There’s nothing like a death in the family to bring out the worst in people. This unhappy truth is displayed with delectably savage humor in “Bad Jews,” a zesty play by Joshua Harmon that opened on Thursday night at the Laura Pels Theater. Tracee Chimo, leading a flawless cast of four in the best comedy of the season to date, gives a ferocious performance as a young Jewish woman, Diana — she prefers to be called by her Hebrew name, Daphna — aggressively fighting to obtain a religious relic left behind by her grandfather. Opposing her formidable will with a determination that matches hers is Daphna’s cousin Liam (Michael Zegen), who definitely does not prefer to employ his Hebrew name, Shlomo. And don’t think Daphna won’t bring this morsel out when she begins baiting Liam with accusations of contempt for the religion he was born into. But then there’s little artillery left unused when Daphna and Liam begin fighting in earnest for the gold ornament of the Hebrew word “chai” … [Read more...] about Holier Than Thou? Oh, She’s Just Getting Started
Tiny Space, Big Enough for Emotions
Most New Yorkers have probably spent some time in uncomfortably small studio apartments, but it’s doubtful that any has felt more claustrophobic than the one depicted in “Bad Jews,” a new comedy (you were wondering?) by Joshua Harmon at the Roundabout Underground’s Black Box Theater. True, there are lovely views of the Hudson — from the bathroom, yet — but getting to the closet requires trampolining across the foldout bed, and the room is scarcely wider than an aisle in a Target store. This already intimate space is shrunk to shoebox-size proportions by the presence of Diana Feygenbaum, a Vassar senior capable of easily sucking up all the air in a classic six on the Upper West Side. Diana — who prefers to be known by her Hebrew name, Daphna — is portrayed by the marvelous Tracee Chimo as a volatile cross between Sandra Bernhard at her most strident and Sarah Silverman at her most snarky, with maybe a little of the young Barbra Streisand thrown in, as a sort of fabric softener. … [Read more...] about Tiny Space, Big Enough for Emotions
Will Google’s AI Plans Destroy the Media?
Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Getty Images Early this year, Google teased a fundamental change to its core product, the search engine through which much of the world accesses the web. Soon, the company said, Google would start using AI to “distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats.” By May, the company had a real product to share. For Google, it was an obvious and incremental feature update combining two of the company’s products: a text generator plugged into a search engine, basically. Searchers ask a question, and Google tries to answer it with short, article-style “snapshots.” For publishers, however — of news, how-to content, reviews, recommendations, reference material, and a range of other content one might describe as existing to “distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats” — it looked like nothing less than an existential crisis. Google was getting into content, automating the … [Read more...] about Will Google’s AI Plans Destroy the Media?