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Letters 04-21-2014

An Exercise of Power

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Nancy Sundstrom

 
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Thursday, March 3, 2005

On the Shoulders of Giants at OTP: Shaw, Chekhov, and Moliere and why They Matter

Features Nancy Sundstrom Shaw, Chekhov, and Moliere are three of the most influential, acclaimed, and groundbreaking masters of theatre. So why is it that most people would have trouble naming one play that each had written, let alone identify when they last - if ever - saw one performed?
Old Town Playhouse (OTP) in Traverse City is hoping to change that, at least for local audiences, when they begin their two-week run of 3 Classic One Acts: Shaw, Chekhov and Moliere on Friday, March 11 at 8 pm in the Studio Theatre. Overruled by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), The Brute by Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), and Jean-Baptiste Moliere’s (1622-1673) The Pretentious Young Ladies are the trio of chosen comedic works by the classic playwrights, and will play Friday-Saturday opening weekend, and Thursday-Saturday March 17-19.
 
Thursday, December 23, 2004

Red Mesa‘s New Home: Popular Boyne City Restaurant Makes a Splash in TC

Features Nancy Sundstrom When chef Mary Palmer moved to Boyne City seven years ago, she saw a void in the region for affordable, high-spice, fun ethnic food. In a quest to help fill that void, Red Mesa Grill (RMG) was created in Palmer’s new hometown. The response was overwhelming, with customers traveling from all over northwestern Michigan to enjoy its Latin American-inspired cuisine.
Fast forward to 2004, when a second RMG opened in Traverse City on November 23, at its new home on US 31 North, just 1/8 mile east of the Traverse City State Park. Now fans don’t have to travel quite so far to partake of signature RMG dishes such as Corn Roasted Walleye, Tequila and Lime Fajitas, Roast Pork Enchiladas, and Achiote Citrus Chicken. Add in great service, a selection of more than 100 specialty tequilas, and regularly-scheduled special events like the Caribbean Tour and Cinco de Mayo, and it’s not hard to see why the new eatery has been packing them in.
 
Thursday, December 9, 2004

All the North‘s a Stage this Winter: A Preview of the Region‘s Theater Scene

Features Nancy Sundstrom We‘re well into the season of celebration, and if you’re an aficionado of theatre, there’s much throughout the region, and even the state, to get you excited.
From special concerts to perennial favorites like “The Nutcracker,” most every event will be infused with the holiday spirit. For some great live performance options, here’s a look at a range of musicals, dance presentations, solo shows and other stage revues that cover the region, from Cheboygan to Grand Rapids and Detroit. After the new year, look for a slate of new offerings that will continue well into the spring, before the summer theatre season begins.
 
Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Glamour, Glory and Guardedness of Grant

Books Nancy Sundstrom Just in time for harvest season comes a bumper crop of books by and about celebrities of all sorts, from Hollywood royalty to those a little further down the feeding chain, such as Paris Hilton, Sean Astin and Tom Green.
Arguably, one can expect more from a biography spanning the four-decade career of Cary Grant than one can from Jenna Jameson’s “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star,” but one can assume caveat empteur here. It’s all a matter of taste, isn’t it? And let’s face it, don’t some of these tomes, such as the latter-mentioned above, at least intrigue a reader to pick it up in the bookstore and scan the back cover and the photos, even while hiding inside an open copy of Philip Roth’s latest?
 
Thursday, September 30, 2004

History Lesson: The Folly of Empire

Books Nancy Sundstrom As Election Day looms closer, there is no slowing of the steady stream of new books dedicated to a wide range of facets, perspectives and tales about the two candidates heading for what many believe will be one of the closest races in some time.
One of the latest of these tomes is a thoughtful, interesting and well-researched, though quite academic-minded, work by John Judis entitled “The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.”
 
Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Being Committed

Books Nancy Sundstrom Summer is officially over, but that doesn’t seem tohave slowed down some solid offerings in the beach read department. In fact, one of the best of the season just rolled out in the form of Anna Maxted’s fourth novel, Being Committed.

This is the best effort yet from the English, bestselling Maxted (Getting Over It, Behaving Like Adults, Running in Heels), who has endeared readers and critics alike with her own unique blend of heartache, hope and hope, particularly as it applies to romance. Maxted has a true gift for creating endearing characters and flushing out optimism and warmth from dismal situations. These gifts as a writer have aided not only in raising her to the forefront of chick lit authors, but elevating regard and standards for the genre itself.
 
Thursday, September 9, 2004

Is 15 Minutes of Fame too Much or too Little?

Books Nancy Sundstrom Four years ago, Salon columnist and playwright Cintra Wilson wrote a book that had a title so provocative that I, along with many others, couldn’t help but pick it up and dive right in: “A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Reexamined as a Grotesque and Crippling Disease.”
Every edgy, insightful and slightly vicious moment in her non-fiction diatribe on pop culture (with observations and predictions on the likes of Michael Jackson proving to be nearly Nostradamean) made the book worth every penny and paved the way for more to look forward to in terms of why we, as individuals and a society, are pop culture junkies whom 15 minutes of fame is - well - either too much or too little, depending on your perspective. At the altar of this line of thinking, I just throw in the names of William Hung, Paris Hilton and Joey Buttafucco as a case in point.
 
