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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: Bjork With Orchestra, Small Mouth Sounds and More

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 6:47 PM

Since I last wrote this column, one of my favorite bars and dinning experiences in the east village, Jimmy's No. 43, has had to temporarily close due to the massive fire on Second Avenue the other week that demolished three buildings and nearly missed what has become a central hub...

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On the Culture Front: Minton's, The Audience and more

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 11:51 PM

The best evening out that you probably haven't heard about is going on every Wednesday night at Minton's, an old-fashioned supper club with equal emphasis on both words. Upon entering through a narrow door on 118th street, you become enveloped in an atmosphere that's elegant yet inviting. JC Hopkins Biggish...

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On the Culture Front: A Day in Leipzig

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 12:16 PM

As I was discussing the riveting new doc "Citizenfour" with friends recently, I was reminded of a day I spent in Leipzig a couple of summers ago. The off-color brightly distorted halls of the East German city's former Stasi Headquarters are etched in my mind. Less a museum than a...

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On the Culture Front: Exploring Yellowstone and the Inaugural Beer Fest in the West

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 3:33 PM

Driving from Bozeman to West Yellowstone, it's apparent why Montana is referred to as "big sky country." It's as if the world has opened up a little wider to encompass the outsize expressions of nature -- towering waterfalls that flow into impossibly blue streams, expansive plains dotted with roaming bison,...

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On the Culture Front: Father John Misty, Pretty Filthy and More

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 1:05 PM

The Civilians have been working on "Pretty Filthy," their musical about the porn business, for a pretty, pretty long time. I first caught a glimpse of it years back when they performed a selection of songs cabaret style at Joe's Pub. What grasped me immediately was the complexity of emotions...

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On the Culture Front: Better Call Saul, Constellations, Tijuana Picnic, and More

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 5:32 PM

Last night, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, and Michael McKean took the stage at the 92nd Street Y to talk with moderator Cynthia Littleton about the highly anticipated "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul." I interviewed Banks the previous day for the Washington Post and avoiding spoilers felt like dodging carefully...

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On the Culture Front: Winter Jazzfest

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 6:02 PM

There aren't many things that excite me about winter. It usually creeps up far to early to squash a pleasant fall and overstays its welcome, lingering into spring. NYC Winter Jazzfest though turns those icy days into a bracing experience that allows savvy fans to binge on dozens...

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On the Culture Front: Trailing Darwin in Patagonia

(1) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 3:48 PM

Photo credit: Chris Kompanek

Some places have one season, and others all four, but there's almost no place on Earth that cycles through them on a daily basis. This is the magic of Patagonia. Situated in the southernmost remote area of South America and...

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On the Culture Front: The Happiest Hour, Battle of the Belgians, The Complete Last Waltz and more

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 10:49 AM

It hard to find the silver lining in the cold, blustery weather and increasingly shorter days that mark December in New York, but one thing is the guilt for staying indoors completely evaporates. If you step inside The Happiest Hour, a newly opened cozy and radiantly lit West Village bar,...

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On the Culture Front: Marc Maron, Tig Notaro, Antica Pesa and more

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 4:01 PM

Antica Pesa, which has a sister restaurant in Italy, serves top-notch Roman fare in a muted Williamsburg-cool setting that feels like the culmination of the neighborhood's increasing blend of hip and high-end. Classic entrees like taglioni cacio e pepe are prepared with the utmost subtlety and attention to detail as...

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On the Culture Front: Exploring Washington Market Tavern, Scenes From a Marriage and More

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 6:06 PM

Sometimes things aren't quite what they seem. Walking through Washington Market Tavern's unassuming doors prepares you for a gastropub experience but what lies ahead is more akin to straight up fine dining minus the white table clothes. The cocktail list is extensive, ranging from the inventive to classic. Their sazerac,...

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On the Culture Front: Fall Self-Gift Guide

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 4:22 PM

They say it's better to give than receive, and while that's true, sometimes the self needs to be nurtured and fed -- an impulse that can be forgotten during holiday-saturated months. As we slip into fall and a few months blissfully free of these obligations, the opportunity for self-care is...

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On the Culture Front: Tennis Without Humidity (and Other Wonders in Palm Springs)

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 1:07 PM

As the US Open rages on through insane humidity, I'm reminded of a weekend I spend last year at the BNP Paribas Open, in lovely (and dry) Palm Springs.

The weekend had some truly heart pounding matches, including a face off between Andy Murray and Juan Martin...

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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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