85 thoughts on “Arts & Culture Tuesdays”


  1. Stretching the concept a bit but hey, why not? Walking Dead: What’s going on with whatever causes zombies? My take is that, whatever the viral agent is, it no longer requires a bite and has somehow gone airborne. Living people unknowingly get infected but don’t show symptoms until they die. Anyone?

    1. Maybe it has something to do with the humans’ complete lack of concern about getting zombie blood all over them whenever they split open one of their skulls. The bite is infectious, but the blood isn’t? C’mon!

      Another thought I had is that everyone was infected at the outset, but the few remaining humans were able to resist the virus and don’t turn into zombies until they die.

    2. In my experience, you need to play a lot of Plants vs Zombies on your i-Pad to determine the most effective offense and defense against said zombies.

      I could kill my buddy Richard for getting me hooked on it… Fair warning!

    3. I think that whatever the CDC guy whispered to Rick in Season 1 has something to do with this. Everyone is infected, so unless killed by a head trauma (like Dale) you will become a zombie once you die.

  2. I’m currently reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I don’t know how I’ve gone this long without reading this one. I’m about a quarter of the way in and I’ve laughed out loud more times than I can count. Very entertaining!

    1. That was published after he had killed himself. His mother Thelma, who was nuttier than a fruitcake, got the book noticed by Walker Percy who helped get it published. As a native New Orleanian, this book captures the sense of the city in a way no other book does. I met Mrs. Toole once. She proclaimed that the nurses in the hospital could tell her son was special at birth. And she wasn’t kidding.

      1. As Joe would say, “You’ve swayed me, salesman!” It’s going on my list!

        (Diane- So glad to see you back on here! :0)

    2. LOVED that book! I was reading it while I was traveling a few years ago and a flight attendant asked me about it. She was from New Orleans and I told her she would love it too. I always wondered if she did. I’m guessing if she read it, she enjoyed it. Thanks for a nice memory.

    3. I read that book a couple of year ago, and like you, found myself laughing out loud a number of times. That is one of my signs for a great book.

    4. I think of “12 inches of paradise” scene every time I get around a group of proper grandmothers.

    5. +1 – It’s been sometime since I read that book, but I still remember laughing out loud. Enjoy!

  3. 1. One of the Ender series, because I’m a geek.
    2. Phineas & Ferb, because it’s the best-written show on TV.
    3. My blog at tubgoat.me, because if I stop writing, my head will asplode.
    4. My ESP EC-1000 MGO, because the Koreans make better guitars than the Americans for the price, and I can’t buy an American guitar with only a musical education.

    1. Showoff. Someone actually has free time? I’m all wrapped up in a work project, but was halfway through The Casa Azul, about Trotsky’s time in Mexico with Frida Kahlo & Diego Garcia, before I put it down three weeks ago. Still listening to all that is Elbow, and writing memos for coworkers who haven’t.

  4. Saw “In Darkness”, a particularly good, if bleak, movie about the surviving the Holocaust in sewers of Poland. Made me claustrophobic the way Das Boot did.

      1. It’s graphic but not by using music and suspense to crank up the horror or emotion. Rather it conveys the desperate reality of human beings who are determined to survive as long as they can. It’s not about heroism but humanity when there’s nothing else left. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone wanting action, comedy, or romance (there is sex and attraction but definitely not romance), but there is beauty and hope within this true, not glamorized story.

  5. Please help me crowdsource my Netflix viewing habits. I’ve watched many good streaming series through my Netflix subscription, and now feel as though I’m running out of options. I’m currently on season 2 of 10 with Stargate SG1. Help me! What are the best, under-hyped, streaming shows on Netflix?

    1. “nurse jackie” is amazing! and the third season just came out so you aren’t too far behind.
      also “breaking bad”…very good… in a bad boy way 🙂

    2. More big-budget, and since I don’t have Showtime I’m not sure what the hype is around it, but I just finished up the second season of “The United States of Tara.” I would highly recommend.

