Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Movies, Books, Theater, Concerts, CDs I Saw In 2009

Updated December 31, 2009


1. The Counterfeiters ***
2. Tell No One ** 1/2
3. Holiday Affair (1949 w Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh) ***
4. Frozen River (at MoMa) ***/
5. Revolutionary Road **
6. Drums (1938 w Sabu) *
7. The Wrestler ***/
8. Doubt *
9. I Loved You So Long **
10. Trouble The Waters **
11. The Complete Horatio Hornblower TV Series ****
12. The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey w Ian Carmichael from 1970s ** 1/2
13. Lord Peter Wimsey w Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter from 1980s *** 1/2
14. Billy The Kid (2007 docu) *** (extras zero stars for cluelessness)
15. Academy Award Shorts: Lavatory Love Story ***; Octopodi **; House Of Small Boxes *** 1/2 (the eventual winner); Undertaker **; Presto ** 1/2; German shoplift short ***; New Boy ***; Toyland Holocaust *; The Pig ***; French dying girl short **
16. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian * 1/2
17. The Edge Of Heaven *** 1/2
18. Chris and Don: A Love Story ***
19. Leave Her To Heaven ** 1/2
20. Watchmen **
21. Bolt ***
22. Schoolhouse Rock: Earth ** 1/2
23. Follow That Bird * 1/2
24. Never Say Never Again * 1/2
25. Monsters Vs. Aliens (in 2-D) **
26. The Spirit -- no stars
27. Seven Pounds ** 1/2
28. Woodstock Director's Cut (1970 )(at EbertFest) ****
29. Chop Shop (at EbertFest) ***
30. Begging Naked ** (at EbertFest)
31. The Last Command (1928) (at EbertFest w new score performed by Alloy) *** 1/2
32. The Fall (at EbertFest) ** 1/2
33. Sita Sings The Blues (at EbertFest) ***
34. Nothing But The Truth (at EbertFest) ** 1/2
35. Let The Right One In (at EbertFest) *** 1/2
36. Mulligans *
37. Caprica (TV preview on DVD) **
38. Role Models ** 1/2
39. Observe And Report ** 1/2
40. Duplicity *** 1/2
41. The Inglorious Bastards (1978) ** 1/2
42. Star Trek ***/ (on second viewing *** 1/2)


43. Up *** 1/2
44. Fish Tank ***
45. My Neighbor My Killer ** 1/2
46. Thirst **
47. Precious ** 1/2
48. Bright Star **
49. Police, Adjective *** 1/2
50. Taking Woodstock ** 1/2
51. A Prophet ****
52. Jaffa **
53. Mother ** 1/2
54. Samson & Delilah ***
55. Kinatay * 1/2
56. Vengeance ** 1/2
57. The Army Of Crime **
58. Le Pere De Mes Enfants *
59. Anti-Christ *
60. Looking For Eric ***
61. Irene * 1/2
62. Daniel Y Ana ** 1/2
63. Vincere * 1/2
64. Broken Embraces **
65. Les Herbes Folles * 1/2
66. I Love You, Phillip Morris **
67. Inglourius Basterds *** 1/2
68. Eyes Wide Open ***
69. Sister Smile (in market; biopic of Singing Nun) **
70. The White Ribbon * 1/2
71. I Killed My Mother ***/
72. The Time That Remains *** 1/2
73. A Town Called Panic **
74. The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus * 1/2
75. The Silent Army *
76. Enter The Void * 1/2
77. Map Of The Sounds Of Tokyo -- no stars
78. To Die Like A Man *
79. Montparnasse *
80. The King Of Escape **
81. Spring Fever **
82. in The Beginning **
83. Visages **
84. Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky * 1/2


85. Moon (w Sam Rockwell) **
86. Dodge City (1939) ***
87. Zenobia (1939 Laurel & Hardy) no stars
88. The Hangover ** 1/2
89. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen *
90. The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009 version) **
91. Public Enemies **
92. Bruno no stars
93. For All Mankind (1989) *** 1/2
94. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ** 1/2
95. Remember The Night (1940) ***
96. The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (1939) ** 1/2
97. Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939) **
98. The Hurt Locker ***/
99. Funny People **/
100. Firefly: The Complete Series ****
101. G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra *
102. The Undercover Man (1949) ** 1/2
103. The Rounders (1965) **
104. Watch On The Rhine (1943) * 1/2
105. Ride With The Devil: Director's Cut ***
106. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) ****
107. Julie & Julia ** 1/2
108. (500) Days Of Summer ****
109. The Goods -- no stars
110. The Time-Traveler's Wife * 1/2
111. I Love You, Man ** 1/2
112. District 9 ***
113. Ponyo ***/
114. Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940) ***
115. Dragonball: Evolution *
116. Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin' (1971) ** 1/2 but final third ****
117. X-Games 3-D **
118. Katyn ***
119. Tezuka Osamu Collection on DVD *** 1/2
120. Newcastle * 1/2
121. I'm Still Waiting (1957) Japanese noir *** 1/2
122. Rusty Knife (1958) Japanese noir ***
123. 17 Again *
124. Hannah Montana: The Movie **
125. Bandslam ***
126. The Clock (1945) ***
127. The Window ***
128. The Last Days Of Disco ***
129. Post-Grad * 1/2
130. The Final Destination 3-D *
131. Gamer no stars
132. It Might Get Loud *** 1/2
133. Extract ***/
134. Taken ** 1/2


