Southside With You

  “Thought he was just another smooth talking brother?” says an inquisitive Chicago mom. She’s repeating the words her daughter used to describe a colleague she’s meeting for a first date. Never have eight words been so inaccurate. That “he,” is a twentysomething Barack Obama. The daughter is Michelle LaVaughn Robinson. As this very romantic […]

Hands of Stone

  “Every boxer is someone’s hero.” It’s a saying that’s been hard to attach to Roberto Durán. Most people assume that he is just an infamous Panamanian boxer who walked out on a match against Sugar Ray Leonard, uttering the words, “No Mas (no more).” There’s more to him than that controversial moment. This very […]

Richmond, VA: Dining and Dashing Around the 2016 Jazz Festival

  The seventh annual Richmond Jazz Festival ran from August 11th to the 14th, in venues around town and culminated at the lush 100-acre Maymont Park with a two-day outdoor fest. Musicians like Herbie Hancock, Stephanie Mills, The Roots and Diane Schuur thrilled music fans. And when festival goers weren’t lapping up the music they […]

Music Lovers Gather at the 2016 Richmond Jazz Festival

On a hot mid-August summer weekend in Richmond, Virginia, thousands of music lovers gathered for the seventh annual Richmond Jazz Festival. They picnicked, socialized and strolled around the verdant lawns of the vast, 100-acre Maymont estate, splitting their time between three concert stages that were filled with world-class musicians: Herbie Hancock, Stephanie Mills, Arrested Development, […]

Hell or High Water

“I been poor my whole life. It’s like a disease.” And with that thought in mind, two brothers, Toby (Chris Pine, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk) a divorced dad and Tanner Howard (Ben Foster, Lone Survivor) an ex-con, go on a bank-robbing spree in rural, arid West Texas where folk love guns, beer and their land […]

Suicide Squad

Deadpool may have raised the bar far too high for the comic-book-turned-film genre. It was fresh, innovative, irreverent, demented, unpredictable, visually alluring, well acted, written, directed and produced. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice flew in its shadow. And now the much-hyped Suicide Squad falls short too.   The task of bringing this DC Entertainment […]

Jason Bourne

  There’s something missing in actor Matt Damon and director/writer Paul Greengrass’ return to the Bourne action/spy/thriller franchise. It’s hard to put your finger on it. But the brutal fight scenes, painstakingly coordinated cloak-and-dagger sequences and elaborate car chases aren’t as intriguing as those in The Bourne Supremacy or The Bourne Ultimatum.   On paper […]

Miss Sharon Jones!

  Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings is a Grammy-nominated R&B band from Brooklyn. Their groove is funky like James Brown’s. Jones’ gyrations are as wild and ferocious as Tina Tuner’s. The group’s soul shake and their lead singer’s indomitable spirit blend into something very special, heartfelt and familial. When Jones is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, […]

Star Trek Beyond

  The big debate shouldn’t be if this is the best Star Trek film ever. The more interesting conversation is about whether Star Trek Beyond is a better sci-fi space adventure film than 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. On most levels, the answer is yes.   J.J. Abrams is out as director and comes […]

Ice Age: Collision Course

  It’s official. This is the year of animation. So many films from the genre are sprouting up like spring daisies that it’s making the Oscar race for Best Animation Feature Film a nail-biter. And it’s only midyear. Add to the list of strong contenders the fifth chapter in the Ice Age franchise, a doozy […]