Arts and Letters
by | Nov 22, 2019

Dialogues of the Dead By Reginald Hill (Harper, 481 pages, $16.99) Good Morning, Midnight By Reginald Hill (Harper, 465 pages, $16.99) Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel (pronounced Dee-yell — hereinafter DL), the central character in the BBC series Dalziel & Pascoe,…

by | Nov 14, 2019

In his iconic first novel, The Time Machine, H. G. Wells sends his Victorian protagonist 800,805 years into the future to a parasitic civilization that contributes nothing to knowledge, art, or culture. He could have cut the journey short by…

by | Nov 8, 2019

Consider the clarinet. What an oddball musical instrument! It is not the mighty piano, whose range is from the most sublime romanticism — “Für Elise” — to the most shrewd and brilliant jazz riff, as in Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo…

by | Oct 27, 2019

It’s Reformation time again, and you know what that means. Big crowds will fill the pews of Protestant churches on Reformation Sunday. The sermon will probably reference Martin Luther’s nailing the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg church door, and there…

by | Oct 26, 2019

I recently returned from three days in Washington, D.C. — a city consumed by political hatred, unending rumor-mongering and savage news coverage. It was good to come home! It occurred to me that perhaps some poetry might be helpful, to…

by | Oct 9, 2019

In today’s era of raw nerves, just about anything is capable of setting someone off — from jokes once considered harmless to Halloween costumes. Even the given name on your birth certificate — used for an entire life without incident…

by | Sep 28, 2019

Only a director mad as Ahab would try to make a Moby Dick movie — so John Huston had all the right qualifications. The 6-foot-2, oak-throated director of The Maltese Falcon (1941) wanted throughout the 1940s and early ’50s to adapt Herman…

by | Sep 24, 2019

Dwight Yoakam had me in tears Sunday night. I was watching the new Ken Burns PBS documentary series about the history of country music, and Yoakam quoted a Merle Haggard song, “Holding Things Together,” which is about a man trying…

by | Sep 23, 2019

Jack Falstaff has the run of Capitol Hill — at least for the next few months. The Folger Shakespeare Theatre is putting on two productions this season featuring the lecherous knight’s misdeeds: 1 Henry IV through October 13 and the…

by | Aug 28, 2019

As August draws to a close, we approach what I call the end of the “sentimental summer” — the period bounded by Memorial and Labor Day weekends. It runs about three weeks ahead of the calendar summer, bounded by the…

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