      I’m interested in seeing the responses to your post. I’m not super hot on the streaming selections, but I just recently got it, and haven’t fully explored it yet.

    3. Black Books – my daughter said it reminded her of Fawlty Towers. Misanthropic Irish bookseller, his gently demented assistant and normal-by-comparison best friend. I’d never heard of this before it popped up on Netflix, but everyone in my family loved it.

      Also, watched my first episode of Battlestar Galactica and am now staring into the abyss. Portlandia got it right on that show.

      1. +1! But I’m very bummed out they took Red Dwarf and Pulling (two other excellent Britcoms, though very different from each other) off of Netflix streaming. Blackadder is still on streaming, though, one of the all-time great British comedies.

      2. The most recent adaptation of Battlestar Galactica is one of the best shows on tv, of any genre, in the last 10 years, period.

  6. What are you reading: DM

    what are you watching: the flowers grow and leaves fall in the animated Dekalb Medical JSC ad at top left

    what are you writing: this

    what are you playing: a keyboard filthy with girl scout cookie crumbs.

    If that doesn’t describe the culture, I don’t know what does.

    1. Hee! A flood of middle school memories just came rushing back! We used to spend so much time and energy compiling those passaround question thingies just to give those same kinds of answers! (Guess that means things were going cuturally awry even back then! :0)

  7. If you like pop science, I highly recommend “Quiet” by Susan Cain.

    It’s essentially a defense of introversion, complete with a redefinition of the type.

    And: Thanks, DM. This is a good idea.

      1. I attended the TEDxAtlanta event yesterday. It was kicked off by a short Shawn Mullins set and a terrific talk by Eddie Owen on why Live Music Matters. Other speakers included Robert Spano of the ASO (who also sat down at the piano and played one of his compositions), Doug Shipman of the Civil and Human Rights Institute (on building Beloved Community) and Greg Smith, head of the Atlanta Street Food Coalition. Fun and enlightening.

  8. I’m reading The Paris Wife, which is just ok. It makes so many references to the Lost Generation, that I just want to put it down and read the real thing!

    I’m listening to the Old 97s (because their drummer can get me through even the bleakest of work days), unless I take a break for the new Springsteen.

    Word on the street is that there’s a new Bob Dylan album being recorded at Jackson Brown’s studio. Anyone else hear about it?

      1. He also worked on the previous Dylan album, so I’m wondering if this is an old story that was reported erroneously. I haven’t heard anyone else talking about a new album.

  9. Reading: Nothing at the moment. All my library books were overdue so I had to return them.

    Watching: Boardwalk Empire (NO SPOILERS PLEASE!), Being Elmo, Touching the Void.

    Writing: the words you’re reading right now.

    Listening to: Hospitality

    Considering: Starting a band.

  10. Being that it is March, I am deep in March Madness: The Morning News’ annual book review competition, The Tournament of Books, that is.

    http://www.themorningnews.org/tob

    Friday’s edition was judged by former Decaturite Mark Binelli.

    I would also like to put in a plug for my lovely wife’s journal from GSU: Five Points. Those of you who enjoyed Billy Collins’ reading at Emory should know that the poem he read: “Advice to a 17-year-old” is currently only available in the new issue of Five Points.

    http://5ptsjournal.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/212/

    End of shameless plug. I am greatly looking forward to the Nick Lowe show with a full band at the end of April at the Variety and digging his latest “The Old Magic”.

  11. Reading Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace) for the 2nd time, and now I “think” I understand it. Waiting book pile has 4 photo/text books containing work by Michio Hoshino. Highly recommend Stieg Larsson’s trilogy (the Girl books) and the SWEDISH films (English subtitles) of the same.

