May 13, 2010
Jane Smiley, the California author of a dozen wildly different books, tackles half a century of events in the life of Margaret Early, a plain girl who gets married off to an eccentric scientist, in "Private Life." The pair move to San Francisco, where they suffer a series of internal and external disasters, but the knowledge that Margaret has married a madman is what keeps the pages turning. The Washington Post has called "Private Life" a "quantum leap" for this already accomplished writer, who will sign her latest work.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 2010 |
In most towns, a local theater troupe might boost ticket sales by having the mayor or the high school football coach take small parts in, say, "Annie Get Your Gun!" In Santa Barbara, where the university is home to five Nobel laureates, the Ensemble Theatre Company has rejiggered the formula: On Sunday, two Nobel Prize-winning physicists will portray two other Nobel Prize-winning physicists in a reading from a play that revolves around quantum mechanics and the development of nuclear weapons.
January 24, 2010 |
The most shocking thing about the sweatiest recent sex scene on television wasn't that it ended, um, prematurely, nor that it resulted, indirectly, in a black eye. It's that it involved Ray Romano. Hearing Romano -- his character, Joe Tranelli, actually -- narrate this encounter, from his first post-divorce date, has been one of the many uncomfortable pleasures of "Men of a Certain Age" (TNT, 10 p.m. Mondays), honest about disappointment in a way uncommon for television. Unlike, say, "Cougar Town," which tackles middle age with hysteria and a series of blunt-force punch lines, "Men of a Certain Age" has far more in common with "thirtysomething": slow, even-keeled, interested in detail.
November 20, 2008 |
Mediators succeeded Wednesday in getting direct talks going between Russia and Georgia, pressing the two neighbors to resolve security and refugee issues from their August war. Johan Verbeke, special U.N. envoy for Georgia, said the sides had agreed on methods to demarcate borders and had begun work on security issues and the return of refugees. "I'd call this a quantum leap," Verbeke said. "All of the delegations did speak, all of the delegations listened."
November 16, 2008 |
By any measure, this is a monumental day in our nation's history. African Americans are rightly proud. The brutal facts of black existence -- slavery, segregation and the stunting of social and political ambition -- have dashed the hopes of black progress time and again. The election of Barack Obama symbolizes the resurrection of hope and the restoration of belief in a country that has often failed to treat its black citizens as kin. We should not be seduced by the notion that Obama's presidency signals the end of racism, the civil rights movement, the struggle for black equality or the careers of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
November 5, 2008 |
More than half a century ago, Langston Hughes captured the debilitating divide in the destinies of white and black children in his poem "Children's Rhymes": "By what sends / the white kids / I ain't sent: / I know I can't / be President." Forty-six years after Hughes, rapper Tupac echoed that declaration: "And though it seems heaven sent / We ain't ready to have a black president."