Most Recent Posts

Accidental Critic: Moonglow

September 14th, 2018 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

Michael Chabon’s “Moonglow” bills itself as a novel—the label is right there on the cover. But it’s much more than that as well. It’s equally a quiet, funny, sentimental and probing memoir—or perhaps “memoir”—so much so that the reader might

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Jamie Martinez

September 14th, 2018 | Artist Watch | No Comments



Silver Passage to the Underworld


Artist Statement 

My process involves constructing, deconstructing and fragmenting images, data, and information geometrically into triangulated segments. My recent paintings, work and projects investigate the relationship, communication, and documentation of the exchange

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Theatre Review: THE TRUE

September 12th, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

The True by Sharr White
Directed by Scott Elliott
Produced by The New Group
Off Broadway @ The Pershing Square Signature Center

Reviewed by Scott Klavan, Preview, Saturday matinee, September 8, 2018

With his recent play The Other Place,

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Via Basel: From Baghdad to Chicago

September 11th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

From Baghdad to Chicago: Memoir and Reflections of an Iraqi American Physician
by Asad A. Bakir
Archway Publishing, 2018

A commentary by Basel Al-Aswad

When my friend Asad told me several months ago that his memoir has finally been

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THE EMPTY SPACE 50 Years Later

September 7th, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

A theater essay by Scott Klavan

The Empty Space, by the British director Peter Brook, was published in 1968, to both admiration and discomfort. Derived from a series of lectures begun in ’65, its description of the state of

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Labor Day 2018

September 3rd, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Roberto Peluce

Rob Carney

When I Went to Work as a Snow-Globe Designer,

I didn’t do it for the usual reasons.
I did it to get some practice in

before building my house at the bottom of the ocean.

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Music for Music: Khruangbin

August 24th, 2018 | Music | No Comments

Khruangbin: Tight Pocket, Global Reach

By Dan Ursini ©2018

Khruangbin is a rock guitar-bass-drums trio which at the very least is creating the first serious updates in surf/exotica music since Dick Dale’s 1962 cover of “Misirlou,” which so memorably opened

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Anniversary of the Eclipse

August 21st, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Alejandro Colungo

Mather Schneider

Eclipse, August 21, 2017

I drive to Hermosillo solo
through the midsummer inferno       it’s the day of the eclipse
like a preposterous sentience behind the sun and sky
will slide open a peephole
to look down

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David Ehrlich

August 16th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Photography | No Comments

Not-for-Beginners Yoga

Please Please Please Please Please

Portrait (With Pinned Ear)

Singing for My Supper

Dog-Gone Happy

Darn Squirrel

I Could Use a Big Hug

They Will Not Make Me Smile

Note: The captions are the editor’s own.


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Some Short Sharp Shocks

August 11th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

A Bright and Pleading Dagger

by Nicole Rivas

Rose Metal Press, 2018

reviewed by Seana Graham


For the last twelve years, the wonderful Rose Metal Press, which specializes in hybrid genres, has sponsored a contest for flash fiction

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An Edinburgh Education

August 4th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie 

by Muriel Spark 

Lippencott, 1962. Harper Perennial, 1994 

reviewed by Seana Graham 


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, for those who don’t know it, is a short novel which has

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During the Dog Days…

July 25th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Elke Vogelsang

During the dog days of July this year, I saw a lot of dogs walking with their humans in the early morning hours along the beach at Twin Lakes State Park in California. We all walked along in

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Life’s Matters: Celebration

July 24th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

In my previous posts, “Social Tolerance is Unacceptable,” “Do Tolerance Laws Change Society?” and “A World of Social Acceptance,” I explored social tolerance, how laws in my previous posts can promote intolerance, and moving

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Life in the Box: Defying Denial

July 23rd, 2018 | Television | No Comments

If there’s one thing the 12 steps (for addiction relief) teaches: denial is the enemy. Embrace reality—no matter how harsh—and you have taken a step towards wholeness.

