June 28, 2009 |
"The world which is being pictured by the story writers of today . . . is, by and large, and vividly, this day's, this troubled minute's, world." So Wilbur Daniel Steele wrote in the introduction to the 1943 edition of "The O. Henry Prize Stories." Created 90 years ago as a memorial to the twist-as-ending master whose real name was William Sydney Porter, the idea was to spotlight 20 or so works each year while singling out a top three.
March 25, 2009 |
The boozy white noise of a recent Saturday night crowd at the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard confronts comedian Ari Shaffer as he starts his act. Sensing the lull, Shaffer tweaks the audience, "What's the matter with everyone, is it the recession?" That gets the laugh, and Shaffer moves on, but his riff on the current economic malaise isn't the last that evening.
November 8, 2008 |
As if Coopie, Wolfie, Dobbsie and CNN's other kazoos weren't funny enough, "the most trusted name in news" now has comedian D.L. Hughley holding down an hour of interviews and sketches before a laugh track-like studio audience on Saturday nights. Hughley (an African American) on Barack Obama's fundraising chops: "Wow, a brother with that kind of money! He don't even have a shoe deal."
January 20, 2008 |
Even if we hadn't already spent a week in the bustle and hustle of Hanoi, the mist-shrouded limestone peaks of Ha Long Bay, echoing birdcalls and water lapping our ship would have been enchanting. But by the time we arrived at this UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Vietnam's Gulf of Tonkin, we badly needed a break from the mad motor-scooter traffic of the nation's second-largest city, the swarming pineapple vendors and the ceaseless capitalist hustle.
December 24, 2007 |
"Sorry, underground hip-hop happened ten years ago." So read a T-shirt on sale at abstract rapper Busdriver's homecoming set at the Troubadour on Friday night. The slogan seemed an apt summation of Busdriver's left-field aesthetic, mordant wit and salient desire to push the boundaries of hip-hop forward, a stark contrast to many of his peers who are a decade into their careers and still writing lyrics about how good their lyrics are. Of course, the L.A.
December 7, 2007 |
Ha Jin is a winner of the National Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His day job secure at Boston University, he and his wife live in a fine suburban house, close enough to Gillette Stadium to hear the fireworks on Sundays as the New England Patriots routinely beat up on an NFL opponent. He is an immigrant success story, arriving from China 20 years ago as a graduate student and staying on for good after the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989 made him decide he couldn't return.
November 25, 2007 |
At home in China, every element of Nan and Pingping's existence was dictated by the government, including Nan's college courses. Sent to the United States to attend graduate school, he has been slogging his way toward a PhD in political science at Brandeis University. Nan and Pingping had to leave Taotao, their young son, behind, and now, four years later, the family is reunited.
December 23, 2006 |
Tan Dun has done it. Well, not for all of "The First Emperor," not even for most of his important new opera, which had its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday night. But for a little while, this frustrating yet momentarily glorious affair -- which brings to the Met stage everybody's favorite tenor, Placido Domingo, along with a lot of people's favorite Chinese film director, Zhang Yimou, and novelist and poet Ha Jin -- is one big, wild and wonderful wow.
August 14, 2006 |
RAIL commuters like to brag that they have cushy commutes compared with people who drive to work -- they can nap, read a book, work on laptops. But commuting by train is also stressful, a new study has found. And the longer the commute, the more stress levels increase. Researchers studied 208 commuters taking trains from New Jersey to Manhattan.