135. Huacho ** 1/2
136. Dogtooth ***
137. A Serious Man *** 1/2
138. Up In The Air *** 1/2
139. Vahalla Rising **
140. Waking Sleeping Beauty ***
141. Dorian Gray *
142. Capitalism: A Love Story ** 1/2
143. The Trotsky **
144. A Brand New Life ***
145. Phantom Pain * 1/2
146. Youth In Revolt * 1/2
147. The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee ** 1/2
148. Soul Kitchen ***
149. Bitch Slap *
150. Life During Wartime ** 1/2
151. A Simple Man ***\
152. Max Manus ** 1/2
153. Lebanon **
154. Northless ***
155. I Am Love ** 1/2
156. Solomon Kane **
157. Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel ** 1/2
158. Cole **


159. 35 Shots Of Rum **
160. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 3-D ***/
161. The Informant *** (great score)
162. 9 (animated film) ** 1/2
163. Surrogates (Bruce Willis sci-fier) * 1/2
164. Fame (2009) *
165. My One and Only (Renee Zellwegger) ** 1/2
166. I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell * 1/2
167. Zombieland ***
168. Whip It (Drew Barrymore roller derby) **
169. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3-D ****
170. Where The Wild Things Are *** 1/2
171. Amelia *
171. Bronson * 1/2
172. This Is It **
173. The Maid ***
174. Paranormal Activity **
175. A Christmas Carol 3-D (2009) **
176. 2012 **
177. Pirate Radio * 1/2
178. The Courtship Of Andy Hardy (1942) *
179. Girl Crazy (1943) * flimsy Mickey-Judy musical but Judy does a melting "But Not For Me"
180. The Exiles (1961) (on DVD) *** (mostly for cinematography)
181. Planet 51 *
182. The Twilight Saga: New Moon * 1/2
183. The Blind Side **
184. Ninja Assassin *
185. Fantastic Mr. Fox ** 1/2
186. Uncertainty (with JGL) **
187. Brothers (w Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal) **
188. Before Tomorrow (Inuit film) **
189. The Last Station **
190. Me And Orson Welles **
191. The Princess And The Frog ** 1/2
192. Invictus * 1/2
193. House Of Fear (Sherlock Holmes 1945) **
194. Avatar *
195. Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel * 1/2
196. Sherlock Holmes ** 1/2
197. Angels & Demons **
198. It's Complicated **
199. Nine **


1. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell *** for story/* for ugliness
2. Gaudy Nights (Lord Peter Wimsey) by Dorothy L. Sayers ****
3. Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey) by Dorothy L. Sayers ****
4. Lincoln by James M McPherson ** 1/2
5. Ackroyd's Brief Lives: Newton by Peter Ackroyd ** 1/2
6. Anne Of The Island by L.M. Montgomery ** 1/2
7. The Torre Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci ** 1/2
8. Anne Of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery ** 1/2
9. Anne's House Of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery ** 1/2
10. Anne Of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery ***
11. No. 1 Ladies Detctive Agency by Alexander McCall Smih ***
12. Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie ****
13. The Vast Fields Of Ordinary by Nck Burd (teen gay) **
14. The First Wave (Billy Boyle WW II mystery) by James R Benn ** 1/2
15. Dangerous Laughter by Stephen Millhauser ****
16. The Siege by Ismail Kadare ***
17. Drown by Junot Diaz *** 1/2
18. The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela *** 1/2
19. Death Of A Red Heroine (Inspector Chen mystery) by Qiu Xialong ***
20. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman **
21. The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate ***
22. We Wish To Inform You... by Philip Gourevitch ****
23. Push by Sapphire ** 1/2
24. Taking Woodstock by Eliot Tiber with Tom Monte ** 1/2
25. Hypatia of Alexandria by Maria Dzielska ** 1/2
26. Mussolini by Denis Mack Smith ***
27. Keats by Andrew Motion ***
28. Seven Rivers West by Edward Hoagland ***
29. My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell ****
30. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov ****
31. West With The Night by Beryl Markham *** 1/2
32. Farm Boy by Michael Morpurgo * 1/2
33. The Assassination Of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford by Ron Hansen *** 1/2
34. The French Admiral (Alan Lewrie series) by Dewey Lambdin ***
35. A-Rod: The Many Lives Of Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts **
36. The Awakening by Kate Chopin *** 1/2
37. Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery *** 1/2
38. Rilla Of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery ***
39. The Member Of The Wedding by Carson McCullers *** 1/2
40. Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery ****
41. From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg ***
42. Hans Brinker, Or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge ***\
43. A Passionate Prodigality by Guy Chapman *** 1/2
44. The King's Privateer by Dewey Lambdin, an Alan Lewrie adventure ***
45. Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery ****
46. The Ground Truth by John Farmer ** 1/2
47. Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead *** 1/2
48. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ***
49. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins ***
50. The Vampire Diaries: Awakening by L.J. Smith *
51. Up In The Air by Walter Kirn ** 1/2
52. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood ***
53. The Deep Blue Goodby by John D. MacDonald *** 1/2
54. The Virginian by Owen Wister ****
55. The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell *** 1/2
56. The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg ** 1/2
57. Blood Alone by James Benn ***
58. The Complete Bone by Jeff Smith *** 1/2
59. The Siege Of Krishnapur by JG Farrell *** 1/2
60. Ragtime by EL Doctorow ****
61. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin *** 1/2
62. Butcher's Crossing by John Williams *** 1/2
62. Go Saddle The Sea by Joan Aiken ** 1/2
63. Bridle The Wind by Joan Aiken **
64. The Teeth Of The Gale by Joan Aiken ***
65. Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb *** 1/2
66. No Tomorrow by Vivant Denon ***
67. The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti *** 1/2
68. Stupid, Stupid Rat Tales by Jeff Smith et al **
69. 21 by Patrick O'Brian ***
70. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad ****
71. Out Stealing Horses by Pers Petersen *** 1/2
72. Genius For Deception by Nicholas Rankin ***


