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Thursday, April 15, 2010


Posted By on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Well now, here’s a little something for the kids . . . A guide to get you through those work situations that must happen to someone, somewhere. Gregory Bergman and Jodi Miller’s WTF? WORK: How to Survive 101 of the Office’s Worst F*#!-ing Situations (Adams Media, 2010, 248pp., Paper, $995) has a self-explanatory title, if you read an attempt at comedy into the “F*#!-ing” part.


It’s more about making you laugh than about actually helping you with any workplace issues. Organized according to the job trajectory—hiring, workplace situations, and firing—it’s packed with advice on coping when you show up for the interview hung over, what to do when your cougar boss comes on, what to do if you or anyone in your office has a kitten secretary you just can’t leave alone, the prospect of uncontrollable farting in the work place, and coping when you get fired.

Here’s WTF strategy No. 1 regarding what to do when you spill coffee on your computer: Start a Witch Hunt. Got to your boss and complain that some idiot came into your cubicle and knocked over your coffee, and didn’t have the damned decency to fess up to it. By the end of the day, he’ll be interrogating everyone, and will have long forgotten about that pressing assignment, buying you a couple more days.”

Helpful, no? WTF?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Posted By on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Is it coincidence that The Pulitzer Prizes awarded in literary categories this year had a topical flair, dealing with tycoons and economic crisis, and nuclear doomsday? I don't think so.

The prize in History went to Liaquat Ahamed's Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke The World, published by Penguin Press, which the jury cited as "a compelling account of how four powerful bankers played crucial roles in triggering the Great Depression and ultimately transforming the United States into the world’s financial leader."


The price in Biography went to T.J. Stiles' The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, published by Alfred A. Knopf, which the jury cited as "a penetrating portrait of a complex, self-made titan who revolutionized transportation, amassed vast wealth and shaped the economic world in ways still felt today."

And the prize in General Nonfiction went to David E. Hoffman's The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, published by Doubleeday, which the Jury cited as a well documented narrative that examines the terrifying doomsday competition between two superpowers and how weapons of mass destruction still imperil humankind."

Cheers you right up, doesn't it?

Monday, April 12, 2010


Posted By on Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Karamu playwright in residence Michael Oatman got some ink in the New York Times last weekend (Sunday, April 11), as writer Erik Piepenburg featured Karamu’s production of his Eclipse: The War Between Pac and B.I.G. Piepenburg highlighted the degree to which writers have dramatized the life and death of the legendary rapper, keeping his memory alive. Piepenburg says at least three plays about Shakur have been produced in the US in the last 10 years, and calls them “labors of love by unknown authors.”


Thanks to Piepenburg, Oatman is just a little less unknown now than he was last week.

There’s no shortage of drama in Shakur’s life, of course, and Oatman mined it, focusing on the east coast / west coast rivalry between him and rival rapper Notorious BIG. As the journalist quotes the playwright:

“Tupac is a very Shakespearean character,” said the “Eclipse” playwright, Michael Oatman, of Cleveland. “He is loaded with contradictions. He’ll be talking about ‘bitches and hos’ one minute then give you a song that has a crushing sensitivity. He lends himself to theatricality.”

Check out the whole story:

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Apollo's Fire is resorting to Plan B this week: The ensemble's season finale was slated to include acclaimed pianist Sergei Babayan's period instrument debut on a historic Blüthner piano. But the same winter weather that makes peiple's skin dry up had the same effect on the piano. So he'll be using a Steinway, instead.

The Bluthner dates to 1877 and comes from a historic piano collection in Massachusetts. It was moved to Cleveland in mid February, in the hope that a month would give it time to acclimatize. The climate had its way with the instrument, though, leaving it in "unplayable" condition, according to Apollo's Fire executive director Jacqueline Taylor. It's believed that once returned to its home climate, the piano will return to its former self.

Meanwhile the show must go on, and Babayan will perform the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor on "an unusually gentle and transparent Steinway," courtesy of Steinway Hall, of Akron.


Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 10:43 AM

It was a week ago that Google marked Vivaldi's birthday with a seasonally colored, violin-enhanced version of their logo, and although I'm a week late with marking the same birthday, I just came across this:

I have to say I've heard a multitude of violinists play this with more fluency and fury, but of all the efforts I've heard to 'rock' or 'swing' the classics, this is among the most successful. Distorted guitar shredding just seems to fit this movement so well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Posted By on Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Cleveland is not Berlin, of course, but big old cities around the world do have a lot in common—like major arts institutions, deteriorating finances, diverse neighborhoods, and vacant old industrial infrastructure.

In a recent interview with Richard Morrison for the Times of London, the eminent British conductor Simon Rattle, lately principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, had this to say about Berlin:

“A few years ago Berlin was technically bankrupt,” he points out. “It’s still far from a rich city. But everyone there recognises that the jewel in its crown is its culture — museums, opera houses, orchestras, theatres. And so, despite the lack of wealth, they look after us. Mind you, the players in the Berlin Philharmonic haven’t had a salary rise for five years. But with so many people in the city struggling, we count ourselves lucky to have a pay freeze!”

All of which is especially relevant here, considering the Cleveland Orchestra's recent strike . . . though funding for the two organizations is vastly different.

Whether it's due to that funding environment and municipal support or not, Rattle has a view of Berlin that resonates here:

And under Rattle’s leadership the Philharmonic has embraced Berlin — all the city, not just the plush western suburbs — in a way that never happened before. One of his first acts was to take the orchestra to Treptow — a grim eastern suburb — and give an unforgettable performance of The Rite of Spring, danced by hundreds of ethnically diverse children, in a disused tram depot. By such bold initiatives is he redefining what 21st-century orchestras can, and should, be doing.

Will we ever see the Cleveland Orchestra performing in the old Richmond Brothers factory, or some other vacant industrial cavern here? Maybe in one of our soon-to-be-vacant churches? Here's rattle talking about other spaces:

“Oh, we’ve found another great space now,” he says. “A factory, also in East Berlin, that was built in the 1870s and looks like a cathedral that’s been destroyed — the ideal set for Parsifal, you might say. But it’s got magnificent acoustics! And did you hear about our excursion to Tempelhof Airport? We did Stockhausen’s Gruppen in a vast, Nazi-era aircraft hangar there.

Read the whole article:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 3:20 PM

As one critic observes in this PBS documentary, "It’s so weird that there’s nothing gay about the Broadway show Xanadu, but it feels like the gayest show I’ve ever seen on Broadway.”

Sexuality aside, the show has a sense of camp that manages to simultaneously celebrate and lampoon the state of broadway theatre and pop culture, all with a soundtrack that just about everyone already knows. You and your family can be there when the Broadway tour comes through Playhouse Square, because we’ve got a family pack of four tickets to give away to the person who can answer any of these questions:

1) Who was the Xanadu songwriter's and the name of his popular British symphonic rock band?
2) Xanadu is considered a remake of what Rita Hayworth movie?
3) Name the film's original choreographer and went on to direct the first 3 "High School Musical" movies.
4) EXTRA CREDIT: Xanadu was a song written by what 70's Progressive rock band, and what was the name of the album it appeared on?

To win the tickets, e-mail your answers to [email protected] with Xanadu in the subject line. Be sure to include your name, address, age & phone number!


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