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This week: A Look Back at the Bard and Life on Mars.
Nonfiction:It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and its Enemies, by Mary Eberstadt (HarperCollins): In her latest book, Ethics and Public Policy Center scholar Mary Eberstadt describes how supporters of the new social “consensus” have been on the offensive, using more than just social shame to target those who haven’t kept pace with progressive change. During a book reading at the offices of First Things, Eberstadt tallied a list of incidents in which religious believers faced legal action for such crimes as leaving a crucifix in a company vehicle and offering a prayer on behalf of a coworker. Her book stops short of predicting how far this trend will continue, but it’s clear that the keepers of the new progressive orthodoxy have garnered enough establishment backing to push as far as they choose. A read through Eberstadt’s research is a good first step toward getting oriented in this new cultural landscape. —MU
Drama:Shakespeare-A-Thon at Gallery Players (July 1–3): As most already know, this year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. We commemorated the date in our April poetry issue with special essays on the Bard. The Players’ Shakespeare troupe has decided to read all of Shakespeare’s plays aloud over four separate weekends throughout the year as “an epitaph to Shakespeare in his own words.” They will begin the reading at 5 pm this Friday with ten of Shakespeare’s comedies. Both participants and spectators are welcome at their theater in Park Slope for this marathon of dramatic genius. —RH
Gallery:“An Occasional Dream” at the Life on Mars Gallery (open through July 31): In less than three years’ time, the gallery has become a center for the Bushwick painting scene with its “alien” idea of creating a gallery “by painters and for painters” and by exhibiting artists of different ages next to one another. As just another indication of art's quick churn in the outer boroughs, LOM’s founder, the painter Michael David, has announced that the gallery's current exhibition will be its last. On view through July 31, “An Occasional Dream” presents both gallery regulars and irregulars, including a number painters who have appeared in Gallery Chronicle: Todd Bienvenu, Farrell Brickhouse, Mandy Lyn Ford, Brenda Goodman, Arnold Mesches, Fran O’Neill, Karen Schwartz, Len Bellinger, Paul Behnke, Paul D’Agostino, Daniel John Gadd, Catherine Haggerty, Elisa Jensen, Zachary Keeting, and Thomas Micchelli. —JP
Music: Violin Concerto, Op. 14, by Samuel Barber (1939): One hardly needs an excuse to listen to the music of Samuel Barber, but the approach of Independence Day certainly calls American music to mind. This week I'm listening to Barber’s Violin Concerto, one of the great masterpieces of the American art music literature. A beaming ray of light, the concerto is one of the last bold cries of musical Romanticism, its lines thrilling with heroism, energy, and aspiration. Give an ear to Gil Shaham's superb recording from 2014 with David Robertson and the New York Philharmonic. —ECS
From the archive:An American aesthetic, by Michael Anderson: A review of Laurence Malson’s American Musicals, a collection of music and lyrics from the dawn of the Broadway era.
From the latest issue:Sex & power, from “Notes & Comments”: On the Obama administration’s foray into the politics of sexuality.