Time Out for a Drink


You Asked for It: Working Bars

Everybody 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."

January Issue


Our Frugal Guide certainly couldn't have been better-timed, wouldn't you say?

The Backyard Backlot

The 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 Free

How 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 Theater

Breakfast at Tiffany's, Pineapple Express, Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Assigned:

Give Her the Slip

First-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."


My Year In Lists


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 2008

No. 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."

December Issue


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 Residents

Profiles 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 Scorer

A 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 Musts

A 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 Theater

The Dark Knight, Hamlet 2, Casablanca

Culture, Etc.

Béla Fleck, Mike Doughty, and more.</you>

Oh, the Horror!

I can't believe that The Simpsons has been one of my favorite shows roughly as long as I've been alive, but I've never had the chance to write about it before. That was finally remedied when I reviewed the most recent "Treehouse of Horror" episode.

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XIX

"The way The Simpsons not only apes, but also twists familiar cultural touchstones shows reveals again that it’s still and always smarter than supposed masters of the parody form, like Family Guy or those terrible Friedberg-Seltzer movies."

They Might Be Giants

You never outgrow your first favorite band.

They Might Be Giants @ Le Poisson Rouge

"They Might Be Giants may have a reputation for attracting a nerdy, left-of-mainstream crowd, but the line still wound around the block outside of the swanky Le Poisson Rouge for their Saturday-night concert. Still, their reputation preceded them: 'You guys like children's music this much?' one snide commenter spat at the queue, adding insult to injury right as the rain switched from a thin drizzle to a steady soak.<o:p></o:p> Children? Hardly—the crowd was 18+ by design. Yet it wouldn't be wrong to say that teenage nostalgia brought many out in the rain that night."

Two Birds, One Post

Since I didn't get around to posting either of them earlier, here's what I have in the October and November issues of the magazine:

Dressed to Thrill
A how-to guide to making Halloween costumes of local celebrities: "For Hillary Clinton, play the part: Whenever attention shifts away from you, complain about bias."

How Do You Get a Rockette's Body?
Because man, I'd sure like to look like one: "In the weeks leading up to the Spectacular’s opening, Dale’s in rehearsal five hours a day, six days a week. When the show opens, she does three 90-minute, back-to-back performances a day. During the show, there’s no time to rest—some of the costume changes take place in as little as 78 seconds."

Punked Out
Though I didn't write this, I assigned it and worked closely with this author about the punk rock community in the county: "I can’t help but notice that I’m a foot taller than practically everyone else in the pit. As one of the oldest in the crowd, I’m also the only one with a full beard...When a 15-year-old stage-dives on top of me and I end up supporting 80 percent of his weight, I think: 'Is it a little weird that I’m still here? Why am I still married to this punk rock community?'"

Culture, Etc. (October)
Savion Glover, Merryl Streep, and more.

Culture Etc. (November)
Rufus Wainwright, Tango Fire, the Moscow Ballet, and more.

Home Theater (October)
Iron Man, Psycho, and Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Home Theater (November)
Wall-E, Encounters at the End of the World, and A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All.

Not Quite J.D.


I reviewed My Own Worst Enemy without talking about how I had the hugest crush on Christian Slater when I was in middle school.

My Own Worst Enemy: Series Premiere

"My Own Worst Enemy looks like it’s been assembled from the leftovers of other pop-culture heavyweights. Christian Slater plays two personalities, Edward and Henry (catch the Jekyll and Hyde reference?), who are duking it out over the same body (sort of like Fight Club). Edward is the cold-blooded, badass operative you always imagined Christian Slater would grow up to be. When he’s not 'active,' the powers that be back at headquarters use a Minority Report-style computer to put him to 'sleep,' and they wake up Henry, a lab-created nice guy—devoted husband, father of two—who thinks he works as an efficiency expert...At first you might think My Own Worst Enemy, like Fight Club, will explore the dueling natures in every man’s heart. But their conflict plays more like sibling rivalry."

Show Time at the Apollo


I can't believe it's taken me this long to see a show at the Apollo Theater. But, after seeing Jenny Lewis (and surprise opening act Sarah Silverman), it was worth the wait.

Jenny Lewis @ the Apollo Theater

"Both of Lewis's albums push her vulnerable, feminine side to the forefront, showcasing her crystal-clear voice in some heartbreaking harmonies. (For her first album, Rabbit Fur Coat, country duet the Watson Twins provided her backup; on Acid Tongue, she features a rotating series of singers, including actress Zooey Deschanel.) On stage, however, Lewis surrounded herself with a band comprised mostly of men—with the exception of, surprisingly, her drummer. This lineup gave a harder, tighter edge to Lewis' sound."

Rockin' the Gig Review

Ben Folds' latest album, Way to Normal, is pretty terrific. So was his show at Terminal 5, which I got to review for Beyond Race.

Ben Folds @ Terminal 5

"Yet whether real or fake—and Folds played both versions of a handful of these tunes, redundancy be damned—the new songs fit seamlessly into his chosen role as joyful crank, taking smirking potshots at the phony, the powerful, the emotionally dishonest, and the whiny."