John Walker News

Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY to Air on PBS's GREAT PERFORMANCES, 4/25
by BWW News Desk - Mar 28, 2014

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty sees the popular choreographer return to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer's ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake. The ballet, on THIRTEEN's Great Performances, airs Friday, April 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) (more...)

Matthew Bourne's Re-Imagining of Ballet Classic SLEEPING BEAUTY to Air on THIRTEEN's Great Performances, 4/25
by TV News Desk - Mar 28, 2014

The ballet, on THIRTEEN's Great Performances, airs Friday, April 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (more...)

BWW Reviews: FIVE CAME BACK Tells a Remarkable Tale
by John Walker Ross - Mar 14, 2014

“But few of them would enter the war as these directors did, with the sense that, in impending middle age, they had found themselves with a new world to conquer, a task that would test their abilities to help win the hearts and minds of the American people under the hardest imaginable circumstances, with the greatest possible stakes.” Mark Harris. (more...)

BWW Reviews: THE KENNEDY HALF-CENTURY Sums Things Up Nicely
by John Walker Ross - Feb 20, 2014

The fiftieth anniversary of John Kennedy's assassination last November turned up an avalanche of books seeking to present new angles or re-hash old ones. Larry Sabato's The Kennedy Half-Century does a bit of both. Those who read Kennedy literature basically break down in three camps: obsessives (about the presidency, the assassination or both), neophytes (looking to get a handle on the basics) and tweeners (interested and reasonably astute about those basics but not on the verge of giving up their day jobs to learn more). I count myself a member of the third category. While I can't speak for how it would strike those who are a great deal more knowledgeable about the subject, for me, this was an easy and reasonably rewarding read. The book is broken down into three parts: Kennedy's life and presidency; his assassination; and his legacy. I'm not sure much new could be said on the first two matters and, for the most part–excepting a few tidbits on the assassination that amount to debunking-of-previous-debunkings-of-previous-debunkings and so on–Sabato makes no real attempt to give any substantially new perspectives or draw any rare conclusions. However, within the bounds of what he clearly did set out to do–i.e., give a summation of those aspects of Kennedy's life and death that would hold the attention of the general interest reader and provide an easy-access overview for at least some newcomers–he delivers very nicely. The really interesting and, I think, valuable part of the book is the last: a long and fairly detailed look at the effect Kennedy's legacy has had on his nine successors. This is still relatively fertile ground and, here, Sabato does come to some surprising conclusions and offers solid evidence to back his thesis. If you want to know why and how a conservative Republican like Ronald Reagan was able to channel Kennedy's aura and style more effectively than Lyndon Johnson (who was Kennedy's own vice-president), then this is a good primer on the subject. Same if you want to know how a good-old-boy policy wonk like Bill Clinton could effectively utilize the Kennedy brand–both as campaign style and governing substance–without having much of JFK's rhetorical wit (Kennedy was not exactly long-winded) or having overly warm relations with Senator Ted Kennedy, who was long-established as the family patriarch by the time Clinton reached the presidency. In addition, Sabato does a fine job of treading on some tricky ground regarding the “real” JFK who actually governed the country for two and half years, and the mythical JFK, whose shadow hung over subsequent issues from Viet Nam to Civil Rights to the Space Program to the basic arguments over the tax code. Turns out, virtually every president since 1963 has tried in some form or fashion to use the aura of the Kennedy mythology–and, in some cases, the assassination mythology as well–to advance his agenda. While some have been far better at it than others, Sabato makes it clear that none have turned down the opportunity to exploit the legacy when the opportunity arose. The books final third really turns on personalities then, but it avoids most of the common traps. I don't think there is anything here that strains credibility and that's a relief. The tendency to over-reach is all but endemic in the approach Sabato chooses, but–based on interviews I've seen with him and on the even more compelling evidence of the book itself–he seems to be inclined to stick to the facts. For instance, although Sabato seems to side with elite political and historical opinion which consistently tells us that the Bay of Pigs invasion was an unmitigated disaster, he also reminds us that the poll taken immediately after the event gave Kennedy's performance an eighty percent approval rating. It might seem a small thing, but plenty of historians would choose to leave out a little remembered fact that raises questions about their own conclusions. It's to the author's credit that he provides this kind of exemplary even-handedness throughout. The happy result is a book where Kennedy's real accomplishments are acknowledged, as are the (mostly successful and highly self-conscious) efforts at hagiography carried on by his surviving family (especially his widow) and many of the political allies who served under him. By the same token, Kennedy's almost incredibly reckless personal behavior is explained without being either rationalized away or reduced to the usual morality lessons. Sabato eschews peep-show licentiousness as deftly as he avoids preaching. I didn't come away thinking either Kennedy's sexual peccadilloes or his often seedy political tactics (this book does not shy away from reminding us that the main difference between Nixon's operatives and Kennedy's where dirty tricks were concerned in the 1960 campaign was that the Kennedy ops were better at it) were less than unsavory–frankly, the man was no saint. But I didn't feel like taking a bath either. Frankly, the man was a pretty effective president for all his faults and–even more frankly–we're all sinners. It's a rare Kennedy book that doesn't make me feel like I'm being snowed just a little so I especially appreciated this book's lack of agendas. In Sabato's hands a simple recitation of the facts makes for a good read. I think it's safe to say that most people will find it satisfying–just so long as they aren't after feeding an obsession! (more...)

