August 19, 2004
OLYMPIA, Greece -- Take away the spandex and the occasional megaphone to hustle along spectators. Take away the bottled water, the sunscreen, the Nike sneakers, the cell phones and the soldiers with automatic rifles patrolling the ruins. Instead, think nude athletes preening in oil-slicked grandeur, think the stink of unbathed masses and heavy smoke from cook stoves circling the raucous valley. Think chariot races. Think brutal, bloody and all-or-nothing fights instead of fraternal mingling of competitors vying for gold, silver and bronze.
July 13, 2003
Ask Me Again Tomorrow, by Olympia Dukakis, with Emily Heckman. HarperCollins. 224 pages. $25.95. In her 40-year career as an actress, Olympia Dukakis has earned heavyweight status on stage and screen. She has appeared in more than 150 theater productions, many of which she directed, and won 21 awards for her work on-stage. For her breakthrough role as a fiesty Italian mother in the 1988 film Moonstruck, she won an Academy Award. In her most recent role as an author, however, Dukakis has delivered a disappointingly mediocre performance.
June 12, 2003
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. - There are no breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, as there were at Pebble Beach in 2000. There is no talk of this being "The People's Open," as there was last year when the U.S. Open was played on Bethpage Black, the monstrous public course on Long Island. There seems to be a decided lack of buzz about this year's national championship, which begins this morning at Olympia Fields, an 80-year-old club 35 miles south of Chicago. It doesn't help that Tiger Woods, the 103rd Open's defending champion, comes in amid some of his most lackluster play in four years.
January 19, 2003
Eden, by Olympia Vernon. 272 pages, Grove Press, $23 Maddy Dangerfield is 14. She is black skin and red Mississippi clay and a tube of crimson lipstick. In dirt-poor Pyke County, where a hog slaughtering can attract spectators, Maddy's understanding of birth, life and death is a quilt of rural commonsense, family secrets, old wives' tales and Biblical admonitions. Eden captures Maddy's season of hormonal hell. She scandalizes her church, and finds herself packed off to nurse an aunt whose life of sin has been cut short by breast cancer.
January 8, 2003
The Olympia Pizzeria has been around for many years, firmly implanting itself in the commercial life of the York Road corridor in Lutherville. There is nothing fancy about what happens there, but the Olympia long ago mastered the craft of quick, competent carryout. Photographs on the wall depict some of the many kids' softball and soccer teams the restaurant has sponsored over the years. There are also fun pictures of Grecian scenes and a nude Greek statue, as well as a nice collection of Olympics posters in the back.
March 8, 2002
Foreign-language classes are so filled with good-natured miscommunication, they're an ideal setting for comedy-drama - and in Italian for Beginners, writer-director Lone Scherfig adds the delicious incongruity of a bunch of depressed Danes learning the ebullient tongue of Italian. As the classroom becomes a vaudeville hall, she sets the stage for humor that's effortless and blissfully humane. Even the simplest subtitles seem funny when these brooders adopt a Mediterranean lilt. Near the start, a pastor asks a church worker whether she's married.