Theatre Three’s ‘Meet Vera Stark’ Has Us Meeting Ourselves

by Bryan S. Erickson on July 11, 2014

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Yolanda Williams and Calvin Roberts in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark and Theatre Three –

Theatre Three’s production of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is set in the world of 1920s cinema, and forces us to examine the limited roles that black actors continue to play almost 80 years later.

Making its North Texas debut at Theatre Three, the drama takes place in a pre-code 1920’s Hollywood. Vera Stark works as a maid for her long-time friend, white actress Gloria Mitchell. Tired of being typecast and offered only nonspeaking roles because of her race, Stark goes for a supporting role, ironically enough, as a maid. Against the odds she lands the part and is considered a breakout star. Her subsequent success helps pave the way for black performers in film. The play’s second act takes place about 40 years later at a college panel discussing the rise and fall of Stark’s career, the racial politics that surrounded her life, and her disappearance from the public eye… More

WRECKED Recap: Art Conspiracy Engages Dallas By Celebrating Art

by Bryan S. Erickson on June 13, 2014

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Saturday night saw the art space Life in Deep Ellum transformed into a stomping ground for Art conspiracy’s  annual seed auction. The Dallas-based non-profit works to support community-based arts initiatives throughout the city.

Art Conspiracy has held curated auctions similar to last Saturday’s in anticipation of a larger open fundraiser auction in the fall. Their spring event functions as a way to generate buzz and early donations and to announce who will receive their financial backing through the rest of 2014. Every year organizers choose an artistic theme and a small group of artists whose work will be auctioned off at the event. This year, artists were tasked with taking a random household object and making a piece inspired by that object, redefining it, and reconstructing a new  meaning… More

Laverne Cox and Transgender Representation

by Bryan S. Erickson on March 4, 2014

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“Everything has kind of changed.” So said “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox about her career after appearing on the hit Netflix series during a visit to Harvard’s Farkas Hall on Feb 24. In an event sponsored by a slew of Harvard’s BGLTQ and arts groups, Cox addressed a diverse audience about her career in television, her advocacy work, and her role as a visible icon in the transgender community… More

Hear Me Out: Cloud Nothings, “I’m Not Part of Me”

by Bryan S. Erickson on February 5, 2014

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“I’m Not Part of Me” begins audaciously, with the lo-fi, punk-influenced sound of distorted guitars providing a glance into Cloud Nothings’ garage fuzz world. But any semblance of other punk stylings disappears after the first few seconds and quickly transitions into a bland, done-to-death mix of pop and alternative rock, a formula that the track sticks to for the next four minutes and twenty seconds…. More

THUD to End Semester with a Bang

by Bryan S. Erickson on April 9, 2013

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The Harvard Undergraduate Drummers (THUD) were formed in 1999, when a small group of percussionists from Harvard’s music groups came together to create a separate ensemble dedicated to exploring percussion with other like-minded concert musicians. Since then, THUD have grown to 13 members and developed their own style that looks beyond concert percussion to popular culture, pop music, and film for inspiration…. More

‘pool (no water)’ Opens in Adams Pool Theatre

by Bryan S. Erickson on February 8, 2013

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February 14-16, 8 p.m.

Written by Mark Ravenhill

Directed by Joshua McTaggart ’13

Produced by Simon De Carvalho ’14 and David Manella ’14

“pool (no water)” is an unconventional drama that is meant to be slightly different each time it is performed. Opening in Adams Pool Theater on Thursday and directed by Joshua R. McTaggart ’13, a Crimson arts editor, “pool (no water)” is not told as a linear narrative but through the recollections of the actors as they act out past events.

The story blurs the line between past and present as the actors narrate the breakup of five artists after one actor becomes famous and invites her four colleagues to her enormous home. The climax of the plot centers around an empty swimming pool, which makes the Adams Pool Theatre the perfect venue… More

Harvard Capoeiristas Battle for Arts First

by Bryan S. Erickson on April 24, 2012

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Capoeira was born of desperation. Slaves created this Afro-Brazilian martial art during the era of Portuguese colonialism to train themselves in hand-to-hand combat without their masters catching on. They would use music and song to cover up capoeira’s actual purpose, and over time it became both a disciplined martial art as well as a physically demanding gymnastic dance style. Over time, song and dance became integral parts of the practice… More

‘the Devil’s Fiddler’ Burns Up the Stage

by Bryan S. Erickson on January 31, 2012

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Some people say that musical talent is a God-given gift. But it’s more likely that gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos sold his soul to the devil.

Great musicians, by the sheer force of their talent, have the opportunity to break out of the niche imposed on them by the music industry and wow audiences that fail to notice their less extraordinary peers. Whereas most artists can only reach the small group of fans interested in their particular sub-genre, a virtuoso can grab listeners of all types with a single note from his or her violin… More

‘Tintin’ Shows its Age Despite Dream Team

by Bryan S. Erickson on January 31, 2012

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The old-school adventure of Tintin evokes the kind of nostalgia one has for “The Hardy Boys” series. Sure, both are both cheesy and offer predictable endings, but an innocent sense of adventure keeps both series alive.

With one look at the list of well-known directors, producers, and writers on board with “The Adventures of Tintin”—including Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Steven Moffat and Edgar Wright—the last thing someone would expect to come from this collaboration would be the slightly disappointing “Tintin.” Admittedly, if any group of filmmakers could successfully adapt a dated cartoon about a teenage sleuth and his dog into a relevant and engaging film, it would most certainly have been this one. While “Tintin” did not disappoint as an approachable family film, this team of talent could have explored more exciting avenues than just remaking a classic comic… More

Drake’s Piercing Introspection a Success on Latest

by Bryan S. Erickson on November 23, 2011

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As the newest star on the rap scene, Canadian rapper and hip-hop artist Drake is on top of the world. Yet Drake’s sophomore album is not boastful; “Take Care” is a contemplative collection that, surprisingly, conveys its wisdom and insight more through the subtleties of Drake’s language than through its production. It’s an incredibly personal album, and many tracks are carried by recordings of phone conversations and plainspoken rap rather than by beats alone. For a genre that is known for its obsession with wealth, women, and power, it’s refreshing and exciting to see an artist approach it with the confidence and maturity that Drake delivers in his self-aware and stylish manner… More