Denial in America? It’s epidemic now. Real people, in powerful positions, are denying,

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Mark Pugh

July 19th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Autoportraitism, oil on panel, 36″ x 60″, 2017

Boy at the Edge of the World
, oil on panel, 30″ x 48″, 2018

Celestial Navigation
, oil on panel, 36″ x 48″, 2017

Gathering Apples (the way she remembers

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Music for Music: Brazilian Girls

July 13th, 2018 | Music | No Comments


Music for Music: Time Is On Their Side

by Dan Ursini © 2018

The Brazilian Girls are a brave, fun band—longtime dance/jazz/poptronica practitioners blessed with nonpareil artistic stamina. They have just released their first album in ten years, Let’s

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Dog Days 2018: Year of the Dog

July 11th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Kate Bassett

Yvonne Zipter  

On Berteau Avenue

Lines so deep in his face they are small ravines.
A few yellowed teeth ride the wave of his jaw,
as he tells me about his trip with his father
to a greyhound

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Rob Carney on Fireworks

July 4th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Fred Tomaselli

Rob Carney

Political Science

One summer the people of Kalispell had too much paint. Driving into town, I saw a car slap-dashed with yellow—must have been two-hundred cartoon lemons—and a homemade signboard bolted on the roof: “Dale’s Sales

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Music for Music: Articles Instead of Reviews

June 29th, 2018 | Music | No Comments


Igor & Marina, Jazzmen

Why I Write Articles Instead of Reviews of YouTube Music 

By Dan Ursini © 2018

All the statistics I have seen about YouTube music have two things in common: they involve a very large number,

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Life in the Box: What to Do?

June 27th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

With the world turning upside down and all, I have been clinging to a little prayer, a small branch that keeps me from falling into the great abyss: “let me do what is mine to do, and let me release

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Via Basel: Interview with Kyra Woods, Part 2

June 25th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 2 Comments

As a reminder to EIL readers this is 2nd part of my interview with Kyra Woods on May 25th, 2018, at the downtown offices of the Chicago Chapter of the Sierra Club. Please refer to Part 1 in link below

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Life’s Matters: A World of Social Acceptance

June 25th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

In her previous two posts, Social Tolerance is Unacceptable and Do Tolerance Laws Change Society?  Billie Wade explored social tolerance and how laws can promote intolerance. Here, in Part 3 of this four-part series, she looks at possibilities for moving

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Scott Klavan: Hamlet Parody

June 23rd, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

Domencio Gnoli


The Danish Prince Association (DPA) has protested against the portrayal of their members in the classic play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. At a press conference in Copenhagen on Wed., Fjord Clogsen, head

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Book Review: Santa Cruz Noir

June 22nd, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Santa Cruz Noir
Edited by Susie Bright

Akashic Books, 2018

It’s officially summer! I started my summer reading with Santa Cruz Noir, a collection of new noir stories, all set in Santa Cruz. I’m headed there later this summer

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Manal Deeb

June 21st, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments
Granada by Manal Deeb

Faithful by Manal Deeb

Faithful, acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2016

Flash by Manal Deeb
, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″, 2015

Fix Me Deeper by Manal Deeb
Fix Me Deeper
, mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 20″, 2015

Golden Beauty by Manal Deeb
Golden Beauty
, mixed media on canvas, 24″ x 20″, …

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Father’s Day 2018

June 17th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Dean Pasch, The Freudian Cabinet

Paulette Beete  

Instructions for a Poem with Grief

Write an elegy:

Transmute should have been into fact.

Admit only there was a slight unraveling.

If you are feathered with need or hunger become another

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Paulette Beete: Finding Her Father

June 13th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Shai Kremer

Falling Still

My father who is 70 never tells me
I love you when I say it

as a good-bye: I love you then
silence. I imagine my words hurtling

from my mouth, a spray
of bullets aimed

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Via Basel: Interview with Kyra Woods, Sierra Club

June 11th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

The offices of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, headquartered in Chicago on the 15th floor of 70 East Lake Street, are ordinarily a beehive of activity with workers and volunteers all over the place. But on Friday morning,

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Book Review: A Bag of Hands

June 6th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

A Bag of Hands
Mather Schneider
Rattle, Studio City, CA, 2018
Rattle Chapbook Prize Selection
Runner-Up in 2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

I love the sheer honesty of Mather Schneider’s poems. He’s a poet

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Book Review: Girlie Calendar

May 30th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

Girlie Calendar
by Mary Meriam
Headmistress Press, 2014
The Lillian Trilogy, Book 3

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

Really, you could open this Girlie Calendar to any page, and it would be the perfect date. Today, a

