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."

Must-See TV Blog


Since I can't get enough of these pop-culture writing gigs, I recently became a contributor to TiFaux. Check out my first post, about the relative levels of craziness in Fringe and Lost, here. (So. Freaking. Crazy!)

Check back often!

Straight Eye for the Straight Guy

It's a two-for-one deal in this week's Time Out New York. Both my recent articles wound up coming out the same week. I love it when that happens.

Bite My Style

Since it is the "Fall Fashion" issue, I trailed a guy looking to get fashion advice from his better-dressed buddy: "The entire day, Gary is on the hunt for some nice-fitting corduroys because, he says, 'cords are so fall.' He finally finds some at Urban Outfitters and pairs them with a red-plaid shirt and a tweed blazer. 'This is by far the most comfortable outfit,' says Shawn. 'I could fall asleep in this.'”

You Asked For It: Community Gardens

A primer about how to get started with community gardens: "Did you kill your last spider plant, but somehow still think you’ve got what it takes to be a gardener? That’s cute. You might want to check out the Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Garden, where prior experience—or even interest—in gardening certainly is not necessary. 'I’m not into gardening at all,' says member Elizabeth Popiel. 'I just love the garden.' At this casual no-individual-plots, no-veggies spot, people do what comes naturally to them: paint, hold art fairs, build benches, and even install a koi pond (for a $10 annual fee)."

Nine-Oh


I don't know why I agree to review teen soaps. I'm always looking for the next Freaks and Geeks, and I am eternally disappointed. The new 90210 is no exception.

90210: Series Premiere

"While those looking for wittiness will find 90210 lacking, so will those who tune in feeling nostalgia for the original show...For the most part, 90210 seems unsure what to do with the Gen-X demographic, fitting in an awkward assortment of teachers, guidance counselors, and big sisters alongside the kid stars. While fans may appreciate the return of Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty, they’re crowded out by the good-looking newbies, jetting around California and fretting about their love lives.

With the teens scheming so hard to sort out their lives and their teachers desperate for attention, it seems almost unfair that the oldest character gets to breeze onto the screen and command her scenes instantaneously. Jessica Walter, who plays Wilson matriarch Tabitha, gives a performance worthy of a better series. The Wilson family moved back to California ostensibly to take care of her, but as she makes her entrance, Long Island iced tea in hand, it’s clear that she doesn’t need taking care of. 'I need to finish my memoir before my friend Virginia does,' she says. 'We’ve slept with all the same people.'”

Fall Arts!


As promised, the September issue came in today with my big, fat Fall Arts Preview eating up some of the feature well (15 pages, plus more after the jump). This is my favorite kind of package: the kind where I get to tell people what to do with their free time, like see Andrew Bird or Burn After Reading.

The Fall Arts Preview package has many components, including:

Fall Events

Everything from the county-wide clay arts exhibitions to Dar Williams' concert: "This fall, almost every local art institution is going to have one thing on its mind: clay. Sure, you played with it when you were a kid and giggle when you think of the pot-throwing scene from Ghost (all that wasted clay!) but when was the last time you really gave clay any thought as a medium?"

Fall Movies

From Burn After Reading to Benjamin Button: "We’ve seen lots of disasters in films: earthquakes, volcanoes, diseases, The Happening. But what about an epidemic of blindness? Fernando Meirelles’ film, based on the 1995 novel by the Nobel Prize-winning José Saramago, imagines just that, with Julianne Moore starring as the one woman in town with immunity. Blindness was chosen to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival—but left with mixed reception (September 26)."

Fall TV

What's coming up on the networks: "You know that old sitcom formula in which two seemingly incompatible personalities are forced to live together? My Own Worst Enemy ups the ante by having those two personalities share a body. Taking a page from Fight Club’s book, one man is torn between his two identities: one is a suburban father, the other an operative trained to kill (10:00, NBC)."

...and Fall Books, which I didn't write but I assigned. And that's all in addition to my normal arts-related pages and front-of-book matter:

Mysterious Master

A short item about a church that found a master painting hiding in plain sight: “'When he started to work on the painting, parts that looked like they should be gold started to turn into silver,' Monsignor Corrigan says. 'That made me very nervous. I said a prayer. But when I saw it restored, it was totally spectacular.'"

Home Theater

September DVDs, including The Godfather, The Great Pumpkin, and The Fall: "Even though Halloween isn’t for another month, we all have days—no matter what time of year it is—when we can relate to poor little Linus, waiting for the Great Pumpkin that may never arrive."

Arts & Entertainment

Paula Cole, Mavis Staples, and more.

In addition to the Fall Arts Preview, this month was our "Sex Issue." Though I didn't write anything for it, I did assign this piece about the 12 things a sex writer has learned throughout her career and this piece about where to find love in the county.

PopMatters and Persepolis


I've been so busy, I forgot to post my review of the Persepolis DVD.

Persepolis

"Marjane Satrapi notes that if she had chosen to use real actors, the film would immediately be pigeonholed as an 'ethnic' film. Animation has an abstract quality, she says, that keeps it from being shrugged off as something too exotic. Choosing to animate the film allows the characters to become more human than if she had used human actors."