  12. What are you reading, “Dynamic Laws of Prosperity” by Catherine Ponder
    “Kissing in Paris” mindless beach read book

    what are you watching: True Blood. Thank goodness for Netflix! So addicted I am
    staying up late zooming through the DVDs

    what are you writing, progress notes in patient’s charts

    what are you playing? paint brushes of all sizes. Painting a bedroom and me. lol

  13. finally finished “Friday Night Lights” on Netflix. “Downton Abbey” withdrawal symptoms finally abated. Big excitement last week when I thought “Mad Men” was starting up again, big disappointment when learned it’s not ’til end of the month. Three episodes of “True Blood” back to back may have been a little much. “Meek’s Cutoff” is probably better enjoyed on a big screen. Just finished “Star Island” and glad to report Carl Hiassen never disappoints. Just started “When Everything Changed: the Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present,” which is either going to make me happy and hopeful, or piss me off. Too early to tell. Planning to re-read “Pride and Prejudice” soon in preparation for reading “Death Comes to Pemberley.”

    1. I’ll be curious to hear what you think of Death Comes to Pemberly. It had gotten so much hype I was excited to read it, then was left with mixed feelings after I finished…

      1. I liked Death Comes to Pemberly. It was entertaining. I did not realize that “sequels” to Pride and Prejudice is a bit of a thing, though. And from what I can tell, most of them are pretty romancy.

        Anyone read The Marriage Plot? I’m thinking of picking it up, but can’t decide.

        1. our bookshelves must be similar- just traveled with The Marriage Plot, but haven’t cracked it open yet. Hopefully will start some time this week.

      2. If you’re a Jane Austen fan, you might enjoy a series of mysteries by Stephanie Barron. They are detective stories featuring Jane Austen. Pretty quick reads and very entertaining IMO. VERY important to read the series in order, though, because there are a few continuous plot threads you don’t want to spoil. I think the first one is something to do with Scargrave Manor. I also recommend “Remarkable Creatures” by Tracey Chevalier. Doesn’t pertain directly to Jane Austen, but it’s about an independent Englishwoman of her era.

        1. Thanks! I think I’ll try one of these.

          Have to finish my current James Lee Burke. Another favorite series, but not remotely Austen-like.

      3. I’m with macarolina on the mixed feelings about Death Comes to Pemberley. I really wanted to love it as I’m a huge P&P AND PD James fan, but it just didn’t hit me right for some reason.

  14. Started Game of Thrones. . . its quite a dense slog at the moment and I heard its only until book two that it gets really good– how do people stay focused through the entire book to REACH the second? It’s doable and I’m somewhat enjoying it, its just very very long.

    1. That’s a dense one, alright, but beware…once it grabs you, then you’ll be hooked and unable to do anything else until you’ve read them all. I got into them last summer–fortunately, just before heading to the beach for a few days. I read the first four, one after the other.

      1. This happened to me this past fall with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Finished the first (900 page) book in a week, shirking all other responsibilities. Vowed to take a break so at least some laundry could get done. Within 3 minutes, I had the next book downloaded on my Kindle. Read all 7 in as many weeks and immediately started over. Fortunately, the second time around I am able to exert a bit more self control.

        1. It’s taking every ounce of resolve I can muster not to download the latest in that series until I take some official vacation time. I read the first one during a hiatus between jobs several years ago. Finished it after dinner one night and walked directly down to the bookstore and bought the next two. Finished all (I think there were four at that time) within a couple of weeks. When the next one finally came out in paperback, I re-read all. They hold up for a second reading IMO. Unfortunately, I had no more self-control or maturity the second time around — read ’til 2am too many times!

          1. I shouldn’t admit this, but I was literally closing my door at work (pretending I was on a conference call) for an hour at a time sometimes more than once a day to read those bloody books. I hear #8 in the Outlander series will be out early 2013. I hope DG will be at Decatur Book Festival this year since she has published The Scottish Prisoner since DBF 2011.