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Toon Musings: I am a Grinch

May 29th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Let me explain. I was reading an article about one writer’s disillusionment with one of his heroes, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz. Apparently, Mr. Diaz has, despite his enlightened writing on toxic masculinity, been found to have engaged in it

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Scott Klavan: Angels in America

May 22nd, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

Heather Horton

Angels in America
By Tony Kushner 

Directed by Marianne Elliott
Broadway—Neil Simon Theatre
Part I: Millennium Approaches– 5/8/18; Part II: Perestroika- 5/20/18

Reviewed by Scott Klavan

Angels in America by Tony Kushner is the best new American

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Carola Schapals

May 17th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

House to Protect a Dream
, oil on canvas, 120 cm x 160 cm, 2018

Norwegian Green
, oil on canvas, 100 cm x 150 cm, 2018

Sink Down the Green
, oil on canvas, 140 cm x 170 cm, …

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Susan Slaviero: Mother & Father

May 16th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Rafal Olbinski

The Year of Fires and Floods

Think of natural disasters as domestic, something
smaller than in those movies where the beautiful
blonde scientist escapes a tsunami in a well-timed
helicopter with a wisecracking pilot—a love interest

to keep

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Mother’s Day 2018

May 9th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Geoff Mitchell, Drop

Rachel Dacus


Mother, you found me fresh
and fondled my small face, ears, and toes.
A foundling yourself, you opened
your blanket to let me into a soft space
where I grew, sometimes sheltered from the

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Life’s Matters: Do Tolerance Laws Change Society?

May 7th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

In my last post, I discussed the drawbacks and inadequacies of social tolerance, “Social Tolerance is Unacceptable.”  The article provoked some questions by my editor, Nancy Heather Brown.

Now, in response to her questions, I seek to expand on the

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Marjorie Maddox

May 2nd, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Alexander McKenzie

I Swim at the Y

Ten blocks from the lake, the building—
near-empty—stands: brick survivor. The other
swimmers are pumping out basements, sucking up
liquid that sucked up albums and cards
stacked too-low on shelves below
the water

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Jessy Randall: The Lollyball Problem

April 30th, 2018 | Fiction | No Comments

The Lollyball Problem by Jessy Randall 

Snith liked his so much, I thought I’d try the woman’s version, with the nose. I’d walked in on Snith with his once, and the look on his face was like nothing I’d ever

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Like a Talisman

April 27th, 2018 | Book Reviews, Drawings | No Comments

Monster Portraits 

by Del Samatar and Sofia Samatar

Rose Metal Press, 2018

reviewed by Seana Graham 


I don’t know about where you live, but here in Santa Cruz, monsters seem to be trending. A young acquaintance of

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Via Basel: Passions, Part 3

April 26th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Via Basel: Passions, Part 3: Outdoors and Environment

My 3rd passion, related to the well being of our planet Earth, is perhaps the most important and consequential of all. If the arts and literature were about beauty and aesthetics, and

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Toon Musings: Retirement Plan

April 24th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Loopy style…

In the mid-eighties, the awful realization that I had entered my late twenties overtook me. It was at this time that I once again took up the reading of comic books, after a hiatus of about twelve years.

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Adrien Broom

April 19th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Photography | No Comments

351 Farmington Ave. (Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut)

Susy’s Room (Mark Twain House)

The Parlor (Mark Twain House)

The Stairwell (Mark Twain House)

The Library (Mark Twain House)

The Library II (Mark Twain House)

The Nursery (Mark Twain House)


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Rachel Dacus

April 18th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Redd Walitzki

Talking Back to Emily Dickinson

She’s such a sass with her Essential Oils –
are wrung –
and her big-sister devilry,

the way she tells me love is the noose
every neck must slip.

I talk back to

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Life in the Box: Ha Ha

April 16th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

I got to laughing so hard I was snorting yesterday. I will tell you why, but first you gotta know the set-up.

I started out looking for a fight. My thoughts were tumbling around in friggin’ partial sentences and declaratives

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Ars Poetica: Poems on Poetry 2018

April 11th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Jill Ricci

Susanna Lang

Ars Poetica

My memory is loose, our dry cleaner says, emerging from the racks
     of shirts wrapped in plastic.

