Lots of good shows going on in New York. I managed to write up a couple for Beyond Race.OK Go @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg"For better or worse, OK Go owes a lot of its fame to a cheap little video it made for 'Here It Goes Again,' a song off their last album, Oh No. No doubt you've seen it: The four band members lip synch while deftly performing a synchronized dance on a series of moving treadmills. At the Music Hall of Williamsburg, one of a handful of dates on a short tour, indeed the crowd seemed most familiar with 'Here It Goes Again.' The task for the band was to prove that it was more than just a viral Internet novelty."The Mountain Goats @ New York Society for Ethical Culture"Vanderslice joined Darnielle on stage to do some of the songs they've written together (for a concept project about an organ-harvesting colony on the moon), but only got through two songs before they realized they were way over curfew. Darnielle raced through 'See America Right' and perennial set-closer 'No Children,' and, with the house lights already gone and the assurance that there wouldn't be an encore, the crowd mostly left. The stragglers were rewarded, however, since a few vocal and determined fans demanded a real encore. Darnielle came back on stage and played a cover of Ace of Base's "The Sign" to a half-empty auditorium—and, since the show was officially over, the night ended as it began: totally unamplified. But, with Darnielle and the stragglers singing along, it was no longer wordless."
Another show canceled before its time:Andy Richter Controls the Universe: The Complete Series"While there are unbelievable moments involving kangaroo fights, sequined in-office song-and-dance routines, and Andy squeezing coal into a diamond, the characters on the show are always seen as realistic. Nobody is a moustache-twirling villain. The closest thing Andy has to a rival is his very attractive coworker, Keith (James Patrick Stuart)—who also happens to be one of Andy’s best friends and is an all-around nice guy. Life is just easier for him because he’s handsome, and Andy is understandably bitter about that, but the show stops there and doesn’t fall into the trap of turning Keith into a cartoonish, womanizing jerk. In fact, they go out of their way to give him some insecurity about his looks. (He has small feet.)"
In honor of PopMatter's 10-year anniversary, we're taking a look back at the (many, terrific) films of 1999. Since I've lived so close to the actual town of Sleepy Hollow, I chose Tim Burton's film to write up.Decade-Dense: The 60 Most Memorable Films of 1999: Sleepy Hollow"Like their first collaboration, 1990’s brilliant Edward Scissorhands—and like fellow 1999 honoree American Beauty—Sleepy Hollow is an examination and condemnation of the suburbs. Poking beneath the seams of the idyllic countryside (which, to be fair, never looks quite that idyllic through Burton’s lens, as there’s a permanent gloom and fog that’s a stark contrast to Scissorhands' bright palette), he finds horrors far worse than the street thugs of the city: a ruling cabal of unstoppable men (whom Burton calls the “Dutch Masters"), materialistic and status-seeking women, and, only slightly less scary, a reanimated, decapitated Hessian who preys on the town’s residents."
I got to review the craziest new show on television.Kings: Series Premiere"Repeatedly, Kings shifts from personal to political conflicts, intimating that they are, after all, the same thing. Whether disputes occur between two nations or two people, all the relationships here have to do with power. Players do what it takes to get and keep it, exploiting others and making sacrifices. King Silas and David Shepherd are alike in that they both wonder if, in the end, those sacrifices are worth it."
House: 100th Episode"In many ways, the 100th episode of House is just like the first, or the 35th, or the 62nd, or any of the other 99 that came before it. The show always starts with the patient of the week collapsing while doing something routine (this time, it’s chopping onions). The team starts its diagnosis. While they’re working their way through theory after theory—and no, it’s not lupus—each learns something about him or herself, based on the patient’s condition. The 100th episode hews close to this formula, and without tricks. Nobody threatens to blow up the hospital. There are no storytelling gimmicks, no time travel, no dream sequences—even though House has employed all of these tactics in the past."
It's been busy, so I'm catching up now on the February and March issues.34 Sensational New Stores
A round-up of the new shops that have opened in the past years: "So many wind chimes and doodads hang from the ceiling and so many picture frames and plaques hang on the walls that you probably can find a gift for your next occasion without even looking on the shelves (which are also full of items)."Factory Master
An article about two concurrent Andy Warhol exhibitions: "'Andy Warhol is often talked about as if he has no explicit content,' says Thom Collins, the museum’s director. 'He’s known for his riffs on American commodity culture, and he plays with the idea of celebrity, but mostly he’s talked about as being very superficial. They say you don’t see any of his interests, his concerns, or himself in his work. These two exhibitions tell a new story about Warhol and attempt to reintroduce him as more substantive than was previously thought.'”Culture, Etc. (February)
Loudon Wainwright, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and more.Culture, Etc. (March)
Roy Lichtenstein, Art Garfunkel, Lesley Gore, and more.Home Theater (February)
Snow Angels, Reprise, and Frozen River.Home Theater (March)
Quantum of Solace, Rachel Getting Married, Let the Right One In, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe.And a couple articles I've assigned:Homemade Jams
Local blues jams in the area.Straight Shooting
An unusual hobby described as "golf with guns."
