Have you got a friend who acts like the biggest sports know-it-all? The one who claims to know every stat in the book and who wields this knowledge like an intimidating weapon, or wears it with a sense of gleeful self-importance? Call their bluff with this new board game from ESPN. This is Trivial Pursuit for sports geeks of the first order. With a 24-second shot clock counting down on answering questions, the pressure is on, as players must answer all manner of question from “rookie” to “pro” level. The “rookie” questions are more like the sort you may encounter in Trivial Pursuit, so beware those “pro” questions, or spring them on the know-it-all to bring them down a peg or two.
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Forget about the noted indie director—this is the original medium manipulator. Let’s face it, anyone who stands as one of elusive author Thomas Pynchon’s favorite artist has to be something pretty special. Deconstructing Tin Pan Alley classics with a cacophony of found noises and non-musical accompaniment (Gunshots? Train whistles?), the bandleader and cultural critic was like Mitch Miller without the tired traditionalism. Today, he’s a forgotten footnote in the otherwise recognizable novelty song sect. Thankfully, this DVD presentation provides testimonials from those he’s influenced (Weird Al Yankovic) as well as a chance to see the man in his manic element.
Here’s the scene: a fully decorated Christmas tree, a crackling fireplace flickering in the reflection of a champagne glass, red and white stockings and candy canes over the mantel, a smile from the one you love. Luther Vandross sets the mood with “Please Come Home for Christmas”, followed by Faith Evans jamming to “Santa Baby” and Marvin Gaye with “I Want to Come Home for Christmas”. Slow Jams for Christmas is a joyous, slow-cooking romance-fest that works out very much like an R&B mixtape. It’s quite a treat: 20 songs on a single disc representing five decades of music, from the ‘60s (Nancy Wilson’s “What Are You Doing For New Year’s Eve?”) and ‘70s (“This Christmas” by the Whispers) to 2005 (“Merry Christmas, Darling” by Vanessa Williams). It’s probably the type of album you’d see advertised on a late night infomercial (“Order now, and we’ll throw in this champagne bottle opener!”). But the artists are the draw, with recordings of disparate styles and voices pulled together in a “One Christmas Under a Groove” sort of way. Dianne Reeves absolutely nails “Christmas Time is Here”. Other highlights are Boyz II Men’s ever-popular “Let It Snow”, which plays well year round, as well as Babyface’s medley of “It Came Upon a Midnight/The First Noel”. Toward the middle, the soul vibe dominates, culminating in selections from Al Green, Bobby Womack, Lou Rawls, and Freddie Jackson at the back end. Sweet and marvelous.
Contemporary comics anthologies like the Chris Ware-edited Best American Comics 2007 offer a tempting number of opportunities to make sweeping statements about the nascence of the medium, the prospect of the graphic novel ascending as the new art form of the 21st century, and the possibilities lying before its preeminent artists. Yet Ware’s anthology lends itself better to this kind of self-indulgence than most. More than any other comics anthology compiled thus far, it feels like a genuine effort to craft a truly comprehensive picture of comics as they are today, with a gentle nudging towards the various directions they could possibly go.
Every once in a while, a true gem is unearthed from the mines of musical history. This debut is one such excavation, though archaeologists might have trouble dating the contents which, on first hearing, seem to be the aural equivalent of retro-futurist designs done on an Etch-a-Sketch. Originally released in 1980, the album is conjured from a slim palette and adheres to a stripped-to-the-bone ideal of sound, yet it is close to perfection. It is hard to recall any other album to which the terms “pastoral” and “neon” could be simultaneously applied.
// Moving Pixels
"The Fall raises questions about the self and personal identity by considering how an artificial intelligence governs itself.READ the article