5:37 pm Mar. 22, 2012
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.
Widowspeak, Federal, Al Stewart
Gabe: There's a raft of great concerts this week as musicians make their way out of Austin following South by Southwest. The two I'm most excited about aren't rare appearances, not really. Brooklyn band Widowspeak plays Saturday at Death by Audio. The band captures a kind of dark, dusty, desperate sound that I think of as very American, like the high lonesome sound taken higher and lonesomer than ever, but that's been mined best by foreign bands (Sons & Daughters, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Birthday Party). Singer Molly Hamilton keeps getting compared to Hope Sandoval, but really the band has more in common with Dave Roback's pre-Mazzy Star outfit Opal, as well as the Dream Syndicate and some of the other Paisley Underground bands. Widowspeak gets better and better, and is certainly worth a listen. At Carnegie Hall the same night the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra collaborates with local mandolinist Chris Thile on a program American to the core, with works by Leonard Bernstein, Thile, Clint Needham, and Aaron Copland.
Also Saturday at the Museum of the Moving Image one of my favorite things—endurance cinema!—rears its head in the form of Federal, a 24-hour, twin-screen film by conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll, which is just static shots of the north and south facades of the Federal Building in Los Angeles, shot for an entire day in 2003. Inspired by Andy Warhol's famed Empire, Federal isn't just a copycat. Notions of what surveillance, government bureaucracy, and the power imbued to federal buildings in the post-9/11 era suffuse the slowly shifting scenes. Drop in, watch the light shift, think about stuff, or camp out for the whole thing. It's bound to be a cinephile scene.
I'm excited about seeing a show by one of my all-time favorites, Al Stewart. I swear there's no irony at all in my love for his peak-period hits like "Year of the Cat" and "Time Passages," but I've long been a fan of his earlier, more folk-inflected material from albums like Zero She Flies and Love Chronicles too. As far as rock cred goes, he played on Jackson C. Frank's debut and his first few albums featured guest spots from Jimmy Page, Richard Thompson and Rick Wakeman. Also he played the first ever Glastonbury Festival. Certainly his late-'70s music (much of it produced by Alan Parsons!) is soft rock and no mistake, but he's also as fine a songwriter as you'll find.
Hunger Games, the third book
Josh: This weekend I'm planning to read the third book in a trilogy called The Hunger Games. It's ... Oh, you've heard of it?
Actually my wife is obsessed with the books and saw the movie and now wants me to read the books and then go to the movies with her so she can see it again. So I've read the first two, about two years after everyone else did, and now I'm into the home stretch. I hope Katniss wins.
Related: I may also rewatch this TV segment about the movie, which features a rare interview with my friend Sara Vilkomerson.
Azi: I'm heading to an undisclosed location next week as part of my research into Mario Cuomo's minor league baseball career.
While in transit, I'm planning to read Peter Maas' book Serpico, about the New York Police Department officer who blew the whistle on widespread police corruption in the 1970s. The movie about him starred a young, shaggy-haired Al Pacino.
The department, and New York, has changed a lot since then. But the history seems relevant right now, amid a steadily louder debate over whether the county's largest police force needs more outside monitoring, prompted by objections to stop-and-frisk tactics, surveillance of Muslims along the East coast, and the arrests of several police officers for various crimes including smuggling and sexual assault.
The Borgata, redux
Joe: Recently in this space, I've written about a Travelzoo deal and a trip to The Borgata. This week, I combine the two, by writing about a Travelzoo deal for a trip to The Borgata. It was $159 (Sunday-Thursday only), and we get a king-size room, a three-course dinner at Wolfgang Puck, comedy show tickets (yours if you want 'em!) and a $25 slot credit. Plus it's supposed to be raining and in the low-50s on Sunday, so what better place to be than in a luxury Atlantic City casino resort where you lose track of time and weather? I also just sort of love the place: The mix of trashy and fancy. The view of the ocean and marshes from the top floors. The female-fronted cover band that was playing "Boys of Summer" last time I was there. As for Saturday night's plans, am I the only one who's going to a "Mad Men" party this weekend?
"Luther" on Netflix
Dana: It's hard not to adore Idris Elba as "Luther", the homicide detective in the British crime serial of the same name. Elba played "Stringer Bell," the nefarious yet somehow also quite relatable drug kingpin in "The Wire." His Luther character is like a Stringer Bell with ethics, and a big, tortured heart. Netflix recently put up a bunch of new episodes, so I'll be spending at least a couple of hours this weekend watching Luther outwit creepy murderous villains on the mean streets of London.
The Shanty for stories
Gillian: The EMP Pop Conference: Sound of the City at N.Y.U. is going to be a lot of fun this weekend. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to most of the amazing panels hosted by friends and other really smart people. But I am hoping to make it to the closing party on Sunday night, where some talented people will be DJing.
On Monday I will be at The Shanty in Williamsburg reading a story about the first beer I ever drank. I shotgunned it at a pig roast on a cow farm I was working on the summer I turned 14. [ed. note: Gillian is from Massachusetts.] The event is a benefit for Girls Write Now, in honor of Women's History Month, and will feature specialty cocktails with honey liqueur and "Dorothy Parker American Gin," designed by a group called the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. I'm a volunteer at GWN, and I'm glad in this case that the girl I am mentoring is too young to attend.