Shaking the rafters in Toby’s ‘Sister Act’

By Mark Dreisonstok
Posted on September 19, 2023

This fall, the beloved Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Maryland, is presenting Sister Act. Featuring engaging characters and songs by the Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, the show will please most any theater-goer. Based on a popular 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, the plot revolves around one Deloris Van Cartier, a rebellious singer living in the 1970s disco... READ MORE

How my friends and I get our daytime zzzs

By Bob Levey
Posted on September 13, 2023

Babies and toddlers have it all figured out. A book, a song or two, maybe a back rub or a bottle of milk, and boom. Off they go into a nice, neat nap. All of us who are a wee bit older like to nap, too, now that our days are probably no longer packed with meetings, bosses and expectations. But how do we induce that mid-day sleep? In my case, the pathway is very simple and very... READ MORE

Authors pen bios of those they knew well

By Dinah Rokach
Posted on September 11, 2023

The Bibliophile Enjoy these profiles by authors with first-hand knowledge of their subjects. To the Front: Grandfathers’ Stories in the Cause of Freedom, by Michael M. Van Ness, MD, 288 pages, Modern Memories, Inc. paperback, 2022 Military families have fascinating stories to share. Michael Van Ness recalls his upbringing as the son of Captain Harper E. Van Ness, Jr., on assignment ... READ MORE

Retirees rediscover the joys of learning

By Amita Chatterjee
Posted on September 07, 2023

Grade school and college students don’t have to be the only ones heading back to the classroom this fall. Lifelong learning programs are abundant in our area, and there’s something for everyone. Opportunities range from one-off lectures to semester-long courses, both in-person and online, and cover a variety of subjects and activities. Veronica Salles-Reese taught at Georgetown... READ MORE

Working-class bar is the set for “Sweat”

By Lynda Lantz
Posted on September 05, 2023

Perhaps the best way to learn about the dreams and betrayals of working-class families is to eavesdrop at a bar. At the bar in the play Sweat by Lynn Nottage, at D.C.’s Keegan Theatre through September 16, everyone knows your name — and all of the rest of your messy business. The set for most of the play — a bar with a prominent American flag — might as well be another member... READ MORE

Artists pass down folk art to apprentices

By Susan Ahearn
Posted on August 23, 2023

An older Black storyteller stands before an audience, gesturing as she recounts an African parable. Every few minutes, she pauses so her companion, a 15-year-old girl, can speak. The girl continues the story, stretching her arms wide and widening her eyes during dramatic moments. At the end of the tale, the teenager, Naomi Reid, delivers the kicker: “A man is not really dead until he... READ MORE

Why would I want to listen to a podcast?

By Adam Cochran
Posted on August 15, 2023

Weird Al Yankovic once quipped that he releases a new album every three to five years, so every album is a comeback album. Like Weird Al’s music, every time podcasting is discovered by another generation, it becomes new again. The audio and video delivery process known as podcasting has been around since 2000. But it experienced its latest resurgence in 2014, when NPR began... READ MORE

Sneaker wearer confesses his sneakery

By Bob Levey
Posted on August 10, 2023

Seven years ago, our son tied the knot. My uniform that day was utterly traditional — dark blue suit, white shirt, cautious tie, shiny black shoes. It was the last time I’ve worn those shoes — or any other “real” shoes, for that matter. Late in life, I’ve adopted two approaches to my feet. Approach One: They and I deserve to be comfortable, and shoes never achieve that. ... READ MORE

Mysteries offering history, chess, humor

By Dinah Rokach
Posted on August 08, 2023

The Bibliophile These three whodunits are set in a variety of times and places: present-day New York; Brighton, England in the late 1950s; and Europe during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s. They will undoubtedly capture your imagination. Assassin’s Lullaby, by Mark Rubinstein, 328 pages, Thunder Lake Press paperback, 2022 Follow hired assassin Eli Dagan as he takes on an ... READ MORE

New memoir tells of family’s life in China

By Robert Friedman
Posted on August 01, 2023

Shanghai-born Cultural Revolution survivor Qin Sun Stubis, 63, has a story to tell. It’s about her ancestors, who survived the Great Chinese Famine, historic upheavals, generations-old family curses, demeaning traditions and the Communist-led government. Qin, as she prefers to be called, describes her family’s often tumultuous times in a new memoir, Once Our Lives: Life, Death and... READ MORE