I’m back! And so is Matthew B. Crawford, who’s both philosopher and Richmond motorcycle shop owner. He worked at a D.C. think tank for some years before opening up his shop and writing the tome, “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” and he’ll be signing copies of this biography/self-help book about finding more of yourself through manual labor at the Politics and Prose downtown at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The store also hosts Washington Post writers Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson at 7 p.m. Wednesday — they’ll be discussing their coverage and analysis of the Obama/McCain presidential election that went into creating “The Battle for America 2008.”
Being a comic geek, one of the events I’m most looking forward to is on Saturday, when the very talented Ben Templesmith stops by Laughing Ogre Comics in Lansdowne for a signing between 12 and 4 p.m. He’s one of the best horror comics around, co-creating “30 Days of Night” with Reston native Steve Niles and hatching both “Welcome to Hoxford” and “Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse,” which he writes as well. He also co-created and does the art for Warren Ellis’ fantastic “Fell.” His style is unmistakably detailed and colorful, so definitely be sure to check this out since he’ll be signing anything and everything.
And while you’re in the comics mood, be sure to pick up the debut issue of the new “Doom Patrol” series. The “world’s strangest superheroes” have gone through many different incarnations since 1963, but this time could be better than ever since the book’s courtesy of writer Keith Giffen. Also out this week: We fnd out what happened to the Masters of Evil when the Scarlet Witch went bonkers in a “House of M” special; “Luke Cage Noir,” featuring the great period art of Falls Church’s own Shawn Martinbrough; and everybody’s searching for Steve Rogers in the second issue of “Captain America: Reborn,” while Steve is doing his best “Lost” impression and is somewhere else in time.
It’s now August! What’s the one summer read you still need to get to before Labor Day? Let me know in the comments.
Hey all! I’m off to San Diego for the better part of the next two weeks, but I wanted to fill you in on what to do in the meantime. Because I know you’re all lost without me. (I kid, I kid.) So…
Go to: Sarah Dunant’s signing at Politics and Prose downtown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 29. She’s presenting “The Sacred Heart,” a 16th-century historical fiction revolving around a convent and perfect for anybody who was a fan of her “The Birth of Venus.”
Read: “Amazing Spider-Man” No. 600. It’s a milestone issue for Spidey, and to celebrate, Doctor Octopus is back! All eight of those mechanized arms will be in full effect, as will an appearance by Daredevil, a wedding the Webhead never saw coming and a return of someone we haven’t seen in a while. All that and Stan Lee, too.
Watch: One of three movies this week, depending on your interests (and age): the Disney family adventure “G-Force,” starring a bunch of guinea pigs who are crazy good at espionage; the chick flick “The Ugly Truth” pitting Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler in a war of the sexes; or “Orphan,” a horror movie featuring one of the creepiest little girls since those twins in “The Shining.”
Buy: “Watchmen” Director’s Cut on Blu-ray. OK, you can get the standard edition, but this is the kind of thing that makes you upgrade your current home entertainment system. While the movie was good in the theater, Zack Snyder’s director’s cut is 30 minutes longer, features more stuff cut from the Alan Moore masterpiece, and looks INSANE in high definition. Seriously, go now. Turn off the computer. It’ll still be here when you get back.
What are your feelings on standard editions vs. super-duper extended extreme editions of movies on DVD? Let me know what you prefer in the comments, and here’s your video of the next two weeks:
Instead of writing about 1958 or 1960, Fred Kaplan has picked to write about the many culture-defining events of the the year in-between in “1959: The Year Everything Changed.” In it, he argues that ’59 was the year that kicked off the Sixties and a period of sociological, cultural and political changes. A lot of interesting people make appearances, from Malcolm X and Miles Davis to John F. Kennedy and Lenny Bruce, in this intriguing tome, which Kaplan will be presenting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Politics and Prose downtown.
The store also hosts another couple of events for those interested in world history: Seth Jones will be speaking at 7 p.m. Wednesday on his book about the many world powers that have tasted defeat by invading Afghanistan, “In the Graveyard of Empires,” and Matthew Aid stops by at 7 p.m. Thursday to chat about his chronicling of the National Security Agency, “The Secret Sentry.”
