Arts & Leisure

Birdman (or, the unexpected virtue of the Academy Awards)

Birdman won the Best Picture Oscar at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony, something I predicted partly because it’s a movie about making movies, a subject of which Hollywood never tires. The fact that it’s also about the artistic ego – and how pride goes before the fall – could be…  [more]

40 years of Saturday Night Live religious sketches

I grew up on the Church Lady, the Dana Carvey character whose “Church Chat” sketch was a staple of Saturday Night Live in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Most of the grownups around me would have considered it “sputton” (Dutch-American slang for sacrilegious), but revisiting “Church Chat” now, in…  [more]

Arrow and The Flash: superheroes from the garden of good and evil

Any self-respecting episode of The Flash or Arrow centers on The Big Fight. It’s what superheroes are all about, verified by comic-book covers throughout history: Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus! The Fantastic Four vs. Galactus! Superman vs. Hitler! This clash-of-titans obsession is, for many sophisticated readers, what kept comics relegated to…  [more]

The ascetic appeal of tiny living

We Americans love our stuff. No doubt about it. Consumerism is as American as supersize fries. Any excess naturally brings counter movements toward the opposite extreme. One recent response to wanton consumerism is “tiny living,” a philosophy that emphasizes environmental awareness, adventurousness, self-sufficiency, simplicity, fiscal soundness and - its most…  [more]

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