Handel’s Alcina

Handel’s Alcina ● by Chris Lynch

This February, Indiana University Opera will present Handel’s fantasy opera Alcina in a new production designed by Robert Perdziola, directed by Chas Rader-Shieber, and conducted by Arthur Fagen. Although the opera was written in 1735, according to Rader-Shieber, “Handel has created characters that still speak to us today; that suffer the same pains, glory in the same loving gestures, and interact with the same bittersweet Read more

Good Kids

Naomi Iizuka’s new play confronts sexual assault on campus ● by Bruce Walsh

Naomi Iizuka has made a career out of telling other people’s stories with a deep and abiding empathy. Over the last 20 years, her singular works – like Polaroid Stories and Skin – have been regularly produced around the country and Off-Broadway. Though she doesn’t typically write from her own experience, her plays have a distinctly personal air about them. One of her best-known early works, Tatoo Girl, is a dreamlike tale of mid- Read more

Roy Lichtenstein

“The doodling of a five-year-old” at the IU Art Museum ● by Ethan Sandweiss

Armed with their resilient images of the modern artist as a brooding, tortured soul, living in poverty and sacrificing everything for the sake of art, Americans of the 1960’s were ill-prepared to imagine the artistic bohemian as a nice Jewish boy from the Upper West Side, a fraternity brother and a tenured professor Yet the pop art movement destroyed such artistic conventions by embracing the humorous and ironic–and Roy Lichtenstein exemplified its new sensibility. Read more

The Year in Soundbytes

● by Kevin Howley

During a “routine” traffic stop in Columbia, South Carolina, State Trooper Sean Groubert shot Levar Jones as the unarmed black motorist complied with the white patrol officer’s request to see his driver’s license. In a dashboard video that went viral, an incredulous, but remarkably composed Jones asks the patrolman, “Why did you shoot me?” Mr. Jones’ question – one that succinctly captures the tragic state of race relations in America today – was one of the more dramatic, and disturbing, sound bites of 2014: a year that saw racial politics, midterm elections, popular uprisings, Ebola outbreaks, and the Islamic State dominate the headlines.

10. I’m not a racist, I love people. I always have. But those words came out of my mouth I guess.” Read more

The Year in Television

● by Dan Melnick

There are people who say, “Film is story. Television is character.” More often than not, most will remember the plot of a movie over the intricate details of a protagonist’s backstory. This is where the smaller budgeted TV show has the benefit of time and pacing and provides some excellent opportunities to explore character depth and growth. Sure, we’re invested in the overall plot of our favorite shows, but what keeps us coming back more than anything else are the people who populate them. They are the vehicles getting us from episode to episode as we eagerly await what hijinks, conflicts or calamity ensues next. Read more

The Year in Books

● by Robyn Ryle

In many ways, 2014 was not a particularly good year. Especially towards the end, things got bad. White cops killed black men without being forced to stand trial for their actions. We found out in horrifying detail exactly what our government has been up to with the release of the torture report. College campuses around the country continued to struggle with an epidemic of sexual violence and denial. By December, you might have found yourself Read more

The Year in Music 2014

Our music critics pick their Top 5 albums of 2015. Some of the WFHB music directors who contributed to this section limited their picks to specific genres: e.g. best in blues, best in world music, etc.

Jim Manion The Best of 2014 

DAMIEN JURADO Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

A concept album sourced from a single dream, Jurado creates an alternative universe dusted in silver with a widescreen 3D mix. I still don’t quite understand the story line, but Read more

The Year in Film 2014: 14 for ’14

Films from off the beaten path ● by Craig J. Clark

As is usual, this year had its share of blockbusters doing booming business at the box office. (At press time, ten films had crossed the $200 million threshold domestically, with one – Transformers: Age of Extinction – topping $1 billion worldwide.) If you’re into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (a model being applied to seemingly everything under the sun, from competing comic-book franchises to Universal Monsters to Robin Hood and his Merry Men), then you had two opportunities to stay in the thick of it with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy (currently the #1 movie of the year). If animation’s your beat, then The LEGO Movie, Big Hero 6, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 were the ones for you. And if sequels and remakes are your thing, well, let’s just say you Read more

The Year in Film 2014: From Boyhood to The Babadook

Small moments of personal revelation, big emotional cues, and a laundry list of indie quirks ● by Jonathan Knipp

Before I explain my collection of highlights from the 2014 year in movies, I have to unpack my standard disclaimer: my year’s screening adventures are still unfinished. I haven’t even decided in what format I’ll see Interstellar. And that leaves a prestige pile-up on the horizon: The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, Whiplash and many, many other titles filling up critics’ top 10s have yet to make it to my local art house, multiplex or On-Demand channels. But the titles I’ve selected for discussion, while perhaps not conventional best-of-the-year material, represent a cinema that continues to confound and fascinate as Hollywood unloads its award bait at year’s end.

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Margaret Atwood

Woman of many marvels ● by Brandon Cook

“A scintillating wordsmith” and “unflappable” are just two of the descriptions critics have used to describe the prodigiously talented novelist, poet, and critic, Margaret Atwood. The prolific author has published more than forty works of fiction, poetry, and criticism—not to mention several opera libretti and TV scripts—and received numerous awards, among them five Booker prize nominations and one win for her novel The Blind Assassin.

Atwood has earned a rightful place as one of the world’s most celebrated modern writers.

She will make an appearance at Indiana University as a Ruth N. Halls Distinguished Lecturer on February 3rd. Read more

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