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Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008

Vicky and Cristina Abroad

For the fourth in a series of films made outside of his beloved New York, Woody Allen moves from Great Britain to sunnier climes. Set in Spain, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is an ocean away from his mature Manhattan comedies geographically, but emotionally it might as well be just across the Hudson. A rueful examination of love, desire and the impossibility of achieving happiness, VCB unfolds in a dreamy Europe where everyone is a poet or a thinker and great conversations spark to life around copious glasses of wine even in the humblest cafs.
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008

Clichs, Chills and Gore

Asia has become fertile ground for horror films. A steady parade of such movies from the Far East have been poached by Hollywood, gutted of their subtlety in clumsy adaptations and pushed into multiplexes, mostly to little acclaim. Remade from a recent South Korean film, Mirrors is the latest among the mediocre-bad attempts to transpose an Asian supernatural sensibility into an American popcorn flick. Kiefer Sutherland stars as Ben, a troubled ex-NYPD detective relieved of duty following a fatal shooting. Popping prescription medication to fight his alcoholic
Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

Introducing Hanggai (World Music Network)

Hanggai's leader got his start in a punk rock band as the Chinese Communist system loosened up. Later he turned to the traditional instruments of his Inner Mongolian homeland, including the horsehair fiddle and the two-stringed lute, and began singing his ancestral songs in overtones close to the famed . . .
Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

(Amadeus Press), by John Bell Young

Concert pianist and critic John Bell Young sets out to describe and explain Beethoven's nine symphonies with minimal technical jargon. His Guided Tour largely succeeds. Young offers solid summations of the structure, emotional content and intellectual background of each symphony. He also touches on subjects as various as Beethoven's celebrity status, the role of conductors in interpreting the score, the political backdrop . . .
Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

Life in the jungle of love

How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo, co-author of He's Just Not That Into You, is a book that attempts to tackle the massive conundrum of single life for women: It's important to be happy while single, but who wants to spend time working on being happy and single when you can spend time finding a man to make you happy? And that, quite frankly, is the downfall of this book for me, though it might serve as satisfying chick-lit for the masses. Tuccillo, one of HBO's Emmy Award-winning executive story editor's for "Sex and the City," puts her personal spin on the single . . .
Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008

Tonight @ Shank Hall - 8 p.m.

Like many modern Irish bands, Minneapolis’ Boiled In Lead views the traditional sounds of the old country as merely a starting point, often burying their Celtic motifs behind a grinding lead guitar. Although hometown critics have dubbed them Irish folk-punk, their 2008 album, Sliver, actually owed more to progressive . . .
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Silver (Omnium)

Boiled in Lead may be a rock band steeped in Irish tradition, but it would be hard to mistake them for The Pogues, Black 47 or most other bands that proudly wear the green. The Minneapolis group forged its own links between pub music, rock 'n' roll and Anglo-Celtic folk, coming closer to Fairport Convention at a rowdy. . .
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Early Tracks Vol. I

Before his death in 2003, Howie Epstein played in bands with John Hiatt and Tom Petty and on recordings by Bob Dylan, John Prine and many others. He has a pre-history few people remember. Before leaving Milwaukee in the mid-'70s, Epstein sharpened his skills with local groups such as The Craze and Forearm . . .
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Nest of Storms (Crimsonic)

Racinebassist William Kopecky may be spending time in France these days, but he left behind Nest of Storms, the second release from Yeti Rain, a dark and ambient duo that Kopecky formed with wind-synthesizer wiz Roger Ebner. At times almost orchestral in nature . . .
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Long Time Coming (Blind Pig)

Vocalist Nappy Brown's recent CD is appropriately titled, as it's been years since he released an album. But Brown is back, following the encouragement of Muddy Waters Blues Band's Bob Margolin to tour and record again. Long Time Coming includes many well-known musicians, including guitarists Margolin . . .