It is the morning after a heavy rain and I have to agree, I have

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Together, Something New

April 7th, 2018 | Book Reviews | No Comments

The Renaissance Club

by Rachel Dacus

Fiery Seas, 2018

reviewed by Seana Graham  

May Gold is a college adjunct who, thanks to the generosity of her older and more established boyfriend Darren, finds herself in the company of the

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Music for Music: Balawan

April 6th, 2018 | Music | No Comments

Music for Music: Balawan, Jazz, and Gamelan

By Dan Ursini © 2018

It’s not easy, but a stringed instrument like an electric guitar can be played one-handed. It’s called tapping and it involves hammering the fretting fingers hard enough to

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Christine Klocek-Lim

April 4th, 2018 | Poetry | 1 Comment
EscapeintoLife_ Aakash_Nihalani

EscapeintoLife_ Aakash_Nihalani
Aakash Nihalani

How a moth flies into a poem

Inevitably she is driving
when it happens—
a poem moves inside her like moth wings.
The horn coughs as she struggles
to shape words on the steering wheel,
flutters her pencil’s

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Accidental Critic: Puppets and Poems

April 1st, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

I’ve been a fan of puppetry and a patron of puppet theatre for years, and I like almost any kind of puppetry, from hand-held dolls and shadow puppets to giant, larger-than-life puppets that dwarf the humans manipulating them.

This weekend

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Accidental Critic: The South Side

March 30th, 2018 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

Natalie Moore covers the South Side of Chicago as a reporter for Chicago’s public radio station, WBEZ-FM. It’s a very personal calling, as she grew up in the heart of the South Side herself. In her thought-provoking book The South

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Above the Dreamless Dead

March 27th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Above the Dreamless Dead:
World War I in Poetry and Comics
Edited by Chris Duffy
First Second, New York, 2014
via Macmillan

Above the Dreamless Dead is a wonderful book that pairs poets of World War I with cartoonists

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Life’s Matters: Social Tolerance is Unacceptable

March 26th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Social tolerance is an elusive apparition. Meant to foster amicable human relations, it can backfire and serve as a veneer over a burbling cesspool of loathing, distrust, and disregard of the “other.” The intentions behind tolerance often are undermined through

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Accidental Critic: Protest Art, Alive and Well

March 25th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Like hundreds of thousands of other people across the United States, I spent part of Saturday at one of the many #MarchForOurLives gun control rallies held across the United States. I was both moved and awed by the power and

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Pooja Campbell

March 15th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

But You and I Are Really One, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2016

Consciousness, oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″, 2017

, oil on canvas, 24″ x 48″, 2017

Even Better Than the Real Thing
, …

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Life in the Box: Look, They Said

March 12th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

Look, it’s like this, the word “look” is trending in American interview vocabulary this year. If I had a nickel for each time I’ve heard that word at the beginning of a statement this week, I’d have at least enough

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Accidental Critic: Fellow Travelers

March 6th, 2018 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

You think you were my first love
You think you were my first love
But you’re wrong
You were the only one
Who’s come and gone
— “I Know Very Well How I Got My Name,” by Morrissey

Guest review

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Via Basel: Passions, Part 2: Mindfulness/Meditation

March 5th, 2018 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

It was my most unforgettable dance as I waltzed with my daughter Mandy on her wedding night just short of 4 years ago to the music of Hal David and Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now is Love” as

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Wolf Kahn

February 15th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Provence Blue
, oil on canvas, 52″ x 60″, 2017

Blue to Yellow Through Green
, oil on canvas, 52″ x 52″, 2016

High Pink Sky
, oil on canvas, 52″ x 52″, 2016

A Glimpse of Blue
, oil …

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Parted from Love

February 14th, 2018 | Poetry | No Comments

Eric Finzi

Karrie Waarala


For two glitter-gold nights in New York,
we were magic. During intermission at the Met,
a held breath between the wings of Turandot,
you even told me I was beautiful and meant

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Toon Musings: Undead Strips

February 13th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Max und Moritz – Eine Bubengeschichte in sieben Streichen (A Story of Seven Boyish Pranks) was published in 1865. It was a darkly comic tale of two mischievous lads and the pranks they play on various adults resulting in (spoilers!)

