“The Heart Sellers” (2023), a new play by Lloyd Suh, takes place in 1973, but its story feels just as relevant today. Following a world premiere at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in February, it’s playing now through Dec. 23 at the Calderwood Pavilion in Boston. Under the direction of May Adrales, the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of “The Heart Sellers” tackles immigration, marriage and the joy of friendship in a refreshingly honest way.
We have finally come to the end of not only the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strikes of 2023, but also this column. Throughout the past few months, I aimed to give even the slightest bit of insight into what was going on ...
When the “Saltburn” (2023) teaser trailer released in late August, people got interested. The stunning cinematography, intriguing lines and exciting casting choices (i.e. Rosamund Pike and Jacob Elordi in the same film) were ingredients for potentially one of the best movies of the year. However, what could’ve been richly entertaining is instead a vapid montage of strange creative decisions.
It’s New York Times Cookie Week. This means seven days of seven delicious cookie recipes. In celebration of NYT Cookie Week, I would like to share with you a Midwest tradition: the cookie swap. This is one of those things I didn’t know was distinctly Midwestern, but after a week of conversational research, I have uncovered that every one of my friends with a Midwestern connection has a woman in their life who participates in a cookie swap. Around the holidays, she bakes several batches of “her” cookie. Maybe she chooses her favorite cookie of the season, but there is a chance that she chooses her second best cookie — you know it’s a good cookie swap when she brings out her best cookie.
Perhaps for this week’s column we’ll step away from the films with a B-movie outline or B-movie qualities and enter the world of art-house cinema. From a stylistic view, “experimental filmmaking” can be a product of the B-movie skeleton; hence, its presence is worth discussing here. Gaspar Noé is a director whose work oscillates between genres of experimentation, erotica and thriller. His transgressive styles tend to settle on themes of a brutalized humanity. He has an evident no-holds-barred approach to his work — some are turned off by his gruesome imagery — but when he hits a stride with genre films, there’s a beautiful synchronicity. “Enter the Void” (2009) is a flawless, harmonic flux of fear and desire and, as a result, is the ultimate avant-garde brainchild of Noé. It’s no surprise that the Argentine director has received a mix of praise and criticism, but he continues to produce taboo visions without holding back.
Did you know that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have been separated since 2016? Or that Chris Rock had asked Jada out pre-Oscars slap, thinking she and Will were getting a divorce? These bombshells heard ‘round the internet became incessant, with dueling Twitter accounts Pop Crave and Pop Base racing to post quicker updates. The magazine web bloggers jumped, publishing standalone scandal write-ups and “top revelations” listicles. For one week, Jada and her marital ongoings were the biggest story in celebrity media.
Artist and actress Reneé Rapp released a deluxe version of her “Snow Angel” (2023) album on Nov. 17. The deluxe album has three new songs — “Messy,” “I Do” and “Swim” — as well as a new version of a classic: “Tummy Hurts” (feat. Coco Jones) - Remix.” Rapp is just one of many artists who have released deluxe versions of their albums, which raises the question: What’s the deal with deluxe albums, anyway? In other words, why do artists release them, and what do listeners get out of them?
The enduring music of the Allman Brothers Band lives on in the Allman Betts Family Revival tour, which made a stop at the Orpheum on Friday. The tour is an annual event founded seven years ago by Devon Allman to celebrate the life of his father Gregg Allman, one of the two brothers who gave their name to the illustrious ’70s band. This year, the show was organized by Devon Allman and Duane Betts, son of band member Dickey Betts, to celebrate the music of both of their fathers.
“My bat mitzvah merch was a legendary, lime-green horror.” At the end of a bar or bat mitzvah, the guests usually leave with a gift that showcases the child’s initials, service date and usually a silly symbol referencing the theme of their party. My theme was green.
The first song in“The Band’s Visit” is called“Waiting” and introduces the residents of the quiet Israeli town of Bet Hatikvah as they live out their lives, just waiting for something exciting to happen.
If you’re anything like me, the thought of starting a long research paper or project is incredibly daunting. I never know how or where to compile evidence. However, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is a helpful resource for all manner of research projects. While paintings and artworks aren’t always reliable pieces of evidence for science-based projects, the MFA would probably prove helpful in research within the arts and humanities. If you happen to find yourself working on something that could use arts evidence, look no further than the MFA’s collections.
To many, the first Monday in May is just another Monday at the start of a new spring month. However, to the fashion world, the first Monday in May is a night of extravagance, elegance and one-of-a-kind looks. What makes this particular Monday night so special to the fashion world is it is the date of the Met Gala — commonly referred to as one of the “biggest nights in fashion” and one of the most photographed events in the world.
Considering how lively and diverse the Tufts a capella scene is, it’s a bit of a surprise that the riff-off on Nov. 17 was the school’s first. After all, the Beelzebubs served as the inspiration for the Treblemakers, the all-male a capella group featured in “Pitch Perfect.”
Even if you have been following along with this column for the past couple of months, the 2023 writers and actors strikes have been jam-packed with negotiations, agreements, picketings and more than I could not and cannot fully cover in 500 words. Even if I could, the turnaround of some of the events can make your head spin (picture me hours before my Nov. 9 column is about to run as I see the actors strike has come to a close.)
Cinema and hallucinogens: a match that’s a far cry from our typical pairings on television or theater screens. Yet, Ken Russell is one of those classic directors who doesn’t have any trouble submerging your head into pools of visual craziness. All the humdrum of any plot is thrown out the window and replaced with the utmost of sadistic experiences. His 1971 breakout masterpiece “The Devils” tackles sexual repression under the guise of the Roman Catholic church and is perhaps most infamous for splicing religious power and horniness with the ever-so sacred crucifix. Nearly ten years after “The Devils,” Russell coupled salvation with a magic mushroom trip in his 1980 film “Altered States.” This film possesses the off-kilter elements of a B-movie classic while also containing a remarkable lead performance from William Hurt.
“The Hunger Games” franchise returned with a new prequel installment, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (2023) on Nov. 17. For a young adult dystopia movie genre that has fallen on hard times since its prime in the 2010s, the new “Hunger Games” film offers a nostalgia-driven refresher on why the original series worked so well.
“Napoleon” (2023) opens with an idea written in the shades of the French tricolor: “The people are driven by misery into revolution … and brought back to misery by revolution.” This cyclic statement on history is mirrored in the film, which begins with the public and ostentatious beheading of Marie Antoinette and ends with the quiet, whimpering death of Napoleon Bonaparte. The sequences in between depict revolution, battle, death, politics and the intricacies of a tumultuous relationship that carries through the film.
“If it hadn’t been so successful, I think people would have thought it was really weird. It’s a really weird story. But I think once it becomes mainstream, it’s difficult for people to see how strange the story is.” These wise words were spoken by Robert Pattinson (Twilight heartthrob, though he would probably hate to admit that) in a recent interview with Wonderland magazine. In hindsight, his comments are amusing, and if anything, sensible. The Twilight franchise is known for its peculiar nature, and Pattinson has detailed how the books are like “reading [Myers’] sexual fantasy.” Gross.
On Sept. 20th, the 12th season of “American Horror Story” (2011–) premiered on FX, streaming on Hulu the next day. The new season, titled “Delicate,” marks a shift in the anthology, introducing new cast members Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevigne for the latest installment. “Delicate” is based on Danielle Valentine’s novel “Delicate Condition” (2023), and explores the anxiety of pregnancy through the paranoia of its lead character and the uncertainty of what is growing within her. With this season, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, co-creators and executive producers, are strongly leaning into a new style of AHS while retaining the camp humor classic to the show.