Lew Whittington

Lewis Whittington is an arts journalist based in Philadelphia. He started writing professionally in the early 90s as a media consultant for an AIDS organizations and then as a theater and dance reviewer for the Philadelphia Gay News. Mr. Whittington has covered dance, theater, opera and classical music for the Philadelphia Inquirer and City Paper.

Mr. Whittington’s arts profiles, features, and stories have appeared in The Advocate, Dance International, Playbill, American Theatre, American Record Guide, The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, EdgeMedia, and Philadelphia Dance Journal. Mr. Whittington has received two NEA awards for journalistic excellence.  

In addition to interviews with choreographers, dancers, and artistic directors from every discipline, he has interviewed such music luminaries from Ned Rorem to Eartha Kitt. He has written extensively on gay culture and politics and is most proud of his interviews with such gay rights pioneers as Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings. 

Mr. Whittington has participated on the poetry series Voice in Philadelphia and has written two (unpublished) books of poetry. He is currently finishing Beloved Infidels, a play about the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. His editorials on GLBTQ activism, marriage equality, gay culture and social issues have appeared in Philadelphia Inquirer, City Paper, and The Advocate.  

 

Book Reviews by Lew Whittington

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Oriana Fallaci was the legendary Italian journalist known for her confrontational interviewing tactics that came to be known as ‘La Fallaci’ style.

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In the afterword of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s new collection of poems The Last Cigarette on Earth the poet intimates “I wrote these poems not so much out of a need to create but out of a need

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“a fascinating dual study that rescues a large chunk of musical history and well as pulling the curtain back on the operatic political drama.”

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“Elaine Hayes’ vivid portrait of Sarah Vaughan’s life, times, and indelible musical legacy reveals why she was indeed called The Divine One.”   

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“Nicoletta’s comprehensive visual history of gay San Francisco does indeed, to quote Sylvester’s gay anthem, make us feel Mighty Real.”

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Angela Jackson’s biography A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun: The Life and Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks comes on the eve of the 100th anniversary of Brooks’ birth.

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". . . a passionately written j’accuse against the French collaborators . . ."

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Robert Lowell was at the forefront of post WWII American letters, his volumes of poetry The Mills of the Kavanaughs, Life Studies, and Lord Weary’s Castle among the most lauded po

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British classical pianist James Rhodes is a rebel with a cause as he unleashes his iconoclastic view of the vaulted world of classical music in concert halls and on British TV and in the streets an

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Andrew Dickson is former arts editor at the Guardian, was at the 2012 Shakespeare festival at the Globe Theater in London highlighted by productions of Shakespeare from all over the world

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American photographer Berenice Abbott’s images of 30s New York architecture made her one the most influential photographers of that era.

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Kahlil Gibran’s prose, visual art and advocacy for transcultural unity made him a citizen of the world during his lifetime, admired in the east and west.

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Last year, journalist Michelangelo Signorile’s It’s Not Over detailed how the right wing and some religious groups were working feverishly with antigay organizations to attack any pro-gay

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Seiji Ozawa was a gifted piano student studying at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Japan, but after he hurt his hand playing rugby, he switched to conducting and received a scholarship to study unde

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Journalist Tom Di Nardo started his career as a freelance critic at the Philadelphia Bulletin as a side gig to his day job and was later a longtime contributor the Philadelphia Daily N

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You Will Not Have My Hate is French journalist Antoine Leiris’ memoir written in the days after he learned that his wife Hélène Muyal-Leiris had been slaughtered at the Bataclan Theatre in

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The GLBTQ art book to have this year is Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York by Donald Albrecht and Stephen Vider, the companion book to the exhibit at the Museum of the Cit

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Rachel Corbett is editor of Modern Painter magazine and her arts coverage appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times.

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Who Shot Sports is an engrossing photo exhibition between covers that more than proves the truism that a picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words.