A little bit closer to home, popular chick-lit author Jennifer Weiner will be in town at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Baileys Crossroads Borders and signing copies of her new book, “Best Friends Forever,” a female-friendly story about two childhood pals reconnecting after years apart thanks to unforeseen circumstances.
Many movie and book fans have been awaiting this day for a while, and on Tuesday at midnight, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” finally hits theaters. It was supposed to get released last November, but was pushed to this summer, much to fans’ chagrin.
The sixth book was by far my favorite of the J.K. Rowling series, as it delved deeper into Voldemort’s past and showed how Dumbledore was involved, introduced the all-important seven horcruxes, and allowed Harry and his pals to grow up a little bit more. If the new movie’s even half as good as the book, it’ll probably the best one yet. Director David Yates is back in the saddle, too, which bodes well for the movie franchise after doing a spot-on job with “Order of the Phoenix.” (Of course, I don’t think anyone’s going to come close to what Alphonso Cuaran did with the third film, “Prisoner of Azkaban.”)
So what’s your fave Potter book and movie, and do they match? Let me know in the comments.
It’s a little bit more than halfway through the summer movie season, and giant robots are pummeling everything and Johnny Depp’s shooting up screens with a Tommy gun. It’s not the usual time for Oscar bait to show up in multiplexes, though, but “The Hurt Locker” isn’t your average war flick. Opening this weekend at Cinema Arts Theatre and based on the experiences of embedded reporter Mark Boal, the Kathryn Bigelow flick stars Jeremy Renner and follows a trio of Army men whose job it is to sweep the streets of Baghdad for roadside bombs, and dispose of them if found. It’s a hairy gig, naturally, and the movie follows the action as it puts our heroes through the psychological wringer. The other release of note this week is Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Bruno,” starring his flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista. If you were down with “Borat,” you’ll want to revel in more of Cohen’s shock-and-awe antics.
As a newer fan of AMC’s great retro show “Mad Men,” I’ve been anxiously awaiting Tuesday’s DVD release of the second season. Who doesn’t love Jon Hamm’s oh-so-dapper Don Draper? And all the drinking and smoking that you can handle on your flat-screen. Now you’ve got the time to catch up before the third season premieres next month. Those who love sketch comedy and missed it in the ’90s will want to check out the complete series of MTV’s “The State.” Also on store shelves: the debut season of TNT’s “Leverage” with Timothy Hutton; the HBO movie “Grey Gardens” with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange; the World War II period drama “The Edge of Love,” starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphy; the Virginia Madsen horror flick “The Haunting in Connecticut”; the Dennis Quaid thriller “Horsemen”; and the Blu-ray debut of the 1974 disaster classic “The Towering Inferno.”
What’s your favorite war movie, you guys? Would you put “Platoon” over “Apocalypse Now? “The Dirty Dozen” over “Full Metal Jacket”? Let me know in the comments, and check out your video of the week:
It may be post-Independence Day, but the patriotism continues this week in area book stores. Heck, even a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is out our way for a chat! Gen. Richard B. Myers is stopping by the Baileys Crossroads Borders at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to talk about “Eyes on the Horizon,” his look at his whole career, what it was like being in the frontlines warring against terrorism and what he thinks is a good plan for national security in today’s times. Equally American is the national pastime, and Tim Knouse will be doling know-how at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Woodbridge Borders from his “Amazing Baseball Tips” book. (Hey, at least it’s not “Mediocre Baseball Tips.”) And Thursday offers a double feature of sorts at Politics and Prose downtown. Olivia Gentile will be signing copies of her new book “Life List,” the biography of famous bird lover Phoebe Snetsinger, at 7 p.m. Thursday, and she’s bringing her husband along with her: comedian Andy Borowitz, author of “Who Moved My Soap?”
Did you catch “Captain America: Reborn” at your comic shop last week? Get it now if you haven’t, especially if you like “Lost.” But this week is the time to start gearing up for “Blackest Night,” since the official prologue begins in “Green Lantern” No. 43. Black Hand has been a GL for years, and we start to discover his ties to all the upcoming hubbub as the first Black Lantern is unveiled — or unearthed, as the case may be. (And should we read into the fact that Black Hand is positioned around the grave of Bruce Wayne on the cover?) DC Comics tries something new with its “Wednesday Comics,” a weekly tabloid-size book that tells tales of your fave comics characters in the newspaper comic-strip segments. (Me, I kinda like consuming my comics in their normal state.) I’m going to have to get the 13th and last volume of “100 Bullets,” entitled “Wilt,” to complete my collection, the miniseries “North 40″ features the denizens of a small Midwestern town with all sorts of weird things creepin’ around, and “Dark X-Men: The Beginning” breaks down Emma Frost’s super team in a “Utopia” tie-in.
