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September 18, 1997 | ZAN DUBIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It's no surprise that cigar smoking is verboten at Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach. Or is it? These days, gourmets cook, psychics predict, women drum and cuddly bears recite stories at bookstores big and small. Libraries let kids paste and glitter, dance and do division on computer. Indeed, today's literary outlets increasingly offer activities traditionally provided by community colleges, recreation centers, preschools, concert halls and coffeehouses.
March 25, 2011 | By Robert Abele
"White Irish Drinkers" might be writer-director John Gray's profane, boisterous, blood-spattered love letter to growing up in '70s Brooklyn, but its truer and more regrettable connection is to the rampant Scorsese mimicry that characterized early-'90s indie calling cards. You know the kind: movies where young guys with glaringly obvious life choices ? here, it's whether kind-eyed, wisecracking, big-dreaming Brian (Nick Thurston), who paints secretly in the basement, should escape the influence of his boozy, violent father (Stephen Lang)
Although the first Hanukkah candle won't be lit for another two months, veteran actor Ed Asner is already telling stories about the annual Festival of Lights that commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC. On Thursday, Asner colorfully read a story by Nobel Peace Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer called "A Parakeet Named Dreidel," about a Yiddish-speaking bird that lands on the windowsill of a Brooklyn Jewish family on the eighth day of Hanukkah.
They haven't lit campfires exactly but for the last two years, relatively small groups of New Yorkers have been gathering in a series of downtown bars, letting down their guards and re-creating all the warmth and camaraderie of a woodsy sleepover with the simple act of telling stories. The evenings have a theme and the five or six appointed storytellers must speak without notes for no more than 12 minutes.
April 3, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
Krysten Ritter and Brian Geraghty, performers who have delivered striking work elsewhere, are hard to read in "Refuge," a torpid drama about a tentative new romance. Or perhaps they're too easy to read; whatever emotional depths filmmaker Jessica Goldberg hopes to suggest, there's nothing stirring beneath the movie's static surface. The central characters' coupledom might bring them a safe haven, but audiences will be left out in the cold. Adapting her stage play, Goldberg uses wintry Southampton, N.Y., locations to convey a down-and-out working-class vibe.
Click! Clack! Clack! Sadayoshi Morishita is beating wooden clappers together in a small Tokyo park. It's a beckoning sound, one that is vanishing rapidly in Japan. Morishita is about to begin kamishibai, the 60-year-old traditional art of storytelling with pictures. The click-clack is the signal for children to come and listen to colorful tales told by a professional storyteller. The listeners also buy his rice crackers, lollipops and fried noodles.
July 27, 1997 | Berkley Hudson
Shortly after I was born, Aunt Laura came to live with us. She was, in reality, my great-aunt, Daddy's Aunt Laura Henry. She had lived, unmarried, with her sister-in-law, my Grandmother Henry, until Grandmother died the same year I was born. . . . Aunt Laura was the oldest living thing I had ever seen. She wore long dresses which came down to the floor, bonnets on her head, whether indoors or out, and thick rimless glasses which turned into mirrors when she looked at us. . . .
January 6, 1990 | LAURA KAUFMAN
The man struggling for life in the hospital's intensive-care unit made but one request. He wanted his friend, David Novak, to tell him a story. So Novak obliged, recounting the courage of a tiny spider who, against all odds, scaled a water spout after nearly drowning in a rainstorm. "Early one morning in Spider Town, before the sun came up, all was quiet and still," Novak began. "The cool dew was clinging to the sleepy spider webs, and not a web was stirring. . . . " For his ailing friend, the tale of the spider "was like a warm cup of tea on a cold night," said Novak, a professional storyteller.
January 29, 2012 | By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
Chopsticks A Novel Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral Razorbill: 304 pp., $19.99, ages 12 and older The first indication that "Chopsticks" is significantly more than just a novel is its trailer, which encourages readers to watch, listen, feel, look, discover, view and imagine. All of those activities are not only encouraged but enabled in this ambitious and hefty tome that works as a sort of interactive scrapbook. An exercise in multimedia storytelling, "Chopsticks" is a book, but it's also an iPhone and iPad app peppered with videos, songs and instant messages that bring the story to life in a way that isn't possible with words alone.
April 4, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
In "My Brother the Devil," two young Arab men living in London grapple with how to define themselves against the demands of family, tradition and the cross-cultural currents that pull them in multiple directions. Rashid (James Floyd) runs a gang that controls their neighborhood. Just as he starts to want out from the gangster life, his younger brother Mo (Fadi Elsayed) becomes determined to find a way in. The film is the feature debut of writer-director Sally El Hosaini, and even though she shows a keen and sensitive eye for poetic detail, her storytelling is overmatched by her ambition.
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