If you’re lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace, cold weather comes with a silver lining: an excuse to build a roaring fire. “Fire becomes this really amazing focal point for a room, whether it’s traditional or modern,” said the New York-based interior designer Thom Filicia . “There’s just something poetic, sexy and inviting about gathering around a fireplace.” But before you build that first fire, make sure you’re ready. That means not just decorating the mantel — which, of course, steals attention during the holidays — but choosing the right tools and accessories to ensure that your fireplace looks good and works well. We asked Mr. Filicia and other designers for advice. Assess the Situation Not all fireplaces are attractive. In older homes, some have beaten-up mantels and damaged surrounds; in newer homes, they may not have much personality. In either case, a simple change — or a few tweaks — can give a fireplace a new look without tearing everything … [Read more...] about Is Your Fireplace Ready for Winter?
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“HUNGER,” the first feature film by the British artist Steve McQueen, recounts the final weeks of Bobby Sands, the imprisoned Irish nationalist who died in 1981, 66 days into a hunger strike. But the movie, which does not examine the arc of Sands’s life or the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, is far from a conventional docudrama or issue movie. Instead it is something starker and more precise, with a single-mindedness to match that of its subject, a man who decides to starve himself to death. Recreating the brutal conditions in which that decision was made and the harrowing physical decline that followed, “Hunger” is a visceral film with a philosophical bent, a meditation on will and endurance, on the human body as the ultimate site of protest. “It’s the whole idea of the body as a weapon,” Mr. McQueen said. “If that’s all you have, how do you use it?” “Hunger,” which opens in New York on March 20, won the Camera d’Or, the prize for best first feature, at the Cannes … [Read more...] about History Through an Unblinking Lens
“Isn’t she a beauty?” said Bethany Brookshire as she admired passers-by from a park bench in New York City. “Hello, gorgeous.” The object of her attention, strutting past on a cold fall day, had white feathers on her head and a blanket of slate gray covering her body. A flash of white interrupted the gray down by her tail feathers. Brookshire was admiring a pigeon. “I have no idea,” she added, “if she’s really a she.” Brookshire, an author and science journalist, really likes pigeons. She also really likes mice and rats, deer and snakes, and is fascinated by all the ways they drive people crazy. Her new book, “Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains,” published by Ecco on Tuesday, examines our relationship with, and our responsibility to, the animals that live around us, nibbling our leftovers and burrowing into our gardens. In some cases, animals became what we consider pests because humans transported them outside their natural habitats — like the rabbits we brought to … [Read more...] about Is This Elephant Bothering You?
SCREAMING ON THE INSIDE: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood, by Jessica Grose A funny thing happens when you write an honest book about motherhood. Whenever I go to a place where there are other mothers who know about my work, someone, usually a woman in her late 30s with small children, heavy eyelids and a telltale tightness in her jaw, asks if she can talk to me in private. In hushed tones, she tells me how her kids are great and her husband is great and she knows she’s lucky to have them. She loves her kids and she loves being a mother and most of the time everything is wonderful and joyful, except that sometimes, since becoming a mother, she feels as if she’s dying or is maybe already dead. I’ve had women confide that they feel as if they’re drowning or falling or being buried alive or holding up a car with one hand while whisking eggs with the other, and these women are just wondering whether I think this is normal or if there’s anything they can do. Before I can … [Read more...] about The Common Denominator for Mothers? Guilt.
LONDON — The play comes perfectly matched with its leading player in “ Orlando ,” a freewheeling take on Virginia Woolf’s gender-bending novel that opened Monday at the Garrick Theater here. Neil Bartlett’s breezy adaptation of its 1928 source is playful, and ultimately moving, but the director Michael Grandage owes much of the production’s success to its galvanizing star, Emma Corrin , who made an acclaimed West End debut last year in the short-lived “ Anna X .” Thankfully, this time, Corrin can be seen onstage for considerably longer; “Orlando” runs through Feb. 25. The fast-rising Corrin, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, has made headlines recently as much for their gender identity as for increasingly prominent screen roles. After winning a Golden Globe for playing Princess Diana in “ The Crown ,” Corrin starred in two films this season, “ Lady Chatterley’s Lover ,” and “ My Policeman ,” which was also directed by Grandage. Yet none of … [Read more...] about Review: In ‘Orlando,’ Emma Corrin Straddles Genders and Centuries
A merciless sun blazes over Thebes in Ivo van Hove’s doom-steeped production of Sophocles’ “Antigone,” which opened on Sunday night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with a highly distraught Juliette Binoche in the title role. As conceived by the set and lighting designer Jan Versweyveld, this ferocious orb dominates the back wall of the stage at the Harvey Theater like an all-seeing eye of fire, one that judges and withers everything it surveys. You get the feeling that it’s not just the ill-fated souls of ancient Greece that this sun looks upon. It’s staring straight into the audience as well. That stately drumbeat that we hear every so often is marking the pace of everybody’s death march. Well, you didn’t exactly expect an evening of feel-good forgiveness, did you? Greek tragedy — which is much in vogue these days on both sides of the Atlantic — has always been take-no-prisoners theater. But the rhythmic relentlessness of Mr. van Hove’s version of “Antigone” — a production … [Read more...] about Review: In ‘Antigone’ at BAM, Agony and Despair in Inexorable Motion