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Amy Sedaris gets ‘Closer' to one of her favorite TV series

Rick Bentley
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

Amy Sedaris says she uses intuition all the time in her daily life. She seems to sense when things are going to happen. But she had no clue that a role was written for her by the people behind the cable series "The Closer." Her two-episode arc started at 9 p.m. EST Monday.

"I was just asked by my management which television shows I liked. And I do like 'The Closer.' Later, they told me the role was created for me," Sedaris says in a telephone interview. "I never saw myself in this kind of role because I never think I am good enough for any role. I am the kind of person who would talk you out of casting me."

Intuition aside, she got the guest-star role in an unpredictable way. It would have been natural to cast Sedaris as Kyra Sedgwick's sister. They sort of look like they could be related. And Sedaris is a native of North Carolina, so she would have no trouble with the Southern accent that Sedgwick uses on the show.

That would have been too easy. The writers went a different direction. Instead of playing the sister of Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson, Sedgwick's character, Sedaris portrays Claire, the sister of Johnson's fiance, FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney).

"They thought it would be interesting that Claire looks like Brenda," Sedaris says.

Sedaris didn't see the role coming. So much for intuition. But as soon as the part was offered, she embraced it. That's because she is a fan of Sedgwick and television mysteries. And she has appeared on mystery-crime shows such "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

While she enjoyed the role on "SVU," she feels more comfortable in detective series such as "The Closer" and "Monk." Those programs allow her to show the comedy skills she honed while part of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe.

Comedy skills came in handy with "The Closer" role. Sedaris' character fancies herself a psychic, so she's a bit eccentric and goofy.

The "Closer" gig is just the latest job for the busy actress. She has appeared in numerous films - "Gym Teacher," "Snow Angels" and "Shrek 3" - and television shows from "Sesame Street" to "Rescue Me."

Sedaris says there's a chance she might return for another appearance on "The Closer."

"I don't die," she says of her character on the two-episode story.

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

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Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

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From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

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Despite the uninspired packaging in this complete series set, Friday Night Lights remains an outstanding TV show; one of the best in the current golden age of television.

There are few series that have earned such universal acclaim as Friday Night Lights (2006-2011). This show unreservedly deserves the praise -- and the well-earned Emmy. Ostensibly about a high school football team in Dillon, Texas—headed by a brand new coach—the series is more about community than sports. Though there's certainly plenty of football-related storylines, the heart of the show is the Taylor family, their personal relationships, and the relationships of those around them.

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Mixing some bland "alternate" and "film" versions of Whitney Houston's six songs included on The Bodyguard with exemplary live cuts, this latest posthumous collection for the singer focuses on pleasing hardcore fans and virtually no one else.

No matter how much it gets talked about, dissected, dismissed, or lionized, it's still damn near impossible to oversell the impact of Whitney Houston's rendition of "I Will Always Love You".

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