Thursday, December 8, 2011

Five Things That Are Awesome

1. BAND: The Horrible Crowes
You know who's rad? The Gaslight Anthem. You know what's rad? The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon doing a side project that he describes as "The Gaslight Anthem : Bruce Springsteen :: The Horrible Crowes : Tom Waits." It's Fallon and his guitar tech, Ian Perkins, and their debut album Elsie is so damn legit with the right amount of everything. Like the Gaslight Anthem, it's broken hearts alongside brass knuckles, churning honest nostalgia into earnest swagger. Check out these songs: I Witnessed A Crime, Crush, Behold The Hurricane, Ladykiller. Black Betty & The Moon.
2. MOVIE: My Dinner With Andre
I rented My Dinner With Andre from my local library because of a spoof episode on Community. Also, I like Wallace Shawn a whole lot. Plus, an entire movie that's just a dinner conversation with four stars from Roger Ebert? What I thought would be an extended conversation about art and friendship turned out to be one of the most diligently philosophically and easily engaging movies I've ever seen. The two of them discuss the whimsical big picture (musical theater in a European forest) versus the appreciated small things (morning coffee and crossword puzzles) in such a poetic and amusing sense, you feel as if you're eavesdropping on old friends at a fancy restaurant.
3. TV SHOW: Community
I can't believe they might cancel Community. That's goddamn insane. The show feeds my love for pop culture, meta-humor, wit, deadpan, real world observations and spoofs. I don't have to describe it because you should already be watching it. I mean, we're going to cancel Community and just let NCIS have another fucking season? Great, world. That's just great.
4. BOOK: The Girl Who Played With Fire
With years of investigative journalism behind him, Stieg Larsson understood an important thing about storytelling: people make events, events don't make people. You'd think this would be obvious to novelists everywhere, but, year after year, one lazily written book comes out after another and it's due to authors wanting scenes and outcomes more than motives and movements. The thriller genre of fiction lets that shit slide like crazy. But Larsson's crafted a tightly wound trilogy and I'm in the middle of the second book. The Girl Who Played With Fire changes up the story better than almost any other sequel I've ever read. Larsson has created exciting characters that have realistic feelings and function with deep purpose in a world of horrendous violence.
5. RANDOM: Derweze (or Darvaza)
There's a Gate to Hell in Turkmenistan. Soviet geologists were drilling there in the '70s and the ground collapsed. Underneath the rig was a gas pocket. Thinking it would burn off in a few days, they waited. Well, now it's 40 years later and the pit is still burning. It hasn't stopped since. Hell yes.

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