Album: The Wild Artist: Kris Delmhorst Release Date: September 22, 2017 Favorite Tracks: Thoughts: I’ve been following Delmhort’s career for years (decades, actually!) and while she’s no stranger to the ballad, her albums usually have a fair share of raucous, upbeat tunes as well. The Wild finds her in a more contemplative mood as every track slow, emphasizing her voice and introspective lyrics, with a touch of a country twang. It may not be up there with my favorite Delmhorst recordings, but it’s still pretty darn good. Rating: ***1/2
Title: Master of None Release Dates: 2017 Season: 2 Number of Episodes: 10 Summary/Review:
The second season of Aziz Ansari’s sitcom/romantic comedy/social satire picks up where the previous season left off and continues with the laughs and impresses with the experimental approaches to television. Following up on the season 1 cliffhanger where Dev went to Italy to study pasta making, the first two episodes are set in Modena and the opening episode is filmed in black & white and stylized like a classic Italian film. These episodes introduce Francesca, a new love interest for Dev, complicated because she is engaged to someone else. This story plays out over the course of the season culminating in the hour-long final episode “Buona Notte” which is almost like a feature film. In between there are episodes focusing on religion, Dev’s dating life, and Dev’s unhappiness as the host of a cupcake cooking competition reality show and efforts to create something new with celebrity chef and producer Jeff. A couple of episodes stand out, and both rely on the talents of the supporting cast and guest stars. First, is “Thanksgiving” which starts with Dev & his friend Denise as children, and Dev attending her family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Over the years, Denise comes out to her family and then begins bringing her dates to Thanksgiving as well. It’s an amazing, heartwarming story and features Angela Bassett as Denise’s mother. My favorite episode of the season is “New York, I Love You” which is built on the conceit that the incidental characters we see in tv shows and movies have fascinating lives of their own. In 30 minutes we see a doorman named Eddie struggling with difficult tenants, a deaf woman named Maya who works in a corner store argues with her boyfriend about her unsatisfactory sex life (this segment has no sound), and Samuel, a Burundian immigrant who drives a taxi, tries to enjoy a night out clubbing with his friends. I would watch a spinoff series about any of these characters! Overall, Master of None is a well-acted, well-written, thoughtful, and hilarious show.
Author: Amy Gettinger Title: Roll with the Punches Publication Info: Raucous Eucalyptus Press (2015) Summary/Review:
I read this book as an attempt to read something I wouldn’t usually read after seeing it in a Kindle deals email and thinking “I’ve never read a romance novel based around roller derby.” Turns out that this novel is actually about an aspiring author, Rhonda, who has discovered that her novel was stolen and published by a popular novelist and she is now being accused of plagiarism. Also, her mother is in the hospital and she has to take care of her father who is suffering from dementia. And there are two men in her life with whom she has romantic feelings: James, a handsome young tech geek from her writers’ group, and Dal, a former student of her fathers. Also, Dal is Native American so there are a lot of uncomfortable Indian joke. And there is a roller derby plot squished in there although it doesn’t seem to fit in with everything going especially since the roller derby team also doubles as another writer’s support group. Whew! I was curious about the mystery of who stole the manuscript so I read to the end, but ultimately was disappointed by the increasingly ludicrous situations, the two-dimensional nature of most of the supporting characters, and the unlikely way all these different things overlapped in Rhonda’s life.
Recommended books: Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin Rating: **