Thursday, September 2, 2004

A Den of Assassins: Musical Muses over what makes Presidential Stalkers Tick

Features Nancy Sundstrom In America, anyone can grow up to be President. Or shoot one. That’s the focus of an unusual, intelligent, dark and darkly comedic musical by Stephen Sondheim named “Assassins.” Locally, Old Town Playhouse (OTP) in Traverse City will present their version of this harrowing, yet moving examination of the underside of the American Dream, when it opens this Friday, September 3 and then runs through Saturday, September 25.
When it premiered in 1991, everyone agreed it was groundbreaking and played a key role in musical theatre reaching a new level of audacity and accomplishment, but audiences did not line up around the block for tickets. With thanks to the primarily negative reviews critics assailed it with, the show closed somewhat quickly. Many attributed it to timing, as “Assassins” opened in the middle of the Persian Gulf War and the concept of going to see a satiric, though insightful play about killing off a number of American Presidents seemed to be in bad taste, to say the least.
 
Thursday, August 26, 2004

Pure Joy in the Form of Corduroy

Books Nancy Sundstrom “How many people do you have to kill before you no longer qualify as pro-life?” read a homemade sign carried by one young man.
“Stop depleting my dating pool,” read another carried by a young woman who wanted to draw attention to the U.S. military’s death toll in Iraq -- now approaching 950.
Traverse City has always been known as a Republican stronghold, but last Monday -- in what local historian Larry Wakefield termed the largest demonstration in the city’s history -- over 1,000 people gathered to protest a campaign appearance by George W. Bush.
Captain Morgan of the Traverse City Police Department estimated the crowd of demonstrators at between 1,000 and 1,500.
For hours before Bush was scheduled to speak, those with tickets to the rally (organizers say 14,000 tickets were handed out) filed into the Civic Center along a sidewalk flanked by a crowd carrying signs and energetically speaking out about the war, job loss, environmental degradation, reproductive freedom and other civil rights issues.
 
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Secret Studies -- The Hazards of Reading Lolita in Tehran

Books Nancy Sundstrom Recently released in paperback is a book that deserved more attention than it earned when it was released in hardcover late last year. The tome has the provocative title of “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” and it has been rightfully hailed by other critics as a powerful and moving merge of memoir, political commentary and literary criticism. Though it is hardly a beach read, the fact that it is now available in paperback might help bring this insightful and provocative book the audience it should have had from the onset.
 
Thursday, August 5, 2004

Kerry & Edwards: The Right Stuff on the Write Stuff

Books Nancy Sundstrom In early July, as something of a primer for last week’s viewings of the Democratic National Convention, I finally got around to reading two books that had been on my nightstand for the past few months: “Four Trials” by John Edwards and “Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War.”
 
Thursday, August 5, 2004

Regional Book ROUNDUP

Books Nancy Sundstrom Local authors offer everything from poetry to postcards
In our fast-paced world, sometimes the majority of us can forget about how great it really is to crack open a book. In Northern Michigan there are a number of gifted authors who have works encompassing subjects from cooking to farming to photography. This summer offers a number of new texts from area authors that deserve attention:
 
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Shadow Divers: The Deep, Blue Saga of a Watery Grave

Books Nancy Sundstrom When written with a true passion for their story, non-fiction writers can craft their works into anything as gripping, compelling and powerful as that concocted by their peers in the fiction genre. The latest in an impressive, long line of these comes from Robert Kurson, and follows in the tradition of bestsellers like “A Perfect Storm,” “Into Thin Air” and “In Harm’s Way.”
 
Thursday, July 22, 2004

Just Take those Old Records off the Shelf....

Books Nancy Sundstrom Chris Colin is a talented young writer whose work has been featured in McSweeney’s and the New York Times Book Review, among other publications, and who served a respectable tenure as a writer and editor for Salon.com. When it was announced that his first book, a work of non-fiction, would hit the stands this summer, there was a fair amount of anticipation in literary circles.
 
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Get Hold of...

Books Nancy Sundstrom A familiar theme resonates through bestsel-ling British novelist Jane Green’s sixth novel, and that is to be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. And if you do, what happens when it looks like real life will surpass your dreams? Can you trust it? Can it last? Are things too good to be true just that?
In her latest, the delightful and still substantive “To Have and to Hold,” Alice is a shy and unpretentious woman whose life consists primarily of being a loyal friend and successful caterer who takes great pride in her work. Her needs and wants are simple, and when she attracts the attention of wealthy, dashing businessman Joe Chambers, she simply can’t believe her luck. When he asks her to marry him, she thinks she’s died and gone to heaven.
 
 
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