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‘Behind the Scenes’: Judi Dench’s scrapbook memoir

Reading the text and savoring the many pictures in the new Judi Dench memoir, “Behind the Scenes” (St. Martin’s Press), often feels like going through one of the the actress’ scrapbooks with her sitting by your side commenting on each page. It’s a delightfully casual book that takes us from Dench’s early days as a […] [Read More]

Mike Nichols & the unimaginable terror of ‘Streamers’

The scope of the work of the late great Mike Nichols on stage and screen was vast, but when I heard the news of his death this morning I immediately flashed back to his indelible staging of the David Rabe play “Streamers” in 1976. The Vietnam War drama had stirred up lots of negative vibes […] [Read More]

‘The Adventurers’: when a trashy movie isn’t fun

On paper, the Warner Archive release “The Adventurers” sounds like it should be a lot of good bad-movie fun. After all, it’s a big budget 1970 Paramount production based on a novel by Harold Robbins, who ruled the best seller lists 50 years ago with lurid potboilers such as “The Carpetbaggers” and “Where Love Has […] [Read More]

‘Sideshow’: a cult musical gets another chance

Touching and more than slightly weird, but with plenty of show biz razzle dazzle, “Sideshow” has defined the notion of a “cult musical” ever since it closed after only a few months in 1997. The New York Times endorsed “Sideshow,” and audiences loved it, but it was hard to convince the average theatergoer to see […] [Read More]
Bradbury Building, Los Angeles

Netflix mining: ‘Los Angeles Plays Itself’

For the past decade, movie buffs have buzzed about Cal Arts professor Thom Anderson’s epic visual essay “Los Angeles Plays Itself” in which he delves into the way his native city has been depicted on film in all sorts of movies. Running close to three hours, the 2003 documentary contains hundreds of clips that illustrate […] [Read More]

Bad movies we love: ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’

Although it was first conceived as a semi-legitimate sequel to the 1967 hit “Valley of the Dolls,” the Russ Meyer-Roger Ebert film “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” was considered so tawdry in 1970 that novelist Jacqueline Susann sued 20th Century Fox to have disclaimers attached to the film making it clear that she had […] [Read More]

‘A Sudden Light’: ghosts & the pre-Internet era

Garth Stein’s “A Sudden Light” contains so many different moods, and elements of so many different genres, that it demands to be read rather than described. Set in the early 1990s — which is shown to be a period far more different from the one we now live in than we might remember  — the […] [Read More]

A year in the life of pop culture addict Andy Cohen

The pleasure that Bravo producer and talk show host Andy Cohen takes in the pop culture scene and his hectic New York City lifestyle is contagious. Whether or not you’re a fan of of his various reality TV shows, Cohen’s own nightly program “Watch What Happens Live” transcends the guilty pleasure label — it’s a […] [Read More]
The VandalFlea Theatre

‘The Vandal’: great showcase for Deirdre O’Connell

Two strangers meet at a bus stop on a very cold winter’s night in Kingston, New York, and slowly start to open up to each other, in the funny and creepy play “The Vandal,” a 2013 Flea Theater production set for airing on Channel 13 tonight at 10 p.m. The actor Hamish Linklater made his playwriting debut […] [Read More]

More murder & mayhem at the New England Crime Bake

Cozy and very well run, the New England Crime Bake is one of the best annual conferences devoted to the art of the mystery. The organizers cap the total number of guests in the mid 200s which means everyone has a chance to interact with the guests of honor. And those who want to write […] [Read More]