What’s your “great American novel”? Let me know in the comments section!
It’s Fourth of July week, and it’s front-loaded with goodness. So let’s take a quick look at some cool things you can attend, read and see before channeling your inner caveman and being wowed by pyrotechnics.
D.J. Gregory, an inspirational guy with cerebral palsy who walked with a different player during each PGA Tour event, talks about his experience and will sign copies of his book “Walking with Friends” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Baileys Crossroads Borders. At the Politics and Prose downtown, John Pipkin comes to town at 7 p.m. Wednesday to promote “Woodsburner,” his debut tome about the Massachusetts residents affected by a fire inadvertently set by Henry Thoreau.
The big news in the comic book world these days is the return of the thought-dead Steve Rogers just in time for Independence Day, and the original Cap is back in “Captain America: Reborn.” Suck it, Red Skull! Another fan favorite — one who actually never dies — gets a new series with “Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth,” which finds the antihero in the Savage Land seeking out the dangerous severed head of the Marvel Zombies Deadpool. (It’s a lot cooler than it sounds.) Those “Sex and the City” girls have nothing on “Marvel Divas,” which brings together Black Cat, Firestar, Photon and Hellcat all in the same book. I loved the debut issue of Grant Morrison’s new “Batman and Robin” so I’m looking forward to the second issue that pits the revamped Dynamic Duo against the Circus of Strange and the mysterious Professor Pyg. Those getting ready for “Blackest Night” will want to pick up the “Rage of the Red Lanterns” collection, and Vertigo takes ancient gods and tosses them into the back alleys of London town with “Greek Street.”
Because of the holiday, Hollywood’s throwing out its movies early, but Wednesday brings a doozy: Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies.” Love gangster flicks? Love Johnny Depp? This flick is like peanut butter and chocolate, with Depp as legendary most-wanted man John Dillinger in his glory days as a bank-robbing Robin Hood-esque figure. Oscar winner Marion Cotillard as his love interest, Billy Crudup as head FBI guy J. Edgar Hoover and Christian Bale as crack G-man Melvis Purvis.
What are your Fourth of July plans? Let the rest of us know of anything cool brewing in the comments section. Check out this brilliant video of the week, and have a great holiday!
Chances are that a lot of people are going to be flocking to the movie theaters this weekend to see giant robots decimate each other but good. And that’s where the counter-programming comes in with the tearjerking “My Sister’s Keeper.” Based on the Jodi Picoult book, this adaptation tells of a couple (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) living a good life with their two kids until their daughter Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) is diagnosed with leukemia. They then decide to have a third child, Anna (played by Abigail Breslin), in order to harvest bone marrow for treatments to possibly help cure Kate.That’s where the family drama begins, as 11-year-old Kate has had enough of that and decides to sue her parents and medically emancipate herself so she can make her own decisions about her body.
Ethical questions are raised, tissues will be broken, but I have it on good authority that the book’s ending was a disappointment and Hollywood-esque. So it’ll be interesting to see what director Nick Cassavetes does with that. And, yes, that’s Nick Cassavetes who did “The Notebook.” So you can go in knowing that this guy can make ANYONE cry.
One of the funniest shows of the year debuts on DVD Tuesday with “Eastbound & Down: The Complete First Season.” Danny McBride, a Fredericksburg native, is a rising comedy genius, and he’s spot-on as a washed-up pitcher who’s forced to take a gym-teacher gig in his North Carolina hometown until he can get called back to the big leagues. It’s raunchy, perverse, insane and wholly fantastic. (And look out for McBride’s pal Will Ferrell as a Ric Flair-esque used car salesman.) Fellow HBO show “Entourage” also gets a fifth season released — see if the boys can resurrect Vinnie’s career after the “Medillin” disaster in time for the next season starting in July. The second season of the exceptional British comedy “The IT Crowd” is also out to tickle your funny bone. Fans of charismatic pro wrestler John Cena can watch their dude throw down with the guy who kidnapped his significant other in “12 Rounds,” and for those who prefer their creatures to be gigantic in sight and legend, there’s “Monster Quest: Season Three, Set One.”