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Music for Music: Angelina Jordan

February 12th, 2018 | Music | 1 Comment

Another Kind of Ageless: Singer Angelina Jordan

By Dan Ursini © 2018

The sweetest strength of YouTube is its capacity to present distinctively talented people who are impossible to categorize, much less market. Were it not for YouTube we might

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Vector by Yvonne Zipter

February 10th, 2018 | Fiction | No Comments


historical fiction by Yvonne Zipter, an excerpt from the novel Infraction 

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1875


Not for the first time, Marya reflected that the men at the gatherings her Aunt Lidia held to find a husband for her

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A Marriage of True Minds

February 9th, 2018 | Book Reviews | 3 Comments

Lab Girl

by Hope Jahren

Knopf, 2016, Vintage, 2017

reviewed by Seana Graham

This acclaimed memoir by geobiologist Hope Jahren has many interlacing strands. On one level it is the story of how a girl growing up in small

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Scott Klavan: Fire & Air

February 2nd, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

Fire & Air, by Terrence McNally
Directed by John Doyle
Classic Stage Company, 136 E. 13th St., New York, NY

Reviewed by Scott Klavan
January 26, 2018

Fire & Air photo credits: Joan Marcus

Fire & Air,

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Via Basel: Passions, Part 1: Art & Literature

January 30th, 2018 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Aixa Oliveras, Through Darkness Comes Light

Following a few weeks of deliberate idleness (in writing only) here I am posting my New Year’s resolutions and commitments. To do so in a public manner serves two purposes. One is to hold

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Life in the Box: Venus Marches On

January 29th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

Okay, so America was founded on oppression of minorities. Remember killing off the Native Americans with diseases (intentionally) and guns and making them move west, then starving them by killing all their food sources (buffalo, etc.) and shoving them into

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Life in the Box: Propaganda Television

January 27th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

Bipartisanism used to be a goal in politics. It meant that both parties compromised with each other to solve problems. They used to agree on the problems, just not how to fix them. And the parties used to agree that

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Life in the Box: Wolffish Insights

January 25th, 2018 | Television | No Comments

I’m getting so many aha moments reading Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House that I wanted to share some.

First off, it’s refreshing to know that all the agony we liberals have felt this past

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Rachel Dacus: The Renaissance Club

January 23rd, 2018 | Fiction | No Comments

An excerpt from the novel The Renaissance Club
by Rachel Dacus (Fiery Seas Publishing, 2018)

A distant clang. The Swiss Guards were closing the outer doors and tourists were scurrying. Where was The Renaissance Club? In a panic, May dashed

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Yarrow Slaps

January 18th, 2018 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

A Picture of Me, acrylic on wood panel, 18″ x 24″, 2017

Casino, acrylic on canvas, 40″ x 50″, 2017


Fanism, oil and acrylic on canvas, 50″ x 55″, 2017

Escapism #1
, acrylic on wood …

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Accidental Critic Meets Accidental Curator

January 14th, 2018 | Theatre | No Comments

Photo courtesy Karen Craven

Actress Molly Regan walked on stage carrying an object that looked a bit like a small, sterling silver coffee pot and declared, “I know what this is. But it took me 50 years to ask.”


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Toon Musings: The First ‘Do

January 9th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments


Rank speculation

We storytelling cartoonists like to put our characters in their own immersive settings; thus, like any writer of fiction, we are often engaged in world-building. In order to get that creation right, one often must research a wide

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Toon Musing: Christmas Carols

January 4th, 2018 | Artist Blog | No Comments


When the winter solstice rolls around, those inclined to celebrate Christmas generally tuck in with one or another version of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. What determines a celebrant’s preferred version? Everyone has his of her own reasons,

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Music for Music: Joe Policastro Trio, Part 3

December 30th, 2017 | Music | No Comments


Joe Policastro Trio: Musical Inevitability

By Dan Ursini c2017

Telling the truth through music is central to the Joe Policastro Trio. Discovering that truth involves a felt sense of inevitability about both the song and the particular instrument used

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Music for Music: Joe Policastro Trio, Part 2

December 30th, 2017 | Music | No Comments

Joe Policastro Trio: Replicating the Voice

By Dan Ursini c2017

The members of The Joe Policastro Trio take on ambitious arranging projects and they have fresh ideas about how they do it. In an email interview, guitarist Dave Miller said:

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Music for Music: Joe Policastro Trio

