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Chris Kompanek
Chris Kompanek is a freelance arts, culture and travel writer whose work has appeared in The Financial Times, Washington Post, New York Post, The Onion's A.V. Club, American Theatre, Men's Health, The Daily, Theatermania, Flavorpill, All About Jazz, and Classical TV. He is a member of Theater Talk's critics panel. Contact him at

Entries by Chris Kompanek

On the Culture Front: Uncovering Quiet Charms on Grand Cayman

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 4:31 PM

The Cayman Islands are surrounded by improbably clear turquoise water and the softest sand one could hope to sink his feet into. I first came to the island a few years ago for a friend's wedding, but was battling a rough cold, so the weekend (save for hand-rolled Cuban cigars...

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On the Culture Front: A Throwback to the Future

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 12:37 PM

New York is a thoroughly modern city, on the cutting edge of architecture, tech, business and culture. But in the last few months, I've noticed that some of my greatest pleasures have come from acoustic concerts, cocktails that take inspiration from centuries past, and a dinner series rooted in tradition...

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On the Culture Front: Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, The Few and more

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2014 | 7:10 AM

Broadway is having a banner year, and for the first time in a while, new American plays are a significant part of the lineup. Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses is a great example. Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Edward Albee, Eno uses stylized language to explore how we...

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On the Culture Front: Fairytale of Glasgow

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 7:49 PM

As Coachella rages and SXSW becomes a distant memory, I can't help but thinking of Glasgow, a top-notch music city that flies under the radar. I was there last January for their Celtic Connections Festival -- Isn't January the best time to see Scotland? Icy temperatures not withstanding, I was...

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On the Culture Front: Kids Entertainment That Doesn't Suck and More

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 5:56 PM

Children's entertainment has come along way as evidenced by three terrific shows. This weekend, I took my friend and his kid to the Big Red Chair presentation of Kidrockers at Skirball Center. The brainchild of Beth and Morton Lorge, it's an indie rock and comedy show where kids get to...

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On the Culture Front: Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 5:10 PM

Tucked away beyond winding country roads in the heart of the Russian River Valley, Arista Winery (once a hop farm) is a hidden family-operated gem run by Mark McWilliams and his brother Ben. A small greenhouse-like dining room sits amid the vineyards offering a great view and even better meal....

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On the Culture Front: 'Kung Fu,' 'Bridges of Madison County' and More

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 11:59 PM

I have to say I reluctantly went to see The Bridges of Madison County. The book and movie have long been a symbol for romanticism run amok, but I'm a big fan of Jason Robert Brown and his songs don't disappoint. Sung by the transcendently talented Kelli O' Hara (Francesca)...

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On the Culture Front: Wine Dinner at Famed Beer Bar, Green Porno and More

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 11:04 AM

I've long been writing about the amazing beer diners at Jimmy's no. 43, and it turns out their wine dinners are equally impressive. Last Monday night, chef Annette Tomei prepared a series of inventive and tasty cassoulets which were paired by wines by Blake Johnson's Rosenthal Wine Merchant. Known for...

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On the Culture Front: Missing Treme, Reveling in Chris Thile, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2014 | 2:18 PM

As Treme has come to a close, it's hard to decide whether the food or music will be more memorable. I first thought the music. Hearing Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, Allen Toussaint and others is what first made me fall in love with the show, but an event at 92Y...

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On the Culture Front: Marina Abramovic, an Evening With Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman, Ibsen Reimagined and More

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 11:42 AM

Amanda Palmer is one of the most dramatically energetic and exciting performers around. I first saw her at a Dresden Dolls concert where she rang in the new year with cover of the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right." Her Town Hall show a few weeks back with her husband...

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On the Culture Front: Celebrity Charades, Arguendo, All the Way, Eric Bogosian and more

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2013 | 2:49 PM

The Labyrinth Theater Company put on Celebrity Charades, their whimsical annual benefit last week. As the name would suggest, the evening was an all-star lineup assembled into teams to play the age-old theatrical party game. Players included Richard Kind, Josh Charles and Zoe Kazan who blazed through movies, television shows,...

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On the Culture Front: Hill Town Plays, Pixies, Life and Times and More

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 6:33 PM

The Rattlestick Theater's self-described mission is to be a "playwrights theater," and this intent has never been more fully realized than with the creation of the Theater:Village Festival this past month, which presented five plays by Lucy Thurber for its inaugural season. The Hill Town plays collectively are an epic...

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On the Culture Front: Summer Culture Recap

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 5:13 PM

There are many good reasons to leave the city in the summer, but the past few months have provided great reasons to stay.

On the music front, Postal Service played a much anticipated reunion concert at the Barclays Center. The acoustics couldn't have been better, elevating the supergroup trio...

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On the Culture Front: Exploring the Southwest in Canyons, Contemporary Art and Cuisine

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 9:43 AM

"Don't look down," was the advice I should have heeded from my rugged guide who was securing a rope through a metal loop embedded in a nearby rock. I was standing on the edge of a massive canyon, so peering over the side couldn't be helped. I was, after all,...

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On the Culture Front: Stripping Away the Myth of Walt Disney to Reveal the Man

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2013 | 8:46 AM

Soho Rep is the most thrilling theater in New York currently because they manage to consistently transform their cozy Walker Street space into the universe of each play they produce, blurring the line between seats and sets. Uncle Vanya brought us into an austerely cozy living room while The Ugly...

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On the Culture Front: Stillwater, Hot Sauce, Helm, Malick and Matilda

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2013 | 3:26 PM

The beer dinners at Jimmy's No. 43 always fun and intimate and the latest one the other week with Stillwater was no exception. Held in the backroom of the main dining area near the kitchen, a couple dozen beer enthusiasts gathered for a sampling of half a dozen of Brain...

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On the Culture Front: Ben Howard, Punch Brothers, Belleville, The Flick and more

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 5:00 PM

It's been a packed month of culture. I finally made it down to the Barclays Center for Mumford and Sons in February and was really glad I did. The space is more intimate and has better acoustics than Madison Square Garden. As a lot of people who love Brooklyn, I...

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On the Culture Front: Spin the Globe Without Leaving the City

(1) Comments | Posted March 4, 2013 | 12:07 PM

I've been traveling at an increasing rate these past couple years and have had some amazing food moments, including eating king crabs in a Norwegian hut just minutes after they were pulled out of an ice-capped fjord. Sometimes though it's nice to skip the trip and stay home. With that...

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On the Culture Front: Africa Onstage and Up Close

(0) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 5:57 PM

The unknown is generally thrilling in any form. It's the feeling that all your past experiences have been rendered irrelevant by what's now in front of you. That's the thought I had watching two elephants have sex last summer from the deck of a whimsically named lodge (The...

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On the Culture Front: Let's Get Old Fashioned

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 5:10 PM

Stepping into the Dead Rabbit, the soon-to-open mid-19th-century-styled bar situated on a lonely stretch of Water Street, is like stepping through a wormhole into the days of Boss Tweed. The bar takes its name from the gang that used to rule over the area though those folks would...

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