1. Pal Joey at Roundabout w Stockard Channing **
2. England (two-hander in art museum) ** 1/2
3. Shipment *** (great cast)
4. The Cherry Orchard at BAM ***
5. The Third Story (w Kathleen Turner and Charles Busch) ** 1/2
6. Disfarmer at St. Ann's Warehouse **
7. Othello (off Bway on 42md St. -- solid, but convincing which it rarely is) ***
8. A Winter's Tale at BAM *** 1/2 (nearly perfect)
9. Hedda Gabler with Mary Louise Parker and Michael Cerveris -- no stars
10. Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Bway revival) ** (but Roger Robinson ****)
11. Hamlet (w Christian Camargo; TFANA off bway) ***
12. The Norman Conquests *** (sterling cast)
13. Ruined (at City Center) *** 1/2
14. The Good Negro (at Public) ***
15. Mary Stuart (w Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter/Vane) ***
16. Next To Normal (at Booth) **
17. The Singing Forest (Craig Lucas at Public) * 1/2
18. West Side Story (Bway revival) ***
19. The Who's Tommy (at Gallery Players) *
20. War Horse (in the West End) ***
21. A Little Night Music (Chocolate Factory revival on West End Garrick) *** 1/2
22. Peter Pan (outdoor under tent in Kensington Gardens) * 1/2
23. England People Very Nice (at National) ***
24. On The Beach (one of two-part The Contingency Plan at Bush on global warming) ***
25. Death and the King's Horseman (revival at National) *** 1/2
26. Goran Bregovic and His Weddings & Funerals Orchestra in Prospect Park in Brookly with thousands of Serbs and Croats ****
27. Things With Dry Hours ** 1/2 (but strong cast incl Delroy Lindo)
28. Othello w Philip Seymour Hoffman, directed by Peter Sellars *
29. Hamlet with Jude Law ** 1/2
30. The New Electric Ballroom ***
31. Finian's Rainbow (Bway revival) *
32. Emperor Jones (Off bway revival) ***
33. BBQ In Kansas City: Arthur Bryant's *** (great decor, burnt tips, fries); Gates (poor decor but solid food all around) *** 1/2; Oklahoma Joe's (funky gas station but food unremarkable) **; LC's (best all-around, funky space, great food)
34. Negro League Baseball Museum *** (great stories but mostly just a lot of text); Jazz Museum ** 1/2 (poorly set-up and not nearly as fun as it should be
35. Ragtime ** 1/2 (Bway revival; liked everything but the score)
36. Kronos Quartet Wu Man at Zankel Hall of Carnegie *** (lots of technical problems)
37. Idiot Savant -- Richard Foreman play with Willem DaFoe **
38. A Streetcar Named Desire at BAM w Cate Blanchett ***
39. The Brother-Sister Plays Part I: In The Red And Brown Water *** 1/2
40. The Brother-Sister Plays Part II: The Brothers Size ***
41. The Brother-Sister Plays Part III: Marcus, Or The Secret Of Sweet ** 1/2
42. Fela! on Bway with sub lead ** 1/2 but great choreography and would be fun with original lead
43. Brief Encounter at St. Ann's ***

CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS (Only the Cds I've listened to thoroughly and with a strong emphasis on the ones I like, so don't think I love everything I listen to -- I just don't bother really listening to the ones I don't like more than once and don't think it's fair to rate on a cursory listen)