December 30th, 2017 | Music | No Comments


Joe Policastro Trio: Covers and Truth

By Dan Ursini c2017

Like all improvisational art, the best jazz tells the truth of the moment so deeply it stays with you for years. That appears to be what the Joe Policastro

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Via Basel: Magnificent Mandy & Xmas Greetings

December 22nd, 2017 | EIL Blog | 4 Comments

On a cold December night just over three decades ago today a beautiful baby was born. Her parents welcomed that small bundle of joy in that most joyous season. Since then she has continued to provide her dad with unlimited

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Hua Nian

December 21st, 2017 | Artist Watch, Collage, Painting | No Comments

The Water is Wide, paper-tearing, 10″ x 16″

Tug of War
, paper-tearing, 11″ x 17″

White Dove
, paper-tearing, 9″ x 12″

Bedtime Story
, paper-tearing, 9″ x 12″

Piano Lesson
, paper-tearing, 12″ x 12″

, …

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Scott Klavan: We Need Art

December 18th, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

We Need Art
An essay on censorship
By Scott Klavan

In 2015-16, as a Lifetime Member of the venerable Actors Studio in New York City, I rehearsed and performed scenes from Israel Horovitz’s play My Old Lady—first produced in

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Accidental Critic: A Feast of Days

December 17th, 2017 | Book Reviews, EIL Blog | No Comments

If you’re looking for a book to get you through the rest of the holiday season, you could do (much) worse than Jeanette Winterson’s Christmas Days. It’s magical and sweet, easy to read, hard to put down.

Subtitled “12

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Accidental Critic: Frank Lloyd Wright in Racine, Wis.

December 7th, 2017 | Architecture-Art, EIL Blog | No Comments

Interested in architecture? Check.

Like free stuff? Check.

Live in the Midwest? Check.

Ready for a day-trip adventure? Check.

Having checked off all the requirements, I was off—to tour the S.C. Johnson Company headquarters designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in

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Pushcart Nominations in 2017

December 6th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Accidental Critic: In Praise of Cultural Centers

December 4th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

The little girl must have been 5 years old. Long hair swinging in a ponytail down her back, she wore a pale pink leotard as her father carried her off the dance floor, hugging her tightly. She looked

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Theatre Review: The Home Place

November 28th, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

The Home Place
By Brian Friel 

Off-Broadway—The Irish Repertory Theatre 
November 24, 2017 
Reviewed by Scott Klavan 

The Irish proverb “God made time, but man made haste” is true generally and applies specifically to the Irish Repertory Theatre’s Off-Broadway New

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Music for Music: Tommy Hunt

November 27th, 2017 | Music | No Comments

When the Last Word is the Right Sound: Tommy Hunt

By Dan Ursini © 2017

Writing about Caroline Shaw’s vocal music made me think about how the use of pure vocalized sound was built into the DNA of rock and

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Via Basel: Thanksgiving 1963

November 23rd, 2017 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

On this Thanksgiving Day 2017, nothing I or anybody else I know can say is more eloquent and relevant than President John F. Kennedy’s Proclamation 3560 on November 4, 1963. These pre-Thanksgiving proclamations had become a tradition since the birth

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Toon Musings: (Political) Cartoons Under Siege

November 21st, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments


Today’s Editorial


Political strongman Boss Tweed once famously said this of the political cartoonist Thomas Nast: “I don’t care a straw for your newspaper articles; my constituents don’t know how to read, but they can’t help seeing them

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Theatre Review: Actually

November 17th, 2017 | Theatre | No Comments

Actually by Anna Ziegler
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
Manhattan Theatre Club
@New York City Center—The Studio @ Stage II
Reviewed by Scott Klavan
November 15, 2017

The joylessness and frustration of modern young love is dramatized with a sharp pen

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John Wentz

November 16th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

The Morning Breathes, The Evening Dies
, mixed media on wood panel, 24″ x 36″, 2017

Don’t Need That Ending Till It’s Time
, mixed media on canvas, 22″ x 30″, 2017

The Less I Change the More You’ll Have

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Via Basel: Sophie’s Generation

November 11th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

The last six months have brought a rapid sequence of changes in my life starting with retirement from orthopedic surgery (after 40 years), to new relationships and finally  the birth of my first grandchild to name just the highlights. Along

