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December 9, 2012 | By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
JABALIYA, Gaza Strip - As tens of thousands of Gazans celebrated Hamas' 25th anniversary Saturday, Mohamed Mustafa Abdallah huddled by a small fire in a cinder-block shed, assembled from scraps of wreckage from his bombed-out wholesale food business a few feet away. He said he was in no mood to party. His business, near the restive Jabaliya refugee camp where many Gaza Strip militants live, was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike Nov. 17, leaving nothing but broken concrete atop crates of crushed onions, garlic cloves and other goods.
December 7, 2012 | By Mike Boehm
America's nonprofit theaters are feeling a bit better about their finances these days, according to a recent survey conducted by the sector's main national service organization, Theatre Communications Group. But the actors, directors and designers who work in those theaters shouldn't bank on a trickle-down effect boosting their standard of living. Asked to list their top five priorities for the coming year, only 19% of the 206 theaters surveyed by TCG and its partner, the Assn.
November 20, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Small-business owners are feeling more holiday cheer this year, which makes them more inclined to give bonuses and throw parties than in recent years, according to a new report. A survey of 501 bosses who each manage fewer than 100 employees found that 35% will give bonuses, up from 29% last year, according to the poll from American Express Co. And 4 in 10 said they will throw a holiday party, up from 35% in 2011. But they'll cut back slightly on celebration costs, spending $959 on average instead of $1,029.
November 18, 2012 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
Get ready for a red, white and blue Christmas. With a sluggish economy, high unemployment and a just-finished presidential election laser-focused on jobs, many consumers say they are more eager than ever to buy gifts made right here in America. Shoppers don't have to rifle through stores or flip over labels this year. Many retailers are proudly touting their wares with made-in-the-USA credentials in hopes of wooing shoppers eager to show their patriotism through their pocketbooks.
November 8, 2012 | By Charlotte Stoudt
It looks like “Mad Men,” but you'd never catch Don Draper at this shindig. The City Garage staging of Eugene Ionesco's midcentury absurdist farce “The Bald Soprano: A Christmas Anti-Play” has all the ingredients for intoxication but goes down like one of Sally's Shirley Temples - it's a classic but lacks a certain kick. This is the world of low-profile sofas, smoking jackets and the screeching charm of the bourgeoisie. Somewhere in the Parisian suburbs, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Jeff Atik and David E. Frank)
November 4, 2012 | By Claire Zulkey
In a strong episode hosted by comedian Louis C.K., “SNL” helped lighten the post-Sandy mood but without being too heavy-handed or comparing the storm to Sept. 11 (as Mayor Michael Bloomberg did, to some criticism, when attempting to keep the New York City marathon from being canceled). C.K. did address the seriousness of the storm damage, however, in a separate letter to his fans sent prior to the show. The cold open gently teased the mayor, played by Fred Armisen, as he addressed the city and pointed out that his ban on giant sugary sodas probably prevented the deaths of many obese New Yorkers who would have otherwise floated down the Hudson River.
October 25, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Gather round, 21st century dramatists. Here's a little addendum to your playwriting handbook: Protagonists in bathrobes are not your friend. This insight, hereby given the status of a dramatic verity, was born out of seeing "Build," Michael Golamco's new indie-spirited play at the Geffen Playhouse's Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. Set in the not-too-distant future, the work revolves around a depressed video game designer holed up in his Palo Alto home tangled in his bedclothes. The robe is the tipoff that this character, a walled-off engineering genius name Kip (Thomas Sadoski)
October 15, 2012 | By Sharon Mizota
Mary Weatherford is known for beautiful abstract paintings derived from natural forms, but her latest exhibition at LAXART is a big risk. As in previous series, these large paintings (nearly too large actually, for LAXART's main gallery) are inspired by a specific place, Bakersfield, where Weatherford recently completed a residency. They are not landscapes per se, but more like mood poems: rough-edged, vertical rectangles composed of thin, delicate washes of color. Luminous on their own, the colors are literally lighted by startling lines, rendered in actual tubes of neon affixed to the canvases.
October 7, 2012 | By Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times
Do not imagine that a much-chastised Arnold Schwarzenegger is shuffling through his days head down, avoiding the public eye. On a book tour for his just-published "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story," the former governor of California is surrounded by adorers of the Terminator, the Governator, the Austrian immigrant with the rags-to-riches story - jumping up and down to forgive him his sins. So eager was Rhett Crosby, 37, to see his hero at a Los Angeles book-signing that he drove from Phoenix on Thursday night and arrived at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove a full 21 hours early.
September 15, 2012 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
The xx "Coexist" (Young Turks/XL) 2 1/2 stars out of four Three years ago, this young trio from London burst through to the mainstream with their minimalist whisper pop gem "the xx," which presented a uniquely imagined sonic galaxy of three-dimensional echoed space. The group stood out amid the maximalist indie world, and its music became the soundtrack to quiet, tense late-night confessions. The group's highly anticipated follow-up is called "Coexist," and it's a nearly identical album to the debut, mood-wise.
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