Saturday, February 15, 2014

Entertainment Recommendations for Seniors for February 2014

Technical Note: At the time of this writing, the below recs are all available for instant download and use at Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Audible and Overdrive. Recs apply whether you are using a PC or a Mac or a mobile device, both tablet and phone. Additionally, the mobile devices have Apps for using these media items. Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Audible and Overdrive are all available as Apps for both Android and Apple mobile devices. However, the Amazon Instant Video app is presently only available for Apple mobile devices. I am a top reviewer on Amazon; go here to read my reviews.

Book Recommendation
Relish, My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley  "This is a combination of book genres. It is a graphic novel, or comic book, about the author's life growing up in a family of New York foodies. It is also a recipe book with illustrated recipes--a format i like a lot better than conventional recipes. She opens with chai tea and pesto sauce as her first recipes. it also straddles the line between being a book for an adult or a child. Assuming the child has a decent reading level, I see no problem with both age groups enjoying the book. Best of all, this also will make a splendid gift book for any foodie or cook in your friends or family, adult or child. The drawing level is the same as you see on the cover.  I recommend this book. This author has a website here. There are tons of samples of her work, including samples from this book."

Music Recommendation
Chet & Russ  "Pairing Chet Baker with Russ Freeman in the '50s resulted in some of the most gorgeous recordings of any era. Baker was an icon of the jazz world for his trumpet playing, his singing (almost sounding like a trumpet) and his incredible looks, which really stood out in the rather homely jazz world (jazz guys do not usually look like rock stars!). Russ Freeman was a fabulous pianist plus also a composer. Together the two men played the most romantic, most emotional music extant in jazz." 

Video Recommendations (3):
Mike Birbiglia in Sleepwalk With Me  "I've had insomnia off and on most of my life but insomnia is absolutely nothing compared to this comic's sleep disorder. The normal way our bodies work is that we are unable to move when we sleep. This is for our safety because in our dreams we seem to be moving, sometimes even fleeing. However, we will be unable to see where we are going in advance and might kill or seriously injure ourselves. His body moves when he sleeps. It became so severe that all sorts of crazy events started happening to him while he was sleeping. These are very funnily depicted by him in this movie but he came very close to cutting his femoral artery and bleeding out. So this disorder is very serious, even though he makes great comic material out of it. What makes the sleep disorder worse is that his girlfriend of eight years wants to get married and he does not. The stress of this gets worse as they participate in his sister's wedding.

i found this movie because I first heard the comic do the stand up version of the film on Ira Glass's THIS AMERICAN LIFE radio show on NPR. Glass liked the material so well that he ended up producing the film to make it happen. I am so glad he did." 

Kathy Griffin Comedy Specials
"There are still too few women comedians and Kathy Griffin has really gone the distance with stand up. She is still up there on stage in her early 50s. She has carved out her own niche audience and sustained it for decades. I've actually seen all the shows listed on amazon instant video and I'd recommend all of them. What she is most famous for is doing stand up about Hollywood stars much bigger than herself. Her act changes with the times as the Hollywood hot stars change over time, this includes everyone from Cher to Joan Rivers to any one of the "Real Housewives" of wherever. She also has a segment about her mother Maggie, an Irish Catholic widow now her in early 90s. I went to Catholic schools and Kathy's imitations of Irish Catholic Maggie are absolutely dead on and hilarious. Kathy also has a loyal audience of gays and always has material on gay and straight relationships and gay and straight sex. There is nothing lurid about her act, however.

In case you didn't know this, Kathy got a huge break in show business when she scored some SEINFELD episodes. What she did on SEINFELD became the basis of her act to the present day, i.e. she did an entire stand up act mocking Jerry Seinfeld. (He absolutely loved it but acted like he hated it on the show.) The set up was that Jerry was telling her as one comedian to another that she was lousy at stand up and she, in her anger, became great at standup because she started satirizing him. Newman even asks for her autograph because he thinks her work against Jerry is so important."

Chris Carter's AFTER   Chris Carter was the creator of the X-Files, which I loved. If you were also a fan, Amazon made its own new original programming with Carter called After.  I just watched it and found it very promising. Amazon is offering the pilot episode for free on its Instant Video. 

"At first it looked as if some alien or zombie type event had happened just like it did in WORLD WAR Z. In this case, the city, LA, had one weird thing happen after another with a shut off of all power, including water, strange huge, shuddering noises and crashes, total panic and running in the streets. but no UFO appeared, no zombies shuffled into sight. There is something a lot weirder going on, almost as if it is the Apocalypse. As each segment went by, i got the feeling that this was more supernatural or religious in terms of disaster, end times perhaps, as opposed to aliens, zombies, werewolves or vampires. This makes it more interesting to me rather than less."

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