Hail to the Kings


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."

Whose House?


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."

February & March Issues


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."

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.