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Fey sweeps up at the Emmys

Hal Boedeker
The Orlando Sentinel (MCT)

Tina Fey is Emmy's new golden girl.

NBC's "30 Rock," which she created, was named top comedy series at the 60th annual awards Sunday night. Fey won top comedy actress and writer.

Fey thanked her parents "for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done. That is what all parents should do."

Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock" was named outstanding comedy actor. "This is the greatest job I've ever had in my life," he said.

AMC's "Mad Men" was honored as best drama series. The top drama acting prizes went to Glenn Close of FX's "Damages" and Bryan Cranston of AMC's "Breaking Bad."

The night's other big winner was HBO's "John Adams," which received statuettes for miniseries, writing, lead actor Paul Giamatti, lead actress Laura Linney and supporting actor Tom Wilkinson.

"I'm living proof that anybody can play the president," said Giamatti, who portrayed the country's second president.

CBS' "The Amazing Race" was named top reality competition for the sixth time.

Jeff Probst of CBS' "Survivor" took the honor as reality host.

There was a strong political flavor to the night.

"John Adams" writer Kirk Ellis thanked HBO and producers for "giving me this amazing opportunity to talk about a period in our history when articulate men articulated complex thoughts in complete sentences." ABC cut him off.

"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" won the variety-series award for a sixth consecutive year. "I really look forward to the next administration, whoever it is," Jon Stewart said. "I have nothing to follow that up with. I'm just saying I really look forward to the next administration."

Linney of "John Adams" took a swipe at Republicans by saluting community organizers who helped found the country.

HBO's "Recount" was selected top TV movie; the docudrama retraces Florida's role in the 2000 presidential election.

Steve Martin presented a special award to Tommy Smothers, who said, "There's nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action. So I dedicate this Emmy to all people who feel compelled to speak out and are not afraid to speak to power."

Martin Sheen, who played a U.S. president in "The West Wing," encouraged everyone to vote Nov. 4.

In supporting awards, Jeremy Piven of HBO's "Entourage" collected his third consecutive for comedy actor. "To be a working actor is an unbelievable gift. None of this is lost on me," he said.

The other winners in the supporting-acting categories were surprises. Jean Smart took the comedy actress award for ABC's "Samantha Who?" The drama winners were Dianne Wiest of HBO's "In Treatment" and Zeljko Ivanek of FX's "Damages."

Dame Eileen Atkins of PBS's "Cranford" was chosen best supporting actress in a miniseries.

The Emmy telecast was an uneven affair. The opening was atrocious. The hosts were the five nominees for reality host. "We have absolutely nothing for you," Jeff Probst said. "The government can't even bail us out of this," quipped Howie Mandel. Tom Bergeron and William Shatner pulled a tux off Heidi Klum. In his acceptance speech, Piven observed: "What if I just kept talking for 12 minutes? What would happen? That was the opening."

The show, marking 60 years, recalled famous series and sets. The cast of "Laugh-In" reunited. Josh Groban rushed through a frantic medley of TV themes.

The amusement came from a few presenters. Ricky Gervais offered pointers on delivering a good speech: "Don't cry. Pathetic. It's just an award." He also picked on a stone-faced Steve Carell. Julia Louis-Dreyfus drew comparisons between the Emmys and "The Contest" episode of "Seinfeld."

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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