Is art moral?

Though crooked celebrities are in no short supply, controversy shook the Grammys last month when Chris Brown won Best R&B Album for his latest release, F.A.M.E.  He may be a good R&B artist, but many were outraged—how could the music industry endorse someone who physically abused his girlfriend (in his[Read More…]

Tackling the health issues of the developing world

Written in an extraordinarily accessible and infectiously optimistic style, The Grandest Challenge: Taking Lifesaving Science from Lab to Village argues for the advancement of biotechnology, specifically genetic engineering, in order to solve the plethora of health issues that plague the developing world.  Echoing the sentiments of recent years, Dr. Peter[Read More…]

Romance is sweet, revenge sweeter

The program cover for Opéra de Montréal’s performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore leaves a lasting impression.  It displays a gaping witch with fiery hair, her expression carrying both a hint of personal pain and menacing madness.  Though the opera does tell the story of a troubadour and his turbulent[Read More…]

Putting the ‘class’ in classical

Given standard music etiquette today, classical music is quite peculiar.  Most, if not all people, view music as a natural experience, akin to dance.  It causes us to move, jig, and even flail about. At a classical music concert, those would be the last things you would want to do[Read More…]

The Marriage of Bette and Boo might end ugly

Emily Doyle / Players’ Theatre Dark comedy is a perplexing concept. Though initially a contradiction in terms, most people understand the subtlety involved in such a label. The work may make upsetting issues “lighter”; perhaps, conversely, it may convey typical subjects of comedy in acidic, disturbing ways. In both of[Read More…]

Goat Rodeo Sessions

You recognize success in mixing genres when connoisseurs on either side think the music is beyond their field. My friend, a venerable bluegrass expert, recommended Goat Rodeo Sessions to me, saying he failed to understand the classical nuances. After I listened to this album, I wanted to give it back,[Read More…]

Why judge music?

Music is everywhere. One can’t go an hour without hearing music at the mall, from an alarm clock radio, or even when someone’s cell phone inadvertently rings in class. Music has completely permeated our culture in every respect, with intentions to soothe, to market, and—although it’s rarer—to create art.  It[Read More…]

Hardboiled 101: An introduction to Dashiell Hammett

 When reading recreationally, I want a book that’s easy on the mind, yet emotionally gripping. It’s rare that my eyes will drift to the dry, unemotional stuff. That’s why I was surprised to find myself drawn to the work of one of the greatest hardboiled detective writers of all time:[Read More…]

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