What’s the last flick you cried during? Let me know in the comments. And here’s your video of the week — R.I.P. Mike.
Remember those essays you used to HATE reading in school? David Sedaris doesn’t write those — his rock and are in no way lame. The acclaimed humorist and frequent NPR contributor stops by the Baileys Crossroads Borders at 7:30 p.m. Friday to read from and sign copies of his latest book of essays, “When You Are Engulfed in Flames.” His other books might not have as cool a cover (it doesn’t get much more awesome than a chain-smoking skeleton), but tomes such as “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” and others are well worth a buy while you’re there. The store is also hosting local jazz musician Marcus Roberts at 4 p.m. Saturday, when he’ll be performing and putting his John Hancock on copies of his new album “Poetically Justified.”
This week is a good one for comics fans, beginning with the debut issue of “Berzerker.” Presented by “Heroes” star Milo Ventimiglia’s DiVide Pictures and written by “Friday Night Lights” scribe, the brand new Top Cow title follows a couple of two dudes with primal rage issues leading to an insane level of strength and power, and the mysterious group that wants to use them for their own means. There’s a lot of good buzz on this one, so check it out. (For a preview of some of the carnage, read the issue zero preview here.) The “Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men” miniseries takes “Dark Reign” out to San Francisco, where mutant riots break out in the X-Men’s new neighborhood and leads Norman Osborn and his crew out that way for a major-league throwdown. The storyline also spawns “Lethal Legion,” where bad guys such as Mr. Hyde and the Absorbing Man aren’t brought into Osborn’s fold and act up out of spite; “The Sinister Spider-Man,” featuring the new Venom (and old Scorpion), Mac Gargan; and a new supervillain who’s ready to shake up everything in “Zodiac.” There are a trio of Bat-titles worth picking up, too. “Gotham City Sirens” is a new monthly series starring the city’s femme fatales Poison Ivy, Catwoman and Harley Quinn. Batwoman, a breakout star from “52,” gets a lead role starting in “Detective Comics” No. 854 (it’s worth it just for the insanely top-notch art of JH Williams, who might be the next Jim Lee). And fans of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight” will enjoy the collection of his work in “All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder,” now in softcover form.
With July 4 quickly approaching, what’s your favorite American history book, fiction or nonfiction? Let me know in the comments below.
Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
I’m not sure if any of you saw this over the weekend, but The Food Network premiered a new show, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” In it, each of the Food Network stars share the best thing they ever ate (pretty self explanatory right?). Anyways, it got me thinking the obvious question, what’s the best thing I ever ate?
To get me started I surveyed each member of our office staff and got some pretty good answers:
Courtney (Account Executive) - ”Crespelle di Mele at Il Fornaio (Reston) – - I picked it because I like caramel and Crepes!”
Hana (Design Director) – “For me, I’ll take dessert (I wouldn’t claim it to be the best …tough to think of “best” right now): Polish water ice at Ocean City Boardwalk because the incredible smooth texture took me by surprise from the very first mouthful. I was expecting something similar to a snow cone, but boy was I pleasantly wrong in both flavor and texture.”
Terry (Account Executive)- “Venison tenderloin au poivre, grilled over a campfire in bacon grease. It was fresh, taken that morning.”
Laura (Graphic Designer)- “After a full day of moving into a new apartment in the snow, and having skipped lunch, my husband and I were staaaaarving and had no idea what there was to eat in our new neighborhood. We stopped at the first place we saw – Hamburger Hamlet - and I had the very best (or at least most-appreciated) burger and beer I have ever consumed. Even thinking about it now I get a little warm fuzzy glow in my belly.”
Carla (Administrative Assistant)- ” The best thing I ever ate was the crispy rice spicy tuna at Katsuya Restaurant in L.A. it was delish and my mouth waters just thinking about how good each little bite was!! I picked it because I like rice, tuna and anything spicy so this was perfect!”
Susan (Assignments Editor)- ”Seven-piece chocolate dessert from The Inn at Little Washington. Why? No one eating there that night wasn’t ordering it. It was irresistible.”