1. Fleet Foxes -- Fleet Foxes ****
2. Elvin Bishop -- The Blues Rolls On ** 1/2
3. David Vandervelde -- Waiting For The Sunrise **
4. Lindsey Buckingham -- Gift Of Screws ** 1/2
5. Adele -- 19 ** 1/2
6. Various Artists -- The Baseball Project ** 1/2
7. King Wilkie -- Low Country Suite **
8. Mercury Rev -- Snowflake Midnight **
9. Various Artists -- New Orleans Funk Vol. 2 *** 1/2
10. The Wood Brothers -- Loaded **
11. British Sea Power -- Do You Like Rock Music? **
12. Brendan James -- The Day Is Brave *** (especially song "Green")
13. Sigur Ros -- Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endaluast ** 1/2
14. Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson -- Two Men With The Blues ****
15. Corey Chisel -- Cabin Ghosts EP ***
16. Bill Henderson -- Beautiful Memory: Live At The Vic *** 1/2
17. The Hush Sound -- Goodbye Blues ** 1/2
18. Catfish Haven -- Devastator **
19. Sierra Hull -- Secrets ** 1/2
20. Rhonda Vincent -- Good Thing Going ***
21. 10cc -- Sheet Music ** 1/2
22. Lizz Wright -- The Orchard ***
23. Rodney Crowell -- Sex and Gasoline *** 1/2
24. Van Dyke Parks -- Discover America ***
25. Bob Dylan -- New Morning ** 1/2
26. Bob Dylan -- Before The Flood *** 1/2
27. Bob Dylan -- Through This Life ***
28. Nanci Griffith -- The Loving Kind **
29. Charles Mingus -- Tijuana Moods ***
30. Neil Young -- After The Goldrush (remastered) ****
31. Regina Spektor -- Far *** 1/2
32. Rosanne Cash -- The List ***/
33. Ben Kweller -- Changing Horses ***
34. Neil Young-- Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere *** 1/2
35. Willie Nelson -- Naked ** 1/2
36. Willie Nelson -- Willie and The Wheel ***
37. Willie Nelson -- American Classic *** 1/2
38. Whiskeytown -- Strangers Almanac *** 1/2
39. Madeleine Peyroux -- Bare Bones *** 1/2
40. Joni Mitchell -- The Hissing Of Summer Lawns *** 1/2
41. Pearl Jam -- Ten remastered ***
42. Kelly Clarkson -- All I Ever Wanted **
43. M. Ward -- Hold Time *** 1/2
44. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs -- Under The Covers Vol. 2 *** 1/2
45. Randy Travis -- Ultimate Hits ** 1/2
46. Conor Oberst -- Conor Oberst ***/
47. Diana Jones -- Better Times Will Come ** 1/2
48. Dean Martin -- Country Style/Rides Again two-fer **
49. Neil Young -- Neil Young (remastered) *** 1/2
50. The Beatles Mono Boxed Set **** out of **** (but really *************!!)
51. Bobby Long -- Dirty Pond Songs **
52. The Dells Sing Dionne Warwick **
53. Prefab Sprout -- Let's Change The World With Music *** 1/2
54. Peggy Lee -- The Man I Love ***
55. The Duke and the King -- Duke and the King *
56. Elvis Costello -- Sugar Cane ***
57. Assembly Of Dust -- Some Assembly Required ** 1/2
58. Bobby Long -- Dirty Pond Songs *
59. Sondra Lerche -- Heartbeat Radio ** 1/2
60. M'shell Ndegeocello -- Devil's Halo ***
61. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- Speed Of Life ** 1/2
62. Paolo Nutini -- Sunny Side Up **
63. Patrick Watson -- Wooden Arms **
64. Pentangle -- Basket Of Light ***/
65. Phoenix -- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix ***
66. Steep Canyon Rangers -- Deep In The Shade ***
67. 7 Worlds Collide -- The Sun Came Out ***
68. Willis Alan Ramsey -- Willis Alan Ramsey *** 1/2
69. Vicki Emerson -- Long Ride **
70. Black Hollies -- Softly Towards The Light ***/
71. Frankie Negron -- Independence Day * 1/2
72. Elliott Brood -- Mountain Meadows ***/
73. James Hand -- Shadow On The Ground *** 1/2
74. Green Day -- 21st Century Breakdown *** 1/2
75. Ray Davies -- The Kinks Choral ***
76. The Family Force 5 * 1/2
77. Claire Lynch -- Whatcha Gonna Do ***
78. Black Crowes -- Before The Frost...Until The Freeze *** 1/2
79. Maxwell -- BLACKsummernights *** 1/2
80. Madness -- The Liberty Of Norton Folgate ** 1/2
81. Marshall Crenshaw -- Jaggedland ** 1/2
82. Kristina Train -- Spilled Milk *** 1/2
83. Best Of Fela Kuti ****
84. The Flatlanders -- Hills & Valleys ***
85. Ghost Is Dancing -- Battles on **
86. Gov't Mule -- By A Thread *
87. The Hot Club Of San Francisco -- Hot Club Cool Yule * 1/2
88. Hugh Masekala -- Phola *
89. Iron And Wine -- Around The Well ** 1/2
90. John Fogerty -- Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again ***
91. John Garrison -- Departures * 1/2
92. Various Artists -- Ciao My Shining Star: The Music Of Mark Mulcahy ***
93. Tori Amos -- Midwinter Graces *** 1/2
94. They Might Be Giants -- Here Comes Science ***
95. Sarah Lee Guthrie -- Go Waggaloo * 1/2
96. The Avett Brothers - I And Love And You *** 1/2
97. Super Furry Animals -- Dark Days ** 1/2
98. Various Artists -- Panama Vol 1 ** 1/2
99. Grizzly Bear -- Veckatimest ** 1/2
100. Brad Paisley -- American Saturday Night *** 1/2
101. Lyle Lovett -- Natural Forces ***/
102. Norah Jones -- The Fall ** 1/2
103. Kristen Chenoweth -- A Lively Way To Spend Christmas * 1/2
104. Allen Toussaint -- Bright Mississippi *** 1/2
105. Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam -- Coming Up For Air ** 1/2
106. Neko Case -- Middle Cyclone ***
107. Jay-Z -- The Blueprint 3 ***/
108. John Scofield -- Piety Street ***
109. U2 -- No Line On The Horizon ** 1/2
110. Bruce Springsteen -- Working On A Dream ** 1/2
111. Volcano Choir -- Unmap * 1/2
112. Animal Collective -- Meriweather Post Pavilion ***
113. Tom Russell -- Blood and Candle Smoke **
114. Bill Callahan -- Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle * 1/2
115. Alex McMurray -- How To Be A Cannonball ***
116. Jesse Winchester -- Love Filling Station *** 1/2
117. AA Bondy -- When The Devil's Loose ** 1/2
118. Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens -- What Have You Done. My Brother? ***
119. Miranda Lambert -- Revolution *** 1/2
120. John Stewart -- California Bloodlines *** 1/2
121. Rosemary Clooney -- Love *** 1/2/
122. Mika -- The Boy Who Knew Too Much *** 1/2
123. Wilco -- (the album) ***

