Arts & Culture

Movies: "The Company You Keep"

Movies: "The Company You Keep"

As our nation tries to understand a new episode of domestic terrorism, here’s a movie that looks back at another time of terror attacks, by the Weather Underground during the Vietnam War era of the 1970s.

Although it begins with TV clips of the upheaval that accompanied that unpopular war, “The Company You Keep” is set in the present.  It begins when one of the participants (Susan Sarandon) in a Weather Underground bank heist that left a guard dead decides to turn herself in thirty years after the fact.

 

Thanks to the work of  Ben Shepard (Shia LaBoeuf), an energetic but narcissistic young reporter for an Albany, NY newspaper, Sarandon’s character is quickly linked to some other Albany lo

A First Foray into Fermented Foods

A First Foray into Fermented Foods

What do sauerkraut, pickled eggs, and yogurt have in common?  A lot more than you might think!

I learn the coolest stuff from the "New Book Shelf" at the library.  I pick up books that pique my fancy, but that I would likely never go on the hunt for.

Interview with Pat Keane - Mastering Engineer (he makes music sound good)!

Interview with Pat Keane - Mastering Engineer (he makes music sound good)!

Pat Keane may have one of the best jobs on the planet.  His job is to make music sound good.  He's the last step in the process for any recording artist when cutting an album.  He is a mastering engineer.  It's his job to add the final polish that turns a collection of music tracks into a complete album. On St, Patrick's Day, I had the opportunity to join Pat in his mastering studio and watch him at work.  

Movies: "The Place Beyond the Pines"

Movies: "The Place Beyond the Pines"

The title is confusing, sounding perhaps like some teen horror movie, but it’s actually the Mohawk name for Schenectady, NY, where this complex, well-made film takes place.

It opens with a bravura steadicam shot worthy of Martin Scorsese, as we follow motorcycle stunt rider Luke (a blond, heavily tattooed Ryan Gosling) through a crowded fairground.  (The cinematography is by Sean Bobbitt, who delivers several more boffo set-pieces along the way, including a jumpy police chase.)

 

Lithgow Library Announces Series of Events

Lithgow Library announces a month-long series of events in April celebrating Lithgow Public Library's annual community-wide reading project, A Capital Read.  The selection for A Capital Read 2013 is Amy Waldman's acclaimed novel The Submission, which explores the controversy and complex emotions surrounding a memorial for the victims of 9/11.  All events are free and open to the public.  Waldman's author event is set for Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. at the University of Maine at Augusta.  Other programs include a community art exhibit; a play adapted from The Submission on April 9; an evening of poetry and music on April 18; an appearance by author/human rights advocate Reza Jalali on April 24; and book discussion groups on April 12, 17 and 30th.  A Capital Read is underwritten by the Friends of Lithgow Library in partnership with the University of Maine at Augusta. 
 

Movies: "Admission"

Movies: "Admission"

 

Unlike most of the rest of the country, I went to see “Admission.” 

 

That is because the movie is set at Princeton University, my (ahem) alma mater.  In this, I was not disappointed.  The scenes of the sun-dappled campus, an appearance by the A capella group The Nassoons, and the sense that this is a truly place where really bright students study really great stuff were all pleasing.  

 

Unfortunately, the movie was not so much.

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

Ever have a book that you wish didn't end, because you love the characters so, so much?  This is The Silver Linings Playbook for me.

Once again, I crawled out from whatever rock I must live under, because I didn't know about this book until I watched the Oscars and discovered that it was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.  (True confessions, I don't read New York Times Book Review, and I'm thinkin' that I should.)

(Special note: you don't have to like football to love this book.  Yes, there's a football helmet on the cover.  Don't think it's "a sports book."  It's not about athletes, but it IS about how people can connect with each other through a common interest, when they would never "connect" in any other way - from total strangers, to a father and a son.)