Opera Review: Roberto Devereaux

Roberto Devereux is a lesser-known Donizetti confection, and erstwhile Artistic Director Plácido Domingo was set to hot-ticket this tale of Queen Elizabeth and her lover Essex that likely hasn’t been an opera question on Jeopardy! See my review here.

Did the Artists Den Succeed in Bringing Soundgarden Back ?

When I first learned the PBS-concert-supplier outfit Artists Den was putting on an immersive Soundgarden concert experience, a full film of the band’s 2013 Los Angeles stop on the King Animal tour, I brimmed with anticipation.

You Can Dismiss ‘Jill’ — But Not Dr. Biden. That’s The Point

This weekend, Dr. Jill Biden was the target of “first-naming,” the behavior many women who hold professional and terminal academic degrees are subjected to. Read my opinion about this disrespectful phenomenon here.

Seattle vs. Los Angeles: A look at their most potent, non-obvious differences

You’ve probably thought about it when on a weekend trip to Los Angeles (when leisure travel was still safe). As a Pacific Northwesterner, it’s nearly impossible to be in a city with almost constant sun and not think – “Could I live here?” And in LA’s case, also wondering “Why does no one here have gray hair except Lindsey Buckingham?”

Rest assured, your counterparts in Los Angeles have those same fantasies, except their questions are maybe a little more like…”Maybe their wildfires aren’t as bad?”

Yes, latitude longing is real.

The Big Sick: Best Film To Tell The Truth About Having a Sick Loved One


The Big Sick, the film comedian Kumail Nanjiani delivered with his wife, Emily V. Gordon, did not win Best Original Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards. That honor went to the searing and timely Get Out, and rightfully so, given the award is meant for stories that spring from the mind fully-formed, like the goddess Athena. The Big Sick is a more dramatic retelling of real life — Gordon’s battle with adult Still’s disease (also known as the scariest thing I saw in medical residency) — and Nanjiani’s awkward bonding with her parents — difficult enough without the object of your affection in a coma. But the film deserves recognition as an extremely rare portrait of life as the loved ones of the ailing.

A Farm Story: From Missile Defense to Sorghum Cocktails


Valerie Seymour, had already notched one career pivot, from engineering for the defense industry to designing clean energy systems, when a chance encounter with a landscape designer led to another venture.

Name Dropping


Recently, I ventured into a Mendocino Farms restaurant to pick up a takeout lunch. I had called in my order under my “restaurant name”—Monica. After a quarter-lifetime of spelling out my given name to people I might never see again, I stopped wasting time and chose an alter ego that most everyone knew how to pronounce and spell.

To me, any name sounds sweeter than my own.

Good Job, Brain! How to Create a Pub Trivia Podcast


What radio podcast has three words, one exclamation point, mines the game Trivial Pursuit for questions, and has been produced by three UC Berkeley alums and their pal for the past four years? It’s Good Job, Brain! But if you’re a trivia buff you probably already knew that.

World-class Kirov Returns to SoCal


Image via BalletBag.com

The Kirov Ballet is back.
Oct. 23, the revered company, based in St. Petersburg, did full justice to the term ‘world-class.’ In the first half of an impressive doubleheader at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the Kirov demonstrated a level of artistry with choreography of the great Mikhail Fokine that reminded Southern California why it has been waiting for the company’s return for nearly a decade. The Kirov gave birth to George Balanchine, Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov during its 200-year existence thus far. It has weathered defections, the collapse of the Soviet Empire, fires and budget crises. It is the Titanic that never sank, that still retains all of its old glory and more.

Thomas Dolby Comes Back From the Future


On Thursday April 13, 1980s mad scientist Thomas Dolby, who revolutionized not only electronic music but created cell phone ringtone technology, appeared for his second headlining live performance in the Los Angeles at the Key Club.