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Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014
Holiday horrors come in all cinematic shapes and sizes. Here are ten terrible titles destined to put the "Oh No No," not the "Ho Ho Ho" into your yuletide season.

Christmas—or, in the more PC vernacular, the holiday which occurs sometime in December—is supposed to be a celebration of peace on Earth and goodwill to all humanity. Instead, it usually ends up being a nightmare of unbridled commercialism, long retail shopping lines, endless fattening foodstuffs, and a reminder why you don’t spend more time with your family the other 364 days/11 months out of the year. It’s also a trying time for people suffering with depression, as suicide rates seem to escalate along with partygoers cholesterol and diabetes rates. Part of the problem is entertainment oriented. There are lots of wonderful songs, TV shows, plays, and films which expertly capture the yuletide spirit. But for every classic, for every A Christmas Carol or “White Christmas”, there’s an ‘RXmas or a “Mary, Have You Heard”.p


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Monday, Dec 22, 2014
The Italian oddity Werewolf Woman has all the lunacy and nudity you'd want from such a title, plus a little meat on its bones.

Werewolf Woman opens with a sequence calculated to have exploitation fans lining up at the box office, as they apparently did in Italy at least. A couple of centuries ago, a furry woman with huge black nipples rolls around growling. She stalks a handsome torch-wielding villager before she’s finally burned at the stake. But wait—it’s all a dream! Our confused heroine Daniela (Annick Borel) wonders if she’s the reincarnation of this spitting-image ancestor, or rather drooling image, and we seem to be in well-trodden horror territory of the kind explored in Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, especially when Daniela recognizes her hunky sideburned brother-in-law as another reincarnation from her dream.


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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
With Jewish Soul Food Israeli Food Writer Janna Gur tries to create a "greatest hits from our Jewish Grandmothers." Only the grandmothers aren't around to help.

With Jewish Soul Food, Israeli food editor and cookbook author Janna Gur hoped to create “a kind of greatest hits from our Jewish grandmothers.” Yet a book about Jewish soul food was problematic, for the very people who produced these iconic dishes—the bubbes (plural Yiddish for grandmother) were no longer available for consultation. Theirs was a generation that cooked by hand and eye, writing nothing down. Their grandchildren, now adults, want to recreate the meals of their childhoods but cannot. Nobody knows how. The recipes, sadly, died with the grandmothers.


Gur’s exact words are: “the grandmother is gone.” In the case of Jewish Soul Food, this is a mixed blessing. Good because no Ashkenazi grandmothers are around to shri (shriek) at the liberties Gur takes with classic recipes. Bad because they aren’t around to set her straight.


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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
Stephen Trask, co-creator of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Tits of Clay and some special guests played a benefit for Road Recovery, that doubled as a celebration for the reopening of Don Hill's venue.

The original Don Hill’s venue was essentially were Hedwig and the Angry Inch was born. Co-creators Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell conceived of their musical at the venue’s weekly Squeezebox parties. But Don Hill’s closed in 2011, before the reincarnation of Hedwig on Broadway earlier this year. But the legendary venue has just been revived as The Hills NYC and, as one of the first events in the space, this show was a “benefit for Road Recovery, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to helping young people battle addiction and other adversities by harnessing the influence of entertainment industry professionals who have confronted similar crises and now wish to share their experience, knowledge, and resources”. The organization invited the current Hedwig band, Tits of Clay with the current Broadway star Michael C. Hall and co-creator Stephen Trask for the performance along with some special guests.


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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
Folk musician Kristin Andreassen's new album, Gondolier, out in February, features contributions from Aoife O'Donovan and members of Punch Brothers. Stream the delicate "The New Ground" here first.

With a résumé including membership in two bands (Uncle Earl and Sometymes Why), a stint on A Prarie Home Companion, and recording with Sufjan Stevens, Kristin Andreassen has already well proven her musical chops. She also displays them quite well on her 2006 solo debut Kiss Me Hello. Now, Andreassen is preparing for the release of her sophomore studio LP, Gondolier, in early 2015. Below you can stream the tender folk of “The New Ground”, a warm introduction to the music that is to come on the album.


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