February 5, 2013 |
The two worlds conjoined in the title of playwright-director Timothy McNeil's “Machu Picchu, Texas” are metaphorically linked by constants in human experience - in particular, the enduring propensity for senseless violence. At one point in this affecting and superbly realized new play, a cynical professor of history makes the connection explicit: the fact that some of the ancient Incan city's populace were beaten to death for no clear reason makes it “just like Texas, only with sandals and feathers.” In a present-day Houston suburb, tensions and conflicted loyalties erupt among two families and their friends in the wake of a random, unprovoked assault that's left Charlie - a gentle man beloved by all who knew him - confined to a wheelchair.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 2012 |
Araceli Magdalena Rodriguez remembers precisely when her son first said he wanted to be a policeman. She went to the market one day in their community near Puebla, Mexico, when he was 4 years old and returned home empty-handed after a pickpocket stole her wallet. "Where are my bananas?" Luis Angel Leon Rodriguez asked his mother. When she told him what had happened, the boy said he would grow up to be a police officer and catch the thief. Nearly 20 years later, Luis Angel became a federal police officer, but when his mother told me the story Monday afternoon on a visit to Los Angeles, she was in tears.
June 14, 2012 |
Milan, Italy - From the American side of the Atlantic, the debate over Europe's economic future often sounds like a bloodless, mind-numbing discussion of currency zones, bank recapitalization and interest rates. But in countries with fragile economies like Spain and Italy, it takes on real-life urgency. Pain is everywhere. Unfinished construction sites litter classic landscapes, monuments to businesses that have failed and bank loans that didn't come through. In Italy, where I have spent the last three weeks, the unemployment rate has topped 10% and news broadcasts have given lavish coverage to a wave of suicides by small-business owners who couldn't meet payrolls or tax bills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 11, 2012 |
The rain had washed away his daughter's smile by the time George Shi reached the parking lot. Gently, he glued a new flier over the old one, smoothing each crease, until her photo and his message again shone clear: REWARD: $200,000 to anyone who helps find her killer. It is all Shi can do, nearly two years after his daughter, Donglei Shi , was strangled and her body dumped in an Alhambra park, leaving behind a case with no witnesses and little evidence. Donglei, also known as Kyral, was Shi's only daughter, the older of two children.
November 18, 2011 |
"Another Happy Day," a title laced in sarcasm, stars Ellen Barkin as a woman drenched in sorrow, barely able to staunch the tears. So if you're in the mood for misery, you'll love the company here. A sister, mother, wife and ex-wife, Lynn (Barkin) belongs to a badly shattered family, the sort of nasty bunch that has enough money and time to make one another miserable. They've been brought back together for the wedding of Dylan, her estranged oldest son (Michael Nardelli). The other option, I guess, would have been a funeral.
October 18, 2011 |
The day was a jarring reminder that for those whose lives have been torn apart by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, elation on one side often equates with anguish on the other. "It's a day of victory and pride to have my son back in my lap!" cried Umm Khalid, who embraced her son Fouad Abu Amrin, 39, for the first time in 15 years as he stepped off a prison bus at the Rafah crossing in the Gaza Strip. Older and grayer than the 20-year-old who was sentenced to life in prison for murder, Abu Amrin was one of 477 Palestinian convicts released Tuesday in the first step of a 1,027-for-1 exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.