- “Feeling Women’s Culture: Women’s Music, Lesbian Feminism, and the Impact of Emotional Memory” (2012)
- “Performing Jewishness In and Out of the Classroom” (2012)
- “Casual Racism and Stuttering Failures: An Ethics for Classroom Engagement” (2012)
- “On ‘Publics’: A Feminist Constellation of Keywords” (2011)
- “Unassuming Gender” (2011)
- “The Greater Good” (2011)
- “Colleague-Criticism: Performance, Writing, and Queer Collegiality” (2009)
- “Feminist Performance Criticism and the Popular: Reviewing Wendy Wasserstein” (2008)
Regarding Robert Reich’s Wednesday, December 20th commentary on “Marketplace” on American Public Radio.
While I usually appreciate Robert Reich’s astute analyses of the country’s economic peccadilloes, I find him way off the mark in suggesting that the tax code should limit charitable deductions to “real” charities and not to the arts and cultural [...]
[Note: Once again I apologize for the six week lag time between entries. The academic semester foiled me again. With the December holidays here now, and looking forward to being on leave next semester, I should be able to meet the challenge of bi-monthly writing.]
I read Leslie Feinberg’s classic novel about transgender experience, Stone Butch [...]
Cormac McCarthy isn’t an author I’ve ever before read. Even in good reviews, his books have always sounded rather male-identified. That is, they seem to be resolutely, openly, avowedly, unashamedly about men. And that’s fine. It’s just that those aren’t the kinds of novels I usually pick up and enjoy.
But reviews of The Road intrigued me, [...]
I’ve been invited to contribute a linked essay on blogging to the web journal, Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture. Their next issue is called “Theories/Practices of Blogging,” and includes a special section of posts on blogging, along with about a dozen essays addressing the practice. If you’re interested, do follow the link to see [...]
Like Anna Quindlen’s Rise and Shine, this novel by Claire Messud sits on The New York Timesbestseller list, probably on the basis of rave reviews by their own staff. Intrigued by the idea of a pre-9/11 story of three Brown University graduates approaching 30, I joined the queue and bought my copy. But as with Quindlen’s book, [...]
First, The Novel
I’m usually quite a big fan of author Anna Quindlen. I read her op-ed columns “Life in the 30s” and “Living Out Loud” in the New York Times in the 80s and 90s, and remember feeling so heartened when she was appointed the managing editor. Her columns were full of self-reflexive, [...]
I recently had the good fortune to be selected as a new member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Texas at Austin, where I teach. I was inducted into the Academy on September 21st; I’d like to share the remarks I made at the dinner:
Thank you so much for this [...]
Film critic A.O. Scott wrote an article in the New York Times shortly after the latest Pirates of the Caribbean extravaganza was released in July (“Critics Notebook: Avast, Me Critics! Ye Kill the Fun,” July 18, 2006, B1, 7), addressing the perennial accusation that critics are out of touch with popular taste. They look for [...]
Thanks so much for your thoughtful August 2nd comment on my “This I Believe Post.” I think you’ve described exactly what I mean by a “utopian performative”–those moments of being moved and lifted outside of ourselves into a sense of communal belonging and hopefulness.
I agree that these moments often happen when we [...]
As many of you know, NPR has been running a series of personal essays/statements every Monday for the past while on “Morning Edition” called “This I Believe.” It’s based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, which was hosted by Edward R. Murrow.
As I’ve listened to the stirring, often inspiring [...]
I just got a chance to watch Phyllis Nagy’s film Mrs. Harris, which I’d taped from HBO some weeks or months ago. The film stars Ben Kingsley as the Scarsdale Diet doctor Herman Tarnower, who was murdered in the early 1980s by his long-time lover/companion, Jean Harris (played by Annette Bening), the headmistress of [...]
I’ve been following Anna Deavere Smith’s career since the 1980s, when she participated in the Women and Theatre Program (WTP) meetings that took place before the professional conference of theatre educators every year. Anna was then a freelance actor and teacher based at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Like so many other [...]
Reading a New York Times Sunday Magazine story recently about the “Child Actor Program” at Oakwood Hills in Los Angeles (Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, “Hollywood Elementary,” 4 June 2006www.nytimes.com), I was struck by how much actor training for young people has changed since I took my first classes at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in the early 70s. These [...]
I had a feeling I didn’t want to see United 93. Seeing Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 a couple summers ago threw me into a profound depression that required chemical intervention to resolve. I worried that watching this latest take on the reality of the terrorist hijackings would again unsettle my psyche but, curious about the film and the [...]
I can only offer an apology for these three months of silence in these cyberpages. Despite my best intentions to write bi-monthly, I’m afraid that life intervened. Although I resent the loss of my writing time, I’m trying to persuade myself that this is a fact of life for a woman whose attention is often [...]
We had a lovely time in Ashland, our first visit to the renowned regional theatre. Ashland is a charming small town, whose main street is lined with chic, interesting shops and gourmet restaurants, all in the shadow of pine covered hills that gesture to mountains beyond. The theatre is Ashland’s major economic engine; its three [...]
I guess they say April is the cruelest month, but for me, February and the beginning of March proved most crushing. My resolve to write twice a month was foiled by other commitments and obligations, and while I longed daily for the time to write, it just never transpired.
I’m now posting from a Sheraton [...]
At the risk of shameless self-promotion, I wanted you to know that my latest book, Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theatre, has been published by the University of Michigan Press.
Eventually, the book will be in bookstores around the country.
The book is now available from the publisher at and should also [...]
Wendy Wasserstein died today at 55 from lymphoma. The New York Times and other media outlets have reported the details of her life and death, to which I want to add just a few words of my own.
I haven’t always been a fan of Wasserstein’s work. In my book Presence and Desire, I devote a large part [...]
. . . because they’re always a pleasure and so telling about the state of American culture in all its permutations and variety. Spoiler alert.
Woody Allen’s latest has been heralded as his return to form, after a series of films that made little impression on the zeitgeist. This one [...]
I’d promised last month to talk about Lara Shalson’s article in the latest issue of Theatre Topics.Theatre Topics, by the way, is an excellent, accessible academic journal that addresses theatre and performance practice as well as ideas about contemporary culture. One of the latest special issues addresses “devising” theatre, in which groups of artists collaborate on [...]