Updated December 31, 2009.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two new profiles of Broadway stars

Two new features to enjoy. A profile of Tony winner Jim Norton of Finian's Rainbow and a profile of future Tony winner Bobby Steggert of Ragtime. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Popsurfing Radio Show Playlist: Family (12-11-09)

Here's the playlist for my latest Popsurfing radio show. It airs weekly on WEFT Champaign 90.1 fm on Thursday night/Friday morning from 1 am to 3 am. You can stream it live online at

You can download the episode on iTunes. Enjoy!

Wanna make a request? Here are some potential themes for upcoming shows. Feel free to email me with a request for one of your favorite songs that fits the theme and I'll try to fit it in.


December 17 -- holiday music
December 24 -- holiday music
December 31 -- drinking

PLAYLIST FOR FAMILY (airdate: 12-11-2009)


Perry Como “Papa Loves Mambo” from Two Family House

Vic Mizzy “The Addams Family (Theme)” from TV Guide 50 All-Time Favorite Themes

Adrian Belew “Oh Daddy” from Mr. Music Head

Paul Simon “Mother And Child Reunion” from Paul Simon

Bill Withers “Grandma's Hands” from Lean On Me: The Best Of Bill Withers

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “Grandpa Was A Carpenter” from Will The Circle Be Unbroken Trilogy

Jill Scott “Family Reunion” from Beautifully Human: Words And Sounds Vol. 2

Steely Dan “Babylon Sisters” from Gaucho

Dave Van Ronk “Sister Kate” from Two Sides Of Dave Van Ronk

The Smiths “Shakespeare's Sister” from The Sound Of The Smiths

Amanda Palmer “Runs In The Family” from Who Killed Amanda Palmer?

Brian Wilson “Child Is The Father Of The Man” from Smile

Lorraine Ellison “Sister Love” from Sister Love: The Warner Bros. Recordings

Carly Simon “Older Sister” from Carly Simon Anthology

Sufjan Stevens “Decatur, Or Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother” from Come On Feel The Illinoise!

Kris Kristofferson “Sister Sinead” from Closer to the Bone

SinĂ©ad O'Connor “This Is To Mother You” from Gospel Oak


The Louvin Brothers “The Family Who Prays” from Jesus' Son Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Fountains Of Wayne “Stacy's Mom” from Welcome Interstate Managers

John Hiatt “Your Dad Did” from Bring The Family

Loretta Lynn “Family Tree” from Van Lear Rose

The Everly Brothers “Wake Up Little Susie” from The Definitive Pop Collection

Kate & Anna McGarrigle “Kitty, Come Home” from Dancer With Bruised Knees

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “Will The Circle Be Unbroken Trilogy” from Will The Circle Be Unbroken Trilogy

Rosanne Cash “Motherless Children” from The List

Ernie K-Doe “Mother-In-Law” from Big Ol' Box Of New Orleans

RZA “Blood Thicker Than Mud "Family Affair"” from Afro Samurai: Resurrection

Langston Hughes “Mother To Son” from Poetry Speaks

Allen Toussaint “Soul Sister” from Life, Love And Faith

The Housemartins “He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother” from Now That's What I Call Quite Good

Woody Herman & His Orchestra “Four Brothers” from Blowin' Up A Storm: The Columbia Years 1945-1947

Rufus Wainwright “Little Sister” from Want Two

Lyle Lovett “Family Reserve” from Joshua Judges Ruth


Hank Williams “My Son Calls Another Man Daddy” from Hank Williams 40 Greatest Hits

Leonard Cohen “Sisters Of Mercy” from Songs Of Leonard Cohen

The Singing Nun “Dominique” from Dominique: The Singing Nun

Sister Rosetta Tharpe “Up Above My Head I Hear Music In The Air” from Red, White & Blues

Sister Gertrude Morgan “If You Live Like Jesus Told You” from Let's Make A Record

Kanye West “Family Business” from College Dropout

The Beatles “Mother Nature's Son” from The Beatles Mono Box Set

Robert Plant and Allison Kraus “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” from Raising Sand

Peggy Lee “Sisters” from Black Coffee: Best Of Decca Years

Nick Drake “Poor Mum” from Family Tree

Nino Rota “The Godfather Waltz” from The Godfather

Was, Not Was “Dad, I'm In Jail” from What Up, Dog?

