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A Writer’s Half-Life

Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady by Keith Garebian

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady by Keith Garebian

In an age of seemingly exhaustive biographies and prolific cultural studies, Routledge’s Fourth Wall “study series” offers a refreshingly intimate look at some turning points in modern theatrical history. Keith Garebian’s Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady is a distillation of years of the author’s intimate knowledge about this and other musicals. His love for his subject and his impeccable prose make reading it a delight, as he cleverly dissects the personal and the artistic, showing how one helped form the...

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21C’s Diverse Sound Universe

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

21C’s Diverse Sound Universe

Contemporary classical music has a rep for being dark, dreary and so intellectually rigorous as to be off-putting for the average concert-goer. Happily, at the 21C Music Festival, obscuration is out and engaging the audience is in. Japan: NEXT showcased the contemporary without eschewing the traditional. These works offered far more than the usual battle between consonance and dissonance that so often typifies modern Western music, deftly skirting the dilemma by simultaneously employing both complex harmonies and haunting...

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Kronos Quartet with special guest Tanya Tagaq

Posted by on Jun 4, 2016 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Kronos Quartet with special guest Tanya Tagaq

Kronos Quartet, the group that opened this year’s 21C New Music Festival, and which most famously signifies new music to many, has been performing for more than forty years. All irony aside, they show no signs of slowing or changing direction. With a new project, Fifty for the Future, Kronos hopes to map music that will inspire generations to come. Typical of Kronos’s musical egalitarianism, the scores, recordings and performance notes of the fifty works to be composed by twenty-five women and twenty-five men over the next five...

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The Judas Kiss…Wit and Wilde

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

The Judas Kiss…Wit and Wilde

Where does one start with a star vehicle spotlighting a celebrated actor, a renowned playwright and an historical figure of great cultural and social importance? Perhaps then we should begin at the beginning, with Oscar Wilde, the Irish wit, aesthete, icon of gay liberation and, ultimately, tragic figure who is compared, not unjustly, to Jesus Christ in David Hare’s 1998 drama. The most popular stage writer of his day, Wilde’s professional reputation was temporarily overshadowed at the end of his life by his private reputation—as...

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Blackstar, David Bowie (8 Jan 1947 – 10 Jan 2016)

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Blackstar, David Bowie (8 Jan 1947 – 10 Jan 2016)

This is my review of David Bowie’s Blackstar. It was written on what turned out to be the day he died of liver cancer at age 69. Unlike many, I was a late arrival to the fandom. Coming from a classical tradition, what I heard was a highly theatrical voice that was more like screaming than singing, and songs that were weird rather than genuinely interesting. It wasn’t until 2002’s Heathen that I began to understand the Bowie mystique. For me, Bowie “found” his voice with the mega-selling Let’s Dance in the...

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Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz by Cynthia Carr

Posted by on Dec 8, 2015 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz by Cynthia Carr

Writer, painter, sculptor, filmmaker David Wojnarowicz was one of many whose life and art came of age tellingly during the first AIDS decade, roughly encompassing the 1980s. He grew up an abused child, later became a street hustler, and was at times homeless. During much of his short life, he was very close to the centre of what has been dubbed the East Village art scene. He cut a wide swath in his day, becoming a cause célèbre for his AIDS activism and his legal battles over copyright and censorship, but is less well known now than his...

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Manufacturing Passion: Tony Kushner’s Intelligent Homosexual at the Shaw Festival

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Manufacturing Passion: Tony Kushner’s Intelligent Homosexual at the Shaw Festival

As part of the Young Playwrights Unit at the Tarragon Theatre in 1985, I presented an idea for an original drama entitled The Nebulae Hypothesis. It featured a black Joan of Arc looking for reasons for her immolation, a blind Oedipus seeking forgiveness from his daughter/sister Antigone, and an unnamed Inuit hunter who functioned as a sort of Arctic Delphic Oracle. I never completed the work. Though I wasn’t told outright to discard the piece it was subtly suggested that this compote of ideas could never be an actual drama, so I...

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Moment of Truth: Sweet Charity at the Shaw Festival

Posted by on Aug 19, 2015 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Moment of Truth: Sweet Charity at the Shaw Festival

Unless I’ve missed some obscure part of his oeuvre, I would hazard the guess that no one will ever accuse Neil Simon of creating fully-dimensional, true-to-life characters. Most of them are half-people who exist largely as comic outlines. Yet in those one- and two-dimensional creations he touches again and again on universal themes that resonate with all of us: the need to belong, the need to be loved, and of course relationship issues. Never for a moment should we assume that his characters do not deal with reality, even if we’re usually...

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Canadian Opera Company’s Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung

Posted by on May 17, 2015 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Canadian Opera Company’s Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung

First produced twenty-two years ago, Robert LePage’s production of two one-act operas, Bela Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Arnold Schönberg’s Erwartung, makes a glorious return to the Canadian Opera Company. For those who haven’t seen it, suffice to say there are plenty of visual surprises.     Dan Relyea gives a superb Bluebeard, fearsome and compelling… For those who have, what’s immediately obvious is that the stage presentation now takes its rightful place alongside the music it once...

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Queer Tales: 3 Works by Queer-lit Masters

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Queer Tales: 3 Works by Queer-lit Masters

From prose to poetry, the sublime to the ridiculous, the written word can be a source of inspiration, instigation and infuriation. Jeffrey Round looks at three books by three contemporary queer writers who have made a name for themselves — and helped define genre within genre — and dissected some of their most provocative works.     Tales: from a distant planet by Felice Picano (French Connection Press 2005) To anyone who has followed his career, it’s clear Felice Picano doesn’t belong to any one particular genre, whether...

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