  15. I’m reading The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan. Interesting read. She goes undercover in th fields of California picking vegetables and produce as well as undercover at Walmart and Applebees. Fascinating to see how our mass produced food really goes from farm to table.
    And I’m watching The Walking Dead. Gosh, I love this show! How about that plot twist?! And looking up at the earlier responses, I agree that whatever the CDC guy said will finally come out and they’ll realize that they are all infected. I can’t wait to see the season finale next week!

  16. Hey, can we talk about where we’re going, too? I’m planning a trip to Sicily and the dates, accommodations and general itinerary already planned. I’d love to hear from anyone who would recommend a restaurant, a market, a site, an experience or anything memorable related to Catania, Taormina, Piazza Amerino or Syracuse.

  17. Hmmm…the way you asked these questions is, I dunno, a little stalkerish… 😉

    OK, back to being on topic:
    Reading – A Dance With Dragons (latest in GofT series) & March 2012 issue of Vanity Fair

    Watching – Once Upon A Time (Can’t figure out why I like it so much); Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole (simultaneously offensive & hilarious)

    Writing – this comment, & questions for a deposition next week

    Playing – not a got-danged thing. Seriously– I need some fun in my life!!!

    1. Our whole family really likes Once Upon A Time too, and we’ve asked the same question. I think it’s pretty clever, fairly unoffensive, and has some surprising twists to favorite stories. We’ve discussed how this series seems to be taking a Disney approach to fairy tales, while Grimm is so much darker, a bit more like the original stories with their sinister characters.

      I realized as I was watching reruns of Mad Men on Netflix (to prepare for the new season) that the little boy in Once Upon a Time is Betty and Don’s son in Season 3.

      1. I like both of those fairy tale shows, too. Grimm is almost too gory for me, but not quite. And I guess Once Upon A Time is almost too sweet, but not quite. Thank you for identifying Henry, drives me nuts when I can’t place an actor that I recognize from another role. (IMDB is great for ferreting them out!)

        1. If you like the fairy tale shows, I highly recommend A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. It’s for upper elementary kids, but it’s really creative, witty, and fun. The author was at the book festival last year, which is where I discovered it. One of my new favorites this year. I read it to my students in the fall, and they still talk about how much they loved it.

          I’m in the midst of Book 4 of the Game of Thrones. The lack of familiar characters threw me, and I had to take a break. But I will go back to finish the series. It’s more of a summer series anyway. I have to have time to read continuously since they’re so long.

  18. What are you reading: Jimmy Buffet’s “Swine Not”

    what are you watching: Third season of “Fringe” on Netflix

    what are you writing: Occasional entries on my personal blog

    what are you playing: Djembe lessons every Tuesday in Oakhurst just to remind myself how off my rythym really is! Come join us!

  19. I’m reading Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula series – been on a vampire kick for the past several months. I came across his book that pairs up the Count with Sherlock Holmes, told alternatively by Dracula and Dr. Watson, and I’m digging up the others.

    I don’t control the DVR scheduling in my household. I’m horrified that I know whose torch has been extinguished on Survivor in any given week and that Paula Deen has a bungee jumping / trampoline apparatus set up in her yard. Also watching old TV Westerns online. Hadn’t seen “Paladin” since it first aired, plots are way more interesting than I remembered.

    Updating my Halloween website since I’m completely changing the theme of my display this year. Have to make up new backstories for all the skeletons.

    1. Where are you watching Paladin? My sibs and I were just talking about old westerns last week, and that was one of the ones we remember as being really good. (They did, at least, I was just a tiny tyke when it originally aired. But I do remember the theme song and the basic premise.)

      1. Watching Westerns on Xfinity online. The show actually was called “Have Gun, Will Travel” – I think we must have just called it “Paladin” since it was the main character’s name. I was surprised at how much dialogue and philosophical discussion there was about justice and mercy and ethics. My childhood memories of all the Westerns seem to be full of action and shooting and galloping horses.

        macarolina, you’re welcome. Kris ended up on the porch when I was moving furniture around after Christmas and it looks like he’s planning on hanging out there for all the holidays this year.

