THE WRITE STUFF
The Poems of Jesus Christ (W. W. Norton & Company, $16.95)
In this groundbreaking work of translation, Willis Barnstone uncovers a universal misreading of Christ’s voice that has persisted to our present day. Jesus Christ, whose teachings have been on the lips of millions for two millennia, is revealed here as the unparalleled poet of the New Testament. The universality of his lyrics–simple and complex, joyful and sorrowful–told through his original wisdom verse offers a window into a unique yet analogous story in and of its own. Jesus’s poems carry the totality of the gospel’s tale through the intensity of a single voice. In these poems, that singular voice becomes one consummate poetic drama: the Gospel of Jesus. Heavenly sent.
The Founders at Home (W.W. Norton & Company, $35)
This holiday season heralds the publication of City Journal Editor Myron Magnet’s The Founders at Home, a series of contemporary portraits of America’s founding fathers, their families, and the homes that they built for themselves. Richly illustrated with photographs, plans, and drawings, from Washington's manse at Mount Vernon to the much less ornate Hamilton Grange; from Montpelier and Monticello to the Lees' home in Stratford, the tome brilliantly links two conceits: the building of a nation and the building of a home.
FOR THE RECORD
North of Houston: Live at 54 Below
Followers of Michael Cerveris’ stage and screen work may be surprised by the lack of Broadway crooning and pretense here. But then, Cerveris’ fans know the only thing to expect from him is that expectations will be confounded. The behind-the-scenes story is just as interesting since the gig was smack-dab during that destructive gal known as Sandy. After 5 days spent in the cold and dark, it seemed unlikely the shows would go on. But all the same, they carried instruments and walked miles across bridges, rode bikes, huddled in cars to practice with a heater on and squeezed on top of each other into a Broadway dressing room to keep playing---and to keep their minds off how creepy it was in pitch black lower Manhattan and how precarious this whole civilization thing was after all.
And the shows did go on. The first one was the Friday post-storm. A surprising number of hearty souls braved the lack of transportation and power. The night started heavy with the weight of what friends, families and neighbors in the Rockaways and Jersey Shore were digging out from under. Just being around people felt good, and songs like “Get Down River” and “Evangeline” got added to the set and took on more meaning. What is here instead is a document of a band at a moment in time, friends just playing together and making music they were raised on regardless of where they were born and how they pay their rent these days.
DVD QUICK PICKS
Lost and Found (Entertainment One)
Families will embark on an imagination-inspiring journey alongside a pair of unlikely companions with this deeply-heartwarming and critically-acclaimed animated film. Stats are pretty impressive: The film, based on the internationally best-selling children's book by award-winning author Oliver Jeffers, won more than 60 international awards, as well as a coveted Parents Choice Gold Award. Featuring narration by Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent, stunning CGI animation from Studio AKA and a charming musical score by esteemed composer Max Richter, Lost and Found brilliantly transports viewers from the pages of the storybook to a rich and immersive world that will have both young and old alike mesmerized and brought to tears.
Originally inspired by the real-life story of a little boy in Belfast, Ireland, who somehow managed to sneak a penguin out of the zoo during a class trip and all the way home to his bathtub before anyone noticed, the film tells the unforgettable story of a little boy who one day finds a penguin on his doorstep. Assuming that the unexpected visitor must have lost his way, the thoughtful and determined boy takes up the noble task of bringing the penguin back home---even if it means rowing all the way to the South Pole! But when the pair finally arrive at their destination, the boy soon discovers that maybe the penguin wasn't really lost after all. Maybe he was just lonely . . . and maybe he wasn't the only one.
In addition to the movie, the DVD contains a special "Making of" featurette, showcasing interviews with Jeffers, as well as key members of the production and creative teams. The segment offers viewers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the various elements that seamlessly come together to bring this dynamic film to memorable life.
Breaking the Girls (IFC Films)
After law student Sara (Agnes Bruckner) is caught stealing and loses her job at a bar, she falls into the arms of rich and sultry Alex (Madeline Zima) for a wild night out. During an evening of sexual passion, the two make a pact to murder each other's enemies---Nina, Alex's former lover and now mother-in-law; and Brooke, who sabotaged Sara's college career by tattling on her for stealing. When Alex actually follows through on her half of the agreement, Sara finds she must kill Nina or else risk being framed for Brooke's murder. Now with the police closing in, each girl will do whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the other. Sexy, exhilarating and full of unexpected twists, the flick is a steamy tale of deception that shocks right up to the final frame. Think of it as a lesbian twist of Strangers on a Train, without tennis and trains.