de divertissement (et donc seulement trois étoiles sur quatre), je dois admettre que Minor Character est l’une de ces émissions qui se sentent plus significatives plus on y pense. Et New Saloon est une troupe à surveiller, à surveiller et à surveiller.


And what the hell, Russian back into English.

Well, it worked! The New Salon theater company came up with a cunning trick: to find every English translation of the classic Chekhov's play “Uncle Vanya” (including their own fun literal version using Google Translate), unlock them, force several actors to play the same roles often at the same time) and see what work out. As it turned out, quite a lot. In just 90 minutes and with a strong tide of humor, any production of Chekhov, which does not bother, should be appreciated. Minor Character does a bit more.

If you do not know the story, do not worry. Despite the chaos on the stage - sometimes three versions of different characters, such as Vanya, Elena and Sonya, fight for a place in the scene - the main story is quite pretty. A strange, grumpy, hot-tempered professor visits a country estate, which provides the means to maintain his good life. On his side, the young and beautiful wife of Professor Elena is noticeable.

The servants are under their feet, but Sonya (the daughter of the professor from his late wife) and the brother of the deceased woman Vanya are following the state of the estate with tireless zeal. The Doctor also looks in; he is drawn to Elena, while the gentle, soft, mouse-like Sonya worshiped a man from afar. Little is happening and little is changing (after all, it is Chekhov), but a well-executed game can be destructive and sad.

These numerous translations also collide with each other throughout the show. Sometimes one actor can go through two or three lines or phrases. Instead of appearing comical or bizarre, he creates a unique rhythm for the production, such as this line Vanya: “I became a complete fool,” Vanya says, “foolishly betrayed,” Vanya agrees, “foolishly deceived.” Vanya clarifies.

A simple but catchy set with the same ugly pattern that adorns the carpet, tablecloth and curtains along the back wall, indicate a world in which there is no place, not to mention how the same idea, image, pattern can be repeated again and again () again. And the cast of eight people, led by the very stupid David Greenspan (doing wonders with his delivery lines) - from top to bottom.

Fortunately, this idea worked better and that it did not lose track of the story told in the process. The trick probably should not be duplicated, although the very idea of ​​doing it again and again with other plays is certainly embedded in her very DNA.

However, he paid dividends in unexpected ways. When three Soni giggle like schoolgirls because they express their love and admiration for the Doctor, the text comes to life, their voices grow in a joyful choir. When the Professor clearly declares his desire for Elena, the environment of her three professors and touching her made his attention a bit more creepy and more aggressive than expected. In other cases, when a character talks to himself, he literally talks to himself when one actor repeats the line or explores a new way of thinking, followed by another actor in the same role that contradicts them or stupidly repeats the same idea, showing as they are stuck in the same way of thinking.

Suddenly, this approach of several actors playing the same roles and several translations fighting for supremacy highlighted one idea after another: how each performance (in fact, each performance) brings the play to life a little differently, how varied the gender distribution and to the race we again see man or reveal his universal humanity, how every revival pursues the past, and so on and so forth. Although the simple viewing of this performance was full of evening entertainment (which means only three stars out of four), I have to admit that “Minor character” is one of those shows that is more significant the more you think about it. And New Saloon is a troupe, for which you need to follow, monitor it, pay attention to it.


Frankenstein: Under The Radar Fest at the Public ** 1/2
Minor Character: Under The Radar Festival at the Public ***

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the creator of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day with top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.