Natalie (PR/Copywriter)- ”I guess it’s a toss-up between the heavenly cheesy tapas in some little cafe in Barcelona or the authentic Greek salad (with a big chunk of feta) I had in Santorini on my honeymoon. As for why I picked the cheesy tapas: tired after a long flight, craved some comfort food. As for the Greek salad, I love fresh veggies and was looking for something refreshing for lunch on a super hot day.”
Kristin (Editorial Intern)- ”Triple Chocolate Meltdown from Applebee’s.I’m obsessed with chocolate and anything sweet. This melt in your mouth dessert hits the spot every time without hitting the wallet too. It’s my choice for a dessert any day.”
Warren (Food Editor)- ”Not necessarily the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but certainly the most memorable dish in recent memory: Momofuku Ssam Bar’s spicy rice cakes: pan-Asian medley of scallion-laced sausage, assorted hot peppers, crushed garlic, Chinese broccoli and pillowy Korean rice cakes sears every taste receptor in my mouth, but I still raced to shovel the sensory-inflaming stir fry into my face.”
As for me? Well I tend to appreciate the more simple things in life. Having grown up in Southern Md., I know a good crab cake when I see one. So far, (and really the competition hasn’t been close) Stoney’s in Solomon’s Island Md., has the best in the Mid-Atlantic. Picture lightly fried crab, roughly the size of a softball, just enough filler to hold it together, seasoned perfectly but not overwhelmingly. Two words: Love It!
Next week, I’ll invite some local chefs to share the best thing they ever ate, but until then, use the comments section to let us know what the best thing you ever ate was!
Before I opine about this week’s flicks, I wanted to tell you about the summer reading program hosted by the Laughing Ogres Comics stores in Lansdowne and Fairfax. If you’re a NoVA Popaholic, you know I’m for all things comics-related, and this summer Laughing Ogre’s got a really cool thing going to get struggling and reluctant youngsters reading and loving the art form for a lifetime.
It works thusly: Kids keep a reading list of graphic novels and any other sort of book they want. If they read five books total, they get 20 percent off their next purchase of an all-ages graphic novel. Read six more books, then they get 25 percent off. If they get around to seven more books after that (18 total), they then get 30 percent off! Can’t beat that.
To get the deals, children need to bring in their list to the store of what they’ve read with a parent’s sign-off. Just remember, moms and dads: Sometimes comics can get pretty racy in theme and language, so watch out for “mature” titles. You might also want to read what they’re reading, too, especially in the comics realm — you just might like ‘em!
A bunch of new comedies are out this week, starting with the quirky “Away We Go.” Opening at Cinema Arts Theatre this weekend, the indie film stars John Krasinski of “The Office” and Maya Rudolph as an expectant married couple who go on a cross-country trip to figure out the best place to raise their little one. It’s directed by Sam Mendes, who’s mainly done serious dramas (“American Beauty,” “Road to Perdition,” “Revolutionary Road”), so it’s a humorous tale that’s funny AND well-crafted.
If more mainstream romantic comedy is your thing, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds play a boss and her assistant who need to get hitched to keep her from being deported in “The Proposal.” The one reason to see this one? Betty White, the 87-year-old “Golden Girl” who steals the movie and is as feisty as ever.
And odd couple Michael Cera and Jack Black team up for the ancient laugher “Year One” as two dudes stumbling their way through Bible stories.
Pretty slim pickens in the ol’ DVD shelves this coming week (although you can find Slim Pickens riding a bomb in the newly released “Dr. Strangelove” Blu-ray). The Brendan Fraser family adventure “Inkheart” is for the little fantasy lovers in your household, the chick flick “Confessions of a Shopaholic” starring Isla Fisher will hold “Sex and the City” fans over till the next movie (or they decide to watch all the TV seasons again), and Steve Martin makes a really bad career decision with “Pink Panther 2,” taking Jeremy Irons and Alfred Molina down with him.
If you’re willing to try an odd little foreign movie, take a chance on the Oscar-nominated, animated Israeli documentary “Waltz With Bashir.”
What’s your favorite summertime comedy? Let me know in the comments. And the video of the week comes from NBC Washington, an interview with comic rapper Remy Munasifi about his viral hit “Arlington Rap” (if you haven’t seen this particular piece of local genius, here ’tis):