I [Heart] RobotsFuturama: The Beast with a Billion BacksWho wouldn't jump at the chance to review any new Futurama offerings? Not me: "The epic hero’s journey is out. Jokes about the difference between 'tentacles' and 'gentacles' are in. And, with that, Futurama returns to form."
Our first summer issue: summer vacations, summer books, and more.Summer ReadingA round-up of the buzz books for summer, including new works by David Guterson and Alan Furst.Take a Few Days OffOur huge feature on weekend getaways includes my contribution about The Villa at Saugerties in the Catskills: "Say goodbye to the chintz, the brocade, and the stuffy Victorian furniture. Just because you want to get away for the weekend doesn’t mean you want to leave your sense of style behind with the babysitter." (About three-quarters of the way down the page.)Grilling the ExpertsGrill tips from the pros: "McGrath says that natural wood chips are the best source of fuel, but if you’re using charcoal, 'you want it to be white-hot, not red-hot. That’s the best way to grill something.'" (Second item down)The Director's CutAn article about Bruce David Klein, director of Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise: "Klein, Meat Loaf says, 'is a pesky little thing and he manages to wiggle and squeeze himself into places that I didn’t necessarily like all of the time.'" (The link to this story is being repaired.)Culture, Etc.A new art exhibition about space exploration, Chuck Mangione, and more.
May means the start of the summer season--and that means big summer movies. Hence, one of my favorite assignments of the year:Summer Film PreviewA round-up of the must-see films of the summer: "Apparently, even after you find the Holy Grail, there’s still more whip-cracking adventuring to do. An older, crankier Indy takes young Mutt Williams (Transformers’ Shia LeBeouf) along for the ride this time."Also in this issue:Our Parents' DivorcesA lifestyle piece about what happens to people after their parents get divorced: "'When their parents divorce, many children go through an emotional roller coaster,' says Peter Salem, executive director of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. 'There is a fundamental change in the child’s world. There could be a change of residence, or the family income isn’t what it once was because it has to support two homes. The bedrock of their lives—the family unit—is being dismantled. The question turns into whether or not there will be emotional damage to the children and, if so, what the extent of it will be.'”From CNN to ASUA follow-up article with CNN's Aaron Brown: "In June 2005, we profiled Aaron Brown, then an anchor for CNN’s NewsNight and <st1:city st="on"><st1:place st="on">Scarsdale</st1:place></st1:city> resident. Today, almost all of what we wrote has changed. He’s no longer with the cable net, having been replaced after four years by a certain silver-haired anchor whose name rhymes with Schmanderson Schmooper." (It's the sixth item down.)UPDATE: This article was picked up for an item in Page Six. Read it here.Ask the ExpertA tiny item about generic vs. name-brand pills: "According to the FDA, a store-brand or generic drug must be the same as the original in terms of dosage, strength, performance, use, quality, and safety. However, the look of the brand-name drug is trademarked, so the store-brand version uses the inactive ingredients to change the size, shape, color, or taste, and those ingredients may give you a different reaction." (It's the fourth item down.)Culture, Etc.Joan Osborne, Jacques Goudstikker, art galas, and more.
Two of my PopMatters reviews went up on the same day. I love it when that happens.quarterlifeNote: the lack of a capital "q" is the show's stupid stylistic decision, not mine. My review isn't much nicer: "This is the not-quite-true story of six friends picked to live in a house and have their lives taped, as one pensive video-blogger finds out what happens when people stop being polite and start being 'real'...A show where friends sleep around on each other, only to have truths revealed about their lives through a blog? It’s basically Gossip Girl, only without the awareness that it’s a total fantasy."Right at Your DoorThe movie was mixed, but it did make me jump up and buy a disaster-preparedness kit online: "Gorak manages to wring the maximum amount of fright out of this situation not by how large the disaster looms, but how small he makes it."Also, PopMatters has now done this neat thing where you can search reviews by author, so you can see everything else I've written for them, too.
One of the best things about being an entertainment writer is getting to influence the rankings in collaborative year-end lists. (I don't think The Host would've made it on the list below if it weren't for me.) PopMatters just published its ranking of the 30 best films of 2007, and I got to weigh in on a few of them.A Gallery of Good Works: The Best Films of 2007I contributed three blurbs to the countdown:No. 29 (save the best for second-to-last), for The Host: "Most foreign monster movies come with at least some degree of kitsch built in, and with that comes a distance that keeps audiences from ever being fully involved in the story. With The Host, South Korean director Joon-ho Bong annihilates that boundary."No. 21, for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: "Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck both give quiet, obsessive, breathtaking performances: Pitt as the charismatic-but-paranoid celebrity outlaw, and Affleck as his profound wannabe."No. 3, for Ratatouille: "That one scene is enough to remind you that, for all of their snazzy rat’s-eye-view tracking shots, artistic renderings that make Paris look like the confection it is, and lovable characters with populist-not-preachy messages—none of which is a small feat to pull off—the true magic of Pixar is the ability to instantaneously leave all that behind for one moment so emotionally involving it can stop your heart for a second."Coming Soon: PopMatters' list of the best TV of 2007!
I only just started compiling my clips, but I've been a professional writer since 2003. If you'd like to see anything else, I certainly can provide you with more. Highlights include "No More Empty Nest," about the social and economic reasons why young adults choose to live with their parents longer (no link available but I have the PDF), and "Cosmetics 101," about my personal foray into the world of beauty.