As I’ve had some articles published all over the place recently, figured it was time to start a new compilation post.

Chris Rousseau sorts through records at Nice Price Books in Carrboro.

Very Sad: Beloved local used bookstore Nice Price Books is closing, and I talked to them and several other used bookstores to get the reasons why.

Jonathan M. Katz - Zach Hetrick

Here’s an interview I did with reporter Jonathan M. Katz about his new book on life in Haiti and the failed policies of relief efforts, THE BIG TRUCK THAT WENT BY.

Madeline Trumble and Con OShea-Creal as Mary Poppins and Bert

Here’s a strangely detailed review I did of the touring production of Disney’s MARY POPPINS, and how it compares to both the original books and the film.

LIzzy Caplan and Geoffrey Arend in SAVE THE DATE

For Valentine’s Day: A look at some anti-romantic movies, SAVE THE DATE, CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER, THE HEARTBREAK KID, AN UNMARRIED WOMAN and MARGARET.

Kyle Baker recently put his classic graphic novels including WHY I HATE SATURN and THE COWBOY WALLY SHOW online for free, and here’s my look at why these are worth checking out.

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I interviewed  Brandon Sanderson on his besteselling conclusion to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, A MEMORY OF LIGHT!

Ron Rash - Photo by Mark Haskett

Here’s my interview with SERENA author Ron Rash on his new short story collection NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY!

George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" plays Saturday at 7 p.m.

A look at the films of the Nevermore Film Festival in Durham this weekend, including JOHN DIES AT THE END and a 35-mm print of the original DAWN OF THE DEAD!

My new interview with Ryan Browne of the webcomic GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS on his Kickstarter Campaign!

Here’s my talk with Michel Fiffe on his acclaimed self-published comic COPRA!

My interview with the creators of the webcomic TRIP FANTASTIC!

The creators of HACK/SLASH and HOAX HUNTERS Pay Tribute to Fake 1980s Toys with MINI COMICS INDLUDED on Kickstarter!

The Book of Mormon comes to Durham Feb. 11-23, 2014.

A Look at the Durham Performing Arts Center’s New Broadway Series!

Follow-up to earlier piece: Nice Price Books is having a closing sale that will help raise money for the Chapel Hill Library.

A review of a local production of the play THE LAST FIVE YEARS!

Jeffrey Brown talks the adorable VADER’S LITTLE PRINCESS!

A look at the many (many, many…) faces of Superman’s foe General Zod!

NEW TOY BLOGS:
ARCHER ACTION FIGURES ARE COMING!

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My Little Pony Meets Doctor Who with “Doctor Whooves!”

Coming soon: New JURASSIC PARK Toys!

New “Presidential Monsters” with Baracula!

The Many (Toy) Faces of Slyvester Stallone

New Batman “Movie Masters” Trilogy 3-Pack!

The Return of Captain Power Toys?

Some high-end pieces of IRON MAN 3 Merchandise!

Check Out This Chic Han Solo in Carbonite Business Card Case!

Yes, they finally made a figure of Jack Nicholson in THE SHINING

New WALKING DEAD Michonne 3-Pack

New Target “New 52” Justice League 7-Pack!

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How to Build Your Dragon — Getting Down with Masters of the Universe Classics’ Granamyr!

New Reverse-Flash FUNKO at Dallas Comic-Con!

These ‘Alien” Pint Glasses are Xenomorphically Awesome!

New WALKING DEAD toys from FUNKO!

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Director Julie Taymor is a frequent name in the entertainment news these days with her $65 million Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark being Broadway’s most expensive and potentially life-threatening musical.

The sheer scale of the project—and its oddball depiction of a classic comic book superhero in a mythology-based story with songs by U2’s Bono and The Edge—holds an uncommon allure for the public. Sure, it looks spectacular, but it also looks like it could be nonsense, and the sheer number of actor injuries gives it the morbidly fascinating quality of “When’s someone going to die?”

All this makes Taymor’s biggest hit, The Lion King, more fascinating. The production at the Durham Performing Arts Center is the must-see for families, but it also contains a certain appeal for those who haven’t been able to make it to the Great White Way to see Taymor’s work live. For those who only know her for such films as Frida, Across the Universe and The Tempest, how does her sense for artistic spectacle play on stage?

Read the full review here!

Beauty and the Beast is familiar family fare 

by Zack Smith  

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Durham Performing Arts Center
Through June 13

There’s not a lot to say about the production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Durham Performing Arts Center other than it certainly looks pretty, and it’s entertaining family fare. If you’ve seen the classic 1991 animated film, you’ve already seen the story. There isn’t much new material beyond a handful of additional songs to link scenes and explain character, all of which might as well be entitled “Padding.”

Read the full review here!