The Smothers Brothers “My Old Man (live)” from The Folk Years: Yesterday's Gone

They Might Be Giants “My Brother, The Ape” from Here Comes Science

Horace Silver “Song For My Father” from Song For My Father

Antony & The Johnsons “You Are My Sister” from I Am A Bird Now

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Books A Gazillion: The Sample

It's quite hard to even GET info for what books are coming out each week, which makes doing a sample pick kind of bizarrely hard to do.

But here's February 22. These are not necessarily my top picks because I don't really have access to all the books coming out that week. So it's just an example of how it would work, not a genuine pick for that week. Also, of course, this has no resemblance to the layout. All you're getting here are the covers followed by the text that would go with them.

FEBRUARY 22, 2011


$24.95 hardcover
$26.37 audio
$9.99 e-book
496 pages; Algonquin

Our decree: Author James Evison made a name for himself with his debut novel All About Lulu. Now he leaps into the front ranks with this meaty historical epic that jumps back and forth from the late 1800s to 2006. At the heart of the tale is a dam west of Seattle: in one half of the book settlers build the dam to help their world flourish; in the other half people eagerly await its demolition. The canvas is vast -- covering everything from brothels and indigenous Americans (the luckless Klallam) to an ex-con and a drudge in a fish processing factory obsessed with Bigfoot -- and Evison looks up to the task. Could be one of the break-outs of the year.

From the publisher: Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington State’s rugged Pacific coast, West of Here is propelled by a story that both re-creates and celebrates the American experience—it is storytelling on the grandest scale. With one segment of the narrative focused on the town’s founders circa 1890 and another showing the lives of their descendants in 2006, the novel develops as a kind of conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past.

An exposition on the effects of time, on how something said or done in one generation keeps echoing through all the years that follow, and how mistakes keep happening and people keep on trying to be strong and brave and, most important, just and right, West of Here harks back to the work of such masters of Americana as Bret Harte, Edna Ferber, and Larry McMurtry, writers whose fiction turned history into myth and myth into a nation’s shared experience. It is a bold novel by a writer destined to become a major force in American literature.

About the author: Jonathan Evison is the author of All About Lulu, which won the Washington State Book Award. In 2009, he was the recipient of a Richard Buckley Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. He lives on an island in Western Washington.

$24.00 hardcover
$9.99 e-book
288 pages; Houghton Mifflin

Our decree: Hot on the heels of the game show face off on Jeopardy between two past (human) champs and Watson (the computer upstart) comes this highly entertaining look at the IBM team focused on developing a computer program that is more human than human. In the spirit of Tracy Kidder's The Soul of A New Machine, this isn't just a dry look at the state of the art in the digital realm but a fascinating look at the personalities involved and thought-provoking insights into what it means to be human. One amusing highlight is an annual contest between humans and computers where the author finds himself determined to convince online judges that he really is human and not just a simulation. Happily, Baker is crowned the Most Human Human at that event (beating out three other flesh and blood competitors for the honor). He brings the same humanity to create a very enjoyable look at artificial intelligence leavened with genuine intelligence and charm.

From the publisher: What if there were a computer that could answer virtually any question? IBM engineers are developing such a machine, teaching it to compete on the quiz show Jeopardy. Early next year, it will face off in a nationally televised match against two of the game’s greatest all-time winners, possibly including Ken Jennings. Stephen Baker’s Final Jeopardy carries readers on a captivating journey from the IBM labs to the showdown in Hollywood. The story features brilliant Ph.D.s, Hollywood moguls, knowledge-obsessed Jeopardy masters — and a very special collection of silicon and circuitry named Watson. It is a classic match of Man vs. Machine, not seen since Deep Blue bested chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov. But Watson will need to do more than churn through chess moves or find a relevant web page. It will have to understand language, including puns and irony, and master everything from history and literature to science, arts, and entertainment. At its heart, Final Jeopardy is about the future of knowledge. What can we teach machines? What will Watson’s heirs be capable of in ten or twenty years? And where does that leave humans? What will we need to know? As fast and fun as the game itself, Final Jeopardy shows how smart machines will fit into our world — and how they’ll disrupt it.

$25.95 hardcover
$29.95 audio
$12.84 e-book
400 pages; WW Norton & Company

Our decree: Some writers turn to brawling and boxing to prove they're real men despite a penchant for literary doings. Think Hemingway and Mailer. Others -- like Andre Dubus III - turn to writing because violence threatens to overwhelm them and they know real men don't need to draw blood. So, the best-selling author of the acclaimed novel House Of Sand And Fog turns to the memoir with two-fisted delight. Dubus details how his father and fellow writer left the family in near poverty. Dubus reacted not by diving into books but diving into fights, keeping his honor intact and his anger razor sharp with brutal brawls all throughout his teenage years in a small Massachusetts mill town. Already garnering great advance reviews.