BWW Reviews: Reissue of JOHN KNOX Holds Up History's Mirror and Allows Us to Gaze Upon Ourselves
by John Walker Ross - Jan 16, 2014

John Knox, the great Scottish reformer, emerged from a densely tangled thicket of sixteenth century history, politics and theology. Making sense of his life and legacy is no easy task. (more...)

Julie Andrews Returns as Host of PBS's FROM VIENNA: THE NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATION 2014 Today
by TV News Desk - Jan 01, 2014

Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns for the fifth time to host the festive annual New Year's celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Daniel Barenboim from Vienna's Musikverein. (more...)

BWW Reviews: THE GODS OF GUILT Keeps the Lincoln Lawyer Series Humming Along
by John Walker Ross - Dec 20, 2013

The Gods of Guilt is actually my introduction to Michael Connelly's tremendously popular Lincoln Lawyer series (though, like a lot of characters in this volume, I have seen the movie). (more...)

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Returns For 20th Year at Maryland Ensemble Theatre This Weekend
by BWW News Desk - Dec 20, 2013

Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol is returning to Frederick for the twentieth straight year with Maryland Ensemble Theatre's production tonight, December 20 through 22 at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. (more...)

RESTAURANT REDEMPTION Among Cooking Channel's February 2014 Highlights
by TV News Desk - Dec 19, 2013

February brings premiere episodes of fan-favorite series to the Cooking Channel menu. Emeril highlights more Sunshine State hotspots in Emeril's Florida Sundays at 2:30pmET/11:30amPT. (more...)

Julie Andrews Returns as Host of PBS's FROM VIENNA: THE NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATION 2014, 1/1
by TV News Desk - Dec 05, 2013

Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns for the fifth time to host the festive annual New Year's celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Daniel Barenboim from Vienna's Musikverein. (more...)

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Announces Two Exhibitions of Collections from the National Gallery of Art in DC
by BWW News Desk - Dec 03, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (December 3, 2013)—The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are pleased to announce two exhibitions showcasing stellar collections from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art, at the Legion of Honor,features the work of 19th century avant-garde painters such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Vincent van Gogh. Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection, at the de Young, highlights the great masters of postwar art, including Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Frank Stella. (more...)

Howard Scott Gallery to Open New Woong Kim Exhibition on 12/5
by BWW News Desk - Dec 01, 2013

Howard Scott Gallery will present an exhibition of new paintings by Woong Kim, opening on December 5th and concluding on January 18th, 2014. This is his sixth solo show with the gallery. (more...)

PBS to Air PAVAROTTI: A VOICE FOR THE AGES, 11/30
by BWW News Desk - Nov 30, 2013

Like Enrico Caruso before him, Luciano Pavarotti extended his presence far beyond the limits of Italian opera. (more...)

PAVAROTTI: A VOICE FOR THE AGES Airs Tonight on PBS' GREAT PERFORMANCES
by TV News Desk - Nov 30, 2013

Like Enrico Caruso before him, Luciano Pavarotti extended his presence far beyond the limits of Italian opera. Quickly establishing his trademark rich sound as the great male operatic voice of the 20th century, he expanded his reach to stadium concerts and pop collaborations which brought him fame beyond measure. The 50th anniversary of the launch of Pavarotti's of meteoric international career is celebrated in Pavarotti: A Voice for the Ages, airing in December on THIRTEEN's Great Performances (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will air the special tonight, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. (more...)

PBS to Air PAVAROTTI: A VOICE FOR THE AGES, Today
by BWW News Desk - Nov 29, 2013

Like Enrico Caruso before him, Luciano Pavarotti extended his presence far beyond the limits of Italian opera. (more...)

BWW Reviews: In Book By You's THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, I Exceed Even My Own Lofty Expectations!
by John Walker Ross - Nov 29, 2013

It's not my sort of thing, normally, inserting myself into the classics. (more...)

BWW Reviews: MERLE HAGGARD: THE RUNNING KIND Does the Legend Justice
by John Walker Ross - Nov 21, 2013

Sometimes, it's nice to be reminded that rules have exceptions. (more...)

PBS to Air PAVAROTTI: A VOICE FOR THE AGES, 11/30
by TV News Desk - Nov 20, 2013

Like Enrico Caruso before him, Luciano Pavarotti extended his presence far beyond the limits of Italian opera. (more...)

Jeff Ross Hosts 4th Annual Variety's 'Power of Comedy' Honoring Jimmy Kimmel Tonight
by BWW News Desk - Nov 16, 2013

Variety is pleased to announce that Jeff Ross will be hosting their 4th Annual Variety's Power of Comedy event presented by Xbox One tonight, November 16 at The Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles. (more...)

Jeff Ross to Host 4th Annual Variety's Power of Comedy Event, Today
by BWW News Desk - Nov 15, 2013

Variety is pleased to announce that Jeff Ross will be hosting their 4th Annual Variety's Power of Comedy event presented by Xbox One on November 16 at The Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles. (more...)

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