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Long Story Short

November 10th, 2017 | Book Reviews | No Comments

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

Viking Penguin India, Orion (U.K.), Harper Collins (U.S.) 1993

Harper Perennial 1994, 2005

reviewed by Seana Graham

A friend of mine here in Santa Cruz realized a few years ago that his customary reading

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Life in the Box: Wolf Kahn Colors

November 6th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

In turbulent times, I find myself looking for softness. Soft music, soft clothing, mushy comfort food. So I was delighted to find, among art papers in my basement workshop, some beautiful Wolf Kahn colors. They were torn from a 2011

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Scary Poems

October 31st, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Lauren E. Simonutti

Lana Hechtman Ayers

Godzilla and The Dead Boy’s Doppelganger

Dear dead brother,
I can never see the actor
Matthew Broderick
without seeing your forehead,
nose, ears, hair
and overall stature.
I can never see Godzilla without

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Toon Musings: Saul Steinberg

October 27th, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments

Fine Artiste or Grubby Cartoonist?

From time to time, when a reflective mood takes me and I find myself in an existential funk, I ask myself, “What’s the deal with Saul Steinberg?”

It’s only happened a couple of times. The

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Michael Meyerhofer

October 25th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Alfred Gescheidt

In Place of a Third Eye

For one whole year before language,
people were born with a third hand

dangling from their foreheads.
Too weak to point, let alone grasp

or fight. Whenever they slept,
those extra fingers

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Redd Walitzki

October 19th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

, oil and mixed-media on laser-cut acrylic panel, 18″ x 24″, 2017

, oil and mixed-media on laser-cut acrylic panel, 34″ x 44″, 2017


Endanleg osk
(“The Final Wish”), oil and mixed-media on laser-cut acrylic panel, …

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Virginia Bell: Memoir Excerpt, Cat-Fishing

October 18th, 2017 | Creative-Nonfiction | No Comments

Sean Mahan


My father came to pick up my brothers one summer morning and I watched them climb into his blue Ford Torino with the trunk and roof top luggage carrier stuffed to the gills with sleeping bags and

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Life in the Box: Angel Moments

October 16th, 2017 | Television | No Comments

Helping a stranger through an emergency, being their “angel,” is not something most of us encounter every day. But it’s common enough that I wonder how many of us have stories about being there for someone in need.

Have you

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Music for Music: Caroline Shaw

October 14th, 2017 | Music | No Comments

Music for Music: Caroline Shaw & Voice: To the Limit

by Dan Ursini ©2017

At the age of 35, Caroline Shaw has already had a career in music unlike anybody else’s. In 2013 she became the youngest person to receive

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CatOber 2017

October 11th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Martin Wittfooth

Catherine Moore

Lines Written As We Sit on Our Cement Stoop Drinking Peridot-Green Wine, Leaning on Handrails Where the White Cat Perches, Ridiculously Like a Cloud 

so much for sentimental, you finally say
then fluster in a

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Via Basel: Male Spirit Retreat: Grandpa

October 10th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Mahbubur Rahman

Reading and writing poetry was one of the activities during a Male Spirit retreat I attended a couple of weekends ago. We were asked to write one about a painful childhood memory. Being a new grandfather I recalled

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Travel Notes from the River Styx

October 4th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Travel Notes from the River Styx
by Susanna Lang
Terrapin Books, 2017

Cover art: Georgia by Nancy Marshall

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor

An epigraph from T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding” sets a tone of acceptance for Susanna

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Life in the Box: A Bucket of Buckeyes

October 2nd, 2017 | Television | No Comments

There were dozens of buckeyes on the sidewalk, so I picked up a bucketful and brought them home. I love their smooth curved mahogany shapes.

What will I do with them? I don’t know, but an art project of some

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Katherine Knapp

September 27th, 2017 | Fiction | No Comments

Ida at the Window
, by Marc Chagall

An excerpt from the novel-in-progress Through Chagall’s Window
y Katherine Knapp

Alex walked through a hall of red walls and white statuary and climbed a marble staircase to the second floor.

