Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:36 am
Thanksgiving â like the universe â is expanding.
Traditionally a time for Americans to pause and give thanks to a Supreme Being â for health or harvest or happenstance, Thanksgiving is evolving before our very eyes into a holiday where we give thanks to each other as well.
Just this week we received Thanksgiving-themed thank-you notes from a doctor's office, a lawyers' association, a New Jersey congressman and others. Can Thanksgiving-themed gift cards be far behind?
It's not a bad idea. Saying thank you to more people.
Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 7:10 pm
Some movies try to underscore their authenticity by flashing dates, names and locations on the screen. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom offers some dates and locations, but not much in the way of names. The result is a history of national transformation in which only two people really seem to matter.
Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 6:29 pm
To many baffled outsiders over 40, Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna was a weirdo riot grrrl bopping up and down onstage in her bra and panties, bellowing atonal revenge lyrics at anyone who'd keep her and her fellow women down.
To her ardent young following of 1990s Third Wave feminists, though, Hanna was an alt Messiah, hacking out a space for women in the punk-rock mosh pit and sounding an enraged alarm on behalf of victims of sexual assault.
Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 8:55 pm
Like Eve's Bayou, her best-known movie, Kasi Lemmons' Black Nativity presents a child's view of a troubled family. The latter film is sweeter and slenderer, but that's only to be expected: Black Nativity is a musical, after all, as well as a credible attempt at an African-American holiday perennial.
The original Black Nativity is a gospel-music oratorio, conceived by poet Langston Hughes and first performed in 1961. It pairs the Christian Nativity story with traditional spirituals and African drumming.
In an annual tradition, writer Bailey White spins a fictional tale of love and life. This year's entry is about a woman dying of cancer who is attended to by a series of old boyfriends, each of whom contributes some sort of minor service. The story ends with a symbolic event at an old hollow tree in the woods, where a coiled snake meets a violent end.
Steve Swallow started playing jazz as a teenager. While a student at Yale University, he played mostly in with Dixieland bands. And then the 20-year-old bassist got a gig with the avant-garde-leaning pianist Paul Bley at a nearby college, went home, went to bed â and dropped out.
John Mayer has a lot to be thankful for this year, including his return to the stage. A Grammy winner and a multi-platinum seller, Mayer is one of the most successful musicians of the past decade-plus â but a few events in his life have left him uncharacteristically quiet of late. He took a break from press after a pair of controversial interviews in 2010; not long after, he underwent surgery for damage to his vocal cords and had to stop speaking and singing publicly for more than a year.
China is flexing its muscles these days. Over the weekend, it declared a sprawling air defense identification zone that covers disputed islands controlled by Japan. And it has sent its lone aircraft carrier for first-time trials in the South China Sea, where Beijing has territorial feuds with other neighbors, including Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.
None of this was making China any friends in Manila, where the Chinese government is particularly unpopular these days.