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Moby's Play
Playwright Kirk Smith talks about trying to squeeze a great white whale into a tiny theatre with his adaptation of Moby Dick for Vortex Repertory Company's Summer Youth Theatre.
Arts Story  July 19, 2002, by Robert Faires

In the Heart of the Sea
Ron Howard sets sails with that famous Nantucket whale story
Film Review  December 11, 2015, by Marc Savlov
"...The unimaginable chain of catastrophic events that led to the destruction of the Nantucket-based whaling ship Essex in the Pacific Ocean in 1820 is the subject of Ron Howard’s new film. The real-life fate of Essex, her captain, and crew partly inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick; or, the Whale in 1851..."

Seen / Soon: Feb. 2
Hearing a stately Passion from Arvo Pärt sung by Ensemble VIII and reading a Texas take on Moby Dick from Austin author Elizabeth Crook
Arts Column  February 1, 2018

Moby Dick
In Kirk Smith's stage adaptation of Moby Dick, language comes forth in great waves, in storms of words, soaking our brains with images of the sea, of a white whale, and of a mad captain's pursuit of it, and while the Vortex Repertory Company Summer Youth Theatre production may not always convey every nuance of every line, it does communicate the feel of a life at sea, danger and dread, and the roles played by Destiny and Death.
Arts Review  July 26, 2002, by Robert Faires

A Whale of a Tale Goes 21st Century
The Fuse Box Festival hosts a Herman Melville Hoot Nite
Screens Story  April 25, 2008, by Kimberley Jones

2017 Payne Theatre Award Nominees
E.A. Poe musical Nevermore leads the way with 11 noms
DAILY Arts  September 20, 2017, by Robert Faires

Mixed Metaphors
These craft cocktails are for the books
Food Story  June 16, 2016, by Brandon Watson

Invasion of the Kiddie-Lit Plays
Characters from children's literature storm Austin-area stages in July.
Arts Story  July 5, 2002, by Robert Faires

Naked If I Want To
Magnum opus on one of rock & roll's Rosetta Stones: 1967's Moby Grape
Music Story  January 8, 2010, by Louis Black

Elizabeth Crook’s The Which Way Tree
Chasing revenge on the Texas frontier in this remarkable new novel from the author of Monday, Monday
Books Review  March 8, 2018, by Robert Faires
"...That's one way Elizabeth Crook grips you in her latest novel: pitting vulnerable humans against a bloodthirsty beast of almost supernatural size, power, and intelligence, a creature so vicious and unstoppable that it's become legend. Crook's mountain lion – "panther" in the parlance of the book's Civil War-era Texas setting – may not have the size of Moby-Dick, but it casts as long a shadow as the White Whale, with settlers from the Hill Country to the Rio Grande sharing tales of the dreaded Demonio de Dos Dedos – the Demon of Two Toes..."

Record review
Music Review  September 10, 2004, by Raoul Hernandez

The winners are in for the 28th annual B. Iden Payne Awards, honoring outstanding achievements in Austin theatre from August 2001 through July 2002.
Arts Column  October 4, 2002, by Robert Faires

Cold Skin
Imperialism and isolation pervade this monster movie
Film Review  September 7, 2018, by Richard Whittaker

At the Statue of Venus/Three Decembers
The Butler Opera Center's pairing of these Jake Heggie chamber operas opened up small concerns to an enduring sense of love
Arts Review  March 10, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...Were slacks a good idea for a first date? Is Mom's decision to spend every Christmas by herself in Barbados a measure of how little she loves her kids? Such questions may have never bedeviled Madama Butterfly or Don Giovanni – or the protagonists of Jake Heggie's operas Dead Man Walking and Moby-Dick, for that matter – but that doesn't mean they aren't the stuff of opera. For as inconsequential as they may look in print, in Heggie's chamber works At the Statue of Venus and Three Decembers, just mounted together at the University of Texas' Butler Opera Center, they become springboards to the larger question "What is it to be loved?" And that's been at the heart of opera since the form was born...."

The Boy and the Beast
Japanese anime film is a fully immersive experience
Film Review  March 4, 2016, by Marc Savlov
"...An early montage of the beast and his boy is winning, and the overstuffed storyline only gets more outlandish as the now-grown Kyuta (voiced by Sometani) finds his way back to the real world and falls for a kind-hearted human university student, but then must return to the shadowy beast world to assist his sensei in a climactic battle with more than one interesting reveal. Alongside the political power-plays going on in Kumatetsu’s fabulously realized home world, there’s a subplot about Kyuta’s fascination with Melville’s Moby-Dick that only makes sense toward the end – no spoilers here – when the fate of both the Shibuyan reality and the anything-goes land of the beasts are both imperiled by, well, like I said, no spoilers here...."

The Whale
The craft behind A Chick & a Dude's tightly realized production is what makes it so impressive
Arts Review  March 14, 2014, by Adam Roberts

Led Zeppelin DVD / Led Zeppelin How the West Was Won
DVD/Record Review
Music Review  June 13, 2003, by Raoul Hernandez

Austin Critics Table Nominations, 2002-2003
The full list of nominations for the 2002-2003 Austin Critics Table Awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in local theatre, dance, classical music, and visual art
Arts Story  May 9, 2003, by Robert Faires

The Scarlet Letter
The Vortex Repertory Company's retelling of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter feels like it's coming from a fitful, troubled sleep, a hazy dreamscape in which director Michelle Fowler and her cast create a society of suffocating morality and the cruel reprisals that await any who violate its rigid rules of conduct.
Arts Review  March 21, 2003, by Robert Faires

Payne the Town Red
What might be considered the theatrical fringe in other cities is more and more the theatrical mainstream in Austin, an idea that was reinforced with the announcement of the nominations for the 2001-02 B. Iden Payne Theatre Awards.
Arts Story  August 30, 2002, by Robert Faires

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