Television

Shooting Stars - Vic and Bob Return

Those masters of the surreal, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, are back for another series of the BBC panel show. Celebrities, get ready to run for the hills...

The team captains may have changed (again) and George Dawes may no longer be giving the scores, but the level of crazy remains the same. Since its first appearance on UK screens in 1993, Shooting Stars has baffled and terrified its many celebrity guests, from an utterly confused Larry Hagman to the remarkably easygoing Curtis Stigers.

Reeves and Mortimer, arguably the most influential double act on the British comedy scene, manage the mayhem in their role as quizmasters. They're aided and abetted in the current series by legendary curmudgeon Jack Dee and long-suffering Ulrika Jonsson, the only survivor from the original team. Angelos Epithemiou (comedian Dan Skinner) has kept score since Matt Lucas finally left his role as the iconic overgrown baby, George Dawes. Hapless contestants must endure the nonsensical clip round, beckon the Dove From Above and attempt to decipher Reeves's unintelligible club singer turn.

The eight series' many highlights so far include the high quality productions of the Sunderland Independent Film Corporation. If you've ever wondered how a Northern English version of the Incredible Hulk would have worked out, wonder no longer...

The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (By the Book)

With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.

Susan A. Phillips
Books

The 10 Best Indie Pop Albums of 2009

Indie pop in 2009 was about all young energy and autumnal melancholy, about the rush you feel when you first hear an exciting new band, and the bittersweet feeling you get when your favorite band calls it quits.

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