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Tuesday, Dec 4, 2007

MySims didn’t quite translate to the Wii—when you are sitting down in your living room to play a game, you want something more than a time killer. For a portable platform, however, the cutesy style and the oddly addicting gameplay of MySims is perfect. Sure, if you sit down and devote more than an hour to it, you may well start to wonder what the point of all this walking around, planting flowers, and decorating your house is, but for the purpose of bus rides, passenger day in the carpool, or even a fun way to kill ten minutes, it’s wonderful. For one, the mini-games are actually quite difficult to achieve gold medals in, and those who mean to master the game will have to be pretty nimble with the DS stylus. It’s easy to want to come back and give lei-making one more go for the sake of that gold medal. For two, kids seriously dig it. Buy enough stuff for your virtual house, and young children could spend hours decorating, and have a great time doing it. It sounds like a cliché, but it really is a fun little game that the whole family can enjoy.


MySims - Trailer



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Tuesday, Dec 4, 2007

Pop culture often conditions us in subliminal ways that we fail to recognize until confronted with evidence of this conditioning. Music may be the area where we are most conditioned, expecting certain accoutrements to bedeck specific genres. That’s where SoCalled (AKA - Josh Dolgin) comes in and blows even the most conditioned and jaded music listener’s preconceived notions to smithereens. Having dabbled in newspaper journalism and as a cartoonist, magician, and musician with an involvement in a wide range of genres including hip-hop, salsa, grock, and gospel, Josh Dolgin is a renaissance man in the truest sense of the word. Armed with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a deep appreciation for his Jewish heritage, Dolgin reinvents the stagnant genre expectations of hip-hop and the traditional style of Klezmer by splicing the two together on Ghettoblaster, making use of his varied experience in a multitude of musical fields.


SoCalled - (These Are) The Good Old Days



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Tuesday, Dec 4, 2007

How lucky are we film fans? In the span of less than eight months, we’ve been able to finally get our hands on the entire output from one of avant-garde filmmaking’s most revered names. There’re all here—from the homoerotic horror of Fireworks to the seminal Scorpio and Lucifer Rising—and they’ve never looked better. With a restoration overseen by Anger himself, and a collection of added context that helps to explain his importance, we finally see that there was more to this man than his craven collections of Tinsel Town tawdriness, Hollywood Babylon.  He stands as a true outsider artist.


The Films of Kenneth Anger Vol. 1 - Trailer



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Tuesday, Dec 4, 2007

First Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, now this. In The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Michael Chabon finally unleashes the genre storyspinner who has been lurking inside him all these years. In the past, Chabon has used his love of genre as inspiration for well-crafted literary fiction, whether it was H. P. Lovecraft (Wonder Boys) or Golden Era comics (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay). But this is the first time—excepting his so-so Sherlock Holmes pastiche The Final Solution or that comic serial he’s been writing for the New York Times—that he’s really just dove right in and told an entire novel, one worthy of ranking with his best, from a perspective that might not be so welcome on the genteel fiction pages of The New Yorker.


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Tuesday, Dec 4, 2007

Tony Bennett is a classic, and this latest reissue of his Christmas album Snowfall does nothing to hurt, nor particularly enhance, that reputation. Originally released in 1968, Snowfall is a lovely bit of crooning, running the gamut from the joyous (“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”) to the reflective (“Snowfall”). The addition of a couple of those peripherally-related songs that weren’t actually meant as Christmas songs but have come to be known as such, like “My Favorite Things” and “Where is Love” add a little bit of variety, and the whole thing is over in half an hour, before Bennett’s excessive vibrato and slippery style has a chance to grate on you. This 2007 reissue adds a bonus DVD with a few selections from the long out-of-print video Tony Bennett: A Family Christmas, though generally, the visuals don’t add too much to Bennett’s distinctive stylings. The DVD could only be called essential if you’re an archivist. Still, if a previous iteration of Snowfall has never found its way into your Christmas collection, now’s as good a time as any to correct that little oversight.


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