My Weekly Top 10 :: Week of December 28, 2015

1. The Bridges Over Madison County 
The Ahmanson Theatre
Los Angeles – playing through 1/17/15

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I’ve never read the book or seen the film as neither ever interested me, but a friend of mine who has great taste in theater and music recommended the musical telling of it, passionately and insistently (and hey, the last one he raved about was one of my favorite things I experienced last year – Kansas City Choir Boy).All that enthusiasm aside, I had mediocre and low-key expectations when arriving at the Ahmanson Theatre, though I was immediately drawn in to the beautiful set. The show itself was phenomenal, emotional (I was sobbing by the end), romantic, full of amazing songs and singing, tremendous acting, and a story that completely broke my heart, and broke me – in the very best way – and I already want to go see it again.

Preview

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2. Jessica Jones
Available on Netflix

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I’ve watched very little television in the last few months mostly due to a heavy school schedule, my own writing schedule, and because the longer I’m away from TV the less I feel pulled to return. That said, Jessica Jones has been an exception, one I am grateful I made time for. It was character-driven, complex, well-written, with strong, fully-formed, complex female characters and whip-smart writing.

Elevator conversation

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Trish Walker, who became one of my all-time favorite TV characters 

3. City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

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It was a quote from the book, and the name of the band in it, that caught my attention and had me seeking it out during a visit to The Last Bookstore, in downtown Los Angeles. It is 927 pages, and I’m only about 90 pages in, but from the first sentence in the prologue I was completely in. There are multiple POV’s, all that work perfectly (so far) and move the story forward seamlessly, I already have a favorite character, and it is all making me long for New York (at least for a visit) even more.

Trailer

4. Jimmy Gnecco

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Jimmy Gnocco, formerly of Ours, first came to my attention when I was in Chicago and reading Tiffany DeBartolo’s book How to Kill a Rockstar (a favorite book of mine) and reading that the lead character, Paul, was inspired by  Jimmy Gnocco. I recently ran into his solo album, fell hard for it and am excited that I get to see him play this month at the Hotel Cafe. I can’t seem to get enough of his music this week, especially the songs Bring You Home and Mystery.

Mystery (live)

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5. Clifton’s Cafeteria
Downtown Los Angeles

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My second visit to Clifton’s was yesterday for lunch before the matinee of The Bridges of Madison County. This place has great atmosphere, a quirky interior, a cafeteria-style set-up with different stations for different types of food (today I visited the soup and salad station, ordering a scoop of chicken salad and a bowl of split pea), and a great soundtrack (first song I heard today, as I was walking in, was Louis Armstrong). We found a seat right by a window on the third floor which seemed just perfect on such a clear sky day in Los Angeles.

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View from our table

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Lunch

6. Sex Criminals
Written by Matt Fraction
Illustrated by Chip Zdarsky

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My new comic book addiction is a story about Suzie, a girl who has an usual power, when she has sex she can stop time. She meets Jon who seems to possess the same power. Suzie and Jon may just become a post-modern Bonnie and Clyde in a rather unusual way – its a fun read, witty, bawdy and intelligently written.

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7. Green & Yellow :: The Dove & The Wolf 

Green & Yellow

Back when I saw Butch Walker play at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery last year, twice, I had the luck and pleasure of seeing, hearing and meeting Paloma and Lou, the amazing duo The Dove & The Wolf. I am anxiously awaiting their new album and was so excited to find they had released a new single from the upcoming album. Green & Yellow is lush, gorgeous, melodic and aurally addictive – I can’t wait for the entire album.

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8. 11/23/63 :: Stephen King
Audiobook available on Audible

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My first audiobook of the year is the time travel/alternate reality thriller by Stephen King. I am a sucker for stories like this, and so far it is the perfect companion to my ever-stressful and congested daily commute on the Los Angeles freeways. Though I’m not too keen on the main casting choice, I am looking forward to the series on Hulu based on this story, too.

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9. Ash vs. The Evil Dead
Season One :: Starz Series

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I am an Evil Dead fan, a Sam Raimi fan, and a Bruce Campbell fan, so I definitely had to make time for this series, too. Season One’s finale was last night, which was tied with the pilot as the strongest episode. Though the show had a few rough moments at around the mid-point, on the whole it was a whole lot of fun, and more than I expected it to be. Hats off especially to the supporting cast – Ray Santiago (Pablo), Dana DeLorenzo (Kelly), and especially Lucy Lawless (Ruby), as much as I love Bruce’s Ash (oh my stars, I do love him), those three really helped to make this show, and I’m glad they will all be there for Season 2.

Finale Promo

10. Rey :: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens was my last film of the year, and I’m still thinking about it, talking about it, and wanting to go and see it again. Rey (go team Ray!) is such an well-written, amazing, kickass character that I can’t help but get emotional over because growing-up Leia was so important and vital to me as a young girl, as a hero, as a strong female character, as someone to look up to. I look at Rey and I am grateful for the young girls growing-up now, to have her to look up to, the woman who piloted the Millennium Falcon, who said “stop holding my hand“, who is the hero in the hero’s journey of this new chapter – yes, I get very emotional when I think about Rey.

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