From the publisher: An acclaimed novelist reflects on his violent past and a lifestyle that threatened to destroy him—until he was saved by writing. After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds couldn’t have been more stark—or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by becoming a writer himself could Andre begin to bridge the abyss and save himself. His memoir is a riveting, visceral, profound meditation on physical violence and the failures and triumphs of love.

About the author: Andre Dubus III is the author of Townie, The Garden of Last Days and House of Sand and Fog (an Oprah Book Club pick and a finalist for the National Book Award). He lives with his family north of Boston.

$24.95 paperback
e-book not available
600 pages; Wiley

Our decree:
Fantasy baseball fans have found this annual stats-fest an indispensable part of their draft strategy. This is the 16th edition of Baseball Prospectus and if the name Bill James makes you as starry-eyed as Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth and Shoeless Joe then you already want it. Their branded PECOTA system -- which projects a player's stats for the coming season -- is the niftiest spin on slicing and dicing statistics. But it also includes fresh essays on every team and analysis of the managers, players and prospects. Play (fantasy) ball? Not without this.

From the Publisher: The bestselling annual baseball preview from the smartest analysts in the business. The essential guide to the 2011 baseball season is on deck now, and whether you're a fan or fantasy player—or both—you won't be properly informed without it. Baseball Prospectus 2011 brings together an elite group of analysts to provide the definitive look at the upcoming season in critical essays and commentary on the thirty teams, their managers, and more than sixty players and prospects from each team.

$26.95 hardcover
$7.99 paperback
$12.99 e-book

Our decree: It's easy to take the prolific Nora Roberts for granted. She's never suffered from writer's block -- if anything, she suffers from writer's blockbuster, an ability to churn out so many bestsellers that no one has a chance to get a handle on her talent. Stephen King had the same problem for many years. Roberts may never equal his critical acclaim but her mash-up of romance and mystery via the "In Death" series is clever and this entry is receiving some of the best buzz in ages.

From the publisher: Detective Eve Dallas and her partner, Peabody, are following up on a senseless crime-an elderly grocery owner killed by three stoned punks for nothing more than kicks and snacks. This is Peabody's first case as primary detective-good thing she learned from the master. But Peabody soon stumbles upon a trickier situation. After a hard workout, she's all alone in the locker room when the gym door clatters open; and-while hiding inside a shower stall trying not to make a sound-she overhears two fellow officers, Garnet and Oberman, arguing. It doesn't take long to realize they're both crooked-guilty not just of corruption but of murder. Now Peabody, Eve, and Eve's husband, Roarke, are trying to get the hard evidence they need to bring the dirty cops down-knowing all the while that the two are willing to kill to keep their secret.

About the author: The In Death books are perpetual bestsellers, and frequently share the bestseller list with other Nora Roberts novels. J. D. Robb publishes two hardcover In Death books per year, with the occasional stand-alone original In Death story featured in an anthology. Thirty books and fifteen years later, there is no end in sight for the ever-popular In Death series.

$25.99 hardcover
$12.99 ebook
272 pages; Grand Central Publishing

Our decree:
Margaret Roach is well known for her acclaimed books on gardening as well as her work with Martha Stewart in many capacities. A Way To Garden alone made her name among the green-thumbed set. But Roach decided the endless whirl of responsibility was not a good thing and gave it all up. She retreated to upstate New York, turning her weekend getaway into her permanent home. This is the memoir of her first year there, a loose-limbed meander through daily trials and tribulations both with nature and her neighbors and herself.

From the book (an excerpt): "I was a 'big success,' people told me, but the secret I never spoke in reply or anytime was my belief that I had long ago given up on me—the one whom others, in equations of family, love, and work, relied upon—choosing the easy route over a path toward things they don’t necessarily pay you or pat you on the back for….

"If I was so successful, I wanted to say back to my best friend and my accountant and the guy who cuts my hair and everyone else lovingly offering praise all those years, then why had I pushpinned a cryptic note to myself on the kitchen wall, a plaintive shorthand list called ‘Tolerances,’ as in, how much can you tolerate of what for how long? Why were all my years-old diaries aching with phrases like the hit-by-car feelings of my workday and Where is my creativity? and that clincher, Who or what am I waiting for?"

About the author: Margaret Roach is the former garden editor of Newsday newspaper, and her 30-plus-year former career also included an editing stint at the New York Times. Today Roach lecture and teach about what she call "horticultural how-to and woo-woo," and help clients create websites on the WordPress platform. She can be found online at, the gardening blog called the best of the bunch by the New York Times.

$19.99 hardcover 112 pages; Marvel

Our decree: The first four issues in the Nemesis comic book series are brought together in this single volume. Mark Millar alone should be enough to draw you in: he's the creator of Civil War (a defining Marvel miniseries), not to mention hot properties like Wanted (turned into a so-so film starring Angelina Jolie) and Kick-Ass (turned into a hyper-violent and very funny movie co-starring Nicolas Cage). In this series, he's scrubbed the world clean of super heroes and super villains -- except for one, Nemesis, a Batman-like baddie who goes one on one against the world's greatest cop. For those who want to stay on top of the best in comics without trooping to their local store every week, this is a must have.