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Aixa Oliveras

September 21st, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Blue, charcoal on tinted paper, 12″ x 9″, 2016

, charcoal on tinted paper, 12″ x 9″, 2017

Slow Burn
, charcoal on coffee-tinted paper, 12″ x 9″, 2016

The Night Within Creates Stars
, oil on round …

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Whirlwind @ Lesbos by Risa Denenberg

September 20th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Whirlwind @ Lesbos by Risa Denenberg
Headmistress Press, 2016

Whirlwind @ Lesbos, by Risa Denenberg, begins with its title poem, a thrilling and marvelously impossible history of a whirlwind of a love affair. It starts in Istanbul, travels

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Nevertheless, We Persisted–on reading Finnegans Wake

September 15th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Book Reviews | No Comments

Last Wednesday evening marked a milestone for a small group of us here in Santa Cruz—we came to the end of our joint reading of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Some idea of the significance for us may be gleaned

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Sandy Longhorn: A Self-Exphrasis

September 13th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

            To Live in a House of Grief

The girl born reaching
            on curves and swerves
adores lush fringe and silk
            on catching the light let in
to a room ruled
            by mourning’s rigid lines,
its cloaked shadows.

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Music for Music: The Claypool Lennon Delirium

September 8th, 2017 | Music | No Comments

The Claypool Lennon Delirium

The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Serious Stuff 

by Dan Ursini ©2017 

It is a rare album which documents musicians caught in the act of finding themselves, but that is what happens during Monolith of Phobos, the

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Toon Musings: A Community of Strippers

September 5th, 2017 | Artist Blog | No Comments

I had the privilege to visit the island of Manhattan recently. It was my first time and I cannot get it out of my mind. I’ve visited, and to a greater or lesser extent, familiarized myself with a few cities:

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Labor Day 2017

September 4th, 2017 | Poetry | No Comments

Ethan Murrow

Virginia Bell

Picket-Line Girl

She cheered, that lady,

called my name—Cora

Marie—she handed me
peonies as I walked from

the wagon to the jail’s door,                               
made me believe I was

a hero.  So when the warden
told me

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Ragtime Revisited

September 1st, 2017 | Book Reviews | No Comments


Random House, 1975, reprint 2007

by E. L. Doctorow

reviewed by Seana Graham

I first read Ragtime many years ago while I was still in college, not long after its publication. A friend had recommended it, but, much

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Best of the Net Nominations 2017

August 30th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Alexandra Eldridge

Please enjoy these poems and prose poems, our nominations for this year’s Best of the Net anthology of work originally published online. Click the poets’ names to see more of their work in solo or theme-based features, and

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Sophie Rosalind Steinmetz

August 28th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 2 Comments

Happy news for the EIL family: the arrival of Sophie Rosalind Steinmetz!

Sophie is the daughter of Mandy (Al-Aswad) Steinmetz, our CEO, and Thomas Steinmetz, our Technical Architect. She is the granddaughter of Basel Al-Aswad, who no doubt will tell

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Via Basel: Paying Attention

August 18th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 2 Comments

Only last week I discussed Mindfulness/Meditation on EIL and how it has recently become an even more integral part of my life as I am involved in teaching it at a behavioral health center. A very short definition would be:

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Noelle Harper

August 17th, 2017 | Artist Watch, Painting | No Comments

Ralph, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016

Darcy, acrylic on canvas, 10″ x 10″, 2017

Homer, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016

Frankie, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016

Quincy, acrylic on …

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Diamond Dog, Emerald Ice

August 16th, 2017 | Film | No Comments

Orange grove still from Emerald Ice

Emerald Ice is a short (16-minute) film by Jesseca Ynez Simmons about (and narrated by) the poet Diane Wakoski. Simmons calls it a “docufantasy” as it is a kind of documentary in poetic form.

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Jesseca Ynez Simmons on Diane Wakoski

August 16th, 2017 | Film | No Comments

Diane Wakoski in a still from Emerald Ice

Jesseca Ynez Simmons is filmmaker who explored the life and work of Diane Wakoski in what she calls a “docufantasy,”  Emerald Ice, which is making the rounds of film festivals right

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Via Basel: Being, an early benefit

August 11th, 2017 | EIL Blog | No Comments

Cole Thompson

Many years ago when I started meditation, I  was instructed to practice Being at times instead of my constant Doing. After having accepted my type A personality over decades, one that valued action and achievement, that was a

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J. Hope Stein Through the Nose

August 9th, 2017 | EIL Blog | 1 Comment

Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose
by J. Hope Stein

Poet Republik Ltd, 2017  
Cover art by Kate Micucci 

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirk, EIL Poetry Editor 

Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose is a short, funny,

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