NYTimes Review: 'The Junket'

The life of a freelance journalist is not a pretty one: As described by Mike Albo in his often amusing but slight solo show, “The Junket,” it’s filled with anxiety, insecurity and professional perils.

Mr. Albo, a freelancer who formerly wrote the “Critical Shopper” column for The New York Times, among other jobs, recounts in this “really insecure TED talk” how he once accepted an all-expenses-paid junket to Jamaica — and the consequences, once bloggers and a media website got on his case. (Mr. Alba tinkers with all the names in the story. The media website is named Jabber, and the newspaper in question is The Tomes.) The conflict-of-interest brouhaha eventually led to the loss of his high-profile gig at The Times.

His short show, presented at the Lynn Redgrave Theater by the Culture Project, is not so much bitter payback to those who reproached him — well, O.K., there’s some of that, and, in a way, who can blame him for feeling victimized by an ever-morphing, increasingly murky media landscape?

Mr. Albo tries to put the junket incident, the juicy insider details of the luxe life and the hardscrabble existence of freelancers into a larger context. He speaks with wit and insight about the blurry boundaries of old and new media, the growing alliances between advertising and editorial departments, our love-hate relationship with the rich and famous, and the shifting social dynamics between the superrich and regular folk.