June 8, 2011 |
In the constant search for new operatic inspiration, composers in recent years have seized on some of the great American novels of the 20th century. F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" was turned into an opera in 1999 by composer John Harbison, premiering to great fanfare at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. More recent page-to-stage adaptations include John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" by composer Ricky Ian Gordon in 2007, and Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy" by composer Tobias Picker in 2005.
May 22, 2011 |
Emmitt Smith was the first athlete to win "Dancing With the Stars. " That was in Season 3, after Jerry Rice finished second in Season 2 to Drew Lachey, the less famous but maybe more talented younger brother of singer Nick Lachey (who used to hang out with USC quarterback Matt Leinart, but that's a whole other reality show). Since then, four other athletes have won the mirror-ball trophy given to the winning couple and, counting Pittsburgh Steelers great Hines Ward on Monday night, 12 have made it to the final three.
May 14, 2011 |
Looking for help and information with mental health issues should be a bit easier this month -- May is Mental Health Month. -- According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2009 survey, about 20% of people ages 18 and older reported having a diagnosable mental illness in the previous year. The number of people admitted for treatment of psychiatric problems or substance abuse problems more than doubled between 1992 and 2006. At that rate, mental and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases as the major cause of disability worldwide by 2020, according to SAMHSA.
May 9, 2011 |
It's plenty busy at the White House these days, but somebody should take a moment to light 50 candles in honor of the Situation Room, that suite in the West Wing basement that's as modest in dimension and decor as it is grand in historical significance. May marks the Situation Room's 50th birthday. Rooms are not usually given birthday parties, but if there's ever a time and place to make an exception, this is it. The "Sit Room," as insiders call it, has seen an extraordinary amount of drama over the last half a century.
May 2, 2011 |
A college logic professor I once had liked to use a TV commercial for Country Time lemonade as a case study in the way savvy marketing people can create an illusion of authenticity with the right choice of words and images. The same idea, it turns out, can be applied to the musicians at the fifth annual Stagecoach country music festival over the weekend in Indio. In the ad, a white-haired grandpa in suspenders and a casual, open-collared shirt sat in his rocking chair on the back porch of an old house watching young children frolic on the lawn on a hot summer day. To the rescue comes a smiling mom holding a tray with glasses of ice-cold Country Time, a concoction of powdered chemicals and whatnot with little or no actual lemon juice.
April 21, 2011
MUSIC Emmylou Harris is the Helen Mirren of country music. Dashing silver fox? Absolutely. Been around forever yet achieved hipster cachet in recent years? Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst and even Mark Knopfler would say so. Harris' voice has always been one of the genre's most visible yet its most adaptable to others' idiosyncrasies, and on her new record, "Hard Bargain," she very firmly takes center stage with wistful, heartrending tunes that pay tribute to Emmett Till, New Orleans and her late friend, songwriter Kate McGarrigle.
February 28, 2011 |
For a not-so-brief moment, the Oscars became "The Kirk and Melissa Show. " In an evening marked by predictability, Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas and veteran actress Melissa Leo provided perhaps the most spontaneous ? and bleeped ? sequence of the ceremony during Douglas' presentation of the supporting actress award. Douglas milked the moment, while Leo, who won the award for her performance as the frightening matriarch in "The Fighter," uttered the f-word. The unusual turn of events came early in the show, soon after the 94-year-old took center stage.
February 18, 2011 |
The swarm descended upon Derrick Rose. Microphones and recorders poked in from all angles. Cameras zoomed and focused. Then questions rained like a monsoon. It wasn't like this at last year's NBA All-Star game in Dallas. There were only 15 to 20 media types who talked to him then during the typical All-Star media session. "Now," he said Friday as the hoard at hand for the All-Star game Sunday night all but enveloped him, "it's crazy. " Three times he was asked about being the NBA's leading MVP candidate, and three times Rose lowered his head and uttered, softly, "I wish I was. " He added he owed everything to his teammates, who "cover up all my mistakes.
January 13, 2011 |
The caller's name is Avery, and as the call progresses he seems a case study in incendiary talk radio rhetoric. In a slightly shaky voice, Avery reads from a book by Laura Ingraham, a syndicated conservative radio host whose show is on a couple of hours later on the local right-wing talk station, 104.1 The Truth. The passage speaks about the need to emulate the country's founding fathers and fight back against the federal government. Avery says, "We have to say when enough is enough and we take up arms like our forefathers did ?"
October 17, 2010 |
The day after one of the biggest professional wrestling events of the year, Randy Orton, the heavily tattooed, frequently sneering, six-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion, is standing in the bowels of the Staples Center confessing a lack of self-confidence. Not about his most recent performance in the ring, where he administered the requisite body slams, clotheslines and backbreakers to his rival, Irish wrestler Sheamus. This is about channeling his inner Humphrey Bogart more than his inner Hulk Hogan.