America Reframed: 51 Birch St.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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Jared Bowen's Arts Ahead: Considering the Future

By Jared Bowen   |   Thursday, March 22, 2012
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March 22, 2012


Sammi Tunis in Futurity (Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva)

Consider a vision for peace during the Civil War, having the courage to sponsor art that fits with your vision of legacy, or a bold look at the dystopia that could grow out of violence. Jared talks about some of the fresh takes coming to theater, gallery and film — in Boston and beyond.
Runs through April 15th
Oberon in Cambridge
Based on the book by Molly Rice and César Alvarez; directed by Sarah Benson.
As the Civil War rages around him, the Union soldier Julian Munro dreams of bringing peace to the world and an end to human suffering. Under the guidance of Lord Byron’s brilliant daughter, Ada Lovelace, Julian attempts to invent an omnipotent steam-powered brain designed to save humanity before it destroys itself.

Speaking of the A.R.T… 

Once: A New Musical
at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City

"Once" is the celebrated new musical based on the Academy Award-winning film. It tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the songs they create together.

This production was workshopped in Boston at the A.R.T. last summer and features one of the A.R.T.'s institute students.

Also on Broadway...

Anything Goes
at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York City

A saucy new production of one of the greatest musicals in Broadway history. This Cole Porter classic stars Stephanie Block (Wicked, 9 to 5) and Joel Grey, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall.

As the S.S. American heads out to sea, two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love…proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail.

VIsual Art

On view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through June 3rd

Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael's wife Sarah were important patrons of modern art in Paris during the first decades of the twentieth century. This exhibition unites some two hundred works of art to demonstrate the significant impact the Steins' patronage had on the artists of their day and the way in which the family disseminated a new standard of taste for modern art.

Beginning with the art that Leo Stein collected when he arrived in Paris in 1903—including paintings and prints by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Édouard Manet, and Auguste Renoir—the exhibition traces the evolution of the Steins' taste and examines the close relationships formed between individual members of the family and their artist friends.

Hunger Games
Based upon Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy.
In theaters Friday

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy.  If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

The Emerging Literature of Sept. 11

By Steve Almond   |   Thursday, September 8, 2011
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Sept. 8, 2011

BOSTON —Steve AlmondIn the aftermath of September 11, 2001 a clear story began to emerge: Hijackers took control of planes. Those planes were flown into The Pentagon and World Trade Center towers. The towers collapsed. Thousands of people died. But of course, that isn't the whole story. The facts alone can never tell the whole story. In the decade since September 11, 2001, a body of literature has emerged, as writers of both fiction and non-fiction have attempted to process, understand and express what happened on that tragic day. Here is author and regular Emily Rooney Show contributor Steve Almond's take on that body of literature.

Falling Man by Don DeLillo
"DeLillo had been writing about terrorism for years before 9/11. In fact, a decade before the attacks, he wrote a book called Mao II, which envisions an age in which the novelist’s power to 'alter the inner life of the culture' has been hijacked by terrorists whose 'major work involves midair explosions and crumbled buildings.' This is one of the few (maybe the only) book that’s about actual survivors of the attacks."
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
"This great book clearly explains who Al-Qaeda is and what led them to the actions they took on 9/11.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
"This best-known 9/11 novel will soon be a motion picture. It has been a divisive work, with its fair share of supporters and critics alike. While the book contains some beautiful writing, I count myself among those in the latter camp."

Firehouse by David Halberstam
"Halberstam specialized in small human stories. This book is about the Engine 40, Ladder 35 firehouse, an Upper West Side company that sent 13 men to the World Trade Center, and lost all but one of them. He uses the intimate memories of survivors to bring the story alive."

The Last Days of Muhammad Atta by Martin Amis
"Only attempt to get inside the head of the terrorists themselves."
Other Works
9/11 Commission Report
In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman
The Good Life by Jay McInerney
Saturday by Ian McEwan
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
The Submission by Amy Waldman

South Riding: Episode 2

By Masterpiece   |   Friday, May 20, 2011
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South Riding: Episode 3

By Masterpiece   |   Friday, May 20, 2011
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South Ride Episode 1

By Masterpiece   |   Thursday, May 19, 2011
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About the Authors
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 


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