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."

August Issue


This issue is all about food, but I'm the arts editor...so articles about dinner theater it is!

Live from New York
The local dinner theater has been in business for 34 years, and they let me in on the most cringe-worthy live theater moments: "The show had to go on during a production of Fiddler on the Roof in 1978—in the first building, before the stage was raised—when a disoriented patron walked into the middle of a musical number and asked Tevye for directions to the men’s room."

Beyond the Beyond
A handy guide to help parents pack up their soon-to-be college freshmen: "The problem is, a quick scan of the online checklist reveals that Bed, Bath & Beyond has deemed no less than 114 items to be college 'essentials'—like the old school-supply list on steroids—and that’s without including textbooks, pens, notebooks, or that little college-name sticker everyone places in the back windshields of their cars. Take it from two recent college grads: half of what you buy from that list will return to you in the exact same color-coded, name-taped, neatly packed condition you shipped them off in."

Culture, Etc.
Jean-Luc Godard, Bard Summerfest, DVD recommendations, and more.

September is my Fall Arts Preview package—and proofs look great—so stay tuned.

Stay Positive!

The Hold Steady @ McCarren Park Pool

After standing in the rain in an empty pool to check out my sixth Hold Steady concert, I got to review the gig for Beyond Race: "People hid under swag towels, broke out their umbrellas, stripped down to their bathing suits, but didn't go home...The crowd looked like they could have been characters in one of the Hold Steady's songs: sexy, but messy."

July Issue

Best of Westchester: Art & Leisure

Our most popular feature of the year surveys the best the county has to offer, including new hiking trails: "Let’s face it: it was easy to get lost at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, and not in a good lose-yourself-in-nature kind of way. Yet a core group of volunteers has taken it upon themselves to re-blaze all 35 miles of trails, complete with new markings and a beautiful map (one that actually makes sense)."

Fave Five By the Fab Four

Always one for a nerdy list, I asked a local Beatlemaniac and radio DJ to rank his favorite Beatles albums: "Leave it to a true music fan to treat ranking two great albums like deciding between children."

Close Encounters in the County

In honor of World UFO Day (it's real), I dug up some reports of UFOs in Westchester: "It was the brightest thing I’ve ever seen in the sky ever…I do know that it was in the area of a power plant."

Resident Ringtones

I corralled the musically inclined and asked them what their ringtones are (and plugged my own). Says Kimberly Locke: "I have the theme from The Jeffersons, 'Movin’ On Up,' as my ringtone. It’s pretty uplifting and it makes me laugh every time my phone rings. But it’s only programmed for specific friends. Only they receive the high honor of a George and Weezy ring tone!"

Alfresco Entertainment

Now no one can say that I recommend staying inside watching movies all day, since I recommended eight outdoor events: "Long for the days of drive-in theaters? Well, you can’t sit in your gas-guzzler, but you can still park yourself outside (sans auto) and watch a film at one of the county’s outdoor movie screenings."

Culture, Etc.

Lyle Lovett, Ani DiFranco, and more.