From the publisher: CIVIL WAR? Nothing. KICK-ASS? A warmup. What if the smartest, toughest costumed bad ass in the world was totally evil? Meet Nemesis. He's systematically been destroying the lives of every police chief in Asia, and he's now set his sights on Washington, DC. Between you and me, the police don't have a chance. Do not miss the book that EVERYONE will be talking about by the creative team that made CIVIL WAR the biggest book of the decade.

About the author: Mark Millar is one of comics' most commercially successful writers, his work includes Kick-Ass, Wanted, Nemesis and the bestselling Civil War and The Ultimates. Steve McNiven, Canadian comic book artist, gained his fame working on Marvel Knights 4, Ultimate Secret and New Avengers. Nemesis is his 3rd team-up with Mark Millar.

$34.95 hardcover 312 pages; Santa Monica Press

Our decree: If you just want an offbeat coffee-table book about Hollywood, this focus on MGM's backlot is ideal. But if you're a genuine movie buff and want some substance along with your photos, the text by Steven Bingen et al is absorbing. They cover MGM's backlot -- a world unto itself -- seemingly block by block, uncovering fascinating detail and bringing a fresh perspective on the art of moviemaking. Catnip for casual fans of Hollywood's glory days.

From the publisher: Going behind the scenes at one of Hollywood’s greatest movie studios, this extraordinary history reveals the untold story of the soundstages and outdoor sets where many of the world’s greatest films were produced. Featuring candid, previously unpublished photographs from the studio’s archives and exclusive interviews with actors and staff, this detailed exploration of MGM’s backlot—the setting for more than a fifth of the films produced prior to 1980—takes film buffs back to Hollywood’s golden age, offering an insider’s look at the movie business and celebrating many of its best films and the leading actors of the studio system. Today, when a film set can be anywhere at anytime, this treasure trove of information reveals the creativity and ingenuity of a bygone era when the studio system, coping with the limitations of space and technology, produced screen gems such as The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and the Our Gang shorts.

$25.99 hardcover $12.99 ebook 368 pages; Grand Central Life & Style

Our decree: Dr. Barnard continues his vegan proselytizing with this approach to a whole new life. No dieting as such: just smart cooking done at home with delicious fresh ingredients. Frankly, almost any lifestyle change that involves cooking with fresh ingredients (vegan or no) will dramatically improve your health versus feasting on processed foods and take-out. But Barnard -- seen on PBS regularly -- certainly makes the vegan life look tasty. With loads of celebrity and medical endorsements, he's certain to win over a few converts. Even if, like us, you enjoy a good steak, much in here can be savored.

From the publisher: For years, Dr. Neal D. Barnard has been at the forefront of cutting-edge research on what it really takes to lose weight and restore the body to optimal health. Now, with his proven, successful program, in just three short weeks you'll get fast results -- drop pounds, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve blood sugar, and more. With Dr. Barnard's advice on how to easily start a plant-based diet, you'll learn the secrets to reprogramming your body quickly.

About the author: Neal Barnard, MD is a clinical researcher, author, and health advocate. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and president of the nonprofit Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. He has been the principal investigator or coinvestigator on several clinical trials investigating the effects of diet on health. He is the author of several books and a frequent lecturer.

$50,00 hardcover
168pages; Hayward Publishing

Our decree:
A long overdue career retrospective of the provocative painter, sculptor and artist who has popped up everywhere from Andy Warhol's Factory to the world of Basquiat and Keith Haring and multiple Biennials to album covers for Kanye West and Phish.

From the publisher: Painter and sculptor George Condo (born 1957) has inhabited a broad swath of cultural contexts over his three-decade career, from the early-1980s East Village scene to a collaboration with William Burroughs to making album cover art for Phish and, most recently, Kanye West. Early in his career, Condo was friendly with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring and briefly worked at Andy Warhol's Factory. Having been included in the Whitney Biennial in 1987, by 2010 he was once again judged so original that a bronze sculpture of his was placed in that year's Biennial. Condo's loose, imaginative approach to portraiture has distinguished him throughout the decades: "There was a time when I realized that the central focal point of portraiture did not have to be representational in any way," he said in 1992. "You don't need to paint the body to show the truth about a character. All you need is the head and the hands." George Condo: Mental States surveys the artist's career from 1982 to the present day, focusing on his portrait paintings but also including a selection of sculptural busts made in materials such as gold and bronze. Organized by theme, and including 100 images of artworks in addition to writings by Will Self, David Means, Ralph Rugoff and Laura Hoptman, this volume explores Condo's relationship to art history, popular culture and contemporary society.

About the author: Ralph Rugoff is Director of the Hayward Gallery, London. Laura Hoptman is Senior Curator at the New Museum, New York. Will Self is a British writer whose books include My Idea of Fun (1993), Great Apes (1997), How the Dead Live (2000) and The Book of Dave (2007). David Means is an American writer, author of the short story collections Assorted Fire Events: Stories (2003) and The Secret Goldfish (2004).