June Issue: Summer Fun Cover Story

Summer Fun

For June's cover story, I examined all of the ways to enjoy Westchester County in the summer. This includes biking, archery, going to a driving range, exercising outdoors, kayaking, joining adult-centered leagues for childhood games like kickballl and frisbee, charity walks and swims, aqua zumba, mega yoga, troubleshooting sunburns and mosquito bites, eating seasonal food, sampling ethnic barbecue, drinking fresh fruit-infused cocktails, eating ice-cream floats, going on picnics, finding cold-brewed coffee, taking one-off bartending classes, geoaching, finding the best arts events, playing in an all-inclusive orchestra, visiting a new arts venue, volunteering at local farms, gardening, finding free events, taking day trips, shopping sidewalk sales, wearing stylish sunglasses and flip-flops, and visiting the Summertime Hall of Fame. Phew!

Click through to read the story, or download the PDF above.

PopMatters: The 75 Best Songs of 2011

For the site-wide list of the best songs of the year, I contributed the write-up to number 12.

The Strokes “Under Cover of Darkness”
The Strokes have never been able to recapture the acclaim that followed the band’s debut, but, as a song, “Under Cover of Darkness” bears all of the hallmarks that made Is This It such a success. It comes in the same package of world-weary attitude and effortless cool. Its lyrics tap into the same universal anguish—the band’s lyrics were never poetic so much as they were relatable—and include phrases you might hear outside of any dorm in America. (The lyrics to the big, rousing chorus are “Don’t go that way, I’ll wait for you.”) “Under Cover of Darkness”, however, surpasses its predecessors by moving beyond the droning guitar sounds and allowing for more playful melodies, keeping the Strokes from, as they put it, “singing the same song for ten years”.

Click through to see the story at PopMatters (and read the rest of the list).

The Daily Traveler: Country Music-Inspired Travel


Taylor Swift Makes Us Want to Take a Country-Travel Tour

Taylor Swift took home the Entertainer of the Year statue at Wednesday's Country Music Awards. If her down-home charm—along with performances by Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, and the oft-re-costumed Carrie Underwood—inspired you to put a little more honkey-tonk in your life, here are five places that'll get you in touch with your country roots.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Nashville, Tennessee

No better place to start than Nashville, home to the Country Music Association, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The latter houses a collection of hundreds of thousands of country-music artifacts for fans to pore over, from Carrie Underwood's Grammy dress (though not all of the other  night's CMA outfits—yet) to countless photos, recordings, movies, and interviews. A current exhibition about Hank Williams and his kin, featuring rare and never-before-seen items donated by his family, closes December 31.

Click through to read the rest of the item at the Condé Nast Traveler website.

Photo by Tim Hursley

Fall Arts Preview: Fall Events

Fall Arts Preview: Fall Events

I wrote the massive guide to fall arts and culture, which was broken into Fall Events, Fall Books, Fall Movies, and Fall TV. For fall events, I covered upcoming art, film, music, theater, family happenings, readings, lectures, comedy, art and craft fairs, and special events taking place in Westchester September, October, and November.

"Talk Cinema

Film writer Harlan Jacobson screened The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—the original Swedish version, of course—before almost anyone else here had a glimpse of Noomi Rapace’s nose-ringed face, thank you very much. And he doesn’t plan on getting scooped this season, either. For his Talk Cinema series, Jacobson shows an indie or foreign film before its release, then hosts a discussion afterward with a filmmaker or critic. You don’t get to know what film you see beforehand, but speculating is half the fun.


The Zombies

This will be their year: to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary, the Zombies have planned a worldwide tour, with stops from Edinburgh to Tel Aviv. And, when they finally come stateside, they’re playing the Tarrytown Music Hall. In addition to ’60s hits like 'Time of the Season' and 'She’s Not There,' the band will perform songs from last year’s new album, Breathe Out, Breathe In."

Click through to read the rest of the article, or download the PDF above.

September Issue: In Every Issue

Cultural highlights including Joe Lovano, Gordon Lightfoot, Kelli O'Hara, and more.