    2. Have gun, will travel
      is the card of the man
      A knight without armor
      in a savage land.

      I’ve always thought “have gun will travel” was the coolest calling card ever!
      Wire PALADIN San Francisco

      Says it all!

  20. On the “Where are you going?” front – I’ll be at the Carlos on Sunday to support my incredible author friend, Vicky Alvear Shecter. She’s a docent at the museum and will be on a panel of amazing Young Adult fiction writers… Here’s the blurb:
    Conversation with Adele Geras, Vicky Alvear Shecter, and Tracy Barrett
    WHEN Sunday, March 18, 2012, 2 – 3pm
    WHERE Carlos Museum, Tate Room
    EVENT TYPE Arts and Cultural Events
    The Carlos welcomes three outstanding authors of young adult literature for a conversation with readers. British author Adele Geras, author of Troy and Ithaka will (virtually) join Atlanta’s Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra’s Moon, and Nashville’s Tracy Barrett, author of King of Ithaka andDark of the Moon, for a conversation about their fascination with the stories and people of the ancient world and about writing for a young adult audience. This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.
    🙂 e

  21. I keep going back to youtube to listen to tracks from “Transatlantic Sessions”. It is a Scottish show that features a mix of American and Celtic acoustic musicians playing in casual, rural Scottish settings. The music directors are Aly Bain, a Scottish fiddler, and Jerry Douglas, virtuoso American slide guitar player. Each show they mix in different singers and songwriters around the house band.

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why this isn’t on PBS.

    Try Sarah Jarosz singing Bob Dylan’s “Ring them Bells”:

    1. wow – thank you. This is beautiful. It reminds me of music in my native East Tennessee mountains.

  22. what are you reading- just finished The Stranger You Seek- liked it, fun read especially if you are familiar with this side of Atlanta and of course WP. now after reading this blog I’m eyeing Confederacy of Dunces that I started a while back but got distracted with a move

    what are you watching- Life on netflix- loved it in season one but it was just long ago enough to forget a lot of it. haven’t seen season 2 yet. quirky, LA zen detective show.

    what are you writing- catching up on personal accounting, not really writing today unless you count this.

    what are you listening to- Radio Paradise (internet radio, the best station ever)

  23. I was at Eddie’s Attic tonight to see four of the cast members from the upcoming world premier of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, opening at the Alliance next month. Each Tuesday night for the next few weeks there will be different cast members performing. Each performer did four songs, some were originals some covers. Tonight’s line-up included Justin Guarini
    Kate Ferber
    Peter Albrink
    Lucas Kavner.

    Kate Ferber did a spectacular cover of Ramble On (that was a surprise!) which she said was the song she used to audition for the play. No wonder she got the part.
    It was a particularly fun evening because much of the crowd seemed to be comprised of cast and crew members–very festive, like a family party.

    Have not been to the movies lately but I’m addicted to Justified on FX. Based on a character created by Elmore Leonard. The writers do a great job of writing Elmore Leonard-ish dialog. Also creating Elmore Leonard-ish bad guys. Just when you’re used to the bad guys, they introduce the worse guy.

  24. The great Austin honky tonker Dale Watson will be part of the Darkland County crew at Eddie’s next Tuesday. We also have tickets for John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett at Symphony Hall Wednesday night and Broooooce at Philips on Sunday. Time to slow down a little, but Ruthie Foster at Eddie’s is real tempting, too.

    1. Oh man. Completely missed that John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett were playing together here this week. Hope it was as awesome as I imagine it was!

  25. Thank you DM for this thread! It is so nice to feel that I can express an opinion and not fear being slammed if it is politically unpopular with someone. Art and culture rarely provoke such strong emotions like some of the other topics, like the BOE, the elections, etc.

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