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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: Trailing Darwin in Patagonia

(1) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 4:48 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 | 11:49 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 | 5:01 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 | 7:06 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 | 5:22 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 | 2:07 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 | 5:31 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 | 1:37 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 | 8:10 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 | 8:49 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 | 6:56 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 | 6:10 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 25, 2014 | 12:59 AM

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 | 12:04 PM

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 | 3:18 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 | 12:42 PM

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 | 3:49 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 | 7:33 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 | 6:13 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 | 10:43 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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