Commentary

I’m not the biggest fan of superhero movies. For the most part they all run together to me, with battles that go on too long and generally have pretty low stakes, given everyone involved has super powers. And even though most of them try to be at least a little bit funny, it usually feels like the jokes have been focus-grouped to death and are just kind of there to fill time between one battle and the next.

“The Broken Winter” is the title of Wichita artist Emily Brookover’s 4th solo show. I have long been a fan of Ms. Brookover’s work. I have never seen any artist approach graphite on paper with such crisp precision. 

Each year, teams of rowers from across the country gather for the Frostbite Regatta on the Little Arkansas River in Riverside. They sit on skinny boats - called skulls - racing quickly through the water to the cheers of enthusiastic crowds. The 26th annual race was held this past Saturday. In this Audio Postcard, you’ll hear races starting and the rowers with their coxswains shouting navigational and inspirational commands.

This is the song “Mindflowers” from the 1968 album Behold and See by the band Ultimate Spinach. It’s full of echo-y, distorted guitar, it drones on as though trying to make time stop, and the lyrics, like “take a trip to the center of your mind,” allude to some sort of inner discovery. I’m talking today about Psychedelic music because, even though it is mostly a phenomenon of the 1960’s, our musical space is still experiencing flashbacks.

It took a mere six weeks for the composer Gaetano Donizetti to compose the music for the comic opera L'elisir d'amore, and the work was an instant hit when it debuted in May of 1832 in Milan.

Hip hop is an oversized music; part of what makes it so great is the exaggeration, the outlandish claims by emcees of supernatural powers, ridiculous braggadocio and the pulp-like caricature of its villains. So it’s rare to find an artist who is skilled at making hip hop smaller, who can turn the arena filled with thousands of people into a room with just the emcee and you. On the 2016 ‘The Falling Season’, Masta Ace does just that through a beautifully crafted concept album that traces the path of a young man switching high schools in the early ‘80s.

Thanksgiving is known as a holiday of appreciation for the good things in our lives, gathering with family and friends to celebrate the changing season, and--in years past--to be thankful for the yield of the year’s harvest.

So here we have: a movie directed by George Clooney, who made the excellent Oscar-nominated Good Night and Good Luck; a movie written by the Coen Brothers, who’ve made some of the very very best films of the last 30 years; a movie starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, both nominated multiple times for Academy Awards. Can’t miss, right?

In the mid-90s, video games were just starting to make the jump from 2D to 3D. If you go back to a lot of those early 3D games, the controls were experimental and awkward - nobody really knew the best way to make 3D games work, until Nintendo came along with Super Mario 64 and literally defined how 3D platforming games should work.

Now, 20 years later, Nintendo has released Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch - a spiritual sequel to Super Mario 64, and the most refined 3D platformer to date.

Why do students from Finland perform at the top or near the top in reading, mathematics and science, in industrialized countries? 

Pages