"Pole Vault

When we think of the North Pole, we think of polar bears and Santa Claus. But to Anthony Fiala, the North Pole represented the limit of human achievement. The Stamford Museum & Nature Center explores Fiala’s ultimately unsuccessful attempts to be the first to reach the top of the world, including the expedition’s natural hurdles (his ship was crushed by ice) and the man-made ones (his crew rejected his leadership and quit). The expedition lasted from 1903 to 1905, but the museum’s exhibition will only last from September 10 to October 30."

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August Issue: Things to Do

It's All Free
A round-up of free, outdoor concerts for every night of the week.

"Big-band, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and even gospel music find their way to the bandshell in the grassy Hudson Park. After all, there’s no other place in the county where you can groove to a band with a name as funky as the Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra (August 24)."

Click through to read the rest of the article.

Only in August
How to enjoy the Dog Days

"People think of August as the doldrums of summer,  marked by the twin plagues of heat and boredom. But it’s still summer, darn it, and there are many warm-weather pleasures to be had. In fact, there are some things you can only do in August. Here, a few:

1. Request tickets to Saturday Night Live.
You see those smiling, laughing audience members week-in, week-out, but few realize that you can only request free SNL tickets during the month of August. Email your contact info to snltickets@nbcuni.com, and spend the rest of the summer running to the mailbox to see if you got lucky in the ticket lottery." 

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August Issue: In Every Issue

Culture, Etc.
Guster, Steve Earle, Trollhunter, and more.

"It’s August, and, to paraphrase Gershwin, the livin’ should be easy—and the music should be, too. Guster understands, and the band’s most recent album, the aptly named Easy Wonderful, provides just the kind of poppy, no-fuss music that’s best for those days when it’s too hot to think. It inspired Entertainment Weekly to write, 'There’s something happily uncomplicated—and at times proudly uncool—about this band’s sixth album.' Hear for yourself when Guster plays an outdoor concert at the Ives Concert Park in Danbury, Connecticut, on August 3."

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Home Theater & Broadway Box Office
Paul, Jane Eyre, Your Highness, and Cul-De-Sac, plus an interview with Altar Boyz director Carlos Encinias.

"Who is your favorite boy band?

I’d have to say it’s a tie between *NSYNC and the New Kids on the Block. The New Kids on the Block was my first concert, but I say that I was just taking my sister and it wasn’t really for me. That’s my line."

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Guster photo by Floto+Warner Studio

June Issue: A Q&A with the Head of the Caramoor International Music Festival

Classic Caramoor

"You’re conducting the 'Pops, Patriots, and Fireworks' performance on July 3. Why did you choose to lead that one?
I don’t consider myself a Pops guy, but what I like is to make what looks like a Pops program, but actually has much more meat on its bones. Like last year, we did the 1812 Overture, which is done all the time on the Fourth of July. To mix it up, I added a Theremin. At these things, you can expect to hear Sousa and maybe Gershwin—but you don’t expect to hear a Theremin. This year, Charles Yang is going to play the "Yankee Doodle" variations on the electric violin. It doesn’t even look like a violin, it looks like a stick with strings on it. He is amazing. So I like Pops concerts when I can add something unexpected."

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Photo by Gabe Palacio

June Issue: Survivor Singer Teaches at Local Camp

Rock On

"You know Dave Bickler’s voice. The Chappaqua resident (since 2004) is best known for being the lead singer for the rock-band Survivor—yes, that’s him singing 'Eye of the Tiger' on the Rocky III soundtrack. (He’s also the one doing the vocal heavy lifting on those Bud Light 'Real Men of Genius' ads.) This summer, he’ll be passing on his rock mojo to the next generation of artists by teaching voice and performance at Chappaqua Rocks day camp."

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June Issue: In Every Issue

June Highlights
Ani DiFranco, Brian Wilson, Peter Frampton, surrealist art, and more.

Home Theater
True Grit, The Adjustment Bureau, Kiss Me Deadly, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Extended Edition Blu-Ray

"The work of sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick has been adapted into some of the greatest science fiction movies of all time, including Blade Runner and Minority Report. (Okay, there are some not-so-great ones in there, too, like Next and Paycheck.) His short story, “Adjustment Team,” became The Adjustment Bureau, in which a politician, played by Matt Damon, rails against a fedora-wearing cabal that secretly controls the paths of everyone on Earth. Fans of Mad Men’s Roger Sterling can spot John Slattery under one of those fedoras."

Click through to read the full articles.