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5.17.10 My Top Ten RIGHT NOW

1. PLAY Our Town I was bored for the first two acts, riveted in the third and simply blown away heading out of the theater. This stunningly intense play runs just over two hours but presents 9 years in the life of a single town. These people are relatable at their most human base but distant in the sense that they are only tropes. And with this dichotomy, the final act becomes a devastating interpretation of what it means to live. This bare bones production allows these themes to really sink in providing you with so little else to focus on and through excellent stage craft makes the ending as shocking as it is revelatory… A 2. MOVIE City Island This modern Greek tragedy and flimsy family farce is a little lame in script, but the director was blessed with a cast that can breathe just enough life into these characters to make them intriguing. Julianna Margulies is the best, taking on a thick accent and Italian bravado so contrary to her usual appearance. The always delightful Emily Mortimer continues her streak of lovely performances giving a heartbreaking monologue with what seems the greatest ease. And then there’s Andy Garcia, one of my

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least favorite actors, who is actually winning as a man stuck in his day job with bigger dreams of acting. Not really worth the trip, but certainly rentable… B- 3. BOOK Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang Chelsea Handler has such a unique brand of humor that I feel like I have to read her books with her voice constantly in the back of my head. Widely surveying moments throughout her life, childhood to adulthood, each story is a ridiculous diatribe, a mixture of bon mots and sheer lunacy that add up to pitch perfect humor. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying tales of her slob of a father or her evil practical jokes on her ex-boyfriend without the prerequisite of loving her personality, but if you’ve drunk the kool-aid, this book is a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read… B+ 4. FOOD Serafina There’s nothing better than an impromptu, over-priced and delicious lunch late on a Saturday. This Italian eatery serves just that in a lovely European setting with the slightly warmer spring breeze blowing through. You can never go wrong with the buffalo mozzarella salad to start transitioning beautifully into homemade gnocchi in the freshest of tomato sauces. For those looking for something a bit lighter, the lobster carpaccio salad satisfies wonderfully. With a glass of wine during and a fresh cup coffee to end the meal, you have a perfect excuse to indulge for an afternoon in NYC… B+ 5. ALBUM Secret Agent Tony Allen Afro-beat hasn’t sounded this fresh and funky since Fela reigned supreme. I dare anyone to throw on this fantastic album and not start to move. The rhythms seep into the soul, constant as a heartbeat and bolstered by an amazing horn section that blasts almost as loud as the gorgeous chorus of voices that punctuate each track. But the true gem of this record is guest vocalist, Ayo, one of my favorite singers already but showing off a whole new (and maybe even preferable) side with her fantastically smooth and fresh take on this genre of music… A 6. SONG “This Is The Song (Good Luck)” Punch Brothers I probably shouldn’t write about a song that hasn’t been officially released, but I’ve been listening to it repeatedly and have fallen for it more and more with each spin. In a world of chaos, economic instability, personal and public tragedies, successes and failures, this song acts as a beacon of hope that things can and will inevitably change. Starting simply with banjo and light guitar, Chris Thile’s voice rings pure and clear on the repeated chorus “good luck, these are tough times but we’ll get by.” As the song builds, the rest of the band joins in creating such a beautifully harmonic chorus that it’s impossible not to get swept into the fervor of the composition… A 7. MOVIE The September Issue A documentary about the most influential fashion magazine in the world and the woman who runs it should be beautiful, no? Well, this is one ugly documentary with every camera angle awkward and more akin to reality television. Thankfully the subject matter is so intrinsically interesting that the bad pacing and attempt at dramatic narrative can all be overlooked in favor of getting a rare peak into how truly arbitrary taste and fashion is at the end of the day. The subject deserved so much more, but I’m glad this film exists and actually got decent play in its theatrical run… B- 8. ALBUM History From Below Delta Spirit The first album from this band had me absolutely thrilled, with its bar room sound and catchy but not cloying songwriting. The sophomore effort picks up right where they left off, opening with the Beatles-esque “911.” A lot of the tunes, like “Salt in the Wound” and “St. Francis” have a heavier sound, as if these guys are starting to grow up. But along with this weightier sound, some of that catchy joy that made the first album so great is missing. You can hear it on the percussive “White Table,” but I don’t hear anything as genius as “People C’mon”… B+ 9. MOVIE Laurel Canyon This is one bizarre movie about an engaged couple going to visit the soon-to-be-groom’s hippy record producing mom. The indie chaos that ensues is intriguing if bizarre, almost more at home on an tiny off-Broadway stage exploring the intricacies of sexual proclivities on the severely sexually repressed. Thanks to a winning performance from the always incredible Frances McDormand, the movie holds up quite well despite some odd twists and turns in plot… B 10. FOOD Deluxe Any sort of review of this Morningside Heights eatery comes from a place of such nostalgia. In four years of college, it played host to many an outing in which the deliciousness or sometimes less delicious meals were completely secondary to the enjoyment of the company. So going back four years later, my usual of grilled cheese on sourdough with a side of fries tastes pretty much the same but the memories make it all the sweeter… B

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