Top picks: 'Edible Stories,' 'Mood Music for Time Travellers,' Fran Lebowitz focused documentary 'Public Speaking,' and more
Author Mark Kurlansky's 'Edible Stories,' Either Orchestra CD 'Mood Music for Time Travellers,' Martin Scorsese documentary 'Public Speaking' on Fran Lebowitz, and more recommendations.
Mark Kurlansky, award-winning author of "Cod" and "Salt," now serves up "Edible Stories," in bizarre, tantalizing morsels. Kurlansky's novel parodies the ties created by food with stories that reveal how it can also divide, threaten, and repulse. Leading the way is Robert Eggle, a famous food critic who has lost his memory and sense of taste, but no one is the wiser. A small packet of red Hawaiian sea salt links a quirky and captivating cast of characters.
From "Follies" to "Sweeney Todd" to "Sunday in the Park with George," composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim embodies the modern Broadway musical. Enjoy highlights from this amazing career in the PBS special "Sondheim! The Birthday Concert" on the "Great Performances" series Nov. 24 at 9 p.m. This 80th birthday party in New York's Lincoln Center features some of Broadway's biggest names – Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch – singing some of the Great White Way's most memorable songs.
All over the place – and delightful
"Mood Music for Time Travellers," the new CD release by Either Orchestra is a celebration of sound noting the 10-piece ensemble's 25th anniversary. This big band crisscrosses musical genres and influences with glee. Pianos shimmy, horns shift musical palettes seamlessly, while the percussion keep underlying rhythms buoyant. The mood here is decidedly joyous. "Suriname" brings it together in the end – an aural profession of love for 25 years of musicmaking.
For country-rock fans
About a year ago at a California church fundraiser, two of the elder statesmen of country rock – Chris Hillman (The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers) and Herb Pedersen (The Dillards and Hillman's Desert Rose Band) – gathered a few like-minded musicians and blew the cotton-pickin' roof off the place. Rounder Records' resulting CD is "At Edwards Barn" and it's a pistol. The Byrds chestnuts "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and "Eight Miles High" are blended with sweet harmonies until they're smooth as country apple butter. And a few Burrito Brothers classics are transformed into bluegrass classics-in-the-making. What a night!
Display your talent
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A unique take on life
Author and well-known wit Fran Lebowitz is the focus of "Public Speaking," a Martin Scorsese documentary on HBO, Nov. 22 at 10 p.m. Smart, wise, and funny, she hit the New York literary scene in the 1970s when Andy Warhol hired her to write for Interview magazine. The film highlights her experiences through her sardonic worldview.