A Capital anticipations list: The secrets of getting into the Portlandia tour show, record shopping in Princeton, Himalayan Yak
Each week, Capital's editors and writers will offer a list of the events, activities, releases and personal obsessions that we are looking forward to during the next week. Here is a list of our anticipations.
Dardenne films, David Cronenberg, "Portlandia," Shuffle.Play.Listen, an ex-Dead member's show
Gabe: Through this month and into next the IFC Center is focusing on the films of Belgium's Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre and Luc), a miraculous cinematic team whose films are defiantly unflashy and unsentimental yet suffused with intense human drama. They're all worth seeing (and their latest, The Kid With the Bike, opening in March, is one of the movies that I've thought about the most that I've seen in the past few months), but I was excited to see that IFC is including one of the Dardenne's rarely screened early documentary films, For the War to End, the Walls Should Have Crumbled, With Lessons From a University on the Fly. They apparently made a raft of documentaries before going into narrative film, and I'm curious to see what techniques they might have brought over with them. On Saturday director David Cronenberg stops by the Museum of the Moving Image to talk about his films, all of which are screening at the museum this month and next; my pick: Videodrome.
The new season of "Portlandia" recently started (I've only seen the first episode but thought it was great), and the show's cast (Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein) is coming through town on a neat little promotional tour, hitting the Bowery Ballroom on Saturday. Sold out but there's always a way. And yes, you can pickle that. On Sunday Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O'Riley meet at the Highline to recreate Shuffle.Play.Listen, the double-album on which they collaborated last year. The project is a continuation of O'Riley's ongoing project of melding classical and pop vernaculars, so expect rocking takes on the likes of Stravinsky and Janacek and classical spins on Radiohead and Arcade Fire.
I was not a fan of the Grateful Dead when I was younger. Yet as I get older I find more, much more to like about the band. (I'd class them up there with Dylan, The Band, Creedence, and other late-'60s bands who rediscovered and reinvigorated the baggy genre we call Americana.) Deadheads know plenty about Donna, and will happily rattle off their favorite of her contributions to the pantheon. But even for non-fanatics, Donna Jean Godchaux (playing at Iridium on Wednesday), who was a vocalist of the band for much of the '70s, is worth getting to know. Born in Muscle Shoals, Ala., (yes, she's actually from there!) Godchaux was a house backup singer at the town's legendary recording studio, as well as at Fame Studios, and her voice graced such tracks as Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and Boz Scagg’s self-titled debut album. After the Dead Godchaux had a number of musical projects, and now leads her own band, which you can be certain will bring all that great musical history (and a whole lot of Dead tunes) to bear.
Record shopping at "P.REX" and drinking at the Triumph Brewing Co. in Princeton
Joe: My tentative plans this weekend involve a day trip to Princeton. It's been a semi-regular pilgrimage for me ever since I was in college in nearby New Brunswick, but one that I've been making with a decreasing degree of regularity in recent years, unfortunately. Most of the drive down Rte. 27 is pleasant, bordering on idyllic the closer you get to the leafy historic township at the center of New Jersey. The main attraction is always the Princeton Record Exchange (or "P.REX," as the cool kids call it), which is arguably the most reasonably priced, reliably prolific and least pretentious record store of any that exist from Philly to New York. But there's also Triumph Brewing Co., one of the oldest brewpubs in the state, right around the corner. If you ever decide to make this excursion (and you should!), you'll find that a cozy bar with a delectable seven-beer sampler is just what you need after spending several hours rifling through dusty vinyl.
Himalayan Yak in Jackson Heights
Dana: I'm dining in Jackson Heights on Friday. This will surprise no one, but Jackson Heights reminds me a lot of India, which is the main reason I like going there. So it's a pity that I have yet to find a sit-down Indian restaurant that's anything special. No matter how much people fawn over it, Jackson Diner is good, but not that good. So this time, I'm thinking we'll eat at Himalayan Yak. The Daily News called the restaurant's food "delicious," which may or may not mean something. The online reviews are kind of mixed. On Chowhound, one reviewer described the food as "yakky," a description refuted by some fans of the restaurant, including one who particularly enjoyed the beef stomach, which I will not be trying.
Unrelated, I'll spend about 30 minutes this weekend repotting this beautiful indoor tree—I think it's a Norway spruce—which I only belatedly discovered my cat has been using as a litter box.
Gillian: This weekend is apparently about disturbance.
The plan was to see the Jeff Keen retrospective at the Elizabeth Dee Gallery as a gutteral kick to the senses, soothed afterward by chocolate dessert at Blossom. But there's a "wintry mix" on the way, according to Pat Kiernan. If it ends up being snow, a precipitation I love, I'll still make the trek from Brooklyn to Chelsea. But I'm particularly grumpy about slush falling from the sky, so it's possible it will be a Netflix afternoon, featuring The Black Power Mixtape. I'll also probably try making this Honey Baked Lentils recipe I've been eyeing.
On Sunday, Pissed Jeans, Allentown Pennsylvania's bizzaro punk kings, will be playing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg with Pop 1280 and Project-U. Fair warning: their lazy, snotty punk, featuring inevitably shirtless lead singer Matt Korvette convulsing and flopping against the microphone, is an acquired taste but worth it for the visual stimulation.
Earlier in the afternoon on Sunday, "Saturday Night Live" alum Rachel Dratch and other female comedians will perform pieces written by women in Afghanistan at Brooklyn's Magic Futurebox, as part of the Afghan Women's Writing Project. According to the site's description of the performance, "You will experience the isolation of storytelling for women in Afghanistan. Each performer, in a small, sectioned off space of her own, will delight and inspire you with various poetry pieces." Tickets cost $15-$30 and all proceeds go towards supporting AWWP and its women writers in Afghanistan.