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Richard Bellamy was the 60s visionary who championed the new wave of American abstract expressionists and who had the first eye for pop-art, minimalism, and performance happenings in the fabled Gre

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“The real war will never get in the books.” J.

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In 1930, 18-year-old Betty Thorpe married British diplomat Arthur Pack and left Washington, DC, for Chile where Pack was commissioned.

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Often risking her own safety, Chilean photographer Paz Errázuriz chronicled the lives of her fellow Chileans who were oppressed, confined, and otherwise cast out citizens during the brutal military

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Kevin Young has a new collection called Blue Laws, culled from 10 ten previously published books of poetry, with new “bonus tracks” as he calls them.

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Mohan Bhasker is a physician in Los Angeles as well as a nature photographer of artistry and daring.

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It’s a theatrical occasion when a celebrated playwright gets around to publishing his memoirs and reveals how a play is born.

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British poet Philip Larkin’s unconventional life and career is revealed in unique fashion in Richard Bradford’s The Importance of Elsewhere, a volume of photographs by the poet, who consid

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Brooklyn: A Personal Memoir by Truman Capote is a book you can risk judging by its cover art: a black and white photograph of a lithe Truman circa 1958 leaning on the sleepy back porch rai

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Science writer Lauren Redniss takes us on a most meditative, enchanting, and perilous journey via her prose and with her stunning artwork in Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Futu

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the definitive, fine-lined, unsensationalized portrait of the man . . .”

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Boston Symphony Orchestra violist Mark Ludwig is founder of the Terezin Music Foundation, a collective of musicians and composers dedicated to freedom of expression in honor of those artists who pe

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John Lahr just won the National Book Critics Circle Award for his penetrating biography of Tennessee Williams.

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“an evocative and provoking collection . . .”

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New York Times arts journalist Eric Grode’s The Book of Broadway is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book with capsule histories of each show.

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In 1969 eight talented African American athletes risked their athletic scholarships and likely their NFL careers by demanding an end to institutional racism at Syracuse University.

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a penetrating and unique achievement that pushes the art of dance photography in new directions.”

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“Arthur Miller remains a towering American playwright for all seasons.”

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Life and Art is a fine-line portrait of the award-winning gay poet.

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Writer Dale Peck was a journalism student at Columbia University when he joined ACT-UP at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

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It’s Not Over is Michelangelo Signorile’s rallying cry to gay America that despite the huge victories of same-sex marriage, and gays and lesbians being able to serve openly in the military

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German scholar Robert Beachy’s Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity adds to the growing literature of pre-Stonewall GLBTQ history.

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A generation away from the controversies surrounding the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe, art historian Germano Celant has released Robert Mapplethorpe: The Nymph Photography that surve

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“a truly remarkable story of a born activist.”

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Hancock, a Buddhist, writes about his spiritual journey in Possibilities but isn’t preachy about his its effect on his life, relationships, music and philosophy.”

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“Gavin keeps focus on what Peggy Lee was doing musically even as everything else in her life was sensationally spiraling out of control.”

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“As always Buruma is a reporter first; he does not argue a particular side without citation and witness.

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“Martin’s historical scope and elegiac prose, laced through with exparlance of the period, is not only grandly entertaining to read, it rescues this bit of cultural history and gives Whitma

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“. . . so jarringly poetic and heroic in their raw power you’ll want to read them more than once.”

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“Lucy Moore had not written about dance until this book, but her research and notations are meticulous, and beyond that, her command and authority of describing performance, historical cont

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“Finn and Couvee distill the dozens of intrigues and murky political aspects of this coda to Boris Pasternak’s life and legacy in a driving narrative of a major literary figure against the

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For readers with more than a passing interest in this period of American theater and film, The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan is a real-time archive from a semina

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Duberman’s objective analysis, as well as his activist voice, is incisive, passionate, and poetic.”  

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“It seems, indeed, that author Gallagher and her subject share more in common when it comes to the art of subterfuge.”

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Music scholar Terry Teachout follows up his Louis Armstrong biography with a dazzling encore.