You Asked for It: Working BarsEverybody knows you can tote your laptop to a coffee shop, but what if you want something with a little kick to it? I did a round-up of eight bars where you can put in a day's work: "Mac on the fritz? Ditch the Genius Bar for this one, which keeps a communal computer on hand for patrons. (No hogging it just to update your Facebook page, you hear?) Happy hours on most weekdays keep you in $3 draft beers, or you can spring for a newly created drink called the Recession: gin, PBR and limeade."
Our Frugal Guide certainly couldn't have been better-timed, wouldn't you say?The Backyard BacklotThe Jacob Burns Film Center, the go-to spot for film nerds in the county, gets even better by opening up a new Media Arts Lab for film education: "The building itself, situated on the corner of Manville Road and Grant Street, just down the street from the Jacob Burns Film Center, is special enough to warrant its own making-of documentary. The whole thing is LEED-certified, meaning it’s held to the greenest of standards. The offices are made of recycled materials, work off of natural light, are heated and cooled by geothermal energy, and have solar panels up on the roof—as well as a roof-deck perfectly suited for a swank film premiere party."Oxen FreeHow this year's designation as The Year of the Ox bodes for 2009: "Craig Haney, livestock manager of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, praises the animals for their industriousness. 'They literally put their shoulders into their work,' he says. 'If you think about our current financial crisis, we’re going to be seeing a lot of that this year.'"Culture, Etc.Edwin McCain, a New York animation exhibition, and more.Home TheaterBreakfast at Tiffany's, Pineapple Express, Repo! The Genetic Opera.Assigned: Give Her the SlipFirst-person essay: "When moving from LA to Westchester, climate isn’t the only reason for a change in wardrobe, says DeLauné Michel, author and founder of Spoken Interludes, a literary salon."
I love contributing to year-end, best-of lists, and this is the first list that's made it to press. Fittingly, I covered a song about list-making.The Best Singles of 2008No. 18: "The über-catchy 'My Year in Lists' speaks directly to the heart of a certain kind of forlorn DIY geek: the kind who gets turned on by handwritten letters, can grapple with complex literary devices, and, yes, might express yearning through a bulleted list or two."
A list of the county's nicest (checked twice), some holiday happenings, and a word of caution for New Year's: a hefty December issue.Westchester's Most Influential ResidentsProfiles of two county movers-and-shakers who keep the cultural community alive (second and third item): "Next month, just a block away from the cinema, students of all ages will be able to make films in a setup that’ll rival D.W. Griffith’s old digs in Mamaroneck, with 15 editing suites, four workshop spaces, two sound stages (with full lighting rigs and a garage door for load-ins), a recording studio, an isolation booth, a foley room, an animation workshop space, and a 60-seat screening room to teach animation, cinematography, editing, and sound design from leaders in the film industry."The Top ScorerA top-five list of silent films from somebody who performs live accompaniments: "The Larchmont native discovered the Charlie Chaplin classics at the age of three, went to New York Times drama critic Walter Kerr's house to watch silents when he was in his teens, provided piano accompaniment for film class when he was in college, and went on to score hundreds of silent films."
8 Holiday MustsA round-up of outstanding holiday events: "We know what happened to Rip Van Winkle after his big nap, but what did he dream about during those long years? The same experts who created the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze take their best guesses with their Winter Wonderlights, which goes on until January 3, 2009 at Washington Irving's Sunnyside. The grounds of Irving's home are transformed into a wintry dreamscape with the help of some rad LED technology."
What Are You Typing New Year's Eve?An item about the popularity of texting in New Year's Eve: "When the clock strikes midnight this New Year's, you shouldn't be worried about finding someone to kiss--you should be finding someone to text."<you should="" be="" looking="" for="" someone="" to=""> Home TheaterThe Dark Knight, Hamlet 2, Casablanca
Culture, Etc.Béla Fleck, Mike Doughty, and more.</you>