Friday, November 30, 2018


Park Square Theatre in Saint Paul has staged a wonderful play of early gospel and the beginnings of rock and roll in America. George Brant wrote the play that was subsequently work-shopped at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. Wendy Knox directed with full awareness of the way gospel music should be displayed to an audience. The two-person play stars Rajane Katurah Brown and Jamecia Bennett as Rosetta. Michael May, guitar and Natalia Peterson on piano supply the excellent off-stage musical accompaniment. Rosetta was a star in her time and was revered and celebrated around the world. The play is a wonderful evening and a great recognition of the talent and history of Marie and Rosetta.The musical runs through December on the theater's main stage.

Friday, September 14, 2018

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS--Brilliant concept

Behind Closed Doors 
ISBN: 9781250121994
A 2016 release from
St. Martin’s Press

Some have labeled this novel noir domestic fiction. I found it darker and more dangerous than that. The novel is also brilliant, in its structure, its characteristics, descriptions and stunning in its conclusion.
Grace falls in love with a slick, handsome well-educated lawyer. Jack is highly trained careful in his preparations and courtroom tactics and had never lost a case. He is also arrogant, cunning, manipulative and a human personification of consummate evil.
The structure of the novel carries readers from present to past and back again several time. The story explores the marriage of Grace and Jack and details their relationship and its change over time, in a London suburb and in their travels to Thailand.
Grace has a younger sister, Millie, who is developmentally damaged and Jack cleverly manipulates the girl to maintain his control over his new wife. The relationship between the married couple forms the core of the story, but as the tale unwinds, it is an acquaintance named Esther who ultimately becomes the rock on whom Grace is able to secure a real future.
Well-written, intense, and elaborate, author Paris is destined for wide readership and many discussions.

Friday, September 07, 2018


I will not engage here in long rants back and forth about the politics of the day. This will be a one-time commentary, although I am interested in your responses.

 In Minnesota we are beginning to see, sadly, ads with no or obscure attributions designed to make  it difficult or impossible to determine who paid for the ad. Reasons are obvious. Out-of-staters want certain individuals to be elected because they believe those individuals will support their goals, regardless of the needs or goals of local voters.

I do  not care what reader's of this blog entry political positions may happen to be. In my view, nobody who runs for political office ought to be subject to the kind of scurrilous, misleading and  downright lying that is the norm in campaigns today. Indeed, No one who is  elected to public office should ever be subjected to the kind of nastiness which seems to be part of government today. Nor should elected officials families be subject to the kind of abuse that is fast becoming normal.

If  you and I want a government that is operated by people like the late John McCain or Hubert Humphrey, you will join me in protesting the kind of nastiness which is becoming more and more prevalent. Fewer talented people interested in serving will be atttracted to being elected. More and more venal, self-serving types will replace them. Is that what we want?

Candidates and campaign workers need to protest and work to make campaigns clean  and positive in nature. I care what your attitudes and views are, not who you will work against. Casual insulting campaign literature and ads ought to become grounds for dismissal from any current campaign. Seems harsh? The rules, at least in the state of Minnesota seem to me to be too lenient.
I want people to serve who want to serve, not primarily make a fortune for themselves. We the People, deserve no less.
see my post on political advertising

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

RANSOM NOTES book discussions

I facilitate a mystery reading group at my local Barnes and Noble Bookstore. It meets monthly from 7-8 pm. Last night we talked about Reavis Werthheim's DARK PLACES.A good novel, well written, with interesting characters.
Next month-September 18, we will discuss THE CROOKED STAIRCASE by Dean Koontz
On October 23, we will discuss THE DARK by Jane Archer
On November 27 we will discuss THE CRIMES OF PARIS by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity

A fine evening of comedy theatre, staged by Theater Mu on the Boss thrust stage of Park Square Theatre. Through August 19. I am repeatedly astonished at the variety of fine quality live theater available in the Twin Cities.

Director Randy Reyes has taken a farcical comedy by May Lee-Yang and offered a large and varied cast for the pleasure and education of local audiences. Under his able hand the play rockets through scene after scene, telling the twisting tale of a Hmong personality coach, excellently played by Gao Hlee, who takes on the task of softening the image of a wealthy Korean business magnate, well-acted by Brian Kim, when he comes to the Midwest to make some deals and expand his management experience.

Gao Hlee plays Dexieng Yang, the personality coach. She is obsessed with Korean soap operas and a traditional need to be pregnant prior to her thirtieth birthday. In the play she’s twenty-nine plus.
The play bounces between hilarious jokes, stage turns and pointed comment on Asian and Midwestern white culture. Tender moments of development, apparently otherworldly apparitions and a mother from Hell all are expertly interspersed.
Staging would have been improved if more attention had been paid to the special requirements of thrust staging, but the overall experience of a strong comedy 

A most enjoyable evening at the theatre.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

DARKEST HOUR a fine fine film starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill

In 1940, Hitler and the Nazi war machine were rolling  througb Belgium, Norway and France. The German machine looked unstoppable. The entire British army was trapped in France, falling back to the channel beaches near Calais and around Dunkirk. Much of the British government wanted to sue for peace via Mussolini in Italy. Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, was named Prime Minister with heavy opposition by Chamberlain and Attlee. Churchill had initiated a disaster at Gallipoli in WWI and still carried the stigma. The  movie is the very real moves by Churchill and his few supporters to rally the nation to fight the scourge of Nazi Germany. Since World History is rarely if ever taught in high school. EVERYBOdY should see this excellent film.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


The Flower Girl Murder
By Keith Hirshland
ISBN: 0692046682
A 2018 release from Amazon

Daisy Burns was a likable, devoted wife and mother who spent her spare time volunteering at school events. Everyone loved Daisy. Really? So why did someone shoot her and then dump her body behind a Planned Parenthood chapter in North Carolina? It actually doesn’t matter much, except as it relates to the title of this wide-ranging detective story.
By turns engaging, witty, tongue-in-cheek and clever, Hirshland’s story bounces around some of the more visually interesting parts of the North American continent. The story has a pretty hairy beginning—no, not what you might expect.
Lancaster Heart is a big-time TV star in a small East Coast community. He pretty much has it all, including a sexy willing and bright girlfriend, plus the genes for a really nice head of hair. But his heart is in Reno, where his dad owned a good television station and he wants to return.
Meanwhile, the rest of the cast, principally in Nevada, is tuning up, cleaning their weapons and looking for somebody to shoot.
The novel jumps the continent and lands Lancaster and his girlfriend Brodie in the middle of a murder investigation. Meanwhile readers are treated to some occasionally overlong character and place development, but in general the story sails along at a good pace, seasoned with clever and relevant dialogue. There are a few plot lines that seem to wander off into the desert, but most of the story is wound up in a very enjoyable and satisfactory way. This reviewer will look for other stories by this author.